Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I have not forgotten about the approximately three faithful readers of this horrendously un-updated blog (Hi mom). Honestly. I have just been insanely busy, moved to SLC, and spend most of my time making artificial eyeballs. To frost the cake, I still don't have a new studio space yet. Despite the idling art engine, I was still able to finish up a few new sake sets of my latest design at a local pottery, and they're all shiny and sparkling for your visual consumption. This design was fabricated, cast in plaster, and slipcast from the original moulds in porcelain. These vessels proved a true test of engineering geekery, but the results ultimately proved worthwhile. Bottle: 6.25 x 3.5 x 2.5" Cup: 1.75 x 2.5 x 1.75"
Friday, August 10, 2007
Blank walls are lame. Instead of standing there awkwardly looking from your beer to that white splash of nothingness and back again, get yourself a nice work of art. It will cover up that nail hole and perhaps even fill that tiny, aching space in your heart. Sidle up to the new Etsy online storefront at http://www.synapseartworks.etsy.com and get your two-dimensional fix.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
This work is indicative of my testing the more conceptual waters again. The impetus for this work was an exploration of how the value of artworks are assessed, a process often contingent on seemingly shifting premises. I am also fascinated by how space is allocated to denote for us, "something important is within these boundaries." When we walk into the beaming white gallery space, it demands a near-reverential attitude, just as the frame or glass case indicates preciousness is contained within. This work toys with these notions from a base, materialistic perspective. Inside the case lie two porcelain tiles, each with frame-like features. Thumb prints are centered in each, the right made in my own blood, the left in iron oxide. Materially, the pigments are identical: my blood is colored by iron. However, the process constituting the right tile is culturally loaded with notions of artistic romanticism as the artist literally puts blood, sweat, and tears into the artwork. The left tile might be viewed as mere facsimile, and thus does not deserve the aesthetic embellishment of the other tile. Responses to this work have been varied, and sometimes characterized as pretentious, but that is exactly what is being called into question. 12x7.25x2".
These are three examples of the sake sets I made, all slip-cast porcelain. The wood-fired versions were fired in Michael Schael's anagama in Cambridge, WI, and the middle set was fired to cone 6 oxidation. These pieces were fabricated and carved in plaster, and proved an excellent lesson in exactly how finicky plaster can be when trying to take working moulds off a model. These moulds are no longer in production. Decanter: 8.5x3x3". Cup: 4.5x1.5x1.5".
I created a simple pint cup mould to quickly cast the clay substrates needed for my foray into screen printing with clay experiments. I did not want to use the traditional over-glaze decal method because of the toxicity of the overprint material, and the tendency for the images to wear off with extended use on functional ware. So, I attempted to create screen printing slips made with clay materials that could be used like underglaze and transferred, thereby allowing the image to be sealed under an impermeable clear overglaze. The results were mixed, and I have yet to be completely satisfied as the printed transfers generally require a fair amount of touch-up. Nevertheless, once I have the proper facilities at my disposal again, I intend to continue researching this process. A few successful examples are shown here, along with some simple, stark wood-fired cups with shino liner glaze.
After graduating in 2003, I continued working at UW-Madison as a non-degree student, putting my more conceptual work on a back-burner for a mental breather, and returned to (semi) functional ceramics. I had dabbled informally in slip-casting, but saw amazing potential in this process, so I began researching it and honing my skills over the next couple years. I liked the fact the artwork could appear in multiples, like screen prints. To me, it had the capacity to both reference the "lofty high-art" problems associated with metaphysically locating an artwork which has multiple instances, as well as the crass, kitschy production of low quality porcelain objects pop artists would appreciate. Slip-casting is now my preferred process in ceramics, and I feel that I have only begun to explore its possibilities. This is one of the first teapots I crafted to be slip-cast. It was prototyped in clay using hand building techniques. These particular examples were fired to cone 6 in oxidation. 7x11x6.25"