Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strike two for Sue !

Sue Bakley and her First Place piece

My dear friend Sue Bakley got the first place award again this year with her mixed media porcelain figurines. No surprise there, her work does stand out. She crafts characters out of fine porcelain, then borrow from her experience as a purse designer to dress them up with a touch of elegance and charm. I love how she created a style of her own from merging to disparate crafts together. And the possibilities are endless, as she confided. She's got plans to expand her line, so stay tuned and watch out for her.

One of my entries
Shadow Orb; naked Raku

No awards for me, but I did manage to get my two entries picked up for the show. Acceptance rate was about 50%, so I feel good :) They were the only two alternative fire ceramics pieces in the show. I encourage anyone in the field to enter next year, we need more representation !

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

37th Small Image Show starting today

A quick note about the 2012 Small Image Show opening today at Gallery 21 in the Spanish Village Art Center.
First, it's a great show ! Contrary to its title, it includes all media, not just pictures or paintings. All art is required to be no more than 10 inches in length in any direction. Which means a broad selection of art pieces that are sure to delight any visitors.
And the show is juried to ensure a high quality display. This year's juror is watercolor painter Joanna Mersereau. She will have the additional task to award three prices.
So don't miss out the reception on Saturday, January 28th, 4-8pm. Come mingle with the artists and discover what they've been up to.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Starting the new year in colors !

A must-have !

Here we are, a few weeks in 2012, it's about time I start posting again !
Holidays take so much energy out of you. So much preparations, then going through the festivities, and finally letting your breath out and gathering yourself up for the new year. In a way, it feels like a week-long art show, with customers you know all too well.
So, yes, it took me a few weeks to gather myself up and come out of my shell. Interestingly, my Christmas trip turned out quite productive. I managed to read Robin Hopper's "The Ceramic Spectrum" and Linda Bloomfield's "Colour in Glazes", cover to cover. Both Christmas gifts (my Amazon Wish list is full of pottery books !). Both a perfect course on colors in ceramics, for beginners and advanced ceramicists alike. Linda has the best chemical description of glaze chemistry that I have seen. She nailed it down very simply while keeping it chemically accurate. Robin's book is simply a must have in any potter's collection. Everthing you need to know, and more, to develop your own colors and glazes. My book is now full of marks for all the things I want to try.
For that, I am eyeing an electric test kiln. One with an electronic controller to match my big kiln. Very important for controlling the cooldown rate. And my test cycles will be very fast. No need to wait for the big kiln to fill up to sneak in a few test tiles. The Paragon Caldera XL, the Olympic Hotbox HB89, and the AIM 88/D caught my eye. Rated to Cone 10 on 120V, with similar chamber dimensions (about 8"x8"x9"). Pricing varies between $600 and $800. Anyone with experience with any of those models, please contact me with your advice !
Of course, a new kiln and tons of test tiles mean studio space issues. Always a hot button at the house. But 2012 is a year of expansion ! Construction plans were submitted to the city for an addition, to include a second studio room, effectively double my space. If all goes well at the city, construction should start in February. Exciting ! Well, that also means three months of adjustments, during which I will likely work out of the garage. No pain, no gain, I am still ecstatic, already looking forward to the second part of the year with a well-equiped studio and enough space to contemplate hosting my own studio sales !
In the meantime, I am still hoping to maintain some pieces at local galleries, while looking for other host galleries to include me in their portfolio. Not an easy task, that I am well aware of. Small steps, slowly building a base of work, eventually creating an actual portfolio to display to prospective galleries. But also seeking out award shows for exposure. And business cards, lots of them !
In short, 2012 will be an interesting year, when I will have to further define myself as an artist and find my voice. I am looking forward to it !