First Tea

I met Master Lin the day I arrived in China. On my travelers high I tried to keep up with this mans energy and enthusiasm. The encounter began with my first official tea. A wild ceremony of splashing water and clinking cups. The tea goes from water kettle, to teapot, to small strainer pitcher then finally to your tiny teacup. I was entranced, mesmerized by the sounds, and in awe of the perfect porcelain pieces.

View of Master Lins salesman, Shali and shop below studios. Tea serving is part of the shopping experience and a major part of social life.

View of Master Lins salesman, Shali and shop below studios. Tea serving is part of the shopping experience and a major part of social life.

Our studio tea table, and hang out.

Our studio tea table, and hang out.

Master Lin in Dehua Museum of Ceramic Art

Master Lin in Dehua Museum of Ceramic Art

Artist in Residence, Blanc de Chine, Dehua, China 2018 -First Encounter

Porcelain is the softest smoothest most sensual of all clays. It has an ethereal otherworldly quality. Its lightness makes you want to pick it up. Its smoothness is skin like and seductive. I love its vibrant white ground which shows off slips and glazes like no other clay.

In China they don’t even call porcelain “clay”. They call it Cí, which does not translate into a western word. Porcelain is a French word meaning “cowrie shell”, a shell that has the luster of porcelain and was used as currency by traders who shipped Cí. In the US we call porcelain “china” which is weird, and gives you a sense of my first few weeks of being lost in translation in Dehua, China where I was an Artist in Residence at The Blanc de Chine.

Within my first 12 hours of arriving in China I was introduced to the man that would guide me for the next month and a half, Master Lin, the warmest most sensitive person an exhausted newbie like myself could encounter.

Holding Master Lins tea cup.

Holding Master Lins tea cup.

Guanyin statue that stands by the Chanxi River, Dehua

Guanyin statue that stands by the Chanxi River, Dehua

Fierce Feminine

Camille Henrot's pieces remind me of a mother who has gone ape shit. Her powerful installations have the suggestion of order and domesticity except they have exploded. Her organized abandon leave me curious to know more about the experience. A delicate line for visual artists. 

Kali creator and destroyer of time.

    

 

 

Dig In

Just like dance, pottery has its daily practice. You warm up with some standard shapes, cups perhaps, and then move on to more complex forms. The adagio happens when all your haptic muscles are warmed and you can effortlessly flow through forms. Beyond touch, your mind and expression are all synced up. 

 

For me Picasso was always the ultimate vision of an artist who luxuriated in an endless flow of creativity, basically he was always warmed up. He is my romantic vision of an artist at peak performance perfecting and re ordering imagery. 

Picasso jumped back and forth between 2D & 3D drawing. The energy of his 2D work is enhanced in clay because he could literally dig into it. Weight of line takes on a new meaning when clay is involved. Edges, corners, turns, and diminishing points become physical form that control space.

Indra's Net

I think most artists have a few nagging images that are stuck in their minds whenever they create. For me it has been Indra's net.   

The following parable from the Buddhist canon provides a beautiful visual metaphor for the interdependence and interpenetration of all phenomena.

Suspended above the palace of Indra, the Buddhist god who symbolizes the natural forces that protect and nurture life, is an enormous net. A brilliant jewel is attached to each of the knots of the net. Each jewel contains and reflects the image of all the other jewels in the net, which sparkles in the magnificence of its totality.

When we learn to recognize what Thoreau refers to as "the infinite extent of our relations," we can trace the strands of mutually supportive life, and discover there the glittering jewels of our global neighbors. Buddhism seeks to cultivate wisdom grounded in this kind of empathetic resonance with all forms of life.

- from "Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship", a lecture given by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda at Columbia University on June 13, 1996.

The Body is a Clear Place

Modern master Eric Hawkins classic quote, "The body is a clear place." says it all. Pure abstraction grounded in one of the most difficult dance techniques. Dancer as shaman or conduit for expression.

Deco & Dance

The 1930's era of Buzby Berkeley movies were rife with chauvinism but also produced incredible psychedelic visions. My grandmother, the most liberal and independent woman I have ever met embodied these glamorous times. I am forever looking back at the 1930's for design inspiration and once in a while I slip on my grandmothers silk deco nightgown and float around my bedroom. Watch this beautiful movie clip! 

Petrushka and Pots

As a budding ballerina I understood the incredible power of structure behind ballet form. The hours of practice to create effortless movement. Rehearsing placement and syncopation so every space on the stage was accounted for. The overall architecture of a piece was set so the form and content was left to come alive. 

This is clay poetics.