Monday, December 3, 2012

2012 reflections, 2013 pursuits

It has been awhile since I've wrote in this blog. I thought I would catch everyone up on the 2012 year and all thats happened. Its been a year now since I've moved away from my functional work and started the sculptural path. I wanted to emphasize that we had recieved two very nice grants and one of them being specifically from the TN Arts Commission to pursue the sculptural work. I really dont think I would have financially been able to stop functional work for a year if it wasnt for the grant. I guess lookin back on the year i wish I would've kept with a smaller production of functional while I was building the new work but I was so excited for a change that I didnt look back. I've had one hell of a year traveling all over and self promoting through shows, picking up new galleries and giving some incredible workshops. I've been blessed to be able to share my ideas and the pursuit of being fearless and lifechanging experiences in clay. I was able to give a weeklong workshop at Arrowmont this year which was awsome. I met some life long friends there and am thankful for the opportunity. I spent a week living in the truck and spending time with my good friend Josh Copus and firing his Temple Kiln. I am planning on in the near future building once again a wood kiln primarily to put sculpture in. The pieces I brought up to Josh and fired was a huge springboard for next time. Workin in series rather than commitiing to a body of work for years allows me to build 20 to 30 pieces at a time and explore new firings and surface design. Even though I am having a blast workin this way I find myself having to educate that Its very much a direction rather than "i'm just playin." I hope to work this way till I'm dead and gone. I hate getting bored and dont want you to get bored with me or my work. I'm not able to do that with function. I thinkits too scary for people. It makes more since with sculpture, at least to me anyway. On a sad note we lost my father this year to sickness. That experience really knocked my feet out from me. Without gettin down thinkin of all that, I'm thankful I wasnt at a show or outta town. Both my brother and I and my family were able to be there for my dad. I have since, more than ever looked at life as if it really is fleeting. It's made me step up even more for my family and to make work like I'm on some urgent mission. I think I really needed a break from makin cups and mugs and anything that might uncover or contain. Lookin back on this year I have gained a new perpective and excitment to pursue a small more refined line of functional items. I have a show at Mudfire in Decatur georgia introducing both new functional as well as sculpture in Feb 2013. I plan on going full steam ahead with some new ideas in sculpture but I realized that I love good functional work as well. I made cups for the source -material show at Crimson Laurel Gallery this year for the first time in a year and I really thought I was going to skip steps making them. I can say they are probably the best cups I've made in awhile and I really enjoyed makin them. I try not to say this as if I feel defeated because we've had some huge success with the new direction but I had to step back this year to realize that I'm every bit of a potter. I was introduced to clay through a potter and I'm very thankful I didnt meet someone like me makin the work I do now at first. I probably would've been ruined without ever having the experience of working as a potter. I think the reason I want to pursue both sculpture and function, now that I've had time to marinate on it awhile is because I really demand at times more from myself but from the clay as well. Functional work allows me to stay grounded with humble conversation and quiet progression while the sculptural work lets the explorer come out in me. I dont have to worry about if I'm too loud or in your face with my approach to clay because its completely non-objective work. I get to be ambigous and not have a clear explanation everytime with what I'm trying to say. Maybe I just have two sides to me and its more clear when I work in clay. Either way I've learned to love clay for its quiet approach and its loud approach and that its the persons ability to bring out either. We,ve made a new website and it will have an etsy site with primarily functional items as well as sculpture on it. I really appreciate all the support and comments thrown my way through this year. Whether good or bad, I try to consume all advice, wisdom and actions given to me. I'm ready for 2013 and it better be ready for me. Stay tuned for more happenins, you can visit my FB, twitter and blog from my website. Happy holidays.    

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shadow May 2012 "The Fearless Sculpture"

Its been awhile since my last postin so theres alot to catch up on. I've really let the clay evolve in the past year. So much so that I completely transitioned from potter to sculptor. I guess the easy way to put it is I'm not makin anything functional for awhile. I really cant tell you how I got to this point but I do know that it's been brewing in my gut and heart for awhile. The exciting part of this process is that I could never had made this jump without the many years of striving and workin as a functional to semi functional potter. I've finally allowed myself to look at clay as a material rather than a product for someone to use. Now that I've tasted the honey of  being fearless with my work I dont think nor do I have any desire to go back. I've had a busy start to the year with this new direction. We've traveled to florida and finally have had sucess down there to giving workshops at the Bascom and soon to be a weeklong workshop at Arrowmont. I've had a couple sell out shows which I never ever had and the problem, being a good problem to have is that I have aton of work to make to meet all the stuff I have going on. Its been very validating to have a great response to the new work. I just got back from giving my " Fearless Sculpture" workshop at the Bascom center for visual arts and it was an awsome experience. Frank Vickery, the director for the Bascom invited me up and I'm so grateful for the opportunity. A very beutiful art center in Highlands NC. Frank is an awsome dude. If you have never been to the Bascom you really need to make it a destination. I've finally hired an assitant to my mix. His name is Adam Kirby. He was one of my students when I was teachin at UTC. He's a great young man with alot of potential. I never thought I would get to the point of needin someone to help me but buildin some of these pieces takes two dudes. We are going to transition into an internship for him. He's really excited and a sponge when it comes to clay. I wish I had somenoe like me to work with when I was his age. I am thankful for my early apprenticships and i could've never approached clay the way that I do without them. I will be giving more workshops this year. I will be at TN Tech/appalachian center for craft in june and The potters village in August. This Oct I will be giving a weelong workshop at Arrowmont so you need to sign up! I'm really excited and thankful for the many blessins and opportunities that have come my way. I live under the belief that I'm not an island and that any sucess I have is because of the outreach of love and frienship that I'm given. Thank you to everyone for keepin me focused and on the right track. I wont let you down. I head to Artisphere this weekend. It's a juried art show that is held in downtown Greenville SC. I want to emphasize that stayin busy and keepin up with the new success has been wearing on my body. I know this sounds like I'm whining and I should just suck it up and be grateful...and I am. I really do feel like I lift weights everyday. The new direction is makin me stretch and work smarter. I think I'm embarkin on some of the best work of my career and to continue with it I need to keep my body limber and healthy. Not to say that I wont continue to have a little whisky durin work hours. My family is healthy and happy. Ana is almost done with her MBA in buisness administration. She has a great job that she enjoys and loves her family to no end. Rocket is our life. He has moved me in so many ways and shows me how to make work with passion and emotion. Just lookin at him and how he reacts to his surroundins humbles me. I've said this many time so it my be redundant but I believe that if you can find a way to integrate your every experience in life into your work methods and art you will make fresh, mind blowin work. So much so that it'll seem like its too good to be tru. Just live without fear when it comes to your art and challenge yourself to take risks and step out on that ledge. You might surprise yourself.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just keep showin up!

I met a couple sculptors doin shows. They're a father son duo. They make these awsome bronze/stone sculptors. Most are life size and take your breathe away and leave you wondering how the hell they created this work. They both stand about 6'7, nice as can be and travel around the country loadin in and loadin out their work. Sellin to those who are sophisticated enough to understand the work as well as have the money to purchase it. Jon the father walked into my booth awhile back at a show and said "you walk through these shows, booth after booth and go 'thats nice, thats nice, thats nice,' and then you get to a booth and say, 'thats real fuckin work,'" and he said you have to use the word "fuckin." My quotations suck but those words in the eyes of an artist really shot through me. Just keep showin up. That seems to have been my motto for most anything but has really come into focus not only with my life but especially my work. Its funny cause I write this with sometimes a no look up mentality and then I come back and go" did I say that". Sometimes its hard to tell it like it is. It's not usually comfortable to people. I've told myself as well as others that If you can figure out a way to somehow intergrate my daily life into my work then I would no longer have a product that I'm trying to sell but a way of life for others to take with them. I dont know...I havent figured it out yet. I sometimes cant figure out a way to make work that is safe and sellable for a little artistic and financial security. I can say that I have never felt stronger about where my family, my work, myself are going. This has probably been my worst start to a fall show season, yet I'm super stoked bout whats happenin. For those of you who have kept up with my progression with my work, you've seen me build my foundation as a studio potter. Celebrating a decade of putting my work out in shows has let me alot about craft, fine craft, art and a huge fraction of the difference between them. I've changed opinions through the years as my work progressed. I took my work more serious the more my skills built to the point where i could confidently feel that I could do anything with the clay. I wanted to be the humble woodfired potter that I think I still want to be someday to wanting more from the clay than being put behind a cupboard door. I've seen artists/craftsman who are burnt out from making the same thing over and over and not seeing a return to young aspiring artists that come on the show scene with motivation and new breathe. People making a living making and selling their art is confusing and inspiring. I've learned through sticking my own kneck out with my work, for criticism, that the people I admire the most in this life are the ones who put it on the line. The ones who are willing to take a risk and keep showin up, even when the direction is scary. I have a great little family who supports me and lets me lead with love and most of the time i seem them leading me. When I talk about my life my work goes hand in hand. Its funny to even call it work when its so damn fun. I head to the Southern Highland Guild Show in Ashville NC next week. This will be my second show as a new member. I go to greater gulf coast show in Pensacola FL after that. I gave up doin a well deserved, well put on, awsome potters fest in dillsboro NC to do the Pensacola show so i hope its good. I did land my week long workshop at Arrowmont School of arts and crafts for next year. I have been sending workshop packets out like crazy hoping to teach at these facilities and share a lil bit with others. I love teaching. This experience at UTC has been great for me. To have the view of academia at my side while making a livin as an artist has opened my eyes to the two worlds. Anyway, as far as shows go i am shootin for Chicago, Colorado, New York, and Philly for the spring. Galleries have been on my radar and i'm slowly intergrating the right ones in. I know there's more for my mouth to babble off but Shadow is getting horizontal. Till the next ramblin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Make more work, Make more Pots, Make more Art

The show season has started and off to a good start. I head to nashville next weekend with alot of new work and hopefully some eager buyers and collectors. The new work is more challenging my physical capabilities rather than my mental. I am still almost over my stubborness to hire an assitant. I really have a hard time liftin the work that I'm creating. I have to be a little cautious though because I really need another strong person in the studio to help me. That can tend to rule out most clay artists that would be a huge attribute to the studio but the workload and lifting can be an issue. We have been applying to new and more prestigous shows rather than the ones that we have been doin. Hopefully the work will be accepted. Teachin has been goin really well and my students are full of ideas and creativeness for the arts. Actually havin to pull the reigns on them inorder to teach the basics has been a little tough. Trying to teach walk before run with art majors is a lesson for myself to learn as well. Makework grant sessions have been goin really well. Just having a few hours to bounce ideas off other artists strugllin/sucessin and all the in between has been more beneficial for me than the logistics that we're learning about, promotion, marketing, etc. I have on a side note really been into homemade raviolli and experimenting with the fillin and sauces. It's like little Italy round my house right now. Studio is full of work and shows are lined up. So much of this artist life is risk. How calculated those risks are is really up to each individual artist. I think I'm on the right track for where I wanna go with my work. The hard part is trustin those intuitions and runnin with them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hot summer work

Another month gone and more new work comin out. Lots of stuff happenin right now. I will be gettin started with my second makework grant sesssion this wed. Lookin forward to seeing how everyone has progressed and sharin ideas about future projects. I get so wrapped up in makin work and shows and everything that goes into being a self sustaining/professional artist that finding time to get out and interact with local piers can be tough. I'm probably out of town most of the time settin up for a show, givin a workshop or who knows these days. One day runs into the next. I like the spontaneous schedule vs a regimented 40-50 hr work week. I've been battiling with my yard equipment on top of other things that keep me busy throughout the yard and house. i've been trying to integrate a 3-4 hr work interval with my studio work rather than a full 8-10 hr work day. My theory is that it will help me focus on specific tasks throughout the day rather than having one big project or task starin me in the face. I can be more efficient and creative giving ample time to each project or piece with little breaks here and there to break up the monotiny. As the work gets bigger and more dramatic I'm finding that focusing on 3-4 pieces rather than 10-12 pieces gives a better result in the level of artistry and craftmanship that I'm lookin for and want to present. The work really has to move me inorder for it to survive. I cant settle for the "That'll work" kinda work. I think you end up slowly finding yourself lookin like the next guy with the same kinda work. My summer process has been just to continue to make work and let it dry for firing. This takes awhile to see completion but seems to be the best way for me to work. The heat has been crazy hot and has been testin my commitment levels....just kiddin. It has been hot though. I try to roll out of bed around 5am which is like gettin a kick in the balls sometimes. I have this philosphy that if its super hard to do or really challenges your motivation than it will probably be the best thing for your work or life. I literally sit up on the bed, early morn, still dark and say to myself" if you really want this shadow, than this is what its gonna take. now get your ass up and go create." Same goes for late in the evening when its time to chill and drink a couple beers. You figure out what works for you. If you really want it most of the time burnin the midnite oil is what it takes. Theres 24hrs in the day and you figure out how to get it done. If it was easy than everyone would be doin it. I dont have ac out in the studio so early morns beat the heat and get the day goin early with more time to do more stuff. Go, go ,go. My good friends and neighbors just had there second beutiful lil baby girl. Her name is Poppy. New and young folks with kids are startin to move into the redbank neighborhood. pretty exciting to see community grow. Shows kick off in about a month with Atlanta Arts Festival in piedmont park Sept. 17th-18th. I had three altercations in choosin shows this year. One was deciding not to do artclectic this year in Nashville. I will be doin the oct. Southern Highland Guild Show instead. Second, I will not attend "the Festival Of the Masters" show in orlando this year. Third with alot of persistance I will be attending the Greater Gulf Coast arts Festival in Pensacola FL in Nov. instead of doin the Western NC potters festival. The evolution of the work is dictating alot of the show decisions. Gettin ready to start up at UTC helpin Maggie out. Lookin forward to that. Just keep showin up, whatever it is is my work and life attitude. Keep pluggin away at what you love and wait for things to come full circle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Busy Summer

july has been full with anticipation for my first Southern Highlands Guild Show in Asheville, NC. Believe it or not I've been rejected from the jury process 4 times in the last five years before I was accepted. My work has changed so drasticallyy that I'm not real sure what to expect from this show. I am lookin forwward to seeing ol friends that i havent seen in close to ten years. My studio has been a war zone. Constantly makin more new work and never lettin stay the way it was has pushed my mental and physical capacity. I really think I pulled a pec muscle lifting and glazin one of my pieces. An assistant is needed not to far in the future. I think I've decide that my attitude towards the shows has been that of a sculptor rather than a potter. I went from being able to fit and fire 30-40 pieces in my kiln to 3-4. I cant turn back now. the addiction of making dramatic, large pieces has taken over.I had a really good reception for my Sculpture show at the Front Gallery in Chattanooga. Spent all last week at my friends wood shop building new pedestals for my booth. I have been doin alot of gallery shows and giving away all my old pedestals to that. I really like the new look now. As my work changes the whole process changes, Booth, trailer, bins that I put the work in for traveling. The summer is a good time to make changes or use to be because I never had anything going on till fall. Definetely more fast paced this summer. I've had my first makework grant session and I will recieve 2 of my six grant checks today. I ve spent a little of the first one on clay and glazes to get the work process movin. Each piece takes at least a month to completely dry before it can go through the kiln. I will be purchasing another kiln soon but the timting of work production has been first. My fall show schedule is packed and I'm workin on gettin my new workshop/instructor proposal out. I start my adjunct position at UTC in august and I'm really excited about that. My family is doin great. We celebrated Rockets 2nd birthday. Two years has gone by too damn fast and it aint stoppin. My work/family balance has improved. More walks with my son and wife have been good and we always cook and eat together. Lovin life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shadow Makin Moves

Thought I'd make a quick entry with whats happenin lately. Had my first Makework Grant meeting this past week. Awsome group of artists/ entrepenuers. Actors, producers, glass artist to chattanooga artistic growth promoters. Alot of really cool ideas and ventures. I did notice that almost every grantee had been or had just moved to Chattanooga within the last 6 years. That seems really cool to think that Chattanooga is drawing or extracting unique individuals to this area. I never thought of Chattanooga until my wife introduced the idea of the possibilities. So five years later, workin as an artist/potter/sculptor, one studio fire under my belt, a two year rentee of my good friend Terry "The Loose" Cannon, new homeowner, a beautiful baby boy named Rocket, and a Makework Grantee I have hopefully smudged the surface of being a clay artist on Chattanoogas map. I've recently taken on the position at UTC of Adjunct professor. Actually since I do not hold a degree I fall under the title of Lab Tech. I am super stoked to be workin under Maggie Mcmahon(UTC professor of ceramics) I have a super packed fall show season and will be teachin ceramics I tues and thurs. It is more of a really good opportunity for my next step in clay rather than pay. I am really thankful for the opportunity and cant wait to start classes. I will probably chip away at my undergrad through the years for later, I mean later backup. I really want to be emerged in the art/clay world, in the trenches sorta speak. Where the real art is made. I am gearing up for my first Southern Highlands Guild Show in july. I will have a two piece show up in the guild prior and after the show. The show is July21-24th. I will be corner booth#200 on the bottom floor. Lots of new work comin out for this show. Trying to price kilns and time everything accordingly as far as the grant money goes. I've been alloted six checks equally for the next six months, so I will save a few checks for the new big kiln and make work and get it drying for the next step. My family has been super awsome and supportive through my long work hours. I always make time to play and goof off with them anytime of the day. We're headin to the beach for a few and get some sand in our toes. More later.