Husband and Wife Invent Raku Pottery

Chojiro and his wife developed the raku technique

It all began in Japan. Here’s how it went down:

After 450 years of feudal conflicts, constant warring came to an end in the late 1500’s.

Zen philosophy, the belief that beauty resides in the simple, the quiet, and the imperfect, spread throughout the land. The tea ceremony embodied Zen philosophy.

The great tea master, Sen-no-Rikyu

A great tea master, Sen-no-Rikyu, officially promoted the clay works of Chojiro and his wife, who had developed the raku technique of making simple hand-made bowls.

The raku technique of respecting natural processes has continued to influence ceramic art worldwide.

Artist Matt Mitros at I.U.S. Ceramic Department – 3D Printer Technology

It takes a lot of skill and attention to be both a focused artist and teacher. Brian Harper, ceramic teacher at I.U.S., made this evident by bringing Matt Mitros to campus to work with students.

Mitros-lecture
Matt Mitros demonstrates 3D printing at I.U.S. Ceramic Department

If you read our previous blog you know about Matt’s innovative art. Let’s now take a look at his presentation about ceramic 3D printing.

Matt began by demonstrating Rhinoceros, a 3D graphics and computer-aided design (CAD) application. Using this software, Matt designs objects and molds for objects in his art practice. He uses Rhino to operate a CNC router to carve molds from solid blocks of plaster.

Aware that students learn best through hands-on involvement, Mitros facilitated group design of a ceramic vessel using Potter Draw software. Laughter ensued as students created a fanciful vessel on  screen.

Pot-On-Screen
Students create design for 3D printing using Potter Draw

Next, Matt shot the design to a program, called Slic3r, located on a computer attached to a 3D printer. Slicer programs put designs into layers;  create codes that determine scale and wall thickness; and can design inside and outside walls of a pot differently. These aspects of 3D printing alone distinguish this technology from wheel-throwing, even hand building, with clay.

Clay printer top
3D printer before attaching clay extruder

As Matt worked with the hand-made 3D printer that he brought to class, we were able to watch the pressure extruder, mounted on the printer, as it emitted clay through a nozzle to create a vessel and a honeycomb relief pattern that Matt uses in his sculpture.

 

Mitros working printer
Mitros operating the 3D printer

 

clay-printer
Students watching exruder in action

Mitros made the point that he works with printers in order to be innovative with the technology and to add to the conceptual framework of his sculpture. Furthermore, Matt loves textural qualities of clay that physically show the process of creation. For example, he casts clay into plaster molds and doesn’t remove the seam lines. He often produces objects on printers that show each layer produced by the nozzle.

Mitros-Cup
Cup extruded from 3D printer

 

As a grand finale, Matt Mitros demonstrated a specific use of the printer that he uses extensively: one object, such as a clay-printed toy, can be attached directly on top of another, such as a clay-printed potato.

Bio-Rad
Bio Rad #13, 2017, mixed media, showing printed honeycomb pattern

 

It’s all about having fun with machines to create new ideas and new art objects.

 

Amy Elswick; The Independent Artist

A Profile, by Suzanne Adams, Clay Elements

What is the life of an artist and what does it take to be successful?
Amy Elswick has the answers.

I met with Amy at her renovated, spacious studio/home on East Chestnut in Louisville, KY.

Amy’s Appalachian heritage includes parents, aunts, and uncles who took the opportunity to explore and learn at Berea College. She used her years at Berea to work in the ceramics studio as a production potter where she could experiment with numerous clays, glazes and techniques. Amy began as a Spanish major who subsequently found that clay “fit her hand like a glove”.

In addition to pottery making, Amy learned pottery selling at Berea. The Craft Marketing Program taught students to use craft as a career. She sold her student work through the college gallery and learned basic marketing techniques.

Imagine a young potter who also had the dream of promoting exchanges of the arts throughout the Americas (remember her studies of Spanish cultures). Amy traveled to the American southwest to test her role in the local environment. She returned to her hometown Louisville ready to make pottery that connected her traditional Appalachian background with the clay works of Pre-columbian pottery and architecture.
Take a look at Amy’s website clayhousepots.com and you will recognize that her imagination takes hold when she uses clays, glazes, brushes, and carving tools. She consistently produces dinnerware, gondolas, platters, drinkware, bowls, and vases.

Amy’s work includes sensitively carved vases, fluid spiral patterns painted on inviting bowls, gondolas with surface treatments that are as intriguing as the food within. Notice the earthy, restful glazes that are reminiscent of colors in the Kentucky mountains.

In short, Amy Elswick makes pottery for lovers of the expressive range that only clay and glaze can create.


Amy’s work has evolved into large hand built vessels made to hold such items as magazines and fireplaces accessories. Her architectural mirrors are particularly strong in ceramic form and pattern.

Asked what she plans to do in the future, Amy presented a large (approx. 6 ft. by 2.5 ft.), nicely carved ceramic relief of Louisville’s downtown profile, mounted on a lighted glass background suitable for fronting a counter or bar in one of Louisville’s commercial establishments. I like the way she thinks.

We shouldn’t leave this profile without mentioning Amy’s marketing skills. As a young potter, Amy worked for two artists who sold pottery and art nationally, at high prices. Three years with Dana Major and Serge Isupov provided her with the knowledge that pottery is a business that requires organization, confidence, and a practical, energetic work ethic. It even requires that the potter become artful at packaging ceramic works.

Amy’s business is one in which she makes gallery connections at national wholesale markets, such as the American Craft Council show. She reliably fills orders by first determining how much money she needs to make at a show or gallery, then outlining production methods and outcomes that succeed in fulfilling her plans on time.


We see in Amy Elswick a potter who knows the business front and back; a potter who is a model for anyone with the passion to combine creativity with ceramic technique to produce forms that exemplify a sincere personal philosophy. We in Louisville are fortunate to recognize her as a successful, Independent Artist. Thank you, Amy.

Spraying Glazes Is Easy at AA Clay Studio & Gallery

Cave-PaintingAs early as 37,900 BCE a human hand was placed on a rock surface in Indonesia and pigment was then blown through a hollow tube (bone or reed) in a diffuse cloud over it, leaving a silhouette image of the hand on the rock. Such images occur in many prehistoric sites all over the world and were created by people of all ages and genders.

Spraying glazes is currently a popular technique for the surface decoration of ceramic art. Spraying underglazes, glazes and colorants can be done with a variety of tools including systems comprised of compressors, spray guns and ventilated spray booths.

AA Clay Studio and Gallery now offers studio rental of such a system, along with training in the application of sprayed glazes.

Glaze spray facility at AA Clay Studio, Louisville, Kentucky
Spraying glaze

Two contemporary potters, Martha Grover and Stephen Hill, describe their reasons for spraying.

Martha Grover:“I started spraying my glazes about 4 years ago. I found that I was unable to achieve evenly layered surfaces and color transitions through traditional methods of dipping and pouring. By using two sprayers, one small for my bright colors concentrated at the edges, and a large one for the overall piece, I am able to create a varied, even surface that shifts from a bright color to light seamlessly.”

Martha Grover pottery

Stephen Hill: “Spraying permits me to blend multiple glazes together seamlessly and also gives me the ability to isolate colors on the rims handles, and feet of my pottery.”

Stephen Hill pottery

Following are some general tips for spraying glazes.

  • All materials must be finely sieved, preferably through a 100 mesh screen.
  • Keep the gun tip at least 6 inches away from the object.
  • Keep the gun pointed squarely at the work.
  • Spray in long even strokes. Make each stroke separately and release the trigger as you finish each stroke to avoid pile-up.
  • Make several passes over each area, with thickness testing using a needle tool.
  • Wear a properly fitted respirator with a hepa filter.

 

Stephen Hill demonstrates his glazing process

Figure 1

A transparent green is sprayed to emphasize a spiral movement.

Figure 2

An iron saturate is sprayed over the green strontium mat to turn it into a Tuscan orange.

Figure 3

The wide rim is sprayed with a mat black glaze to frame and contrast with the interior of the platter.

Figure 4

Stephen Hill, completed platter.

As you see, spraying a glaze is no more complicated than spraying paint. You may need only to cover a sculpture or vessel with an even coat of glaze. Additionally, this technique has many decorative advantages.

L.O.C.A.L.S. 2018 Annual Summer Pottery Sale

Days before the big event posters go up.


L.O.C.A.L.S.
is a group of Louisville potters who have come together since the 80′s to support each other and to present two ceramic sales events each year. The Summer Pottery Sale took place on July 7th this year. The Holiday Sale is held on the weekend following Thanksgiving. You can find detailed information on LouisvillePotters.org.

For the clay enthusiast there is a lot to like about this group of potters. Take a look at their website to find links to individual artists. Exhibitors at this year’s Summer Sale were: Jennie DiBeneditto; Amy Elswick, Wayne Ferguson; Suzy Hatcher; Mike Imes; Tonya Johnson; Laura George Lynch; and JD Schall. Guest artists were: Alex Adams; Leah Combs; Les Freeman; and Janet Tobler.
Exhibiting artists 2018 Summer Pottery Sale

L.O.C.A.L.S. (Living On Clay and Louisville Soil) began in the early 80’s when Sarah Frederick invited artists to join a Holiday Sale at her home; followed by a summer “seconds” sale. These well-attended sales events provided opportunities for clay artists for many years.

Sarah continues to be a strong, positive presence in the Louisville clay community.

If you were at this year’s Summer Sale you would have heard comments from exhibitors like: “The customers were happy and interested in my work.” “Sales were very brisk.” From consumers you could hear these comments: “What a fun and easy way to spend the day.” “The variety of items and quality of pottery are what I’ve come to expect.” The weather under the Masonic Home shade trees was spectacular.

Enjoy scrolling through a few of the exhibiting members and guests of L.O.C.A.L.S.

J.D. Schall: jdShallstudio.com

 

Wayne Ferguson: claydude65@gmail.com

 

Suzy Hatcher: suzyhatcherpottery.com

 

Les Greeman: broadwayclay.net

 

Jennie DiBeneditto: studiodibeneditto.com

 

Mike Imes: imesclay.com

 

Leah Combs: leahcombspottery.com

 

Alex Adams: aaclay.com

Why not mark your calendar today with next fall and summer sale dates. The Holiday Sale will be held at Melwood Art Center on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The Summer Pottery Sale will be held at Masonic Home on the Saturday closest to the July 4th weekend. louisvillepotters.org
See you there!

Introducing a vibrant network of ceramic artists

artaxis.org promotes the professional pursuits of a growing network of ceramic artists.

Mission: to enrich the ceramic field while providing a direct conduit between artists and viewers.

What can be found on the site?
• Artist works, websites statements
• Job and residency opportunities in ceramic art
• Calls for entries
• Exhibitions Articles and reviews
• Workshops and lectures

Current Call For Entry: www.callforentry.org.


Brian Harper
, www.brianharperstudio.com. of Indiana University Southeast, founded Artaxis is 2005. Brian currently serves as executive director of the international non-profit website.

Who is using Artaxis?
The website receives thousands of views everyday from around the world. Artists, curators, gallerists, educators, students, and ceramic enthusiasts use the site as a source for peer-reviewed ceramic art.

Taehoon Kim

Over 600 artists from 40 countries have been juried into Artaxis.
The jury process and all other activities are managed by volunteers. Prospective members of Artaxis are juried by current members. The process rotates between over 300 jurors, seven at a time, and is completely anonymous. The inclusion of so many jurors allows each Artaxis member to have a voice in the direction of contemporary ceramics.

Sculpture; Vessel/utilitarian; Figurative; Installation; Imagery; Time- based. These categories, used by Artaxis to present the variety of members’ works, are an indication of the strength and range of ceramic arts today.

Here are just a few of the artists involved:

Charity White

 

Jeff Campana

 

Beth Cavener

 

Kenneth Baskin

 

Meaghan Gates

 

Tom Bartel

 

Stuart Asprey

 

Cara Jung

Check out artaxis.org. Be jazzed about ceramics.

Louisville Clay Members Make Elaborative/Collaborative Teapots

It was a two-hour clay event on June 12 at
KY Mudworks in Louisville that rated high
on the fun-scale for area artists.

The complexity of the teapot is well known to potters.

This Julius Friedman poster shows a teapot by Hsiao-Ling Gardner

We added a challenge to the process by mixing and matching separate functional and aesthetic components (body, spout, handle, lid). Each finished pot consists of parts made by different contributors. We call this the “exquisite” teapot.

As we began to communally design a process for creating exquisite teapots, we felt as if we were 15 people sharing one brain (allowing some confusion to enter the scene, of course).

As we worked individually to create teapot components, we felt like an expanding intellect: occasionally working in the dark, and motivated by the unknown.

Boldly, we came together to combine our creative identities
and, “voila”, teapots were born.

You could not have found a happier group of artists at play.

Louisville Clay is an association of ceramic artists and enthusiasts.
We support clay culture in our region by creating a vibrant atmosphere
in which to create and communicate.

We have membership events such as exquisite teapot-building,
as well as demonstrations and lectures by visiting artists.

Check out our website at louisvilleclay.org. Members can easily create profiles to share news and information with the Louisville Clay community.

The Feel Good Medium; a six pack of clay benefits.

  • 1.  Confidence – because we make an object that is relevant to our lives.

     

    2.  Focus – because we concentrate on specific methods and results.

     

    3.   Creativity – because we make highly personal decisions
    about artistic forms and meanings.

     

    4.  Physicality – because clay “pushes back” as we exert control.


    5.  Relaxation
    – when we get into the “flow” and lose ourselves
    in a meditative state.

    6.  Sociability – when we enjoy sharing knowledge
    and creative time with friends.

    AA Clay Studio & Gallery is a shared working space with modern clay equipment. Our goal is to promote excellence in the field of ceramics by providing the necessary learning tools and equipment for personal development. The studio is an access point for emerging and practicing clay artists.

AA Clay Studio and Gallery: Members Show

AA Clay is Louisville’s original open-studio for ceramic artists. We proudly present seven of our member artists in an exhibition and sale that is open to the public. Closing Reception: Join us Saturday, May 19, 6 – 8 pm.  Celebrate the work of our artists. Refreshments will be served. The following pieces are available for … Continue reading “AA Clay Studio and Gallery: Members’ Show”

AA Clay is Louisville’s original open-studio for ceramic artists. We proudly present seven of our member artists in an exhibition and sale that is open to the public.

Closing Reception: Join us Saturday, May 19, 6 – 8 pm.  Celebrate the work of our artists. Refreshments will be served. The following pieces are available for purchase during the Members’ Show:

Work of studio member Sara Keiper

 

Work of studio member Lynn Duke

 

Work of studio member Peri Crush

 

Work of studio member Beth Bradley

 

Work of studio member Sharon Ramick

 

Work of studio Director Alex Adams

 

Work of studio member Caitlin McGlade

 

 

Members-Show-Postcard-blog
Members’ Show postcard announcement.


AA Clay Studio and Gallery
is a community of artists from Louisville and southern Indiana. We support each other through networking, advising, and encouraging.

Please shop our gallery during open hours:

Tuesday           10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday       4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Thursday         10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday          12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday.            12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

We are currently building an online gallery. Connect to our gallery at aaclay.com.

Clay – Why Do We Love It?


Clay
blankets our earth’s surface with tiny particles of weathered granite.

Wet clay is strong and malleable. Dry clay holds its shape and can be hardened through heating to extreme temperatures.

“If one takes any finely grained non-clay mineral and mixes it with water, a crumbly mass will be produced with almost zero formability. If the same is done with clay, however, there is produced a mass that is readily formed into any desired shape and, most interesting of all, it will retain that shape under the force of gravity. In other words, the clay mass has three unique properties; first, it may be deformed without cracking; second, when the deforming force ceases, the shape will remain fixed; and further, when the clay mass is dried, it has considerable strength.”

Studio Potter, Volume 4, Number 2 (Winter 1975/76)

Clay has strength because many extremely fine particles can be tightly packed in a clay body.

It’s plastic because its molecules are shaped like dinner plates, with an average diameter of one micron (one millionth of a meter). When wet, the ‘plates’ slide against each other due to thin sheets of water between them. The presence of water allows clay particles to move against each other and change the clay form without breaking.

Pull, pinch, slice, carve, stick, roll, press, twist, and squash!
We can form almost anything out of clay.

A clay object can be hardened through firing at high temperatures, such as 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be coated with specific clays (glazes) and fired again to make an object that is impervious to water.

Once high-fired, a clay object can never disintegrate into its original molecular structure. This is when we call it ceramic.

As early as 24000 BCE people were making figurines for ceremonial purposes. Functional pottery flourished when agriculture became prevalent around 10,000 BCE.

Venus of Dolni Vestonice                        Ancient Mesopotamia pottery
(26,000 – 24,000 BCE)

Wallace and Gromit is a British clay animation comedy series created by Nick Park of Aardman Animations. circa 1990.