Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Exhibition december 2011

I am exhibiting this month at Espace KAO, in Val-David, Québec, Canada.
My exhibition is in two very different parts; one part is an installation and the second part is wood-fired ware. it's going on until January 8th, 2012. Come and see it for yourself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

fall fire

sitting on the wood pile

My second wood-firing at the same kiln, 
André's kiln, took place in november. This time I had the opportunity to tend to the kiln a lot and I learned a great deal.  After loading the kiln I got second thoughts about my work. I tried many new things all at once and for the first time in a kiln that's not even mine. First I mixed 2 kinds of clays and added tons of black sand to them. Then along with my usual blue-green and kaki glazes, I mixed up a new cone 12 white glaze which I had only tried at cone 6 in an electric kiln. Then I filled all my bowls with pine needles and cedar branches.
It was a fragrant treat while loading the kiln. So all these new aspects of my work which I had never even tested seperately kinda worried me. On the other hand, I love surprises and I was hoping it was going to be a good one. And it was! There is tons of room for improvements of course but for the first time I feel like this small body of work is finally what I want my work to be like. It's very strong, subtle, has many nuances, the clay body is more lively and plays well with the glazes, every piece is unique and it all had to undergo the flame and the heat that only a wood-kiln gives out. I was very satisfied and it was a blast unloading those surprises.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Potters' summer action

It's been almost three months already since I've written on my blog...
Well, to catch up on that time passed way to quickly here is what I've been up to.
Working and exhibiting at 1001POTSin July and August. If you've never heard of this unique and great ceramics exhibit, take a look at their website:
For me the highlights of that 23rd season besides seeing and touching over 100 Potters' work was a few events, like the following:  

 A potters competition organized by tucker's clay which was alot of fun. It was a series of challenges like; handbuild the tallest structure with 5kg of clay and walk 5 feet with it or throw with your eyes covered the tallest and widest shape etc
The final prize was a brand new shimpo whisper wheel. I got second place! I was told that I basically lost by 1 cm!!!

Another event was the Japanese tea ceremony held by the Chado Urasenke Montréal. It was fascinating to see them prepare themselves, prepare the tea, offering it etc. ,but most interestingly was to see different bowls by many different potters take an important part in this calming and beautiful ceremony.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

June fire

Kyusu. Ash deposit on raw clay
In June, I participated in my first wood-firing. André Lacroix is an experienced potter who has a phoenix-style updraft wood kiln. Four potters, including me rented his kiln for a firing. It was a wonderful experience to spend two days with a bunch of great potters on the beautifully located kiln site.
The sun was shining, the food was great and the firing went very well. What more to expect?
Daniel loading the kiln
Daniel stoking the firebox

Marie-Josée, me and Daniel 

Lunchtime, a feast at every meal
André(bottom right) Julie, another potter(next to him)

Portrait of the team infront of the kiln
left to right: myself, André, Marie-Josée, Daniel (sitting), Julie and Nicholas

Opening the kiln after the firing

cups from the firing
Kaki and ash glaze

Urn. Ash glaze, a bit of blue glaze and natural ash deposit

Urn. brushed kaki on raw clay and ash deposit

Kyusu and two cups
Kaki and ash glaze

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Busy May

So the month of May has been extra busy. All potters that I know are preparing for the 1001POTS exhibit in mid-July. After the move and setting-up my studio, I was finally able to concentrate on making pots for this event. We've had so much rain for the last 2 months that whenever it's sunny everyone tries to re-charge on some sun. Being quite deprived myself, I set up my glazing tables outside and did just that for two full sunny days. I sure got my dose of sun and was glad it became gray and rainy again for the rest of the week. It was awsome to glaze outside, listening to birds mixed with my radio and smelling pine and sweet wild strawberries while the sun's heat loosened up my back muscles.
Cleaning-up was much simpler as well and the pots were nice and dry ready to jump in the kiln.
Can't wait to do it again...except now it's black fly season starting! Yikes..

My shed that was transformed into my studio.

Glazing and enjoying the beautiful sunny day
 In May, I also had the privilege to visit a fellow potter Matthieu Huck and give him a hand with his wood-firing. He has a lot of experience and even though that was only his third firing in his own
up-draft kiln, he was very laid back and confident. I think he was quite satisfied with the results. He designed and built his own kiln. Quite impressive.
His kiln has an unusual feature of having two small fire-boxes.
Matthieu checking the cones at the end of firing

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A new season

Nice freezing spring weather in time for renovations

The shed as we took posession of it
Spring is barely here where I live.  And april seemed never ending for me.I've just moved into a new home and a new studio. Moving things from one home to another is not my favorite activity but it's straight forward. Moving a work place is way harder. It's for the best of course, that was the whole point of the big move. It was for me to finally have a workshop that I would plan, organize and settle in properly. Next to our house, there's a decent size shed (12X16 feet) that has become my studio.
Before the move, we had to empty it from loads of stuff that the previous owner left us.
(Including dead mice) Then take down all the plywood heavily nailed all over the unfinished walls with crowbars.

 After that clean-up we were able to start insulating the walls, then nail a polyurethane plastic over it.
Then drill in wood supports before putting the plaster walls.

Shed starting to look like a workable place and a bit warmer
 I had NEVER done any of these tasks and eventhough they seemed simple...when it's the first time there is a huge amount of wasted time while trying to figure out the best approach to this and that or to patch up errors etc. I had great help from my husband, my father in law and a few friends.
We even insulated the floor with a special 2 inch thick foam, then added plywood and vinyl flooring.
We finally finished moving everything we've got in this world yesterday! The challenge now is where to put it all. My workshop is still unfinished, but it's good enough for me to start working in it as I have less than 2 months for the 1001 POTS event left plus 2 other events in the summer. I am almost panicking but I've been getting up very early and that helps me feel better and do more.
I've learned so much about tools and materials this past month that I feel ready to start thinking about working on another construction a small wood kiln...Just thinking about it.
If anyone out there has websites, books or ideas they want to share with me about building a very small  and simple woodkiln, please let me know.
It's good to have a good place to work in! A HUGE Thank You to all my helpers, teachers, tool lenders, advisors, babysitters, cooks, massage therapists and great friends.
What comes around goes around.
Back to work!
Will post a photo of the finished studio soon!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Ode to Japan

To all the inspiration that it brought into my life