Monday, June 23, 2014

Idyllwild Arts...

Well, I suppose this is my first post of my "early retirement" from Higher Education.  I use the term retirement loosely, but mostly because there's no word for "next year, there are not enough classes for me to teach, as adjunct faculty, to justify my Institution continuing to keep me employed".....However, I'm willing to accept "Emeritus", if that sounds sounds better.....

As I look for the silver lining in all of this, I tell myself that, at least, I'll have more time to write (here and other places) and more time in the studio to work.  And, while this sounds great in theory, my bank account is less than cooperative when it comes to trying not to bleed out money every month.

One of the pro's to this list is that I have more time for teaching workshops, and I'm in the process of shamelessly soliciting more of these to art centers and Universities around the country. (hint, me). And, what follows is a brief post on my recent return from California where I taught a week- long workshop at the Idyllwild Art Center entitled, Exploring the Altered Vessel. Here's the link:

I've always appreciated the interaction of group workshops that extended beyond the usual 1-2 day Visiting Artist lecture and demo, and this past week was really special.  We had an almost full class of 9 students, most of whom were a bit older than the post- BFA demographic that I'm accustom to teaching.  And, after an intense 3 days of working in the studio in preparation for a mid- week bisque firing, I gotta say that these folks really brought their "A Game" and made some fantastic work!!!..
Kimberleigh working on a teabowl form...

Bernie altering a cylinder...

..trimming an altered bowl on a thrown chuck...

When you look at it, it's really amazing at what you can accomplish when all you have to think about is working in the studio for three or four solid days without silly things like work or laundry or cooking to get in the way.  Honestly, if my cat was reincarnated as a potter, I'm sure this is pretty close to what her life would be like: Wake up, Eat, Make pots, Eat lunch, Make pots, Nap, Eat Dinner, Make Pots, Drink, Sleep.....repeat.  (Actually, if you substituted "make pots" for "sleep" this is pretty much her schedule, to the dime).
...a shelf full of altered and stamped pots from the first day...

And the result of all that intensity is that you have a pretty good body of work to fire and glaze by the end of the week, which we did, using mostly my glazes.  I say "my glazes" but, in all honesty, they're just the glazes I use on my personal work and the recipes have been pilfered or given to me, over the years, by other potters.  I give the recipes out freely and I truly believe that you should, too.  Yes, ...even you.
...fiber kiln full of pots for a cone 10 glaze firing..

Also, I always try to keep the original names or, at least, the names that they had when I stole them...*ahem*...I mean, "appropriated" them, because I believe it's important to give credit where credit's due.  Many of my buckets, like probably many of yours, start out with the letters "V.C" for "Val Cushing". Then there's a "Coleman" and a "Binn's" (Charles be exact) and one more with the name "Hennessy" whose origins are unknown to me,..... but I like to think it relates to the cognac.

While I was teaching in one of the studios, Patti Warashina was teaching a figurative sculpture class next door and Michael Corney was teaching people the nuances of painting on pots in the studio across the road.  Add to that, Richard Burkett was making pots in preparation for his workshop next week on cone 6 glazes, so we had a full house and the benefit of many years of experience to draw from.
...Richard Burkett, me, Patti Warashina and Michael Corney..

...Michael and Richard at sunset.. music provided by Richard on mandolin and  Sam on Ukelele..

Here's a shot of everyone, each with their favorite pot from the week, but Sandra and Vida were nowhere to be found- probably unloading the other kiln- sorry 'bout that.:






...not a bad firing from a fiber kiln. It cooled really quick but we still got some nice buttery matte surfaces.

All in all, it was a great time and I'll miss these folks, for sure! Apparently, you can go to for more photos from the session.  I just had to click on that link to make sure it works and it does....the photos are much better than mine and there's nothing too embarrassing on there :)

So, here's one of me drinking wine on a rock.  It kinda sums up this wonderful experience and a huge "Thank You!!!!!" to everyone who participated. I hope our paths cross again!