Friday, August 27, 2010

New York, New York...

Winding down from a good time spent back east. Nice to finally feel some heat after a chilly chilly summer in San Francisco. Of course, I spent 5 days inside at the Javits Center at the New York Gift Show--so the world outside seemed like a dream from the past....
Five days of meet and greet and talking about ceramics, inspirations and business. My work will soon be available in some interesting shops all over the country as well as Kuala Lumpur--which is exciting. I was heartened by the fact that folks appreciated the handmade and what goes into producing this kind of work locally as opposed to the ubiquitous imports that flood so many of the shops out there today. Several people commented on how few truly handmade ceramics they are seeing which led to lots of lively discussion and debate as to why younger designers are more often motivated to go into jewelry design, than getting their hands in the clay. "It is hard"-many said. Yes, there are lots of steps and fragile stages on the way to producing a clay piece. "They are hard to transport"-- yes, my hands still ache from packing and shipping and carrying boxes of fragile weight all over the east coast. "There's a lot of 'made in china' work that is soooo cheap"--yep, and I've discussed it here before, lots of lovely mass produced work out there, but does everyone want to have the same, imported thing made for mass consumption untouched by hands??

But overall, people were thrilled to see that there were still studio ceramicists out there--toiling away and coming up with new innovations and designs to capture the imagination and carrying on a long heralded tradition. I am proud to be a part of that group.
Apart from the show-time to catch up with family, take in the familiar urban landscape of NYC that I traded long ago for the expansive west, and banked a few good images to carry around for my return to working in the studio in September....

 urban sidewalk fruit/veggie stands everywhere..

all night long..

My son eagle eyed this on the sidewalk during an evening stroll---mini candy chalk body outline--- a gummy crime perhaps?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Curio..Curious..a High End Curio

I admit it. I am a total sucker for the funky junk shops that hawk tourist goods that line the streets around a tourist attraction-the small coin purses, aging plaster dolls, coaster sets, they draw me in every time with their kitschy fun and folk art sensibility. I especially love the stands in Mexico and Central America that sell ceramic Mayan figures, ekeko guys carrying the abundance of a life of riches. There is something sweet and honest about those pieces and they forever remind you of the place you have been. Sadly, many or perhaps most of these are now made in China but continue to deceive us and make us believe they are made by hand they once were.  If you are lucky enough to track down the real stuff- it certainly can be made nearby by local hands.
These images have always stayed with me and influenced my work. I love curios, icons, charms, small images that represent something meaningful, folkloric and useful and remind you of where you were, and have incorporated these images into my clay work.

Recently, I was commissioned by a beautiful winery up in Napa to do some pieces for them. I was immediately intrigued by the thought of creating a "curio"--something that represents the winery, its history and the beautiful land it occupies. A fine curio, a genuine local hand crafted memento.
Just as I coveted the ceramic Mayan statues in Central and South America, I wanted to create covetous ceramic pieces that would stay with people for generations to come- and remind them of where they were.

I love my collection of Mexican tourist dolls-some are quite old but back in the day, were hand made locally and did incorporate local weaving and pottery traditions. This is what I aim to do with these pieces, They are functional of course, but will remind visitors of the beauty and delight that is Napa.
And of course, who doesn't love a good plate memento? I found this at a flea market back east right around the time I was moving to San Francisco-I love it.
and this cable car box? a classic..

Here are some of the keepsakes I created for Silver Oak--if you are visiting Napa--pay them a visit--
world class cabernet, beautiful buildings and a few good high end curios to take home...