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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Featured Mud Colony Blogger -Brenda Wolf

MC;  What do you love the most about being a potter/ceramist/ clay worker?
 BW: For starters, I love the immediate results!  I’m also a very tactile person and happiest when my hands are manipulating something, so holding a warm lump of wedged clay in my hand feels natural, comforting somehow. Clay isn’t my first crack atbeing creative, but I’d have to say it gives me the most pleasure!

 MC: What inspires you ? 
BW:  At the moment too many things!  I’m a fairly new to pottery and admittedly I’m not a terribly patient person, so of course I want to try everything….and I want to do it now!  I’m inspired by the work of so many talented artists, not just in the craft of clay but in all aspects of hand made.  Anything patterned,textured, colourful.  I love whimsy and I’m a nut for anything distressed, shabby, pre -loved, peeling…you get the picture…

MC: Tell us about the processes involved in producing your work ?  
BW:  I  make functional pottery, but what I really love to do is some what sculptural.  It involves a combination of hand building and throwing various “parts” on the wheel, joining them and then altering them in some way. I add bits of clay that I’ve rolled textures onto or pressed into sprig moulds and paint them with underglazes. These eventually become my “Jarheads” and “Potty Mouths”; figurativejars and salt pigs, distressed and somewhat primitive with “Coraline” inspired faces.  I also love sgraffito and paper resist and more recently mishima. Truthfully?  I love the fiddly stuff.  I can spend hours on all the little details!

  MC:  Describe your studio
BW:  At the moment it’s in the basement of my house.  It’s a windowless room that I’ve attempted to brighten up with a wall of turquoise blue paint and bright yellow cupboards(which happened to be there prior to becoming a studio and seem to work).  It’s a nice sized room, and I have a great table to work at.  I also have a sink,which it seems is something a lot of potters don’t have the luxury of,  so I’m very appreciative of that.  I can’t imagine being without one!  It’s fitted it with a Gleco trap, but I still use buckets as well, so that very little clay residue goes down the drain.  My kiln sits upstairs in my porch just off my kitchen so that I can open the patio doors and the window for venting.  It’s the first year for me and my kiln andI’m finding that little ole’ porch gets pretty warm when the weather is hot but I’m looking forward to warming up that chilly room once winter comes.

Now…my dream studio…ahhh… I dream of a lovely little studio,…my own “hut” that’s filled with sunlit windows that open to let in a lovely little breeze......*sigh* maybe one day!

MC:   How do you market  and sell your work? 
BW:   To date, I’ve only attended two sales.  The first one, I shared a table with my local guild and sold several pieces but what really made it a fabulous sale for me was the wonderful feedback I received and meeting the author of my very favourite pottery blog, Carole Epp…who said the nicest things about my pottery andeven invited me to take part in a local sale that her collective craft group holds!  Through this same sale I was invited to apply as an emerging artist in an art market organized by our Provincial Crafts Council.  I have 2 ,possibly 3 more sales for the upcoming Christmas season that I’m really excited about!  Eventually, I hope to get my work in some exclusive gift shops and perhaps a gallery!  I’m also considering Etsy or something like that.

MC:   How did you find Mud Colony?And  what impact ,( if any), has it had on your
BW:   Well….I met Elaine Bradley, potter extraordinaire fromAustralia, through an online workshop we were both taking from Diana Fayt.  Through Elaine, I met Adriana and it was love at first site! Hahaha.. I’ve admired Adriana’s work for a few years and followed her blog.  We’ve become really good friends and she’s been so supportive and is always willing to answer my endless questions.  As far as Mud Colony’s impact on my blog?  HUGE!  I love getting the feedback and though I’m a bit of a slacker when it comes to writing on a regular basis, I’m finding that more and more people are visiting it!  I try to visit each and every blog in return and find I it really interesting to see what others are doing.
 MC:  Are there any clay blogs that you ALWAYS look at ,and why? 
BW:   Musing About Mud by Carole Epp….from day one really.  I don’t think I need to explain why because it seems that all potters visit her site! A wealth of info there!  Of course Mud Colony, because it’s now become a sort of potter family for me.  I love Jenny Mendes and Linda Fahey  JenniferMecca….honestly, I have so many it’s to the point of being ridiculous!

MC;  Best piece of advice you have been given about your practice?
BW:   Make what you love to make and don’t feel pressured by what will sell or what other well intended friends and family suggest you try making.  Do what makes you happy !
 MC;  What would be YOUR advice to someone just beginning their practice?
BW:   Just do it!  It took me years to finally enrol in my first pottery class when I’d been talking about doing it for ages.  Who knew I’d finally find “my thing”!
Brenda is a regular contributor to Mud Colony with her Blog  -Brenda Wolf Ceramics 

Featured Mud Colony Artist/Blogger- Debby Gower

 MC; What do you love the most about being a potter/ceramist/clayworker?
DG;    I love the feel of the clay between my fingers and the endless possibilities of clay and glaze

 MC: What inspires you ? 
DG; Australian Flora and Fauna. Book Titles, images of ceramics, art and artists from all over the world – Facebook is fab for this!

 MC:  Tell us about the processes involved in producing your work ?  
DG; First I will see and image or a word that will inspire me and I think "Oh – how can I represent that in clay?"-" Can I adapt or rework theimage into a new work?And if I am really inspired can I rework it or put it with something else to convey amessage?
 After consulting my hundreds of Ceramic books and technical notes etc,  its time to makea few tests to see if it will work.  Thena couple of mistakes, few more tests, couple of  re adjustments, a few more learning experiences, minor disaster maybe, more work, more work and more work and then if I am lucky the kiln will pleasantly surprise me with one or more beautiful pieces.  Eg the 'Orchid Proof Fence' and'Banksias'.

                                                   ' Living Next Door to Ellis'-  Exhibition 2011
  MC: Describe your studio
DG;  Full, cluttered, a studio well lived in and full of “I might need that one day” inspirations and surprise!!
image by Deb Lengjel

MC: How do you market  and sell your work?
DG;  My life circumstances mean I study a lot and I usually make work for assignments, exhibitionsor on request. 
'The Glass Ceiling ' (Glass, Porcelain 45 cm x 45cm 2011 ) -from the exhibition ' Living Next Door to Ellis'

MC:  Are there any clay blogs that you ALWAYS look at,and why?
DG;  Mud Colony blogs – because they are the ones that I feel aconnection to – and Tammy Jo 365 days of clay cups – She is an inspiration andsuch a wonderful person !
'Banksias Three'-from the exhibition ' Living Next Door to Ellis'

MC: How did you find Mud Colony?And  what impact ,( if any), has it had on your
Facebook i think,- and loved it.  I love the concept, the friendship,the seeing what other wonders are happening out there in the Mud Colony world.  I know there are other sole potters/ceramistsout there that love clay just as much as I do. My blogging was not regular before MC – since I never thought I had much to say unless I had a piece in an exhibition. I was so wrong.  I learn't from my other colonists that its not about saying something momentous (although some colonists do have momentous things to share) – Its about sharing the ups and the downs, the inspirations and the discoveries.  A colony of mud lovers –sharing what they love. Since Mud Colony I blog almost every week/fortnight even if its just to remind people to check out Mud Colony
 MC; Best piece of advice you have been given about your practice ?
DG;  Just do, play, make, practice – Don’t give up – Don’t giveup,  Don’t give up – Keep trying. Try something new !!
                                       ' Beyond the Bookcase' - Byron Writers Festival 2010
MC: What would be YOUR advice to someone justbeginning their practice? 
DG; Do it because you love it and no matter what anyone else thinks or says – If you love playing with clay – keep on playing !
Debby is a regular contributor to Mud Colony with her blog  deborahgowerceramics

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Featured Mud Colony Artist/Blogger- Paul Boland

 MC; What do you love the most about being a potter/ceramist/clayworker?
PB :I love the fact that as a functional potter the items I make are enjoyed by those who use them. I know that everyone in a manufacturing business ‘makes’ items for people to enjoy even if the piece they make is a small part of the consumer’s life. What I mean is, when I sit at the wheel or design a piece I pick the piece apart and wrap my mind around the piece. Does it serve a purpose? Will it function? Is it visually appealing? Etc... All these questions I ask myself are in the perspective of others. In doing so, I am not thinking about myself but I am thinking about the enjoyment of others and their needs. Too often our society’s people are focused on “me”. Pottery helps me to focus on others.

 MC: What inspires you ? 
PB: Life inspires me. In an earlier blog post I talked about the people I serve when I teach classes. How they are attempting to not only make their lives a little more enjoyable but to use the knowledge they gain to help others as well. That inspires me.
            I am not one to go out into the forest and find a trig only to rush back home and make 100 pots with some twig adornment. I don’t work that way. I get inspired where I see a need. Perhaps it is “Hunger Bowls”, or a struggling business that serves the community, or a family trying to memorialize a lost loved one. Life inspires me.
            I would be lying if I didn’t say my wife inspires me. When I said I was thinking of going to college (for the first time at age 34), she said go for it. When I said I was thinking about quitting my full-time job to attend school, she said go for it. When I said I wanted to start my own business repairing homes and go to college, she said go for it. And when that business tanked along with the economy she suggested I attend school full time and not worry about working. My wife has been a huge part of my artistic growth. She has held me back when it was needed and told me to run when the time was right. She is in full support of the pottery business and I cannot thank her enough. She inspires me.

 MC: Tell us about the processes involved in producing your work ?  
PB;I try to be totally hands on when it comes to my work. Lately I have been digging my own clay. I think doing so make my work more personal. When I first got started I bought 500#s of clay from a local clay producer, I haven’t bought clay since. I wheel throw, pull my own handles, and formulate my own glazes. A local school gave me two large electric kilns and I made then into gas reduction kilns. I fire here at the Haywain Ranch out of  the garage. Most everything I use is old and abused-and perfect.

  MC:Describe your studio
PB:I am in the corner all the time. That’s where the studio is-the corner of the basement. I have two wheels; one for porcelain and the other for stoneware. I use ware boards and have brackets mounted to the wall to maximize space. I have three work areas; two for decorating and one for clay prep and reclaim. I suppose the easiest way to see it would be to check out my blog.

MC: How do you market  and sell your work?
PB:We market as inexpensively as possible; word of mouth, farmer’s markets, and art fairs. We sell online also on Etsy- Facebook has been a big part of our marketing –and education as well. Of course we blog, Tweet, and Pinterest too.

MC:Are there any clay blogs that you ALWAYS look at, and why?
PB: No, not really. I’m a internet skimmer and unless something jumps out at me I usually don’t stop to read.

MC: How did you find Mud Colony?And  what impact ,( if any), has it had on your
PB:I don’t remember exactly how I got sucked into Mud Colony. But after I posted a blog –with no clay pieces—I was gently prodded to “show some work, damn it!” Of course, everyone’s very encouraging and the weekly reminders keep me on track, although sometimes I am late and Adriana lets me in with a finger shake.

MC;Best piece of advice you have been given about your practice ?

PB:Steven Hill told a group of us one time when asked about how to do something to “throw more pots”.  So I did.

 MC;What would be YOUR advice to someone just beginning their practice?
 PB:Throw more pots! A potter doesn’t really get good until after he/she throws 10,000 pounds of clay. So, using Wisconsin math, throwing 200#s a day for, say, five years—that should do it. You’d be much good-er than when you started. And for Pete’s sake, don’t be afraid to throw away your stuff! Do it! It’s only clay. Make mistakes-screw up-and throw it away with a chuckle. It is the only way to learn.

Paul is a regular contributor to Mud Colony with his Blog -Haywain Pottery

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Featured Mud Colony Blogger - Lyn Cole

MC; What do you love the most about being a potter/ceramist/clayworker?
LC: It’s very easy to be passionate about clay- I bet everyone comments on how special it is! For me, it’s the endless possibilities for experimentation- I have a curious mind, and designer dirt is the only thing that has kept me faithful to it for so long.
I love that I can make a functional, sculptural, sensible,crazy or beautiful form from clay. 

 MC: What inspires you ? 
LC:Everything can inspire me in some way- a shape or pattern I see in nature or on fabric,  or a form that I want to mimic or distort or develop in a different way.

 MC: Tell us about the processes involved in producing your work ?  
LC:Most artists have a body of work that others recognise as theirs. Maybe because I’ve been studying ceramics, rather than working on my own practice, I have a multitude of approaches- and not one favourite yet. I’ve worked in coloured clay, raku, hand building, throwing and many different claybodies. When my new studio is built I hope to create a production style of work that at the moment I’m developing in sketch book work.

  MC:Describe your studio
LC: My current studio is packed in boxes around me as I write this, because we are moving, but it is perfect!! 6m x 6m, concrete floor, sinkarea, 9 steel shelf systems and beautiful cabinets with deep pot draws with tons of bench space, so lots of storage, and only a door away from my house.Table ‘zones’ for wedging, glazing and making. My biggest wish is for my new studio to be built quickly. It will be brick, nearly the same size, but with a kiln room next door as well and seperate from the house. Not having a studio for 6 mths or more is going to be difficult for me!!!!

MC: How do you market  and sell your work? 
LC:I only make in clay for fun so dont have a plan here- but words of advice from an experienced artist......... keep up with technology! Facebook, Tweet, website etc and as new systems become popular- jump on board.Always learn about marketing and good business practice! I’ve seen too many great artists flounder because they only lacked business knowledge. Ask for advice from the experts.

MC: How did you find Mud Colony?And  what impact ,( if any), has it had on your
LC:Adriana told me about the Colony when she first launched it.My own blog rarely had comments from other clay lovers, but since joining the Colony I’m now enjoying chatting to new online clay buds and have discovered more clay blogs to follow, you can never have too many clay stories to read!!!

MC;Best pieceof advice you have been given about your practice
LC; If something doesnt work, ‘its only a pile of dirt’, squash or smash it and move on, ‘dont get attached to every piece you make’.

MC;What would be YOUR advice to someone just beginning their practice?
LC;Be patient!!! It takes time and dedication to be proficient any clay body, style, technique or firing choice. In clay, you are always a student, the learning will be forever.

Lyn Cole is a regular contributor to Mud Colony
with her  blog- Lyn Cole -Ceramics
And have a look at this great interview with Lyn  at Creative Womens Circle