Thursday, April 10, 2008

Recent Work: Eric Hansen Tea Bowls

"I made these pots on the potter's wheel using porcelain and stoneware clays and limestone glazes: Takada Oribe and Rhodes Cornwall Stone Glaze. I happened to have some of the old bluish Cornish stone available. They're fired at around cone 10 in a noboragama type chamber of a wood fired kiln in Indiana. I'm not getting tired of the tea bowl form, most of my focused work has been in this design since moving to the metro area. When I was at KCAI I owned a green raku bowl that I used for everything, especially herb tea such as ginseng, rose hips, peppermint, and wintergreen. I really had not discovered green tea, or black tea for that matter, yet. So I am visualizing as life-style adjustment to living in a smaller space with fewer possessions, those of higher quality but serve multiple purposes. It's not for those who have to have everything. I would direct them to other work. It is a choice to live more lightly on the earth. My work is really a personal journal of sorts related to my life experience. A tea bowl is a kind of a form of haiku. This is what I call Santoka's axiom. Santoka was instrumental in developing the newer school of haiku, as a wandering monk/poet, short texts based on actual experience. The reference is Stephen Addiss' book on Zen Art, for me a necessary text. There is an expressionism which is really about my immediate narrative. In the Oribe pieces you can see a bit of the wild side coming out which I have to thank Ferguson, Voulkos, and Leedy, men I have studied with to a greater or lesser extent. And the demo Fergie gave on throwing from the hump technique I used here. I had this great basement studio in Georgetown with brick walls and a walk out end with windows and a door, so it was really easy to work down there. I developed a relaxed way to throw a bowl on the wheel, trimming the following day and repeating the process. So there was production everyday. By doing that I got a lot of feedback from the clay. There was a lot of give and take between KU and KCAI. KU was the primary source for the Academics faculty, and the Nelson was the primary collection to which KU's Art History Department addressed. Lawrence Sickman, Chu-tsing Li, Stephen Addiss, Fukushima Keido Roshi, all contributed to my understanding. It was Roshi who told us "Zazen in excellent for creativity!" Zazen is a direct influence on all my work. Also I have to add that during my time at KU, I informally mentored with Bill Bracker (as did most local potters) and used Kansas Geological Survey publications from Sheldon Carey. Carey's work was the beginning of an ongoing adventure in the geology of ceramics. Both men were KU Ceramics heads."

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Ken Ferguson Teaching Collection

Ken gave demos in his office, surrounded by finished and unfinished works collected form workshops and donated by artists and his students. The works were used as examples of different aspects of ceramic technique and ideas in his talks. He also assembled a fine collection in his home of more functional works. And he curated the old Asian ceramic works in the on-going exhibition displayed throughout the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Such was the quality of his eye. This particular shot came out good for me. I'm trying to improve the quality of photos in the blog.

Golden Rules of the KCAI Sculpture Dept.

I attended the 2008 Alumni Weekend with Sculpture Symposium at the Kansas City Art Institute featuring Valerie Eickmeier, Ming Fay, Shawn Brixley, and Jim Leedy. This wall goes back to the old days, even before the time when the Whole Earth Catalog was first published. In some weird way they are connected in my mind via necessary injunctions of any DYI culture. Art schools are always ahead of the curve of even alternative culture. Work ethic, entrepreneurial focus, team work, and open critique processes, were stressed by participants from the Sculpture Department.

Cherry Blossom Festival

How about a tea ceramics event during Cherry Blossom Festival in coming years? View of Jefferson Memorial and Yoshino cherry trees.

Burnin' Shoe Leather on da AT

A south facing view of the Blue Ridge on the Appalachian Trail from North Marshall in the Shenandoah National Park, which Christa and I hiked just prior to the Cherry Blossom Festival.