Andy Brayman

I will keep this short, but I have to say that Andy Brayman is someone I am honored to know. He is extremely smart and creative, and every time I talk with him, I am astounded by his ideas. This article from American Craft Magazine is fantastic, and If you don't know Andy's work, then you should check him out. Written by Lily Kane, images by Brady Fontenot.

Making the Most of the Margins

Andy Brayman’s Kansas City “factory” is a launching pad for his 21st–century version of studio pottery.

Andy Brayman’s Matter Factory, in what he triumphantly refers to as the “hinterlands of Kansas City,” is a laboratory, launching pad, and, yes, factory for his distinctly 21st-century version of studio pottery. It is, in many ways, a perfect illustration of how craft’s venerated faculty and its freshman class can happily co-exist in consistent symbiotic evolution. With the imminent closing of his secondary and more commercial business, Easy Ceramic Decals, Brayman’s Matter Factory is on the brink of reinvention and renaissance.

After teaching stints in New York and at Bennington College in Vermont, Brayman settled in Kansas City, Kansas, and in 2005 set up his businesses in a former farmer’s market from the 1930s that sits, as his website notes, “at the confluence of the Missouri River and the Kaw River.” Brayman, who almost obsessively harvests inspiration from his surroundings, invested part of his honorarium from speaking on the “New Artists/New Work” panel at the American Craft Council’s 2006 “Shaping the Future of Craft” conference in the purchase of a 1956 Alumacraft boat for better exploring these neighboring rivers.

From this huge space, a square footage definition of Midwest breathing room, Brayman founded the Matter Factory and Easy Ceramic Decals. “I wanted to start the decal business to be the democratic will-print-anything-for-anybody model, totally commercial,” he explains, “And the Matter Factory would be more curated, less commercial.” The decal business took off and became what Brayman refers to as “the sugar daddy” for the Matter Factory. “Even if I’d had a ton of money to begin with, I wouldn’t have known what to do with it. I learned a lot by printing everything—from cool projects for artists to memorial plaques for dogs who’ve died.” Thanks to this democratic array of jobs, Brayman was able to build up a collection of equipment that will allow him to produce his own work at a high technically professional level.

Brayman doesn’t eschew commercial leanings, but he does eschew stagnancy. His main goal is to keep himself nimble creatively. “Easy Ceramic Decals is going strong so I’m shutting it down. I just changed the message on the machine today. I feel like I got away with something, but it stopped feeling creative so I became less interested in doing it.”

In his own craft, Brayman describes his predominant working model as that of a studio potter. “My background is different than a designer’s. I start as a potter. So, I start with serial production and in a way I still go by the model I learned in school: you create a body of work, there’s a critique, then you create a new body of work.”

He also has unerring comic timing and a wry ironic incantation regarding the ever-present debates about the theory and politics of craft. Asked if the error message that greets anyone following the “theory” link on his Matter Factory website is an intentionally comic statement about his interest in theory, Brayman laughs, “No, but that’s a great idea.”

After an education in ceramics that includes a B.F.A. from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. from Alfred University—a sort of Ivy League for pottery—Brayman casually peppers conversations with references spanning centuries of ceramic history to contemporary craft-design hybrids like Droog. In a Ceramics Monthly essay he recently published, “The New Factory,” his future-favored appeal—“As a field, we are particularly good at time travel, but really only in one direction. . . . We can, and should, start to look forward—further and more often than we do”—was carefully backed up by an erudite summary of the prevailing perception of the potter and his studio and the possibilities presented by the 21st century.

In establishing his own studio, Brayman confesses that he developed a “spiel” about making functional pottery. “I don’t want to say I’m devoted to it because I’m not afraid to do other work, but it is important. And I find the constraints tolerable, even inspiring.”

His ultimate stand on functionality is a marriage of common sense and prankster plotting—“I like working with functional objects because people aren’t expecting much from a dinner plate. You can sneak something in. But if you screw with it too much it won’t be used. It’s more interesting to me that these pieces get used.”

He is careful to point out his disinterest in over-romanticizing the idea that an object’s beauty emerges from everyday use, believing that beauty is something the maker brings to the piece. “The functional work I make fits into two broad categories. In the first, the concept behind it is beauty. It has to work, of course, and you experience the beauty through function. In the second, I still want it to be beautiful but there’s an additional concept that drives it, like humor or underlying statements that are more specific than its being about pattern, for instance.”

Two of Brayman’s best-known pieces have emerged from this second category. His Gold-Lined Cup with Concealed Decoration, for instance, has to be used to “work.” These porcelain cups bear text concealed beneath a 23k gold glaze. Described by Brayman as “kind of like a lottery ticket,” the piece toys with the fate fine china often meets in a dishwasher where the hot water causes the luster to fade. In this case, you have to use and abuse the piece for the gold to wear away and reveal the text. For functional pieces of this ilk that rely on user interaction, Brayman allows, “it can get confusing wondering when the piece is done.”

With Change Dish—probably his biggest production run to date of a single idea, with 30 or 40 produced so far—Brayman inverts the vessel concept, using the objects you would place in it as the exterior architecture. In this case the mold is made using the coins found lying around his studio. In the eight-inch-diameter version, the piece sells for $45.71, the same amount used to create the mold.

Although these two pieces have been successes by all accounts, Brayman is aware of the fine line between making a statement or joke with a piece and having it retain its value as a functional object. “I don’t want to make cups with text about Darfur. Not that Darfur’s not important, but once you put that text on an object it overshadows the function. It becomes a statement, a piece of art.”

With more time on his hands to devote to the Matter Factory, Brayman is excited about developing new ideas and expanding his collaborations. He worked with Ayumi Horie on a series exhibited at New York’s Greenwich House Pottery in May 2009. He is also collaborating with Walter Ostrom, “a champion of decoration with expansive knowledge of this history.” They will be crossing national borders to produce a set of plates, with Brayman executing the first stage at the Matter Factory in Kansas City and then sending them to Nova Scotia to be decorated by Ostrom.

Another intriguing upcoming project involves what Brayman calls a “tornado machine.” He is taking brick and cinder block fragments from the town of Greensburg, Kansas, destroyed in 2007 by a tornado, and putting them in a simple centrifuge machine that turns things to dust “using only spinning air in a metal cone.” He is using the dust made from these construction fragments into glazes for pieces that will ultimately go back to Greensburg.

Brayman will also continue to work with his friend Allegheny Meadows to help bring Meadows’s Artstream trailer to craft events to sell pottery made by Brayman, Meadows, Horie, Christa Assad (profiled in American Craft, October/November 2008) and others. This project, a vintage Airstream trailer converted into a peripatetic pop-up shop, is part commune, part rock-star tour bus—at the 2007 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (nceca) conference in Louisville, the trailer was mobbed and the potters manning the door had to do double duty as bouncers, letting people in one or two at a time when someone exited.

After explaining that he decided to drive to meet the Artstream at the 2009 NCECA conference in Phoenix so that he could take advantage of the wealth of skate parks in the Southwest, Brayman, a longtime skater, considers the parallels between the sport and learning pottery. Assessing the urban landscape for benches, rails, curbs and pipes to land tricks on teaches you to look at the innate form of objects differently. Skating and craft are also both learned through repetition. “You have to suffer,” Brayman laughs. “You have to learn, practice and try to find a way to keep having fun.

Although he is leaving himself open to experiment and explore new projects as he turns solely to working from the Matter Factory, Brayman has a specific idea in mind for the bigger picture of how he wants his company to run. “I don’t want to be a small production company where I design a line each year for the icff and have the pieces made in-house. I’m interested in figuring out my own model.” Making the most of the margins he relishes, Brayman has no designs on becoming trendy. “I like that craft and function are sort of outside the ‘upper echelon.’ There’s a lot of freedom in that.” Focused on his more creative Matter Factory, that freedom should prove fruitful for Brayman’s studio craft.

Original Article: American Craft Magazine

Bathroom Porn

I do get sick of seeing all of the obscene bathroom renovations out there. I will fully admit it is nothing but jealousy, I want a luxurious bathroom. The reason I really want one is for the bathtub. I want one of these obnoxiously large whirlpool tubs, one that I can fit in. I love the water, I am swimmer and when I was younger (and smaller) I was all about the bath. Even to this day, I kind of dislike showers, because they are not as nice as the bath. I kind of think of myself as the Captain in Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy who never wanted to leave the bath. I forget which book, I think Life, The Universe, and Everything.
These tubs are the most obscene of the obscene, And I will gripe about the issues of form as a reflection of function. But I love the mosaic work, so I will look past it. Made by Sicis a company specializing in amazing mosaics.

Via: Freshome

Pull the Plug

From the Site.
Plug Mug
with anti-Theft device.
Sometimes it starts as an innocent mistake, or shall we say a case of mistaken identity...You go to make your morning coffee and your beloved mug is not where it should be. The following week you go to the kitchen and your mug is lying abandoned in the sink with green tea stains all over it and you don't even drink green tea! Before you know it, your mug has been around the office more times then the mail cart (and Christine) and has become home to more varieties of beverage stains and lipstick marks than is proper for a decent mug. That's a problem, the question is though, how do you fix it? Duck tape the mug to your arm? Super glue the mug to your desk? Quit work and start campaigning for awareness relating to mug theft and misuse? These are all worthy ideas, but we think we can safely assume that you don't have that kind of time on your hands (nor want mugs stuck to your hands!) Enter the Plug Mug. It's a mug with a hole in it which renders it completely useless to mug thieves. Just keep the plug safely stowed away from harm (on your key ring or in a vault) and you will find that no one is interested in stealing your mug anymore!

From: Perpetual Kid.

The Birds

Hi All,
Just a few quick posts. Tomorrow is going to be busy and I'm here at home all by myself. Mrs. Rose has had to return to work for the evening, so I am sitting here with the dogs and I thought I would post some quick links.

Does any one speak Portugese? Unfortunately I cannot. Alas, art transcends all, so we can enjoy this installation without words. The only think I can make of this is that it is in Lisbon Portugal and was made by Ermida Belem.

None the less this is a beautiful installation of ceramic swallows. It really make me think of this video that Andy Shaw (twice in 1 day!) shared with me of Starling on the Otmoor outside of Oxford.

Via: S-nonblog

Can I get an Amen!

I came across this on Not Cot this morning. Even though I am feeling slightly unhappy about Not Cot at the moment(see dueling Charles Simonds posts). I will not slight them by not using their content.
Anyhoo, I though that my Ceramics Kin would get a kick out of this concept from Designer Brock Davis.
This scares me, I am the kind of person who should not be in Ceramics. Those of you who know me personally, know that I am an... Ogre, to put it nicely. On top of that I am clumsy and break everything. Mrs. Rose has lost every pot that she came into our relationship with, because of me. Our primary dinnerware is from Andy Shaw, A) Because it is awesome and beautiful B) because I can't break it. It has taken the abuse I have thrown at it for 8 years and I have yet to break a single piece.


First I would like to welcome the new visitors that have been coming in from Carole Epp's listing of me in her top 10 Ceramics Blogs. All of my regular readers should check out Carole's Musings about Mud Blog and all of the other blogs she lists, great stuff.
It was very kind to list me, and I hope that everyone has a look around and finds some things they like.
I had a great long weekend, Mrs Rose and I did some work around the house, so I had to do a post on plants and planters. I have to say that I am not a plant person. I have successfully killed every plant I have ever had, except for one Aloe plant that has resisted every attempt on its life that I have made. It has Moved form Maine, to New York to Colorado, and back. Alive the whole time. In fact as many Aloe plants do, this one thrives on neglect. The worse I treat it, the better it does. So I avoid plants; Mrs. Rose on the other hand loves them. While I spent my Sunday, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets, and doing laundry (Mrs. Katz raised me to be a domesticate). Mrs Rose was tending to the garden.
So in honor of my good-lady-wife, I present you the Tetris planter. Designed by french designer Stephanie Choplin.
Via: Nerd Approved.


Charles Simonds

Only one post for today. We have a piece of equipment that has been broken for a long time and is finally up and running, so I have to take advantage of it.
Last week we were in grad reviews, and I committed a blunder. Full disclosure, I am really bad with names. If you have had me as a teacher, please don't take offense if some day down the road and I bump into you, if I don't remember your name. I will remember you, just not your name. Unfortunately this problem also applies to Artists too.
I was standing around with Anne Currier and Wayne Higby and we were discusing a student's work. Anne, said that she was thinking about Charles Simonds, and I nodded politely as I racked my brain trying to place the work to the name. I came up blank, so I responded, "It really makes me think of the guy who builds tiny villages in creavaces..." "You mean Charles Simonds." Replied Anne..." Yeahhhhhhh" groaned I.
So as penance, Here is my post dedicated to Charles Simonds.
Simonds is known for these little villages that he started making around the Lower East Side in the 70's. He made them from a clay deposit he found that was the same clay that was used to make much of the bricks for the building in NYC.
The urban landscapes were built in hidden places around the city, often using vacated lots, or creavaces in building to construct upon. But they are always built with out residents, leaving the archeological record of presence without the occupants.
This picture I found on Google, but as soon as I clicked the link I recognized the blog is from one of our own Alfred Students, Michael Stevenson. We don't know each other, but I recognized you. So thanks for the pic.
This is the only piece of Simonds that I have seen in person. I came across it quite unexpectedly a few years ago, and I was really charmed by it presence and execution. I won't say exactly where it is as I would like for you to discover it yourself. What I will say in the form of a terrible riddle.
If in the City of New York, on every other year. Avoid the big to do and always take the stairs.

I think I am going to try to do more posts on who I think are great ceramic artists. Of course me being me, I am going to have to throw a few stones. Much like when Garth Clark came to Alfred, when I was an undergrad and did a lecture on the 5 most important pieces of ceramic art. Read the talk here.
The list was
1) Fountain-Marcel Duchamp
2) Object (Breakfast in Fur)-Multi-handled Mug
3) Multi-handled Mug- George E. Ohr
4) Casa Batlló-Antonio Gaudí'
5) Teapot-Kazimir Malevich

Of course, the thing to note is that only one of the objects was made by a Ceramicist.
Clark's point was to throw stones, but he is not wholly incorrect in his postulation that, a lot of what is revered in ceramics is irrelevant, and that a lot of what is great about ceramics is ignored by the ceramics community. So I am not going to talk about Voukous, or Soldner. I met both of them and they are very nice people, but, they are not taking part in the conversations that I want to have. I want to talk about people that throw stones.
I hope that Mr. Clark appreciates that he had a lot of influence on this one 20 year old student in that lecture.


Time is on our side.

I doubt that this will work with Porcelain and other high fire clays. As the earthenware and bricks documented in the story, are low temperature and have not gone through the Mullite/Glass transition. So the still have clay remaining in their structure. Where as Porcelain, once fired has no clay left and is only composed of Mullite, Glass and Quartz, all of which do not absorb water. Cool, none-the-less.


Ancient clay has internal clock

A new way of dating archaeological objects has been found, using water to unlock their "internal clocks".

Fired clay ceramics start to react chemically with atmospheric moisture as soon as it is removed from the kiln.

Researchers believe they can pinpoint the precise age of materials like brick, tile and pottery by calculating how much its weight has changed.

The team from Edinburgh and Manchester universities hope the method will prove as significant as radiocarbon dating.

Edinburgh University's Christopher Hall explained: "Almost every archaeological site has old bits of old pot but there's no good method to date it."

Radiocarbon dating, used for bone or wood, cannot be used for ceramic material because it does not contain carbon.

Their new rehydroxylation dating method, reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, measures the amount of water the material has "recombined with".
“ We believe the method will become standard practice ”
Professor Chris Hall Edinburgh University

Professor Hall, who described the advance as "very exciting", said it would plug a "yawning gap in the dating methods for ceramics".

He and his team, from the universities of Edinburgh and Manchester and the Museum of London, were able to date brick samples from Roman, medieval and modern periods with remarkable accuracy.

They have established that their technique can be used to determine the age of objects up to 2,000 years old but believe it has the potential to be used to date samples around 10,000 years old.

Researchers are now planning to look at whether the new dating technique can be applied to earthenware, bone china and porcelain.

"The recombination goes on for several thousands of years," said Professor Hall.

"And what's strange about it is that it abides by a precise physical law.

"If we can work out how much moisture has been taken up, we can estimate the age of the sample."

Extreme heat

Dr Moira Wilson from Manchester University led the research. She said the technique could also be "turned on its head and used to establish the mean temperature of a material over its lifetime".

"If a precise date of firing were known, this could potentially be useful in climate change studies."

The technique involves measuring the mass of a sample and then heating it to around 500C in a furnace. This removes the water that has combined with it over its lifetime.

The sample is then weighed in a "super-accurate" device, known as a microbalance, to determine the precise rate at which the material will combine with water over time.

Using the time law, it is possible to extrapolate the data to calculate the time it will take to regain the mass lost on heating - revealing the sample's age.

The researchers applied this technique to a range of brick and tile samples.

They have calculated that a Roman brick sample with a known age of about 2,000 years was 2,001 years old. A further sample with a known age of between 708 and 758 years was calculated to have an age of 748 years.

The researchers also tested a 'mystery brick', with the real age only revealed to them once they had completed their process. The known age was between 339 and 344 years - and the new technique suggested the brick was 340 years old.

The team also found that ceramic objects have their internal date clocks reset if they are exposed to temperatures of 500C.

Bombing raids

Used on medieval brick from Canterbury, the technique repeatedly dated the sample as being 66 years old.

Further investigation revealed that Canterbury was devastated by incendiary bombs and fires during World War II bombing raids in 1942.

The intense heat generated by the bombing had reset the dating clock by, in effect, re-firing the bricks.

The results also proved accurate enough to show that a brick sample from the King Charles building in Greenwich came from reconstruction carried out in the 1690s, and not from the original building which was constructed between 1664 and 1649.

Professor Hall said: "This new technique could allow us to discover a great deal about ancient artefacts by pinpointing their age and, as we have shown in our experiments, it is also useful in determining the age of modern materials.

"We believe the method will become standard practice."

While he pointed out that its accuracy would need to be validated many times, he added that it is much cheaper and simpler than current available methods.

The most widely-used technique, thermoluminescence, requires a lot of information about the the archaeological site, he said.

"This cannot be applied to objects which have been removed from the site to a museum. Our method does not have this problem."

Tea V

I know I am bad with the puns, but that one is not mine, it comes straight form the maker.
Anyway, Everyone knows that I am a sucker for tricks with translucency in Porcelain. These were made by Jana Walliser a designer, out of Aachen, Germany.
Via: Not Cot

Turning Magic Tricks

I saw Wolverine this weekend, don't hold it against me it was the second feature at the drive in, The first feature was Star Trek, super cool. Anyway, Wolverine sucked but there was one part with the character played by Dominic Monahan, worked a a circus freak who could create electricity. Part of his act was lighting a light bulb in his hand. So in response I had to post this lamp from The Afternoon. I only wish there was a better way to hid the wire.
Via: Nerd Approved


The Fighting Ceramics!!!

I mentioned yesterday in my post on Ayumi Horie . That we were both Lumberjacks. This being the mascot of Hebron Academy, the prep school in the Maine woods, that we both attended.

The School mascot is the Lumberjack, and for years we have been taunted as a school, for having such a silly mascot. Alas, us Hebronites, wear our Green and Gray with pride.

What I have found now is the new High School for all of us to love. The Crooksville, Ohio Ceramics!

Now, I have yet to find exactly how they came by this name, but I would assume that it has something to do with the ceramic history of the area.
None-the-Less. I think that we all have a team to root for now!
Crooksville Schools.


This is the trailer from the new movie Objectified by Gary Hustwit. Some of you may have seen his film Helvetica, which if you have Netflix, you can watch on their watch instantly feature. Unfortunately the trailer does not show any ceramics, but that is a minor squabble. If you live in or near a major city I believe this is already playing or may have come and gone. If you get a chance, go see it. Living out here in the hinterlands, I have not seen it yet, but I can't wait to.

Why I bring this up in a ceramics blog, is that I want to start a discussion, about objects. I think that the discourse in ceramics about objects is a little stagnant and honestly behind the times. For a long time notions of potter as crafts person and maker of functional ware has propagated the ceramics world. I say bullshit.

Now, let me premise, that I am not discounting pottery. I love pottery. I love the art of ceramics. I wouldn't be on this blog, or living in the town, if it wasn't for my love of pots. Where my disagreement is, is with the notion of the independent potter as maker of functional products for the user. I say that the potter is a designer, exploring the notions of the object, and how we use it and see it.

What I really care about is the ceramicist as designer. When I say that, what I mean is that modern pottery, is not functional in the way potters intend it to be. I'm sorry that is just the way it is, the bitching line starts in the comments section. We do not make "everyday objects" we make special objects. And we need to accept that fact.

So, by making special objects the onus of the relevancy of the object falls in the hand of the maker. Not the user, as is the case with truly functional objects (ie. plastic dinnerware). Now, I'm sure that some potters reading this have steam coming out of their ears; stay calm. What I am saying is that by accepting the notion of our objects being special is that we now take on the role of designer. It is our responsibility to consider the object in ways that are special. We consider the object, so that we may design something interesting and exciting. Yes, we happen to make said objects with our own hands, but to paraphrase the Communists, that is simply "the means of production."

I know that there are many people, who will say "But I sell my pottery!" "People use my mugs!" and yes, I am sure they do. But that does not make them an inherently functional object. I counter with this.

Consider the Lamborghini. My favorite car in the world.

A few questions.
Is it a car? Yes.
Can you drive it? Yes.
Is it "functional"? Of course.
Are you going to take it to do your groceries? No.
Would you let your teenage son drive it? I doubt it.
Is it accessible to anyone, can anyone buy one? Sure...if you have the money and consider it important to spend it on a car that you love, yet is inherently impractical because of cost and performance.

That is where we are with pottery. Yes we make objects that are inherently for use. That does not make the functional. But, what they are is special, they are kissed by you... the designer. With your eye and your ability.

We also fail to consider the "Functionality" is not just the notion of use, But it is also the notion of cost. We make those decisions every day, when we go to the store and buy the cheaper pens. Do they work as well? No, but are they in my budget right now? Yes. That is the functionality of cost.

You have an audience, which lets be honest. Is either well off, or is the small percentage of people who consider the special object to be important in their own economic perspective.

Making pottery is important, but if the discussion about what the objects are, remains out of touch, then the objects themselves, remain out of touch.

Hanging Out.

I found these tiles by Maruja Fuentes floating around. I like the way that they re-interpret function. But as is my mantra, I don't really care about function. Don't get me wrong, functional items inherently need to function. Tile should hold out water, a coffee cup should be easily held and drunk from. These tiles make up function as necessary. And that is just fine. As Mrs. Rose has continued her adventures with Trikeenan Tileworks, my notion of tiles as objects has totally evolved. They really are the ceramcis that we interact with the most, we just don't notice them. But they are under our feet, in our baths and kitchens.
They really remind me of when my sister and I visited Vienna. A wonderful city, tres cool. In Vienna you see the finger print of artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser all over. Very whimsical art and architecture. The one thing that I really remember was his notion of Tree Tenants. These are buildings where out cropping were built into the interior that extended to the exterior, where plants would grow and hang out onto the street. Really nice idea, bridging inside and out. Blending architecture and naturalism, and changing the face of the city.
Via: Freshhome



I love Ayumi Horie. If you don't know her, check out here http://www.ayumihorie.com/
a great site, this is becoming a kind of ceramics hub, out here on the interwebs. She is an amazing ceramicist and makes great pots. Ayumi sent me this video of her dry throwing technique, that you will love, totally ingenious.
But the real reason that I love Ayumi, is because we grew up in the same tiny neighborhood in Auburn, Maine. On top of that we were both Lumberjacks (Hebron Academy) and Saxons (Alfred University). So I guess I have been stalking Ayumi from anear my whole life.
Actually we have quite a little ceramcis enclave from central Maine, as my friend Rob Sutherland is an old friend from Lewiston. Shout out to the 04210!...I am such a Nerd!
...For some reason I can't watch this without PJ Harvey going through my head.
Totally inappropriate I know, but none-the-less.

Ah Xian

Part of my rekindled affair with ceramics, is finding new stuff.
I came across the great, life cast figures by Chinese artist Ah Xian from the Fabrik Project.
Born in 1960 in Beijing and currently living in Sidney, Ah makes these pieces out of a variety of traditional Chinese materials. Porcelain, Enamel and Lacquer, to name a few.
I hate to postulate on meaning, as a) It is part of my job to have an opinion, and even I get tired of hearing myself go off. b) I think it is best to let each viewer come to their own place when viewing work. But if you have studied your materials and you have studies you ceramics history and current events. I think that you can take these somewhere.
It does make me think about something that I have been postulating on though. Living in an Art School environment and looking at decoration, I have been puzzled by a developing trend. That is the tattooed face. I am a regular reader of Modblog . (WARNING! Do not click if easily offended) and the growing trend seen there of tattooing the face.
Now I have no tattoos, but I have long been around them and living in an Art School there is nothing left to shock me. But the face seems particularity bizarre. It is the literal reflection of you to the world. And the desire to distort that seems funny to me. I know that many will argue that it is similar to plastic surgery, or the like. But it seems that it Plastic surgery is inherently meant to hide things, where as this is meant to bring them out.
This all brings me back to ceramics. When I was an undergrad, the question was posed to me, I forget by whom, that "When is decoration on the surface, and when is it integrated into the work?" I ask the same question to you my dear readers.

Lover's Quarrel

As we complete the end of another year here at Alfred, I am left, loving art once again. It is not that I ever hate it , So much as that thing that you don't know how much you love something until you have some distance from it. Just like the notion that you hate someone in the middle of a fight. You don't really hate them. You are just frustrated, and need some distance. But, when you come trough on the other end, you are invigorated and refreshed.
We now have 8 new Masters, going out into the world and going to do great things. I love them all, and I am very proud of them. Even the obstinate one, you know who you are ; ) This year I also had a class full of my Glaze Calc and Materials Students from last year, step up and show us their best. It was all rather exciting.
Things are rather busy, We are moving offices up here in Engineering, this summer. So that will be fun. But I am working on some cool research projects, that I hope I can talk about. Although the best one is Classified.
I have a ton of new thoughts on Glaze Clac (Cone 6, Cone 3 and loss, and success). Dave and I have put together a proposal on clays for NCECA Next year, so we are waiting to hear if the want us.
Also, Matt and Dave's Clays is now shipping! We can ship you 30lbs. of clay of our Amazing Porcelain for the People. Anywhere in the country (Even Alaska and Hawaii) for $28, Clay and Shipping. Pretty Cool, If I do say so myself. We also have Cast Away Slip and Stuck Up Slip, that we can ship to you. Check out the Glamor shots!