Thursday, 27 October 2011

Clay Mojo & Epi De Faitage

I've been finding it a real struggle lately. Daily stresses and demands of my illustration work, not feeling the urge to make anything once i finally get the kids in bed at night (also the restrictive working window that leaves me). Then i have the decision between actually making something interesting that i like, or just surrendering that precious time to practice throwing and ending up with nothing much... except more frustration! I know it's a pain barrier i have to go through if i want to end up making what i ultimately want. Being able to throw good pots is a very important part of that. Jakki had some good advice yesterday, she suggested using some of my actual working day, in between jobs or whenever, to put aside for using the wheel. A time when I'm not exhausted and can actually focus, move things on rather than grabbing an hour or two here and there. I think this is good advice, i need to do it if this pottery is going to move forward.
Anyway, my pottery mojo... i started coiling a pot last night and it felt good to actually start making something. I didn't have a strong idea of what it would be, until it started rising. It is now going to get a function, a lamp base (i know, not very exciting... well, it is to me). I've wanted to make my own for a while and this will be my first. Now i need to find some nice words on enlightenment/illumination to put on it... I'm guessing a face will feature heavily somewhere!
I also have a slightly more ambitious pot in mind, using coil, slab and possibly pinched elements. It's inspiration comes from those magnificent French roof finials, or 'epi de faitage'. These will feature in my own work eventually... and this is why i need to throw well... and soon (I'm very impatient.. but also very determined!) I have lots of ideas involving stacking individually thrown pieces, some slip trailed, some sgraffito, some combed etc etc. I'm a very long way from having the skills i will need to pull that off though. Still dreaming is part of what it's all about. Aim high, no point planning on being mediocre!!
Anyway, it's good to feel a bit of a surge and hopefully it will translate to my early attempts at throwing...i need to take the wheel head of and have a look first. I'm not liking the noises that weren't there before! Below the video are a few examples of the epi de faitage that i like, the simple figures, but if you want to see some of the epic stacked kind, i suggest you look further at Tony Mauger's site and look at the 'catalogue et tarifs'. It's interesting to see the various pieces broken down into separate costs, then you can mix and match to your budget. All very interesting. I'm not mad about his actual forms and the coloured glazes he uses, but i am fascinated by the process, the history, the objects themselves... and the future potential of it all. Watch the video, I know it's in French, but all you need are your eyes!.. if you can understand it, then it's a bonus! If you get bored, skip to 8 mins in, where you can see a guy installing one on a roof.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Classic Comedy

Classic sketch, so i thought I'd let let you watch it again! brilliant.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Salton Sea, Illustrated Map

... coming soon.
I'm going to make a map, an illustrated map. My great friend and studio buddy Tim has suggested for ages that i should tackle a map... and finally it clicked... i had a reason... the Salton Sea, California! Now i won't get into all the technical stuff, how it was created back in1905, or even how it became "The French Riviera of California", you can read all that here. What i can tell you is it's a magical place. Not your conventional magical place, I'll grant you, but when we took a detour on our way from Vegas to LA back in 2005 we were hooked. It now has a special place in our hearts.

These were taken around Bombay Beach. Lots of trailers and buildings that got flooded and then left to decay. Below is the very special Salvation Mountain. I love this place, all the work of one highly motivated man, Leonard Knight. It so happens that Leonard's motivation is God, but he doesn't push that on you, it's just his thing. I like that. It's an amazing thing, built on a natural embankment and using straw bales and lots of adobe.... oh, and a LOT of old household paint. We even got to freshen up some of the paintwork. We spent a couple of hours in the midday heat painting the waterfall at the side of the 'yellow brick road'. We also had a jar of crushed glass, or 'sparkles' to Leonard, to sprinkle onto the fresh paint.
See that canteen of water in the group photo.. well, it wasn't very refreshing! A couple of hours out in this heat will do that. the bottom photo of me is about as close as i've come to kneeling before God! Everyone should see this work of art and what one man can do when he puts his mind to it. There were so many more things i could go on about ( a great bar called the Ski Inn, for one... maybe Jakki will write a piece on it all) but i'll just leave you with the pics and a little video i found. If you like it, then hopefully you can go and find out all about it yourselves.... or better still, go and visit. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Halloween Print in Shop!

I'm putting this A3 print up in my shop for a limited period of one month, for the grand price of £35 + shipping ( I should have been on this a bit quicker!)

It's a Halloween favourite of mine and has even been a large papercut silhouette, filling our front window (I backed them with orange tissue paper, to let the house light through). These two sketches have also had the same treatment.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Sgraffito Urn for Hank

I've been meaning to get around to making this for a while... since July!
Anyway, finally a sgraffito slipware pottery pet urn fit for Hank. He was a distinctive cat, with his black nose and black goatee. Jakki wrote a piece about him back then, beautifully written. Hopefully i'll get it glazed and fired soon and find a nice little spot for him to continue his life amongst us.

I was giving the whole 'Urn' thing, some more thought too. Why is it that urns are so...well, death like? Why? They don't need to be, shouldn't they be more celebratory?... a life well lived. Shouldn't the Urn reflect this and have a little life and vitality? It could be anything, any shape size or form. Why should it look like an 'urn'?... and why can't we celebrate life. Death, just seems a bit like the thing people just want to skip over... well, in our culture. Why not give a round of applause as the casket disappears behind the curtain?... bit un-British i guess!!... 3 cheers for a life well lived? Something similar has been happening in recent years at sportsgrounds. It used to be a minute silence before a match, now it's a minutes applause ( partly to drown out any opposition boo'ing).. but i like it, it feels better. When i do finally go remember to give me a good round of applause and send me on my way.
A nice bit of gloom on a Friday, that's what you all needed!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

More Music...Lazy Blogging

Just wanted to put this Tinariwen track on here, as every time i hear it i just want to get my groove on!... find me a dance floor someone!! In fact the whole album, Amassakoul, is fantastic. Arawan, is another great track.
Enjoy!... and try to sit still!!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Soundtrack to my Summer

I've played this clip so many times over the summer, mainly those evenings spent sorting out my website. it kept me sane, whilst itself being insanely catchy. I would often find myself walking around singing "...just remember how we shook...shook.." etc. I say play it 3 times and tell me you're not addicted! I love it when the bass comes in. This live version is superior to the album version. Love it.
Pottery coming at the end of the week. Well, you know when i say pottery i just mean scratched clay!!