Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Artist Statement, Linda Starr

Hi, I'm Linda Starr, and I'm addicted to clay, therefore I have a very long list of things on my to do list. My long list has been making me crazy lately so I am trying to whittle it down little by little, so I can breath a little. If you've been on my blog, Blue Starr Gallery, recently you will see another item on my list is almost ready to be crossed off. This weekend I'll have my first Open Studio, and I've been sprucing up and painting lots of signs in preparation.

Sometimes I feel like I live in a vacuum since I am so isolated in the country and my only nearby resource (clay) is a tiny community college which is way too laid back about ceramics for me. I am grateful to all of you bloggers and ceramic artist's out there. You are all an inspiration and a great help to me. In that vein I have been working on an artist statement and below is my rough draft for your perusal, critique, advice or what have you.

Ceramics is at once my refuge, my solace, my voice, and my offering to the world. Several years ago a desire to make a few vases for flowers, led me to clay and I am, and will always be, eternally grateful. From the beginning I was delighted as I manipulated the clay into something other than a lump of wet soil.

I find the natural properties of clay guide me in the direction I take in creating my ceramic pieces. Nature is a heavy influence in my work, but in contrast shape, form, and texture play heavily as well. While this may seem a contradiction in artistic styles, both directions are a reflection of how I view and echo the world which surrounds me, one a view of its natural state and the other a view of the human manipulations in the world.

My curiosity and deep affinity to nature and the earth never wavers and I constantly marvel at the beauty which surrounds me, the minute detail in the texture of a leaf, the shape of a city skyline, the twist of wire in a fence. My previous career as a landscape contractor prepared me for and led me to my current artistic passion in clay. I designed landscapes around the natural flow of the terrain and yet chose plants with the thought to contrast a large leaf to a small one, and to draw the visitor in to discover hidden places along the way. I use this same techniques in my ceramic work gently forming the clay where it is willingly to go, sometimes coaxing the clay, sometimes the clay prodding me into forming the piece at hand. I utilize both natural and man made textures to emphasize a form or to encourage a closer look.

My current work is a two-fold approach. One approach is of exploration and experimentation into the properties of clay and glazes. The other approach is as if I am afloat in an ocean, left to ebb and flow according to where my inspirations send me. Each piece I create contains both approaches, one where the inspiration has sent me and the other how I can manipulate the clay and learn about the glazes incorporated into the piece. For the present I am content with both approaches and the feeling of being afloat in an ocean of clay knowledge. With each piece I learn something I bring to the next one. I constantly feel lucky my inspirations outnumber the days in more than one lifetime. Often, I am pleasantly surprised at what I create in clay.

I kept hitting the spell check instead of publish. Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Clary Sage Vase


Well here is my (Linda Starr) newly built vase for a critique. I was going to post something for critique quite a while ago and kept putting it off and later I forgot about it. This afternoon I completed this Clary Sage Vase and asked my husband about it. He said "nice", which wasn't quite what I had in mind for an opinion. Then I remembered our 'critique my pot' blog. So here are some photos of my freshly completed vase.


The vase is constructed from B-Mix porcelain clay from slabs impressed with Clary sage leaves from my garden. The vase stands 13.25 inches tall and 9.25 inches wide at the widest point. In keeping with my blogs most recent post about details, I also impressed a leaf on the bottom of the vase along with my signature. I am unable to get a photo of the bottom at this point since the vase is still too soft to move about much.


This form is different from other styles of slab built vases I have made. Other vases I've made have been cylindrical in shape. Last year I made a couple of vases similar to this with pinched sides, but they were symmetrical and heavily textured. Today I had an inspiration to make a more organic shaped vase with free flowing sides and decided to give it a try. The front and back are the same shape with each side being asymmetrical. I debated whether to press the round seed heads into the clay at the sides or leave them plain. In the end I added a few randomly placed along the edges.

I'm just now looking at the photos of the vase myself. After I added the bottom to the vase I see the bottom of the lower leaf was obliterated. I intend to touch up the bottom leaf to extend to the very bottom of the vase. I'd like to glaze the vase similar to my black bamboo pitcher with a green celadon background and teadust leaves which makes a nice contrast. Either that or a mottled stain of olive, green and brown kind of splotchy on the outside and watertight liner glaze on the interior.

Anyway here's my vase, please let me know what you think. Sorry about the quality of the photos, but my studio seems to put a tanish pink tone on the all the photos and I don't dare move this vase anywhere just yet. Thanks in advance for your advice and thoughts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spontaneous Cup Form Follow-Up

So after much procrastination, I finally have gotten a picture of the finished product from the previous post. If memory serves me correctly, I glazed the entire cup in amber and then sprayed oribe in the crevice, heavy in the middle and feathering it out. I thought that I had put on enough of the accent glaze, but I think not. As you can see, it was pretty much a dud. The only thing that I really like about it are the "buttons" at the top. They got a very nice flecking. Now I just need to remember if I had done anything special in them. I am usually very good about writing down what I have done, but it wasn't in my journal, so hopefully I jotted it down in my spiral.

There you have it. If I do this again, I will definitely use iron oxide on the outside with a liner glaze, most likely oribe or black. Thanks for all of the comments on the first post. They have definitely influenced my current work (see my other blog for that).