Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Others

"Some societies require their members to seek inspiration for the sake of the society.  The social philosophy here is that you can best serve others when you are in service to the Others."
                                                                  -James Hillman 
                                                                  The Soul's Code

 "Art objects are lures, attracting certain spirits, and they're a container for that spirit."
                                                                  -Ficino 

 "We can be recharged by taking nature's spirituality into us and allowing it to transform us into natural beings."                                                                 
                                                                  -Thomas Moore
                                                                  The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life


Pit firing

Sentries

Sentries back view

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ring Them Bells!


When I received the invitation to be a part of the "20 for 20" exhibition celebrating the 20th birthday of the Textile Center I started thinking about the lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song "Anthem":
 "Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, 
there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."  
And how bells are rung to celebrate so many thing. the saying "I'll be there with bells on," and then the Bob Dylan song  "Ring them Bells."  I had these wonderful bells that I bought on a very special trip to Santa Fe with my dear friend and my daughter that have been waiting in the studio for that special piece.  So here is my imperfect offering complete with 20 bells, one to ring  for each year of the Textile Center's existence.  I am grateful to the Textile Center for giving me this opportunity to share in their celebration and for championing the value and beauty of fiber art.  

For Aurora: Every Day's a Good Day

My homage to Aurora, the goddess of the dawn, is made of hand sculpted cone 6 porcelain with a fabric and batting wrapped armature and a garment made of 14 different fibers.  Her pants are made of dupioni silk and her halo of hair is from a wonderful Icelandic sheep.  Making her was a reflection and celebration of my own journey in fiber arts as I did some dyeing, felting, spinning, weaving and sewing and remembered when I learned how to do each of those things. Each of those skills was taught to me by a wonderful woman at a different stage in my life. Added to all of that is the sculpted porcelain, which I have just recently learned thanks to a wonderful man. Hard/soft, masculine/feminine, clay/fiber... it was wonderful to bring them together to create a joyous reminder that every day that we are here is a gift.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

20 for 20 Exhibit at the Textile Center in Minneapolis



I am honored to be included in this exhibit celebrating the Textile Center's 20th birthday. Read more about it at /http://www.textilecentermn.org/20-for-20-celebrating-textile-centers-20th-birthday/


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ratatoskr

Ratatoskr

This is the squirrel of Norse myth who runs up and down the world Ash tree, Yggdrasil, and communicates between the eagle who lives at the top and the serpent who lives at the base.  The eagle can be said to represent our higher self or the spiritual world while the dragon represents our id, primitive self, or the material world.  When Odin wanted to know what was going on with the people on earth he consulted Ratatoskr.
,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nature Studies


This piece was inspired by Manet's famous painting "Olympia."  
The mole was sculpted using a real mole as the model.  This series explores human nature using elements of "nature."  


Nature Study: Sciurus olympia
Porcelain and stoneware

                                                   

Nature Study: Snake v. Mouse

Here is the finished piece that was inspired by a dream that I had.  My working title was "Naked Lunch" but it is up to the viewer to decide the outcome of this encounter. 

Nature Study: Snake v. Mouse
Porcelain and Stoneware

Detail

Friday, February 14, 2014

Anthrozoology 101

In looking at the idea of how we relate to and view animals I am curious about the effect of putting clothing on them.  Growing up seeing clothed animals in fairy tales and in Walt Disney movies I wondered what would happen if one animal is clothed and another isn't. Does our heart go out to the one who is humanized by having clothing even if the animal, in this case a snake, is one that we don't often feel an affinity for?

Mouse vs. Snake

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pigeons



Inspired by these pigeons roosting on an old billboard frame, I jumped into mold making and pit firing a flock of my own. Pigeons are one of those creatures that people seem to love or hate.  When I lived in New York City people referred to them as "rats with wings."  After sculpting several out of Plasticine I made press molds and molded 19 pigeons.

So far in my work with clay, figuring out how to finish the pieces has been the greatest challenge. Glazing is a vast area with seemingly zillions of options but for the pigeons I really wanted them to have the soft, sooty look you get with pit fired ceramics.

I built a pit in my backyard using cinder blocks then had some fun collecting horse manure, shavings, banana peels, corn husks, coffee grounds, and kindling for the fire. A couple of sheets of metal made a cover for the smoking and the adventure began.











 
Pigeons ready to be covered with coffee grounds, banana peels, corn cobs, and leaves.


Pigeon with combustibles. I thought that firing them in garbage was somehow fitting with their being categorized as "trash animals."

The pit at the start of the firing.








Pigeons burning and getting sooty.


Part of the finished flock.


What is It About a Road Trip?

So last fall while driving through Eastern Montana I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for a clay workshop.  (It is amazing what you can accomplish with a laptop and wireless modem when you are in the passenger seat.)  Ever since my experiments with concrete earlier last summer I had been thinking about trying kiln fired clay in the hopes of making something that would be a little less susceptible to the elements.



I ended up taking a weekend workshop with the very talented artist Thaddeus Erdahl at Saratoga Clay Arts Center.  It was my blind date with clay.  TJ is a wonderful teacher and the Clay Center is an amazing place.  I left the workshop wanting more so signed up for a six week clay sculpting class with Lars Turin, another amazing artist and teacher.  I had been thinking a lot about Hermes and Joseph Campbell's description of  Hermes as your guide in finding your true path.  Dogs are associated with Hermes so that is what I focused on in my first attempts with clay.  This is who emerged:


It's now a year later and my studio is filled with ceramic animals of all shapes and sizes, I have tried six different types of clay, have had my first kiln explosion, pit fired a batch of pigeons (that's another blog post) and am excited to be "on the scent" and following this trail to see where it leads.