Sunday, May 31, 2009

Studio Peeks- Some works in progress!

This has been a busy couple of weeks for me. As I write this post, I am firing a kiln load of bisque. Since I am out of the studio,  I took a few moments to post some of my works in progress.
The first few photos show some ovals that I started. Then I took a shot of a small white rectangle that was hanging out on my storage shelves, awaiting glaze. I am quite proud of the last one, a large angled octagonal rectangle.  He actually is bisqued now, but I love the look of it in its wet state!
I would love any comments you might have. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Photo editing with Picasa

This weekend I did some photography with my new camera. I was having some issues with lighting and picture quality so I made some lighting adjustments and bought a tripod. I spent quite a few hours getting things right with my setup. After many shots and downloads I was able to get some good stills. Unfortunately when I looked at them in my computer they came out too warm in color. They seemed to be in an oven! (photo above). I had lots of success by editing them in Picasa and this is what came out. I tuned the color shift and cropped each image.

 For more examples, see my 'Currently for Purchase' links on the right.

Thanks Picassa!

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Friday, May 15, 2009

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Ah yes, that old stand by phrase, practice, practice, practice. To a musician this mantra never dies. It was always something I'd remind myself even since my childhood days as a young music student. I can remember spending many countless and noisy hours practicing away trying hard to please my teacher in our next scheduled lesson. 'If i practice this measure over and over ...' Perhaps my students hear me saying it to them all too often now, often to their behest with rolling eyes and vacant expressions. But I tell them, 'trust me, it works!'

I teach music during the day and turn mad potter at night. Nowhere during the countless hours spent in my clay studio do I find repetition and practice to be any less important. I am constantly reclaiming, mixing and recycling clay. Then drying it to a desert like state, soaking it, then mixing, remixing, wedging, and finally rewedging. This tedious process helps to give a smooth consistency to the clay. Like in music, repetition and hard work are as important as the traditions themselves.

Forming clay on the wheel was my nemisis for years until I finally got the knack for it. Centering, shaping, pulling up, etc. were all things that were just out of my reach at the time. In college too I often just seemed to give up all too easily. It must be talent I thought. Maybe I don't have any. Hogwash! I soon after discovered that by embracing my failures and examining them rationally I would move past them. I had quite a few more episodes of this same frustration, but I kept at it and finally suceeded. It must have been the  practice!

Recently I got an email from a very talented potter asking my help with contructing his slab built pieces. He stated that he was beginning to get rather frustrated with a point in his construction. I read carefully to what he was describing and gave him some advice. Here's the caveat: he was already basically doing what I was prescribing. I told him that it just takes more time to work out the details in the process. I felt like I was not really helping him with this advice, but then I realized that he probabaly needed to hear about the importance of keeping at something, even in the midst of failure. I like to think of failure as one of the greatest learning tools, if used correctly. The problem is, most of us expect positive results too quickly, so we move on to something else.

So if I could give a bit of my trusted advice to all potential musicians, potters and artist friends it would be:

Keep working at something and you can evetually make it work, be able to identify a failure and learn from it, and remember that the best solutions are the ones that you can come up with on your own.

Now, if I can just get the Hall's address on mapquest...

photo credit (top): San Jose Taiko Group

Monday, May 11, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My stamps and a few more:

This is an experimental piece. It is square and measures 5" across. The holes across the top are for attaching guy wires. I hope to have a ficus potted up in it soon.

New camera, new pots!

OK, actually these next two are not from my latest batch, but I wanted to see how it was going to photograph with the new camera.
This color of this glaze is actually much less muted in real life. It measures about 10 inches across.
A palm sized accent, ready for a bit of moss or small plant to complete a tokoname display.
Here is a medium small round made from a rich brown clay with a bit of grog for texture. If you click on the photo you can actually see the bits of grog. I want to thank Chad Beatty for helping my find this clay. He is an artist in his own right. To see his paintings, visit his link on the right side of this page. Thanks Chad!

This is an octagonal slab built pot. It measures about 12"across.

This little shohin cascade was sold quickly to a very nice woman from the Central Florida Bonsai club.

A medium sized shohin with grayish blue glaze and an arched bottom profile.

This is the final pot from this group. It is a small rectangle with angled sides, rivets and texture.

Thanks for viewing!

Check out this technique!