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Our last spring art market (and spring show for the year) was this past Saturday. It was a very nice day and surprisingly active quite early, thanks to the Market on the Square farmers market which takes place weekly on the opposite side of Cathedral Square. Lots of positive feedback from artists and patrons alike.
Anyhow this time of year is always a good time to reflect, regroup, catch up on some orders, and somehow account for how quickly winter and spring passed by..
Here is another video from the CBC broadcast archives that was interesting and, once you get past the early 70s-ness of certain things, it still pertains to a lot of issues artists and craftspeople still face today.
The description from the CBC site about this video:
“For the Cammidges of Vancouver Island, crafting is a family affair. Andrew, the father, makes clay pots; his wife Joyce dyes and spins wool; and the children are expected to master a craft, too. The family has joined a growing number of Canadians who have turned to crafts as a livelihood. But it’s no easy ride: in this CBC report, the owner of a craft supply shop says the odds aren’t in favour of the professional craftsperson.“
The link to the story: The Crafty Family
The other day, after a chat with my friend in Manitoba, I went to searching the CBC broadcast archives and this one on Michael Cardew came up. Michael Cardew, in case the name doesn’t ring a bell, is an internationally well-known and well-respected British potter who, as I discovered after watching this clip, was actually the first student of Bernard Leach. Nicely presented on this video.
The description from the CBC site about this video:
“After a lifetime at the potter’s wheel, making a bowl is second nature for Michael Cardew. He starts by kneading a hunk of brown clay to remove air bubbles, then positions it on the spinning wheel. He drives his thumbs into the clay, creating a depression in the centre. With intense concentration, Cardew pulls the sides up and out to create a bowl shape. The process, known as throwing, is the focus of this clip from the CBC series Hand and Eye.”
Video link: “How to throw a pot” with Michael Cardew
No, we haven’t fallen off the planet, just everywhere but the keyboard.
Here are a couple of shots of some raku pots I snapped at a show this weekend. Stylized dragonflies and lotuses bottle & a sweet bay magnolia jar.
Other news.. this spring’s last First Saturdays Art Market will be at Cathedral Square in downtown Mobile on June 2nd from 9 am to 3 pm (NB relocated from the Royal & Government location). There will be pottery and painting demonstrations, and starting at 7:30 am on the other side of the square will be Mainstreet Mobile’s Market on the Square farmer’s market. Hope you are able to join us as we go out with a bang.
(fyi This jar is one of the completed pieces from my February 3rd blog entry, where it appeared in unglazed.)
Starting back in the early 90s, in the early days of Clayart and various pottery newsgroups, there was a group of us who used to log onto the #pottery channel on mIRC, spending long hours happily clicking away at the keyboard talking about anything related to clay, pottery, glazes, firing, kilns, design, life as a potter, apprentices, etc etc etc.
One of the people I haven’t lost touch with from the channel is Rusty Wiltjer (aka Grulox). Rusty has been potting for over 35 years now and is one of the more technically capable potters I know.
For the last few years, Rusty has focused on developing and producing his handmade sinks, including his pedestal, vessel, and self-rimming models. They are all individually made on the potters wheel, glazed, then high-fired in his gas kiln . I’ve seen a lot of sinks potters have tried to make out there and .. well, there are handmade sinks, and there are handmade sinks. Rusty’s a precision thrower and his sinks are thrown well, designed well (including back-flow), and are finished well.
When I visited his site yesterday I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of clay drums he now has up …and each with a sound clip! Its amazing how a slight variation in vessel shape can affect the tone and pitch. Did I mention Rusty also drums professionally and has on and off since he was a kid? For some time now he has been having a weekly drum gathering session at his house where a bunch of like-minded percussionists (I assume all on handmade or primitive drums?) get together and just jam.
Rusty’s studio is nestled just outside the town of Waterford, Maine, about one hour north of Portland. If you would like to find out more about his sinks, drums, and pottery, or would like to contact him yourself, please feel free to check out his web site www.wiltjerpottery.com.
Here’s a picture of Rusty playing a live performance with singer songwriter Kristen Short. (Nice bandana eh?)
I mentioned in my last post about my friend Charles posting some of the film clips of him being interviewed on YouTube. I can certainly see the value of having some sort of presence there from a marketing perspective, but it also gives me an excuse to go play with some of those movie or video programs that have remained up to this point, at least, unused.
So here is a slideshow I threw together with some photos I had on hand. A few things to work out yet, but, like anything else, there is a learning curve. Man, the technology that’s available to us is amazing isn’t it? And I didn’t even need a Mac to do this.. who knew!
(NOTE: To play the video clip, please click the little “play” right arrow thingie icon in the bottom left corner of the window below. )
Well Christmas is right around the corner and December seems to have passed as soon as it came. There were a lot of pots made in between illnesses and the different obligations and distractions that typically pull you away when you have 2 small children.
Our much anticipated Coastal Artisans Art Show took place on December 2nd (the invitational art show that we had been busily organizing since early last spring) and I am so very pleased to say it was a great success, thanks to a lot of elbow grease on everybody’s part, great community support, and, of course, a buying public. It was a very positive experience and imminently rewarding. We have a really personable and eclectic group of artists and I feel very fortunate to have been able to get to know them over the last several months. I really look forward to working with them again next year. In case you who were involved are reading this blog, I wish to thank all of you who participated and to everyone else who so generously helped us make everything happen.
One of the members and a co-founder of The Coastal Artisans, is Charles Smith. A native of Mobile, Alabama, he is one of the region’s most well known, widely recognized, and certainly respected professional visual artists. He is a true craftsman with a shrewd business sense, a great sense of humor and a heart of gold. Some of you may be interested to learn that a number of video interviews with Charles have been posted on YouTube, where Charles reflects upon technique, design, and artistry, among other things. To view these eight videos, including a slideshow of some of his pots, go to http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=smithpots.
Something else that has gone on in the early part of the month, as mentioned in my previous posts…… On Saturday Dec 16th, the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society had the official opening of their anagama kiln. Sadly we weren’t able to make it over be there for the event, but not for lack of desire (my 4 year old brought home yet another cold from school and this time, everybody here got it.). According to a recent email from Marty and Brenda Stokes, the firing took 5 days, as it did last year when Brian Harper helped them fire it. I can’t wait to see the pictures and, with any luck, a video of the event on their web site.
The first weekend of November is always a popular weekend for art shows andsales here on this part of the Gulf. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, here are but a few of these events to check out:
- This Friday night, Nov 3rd, between 5 and 10 pm, Main Street Mobile will be closing down Conti Street again and opening it up for the evening to the arts. ArtsAlive! on Conti Street is a bi-annual event, usually held in May and November and is a celebration of “visual, performing, and written arts” as well as local artists. Please refer to their calendar for more info.
- Fri Nov 3rd through Sun Nov 5 – The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival , Pensacola, Florida
- Sat Nov 4 & Sunday Nov 5 – The Peter Anderson Festival, Ocean Springs, MS
“The campaign is designed to be a year–long celebration of the arts in Alabama that encourages both visitors and Alabamians to spend time experiencing every form of art that Alabama has to offer.”
according to the Alabama’s Bureau of Tourism & Travel web site
In addition to a brochure they are putting out, they are compiling a database of artists, arts organizations (including galleries), events, and attractions online that they will be drawing from for future promotional information, publications, and happenings. In the next couple of weeks they will apparently also be revamping the existing web page, making it a lot more extensive, and hopefully a resource that will benefit everyone in the arts community. You can learn more about their plans and keep up with the latest news on their web site.
Sometimes working as an independent artist tucked away in your studio can be a tad isolating. If you haven’t heard anything about this, don’t feel you’ve missed out. Its still not too late to get your name/event/gallery into their database.
Artists have been asked to submit information directly on their website
art organizations (including galleries) at: http://www.800alabama.com/yoa/signup/organizations/index.cfm?action=new,
and if you have an arts event, list it in their calendar at: http://www.800alabama.com/things-to-do/events/submit.cfm.
My apologies to those of you who may have tried to access our web site for the last week only to get a “page not found” message. I can assure you, we have not fallen off the planet and, I’m happy to say, we are still most definitely very much here.
As I had mentioned in a previous post, we, along with 11 other artists, have formed a group called the Coastal Artisans, a self-representing collective of noteable and established artists from the Mobile, Baldwin County, and Surrounding areas. Our mission is to present a broad range and eclectic mix of quality artwork to the public, and increase art awareness in the community.
Our artists include: Charles Smith, pottery; Chris Hartsfield, Watercolors; Kurt Thomas, Serigraphs, Screenprinting; Phillip & Jaclyn Benedict, Fine Jewelry & Handcut Gemstones, Rick Tino, Acrylic, Watercolor, & Gouache; “Spike” Cloninger, Fine Lathe-Turned Vessels; Lowell Webb, Pottery; David Atwood, Stained & Fused Glass; Anne Webb, Pottery; William Colburn, Metal Sculpture; Scott Blackwell (Mombo Designs), Cajun Art & Design; Lillie Mack & Marilyn Gordon (Blackbelt Designs), Fiber, Fashion Design; and Jimmy Stroud, Nature Photography.
On December 2nd, we are happy to announce that we will be holding our First Annual Christmas Show and Sale at The Mobile Botanical Gardens from 9 am to 5 pm. Its a one day only event and is being held in conjunction with the Master Gardeners’ and Annual Poinsettia Sale events at the Botanical Gardens.
To find out more info about our group, our artists, and our Christmas Sale, please check out The Coastal Artisans’ blog/website (http://thecoastalartisans.blogspot.com) . We will be adding more info in the months leading up to the show.