Let me start with the image, then the story and the plan…











This cup is the start of a collaboration between me and Jeff Campana. Jeff’s studio is right across the hall from mine here at the Bray, and we have been discussing some possibilities about mingling our processes.

We started with a simple enough step, using one of my molds, and some slip that Jeff already had mixed of his claybody, he poured  a cup and took it through his process of dissection/reassembly and glazing. That’s the cup in the picture. In another test in the same kiln, he also found out that his glazes fit my clay body.

With so many similarities in our materials, and immediately finding some technical success, we’re going to push on and see what we can come up with.

There is also another, larger, more theoretical point to doing this. Beyond doing it just to see if we can (which would be reason enough), or just to see how it will change us (another completely valid reason), I feel this type of searching is part of why we are both at the Bray. This type of thing is why our studios are in the same hallway, and its our job to take this opportunity to its fullest potential.

Stay tuned, more to come soon.

What a blur

The last two months have been a complete blur of activity, and I just haven’t been spending as much time on the computer. A quick summary of everything that’s been going on…

I gave a brief mention in a prior post that I went down to Santa Fe Clay for a one-day workshop with Mike Jabbur and Tara Dawley. The workshop coincided with our 3-person show ‘Decorum’, that will be up until July 23rd. So if you’re in Santa Fe, I hope you can stop in. Tara did a great job at taking pictures and did a write up on her blog, you can see that here.

After getting back from Santa Fe, it was studio madness getting ready both the summer show here at the Bray and the Red Lodge show that were both up during the 60th anniversary celebration. Here are images of the two new pieces I put in the Bray show…

As you can see from the aerial photography, I’m now casting colored rubber into the footwells of the trays. The running joke that a fellow Californian made to me, was that the pieces are now earthquake rattle proof. This wasn’t exactly what I had intended, but sometimes I think we just can’t help to deny our roots. Anyways, I have been thinking about the reveal aspect of using these new trays I’ve been making. What happens when the pot is removed from the tray? This rubber solution first provides a bit of a surprise in terms of color. Then it furthers the line of questioning about what materials are used. Finally, the rubber changes the feeling of placing the pots back into their intended places. I have a lot more to say about this topic, that I will get back to in another post.

Moving forward, I also made two wall pieces for the Red Lodge show that was held down at the Bolder Avenue Arts Center. I couldn’t get high quality images in that space, so I will have to post those at a later time. The pieces were “Plates (8)”, and “Tumblers (8)”.

After finishing and installing both shows, the 60th Anniversary Celebration was upon us. It was an absolutely fantastic experience. I got to see a lot of old friends, and make some new ones. I had never been to a live art auction before, and this was almost unbelievable. After all was said and done, the gross was a little over $510,000 for the Bray! The Volkus went for $125,000, the Kaneko for $55,000, and in my opinion the most exciting lot of the evening was the Shaner that went for $22,500.  Totally awesome. The auction was on Friday, then the Bray Bash was on Saturday. The Big Sky Mudflaps played a rockin’ show, and we danced the night away. After talking about how much fun we had, Nicole and I also realized another reason why this community is so great. On the dance floor at the same time, there were old people, young people, every race your could think of, men dancing with women, women dancing with women, men dancing with men…and nobody cared. Everyone was just dancing their hearts out after a long week. Here are a couple pics from the dance floor, and one of me and Nicole.

After the event ended, I think everyone was ready to unwind a little bit. Nicole and didn’t really have much of a chance, since we needed to move apartments. I like moving just as much as the next person, so that was really a chore I was not excited about. However, our new apt is totally sweet, overlooking downtown Helena with a view of Mt Helena directly behind it. Huge upgrade to the street level place we lived in this past year.

After/during the move, my Dad came to town which also coincided with my birthday. Being the very generous and gracious people he and his wife are, they helped me and Nicole finish cleaning our apt. What great people! The reward was that I was able to go fishing all day with my Dad on my birthday, then went out for an awesome steak dinner at place out in Clancy called Chubby’s. One good photo, one average cell phone photo…

What an awesome time! It doesn’t seem to stop either. Nicole and I fly to LAX tonight to meet up with her sister and her fiance, then we’ll all head down to San Diego to meet up with her family for a serious 4th of July party on Ocean Beach. I keep saying to myself in somewhat disblief, ‘this is my life?’.

After SD, back in Helena for a couple quick days, then I’m headed out to Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for a Design/Architecture conference. I am very fortunate in being awarded a fellowship do go to the conference, so that is just going to be great.

That’s the “quick” update. Thanks for reading, catch ya on the flip side.

Trays, Planters, Beer, Santa Fe, and American Craft.

I admit it, I’ve fallen off blogging for the last 3 weeks. There’s just been so many things happening. To catch up from the last post, the new silver trays are, well, really silver. I’m interested in using silver for a few reasons, but mostly because I can’t make a glaze that color. Here’s a quick pic from the studio…

Moving forward, the beginning of May was the Mothers Day Planter Sale here at the Bray. It was quite an event, we even had a petting zoo. Here is a Bray Blog post about it. It was a bit more special Mothers Day for me and my mom, because she came out to visit. We had a really fantastic time, and played in the studio quite a bit. What a cool mom I have, she brought bisque ware from CA, so we ran a glaze kiln while she was here. A pic of my mom (at right) looking at all the planters…

There are a lot of preparations happening for the upcoming he 60th Anniversary Celebration. And one of them is beer! Our local brewery, Blackfoot River Brewing, is making a very special limited edition Strong Belgian Ale. ‘Bray Brew’ is the working title, and they needed volunteers to help bottle the beer. Now that’s my type of volunteer work! A full writeup with pictures is here on the Bray Blog. It was really entertaining.

The next piece of news I’d like to share is that I’m going to be part of a 3-person demonstration at Santa Fe Clay with Mike Jabbur and Tara Dawley on Saturday June 11th. There are just a few spots left, if you’d like to take the demo, please contact Santa Fe Clay at 505-984-1122. The demo is in conjunction with our show “Decorum”, which opens on Friday June 10th. We will all be there, and I hope if you’re in Santa Fe I’ll see you there. Here is the image of the mailer…

Finally, one more bit of good news. I’m mentioned in the upcoming issue of American Craft. Actually, I’m in there a couple of times. First, the show I was just talking about at Santa Fe Clay is picked as one of the “Shows to See”. Later in the issue, I have a quote and an image of my work in the article about the Bray. Here is the link to the article.

Well, that’s the big update. Thanks for reading, more to come soon.