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Ceramic News Briefs International

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Germany: Missing link in Roman conquest of Germany a ‘sensational find,The Local – There has been a major archaeological find about ancient Romans in present-day Germany. Pottery shards are an important component of the find, which focuses on a chain of Roman camps. This most recent find shows that Roman soldiers “used the camp from 11 to 7 B.C. as a base to control the river crossing – which makes the find one of the most important logistical landmarks of the Roman conquerors.”

United States: Science on the SPOT: The Science of Salt Glaze Pottery, Quest – A North Carolina family has been involved with pottery for six generations. This article focuses upon Ben Owen III who makes salt glazed pottery. A companion article, which can be found here, reports on minerals for salt glazing, focusing on glaze chemistry.
England: Ceramics companies take centre stage at major US launch, This Is Staffordshire – City Council leaders from Stoke-on-Trent are launching a National Geographic Museum exhibition on the Staffordshire Hoard. A display of British ceramics will be shown to dignitaries and businessmen. Stoke-on-Trent is enjoying a renaissance and the U.S. launch focuses on promoting the British ceramics industry and informing people about the technological advances in the industry, in addition to supply and demand, and labor.

United States: Surmet Strengthens Fabrication Capability for Transparent Ceramic Armor and IR optics Products, PR Web – As you know, I report on high-tech ceramics occasionally and have come across an intriguing article about an amazing material. It is called transparent ceramic armor and is made of magnesia Spinel. The article reports on a “… wide variety of shapes and sizes ranging in complexity from Transparent Ceramic Armor windows, through prisms, lenses, hemispherical and hyper-hemispherical domes and windows for sensors, lasers and reconnaissance. Surmet’s fabrication capability extends beyond optical ceramics to materials such as Sapphire, Silicon, and Germanium, etc. ”

England: Prince Charles at Victorian Middleport Pottery Site, BBC – Middleport Pottery, the last working Victorian pottery, has received funding from Prince Charles that will allow it to remain open. “Burleigh blue and white floral china has been made there since 1888.” For related articles and a video, click here and here.  Another related story reports on Prince Charles’ objection to the demolition of homes that were built for the potteries workers. For more on that, click here. Thank goodness for Prince Charles and his charities!

United States: The Scrolls as a Start, Not an End, New York Times – Ceramic artifacts are part of an exhibition called “The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times” that will run through April 15 at Discovery Times Square in New York City (discoverytsx.com). Click on the story link to watch a fascinating slide show that accompanies the article. This is an excellent feature story about the exhibition and is well worth the time it takes to read.

United States: Muralist seeks funds to install art installation, Berkeleyside – A mural is languishing in storage because there is no money to install it at a senior living facility in California. The artist is now pursuing other forms of revenue. “After years of frustration, Alicia turned to the web-based funding platform Kickstarter to raise the $5,000 needed to install the 10 monumental ceramic panels of her work. At time of writing, 17 backers had donated $521. If the $5,000 isn’t raised by November 20, the project will fail.” Click through to this story link to see a video about the artist and her project.

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Ceramic News Briefs International

England: Boost for Staffordshire schools, Creative Boom – Such good news! It isn’t often you hear of schools receiving extra funding for art these days. Staffordshire is one of four Firing Up organizers program in England. The others include Bath, Manchester and Sunderland. It is being done with an eye toward potential professional ceramists. “The Crafts Council and Staffordshire University have teamed up to reinvigorate ceramics teaching in Staffordshire’s secondary schools.”

United States: Modern living: A 2011 spin on a 1951 photo, LA Times – Here is a fun piece… The Times re-created ia 1951 magazine cover using modern decor. The original scene was staged by the Los Angeles County Museum of art. Both old and new versions feature ceramics. The color palette has been retained, as has the placement of objects.

United States: Rare Moravian pottery owl bottle, circa 1800-1820 to highlight Bonhams sale, art daily – This sweet little bottle is expected to fetch between us $60-$80,000. “The Moravian potters produced press molded animal bottles in the early 19th century for everyday use, such as dry spice storage. Two variations of owl bottles were made but their molds have never been located.” The owl has a tortoise slip glaze, inspired by English pottery called Whieldonware.

Canada: Ceramics put a halt to disc brakes, Autonet – This news story  surprised me, for I never thought I’d be posting about automotive news. However, it’s worth a look. “Ceramic brakes were originally developed by British engineers working in the railway industry for high-speed rail…in 1988.” Ceramic discs are much lighter than steel discs, by upwards of 50%. The stopping power is much quicker, yet, at present, they are very expensive.

United States: Firing on all creative cylinders, Sequim Gazette – These zany sculptures make you feel good just looking at them And they remind me of a friend’s style. Splashy, some fantasy-based, others are interpretations of real-life creatures. He also does raku. The artist, Steve Wry, will be exhibiting his work at an art walk on October 7 in Sequim, in northwest Washington. “Because I don’t do functional ware, I consider them works of art rather than crafts,” Wry said. “Art doesn’t need to be equated with craft. I don’t consider myself a craft person, but a sculptor.” The Blue Whole Gallery, 129 W. Washington St., at 681-6033, www.bluewholegallery.com.

England: Little clay commuters fired for Stoke ceramics festival, BBC – “An army of around 6,000 terracotta commuters has been scattered in Stoke train station and at various sites around London. People are being encouraged to pick them up and take them home.”  The figures have been created by a British artist for the British Ceramics Biennial.  The festival last 6 weeks and the figures will keep being replaced during that time.  For more news about the event click here.

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Ceramics News Briefs International

1st issue, Montreal Herald, 1811. Source- Wikimedia Commons

WEST INDIES: Caribbean Pirate Life: Tobacco, Ale … and Fine Pottery, Live Science – “Based in 18th-century Belize, they were real ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and now new research by 21st-century archaeologists is telling us what their lives were like.” Twenty years of archeological research is creating a realistic picture of what life was like for the pirates who lived at the Barcadares. Pottery finds include delftware, Chinese porcelain, and stoneware. “Why the pirates would keep such impractical things in their camp is a mystery. Finamore pointed out that there were no legitimate trade routes in fine pottery that would have reached Belize at the time the pirates were living there.” For photos, click here.

UNITED STATES: A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes opens at the Currier Museum of Art, Art Daily – A new show celebrates “Karnes’ more than 60-year career at the forefront of the studio pottery movement. From her dramatic salt-glazed pottery of the 1960s and ‘70s, to her more recent complex joined sculptural pieces, Karnes (born 1925), of Morgan, Vermont, is one of the medium’s most influential working potters and is a mentor to several generations of studio potters.” A show curator said that she is “one of the originators of the art pottery movement in the United States.” The show runs at the Currier Museum of Art from August 27 through Dec. 3, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

CANADA: Stylish ceramics with Spirit, Abbotsford Times – There is a large valley east of where I live. Yarrow, BC, lies the center of the Fraser Valley and it is a little town that is an artist’s haven, especially for potters. This story is about a Yarrow resident. “She’s been living in Yarrow for less than a year, and developed her Sun Spirit Studio with the help of Community Futures workshops, an initiative endorsed by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. Morrison designs and manufactures ceramic architectural pieces, such as backsplashes, fireplace displays, archways, signs, tabletops and mirrors. All are made in mosaic, earthen plasters and unique handmade tile.”

AUSTRALIA: Gretchen plunges into art, Weekly Times Now – Featuring the porcelain jewelry line of Australian fashion designer Gretchen Hillhouse… Good feature that talks about her life and her family. “She had her first child, earned her diploma of metal-smithing and jewellery fabrication and had another child three years later, exhibiting and teaching all this
time.” After her life stalled, she found a new direction after reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. I can personally attest that this is a powerful book that can have a profound effect on something who works through it with vigor.

UNITED STATES: Golden Valley Artist Wins First At State Fair, Golden Valley Patch – “Golden Valley resident Mike Norman’s ceramic piece “Tibet Sunrise” sits in the middle of the Fine Arts building at the Minnesota State Fair.” The 72-year-old artist pursued ceramics at the University of Minnesota when he was young. The first prize sculpture sold for $1500. “‘Tibet Sunrise’ was part of a larger collection he made, thanks to a McKnight Foundation grant. Much of the work features decorated or drawn with imagery of animals, birds or people.”

MALTA: The first Malta Ceramics Festival, Malta Independent – It looks like many things are in store during this country-wide festival that celebrates ceramics. The event runs from Sept. 7-10. During that time, there will be an official festival opening, an exhibition opening, a seminar, demonstrations, lectures, discussions, and workshops. “The festival reaches its climax on 10 September when Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Tonio Borg open the festival in the Attard village core, which will last from 7pm till midnight.”

UNITED STATES: Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti : The City in the Image of Man, International Business Times – The desert utopia is, in part, funded by the sale of the famous Soleri bells. Soleri worked as a ceramic artist in Italy and designed a big ceramics factory. Located in the desert, 70 miles from Phoenix, “Arcosanti is the study of the concept of arcology, which combines architecture and ecology.” While I have yet to see Arcosanti, I would like to one day. It is rare that a dream that has been brought to fruition. Soleri, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, he and his family moved to Arizona in 1956, and established Cosanti. Arcosanti was begun in 1970.

ENGLAND: Sotheby’s Islamic World arts sale to feature exceptional ceramics from the Collection of Harvey B. Plotnick, Art Daily – “Sotheby’s announced that the forthcoming Arts of the Islamic World Evening Auction will feature for sale 27 exquisite Islamic Ceramics from the Collection of Harvey B. Plotnick. Estimated at £2.6-3.6 million, the 27 pieces represent the first offering of a three-part-sale of the collection at Sotheby’s.” Sales Schedule: Part One in October 2011; Part Two in April 2012; and Part Three in October 2012. Part One, collected over a 20-year period, focuses on Iraqi and Iranian cultures, “as well as the trade routes between the Mediterranean and Central Asia.”

UNITED STATES: Witness A Unique Experience: Ceramic Sculpture from Around the World, PR Web – The Ceramics Annual of America 2011 Exhibition and Art Fair takes place October 7-9 at Fort Mason, Festival Hall, San Francisco, California. “The Ceramics Annual of America (CAA) is an ambitious exhibition and art fair spotlighting the quality and diversity of contemporary ceramics from around the world including works from China, Korea, Mexico, Australia and Italy. It is the only event of its kind in the United States and the goal is to encourage the education and enrichment of the public, cultivate a fertile art market, and foster dialog between collectors and makers of ceramic sculpture.” Click here for the website.

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Ceramic News Briefs International

At celadon fest, rhapsody in blue, Korea JoongAng Daily – What could be more wonderful than a celadon festival, I ask you? “The Gangjin Celadon Festival runs until Aug. 7 in Gangjin, South Jeolla.” The full characteristics of Goryeo celadon are still a mystery, as research has shown only 98% of the ingredients. An enormous statue of a potter throwing a vase adorns the festival site and there is an accompanying photo of it with the article.

Sandra McKenzie Schmitt has an eye for the business of arts, Journal Star – A career potter gives advice to young artists who want to make a go of it. Part of her success is attendance at “the Buyer’s Market of American Craft, a wholesale show for gallery owners looking for handcrafted items to sell in their shops.” She markets her work “in more than 150 galleries throughout the U.S.”

Shopping for a Picasso the Rest of Us Can Afford, Time – The story points out that while Picasso’s paintings might be out of our reach, his ceramics works can be had for around 1000 Euros. “Picasso took an unfailing interest in ceramics until he died in 1973. He created thousands of different pieces.

McDonald Discovers Her Chi Through Pottery, Marietta Patch – “Cerie McDonald becomes a pottery artist in her ‘second life’ after successfully navigating the corporate minefields into an early retirement.” Her chemistry degree has helped her understand the firing process better than most. She works in porcelain…gallery with twelve photos.

Culinary connoisseurs crave kimchi crocks, Yongap News – Crockery that was traditionally used to ferment kimchi, Korean pickled cabbage, is being replaced by electric versions among Koreans. This has created a market for ceramic onggis. “Americans are developing an awareness of the health benefits of traditionally fermented foods and their interest in onggi is apparently growing alongside this trend.”

EXECUTIVE SESSION: Wizards at work in Bristol, MPN Now – It’s a family affair! Father and son create pottery and mom and wife works in the store. I like Q and A interviews because it gives a better look at someone and the Kozlowskis “Bristoleaf” is a good topic. “Our biggest challenge is the economy. Many craftsmen and artists are going out of business because the field is so competitive. Last week, we went to an art show outside of the state, and there were only a few vendors, much less than there used to be in the 1980s.”

Cosmeston pottery find shows a thriving medieval craft, BBC – “A 13th Century pottery vessel found in the Vale of Glamorgan could indicate a thriving local craft in medieval times.” A 20-person team from Cardiff University has identified Vale Ware, pottery found in south Wales. A number of different types of vessels have been found.

AU’s Schein-Joseph Museum presents an anniversary exhibition — ‘Twenty,’ Alfred U – A splendid range of ceramics is being shown at Alfred University till the end of September to celebrate the museum’s 20th anniversary. Works by Eva Zeisel, Satoru Hoshino, and Charles Binns are part of the works on display.

Nice little urner: ‘Biggest-ever’ haul of Ming Dynasty pottery found in shipwreck… and it’s worth £43million, Daily Mail – “The artefacts, which date from around 1580, have been found on the ocean floor 93 miles off the Indonesian coast and 600ft below the waves.” An incredible photo accompanies the news brief. About 700,000 items from the merchant ship are still intact.

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