Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Exhibition

March 27
Exhibition today.  My piece with tiles still not hung. To meet Andre this morning at 8 am to hang by the reception at 11 am.  The tiles just came out of the kiln yesterday at 5pm.  I hadn't yet assembled them into a "quilt" and Nancy helped me with the tedious tying on of ties and a trip to the hardware store to get more supplies, including hanging rods..  Also, took Dawn's suggestion to heart and separated the two colors into white porcelain and red terracotta.  They had shrunk at different rates and the look wasn't coming together with the pattern I had envisioned. My clothes for the reception will be the same things I've worn all month, but clean.  Glad I remembered to pick up my laundry last night.

Finally hung and the crowd arrives

Jason Walker's blue alter ego embodies Vallauris

Dawn Whitehand's work included sculptures of the chimneys on the roofs of Vallauris

Nancy Aleo displayed a series of paintings on traditional Mexican bark paper.  The shape of the offering bowls beneath the paintings were based on a seashell.

My wall of 17 little masks reflecting the diversity of the area

An exercise in techniques: underglaze paints and pencils, china paint, scraffito on a colored slip, decals, building up the clay surface, cutting through the clay...

Dawn Whitehand also made a series of nesting forms based on a life form found on the beach at Golfe Juan. 

Across a Tender Ocean, my porcelain quilt with paint and paper collage.

Nancy Aleo's work touched on her vision quest and the spiritual path she continued in the foothills of the Maritime Alps.  This was drawn in white ink over black gesso.

Jason's cicadas and owl

Master Class

March 22
Took Jason's 2 day master class.  His focus was primarily painting on slabs.  The clay was porcelain and all the participants worked alongside after he demonstarted his process.  He did the entire workshop in French, which was a relief for Dale who usually has to translate everything.  Jason studied French in college but has been working with software before his arrival to sharpen his language skills.  The participants seemed happy to help him out with any language glitches.  Most spoke a litte english.  There were a few Australians in the mix as well.  I made a few small plates.  We also did a scratch technique on a painted black surface.  

Of Porcelain and Perfection

March 20
Last night we loaded the kiln for a high firing.  Dawn did some calculations and we are behind scheduling for kiln firings in order to have all our work done by the show.  Both Dawn and Nancy directed the placement and loading.  Jason's two large pieces went in last. He was a bit bummed because his penguin had a fine hairline crack at the wing and showed ridges at the back where he had joined the slab.   The penguin was from porcelain, a notoriously difficult clay to start with. All clays are unique to their source: one can get to know and master the porcelain of one area yet have to learn all over again the idiosyncrasies of a porcelain from another geographic region.   He trashed the penguin, breaking it up in pieces.  He had put a lot of work into a drawing on the surface of the penguin, with the face like the nose of the Concord and airplane wings.  He had drawn with underglaze pencils  a portrait of Strobe, Dawn's friend who is staying in Vallauris. Jason had drawn him with a slightly manic expression brandishing a gun shooting CO2 molecules out of the air.     

One of the first things I did was a portrait head of Dale and after it was fired I shaped wire glasses for it.  I did it just to get the feel of the clay and to jump start my process. It didn't make it into the show.

Jason's Penguin that never made it out of the studio.
The master at work on a blue self portrait 

Days and Nights in Vallauris

This is Adia and her friend Etienne. Adia worked in the office of the A.I.R. "Galerie Aqui Siam Ben" and was a joy to see everyday.  She helped out with the language, the bus and train schedules and other practical things and was a lively participant in passionate discussions of art, life and food.

March 17
St Patricks Day. I haven't seen one shamrock or leprechaun.  Will post some images of the town.  Hilly narrow road on the way to the studios.

This is a funny juxtaposition of the sign for bread "pain" on the corner of Avenue de l'hopital:

They have colored lights embedded in the street that make the village look like a colorful art installation at night.  They cast eerie shadows and Nancy and Jason posed in the colored beams. Cats lie on the lights for warmth.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Napoleon Returns, Every Year

March 6 

Nancy Aleo and I went south a short way to the coast at Golfe-Juan where they have an annual re-enactment of Napoleon's landing there.  

After being forced to renounce the throne, he had been exiled on the island of Elba and after a few months escaped, landing at Golfe-Juan.  He led his entourage to Paris where he ruled for 100 days before finally being defeated at Waterloo. There were troops with loud muskets and tents set up on the beach, the enactors in period costumes.  There were also craftsmen and displays of blacksmithing, stone carving and the like.  

We went for a coffee afterwards and realized we were on a parade route of all the costumed players.  

Happy Birthday!

March 4
Nancy Aleo's birthday.  We celebrated with fantastic cake and some strawbs with our champs as the Aussies say. 
Here is Dale Dorosh, the founder of AIr Vallauris, with the Australians Strobe and Dawn Whitehand and master ceramicist from Washington state, Jason Walker.

Clay Play

March 2 
Went on our second materials venture to Ceradel.  I am out of "paper clay" a porcelain and paper mixture that allows more flexibility in handling.  The other residents have been great in helping me out with materials that are new to me.  I haven't worked with glazes or color and am learning as i go along about the technical restrictions, firing temperatures, etc.

I have started a series of small masks based on the people in Vallauris.  The masks are 3 to 5 inches, and unglazed.  I am trying out the varieties of clay available in the area.  There is a beautiful black spanish clay that we all like.  It has a wonderful feel, it almost seems to shape itself, it is so easy to work with. There is a mixed population here, very dark Africans and some Tunisians, Algerians people from Cape Verde and a variety of Europeans.  I am working in some cream colored stoneware and some red earthenware with grog as well as a smooth white clay and the very white paper clay,   Making hexagons and some small figurative pieces, a seed pod like thing and a weird vessel i will use as an oil lamp.  Spending time just getting to know the nature of the materials.

I am doing pieces for a clay quilt, hexagon segments (to echo the tiled streets) tied together with raffia, I would like to hang a finished piece from a window the way I have seen women hanging their laundry here.  Also playing with the various colored clays, making small portrait reliefs to reflect the diversity of the population.