Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Artist in Residence Show @ St. Pete Clay

Each August St. Pete Clay welcomes in a new crop of Artists-in-Residence.  The purpose of this exhibition is to familiarize the community with this year's group.  New AIR's include Lydia Johnson most recently completed Post Baccalaureate fro University of Hartford, Sarah Holt, Core Student at Penland, Jeremy Wallace, Resident at Baltimore Clayworks and Holly Siggelow, Member of St. Pete Clay.  Returning Artists-in-Residence are Jessica Carter and Brice Dyer.  Residents will also be giving artist talks on their work, past experiences and inspirations.  Free and open to the public!

Location: 420 22nd St. South St. Petersburg, FL 33704

Artist Participating: Jessica Carter, Brice Dyer, Sarah Holt, Lydia Johnson, Holly Siggelow, and       
Jeremy Wallace.

Open from: August 2-31st

Opening Reception: August 10th 6-9pm

Artist Talks: September 5th 6-9pm
St. Pete Clay 2013 
420 22nd Street South, 
St. Petersburg, FL 33712 
p# 727-896-2529  

movie day: Handmade in an Information Age

This one will require an entire pot of coffee and maybe a few energy drinks : )

Critical Information Conference 2012 at the School of Visual Arts: Handmade in an Information Age Panel from MFA Art Crit on Vimeo.
Sponsored by the MFA Art Criticism & Writing program
Respondent: Carina Badalamenti (Student) and Susan Bee (SVA Faculty)

The ability to connect in a media-based, networked age gives artists new reasons to blur, accentuate or erase the line between the actual and the virtual. Choosing one method over another becomes an aesthetic choice with political implications. Using art historical examples to provide context, this conversation will reconsider the often polarizing discourses routinely associated with handmade materials in an Information Age.

• Andrew Buck, The Culture of Art and the Nature of Craft (Teachers College, Columbia University, Program in Art and Art Education, Ed.D. Candidate)

• Pamela L. Campanaro, Labors of Language: Crafting the Revival of Medium in Contemporary Art (The San Francisco Art Institute, Exhibition & Museum Studies, MA)

• Michele Krugh, Pleasure in Labor: The Human and Economic Aspects of Craft (George Mason University, Cultural Studies, PhD Candidate)

• Petya I. Trapcheva-Kwan, The Symbiosis of Traditional and Digital Techniques (School of Visual Arts, Computer Art, MFA)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

emerging artist: Shannon Butler

Artist Statement

My aim is to create progressive, dynamic work that engages with the reality of the place where I live and the people I live among. My biggest thrill is when I realize I have created something the likes of which I have never seen before.

By “inventing” ceramic objects, such as letter holders or antler buckets, that have practical as well as aesthetic purposes, I am attempting to create a space of my own within the ceramic field. I feel that by marrying local materials, such as naturally shed antlers and vintage horse bridles, with my ceramic vessels, I am both upcycling and creating something that functions at a “higher” level. At the same time I engage the public and my northern community in the act of having a daily relationship with handmade objects.

It is a somewhat uncommon existence I lead here in this northern oilfield town. I am inspired by the irony of my situation, and by nostalgia, popular and northern culture. I explore these inspirations in my work, juxtaposing ceramic techniques against each other while making objects that function in an extraordinary way. I am compelled to challenge conventional ceramics and myself by mixing ideas from pop culture against historical tradition, and vintage aesthetics against contemporary. This creates a sort of bricolage, a complicated and layered presentation that defies traditional notions of authenticity and, even, beauty.

My work assembles diverse elements that celebrate and investigate the nuances of contemporary life, pop and northern culture, the art of making things by hand, and the practice of incorporating interesting and useful ceramic objects in everyday life. Art should be all around us, not just in museums.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Priscilla Mouritzen, Monica Rudquist and Hide Sadohara @ Santa Fe Clay

Santa Fe Clay

Gallery Opening Reception
Friday, July 26th
5:00 - 7:00 PM

Priscilla Mouritzen, Monica Rudquist and Hide Sadohara

Priscilla Mouritzen 

Hide Sadohara 
Monica Rudquist 

Potters Council upcoming workshop

October 11-13, 2013 | Minneapolis, MN

Playing with fire
We have five talented presenters who will provide instructions on alternative firing surfaces, firing processes and different types of kilns. We will be doing three hands on firing sessions: raku, aluminum foil saggar, and pit firing. You'll learn skills to create your own approach to surfaces and how they relate to different alternative firings. Presenters will show you how to play with fire and have you ready to experiment in your studio.
Whether you throw or handbuild, this conference has something for you to take back to your studio. This conference is open to artists at all levels: from enthusiastic amateur, to the teacher, and for the professional. No matter your skill level, if you're open to learning and connecting with other ceramic artists then this is the conference for YOU!

Deadline to SAVE $50 is Sunday, July 28 Register Now
Limited Spots Available

Discuss how to fire a raku kiln and how to convert an electric kiln into a gas-fired kiln suitable for raku; Learn how to fire large work in a small kiln; How to apply decoration in alternative firing processes: raku, carbon marking, saggar, smoke firing, drawing on bisque slabs, applying latex and glaze, and the addition of luster lines; to create rich colors and microcrystalline surface details; Participate in hands on firing: aluminum foil saggar, pit firing, and raku horsehair and feather. Read more...  

Presenter: Billy Ray Mangham
Billy Ray Mangham
Presenter: Marcia Selsor
Marcia Selsor
Presenter: David Sturm
David Sturm
Presenter: Ken Turner
Ken Turner
Presenter: Sumi von Dassow
Sumi von Dassow

Upcoming exhibition and workshop at Plinth Gallery - Mary Fisher

Mary Fischer
“The Architecture of Space”
"Flaming Roof"  Mary Fischer                      
Please join us for an opening reception with the Artist
First Friday, August 2, 6-9pm
Exhibition on display through September 29
Mary Fischer's ceramic forms are reminiscent of the land 
settled by her great-grandparents and where Fischer grew up. Her sculptures of barns, water towers, granaries and other farm buildings are influenced by her surroundings on the Texas landscape. Fischer has always been fascinated with buildings and architecture,  "I've been interested in buildings and photographing buildings and reading architectural magazines ever since I can remember". Fischer’s constructions are all hand built from slabs and extruded sections of clay. Using a paper maquette as a pattern, she assembles the clay parts much like, “playing with Legos. The more pieces there are to play with, the more ideas there are to explore.” Mary began her studies in ceramics at an arts center in Austin, TX after returning from a tour with the Air Force as an Intelligience Officer. She has been an exhibitor at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver for the last seven years, and now we are delighted to showcase her unique yet familiar ceramic constructions at Plinth Gallery. Please join us for our opening reception with the artist on First Friday, August 2nd, from 6-9pm.                              "Covered Silo" Mary Fischer
Mary Fischer Workshop: "Printing on Clay"  August 3-4
In this two-day workshop, Mary will demonstrate her process of handbuilding, printing images on clay and using ceramic stains and slips. Techniques include use of plexiglass plates to transfer images, using printed images from magazines or other sources, image manipulation using Photoshop, and use of paper or fabric to transfer images similar to a monoprint.  There will be discussion and demonstration of correct pigment formulation, and plenty of time for hand-on practice of the techniques.   
Class size is limited and registration is first-come, first served. Fee of $250 includes all materials, and lunch catered by Fuel Cafe.  Participants can receive graduate credit through Adams State University.  Check our website for more information and contact us to register.

Help support the Bray this weekend!

Bray Benefit Auction and Brickyard Bash
Don't miss the best party in town! Dust off your grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts and head to the Bray for the Benefit Auction and Brickyard Bash..goes Hawaiian.

Bray Brickyard Bash
Gates open at 6:00 PM
Cup Auction closes at 7:00 PM
Silent Auction closes at 7:15 PM
Live Auction begins at 7:30 PM

2013 Meloy Stevenson Award presentation to John C. Board

BRICKYARD BASH to follow with live music by the Big Sky Mudflaps and special guests from Salsa Loca.

View Auction Artwork Online


Can't make it in person?
Participate and bid by proxy. To get a bidder number and place a bid contact the North Gallery at 406/443-3502 ext.18. All absentee bids must be in by Friday, July 26 at 5 pm.


Purchase Your Tickets Now!
In advance $10 | At the door $10 members, $15 non-members

**Ticket includes admittance to auctions, hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks during auction. No-host cash beer and wine served during the Brickyard Bash.

Purchase tickets online

Tickets also available at Allegra Marketing, Print & Web; Benny's Bistro; Trimac Group Real Estate or the Bray North Gallery.


Special thanks to our auction sponsor:
Trimac Group

Gallery Hours:
Saturday 10 am5 pm, Sundays 15 pm

The Bray Offices, Galleries and Clay Business will be closed on Monday, July 29.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

guest post: Julia Krueger in Conversation with Jonathon Bancroft-Snell

In Conversation with...
In 2010, I started my studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.  This meant that I have had to spend some of the school year in London, away from my family and the Canadian prairie provinces I hold so near and dear to my heart.  Although I am away from home, I have still managed to get my ceramics fix by visiting the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery.  I often sit down in Jonathon’s “salon” and end up chatting for hours with Jonathon and gallery manager Brian.  We talk about everything from recent arrivals to the gallery to the current state of ceramics in Canada.  When Carole mentioned that she would welcome guest posts, I thought the readers of Musing About Mud would appreciate hearing what one of Canada’s premiere commercial ceramic gallery owners has to say.  Jonathon happily agreed to the interview.  Rather than the interview taking place in a face-to-face meeting, we decided to correspond over e-mail.  In addition, in order to colour our conversation, I’ve opened each section with a quote from either Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting” which you can read here or Gail Crawford’s canonical text Studio Ceramics in Canada.  Although Benjamin talks about books, I think his points are also relevant to ceramics collectors and fans.
Julia Krueger, June 2013

Jonathon Bancroft-Snell in the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery, London, ON.

 The Gallery
“Collectors are people with a tactical instinct; their experience teaches them that when they capture a strange city, the smallest antique shop can be a fortress, the most remote stationary store a key position. How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!” 

– Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting,” p. 63

JK: Thank you so much for agreeing to participate in this virtual conversation.  I consider your gallery to be like the magical fortresses Benjamin is talking about.  Not only does the gallery reveal parts of London I would have otherwise never seen, but when I enter the gallery in the pursuit of ceramics, a myriad of Canadian perspectives reveal themselves to me.  Why did you establish your gallery in London, and how has being part of the London community shaped the gallery?

JBS: First let me say that I love your use of literary quotes to propel the conversation as I am a book collector as well as a ceramic collector. The pursuit of both has certainly led me to discover parts of cities that I never would have discovered had it not been for my collecting.

As to “Why London?” the answer is quite simple, I live here. It is however a question I am asked frequently. The scale of the gallery, the quality within the gallery and the fact that it is a national gallery does beg that question I suppose. I guess my philosophy is more of the “build it and they will come.”  The advantage of London was the opportunity to open with relatively little start up cost. 

I think it is important to remember that the gallery didn’t just spring into being. I had a very definite focus. I wanted to be the biggest, the best and showcase Canada’s finest. Currently we are the biggest, the best and we do showcase Canada’s finest. That may sound like bragging or a bit egotistical but I don’t mean it to be. The truth is the gallery sprang out of naïveté. It just never occurred to me that I couldn’t do it.  I also believe strongly that things happen from someone taking the first step. The worse thing that could happen was I would fail. If I had I would have pursued something else. Fortunately, my dream was embraced by the artists I represent, the clients who have become friends and the London media who from the beginning have been and continue to be supportive [click here to read an article by the London Free Press]. 

One of the exhibition areas in the Jonathon Bancroft-Snell Gallery.

JK: There are a number of different exhibition spaces in your gallery.  You have traditional exhibition spaces with sexy lighting and hands-off glass cases and plinths, but you also have other areas which could be more easily compared to typical “craft galleries” or retail spaces.  Could you explain why you decided to take this hybrid approach?

JBS: So many galleries present a hands-off snobbishness that intimidates people. It is as if what you are wearing is being tallied up to see if you can afford what is being shown. I hate it! I wanted the gallery to be a place I would feel comfortable in if I was coming in as a first-timer.

The first space is similar to a high end gift shop. People enter with an initial visual experience that is non-threatening. This is our “foyer.” It is here we greet and engage and make the person feel at home. We let them know what we are, who we represent and essentially give them the freedom to enjoy without feeling they are intruding. We work at living up to the visitors’ expectations rather than attempting to evaluate if they will live up to our expectations.

We have a glassed in room that has glassed in cabinets. It houses some of the more fragile or high ticket items. Then there is our exhibition hall. It is a purpose-designed space where we host as many as eight exhibitions a year. Our new website,, shows the various areas.
The gallery is essentially laid out as an exploratory experience taking people on a journey that leads from the repeat work an artist makes to earn a living to the extraordinary exhibition work that often defines them as artists. We also explain to people that what separates a mug from an exhibition piece is not quality but time expended. It is important to us that they grasp that concept. The person buying a mug is as important to an artist as the person purchasing a multi-thousand dollar work.

Handling Objects and Moving Beyond the How-To
“One has only to watch a collector handle the objects in his glass case.  As he holds them in his hands, he seems to be seeing through them into their distant past as though inspired.” 

– Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library: A Talk About Book Collecting,” p. 61

JK: One of my favourite things about your gallery is that unlike public art galleries and museums, I can touch the work.  How important is it for a collector, or even one-time customer, to move beyond the visual, to be allowed to touch the work?

JBS: OMG! It is clay! It cries out to be touched, caressed and held. Ceramic art is the most tactile art form. It is extremely important to be able to touch the work. It is the tactile experience that makes ceramic art so special. I love watching people handle the work and that includes children. Parents enter with “don’t touch” as their mantra. I tell them to relax, “gentle touch” is my mantra. I show children (and adults) how to touch, how to handle the work and explain to them what to look for; where to look for the evidence that ceramic art is truly “touched by the maker”.
Walter Dexter with some of his torso vases.
JK: Last year you published a book on Walter Dexter titled Walter Dexter: The Torso Masterworks with Ronald P. Frye publishing, and this year you plan to launch a series of ceramic-themed books with Frye publishing.  Can you explain the motivations behind this project and your plans to move beyond a discourse focused on technique and the how-to?

JBS: Ceramic artists often work in isolation. Frequently, their exhibition work is exhibited in “don’t touch” venues. I wanted to take the reader beyond the clay and introduce them to the maker. My goal is to connect the reader with the artist and tell them a story. LOL, I sent my mother an autographed copy. Mothers like things like that. She called me a couple of weeks later. “Oh, Johnny I read the book, twice! I expected an art book that I wouldn’t understand but I loved the story. Walter seems like such a nice man.” My mother is 88 and art isn’t her thing but she loves people and now she knows about an artist and what motivates him. Pretty cool! The goal of the books I am writing is to connect the reader to the artist so they understand that everything is indeed “touched by the maker.” I believe that if I can connect people in a real way to Canadian ceramic artists then I can get them to, if not collect, at least acquire maybe even one piece that is handmade rather than something mass produced. I guess in my own way I am trying to protect an art form that I believe is worthy of protecting. In a world where everything is about instant gratification I guess I want people to take time to linger and become acquainted with an art form that takes time to master. LOL, maybe I see myself as a ceramic warrior!

Building Collections
“The acquisition of books is by no means a matter of money or expert knowledge alone.” 

– Walter Benjamin, “Unpacking My Library: A Talk About Book Collecting,” p. 63

JK: Let’s say a person in their mid twenties came into your gallery with $35 and told you that she or he wanted to start collecting ceramics.  How would you advise her or him?

JBS: That’s easy and a question we are often asked. Mugs! It is possible for a relatively small outlay to collect mugs from many of the finest artists in Canada. I would recommend that they choose what they like and that ideally they should look to getting two from each artist. Two enables them to see the differences and understand the nuance within an artist’s oeuvre. Then they can decide on whether to make it a regional, national or even international collection. One of my clients in Washington, a major collector, also has a collection of mugs. They are offering it to a museum where it will be part of a study collection. I would also tell them to “Use them!”. Functional ware is great to start with and through using, a collector can get used to feeling the artist’s work.

Years ago, a wonderful elderly lady lined up five pieces of silver. They spanned over 400 years. She had me feel them. From the silkiness of a cared for piece of Queen Anne silver to a modern day sterling coaster that my finger squeaked across, I learned about patina. I have never forgotten the experience.

Collecting isn’t about how much money one has but rather about channelling a passion. Also it’s about having fun!

Canadian Ceramics?

“We can assert that there is no Canadian style per se, even if there are unquestionably authentic Canadian ceramics.”

– Leopold Foulem, Canadian Excellence in Clay 1 (1987), quoted in: Studio Ceramics in Canada by Gail Crawford, p. 11

JK: How would you define/describe Canadian ceramics...or is there even such a thing?

JBS: Canada is a rather large country with a diverse population. I am going answer this question with an observation. I see thousands of people coming through the gallery each year. Many have often never been in a ceramics gallery, been exposed to or know anything about ceramics. Often they will walk through commenting innocently on what “speaks” to them. They will often select as “their favourites” work by five or six artists.  The artists they choose often have, in my eyes, no stylistic similarity but what they do have in common is they are often from the same province. 

My theory is that artists incorporate a regional difference that is intrinsic to their work and it is subliminally present. I think the naïveté of a novice collector enables them to pick up on that similarity. I think as we become more sophisticated our appreciation of the work is more about what makes it different. 

JK: Where do you see Canadian ceramics going in the next few years?

JBS: I believe the appreciation of Canadian ceramics will increase given that currently public galleries are discovering and actively collecting it. I also believe that for the collector, now is an extremely exciting time to be collecting. Many of the senior artists who are the front runners of the avant-garde are still alive and in many cases are still creating. There are also some wonderful young artists doing some incredible work.

JK: Whose work currently excites you?

JBS: That’s it! Hit me with a question that for a gallery owner can be emotionally charged! That is like asking a parent to publically name their favourite child! I think what excites me is the continued pleasure hunt. What excites me is when the light bulb goes on and I see in a work that previously confused me something that is suddenly illuminated. I love that moment of discovery.

I think every collector should acquire once in a while a work that they just don’t get, that confuses them and maybe repels them. I think they should live with it and learn from it. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to be immersed in a world that still has areas to explore and that excite.
I am excited when a new crate arrives. Opening the crate is like opening a kiln.  I love as an exhibition approaches and artists’ work starts to arrive and I get to see how they have, yet again, pushed the boundaries. That excites me!

JK: I completely agree about challenging one’s self to try to understand work that is confusing!  For my thesis, I am specifically examining works that challenge me.  What I find so rewarding about engaging with challenging pieces is that in the end those are the pieces that I end up loving and they help to illuminate other works as well.  Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and I can’t wait to see some of your upcoming exhibitions.

Location: 258 Dundas St. London, ON Canada N6A 1H3
Phone: 519-434-5443
Toll Free: 1-866-229-5244
Gallery Manager:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

movie day: Treasures of Chinese Porcelain

Published on Jun 5, 2013
Treasures of Chinese Porcelain (2011)
In November 2010, a Chinese vase unearthed in a suburban semi in Pinner sold at auction for £43 million - a new record for a Chinese work of art. Why are Chinese vases so famous and so expensive? The answer lies in the European obsession with Chinese porcelain that began in the 16th century.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

technical tuesday: starch?

Head on over to Debuse-on-the-Loose for today's super useful tip!

Have you got a technical tuesday idea? 
Some magic trick around the studio you couldn't live without? 
Wanna share some of your process with musing readers? 
Drop me a line at

Monday, 22 July 2013

catch it before it's gone: Summertime @ jaggedart


Runs until 27 July 2013
A selection of exciting works to celebrate the spirit of summer
Sara J Beazley - Ivana Brenner - Ricardo Cinalli - Melanie Goemans - Juliet and Jamie Gutch - Tom Henderson - Charlotte Hodes - Kristof Jeney - Katherine Jones - Livia Marin - Kathleen Mullaniff - Francisca Prieto - Rachel Shaw Ashton - Wycliffe Stutchbury - Patricia Swannell - Kazuhito Takadoi - Jude Tucker - Thurle Wright


28 A Devonshire Street
(off Marylebone High Street)
London W1G 6PS
Tel: + 44 20 7486 7374

Upcoming workshops at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts

Spirit Vessel WorkshopSpirit Vessel Workshop with Richard Flores
September 20 - 22, 2013 
This three-day workshop will explore historic and personal approaches to the vessel. Participants will create small vessel forms, along with two-dimensional studies, that marry historic exploration and self-expression. The workshop will culminate in a raku-firing of the vessels, which the participants will in turn take home with them. 
Journey to the Center of YOUR Earth WorkshopJourney to the Center of YOUR Earth Workshop 
with Richard Flores
October 18 - 20, 2013 
This three-day workshop will involve various approaches to working with natural and man-made materials to promote awareness of the relationship between the earth and civilization. The work of diverse individuals, including Marcel Duchamp, Nader Khalili, Edward Kienholz, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Goldsworthy, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, James Turrell, Robert Smithson and others will be explored. Selected works will be presented in an exhibition at the Center in 2014. 
Allison Newsome WorkshopPost Pre-Pottery Figurine Workshop
with Allison Newsome
November 7 - 10, 2013 (Note new date!)
This four-day workshop will share information gleaned from a recent twelve-week workshop presented at Harvard by Allison Newsome. The workshop at the Center will share Newsome's experience with this project and explore Neolithic pre-pottery figurines (5,000.00-3,000.00 BC) as a metaphor and point of departure for clay sculpture.

Visit the Center
Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
Tel (805) 646-3381
8560 Ojai-Santa Paula Rd. | Ojai, CA 93024