Archive for February, 2009

What I am making.

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Louisa came out from NYC last week for some first aid classes she aand I took to keep our guide certification current for guiding in the Grand Canyon. She left to go back on Tuesday. I spent Wednesday with more guide training in Sandy. I finally got back to the studio Yesterday and today. Here is what I am making.
Several dozen mugs for a Salt Lake based community radio station I listen to.
Three sizes of oval vases.
My old standaed venturi vases.

Tools and pots

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

I am not really a tool and die man. I build kilns and make tools out of necessity. I know some potters who make pots only so that they can make tools and build kilns. I am the other way around.
So anyway I decided to make some new roller type tools for putting pattern on pots. From left to right here are:
A roller from Capital Ceramics in Salt Lake. Next are two rollers used to press down seams in wall paper. One is new. The other on is twenty years or more older. I can’t find ones like that any more. I suspect the new ones are all plastic. Then there is Shoe Goo and various strings and cords from the local hardware store.
I start by rolling the glue onto the roller like I would if I were inking a brayer for print making.
When the glue is evenly distributed I wind the cord onto the roller and hold it until it sticks.
Nice tool, eh?
Here is the same idea with carpenter’s string.
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Mugs showing string roller, cord roller and bisque stamp impressions
Here is the same thing on a small vase.
Three slab built platters with rope/string patterns and details of the same. Fun with clay.

Lets go boating: Cataract Canyon

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Lee and I have organized a river run through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park for July of 2013. The trip will be outfitted by Tour West. Here is link to their web page detailing the trip.
The price for this adventure is $1000.00+tax.

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Here is some of what is typical of the river in Cataract Canyon. During spring run off the rapids can be daunting. By July and August the mighty Colorado has settled down into a fun, family friendly ride. As you can see the visuals are not too bad either.
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This is a camping trip. Camp life is one of the best things about river running. You get the wilderness experience that is usually only accessible with backpacking and you get all of the comforts that a boat can carry. Expect exceptional food. Lee and Joe do the menus and they are great. Special food needs can be accommodated.
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Did someone mention hiking? This river takes you into the heart of Canyonlands National Park. The hiking is world famous. Or you can just sit in the shade with a book or crossword puzzle. It is all good.
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Then there is the water.
Can you put yourself into this picture? That smile will be on your face and you will have some sweet memories to take with you.

Into the Wild Unknown Country

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

I remember watching the Ten Commandments as a little kid. I was maybe four or five years old. Two scenes stuck out for me. One was of the slaves treading mud and straw into bricks. I went into the field across from our house and dug a hole in the ground and poured water into it. After picking dried grass and putting it with the mud that was forming I took off my shoes and tried to tread the materials into brick mud. I don’t think I ever made anything more of it. I was excited about the possibility of forming earth into something useful. A few years later while playing with matches I burned the same field down and got in some hot water over it. Now I employ those early fascinations in making my living. Wet clay and fire are very elemental, sensual if you will. I can’t leave them alone.
The other scene that stayed in my mind’s eye was of Moses leaving Egypt to wander in the desert wilderness after he killed an Egyptian who was abusing one of the Hebrews he was identifying himself with. The image of this forty something man wandering through that landscape has stayed with me.
Friday I rose up early and went with friends into the deserts east of where I live. We went for beauty. It is physically satisfying to walk in the desert, again sensual if you will. The visuals are intoxicating in their richness and starkness. I believe as an artist that it is important to continually expose myself to beauty. It sharpens your ability to see beauty as it takes shape in the clay I am working. Hands in clay, feet in desert soil and on slick rock are parallel pleasures.
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Cane Wash in the San Rafael Swell of East Central Utah. It was a bright and relatively warm January day. The light gets best in the late afternoon when it is being reflected around these canyons. I love what water does in the desert even when it is hard. This area is only a two hour drive from my home. It is my back yard. God was having a good day when this happened.
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The San Raphael River runs from the mountains of the Wasatch Plateau (my Horseshoe Mountain is on the western edge of that area.) across the San Raphael Swell into the Dirty Devil River and canyons of the Colorado. Later this spring I’ll float those waters as they carve through the Grand Canyon.
A long time ago, some say several thousand years, people who lived in these desert canyons took time from hunting and gathering to make art as we call it. These paintings in Horseshoe canyon in Canyonlands National Park are some of the best in North America. These figures are 8-10 feet tall. There are 61 human like figures in this panel. The figures are pocked with little chip marks. I suspect that they were ritually killed with rocks or stone tipped projectiles. I could be wrong. Most people think these are gods. I don’t know. They are amazing images.
As I looked at these I heard Philip Glass’s theme from the Godfrey Reggio film “Koyaanisqatsi” and thought about Hopi prophecies.

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Eat your heart out Metropolitan Museum of Art.
It doesn’t take a sleuth to figure out what is going on here. Bison and elk make for tasty groceries.