Viewing all essays in #ceramic

Western-Style Raku Kiln Firing

Raku ware evolved from the ideals of wabi aesthetics advocated by the tea master Sen Rikyû and advised the ceramist Chôjirô, the forebear of the Raku family, in the aesthetics and philosophy of the Japanese tea ceremony. The first Raku wares were created in the mid 16th century (Momoyama period). There are earlier stylistic origins of Sancai can be traced to China during the Ming Dynasty. During the Momoyama period pottery based on a three-colour Chinese Sancai glazing style came into production in and around Kyoto. Chôjirô was one of the potters practicing these methods. This tradition of making tea bowls has evolved over the course of generations in the Raku family, which continues to this day, led by Sōkichi, the current Kichizaemon XVI. In the 1960s Paul Soldner, a ceramist from the United States, adopted and adapted these methods developed by the Raku family, leading to the type of firing depicted in this video. Paul taught many of his students this method, including the English potter Grace Bailey, who apprenticed Andrew Robinson in her studio. Andrew first learned to build and fire Raku kilns during his apprenticeship, and he has continued to develop contemporary work with roots in multiple cultural traditions including this westernized Raku firing method. In essence, the firing process depicted in this video is based on Soldner’s and the Raku family’s traditions. This method includes a forced reduction in which wares are taken from the kiln while they are still red hot. Typically, these wares are made from a high refractory stoneware and heated to around 1,650 F. The wares are placed in a combustible material, in this case sawdust, grass, and paper, and sealed in a container like a metal garbage can. By depriving the atmosphere in the can of oxygen, the wares within the fire emerge with a blackened clay body, and it may create unusual flashing and color variations in the glazes. The wares and then taken out of the fire box, and plunged into water to rapidly cool.

Exhibition: Guttenberg Arts

Join us on Saturday April 2nd for Wunderkammer, an exhibition of work by Andrew Cornell Robinson and Karen Leo at Guttenberg Arts, 6903 Jackson Street, Guttenberg, NJ 07093
April 2, 2022 - May 1, 2022; Opening Saturday April 2nd, 2022.
Schedule your visit by going to www.guttenbergarts.org/exhibitions
For more information please contact matt@guttenbergarts.org or 201-868-8585
Guttenberg Art Gallery is free and open to the public by appointment only. www.guttenbergarts.org

My Cup Runneth Over IVGlazed and raku fired ceramic with enamel, plastic, glitter, and gold leaf

During his time at Guttenberg Arts, New York-based artist Andrew Cornell Robinson (b. 1968, Camden, NJ) has methodically drawn, modeled, carved, cast, printed, and created a layered network of queer and peculiar artifacts and images exploring history, memory, erasure, brokenness, and repair. Robinson’s work during the residency reflects on these themes through a series of layered prints, and ceramic forms that introduce an ad-hoc kintsugi (the Japanese art of repair with gold and lacquer) with the use of DIY materials (duct-tape, epoxy, plastic, spit, gold, glitter, and glue), combining collage and drawing onto a painterly and fragmentary surface. By interrogating collage and traditional methods of making, Robinson made room for a new vocabulary embedding his personal and queer histories through layering and obfuscation.

Robinson reflects on his work: “Drawing upon notions of brokenness, of seeing the world, or ourselves just as we are, and finding some acceptance of that imperfect humanity have emerged in my work. Initially I was drawn to Kintsugi, a tradition that celebrates the fix. This Japanese art of repairing broken ceramic by mending the fragments with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, likely arose during the fifteenth century when shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke a favorite celadon tea bowl. This bowl was sent for repair and returned with its fragments pieced together with iron staples as was the custom at that time. The result was an unsightly repair, and Ashikaga turned to some local Japanese craftsmen who filled the cracks and fragments with lacquer and gold powder, accentuating the breakage with something precious. Kintsugi transforms something broken into something renewed; its mended cracks reveal its unique character and accentuates its aesthetic appeal through the acceptance of its shortcomings. My appropriation and adaptation of this approach to repair, is probably closer to the tinkering traditions of my grandfather who was always making or fixing something. As he would say, “…a bit of spit and glue will do nicely.” 

Robinson’s residency led him to explore new work at the intersection of printmaking and ceramics. He uses hand built and wheel formed porcelain that is then cut, carved, and covered with custom silkscreened decals. The glazed and fired works are in some cases broken, or cracked, and an adhoc repair of these objects result in renewed artifacts and enigmatic narratives. The decal and surface imagery pollute the form, and is eerily detached from the objects, like the asynchronous imposition of graffiti over an edifice. These ceramic forms are presented along with a series of painterly prints built up with layered images abstracted figures and obscured portraits. 

Craft and Cultural Intersections

Community: Craft Exchanges from Haiti and United States

Donna Karan and the Design, Organization, Training Center, and Parsons School of Design invited Andrew Cornell Robinson to collaborate with Haitian artisans in the design of a new ceramic studio in Port-au-Prince. After the successful launch of the studio, Andrew was approached by a Yoruba priest who commissioned him to use locally harvested clays from Haiti and the United States to create a water vessel for the deity Olokun. Inspired by this creative challenge, Andrew created multiple offering vessels, a selection of which were presented in the “Occupy Art Project #3 – Networks” at the French Consulate, in New York City.

Creating: Offering Vessels

Pinko ISlip and glazed hand built stoneware, 22.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches
Water VesselSlip and glazed hand built stoneware, 20 x 13 x 13 inches
Blackbloc IGlazed stoneware with epoxy clay, lacquer, and gold, 25 x 8.5 x 9 inches
Blue PleadiesSlip and glazed hand built stoneware, 22.5 x 10 x 10 inches
Citadelle ISlip and glazed hand built stoneware, 22.5 x 9 x 9 inches

The invitation to create a ritual water vessel to honor the god Olokun at the behest of a friend, a Yoruba priest, offered a profound opportunity to reflect upon the function of ritual, history, faith, connection, redemption, and the concept of àṣẹ, a philosophical concept through which the Yoruba of Nigeria conceive the power to create and produce change. Reflecting upon these ideas led me to Olive Senior’s poem, Olokun: God of the Deep Ocean. *

Olokun: God of the Deep Ocean, by Olive Senior

1.

In the waiting room
beneath the sea
lies the mythical Atlantis
or the sacred Guinée

Who knows
save Olokun
master of the deep

guardian of
profoundest mystery.

2.

Shall we ask him?

Shall we ask him
where the world tree
is anchored?

Shall we ask him
for the portal
to the sun?

Shall we ask the tally
of the bodies
thrown down to him

on the crossing
of the dread
Middle Passage?

Shall we ask him
for the secrets read
in the bones

of the dead, the souls
he has guided
to his keep?

Will he reconnect
the chains of
ancestral linkages?

Send
unfathomable answers
from the deep?

3.

Divine Olokun
accept the tribute
of your rivers

the waters of your seas
give back wealth
as you please

guard us from our innermost
thoughts; keep us
from too deep probing

but if we cannot
contain ourselves and
we plunge

descending
like our ancestors
that long passage

to knowing,
from your realm
can we ascend again

in other times
in other bodies
to the plenitude of being?”

*Senior, Olive. “OLOKUN: GOD OF THE DEEP OCEAN.” Conjunctions, no. 27, Conjunctions, 1996, pp. 55–57. www.jstor.org/stable/24515659.

Pinko ISlip and glazed hand built stoneware, 22.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches

Exhibition: OCCUPY #3 - NETWORKS

As part of a creative research project and exhibition in New York, Andrew Cornell Robinson’s work was included in an exhibition/intervention along with a group of international artists and curators invited to occupy the Greek General Consulate and French General Consulate in New York City in which work was installed in situ for one month, along with several public events, and musical and theatrical performances.

Project Initiator: Eirini Linardaki
Curatorial Team: Eleni Riga, Shani Ha, François-Thibaut Pencenat, Julien Gardair www.occupyartproject.com

Installation of works by Andrew Cornell RobinsonInstallation of works by Andrew Cornell Robinson in the exhibition OCCUPY #3 - NETWORKS, at the French Consulate in New York City.

Collaborating: Working with Artisans in Haiti

D.O.T. in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.Design, Organization, Training Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Design, Organization, Training Center (D.O.T) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was created by Donna Karan, Urban Zen, Parsons School of Design, and Haitian artisan and businesswoman Paula Coles to support Haiti’s artisans with visiting international artists and designers and the creation of a thriving design lab where creative collaborators can work across multiple media from ceramic, wood, metal, and textile, to fiber, horn, and leather.

Potter at work on the wheelOn a visit to the studio of ceramist Marithou Dupoux in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Andrew Cornell Robinson was a visiting artist and educator, who worked with D.O.T. to design and set up the ceramic studio on site, and lead ceramic materials workshops including uses of local clays, surface design, and food safe glazes. He worked with Haitian artisans as well as scholars in the Parsons Design Fellowship. Several workshops in ceramic surface design and glaze preparation were offered to local artisans. Participants learned how to prepare slip and engobe materials using imported and native clay and natural materials. Explorations using found chemicals such as rusted metals (i.e. iron oxide), to produce colorants and discussions of local materials that can be used to produce surface colors in the kiln, including seaweed, seawater soaked and dried fabric, etc.

Raku FiringFiring up the Raku kiln on a visit with Haitian ceramist Marithou Dupoux, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Traditional slip trailing techniques were also explored. Since many of the participants in this workshop were relatively new to ceramic as a material (there were several jewelry makers, a sculptor, a painter, a textile artist, et al.) we spent some time producing test tiles and created a series of beads. In the afternoon we did a workshop on the use of plaster and alginate to produce various molds for casting, stamping and press molding clay. Additionally, we did a series of printing and slip transfer techniques including stenciling, block printing, and silk-screening colored clay onto clay surface slabs.

Casting workhshopPreparing to create a plaster cast of a large leaf
Plaster sprig moldA plaster sprig/stamp mold created for a casting workshop.

The second day participants learned about low fire earthenware glazes. The students mixed tin glazes and developed several colored over glazes using various oxides and stains. In the morning we explored different glazing techniques by glazing about a dozen bisque ware vessels and plates. In the afternoon we explored various production techniques on the pottery wheel including throwing fundamentals, as well as some “tricks of the trade” for production work including forming, warp and crack prevention, sgraffito and finishing.

Pottery throwing demonstrationHaitian ceramist Marithou Dupoux, and other workshop participants at D.O.T. in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Ceramic Materials WorkshopAndrew Cornell Robinson, Marithou Dupoux, and other workshop participants at D.O.T. in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Exhibition: Rapture, A Queer Taste for Color, Texture and Decorative Pattern

A group show of works by eight artists presenting an ensemble of unabashedly delicate and highly decorative works that employ non-traditional craft materials and techniques to arrive at an expression of exquisite beauty that pleasures the eye and quivers the soul.

Opening Reception: Thursday April 29th: 6-8pm

On View: April 29th - May 22nd, 2021, Wednesday to Saturday, 12 - 6pm

Equity Gallery 245 Broome Street, New York, NY 10002

 

Eight gay and queer-identifying artists present an ensemble of unabashedly delicate and highly decorative works that employ non-traditional craft materials and techniques to arrive at an expression of exquisite beauty that pleasures the eye and quivers the soul. For the vast majority of our planet’s inhabitants, life in the immediate aftermath of the COVID pandemic presents an anxious premonitory landscape inciting a narrow range of fear laden and negative responses. An alternative point of view, borrowed from individuals and groups that have weathered similar perilous episodes, allows that the very nature of turbulence propels instances of revelatory phenomena with near equivalent power. Susceptibility to these epiphanic forces seems linked to an individual’s or group’s aptitude to tolerate and remain attentive to the charged dynamics swirling about them while remaining essentially intact---a “wholeness” achieved through a hyper-awareness of what constitutes the core self in relationship to the self’s aptitude for creative manufacturing --the products, affectations, and transformations that allow for adaptive survival and more importantly, unexpected flights of the spirit. For an individual, or a select group, the sum total of these adaptive expressions becomes a language onto itself---an insider argot secreting an inner strength and solidarity that confirms well-being as an achievable aspiration that shores up the individual and safeguards the group. Exuberance, by extension, becomes the best defense. The LGTBQ community, coming under the broad heading of “gay” or “queer”, well exemplifies a group having assembled a richly layered cultural expression---one that often trumpets an exaggerated theatricality of joy and ecstasy to scaffold a sheltering hope against hostile forces. The exhibition “Rapture” stages a full-on display of the avenging transcendence of gaiety as a proven tactic for disarming oppression. The show features the work of seven artists that span two generations and collectively identify as gay, queer and non-binary. Chris Tanner weaponizes triviality and decorative embellishment by deploying non-traditional materials often associated with crafting, such as embroidery, sewing notions, beads, baubles and glittery sequins, to produce intricate sculptural forms that aim to pleasure the eye with an escapist holiday replete with dazzling displays of color, form and texture. Tanner’s installation will focus on his latest driftwood transformations that are fairytale spectacles of bejeweled splendor . Andrew Cornell Robinson, a multimedia artist known to infuse his composite works with design, craft and fine art elements, will display ceramic vessels from his “My Cup Runneth Over” series. Created using traditional raku methods, a firing process initially invented for pottery intended for tea ceremonies (raku translates to “pleasure”), the pieces display dense black surfaces glazed over with shimmering jewel tones further heightened by embellishments of gold, glitter, paint and collaged paper. Peter Hristoff ’s paintings and Sean O’Conner paper constructions similarly blur the line between art and design and mimic patterns one might see in wallpapers, printed fabrics, and quilts. Both employ a collage-inspired technique; for Hristoff , we see all-encompassing, edge-to-edge compositions cast with shadowy silhouettes that activate surface effects and hint at homo-romantic intentions. O’Connor’s naïve cut-outs similarly re-contextualize silhouettes, in this instance borrowing from Grecian urns and classical motifs to arrive at surrealist figure compositions that recall the ephemeral delicacy of Jean Cocteau. Cocteau’s sighing sensual line resurfaces in Harrison Tenzer’s high-chroma graphics that speak in layered hieroglyphs about biomorphic encounters that range from the pornographic to the miraculous. Like Tenser’s drawings, Adrian Milton’s paintings and Wade Schaming’s sculptures, explore the language of abstraction to arrive at a queer aesthetic. Milton, a true child of the sixties, creates psychedelic geometries that recall the glittering flamboyance of his gender-bending drag performances as a Cockette. A magpie, Schaming hordes a wild and colorful assortment of mass- produced detritus and stockpiles it into teetering towers -- a perhaps too obvious symbol of fickle male desire and the paradox of the queer gaze which conflates prey and predator. For further information kindly contact info@nyartistsequity.org

Cultural and Material Adoption and Adaptation, Tin Glazes from East to West and back again.

A few years ago, I found myself on a very long flight from Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates returning home from a project. Tired of reading I put on my headphones and proceeded to watch Mad Men. In the scene pictured I noticed the ceramic coffee cups. Having been trained as a potter from an early age, and familiar with that type of ware, I was reminded of the first time I became curious about ceramics, and design, and how these seemingly common objects connect us to a larger world, and to human history. As a boy, I would sit with my family at the kitchen table and reach out to take a sip from a brightly colored ceramic cup that I’d drank from countless times. The bottom was an earthy red/brown and the body, the surface was glazed white and decorated in yellows, ocher and a floral pattern. There was an outline scratching through the white ground to reveal the clay body below. I found myself fascinated by this seemingly banal “every day” object that I’d never given much thought to before. Turning over the cup, I discovered it had been made in Trenton, NJ. A place not too far from where I grew up; a town whose slogan had been “Trenton Makes and the World Takes.”

Stangl famous for a type of Faience dinnerware, was America's first open stock solid-color dinnerware manufacturer. Stangl went so far as to Patent their “invention”, in spite of it being based on a tin glaze method that according to scholars like Alan Caiger-Smith, is based on innovations by 9th century Persian potters who added tin oxide to their glazes to opacify them and then paint over-glaze decorations with cobalt, iron, and copper. For over one thousand years, this technique influenced ceramic glaze methods and styles in maiolica, faience and delftware from the Islamic world and Europe across the Atlantic to the Americas.

According to the late potter and scholar Alan Caiger-Smtih, “Traditions are like rivers. The main river can be mapped and measured. Tributaries feed it… it widens and is merged with the sea. Its source is often unknown. Has the idea of a beginning any meaning except as a theoretical point on a map? So it is with the tradition of tin-glaze ware: the main tradition is clear, but the beginnings are lost to history.

Cobalt on a tin glazed bowl, Iran/IraqCobalt on a tin glazed bowl, Iran/Iraq

The earliest archeological examples can be traced back to the middle east, Mesopotamia, about the ninth century. Tin glaze potteries are thought to have existed at or near Bagdad and on the eastern bank of the Nile River south of modern Cairo, etc., but who can say there were not many others, perhaps more will be uncovered over time. That said, from the sixth century through to today we can trace a fascinating migration and evolution of ceramic techniques across the globe from China, India, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe and the Americas.

Tin glazed bowl with cobalt and copper over glaze decorationTin glazed bowl with cobalt and copper over glaze decoration

As we trace this history we might ask some questions such as:

• How do materials, motifs, and ideas travel across the globe?

• What happens when they arrive at a destination?

• How does art from one culture change or inspire the art of another?

• By considering some of these questions, we can explore the kinds of art that may be made when cultures meet.

My Cup Runneth Over 8
Plate, GermanTin glazed ceramic with cobalt over glaze decoration
Apocathary Jar, ItalianTin glazed jar
Basin, MexicanTin glazed ceramic basin
Plate, FrenchTin glazed plate with cobalt over glaze decoration
Portrait Plate, ItalianTin glazed majolica plate
Large Presentation Plate, SpanishTin and lustre glazed ceramic
Platter, EnglishTin glazed ceramic

Class: Reimagining Tableware as a Sculptural Landscape


Reimagining Tableware as a Sculptural Landscape

Changing attitudes and emerging social behaviors in food preparation and the social and cultural rituals of eating have lead to changes in the way tableware is made and used. In this short course we will explore historical and contemporary forms of table ware design. Through lectures, class discussion, research and making through drawing, modeling and prototyping in clay we will consider new categories of tableware and new roles for familiar as well as sculptural pieces. If you’re wondering what are the most appropriate forms and designs to use in your work, you’ll gain a better understanding of what’s current and gain an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities makers confront in their creative practice.

Tuesdays July 07 through August 25, 2020. 11:00 AM-1:00 PM EST
Level:  Intermediate / Advanced
Space is limited

Register online at Greenwich House Pottery

In this workshop I will focus on paper templates, slab, coil, and pinched forms used to make everything from plates and bowls to mugs and handles. We will discuss shapes as well as approaches to design, ranging from the practical and ergonomic to the poetic, and playful. 

For this workshop, you will need a computer with Zoom. Students are welcome to act upon the project prompts and try the techniques with me as we progress from week to week. I have found its best to use the class time on zoom to sit back and take notes. The sessions will be recorded and sent to students for future reference. I’m excited to invite you into my studio to share craft strategies and answer questions about the process of making. I will send an email with a Zoom link with details to registered students before the Tuesday workshops. 

This series of workshops requires a few tools. This list of suggested tools is not required for the workshop but may help when you try it on your own. 

  • Clay
  • Banding wheel
  • Scoring tool (a fork will do) 
  • Sharp knife 
  • Metal or rubber rib 
  • Small container for water 
  • Paintbrush 
  • Rolling Pin 
  • A bat or board 
  • Paper for templates (Tarpaper also known as “roofing felt” can be found at any hardware home center. Typical grades are 15 lb. and 30 lb. weight, which indicates the thickness. I like to use the sturdier 30 lb. grade for making templates for large forms.)
  • Utility Knife and/or Scissors
  • Cutting Surface (you can use a board or a self-healing cutting matt) 
  • Pencils 
  • Tape 
  • Sketchbook