Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Studio Visit with Renee Shearer

When I first arrived in Oregon (from Austin, Texas) October 15, 2007, I found studio space at Dorothy Steele's spot near the Ross Island Bridge. With seven clay artists in house, we changed the studio name to Ross Island Pottery and promoted our work together for awhile. This was a great space and resource to one new to Oregon and Portland. Needing more space for production after awhile, Meaghan Kunzmann and I moved to St. Johns into the old Columbia Sportswear Building - but the 17 mile one-way commute became a challenge for both of us even though we loved our space and the building community of multi-disciplined artists.

Then I broke my ankle in four places when I slipped on the ice during the snow storm in December 2009. Recovery took about 14 months and made claywork, markets and shows challenging. Needing to be closer to home, I posted an ad on Craigs List saying exactly what I needed, the preferred mileage radius to where I live, and how much Iwanted to pay - and within thirty minutes of posting I received an email from a woman who had a home and workshop/garage she had bought from alongtime potter - she welcomed me wholeheartedly and I'm very happy with my space.

My studio photos here show that it is the perfect amount of space for one person - with 220 and water - and I love the overhead door for load-in and out and natural light during the warm months of the year. The privacy of a residential neighborhood has afforded me good creative focus as well as a safe, great environment to teach adult students one-on-one. I have been throwing for 15 years and selling for 10. Mostly I produce wheel-thrown functional tableware with Armadillo Clay's (Texas) Cone 6 Buffalo Wallow(yes I ship it in - yikes) and predominantly Spectrum Glazes. Even though the clay is very "plastic" - I throw exceptionally thin and I chatter the outside surface and stain it with Chocolate Velvet Underglaze to evoke the look and feel of the bark of a tree. I also add three-dimensional characters and wax-resisted silhouettes (like a cast-shadow) which distinguishes my work from others. I promote my work as: Useful - Playful - Artful. In the summer of 2009, I purchased a small, used slab roller and a BrentExtruder (yes, I'm the one who got it at the estate sale) and have been tinkering with Georgie's Cone 6 Gmix and Georgie Glazes. So in 2010 I have a new body of work and experimentations with traditionally shaped vases and watering can shaped vases which have "ribbons" flying all over the place. Iuse balloons to suspend the ribbons until the piece is dry enough to fire. I'm having a lot of fun with this and the pieces have been selling very well. These are not items I will take to market because of the fragility of the construction - best to have them in stores instead of being transported constantly. Teaching one-on-one has fueled my ideas for creative bunny paths I'd like to go down this year - an unexpected gift from the ones I teach.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

fixing cracks with gold

So I was watching the Sunday Morning Show and there was this man who hot glued everything! Which got me thinking about the cracks that had developed in my organic pods during the firing process and I thought, why not. So out came the glue gun and gold leaf flakes and I'm thinking that there is some potential here. I've tried using gold in so many different ways but it has always looked flat and well, forced. So, I'm really not sure about this - it is foreign but it isn't trying to hard - or is it? Let me know your thoughts / critiques / comments / or your experiences using gold to fill cracks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I'm waiting for my strawberries to ripen (they seem early this year) so that I can use Brenda's berry bowl that I got at showcase. What's next? more pots .....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What's next?

Ceramic Showcase has come and now I am wondering - "What's Next?" If you've got an upcoming show, Gallery opening, Studio tour, firing - whatever - we'd love to hear what you are up to, my fellow OPA members. I for one have been busy in the studio preparing for my Summer art show tour and I've been taking some time to tend to the garden. This year I've added 2 apple trees, 3 blueberry bushes, and another raised bed. I'm delighted that the seeds that I planted in early Spring are going gangbusters - sugar snap peas, heirloom beets, a mix of lettuces and spinach. And the starts aren't too much further behind. My mouth is watering in anticipation for the tomatoes, eggplants, squashes, cucumbers and the host of herbs that will be flavoring many dishes throughout the summer. Not to mention the canning that will be done to hold us through the winter. So, what are you doing?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Showcase all weekend

Showcase is in full swing of course ending 5:01 on Sunday. No time for photo's so here's just a peek. there's nothing better than a weekend with 200 potters!