Thursday, December 14, 2006

Gearing up or down?

So much to do before this Christmas. Yes, I celebrate Christmas, with all the trimmings. The overwhelm is better this year, thanks to some massive orders earlier in the year... BUT, the temptation to explode is always around the corner. How much to do, when to let go, and how much is enough. It's a daily choice. Today I choose to choose wisley. Get everything done and out the door that has been waiting. Orders coming in at the last minute, get those done. Diana Fayt says it so well here-

Maybe this year I can share the excitement of what's coming with my 11 year old. And maybe I'll even get to do some decorating next week!

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pink and Black

I finally have a minute to post today. I have been working like mad (!) on orders and commissions that are rolling in... Diana Fayt posts about overwhelm, as a one woman show, with many irons in the fire. I relate. :) Here are a few shots of new work, in pink and black. I used to use this pallet in the 80's and return now, well, because I love it...

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Studio Tour

I am getting ready for the Columbia Berkshire Craft Guild's 4th annual studio tour. 24 artists in 12 studios in Columbia(NY) and Berkshire(MA) Counties are participating in this "bread crumb" journey to celebrate art and craft. The potential of small studios becoming more of a force in developing local economies keeps me engaged in this cooperative effort every year. Here is a sample of some new work I will be showing...

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Monday, November 06, 2006


Tuesday, November 7th, is election day. The most powerful tool any democracy has is the vote. Women have only had the right to vote for 85 years. August 26, 1920 the 19th Ammenedment gave women the right to vote after 70 years of struggle. Getting the vote wasn't easy and we can't take it for granted. Soooo, go out and vote!

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Mad in Gourmet Magazine

photos: Roland Bello

This month's (November) Gourmet Magazine features a few davistudio fine porcelain serving pieces for Thanksgiving- Thank you Sibella Court and Ruth Reichl!

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Shut Up and Sing

I saw the new Dixie Chicks movie "Shut Up and Sing" last night at the FILMCOLUMBIA Festival, in upstate New York. May I just say, see it. It will be released October 27th in New York City and Los Angeles and elsewhere November 10th.

Natalie Maines said she is embarrassed the president is from Texas at a concert in London in 2003 which devastated their standing as the most popular country band in history. The film documents their story, how the public responded and how they are pushing back.

This film is a must see for anyone interested in civil liberties, freedom of speech and of course, Dixie Chicks fans! I came away from this movie touched by these womens' bravery and convictions.

Check the archives on this blog for "now for something completely different" to see their music video, "Not Ready to Make Nice".

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Studio Tour

This is the 4th year the Columbia Berkshire Craft Guild (in upstate NY, USA) is having a studio tour. This is the graphic from our poster. This year, we hired a professional graphic designer, Peter Blandori and a professional event planner. I think those 2 decisions may well lead to the best tour ever. In prior years we have done everything ourselves and that has proven inefficient, at best. Committing to spending more money from the outset is proving to pay for itself.

Studio tours are somewhat ubiquitous in many places. Seeing artists' studios is a wonderful opportunity for anyone, whether you are interested in buying art or if you have a kid who might be inspired by the experience. A community with a strong artist population would benefit from these tours, open studios, what have you. Being able to see and meet working artists is a benefit for the artists as well as the community.

I'll post more about this event, as an idea that can be replicated in other places. Seems to me, given the state of the world, we need all the possitive reinforcement we can get.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Making lots of pots...

I haven't posted in almost a month. Partly that is because I have been up to my eyeballs in a huge project. With the help of Rachell Sebell, Liz McIlvaine, Sandy and Carolyn Beer, davistudio has been working 18 hours a day for the past 7 weeks making almost 3000 pieces of porcelain, one at a time, for a resort in the Carribean. The project is for a restaraunt called Zurra and it is on the island of Anguilla. Bob and Melinda Blanchard found the studio through the web and asked me to do this monumental task early in the summer.

I am almost done and finally have a moment to post about it. I am including a couple of process shots here.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Micro Enterprise

One of the thoughts that occupies my mind is making a living as an artist. While this enterprise has propelled my studio practice for over 10 years (before that, I was content to make abstract sculpture/painting and hope to be "discovered")I am only recently beginning to see the possibilty of success. That is, becoming self-sufficient through my studio output. Many years of training, post art school, in business, marketing and developing production skills have gone into making this theory a reality. It has been far from easy and a huge obstacle is a general sense that art should not be sullied by the market. Well, I argue that art IS in the market and the artist who looks this reality in the eye stands a better chance of financial freedom.

Art for sale. Any artist in their right mind is eager to sell their work. An artist who relies on grants and funding through non-profits is no better than a mendicant and therefore beholden to the limits the funding provides. Government suppport, ie NEA funding became a joke in the 90's as some of the most provacative art funded through that office was censored and raised moral outrage (Robert Mapplethorp, Andre Serrano).

This short piece is the start of what I hope will evolve into a larger conversation, and ultimately a book. While I continue to pursue my studio practice full time, I would like to dedicate a large part of this blog to these ideas. I invite comment and emails. Like Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail" I see writing a book on line an exciting and bracing enterprise. Peer review is tough in a non-academic setting so it is here that a peer review becomes possible.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Berkshire Craft Fair

1) Barbara and Robert Matthews, shoemakers extraordinaire

2) Peggy and Julian at Iro, lovely hand painted fabrics turned into clothes, bags and table linens

3) Natasha Wozniak and Jun, amazing jeweler

4) Ellen Grenadier, Berkshire County potter

5) Diana Fayt, blogging potter

6) Caudia Mills, weaver

7) Jim Holohan metals

I visited the Berkshire Craft Fair this past weekend and said hello to many friends and wonderful artists bravely standing in booths, selling their work. Here is a sampling of my favorites.

I wish I knew how to make this look better, but I have to go make my own pottery now! :)

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Betty Woodman at the Met

I finally saw the Betty Woodman show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last week, during the final week there. Seeing this show was remarkable on several levels. First, Woodman's show is the first one of its kind; a one person show of American ceramics at the Met. Her work is mature, confident and beautiful. Influenced by many historic ceramic styles, Etruscan, Greek, and others as well as architectural fragments, which she combines in relief and sculptural forms based on the vase. As an artist who has embraced painting in ceramics, I am moved and inspired by her work and inovation.

The second important factor, for me, is my relationship with Woodman. I worked for her in 1986 while I was a graduate student at the School of Visual Arts in New York and as such had the opportunity to get to know her and her husband George, also an accomplished artist. The Woodmans are amazing people - inspiring, committed, traveled and enlightened.

I am thrilled to have been a part of their lives and to have seen this exhibition, a tribute to an American master.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Udon bowls

What is sustainability? What does a thriving human race look like on this planet? How can we shift to a more responsible way of being, budgeting natural resources and becoming more environmentally and socially conscious? One aspect of living gently on the earth includes making in artisinal studios. Crafts, art. Our stuff is important. Where we get it, how it is made and by whom, impact not only our homes, but our neighbors as well. If we look to acquire new things from the local potter, weaver, quilter, painter, woodworker, basket maker, we not only live in a more unique environment formed by discreet choices, we also affect the economy in a gentler way. Buying goods from small makers, small in scale yet big in concept, then the social aspect of acquiring takes on a different tone. Seth Godin's new book, Small is the New Big is worth a look to understand how this idea can truly impact business and a curated life. So many levels, so much possibility...

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

and now, for something completely different...

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blogging potters

I am trying to be in touch with other potters who have taken the leap into the blogsphere. I have a new catagory on my links column "blogging potters". I have 3 so far, and I know there are a few more than that, so if you are a potter or know one who is currently blogging regularly, let me know. I will post a link on my side bar.

I like the idea of guilds, of ways for artists to organize, know each other, share inspiration, ideas, resources and such. A kind of open source community for the arts, specifically here, perhaps, for the ceramically inclined.

Historically, potters have been a somewhat low key group, often keeping studio discoveries, glaze and clay formulas and other epiphanies derived from hours of scrupulous work, a bit close to the vest. I hope the 21st century might evolve us into a more open group more inclined to sharing knowledge, which can move the entire process forward.

I love looking at these potters blogs. It is exciting to have a glimpse into the fresh work of other artists, hot out of the kiln, so to speak and to glimpse the ideas and sentiments which inspire us all to move forward.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Summer Flowers

I moved to the country 6 years ago from a concrete jungle and am finally starting to get more comfortable with growing things. Kind of weird, because I always grew things in the city, but somehow up here, it is a bit, well, overwhelming. Everything grows everywhere! Not to mention my husband likes weeds. He is a botanist and just wants to see what happens to nature unimpeded. We've reached a bit of a happy medium and here are a few blossoms from this week's floral explosion.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Amanda Unboomed

Very sad announcement yesterday that Amanda Congdon is leaving Rocketboom. Rumors are flying, was she fired? Did she quit? All I know is that I will miss her at RB, but probably something interesting will arise from the mess. Check out this episode with my cup on the set-

Monday, July 03, 2006

Craft Work

Rob Walker published a great article in the New York Times yesterday about the rising craft phenonenon, as I like to say, artists making art for a living. From the article-

"many craft consumers have borderline sociopolitical motives, seeking in these alternatives to mass-produced, corporate-made goods not just something unique but also a product with no murky labor or environmental-impact back story."

Walker also mentions Craftster, an independent website dedicated to crafting, which is largly associated with the soft arts, yarn and fabric and sewing and such, but does indeed include all things made by hand, preferably well.

Glad to see the Times and Rob Walker in particular on this story. Could just turn out to be the story of the century. ..

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mad in the press

Very nice mention of Greenjeans, Brooklyn in this month's Old-House Interiors. Lucky me, they used this great shot of my plates, styled beautifully by Sibella Court. Thank you Amy and Sibella!

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Summer in the studio

Summer is here, and experimenting with summer colors on dinnerware and vases (for the gardner's boast) has been fun. Here are some new pieces, hot out of the kiln. More on my kiln opening blog.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

United Nations report

Yesterday I got up at 4:30AM, hopped a train to new York City and attended a conference on spirituality and peace at the UN. While the conference itself was a little, well, shall I say, all over the place? It was a remarkable experience. I sat in one of those chairs with the mike, head set, surrounded by booths where interpreters sit during an international meeting where translators are necessary to convey important ideas and opinions of world leaders who don't all speak in one language. (think Nicole Kidman)

The UN has been trashed a lot, especially by the US (John Bolton!! scary dude) because it is seen as ineffective. But, it is only 60 years old. There was a women there who spoke at the end of the meeting. 91 year old Rose said she has been going to meetings there for 50 years and she was enthusiastic about this forum because it was addressing spirituality (not religion) and the openness of communication. The UN is international territory within the US and it is indeed an exciting place to visit.

People there were dressed in all kinds of outfits; traditional dress of native lands and robes of monks, nuns and a culturally diverse micro population. It is a place where everyone can speak and hopefully be heard. It is not a perfect solution to the world's problems, but what is our option? 60 years is not a long time for any institution of this magnitude to exist. If Rose is right, and who can argue with a 91 year old with 50 years experience? Then the UN indeed is on the right track.

Reform is needed, which we discussed. The security council needs serious restucturing. Most important thought, the UN needs funding. It is hopelessly underfunded. In fact, the US hadn't paid its bill in so long, a few years ago Ted Turner paid $1,000,000,000. out of his own pocket to keep our (USA) membership in good standing. That's 1 BILLION dollars, folks! Well, I think that used up his cash, 'cause he's kind of broke (for a billionaire) these days.

Our government will spend $441. billion dollars for the military in 2006 and is planning on spending $462 billion in '07. see Military spending here That's a budget 7 times larger than the next highest spending country in the world, China.

We are so over the top in military spending it's a bit, well, embarrassing? scary? unnecessary?

This money comes from our federal tax dollars. We're paying for this situation! What if we reduced the military budget by, say 10% ($44 billion) and paid our dues to the UN, created a free educational system, universal healthcare and a .7% donation to the developing world (which we have promised but never done)? Hmmm... What could we do with a 20% reduction? 30%? You get the picture.

What's so cool about the UN is it is a place where citizens of the world are invited to participate, not just heads of state. In fact, we are encouraged to be part of the process. The UN represents the potential of a world democracy, imperfect at present (and probably forever) but an inspiring glimpse into the possible.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Diana Fayt - Another Blogging Potter!

Not too many potter's blogging at this point, but a new voice, the talented Diana Fayt, has joined the fold. Check out One Black Bird. Coincidentally (if you believe in coincidences;-)) she lives 10 minutes from me!

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New Kiln Opening post

At last! I've been making pots, firing them and opening kilns regularly, but it has been a while since I posted a new kiln. Check out my kiln opening blog now for some of the latest davistudio fine porcelain goodies, hot out of the kiln. The pieces here are for Greenjeans, Brooklyn, my favorite store... See the new work in person there.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Seth's Done it Again...

Seth's posted a new list called How to Get Traffic to Your Blog. He is famous for NEVER having comments on his blog, and yet, here he breaks with tradition and puts a comment section. What's with that? Doesn't he have any integrity about his own rules?!? What I love about this post is that every other suggestion contradicts the one before and his comment section contradicts his own rule. I think this is a great post which shows how blogs break all the rules, anything goes, it's your blog, do whatever you want and well, there you have it. See if you find it as thought provoking and entertaining as I did...(btw, blogger spell check thinks blog is misspelled...what's with that?)

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Friday, June 02, 2006

More about poppies...

Amy at Greenjeans has done a fab riff on my post about poppies yesterday... Check it out here!

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Poppies and blogging

It's June first and I have had a great time gardening over the weekend. I am posting this picture of poppies, extravagantly blooming in my yard, mostly volunteers, as an homage to Susan Larochelle at ArtEsprit. Her paintings over the winter of poppies are a marvel. Gallery owner and talented painter and teacher, mother and regular blogger. An inspirational friend met through blogging.

Speaking of blogging, it is approaching the 6 month mark since Modern Table Art began. I have to say it has been an eye opening journey. Reading blogs, writing them and sharing comments has opened my world enormously. Living in the country is no longer an isolating experience. Here's to the next 6 months.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

More Women in Power

My mom suggested I post a few more pieces from my Women in Power series, so here goes. This is Elsie de Wolfe, quite possibly the first interior designer.

From a Canadian website dedicated to Interior Design -

“I was an ugly child and I lived in an ugly age,” wrote Elsie De Wolfe in her memoirs. “From the moment I was conscious of ugliness and it’s relation to myself and my surroundings, my one preoccupation was to find my way out of it. In my escape, I came to the meaning of beauty.”
Elsie De Wolfe has been described as the first lady of interior decoration. She was without question the first woman to create an occupation as designer where none had existed before, and in her quest to be admitted to the highest ranks of society she introduced some of the most stylish and tasteful ideas into the American home than had ever been seen.

The Women in Power series celebrates women who influenced radical changes in fashion and design, took bold stands on politics, journalism and society. I'll publish more in this series as the whim suits me!

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Marie Antoinette

Tongue in Cheek gives us a heads up on this new movie by Sophia Coppola. Too bad we in the US have to wait until October to see it!!

Here is my homage to the late queen, from my Women in Power Series...

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Last ICFF entry

My last stop was at the Wallpaper booth, where these two very clever girls (sorry, women!) talked me into a one year subscription. I look forward to getting the mag...

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Mad's curated ICFF wander...

J. Prichard is an artist who has found making wall installations a possible way to make a living as an artist. You go girl! Beautiful, custom and she is a mom!

I like this because it looks like dots, and I am particularly into dots. These are small logs, cut and connected into flat topped furniture. This is some sort of coffee table. Check him out here-

Wall Candy Arts has dots, too! Remember, connect the dots..we're all connected!

These little lovelies were part of the Danish Craft Council exhibit, by Anna-Carin Dahl.

Wonder why the Dane's had the only craft council at the show? Would love to see the design world, art world and all the makers of these things get together...Crafts! Making stuff! Skill!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Small Pond at ICFF

I met Paul Valentine at the ICFF yesterday. Lovely guy who reps a group of mostly British designers. He's British but lives in San Francisco. I particularly liked these 2 pieces, for their nod to surrealism and Duchamp. Design with roots in 20th century art; my cup of tea! ;-)

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Fun Quilts at ICFF

Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle are 2 of my favorite quilters, with their company "Fun Quilts".

I met them the first time I went to the ICFF, in 1999. They continue to make colorful and engaging quilts, busting the boundaries of tradition while being true to their passion. Generous folks, these. Weeks writes a column for Whip Up, the Australian craft blog I try to keep up with. Her latest entry for Whip Up is of Laura Foster, a weaver I went to school with. The world is an ever smaller place! Be nice...

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Jeff Jenkins has some very cool furniture, including this clever piece, called "Euclidean Punk". I admired the "laminate" top, which he corrected me on, saying it is linoleum, (Forbo), not formica, from the Netherlands. As he stroked it, he looked me in the eye and said, "feels like leather". Gotta love the materials!

He is also using industrial felt in a very straight forward way, that I appreciated, being a fan of felt.

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ICFF - the MAD way

I visited the ICFF yesterday and took a few shots of what struck my fancy. Grace, at design*sponge, has a much more comprehensive overview, but these are my faves...

Melissa Gamwell is a recent grad from Pratt, with a focus on industrial design and ceramics. These are some of her things, which I found well done and delightful. She has a new website here.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

3 Blue Eggs

Had to post this picture Susan, from Art Esprit, took this morning in New Hampshire. After last week's flooding up there, it is so cool to see life persist. Spring has sprung and life is taking over, again.