Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photo Finish

treat server under loose plastic
One of my rituals after finishing an involved piece, like this treat server, is to snap some photos of it.  Seeing the silhouette, flattened on an iphone screen, actually allows me see proportions and shapes that were unnoticed in the round.

Since most pots are viewed through photos on the internet, making picture taking an active part of process, evaluation, and evolution just makes sense.

Form is as important to me as it is to most makers.  The in-process photo also allows me to see Form, uncorrupted by my obsessive surface decoration. ;)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Process Shot

Get to work!  It's Friday and since returning from SOFA Chicago, I've taken a few days to do NON-STUDIO life maintenance.  It's been nice to attend to some things I've let lag, but I am itching to get back into the studio rhythm.  Here's an image of me forming a handbuilt platter to get things going.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Newsletter

Check out my Fall Newsletter highlighting my upcoming SOFA lecture, workshops and exhibitions  here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Narrative Treat Servers

After getting my MFA degree in 2010, I went skydiving in Palatka, FL with a group of friends.  2 1/2 years later, the experience has made its way onto one of my favorite forms, the treat server.  

I've changed up the form of my treat server to tell this story by making the surfaces flat, instead of curved.  The flat surface makes the servers more useful.  I had the chance to try one out at the reception of my solo show at the Carbondale Clay Center last weekend.  The blue server was filled with multi-colored gumdrops for all to enjoy.

While I will continue to make the curved surfaces of my traditional treat servers, many featuring spoons tucked inside pockets, I am excited about using the two levels to showcase a visual narrative on the flatter surface.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Before and After

Decisions for surface can be intimidating:  especially when working out a new form or making an involved piece like this 11-piece serving set.  I had coated all the surfaces with Forbes wax to aid the underglaze inlay process.  Fortunately, it bought me some more time with surface decisions, as the wax makes everything dry more slowly.  Nothing cracked!  Here's an image of the form in its greenware stage and after completion.  

The Four Person Serving Set contains four cups, four spoons, a sugar jar, creamer and two-tiered tray.  It is currently on display at the Carbondale Clay Center in Carbondale, CO.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fall Frenzy

So much is going on lately and I have so much to tell you!  A few highlights: I have moved to Kansas City, MO and set up a studio in the Allsman Building (31st and Holmes).  I will be going to Minneapolis, MN at the end of this week for the American Pottery Festival through Northern Clay Center.  During the festival, I will be demonstrating my handbuilding and surface decoration techniques in "Beyond Flat."  The Utilitarian Clay Symposium at Arrowmont is happening later this month--I am looking forward to assisting the conference and getting back to TN--especially during the fall. All the while, I am busy making work for a solo show at Carbondale Clay Center in Colorado coming up next month.

Finally, I have listed a few cups on my new Etsy Shop.  One of the goodies is pictured below. Check out the others here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Really Big Hills: Savoring the Seconds Between Sweet Relief and Terrifying Thrills

You know how it feels to ride your bike down a really big hill.  First you catch your breath as the wind delivers sweet relief of the burn it took to get you up there. Momentum nudges you faster and faster.  You only have a few moments to savor the thrill of speed. Colors whizz by in flashes and blurs.  A bug or two might even slap your face.  You hold off pumping your breaks as long as possible, but ultimately the fear of losing control wins. As you approach the bottom, the next hill looms as you wonder how much speed you can still maintain. You start pedaling like mad again.

The last couple of months have felt like that.  At the end of March, I had the opportunity to present my work in front of thousands of people at the NCECA Conference in Seattle, WA and I was named one of six emerging artists.  As the May issue of Ceramics Monthly came out, I was recognized as one of fourteen emerging artists featured in the magazine (the people's choice awards are open for one final day, you can cast your vote here.)
Delivering my presentation in Seattle at the NCECA Conference

While delivering my NCECA presentation, I  had the opportunity to publicly thank those who have supported my efforts.  I have so many reasons to be grateful right now.  Sherman Hall's From the Editor in the May issue of Ceramics monthly addresses key points of community, working together, and gratitude.  His words resonate with me as I look to the last few weeks of my residency at Arrowmont.

This year at Arrowmont has been one of community:  working together to accomplish many tasks.  The other residents and I just finished installing our end of year exhibition: we produced a catalog of the show that can be viewed online here. It is very appropriate that we will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Arrowmont residency by hosting a reunion retreat: "Celebrating 20:  Building and Maintaining a Community."  I am excited to meet and hang out with 50+ past Arrowmont residents for one week right before I leave this wonderful place.

Sometimes I think the biggest challenge of the really big hill is savoring the moment on the way down.

My next adventure (the next hill) will be establishing my own studio in Kansas City, MO.  This is something I have wanted for some time and I am jittery with excitement about this move.  I wonder how much speed I can build.  Better keep on pedaling.

May 2012 Issue of Ceramics Monthly

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Containment III

Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville, NC is gearing up for their third Containment exhibition, a celebration of the ceramic container.  This year's theme is "The Nesting Instinct."  Taking cues from the Russian doll theme, artists designed pieces to be nestled, hidden, and contained within another ceramic form, such as a box, tray, jar, or some other structure.  There are many joyful pieces in this exhibition.  It's definitely worth taking a look and unraveling each piece through the pictures on the website.  Each artist gives the viewer an unexpected surprise.

The folks at Crimson Laurel Gallery really understand the art of the online exhibition.  They take great care in photographing the pieces, treating the viewer to several angles and arrangements of each piece (not a simiple task, I assure you).  You'll want to have your credit card handy, because they make online purchasing easy too!  Check it out here.

Tree Jar with Flowers
Chandra DeBuse
Crimson Laurel Gallery Containment III: A Nesting Instinct

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Museum of Contemporary Craft: A True Learning Environment

The Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland is hosting a Betty Feves retrospective exhibition through July 28.   Her sculptures and pottery offer a glimpse into a parallel history of making in the mid-20th century, from a female perspective.   I had not heard of Feves before seeing the exhibit, but during my 90 minute exploration, I was able to gain a pretty good understanding of the modernist sculptor/potter's background and processes.  

What makes the Museum of Contemporary Craft so enjoyable is that is is a true learning environment.  The 4500 sq foot space is airy, with giant windows and tall ceilings.  The modular pedestals are pared-down, utilizing plywood construction.  The exhibit includes ample quotations, printed on simple cardstock, giving the viewer a glimpse into Feves’ thought processes from her own words.  Viewers can scroll through digital pages of Feves’ sketchbook.  On the second level, a special display about Feves’ techniques included her meticulous glaze notations, test tiles and some of her tools and brushes.  The interactive lab allows museum visitors to engage in the direct process of making, using pebbles and stones, modeling clay, cork and wood.  Visitors can jot down a few words about their making experience, as well as place their creations amidst the other creations made during the exhibit.  
Sculpture by Betty Feves

View of the 1st floor gallery space
Interactive sketchbook
Display of Feves' process
CraftLAB displays museum-goer's creations
The Museum of Contemporary Craft


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Friday, March 23, 2012

Evolving Forms

I have been repeating a mantra in my head.  It's a simple phrase based on something Kathryn Finnerty said at UF when she was there as a visiting artist a few years back.

Garden Treat Server, 2012
Chandra DeBuse
"Trust in the process of Making to propel your work forward."

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Juice Cups

Garden Juice Cups, 2012
Chandra DeBuse

These new juice cups are hot out of the kiln and on their way to Minneapolis, MN where they will be part of a preview for the 2012 American Pottery Festival at the Northern Clay Center.  Loop-de-loop lines, florals and stripes are awakening new ideas for pattern and form: my creative mind feels just like a spring bloom popping out of the ground.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Studio Juju

Kristen Kieffer, Chandra DeBuse, Amy Santoferraro, Martina Lantin
Call it mojo, juju, or good vibes, I feel lucky to be occupying the same studio at Arrowmont as these three clay-stars once did.  They were on campus for the ceramics surface symposium in January and I stole their souls by nabbing a photo in "our" studio.

Arrowmont has such a rich history that I can't help but think about the ghosts of Arrowmont's past when I'm walking the gravel trail from my house to studio:  former students, residents, staff--- all the way back to the days when Arrowmont was a settlement school.  One hundred years of history equals one heck of a lot of ghosts.  These three talented ceramo-s from Arrowmont's more recent past can haunt my studio anytime.    

Friday, February 17, 2012

Crossing Over

When I made plans to come to Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts to be a resident artist, I was excited about the variety of workshops offered (wood, metals, fibers, glass, books) and thought I might step outside of my comfort zone and learn a new media. Truth be told, I have not made any time to *cheat* on clay. We are definitely in an exclusive relationship.  Well until now that is.  But only a little bit.  Let me give you the backstory.

For the past 8 months, I have been surrounded by three other resident artist who are definitely not loyal to any one media.  They navigate between metals, wood, glass, clay, fibers and print. Lisa Johnson, who received her MFA in metals, also incorporates slipcast porcelain and gemstones into her sculptures and jewelry.  She learned how to slump glass and cast paper while at Arrowmont.  Her stunning Handle with Care series highlights these new developments.

Lisa Johnson
Dustin Farnsworth has been creating detailed architectural structures that give us a glimpse into the psychological states of the characters within.  He controls every aspect of the scene:  from building the structure, carving the figure, to sewing the curtains and the clothes.  He is currently working on a massive theater which he torched (yes, lit on FIRE).  Even unfinished, the work is emotionally charged and breathtaking.
Dustin Farnsworth

Phil Haralam creates abstract sculptures that act as psychological portraits, as layered and complex as the human psyche.  The sculptures cannot be assessed at a distance.  A closer look will reveal messages which are protected and hidden from view.  Phil selects materials such as rock salt, colored sand, lava rock, as well as recognizable domestic objects, such as baker's racks, and tufted stools to rest his pieces upon.
Phil Haralam

When I was invited by The Clay Studio to participate in Small Favors VII, a special exhibition and sale of miniature objects, I knew I had a chance to venture into unfamiliar territory.  Artist are told they can reference current work in a smaller format, or explore an entirely new idea. Mixed media works or media other than ceramic are acceptable.  I had been working on some tumblers and plates illustrating pranksters and troublemakers and decided that the Small Favors show would be the perfect opportunity to translate my illustrations into three dimensions.

Chandra DeBuse, Troublemaker
The sculpture shows an older woman and a bat.  Here's the story:  the bat is completely mesmerized by the woman's hair and compelled to fly toward it and in it. The woman's hair becomes the bat's playground.  This sculpture captures the moments before the bat flies into her hair.  The bat is the troublemaker and the woman is the unsuspecting victim.  While composing the sculpture, I sought out the advice of my colleagues, especially when it came to attachment of the figures, building the structure, packing the work for shipping.  All in all, a great exercise.

I also have to say that I have been thinking about the work of Pattie Chalmers, who was at Arrowmont last month.  She seamlessly travels across media:  sculptures, vessels, digital, as her concepts dictate.  Amazing artist!