Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last Pots of 2011

Here are some of the last pots of 2011. Most of the patterns were made by using a colored under-glaze that I carved away. It seemed to work really well from the very first ones I made and so I decided to stop experimenting and just play with that process for a while. 

Medium Bowl.

Medium Bowl.

This is a pitcher meant to hold kitchen utensils. 

Small Green Bowl.

Medium Bowl.  Candy bowl. Cigar-holder. Each dimple has a different little shape. Very fun piece.

Tiny cup with brown under glaze. Nothing fancy.

One of my earlier funky designs that I didn't want to touch for a while. Its lopsided too. You know? After glazing it, I really like it. Weird.

I'll be really busy for the next semester teaching four, maybe five, classes at Pitt Community College. I have a feeling this is going to cut into my ceramic and art-making time. Hopefully I can be a go-getter and get up early, run three miles, and throw some pots all before noon....but we shall see. Soon I'll get these onto my main website, where you can buy whats left after the holiday season. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

River Aura and Friends

Making these cups and bowls have been a sort of therapeutic problem-solving activity for me. I still don't have a strong idea why I've begun to learn the ancient art of wheel-throwing. What little bug got into my brain, I'll never know. Maybe its my passion to constantly learn something new to do with my hands and art. Is that pretentious? Good.

These pieces below are some of the better ones that I recently pulled outta the kiln. The first one I really like now that I've spent some time with it. I really don't know how I got that brown dirty look, but I like it. The "aura" curves that I've been manipulating, here, turn into what looks like an old river. Which is neat because it just happens to be the one cup with a brownish glaze, helping it to look like an old map.

River Aura Cup
River Aura Cup

Little elegant white mug with blue interior.
 Nothing special about it.  
The blue line is glaze painted into a carved out line.  

I made another plate. I've made about two plates, so far.
 Someone needs to show mehow to make one, because I constantly fail at it.
This glaze is dank though. I hope you can tell from this photo.

This is a brown clay slip painted onto white clay and then
carved out. Its caveman-ish. 

Caveman Mug

For the Ladies! I just pulled this out of the kiln and immediately
sold it to my neighbor. 

Pinkish outside with blue inside. What I really like about it is the
pattern repeats itself, which is new for me to figure out
how to do. Usually the lines wander around the bowl,
but this one is actually a pattern.
Pea-Green outside and baby blue inside. The colors conflict,
but its still a nice little bowl.

Each one gets my initials and the year. FYI.

A bird flying high under the sun?

Clouds and sun-streaked sky on a nice mug.

Maybe I got influenced by some of the retirees that I spend
time with at the Parks and Rec where I make these. I think this
would've looked less childish with a better glaze job.
But hey, maybe its perfect. 

Funky Functionals

Here are some ceramics that I recently finished that are kinda funky.  I'm still learning how to throw, how to trim, how to glaze and even what glazes even do.  Although this is very exciting, it is also kinda aggravating as some of these maybe would have looked really cool if I had only picked a more appropriate glaze. Or maybe just wiped the lid off a little better. Or maybe I'm hyper-critical. That is very possible.

Creamy Bowl. Cool outside waving pattern, but there's this silly swirling in the inside that makes it look full of sticks.


Bowl with Blue Aura. I'm not sure what happened with the yellowy glaze, but this bowl has been growing on me ever since it's been  sitting  around.

Man Cup. An atrocity.
Boy Cup. Another atrocity. 

Glass. Nice idea with the top pie crust form.  Kinda busy finish, though.
Not bad. Just your basic cup.

Zebra stripes with blue interior Bowl.

Funky Pitcher! Really nice blue inside. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ceramic Exploration

While a studio tech and sculpture instructor at Interlochen over last summer I had the chance to try wheel-throwing.  Although something that had never interested me before, I quickly became very interested. Perhaps it was because here was something I already know pretty well: clay-modeling.  I don't know anything about regular good old earthy clay. I've gone to great lengths to make my own oil-based clay to sculpt the figure in the "Fine Art" tradition, a tradition I've felt a part of, like a club or something, ever since entering college. 

I threw some bowls and cups over the summer under the guidance of some of the best ceramic instructors around, but it was really during my off-times and what I made was, you know, beginner...and still is.

I got back to Greenville and wanted to keep going with this and see where it led me. I asked around and found myself at Jaycee Park of the Greenville Parks and Recreation Center.  This park is a hidden gem within town. In fact, I bet most of my readers in Greenville have never heard of it. Outside, they have very popular BMX ramps and a baseball field, but inside they have a ceramics program. Two clean rooms with wheels, glazes, kilns and folks that fire the work that mostly retirees do. I bought some clay and got to work teaching myself through youtube videos to throw. I've posted some of my work below.
4"H X 6"W 

3"H X 3"W cappuccino cup

4" H X 5" W

4" H x 13" W platter

5" H x 4"W 
6" H x 4" W

Many of you may be shaking your heads. "Why is Andy wasting his time on this?" I don't really have a good explanation yet. My hands have a mind of their own and I let them do what they want. They really enjoy drawing the loose abstracted Mughal-Indian-designs that move around some of the pottery. 

I'll be either selling these on my website or giving them away for X-mas. I've also been attending a figurative sculpture class the park provides and have made a couple of little sculptures that I will post when after they are glazed. 

I will be teaching a course in paper-making at Jaycee Park in the Spring and will hopefully start up a metal sculpture course as well. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Inverted Skull Mugs

The following is an excerpt from my MFA Thesis called Intangible Emanations : 

"In June 2010, I created a site-specific sculpture at the Open-Air Art Museum at Pedvale in Latvia during my studies abroad with the ECU Sculpture program.  It was constructed by stacking 200 year old roofing tiles. This upside-down skull stands at about nine feet tall. Its wide open third eye is big enough for a grown adult to crouch down and enter at the ground-level of the structure. Central to many religions, this entrance represents the “mind’s eye” or the “eye of enlightenment.”  It is also associated with visions, clairvoyance, and the ability to see chakras and auras in American esoteric spirituality.

When the Latvian tractor drivers that helped me move these tiles from one end of Pedvale to the site, saw the finished sculpture, one pointed to his forehead and asked, “Hindi?”  This is a fellow who does not speak a word of English and by this I presumed to mean that he acknowledges that the idea of a third eye originates from India.

I gave a presentation to my fellow students and members of the local Latvian art community, speaking with the aid of a translator; I explained that I had been making work that explored what an aura could look like in sculptural form.  Many of my sculptures were of figures with emanations around them, but here in Latvia I built an aura that a person could enter inside.  As I gestured with my arm, I invited them to walk into the skull to meditate and contemplate their life.

As a sculpture designed for the contemplation of life, I thought it would be poetic for the shape to represent death.  When we arrived at Pedvale and were challenged with making an on-site installation piece, in a sculpture park known for its activities that combine art happenings and pagan rituals, I wanted to make a structure that people might incorporate with these activities.  When Butoh dancers later performed at Pedvale, Inverted Skull became a part of this modernist Japanese dance style (link).

A skull being built upside down adds to its meaning.  Because the viewer can sit inside and clearly see the sky suggests a connection between the meditating participant with outer space, stargazing, and solitude.  When the Inverted Skull is displayed in an upside-down photograph the clouds in the sky become the foreground in an optical illusion.  Having clouds at the “base” of this on-site installation ties it in with the visual vocabulary of my other sculptures that have pedestals shaped like clouds."   -end of excerpt. 

To see many more images of the process of creation go here. I also want to thank Aaron Earley, who was a massive help in stacking the tiles and problem-solving during the creation of the piece. He can be seen in some of the photos. We listened to his little ipod player and Black Moth Super Rainbow was being played a lot. :)

Thanks also to Ojars Feldberga, curator of Pedvale,  for believing in this project and suggesting that I use the tiles on his land.

During my thesis exhibition, I displayed large scale digital photographs of this installation. Since I do not live in Latvia and cannot enjoy it, I have also printed its image onto these pre-manufactured mugs. I thought it would be both humorous and conceptually valid for the following reasons. There is already a long history with Skull Mugs, or Kapala, in the Tantric Buddhist Tradition, which I had been studying when visiting Latvia. It also references vacation memorabilia, as if to say, "look where I've been" or simply a way to remember one's travels. The image is printed upside-down on the mug so that when you are drinking from it the skull is correctly seen, when you are drying the cup the photograph is correctly see but the skull is upside down. Confused? That's ok, that is the charm of it!  

Skull is right side up and yet isn't.

Pedvale, Lativa

Inverted Skull
Andy Denton

These are available for a mere $8 plus shipping costs.  I always have them available during our monthly open studios at the Dirty LAM. I have set up a Paypal account on my portfolio website. Just click the link and hopefully a transaction will incur.

Go ahead and leave a comment if you'd like.