Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why Do I Make Art?

I have been reading almost all of the the PD James novels, and in several of them she mentions time, and how virtually all of our lives are in the past. No sooner do we say the word "second" then the second is gone. I've been pondering this observation and found it disconcerting. I've heard of "living in the now" and "there is nothing but the present moment", but this is a different way of seeing it, like everything is gone before it can even be grasped.
I started thinking about making art and why I like doing it, and how it relates to the temporal nature of things. Making art is a kind of record of living. It's something that I make in the present moment, but it doesn't slip into the past. It carries on into the future, and will probably even live beyond me. Most of our records of ancient civilizations come from pieces of art that they have left behind.
A few summers ago I went to Las Vegas and rather than spend the time in the casinos burning money, I decided to take a trip to see one of the local wonders. This place was called The Valley of Fire and it's a state park. It is a fabulous place in the desert with huge stone formations that look like giant wailing faces, formed by sand, wind and time. When the sun gets down low enough, it sets the stones on fire, glowing red like they have been heated in a kiln. In one place a staircase has been erected to the top of one of the stones, and there are some hieroglyphics there, left by an ancient race. Up on that rock, there is a small piece of art left behind, to show that someone was there, though all other traces are long gone. Much to my dismay some modern "artists" left a few drawings there too. Maybe this was their way of saying "you were here, and I was here too". "How did the Indian artist get to the top of the stone?" we are left to wonder, and ponder, who this person was, and how he lived. What motivated him or her to find a way to the top of the stone, and leave a drawing there?
This is part of the pull of art for human kind. I remember reading somewhere, awhile back, about a quilter from colonial times that said something like "I've always had the name of being a good housekeeper, but when I'm gone, no one will remember the floors I've swept and scrubbed or the tables I've dusted. But this here quilt, this here quilt, will be something to remember me by."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Kiln is Fixed

Hooray, my kiln is fixed. The men at Orton are so nice. I highly recommend them to anyone who is thinking about buying a kiln with a controller....get an Orton controller! Their company is right here in Columbus/Westerville. Several people there also bought pendants from me!

Here are a few of my new things I just took out of the kiln yesterday.

I am still waiting for the weather to break out of the clutches of winter. We had 14" of snow here and it has been much colder than normal all winter. My fish are under layers of ice and have been all winter. I hope they are all right.

Working with the bright colors of the glazes helps lift the winter blues.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Paper Clay

Last night I played with paper clay. What is paper clay, you might ask? Well, it is clay mixed with paper! It is supposed to make a lighter clay that doesn't WARP when it dries. I struggle so with warping, I thought the extra effort to make this clay would be worth it. I tore up newspaper, soaked it, and whirled it in my industrial strength blender to make the pulp.
I mixed the pulp into the clay, it is supposed to be about 10% paper, 90% clay. The paper seemed to form lumps in the clay, but I went ahead and cut out some forms anyway. The fact that it was lumpy didn't seem right to me, because those paper lumps are going to fire out. So I looked on the internet, and I was supposed to get the clay like mud and then stir the paper in.
Then dry the clay on a plaster batt, which I don't have, so I'll have to get one and try again. I'm still going to fire the ones I made though, and see what happens.
I am happy to report that the pendants are almost dry this morning and very FLAT!!

Kiln Blues

Well my kiln has been on the fritz and I feel like someone has tied my hands. I have orders from Etsy that I haven't been able to fill. My brother and I replaced the elements on Friday morn, but that wasn't the problem. So into the car trunk the kiln goes, and there is a very nice man at Orton that is going to help me tomorrow morning. I also had some greenware fired at Adobi ceramics, where another nice man said he would put my pots of pendants into the kiln at no charge.
I have 4 hollow bead forms in the batch that I plan on using to create a set of seasonal beads for the Bead and Button competition. They are allowing ceramics this year after excluding us last year, so I am going to take advantage of that and enter.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Summer City Scape

This is an entry for the Feb. Art Bead Scene Challenge, which was to make a necklace inspired by the featured photo.

I loved working with the colors that I never would have chosen without the photo to work from. I thought my sun face pendant was perfectly in theme with the painting which seems so happy and full of summer fun, reminding me of trips to Cedar Point, the New Jersey shore, and salt water taffy. Here is a link to the painting :

I would recommend this a way to stimulate creativity and to get past "design blocks" that we all experience occasionally.

The necklace is 36" long including the dangles, and features chain, glass and semi-precious stones.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Stormy Dragonfly Necklace

Joan Miller of Joan Miller Porcelain, has featured one of my necklaces in her Treasury on Etsy. Check out the wonderful dragonfly art.

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