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.
These turtle dishes put a smile on my face, and I hope it brings a smile to you too. Maybe it is the colour in bloom all around me that’s inspired me to explore tones that are not in my usual glaze selections. Fun to be out on a limb and hanging on for a bit. Enjoy the sunshine everyone!
My first showing of work on Orcas Island! I exhibited two sets of ceramic jewelry in keeping with the show’s theme of Wearable Art. I was surprised to find myself the only artist to show jewelry (not a bad thing on hindsight), which serendipitously complemented the sumptuously handmade, hand beaded cloaks, costumes, fabric, masks and puppets on display. The costume works of Judy Tepley was astounding in their detail and intricacy, and I felt humbled thinking of the effort I spent in the mere bits of beading and threading I incorporated in my set of ceramic pendants above.
The show opened on Dec 1 with a warm reception that was perfectly family-friendly, with artists on hand to help with mask making and sock puppet creations, not to mention a delightful spread of pre-Christmas bites. My boys thus occupied, gave me time to chat with other artists and guests I have never met. It was a nice low-key debut personally.
I love the custom-framed box above and want to give special mention to its designer and maker – the very creative Andy Troxel – who used seasoned wood reclaimed from the humble pallet, and pulled it all together at a week’s notice. Thank you, Andy!
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.
The idea was to create a set of vases to set off large fronds of palms, no flowers required. This is a test set of flattened coil vessels inspired by the trunks of the palm trees you see everywhere in Singapore. The rings in the trunks are repetitive in such a modern way, and yet so tactile; I always want to reach out and feel its roughness on my palm (no pun intended). The two on the left are made with white and toasted clay and a single colour glaze – the two toned effect is the result of the glaze on two types of clay.
The vessel on the right features a long oval base that demanded a little more hand control to maintain the shape as I built up, but the result was that the body fits snugly in my hand when I held it, giving it a lot of potential as a drink holder of some sort.