Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This week's Top 5 courtesy of OPA member Denise Krueger - take it away Denise!

"No New Tale To Tell" by Love and Rockets
"Lotus Flower" by Radio Head
"Antenna" by Sonic Youth
"Peaches" by The Presidents of the United States of America
"Don't Wanna" by Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet

Denise said she loved a good beat as well as long, spacey, obscure jams.

Are you adding any of these to your playlist?  I listened to "Don't Wanna" on MySpace but couldn't find a video link.


Monday, February 27, 2012

10 Weeks and Counting

In 1999, Cynthia Spencer was President of the OPA and the spirit of cooperation and collaboration seemed to be going strong.  Members were organizing majolica workshops, Cone 6 roundtable discussions and contributing to the Empty Bowls program.  The annual OPA picnic was held at George Wright's and members came prepared to make stepping stones, participate in a bountiful potluck meal and let off some steam with the pot-smash.

I found this note in the August 1999 newsletter and thought I'd pass it along.  

"After Empty Bowls was over, my son Luke a I took a trip to visit Lynn Berry and her husband Richard in St Thomas. Lynn has a working studio/gallery in Tillet Gardens, a complex of about 20 small shops off the beaten path. The vision I want to share with you is what I found in her home. At first, I did not think much of her array of pots, until one day I was riding in her car, drinking from a mug that I had brought from her home. I asked her where she got the mug, and she said Glenn Burris made it. Later that day I took a long look at all of the pottery Lynn and Richard have in their home. In the bathroom I found two cups and a soap dish made by the Shapiros. In the kitchen were cups made by Sumi Wu. I also found pieces from Craig Martell, Janet Buskirk, Steve Mollering, Chris Kienle, Dennis Meiners, Ben Yang, Richey Bellinger, Tamae Sawano, and many other potter friends.
"When I go to other potters home and am offered a drink, I often have more trouble figuring out which cup I want to use than figuring out what to put in it. It is always a treat to use a new piece of work, and I always enjoy my visit just a little more because so many people live in those homes through the pots which reside there.
"I know I treasure all of the pots I have bought, traded or been given by my friends in OPA. Each time I use one or see one placed in a very special place I have the memory of the person who worked the clay and glazed and fired it in order for me to treasure it" -Mary Walyer

And in 1999 the Best of Show award winner was Vern Uyetake and this is what Vern had to say about the piece:

Best of Show 1999
Vern Uyetake
"The piece entitled 'Kinship' which won the Best of Show award in 1999 is very special to me.  It was of course a great honor to receive the award, but it also foreshadowed life-changing events in my personal life.  Like a lot of my work, I did not start with any drawings or preconceived idea in mind.  I began by putting together coils of clay and watched where it took me.  It actually came together over a period of months.  I kept it covered and would periodically come back to it until it was finished.  The final result clearly represented to me the joy of family.  

At the time I was not married, but shortly after I met my wife, Kari, and we now have a 3-year-old boy, Isa.  Together they are the absolute joy of my life."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This weeks top 5 provided by OPA member Richard Sanchez:

"This Year" by the Mountain Goats
"No Key No Plan" by Okkervil River
"Sound of Sunshine" by Michael Franti & Spearhead
"Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse
"We Are Nowhere and It's Now" by Bright Eyes

I've just added two of these to my playlist - Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

11 Weeks and Counting

The year is 1998; the OPA President is Mary Walyer and Mark Heimann is the Chair for Ceramic Showcase.  Empty Bowls was another great success at the Blues Festival and added a donation of over $13,500 to the Oregon Food Bank, Clay in Education had been involved with some great projects which included classes with the Native American Summer school program, Children's Club, Portland YMCA day Care and the Kids Play area at Art in the Pearl.

and this was published in Ceramics Monthly, in February 1998:
"Contrary to popular opinion, form does not follow function.  Form follows forlorn hope."

I asked Patrick about his process in creating the piece that was awarded Best of Show 1998 and this is what he had to say:

Best of Show 1998
Patrick Horsley
"1998 Best of Show piece called 'Large T-Pot/Purple' grew out of a thrown oval lidded casserole that I made a few years before I turned it into a teapot.  The body of the teapot was thrown with no top or bottom, then floated on some water and altered.  When leather hard I cut the profile of the image of what I wanted it to be and reassembled it and made a new top and bottom from thrown slabs and added that to the body.  The knob is thrown like a child's toy and trimmed and plugged into the lid.  The handle and spout were extruded.  The spout was a hollow extrusion and the die was made from washers and a u-bolt.  The parts were then laid out on a ware board to stiffen up.  Holes were then cut into the body and the parts were plugged in.  A solid piece of clay was sculpted as an extension of the body like a tail.  The T-Pots take about six to eight hours to make.  

This T-Pot was sprayed with a copper slip and then sprayed with a high clay, high barium matt copper carbonate glaze.  I like my work to absorb the light not reflect it.  

I see my pots in profile; more two dimenstional rather than three dimensional. 

 I have a number of teapots in both private collections and in museums and have been awarded Best of Show in other venues."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

West Coast Teapots 2012

Want to see what some OPA members have been up to this winter?  Take some time in March to visit the Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River, Oregon.  James Diem, OPA member and board member for the Columbia Center for the Arts, has curated a showcase of teapots and teabowls, to be held March 2 - April 1.  West Coast Teapots 2012 features over 20 potters, 40 teapots, and 160 teabowls from some of the most renowned ceramists in the country, including many members of the OPA.

Check out a preview of the show here .  

The gallery will host an opening reception, Friday March 2, 6-8 p.m. with beer and wine available.  In addition to the art, the Columbia Art Gallery will be serving tea from Steven Smith Teamaker during the month of March. Steve Smith is the co-founder of both Stash and Tazo Tea and is now producing high quality hand-crafted teas under his own label.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

By the responses that came pouring in, I've learned that many of our members don't listen to music at all and I was fascinated by what they do listen to.

I listen to John Wayne movies while glazing pottery.  I know all the lines from his movies!

Sorry, Kris, I am not hip.  I listen to talking books or the radio (progressive talk)

Sorry, no music.  I'm an NPR addict, especially Saturday morning!  'Wait, wait don't tell me', 'What do you know', 'Car Guys', 'Radio Lab'

If I've planned ahead, I have a book on tape.  If not, OPB...or KLCC to hear some NEW music (and some old).  Did everyone know that our own Frank Gosar is a Sat AM DJ there?  I'm never allowed to subject good CD's to all the muck in the studio
...Cynthia Spencer

I've been inspired to rethink my studio play lists and include some of my favorite books and radio pod casts. 

Have you been inspired?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

12 Weeks and Counting

The year is 1997; Deb Shapiro is the OPA President and this was overheard at Ceramic Showcase:

     Father:  "These pots are made out of clay and then they were fired."

     Young Daughter:  "Does that mean they couldn't do their job anymore?"

     "We do not simply 'expose' children to the arts.  We instruct them in life skills through the arts.  The arts are inseparable from daily life and are essential tools for understanding each other and our environment.  Of course it is important that all children learn to read, but it may be even more important that there are artists producing something worth reading."  E. Rutenkroger

Best of Show 1997
Michael Fromme

I asked Michael what she drew upon for her inspiration while creating "Raven" :

"Raven was part of a series inspired by an exhibition called Boxes and Bowls of the Haida and Tligit.  The carved wooden bowls were such wonderful forms; animals and birds, that I felt compelled to create my own, in clay and fire them in an anagama where the fire and ash played with the bas-relief.  They were a merging of my animal sculptures and the anagama firing that I studied in Bizen, Japan."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

13 Weeks and Counting - Continued

Best of Show 1996
Carol Lebreton
Carol writes about her passion for clay -

"I can trace my love for this material to a single event at age eleven; I touched a vein of soft yielding clay on the side of a freshly cut dirt road.  That early encounter evolved into a consuming passion which, enriched by a childhood lived in the tropics, continues to fuel and guide my creative expression.

My work is original in design.  It reflects a dynamic, yet simple style that seeks to balance the practical with the aesthetic and celebrates pattern, form, texture - even sound.  A quote by Arts & Crafts designer William Morris further informs my philosophy about working in clay: 'have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'.  I find great satisfaction in creating a piece that is finely crafted, has enduring beauty, enough humor to spark a smile, and will last indefinitely when well-cared for."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

OPA Member David Dahlquist's playlist:

David wrote - "I rarely listen to the radio while in the studio, I plug my iPod into speakers and jam.

anything by Wilco

anything by Tom Waits

anything by White Stripes

"Garden Grove" by Sublime

"Creosote" by Son Volt

David went onto say:

"But, somewhat interesting, I like to use studio time to listen to new music, to get accustomed to something new.  It is how I got into Waits, Wilco, White Stripes, Beck, etc.  Years ago I was really into Cake.  I had a coffee mug which had these really nice cakes on it.   It was a one off.  Because Cake had inspired me so much in the studio, I sent the mug to their main songwriter and singer.  He mailed me a post card thanking me for it and explained why he liked it so much.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

13 Weeks and Counting

Best of Show 1995
Tamae Sawano

"The tray of river rock teapots was inspired by a driving trip I made to Montana several months prior to creating this work.  Along the way I stopped at Lolo River in Idaho and saw beautiful, smooth pebbles resting on the river bank.  Although each pebble had a different shape and color, they all suggested the passage of time that they had gone through to be shaped and polished by the flow of the river.  Through the passage of time and with the help of water, they appeared to have been stripped down to their essence.  There is something intrinsic about these river rocks that touches us.  My intention was to create something with clay that somehow conveys the same emotional resonance we fell when we see those river rocks."

Friday, February 3, 2012

14 Weeks and Counting con't

Back in 1987, Catherine Wygant had predicted that by 1994 Ceramic Showcase would exceed all previous year's sales and would grow more than anyone would believe.  Well, she was so right!  Ceramic Showcase sales exceeded expectations and the show had grown to include 200 members in booths plus another 60 members participating in 'Gallery Only'.  Again, the OPA and Ceramic Showcase were at a crossroads.  The organization was getting lost amidst the success of the show.  New members were in conflict with the points systems, older members did not want the show to grow any bigger and the core values of the OPA were becoming lost because members were only joining to participate in the Show.

Out of turmoil and conflict came change.  Both within Ceramic Showcase as well as the OPA.  A Group Booth was added to accommodate those members that had not yet accumulated enough points to be able to have a booth, the Steering Committee was expanded to not only make more jobs available to also to help organize such a large show and the points system was revamped to make sure that those that volunteered for a position within the organization were rewarded for their contributions.  Within the OPA a new round of goal setting was begun.  The OPA President was sent to NCECA, investments were made in computer equipment, subsidizing inexpensive workshops for members, establishing an OPA phone number and the start of our Clay in Education program which sends members into the community to teach.

Through it all, the organization and Ceramic Showcase flourished.  Which leads us to the Best of Show 1994, Jim Koudelka.

Best of Show 1994
Jim Koudelka
I asked Jim for his thoughts and this is what he had to say:

"My work is ultimately a reflection of my creative response to materials and processes, images and ideas.

I have an interest and involvement with a vessel format that is influenced by architectural, mechanical and industrial images.  The pieces I create display the actual or implied function of containers or devices extracted from primitive to contemporary times.  My intent is to interpret and display the essence and qualities of these images through my art work and create a dialogue to the viewer through it.

Process and materials also play an important role in the development of my work.  I allow the ceramic, glass and or metal materials and their processes to maintain a voice in the choices of design, physical construction, surfacing and final viewing of the pieces."

Jim Koudelka recieved his M.F.A. from Indiana University. He is a  Professor in Ceramics at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, Oregon where he has taught for the past fifteen years. Jim has been an Artist in
Residence at The Archie Bray Foundation , Helena, MT, and the Bullseye Glass Connection, Portland OR. He has maintained an involvement throughout his career in both functional and  sculptural work. His work has exhibited in numerous national and regional shows receiving honors and awards. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What We're Jammin' Too

This week kicks off a new weekly post -

What We're Jammin' Too

I put the question out to our members,

"What are the top 5 songs on your playlist?" 

and the response was tremendous.  The idea came from fellow OPA member, Jamie Anderson, after a day spent in the studio jammin' to music.  Jamie and I agreed to swap our our Top 25 and it just made me wonder, what are other artists listening to in their studios.  What music inspired them, got them moving and creating.  For some it wasn't music but NPR programs or books on tape.

Where possible, I've included a link to the song.

Maybe you'll find something to add to your playlist!


The first OPA member to respond was Kristy Lombard-Wright