Greetings


HAPPY HANUKKAH FROM DEC 12-20!

HAPPY SOLSTICE DEC 21!

MERRY CHRISTMAS DEC 25!

HAPPY KWANZAA DEC 26- JAN 1!

HAPPY NEW YEAR JAN 1, 2018!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Masks Ibo (Igbo), Fang, Picasso





Part of the problem with African masks is to avoid those which were created just to sell to tourists.

Then there are the cultural differences, and you can't blame Africans for hiding some of their religious rituals from invasive missionary Christians.  Many masks were worn just for the spiritual practices of tribal peoples.

Western European art was impacted by the early importation (19th Century) of African art...including Picasso using some of the style in his early cubist paintings. (see below)

I won't try to depict the ceremonial masks specifically.  I'm just interested in design here.

And actually all of these sculptures are made of wood.  My interest is translating, or using them for inspiration for clay masks.
















Sunday, January 27, 2013

Process of building a dragon mask

Yesterday the icy rain kept me inside most of the day, and I'd left the mask covered at the Black Mountain studio...which was closed due to the ice storm.

Today it was warm and all the ice was gone.  So I worked at the BMCA studio, then brought the mask home, to continue to work at my own schedule.

This is the inner part of the mask, showing the indentations in which the eyeballs were placed, then given support structures for the eyes.  It also shows one nostril which is open through the mask, as well as the mouth.


Here are the eyes (not open through the mask) and the nostrils which are open through the mask.  I've sketched in some detail areas, and done some of the middle process carving.  The mouth will have a tongue added, and there are various parts of her anatomy which haven't been completed yet. At this point she's beyond leather hard, but I want to keep the option of adding some pieces, like that tongue, so will mist her when I put her under the plastic tonight.

I studied some African masks in Art School at the U of Florida in the 80s.  They influenced Picasso, so I hope they've influenced me a bit too.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Masks Korean and Japanese inspired

Masks from Asia are frequently wood.

Korean Masks

The info below is from an article by the British Museum (why they are authorities on Japanese Masks, I don't know)

Japanese masks and their uses

The Japanese interest in masks probably dates from the Jōmon period (about 10,000-300 BC).  (see my blog about Jomon pottery here). Mask-like objects made from shells with holes cut for eyes and nose, as well as crude pottery masks may have been used for religious ritual. In the later Kofun period (about 300 - mid-6th century) many haniwa (clay tomb guardians) had delicately modelled faces.  (see my blog about a Haniwa house here  and the historic houses here.)

Haniwa figure(Kofun period)

 

The arrival of Buddhism in Japan in the sixth century brought many semi-religious and secular activities using masks. These soon mingled with native Shintō rites and popular traditions. Gigaku masked dance drama probably originated in the Korean kingdom of Kudara. Early performances were wild and bawdy, showing foreign influences from countries along the Silk Route as well as Indian Hinduism and Buddhism. Unlike most Japanese masks, the Gigaku masks fitted around the whole head and face. They were made either of painted wood or kanshitsu, a combination of hemp cloth and lacquer. They often had hair attached. Gigaku died out by the Edo period (1600-1868)

Here's the remainder of the article.  It's pretty short actually.

18th Century Korean mask

I recently looked through a book on Japanese masks, with great photos of actual masks, including a dragon.  (When I next go to the Folk Art Center I'll look for the title in their crafts library.)

Oh my, I thought.  We do dragons differently now, and so do the Chinese in their various replicas everywhere from puppetry for parades (with several people walking under them) to images on place mats, not to mention on pottery.

So that led me to begin to build a clay mask of a dragon.  Yep, it's about halfway fabricated, first building up the form, now carving details.  It is not for wearing in the theater but for hanging on the wall.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Feeding her pets

Panther enjoying her pets. (She really loves to snack on their food, so I've got to get it closed up tight before she gets into it!)
Do you see the photographer reflected in this too?  So this shot will be submitted to Weekend Reflections!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to eat pizza

A single serve pizza plate, in different colors


Variety of glazes was part of the commission
A couple of friends and I made pizza plates for one of our newer pizza restaurants here in Black Mountain. 

It's taken next to forever to get them fired, just because our kilns in the community studio are loaded with a selection of everyone's work.  So since early Dec. I've had some that are still waiting to glaze, and one of us has just gotten some of her's bisqued.  This is something I used to get hot under the collar about.  Not any more.  Everyone who works in the studio has equal opportunity, and if the person loading the kiln leans toward one size or shape of work, that's his business.  It all comes out ...(drum roll please) in the kiln!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Penland and Odyssey

Amyrillis progress report, noon, Jan. 9,2013

 Penland in the rain in the winter.

Penland School of Crafts, Winter 2012 (raindrop on lens,The Pines in the background left, Clay Studio right)

Penland winter 2012 - This is the dining hall, called The Pines
Odyssey Studio, closed for the holidays
We drove by Odyssey, in Asheville, to check out the rumour that they were closing.  They were closed for the holidays, and I have since then determined they are still in operation.  The Clay Club held an Olympics there for their meeting January 9.  Notification of this event wasn't published until this week, and that's too short a notice for me to go to things.  But they do have a meeting the 2nd Wed. of the month, usually.  I should just pencil it onto my calendar, because they have great pot luck food, along with the camaraderie of professional potters in the area.

Blogger keeps saying it has made errors.  I'm quitting trying to blog today.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thanks to The Flowery One

Here I am with my trusty old camera, and my nice new warm scarf. (I save the new camera for special work)  If the scarf is not wool, it's definitely wooly.  (My sweater is heavy cotton, but the combination works fine in 40 degree weather) 

My dear friend, The Flowery One, sent me a package of lots of goodies for Christmas ...calendar,  books, shopping bags, an insulated grocery bag, even a bag for carrying 3 bottles of wine!  I'm probably forgetting a few of the goodies, because they were such fun to unwrap on Christmas morning.

I'm so blessed to have good friends!  I hope they don't mind always getting pottery from me!

I am giving away all my Santa collection.  I hope other folks will enjoy seeing a smiling elf that supposedly brings children what they ask for if they behave well.  I've completely lost faith in that myth this year since I want my adult children to be recognized for their efforts to give their children those presents.

Today my breathing has suddenly taken a turn toward strained sighs, using my inhaler every other hour.  I slept well, I think, but woke with a disturbing dream.  Went back to sleep after feeding animals.  So this is not much of a production day, and I'll just try to keep doing the necessary things.  Sometimes this gets so bad I just lie in bed all day.  But I think I'll take care of some household things, and maybe do some google searching for my next sculptural project.  Baby steps will still get me where I'm going.

Queen Muffin

Amyrillis Jan.8, 2013

The flower looks about to burst.  I will also be trying to get the Christmas/New Years decorations put away today.  (Did you notice trying?  Mmm-hun, it is on the to-do list)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Head in the hole in the ground

Well, there's a blog that has mentioned my blog a few times, and given me an honorable mention under Linda's, another blogger who's the third most read pottery blog. 

Oh my.  Why did I have my head in the sand, and not even read their blog?  Well, I will from now on, that's for sure.



Go check out their list of top 10 blogs for last year.   http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/top-pottery-blogs-of-2012/

I'm at least a reader of most of those blogs.  How about you?

http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/

A good resource to have for all kinds of information. 

I know I've said I don't want awards, but geese, it's fun to see that they've been chosing some of my blogs every month for being listed.  I am honored!

Yesterday an out-of-town friend called and said she reads my blog.  Oh, I was surprised.  Somehow I think all the readers are strangers...but here's someone I've known most of my life.  What did I say about her, I thought first of all.  I always tell the truth, thank heavens for that.

Now back to bringing some ideas into fruition.  I've got a bee in my bonnet again!


Monday, January 7, 2013

The cloverleaf bowls


A great way to reheat vegetarian Chinese food (Bean curd, homestyle) in the microwave.  Lovely use of some bowls that I've had sitting on a shelf for a while.  (I took two out for my personal testing)

So now I know these are great to use, are easy to clean, and food looks pretty good in them too.  Much wider and flatter than my "mug-bowls" so it was different having a serving that was almost like a plate, but had raised edges.  The bottoms aren't trimmed with a foot, just are nice and flat so they're easy to move along an oven rack.  I'd give them a thumbs up.

Oh, I have promoted these as a way to make a pot pie, so that's on my agenda later this week.  I'll try to take pictures too.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

OK, inspirational books


I was asked to review these two books for Amazon.  Then I found that since I hadn't bought anything form Amazon in years, I'm kind of locked out from writing reviews.

So here's what I would have said.

Marilee Bresciani writes in Rushing to Yoga and Surrendering to the Call, her own invigorating dynamic stories which are woven together using yoga type ideas.  She writes in first person, sharing many interactions with friends which provide dialog for the ideas to be demonstrated, each of which becomes a chapter.  I enjoyed these stories, but can't personally relate to them.  Her life is delightful, but very different than mine.  I did get some inspiration, but also my head would have been spinning if I lived with so many relationships and friendships as Marilee must have.  Unfortunately both of these books were not edited for correct spelling and it became more and more distracting as I read them.  When the word "while" was written as "whine" it became evident that a spell-check program had gone berserk.  I hope Marilee keeps sharing her ideas and gets a good editor.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Close up

Just look what a little water, sun and soil can do...I'm growing and growing now!

It's really hard to get her in focus!
 I had borrowed back this statuette from the gallery while they were closed over Christmas, and now she's back at Black Mountain Center for the Arts.

Just wanted to get a close up of her features...difficult to see with camera.  I'm interested in how the white glaze filled in low places which were shadows before glazing, thus making a kind of negative image as raised areas remained darker like her lips.
I had her home so I could get a critique from my son the sculptor who's in grad school at Indiana University.  Yep, I still have some areas to work on.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Check it out

My new blog starts TODAY January 1, 2013.  Living in Black Mountain  I won't be as chatty there as I am here.  Just the environment I love.  This will be the picture for linking to it.



And I'm concentrating on my ancestors, as well as journalling in kind of autobiography on When I Was 69.   There's already a link to that blog over there on the right.

So this blog will remain my home for chats, comments about creativity and ceramics.  And I'll be reading all my friend's blogs still.


Yesterday I walked happily around Lake Tomahawk.  It was 34 and sunny, and the wind wasn't much of a problem, because I figured out which way it was coming off the water, then walked so the wind would be at my back.  So I actually got quite hot with my puffy coat, wool hat, and 2 layers of cotton under all that.  Good, maybe there's a half pound of sweat I shed.


I ate a lovely breakfast, which put on at least a couple of pounds.  There was some left over cut fresh pineapple. And a coffee cake mix.  So I made pineapple upside down coffee cake.  Oh my, so delicious!  I also ate it for lunch, with a Clementine.  (Yes fellow Floridians, these Spanish oranges are the best available, and only at this time of year, which fits with the tradition of an orange in the toe of your Christmas stocking)

Do you have a word upon which to focus for this year?
I do.

FLEXIBILITY.

 Hope to see you next year everyone!  It's been a cat's meow this year!



There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.  Albert Einstein