Thursday, 29 January 2009

Happy about Happy Clay

Every once in a while I run across work that can best be described as yummy! I'm not exactly sure why but there is something about the work of artist Niki Buckley Crosby aka Happy Clay that is just so lush and fresh to me that I had to share it. As someone that personally struggles with any sort of two dimensional imagery in my work - it's just not a part of my vocabulary and skill set - I'm quite draw (not an intentionally pun!) to it in others work. I particularly love the smudgy drawing quality of Niki's work. It's such a nice cross between a charcoal drawing, a rich color painting and a reference to beautiful old dishes with lustered designs.

This work is just so much fun. Check out more at her Etsy shop Happy Clay, or her blog - which has links to a flicker photo set that includes pictures of her amazingly colorful studio.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

While the following is not ceramic related, it is craft related and should be of interest to anyone that works with handmade objects. It seems that the US has passed legislation that is going to have grave impact on the future of handmade products for children, and even mass produced products for that matter.

Please check out the following article and have a look at Etsy for more discussion and links. It's frightening really...
You've got to take minute to watch the video of brick labourers in Bangladesh that Emily Murphy at Pottery Blog just posted. It's pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing Emily, you've always got the best stuff and info. If you haven't yet run across Emily's blog make sure you've got some time on your hands as there is so much great info and links, and if you've been there before time to check it out again as it's got a fresh new look.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

A "seconds" thought...

I'm the first to admit that I'm an etsy addict. Not that I buy that much, but I do find that I do like to look. And something that has been on my radar lately is the practice of selling "seconds" as sale items. I've always had a weird uncomfortable relationship with what is considered seconds, whether in my own practice or otherwise. I think I was lead to believe somewhere in my training, when and where i'm not sure, that seconds are really only good for the bin. Yet when looking at others seconds I sometimes wonder why it is that they are even classified as seconds. Does the slightest pinholing of a glaze render a pot useless. Well certainly if it's sharp and can interfere with function. But what of pinholing that has melted back, yet left its mark. Or a crazed glaze? I've worked for years with a particular crazed glaze intentionally. I think there is also a question in my mind about aesthetic seconds. And that's where the most complicated gray zone appears in my practice. Is a pot worthless if it doesn't uphold my aesthetic expectations and to what degree can I accept the material and processes' challenge to my rigid expectations? Being a maker of both functional and sculptural work I also find that there is a difference when dealing with sculptural "seconds". When function isn't an issue it's much easier to fix and mend faults so that they are invisible to most eyes. But is that fair? Or is it unfair to put such a pressure on ourselves to toss out each and every piece that is not quite right? I find it amazing that so often at conferences, behind closed doors, and quietly to one another we discuss our secret tricks and what we might have gotten away with in the past. I've heard stories of oil pastels filling cracks, magic glues and cements, room temperature glazes (as in paints) and the like, and most certainly I have had my own such secrets. I know it's sort of one of those constantly regurgitated topics for ceramicists, but I guess I have yet to find peace with the debate in my mind.

I think i'm also currently fighting with the idea of aesthetic seconds as I'm in the process of making some very different work for an upcoming show. Well by very different I guess that aesthetically it fits with the other functional work, however the process is completely out of left field for me. The premise for the show was to create work inspired by the other 3 artists in the exhibition as a means of challenging one's practice out of (in my personal case) its rut and repetition. But I'm struggling with the work in a way that painfully reminds me of the first semester of grad studies. And with the exhibition approaching in April I'm questioning if I'll be alright with the work by then. I think I'm a believer in the fact that we often need to live with our own work for a period of time in order to digest what it is and where exactly it has come from. And this process has been known in the past to turn aesthetic seconds into pieces I have grown to love and cherish, once the initial shock of perceived expectations has faded. While I have to admit I've often been one of those artists that literally question if the heat of the piece freshly out of the kiln will melt my packing materials in order to get the work somewhere on time...I'm starting to turn into a person that aims or desires to have the work done weeks or more in advance in order to have the opportunity to live with it. Last year I sent off a piece to a show that I have since been dying to get back. The piece in the end meant more to me then I realized at the time and I've since been silently hoping that it won't sell and will be safely delivered back to me. I guess what i've been contemplating lately is the strange relationship I sometimes have with my work. The love/hate of the challenges it presents, it's nagging need to keep me awake at night, how it steals my mind away from the everyday - losing myself mentally in my work as I try to feed my little one or chase him about. Maybe it's my neurotic nature, but i'm constantly questioning how good my work is, if each individual piece lives up to my expectations of excellence; aesthetically/functionally/conceptually. And sometimes I feel like a perfectionist with blinders on, unable to see what's right in from of me, and other days I wonder if I'm going easy on myself and not self critiquing or challenging enough. It's a weird back and forth ballet that somedays makes me hide from the studio and all it's questions; while on other days hide from the rest of the world within its safe walls.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ceramics Monthly - call for entry

Deadline - February 20th, 2009

Emerging Artists Call for Entry - the May issue will feature the works of emerging clay artists. You're eligible is you have been actively pursuing a career in ceramics for less than ten years.

Up to 5 professional quality digital images (300 dpi resolution on cd, plus a full-size color print of each image) with complete descriptions of works.
Full contact information including email, artist's statement and CV.

Mail to:
Emerging Artist
Ceramics Monthly
600 N. Cleveland Ave
Suite 210
Westerville, OH 43082

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Call for applications - residency opportunity

Call for Craft Artist-in-Residency Program, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto

Craft Department Artist-in-Residence Programme
A-i-R Application Criteria

* Diploma or degree from a Craft/Design/Art College or University
* Talent, skill and originality
* Eventual goal of becoming a FULL-TIME professional craftsperson (artist)
* Ablility to work co-operatively and assume responsibility for efficient studio operation
* Ability to work in a communal studio in view of the public
* Commitment to participate in Craft Department programming
* Self-motivation

Check out the website for more details.

Melanie Egan
Head of Craft at Harbourfront Centre

Ceramic Studio | 416.973.4994
Glass Studio | 416.973.4951
Textile Studio | 416.973.4952
Metal/Jewellery Studio | 416.973.4994

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Outside the Box - International Craft Competition - Call for entry

The title of the 2009 Cheongju Craft Biennale, 'Outside the Box,’ looks forward to the self-awakening of Arts and Crafts in a period of decline, disruption, and isolation from other sectors of the new global arena of art. It is the mission of the Biennale to restore the standing of arts and crafts in the world and re-define and establish its worth and potential.

A consideration of the whole range of disciplines that is art & crafts, and of the materials and methods that gave rise to them, is necessary to stimulate imaginative proposals for intercommunion with painting and sculpture architecture and literature; theatre and film; music and dance even horticulture and floriculture. This will be the basis of discourse for the many professionals attending the international seminar. As we have passed through the industrial and the post-industrial age, the sundering of man from nature has been correlative to the fragmentation of both life and art yet in the arts, all corners of the world may meet. We will set out to demonstrate the value and necessity of arts and crafts to all human life the political, the economic, the social, the cultural, and the spiritual.

The 6th Cheongju International Craft Competition
1st Reception: Images (Period: June 12 - June 22nd, 2009)
2nd Reception: Real Works (Period: August 3rd - August 14th, 2009)

Participation Fees: NONE

The Prizes
There will be 26 prizes to include a total of $110,000 in cash:
First Prize of $30,000
5 ‘Outside the box’ Special Awards of $8,000
5 Merit Awards of $5,000
15 ‘Craft Ideal’ Awards of $1,000
Certificates will also be awarded to approximately 150 runners-up

Send Applications to:
Cheongju International Craft Biennale Committee
329 Heungdeok-Ro, Heungdeok-Gu, Cheongju-Si, Chungcheongbuk-Do, 361-828, Republic of Korea
Tel +81 43 277 2501-3 Fax +82 43 277 2610 E-mail

The Outside the Box Entry Guidelines are available for download here

Monday, 19 January 2009

Call for Entry - The Distill Cup 2009

Application Deadline: May 10th 2009

Open to Canadian artists/craftspeople/designers to interpret ‘cup’ in any medium.

For prospectus please email
or download application from

Exhibition runs from june 9th to june 21st 2009

55 Mill street,
building #47,
Toronto, Ontario,

For additional information, contact Allison Skinner at 416.304.0033.

Call for Entry, Unity & Diversity, 2009 Cheongju International Craft Biennale

Deadline: Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Unity & Diversity
A Juried National Exhibition of works by Canada’s Craft Community at the Canadian Pavilion, Cheongju International Craft Biennale.

The Canadian Crafts Federation/Fédération canadienne des métiers d’art is proud to announce that Canada has been named the official guest country of the 2009 Cheongju International Craft Biennale in Cheongju, South Korea.

Celebrating its 6th anniversary in 2009, the Cheongju International Craft Biennale is the largest and most outstanding fine craft-based biennale in the world. Over 1000 artists from more than 40 countries participate each year, with over half a million visitors in attendance during the month-long event. With a focus on high-quality functional and sculptural craft, the Biennale attracts attention from collectors, curators, academics, craftspeople and, of course, the public. It is a terrific opportunity to showcase the talent of Canadian craftspeople to the world.

Each piece included in the Unity & Diversity exhibition will be entered into a second review, and may be selected to exhibit as part of a second project - an exhibition of Canadian and Korean work to be shown in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics.

To learn more about Canada’s participation in the 2009 Cheongju International Craft Biennale, contact Maegen Black, Administrative Director of the Canadian Craft Federation at (506) 444-3315, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it.

National Call: Unity and Diversity

Intentionally broad in scope, the exhibition theme “Unity and Diversity” seeks responses from craftspeople on how they see their work in the context of the Canadian craft scene. Does Canadian craft have a unified identity, or do our vast physical and cultural geographies make the question of identity much more complicated and diverse?

Details are also available on the Canadian Crafts Federation website

Sunday, 18 January 2009

FIXED!!! I hope...

So I think I've finally sorted out the problem that was making my gadgets "fall" down the right hand side for some PC users. I'm not technically minded so it took a bit of searching and emailing - and many thanks to all those that emailed or commented (even if it was just to rub it in how cold it was here! - mind you it got worse, dropped down to minus 53 celcius with windchill one is a gorgeous plus 4 though so no complaints!)

One piece of advice was regarding the image in the header, which you'll notice is currently missing. It hadn't been a problem since the beginning so I figured that wasn't it, but gotta try everything right? Not it.

What I did find was that there can be a problem if there are any unclosed <> tags in the html of one of the blog posts. So where you've added a link or an image. What you need to do is go through each of the individual posts(hopefully this problem is only in one of them!) and where it is a problematic post you'll see the gadgets/sidebar pushed down. You'll know it's that specific post as the others should look normal. Open the problematic post in Edit HTML mode and check for any unclosed <> tags.

Well hopefully that the end of that! If you still have problems please let me know. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Once again the TOAE deadline is around the corner

Call to Artists - Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2009
Application Deadline: March 1, 2009

Now in its 48th year, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is a juried showcase featuring contemporary fine art and craft that takes place on Nathan Phillips Square every July.

As the largest outdoor art exhibition in Canada, the TOAE offers a fresh-air alternative to conventional art shows and galleries. Approximately 500 artists participate and over 100,000 visitors attend the exhibition every year. Side by side, established artists, undiscovered talents and innovative students sell their work directly to the public and make lasting connections with art dealers and collectors. In 2008, the TOAE presented over $35,000 in cash awards and prizes to participating artists. We welcome applications from artists working in a wide range of traditional and experimental art forms.

Applications can be downloaded from the TOAE website.

For further information, please contact:
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
264 - 401 Richmond Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8

Friday, 16 January 2009

Call for Nominations, The Sobey Art Award

Deadline February 2
The Sobey Art Award, Canada's premiere award for visual artists, is now accepting nominations for the 2009 award. The $50,000 award is given annually to a Canadian artist under 40 who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. A prize of $5,000 is given to each of the four runners-up.

Please visit for details and nomination guidelines.

The 2009 Sobey Art Award curatorial advisory panel will be made up of five distinguished representatives, each from an art gallery located in five regions across Canada. The panelists representing the Atlantic Provinces, Québec, Ontario, Prairies and The North, and the West Coast and Yukon will be announced in early-January. The five finalists of the 2009 Sobey Art Award will be announced on May 1, 2009. Selected work from the shortlisted artists will be featured in an exhibition hosted by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and will run from September to October of 2009. The winner of the 2009 Sobey Art Award will be announced at the AGNS in the fall of 2009.

For more information please contact: Robert Zingone 902-424-3001 OR
Sarah Fillmore 902-424-5169

Sobey Art Award c/o Art Gallery of Nova Scotia 1723 Hollis St. Box 2262, Halifax, NS B3J 3C8 CANADA

Kenya Ceramic Project

If you're in Edmonton and want to support a good cause (you can always support it from wherever though too) check out:

Kenya Ceramic Project Winter Gala, Edmonton
January 30

The Kenya Ceramic Project is an exciting international health pilot project, led by University of Alberta students, that aims to introduce innovative ceramic water filters and high-efficiency wood-burning stoves to rural areas of Kenya.

To get more information on the Kenya Ceramic Project or to order tickets to our Winter Gala please visit or contact

7:00 pm at the University of Alberta Faculty Club, 11435 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton
Semi-formal attire Tickets purchased by registration

If you're a young (Canadian) artist...

Call for Applications from Young Artists, National Artists Program
Deadline for Applications: February 2, 2009

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is currently seeking applications for the 2009 National Artists Program (NAP). NAP is an interdisciplinary artistic mentorship program for young artists that will take place during the Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island, August 15 - 29, 2009. Costs related to travel, accommodations and meals will be covered by the Canada Games.

Three (3) artists will be selected from each province/ territory, representing a range of disciplines, for a total of thirty-nine (39) participants. These artists, aged sixteen (16) to twenty-two (22) years of age, will be selected based on artistic talent, commitment to the creative development of their artistic discipline and ability to collaborate. Under the guidance of senior arts facilitators, NAP participants will engage in a variety of training and presentation opportunities.

Deadline for Applications: February 2, 2009. For more information and application form, contact 729-7518 or visit their website.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Public Art competition

The City of Red Deer is inviting submissions of interest for four public art projects.

Project I
RCMP Building: Interior

Installation of a large-scale work of art, either new or pre-existing, for the main foyer of the downtown RCMP building. The proposed artwork could entail floor inlay, ceiling suspension, glass treatments, or any other means suitable to capture and integrate the unique space. The artwork should be made of durable, non-light sensitive materials (brick, tile, glass mosaic, glass panel, bronze, aluminium, etc.) This $192,000.00 public art project will recognize and acknowledge the role the RCMP have played in the history of Red Deer, which could entail their responsibilities, local history, accomplishments or challenges, and/or the role these themes and actions play in our daily lives.

Project II
67 Street RCMP/ES: Exterior

Installation of a large-scale work of art, either new or pre-existing, for the exterior of the grounds of the 67 Street RCMP/ES building. The artwork should be made of weather tolerant materials (brick, tile, glass mosaic, acrylics, bronze, steel, etc.) This $81,300.00 public art project will recognize either or both of the following: firefighting and emergency services which reflect their responsibilities, local histories, accomplishments or challenges, and/or the role these themes and actions play in our daily lives.

Project III
Golden Circle Renovations: Interior

Installation of a large two (2) dimensional or low relief artworks, either new or pre-existing, that will be mounted on a large burgundy wall on the northwest side of the main public area within the building. The chosen artist/artist group will work collaboratively with the users/visitors to the facility to develop the artwork. The artwork would be a painting, textile, wood, clay or other material that will be tolerant to standard interior public space environmental conditions, including both natural and artificial lighting. This $30.000.00 public art project will recognize or illustrate the wide range of activities, events, and people who access and use this facility which is dedicated to seniors.

Project IV
Station #5: Exterior

Installation of a large-scale work of art, either new or pre-existing, for the exterior grounds of Station #5. The artwork should be made of weather tolerant materials (brick, tile, glass mosaic, acrylics, bronze, steel, etc.) This $24,000.00 public art project will recognize either or both of the following: firefighting and emergency services which reflect their responsibilities, local histories, accomplishments or challenges, and/or the role these themes and actions play in our daily lives

Deadline for submissions of interest is February 9, 2009. Selected Artists/Arts Groups will be notified (letter or phone) with terms of references by February 20, 2009. Installation on all four projects will be by October 15, 2009, but may be dependant on construction schedules and project selected.

If you are interested in participating in these competitions, your submission of interest should include:
- a letter of interest
- qualifications and/or resume
- photos/slides/dvd up to 20 images
- descriptions (if available) of previous projects and/or commissions

Submission for all four public art projects will be juried through a two-way process. Shortlisted artists or arts groups will be asked to complete renderings and/or maquettes for an artist fee of $1500. Renderings and/or maquettes will be due by April 3, 2009.

This request for submission of interest is being distributed to artists/arts groups by way of mail, email, artist organizations and newspaper advertisements. Please feel free to forward this information to any artist(s)/arts groups who you think would be interested in this information.

For full deadline schedule or more information call:
Pat Matheson at (403) 309-4775 or email:
Or Wendy Meeres at (403) 309-3083 or email:

Submissions may be mailed or delivered to:

The City of Red Deer The City of Red Deer
Culture Services Culture Services
(Project Name) (Project Name)
Box 5008 3827 – 39 Street
Red Deer, AB T4N 3T4 Red Deer, AB T4N 0Y6

Monday, 5 January 2009

The "Save Harrow Ceramics' petition has been approved by the Number 10 web team, and is now available on the Number 10 website at the following address:

It reads:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop the closure of the Harrow Ceramics Degree course.

The University of Westminster are proposing to close their highly acclaimed Harrow Ceramics Degree Course. Recruitment of new students has been suspended and there are plans to close the course by 2013, which will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of ceramics teaching at Harrow.

The decision has been made despite the courses' long held outstanding national and international reputation; first class academic standing and a distinguished assembly of professional expertise including Edmund de Waal, Emmanuel Cooper, Kyra Cane,
Professor Christie Brown, Professor Nigel Wood, Steve Buck, Clare Twomey and a roster of world famous ceramicists as both alumni and staff. Its closure has huge significance for British art, craft and design.

We call on the University to reverse this decision, reinstate the recruitment of new students and SAVE HARROW CERAMICS.


Sunday, 4 January 2009

Well you'll have to be patient with me as I'm dealing with a bit of a new year hiccup with the blog and i'm a complete ludite so it might take a bit.

I work on a MAC at home and as far as I was concerned things we're looking fine on the blog, but then I checked out the site on a PC - with Vista to top it off - at work and can see that all my page elements are out of sorts. Sorry if this has caused any problems for you guys. I'm looking into it and hopefully will have it sorted asap. In the meantime all of the page elements like link list, archive and profile, etc are way, way, down at the bottom past all of the posts if you need them.

Say... if you are working on a PC and having any difficulties (or maybe no difficulties) with the blog drop me a line so I can look into any further problems. Cheers!

Other than that the new year is starting off on the right foot. Time in the studio, upcoming shows to stress about and I'm really looking forward to another year with the blog, so here's to it being a good one!

Best wishes to all and I hope it's warmer where ever it is that you call home as it's mius 45C here today and I'm seriously contemplating a move...

Emerging artist - residency opportunity

Virginia Commonwealth University
Emerging Artist Residency Program Department of Craft/Material Studies
Richmond, Virginia

Deadline to apply for residencies is January 15, 2009.

VCU’s Department of Craft and Material Studies seeks qualified applicants for its Emerging Artist Residency Program. The Residency is looking for the strongest recent MFA graduates in the nation to have the opportunity to continue their studio practice in Richmond, Virginia. Gain valuable teaching experience and participate in a vital, progressive community of artists at VCU.

Residency period is for the academic year August 17, 2009-May 20, 2010.

For details on eligibility, what you will receive and your responsibilities, please email