Bowie Croisant Ceramic Artist Weblog

January 27, 2011

Berlin! part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 7:21 pm
I will be teaching a workshop this weekend at Red Star Studios.

Saturday will feature demonstration of mold making, slip casting and assembly techniques.

Sunday will be hands on and participants will complete their own crack mold.

For more info, visit Red Star’s Upcoming Workshops


After my time in Denmark at Guldagergaard, I flew down fto berlin for a few days.  Berlin is truly an amazing city!

The Berlin Cathedral looks onto the courtyard where there were lots of Nazi rallies is near the Old Museum, one of the first museums built in Berlin.\

This is a Kathe Kollwitz WW2 monument of a mother holding her dead son.

The panels of this Trabi car are made from some kind of rice compound.  If pigs are allowed access to one of these they will eat the panelling!

This is one of the longest standing sections of the Berlin wall.

The Berlin Institute for Contemporary Art (Kunst Werke) had an incredible exhibition.  This is the first comprehensive solo exhibition of Israeli artist Absalon.    Unfortunately Absalon died in 1993 at the age of 28, but fortunately this impressive work lives on.

Interior space from one of the large structures shown above.

Four floors of exhibition space showed wonderful basic geometric abstractions in various scales.  The shifts in scale experienced provided a very interesting feeling as I physically related to the simplified units that were sometimes small enough to fit many inside a shoe box and other times large enough to walk inside.

This is part of the featured exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin’s major contemporary art museum.  The exhibition, “Soma,” by artist Carsten Holler asks questions such as “How do we achieve enlightenment? What role is science given in our society, and what role myth? Do we need to find alternative categories for experience and alternative approaches to awakening consciousness?” (from HB site)

The enormous installation featured live reindeer, birds and mice.  The animals were separated into two groups along the centrally divided space of the exhibition, creating the sense that an experiment was being taken place.

Coolers of fly agaric mushrooms in various growth states were displayed in coolers as part of the exhibition.  Holler hypothesizes that the fly agaric may be part of the source for the mystical enlightening brew soma.

These giant blocks of animal fat were cast by Joseph Bueys.  Bueys begain using the animal fat for conceptual reasons as well as for it’s material properties.

This is part of an installation from a group show of Fluxus artists.  All very interesting, but I loved the candy coated bomb!

There were some incredible examples of 20th Century work in the permanent collection space of the HB.  This painting and sculpture by Anselm Keifer are enormous!

They had many of the most aesthetically pleasing Robert Rauschenberg ‘s that I have ever seen.

There were also many very impressive examples of Andy Warhol.

Fassbender and Rausch used to be the royal German chocolatier.  Now they work on their own and make incredible treats, and possibly more impressive chocolate sculptures!  I brought several kinds of chocolate and other treats back for Shannon.  Yum!

This piece, from one of the many galleries I visited, made me think about how effective it was at introducing content through simple shapes, color, text, line and photo transfer.

These seemingly digitized landscapes were also on display at the same gallery.  They were actually quite small (around 8 inches wide).  This created an interesting effect by seeing them small and then approaching the image to “zoom in.”

Really cool cardboard device sculpture.

This exhibition really made me think about how routinized most exhibitions are.  Here the artist has placed organ pipes on pads on the floor of the gallery.  The mostly empty gallery creates an immense space.  Perhaps the thing I like the most about this show is how most objects were not lit directly, and some lights (like the one on the wall) are used just to cast light onto the wall.  In this photo, I am standing directly underneath the spot light, it’s light barely makes it to the object on the floor.

What I really began to take away from many of the things I was seeing is that all aspects of our processes and decisions made during those processes should be questioned and challenged.  In this case the lighting of the space was used in a way that truly integrated it into the space, allowing it to really become a concrete part of the exhibition.

At the Caprice Horn gallery there was an amazing solo show by Chul-Hyun Ahn, who uses mirrors and lights to create scenes of infinite space.  This one rested on the floor and really created the feeling of standing next to a bottomless well.

This sculpture is just outside of the Berlinische Galerie.  I went by just to see if I would be able to catch some an exhibition, and there happened to be an event going on.  I missed the lecture (no big deal since it was given in French), but I got some free wine and tasty hors d oeuvres.

Believe it or not, this is a line to rebook flights at Berlin Tegel Airport!  On the first day that my travel was delayed I stood in a line for about 9 hrs.  Absolute insanity.  I did free cab rides from and back to the airport and a few nights in a hotel for my trouble.  The second time my flight was cancelled I simply left the airport and went back to viewing the city!  The third time I didn’t even go to the airport.  While it was a bit stressful almost not making it home for Christmas, I did get about 5 extra days in Berlin!  I will post pics from the rest of my time in Berlin soon!

December 10, 2010

Guldagergaard…part 4 Making Work!

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 11:40 am

I am nearly finished at Guldagergaard.  I will definitely miss this place.  It has been an amazing experience.  Here are some images from Copenhagen day trips and of work that I have been making.

This piece is in the design museum in Copenhagen.  It is built of individually adjustable interlocking surfaces.  These forms dampen sounds and look really cool.

This is a design for a pig farm that recycles the stinky pig air into a greenhouse.  The plants love it and they reduce the emissions from the pigs!

This vessel was just a small part of the Kunstindustrie (Arts and Industry) Museum.  I highly recommend this museum if you are ever in Copenhagen.

Here is a great image taken for the Project Network catalog.  These pieces have been bisque fired and will end up going through a wood/soda firing!

This is my other image for the catalog.  The final presentation of this piece is quite different, and very dynamic.  I am quite excited about it….scroll down to see the finished work!

Soda kiln stacked and ready for action…Go!

Jon splitting wood down to the ideal size to fire with.  We fired mostly with small splits of pine, but also used some long scrap planks of ash.  Firing with these two woods in combination proved to be an effective method.

The kiln is hungry!

Fia getting the job done:  “Work Kelly work!’

We fired the kiln for a full 28 1/2 hours….the kiln was firing quite unevenly, at one point the top was ahead by over 4 cones!  Fortunately I knew what to do.  We stalled the kiln for a while and allowed it to drop around 100 degrees celsius.  Then we stabilized it and started to climb again with the damper adjusted to provide more heat to the bottom of the stack.  Eventually we were able to even the kiln to only one cone difference bottom to top…Perfecto!

Here are the results:

I titled this collection of work “…but what lies between?”  The lengthy and expensive firing was completely worth it.  The pieces are some of the most exciting examples of soda fired work I have ever produced.

And just as exciting is the new display method I developed for my “Untitled Sketch” series.

I am very excited about the potential of this display method.  The glass cube is actually open on the front side, creating a very interesting sense of space.

The view from above the cube forces the viewer to examine the work from a new perspective and also provides a wonderful mirrored surface, effectively doubling the size of the object.  The piece itself is actually three separate interlocking units held together only by gravity.  This may sound crazy but the piece really is quite stable.  Tons of potential here!

Coming soon will be the rest of the Project Network show!  I am so excited to have been able to share this experience with so many amazing artists!

November 24, 2010

Guldagergaard… part 3: Skaelskor, Work!

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 5:29 am

I have been living in Skaelskor for several weeks, working hard and eating lots of fish.

Here are some pics from around Skaelskor and Guldagergaard.

This is the house for the artists in residence during their stay at Guldagergaard!

This is the studio!  Right now only the first floor is actively used, but in the next two years the building will be upgraded, adding additional facilities upstairs, including 3D scanner, CNC Mill and 3D Printer!  I will have to come back!

Shortly after arriving at Guldagergaard the Project Network participants received a lecture and short workshop from UK artsit Paul Scott.  Paul gave us lots of great information and showed some really easy ways to print on ceramic.

I learned a wonderful new technique for making molds quickly and efficiently:  the crack mold!  I can’t wait to teach a mold making/casting class at the new Red Star so I can share what I learned!

My first crack mold was of this found glass object from the local second hand store.  What a great ready-made form!

Here is the prototype for a vessel I have been working with.  The form was inspired by some roof/skyline contours from photographs I took while in Copenhagen.  The forms were then cut using a ban saw and by hand.

I did some sketching using revolutions of the contours to generate vessel forms.  For the piece I moved forward with I used extrusions to create my object.

Here is one of the first castings of my object.  I can’t wait to see them wood/soda fired!  I will also likely fire some with some simple transparent glaze and work on the surface using some of the transfer techniques learned from Paul Scott.

I have been working quite a lot with these pyramid forms.  I was fortunate to find several candle holders just before leaving Copenhagen that were almost identical to a form that I had in mind to work with.  The oppportunity presented itself and viola!

This was an early assemblage of the shapes playing with cutting to various scales.  They have progressed to include turning.  The result is much more dynamic.  After firing I plan to weld together stands for these objects.  This will put them up into space, adding to their sense of movement and creating a solution for my investigation into alternative(non-traditional-pedestal) display methods.

This is a sketch of the original manner in which I had thought to work with these pyramidal forms.  I plan to explore the use of mason stains in my casting body to create a gradation across the transitioning forms.

These next images are of work from Flemming Tvede Hansen, who just completed PhD research on experimental use of digital media in ceramic.

This is a slipcast piece depicting splash patterns created using Real Flow software to simulate waves.

Here is a 3D printed piece (plastic) created from Flemming’s investigation of material driven form giving.  The form was created using a motion sensing remote, combined with a program that creates geometries based on the speed of the movement tracked by the remote.

I will definitely discuss Flemming’s work more in the future.  His work will absolutely be discussed in my upcoming lecture at NCECA:  Digital Design and Ceramic Art.

Sunset at Skaelskor Harbor.  Beautiful.

This time tomorrow I will be cooking a 26lb turkey in a kiln!  More pics very soon!

November 18, 2010

Guldagergaard…Part 2: Copenhagen!

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 11:07 am

At long last here are some Copenhagen pictures!

Christiana is a very interesting country nestled in Copenhagen.  It is a small village that is independent and self governing.  This gator is outside of the elementary school!

Copenhagen is full of great churches!

I don’t remember what this building is…I saw so many, but this one has one of the coolest towers in the city.

This tower is from the Church of Our Savior

This playground was close by to the hostel I stayed in…cool!

The Copenhagen Botanical Gardens are beautiful!

There was a very interesting exhibition of David Lynch’s work on display in Copenhagen at GL Strand Gallery.
This is the library in Helsingor!

This is the library in Copenhagen!  I love the architecture of public buildings here!

Speaking of public architecture, the Copenhagen Opera House is amazing!

The interior of the opera house is equally amazing!

This castle belongs to the king of Denmark.

Kronburg Castle was the setting for Hamlet!

This pic of the sky/roofline has become the source for some of the work I am creating at Guldagergaard.  My next post will show the details!

The main station in Copenhagen is beautiful… stop Skaelskor!

November 13, 2010

Guldagergaard…part 1: New York

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 8:39 am

I have been in Denmark for just over two weeks!  It is an amazing place, and the weather has been unusually sunny!  On my way here I had a flight delay that allowed me to spend a day in New York City.  Here are some pictures from my NY exploration.

Doug and Mike Starn’s Big Bambu on the roof of the Met!  What an amazing construction!

Guggenheim!  I did not have enough time or money to go inside on this trip, but I made sure to check out the amazing building….next time!

This is part of a very interesting installation by Katrin Sigurdardottir.

A piece by Jo Kamm on display at the Gallery at Park Avenue Synagogue.

Really cool kid park near the Met!

Looking into Zaha Hadid’s faceted reflecting object!  I wish I had spent more time with this piece.  It is very cool.  Again, I can’t wait to go back!

More to come post-haste!

October 27, 2010

On My Way

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 1:48 pm

I am headed to Denmark at the moment.  I will be posting new pics and thoughts at least once a week during my trip!

To whet your appetite, here is some of my recent work from Red Star!


Yes, all three of these images are of the same piece.  This is a new focus in my work.

Viewers are encouraged to engage the work through its dynamic display by participation in the act of composing.  This allows decisions made by the viewer to establish the objects orientation.  This choice affects the organization and interplay of ground, space, light and shadow; thereby directly determining the overall composition.  This concrete involvement enhances the aesthetic experience and allows the work to be seen from the artists’ perspective.

More to come soon!

August 29, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 12:54 am

I was selected to be a participant in Project Network.  Network is a 6 week symposium for ceramists that have recently finished an academic program.  I will be headed to Guldagergaard, the International Ceramics Research Center in late October.

I received an Inspiration Grant from the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City in support of this project.  I am currently raising funds to help pay for the return shipping of my work and moulds that will be made during the residency.  I am offering rewards in exchange for sponsorship, including pieces that will be made during the residency.  Please visit my kickstarter site for an in depth description and to see how you can help:

During the residency I plan to challenge myself by creating work that will be displayed on the wall incorporating direct lighting to cast shadows around the work.

August 12, 2010

(de)construction series

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 10:00 pm

I recently began a new series of work.  Here are some of the best so far!




July 13, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 2:14 pm

Shannon and I just added to our family yesterday.  Our second daughter, Emmeline Indigo Croisant was born at 8:30 pm.  She weighed 9 lbs!

I will post some pics very soon!

June 2, 2010

New images, soon to be printed!

Filed under: Uncategorized — bowie croisant @ 2:47 pm

I am working on some new images similar to this one.  I will have several of these printed in large format and ready to go for the 2010 Kansas City Flatfile Invitational!

2010 Kansas City Flatfile Opening Reception

Friday, June 18, 2010
6:00pm – 8:00pm
16 E. 43rd St Kansas City, MO
The “2010 Kansas City Flatfile,” featuring two-dimensional artwork by Kansas City-based artists in media including drawing, photography, prints and mixed-media works on paper as well as time-based artwork in the “Videofile,” will be on view from June 19 to Sept. 25 at the H&R Block Artspace. The exhibition opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, June 18.
I hope to see you there!
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