Monday, February 25, 2013

Alabama Clay Conference

This past weekend was the Alabama Clay Conference. If you've never been and are into clay, I highly recommend going. I have seen some superstars of ceramics at these over the past 10 years.

I went with a friend who is a retired high school teacher. She now has a ceramics studio downtown here in Decatur. We started the trip with a trip to the Birmingham Museum of Art. A piece by Maria Martinez:

Our Presenters were Gerit Grimm, Kurt Weiner, and Dirk Staschke. Here is one of Dirk's pieces from the BMA:

Thursday night was the Clay Market where artists sell their work. I have been eyeing the work of Larry Allen for a few years now, and I finally bought a piece. It is small, but I love it.

Right before we left, I realized that our school kiln wasn't firing correctly. The kiln-sitter was so far out of whack it would shut off the kiln without the cone even bending. Luckily, the nice guy at the Skutt booth gave me a gauge to calibrate the kiln sitter:

After walking through the vendors, it was time to watch the presenters. Here, Dick Staschke demonstrates how he uses a routed board and a custom-cut rib to make a fancy base for one of his pieces:

Gerit (pronounced "Garrett;" she's German but lives in the US) makes small to life-sized figurative sculpture and she throws all of the pieces. At least, she threw all for the demonstration except for the hands and feet. The heads are made of a couple of egg shapes put together. She does the torso the same way. She likes to keep the throwing lines visible. You can see them in the figures' legs:

I bought a trial kit of Artistic Line Resist with classroom money. I can't wait to show it to my students. You can draw, brush, trail, or screenprint with it and it acts as a glaze resist. You can kind of see from their sample board:

Dirk Staschke's finished sample piece:

Kurt Weiner's sample piece. This is China painting like no little old lady has ever done. One side:

Here is the other side:

Gerit Grimm's piece:

After the conference, we had a teacher workshop using clay and underglazes. I think this is the third year for this. Larry Percy at Troy State started the tradition the year Lana Wilson was one of the presenters.

All in all, I had a great time and it has recharged my batteries enough that I have come home and started cleaning and rearranging / organizing my ceramic studio.

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