Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BFA Exhibition

The BFA Exhibition opened on Friday night and I've just had a chance to show a few pics from it. It was really a great show with a lot of diversity of talent. There was a little shock and humour with this piece on the American Shopping Experience, a scary photo of Danny and I larger than life done by photo major Cody Bell. Couldn't help but want to show you the diversity of Young Danny Crump with his large steel sculpture and his lead glazed grog cast head that almost matches the size of his since he now has landed the residency at Missoula, Montana. This is another feather in his cap. At 23 he has had residencies at Peter's Valley, Red Lodge and now Missoula. Congrats, Danny!
I loved the imagination in this painting of a child taking a fish for a walk on a leash. To be able to imagine that brought a smile.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Day in the Life

I had my last class with my Introductory Ceramics students today. The group kinda got thin from it's beginning of 11 students. This is LDS country so ya can expect a couple to get pregnant,drop out and that's what happened. Weddings, babies and sugar is where the money is. See the smiles on those guys faces- I have my suspicions!!!! A couple I asked to drop since they thought Ceramics was a bird course and ya just fiddled around. Sorry, not under my watch. I work hard and expect my students to work hard as well. One student is not in the pic as she is always late- too bad cause instruction happens at the beginning of class and then it's put on some nice tunes and it's work time.
There's a student sale of pots today and throughout the weekend. I'll take pics of some work tomorrow.
Just so you don't think it's all work and no play here is a pic of my three fellow grads down at Muskrat Crick B+B. Trevor, Denny and the Land Lady Heidi and I all started together so we had a celebratory PBR at the back of the house by the crick.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why they were run outta England

Here is Crazy James our Aussie exchange student from the penal colonies. James put together a performance piece that had a fan hanging in the middle that was supposed to blow around his porcelain bells and eventually smash them. Hey our US porcelain must be tuffer than they're accustomed to Down Under. The piece turned out to be more of a chime than a smash. James did present some paper thin porcelain lamps that were very successful.
Detroit Jake got more of a roar from his sporting some ceramic bling bling.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Show Time

Here are some photos that were taken in the gallery. The big pots I haven't figured out how to photograph properly. The big ware took the macho outta me this go round. Hard to lift, hard to get in and outta the kiln, hard to clean, hard to display and then it gets it's final say with being hard to photograph. My next effort with these babies will be to make them in sections and then PC-7 them together. Oh yeah, they also wanted to lean towards the fire. Thank God, I got sensible and made some work in a more functional scale.

Transcending Borders

Well the journey to MFAhood is over. The exhibition "Transcending Borders" has been mounted and the thesis defended. It is official, I am now one of a loooooong list of USU alumni that waited for the last firing to pull off their show. I thought when I started this journey almost 3 years ago that I would tuck some work away from each firing and I would have a show with no pressure coming down the home stretch. Well, the home stretch was were I had to find another gear to shift into and somehow it all came together. John sent me this little story the day after the show. It is appropriate to how this all this came together. John's father sent the story to him.

Bullshit and Brilliance

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful aged poodle named Cuddles, along for the company.

One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old poodle thinks, 'Oh, oh! I'm in deep doo-doo now!' Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap the old poodle exclaims loudly, 'Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?'

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. 'Whew!' says the leopard, 'That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!'

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, 'Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!

Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, 'What am I going to do now?', but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says.

'Where's that damn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!

Moral of this story....

Don't mess with old farts .. age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill! Bullshit and brilliance only come with age and experience.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Save the future

for the young bulls. Johnnie Larson was a student at USU that thought he'd be better off building a chamber kiln and making pots. Johnnie was a huge help at my last firing of the double wide. That was Johnnie trying to split the kon-tiki log. Looks like he would go to any length to get pots made even making them in a upstairs barn.
He is digging his own clay, processing his glaze materials and firing a wood kiln. This young bull ought to have yunomi's in the AKAR show. Check out that water jar- it's a killer! Can't imagine having that kind of aesthetic at 20 years old. He's going to be a good one. I need to send him my young bull old bull story annually. Go get em' Johnnie!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Eye

In a city full of great ceramics and beautiful trees and flowers this is the kind of stuff I take pics of. I loved this bicycle lawnmower. I could see some lazy industrious kid being asked to mow the lawn so he went to work building a lawncicyle. This must be his old man's house with the bicycle wheel fence. I loved this cactus too.

Nceca- I should have

I should have taken pics of the USU show in the Hyatt, I should have taken a pic of the 5 foot tall Chris Gustin wood fired porcelain jar that I loved, the Bobby Silverman wall slabs, the dinnerware show, the Jeff Shapiro piece, the student show etc, etc. The fact is I was too busy looking to take pics. On the one day I had my camera my friend and fellow grad Sunshine Cobb and I went to see some shows and happened upon Alice Cooper's Coopertown Bar and Grill. Our waitress was a real cutie and posed with Sunshine and her friend Laurie.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Reduction cooling in a wood fired kiln is probably the highest labour investment in firing I have ever experienced. First you have to fire the wood kiln to temperature and then you have to fire it down to 1350 F which can often take as long as a firing. Our last firing was 48 hours with a 15 hour cool to 1350F. Then when you unload the kiln the pots are covered in unmelted ash and you must spend time washing the pots, scrubbing them with wire brushes, Dremel tools, flapper wheels, wet sand paper and then add a bit of walnut oil or don't tell anyone I told you this -Armoral car cleaner. I had the added problem of the iron rich clay scumming lime which had to be cleaned out with muriatic acid and then the lime had to be scrubbed and washed off. I have now put almost 4 full days into trying to excavate colour from under the surface. I have one large pot- the one on the right that is probably the best one I have made. It has almost been worth all the trouble. Sometimes there is one that comes along that makes you want to do it again.
My apologies for the photos of the bigger ones. We don't have a backdrop big enough so i might take better photos when they are installed.

Monday, April 6, 2009

" Last of the Noughties

John Neely is a wordsmith and he cleverly referred to the out going group of grad students as the last of the noughties. Hence the title of our Nceca graduate and faculty show in Phoenix 2009 at Hyatt Regency is "Last of the Noughties".
Noughties is the word to describe the 2000s decade, such as the nineties or the eighties is used to make reference to their respective decades.
The opening reception is Friday April l0th in the Cassidy Room of the Hyatt 6-9. It's my birthday so please attend bearing gifts.
Here is a sneak preview of some of my pots from our last firing. Still cleaning them and making them presentable for my Mfa show on April 17th.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hot Buttered Crumpet

Today, I had the privilege of being invited to an Awards Ceremony celebrating excellence. Young Danny Crump was the recipient of Student of the Year in the Art Dept.
When he received the nomination and acceptance I heard naysayers grumbling blah, blah, blah. No one in the ceramics dept. has experimented and accomplished more than Danny. He can fire every kiln in the department, he has grog cast, poured aluminum and bronze cups, is a fine maker of domestic ware, he has welded sculpture, made beautiful coiled primitive vases and he continually steps up for the old bull at the drop of a hat. Congrats, Danny!!! Neely goes to the can every day at 2 just to check who is being naughty or nice and doesn't miss a thing that's going on in the studio. You are always the one with a mess around him making something no one else has tried.
Atsuko Neely also received Faculty Undergrad Advisor of the Year at the ceremony today. I've never had Atsuko for a teacher but I'd nominate her in a heartbeat for B and B Hostess of the Year. Whenever a visiting artist is in town there is a pot luck at the Neely's. Whenever someone needs a room, some advice, some food or drink Atsuko is always a welcoming hostess with a hearty laugh.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Hollow Leg Society

This the size of the crew required to fire the big double wide wood kiln at USU. Art students will do almost anything for food. Denny and I provided meat, chili, potatoes, bread and copious quantities of PBR. Pabst Blue Ribbon is the beer of choice here cause it Utah's 3.2% alcohol so it hydrates you and it's $16 for a 30 pack. So at 50 cents a beer you can afford to fill a wash barrel with snow and pack 60 beers in there for the Hollow Leg Society. Here is a shot of them gathered at the Mfa show of Cole Bybee's work. Janice and Arsenath are the two Art Dept.secretaries that manage all the administrivia that artists are so bad at doing.
Cody Bell is a photo major doing portraits of ceramic students. Here is what not to do with an expensive camera, some tables and a ladder.