Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another Movie Inspiration That is Perfect for Fall

Fall is my favorite season. Its too bad it is always too short! Perfect weather, pretty colors, hot apple cider. Love it! I cannot wait for the corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards (you're never to old for that stuff). At twenty four its no longer appropriate to go trick or treating around the neighborhood in the early evening when the sky is orange and the candy is flowing. This post is about Practical Magic (1998) starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. The movie is great. Its about two sisters and their love for one another, but better yet its about magic and them being witches. If you haven't seen this, go watch it. Ever since I first saw it as a young teeny bopper I wanted to grow my hair long, dress in thick knitted sweaters, live in that house, and of course be a witch. The colors are all fairly dull autumn like colors, but the beiges, pea greens, plums, and burnt orange colors work very well.

I had to add the photo on of the house on the top, because it is perfectly creepy for fall, and with both pictures you get two angles. The house was filmed in these exact ways. It was either dark and mysterious or white and perfect. You can see in the top photo that it was on a cliff side by the sea.

This was their parlor near the entryway. I love the dark broad floor boards and wood paneling. It looks great with the cream wall contrast. The warm lighting sets a great mood for these old fashioned witches. Being very interested in the needle arts I think, the spindle, loom, and shelf full of yarn and string are great!

Here is the kitchen. Again, digging the cream walls and dark wood. the movie's set is so simple and still incredibly appealing. Large spaces filled with large simple furniture and very simple color palette.

This is their green house and its so pretty! You know they have eye of newt and all that good stuff stocked up in here next to their Chia pets and basil. Lots of pots, candles and glass ware.

Can't get enough of this movie! The characters are great too. Stockard Channing plays a fun loving aunt (a witch) and brings her nieces up to not worry about the norm and to dress and eat as they please. The movie has great juxtaposition of good and bad that ties in with the decorating, lighting, and their wardrobes. Of course they have a black cat.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Want To Know What I Have Been Up To?

First of all I want to say sorry for all of the background changes, I still don't know what I want!
I have been very busy since I got back over twenty pieces from a firing. I have been busy (and still not done!) glazing all of the bisque ware pieces (bisque ware is when a pot has only been fired once and ready for glaze and will be fired again). I have been so busy with this that I haven't even been able to throw on the wheel for about five days! when I go without throwing so long I feel like it takes me a while to get my groove back (like Stella). Hopefully I will get on the wheel tonight and get at least a few pieces done after dindin. Below are some pictures of the bisque ware I fired before they were glazed. The photos are of some candle holders I made with two different size whole cutters. They are a real pain to glaze if you brush on three coats like I do. The wholes never get fully coated and I don't want white spots ya know?! These holders are what are causing me to take so long to finish glazing this batch.

I use white earthenware and have yet to play around with terracotta. I guess I like how this clay seems more like a white canvas, giving me more opportunity to around with all kinds of colors. Maybe sometime soon when I run out of my white clay, I will have to experiment with red clays. Below area few finished products that I have either given away or sold. I am in a major blue phase right now. I notice I always gravitate to the blues and love the way they look with white (have you read the Ming Dynasty Treasures post?). I am not too fond of super earthy colors like grainy browns and beige's. I will always go for bold or chic plain colors.
Love the cobalt blue with my pretty pink roses. They look like they are made out of frosting and belong on a cake!

My faceted cups that have become a favorite and are now part of my regular product list.
Pot bellied bumble bee bowl.

I will have a lot more finished pieces after Thursday or Friday this week! I will put up "after" photos of  those candle holders and much more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ming Dynasty Treasures

The earliest Chinese pottery has been dated back around 18,000 years years ago in southern China. China has great resources in raw materials for the art.  During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) we see a real advancement in ceramics and fine porcelain. Much of their form and style has been mimicked since. Ming dynasty ceramics are mostly known for their signature blue and white floral motifs. Ceramics also depicted dragons, landscapes, and people. They look amazing and incredibly regal.

Archeologists find this loot in a Chinese shipwreck. Click here for more details

In the late 16th century, Medici porcelain was a very early Chinese porcelian-like ceramic in Europe. Many were givin as diplomatic gifts.

Portuguese azulejo (ceramic tiles) art was first introduced through Spain by the moors in the 15th century. It wasn't until the 16th and 17th centuries that the Spanish brought majolica glazes and paints from Italy. The azulejos sometimes cover buildings on the inside as well the outside.They are famous for making mosaics with the brilliantly made tiles.

Below is a beautiful plate mass produced by Courier and Ives. There company was based in New York City 1834-1907. I believe they also came in green and red. My mom has this whole damn set.
Of course it has a different landscape, but follows all the same rules of the Ming ceramics: pretty border and landscape in the middle.
Other forms of art have been inspired by these visions in blue. Its seems as though the blue and white duo has infiltrated into every form of art and creativity. Here are some home decorating and fashion that are ming-tastic. The last picture is my favorite!

Artwork made by Li Xiaofeng

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kilns, Kilns, Kilns.

I don't have a mega problem, but a problem none the less that effects my work. I need a kiln! I have one, but its a test kiln. Super tiny. Not to mention I still haven't gotten an electrician to come and install the right power outlet. almost. Right now I am fortunate to have a dear friend that allows me to use her schools mega walk in closet kiln. However, I feel like such a flake going over there and asking when its okay to use it and mixing my stuff in with her high school students clay purple animals. So, until I can afford my dream kiln here are some photos of beautiful kilns that people have built themselves. Am I the only dork that drools over stuff like this? Enjoy!

For more info on this gas kiln and construction photos, click here

Robert Compton pottery has a great page about the construction of his gas kiln.
Click here to see more

Sadly, I have only had experience with electric kilns. I have heard that gas is more versatile, but harder to control and sometimes more variable. Oxidization is better in a gas than electric. My pottery is simple so I haven't had the want or need to make affects that a gas burning kiln can do. A gas kiln needs to be supervised constantly and is much harder or impossible to move (especially if they are like the ones in the pictures I posted). Gas kilns also take up more room and require much more precautions. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to get a meter big enough for one. If reduction is a must for you, go with gas. Plan ahead and make sure you don't plan on moving anytime soon. I like that I can trust almost anyone with an electric firing, because it is so easy. I also like the kiln sitters and timers built in to electric kilns. Its not about being lazy either, (because I am) it also has a lot to do with not knowing what the hell to do if I had a gas kiln and wanted to make crystal and soda affects and such. I'm still just learning simple glazing styles.
Amazing wood burning stove!

From Morning Crane Tea blog (check followed blogs in sidebar to see all his photos)

Wood burning kilns have a lot of the pros and cons as a gas kiln and it needs to be fed wood a lot. I never used one, I say "a lot", because I heard they are a lot of work and you are what keeps the temperature up with wood. They are easier to build than a gas kiln however and can be made at various sizes. Hope this was helpful in filling you in a bit about kilns. If you have and questions, ideas, suggestions, or corrections. Please comment.

My first post!

Why a mudhut? I am a potter, so yes my hut is quite muddy. I don't want to advertise my shop on this badboy, I just want to share what inspires me as an potter/artist. I have noticed that a lot of unrelated things can inspire a person without them even thinking twice about whether or not it is related to their craft or their same wave length. I get inspired often by film and photo much more than nature or other artists. I do have to favorite bloggers at the moment which are Decor8 and Design*Sponge. Homegirls can blog. Design*Sponge in particular is very helpful when it comes to business with her Biz Ladies link. Really I am not just a potter, I am an aspiring business owner. So not only am I going to be filling you in on what inspires me, but how I handle my new business. I am not a professional, I am still constantly learning the tricks of the business as well as pottery.

One of my latest inspirations has been the movie Surviving Picasso (1996) starring Anthony Hopkins (damn he's a great actor) and Natascha McElhone (frickin gorgeous). Of course the art work in this movie is wonderful, but being filmed in France the whole movie is pretty.

Throughout the movie Picasso inquires about Matisse to everyone in the business. He seemed to be weary of the artist and extremely competitive.  Ask any business owner and they will tell you that a little competition is healthy and necessary. When Matisse shows up towards the end of the movie, he is already in his cut out artworks. They also visit his chapel in Vence, France which Picasso loathes.

 One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Picasso starts his ceramics. They show his studio in the country with a wood burning kiln. the last half hour of the movie seems to be littered with Picasso pottery. Here are a

The decor of their houses, their super ample studios, and the nice clothes. The reason I have played this movie out the last few months, is because I love seeing how Picasso handles his business and his artwork.It is a dream for an artist to do whatever the hell they want while the whole world falls in love with it. Everyone loving it, everyone wanting it, and of course everyone paying top dollar for it. He had the whole world in his hand and even continued to grow in popularity during the second World War. Oh yeah and he had a whole lot of lovers. What more can an artist want?