Thursday, December 29, 2011

19 Weeks and Counting

In 1986,  the OPA was 6 years old and the interest in Ceramic Showcase was so great that there was not enough booth space for every applicant. The OPA Board decided everyone would get only half the space as before (4X8 feet). The people who made that decision were members who had worked hard to see the show grow, yet they gave up part of their own space in order to accommodate new participants.  At the same time, Showcase Chairman Dennis Meiners believed that we needed to buy ads and print a color poster. This was a gamble that paid off and the show continued to grow.

1986 Best in Show
Glenn Burris
(Original piece)
Best in Show 1986 was awarded to Glenn Burris.  When I asked Glenn to tell me a bit about himself and his work, I found out some interesting information.  Glenn had included a picture of the original piece that won Best in Show and a bit of history, this is what Glenn wrote:

"In 1986, I had been making pots for 18 years, 12 of those in Oregon.  I was beginning to tire of what I had been doing and was looking for something new to hold my interest.  I began loading a shino glaze up with clay to make it crawl.  I applied the glaze thicker and thicker to make the crawling the main decorative element.  I was excited and encouraged by my new direction and at Showcase I was recognized with the Juror's award.

1986 Best in Show
Glenn Burris
(replacement piece)
Change, success, recognition.  The timing was perfect.  Without change I don't think I would have received the award. This wasn't my first, last, or biggest award, but it remains the most important because of who it was from and how it directed my way with clay.

The original piece was broken a number of years ago and was replaced with the current one.  The original was a little cruder, a little grittier, and pushed at the bubble a little harder.  I see the internal struggle in the first piece a little more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

20 Weeks and Counting

The year is 1985 and Ceramic Showcase is in its third year with Jeanne Henry as the Chair of Ceramic Showcase.  1985 brought change to the organization.  Originally known as the Oregon Potters Cooperative, the name was changed to what is now known as the Oregon Potters Association.

Best in Show 1985
Patrick Horsley
Best in Show 1985 was awarded to Patrick Horsley.  Patrick has been a member of the OPA since its cooperative days
and he continues to be active in the ceramics community.  I asked Patrick to tell me about what inspires him and where he draws influence and this is what he had to say.

"My work has always focused on the idea of vessels and containers;  the bowl, the plate, lidded containers.  I also have a strong interest in glaze chemistry, color and texture and its power to engage the viewer and suggest a final function; utilitarian or non-utilitarian.

I have made pottery full time for forty years without a lack of ideas and things I would still like to explore.  The clay and the fire seem endless in their possibilities.  I work from drawings, closer to small scribbles on three by five cards,  that I pile up as ideas emerge from landscape, both natural and manmade, from history, and sometimes even from other potters, both old and new.  Pottery and clay are a much more complicated medium then people would expect.

The challenge of my work is to combine the many elements (handles, feet, spouts and lids) into a work that dances and presents a new view and image of a familiar form.  My primary interest is in the process and the physical dance of making the pots."

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Stories Within - Sara Swink featured article

Sara Swink
Legacy, 2010
photo by Harold Oxley
I was in Powell's the other evening and was thumbing through the pages of the December/January issue of American Craft magazine and stumbled upon a great article on Sara Swink, written by Carolyn Hazel Drake, both are fellow OPA members and I have to tell you I was tickled pink to see Sara's work and read Carolyn's words.  What a beautiful collaboration.  To read the article, follow the link.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The passing of a legend - Malcolm Davis

Malcolm Davis died in the morning of 12/11. He had hip replacement surgery last Thursday, recovered over the weekend...and evidently collasped in PT Mon morning and died instantly."

His wife has requested no calls for a few days.

The following is from the AKAR website:

"I first touched clay at age 40 and knew immediately that I had been a potter all along. I love to make pots! For me, the joy and the challenge comes from making things that will become an intimate part of the daily lives of others - pots that will be held, eaten from, poured from, sipped from and perhaps even licked from. For me the making of pots is a way to celebrate the mundane rituals of daily life and to make them holy." 

Malcolm Davis has been a full-time studio potter since 1984 when he left his previous life as campus minister. He took his first ceramics class in 1974 and since 1985 has maintained his mountaintop studio in Upshur County, WV. He is internationally recognized for his work with shino-type glazes, specifically for the creation of a unique ultra Carbontrap shino-type formula with a high concentration of soluble soda ash, which encourages the trapping of carbon in the early stages of the firing.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including four grants from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and was a finalist in the 1995 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation/NEA Visual Artists Fellowships. Other awards include the Purchase Award at the Ceramics Monthly International Competition (1999), First Place in the 1996 Strictly Functional Pottery Show, Feats of Clay XIII and XIV Merit Awards, Orton Purchase Awards in 1994 and 1996, Crosscurrents All Media Award at the Stifel Fine Arts in Wheeling (1990. 1996), WV Juried Exhibition Merit Award in 1996, and Awards for Clay Cup VII and Clay Cup IV.

He has exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the Smithsonian Craft Show and the American Craft Council Craft Shows. He has been an artist-in-residence at Artpark in Lewiston, NY; Baltimore Clayworks; Greenwich House Pottery (NYC); The Clay Studio in Philadelphia; Red Star Studios in Kansas City; Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis; Waubonsee Community College in Illinois and the Lee Arts Center in Virginia.

Malcolm’s work is included in collections at the American Crafts Museum; The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred, NY; the Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY; Mobach Collection, Utrecht, Holland; Orton Permanent Collection; Arthur and Lillian Weiss Collection; Bailey Ceramics Collection; Old Church Cultural Center in Demarest, NJ; Highwater Clay Permanent Collection, Asheville, NH; American Art Clay Collection, Indianapolis, IN and the Twentieth Century Collection, Sarah Lawrence College in NY.

He has been featured in over 15 books and publications, he has published articles in American Shino by Lester Richter and Stayin’ Alive by Robin Hopper; and curated an issue of The Studio Potter Magazine on carbon trapping. The December, 2003 issue of The Studio Potter Magazine featured an extensive interview: “Malcolm Davis, Shino Warrior.” His work with carbontrap shinos was recently featured in Ceramica (Spain) and Ceramic Review (England).

Malcolm has taught and lectured widely throughout the United States and Canada, and has conducted Masters’ classes at Penland School of Crafts, Peters Valley Craft Center, Touchstone Center for Crafts, and others. Recent exhibitions include AKAR, Iowa City, Iowa; Blue Heron Gallery, Deer Isle, Maine; Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, NC; Santa Fe Clay and “Our Cups Runneth Over” at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Malcolm recently curated a national exhibition of work with shino-type glazes, “Endless Variations: Shino Review 2005,” featured at the 2005 NCECA Conference in Baltimore. In 2007 he juried the 15th annual Strictly Functional Pottery National and was one of three presenters at the 20th annual NC Potters’ Conference in Seagrove. He also taught a two-week carbontrap shino workshop at La Meridiana in Tuscany in 2007 and 2008.

Here are a few other links to info and images:

Monday, December 12, 2011

21 Weeks and Counting

In 1984, Ceramic Showcase was in its second year and it was continuing to grow.  The community of potters known as the Oregon Potters Association had grown to 150 members by 1984.

Richard Rowland-
Best in Show 1984
In 1984 Best in Show was awarded to Richard Rowland.  I contacted Richard several weeks ago and asked if he would provide me with a little bit about himself and what inspires him to do what he does.  This is what Richard has to say on the subject -

"During the late 1970's I was naturally uncovering ways to create ceramics using organic materials like seaweed, ferns, dead birds, salt, integrating form, color and context-always finding unique relationships that created certain resonance and open atmosphere.  The Anagama process helped me continue developing the atmosphere that provided intimacy and a genuine way to connect community.  The community was made up of passionate and diverse people.  The rare model of diversity continues to grow.

In the late 1990's I started teaching at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon.  I was given the opportunity to go back to school to study, make art and received my MFA from University of Tasmania in 2005.  After studying abroad, I returned to my home in Astoria.  I started the Bowl Project with the Clatsop County Women's Resource Center and the Tillamook Women's Resource Center and I have continued making bowls for them for an annual fundraiser.  The women help collect and cut the wood, fire the kiln and take part in every part of the project.  With other potters and students we are focused on quality, making for example, 1000 bowls and picking the best 500 to give to the Women's Resource Center project.  The rest of the bowls and recycled into the hammermill and crushed up for grog to add to the new clay body for use the next year.  I have dug tons of local clay for this years bowl project.

I received the Oregon Governors Art Award in 2005, which was awarded for my work in the community.  I continue to work in projects related to utility and ritual that can benefit their needs.  Currently I am helping develop a Plain Tree model of holistic health care at Columbia Memorial Hospital.  This process includes art, both for the patients in the new Cancer Center and the rest of the hospital.

In the unfolding and integration of community and art, my vision is to match the character of the material process to the unique character of the community.  It is a wonder that I have been given my life's responsibility as an artist in such a way that is reciprocal in nature.  This accountability has encouraged me to build a second-generation Anagama kiln for the future."

Monday, December 5, 2011

22 Weeks and Counting

1983 Ceramic Showcase Best in Show award winner
We are starting a new series on the blog this week (well, to be honest, this should have been started 7 weeks ago, but I am hoping better late than never!)

In 2012, Ceramic Showcase will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary and to kick off the celebration, we are going to be highlighting the winners of the Best in Show Award.

In 1983, the first winner of Best in Show was Ruri.

About the artist

Since the time I came back from Japan as an apprentice under master potter, Tatsuzo Shimaoka, Mashiko, in 1977, my goal was to focus on establishing my own anagama because I was so intrigued by the whole process of wood firing, and also the transformation of the work when it came out.  Although it took me 27 years, I finally made it happen with the help of dedicated friends in 2005.
Now I feel like I am finally starting in the direction of participating intentionally in the alchemy happening inside anagama, where all the natural elements (earth, water, wood, fire and air) and artist’s spirit all come together to give birth to a new life: claywork transformed and transfigured.
Whether it is a clay sculpture or a functional claywork, I have been always trying to express the Unseen through the Seen coming from Nature and all kinds of relationships, reflecting the state of my consciousness at the time.  I play with forms and contouring lines and curves, which give positive and negative contrasts with surrounding outer space.
I use a coiling and pinching technique for my clay sculpture, and lots of thrown vessels are so often altered after throwing.
The name of my anagama is FuuKooGama (pronounced foo-koh gah-mah, meaning "wind and light kiln" in Japanese), which expresses itself eloquently the kind of work I continue to search, pursue and explore.

Ruri has been a member of the Oregon Potters Association since 1980.

Mark your calendars to see more of Ruri's work at Ceramic Showcase - May 4 - 5 - 6, 2012 at the Oregon Convention Center in Downtown Portland, Oregon.