Ceramics Now Magazine launches Issue 2

Ceramics Now Magazine launches Issue 2

Ceramics Now has the pleasure to invite you to the launch of Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue 2, March 29, from 6 PM, at The Paintbrush Factory (First Floor), Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics gallery. The issue also inaugurates the magazines’ new review category.

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Romana Cucu Mateias - Artist of the month, November 2012

Interview by Andra Baban for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

As a contemporary artist with extensive knowledge in the field of ceramics, can you share with us a significant experience for your career?

There is no doubt that growing up in a family of artists had a major influence on my life and artistic career. The chance to develop myself in an artistic environment, to be in contact with different genres of art, cultivated my taste for diversity. As a defining experience, I can say that the time spent in the ceramics studio during high school was the most interesting for me. In that period, the studio was an experimentation lab and I was encouraged by my teacher, Judita Crăciun, to discover new things, and so I gathered knowledge that further helped me build my artistic identity. A similar stage was during doctoral studies when I had the opportunity to reshape and enrich my knowledge and vision regarding ceramic art.

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13 Ways of Looking at “Natural Great Piece” - Meditations on a performance in clay by Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari / REVIEW

REVIEW, November 2012:

13 Ways of Looking at “Natural Great Piece”
Meditations on a performance in clay by Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari

Review by Daniel Fleischmann for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

1. “Natural Great Piece” is an intricate, intimate, communal performance in the medium of clay. Like a dance or a concert, it is more overtly bound to time than most sculptural artwork, and it ends dissolved into the past.

2. Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari make a large and detailed clay sculpture. It emerges from an improvisational score fed by their combined 60 years of art making experience. Passersby are invited to create self-portraits in clay to be incorporated into the artwork. Its surfaces become covered with these figures, which are painted with underglaze.

At a certain point, the construction is complete. Its size is such that it can easily conceal a large adult from view. The words of Tibetan lama Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche are carved into the unfired clay:
Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thoughts
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace.

A brief performance marks the culmination of the process. Then the Natural Great Piece is dismantled.

3. Rowe and Ari first manifested “Natural Great Piece” at the 2nd Ceramics Annual of America in San Francisco, October 5-9, 2011. They were joined by singer Bridget O’Keeffe and dancer Juliet Lin. In addition, roughly 250 fellow artists, ceramics aficionados, art students, and visitors contributed small figurative moments to the sculpture.

Circumnavigating its concave exterior or squatting in its embrace, you could see a red dragon, a female figure growing from yellow coral, a gnome pouring a jug of water over a balcony, a bloody ghoul, a colony of barnacles, a waiter bringing a head on a tray, a cluster of pink faces on a blue man’s torso, and countless more visual poems and paragraphs.

The chaotic and fascinating fresco captured the essence of the eternal cycle of birth, differentiation, suffering, death and rebirth—in short, samsara. Yet as varied as the details were, all came together in the single, curved wall. Reminiscent of both cave and womb, it described approximately three quarters of a circle and measured about 3m in circumference, 2.5m in height at its apex, and 900 kg in weight.



4. There is no reason to believe that “Natural Great Piece” has a quintessential appearance. Rowe notes, for example, that the moisture in the air at Fort Mason, which sits on a pier above San Francisco Bay, forced her to build a stockier wall. One wing of the sculpture even threatened to collapse on Saturday, calling for quick reinforcement. In a drier clime, the taller shape could easily emerge given Rowe’s gift for stretching the proportions of clay.

For another example, because the venue was a ceramic conference, many participants were artists themselves. Rowe and Ari conceive of this work having an expression in a space where most passersby would not have artistic training. It would yield something quite different and perhaps more compelling to Ari, who says, “The point is that art is for everyone. Everyone gets to express. For me, it’s very powerful to invite people to art making in a way that makes them say yes to the process.”

5. “How do you fire it?” is the number one FAQ. The answer is simple, but few can hear it without questioning further.
“So you’re not going to save it?”
“Then what are you going to do with it?”
“Are you going to take it apart and then fire it?”

You have to have compassion toward these reactions because it’s clear that great effort has gone into building this mother cave. The structural ingenuity, the input of so many people, even the cost of the clay—surely it must be saved.

But when a saxophonist stops blowing, or a monk rises from a meditation of pure surrender, or a trick pilot pivots a plane like a beached fish in midair and then recovers, nobody questions why the transcendent emergence has to end. Nobody asks the pilot, “How will you save that moment?” And even fired clay is only a pause in this fluid reality.
(The second most common question is asked by people who have given Rowe and Ari their clay self-portrait: “Where is the piece I contributed?”)

6. Last summer, Ari and Rowe got together at Rowe’s studio in the hills southeast of L.A. Together, they built two small structures to explore the way their languages combine. They also painted two large drop cloths in prismatic colors to serve as a foundation for the sculpture. Their daughters, Galatea and Mirabai, fast friends, played together while their mothers worked.

The artists first met the previous year at the First Ceramics Annual, but even before that, Ari had seen Rowe’s work and recognized a kindred spirit. “When I saw [it], I thought to myself, ‘If I were to make something big, I’d want it to look like that.”

Rowe had also been instantly attracted to Ari’s work, and had actually set one of Ari’s images as her computer’s desktop graphic before the two ever met.

“So when we met, we quickly started talking about collaboration,” Ari relates. “We had similar energy and ideas.” Over the year, these ideas coalesced, leading them to Fort Mason on October 5, 2011, where they spread the canvases, poured a ring of sand for a base, and began to grow the artwork from the ground up.

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Patricia Sannit - Artist of the month, October 2012

ARTIST OF THE MONTH, October 2012: Patricia Sannit

Patricia Sannit - Artist of the month on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

How did your experience in working on archeological sites in Jordan and Ethiopia influenced your work?

My work in Jordan and Ethiopia profoundly changed my work. I went to Jordan between my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree. At that point, I was already serious about clay, and although my early training had a functional emphasis (the well known American potter Warren Mackenzie was a teacher and influence), I had become more interested in sculpture. But my work had little focus and I was frustrated by what I saw as the triviality of my work. It didn’t seem to have a core or substance.

Before University, I had been an exchange student in Norway and had learned a lot about history, arts and culture there, but had not put it to any good use. However, when I went to Jordan, two things happened. I traveled all over the region - into Syria and Israel, and throughout Jordan, notable the amazing Petra. I was deeply impressed by the ancient culture and the design of the buildings and tombs and the handmade objects resonated with me. I understood finally that there was a connection between people and cultures and it was in a way manifested through the visual vocabulary around me. It related to the textiles of Scandinavia and the work that I had done as a kid. The desire to create some order, through geometry, on the natural world, and on roughly hewn stone and constructions seemed universal.

My other experience there that had a huge and lasting impact on me was the excavation itself. At Ain Ghazal, working in a “square” (archeological sites are frequently divided into precise squares so as to map out the location of a find onto three points in space) and seeing how the layers of the earth marked time and culture, hiding, or harboring, the evidence of past people was exciting to me. I recognized and felt awed by all of the people who had come before me. Ain Ghazal was first settled about 7250 B.C., during the so-called Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) period. The result of our excavation was the discovery of a diverse assemblage of symbols including tokens of many shapes, animal and human figurines, modeled human skulls, “monumental” statues and mural and floor paintings. My square had a beautiful floor painting of iron oxide on plaster. During the final days of the field season, I worked to uncover the floor. As a ceramic artist, discovering a plaster floor painted with iron oxide, the same Iron oxide that I used so often in my work, was a thrill. But more significantly, as I knelt, sweeping the dust from the floor, I felt a profound sense of connection to the women who had lived there 9000 plus years before. I knew that we had shared many of the same feelings and concerns; I felt connected and understood that there was a huge chain of humanity of which I was a part. I still get goose bumps thinking of it. And that sense of our common humanity is what still informs my work today.

My subsequent adventure was in Ethiopia. I am very fortunate to have married a man who works at what is called the “Lucy” site in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Lucy is an Australopithicus afarensis, and her species populated that part of Africa between 3 and 4 million years ago. She is pat of our species ancestry. As one scans the ground for fossils, walking in the same rough wadis where our earliest ancestors walked, the sense of our history coming to surface is very powerful. It’s a beautiful place, though drier now than it was when Lucy lived there. It is very quiet and empty, and potent with history.

Patricia Sannit Ceramics - Artist of the month on Ceramics Now Magazine
Patricia Sannit, Cradle, 2010, hand-built, carved and incised reclaimed clays, slip and stain, 21”x32”x12” - View Patricia’s works

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Annie Woodford - Spotlight, October 2012

SPOTLIGHT, October 2012: Annie Woodford

Annie Woodford - Spotlight on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan and Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You take your inspiration from nature. You are not just making a superficial observation, but you conduct a research of the things hidden to the naked eye. Tell us more about the universe you have discovered through your explorations.

I am fascinated by the natural world in its widest sense and at all levels. An interest in the nature of time - the past, present and future has led me to investigate multiverse theory and hidden dimensions - concealed worlds. From there I began to examine nature on a microscopic and nano scale. I became fascinated by the concept of the unseen and rendering it seen.

One of the subjects I investigated was that of diatoms, especially fossil diatoms. Invisible to the naked eye, beautiful and structurally complex I discovered them to bevery significanting the field of paleoclimatology - they are an important indicator of climate change.

I like to select various aspects of the natural world and then examine them on both a macroscopic and microscopic level, considering them in terms of their relationship to time and how they relate to other parts of the universe.

[] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Intricate but also delicate, your work seems to be obtained through a very meticulous process. What materials and techniques do you use and how much time does it take to complete a new piece?

Porcelain is the clay I favor - I particularly like ‘Southern Ice White’ which was developed by the Australian ceramicist Les Blakebrough. In general, the works are handbuilt; occasionally I use slip in a free but controlled way, sometimes combining it with fine glass fibre. I like to push the material beyond its perceived boundaries. The characteristics of porcelain mean that it requires careful handling throughout the making process and control and accuracy with firing and cooling.

I often incorporate extraneous materials once the piece is fired such as metal, monofilament, fibre or horsehair. These elements add richness to the work.

A new piece can take up to two weeks to make, depending on its complexity and it can take a further week or two to construct and apply other elements. I work intuitively when I am making, drawing on my research and bringing all the experiences together.

[] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Annie Woodford Contemporary Ceramics, Ceramics Now Magazine
Annie Woodford, Circlet, 2009, Porcelain, copper, stainless steel, 24 x 24 x 24 cm
View Annie Woodford’s works

Both science and art are a way of looking at the surrounding environment. What do you think is their meeting point? What kind of form of knowledge is art?

I often find myself working with scientists on projects and I think the two disciplines have many aspects in common. They both help us to understand the world around us. They both rely on investigation and imagination – the ‘what if?’ principle.

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Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight, October 2012

SPOTLIGHT, October 2012: Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso

Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso - Spotlight on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Ileana Surducan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

Your work evokes artificial landscapes and strange architectural agglomerations. What is your source of inspiration?

Most of my work inspired by man-made objects; something like a view of building blocks from the sky, transformer boxes out in the field, and strange formations on the roof. Recently I started to add more abstracted objects, like the connection parts of an exhaust fan, pipe or even inside a lock. I am inspired by something that is recognizable but has an uncertain function.

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In memoriam Eugenia Pop / Interview

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012

In memoriam Eugenia Pop
Eugenia Pop lived and worked in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where she graduated from the Ceramics Department of “Ion Andreescu” Arts Institute in 1971. Over the course of 40 years, she had exhibited in many countries and has been awarded for her career by the Romanian Government (Order of Cultural Merit) and the Fine Arts Union.

Eugenia Pop Romanian ceramic artist

Two days after our meeting in February, Eugenia Pop went to the Copăceni alms house, near Turda, to read in peace a book by Zhi Gang Sha. She wanted to learn how to communicate better with her guardian angel. She told us that the spirit must be cleaned more frequently.

We thank Jeni Pop from our hearts and promise to carry her optimism out in the world.

Interview by Alexandra Mureşan and Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine, Issue Two
February 2012

How did the fascination for ceramics started?

I graduated Ceramics at the Fine Arts Highschool in Cluj. In the twelfth grade I had an excessive curiosity to do work as much as possible, that’s why I chose ceramics. I was a colleague with Arina Ailincăi for 6 years. We were also six in the department. Our personalities were very different, and they remained the same. A sculptor inoculated me the idea of versions. He gave me a theme, a ceramic piece in an architectural environment. After a few sketches, he told me to do more versions. I didn’t like the idea – why make more versions when the first one was good enough? But, if the master told me, I had to do it. I did lots of versions and sketches, from bad to worse. He chose from the first two, and I remained very sad because I worked so hard on so many. After a while, the seed sprouted in my mind. I was at a Communist party meeting, and I got very bored. I had my sketchbook at me and I was doing all sorts of sketches and drawings. The expression was changing with little diversity if terms of form. I showed the sketches to my professor. It remained my method over the years.

Now I stopped doing more versions on a theme. I read books, for example those written by Rudolf Steiner, and I make illustrations on the pages. When reading a book twice, the images speak to me a lot more and I feel the text very differently when it’s illustrated, just like a plastic commentary.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

I broke up with the illustrative image of the exterior form. I adhered to the archetypal forms, which are interior forms of the soul, forms that kids use when drawing, but also used in the antic culture.

Mihai Oroveanu said “Look how monumental your works are,” even if they were very small. Dan Hăliucă said the contrary: “That’s how it should be – plenty and small.” I used this thing with plenty and small a lot, because that’s how the image of the soul is. The soul is very capacious. From it’s ampleness you can make plenty and small.

A moment of crystallization appeared when I found my personality – when I said that this is how I want to express myself. It was the humanity theme, the man. The mother man, the old man, the child man. Mother Earth. These are themes that I feel I synthesized.
When I was young, my mother used to call me “little golden thorn” – she couldn’t tell me that I was not right, but I was also very determined. I was telling the truth.

Eugenia Pop - Mother Earth, ceramics
Eugenia Pop, Mother Earth, 1985, Soft porcelain

What is your dearest part in elaborating a new work?

Each part has its own magic. The first one is sketching the idea and choosing the right drawing, then follows the modeling and making the negative. After that, the fascination of the firing starts. It is like when a mother gives birth – she doesn’t know how the child will look like or what color his eyes will be. It is just like that after the firing, when you remain charmed by an object, and you say to yourself that this is mine! – its color has changed and it shrank. After you inspect it for a while, you adopt it or not. Sometimes you have to say I’m sorry – this is not mine.

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Interview with Kimberly Cook - Artist of the month, May 2012

ARTIST OF THE MONTH, May 2012: Kimberly Cook

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: Do you remember your first encounter with ceramics? What made you choose this particular way of expressing yourself?

Kimberly Cook: My first encounter with ceramics was when I was a child. During my family’s summer holiday, my parents would take my sister and I on a very long drive from Texas to Ohio, to visit my father’s family. I remember being so excited when we arrived in Ohio, because it meant that I was going to be able to visit my aunt Coby’s ceramic studio. She had an incredible ceramic studio set up in her basement, where she taught workshops. I remember loving the smell of the wet clay, being surrounded by an endless array of colorful glazes, china paints, gold, silver, and pearl lusters, and tools that enabled her students to create anything they wanted out of this wondrous natural material that was easy to form and smelled sweetly of the earth. I was enthralled with the medium, and wanted to learn the techniques of creating both my own sculptural and functional forms.

Another vivid childhood memory of being exposed to ceramics was seeing the traveling King Tut exhibit. I was drawn to the ceramic Bes deity pots and their use in the home as a protector of women and children. For the first time, even in mynaiveté, I realized that there could exist a “conceptual” aspect to creating these forms. What also intrigued me were the marl ceramics of the second Naqada period, which were decorated with reddish-brown drawings that developed from the early geometric forms to less abstract images. Among some of my favorite are those that depicted oared boats transporting what has been interpreted as deities, and the decorations that included people and animals.

Working in clay has become a cathartic way of expressing myself, and because of this, I will never stop using it as my primary mode of self-expression. From these early childhood memories and tangible encounters, I found a palpable love of ceramic materials, which sustain me to this day.

[]

Kimberly Cook Contemporary Ceramics - Interview for Ceramics Now Magazine

Trophy, 2011, Ceramic, mason stain, gold luster, 35” x 23” x 20” - View her works

Your works are figurative and often have a narrative quality. But trying to convey a certain message without using words can be difficult for an artist. Do you sometimes fear that people will fail to understand the meaning of your works? How outspoken should a work of art be?

I use to be concerned that viewers would fail to understand my work, but not anymore. After your work has been censored and removed from a gallery, you start to understand that that is actually a compliment. You have struck a nerve; a message got across to a viewer, understood or misunderstood, doesn’t matter. What created that shift in thought for me was the fact that I realized that everyone is going to have their own experience viewing my work, their own perception, and their own opinions. I am okay with that – to me that is what good art is about. If it moves someone, great; if it disturbs someone, great – I want my work to encourage people to go inside of themselves and ponder and reflect before reaching any hard and fast conclusions.
[]

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Interview with Jill Beute Koverman, McKissick Museum - Walter Stephen’s work / Review

REVIEW, May 2012:

/ Read more reviews in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Interview with Jill Beute Koverman, Chief Curator of Collections and Research, McKissick Museum - Walter B. Stephen’s work

by Vasi Hîrdo

You have been working at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum for over ten years. What are the main responsibilities and attributes of being the Chief Curator of Collections & Research?

Jill Beute Koverman: As Chief Curator of Collections and Research, my responsibilities include overseeing the research and care for the permanent collections. The permanent collections include natural science collections (rocks, minerals, fossils, meteorites and shells) and material culture collections which include fine art, furniture, textiles (clothing, quilts, other domestic textiles, baskets, shoes, accessories), ceramics, glass, metal objects, political materials, silver and objects relating to the history of the University of South Carolina. I guide and implement the collecting activities of the museum in terms of new acquisitions and research, identify long-term care needs of the collections in terms of conservation and storage, and work with my colleagues on various exhibition projects. My research focus is on Southern pottery but I’m knowledgeable about traditional basket traditions of the South, South Carolina history and politics, and University history. In a mid-size institution like McKissick Museum, and particularly at a University, it is important to constantly learn about the various types of museum collections.

During the 26th of May and the 27th of July, USC’s McKissick Museum will host a very important exhibition of rare 20th century ceramics made by Walter B. Stephen. Tell us about the heritage of Walter’s work.

/ Read the press release of the exhibition.
Walter Stephen was born in Nebraska in 1876. His family moved to 100 acres of land in Shelby County, Tennessee in 1897. It was on this property where he discovered layers of pink, white and yellow clay. His intellectual and creative curiosity was fostered by his mother. Nellie Stephen was an amateur artist who taught blackboard art and painting. Walter did not begin working with clay until he was twenty-seven years old (1903). Together, Walter and his mother began experimenting with the clay and the decorating process. It is also possible that the two had seen George Ohr, “the Mad Potter of Biloxi,” demonstrating his pottery skills at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. Originally named, “Stephen and Son,” they renamed their pottery “Nonconnah” after the local creek. The forms were typical decorative vases and pitchers of the period. The decoration was different as Mrs. Stephen’s painted layers of porcelain slip onto the wares, often adding colored oxides for leaves and branches. This paste on paste, or cameo, technique was similar to the original method employed by Josiah Wedgwood for his Jasperwares. In 1910, Walter’s parents died and he continued to operate the Nonconnah pottery in Tennessee until 1912. A year later, he moved to the Skyland community of North Carolina, south of Asheville, and established the Nonconnah Pottery in partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Pine Ryman. At this iteration of the Nonconnah Pottery, Stephen continued to work at the potter’s wheel, creating matte glazed cameo wares until 1916. The Ryman’s operated the Nonconnah until 1918, producing molded and slab constructed wares with simple blue and brown glazes.

Walter B Stephen Ceramics - McKissick Museum

Walter B. Stephen, Three stoneware vases with crackle glaze. Courtesy McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.

It would be almost a decade after Stephen’s departure from Nonconnah before he established the Pisgah Forest Pottery. During this period, he became closely associated with Oscar L. Bachelder of the Omar Khayyam Pottery. Walter worked for a short time with Bachelder but did not want to make utilitarian pottery. It was also during the early 1920s, that he was experimenting with local clay,glazes and firing techniques. Fragments from his Arden home indicate his interest in the Chinese celadon and red glazes.

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Interview with Debra Fleury - New artist, May 2012

NEW ARTISTS, May 2012: Debra Fleury

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine: Growing up near the ocean around natural diversity and continuous change, you have developed a very finite line of work. Do you visualize your work from the very beginning?

Debra Fleury: I spend a lot of time sketching and planning. My sketches can be very specific and architectural, or very loose and gestural. But ultimately, I am an intuitive thinker. I rely on feeling and instinct in my artwork. When I sit down with clay the careful preparation is put aside in favor of the moment. Once I have the clay in my hands, I am often swept away by the possibilities I encounter as the clay begins to express its properties.

Do you remember the first ceramic piece that you created? How did it look like and how do you feel about your evolution as a ceramic artist?

I remember the first piece I created that had an impact on me. It was a little pinch pot, a half sphere and nicely formed. It was so perfect, likely the best I had made to date. I wondered what would happen if I dropped it while it was still malleable. I decided to indulge this impulse and I let my little pinch pot fall. The perfectly round rim became this very interesting, offset elliptical shape in response to the force of the impact. After it was fired it retained the mark of that force. It looked plastic, but it was solid.
 
This experience helped me recognize the approach that I wanted to take with this medium — to enjoy the process and avoid feeling that the work is precious. The visual aspect of the work is compelling to me, but the process is the lure.

Debra Fleury Ceramics - Interview for Ceramics Now Magazine

Tidal, 2011, Dark Stoneware, Porcelain and glass. Fired to cone 6, wall installation. Dimensions variable, average size per individual piece is approximately 10x10x8 cm - View her works

When constructing a new piece, you are using different materials such as clay, glass and glaze. What challenges you the most by combining these materials?

I love the unknown. I love being surprised by the materials and I love experimenting. Combining clay bodies with different shrink rates, adding glass, or using glaze in an unconventional way are a few of the methods I use when courting disaster or looking for insight. I push the materials toward something that I think will be interesting, but I never really know what will happen. Opening the kiln after a firing can be like meeting the work for the first time.
 

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Interview with Max Cheprack, Clay extrusion - Techniques, May 2012

TECHNIQUES, May 2012: Max Cheprack

/ Read more articles in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are studying Industrial Design at the Holon Institute of Technology, Israel, and recently you underwent a research project on clay extrusion. What are its concepts? Tell us about the technical process.

Max Cheprack
: The extruding clay project started in the third year of my studies, for B.design in industrial design, when I first met the manual extruder in ceramics course. After learning various techniques in the field of ceramic design, I was fascinated by the option to create clay objects using replication. The Semi-industrial process of extruding clay enables the creation of precise and complex objects easily and quickly. Extrusion allows me to design the inside of the object, something that the rest of the techniques do not allow. Extruding technology allows to produce a closed and complex object, and therefore very strong. This allows the expansion of production beyond the products we know today. In addition, this technology brings new aesthetic to the ceramic field.

As an Industrial designer who is interested in manufacturing technologies, I moved away from the dies that come with the manual extruder Kit, and I began to assemble a set of basic dies with complex shapes. Later, I have built an extruder which works on pneumatic piston, in order to free both of my hands. This allows me to make variety of manipulations on the objects like bending and cutting.
In order to explore the limits of this technology, I decided to make a stool. The stool is a challenging product for extruding clay process because it is a relatively big product, which must be strong enough to bear persons weight, and should be able to connect with other materials.

My inspiration is taken from a local element of the Middle East - Mashrabiya. Though the project ended as part of my design studies, for me he is a starting point to new possibilities in ceramic design.

Max Cheprack Ceramics - Clay extrusion

Max Cheprack, Chairs made with the extruding machine

What was the most difficult part in creating the necessary tools for the project? Did you get any help?

The hardest part in this project was to understand the size relation between the size of the die and the amount of power that needed to push the clay. First I played with the manual extruder that we have in our workshop and then I made different dies to check how complex things can be. After realizing clearly how things are working I wanted to make the next step towards an extruder that will free both my hands to make manipulations on the objects while it is being extruded. I consulted with an engineer who just gave me a headache with schemes numbers and stuff that I couldn’t understand, so I decided to use a pneumatic piston as my base for the machine and after many trails with different pistons and die sizes I made one small extruder and one big extruder.

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CERAMICS NOW SHOP:
Issue Two - Ceramics Now Magazine
Ceramics Now Magazine’s Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics. The issue also inaugurates Ceramics Now’s new Review category.
/ Cover: Ken Eastman, Hold your own. Media: Stoneware with painted coloured slips and oxides. Dimensions: 14.9 x 13 x 21.3 inches / 38 x 33 x 54 cm.
PRE-ORDER NOW► Printed Issue, USA & International: $15► Printed Issue, Europe: €11► View subscription offers.► Want to buy more? Contact us.
* Shipping costs are not included for the printed issue.
WHAT YOU GET - PRINT - The issue delivered to your door in 1 month for USA & International orders, and in 20 days for Europe (after the launch of the issue).- FREE access to the Digital Issue (and online reading).- .PDF (Windows) and .EPUB (Mac) files only.
FULL CONTENTKen Eastman, Brian Kakas, Patricia Sannit, Steve Belz, Kimberly Cook, Annie Woodford, Jenni Ward, Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso, Liliana Folta, Deborah Britt, Cindy Billingsley, Paula Bellacera, Teresa & Helena Jané, Virginie Besengez, Els Wenselaers, Walter B. Stephen (review by Jill Beute Koverman), Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari (review by Daniel Fleischmann), Allison Luce (review by James Romaine), Tom Hubbard (review by Roxana Ciobanu), Ceramics Now Exhibition (review by Vasi Hîrdo), Max Cheprack, Suzanne Stumpf, Marianne McGrath, Kathy Pallie, Debra Fleury, Bente Skjøttgaard, Bodil Manz, Arina Ailincăi, Marta Jakobovits, Romana Mateiaş, Aniela Ovadiuc, Oriana Pelladi, Eugenia Pop, Cristina Popescu Russu, Simona Tănăsescu, Bogdan Teodorescu, Anti-Utopias.
Read more about this issue.

CERAMICS NOW SHOP:

Issue Two - Ceramics Now Magazine

Ceramics Now Magazine’s Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics. The issue also inaugurates Ceramics Now’s new Review category.

/ Cover: Ken Eastman, Hold your own. Media: Stoneware with painted coloured slips and oxides. Dimensions: 14.9 x 13 x 21.3 inches / 38 x 33 x 54 cm.

PRE-ORDER NOW
Printed Issue, USA & International: $15
Printed Issue, Europe: €11

View subscription offers.
► Want to buy more? Contact us.

* Shipping costs are not included for the printed issue.

WHAT YOU GET - PRINT
- The issue delivered to your door in 1 month for USA & International orders, and in 20 days for Europe (after the launch of the issue).
- FREE access to the Digital Issue (and online reading).
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FULL CONTENT
Ken Eastman, Brian Kakas, Patricia Sannit, Steve Belz, Kimberly Cook, Annie Woodford, Jenni Ward, Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso, Liliana Folta, Deborah Britt, Cindy Billingsley, Paula Bellacera, Teresa & Helena Jané, Virginie Besengez, Els Wenselaers, Walter B. Stephen (review by Jill Beute Koverman), Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari (review by Daniel Fleischmann), Allison Luce (review by James Romaine), Tom Hubbard (review by Roxana Ciobanu), Ceramics Now Exhibition (review by Vasi Hîrdo), Max Cheprack, Suzanne Stumpf, Marianne McGrath, Kathy Pallie, Debra Fleury, Bente Skjøttgaard, Bodil Manz, Arina Ailincăi, Marta Jakobovits, Romana Mateiaş, Aniela Ovadiuc, Oriana Pelladi, Eugenia Pop, Cristina Popescu Russu, Simona Tănăsescu, Bogdan Teodorescu, Anti-Utopias.

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(Source: ceramicsnowmagazine)

CERAMICS NOW SHOP:
Digital Issue Two - Ceramics Now Magazine
Ceramics Now Magazine’s Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics. The issue also inaugurates Ceramics Now’s new Review category.
/ Digital Cover: Romana Cucu Mateiaş, Signs between Heaven and Earth. Media: Earthenware, Metalic oxides, 64.2 x 6.7 inches, 75.2 x 6.7 inches / 163 x 17 cm, 191 x 17 cm.
PRE-ORDER NOW► Digital Issue, USA & International: $4 ► Digital Issue, Europe: €3► View subscription offers.► Want to buy more? Contact us.
WHAT YOU GET - DIGITAL - Full content of the issue for a very good price. - Access link to the magazine for online reading. - .PDF (Windows) and .EPUB (Mac) files only.
FULL CONTENTKen Eastman, Brian Kakas, Patricia Sannit, Steve Belz, Kimberly Cook, Annie Woodford, Jenni Ward, Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso, Liliana Folta, Deborah Britt, Cindy Billingsley, Paula Bellacera, Teresa & Helena Jané, Virginie Besengez, Els Wenselaers, Walter B. Stephen (review by Jill Beute Koverman), Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari (review by Daniel Fleischmann), Allison Luce (review by James Romaine), Tom Hubbard (review by Roxana Ciobanu), Ceramics Now Exhibition (review by Vasi Hîrdo), Max Cheprack, Suzanne Stumpf, Marianne McGrath, Kathy Pallie, Debra Fleury, Bente Skjøttgaard, Bodil Manz, Arina Ailincăi, Marta Jakobovits, Romana Cucu Mateiaş, Aniela Ovadiuc, Oriana Pelladi, Eugenia Pop, Cristina Popescu Russu, Simona Tănăsescu, Bogdan Teodorescu, Anti-Utopias / Sabin Borş.
Read more about this issue.

CERAMICS NOW SHOP:

Digital Issue Two - Ceramics Now Magazine

Ceramics Now Magazine’s Issue Two introduces the work of over 35 international artists, beginning with Ken Eastman, Kimberly Cook, Patricia Sannit, Marianne McGrath, Annie Woodford, Suzanne Stumpf or Ruth Power, and continuing with a special feature on Romanian ceramic artists, and a preview feature for Copenhagen Ceramics. The issue also inaugurates Ceramics Now’s new Review category.

/ Digital Cover: Romana Cucu Mateiaş, Signs between Heaven and Earth. Media: Earthenware, Metalic oxides, 64.2 x 6.7 inches, 75.2 x 6.7 inches / 163 x 17 cm, 191 x 17 cm.

PRE-ORDER NOW
Digital Issue, USA & International: $4
Digital Issue, Europe: €3

View subscription offers.
► Want to buy more? Contact us.

WHAT YOU GET - DIGITAL
- Full content of the issue for a very good price.
- Access link to the magazine for online reading.
- .PDF (Windows) and .EPUB (Mac) files only.

FULL CONTENT
Ken Eastman, Brian Kakas, Patricia Sannit, Steve Belz, Kimberly Cook, Annie Woodford, Jenni Ward, Kwok-Pong Bobby Tso, Liliana Folta, Deborah Britt, Cindy Billingsley, Paula Bellacera, Teresa & Helena Jané, Virginie Besengez, Els Wenselaers, Walter B. Stephen (review by Jill Beute Koverman), Cybele Rowe and Lauren Ari (review by Daniel Fleischmann), Allison Luce (review by James Romaine), Tom Hubbard (review by Roxana Ciobanu), Ceramics Now Exhibition (review by Vasi Hîrdo), Max Cheprack, Suzanne Stumpf, Marianne McGrath, Kathy Pallie, Debra Fleury, Bente Skjøttgaard, Bodil Manz, Arina Ailincăi, Marta Jakobovits, Romana Cucu Mateiaş, Aniela Ovadiuc, Oriana Pelladi, Eugenia Pop, Cristina Popescu Russu, Simona Tănăsescu, Bogdan Teodorescu, Anti-Utopias / Sabin Borş.

Read more about this issue.

(Source: ceramicsnowmagazine)

Interview with Steve Belz - Artist of the month, April 2012

ARTIST OF THE MONTH, April 2012: Steve Belz

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are strengthening your career as a ceramic artist year by year. What was your first contact with ceramics and when did you realize you have a passion for it?

I took a ceramics class in my junior year in college, and that changed my world instantly. I was constantly in the studio. I had worked with wood and metal prior to clay, but it was amazing to find one material that possesses the qualities of many materials. Throughout its various stages, clay is plastic at first, then flexible and strong like wood, then hard like steel. This is over simplified, but basically I love the metamorphic qualities of clay. It is an incredible material that twenty years later, I am still very passionate about.

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Steve Belz Contemporary Ceramics
Assisted Nucleation, 2011, Low fire ceramic, washes, glaze, rubber cord and steel fastener, 20H x 30W x 10D inches - View his works

What is the most difficult part in constructing a new piece? Tell us about your creative process, from sketches to the final display.

I usually work on multiple pieces at one time, so that they feed off of each other as a series. My work is often an amalgamation of forms and details from mostly natural objects and landscapes. I have a lot of natural objects and photographs around my studio. I use these details as a starting point for the forms and surfaces that I create, often manipulating the scale or color of the details that I am interested in. 

I often start by sketching in a notebook to quickly work through ideas, then I move to a large chalkboard for some full scale sketching. My sketches are often covered in words that inform the themes I am working on. Once I can visualize the form I want to create I move on to construction, my favorite part.

The most difficult part of constructing my larger work is managing the appropriate humidity. I allow certain areas to dry enough so that they have strength to support the form, while other areas are wet enough so that I can continue adding more clay. All of this happens while maintaining a smooth gradation of humidity between those areas to avoid cracks. I spend several weeks working on one piece, often jumping between other pieces while I wait for one to dry enough.

I rarely build my work in the position that it will rest. This does two things. It makes it easier to move the piece around to work on it and it keeps the orientation of the object open until the end of the building process. I can have most of the form completed and then cut and dart areas to modify the form. Once the main form is completed I smooth and refine the surface. This step is very meditative for me. It has a rhythm and fluidity that I enjoy.

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Interview with Ruth Power - New artist, April 2012

NEW ARTISTS, April 2012: Ruth Power

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are a very young ceramic artist. When did you discover the potential of this medium? Did school have an important role in directing you on this path?

Ruth Power: Like most artists. makers or craftspeople, I have been interested in art and working with my hands from a very young age. I had a fairly basic art education in secondary school in Ireland (largely based on 2-dimensional drawing work) - quite the antithesis of what we do in third level education. However, I decided that I wanted to attend the National College of Art and Design (Dublin) from a fairly young age and my art teachers in school encouraged me to do so.

The college has a great system, by which everybody does a Core Year in their primary year (four years in total). From here, the student embarks on their first steps towards their professional formation as artists, designers and educators. The student has the opportunity to sample the diverse courses the college has to offer and in turn, discover where their strengths, weaknesses and passions lie.
Many people (such as myself when I began) have no idea what department they wish to pursue when they enter, so this system works really well. Throughout the year, I did a lot of 3D making and intricate work with wire and found objects, so I decided to go into the Ceramics, Glass and Metals Department, specializing in metals. However, when I entered the department I fell in love with ceramics and its diversity. I knew nothing about the material, glazing or mold-making. The only experience I had with clay was when I made a pinch pot in 1993 for Mother’s Day. I painted in neon pink and yellow (which was in vogue at the time!) with ‘Ruth Power, Age 5’ scrawled into the base. I was in instant awe of the abundance of potential of the material, and the infinite amount of creative and scientific exploration that could be done with this ancient medium. Thus, it was only until I was in my second year of college that I discovered the potential of ceramics.

Ruth Power Ceramics, tentacles, sexuality
Breasts (Cephalophilia), 2011, 48cm wide x 42cm long x 14cm deep; porcelain, LED light, cord, plug, wooden box with black paint and flocked interior (Black and white image) - View her works

Your works are debating subjects like censorship, mainstream pornography or sexual repression: did you choose these topics in the hunt for controversy?

I have identified with being a feminist for many years now and these subjects have been of huge importance to me. I had researched and discussed those topics for quite some time before merging them into my artwork, when I was in Third/Fourth Year. I wrote my thesis on a very similar subject (how pornography is influencing mainstream trends). In Second Year, we focused on skills and techniques and thus, did not get the chance to incorporate much of our own expression. It wasn’t until Third Year that we were taking on self directed projects and had the opportunity to entirely immerse ourselves into our own fully developed concepts.

To me personally, the work is not controversial; it is dealing with issues that I believe need to be addressed urgently and discussed more openly. Its just that sexual politics and pornography are not usually deliberated, and the naked body is still taboo in our culture. Moreover, because I have had a considerable interest in such topics for quite some time, any of the initial ‘shock’ factor had been lost on me a long time ago. So, for me, the work was never really controversial (especially since I have an open attitude towards sex, sexuality and the body). It was bringing to light issues that I believe need to be confronted, issues that affect me personally.

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