Dreaming of the Ocean

In the Midwest. I have been working on a stingray platter, trying to perfect the process. Below is the first one, which I’m quite happy with, but the top layer of the head came off in the bisque firing process. I had to rejoin the pieces with glaze and you can still see the cracks. I’m thinking of filling the cracks with epoxy and attaching gold to highIight them, like the Japanese Kintsugi technique. On my second try the head blew up into tiny pieces in the kiln, so I’m now on my ‘third try is a charm’, as my mother would say.

Mum told me that her happy place is Craigville Beach on Cape Cod. In her mind, she walks down to the end of the beach, lies down in the sand and listens to the waves. She is now 90, and it’s unlikely that she will walk the beach again, but thankfully she has her happy memories and this one gives her peace.

Tea bowls – urchin, crab, octopus, jellies.

The Humpback Whale tray  is in the green ware stage, awaiting bisque firing. Sometimes I think all is going well and what could possibly go wrong, but then it does. I’m crossing my fingers on this one!


The Plankton book (remember Tinkaminks?) is finished, and I made a drop spine box with a raised circle in the center to keep the key chain from shifting around. I printed the title on my old Vandercook press that now resides in Ben Blount’s new studio. He has generously let me use it when needed. This one is on its way to Vamp and Tramp Booksellers at this very moment.

 

The wide array of forms in the sea are endlessly inspiring. I feel I could keep going forever – and I will continue to dream of living on the coast once again. The lake is beautiful, but as I’ve said before, it’s a poor substitute for the ocean! 

Polar Vortex!

Well the Polar Vortex has reached Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago is shut down for two days, so I don’t have to go to work. I’m spending my days holed up inside my home, cooking good food and catching up on lots of small things that I rarely have the time to do. This seems like a good time to take photos of my new work in the light of mid-morning.

I have gone in a slightly different direction for my Plankton (nickname Tinkamink) project. I decided to make a limited edition artist book before working on the wall installation. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I have had some work accepted by Vamp and Tramp, and they are interested in the Plankton book, so I quickly finished in order to ship to them. Secondly, I have applied to the Whitely Foundation for an artist residency at Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island. It is there that I hope to focus, and complete the wall installation of Plankton. Wish me luck!

Plankton artist book

I have also taken photos of some of my recent pottery. I’m getting a bit better at predicting the outcome of some glazes at the Pot Shop Evanston and I feel I’m beginning to develop a personal style.

Ocean gleaming bright, salty tasting, glistening, never ending sea

Batter bowl, honey mustard glaze

Slab built tray at a Ware workshop (Ware glaze)

Sea urchin votive, honey mustard glaze with ash

Venkatesh’s Christmas mug, black underglaze with cinnamon glaze

Arkham at FHL

Meet Arkham, he is a bit larger than the other three octopuses at Friday Harbor Labs and he is a bit bristly. He is the main man in the study being done in Gire Labs, where they are studying navigation and sensing. Because he is a bit darker and moodier, he is more reclusive, but when I manage to take a photo he is quite dramatic. He uses something called papillae in his skin to make the dramatic horn-like bumps.

While here, I have also been given a studio.  Ashwin and I spent hours in the studio yesterday, where I draw and he writes in his journal. I knew I would want to do some sketching here, but somehow ‘a place of ones own’ makes all the difference. Now I may want to buy some big paper and go larger! I can’t wait to get back to the studio again today, it’s bright and airy and smells of fresh wood.


In between sketching sessions we go down to the water to scavenge for treasures, the shore is full of driftwood that we take up to the studio. I know I want to draw octopus, but I think I could also get swept into drawing pieces of driftwood, or printing the grain. I’ll just have to come back again for round 2!

Former scientific study specimens – now dinner

The gynandromorph who couldn’t sing.

This is the story of the bimorphic gynandromorph who couldn’t sing. He/she is split down the middle, with the red side being male and the gray side female.

The following is from a BBC article on gynandromorph animals by David Robson:

‘Unsurprisingly, courtship for these animals sometimes presents difficulties…..The other birds largely seemed to ignore it. This isolation is apparently common for gynandromorphs. Either they are quietly shunned, or actively attacked, by their peers’

Haven’t we all felt this at some time in our lives? There is something so sad and beautiful about this bird with no mate and no song. 

One Part He, One Part She

A title I have stolen from Patricia Edmonds in the January 2017 Issue of National Geographic.

This is not just a drawing. I feel it says something special, so I have moved it from my last post to this one. To quote the NG article: ‘The difference in appearance between a species’ males and females is called sexual dimorphism. The term implies that there’s a bisecting line between sexes, a clear divide. But in the animal kingdom, a lot of creatures straddle it.’

I thought this ‘bilateral gynandromorph’ so beautiful that I had to draw it. And I post it today in support of the Women’s March yesterday, and the spirit of openness and acceptance that it engenders. Get it? En-genders? 🙂

March on ladies, and the gentlemen who support them!

Just drawings

As it has been almost a year to the date since I posted anything, I thought it might be time to end this blog. But after looking at it again I realize that I still enjoy it. So just a small post for now, of some drawings I’ve done this year and one I finished today

Ellora

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Buddhist caves at Ellora

Ellora is a place I have wanted to go to for such a long time, since I was studying Asain art as an undergrad. I don’t know how to describe this experience and it can’t really be explained in pictures either, but here is a taste of the great beauty I experienced. My favorite spot is the Buddhist cave with the ribbed ceiling, and the stupa with Buddha carved into the front. There were very few people when I was there and I was able to sit quietly on the floor and breathe it in. A once in a lifetime experience – the enormity was overwhelming at times. These caves were built by hand from solid rock between the 6th and 9th centuries!

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Jain cave

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Man from Jain cave

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Man blowing into a conch shell on a post in a Jain cave

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Three stories of Buddhist monk meditation quarters

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Perfectly aligned posts carved from a solid mountain. This cave lacks decoration because it is for meditation. Only the two columns flanking the entrance (halfway down on the right) have carved pots with overflowing plants as a welcome.

Buddhist cave for worshipping the Buddha.

Buddhist cave for worshipping the Buddha.

Buddha

Buddha

Ceiling of cave

Ceiling of cave

Looking out from behind the stupa

Looking out from behind the stupa

The largest Hindu Temple in Ellora. Carved from solid mountain from the top.

The largest Hindu Temple in Ellora. Carved from solid mountain from the top.

This temple is for worshipping the god Shiva. It is built in the shape of a carriage, but instead of wheels it is carried on the backs of elephants and other animals.

This temple is for worshipping the god Shiva. It is built in the shape of a carriage, but instead of wheels it is carried on the backs of elephants and other animals.

Elephants, lions and gryphons supporting the temple.

Elephants, lions and gryphons supporting the temple

The hindu temple from behind

The Hindu temple from behind