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  • For What It’s Worth

    On: March 23, 2017
    In: Art Biz, Artmaking, Community, Studio Journal
    Views: 52
     1
    Ceramic Pabst Beer Can on Nest of Rusty Shot up Cans

     

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been making artstuff out of clay since 1999 or so and have been earnestly involved in selling it since 2007. You’d think by now I would have an accurate sense of what prices to ask. You would think. But I don’t. What I always suspected, and now am completely sure of, is that monetary value is squidgy and at best thinly related to the highly subjective valuation of a work of art. Throughout the art world, price is often nebulous, magically derived, and certainly very negotiable. And Ceramics carries another challenge because of the FineArt/FineCraft pricing disconnect. Let’s look at all this a little more personally.

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  • A Long Conversation with the Tooth Fairy or Why I Write

    On: March 16, 2017
    In: Art Biz, Artmaking, Community, Studio Journal
    Views: 106
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    An open journal to and from the Tooth Fairy

     

    Whenever I ponder why I am so drawn to writing this Studio Journal, it always comes back to: I write to understand, to reflect, to connect.  The Desert Island Necessaries in my artmaking include both the doing of it and the writing about that doing, because the writing takes flights that illuminate the making.  All else – especially that tedious biz end – can go hang, really. Validation of the power of a purposeful collection of writing was highlighted by a mostly-forgotten book we happened across in the attic last weekend: The Tooth Fairy correspondence belonging to my oldest son, Roger. It affirms that writing is more than just the words and ideas. Tucked in there is also a world view, original evidence of what was important once upon a time. I hope my Studio Journal does that now and in the future for each of us in some way.

    Roger’s Tooth Fairy Book was written and thickly illustrated, starting with his first bottom tooth on April 21, 1991 until twelve teeth later on July 25, 1995, when the magic morphed. I’d like to quote at length from that correspondence, formed first in his youthful random caps printing, then in tentative cursive, and then back to printing. While I, in mysterious TF persona, wrote with my non-dominant hand – my brain crying out in protest the while – so he would not recognize my printing. Even if it’s a tad tangential to my usual posts, this is also a hoot – with original spellings – and we all could use that. Let’s start in.

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  • This Cracks Me Up

    On: March 2, 2017
    In: Artmaking, Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 153
     1
    Celadon glazed cracked pinch pot

    Walking Meditation Pot XXII, Liz Crain, 2017

     

    In my very first ceramics handbuilding class I sat at a large table which included a bunch of newbies like me plus one know-it-all wheel-thrower. I have not met a didact with a more tone-deaf need to expertsplain than hers.  I was still in my Clay Wonder Years, falling in love and wanting to get lost in it. I relished how the outside surface of my pinch pots cracked as I expanded the clay from the inside creating intriguing organic possibilities. But my delight was soon doused with her continual instructions for crack banishment. I avoided her as much as possible, working outside on nice days and making full use of open lab time when she was not around. It took me awhile, but eventually I found the words to counter her: “Thank you, but I don’t learn by having the answers first, and, oh, I LIKE CRACKS!”  I repeated it with a cheesy smile at every unasked-for comment and finally she quit schooling me and turned on the other hapless noobs.

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  • Eccentricity, Or Trying to Buck Centrifugal Force

    On: February 16, 2017
    In: Artmaking, Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 171
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    Fun House Spinning Disc

     

    There are very few oldtime bricks and mortar Funhouses left, but I have semi-fond memories of the one that used to be at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Basically the ‘rents would pay one very low entrance fee per kid and launch us into unsupervised orbit whilst they went and had a moment or two – helicopter parenting having not been invented yet. Happily inside, we scattered onto the bucking walkways, rolling barrels, giant slides, funhouse mirrors and, the trickiest of all, the “spinning platter,” or whatever you call it, seen above at Playland at the Beach in San Francisco because I can’t find a photo from Santa Cruz. (If you have one in the family album, please send it my way and I just might update this post with it!) Everyone looks so happy in the photo, but it’s misleading because they aren’t spinning yet. While other Funhouse activities presented reasonably delightful challenges, this horizontal turntable was just a plain unwinnable floorburn-installing monster. It came down to whoever got to EXACT CENTER first in the mad scramble to load in. Everyone else besides Numero Uno was already doomed. And, truth to tell, maybe some of us weren’t expecting anything else but being wildly flung off. If this whole Funhouse thing is out of your realm of experience, here’s a video from Luna Park in Australia – with adults and lots more padding. Either way, it leads to my point today.

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  • “Take Your Broken Heart….

    On: January 12, 2017
    In: Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 336
     1

     

    broken heart iron on patch

    Broken Heart Iron-on Patch by lizmiera

    … make it into art.”

    (Carrie Fisher via Meryl Streep, January, 2017.)

    There is so much just plain wrong in my world right now. The bulk of it is not within my power to change in the slightest. It all just weighs and weighs and keeps weighing. My sole choice is to let my heart break wide open and keep on. How, oh how?

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  • A Year Like No Other: Highlights, Hard Knocks and Epiphanies

    On: December 8, 2016
    In: Art Biz, Artmaking, Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 339
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    Studio Dedication Altar Items and planning pages

     

    Each December I take a moment to reflect on the past year and try to peer into the next. It’s an agenda-less non-ritual with a few symbolic visuals, good smells, candles, flowers, and cowbells. This year I carried objects of continuing fascination to my (slab-roller) altar. I also brought my lists: 2016’s Successes and Suckages and 2017’s Future Games. This writing is intended to be my last post for this year, so I will dwell on 2016’s Gumbo of the Sublime and see you back here bright and early in 2017 to discuss what else I can see on the creative horizon and how you and I can meet there.

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  • The Pretty Poopy Jar: Aesthetics in Action

    On: December 1, 2016
    In: Artmaking, Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 320
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    Ugly Brown Lidded Ceramic Jar

     

    We’ve been reading Kant’s Analytic of the Beautiful in my Beastly Beauty Philosophy Class. Not gonna lie, it’s tricky stuff and I’m glad I got this far in life before attempting it, because I have the fortitude of undaunted age to hang it on. The best part of getting through Kant is that he delivers: there’s a big fat nougatty nugget of truth as a reward for swimming in that 18th century wordalicious deep end and here it is:

    Beauty is SUBJECTIVE!!!!!

    The hell you say, because you, in your Kant-free state, already knew it: Eye of the Beholder and all that. And, sometimes bad is bad too. But how do you tell? And why should you care to? Can you change your mind? What if it’s just as vital to say what’s NOT beautiful? Is that a truer root of taste and discernment? Does any other opinion besides your own really count? Let’s discuss with a visual.

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