Bowie Croisant Ceramic Artist Weblog

December 5, 2009

Thanksgiving Reduction Fire – New Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 12:12 pm

Just prior to Thanksgiving I fired a large load of work in Red Star’s soda kiln.

I reduced the kiln heavily during the soda application and for an additional hour more after reaching cone 9 1/2 with the damper fully shut.

The flashing slips I have been using responded wonderfully.

They were applied to more than 10 teapot sculptures, 7 wonderful geometric globe bowls and 3 large vases.

This piece was finished by adding some an extra-white porcelain clay body(cone 6 Laguna frost) and an intense blue mason stain to a flashing slip that I commonly use.  I was quite pleased with the results and plan to to some testing very soon to dial in some other colors and tones.

Here is a  rare teapot that actually has glaze rather than flashing slip.  It is a modified version of Sam Chung’s Satin Mint.  The copper was removed and small amounts of titanium and tin were added.

I submitted these three images, and one to be shown soon, in support of my application to Artist, Inc a fantastic business course I hope to participate in this spring.

Here is an essay I wrote for the application to describe my work, my primary motivation and my passion for my medium.

My cast and assembled geometric teapot sculptures reference my initial attraction to the medium of clay, function.  Teapots are representative of the pinnacle of functional ceramic design.  My teapots are fully capable of dispensing tea; however my focus is a sculptural exploration of varied configurations of the components of the pot that are necessary for the delivery of tea.

Inspirations for my designs come from a love of geometry, modern architecture and farm machinery commonly seen while growing up in rural southeast Kansas.  I employ 3D-CAD software to accurately visualize objects prior to their construction.  I devote a significant amount of time to this design phase in order to insure versatility before the creation of a prototype.  Repeated production and reconfiguration of modular elements allows me to create and continually refine similar yet unique objects.  I construct my sculptures intuitively while adopting a meditative problem solving approach to the contemporary reinvention a historical form.

My vessels are soda fired, emphasizing their edges, planes and corners. The variability of this firing process enables me to maintain an element of risk and excitement in my practice.  This is due to my use of highly variable slips that depend on their placement, kiln atmosphere, and the application of soda during the firing to develop their surface finish.  My ability to manipulate these variables adds to the uniqueness of each individual work.

The challenges of becoming a successful artist, continual reinvention and betterment of my work, artistic expression and exploration of new ideas motivate me to be in the studio day after day.  I possess a strong work ethic and enjoy the challenges that face emerging artists.  I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to develop a career doing something that I love.  Through a personal blend of technology and art I feel I am making a significant contribution to contemporary society.

Since my first experience with clay four years ago I have been captivated by its physical directness and potential to change.  Opening a kiln is always exciting, as chances of unexpected and pleasing results can be farmed through taking calculated risks.  Clay must be handled carefully and intimately to avoid deformation and unwanted marks, yet it can also take on characteristics of metal as it can be constructed, welded and finally end up surprisingly strong and durable.

This is the last of the four images I included in my application for Artist, Inc.  It features a titanium yellow flashing slip that produces wonderful color variations.

Here is the second of the three essays that I wrote for the application, this one responding to:

What do you want your artistic career to look like five years from now?

Five years from now I want to have established an extensive support network for all aspects of my career.  I plan to accomplish this through building on several specific areas such as financial stability, critical networking and access to technology and resources.

I envision having a steady income through solid relationships with several galleries and museums.  I see these relationships enabling me to effectively manage production in my studio so that I am creating work for specific shows rather than spending additional time finding homes for work as it accumulates in the studio.  This kind of efficiency in the studio will allow me to budget effectively.  To compensate for production costs I foresee successful grant-writing as a regular activity, additionally allowing me access to technology and resources that may otherwise be unaffordable.  Rapid Prototyping is one such resource which I will access via outside assistance.  Incorporating this cutting edge technology into my process will allow me to bring forms into reality precisely as they have been designed and in the most effective way possible.

Maintaining and strengthening relationships with colleagues and collectors will ensure that I have continued access to honest and respected criticism.  I will also maintain close relationships with the institutions where I have studied and worked in the past.  This will allow me to stay in the loop, constantly able to view new ideas and approaches.  Relationships with these institutions will provide me with valuable opportunities to give presentations on my work, as well as supplying access to interns to aid in my studio work.

These goals will be achieved through my conviction in a consistent vision and the continued development of a convincing body of work.  This and a honed ability to articulate meaning and significance in my work will enable me to expand my audience though nationally viewed publications and personal promotion.  Establishing these support networks over the next five years will undoubtedly provide stability for the rest of my career.

This piece was purchased today, Hurray!  If you would like to purchase any of the work you see on this site, or would like to see more images of work I have available, please feel free to contact me through a comment!

Here is the third essay I wrote for the Artist, Inc. application, identifying key challenges and opportunities related to my career and how I think participation in the seminar would help me advance professionally.

I believe at this time in my career the most important challenge I am facing is establishing lasting financial stability from my art making practice.  This is a multi-faceted puzzle which I feel my undergraduate education failed to address.  I have found this to be a common theme for many other young artists.

The most obvious side of this puzzle is sales.  How and where to sell your work is not something often discussed with BFA candidates.  This is most likely due to the propensity for young artists work to change and the necessity of an appropriate match between an individual’s artwork and sales venue.  I am fortunate to have found one such match and the opportunity to maintain the relationship while I build new ones.

Learning to manage and balance my studio practice with writing, promotion and business practices is an area I know I need help with.  Participation in the Artist, Inc. seminar will unquestionably encourage me to think in depth about these problems.  Establishing a supportive local network of cross-disciplinary colleagues would be an enormous resource.  Developing strategies to manage and balance my artistic   career and life is essential.  I feel that the entire program would be invaluable, but I may gain the most from learning effective goal setting, budgeting and grant/fellowship hunting strategies.  Without learning many of the skills presented in this course, successful careers in art may happen only through luck or tremendous artistic ability.

Active participation in the growing Kansas City art scene is a huge opportunity.  I believe this is a wonderful place to develop as an artist.  I plan refine my work and relationships here and to expand my audience to a national level, assisting in the rise of Kansas City as a nationally renowned art hub.

More images to come very soon!

1 Comment »

  1. Am enjoying your blog! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Comment by kim — December 7, 2009 @ 9:52 am

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