Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Conversation": a ceramic mixed-media assemblage


They look like real seed pods.  They are ceramic!  I made then from real seed pods.  First the pods are dipped in paper clay slip.  The natural material itself burns out in the kiln, leaving a hollow paper clay cast, which is then coated with oxides and stains, and finally encaustic. It is called "Conversation".  The washboard was the perfect place for the pods to be in conversation with each other.  They are a particularly female shape, and the washboard is a particularly female artifact.  

A previous piece, "Untitled", uses paper clay, oxides, stains, and underglazes, encaustic, found objects (typewriter keys, marbles, glass, cymbals), and wooden box.



This was a first experiment with the technique, which was very exciting. 

I'm not done exploring this process yet!  I have a bunch of ceramic pine cones, and more material to dip as soon as Fall semester starts.

































Friday, July 21, 2017

Gratitude: A new story plate



This is my recently finished story plate, titled Gratitude.  The silkscreened image is from a photograph I took when the Philadelphia Museum of Art re-opened its Eastern wing.  





The silkscreened image is actually baked into the clay.  It is not collaged on top of it.  This is in contrast to my earlier story plate, Ambivalence:




In Ambivalence, the vintage photograph and gold lapel pin are collaged on to the plate, with a final layer of encaustic.  

The mylar image of my photograph that was used to make the silk screen is here collaged to a clay monoprint:


I also silkscreened the image of the person meditating on to a clay monoprint:

 

I like the circle around the person's head, as well as the vine growing in the lace beneath. 



















Saturday, July 15, 2017

Clay Monoprints: Dreams, Visions, and Alternate Realities


Harmonic Convergence is the title of this clay monoprint.  I can tell I made it while at Mitch Lyons Open Studio last June, because it makes use of his wonderful round piece of lace.  (Mitch is the founder/inventor/master of clay monoprinting.)  I must remember to use it again when I am there in August. 



The one above is called Other Solar Systems.  I haven't put the wooden strips on the backs of this batch yet, like this:


That is how they will hang in my upcoming solo exhibit at Pendle Hill, the Quaker Study and Retreat Center, (October 5, 2017 through February 1, 2018.)  Jesse White, the Director of the Pendle Hill Arts and Spirituality Program, who invited me to do this exhibit, advised me on a kind of glue for the wood strips that won't bleed through the substrate.  It's called Magna Tac-809, and I had not heard of it before.  Jesse is a book artist so knew about it, and it solved the logistical problem of hanging.  To hang like this, unframed, reminds me of Chinese scrolls or Tibetan Tankas.


This one is titled Jacob and the Angels.  I photographed this batch on my dining room floor.  I have taken several workshops over the years on "how to photograph your art,"  and recently have simplified.  I discovered that if I wait for a good sunny day at an optimal time and pull up the dining room blinds, that the room is flooded with natural light that is far better than the artificial flood light set up I used to do in my studio.  My iPhone camera is excellent.  I make a tripod by resting my elbows on my knees so it is stable. 

 Here's a further sampling of this batch:

 Kiss is one of several smaller ones.  It's fun to work with different sizes. 



Mitch charges  .09 cents per square inch.  It makes sense to charge by the square inch, and gives a freedom to have a variety of sizes without worrying about how to price them.  I will be charging .06 cents a square inch. 

 Shore Heat:


Floating World:
This one is dedicated to the many happy hours I have spent watching leaves and blossoms fall into a stream and float along with the current.



 Guardian Angel:


  
Sea, Land, & Sky:



I'll post more later.  Tomorrow is the start of making a new batch!




































Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Newsprint Trash Reclaimed


This newsprint could have been thrown in the trash.  In the process of clay monoprinting the clay slab is blotted with newsprint every time a new layer gets inlayed into the design.  I spent Saturday June 17th with Mitch Lyons, the originator of clay monoprinting, at his Open Studio in New London, PA.  

The images transferred to the newsprint were too interesting to me to just throw out.  I decided to save a selection, glue them into a notebook and coat them with gloss varnish to keep them from fading, hoping they will serve as a journal of the prints made that day, a reminder of some of the imagery.



This fragment includes beautiful Chinese decals.  Today, our handyman finally installed the air conditioner in my studio, so I am ready to roll (pun intended), and zero in on clay monoprinting for the summer.  In addition to moving forward with a new prints, I will hand finish prints already made before photographing and posting them. I  got a second slab from Mitch at Open Studio, so I will be able to work on two slabs at once.  I will spend another day at Open Studio with Mitch in August, and a three-day workshop with him over Labor Day weekend at Peters Valley School of Craft, but mostly I will have fun with it in my own studio. 



It's not only that I am preparing for a solo show of clay monoprints for the Tree Rooms Gallery at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat and conference center, that will run from October 5, 2017 through February 1, 2018.  It's that I love making clay monoprints!  It combines my love of monoprinting and image transfer with the tactility of clay, and offers possibilities for depth and layering that is unique to the clay process. It's wonderful to be able to make prints without a press. I suspect this process will be an important part of my art practice for years to come...














Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Guardian Angel


Guardian Angel - that's what this one should be called. The hovering figure that feels like a guardian angel was made by dipping a piece of bark in paper clay slip.  The bark burned out in the kiln, leaving a ceramic shape that I then coated with oxide stain and fired again.

I drew the bathtub in Brinton House, Room 26, when I was at Pendle Hill, a Quaker study and retreat center, for a 7-day silent Mindfulness Meditation Retreat last Spring.  The bathtub captured something of the quaintness and charm of staying in Brinton House.  Early in the retreat there was a rain storm with lots of thunder and dangerously close lightning.  An alarm was set off by the lightning, and the fire department showed up in a big red truck.  It was close, but not a direct strike. We were all OK, seemingly protected by a guardian angel. None of us had ever been so close to lightning strike, and we were shook up and scared...and then we went back to meditating.  What else?






 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Art Camp for Seniors


Tomorrow will be the third day of a four day senior art camp, sponsored by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.  Don Stephens, above, teaches our drawing class.  It's at the Horticultural Center, which is a beautiful and conducive setting.  Last year was my first year, and I took watercolors. It's the same teacher this year, so I'll go over and say hello. It's a major social event.  Everyone keeps running into people they know from other times and other contexts.

It's fun for everyone.

 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

On Art Safari!



Theartblog.org's motto is "Made in Philadelphia, read in Beijing, Brooklyn, and Berlin."  Their presence in Philadelphia goes a long way towards creating the 'community' part of the Philly arts community!  Yesterday, along with my friend Susan Turkel, we went on one of their Art Safaris, first to the Arthur Ross Gallery to see contemporary African American artist Willie Cole's exhibit, "ON SITE,"  and then to the Institute of Contemporary Art.  Both venues are part of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Arthur Ross Gallery is housed in the Fine Arts Library building, interesting architecturally in itself.


We were a small group, and got the red carpet treatment from the Director of the Ross Gallery, Lynn Marsden-Atlass.  She gave us back story tidbits from her conversations with Willie Cole, and insights about the work that would have been missing if I had seen the exhibit on my own.  

These two pieces, called "Chaos" and "Order" make use of high heels.







Cole has truckloads of shoes, especially high heels, among his supplies.  We were told that after a full day in the studio, he spends the evening with his family, and then returns to the studio around 11:00 pm and as a sketch, will rubberband groups of shoes together.  If he still likes it the next day, he will attach them together permanently.  These two were done that way:




I especially like the one below, called Louise in Heels. He did confirm to Lynn that it is hommage to Louise Nevelson.



Here is Louise Nevelson's Sky Cathedral, one of her all-black wood constructions:








I love what he captured of her in Louise in Heels!


Just as shoes "keep the shape, sweat, and smell of the person who wore them," so do water bottles "contain the individuals' DNA (breath, spit, and soul)."  



This large water-bottle structure hovered over the center of the Gallery - more like a giant floating jelly fish than a 'chandelier'.  Students helped assemble it, inserting an image printed on mylar of a man with his hands up, a target on his chest, in each water bottle. 


As a Dumpster Diver I feel a kinship Willie Cole's upcycling of discarded objects, and am in awe of his ability to transform ordinary things into magical and numinous art.

I was not much impressed or moved by the Myths of the Marble international group exhibit at ICA (The Institute of Contemporary Art).  It was interesting, in terms of artists' exploration of virtuality.  No surprise most of them are young.  It was however my first experience of wearing a virtual reality headset. (My grandson would have said "cool!"  For me it was a lot of hype over not much.) The discussion by the staff person was helpful, but sometimes felt like trying to spin dross into gold.

The exhibit upstairs, with paintings by Ginny Casey and sculptures by Jessi Reaves was more satisfying.  Casey's paintings have a surreal edge to them:



I had seen Jessi Reaves work at the Whitney Biennial, and enjoyed seeing more of it at ICA:



It was a great afternoon, thanks to theartblog's Art Safari!