I've been making some thrown cups and plates lately. These are porcelain, thrown on the potter's wheel and painted with underglazes and glazes. They're big cups, holding more than 16 oz. each.
These two cups are going to the cup show at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans. Of course, I made a bunch more in this series, including some variation in shape and leaf patterns.
I also made some plates. These are salad or snack size.
I've just finished an altered book. This one started as a British book about important events in the 20th century, published in the 1970s. Only a little of the book's content survives now, though. I chose the book in a thrift shop in Santa Fe (NM) because I liked the quality of the paper, and it has a sewn binding. It's a nice big book - about 12 inches tall when closed.
I had a couple of compositional themes with this book. First, there are large, mostly original drawings that often float off the left or right edge of a page spread. Second, I used portions of printmaking plates, cut up and glued in as collage elements. The plates are from monotypes, and I worked them on vellum. The original printing medium was water based. I liked how the translucency of the vellum allowed the plate portions to nestle down into the matrix of the gouache mixtures I had already applied to the paper.
The imagery is - various. Plants and animals, sometimes in microscopic views, my clay vessels and sculpture, landscape photos - and a few other things. Snakes are notable - I used my stash of photos of snakes from a teapot project I did several years ago for the Year of the Snake. As usual in my two-dimensional work, objects are presented in kind of a primordial soup of contexts.
I love the way the base of a bald cypress tree will widen out when it grows in a very damp area. This one is standing in Butler Creek at the Phinizy Swamp. The drawing is mostly about my enjoyment of the dark and light interlocking patterns of the cypress tree base and the lush growth around it.
The water is tea-colored because of the presence of tannin compounds from decomposing plants - it's not pollution.
I was looking at a bright green plant with large leaves that was growing directly out of the forest floor near the Butler Creek trail. The light was beautiful, and the leaves were especially 3-dimensional. I added dots to the background - it's part of of my interest in patterns and the idea of a network that everything in nature is part of.
These fascinating green balls are the cones of the bald cypress tree. The surface structure is very subtle - I had to do a lot of image enhancement to even get it to show in this photo.
In the background of the drawing I added a pattern used in lacemaking.
These are photos of the temporary, small installation that I designed for a family camping event at the Phinizy Swamp. Several kids and a mom helped me. We selected a tree just off the boardwalk at the Raingarden trail, we spread swamp clay around the base of the tree, then we gathered and placed 2 kinds of leaves around the tree. At the end we put in a circle of unripe blackberries. The whole thing should biodegrade quickly on its own.
I was looking at a lovely wildflower (weed?) out at the swamp, and was amazed by its delicate structure.
I used some color in this drawing to try to show the structure of the flower.
I've started a new drawing project with the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences - the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. It's pretty simple: I take a walk out there, notice something, draw it. Then the Phinizy Center posts the drawing and a photo on their Facebook page. These entries have been appearing for a couple of months now. I thought I would also show them here.
I saw a puffball mushroom on the entrance to the Butler Creek Trail. At first glance it looked like a round white puff with a slightly cracked surface. Looking closer, I saw that the surface was covered with what looked like little mountains with beaked peaks.
This is the drawing that I made:
2017 is the year of the Rooster. The element is Fire, so this year's rooster is extra-feisty, and is best cooled down with a bit of Earth. These small porcelain teapots are made entirely by hand, individually. I had fun with suggesting the Rooster through a lid that looks a bit like a rooster's comb, plus some feather painting on the body of the teapot. The earth element comes in through the use of a soft yellow-brown base glaze. The teapots are 4 inches or less in height.
These are recent experiments in dyeing combed wool top using acid dyes and the stovetop method I described earlier. The tops are all "Heinz 57"-type mixtures of sheep breeds from the Eastern U.S. The wool is medium-soft and springy.
Above, a mixture of blue dye modified by a little black and some yellow.
I dyed these colors using red, fuchsia, and a bit of yellow. I think I'm learning that red/pink dyes can be hard to handle. If you use too much vinegar too fast, the red clumps on the fiber a bit (it's called crocking). It also takes the last part of the pink or red dye a long time to fully strike onto the fiber, if it ever does. This is 8 ounces of wool top. I had more than this leftover in all pink shades, which I set aside to overdye later.
This is a gradient I dyed by gradually exhausting violet colored dye. Both this length of top and the pinkish one above are shown rolled rather than braided because they were still slightly wet when the photos were taken. After full drying, both were as fluffy as in the top photo.
Priscilla Hollingsworth, artist.