Friday, 15 June 2012

Bye Bye Penland

This is for my good friend GS who really wants to know how this thing ends!!
My last two weeks at Penland were just crazy busy and I think that my mind was so full that it was having a hard time keeping up.We had so much work to get finished and then get it fired 2 or three times depending on if you added dee-cals (decals in Canada). There were definitely a few late nights spent getting things done.
I had my first experience with fireflies!! I had never seen them before and Tal and I went for a walk one evening and there they were, glowing away.  The whole meadow in front of the school was full of all these little tiny lights moving around in the quiet darkness. It was amazingly cool. It was  one of those moments when you realize that there is so much more going on in the world than the 10 feet (or less)surrounding you. Maybe we are all little fireflies just buzzing around, our lights shining, brightening up a dark place. ok..enough of that mushy stuff.

I had my 41st(shudder) birthday while I was at Penalnd. I thought it would go down quietly as it is April 30, classes were almost over and everyone was so busy getting their work done. Well my roommate Tal and my classmates had a bit of a surprise party for me on the porch. It was so awesome!! The really funny thing was that I was working in the other room while they were setting it all up and I didn't even notice. When they finally dragged me outside all these people were out there from other classes and I had no idea it was all going on.  Sometimes i really do think I have blonde roots!!lol

mmmm...bacon lipgloss

Along with home made pineapple upside down cake, I had my favourite meal of chips and beer and got to open presents!! I really don't know how they all figured out my affinity for bacon(wink wink) but I received some truly innovative bacon inspired gifts such as bacon lipgloss and  bacon mints. mmmm bacon!! And thank you George Bowes for the wooden penis bottle opener...every well stocked kitchen should have one!! there really is nothing better in life than good food and good friends, unless you have some good beer of course.

We went on many field trips during the 8 weeks but the ones the stood out it my mind the most was Suzy Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin's place and Lisa Clague's place.
Suzy and Kent had such an amazing studio and home. they let us see their pottery collection that was just incredible!! it was like being in a pottery museum! So much inspiring work of great people.

Shopping again...

Lisa Clague's studio was the cleanest and whitest one we saw, and her work is out of this world.

Kathy also brought in a few other instructors to demonstrate techniques and read from the trashy, pirate  romance novel. George Bowes was the last one to visit and he was so great. He was so generous with his time and he critiqued the work we had done so far if we so chose. He is critique really made me think about where my work was and should be going and that was really helpful because after 8 weeks of being in such an environment I wondered what I was going to do when I got home and what was I going to make? was I going to just go back to making the same old shit or figure out how to utilize what I had learned and add it to my portfolio of ideas?  Talking with him really made me think and sometimes that is a hard thing to do!! I miss George!
James Davis, Me and George Bowes

George Bowes and Kathy King(my faves and I miss them!!)

Because we had an art history course built into the surface design class, we had an assignment to make a place setting of a person in history.  During the last week of class we had a dinner party of all the historical people chosen and we got to use the place setting that we made for it, we also had to dress up like that person. it was so fabulous!! We set up tables and a barbecue on the patio of lower clay(the studio beneath ours) and had a fabulous dinner.
April Franklin, the iron instructor, who is also a chef, cooked our supper(I helped prepare) and it was so delicious and not just because it didn't come out of the Pines, she is an awesome cook. I need to talk to her and get the recipe for the Texas Caviar...mmmmm so good.
Some of the "guests" at the dinner party were Judy Chicago(me), Ruth Duckworth, Lucy Rie, Bernard Pallisay, George Ohr, Clarice Cliff and the Bizzarre Girls, Beatrice Wood, Celadon, Isamu Noguchi, and a russian propaganda artist whose name seems to have evaded my memory. It was a great way to wrap up all our hard work and see what everyone had been working on while enjoying a wonderful dinner with great friends.

After the dinner party was the dance party!! the boys had turned the studio in to a dance club and it was awesome!!! It is too bad that not too many people showed up, everyone around campus was trying to cram in one more night of work. It was still fun tho. 
The next night was the concentration auction where people from the classes, students and teacher all donated items to be auctioned off. The money went to the scholarship funds. I donated my De-motivational Jar. Everyone should have one, don't you think? Kathy King does!!
I bought a wooden platter made by the wood instructor Mark Gardener. It is pretty awesome, I guess the outside of it was made on the lathe with a chainsaw and a grinder. Those guys in wood were crazy with their tool combos. I bet Occupational Health andSafety would have a heyday at Penland!!lol

I couldn't believe it when Friday was the last day, 8 weeks over already. The student show and tell was amazing. Everyone hauled their best stuff up to Northlight and checked out what had been happening in the other concentration classes. 
The best thing that happened to me, that just made the whole Penland experience one step higher was meeting Paulus Berensohn(finding one's way with clay) at the student show. He had so many wonderful things to say about my Judy Chicago place setting. He also told me that he almost worked on The Dinner Party installation in the 70's with Judy Chicago! He was a male feminist at the time(one of only a few I am sure) and knew Judy Chicago but I guess she decided that she only wanted women to work on the project in the end. But, he told me that she would love my dinner set and that it was just fantastic. Wow! made my whole trip.

This was my stuff along with the large trophy that we gave to kathy for being so freakin' awesome!!

 On FridayI had to pack up all my  purchases and things I made which came to 10 boxes(yikes!!) and $170 in shipping. Plus the extra $90 I had to spend at the airport for my overstuffed luggage!!if I only had one more box...

 I had an eventful trip luggage got "lost" or never even left Charlotte (along with 6 other people's bags)and then when I went to pick up my car at the Super8 in Spokane, one of the rear brakes had seized up and would not let the tire move at all. This was 930 pm pacific time(1230am est) and I had been up since 5am est.  All I wanted to do was get in that car and get home.

 I had to call The Man to come down and get me, (2.5 hour drive) and there happened to be  a marathon happening on Sunday(the next day) in Spokane so there were no rooms available anywhere. I asked the ladies at the front desk if I could crash on their couch until Brian came down to get me!! Miraculously, 10 minutes later a room became available at the above said hotel and the wonderful ladies gave me a toothbrush and some toothpaste along with the room key. They were so awesome and I think they felt sorry for me with all my troubles. All I could do was laugh, no luggage, no car, no jacket. It had been 80F(25C) when I left Asheville that mining and it was 12C when I got to Spokane. 

Brian made it down and in the  morning just pumped the brakes and the emergency break really hard a few times and it came unstuck (I could have done that) so at least I could go home with my car. My luggage was  found and United drove  it to the border for me to pick up within a couple of days. Good Grief!!! But all is well and it is so great to be back home, I miss you all my Penland friends  but I am thankful to be home where I can cuddle my dog whenever I want and  to eat whatever and whenever I want!lol
 No comments on the pink carpet!! I had enough bubble wrap to cover the carpet if I wanted to.

all my treasures and only 2 small casualties thanks to USPS

 My Michael Corny cup.
 Kathy King salt and pepper shakers.

My Sevre Pottery chicken!!

I am sure there is a lot I am forgetting but everyday that I am out in my studio I think of my Penland experience and all the great people that I met there and all the fun, laughs,  the melt downs and I wish I could order some of those fish tacos from the Pines. I am so thankful to have taken Kathy's class, she is an amazing and generous person and I will never forget her.  

Back to life in Creston, and having my morning coffee on the sunny deck, in the middle of a cherry orchard with a mermaid can't get much better than this!!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Snowing at Penland, NC

Today we woke up to a bout of winter!! It is actually snowing here in North Carolina and it  is freaking cold!! Funny thing is that I heard it was 27C in Creston today.
We have some people in our class who have never seen does that work?!!

We are on the last week of actually making work before we have to get it all into many kilns and multiple firings and then finished before mid next week. Life here is crazy enough without the added pressure!!!

 This past weekend we had the first annual Highland Games where all the studios competed against each other in traditional Highland style.  I was placed into the Caber Toss category, obviously no one had previously noticed the size of my arms. I had to lift a log and toss it and it had to end over end at least once before landing. To my (and many other's) surprise I actually achieved this feat and only lost by a meagre 2 feet in distance which made me very proud. My competitors were 2 guys, one under 20 and the other around 30 I think. You can see my competitor eying up my form behind me.

 Claylandia Clan

Me and the Roomies

After the games were over, Claylandia came in 2nd behind Books(bookbinding class) who came out of nowhere to plunder  and dominate most of the events including the Bonniest Knees category, even tho they were without the required plaid(this causing strife among the many clans). All in all, fun was had by all, the keg was drained by 930pm and the beaver cake eaten down to crumbs...until next time..... 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Friday, 20 April 2012

Just a quick post

Here is another project that I am currently working on. I have used the newspaper transfer technique and I will be carving it as well. It just looks so cool I am afraid to carve it!! Time to carve the shit out of it and work it till it's pretty!!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter at Penland

All the visitors filing in to The Pines for brunch. The lineup ended up going all the way to the volleyball nets and took about 25 mins to get to the food. I stayed away and ate crackers for lunch. 

The WINNING Easter Bonnet which was awarded to "the Canadian"!!

 The trophy was a super thin, laminated wood egg that was made on a lathe and was so light I thought I would break it. Thankfully it made it back to my room and into a safe place. The base which looks like a ribbon was also made on a lathe and is equally incredible craftsmanship.

 The winning bonnet....those are marshmallow Peeps stuck to the side of it. Peeps are weird Easter candies....

Visitors hunting for eggs around the grounds.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Week 4!!

So much is happening this weekend here at Penland. It is Easter weekend and I guess the folks of Penland invite the outer communities in for Easter brunch and Easter egg hunting. All the different studios have been making eggs for the hunt but I must say mine are Uggs not Eggs. They just aren't that pretty. The Ceramic Studio has made a LARGE egg that will fit into a large bowl, both thrown by James the studio assistant and embellished by me. I spent yesterday morning decorating the bowl with clay roses. It turned out pretty good. I am not sure what we are going to do with it but it may end up in the year end auction to raise money for Penland.
My instructor kathy and I have made easter bonnets for the bonnet competition. They are craaazzzy!! Imagine the Easter Bunny puking up Carmen Miranda's head piece. I think that is about the extent of our studio's participation in the Easter festivities. I think the plan is to have mimosas on the porch and watch the grownups fight their kids for the art eggs hidden all around the grounds. I have heard it can get quite ugly. I liken it to little kid hockey games and their parents fighting and yelling in the stands. And fun will be had by all!!!haha
There will be more updates on the Easter Affair at Penland on Sunday.

My roommate Tal has a bit of a sugar problem and she bought a ton of sugary junk food and made a sugar cupboard in our room. One of the things she bought was this bag of stuff called Nutter Butter Minis...Oh My Freakin' God they are good!!! I am so thankful they aren't in Canada or it would be hard to say non! They look like mini rite crackers but  they are tiny little peanut butter cookies with peanut butter squished in between them. I pretty much have had to chew off my hands to keep them out of the bag of Nutter Butters. As my friend Amy would say " they are the Devil's plaything!" 
 This is the Wall O' Junk half empty. The Nutter Butters are centre stage where they should be.

 There are so many weird foods own here it is hilarious. 

I don't hunk twist off beer caps have made it down here yet either. Maybe there is a huge market in bottle openers because you definitely need one to get into a beer or at least have a man near by with a lighter. Remember those days? wow... it is like being in the Twilight Zone....or back in high school....

Thursday, 29 March 2012

March 28 Update

Well things are crazy busy here and there seems to be something going on at all times of the day. My Schedule goes something like this.....
7am get up
8am breakfast
830 go to class and start to work
10am slides or discussion or demo
1230 lunch
1pm back to work
2pm demo or keep working
3pm beer break?
430 clean up and read aloud supremely trashy pirate romance
5pm cocktail hour or go for a walk cocktails, walk...cocktails, walk...hmmm
615 dinner
7pm back to the studio and work
815 some evenings there are visiting artist slides or presentations.
915 ichat with Brian
930-11 work in the studio
 til midnight or so my roommates and I gab about our day and laugh our asses off.

My days are pretty full and I am trying to absorb all the things that I am learning here. Every day there is something going on, we even had a forest fire in the neighbourhood last week. I guess a train gave off a spark and caught some brush on fire and there were helicopters flying all over the place.

We have gone on a couple of field trips with more next week to some local potters studios. There are a TON of potters around here. It is amazing because a lot of them are the same people that I have been idolizing the last few years. We went to Nick Joerling's studio and he is so nice and willing to share his information with us. We also went to Glaze Master John Britt's studio. Crazy glazing!! wow! I can't even explain some of the glazes he has formulated. He does mainly cone 10 which is way out of my heat range but it was very cool to see what he is making. He is most famous I think for his oil spot glazes which are phenomenal. 

We have also had the  privilege to have some incredible visiting artists come in and demo their techniques. Last week we had Jason Burnett come in for two days and show us his methods of screen printing on clay. It included burning our screens and doing a transfer technique with newsprint and coloured slips. It was fun and he is freakin' hilarious. I have not laughed so much since I arrived here!! We had Jason do our trashy novel reading a couple of afternoons in a row and he was fabulous!

This week since Kathy was supposed to head off to NCECA we have had an alternate instructor come in from Florida. Julie Guyot  does a similar technique to Jason's but she also uses water slide decals on her work. I have learned to say deecal instead of decal. I think I am actually getting a bit of a twang going on. I still haven't said "Y'all" which is fine by me but I have a feeling by the end of 8 weeks it will have surfaced. Be prepared for my return to Canada with a southern accent!lol I ask learned today that Americans say "Catty Corner" instead of "Kitty Corner"!!! I still can't stop laughing at that one!haha

Kathy King is my instructor and in the 3 weeks that I have been here at Penland I have learned soooo much from her. I can't believe how my work and ideas have evolved in such a short time. Kathy is an awesome teacher and extremely giving with all her information. As well as surface techniques, she is also including an art history course that she teaches at Harvard. Yes she is an instructor at  Harvard, how cool is that?!!

I have been throwing a lot more than I normally do and i am going to use this 8 weeks to hone some of my skills in that department. Kathy showed us how to make a 3 part thrown object with a lid and this is what I came up with....
Dont laugh too hard!!lol it was really disproportioned so I added a lid with flower holes and a base. I heard a good friend say to "work it till it's pretty!"  It has a slight lean so it needs to be placed strategically on the right crooked  table for maximum effect. I will be inlaying black into the incised lines and I think I will also be adding some commercial and laser printed deecals to it. 

 I am currently  waiting for the first batch of glaze fired work to come out of the kiln to see how my pieces turned out. The mugs that everyone freaked out over got broken one by one as I was glazing them. On to bigger and better things!!!

Walkway to the ceramics studio, flowers are blooming and the whole wall is made of ceramic pieces.

Ceramics studio with the fabulous Pirate's Patio. During the last windstorm our pirate flag blew off but we still have the christmas lights on the railing.

Road on campus where I went for a walk today. All the flowers are blooming and the trees are budding out. It is beautiful but still a bit chilly when the wind comes up. The are carpenter bees here that are bigger than the bumble bees in Canada. They are all freaking out right now and getting all territorial or something. last week they were dopey and half dead, this week they are buzzing around like crazy and attacking each other. I guess they make huge holes in wood siding and do a lot of damage to buildings here. People here don't really like them  but I think they are pretty cool looking and they hover and really still and watch what you are doing, it is creepy.

Well it is beer time....Cheers!!