Friday, July 6, 2007


critial ceramics said...

Hi Monica --
Megan here.
It's nice to see your work after so long.
My first thoughts: The baskets, though very different from the work you were making when I was in Whitefish, seem to have quite a 'monica' element to them -- by that, I mean that they are fluid, expressive and playful. The teapots are not successful in the same way to me. I like the gooey blue glaze quite a lot, especially when you can also see a lot of the earthenware next to it (like on the bottom basket).

I like all of the basket shapes, for various reasons: they manage to seem straightforward and almost clean while also looking very loose and free. Not fussed over. There are some careful details on them, like the band that is two thirds of the way up on the top one -- detailed without being too controlled.

I'm not as excited about the teapots. They are round in a way that seems rather plump and static. The earthenware teapot with black decorations is interesting but a little chaotic. Overall, I'd be interested to see some teapots (or other forms) that incorporate some of the ideas of the baskets.

As far as the artist statement --
The section about leaving things on doorsteps makes me laugh. It also makes me want more detail, examples etc. I have found it helpful to write too much, and then try to pare it down from there. You might find it useful to do a stream of consciousness, write everything that comes to mind type of statement, and then reduce it. I think that more specifics are good -- of what interests you or appeals to you about designs, what type of encounter leads you to create a piece etc. More insight into the mind of Monica please. :)

Hope you're doing well.

mel said...

hey monica,

i hope you're going to nceca so i can meet you!!! i like your work a lot.

one problem... i can't find the artist statement, and believe that you posted one. do you think its in the archive? the internet is slow for me right now and it doesn't seem to want to go there, so maybe i just need to try again later.

i really like the baskets, particularly the last one. just having the glaze on the inside is good, and of course practical, but somehow too predictable sometimes for me. that's why i like it popping out on the last one. i'm assuming that's for flowers? also, i wonder what would happen if you were to apply some glaze to the outside of the baskets, and then wipe it away. you'd never get it all off, and maybe, if done right, it could give the bare clay a more interesting surface. it would get all caught in the cracks and stuff. just an idea.

the teapots... less exciting to me. i feel like there is not a lot of variation going on in them. round is round, the handles are all one thickness. after seeing those baskets, i know there could be more innovation and playfulness in the teapots. i do really like the feeling of the black and red one, but it still isn't at peace with itself. can you develop that theme further? or maybe take just a little away?

i will look for the artist statement again because i would love to see what's behind this work! :)


mel said...

wait! i found it! the artist statement, i mean.

so i got this book recently called... writing the artist statement. exciting, i know. but there are some great exercises in there that are helping me to formulate my thoughts.

for example,
if one of the pots in your studio were to come alive, what would it say to you?

also, it has encouraged me to keep a notebook with me and write down anything and everything whenever i catch myself thinking about my work. it often happens on runs for me, so i'm even taking it with me then these days. in all these exercises, she talks about writing without editing and not worrying about sentence structure or anything. just writing. its helped me so far, anyway.

when you leave those pots on the doorsteps without a note, what would they say to the person as soon as they opened the door?

Kip said...

Hey Monica --
I think this may be the first time I've seen slides of your work -- they look fantastic! I was most definitely struck by the baskets, such an amazing confidence exudes fom them. I think the handled ones feel the most successful, I am completely drawn into all the the little detalis. They look like they just grew naturally out of the clay.

I am very intrigued by the handle on that last basket -- I'd be interested to see a handle like that on your top piece. And I must say, I am dying to see the last one filled with flowers, maybe something yellow to compliment that lovely blue glaze??

I also enjoy the contrast of the glazed areas with the raw clay. It pops all the wonderful line quality to the forefront, which I so often feel is lost under glaze... I do wonder though what it would add (or subtract) to add some glaze to the outside of these baskets, too? Perhaps some areas highlighted even with some terra sig or slips?

I think what these imagest leave most curious about are two things: first would be a teapot in the style of your baskets, and second is a basket with decoration like your black slipped teapot. I think incorporating some of the playful gesture of your baskets into your teapots could be very interesting (and some of that teapot slipwork to your baskets...).

I think your artist statement is definitely off to a good start (I got to see some other tidbits too, for the show proposal...). What I would probably do is combine the two and then flesh them out a bit. I think specific examples are always good, so we can really draw up an image. Maybe more about what animals and people inspire you, or why you're using the forms you use. But, I always feel like it's hard to give good writing advice, I was no english major.

It has been great to look at your work again, Monica -- let's hope that we get to see it in person for NCECA!!


Kip said...

Oooh, that book sounds great, Mel. I occasionally write in my sketchbook, seems like it could help to make it a more regular thing...

critial ceramics said...

Martina here, once again last, sorry folks.

let's start with the statement:
i like what it is starting to say. i'm curious to hear a little more about how the design elements, shape and colors correspond directly to the people or events that influenced the pots. also more about what it is in making the baskets and teapots that you enjoy so much.

knowing your work for a while what has always struck and inspired me is how confidently you manipulate and i wonder if that manipulation isn't what draws you to more complex forms.

it definately seems like you hit your stride on the baskets with all the surface work and handles. i agree that some more color on the outside could be nice. think woody hughes.

I think the teapot handles in their round-ness correspond better to the shape and the bulbous bases of the spouts than your previous strap handles. the attachment on the spout side is a little close for comfort; obliterating the nice shape of spout and putting the weight of all that handle on them. the wood-fired teapot is lovely in it's quiet way; not nearly as striking as the colored ones or the black and terra cotta one (which is my fave).

In thinking about your work, i feel your focus on particular pieces/shapes appropriate. i don't see you as a functional potter needing to formulate a complete set based on an idea or design element. this gives you the freedom to focus in on one object, be it basket or teapot and work out your ideas from there. this being said, i'm less concerned to see these elements translatated into mugs or bowls. more important is how to translate some of the looseness of the baskets into teapots.

i'm so glad you are on this critique adventure with us. see you soon, martina