Sunday, December 27, 2009

The bone firing was a success!
Beth Kendall, my friend and fellow sculptor, generously fired them over the weekend before Christmas, carving out a path through the two feet of snow to get to her kiln shed to fire them for me! They took two days to cool down and I was able to pick them up on Wednesday the 23rd. She rousted her son, Eli, from bed early in the am and the two helped me carry them into her house for packing and organizing and then to my car for the final delivery to Jane Franklin.
Thanks again, Beth and Eli- I owe you BIG!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Over the past two months I've been working on a bridge of porcelain bones for a modern dance performance by the Jane Franklin Dance Company.  The metal bridge has been fabricated and I've made over 80 thirty inch long porcelain bones that weigh 8 pounds each. Due to the tremendously damp weather the bones had been drying under constant fans for weeks.
I finally couldn't wait any longer and decided to load them into my kiln with a reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally long pre-heat cycle. Only to find that the bones had shrunk but not enough to fit into my kilns. Damn you, quarter of an inch!!!

Upon hearing of my dilemma, my lovely neighbors at the Washington Glass School generously offered their long, low kilns designed for firing glass. Thanks guys!

Bisque firing went well minus a few explosions from steam escaping the thick bones.  Good thing I made 20 extra for unforeseen disasters!

I then unloaded the first load, layered them with a black copper oxide wash and reloaded them for their final firing.

Alas, I did not realize that glass kilns only go to about 1700 degrees. My porcelain clay needs to be fired to almost 2300 degrees.  Oh dear! They came out of the kiln fragile, powdery and a really sickening orange where the oxide was in the recesses.

My dear, dear friend and talented ceramicist, Elizabeth Kendall, happened to have given me a ride to the studio  and she VERY generously offered to fire them in her huge gas kiln in Virginia. So, we loaded up her tiny car with 5 layers of 72 huge clay bones and drove the hour and a half to her kiln. And she loaded them in 20 degree weather, like the amazing friend that she is!

She is firing them now as we speak, a three day process. Fingers crossed!

As an artist, we are all dependent on our community of fellow artists in many ways.
For that honest critique, that bit of technical advice, a cup of coffee on a cold afternoon, for showing up on a rainy night during your opening reception, for loaning you ( insert tool/art supply/paint/etc here) when you run out and need it right away, for that support when you need it the most...
I worship at your altar, Beth.

I am so lucky to have all of you- apparently it takes a village to fire a bone bridge!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be part of a a studio tour this past Saturday, 36 Studios in 36 Hours, organized by the Washington Project for the Arts.  Mera Rubell, a well-known art collector, toured 36 studios in DC in 36 hours straight, spending a half hour with each artist and going on through the night.

The studio visits were covered by Kriston Capps in an article for Art in America and my photo was featured!  Please read full article below:

Washington, DC: 36 Artists in 36 Hours

Still shy of 7 AM on a Saturday morning, Adam de Boer had just opened his Chinatown warehouse studio to art collector Mera Rubell. For a young artist like de Boer—a 25-year-old figurative painter and recent graduate of the University of California-Santa Barbara—the attention might have felt as puzzling as flattering.


You could forgive Adam de Boer for his unguarded question for Rubell. "What are you looking for?"

Rubell was visiting Washington, D.C., on a quixotic campaign that can only be described as a massive studio crawl. Beginning before sunrise this past Saturday morning, Rubell began the first of 36 studio visits she would conduct over a consecutive 36 hours, a whirlwind effort to select artists for her section in the Washington Project for the Arts' 2010 Annual Art Auction Gala. Many of the artists she visited might have thought to ask the same question as de Boer (whom Rubell selected for the auction). A slightly different question seemed equally pertinent to de Boer's: Why was she looking here?

In fact, the Miami-based Rubells—Mera and Don—have recently expanded their footprint in the nation's Capital. In 2002, the Rubells closed on a 13-year effort to acquire the Capitol Skyline Hotel, an eclectic seven-story hotel in Southwest designed by Morris Lapidus, the architect responsible for the Fontainebleau Hotel and other Neo-Baroque properties along Miami Beach (and a friend of the Rubells). They filled the public hotel rooms with furniture by Frank Gehry, Eero Saarinen, Philippe Starck, and other design heavyweights. At the same time, the Rubells began admitting artists from a number of D.C.-area galleries into their world-class art collection.

"The reason we even bothered to find a business [in D.C.] is that the art is amazing," says Mera Rubell. "A hotel is a natural place to create a kind of home. I want artists there—it's exciting for my existence here whenever I'm here."

In Fall 2010, the Rubells will bring "30 Americans"—a survey of works by African-American artists from the 60s to the present owned by the Rubells—to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Sarah Newman, curator of contemporary art for the Corcoran, said the show will be "scaled down and reconceived" to fit the museum, with work by "foundational, seminal figures"—among them Robert Colescott, David Hammons, and Basquiat—anchoring rooms with works by artists influenced by those "Old Masters." The exhibit, which opens in mid-October, is bound to find a profound relevance in Washington, D.C., known locally as "Chocolate City" and host to the nation's first black First Family. (LEFT: LISA GOLD, MERA RUBELL, NOVIE TRUMP)

The WPA received around 200 applications in response to a call for submissions, from which they selected 36 artists at random for visits. "It was not the supposed 'best' I saw," said Rubell, "but I was very impressed. They had to rise to the occasion. There was a tremendous amount of dignity in their professional practice. It was not about a sale."

(One of the best will be included anyway: Dan Steinhilber, the first D.C. artist collected by the Rubells, will enjoy special Rubell alumnus place in the show, which opens on January 30 at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, before the March 6 auction.)

Rubell's attention was not lost on the artists she visited. The Rubells collect Jeff Koons and Glenn Ligon; collectors of their stature do not troll this city's studios, which are scattered between warehouses in Northeast and Northwest, units in the suburbs, and—to be sure—artists' apartments. "Mera knows how to look at her some art," explained Mary Early—a sculptor admitted into the auction—after she invited Mrs. Rubell into her studio for a bracing 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning visit. "She had more insight than most curators and collectors who've visited my studio in years."


"I think they expected me to reach into the artists' contacts I have," said Rubell, discussing the WPA invitation to curate part of the organization's auction. Rubell acknowledged that she had had little exposure to local artists or their studios before the tour. "When my husband and I travel, we ask ourselves, what goes in Beijing? What goes on in Warsaw?" she explained. "Why can't I come and see what goes on in D.C.?"

A severe schedule meant that Rubell and invited guests—I embedded with the collector, WPA director Lisa Gold, and Corcoran photojournalism student Jenny Yang for the Saturday—sunrise leg of the studio visits-had to get down to business. Twilight studio visits did not always accommodate. Photographer Victoria F. Gait├ín, who saw Rubell well after midnight on Saturday night, noted that a "huge beefy Marine" and a petite woman were engaged in a drunken fight at a party taking place in her Arlington, Virginia, apartment lobby when Rubell arrived.

Minutes after stepping into de Boer's studio, Rubell began a percussive volley of questions that probed matters beyond practice. She asked him about his travels in Nicaragua (the subject of much of his work) and the two discussed his faith-an intimate discussion, given that studio visits typically consider archivability, not eternity. Rubell saw connected his work to the Leipzig painters. De Boer admitted to being embarrassed to work in a representational vein. Rubell sympathized with de Boer's experience with the problem of painting: "Who gives you permission? Who makes it OK for you to do this?"

By hour 37, Rubell had arrived at some conclusions about the art scene in D.C. "I think they're hungry for community. I'm not saying it's unique to D.C., but it's the reason so many artists go to New York." Less prosaically, Rubell offered what she perceives to be the impact of international museums on local artists. "This is a place with some of the greatest museums on earth. But artists aren't part of that family. They're more strangers than the tourists. It makes them feel provincial. If you put a kid down enough, he gets discouraged." (LEFT: ADAM DE BOER AND MERA RUBELL)

The Rubells' collection shares many of the artists who grace the East Wing of the National Gallery. But Mera Rubell's sympathies lay with the artists working to build a scene from hidden warehouses. When the Rubells decided to buy the Capitol Skyline Hotel, located in an area of town that has only just begun to gentrify, her friends expressed their doubts. "Wrong side of the tracks?" she sniffed. "That's the only side of the tracks."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Onward with our open studio sneak preview series!

I am lucky to share my studio with four other artists . They are uniformly smart, talented and all around great studio mates! I already featured Laurel's work so below are Mila Kagan, Noah Armstrong and  Elena Patino.

Mila Kagan is a mixed media artist working in a variety of media such as glass, rubber, porcelain and reclaimed materials.

In my journey as an artist I have moved from mark making as a painter to exploration of ceramic vessel forms and to sculptural investigations with glass. I utilize soft black rubber penetrated by elongated strands of white glass, icy white transparent porcelain, and metal structures. I am interested in the juxtaposed relationships between these mediums which allows me to examine issues of  transparency, opacity, tensile strength, gravity, brittleness and flexibility.

Noah Armstrong is a painter who creates sculptural paintings on reclaimed wood panels. They are often gouged, etched and scraped back to reveal multiple layers of pigment. These pieces have a massive presence and are imbued with quietude.

I refer to my work interchangeably as paintings and as constructions as they have begun to straddle the two- and three-dimensional plane. My objective is to explore what can happen when a stage is created that allows for limited and semi-intentional control in its manipulation. I want to plan and build and to react and deconstruct. I find great beauty in the balance of the two.

Elena Patino is our newest addition to the studio. Born and raised in Peru, her recent work consists of labor intensive installations of colored tapes.

For the past 2 years my work dealt mainly with different aspects of identity. Gender and race have been examined through materials and questioned through analogies and processes such as my still ongoing work around skin tones "Me by Others, Others By Me". While still interested in this never-ending investigation, I have re-discovered my passion for detail-oriented, painstakingly labor intensive processes. 

My current body of work takes from my previous engagement in the construction of organic structures based on repetition with a strong connection to fiber arts. While not necessarily made with fiber materials, my work borrows from the pliable quality of textiles.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Now that I've shown you a few of our guest artists that will be featured during our open studio on Saturday, its time to give you a peek at one of our studio members.
Laurel Lukaszewski is a gifted sculptor, Flux Studio member and long time friend.

You may have seen her award winning work recently at her current solo show at Project 4 Gallery, which features a breathtaking installation of thousands of porcelain cherry blossoms drifting across the walls, spiraling upwards for two stories.

Below is a description of her work from her website that I thought summed up her work perfectly.

Laurel Lukaszewski creates installations and sculptures primarily from clay—usually porcelain or stoneware. Most of Laurel's works are composed of extruded forms resembling three-dimensional line drawings or calligraphic brushstrokes. Her work is based on line, rhythm and form, playing with positive and negative space. The interrelation of the pieces has roots in Laurel's study of Japanese Buddhist mandalas in graduate school and a habit of incessant doodling. Her works range in size from just a few inches to pieces as large as sixteen feet.

Monday, December 7, 2009

One of the other jewelers who will be participating in our Open Studio this Saturday is my dear friend Tamara Laird. Tamara is an amazingly talented sculptor and jeweler who teaches ceramics and jewelry design at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and maintains her home and studio in Takoma Park, MD.

Tamara will be showing her porcelain jewelry inspired by forms in nature.
Her work utilizes gold, silver, precious gems and porcelain forms that have been gilded with real platinum, silver and gold lustre glazes.

To say I love her work is an understatement. I find her work to be graceful, innovative and oh so elegant.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Continuing in our series of sneak peaks for our Flux Holiday Open Studio on December 12, 2009
 is a look at Gayle Friedman, one of the jewelers taking part in our Ceramic Jewelry Trunk Show.

I love Gayle's work and own two pieces by her (lucky, lucky me!)
I love it so much I asked her to come be a part of our open studio event.
Gayle is the owner of Studio 4903, a very cool studio in DC focusing on contemporary jewelry.

I can't wait to see her jewelry on Saturday- I better bring my check book!

Gayle in her studio at Studio 4903

Saturday, December 5, 2009

As we get ready for our Holiday Open Studio on Saturday the 12th I promised I would give a sneak peak of our special guest exhibitions each day this week.
Wendy Lawrence, the talented UK sculptor who was the artist-in-residence at Flux this spring, will have a small  exhibition of work created during her residency.

Wendy Lawrence is a UK ceramist who is a Professional member of The Craft Potters Association of Great Britain and maintains her home and studio in Denbigh, Wales.
The inspiration for her work is derived from forms, textures and surfaces found in eroded rock, and the landscape of antiquity: architecture, culture and worship.
Making combines a number of hand-building techniques: coiling, slab-building and working from solid lumps of clay.  She works both spontaneously and at other times painstakingly carving leather hard clay, attempting to imbue pattern and a sense of erosion.
Glazing involves layering reactive and eruptive materials, often very thickly, creating rich textural surfaces.  This process of glazing aims to further the sense the eroded antiquity whilst simultaneously providing an exciting element of chance and uncertainty.

Friday, December 4, 2009

We are gearing up for our third annual Holiday Open Studio On December 12th at Flux, which should be really terrific this year.

We will be featuring recent works by all six Flux artists as well as four special guest exhibitions. I will give a sneak preview each day on the blog for the open studio.

One of our special guest exhibitions will be a showing of thirty miniature porcelain figurines by 
Meri Wells, well-known Welsh sculptor. 

These whimsical figurines inspired by myth and fairy tales are delicate and fantastical, each a one-of- a-kind creation.

Meri's work is rarely shown in the US so this is a unique opportunity to add to your collection. Works range in size from two to six inches and will be priced under $100 each.

Meri lives in an enchanting Elizabethan-era stone cottage on a farm in Wales.
Below is Meri in her loft gallery with some of her larger works:

Meri's studio:

Meri's house:

Meri's wood firing kiln, where the porcelain pieces above were fired: