Uninvited Volunteer

After four weeks of making quick notifications via iphone and quickly scanning my emails during breaks at work, we finally have internet at home again. Which means I can finally catch up with my Netflix (and more importantly, I can keep up to date with this blog... or at least try.) This past week has been very busy - my last firing before the open house is coming up quickly and I've been trying to make as many pots as possible. Tomorrow I head to Toronto to drop off my work at Studio Huddle. For the month of December they will be hosting their annual shopping event, where the work of many local makers is available for your holiday shopping needs. I'm delighted to have been invited to participate with this group of talented artists. If you'd like to meet us, there will be an evening shopping-event-shindig, and we'll be there. (Check out the NEWS page for more info).

Yesterday Bentley was helping me price and pack up.... not.

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List

I have really gotten behind with this blog. It seems like bi-weekly there is something worthy to write about, but I: 1. Run out of time to post, and then 2. Forget

or

1. Just forget.

Then by the time I have a moment to spare, and REMEMBER to write something, I feel like those many worthy tidbits have long since passed, and are no longer current, or fresh.

Anyway, I digress. So, maybe I'll make this post a list of some of those tidbits. I do indeed, like lists.

1. A friend bought these pots to use in one of her upcoming thriller/horror films. I'm not sure of the title yet, but I'll keep y'all posted.

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2. My partner brought my kiln home from the West coast with him! I had the kiln surgeons at PSH do some maintenance and she is now ready to rock-and/or-roll. All I need is a house to put her in (and a name for her). That leads me to:

3. We are house-hunting. This means my focus on the studio has been distracted by duplexes and bungalows all over the Hamilton Region. Instead of coming home and spending hours looking at pots, I am now looking at dozens and dozens of houses.

4. I have set a date for my annual Open House. It will take place November 30 from 10am-4pm. There will be refreshments and snacks all day long, so come by and visit. I will be posting more information, along with directions, as soon as possible.

5. I will also be participating in Studio Huddle's annual Pop-Up-Shop this December. The shop will open December 4th and close December 22nd. More details to follow.

6. We've had beautiful weather over the past few weeks, and I've managed to make it on a few hikes amongst the autumn leaves. Bentley loves this weather too - he still can't help but jump into the creek and then make me wash him and pick burrs out of his fur later.

HIKE

7. We went to see the annual Demolition Derby at the Rockton World's Fair for Thanksgiving. Our idea of wholesome family fun is watching cars smash into each other. Fire and smoke are added excitement. The goats and sheep were pretty adorable too.

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7. The pots are being made, despite the house/hiking/show-prep/kiln distractions.  I've got boards of espresso cups and mugs at home that need to be decorated. I'm going to make some serving bowls this week.

Happy Monday!

Foundation

One of the most important things I learned this summer is how crucial comfort is to the efficiency of a studio. I've never thought of myself as someone with high standards, but I have come to appreciate a few simple things that I feel are necessary for an inspiring and enjoyable studio space. 1. Running water.

2. Vertically accurate table heights.

3. Natural light.

4. Heat.

Over the summer I slowly migrated my ceramic belongings to my sister's townhouse basement, where my studio will be located for the next phase of my pottery career. The room is spacious and ready to be covered in clay.

I have shelving. I have a handmade step stool to reach the top of the shelving. I have a rocking chair. I have a sound system. I have a glaze kitchen (ish). I have tea, and a mini-fridge. I have a brand new wheel. I have packaging, boxes, and bags. I have clay.

 

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I have acquired a work table at a vertically accurate height. I have running water. I have heat.

I do not have natural light.

Electricity will have to do. Next trip to Home Depot = lights, and lots of them.

Playing Curator

IMG_1733Over the past week my studio mates and I have been anxiously (and frantically) preparing for our upcoming show at the Gardiner Museum, Toronto. An annual event, the Gardiner show is cause for celebration, pride and anxiety among all graduates in the Ceramics program. Not only will we be presenting our current work in public for the FIRST TIME, but it's at the only Canadian museum dedicated to Ceramic Art. Making work for the exhibition, though important, is not the only cause for fluster in the studio. We've also been working on developing our promotional material. This week we have "played graphic designer", fiddling away for hours on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and diving into the worlds of typography, dimensions and the digital layout. Last night I must have looked at my name in over 200 fonts, in a variety of pt. sizes and colours. The variety never ends, and it is overwhelming.

We have also been "playing curator" in our studio, marking out dimensions of the show space on the floor while navigating around wedging tables, damp closets and throwing wheels. We have tacks on the wall with plinth heights, paper templates of the plinth dimensions on the floor, and an Excel spreadsheet so we can even continue playing with floor plans when we are at home in bed.

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Monday morning we marked out our floor plan in chalk and started to lay our work out, in order to imagine the space. The time change and early morning may have been a factor, but I felt as if I were in a life size version of a Sims game, where the furniture keeps rearranging.  There were nine of us shifting around "plinths" here and there, pulling out the measuring tape and tiptoeing around fragile ceramics on the floor. Our print out of the Excel spreadsheet had us moving around miniature cut outs of plinths and playing lego with them on the table. Chaos would be an understatement.

Though eternally frustrating, the process was helpful. We were able to better visualize the space, and account for room between plinths to move around. After a few hours we had settled on a floor plan, where everyone's work would be and what height they would look best at. I guess real curators do this too.

gardiner logoOur graduate show will be at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Ontario from April 4th - April 18th. The opening (where you can meet myself, my studio mates and have free food and drink) is April 4th from 6-8pm. The opening will be a great time to network, learn about the artists and talk to us about our work!

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Cupcakes and Wood Splitting

IMG_1338I have recently found that I quite enjoy swinging around an axe. Thursday morning I came into the studio and spent a couple hours chopping wood, a couple hours throwing, and many hours darting my thrown forms. I particularly enjoyed standing in the kiln pad, throwing around an axe and feeling the weight of the maul smash through a hard piece of tree. Physical activity has unfortunately taken the back seat in my day to day life. Apart from lugging clay around, I haven't had the need to exert physical energy in quite a long time. As a formerly athletic person, I have really quite missed the feeling of physical exertion. When I played rugby, there was a moment, just on cusp between "warm-up" and "game-play" where I no longer felt tired and spent, but rather like I could run a marathon and smile the whole way. That feeling of delight filled my Thursday morning - splitting wood was probably the most enjoyable part of my day. Listening to David Bowie, sporting my Lou Reed shirt and hearing the crack of wood splitting in half made me feel like a real badass. I may have to start incorporating wood splitting into my daily routine. With the wood firing just over a week away, I'm in heavy preparation and production mode. With the help of my partner's lumberjack qualities, we have finished all of the wood chopping and I am now pumping out as many pots as I can in the time leading up to the firing.

IMG_1328As of late, I have been primarily working on developing a cupcake stand form. I started with a variety of shapes that I had thrown and altered, and have been generating a size range for two forms that I felt were the most successful. The first stand is a voluminous pillow shape with a flat "cookie" on top and a textured foot ring. The second is a closed form that acts as a mountain or solid pedestal for the cupcake to sit on. I have been experimenting with the size, function and decoration of these two forms, designing stands and servers for single, couple and multiple cupcakes. I will be working this week on fusing tea service and cupcakes together.

Part of my research for dessert serving involves visiting cupcake boutiques, sampling flavours and finding inspiration from the elegantly decorated treats. This week I made it to three different bakeries, purchased a treat and tested it out on my forms. Some of the boutiques even have cupcake stands that I can stare at and mentally dissect in their showroom.

IMG_1343Yesterday I treated myself to a Chocolate Cheesecake cupcake from Beyond the Batter in Waterdown after visiting my hairdresser. I didn't go to the studio so instead used my porcelian dessert plate "Glacial" for the first time, and treated myself to a cupcake, earl grey and Battle Royale.

I'm off to the studio now to decorate a few dozen stands and prepare for my critique with the famous ceramic artist Leopold L. Foulem. He will be coming to Sheridan tomorrow to give a talk on professional practice and critique the work of the ceramics students. His work is amazing, and as one of the most influential and well-known artists in the ceramic industry, I'm sure he will have many important and inspiring things to say.