The mud smells dark and rich; the bird call is frenzied; the wet leaves and twigs glow like embers in the fast fallen dusk. Hello Fall. My favourite time of year is digging in and the palette of the season is a personal refresher for where my aesthetic choices are mostly rooted.
Taking stock of the body of work I showed at this past summer’s Artists Open Studio Tour on Orcas Island, it felt good to discover an aesthetic consistency running through my ceramic work. The forest floor, ocean find and woodland imagery are repeatedly used, and so are the organic textures and my tendency to leave or reveal the natural colour of the clay body. The show was really the first time I had all my recent work displayed together and it was gratifying to see how the individual pieces, whether functional, wearable or wall art, could come together to form a cohesive tableau.
Participation in the Studio tour provided the motivation for me to finally write an Artist’s Bio, and to explore various ways to display work, label displays, create visual flow, and other nitty gritty aspects of putting up a show that is not always a top priority because it takes precious time away from making stuff! However, the best thing for me over the three-day tour was getting practice in talking about my art to absolute strangers. Many thanks to Sharon Schmidt who hung out with me on opening day! Just hearing her introduce my work to guests helped me experience how a gallery visitor would encounter my creations for the first time. I realised how basic and crucial a skill it is for any artist to be able to talk comfortably about her own work, and, at a level that resonates with the viewer. I have been a docent many years and led many a gallery tour, but talking up my own work is an ongoing challenge. I know it comes with practice and I am working on it.
I agree, the title for this post needs reworking, but it’s the newest game Sammy picked up at preschool and he has been walking around saying “Duck, Duck, Goose”. In any case, this waterfowl pitcher is a different form I am experimenting with. It has a more elongated base and a wider mouth. The effect, to me, is a bird on the water. The combination of form, texture and glaze recalls the style from a couple of decades earlier. Don’t you think?
The idea for this little guy came from the beautiful midnight blue family of jays that lived in the tree next door all summer long. I miss them. The photo does not do enough justice to the actual glaze, which is a deep, dusky charcoal with undercurrents of blue.
Like birdsong in winter, I’ve been too busy sheltering from the cold to throttle about much, but oh, I’ve been busy in the studio making pitchers, and ceramic jewelry (a post on that coming later this week – I have a case made for a Wearble Art show at the Orcas Center, opening this Sat, Dec 1). My newest bird friends will attest to that. Enjoy the next couple of posts. These birds are all very versatile 5-inch tall pitchers that fit snugly in the hand for pouring. Use for milk, olive and nut oils, dressings on your table, or for bath salts, soap or shampoo holders. Food safe glazes and textured wings provide a firm grip.