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  • Wabi-sabi and the Two Leonards

    On: February 23, 2017
    In: Artmaking, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 65
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    Small hand formed wabi sabi ceramic bowl.

    Henpecked Bowl XXXII, Liz Crain, 2017

     

    Wabi-sabi is not Shabby Chic. It is not trendy, modern or even post-modern. Not a theory, movement, aesthetic, philosophy, religion, art, process or product. And, then again, it can be and has been all these. The separate meanings of the two Japanese words have changed over the centuries and their yoked-hyphenated concept morphs easily, especially when applied. But expressing it has a certain fatal pull for me so I’ve decided to just go all in.

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  • Eccentricity, Or Trying to Buck Centrifugal Force

    On: February 16, 2017
    In: Artmaking, Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 77
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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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  • The Courage to Dis-brand

    On: February 2, 2017
    In: Art Biz, Artmaking, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 167
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    Truth Courage Justice Apothecary Cans

     

    An allegory: On one especially memorable family vacation when I was a pre-teen we drove from CA to WI (and back, but that’s another story) camping each night along the way.  Donner Memorial State Park in CA.  A last-minute offroad spot outside of Salt Lake City (with cows and a babbling brook.) Somewhere high in the Snowy Range in Wyoming, where we got altitude sickness. And then there was Nebraska, which was flat and took all day to cross.  US80  (now I-80, but also known as the Lincoln Highway, Oregon Trail and California Trail) is an old road and in Nebraska there are 72 miles of the most absolute straightness in all of the Interstate Highway System, not varying by more than a few yards. Back in the day it was still a field-flanked two-lane clogged with slow-moving farm equipment and a town with reduced speed limits every ten miles. I stared out the back window of our 1956 Ford Country Sedan Station Wagon at the endlessness of the landscape and at the huge wall of black clouds that followed behind us in the west the whole inching way. We kept just ahead of the thunderstorm until we stopped and set up camp for the night at some tidy midwestern roadside wayfarer court where every car there was from California. Then came the deluge. It wasn’t like you couldn’t see it coming!

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  • Glaze Transparency: Clear As Mud

    On: January 26, 2017
    In: Artmaking, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 170
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    Ceramic test tile glaze palette

     

    I have a passion for ceramic test tiles: looking at them, using them for reference and making them. It comes from being a lifelong collector of paint chips, a lover of color theory books and classes, and a plyer of other media before I came to ceramics. I’ve played with paints, watercolors, colored pencils, even with translucent or transparent papers. And while there are color interaction similarities among media, I’m here to testify that the understanding of ceramic surface decorating materials, especially glazes, is in another universe altogether. As usual, I have a few thoughts about that.

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  • “Take Your Broken Heart….

    On: January 12, 2017
    In: Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
    Views: 220
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    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: 279
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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: 256
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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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