Friday, April 13, 2018


I do not currently have any neighbors who disguise themselves as humans but underneath are good-natured I had to make one!  I'm not entirely certain why I titled this one Neighbor, but I'm sticking with it.  Seems delightfully open to interpretation.
Before first firing.  I dotted the surface with brown slip for some nice
mole action and liver spots on the skin tags.

Before glaze firing.  I knew the colors wouldn't be this vibrant after it was all
said and done, but oh I wish...

Finito!  Recycled clay fired to cone 10 with mason stains
and oxides.

I used the Clay Guild's "G White" glaze on the lips to bring out some of
the iron in the clay.
This is the biggest face I've made so far, about 9 inches wide.  I'm looking forward to going larger but I need to complete the ones I have still ready to be glazed before I move on.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Squinty Old Man and Dopey Kid

I made a couple of pieces that ended up looking like they were related...or even different versions of the same guy.  Process shots!
Dopey Kid:
Before first firing.

Glazed but not fired yet.

9 x 5 x 3 inches
And the older version, Squinty Old Man:
Still wet clay.

Glazed but not fired.

5 x 8 x 3 inches
Made of recycled cone 10 clay with oxides and a touch of glaze on the old man's eye.

They hang on the wall and hopefully will find a home soon, either through a gallery show or sale.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Heads and Faces

Our winter had stretches of dreary, cold days (not that unusual) and I just couldn't bring myself to do much else besides make weird things out of clay.  I've been making tumblers, vases, and mugs, but I've had a hankering to get back to my sculptural roots lately.  So this year I'm focusing more on funny little characters...
He looks kind of big here, right?
(He's still new and wet.)

He is not.
 I started to play around with oxides and stains to add color and highlight the gnarly textures these quick studies had.  Most of these are experiments and maybe I'm not done with them yet...but here are some more from that first little batch: 
More before pics.

Dunked in yellow salt glaze.

Manganese wash.

Rutile wash.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Gifts of Art

Hey, there.  Been awhile.  I've been hibernating.

But I'd like to share a cool thing!

The University of Michigan Med Center has a program called Gifts of Art where they install art, rotating four times in nine galleries, throughout the hospital. There are also musical performances and lunchtime concerts.  It's free to apply (YOU SHOULD IF YOU'RE AN ARTIST!) and I thought, why not?  Let's try it.  

So I was selected to have my work up from mid-December to mid-March.  I made a ton of work (see most recent blog posts) to fill a corridor that is 100 feet long.
It was a very long and narrow hallway, but said to be the largest gallery space.

photos by Adrian Wylie

And, of course, these works were all for sale, and I SOLD A FEW!  Hot Brazen Heavens, Spring's Promise, Crooning Cottonwoods, and Crickets' Din are all going to live at another hospital--Henry Ford West Bloomfield, in the maternity ward!  Isn't that cool?  A portion of the sale goes back to the GoA program to help sustain and find more great artists looking for opportunities to show their work.  
Bring Treasure, Crooning Cottonwoods, Sweet Sons/Sturdy Daughters

Crickets' Din, Hot Brazen Heavens, Miles and Miles and Miles

Spring's Promise, Gardenlands, Make No Peace With Trouble

I was also asked if I would donate an image to help promote the program, and I was happy to do so. (This image is from work that was at the Kemper show, which spring-boarded this whole endeavor in the first place.)
Seriously, apply!
The only down part was that Ann arbor is an 11-hour drive from KC, and if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a few posts about this...there's a lot of dirt between here and there and a few ice cream places, but I didn't love the trip.  I just wanted to get home and wasn't able to enjoy myself or see much culture.  I'm not a born-road tripper, so this part of the job is always hard for me.  Oh, well!  It's a better job for me than most other things!

I'm so glad I did this and hope to keep pushing myself in this way--making bigger work and trying to show in new places.  Happy Spring!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Made It: Crooning Cottonwoods

This summer I had a piece in a show called Abstract Catalyst at the Verum Ultimum Gallery in Portland, Oregon.  
See that turquoise circle?  Read on to learn more about its birth.

For the background of this one, I applied paint both in a circular pattern (thanks to a lazy Susan) from the center out and then went over it with straight strokes.  All I knew is that I wanted something turquoise-y.

Beginning to lay down the orzos.
Finished product!
Crooning Cottonwoods
30 inch diameter
aluminum, paint, vinyl

When I applied for this show, I titled it "Prairie Porthole," and that is what it showed under, but I regretted it.  I mean, the leafy-ness of the orzos did make me think of trees, obviously, and the color of the ocean, so I smushed them together.  But then I came across this stanza from the poem "Kansas" by Nicholas Vachel Lindsay:

  The wind would drive the glittering clouds,
  The cottonwoods would croon,
  And past the sheaves and through the leaves,
  Came whispers from the moon.

Pretty great, right?  A name change was required and I'm happy I did it.  It's a small thing but with abstract pieces titles can matter if you want to get a certain narrative started in the viewers' imagination.  I mentioned this in brief blurb in this post.

Also, the gallery used this piece on their promotional mailers, which I didn't find out about until it was returned to me (because it sadly was not purchased) and they included a postcard.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Made It: Bring Treasure

Another round one, this time with rainbow ombre!
I accidentally made a planet on the first go around.
 I almost never sketch, but this one was tricking me for some reason.  Digital sketch for your pleasure...
Pretty detailed.

Visualizing the ombre stop and shape

Blues + red-oranges make me happy.

Bring Treasure
36 inch diameter
vinyl, aluminum, paint
Title from "The Hands That Cling" by Esther M. Clark

Monday, January 29, 2018

Made It: Rouse

After the big hullabaloo of the Women to Watch | Metals opening at the Kemper, I decided to dive back into making.  I so loved how the painted background turned out on this one that I chose a design that wouldn't completely obliterate it.
Rouse48 inches tall x 36 inches widealuminum, paint, vinyl
Lots of details ahead...

That little blue peeking out, the brushstrokes, the silver edge...mmmmm.

 When it was time to put vinyl to aluminum, I took some inspiration from a tiny collage I made a couple years ago.
Pink Fire
5 x 4 inches, paper collage and vinyl
At first it sorta turned out like a mountain, which didn't float my boat.
So I peeled off some outside orzos, contoured it, added some more here and there, and I was much happier.
The title wasn't taken from poetry, I did some good old thesaurus work with ideas of fire.  "Rouse" like "aroused" like "growing" and whatnot.  I can come up with them on my own sometimes, see?

CHECK OUT MY INSTA FOR FUN STUFF.  It's fun to me.  Lately it's mostly ceramics because it's too cold to work outside and I have to sand outside so I don't die of particulates and whatnot.