Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's about time to finish those drafts

The year is coming to a close. I found that blogging this year was an interesting experience. I enjoyed sharing my ideas and interests with you. This blog has had ups and downs, some posts are more thoughtful than others(and will probably be edited and expanded). I have tried to use it to express a part of myself that I usually don't share with many people. It often veers off with seemingly random bits from the Internet with intermittent moments of focus and clarity. Though I did notice I have to go through and update some links and add further commentary. I also have a few blog drafts that I need to finish off. I will hopefully get to those in the next two weeks.
 I finally made some progress on a series of paintings that I feel are worth sharing with people. I was trying a few new directions and was unsatisfied with any of the new paintings. Until I decided to continue a series I started before going back to school. Only a handful of people had seen those paintings and they have stayed in London since I left. So those should be showing up in the coming weeks ahead.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Festivus!

Today seems like a good day to celebrate Carleton Wilson a good friend and poet from the Junction in Toronto. He made some recordings of his poems during a recent stay in the hospital. Thankfully he was able to get out in time to be with his family for Christmas. If you would like to check them out here is the link. Happy Birthday Carleton!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I turn my head with one long sigh

A Hundred Sorrows

A hundred sorrows under a single sail:
wind and waves, poles of the line of vision,
birds sunk in the mist, and the mountains with them.
All the colour of the south, still cold next to the skin.

Getting past this place, this autumn of the heart,
one starts to know what hard traveling means.
The evening sun lingers a moment on the sandbar.
I turn my head with one long sigh.

Kuan Hsiu (832-912)

hatsuboku landscape by Sesshū

Monday, December 13, 2010

Freude, schöner Götterfunken

White Christmas
Is it spring yet? And another beard freezing day has passed. I would like my work to have something divine about it and not relate to a deity. My rational side understands that a god is not likely but my irrational side can lead to a false interpretation of experience. Divinity has played a significant role in the history of western art and has obviously made an impression on my understanding of self and the world around me. So where do I go from here. I have been questioning the role tradition should play in my work. Should it be cast aside and forgotten or embraced?

Prayer Bead: The Queen of Sheba Visiting King Solomon, and Adoration of the Magi Northern Dutch (Duchy of Brabant) around 1520 boxwood 6.5 cm (diameter) The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario
Death Triumphant German (Bavaria?) around 1670 lindenwood 24.0 x 13.5 x 7.5 cm The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario
Diptych: The Nativity and The Annunciation to the Shepherds; The Last Judgment around 1300 France (Paris) ivory, traces of polychrome and gilding The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario
  To question is divine. The celebration of the divine has been beautifully expressed by many artist since it has been clearly shown that humans where expressing their understanding of the divine. These images from the Thomson collection at the AGO are good examples of beautiful work created with religious intent. I find some of the work amazing with or without God. People often speak of God given talent. I find this to be a bit insulting, It completely disregards the hard work and commitment artists and artisans throw into their craft.
 I am not sure if man had created God by the time they were painting on caves or if God came later. For most of western art history a divine deity or deities have played a significant role in the creation of art. I find divinity in nature and am comfortable experiencing feelings of awe and wonder of the beauty before me with out needing outer worldly explanations for my emotions. I have always been curious about the souls of people who died before the creation the old and or new testaments. Admittedly I haven't been curious enough to do any research to find an answer to that question. Do they get a free pass because God didn't bother to inform them that they were supposed to live and think a certain way. Or the people of that didn't get word that God spread the message.
 It's frightening to see at home and abroad the role religion is playing on the world stage. Fundamentalists from many faiths are spreading there venomous beliefs around the world. Too many people have died because for this. Is it not time for mankind to embrace reason and move beyond superstition. To live in a world free from hate based on ancient beliefs of superiority supported by divine revelations. We are all brothers and sisters on this earth and we need to stop killing each other. I know moving to a world beyond religion will not end all killing and hatred. But it would be a good first step. Step outside and go for a walk, go to an art gallery and experience the divine with out a Deity.

 Christmas is approaching and so is the end of this blog post (Hallelujah!). I have the pleasure of facing my German/British heritage. So here is some German music and British pottery.

 This is Mary Wondrausch an English slipware potter. She is 87 and is apparently still working according to this website Mary Wondrausch. Her book on slipware is an interesting introduction to this traditional approach to pottery in England. And if you are interested in making it is full of tips for the application of slip to your pots and has glaze and slip compositions. I love that it is full of lead glaze recipes. So maybe the glaze recipes are not as helpful for most people. Overall it is still a great read.  Check out an excerpt of her book here. Here is another site with some traditional and contemporary work. And a video of her at work. Museum of English Rural Life

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral"  IV.Presto - Allegro Assai - Choral Finale (Ode to Joy) 
by Ludwig van Beethoven

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ceramic Necklaces

I saw these at the Dawkins store website. Here is the makers site.
The Original Tree of Life Ceramic Necklace  (or Ode to Charles Darwin in Gray)

Here is some info about the out campaign.

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism
And an interesting T-shirt from the website.

Here is the text from the back of the T-shirt if you have trouble reading the image.
“The Bible says modern people are the result of incestuous relations Cain and his brothers had with their sisters. Science says we are all descendants of Africans.
I believe science”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You're more unstable than I could have possibly imagined.

Will I find a solution to this problem? It has been a big distraction for me this year. Or I have been to distracted to deal with this problem. I have been thinking about religion, spirituality, my place in our universe and how it relates to my work. I have been questioning my understanding of the world around me for the past few years. The main problem was the relevance of spirituality without a soul. A resolution to this problem has been elusive. The existence or presence of a soul has always been a troubling concept that I have ignored in the past. Though it seems to me that a spiritual world may not be relevant...
 Here is a link to a recent post queerer than we can suppose. I have referred to spirituality in some of my posts and I have been considering how to and if I should include it in my work. My biggest concern is that we live in a country that is generally intolerant to different ideas. Religion is an area were this intolerance is the greatest. And to be honest I do not want to participate in this. Now is that a part of my consciousness declaring that spirituality is no longer relevant to me. Maybe I thought I needed it at some point in my life. I was going to introduce this topic of doubting spirituality in a post I have been writing about a mandala from the Kamakura period in Japan but then I saw this article and thought this was a better introduction to this topic. This link is an article about possible big bangs before the big bang.

They have rights too!

A new big release from wikileaks today. When is wikileaks going to Jingdezhan to release clay and glaze recipes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I have rights too!

Sometimes you have to stand up for your rights. Some readers who like textiles may find this interesting Now some people may not like this link due to the graphic nature of it. But it's not really offensive. Well the images aren't offensive, unless you're very sensitive to images of "sort of" nude people. I find the invasive and ineffective process offensive and what people are being put through.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have you been to the AGO lately?

A little excerpt from a video about the Thomson collection and new building.

I thought the ceramic pieces are great. I appreciated the display of the maiolica in the gallery. The ability to walk around the work and see the front and back of the pieces is important to fully appreciate craft objects.  But the craftsmanship that is exhibited in the wood and ivory carvings is phenomenal.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Motives are translucent

We often face conflict in our lives. The conflicts can lead to situations or decisions that we may later regret. They may be the wrong decision and hurtful to ones around us. Unfortunately some people lack the compassion and intelligence to see or regret their mistakes. They live life as if no harm was caused by their careless and selfish decisions. Some people have decided that they are going to reshelve George Bush's new book in the crime section in their local book stores. Here is a link to some websites about it.

The Voracious March of Godliness by Bad Religion

Flickr update

Here are some photographs of mine that I find inspiring. flickr link

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Living in the shadows of your song

I was out this morning to take advantage of the cloudy weather to photograph. Cloudy days are great to photograph because the clouds diffuse the light. Shadows are reduced and softened under the diffused light. It's the perfect weather to photograph and walk in. Though it began to rain too much and I had to leave early. It was very peaceful walking along the waters edge listening to the falling water.
Water fall

Suburban War by Arcade Fire

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Magnificent Murals: 18th century Painted Tiles from Portugal

Here is the content of an email I received from the Gardiner museum asking to answer a survey about their future exhibition schedule. I have provided the link if you want to participate. I'm hoping to see the Magnificent Murals exhibit it is the 9th option in the survey. I have included the description of the exhibit at the end of this post.

Your opinion matters!

Please take 3-5 minutes to follow the link and complete a brief survey designed to help shape the Gardiner Museum’s long term exhibition schedule.

We are very interested to know which of the suggested exhibitions you are interested in seeing, the depth of your interest, and if you had to choose, which of the exhibitions you  would be most likely to visit.

If you have the time, please do complete the survey as your opinion will be used to help us choose the exhibitions we present in the future.

Thank you very much for your membership support of the Gardiner Museum, and for your consideration of this request for assistance.

Alexandra Montgomery

Executive Director

[Click Here to Start the Survey!] 

9. Magnificent Murals: 18th century Painted Tiles from Portugal
Featuring major works of art that have never been seen in Canada before, this exhibition shows how painted ceramic tiles were used to decorate the walls of churches, palaces, houses and gardens in 18th-century Portugal, and illustrates the relationship of those murals to paintings, prints and other art forms from the period.

Off with your head!

I did not photoshop the face. I'm not sure what to say about this. I'll leave it up to you to decide how you
feel about it. Christmas gifts? hahaha

I see you in a new light

It finally happened. I was waiting for this since last spring. I have a jade plant that I have been attempting to get a clipping from that would root. It looks like one will actually work. It was a difficult process for some reason. I tried one a few years ago that worked with little to no effort. It was planted in a broken shot glass that was made by my former instructor Bruce Cochrane.
 I attempted to make a light box to shoot some work in last night. Here are my first shots from it. It was made from a card board box, parchment paper to diffuse the light and a sheet of paper from a sketch pad. I just  used a couple of household lamps as my light source. Here are a few links to a couple of variations if you want to try to make one yourself to shoot your work. Next I will try to make a larger one for my other work. This box is too small for most of the work I want to shoot right now.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Flesh and Blood

Here is a fun stream from the world of flickr. Here is a good example of challenging and humorous use of figurative imagery and forms. Using the figure in ceramics in a new and innovative way can be challenging. I often shy away from contemporary issues in my ceramics. And I'm not sure if I am
going to continue doing that.  Many people use traditional techniques and styles with contemporary narratives. Here is the press release for the Shary Boyle show at the AGO. I am not as aware of Shary Boyle’s work as I would like to be.

Here is an excerpt from the Art Gallery of Ontario webpage promoting their Meet the Artist afternoon with Shary Boyle. “Highly crafted and deeply imaginative, her multi-disciplinary practice mines the history of porcelain figurines, animist mythologies and historical portraiture to create a symbolic language uniquely her own.”

Friday, October 29, 2010

Foto Friday: Oh pumpkin!

Would you like a trick or a treat. Well first I will show you a trick. Then give you a treat. It may not be exiting but I decided to post a scan of a drawing. Yeah it may not be a true photo but 'm posting it anyway. I was going to throw this drawing out then I realized it looked like a view of a lidded pot from above. But I also have a video treat for those of you out there who have taken the time to read this blog post. I hope this is video spooky enough for you on this halloween weekend. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back in the day

Ex's, creative photography (or any art form) and the web can be tricky. And I'm not sure how to deal with it. If you have paintings or drawings do you destroy or keep them. It's not like a snapshot of the
two of you that you can casually throw out or delete.
I have always felt awkward about this subject and I think most people do. The problem is that a lot of my work is often autobiographical. I have created a new set on flickr of some old photographs that I took with a pinhole camera made from a Christmas cookie tin. I posted one of them the other day and I have a few more to go. There is one with an ex that I haven't seen or talked for 12 years. This was taken before the web was popular and I obviously didn't have a flickr account or a blog were I often post my work. I think it is small and blurry enough to keep her anonymity. Though when I took them she knew there was a possibility of them being exhibited. 

You blocked the sun

More flickr fun. Sources for inspiration can be boundless. Figure and ground are at play here. The act of concealing or a reversal of roles?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Foto Friday

I've read about issues with facebook lately. People seem to be bothered by the photo memory feature on the site. Many felt hurt that they were constantly faced with photos of ex's and couldn't stand it. I thought it was a bit annoying, it's nice that facebook decided to take it down. I was sorting through some old photos the other day and thought I should post them here. I have a large amount of boring photographs which make the process tedious. I've been holding of on dealing with them. This picture was taken in 1998 with a Christmas cookie tin converted to a pinhole camera for a photography class at BealArt. It's not the best shot of mine from that group but it is one of my favourites.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More photography issues

You have probably noticed I enjoy photography. Almost too much at times. I have been sharing some of my photography in the past few months with my blog. They are scattered all over the place; I feel like I don't even know how many Flickr accounts I have out there. Though it seems easier to be able to separate my work and make it easier for people to see the pictures they want and not mix up my other interests. Here is a post by the potter Kyle Carpenter briefly showing an example of how to do a quick and easy "studio" set up.

The Pledge

THE PLEDGE: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that "It Gets Better."

Here is some info from the it gets better project website. This is an important issue that needs to be discussed in society openly for all youth LGBT or straight.

Justin Aeberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. All the names of American teenagers who in recent months have taken their own lives after being bullied in school.


  • 9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced harassment at school.
  • LGBT teens are bullied 2 to 3 times as much as straight teens.
  • More than 1/3 of LGBT kids have attempted to commit suicide.
  • LGBT kids are 4 times as likely to attempt suicide then our straight peers.
  • LGBT youth with “highly rejecting” families are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.

Wow look at that.

The lighting is bad but I think you can tell who is in this pic. I just wanted to post something completely unrelated to ceramics. Though finding surprises where you least expect them is not uncommon in ceramics. Any one who has fired in reduction can attest to that. But any type of kiln firing is possible of
producing great and horrible surprises. I would dread the possibility of opening a kiln to find my maiolica covered in white spots often caused by firing a few degree too cold or not holding the correct temperature for a sufficient time for the glaze to heal slowly. Go to this website for this simple alteration to any of your photos I hope you have fun being Polkaroo'd.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Always losing her pocket-handkerchiefs!

I had some fun at the library today. I finally renewed my library card in Toronto, now isn't that exciting. I found some books with delft ceramics and I will finally work on that series of tin glazed blog posts from a few weeks ago. I have been thinking of narrative and design lately. I was completely
thrown of the coffee cup project but will get back to that soon. I had spent a week in London visiting family and it changed my focus on things. Every time I visit family I am reminded about the importance of family in peoples lives. While I was wandering around the art and design bookshelves I found a book about illustrating children's picture books. I thought it would be interesting to write and design some books for my niece and nephew as Christmas gifts. One would probably be about fishing for my brother and nephew. Another book may be related to ceramics. I'm not sure how to write a story about ceramics that is short and interesting for children. Neither my Niece or Nephew are old enough to read yet but they do have several picture books. A cautionary tale covering the dangers of free silica may be interesting?

 I wandered over to the children's section of the library to look at a few picture books and was surprised by some of my discoveries. I was a fan of Beatrix Potter when I was younger and was surprised to read the part where the mother rabbit warns her children that their father was baked in a pie by Mrs. McGregor. I do remember enjoying the illustrations in the books. I loved the little world of animals created by Beatrix Potter. I may write a story about stories coming to life in painted ceramics…

‘The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’ by Beatrix Potter

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Location Unknown

Here is a great resource for everyone to check.  Here is a brief excerpt from his site.
"My work is an investigation of the role and function of ceramics within culture in general and art in particular. I see ceramics (and pottery) as an independent, autonomous and specific art form and it is this specificity that my work explores, around concepts particular to craft practices, like decoration, function and containment, in a unique relation to various contexts, to time, to history and to human experiences."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A world of intimate moments

I am not at home so please excuse the poor quality of the images. I was shooting at high ISO settings because I did not have my tripod with me. I also do not have access to my usual editing software which does a better job hiding the noise from high ISO shots. I had originally set out to do some research at my hometown's central library but was distracted by the weather conditions and photography. I needed some time to wander today. I find the process of taking photographs and viewing photographs to be conducive to meditation.

"I could beginne againe to court and praise,
    And in that pleasure lengthen the short dayes
 Of my lifes lease; like Painters that do take
    Delight, not in made worke, but whiles they make;"
- Elegie XV by John Donne

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An unexpected surprise

"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know"
-Diane Arbus
Sometimes you just need to set up your tripod with your camera on and just let it do what it will do. Here are some fun photos to share with everyone. Now I was involved but I cannot take credit for the photographs I was just a guiding hand.

"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer."
- Ansel Adams
My 2 year old nephew Grady is the photographer.

I grabbed these quotes from a website so I am not sure they are accurate.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

And another

I added a new link to my blog at the top left corner. It links to one of my other flickr accounts. I've just posted a few images but will add more in the coming days.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Flickr Accounts

Not that this is very interesting to you but I am going to start some new flickr accounts. I have decided to create separate accounts for different subject matter.  I haven't loaded many pics yet but I hope to load some old photos and new ones. I was surprised to see how many images I have on my hard drives and backed up or stored on CD's and DVD's. Here is one of the new flickr accounts.

swallows twitter in the skies

“Where are the songs of the spring? Ay, Where are they?”
The coffee mug project has been more work than I anticipated. It is a little to hot in my apartment right now. Thankfully I have a breeze coming in right now. Scarf season is approaching and I would like to post some pics for you. I have been looking at this scarf and other products by this company for my coffee mug.

now for some pics I took this evening.

I keep on running in to deer when I don't have a camera or there is not enough light. I should post the pic of the deer eyeballs I shot this evening. There is a faint outline of the body with glowing eyeballs. Thursday I walked past a Doe leading three fawns across the river.

To Autumn by John Keats

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And learn, too late

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas 1951

 I thought of this poem after hearing from my Aunt that my Nana has been diagnosed with cancer. It seems that there is little chance of survival and she has decided to not undergo treatment. It feels overwhelming right now and hard to believe it's happening. I decided to typeset and print the poem to hang on my wall.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I have a letter I can't send

I have been sick lately and have fallen behind on my blog. As I have mentioned earlier I have just moved. Unfortunately I still have many unpacked boxes crammed in my closet. Hidden in one of those boxes is the Linda Christensen mug. I purchased when she visited Sheridan to do a two day work