Monday, March 28, 2011

Handwammer Mugs

I came across these "Handwarmer hugs" in a store in Roanoke. They were very interesting because they were a new take on how a handle could interact with the cup part of the mug.

16 Hands: The Tour

The 16 Hands Studio Tour is made up of a group of local craftsmen who open their studios up on the same weekend twice a year. The group was formed in 1998 after the craftsmen realized they would be far more successful in attracting the public if they advertised as a group. Typical weekends for the tours are the fourth weekend in November and the first weekend in May.

This spring, the tour includes eight artists. The majority use clay as their primary material, but one, Brad Warstler, is a woodworker. The website provides information about each artist as well as links to their websites. There is also a map available showing routes between the studios. The majority of the artists are in Floyd, but there is one here in Blacksburg, and one in Christiansburg. Speaking from experience, the tour is a great opportunity to check out studios and pick up neat pieces... you should all check it out!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jennifer McCurdy

Jennifer McCurdy
Each piece is thrown by hand, and altered and carved, one at a time, so there are variations in size and shape. Some pieces are adorned with gold leaf on the inside.

"I use a translucent porcelain body because it has a beautiful surface, and it conveys the qualities of light and shadow that I wish to express. After throwing my vessel on the potter's wheel, I alter the form to set up a movement of soft shadow. When the porcelain is leather hard, I carve patterns to add energy and counterpoint."

She is inspired by Georgia O'Keefe and the forms she uses. As well as a number of her past professors from her college career. As well as a number of her past professors from her college career.

Horsehair Raku

I remember the topic coming up class last week about the use of burnt materials in creating designs on ceramic pots. I did some research and found a name and some methods/guidelines for creating pots in this style.

The style is a western interpretation of an ancient japanese style of pottery, raku, which involves firing to lower temperatures, then removing the still glowing piece from the kiln to be further treated. According to wikipedia, stoneware is bisque fired to 900 degrees Celsius then place in a hot cone 6 kiln, about 800-1000 degrees Celsius, for an hour or two. They are then removed from the kiln for further treatment.

In traditional raku, the piece is glazed normally, fired as raku, then removed and either oxidized or reduced. In horsehair raku, the piece is unglazed and raku fired. When removed, carbon based substances, such as hair, sugar, or feathers, are placed over the still hot pot, causing them to burn into the surface of the clay. When the pot cools, it is given a wax finish. If the clay body is strong enough, and resistant to thermal expansion, it can be placed back in the kiln again. I'm curious as to wether re-firing a raku pot would allow for the use of a glaze after burning designs on.

The sphericon

An interesting shape that one of my friends in high school experimented with. It has some interesting properties, most specifically a highly irregular wobbling roll that still travels in a straight line.

Here is the site by the creator of the sphericon:

and here are instructions to make one out of clay, in case anyone was interested:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sarah Hillman

I really enjoy the organic forms and color choices used by this London based ceramic artist. Her vessels seem to be semi functional as well which is nice.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crissi Dalfonzo: Tattoo pots

My sister is a senior ceramics major at the University of Hartford. She is currently focusing on "tattooing" pots, though she also does some really cool casting involving knit pots. Here is her website:

Interesting slip cast of existing forms

In reference to the discussion on making a slip casting mold from an existing object, such as a bottle, I think these artists have demonstrated how such a process can be interesting and quite exciting. I would see the works here as interpretations of the original form that I think offer a different perspective on its shape and purpose.

Matthew Sanna uses a standard 8 ounce Coca Cola bottle for two works. In the one shown here he distorts the molded bottle while glazing it in a light green similar to the color of the original glass.

Alyssa Ettinger slip molds mason jars and uses the porcelain product as a luminary. I think this technique highlights the details of the mason jar
that are typically less noticeable in its original clear glass.

Sample of Pottery From the Southeast

The first set of links I'd like to share references the North Georgia Folk Pottery Museum. I came across this link while talking with my parents about their pottery collection. Although there are not many pictures of the collections, I thought the building was quite exciting! The building is designed to incorporate the local architectural vernacular and to respond to environmental conditions and sun angles to offer the best environment for "protecting and presenting a collection of folk pottery."

The folk Pottery Museum:

The architect, Robert Cain:

For several years my parents have been collecting pottery from artists throughout the southeast United States.
The two criteria they use when selecting pottery are that the piece be unique or that the piece be functional, and sometimes both! After cataloging their collection over spring break, I interpret their definition of "unique" to correspond mainly to the glazing treatment as one can see most of their pieces are bowls of various shapes. Their collection also contains a few European pieces they have received as gifts over the years.

Links to some of the artists from the collection.
Misty Mountain Pottery, Chuck Hanes:

Goat Barn Pottery, TJ Stevens:

Smoke in the Mountains Pottery, Kim and Rob Withrow:

Hoffman Pottery, David and Sherry Hoffman: