Phew! I just got done with my intense 1-month residency at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Claire and I are taking a few days of much needed R&R on the beach. The paparazzi have been stalking us, so I thought I'd scoop them with this photo of our most ambitious project to date.
Aloha from Hawaii! I'm in Honolulu for four weeks as a part of the University of Hawaii's East-West ceramics cultural exchange. How did I get invited to a prestigious residency like this? I like to think it's affirmative action for ugly Americans. Sorry for the radio silence on Extreme Craft.... I promise I'll have plenty to share when I can be lured away from the studio.
I had to share this, though. File this baby under "can't unsee". Denver artist Landon Meier makes scary realistic masks--think Ron Mueck or Duane Hanson realistic. His adult-sized baby masks will be haunting my nightmare for months. His newest creation is a super limited edition Charlie Sheen mask that will set you back a cool $2500. That's a small price to pay for a piece of hyperrealistic (not to mention winning) art like this. You can find other creepy/amazing masks at Meier's website, Hyperflesh.
I had a great time doing my presentation on the Kinetic Sculpture Race at Maker Faire. I was honored to be in the presence of some legendary racers--Randall Frost, Elliot Naess and Peter Wagner. Peter actually brought his "Bounce for Glory" vehicle into the Center Stage area, where the audiene could get a closer look.
I'm sorry that the above presentation lacks my narration--but there are some priceless photos from Hobart Brown's personal collection in it. If Maker Faire posts the full presentation, I'll be certain to link to it!
Join me in Arcata for the pageantry and brake testing, which starts at 10:00 AM on Saturday. At noon, the whistle will sound and the racers will be off! The racers will descend DEAD MAN'S DROP later on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, you can watch the racers enter the water from Eureka's public marina, or you can hang out along the Eureka waterfront to see the racers pass by. On Monday afternoon, you can visit historic Ferndale to watch the racers gloriously limp across the finish line.
Stay tuned tomorrow for fresh photos of the kinetic vehicles. I'll be posting 'em on Flickr and Extreme Craft.
You can also watch the race LIVE or SEMI-LIVE on the Kinetic Grand Championship website HERE.
I figure that since one of the last things I posted was about hats, that I should probably put this up on Extreme Craft. This is supposedly NOT PHOTOSHOP! Check out the awesome zipper and money chapeau that has been applied to this gentleman's head. The Louis Vuitton hair clipping is pretty amazing by itself. Put the two together, and MAGIC! Here's hoping Phillip Treacey learns a lesson and starts marketing these to the royal family.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I threw a royal wedding party with my wife yesterday. When I was eight years old, I got up in the middle of the night to watch Charles and Diana's wedding. No one else in my family got up to watch it then...I glued my eight-year old eyes to our little black and white portable set. This time, we had the advantage of Tivo and a group of anglophilic friends who brought scones, cucumber sandwiches and a bottle of Pimm's.
The Pimm's cups (and the fact that we had Tivo'ed the thing and could fast forward through most of it) made the thing bearable to watch. The only high point was the time we spent pausing and re-watching the bits of tape with Fergie's daughter Princess Beatrice, and her amazing chapeau...erm, "fascinator".
I'm pretty late to the party in writing about this on Extreme Craft...the hat has its own Facebook page that as of this evening is approaching 100,000 "likes". The hat was created by Phillip Treacey, a London milliner who routinely stretches the boundaries of physics (not to mention taste) with his creations.
Princess Beatrice has a history of flamboyance in the headware department. Here's another beauty:
Let's not forget to pay tribute to Princes Eugenie, Beatrice's sister. She showed up to the wedding in a Vivienne Westwood dress that was accentuated by an electric blue hat that is best described as a "Georgia O'Keefe" shape.
Sigh. Can we get past the nip slips and underwear-less limo entrances in this country and embrace some extreme hats instead. Please?
If all of my digging through ceramics magazines has taught me anything.... it's that they don't make ceramics world fuckery like they used to. Back in the '70s, ceramic artists may have been a bunch of cavemen who tended toward misogyny (and perhaps alcoholism), but they had a sense of humor, dammit! At some point, I'll cover some of Clayton Bailey's wacky performances at clay world events, but I think I might have just discovered my favorite conceptual ceramics piece of all time.
I was totally excited to get an email from Rimas VisGirda, a legendary ceramic artist (who I'm certainly not accusing of being a drunk misogynistic ceramic caveman). He saw one of my previous posts on Ceramics Monthly ads featuring mustachioed gentlemen throwing gigantic pots, and clued me into his "Captain Ceramics" project, which started in 1977.
From what I've been able to glean from Rimas and a brief Ceramics Monthly article, Captain Ceramics was Rimas' alter ego--the helm of a massive '70s ceramic enterprise that set its sights on crushing every other hobby-world ceramics business on the face of the planet. '70s ceramics ads were heavy on pretty ladies and machismo (and for the most part, they still do). The above postcard image shows the patented "Captain Ceramic" splashguard, which was guaranteed to keep dirty ol' clay off one's go-go boots or fishnet stockings.
The piece de resistance was a potter's wheel called the X-1 that was powered by a 300-horsepower V-8 engine from a 1965 Oldsmobile (pictured at the top of this post). The X-1 wasn't their only potter's wheel innovation--they also sold a wheel they claimed was the world's "least powerful". The "Home Hobby Potter's Wheel" was a portable metal plate and spindle that was powered by a pull-string.
Captain Ceramics also carried specialty products like pre-centered balls of clay and pre-thrown cylinders for the lazy (or simply wheel-challenged like me) people. I've started to see some young folks out there who are creating ceramic performance pieces. This is incredibly exciting--but I challenge them to push themselves to ever-crazier feats of ceramic weirdness. They have a long way to go before they can go toe-to-toe with Captain Ceramics.
Stay tuned! I'm hoping I can have some more Captain Ceramics surprises for you in the coming weeks!
I thought you might enjoy this Mayco glaze ad I found in an old Ceramics Monthly. It perfectly mirrors how my clay seems to be in a bad mood some days. Mostly, I'm the crying lady on the right. Brilliant marketing!
This body of work was created during a Summer 2010 residency at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. These porcelain vessels explore traditional Chinese iconography as refracted through a decidedly Western point of view.