| 04 November, 2011 12:32
A fter a lengthy hiatus fr om Blogging, I a m NOW back in action. This new website with Artspan will hopefully reach more of an audience. While my past blogs can still be seen on www.curwensclaystudio.blogspot.com, my new blogs are on this website.
I found myself this past summer enjoying more time in the mountains-- biking and sailing-- but also found time to see a couple of wonderful ceramic shows: Beatrice Woods at the Santa Monica Museum of Modern Art, and Paul Soldner at Scripps College. I met Beatrice when she was 100 and still working in her Ojai studio. She lived to 103 and credited her longevity to "dark chocolate and young men."
I saw Soldner several times and credit him for all my inspirations in raku firing. Prior to meeting Paul and attending his workshops, I was working in stoneware and making utilitarian functional ceramics. Paul's raku firings were always such fun-- the interaction with the piece pulled from the kiln at 1800 degrees, plunged into a bed of straw, and then quickly drenched with water. Paul routinely spoke of the joy of unexpected treasures that would sometimes result in these firings--- they were happy accidents or serendipity. I have been hooked on raku since meeting Paul and have have recently named our sailboat Serendipity.
I was sorry to see the Trios Gallery in Solana Beach close its doors this fall. I had been showing work there for a couple of years and always loved visiting. Even with its reputation as one of the best galleries in San Diego County, they couln't compete in this tough economy. A year ago, I also retrieved my work from the Studios Gallery at the La Quinta Resort. After subpar sales, the resort decided to close the gallery and turn the space into an additional conference room. While I see more artists turning to e-commerce and websites (like Etsy or Artspan) to draw sales, I still feel that the brick & mortar galleries are important. I think many people would like to see and perhaps touch the artwork, and compare pieces side-by-side before buying.
Last month I showed my work at the annual show, 'Art at the Aspen', a local event sponsored by the American Association of University Women. While again sales were slow for most of the artists, it was a fun time to mingle, talk, and commiserate with artists who are trying to survive this economy.
On a happier note, I am excited by my new acrylic abtract paintings. As an admirer of many of the AbEx painters like Rothko, Kline, de Kooning, and Pollock, I find the spatter and daub and scrape and swipe and pour as thrilling as the raku process. I also hope to incorporate more of these AbEx techniques into my ceramics--producing more unusual and serendiptous results.