Friday, July 27, 2012

The Wheels are Slowly Turning

Since the weather refuses to quit sending us these 100 degree days, I'm trying to find things to do that are related to my work without having to deal with the heat in my studio. I have been filling out contracts for shows I have been invited to, sending in booth fees, researching new glazes, sorting out files...busy work and also shopping for more found objects to go with my sculptures. Yesterday I had some great luck. I got this box of wheels and gears and metal bits for $5!! What a find. I see houses with wheels in the future......

I also found some more glass door knobs, which are getting hard to find and getting more expensive. The Prince Albert tobacco tins are charming, no idea what I will do with them yet, but I got them for $1 a piece, hard to pass up. The little Frozen Charlottes were also a great find. These are getting more and more expensive. I saw one the other day for $80!! These were a bargain at $4 a piece. I have to take the  cost of these found objects into consideration when pricing my work, so it's nice when I find great prices like this.
I have lots of new ideas for work, so I'm ready to get back in the studio. Wes and I are going to visit my mom at the beach next week, then she is heading back to school and I will be wrapping up my extended summer vacation. Soooon.........

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wolf Kahn

 A while back, my friend and wonderful artist Shannon Bueker sent me a postcard with the image of one of Wolf Kahn's paintings on it. I became a fan immediately. The colors in his paintings are beyond amazing and have me wanting to add color to my work. I saw this turquoise barn painting the other day and I thought maybe I would try making a barn and glaze it with my turquoise raku glaze. Could be interesting..... I love turquoise and enjoyed the pieces I made using that glaze. The color just didn't seem to fit somehow with the tera sig work I was making, but this is a possibility. I am also thinking a lot about black and white right now. I love my old color palette, but color is so much fun and I am thinking I might need to experiment with some new choices...... we'll see. First the temps have got to get better. Let me up, I've had enough!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pottery suffocation

Lately I have been feeling suffocated by pottery. Many of my friends are potters or clay artists, so when we get together we talk about pottery or we go see pottery. Most of the blogs I read are potter blogs, with conversations about kiln woes, glazes, craft shows, selling pottery, marketing, highs and lows.... many of the books I buy are ceramic books, magazines are ceramic related, I look at all the yummy ceramics on pinterest. And then there is living in North Carolina where everyone you meet is a potter or has taken a ceramics class. Since last July, I spent a good majority of my time in my studio. When I was not in my studio, I was at a craft show or taking work to a gallery or attending a gallery opening. I finally reached burnout on clay. Don't get me wrong, I still love clay, I still love what I make and will continue to develop these house forms, I'm not dead yet. But I have needed this mental break. I only sit still when my body is sick or in pain, so I haven't been very active physically for the past two weeks, but I'm feeling better now and I'm not sitting still much anymore. Since our vacation, I have taken a mental break from clay though, hardly thought about it, and I have slept through the night. Last night, I didn't sleep. When I closed my eyes, it was like looking through one of those kaleidoscopes and I had a night of thinking about new designs, show things I need to do, marketing things that need to be done, and I really need to get Etsy going again. No sleep, so I guess clay is coming back to me. However, looking at the forecast for next week, it is going to have to wait. I just can't work in my studio in this weather, too hot!
I want to have more interests than just clay in the future, so yesterday I went and bought a skein of yarn and got out my old knitting needles from high school and started a very basic scarf. It was so pleasant to sit last night and knit. The tv was off, Gerry and Wes went to bed early and I just sat in the dim lamp light with the clicking of the needles and the soft yarn and it was really nice. I have signed up for a weaving class that starts in September, so we will see where that goes. I may not have time to do both, but I am curious about other craft, so why not give it a try?

Yesterday, Wes and I went shopping for college stuff, dorm needs and supplies. On our way home we got caught out in the worst storm I think I have ever been in. The rain was coming at us in these white opaque diagonal sheets, the visability was zero, the wind was fierce and then it started to hail. I was so scared I was shaking and my heart felt like it would beat out of my chest. I was trying to think of what to do, I needed to get away from all the trees and power lines and telephone poles, I was afraid that something was going to crash on our car, tree branches were falling everywhere. At one point this powerful sheet of rain slammed my car and Wesley said, very calmly "this is bad", " we need to think about what to do here". So we decided to head to a nearby parking lot where at least there wasn't anything that could fall on us. She called Gerry to see if there were any reports of tornadoes in the area, but our cable was out. We were really afraid we had a tornado coming for us! We sat in the parking lot and watched the sky begin to clear and just as quickly as the storm appeared, it disappeared. Wes and I talked about our reaction later and decided we did good. We stayed calm, we didn't panic and we tried to have a plan of action to stay safe. There was a point when we were stuck at an intersection with no cars moving and trees bending all around us, that I was afraid we were going to be seriously injured and I started to think about what would happen if one of those trees crashed on our car. It was good to see how Wesley responded in this situation and I feel like she has good survival instincts. I usually respond ok in a crisis, I stay calm and rational and so does Gerry, so I think maybe we have taught her well.

I am so over this month. It has not been a fun one and I am ready for fall to get here! Just get me through the miserable, hot, humid month of August and I will be ready to get back to work. First thing I have to do is clean up my studio, it has become a dumping ground and one of my shelves collapsed. There are cobwebs forming and dead bugs laying around. Then I have to get some clay and I need to make some new templates. I also want to test some new terra sig and raku colors. Lots to do before I even roll out a slab!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Congrats to the Brits

Congratulations to Bradley Wiggins and all the other riders that finished up the Tour de France today. It was a great race and well deserved wins for all. I was pulling for Mark Cavendish to win the stage, Wesley and Gerry were pulling for Peter Sagan. Mark won with a close second by Sagan in a very exciting finish. We were all yelling and cheering and happy for all of those on the podium in Paris today. Well done all!
Now that the tour is over, maybe I can quit wasting away my mornings watching the bike race and get back to work. I get my stitches out tomorrow so I have no more excuses!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nature's rewards

My little bird family moved out today. This morning I knew something was up. They all seemed very restless and I just had a feeling they were getting ready to leave the nest. The strongest one (that pushed the littlest one out of the nest earlier) was of course the first to go, followed closely by the other strong one. The little one that I picked up off the ground and fed was the last to go. She seemed so scared. Her mom called and called her and she just kept peeping and hopping around in the nest. I turned the bowl with the nest in it on it's side and moved it closer to the edge of the deck facing the woods, and she still wouldn't go. So I took the bowl and nest to the edge of the woods where the rest of the family was. They continued to call her, and as her legs got a little stronger, she stood up and hopped to the ground. Her mom came and got her and off they flew. I watched mom give her some food, so she is still being taken care of.
I am so glad that I picked that little one up off the ground and fed her and gave her a chance to make it in the world. How lucky that I just happened to have an extra nest hanging around here! It has been such a joy to have them around and watch them, first with the nest building and then sitting with the eggs and finally feeding them and then helping them fly off. Such a metaphor for life, really. Just because you aren't the strongest or the pushiest, doesn't mean you don't deserve a chance at life. You might just need a little more help to get started!
So, now I have one empty nest and in less than a month my own sweet child will be leaving again for school..... and that will be the emptiest nest of all!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


 Today was my first day out since I had surgery last Friday and it was so good to go somewhere. Wesley and I went to Whole Foods for some groceries and lunch. YUM! They have such a great bar. I had black beans, kale, baked tofu, mac and cheese, and brussel sprouts. I was needing some good food packed with some vitamins. My body has been craving healing nutrients. The trip was great but by the time we finished shopping I was so tired and my back was really hurting. Damn, when did I get so old?!
When we got home I had a package at the front door. Meredith sent me these beautiful sea glass earrings, they are almost the same color as my eyes. Really beautifully crafted too.
I collected as much sea glass as I could find when we were in Maine, but I never found any of the light green. These are so beautiful, thanks so much for thinking of me, Meredith. They sure brightened up a really bad week!!!!

The birdies are hanging in there. I'm not feeding them anymore, letting nature take over, but mom and dad seem to be doing a fine job, hope the little one is getting some of the food they are bringing.
Look at that fuzzy little head. That just cracks me up!
I'm starting to think about clay, that's a good sign.....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The littlest Lowrenzo

 I dreaded getting out of bed this morning and coming down to find a tiny dead bird. Gerry was already up when I came downstairs. I asked him if the tiny bird was dead and he said no! Littlest lowrenzo made it through the night, wow! I found a great website yesterday that had really good info on when and how to care for tiny birds that fall out of nests. I have been soaking dry dog food in warm water, squeezing it out and feeding it to the little bird every half hour. I stopped feeding at sunset. She( I just feel like she is a little girl) is eating and I watched her poop this morning, that should be a good sign, I hope. She is a fighter and she was flapping her wings this morning and peeping. So sweet..... I know this is intervention of natural selection, but she was bullied, and I just can't put up with that!

As I was feeding her this morning I heard some stressful peeping from the original nest. The other two had fallen out of the nest and were clinging to the vines of my plant that the nest is built in. Jeez, this is not a safe nest! Ok, so I have put everyone in the nest that was built in this raku bowl and then abandoned, they all seem to be getting along, and mom and dad are coming for feedings. So maybe they all have a fair chance of survival and we will have more wrens around the house. At least they won't be falling out now. I know they are just little birds and death in nature happens every single day, but I just don't have a cold enough heart to turn away when I might be able to help somehow. It's not like I go out there looking for animals to rescue but this is going on here on my back porch!
So, this is how I am spending my days since I can't really stand for very long without my back hurting badly. The heating pad has become my new best friend. I did take the bandages off today in the shower and the incision is healing nicely. Feels good to have those hateful sterostrips off, they are so uncomfortable, pulling at my skin and itchy. The cut is longer than I thought, I absolutely cannot believe I got sent home without any pain meds and was expected to manage this with tylenol. You can't take enough tylenol in a 24 hour period to manage pain from a 4 inch incision. I did get dinner cooked for the first time last night and I have been up off the sofa for most of the day, so day by day, I am feeling much more like myself and less like a pitiful whining blob of misery! haha!! Poor Wesley and Gerry have been kindly putting up with me and going for lots of take out and bringing me things. Whatever would I do without them :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Lowrenzo drama

A while back I wrote about these two wrens that were building a mondo condo at our back door. We watched them build this over achievers nest and they added 5 eggs. Four hatched.  I have kept the snakes and the cat away and tried to help, since the foolish lowrenzo built the nest right over the cat's food bowl and right at my back door, so they have become like family. We have watched mom and dad feed them every day and take good care of them. Today there was much drama. First, we found one in the cat's mouth. Too late, not much we could do, it was sickening, I couldn't watch as Gerry took the little body away. Later in the morning, we found another one on the ground, still alive. Please don't send me notes telling me I shouldn't interfere because I did, and you would have too, if you had seen that tiny little thing laying on the ground under it's nest. Well, the others don't seem to like this little one and the two stronger siblings pushed it out of the nest again this afternoon. I picked it up once more, put it in the nest, knowing I probably should just leave nature alone, but I now love this little bird..... once again I am watching them nudge the weaker one towards the edge. So, that's all I got. They know something I don't know or either they are just mean murdering bastards and I am mad at them! This would be happening if I weren't here, so I'm leaving them alone to kill their sibling and let nature do it's thing. It sucks, I hope the two stronger ones are ok with killing their brother! Guess I'll be burying a little bird in the morning....... ain't nature great!

Monday, July 16, 2012

New influences and ways to numb my mind

 Today I was on the sofa all day and had a marathon of Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
 And I read some Jackson Pollock. Wonder how this will influence my work if I ever get back to my studio, haha! I forgot how much I used to love these westerns. I wanted to be a cowboy(cowgirl) so bad when I was a little girl. Right now I feel like I fell off my horse and he nearly stomped me to death. 
Thanks for all the comments and emails, I am mending nicely and numbing my mind with Pollock, Marshal Dillon and natural herbs and elixers :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bourbon pain management

On Friday:
me: will I need any pain meds for this surgery?
doc: you should be able to manage the pain with extra strength tylenol
me: are you sure?
doe: oh yeah, you will feel some tightness and a little soreness but the tylenol should be fine.....
me: ok..... ??

The past 48 hours have been miserable and tylenol DID NOT manage the pain, AT ALL!
I took 8 pills before Wesley read to me on the label that more than 8 pills in a 24 hour period would cause severe liver damage. I took 8 pills in 8 hours! Great, 16 hours to go before I could take more?! Friday night I was finally in tears, so I turned to a much better solution, whiskey and herbal medicinals. Ahhhhh..... much better. And the bourbon goes down so nicely in this cup Meredith gave me :)

I don't know why in the world docs think you don't need pain meds when you have a 4 inch incision, a large chunk cut out of your body, and internal and external stitches in your back. I felt like I had a searing knife stabbing me in the back for the past 48 hours. Wait.... I did have a searing knife stab me in the back!
I have been a very unhappy girl this weekend, but good news is I woke up with no pain this morning, just the tightness and soreness the doc mentioned, and yes, this part is manageable with tylenol. I am having a hard time sitting and bending, no lifting, so yesterday I plopped myself on the sofa and watched movies all day.

Thanks so much to all of you for you comments and good wishes. I got behind on the responses, but read them all this morning and I really appreciate your concern.
Big hugs to all,

Friday, July 13, 2012

No strenuous activity, no heavy lifting

 This morning I had a small chunk removed from my back and stitches added and sent home with instructions for no heavy lifting and no strenuous activity for 10 days. Wait a minute. Isn't that what pottery is all about?! 25 pound bags of clay, wedging, moving slabs around, ware boards, buckets of reclaimed clay, buckets of water, rolling slabs, lifting boxes....... not to mention my constant nervous energy and inability to sit still. I guess I am on extended vacation!

The V is for Vase show opens at The Bascom today, so hopefully I will have some sales this weekend. The house/vase on the right is in the show. I sent four pieces that I think were really nice so maybe they will go home with someone.

So this surgery thing is finally past me and not a looming dread on my calendar. Good news is, if you are going to have cancer, this is the one to get. It is surface only and can be removed with a simple out patient surgery. I  never go to the doctor, I'm never sick, only been in the hospital to have a baby. So the procedures and surgical atmosphere are foreign and unsettling to me. That was the worst part. I didn't realize until I was left lying on the table alone, all draped and sanitized, how nervous it all made me. I started hearing my heart beat in my ears and this weird quivery thing going on with my bottom lip. What if I vomit, what if I cry, what if they haven't numbed me and I feel the knife cut through my skin, what in the world do the poor soldiers in war zones go through when they get injured, what if my daughter or husband was having some major surgery, why have they left me here to think all of these morbid thoughts!?!?! It's amazing what your mind goes through and the thoughts that materialize out of nowhere. And so I started doing that breathing thing they taught me when I was having Wesley, and surprisingly it helped. I found my "focal point" as they tell you to do, and I took long steady mindful breaths, and it helped. Also helping to calm me were the nurses and the doc. God bless these people. The good ones are a gift to us. They were so kind and understanding and compassionate, they just glowed with it. And they were all so pretty and young! It was, after all a dermatologist office where everyone takes care of their skin!
All in all, not so bad, as far as surgery goes. So, I'm just going to chill for a couple of weeks, watch the tour, enjoy my kid being home and read some. No pottery right now though, until I get these stitches out. I'm not interested in having an infection or ripping open an incision.

My last post was a bit of a whine I know, but I feel the fog lifting ever so slightly, moving out of that art funk that we all get into from time to time. I do know that these spells pass and good comes from the brooding. I got a check yesterday from Lark and Key, yay! and I have a couple of invites for fall/winter shows. I got into Festifall once again, I was asked to be in a show at Cedar Creek Gallery, which is a beautiful place, very happy to have been invited to be in that show, and ironically, I have been invited to be in a show at The Greenhill Center in Greensboro for their winter show. The very same place all that beautiful beautiful pottery is showing right now (see one of my previous posts on that if you missed it), so that's cool and gives me something to set goals for. I have some ideas for the Cedar Creek show, no ideas for the Greenhill show, so maybe I will use this down time to do some pondering......
All is well for now. The Broomes are healthy and happy. Gerry had some tests done today as well and everything was clear there too. So we are good to go. Thanks everyone for the reassuring emails and comments the past couple of weeks, and the thoughts you have been sending our way. It feels good to hear from friends near and far even if I don't see you, I know you are out there with some good wishes!!!!
peace ya'll

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

about art

Wesley did a pretty cool thing a few weeks ago. She found this artist online and really loved her work. This girl is the same age as Wesley, she is selling her art and she accepts commissions for a minimal charge. Wesley commissioned her for a drawing of a vietnam soldier. I didn't post a photo of the drawing she got because that is Wesley's personal story to tell, but I will just say that when I saw it, I started having chills on my face and they ran down my arms. It was a very emotional drawing and really well executed. I think this girl has the potential to be an important artist and Wesley will own one of her early works.  I love that Wes found this girl, they have never met, never spoken to each other, but they now have this very personal connection through art. I also love that this young girl takes commissions and is making money doing something she loves and my child is supporting her.
My art, on the other hand, is at a complete stand still. I pulled the work I had in Outsiders Gallery yesterday. Pam, the owner, is a very sweet person and the gallery has some very wonderful art, I just don't feel like what I had in there was right for that space and nothing was selling. I'm not sure why, I looked at the pieces with fresh eyes yesterday and they are really great. I may get off my lazy ass and put them in my etsy shop. I really just don't know about this gallery business or any of this pottery selling business for that matter. I find the whole process of selling and promoting my work irritating. I want to make it, I want people to own it and love it, I just don't want to go through the selling of it. What I love are the emails saying "will you make a piece for me?" What I don't love is being a clay artist in NC. I knew this funk was going to come on when I went to see the show at the Greenhill Center. It happens every time I see great pottery. It goes like this: oh I love that glaze, oh that color is fantastic, oh that shape is amazing. I want to put some slip on something and draw on it, I want to use bright colors, I want to make some cups, I want to make a slab built tray, I want to do some wall tiles, I want to raku some vases, I want to fire a wood kiln, I want to make some pendants, I want to make some books, I want to weave a rug, I want to paint some watercolors, GOD! My head feels like it will explode. So instead, I sit and watch the Tour de France and do nothing but cook some good food for my family, paint some rooms, wash endless loads of laundry, anything but try something that I have seen. And then it occurs to me. These things I have seen speak to me but they are not of me. They don't tell my story, and if I came back to my studio and put some white slip or colored stains on some red clay, it would be a poor imitation of all of the multitudes of potters that are already doing that well. It's hard doing clay here in NC. It seems that everyone you meet is a potter or taking a pottery class. There is so much very good pottery being made in this state, that I sometimes wonder why I even bother. It's competitive, there is a certain "clique" factor that I really don't care for and this place is saturated with clay. I love making my houses, they do speak to me and I like them a lot. When I keep my head down and just work, I'm fine. It's when I get out there and look around that I get in trouble. So the time has come to get back to the studio, I have some pieces that I have to get done, so I need to get all of those other artists out of my head and do what speaks of ME.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


 I have been staying in quite a bit the past two weeks. Even in the early morning my studio is just unbearably hot. Sorry, but I don't love clay that much! I have so much nervous energy and my hands always want to be busy making something, so I have found my thoughts wandering to fiber.
 Friday I went to Siler City and bought some angora wool and signed up for a weaving class that will start the first of September. I have this nagging interest in weaving lately and I might as well try it out and see if it is something I will stick with. The investment is minimal. $80 for the class and the loom was $3 at the thrift store. I also found these really cool spools that I want to do something with. I love the colors of them. The angora is amazing, so soft and beautiful.
I would to figure out some way to incorporate clay and fiber. I have always loved textiles and it's nice to have something to work on inside when the days are so hot or so cold that my studio isn't fun to be in. There is also a local class that I am interested in for spinning your own yarn. Wish I could just raise the alpaca, make my wool and weave away my days. Nice dream...... Happy Sunday. We are staying cool and watching the Tour de France, drinking our healthy juice and having a lazy day xo

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Creative Loafing

Every now and then I surf around to see what's going on out there on the web. I found this today on the Creative Loafing website.....noice....  except Lark and Key's website says the show is through July 28 not June?!
(for some reason i can't turn off the caps, sorry!)

A walk down memory lane at Lark & Key

Posted by Anita Overcash on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 9:00 AM

For artist Tracey Broome, memories flow from her fingertips to the clay she uses to recreate experiences. Broome's work is part of Lark & Key Gallery's new exhibit, Storytellers, which conjures up nostalgia. 
Tracey Broomes house with a vintage doll
  • Tracey Broome's house with a vintage doll

Broome uses forgotten, discarded objects like vintage doll parts and other random materials for her artwork. Pieces by Elizabeth Foster and Vicki Sawyer will also be on display.
Vicki Sawyers The Imposter
  • Vicki Sawyer's "The Imposter"

Exhibit continues through June 28. Lark & Key Gallery, 128 E. Park Ave., Suite. B. - Mary Stevens

Heat vs. motivation

I'm in one of those less than motivated to do anything funks. Don't want to go to my studio, don't have any ideas at all for clay. Do I just keep cranking out these same houses that people like and want to buy? Shouldn't I have some new and exciting ideas? Well, I don't.... it's hot outside and I am dragging around like a snail. Apparently shoppers are in the same funk, nothing much is selling either.
 I liked my dish drain this morning. I looked down at all of my old friends there and it just made me smile. How nice to use items made by people that care about their craft and get excited when they open a kiln.
Heart rocks and sea glass from Maine. Great reminders of walking on the shore near Boothbay in a light rain, collecting these things with Wesley and Gerry.
Summer seems to be flying by, I am definitely on summer vacation...........

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

That time again....

 It's that time again, sitting in front of the TV every morning watching the tour instead of going out in the 90 degree weather. Then, the olympic trials come on the station after that so we sort of get sucked in to the gymnastics, track and swimming, and then it's time to make some juice for lunch, maybe run some errands or wash dishes or clothes or the dog, then it's time to start planing dinner.....any excuse to not work in my very hot studio, I'm afraid. I really have to get back to work, I have a couple of commissions waiting on me and a show that will be here before I know it!
So sad to hear the news today that Andy Griffith had died. Wes and I went to breakfast with Gerry as he was on his way to the bureau this morning and then he got a call that Andy had died and he was to go to Mt. Airy to go shoot some Mayberry stuff. The Andy Griffith Show is my all time favorite show. My dad lived in Walnut Cove and Mt. Airy when he was a boy and lived next door to Andy. They were friends and played together. Too bad there aren't any shows made like this anymore. Too bad there aren't more men with the honesty and morals of Andy running our government.........

North Carolina has a bunch of fools governing it!

The North Carolina General Assembly voted late Monday to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s vetoes of the $20.2 billion 2012-13 state budget as well as a controversial measure to legalize fracking.
The vote to override Perdue's veto on a bill that would open the state up to shale gas exploration passed by a close 72-47 margin, and it appears to have hinged on a mistake. 
After she voted, Rep. Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg, could be heard on her microphone saying, “Oh my gosh. I pushed green.”
House Majority Leader Paul Stam used a procedural motion to make sure the bill can’t be reconsidered, even if Carney's vote was mistake. 
Perdue said she hope the General Assembly will reconsider the issue.
"It’s disappointing that the leaders in General Assembly would allow fracking without ensuring that adequate protections will be in place for drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments, and the health and the safety of families in North Carolina," she said in a statement.
I woke up to this news this morning and just can't believe what a bunch of fools are making life changing decisions for people in this state. The stupid woman PUSHED THE WRONG BUTTON!!!!!


Monday, July 2, 2012

The quieter ones

Here are a few more pictures from the Greenhill show. I looked back over the postcard, (thanks Michele for the tip that the mentor/student relationship is on the postcard, duh!) and I realized that I missed a lot of photos. My apologies to the artists that I don't have pictures of here. Is's nothing personal I promise! There were so many people that night, some of the pedestals were hard to even get close to, people gathered around chatting and looking. Checking out the list on the postcard, I also realize there was work I didn't even see! So definitely another trip is needed to see it all.
These were some of my favorites and some of my favorite NC Potters:
 Samantha Henneke from Bulldog Pottery in Seagrove had this wall of bug tiles. Brilliant! She is my glaze hero! Can you imagine the time it took to make these?!

 Joy Tanner

 Bandana Pottery

 Matt Jones

 Oh Hyang Jong
loved this one

 Bandana Pottery

 Michael Kline

 Matt Jones and mentor Mark Hewitt

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Red Clay, lots of decoration

 By Example presents the work of twenty younger NC ceramic artists who use color, texture and imagery in their work  and examines the sources of the newer guard of NC clay makers. Guest curator Ronan Kyle Peterson has selected 20 artists who in turn have invited 20 mentors who have impacted their work and careers in a significant way. This exhibit will include both functional and sculptural ceramic works which will introduce viewers to the clay medium through new approaches to surface design, and innovative use of ancient techniques. Themes such as artistic borrowings from other media in contemporary craft and the importance of mentorship will also be explored.
 There were lots of pots in the show that were heavily decorated. They were fun to look at and the decoration really drew me in. As I thought about the pots I saw on the way home, some of the pots I recalled because of a striking color combination like these by Jason Burnett, you almost wanted to lick them, they were so juicy and fun.
 Steffanie Martin is doing some very creative color combos and decal work, with lots of layered decoration. Again, I found myself spending time with these, looking at all the details. I really like Steffanie's work. I am a huge fan of Dean and Martin Pottery, they are one of my favorites in Seagrove. I have blogged about them before, I have a mug from there that I bought because it has the best handle of any mug I hold, a close tie with one of Mark Heywood's handles.

 Lots of red clay with white slip and drawing. I like Shaunna Lyon's pieces. I met Shaunna when I was at Penland. Very nice girl, and her work is charming.
 Ron Philbeck's red clay was so pretty in the gallery, The lights hit his clear glaze just right and it was all so shiny and sparkly. Very clean look and the images just make you smile. It was interesting to me that Ron chose Tom Gray as his mentor. Clearly the mentorship having more to do with support than style, their work is so different, but I know Ron feels that Tom has been a great help to him throughout his career.
 Ronan is another one with a very different mentor. He chose Steven Forbes de Soule, two people could not have a more different style. I liked Ronan's pots a lot. His forms are as strong as his decoration. I think this trend of highly decorated surfaces sometimes distracts from the fact that the form isn't really that strong. I'm not saying that is the case with the work in this show, the forms were mostly as strong as the decoration. But I will say that I found myself later recalling some of the images I saw, and only later when I went back and looked at my photographs, did I realize what the pot looked like that the image was on.

 Ron Meyers of course had some beautiful pieces in the show. I don't know who he was the mentor of. This was one thing I find now that  I am home. The work was not displayed or labeled in a way that I could easily tell who the student and mentor was, or either I was distracted and not paying attention. But I have looked at the website and it still isn't clear to me. I am going to have to go back and see this show without distraction!
and here is Ron with his nice display. It was interesting to see how much real estate each artist got. Each person in the show, if they chose, had a lot of work on their pedestal. It was like a pottery lovers candy store. Great to see. It's good to see a lot of an artist's work to get a feel for who they are and what they do best. Although, I have to say, it was sort of distracting too, in a way. It was like when I am shopping in a department store. There is so much to look at, I can't see the forest for the trees. I kept having to go back around for a second and then a third look, because I kept missing things, and I kept stopping to talk to people. Not really the show to study form and style, that's for sure. Just eye candy.
I did like seeing all of these very decorated pot, but I have no desire to make work like this. I realized when I got home that I don't own any work like this either, except for one cup by Ronan and a couple of cups my friend Laura has made. I have wood fired brown or shino pots for the most part. They are like a warm soft sweater to me. I like a pot for the way it feels in my hand, the strength of the form and the magic of the wood or the shino.  The cups I own of Laura's are because of her art on the pot. She was trained as a painter and her strength in painting comes through on her cups. They are like a little piece of art. Ronan is just a master of color theory and I love the way he puts color together. Drawing, stencils and decals really don't do that much for me personally although they were really fun to look at in this show. It's like going to an art gallery. You don't necessarily won't those paintings on your walls at home but you feel something when you see them in the gallery.
All in all a great show. Tomorrow, some wood fired quieter pots.....