Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Potter Otto Heino, Died age 94

Ok, I have to admit that I didn't recognize the name Heino. But I am sure we covered his work in school. But as a potter Otto Heino is such an inspiration that I wanted to share. This is his website: http://www.ottospottery.com/index.html

The following is taken from the News and Observer (who took it from the New York Times) 7/28/2009:

"Otto Heino, a prolific ceramicist whose simple, elegantly shaped pots and opulent glazes earned him not just a fortune but also a reputation what he shared with his wife, Vivika, as the personification of sturdy American artisanship, died July 16 in Ventura, Calif.

Heino was 94 and had lived in Ojai, Calif.

The cause of death was renal failure, his niece Lillian Heino Long said.

Heino (pronounced HIGH-no), a driven craftsman who was said to produce up to 10,000 pieces a year, was know as a purist in his work and clay. His pieces were texturally natural, with finger ridges left in them, and he mixed wood ash into the glazes he developed and used.

One glaze in particular stood out: He and his wife, who died in 1995, created a rich yellow so widely admired that pieces finished with it routinely sold for as much as $25,000."

Yellow glaze w/ barnard slip decoration, 13.75"h X 7.5"w, $10,000 (As seen in Cowboys & Indians magazine)

10,000 pieces a year!!!! I just hope that I can make that many over my career as a potter. I guess I better get busy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

So many reasons to celebrate!

There are so many reasons to celebrate today.

1. My Mom is doing much better (still has a long way to go but at least she is laughing.) Thank you for all the nice thoughts and prayers. On the last day I was there I took a few minutes and wandered around her yard. I took this picture of the mushroom. Nature never stops amazing me.

2. We finally celebrated Father's Day. I know we are a little late (ok a lot late). The kids were waiting until the four of us could be at the river together. They gave John a badminton set. Nancy made a professional court, putting lime down for the lines. But in the end the kids dominated us. John and I are going to practice and get them next time! (Did I mention that we have the best kids in the whole world? And I can truely say that!)

3. My baby sweetpea turns 18 years old tomorrow. Last night the four of us went out to dinner (and yes, the waiters sang to her). It is so hard to believe how fast time goes by and how quickly children turn into adults when we are not watching. I am very proud of her - and she is cute too! (I have to mention that it will also be my birthday tomorrow - she was the hardest present I ever had to work for!)

4. As far as studio news - my Mom let me babysit her kiln! It will be great for bisque pieces. Over the weekend we moved stuff around in the studio to make room for it and for the one that I purchased. Now I need to start working!!!!

5. One other thing. My Artfire guild is still having the Where's Waldo contest. Check it out - http://shopswithlesssalesartfire.blogspot.com/2009/07/wheres-waldo.html Rosetree Creations is sponsoring the prize!!! http://rosetreecreations.artfire.com/

Monday, July 20, 2009

Been a while

I have been taking care of my Mom this week. She had an operation and I am here to help her out. It is amazing how much I have gotten done since I have been here. I made seven chainmail bracelets, drew some pictures for my husbands Artistic Anatomy book and even got to swim in the pool. This is not to mention all the laundry and that kind of stuff. I really don't mind since she had to look after me for the first 15yrs of my life. Plus, my son has been here with me so we have had a good time just hanging out together.

But, it has been hard being away from my husband. We have never been apart this long before. I know it sounds weird, but we do everything together. Although, he will be taking a trip to Kenya in the Fall and he will be gone for about ten days (about the same time I will be here.) He said this was practice of us being apart - I don't ever want to be away from him this long again! (He should have just come with me, he is a much better cook than I am.)

I guess this week has made me really take a deep look at the way I spend my time. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own work and my own interests that I don't make time for other people. My family is my life, not my work. My oldest is starting college soon and my son not too far behind. I will have plenty of time for me after they move out. It also has made me look at how I spend money. "Do I really need this?" That is what I should be asking myself every time I put something into my shopping cart. If I have to spend all my time working to pay for things then I don't get to spend the time with the people that really matter. Why do we learn this so late in life? My Grandfather passed away not too long ago and now my parents are cleaning out the house getting rid of 80 years or more of stuff, so my Grandma can move to a smaller home. Do we really need so much stuff? We can't take it with us and our children probably don't want our old stuff to start with. I am also very concerned with the environment and we don't need to add to the growing problem that will be left behind when we are gone. I guess what I am saying is that we should all ask ourselves is "stuff" really that important. Don't get me wrong, I do love nice things and I do think that it is ok to have nice things - as long as you don't "pay" the price.

Ok, I guess I just had to get that off my chest. I feel better now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Alison Saar my biggest influence

I was thinking today of some of my sculptures and how they all have a similar feel, not just because of the material, but because of the meanings behind them. I know that others that look at my work may not understand what I was trying to convey. But, I like to hear how others interpret my work and what it means to them.

I was also trying to figure out who I admired most as an artist and how their work influenced my work. I am not sure if I learned about Alison Saar before I started creating my work or if I just became attracted to her work because of the similarities. We both use natural materials and found objects, and all of our pieces tell a story.

Compton Nocturne, 1999
wood, tin, bottles, paint, tar
33 x 80 x 28 inches

This was the first piece I saw of Alison Saar's. It is at the UNC Greensboro Weatherspoon Art Museum.

This passage is taken from Wikipedia:
"Her sculptures and installations explore themes of African cultural diaspora and spirituality, and her studies of Latin American, Caribbean and African art and religion have informed her work. Saar’s fascination with vernacular folk art and ability to build an oasis of beauty from cast-off objects are evident in her sculptures and paintings. Saar’s highly personal, often life-sized sculptures are marked by their emotional candor, and by contrasting materials and messages that imbue her work with a high degree of cultural subtext."

While I was teaching art at Kenyatta University, Kenya, I was greatly influenced by the stylized work that was taught there. And how the images were not just to be "pretty" but to create an emotion and to tell a story. While in Kenya I also took an African art history course and did research on the African pottery makers. All of which comes through in my work.

Birth of Nations - 2007
Ceramic, cast glass, copper wire

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I can't help it.

I have to share a few more baby pictures with you.

This weekend Momma (who we have named Sunflower - due to the fact she ate all of mine) and her twins came to see us. They have started to act like puppies; if I walk outside and call them the momma will run up to me.

We eat out on our deck for all three meals every day we are at the studio. Sunflower has figured that out. She will stand there and just stare the entire time. Yes, she looks like one of those plastic deer.

In our community of Redbud, some of us are having a sunflower growing contest. Each one of us will bring $5 on August 1st and have the final measurement. We first planted some seeds in a flower bed. The seeds shot right up - just to perfect eating height for the deer. So we decided to plant some more in a big flower pot up on the deck. So far they are doing pretty well. At the same time we also planted a small window box with some miniature sunflowers and marigolds and some other flowers. Well, I wish we were doing the biggest Marigold contest. One is fighting to be taller than the sunflowers.
I did actually work some at the studio clearing out a space for a new ceramic kiln. I am so excited!!! It won't come for a couple of weeks, but I am getting ready for it. I moved my glass kiln to the other side of the studio where the rest of my glass stuff is - should have done that from the beginning. But then of course moving one thing means moving twenty other things. It did feel good to get reorganized again. Some times I get so caught up in my art work that I leave a huge mess and have to take a day putting everything back where it is suppose to go and get a fresh start.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Sweet Tabitha gave me this award. (I think the baby deer did it in the last blog ;) But I wanted to thank her. Please check out her blog.
copied from Tabitha:
As always, I give with the No Obligation Policy in effect....

The Guidelines:

1. Post picture of award with link back to person who honoured you -
2. Pass along the award to deserving persons whose blogs you have just discovered - more on that in a minute!
3. Leave a *note* informing aforementioned recipients of your bloggy award.
Deserving people? Wow--there are SO many......where oh where to begin......Let's see....

1. Vicki ~ Who got me into all this.
2. Ophelia ~For her lovely collages.
3. Blasé ~ Who makes me laugh (not sure he should have a teacup and roses ;)
4. Trudi ~ Makes all the blogs look nice!
5. Carolina Mixed Media Artists ~ I am cheating here - because it is for all the artist.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Guilds - and other stuff

I wanted to give you a little background on some of the great art guilds that I belong to. There are so, so many talented people out there that are members.

1. This guild is for the ArtFire shops that have less than five sales. We are running contests, sales, and featuring artists. Check out the blog: http://shopswithlesssalesartfire.blogspot.com/
If you are on ArtFire and want to join, click on this link: http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Guilds&op=guild_hall&guild_id=112

2. This guild is for clay artists. It is new but we already have a long list of great artists. Check out this blog: http://clayfireguild.blogspot.com/

If you are on ArtFire and want to join, click on this link: http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Guilds&op=guild_hall&guild_id=98

3. This guild is for the great artists on ArtFire that are from the wonderful state of North Carolina!!!http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=Guilds&op=guild_hall&guild_id=90.

Also on other news...

ArtFire is having a Christmas in July Sale now through July 31st. I have added all of my items to the sale!!! 20% off!!! (Posted 10 new glass pendants today.)

I am starting to add supplies to my Etsy site. Currently, there is some cross stitch stuff and some beads from Kenya, but I will keep adding new stuff as I get the time.

Only a million more pictures to take ,and edit, and write descriptions, and post, and keep track of and ....

Monday, July 6, 2009

A few items of interest

Mondays always seem to be a catch up day. So this blog will be a mixture of things...

First - for the nature lovers...

We had some close encounters with some deer over the weekend. The first was a Momma and her baby. Momma figured that we put out the bird bath to add to her buffet and baby was still wobbly.
The second encounter was with another Momma and her yearling. Both were looking for hand outs. Obviously, they have been hand feed before. And the other cool "nature thing" we saw was this moth. Incredible!!!
Second - I had great success with my glass pieces in the kiln over the weekend!!! I will be adding some of these items to ArtFire soon! http://liquidambar.artfire.com/

Third - I am expecting an order from my bead supplier. They have been back-ordered for three months on jump rings. I love to do chain mail! But while I am waiting check out this site: She does great work!! http://yesredpanda.blogspot.com/2009/07/give-away-time.html
Forth - I have spent the entire day working on my website. There are a few bugs (links) to be worked out, but if you run across anything I've missed, please let me know. http://www.liquidambarstudio.com/

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Visitors to the Studio

Today we had some visitors to the studio. (I shouldn't say "visitors" since they are part of our adopted family - the father, Polycarp is from Kenya.) But while we were having lunch outside on the deck, my son came across a slider. The younger boys were a little afraid at first, but they saw how Clint went right up to it. The snake was very aggressive but it was also very scared. I am guessing it was maybe five feet long. It was so beautiful how the light made it change colors as it moved.

By mid-afternoon it was getting very warm so we all went down to the river to cool off. I stayed back closer to shore, but the boys all wandered far out on the rocks. They must have been out there for a couple of hours.

After getting back to the studio, Clint taught the boys how to shoot a bow and arrow. The bow is a double re-curve bow that came from his grandpa who had it when he was young. It was Clint's first time shooting also. They all did a great job. (I even shot it once - not bad.)

I didn't get any work done today, but it was really nice to visit. Maybe next time they come I can put them to work wedging out the clay for me.

Photo Shoot at the Railroad

One of John's and my great friends, Scott, took us out to the old railroad station so we could shoot some photos.  As you probably know,...