Sunday, January 20, 2008

Martina Round Three


So here is what little I’ve been up to. The mugs are tests of decoration ideas. The batter bowl was the first attempt to move the decoration inside and out with the same freedom of some of the mugs and large test tiles (no photos). The gravy boat was a bit of fun I hope to revisit and the platters are what I’m up to now. They’re quite large – 21” long. The surfaces since these have become more unified. The rough piped edge on the one I want to play with more. I’m making some new molds in varying sizes. I toyed with majolica a little last term, but I missed the depth of the slipped surface under the colored glazes.
The artist statement is just a little revamped. I look forward to comments and see most of you soon.

hard to tell, but piped edge

only an exercise - made in one sitting handle and all
small bowl, thrown foot

white slip, coloured glazes and photocopy transfer
coloured slips and glazes
coloured slips, glazes and glaze pencil

I aim to contain in my pots the softness and subtle irregularity that serve to emphasize the handmade object in today’s machine made world.
I’m searching for forms, decoration and glazes that maintain some of the dynamic crispness that I love while instilling the vitality of the touch of the maker.

In this spirit, I have begun to explore looser thrown and handbuilt forms, less defined decoration and satin glazes to invite the touch. I am learning it is contrary to my nature to allow glazes to run, lines to blur and edges to wobble. It takes me greater concentration to bring an irregular pot into being than a tight one.

As I delve deeper into the overlapping of slip and glaze decoration in various colors and surfaces, my ideas continue to evolve. The brightness of opaque green against the shimmer of transparent amber and what they both do differently over a colored slip allows the mind to wander. They evoke the boundary between a field and the path, or the sky and the skyline. Inspiration for decoration is drawn from my new surroundings in Halifax Nova Scotia. New forms and an expanding palette are influenced by the geometry of the dockyard and the colors of containers on ships going by.

Function beyond utility remains central to my work. By creating a piece that is both unique and useful, I hope to remind people of the value and inherent qualities of human touch.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kristin Pavelka's work

Cups and Saucers--The foot was added and thrown at leatherhard stage. There's a small impression on top of the saucer for the cup to sit. Underside of saucer is trimmed with a small footring and left unglazed so it's the same color as the bottom of the foot...the beautiful brick red.

Teapot--this pot showcases and idea that I'm most excited about...breaking up the space to allow other imagery or memories to surface. In this case, the handle and the upper part of the teapot come together to form a chopper-type form. I also enjoy the idea of layering plain and patterned areas. I have taken this idea little further, although not shown, with a cup in which the line dividing the pattern from plain has been carved a bit to create more dimension for the plain. This handle is hollow.

Quonset Butter Dish-- For a while I would decorate the inside of this dish with matching patterns from the outside, but it was becoming too labor intensive. Now both top and bottom are lined with yellow. Terra sigillata on the roof and base of the dish.

Santoku Spreaders--I've been having fun with utensils...spoons, cake trowels and these. Realistically they probably wouldn't be usable unless they were spreading something really soft such as jam or dips, but as an object, they fascinate me. The handles are hollow, red terra sigillata is on the top part of the handle.

Tidbit Plates--I think of these as "swatches" of pattern. The backside has a small trimmed foot and is unglazed. Around the back rim a little white slip is exposed from underneath the glaze on most.

All work is earthenware, slipped, sgraffito, and layers of different colored glaze. Fired to cone 04.
Hello and thanks for taking a little time to view and comment on my work. This work is fairly current, and because I am at a crossroad with this line, it will be a great time to get some feedback. Below is my most recently written artist statement, but I wouldn't say it's completely true to what I've most recently been thinking about, including some of the work that is posted, but it will give you a bit of background. So this doesn't become a point on which everyone comments, it's not so important for the pots to reference body, as stated in the statement. Rather the body was a jumping off point for the beginnings of this work and has since strayed. Yeah, the statement needs major updating.


I make functional candy-like glazed earthenware pottery. For me, the making of a pot becomes a celebration of it as an object, as it transcends beyond the everyday kitchen dish and becomes something with more meaning and warmth.

Recently I was diagnosed with a condition that is a precursor for diabetes and was instructed to watch my intake of foods rich in fat and sugar. Since then, many of my pots reference sweets and fatty food through function, form, or surface. They also reference the body. A swelling belly of a pot becomes a full gut, a fat rim being pinched is a lovehandle. I touch the clay in a similar way to how I treat my own body: pinching, pulling, and poking. The evidence of the hand is vital and is seen in aspects of the forming of the pot as well as in the glazing. By confronting these unhealthy foods via art making, my cravings are somewhat satisfied.

Although issues about my health are at the core of the meaning behind my work, I was born a collector and have various interests in objects from primitive wooden tools of the early 20th century to Scandinavian design and kitsch objects of the mid-20th century. I have developed a love for historical ceramics, responding to the fresh handling of the clay in wares from Medieval England and the depth and richness of the surface of the sgraffito wares of 13th century Iran and Iraq. Architecture has been a big influence on my work through both form and details, and my color palette borrows from food and decorative style of Martha Stewart.

Pattern has come to be an important part of my work. I develop my patterns in an orderly manner by use of a grid system, doodling simple shapes that I encounter in everyday life such as those found within a concrete block wall or bird footprints in the snow. By drawing and exaggerating these shapes in different orientations within the grid I am able to come up with endless possibilities for pattern, often starting to refer to something other than the original inspiration.

A balance exists between the rough clay surface and the shiny, colorful glazes, as well as pattern and open space. I want them to look full both with and without food.