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.


critial ceramics said...

hoy, hoy, i have to be honest here, and i am not sure if it is the warmth/bright colors of kristin's pots but your pots feel very gloomy to me, a vast change from the last post, although you have gone through huge changes as well. they have a suzanne stephson feel in the glaze and glaze techn. for me. i will post more later but had to relay my initial gut response. i feel as if they have real emotion in them. (hope all is well) MONICa

critial ceramics said...

hi martina -

i like the experimentation that you are doing with forms and decoration. working more loosely is difficult to do unconsciously!

with regards to your platters, i am seeing a playful, direct approach to your mark making. i wondered how this mark making would be received on a tighter form (increasing the tension between the form and the decoration)? then i read your statement, and it seems you are moving to a looser approach overall, but i thought i'd share my initial thought. the first piped edge platter rim competes for attention, distracting from the nuances of the interior.

on the teapot, i honed into the knob. that red brushstroke of glaze on the top really shines. it is so simple, but really grabbed me in its unassuming gracefulness and ease. it also seemed like a more generous application of glaze (from the drip forming) than on some of your other pots.

i like the altering you did with the gravy boat. this pot seems to have a more united feel with regards to the form and the slip/glaze application. both are loose and easy. do you like how josh deweese uses slip on his work?

i also see that you are investigating combinations of matte and glossy. i feel that there is a lot of potential here! are you interested in even runnier glazes? perhaps you are using some already, it is just hard for me to discern that from the images. wondering if you like how john glick glazes his work? while you are more geometric in your approach, there are some nice layering starting to happen in that photocopy transfer.

from reading your artist statement, it seems that you are veering away from a crispness in your forms and decoration and are freeing up from working tightly. i also sense these pots as rather dark in color. have you considered trying out a lowfire white claybody with the same glazes? do you like to throw with soft clay? that could also affect the overall feel of the pot.

it should be exciting to see how your pots evolve while you are in nova scotia! best to you,

critial ceramics said...

Hi Martina,
Glad you were able to get some work up. I've been curious to see it...

My initial reaction is that these pieces to me some to come out of a different era. I think a lot of it is the color choices - it brings to mind the 70's, wood paneling and weird carpets. All in all, I come away with the feeing of smoky coffee shops on a rainy day. Very Portland OR. As your artist statement indicates, they dofeel more industrial -- the imagery and color is coming from a gritty source rather than natural. The platters and the mug with the photo copy transfer especially contribute to that.

I've been enlarging your pieces to look at them in more detail and I enjoy them more up close than I do at a distance. The surfaces are varied, complex and intriquing.

As is normal for me, I am more drawn to the mugs than I am to the bowls - they feel more comfortable. However these mugs do seem a bit weightier than some of your previous mugs, and more static.
It makes me worry a little that you are not taking pleasure in making them. I do really enjoy the photocopy transfer mug and would be interested to see more in that vein.

I agree with Juliane that the looseness of the form and the decoration is in a bit of competition. You're on the verge of messy -- which really is quite an accomplishment for Martina Lantin! However I think it would be good to really think about how your imagery is relating to your forms.

I am curious to know what you like the most about the new work you are making -- because there really is quite a variety -- and why. The industrialness of it for me brings me away from "the value and inherent qualities of human touch." For me the human touch is something that brings comfort -- and this body of work is not particularly comfortable to me. While the looseness of your approach does reference the human touch -- I don't know, it's somewhat cold.

I think I need to think on all this for a while and write more later. Can't wait to see you,

critial ceramics said...

martina here,

WOW, my photos must be bad! the colors aren't so gloomy i think, in fact, many of the glazes, such as the amber on the platters are the same as clayworks, but it is a different body. i am enjoying the comments, it's given me lots to think about. The industrial comment in the statement was a more recent development than some of these pots, so interesting if you're already seeing it.
juliane, i'll have to investigate glaick more. Josh deweese's recent work i have to say i haven't enjoyed.


mel said...

so i have to say that the piece i respond to most readily is the teapot. i wonder if it is the spontaneity of making it all in one sitting that makes the looseness work for me. i also think, though, that the decoration is complementing the form in a way that it is not doing in the others. the sketchy black lines around the flowers make the drawings feel fast and flowing, and the flowers themselves are not as static as, say, the circles on the bowls. the red on the knob is indeed a great touch. it is glistening and inviting. i'm not as into the foot, though, as its size brings weight to the bottom of the form. could be the image, though. but if the bottom of the pot was also white, that might change it a lot.
for me, the platters are the least successful (as whole pots). when i look up close i can see that the surface is rich and interesting, but the edges aren't working for me. the first one is more interesting, though, as the marks are more ambiguous and i'm less sure how you made all of them. they have a more sharp feeling while many of your other forms feel more round and comfortable.
i agree with megan about the mugs. they feel more sad than past mugs. who knows, maybe its just a fluke. however, i do like the possibility i see coming out of the photocopy transfer. it definitely feels like those marks are on top of the rest of the surface, adding depth. in general, i really like the glaze pencil. it makes some of the marks seem more direct and adds variation.
i make very loose work, and cannot imagine trying to make things tightly. it would be extremely difficult and feel almost like i was lying. so i applaud your efforts to loosen up, as well as your perserverance in this regard.

Kip said...

Hey Martina – Thanks for sharing some of your latest work, I know that there is not a lot of time with all of the demands of grad school!

This work feels very different to me than any of your past work. I can see a connection, but the overall tone of the work has changed – a little less whimsical perhaps? I like what is starting to develop in the platters. I wish I could see them in person, I think it is hard to appreciate their size and surface in these images. I am especially drawn to the bold lines of the second platter. It would make a great table centerpiece or I could see it mounted as a wall piece. This seems like a direction with a lot of potential for playing with decoration and glazing. How are you treating the backsides of these pieces? Are they slipped and glazed like the front? Are you piping the feet?

And, as always, I love the Martina mugs. The one with the decal transfer is my favorite. It feels loose and yet confident and content. I think what I like most about that one is the way all of your edges blur and feather. You really captured the looseness you talk about in your artist statement.

So, I’ve been having this loose/tight debate with myself and I have finally given up on the loose. I love loose pots and the ease with which they seem to flow organically from the clay, but they are simply not me. Knowing the Martina I know, I do wonder why you feel such a need to avoid this aspect of your nature. It does seem like a great exercise in pushing your boundaries, but what about picking some areas to allow yourself that tightness? Like being tight in your throwing and then loose in your decoration (or vice-versa). Or, you could try tight and controlled in the rims and feet of your pots, and loose in the bodies. I think you shouldn’t lose all of that dynamic crispness you talk about, it’s part of who you are!

Thanks for posting, I’m interested to see where this work ends up!

critial ceramics said...

Martina -

John Glick's plates were mostly what I was referring to. This particular link on his website is probably the most relevant:

His style may be too flowery for you, but the blurred edges of his glaze decoration can be really nice...

critial ceramics said...

oops - website got cut off: