Wednesday, April 28, 2010

White Cups

I buy my clay in 25-pound units. All the cups and Nichos up to this post have been made from Longhorn Red clay. A few weeks ago I had a confidence meltdown when a batch of 7 cups turned out NOT like what I had planned. I was ready to give up working with clay but Susan read me the riot act and told me to put my Big Boy boxers on and get with the program. One suggestion she gave me was to simplify what I'm doing and go back to doing what comes naturally.

I was almost out of Longhorn Red clay so I picked up some Longhorn White and quickly made these two small (under 3" high) cups. (Both went to good homes during the Student Art sale.) They aren't glazed, they just have a dark oxide stain rubbed into the clay. I'm very happy about the results and am planning to make more cups like these and some Nichos also.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finn's Boat

Taking classes from generous gentle souls makes me happy. Being in Stephanie Lee's classes has made me very happy. How can you not want to be in a class with her when she produces videos of her work like this? --

You can find more of her work in her Etsy shop and you can read about her in the current issue of Belle Armoire magazine.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Nichos Again and My Fellow Artists

Above is one of my fellow art students, Lorenzo Diaz Jr, with his for-sale work displayed on his table at our community college Art Sale day. Below are some of the nichos I sold at the show.

This Nicho's texture pattern was made with a placemat from the MOMA. It turned out to look like a beehive but it also looks like snakeskin to me.

This is one of my favorite Nichos. The little brads around the opening are pieces of rebar wire that are fired with the clay. I wasn't sure how to arrange the brads but Susan suggested that I make it look like stitching and I'm pleased with that. In the future I want to try more Nichos that incorporate wire.

This Nicho is very dark but I like the texture pattern I got from the canvas cloth I rolled the clay on.

Moses (below) is an extremely creative and talented artist and I bought one of his cups. He taught me that it's okay to take a piece you don't like and throw it in the trash. I still have a hard time doing that but I'm learning that a bad piece just becomes toxic if you keep it around, somehow thinking it will magically look better.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Austin Yarn Bomber! Yes!

Yesterday as I drove to school I was stunned to see Yarn Bombing on my usual route. It turned out to be a total reveal of the real Yarn Bomber:

Below is a close-up of some of her work.

This is a bus in Mexico City that she yarn bombed in 2008. Click here for the slideshow to see all the different cities in the world where she has done yarn bombing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

ACC Student Art Sale

The ACC (Austin Community College) Student Art Sale is Tuesday, April 20, from 9 -5 at the Rio Grande Campus (12th and Rio Grande). If you live in Austin, please come by because I have a table and will be selling lots of stuff. Stuff that includes Nichos, small cups, some sculptures, etc. Over the next few days I'll show pictures of the pieces. The reason I haven't posted them earlier is that I've just finally taken a lot of them.

The question I have been asked more than once is this:
If your Blog Wrangler has set you up with an Etsy shop why are you selling at this Student Art Show instead of through your Etsy shop?

The answers are these:
1) By "purchasing" a table at the ACC Student Art Sale I will be helping out the school's scholarship fund.
2) Some of the pieces I'm selling are too big or too fragile to sell to anyone who has to have them shipped to them.
3) Because I have low traffic to my blog I don't think I'd have much traffic to an Etsy shop and thus the pieces wouldn't sell and that would screw up my self-confidence.
4) Because I'm lazy and techno-phobic and techno-ignorant and would make my Blog Wrangler handle all the details and she does enough for me by just keeping up this blog.

None of this excuses the fact that I do have loyal Readers who voiced interest in some of my work and I've not followed through. If that's you, Blog Reader, mea culpa.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One, Two, Three and Counting

This is Four-Head. I picked the number at random and had planned to go with the 9 other digits but never seemed to get past this guy. He's only about 4 inches high. I hope he finds a good home at the Student Art Sale next Tuesday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nichos and Body Parts

I'm auditioning some of my doll body parts in the nichos. The parts will need to have their skin redone they way I learned from Thomas Ashman, as shown here on my Tin Man, Ixion. But I may not bother, as these nichos might be going up for sale at the Student Art Sale. If you are in Austin, it's April 20 on the Rio Grande Campus at 12th St. I am a little worried that people won't "get" that the pieces are to hang on the wall and should hold special items, not necessarily arms ripped off a doll.

The glazing on these nichos goes into my "Try It Again" category, which means I'll probably never be able to achieve it the same way again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

If you live in the Northeast (New York City and Washington DC) the pictures above probably look familiar -- they represent what blooms for you in the spring. In Texas we have the usual wildflower explosion of bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush along the highways, thanks to Lady Bird Johnson.

Here in Austin at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we tour their gardens to spot the kinds of plants that will be more permanent if we plant them in our yard. Our yard is mostly rocky soil, there is a lot of shade, and we don't water. That means everything has to be a survivor of "tough love".

We waved goodbye to Spring this week as we ran our air-conditioner for the first time this year. In Texas we have 4 seasons - Winter lasts for 3 months, Spring lasts for 2 weeks, Fall lasts for 2 weeks, and Summer goes on FOREVER.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Nub Cup

A Nub Cup starts out looking like this, the reddish color is from the clay (Longhorn Red), the nubs have wax on their points to keep any glaze off and are circled with Black Magic glaze.

This is why glazing is always a mystery. Here you can see that I've poured Moss Green glaze over the entire piece. The points of the waxed nubs are resisting the glaze and the Black Magic circles are covered up with the Moss Green glaze. The mystery to me is how does a glaze that looks rust colored wind up looking greenish blue? There is point where you have done everything you can and you surrender the piece to the Kiln Gods and Goddesses, who make the final decision as to what the piece will look like.

In this final piece the nubs have remained unglazed and the Black Magic in the circles around the nubs edges out to show a little bit of dark blue and mixes with the Moss Green to give it variation. The inside is mainly Black Magic with some overcoating of Moss Green.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I've Been Corrected: Nicho

Our friend Wei-Li saw my niches and immediately called them "nichos", which is Spanish. Sounds good to me. This nicho is a good example of a bad technique. The shape is great and the glaze on the front is perfect but the glaze inside the nicho is bad -- wrong color and poorly applied. Our Student Art sale is April 20 so I hope someone there will be looking for a bargain.

nicho [nee'-cho]
1. Niche, a recess in a wall to place a statue in. (m)
2. Any hole or corner to put something in. (m)
3. Any employment or destination in which a person ought to be placed according to his merits. (m)