The Grolleg Situation

There is a rumor floating around that Grolleg, the popular English China Clay has changed it's source, or is being discontinued, or a variety of other fatalistic predictions. This rumor is so pervasive, several well known artists have come to me to inform me of the impending demise of Grolleg. Warning me as a clay scientist and  clay maker to baton down the hatches in preparation of the end of porcelain as we know it.

Well, let me calm your fears. I have spoken to people who know. They have been to the source and spoken to the people at Imyres (the company that produces Grolleg).

Nothing has changed about Grolleg.

They have not changed to a new mine. They are not discontinuing the product. Nothing in the slightest has changed.  Imyres claims to have a 25-30 year supply of Grolleg. Enough to keep all of us making for a good long while.

The ceramics world is full of a lot of rumors. People love to chat and that is great. We need communication and the dissemination of information. But, we also need to watch the rumors that we spread. I have had people ask me, bordering on a panic about this situation. This is not helpful. If you hear something that may be fatalistic, don't go spreading it around until you have attempted to check a few sources.

It is true, materials do change and are discontinued. Kona F4 is gone. G200 feldspar is now G200hp and has a slightly different composition. Gerstly Borate is... well hell, even I still have no idea what is going on with Gerstly. As I understand it, it is still available for purchase. Materials will come and go, that is the way it has always been. I collect a lot of glaze recipes here in Alfred, and the fact is, I stop when I get to formulas that pre-date the mid-80's because there was a major material shift around that time.

It is true, there is an unfortunate disconnect between producers and users in the ceramics world. The statement that the material producers don't care about us is true. We are a minute portion of their business. But that does not mean that the information is unavailable to us.

So everyone stay calm. If you have questions, please ask. Hopefully together we can spread useful information.



Sunflower Seeds Video

This film on the production of the Sunflower Seeds Exhibition at The Tate is exceptionally beautiful.
If you have never been to Jingdziehen, It really portrays it how it is. From the friendly, hard working people. the Hammer Mills, the bamboo chairs, to porcelain being everywhere. It takes me back.
Now that they exhibit has been effectively shuttered by the nanny state, this is a nice document on what could have been.



Don't give me any Tulip.

Sometimes I must feature the non cermaical.
I stumbled across these Acrylic vases and was fascinated. The really attack the notion of flower arranging, as well as the history of the Tulipiere. Plus I love that they are wall mountable.

Designed by Graham Johnson.

Slipcast is brought to you by Matt and Dave's Clays. 
Clays designed by Scientists to work for Artists.  
Now with Lower Prices!


Eat my Snail dust

I love this Snail plate from and unknown designer at mydeco.com. 
My question for y'all is what else would work besides a cupcake?


Face Palm

Tate Stops Visitors Trampling On Sun Flower Seeds
By Mark Brown

People are meant to walk through Ai Weiwei's installation but health fears over ceramic dust have prompted restrictions

Tate stops visitors trampling on Sunflower SeedsPeople are meant to walk through Ai Weiwei's installation but health fears over ceramic dust have prompted restrictionsMark Brown, arts correspondent guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 October 2010 11.28 BST [Image] larger | smaller [Image]Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in London. Visitors will now be unable to walk over the work. Photograph: Tony Kyriacou/Rex FeaturesTate Modern is to stop visitors walking over the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's vast field of 100m porcelain sunflower seeds because of health and safety fears over ceramic dust.As revealed by the Guardian, the Turbine Hall installation has been closed since yesterday morning because of worries that dust inhalation might be a health risk. That means the thousands of visitors who traipsed through the installation between Monday and Wednesday were the lucky ones. The work will now be viewed from the building's bridge."The Unilever Series, Sunflower Seeds, by Ai Weiwei is made up of over 100m individually handmade porcelain replicas of seeds," the Tate said today."Although porcelain is very robust, the enthusiastic interaction of visitors has resulted in a greater than expected level of dust in the Turbine Hall. Tate has been advised that this dust could be damaging to health following repeated inhalation over a long period of time. In consequence, Tate, in consultation with the artist, has decided not to allow visitors to walk across the sculpture."The work is intended to be interactive and to have people walking through it, although some visitors, mainly children, had more fun in the seeds than curators might have liked.The work was closed yesterday for reasons which a spokeswoman initially said were artistic: the work simply needed putting back into shape. The Tate revised that statement this morning.One visitor, who preferred not to be named, said she arrived at the gallery to see the work in mid-afternoon yesterday and waited 45 minutes before giving up. "It was very frustrating – there was no sign up about it, nobody to ask what was going on. There were two men raking it incredibly slowly. When I found someone to ask they said it was because of the dust it was creating and there was a meeting going on about it upstairs."The Chinese artist's work, consisting of 100m hand-painted replica sunflower seeds, has proved popular since it opened on Monday.Until yesterday the biggest issue surrounding the work had been whether visitors could take home one of the 100m seeds, all hand-crafted in China's porcelain capital, Jingdezhen. The official Tate line was certainly not, but the instruction was not always heeded.Tate Modern has had health and safety problems with art in the Turbine Hall before. People hurtling down Carsten Höller's slides caused some nervousness in 2006, and a year later signs urged visitors to be careful viewing Doris Salcedo's 167m crack in the floor.guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010 



Pain in the Ass

Porcelain is hard. That is all I have to say .

These porcelain stools were designed by Judith van der Boom. 

From the Original Posting. 

"The collection is about bringing porcelain in a wider usage, expanding through old techniques the wider possibility of landscapes of porcelain. The collection relates to the collection “Qing Zuo” that was made nu Judith van den Boom in 2008, with theme of connecting in natural ways to the landscape of sitting. Using the natural quality of strength, pureness and softness of porcelain with a combination of soft flowing shape and a natural form of sitting. For these reasons we used a direct hands- on way of model making while working in Jingdezhen, China. Through not by making sharp lines in the models but by keeping the shadows in the glaze and form very soft, forms were created with simple connection to your hands and body."

The process of making takes you through all layers of place, process, material, socialness and culture and that’s a group you can’t force into a shape being visible for the viewer. The making of the collection Porcelain Topographies was a team effort that brought together the expertise of different people in the Netherlands, China and Germany. Through great support, work and enthusiasm of a special group of people and organizations it was possible to realize this collection.




Seed Money

Tate Modern to be covered in 150 tons of sunflower seeds

The Tate Modern in London will next week be filled with 150 tons of seeds as part of a large art installation.

The floor of its enormous turbine hall will be covered with 15 million replica sunflower seeds made of porcelain, as part of a installation by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
The seeds will form a carpet, eight inches thick. The tiny pieces of porcelain, handmade by labourers in China, were brought to Britain last week.
Visitors will be encouraged to walk and play on the art work, as they did with the remarkable Shibboleth, a giant crack which ran the entire length of the turbine hall, created by Doris Salcedo, the Columbian artist. The seeds will be raked back into position at the end of the day by Tate workers.
The work is the 11th in the popular Unilever series at Tate Modern, which began in 2000 with Louise Bourgeois's giant steel spiders and mirrors.

Other notable artworks that have filled the cavernous turbine hall have included Olafur Eliasson's The Weather Project, with its projection of a giant sun; Carsten Höller's slides which saw visitors shriek with excitement as they hurtled to the ground; and a pitch black room by Miroslaw Balka.
Ai, famous for his work on the Birds Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing, said that the seeds represented the famines in China under Mao Tse-tung. The porcelain seeds represent what was at times the only food available to millions of Chinese people during Mao's time in power. More than 30 million people starved to death in famines during 1958-61.
"The seeds are the memory of communist times," Ai told The Sunday Times. "We would share them out with friends."
Though Ai was the key designer of the Birds Nest stadium he urged his fellow Chinese not to attend the Olympic Games of 2008, after he said he realised the authorities were using them as a propaganda tool.
He described the Games as "the pretend smile of China", heaping so much embarrassment on Steven Spielberg for his planned involvement in the opening ceremony that the US film director withdrew.
Katz's Note:
The best part of the story?
The author's name
Harry Wallop. 



When the dogs are away the Katzs will take a nap.

Hey All,
Sorry, I've been busy, busy and today is no different.
So just some Friday fun of cats in pots.

Of course the thing is that my name is in fact Katz and I really prefer dogs.




Cheers and Jeers


I'm conflicted folks.

There was this post over at the NY Times, in the dining section no less (which I appreciate). Talking about a show of dinnerware called Eat Drink Art Design at the Museum of Art and Design.So great, recognition in The Times for ceramics. Awesome. I have a NY Times alert for Ceramics and let me tell you that it barely ever presents something new.

So it looks like a nice show, and there appears to be some nice work. My itchy grumpy finger goes off on two points, One, the names used to sell the show? Roy Lichtenstein, Keith HaringJames Rosenquist, and  Sol Lewitt. All fine artists, no doubt. And I know that famous names get butts in museums.  Still a rub.

What really gets me is that the "traditional" ceramics people, Karen Karnes, Warren Mackenzie, Paul Mathieu, Beatrice Wood or Toshiko Takaezu.   The work from those artist are from 1970, 1992, 1988, 1950-60, and 1947.  Now, I'm not trying to deny these artist their due; but really, really???  The most current piece of craft is 18 years old. That teapot can vote.  For Christ's sake, there is some nice, younger works, that fall more into the design/art realm in the show.  So we know that the curators are looking around. 

 So what is the problem? Where is the respect and the representation? There are awesome pots out there that garner that kind of respect. 

I have to ask. 
Is it our fault?