Test Tile Documentation of Underglazes
I’ve spent Christmas Break starting test tile samples documenting various underglazes. I’m documenting intensity with multiple clay bodies, clear coats, and firing range. Once done, I will begin saturating pots with imagery. I’ve been making blank pieces over break and last year. The basement studio is stocked!
I’ve been on the hunt for Laguna BMix with no luck unless I pay an arm and a leg to ship from BFE. I’ve spent the weekend hunting for upcoming exhibits or residencies. Covid has put a damper on travels, residencies, visiting artist workshops, etc. I should have been in AZ already! Working hard and so grateful to have this semester (officially beginning January 11) to explore, experiment, and expand (like my pants during quarantine). Look for updates on Instagram. Stay safe and wear your mask!
Let’s start off 2020 with a bang! I’ve just returned in time to type up syllabi for Monday’s classes spending my Christmas break back at Mission. I knew I couldn’t settle until I got into color. Thanks to Bryan Vansell, Hans Miles, John and the Mission crew for letting me return while most were on vacation. Once you go big....it’s all you can think about. check out more detailed images on my Instagram page. Keep in mind the colors will change during the firing which will happen around March.
Appalachia Now at the Asheville Art Museum closes February 2. The museum is asking for pricing on pieces so collectors or the museum can select works for their private collections. Contact the Asheville Art Museum if you want in on the event. I would be anxiously applying for future shows but I’ve got a new project!
I’ve ecstatically agreed to do two one-hour underglaze demonstrations at NCECA (March) for the launch of the Laguna Clay Silky line. For those of you who have been to NCECA, you can vouch for how much you learn by watching the demos. I am honored. Axner Clay in Florida will be sending me some platter forms to decorate and fire before hand. I was debating on some Southernisms I haven’t drawn yet. This semester will be jam packed. I had planned on cranking out some mugs to sell but these platters will take top priority.
In April I will find out if I have been granted sabbatical for Spring 2021. Wish me luck. I’ll be wrapping things up as I end over ten years of serving as Department Chair and gallery curator/manager. I am so ready to pass the torch enabling me to focus solely on creating my art, teaching, and exhibiting. If you are interested in public art, I’d love to be the one making it. Now is the time to schedule idea sessions!
I just found lost archives of pics! I'm guessing these are from 1998. This is proof to my students that I too have used graphite as much as I try to wean them off the stuff. The other drawings are obviously not graphite. All of these drawings are on massive paper at least three and a half to four feet tall. These are some of the first drawings I did after going off to graduate school. I wasn't around my peers that thought I should be lady like. No one was threatening to send me to charm school. This is nature. Why not draw it? Why should girls hold back? Sh-- happens. Why can't we talk about it? Who decides what is improper? Art is a way to discuss much of this but as an adult, unfortunately I understand what mom was saying. There is a time and place to choose your audience. Oh yeah, I just had a birthday. I'm fo-tee-fi. I just realized the other day that I'm about to celebrate my 20th year anniversary from graduating from WSU. Thanks WSU professors for not filtering or hindering me. Y'all never seemed judgmental when I was proposing odd ball stuff like evolving these animal observations into a narrative about dogs in outer space.
Although I've been busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kickin' contest, "I want today. I want tomorrow. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It's my bar of chocolate"....I mean clay pipe. I am back from carving the biggest piece of my life and obsessing about wishing I had more time. I want I want I want! (For those of you who are too young, Veruca Salt in the original Willy Wonka has a song I am referencing about wanting everything NOW!) After a two month run of nonstop art receptions and events with the Asheville Art Museum then Mission, I don't want the positive energy to dissipate. Final grades are in. My students and I have booked NCECA. I am working in my studio and updating webpages. I just want to go get my hands dirty and procure some new homes for what I make. Is anyone else as restless as me? What is next? What can I start on now? What is the next adventure? What can I learn? Who can I help? Will my students be inspired? Oh look, a squirrel. Back to work. I wish I could occasionally shut my brain off since I should really take Christmas break to rest and prep office work. I would normally be drafting annual reports and syllabi so that when those deadlines came up, I could submit a week early. OH, BIG NEWS. I am officially stepping down as Department Chair!!! It's my tenth year of being chair. For three years I've been requesting to step down/pass the torch. I'm prioritizing art and teaching. It's pretty liberating. Add movie announcer voice here: "Imagine a world where" (add in a laundry list of chair responsibilities). Hallelujah! PS: I will have to make more art because stepping down means a pay cut. I'd have time to pick up an adjunct job but I'd rather sell pots (pottery). So what is next? 1. Work in the studio over break and apply for shows. 2. Prepare new ideas. 3. Sort out admin stuff for the end of the semester. 4. Make a ton of mugs for our "Buy a mug for your love" event in February, Mission Clay's studio walk, and NCECA trades. 5. Go to NCECA. 6. Finalize the Spring semester and head off to co-lead Italy!!!
I constantly have the Waiting for Guffman song in my head about the stool boom, "Working, building, never stoping, never sleeping. Working, making, some for sell and some for keeping. Working, building, never stopping, never sleeping. Working, making, some for sale and some for keeping. "
Of all the southernisms I’ve bern carving, I am living by several. Lately I look like I have been “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” but in actuality I’ve been a busy squirrel prepping, doing, teaching, plotting, planning, instigating, agitating, and fixing. Be like the squirrel (sing the White Stripes song here). I'm currently in Phoenix, Arizona as a visiting artist putting those southernisms to use. Please stay tuned to my news page for the final results.
Last night I participated in ART/RE/ART in Morganton, NC! Three exhibition disks and a few pattern spacers are now in the collections of some great people. I cannot believe the energy and enthusiasm of the artists and community. The comments and conversations with many of the over 350 visitors reflected the pride they have for their town, appreciation of the innovation of the event organizers, support of the arts and downtown businesses, and excitement of what us to come. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that I can get @nancyvannoppen down to speak to my students at #Limestonecollege and Gaffney art community at #CAVA . Thanks to all for your support. Plan your next trip to spend a weekend in Morganton and support their local art! For more pictures, check out my Instagram @cfordart .
This summer I began dabbling in the world of custom commissions (drawings, tiles, and paintings) after I had completed works for the Asheville Art Museum gift shop (soon to open Appalachia Now exhibit). I’m back to full color and loving it. If you are interested in commissioning a work of art, especially a pet portrait, give me a holler (Southern for “ask me” or “send an email”) for a quote. Visit @cfordart or @eviltwinA on Instagram to see more examples and process shots. Once the semester calms down, I will ramp up requests for pet portraits on mugs. I’ve got some friends who give great gifts and support the arts.
I’ve been working on southernisms on plates to sell alongside the Appalachia Now exhibit at the Asheville Art Museum (date to be determined). Without listing the title, I encourage you to see if you can figure out the riddle depicting typical southern sayings. Embrace your heritage. Appreciate the variety of accents and sayings as they relate to your history. Enjoy a good conversation without judging and thinking your area is better than another. Travel makes me love home and unite great things such as colloquialisms from all over the world.
Plate one has been carved. I opted to go with more southernisms right now but am brainstorming about creating patterns. Plate lips are a pain! I’m crossing my fingers nothing warps or cracks. Tired. Need to pack. Beginning to talk like Frankenstein. Over.
I have been “knee high to a pig’s eye” in work this year with the college’s transition from “college” to “university,” SACS accreditation, departmental changes, and my desire to be in the studio with the kids. I could have taken it easy leaving the students to work on their own but....I’m just like my mom. This new group of students asked for demos I never get to give. I opened projects up since there were so many great questions I wanted to answer and demo. Before I knew it, I was staying in the lab until 3am to create new works. I’ve finally reintroduced color into new exploratory works I’d like to continue. My brain is on hyperdrive as to so many series I’d like to begin. I’ve got alternative methods I’d like to explore on trimming and hanging my disks. Ug! So many ideas and so little time. Now that’s a first world problem 😀. But I digress. I just got a call from the Asheville Art Museum gift shop asking to consign works related to Appalachia Now (a story I need to write). Although I have other southern travel disks that might apply, I’ve gone into a frenzy to create a set of image plates. I’m in the “to foot or not to foot” and “leave it raw, or refine” debate. I wish I had more than one full week to explore before I have to send images and inventory list before taking off to the British Isles. So in writing my first blog in a while, I’m wasting quality creation time! Stay tuned and thanks for being patient. Instagram is the best way to see updates!
Author: Carolyn Ford
Artist, world traveler, yarn spinner, and lover of random things.