NCECA 2015 BIENNIAL : LIVELY EXPERIMENTS at Brown University, David Winton Bell Gallery

For my students and for those who were unable to get to NCECA 2015, some images from this amazing show.  Quality of the photos are not great but if so inspired you can check any of these artists out on the web for better images.  Jurors for this year’s exhibition are Linda Christianson, Minnesota studio potter; Jo-Ann Conklin, Director of the Bell Gallery; and Anders Ruhwald, Head of Ceramics, Cranbrook Academy of Art which made for a very diverse show of contemporary ceramics.

Val M. Cushing at the Providence Art Club, NCECA 2015

What a gem of a show.  Over the years I have heard many stories about Val Cushing and I am sorry never to have met him.  By all accounts he was one of the best teachers and a great potter.  This is a quote by Val Cushing, simple and true.

“It is in nature that I find the rich colors, the dynamic textures and the harmonious forms I love to make”    

Val M. Cushing


My final quote is one that I aspire to and I imagine most potters do too.

 “I aspire to make beautiful pottery – some to be used and some to function visually as sculpture”  Val M. Cushing

La Mesa, NCECA 2015 Providence, RI

La Mesa is a show put on by Avra Leodas Director of Santa Fe Clay and held during the annual NCECA conference.  The quality of the show is awesome and Avra puts hours into making it all happen.  I can’t wait to see La Mesa in Kansas City 2016!

Instead of using my iPhone to take these photos I used my new camera, which sadly I do not know how to use and thus these are not great photos.  I need to learn about white balance and get Photoshop.  All in good time!  Enjoy!

La Mesa NCECA Milwaukee 2014 – only took a year to post!

Before I start to work on the photos from La Mesa 2015 – I thought I should finish this post!  I like to take photos of dinnerware!  And I like to show those photos to my students.  Now I have a forum for this!  There is this wonderful show put on by Avra Leodas Director of Santa Fe Clay every year at NCECA called La Mesa.

2014 Year of New Beginnings.

Charlotte Lindley Martin Detail of porcelain flowers, glazed white with gold luster

Charlotte Lindley Martin
Detail of porcelain flowers, glazed white with gold luster

This year has been a busy one. It is my last year as President of the Philadelphia Skating Club and I am feeling pulled ever more into the studio but, all too often, club demands pull me out.

Nevertheless I managed to embark on a new body of work that started with the idea of applying to the Small Favors Show at the Clay Studio. The requirements were that the work fit into a 4 x 4 x 4 inch plexiglass box. I had been playing around with lacy skirts on my forms – dust ruffles was the latest name given by a visitor though I’m not sure I like that one! – that I have been piercing and slip trailing. I began by creating a small flower brick that soon became filled with flowers. It was a stone’s throw to do the same thing with little vases that I had made.  It seemed that I had transformed my painted floral designs and made them three dimensional.  This is something that I have tried before, having made tureens with flowers and grapes laying across the lids and handles. But these were something entirely different while using the same idea.  In the end, their finished sizes were 4.25 inches, a scant quarter of inch larger than the plexiglass box so they didn’t fit!  Oh well there is always next year!

Also this year I applied to Tabletop 2014 at The Art League in Alexandria VA and my compote with 4 dishes was accepted.  Success.

Next came The Joy of Drinking National Juried Competition, Phoenix Fired Art, Joplin, MO.  Pink Mug was accepted and sold the opening night.  I received a card from the Heather the manager who said they could have sold my mug again and again.  Dare I think I am on a roll?

Then I sent two sets of dinnerware and Dancing Vase to Dining In: An Artful Experience VII, 18 Hands Gallery, Houston TX

Blue Yunomi was accepted to The Clay Cup: Vessel, Icon, Canvas at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery, University of Missouri, juried by Linda Arbuckle.

Peach Yunomi was accepted into the Biennial Cup Show at Morean Center for Clay, St. Petersburg, FL, juried by Matt Schiemann

And last but by no means least, Mark Hewitt juried a show called Containment: Lidded Forms that will be at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, February 26 – April 9, 2015.  I had yet to get my Follies into a show but persevered with this new work and made three covered jars, reticulated, slip trailed, lids flowing over with flowers and two were accepted.  (Oval Boudoir Box not accepted!)

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

All photos by John Carlano



Decadent Design for the Soft Surface Workshop with Ben Carter

It is an honor to listen to an artist talk about their work, their process, their inspirations. I love hearing ideas about process or inspiration put together in a way that I think ‘I have never heard that before’.  And the bonus: it makes me think differently about something going on in my own work.  This experience with words is analogous to teaching a beginner to throw.  We all use different words to communicate the process. I imagine that for most us these words come from our teachers who taught us to throw.  Learning to throw is hard and, I think, even harder to explain in words.  At some point the student must experience the process for themselves.  Sometimes, it takes a new teacher to use slightly different words for a student to understand.  When a beginner realizes how to use their body, their hands, when they experience the feeling of the right amount of pressure they get that “ah ha” moment and voila they can center the clay.

Yesterday while listening to Ben I was having lots of “ah ha” moments.  I have always thought that a mug should have a flat bottom like a coffee can.  Ben makes the bottom of his pots, even his mugs, with a natural curve.  He sees the whole interior as one plane as opposed to a horizontal and vertical space.  It sets up the pot for his decoration.  For me the “ah ha” moment came when he talked about arches and strength.  A catenary kiln arch is so strong that it is hard to take down.  The same could be said of a curved arched bottom of a mug – it is stronger.

I came away with another gem.  In talking about his desire to create soft surfaces, Ben said the tension created by the rib is released by pushing into the surface.  He is creating and releasing tension.  “Ah ha!”  I think about creating tension but not releasing it.  And then there was the description of form language.  A pot should have the same form language and not have a foot speaking Chinese, a rim speaking Staffordshire and a belly speaking German salt.  I smiled as I visually conjured up a pot with these three languages. “Ah ha!”  Thanks Ben.



William Daley: 14 for 7

I take photos for my own edification.  These are casual photos, not the best quality taken with my iPhone.  I started blogging to share my photos with my students and family.  This blog post contains photos from Bill’s show at the Philadlephia Art Alliance as well as some from his show at Swarthmore College in 2009.

Two weekends ago I went up to Boston to visit my daughter, Esther a Gastronomy grad student at BU, to hang out with friend Susan Strickler, and to go to Bill’s opening at The Society of Arts and Crafts.  Bill was honored and given SAC’s Medal for Excellence in Craft after the drumroll on his pot Pod Form.

“The Philadelphia Art Alliance is pleased to present “William Daley: 14 for 7,” an exhibition featuring a select group of Daley’s works made between 1954 and 2013. This exhibition comes on the heels of the publication of William Daley: Ceramic Artist, a career retrospective published by Schiffer Publishing. This exhibition unites 14 works from 7 extraordinary decades, celebrating Daley’s achievements both past and present. In addition to the works on view, the installation will feature a recent short film about Daley and his work, Mud Architect, by Thomas Porett, as well as images, drawings, and sketches from Daley’s studio, providing an intriguing glimpse of his studio. Famous for his intricate drawings and library of forms molds and ingenious handmade tools, Daley draws inspiration from natural and man-made structures from cultures and regions across the globe.”  Philadelphia Art Alliance website

These photos are from the Philadelphia Art Alliance show – many of the same pots are in Boston.

Photos of Bill and his tools.

Bill’s drawings

This is making for a very long post but I wanted to share these pots from Bill’s show at the List Gallery, Swarthmore College, 2009.  I took these for my own reference and learning.  I was interested and still am in the beginnings and endings of pots.  Each pot has a different rim, rolled, flat, angled, some are notched, have a square or a triangle at the ends, have a gully around the edge, and all of them have very interesting and intricate interiors.


The Last Supper, Santa Fe

We spent the day at Canyon Road. Saw these wonderful ceramics by Ruth Duckworth. I had snapped a few when the gallery manager asked us not to photograph – they are all on their website.

Driving to Canyon Road caught sight of these amazing Jun Kaneko ceramics at Peters Gallery, Santa Fe.

Our last supper was absolutely delicious at Joseph’s of Santa Fe.  Highly recommended!

We sat outside under an awning and it began to rain, we stayed there until an enormous flash of lightening and a clap of thunder a couple of blocks away forced us inside.  This was the sky after the storm as we left the restaurant.


Puye Cliff Dwellings

Susan and I decided to go south to Peco’s National Park. After an hour’s drive on 25 we arrived to find an empty trading post. No trails to hike.  There was a large plaque with the history of the area.  Looking at the images online as I write this we clearly were in the wrong place!  What a shame to have missed the real deal!

Quick reroute and we were driving back to Santa Fe, the same route we took coming south, and on our way to the Puye Cliff Dwellings. What a great choice!  A not to be missed tour.

We arrived just in time for the 12 o’clock tour – having left at 930am!  The whole tour was magical.  Our tour guide was a local Native American, Derek, who is clearly a wonderful ambassador for his people. He talked so intelligently and eloquently about his people, the history, and it’s future.  He sees his generation coming out from the self imposed silence of the older generations and introducing Americans to their customs and way of life.  After the atrocities suffered by the Native Americans, especially the Navajo in this area, they took their hearts, souls, and ceremonies inside the kiva and maintained great secrecy.  No white people allowed in.  They are now proudly calling themselves Diné as Navajo was an American name given to them and has no meaning in their language.

Derek told us the pottery shards contain the spirit of those that made them and if we take them home we will be haunted by those spirits.  The piles of shards are those that have been returned because those that took them were being haunted!  That was enough to make me a believer!

Leaving the mesa and climbing down to the cliff dwellings.

The cave dwellings were dug into the rock with wonderful petroglyphs high above on the wall.  Some of the dwellings were 2 and 3 stories so they could stand on the roofs and carve these petroglyphs or paint the pictographs.






Jeff Oestreich Workshop Clay Studio March 2009

For Susan!