Creating a schedule and sticking to it. I am almost to the point where I am living this daily and I will wish and act my way forward. Not quite a mantra, not quite an admission, but maybe parts of both. Projects this week: I continued at a fairly rapid clip and am at the point where there is enough to work with, instead of the stage where everything feels ‘between.’ Last week, Otto photographed my birdhouse, which is being glaze fired this week. I used a combination of Shino and Green Oribe. The photo at the left shows the roof; the one below, the base. Shown here, the base is upside down. When it’s hanging, it will look similar the one you’ll find in this post and that birdhouse is the inspiration behind mine. When it’s finished, Mark and I will hang it in a shady spot. Ceramic birdhouses aren’t meant to be hung in sunny areas, as they will heat up and it isn’t healthy for the baby birds. This birdhouse will be hung from our Big Leaf Maple tree, on chains or covered cable. The hole you see at the base is one of the holes I’ll thread the chain through. I’ll post a pick of the finished piece next week… Another project I worked on this week entailed layering different colored slips on slabs, then wiping away areas to expose different colors. Those samples will be bisqued this week and I look forward to seeing how they turn out. I poured glossy clear glaze over part of the samples to see which I like best. I also experimented with the stamp I used for making Christmas ornaments, using every slip color the studio had…will decide which I like best. For this experiment, I again used only one layer of slip, then wiped it off to expose part of the relief. You can see some of the decorations I made earlier by clicking here. I used purple slip on all of them. A new set of Trees tiles was glaze fired last week and they turned out splendidly. I am so glad because I had a dickens of a time finishing them. Next time, the manner in which I use liquid latex will have to be altered and I’ll use some of the tips given to me to make a few changes in my approach. Beyond this, I made blank tiles and rolled out a slab. More to come in that area, because both point to big new projects for me! I am enjoying working at the studio and at home and find that if I stay on task, it works out. If I don’t, I start slacking off and I cannot afford to do that right now.
Tag Archives: colored slip
This story ran in the August 25, 2001 edition of Butte’s newspaper, The Montana Standard. It’s an excellent story that ran about the time Autio’s solo exhibition, “Rudy,” opened. For more information about the Archie Bray Foundation, click here.
“Pottery artist learned his life-skills in Butte”
by Montana Lee Newspapers
MISSOULA — Before Rudy Autio, pottery in America was coffee mugs, soup crocks, potato-chip bowls. “I was never attracted to the craft,” he says, “because I thought it was something you’d find in dime stores.”
Fifty years later, Ceramics Monthly magazine hails him as one of the most significant artists in the medium ever, listing him and longtime friend Peter Voulkos among 13 “living potters and ceramic artists who have had the greatest impact on contemporary ceramics.” Continue reading
Otto showed me a book he bought when he was at his annual ceramics retreat at Metchosin. Robin Hopper’s Making Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface is one of the most beautiful and exciting books I’ve seen in some time. Joan had told me about it when she was advising me about books to add to my Resources section, but I had yet to see it. Making Marks covers everything and anything you’d need to know about decorative techniques and pigmentation. The examples and art work he’s chosen to illustrate his book are incredible. That said, it made me think of Robin Hopper and today I’m posting his instructions for three techniques, two on video and one in print Slip Dotting, Mocha Diffusion and Painting on Porcelain Canvas. We are so lucky an artist of his caliber is only a ferry ride away, on Vancouver Island.
The video below is partly entitled Mocha Diffusion and Hopper refers to it briefly, but that technique is not demonstrated in the video. If you would like to know more about it, click here. MIY Ceramics and Glass has printed Hopper’s article about the technique from the Ceramic Arts Daily post.
I looked up the ‘porcelain substrate’ Robin Hopper uses for canvases in the video below and decided that if I were to pursue this form, I’d have to make my own. The material he uses is very expensive. If I was to go the DIY route, would first make porcelain paper clay by adding bits of toilet tissue to porcelain to strengthen it while working with it, as taught by Pauline. Once I finish my current projects , I’ll pursue this because I want to see how thin I could roll porcelain out on my own. How see-through I can get it. I’d start out with the slab roller, then finish with a rolling pin. It’ll the next step in my clay draping experiments. Back to the next video, though… Watching Hopper paint and draw on porcelain canvas is a real treat. I enjoyed watching this video because he’s very clear about what he’s doing: explains and demonstrates each step and discusses the materials.
She calls them her ‘ladies.’ Some are towering, pear-shaped women with warm hearts, while others remind me of stout, no-nonsense church ladies. I also see coquettes, with daintily upturned chins and sloping shoulders. Most of the ladies are adorned with richly hued florals or bold stripes and others are softly watercolored. At first glance, two appear to be blushing wallflowers…timid, with hands clasped behind backs, until one’s eye travels downward and sees they are wearing tights and a pair of kicky heels. A couple are bursting with joie de vivre. One can only imagine their chapeaux. Women like them, too. At an exhibit, I once heard a Rubenesque woman say they have the shapes of real women. It’s true. And, grouped, they look like they’re having a hen session. There is no denying their feminine propensities . I’ve wondered about that. How can something made of clay be brought to life so successfully that it seems to have personality, be animated? Watching her work, paddling coiled vessels into being, I have come to realize that an intense, intimate, creative process imbues these vessels. Simply put, these pieces are not separate from the person who makes them; she literally transfers her own personal energy into her work and the results emanate presence and are alive. Meet Pauline Doyle, magician. Masks, visages, tiles, sculptures, objects, and vessels are also part of her repertoire. She’s familiar with just about every means of production, decorative technique or type of firing. Slips, underglazes and glazes run the gamut from bright hues to muted tones. Her pieces all have this uncanny sense about them; they bubble and hum with energy or silently appear to be watching you. Pierre Trudeau looks right back at you and “Tyger! tyger! Burning bright….”
PAULINE DOYLE’S CERAMIC ART REPERTOIRE
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‘Pauline’ means ‘small,’ not diminutive, but small as in humble. The name one is given has currency. In many cultures, names are given to endow an infant with certain qualities, in other cultures, it is as if one is already named and that someone just reaches up and plucks it down, for names, with these peoples, are thought to be pre-ordained. Any which way, her name fits. Pauline moves and acts with an inborn sense of humility. No, there is no implication of weakness, but the possession of real humility. She’s nimble of mind and strong in body, in fact, she has a Black Belt in Shotokan karate, as does her daughter. Surely, Pauline’s background in theatre must also affect her verbal and physical expression and sense of fun. “I’ve been told I’m original, but I don’t try to be,” Pauline says. In response to questions about how her style has evolved over time, she said, “I think my work has slowly become more refined in the technical sense. I like to work on pottery forms now; when I first started in clay I was mostly interested in figurative forms. I also enjoy exploring glazes and other finishing techniques…for example I’ve just recently learned to Pit fire my ceramic pieces.”
As artist-in-residence at The Port Moody Arts Centre, she is in charge of “technical aspects of the studio,” in addition to creating her own work. “For example, I fire all the work for the classes and open studio,” and “make all the slips and glazes and order all the needed clay and glaze making materials.” She also helps “teachers and staff with special requests for the studio or their classes and helps organize and lead fundraisers and exhibits for the ceramics studio and arts centre.” Add to that, teaching adult and children’s hand building classes, too. Pauline is currently offering a variety of classes for all ages, according to the centre’s Winter/Spring calendar, including a four-day “Family Clay” course, taught during Spring Break in March and April and, for adults, “Coiled Pot” and “Human Faces” classes. “Children — so perfect — can be ground-breaking, ” she says, marveling at their ability. “So many times, I think, ‘I wish I could repeat that.'” All this, in addition to oversight of the Open Studio days and evenings.
I, myself, marvel at Pauline’s organizational ability: creating her own work, teaching all ages, managing and running the ceramics arm of the arts centre. She also had a solo show last November. Manage she does, though, and even has sights on the future, explaining she wants to explore “high fire and mid-range glazes.” As well, Pauline “wants to work with slab built forms trying to made hard durable ceramics look or seem soft.”
Pauline believes that “creating in clay is an ideal way to slow down and enjoy life.” Born Pauline Landberg in Aberdeen, Washington, she moved to Canada when she was 14. She has lived in Port Moody 22 years, has “three nearly grown children, a lovely husband and an old dog named Sophie.” Her sons are accomplished musicians and her daughter likes filmmaking. Pauline herself has a degree in theatre from the University of British Columbia and, at one time, she wanted to be a comic. She is still interested in the idea of combining stand-up comedy with movement. I can appreciate this, as she is playful and lighthearted, rating high on the Fun Meter. As far as her involvement in ceramics, Pauline started working with clay as “a hobbyist but, after receiving a grant to take ceramic courses at a college/university, I haven’t really had the chance to look back.” For over four years, she attended Emily Carr University of Art and Design, western Canada’s premier art school, focusing on Ceramics in the Fine Arts Program.
For enjoyment in day-to-day life, she likes to do “a bit of gardening, reading, watching TV and movies, listening to music and travel.” When asked which artists have inspired her, she cites her father, Debra Sloan, Akio Takamori, Anne Hirondelle, Rudy Autio, Chuck Close, and BW Finley, who taught at the arts centre, at one time, and now lives in the United States. A sense of community is important to Pauline and she is very invested in the idea “because people feel they can explore without competition or ridicule — be allowed to make mistakes. In some settings it’s otherwise.” She wants to work to “create a good community-centred studio and wants to work on my art.” She is well on the way, as The Port Moody Arts Centre just rehired her for an unprecedented third term as artist-in-residence.
When asked how mentoring has affected her own development as an artist, Pauline reflected, saying, “you’re inspired by other people or it brings you back to the reason you’re exploring this art form to begin with.” About her approach toward a concept or series, she says “look for inspiration or try to draw what you see — try to actually, really, literally — and usually gets something that goes beyond…see deeply.”
As I thought of Pauline, I was struck by the fact that she immigrated to Canada, just as I had. I wondered if location had any effect on her art. In Canada, there’s a pressure to imbue one’s art with a Canadian identity. Pauline addresses this attitude by saying that “if you’re in Canada, isn’t it already Canadian art?” She said, “Artists should be allowed to create and not be concerned about the nation-state.” About this medium, in general, Pauline summed it up, saying, “There are so many avenues one could take when exploring the ceramic art form. Pottery forms or figurative sculptural forms or installation work and more…I have been working in clay for over twelve years now. I’m still learning and enjoying.”