Tag Archives: Ceramic Artist

Inside the Artist Studio with Michael Ashley

 

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Glazing at Ashley Studio Pottery in Tupelo Mississippi

Originally from Springfield  MO, I graduated from College of the Ozarks with a BA in Painting and Ceramics then moved to Tachi, Taiwan where I spent a year at Tainan National University for the Arts.  In 2010 I graduated from the University of Mississippi with an MFA in Ceramics. I have taught at Missouri State University, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and Tyler School of Art and am currently making Pots in Tupelo MS at Ashley Studio Pottery and teaching at Northeast Mississippi Community College.

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My desk with Max Beckmann, coffee, homework for students, and sketches for cups.

My current work comprises utilitarian forms with motifs and patterns influenced by Kenzan Style Edo Period Japan with color and painterly application of  expressionist paintings from early to mid century.

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wine cups earthenware 2017

I am particularly interested in the way Beckmann uses bold colors surround by black lines to create shapes and planes.

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vase with tulips

My process begins with red clay dipped or brushed in white slip. After bisque, I start first layer of brush work using iron wash made of iron oxide and OM4 ball clay or glaze pencil.

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bisqued bowls with brushwork

Next, I apply liner glaze depending on the form.

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I then begin to layer glazes using bulb syringe and brushes. My glazes are a combination of glazes I mix, made mostly of frits and Mason Stains as well as some commercial Amaco and Duncan glazes.

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Glazed work ready for the next layer

Lastly, the pot is dipped in a thin clear glaze and fired.

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Footed red box 2017

Artist Statement
My work invites touch, like a stone plucked from a riverbed. I love pots that are smooth in the hand but have a rugged, natural beauty. I observe a constant erosion and evaporation that takes place in my daily environment. I strive for layers of visual depth combining slip, glaze and texture to recall this geological wearing. Traditional utilitarian forms are the vocabulary for my investigation, surfaces are a combination of historic patterns and motifs mixed with the vibrancy and life of mid century abstract expressionist paintings.

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cups earthenware 2017

Ritual and habit inform my studio practice. Art, work and play exist in all aspects of life. I begin my day with tea; boil the water, strain, pour and savor. That rhythm carries throughout my day whether chopping onions or wedging clay. Make something, use it, let it inform your life, make more.

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Mississippi oribe 2017

You can follow me on Instagram and Michael D. Ashley or Ashley Studio Pottery on Facebook.

662-523-7887
ashleyceramics@hotmail.com

Ashley Studio Pottery
398 East Main Street, Suite 106, Tupelo MS, 38804

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Ashley Studio Pottery www.ashleystudiopottery.com


Michael Ashley has two cups included in our second annual “The Cup, The Mug” exhibition, and received an honorable mention award for one of his wine cupsStop by Main Street Arts to see Michaels’s work through January 4, 2018 or purchase his cups onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com

 

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Sam Lopez

Demo days are the best days

Demo days are the best days

I was born and raised in a small dairy town in Riverside County called Mira Loma just one hundred miles north of my current home in San Diego. As a kid, I spent most of my spare time  in my dad’s leather shop either helping sew up saddles or struggling along with my own projects. Working alongside my dad over the years has allowed me to grow up with an appreciation for well-crafted objects that help serve a community.

I got my start in ceramics in high school and was instantly hooked and spent all four years completely seduced by the potters wheel. Nearly fifteen years later, in May of 2017, I still retain my infatuation with the material and recently  received my MFA in ceramics from San Diego State University and now teach ceramics at Riverside City College. I am currently learning and enjoying the process of becoming an effective educator; and as with most teachers, I get most of my own studio work done anytime class isn’t in session.

One and three fingered handled mugs

One and three fingered handled mugs

I primarily make utilitarian pottery but try to remain open to other processes and ideas. I make the majority of my work on the potters’ wheel but also use slip casting and hand building techniques for some of my larger scale works. My surface choices are made based on the color of my clay. Aside from its’ smoothness, I work primarily in porcelain because it provides an opportunity for a pristine white background to the painted surfaces I apply to each piece. It also takes color fairly well so I will often pigment my clay to explore different foreground/background color relationships.

Porcelain Polychrome cups

Porcelain Polychrome cups

Polychrome cups on Black Porcelain

Polychrome cups on Black Porcelain

slip case colored clays with black underglaze

slip case colored clays with black underglaze

When making pots, I work fluidly through small batches and continually test myself with new forms. My sketchbook will sometimes guide a making session if I am actively trying to approach new ideas of form, especially with more complex forms like teapots and other pouring pots. However, I will almost always use sketches through a batch of cups with the hopes of exploring larger forms similarly. Generally, I am attracted to creating some kind of tension in each form as well as a tension with the glaze surface of each pot.

I continually try to ask questions of each piece. The question, “How can this form demonstrate qualities of both hard and soft sensibilities?” has been lingering in my head for nearly six months and still keeps me excitedly making new work in the studio.

Varying Mug Shapes

Varying Mug Shapes

Cup variations from my sketch book

Cup variations from my sketch book

Two prominent influences are my dad and Josef Albers. My dad taught me the importance of making with quality, which means to make something that can potentially last someone a lifetime of hard use with appropriate care. The beauty of the object was secondary to its functional success. As a result, some may find my pots to be a bit heavy according to most standards. I like for the user to be confident that each pot can withstand some banging around without fear of it easily breaking so I make sure to leave them just a little on the hefty side.

Josef Albers is largely responsible for my decisions when using color. His book, The Interaction of Color is never more than an arm’s reach away when I am painting with my underglazes. This book is full of great information and I would recommend it to anyone interested in color theory. This book helps me continually ask questions about color relationships and is the influence behind all the clay and glaze choices I make.

Mixing Color Washes

Mixing Color Washes

Tech talk:
I use cone 10 Miller Porcelain (WC631) from Laguna Clay. It is sold at other supplies under the name #550 as well. My liner glaze starts out as Tom Coleman’s TC-103 clear that I tint to my liking. This glaze is a great clear as well as a great base that takes color very well. I’ve tinted it using Amaco underglazes as well as traditional combinations. I paint my work using Amaco velvet underglazes. I really enjoy the ability to mix them up and create new colors relatively quickly. All my work is fired in oxidation to cone 10 before each piece is completely sanded. I use diamond sanding pads from 3M up to 800 grit on the surfaces of all my work. It is at this stage when my pots start to come to life. Although this takes up to an hour for one pot, I get a lot of enjoyment during this process because I get to thoroughly get to know each pot individually before I pack it up.

Sanding pads after three years of use

Sanding pads after three years of use

I am currently without a website, but I hope to rectify that within the next year. For the time being, people can easily find me on Instagram @Sam_._Lopez where I routinely share my studio practice and daily shenanigans. In the next year, I hope to dial in my pots a bit more and continue growing as a maker as well as an instructor. Teaching ceramics has been such a great learning experience this last year and I look forward to continually growing and learning from my students. For now, I feel extremely thankful to be a part of the clay and craft community that seems to be growing more than ever.

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“Mug”, included in the exhibition (click for more info)

"Cup", included in the exhibition

“Cup”, included in the exhibition (click for more info)


Sam is one of the award winners in our second annual “The Cup, The Mug” exhibition (juried by Peter Pincus). Stop by Main Street Arts to see Sam’s work through January 4, 2018 or buy his work  onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com

 

 

Meet the Artist in Residence: Mandy Ranck

Mandy Ranck is one of our current artists in residence at Main Street Arts. During the months of September and October, 2017, she will be working on both sculptural and functional bodies of ceramic work. We asked Mandy a few questions about her artwork and studio practice. 

Mandy Ranck

Mandy Ranck

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in Lewisburg, WV, a small town in southern West Virginia. I’ve always been a maker, never giving may hands a break. Throughout my life I’ve been interested in knitting, baking, drawing and photography. I earned my BFA in ceramics from West Virginia University. I’ve apprenticed, taught both children and adults, and worked as a production potter. Since moving to New York I’ve been working as a studio potter and sculptor.  

"adventure", 2016, Mandy Ranck

adventure, mixed media, 2016

Q: How do you describe your work?
I create both sculptural and functional ceramic pieces that portray stylized versions of pastoral life. I do this by creating animal and plant life as viewed through a child’s, mind recalled by an adult. My main objective when I create a piece is to encourage the viewer to feel engaged and experience a child-like excitement. Whimsy has always been a part of my aesthetic and clay illustration has given me the perfect means to share my narrative.

storm, mixed media, 2016

storm, mixed media, 2016

bowls, terra-cotta, 2017

bowls, terra-cotta, 2017

Q: What is your process from creating a work or art?
My process almost always begins with drawing. Next I find textures, patterns and colors that really interest me. I am always collecting (photographing and cutting out) interesting designs.  Then I usually search for photos or drawings of objects that I’d like to creatively recreate or inspire me. After all that, I just start making.

sketches

sketches

Q: What are your goals for this residency?  
While working at Main Street Arts, I would like to create a cohesive body of work, focusing primarily on dioramas. I would like to continue to use clay as my primary medium, but also explore using ink, wire, wood, paint and paper. I’d like to continue to grow as an artist by experimenting with new forms and ideas. Texture and line are meaningful to me, along with the shadows and negative space they create. I have an appreciation for layers and depth, and I want to continue to explore different ways to use them.

home, mixed media, 2017

home, mixed media, 2017

mugs, terra-cotta, 2017

mugs, terra-cotta, 2017

Q: What is the most useful tool in your studio?
I’m always finding new things that will add interesting texture to my work, make the building process easier, and help me create unique pieces. I use every clay and kitchen tool imaginable, make stamps and use screw heads to decorate. However, I use two tools daily; a microscopic needle tool that helps me draw through layers of colored clay and a small bamboo stick.  Neither of them are high tech, but I tend to panic when I loose them.

cook, mixed media, 2017

cook, mixed media, 2017

Q: Do you collect anything?
I collect mugs and yarn. Over the years I’ve collected untold amounts of both. I tend to gravitate towards mugs when I’m looking and other ceramic artist’s work. Nothing more comforting than a good cup of coffee out of a nice mug.  I like yarn because of the never ending array of color and texture it holds.

jars, terra-cotta, 2017

jars, terra-cotta, 2017

Q: What advice would you give to other artists?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and be open to constructive criticism.  Try to be involved in as many shows as you can and create a presence online.  Listen to other artists and ask them for advice. Most importantly, continue to create. 

Q: Where else can we find you?
Throughout the year I participate in several craft and art shows.  I have the upcoming events listed on my webpage.  I  also have work for sale at the Burchfield Penney gift shop in Buffalo, NY.

You can also find me on my website, www.mandyranck.com and on Instagram @mandylranck

Mandy is teaching a ceramic diorama workshop on Saturday, September 23 and 30 from 12 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Arts. Sign up on our website to reserve your spot!

Q & A with Bethany Krull

The Upstate New York Ceramics Invitational at Main Street Arts will feature functional and sculptural ceramic work by 13 artists from the region. This invitational represents some of the most exciting contemporary ceramic work being made in upstate New York.

The exhibition will be held July 11–August 29, 2015.
Online purchasing will begin in mid-July.

Bethany Krull

Buffalo ceramic artist Bethany Krull

Bethany Krull

Q: Where are you from originally and where are you now?
A: I grew up in Lancaster New York (a suburb of Buffalo) and I am currently living in the city of Buffalo

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a ceramic artist?
A: I started in clay at 17 in high school and knew by the time I started college.

Q: Did you make other types of artwork before finding ceramics? Do you currently make other work?
A: I played around with a lot of things in my past. I have and do work in many materials. In the past, when I had the facilities I was casting bronze, metal working. My husband is a woodworker and I have learned a great deal from him and often work in wood. I have done massive paper mache sculptures. Currently I’m making a sculpture out of white vinyl.

Q: What is your largest source of inspiration?
A: The natural world and our relationship to it.

Q: Do you look forward to opening the kiln? Or do you wince at the thought of something going wrong in there?
A: My work is very predictable, so I look forward to seeing the finished piece.

Q: What is it like being a ceramic artist in Upstate NY?
A: I enjoy the area.

Q: Where else are you showing your work this summer or fall?
A: Keenan Center, NCECA

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Sculpture by Bethany Krull

Where can people see more of your work/follow you?
Website: www.bethanykrull.com

Check out the previous Q & A with ceramic artist Michael Hughes.