Thursday, August 30, 2007

Venus Vessels

Here are some new bottles I am working on, photo courtesy of George Gruel, photographer extraordinaire. We took a bunch of shots on location at Dog Park, Jan and George's refuge and botanical oasis. The rocks here are part of a dry river bed Jan created. It was a gorgeous day and some beautiful shots were made.

The photographs are part of the show in San Francisco I am getting ready for, Dwell on Design. More new work is coming out the kiln in the next days, will post.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Unknown Monet at the Clark

Yesterday I went to the Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA to see the Monet show. What was especially interesting about this show is the fact that his drawings were little known until recently. The high point for me of the exhibition was looking at his sketchbooks, which are available to view, page by page, on a computer in the galleries. I love drawings...

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sustainable Thursday

Last week while I was in New York, I got a ride from 5th Ave. and 55th St. to Penn Station on a Revolution Rickshaw- Liandro was my host and it was a very different exprience than a cab. Being an open vehicle, I was exposed to the intensity of Times Square in the middle of traffic. Think extreme sports... It reminded me of a science fiction book I forgot to write ;-) about New York after fossil fuels are forbidden on the island of Manhattan. Green, tree lined streets abound because all vehicles are human driven or electric. Ah, to dream...

Did you know that the average life span of a tree in Manhattan is 7 years because of the carbon monoxide of the automobiles and trucks?

Anyway, the human rickshaw experience is wonderful and is in danger because opposition from a lobby of taxi cab and horse and buggy drivers. Seems to me there is room for all of the above in New York and the human factor is especially important in Michael Bloomberg's PLANYC, greening New York City. George Bliss apparently has a campaign going on about this, but I couldn't find anything online today. I did find this article about ominous regulations for this industry.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

New York Gift Show

I dipped my foot back into this huge gift fair held in New York twice a year. I was very recently approached by an old friend to have me as part of his booth in the handmade/fair trade section of the show. John Wallner, of Anohka, kindly sold my things in his booth this past week at the Javits Center.

Being at this show for the first time in 4 years was a refresher course in several areas. I met another old friend, Carole Waller, a fiber artist who lives in bath, England and it was a reunion of wonder. She and I went to Cranbrook 25 years ago and lost touch shortly after graduation. Seeing her in New York was like knowing her all along. I am grateful to be back in touch and her work is, as always, amazing.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I am Carbon Neutral

OK, yes, there I go bragging again. But, I am amazed how easy it is to go 100% carbon neutral. This past Saturday, after realizing at this stage in history our priority is to go carbon neutral, I figured out how to do it. It isn't hard nor is it expensive. I bought my carbon offsets or REC's from Native Energy for $10 a month. If you are interested in a whole lot more info about carbon neutrality, David Suzuki has an exhaustive website about it with piles of links. He's totally cool and you can learn about about him there, too. Another carbon neutral potter I just learned about thanks to Emily Murphy is Soderstrom.

Creating a sustainable business, one which takes into account environmental and social equity while maintaining artistic integrity and making a living, all at the same time, has been a journey to say the least. When I wrote the previous 2 posts, the thought behind them came after years of thought and well, maybe not a little procrastination. Saying my work is eco, sustainable, and now carbon neutral is partly or maybe mostly due to the fact that I have been paying attention to the detail of what it takes to make those claims.

Years ago, after doing the New York Gift Show, I was approached by a multitude of "opportunities" to offshore my production. I made a decision early on to maintain the making of all of my things. It was a tough decision back then. Jonothon Adler had burst into super stardom after he started working with Peruvian potters and his days filled with building a business, not making pots. Since I do tend to be slow, I decided to keep making pots, build my business slowly and see what was what.

Today, I am still making pots. You know what? I love making pots. I do some business and I make a lot of pots. I have total artistic control of my destiny and I am eco! Carbon neutral! Mostly, though, I am doing what I love and making a living. Not a killing, but a living. That works for me. Growing old is inevitable. Growing old with a conscience, that takes a bit a planning, or maybe a little procrastination. Anyway, I just got back from the New York Gift Show, but will write about that tomorrow. Much fodder for the blog this week...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My list

Here is the list I have created, a work in progress, which states why my work is environmentally acceptable? Superior to others? Preferable to purchase based on priorities of an environmental/future better nature? I list these reasons as questions because making a list like this indicates that I have a singular practice. Well, maybe just a practice. All the same, it seems to be important to be more transparent and more forth coming these days about how things are made, which I celebrate.

Anyway, here it is. I can't figure out how to upload a PDF onto Blogger, so this isn't as pretty as the actual. Oh well... Please comment-

davistudio :: fine eco-porcelain

"Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life."
The Earth Charter, 2000

eco-fine porcelain created by davistudio follows eco standards achievable by any and all small studio owners. It is my intention to share the understanding of what constitutes environmental stewardship.
As an eco-potter, environmental stewardship is incorporated into every piece produced in my studio. Everyone who uses and eats off of my porcelain will appreciate the enhanced health and well-being present in the wares. These ideals contribute to a more sustainable life standard on the earth.

Here’s how:
Reducing Energy Use
• davistudio is walking distance from my home, no commuter CO2 contribution.
• Efficient small kilns fire batch quantities of ware that are ordered by specific clients or in small numbers for samples.
• For firings, davistudio uses as much wind and solar energy as is currently available through the New York State Electric and Gas grid (New Wind Energy program). davistudio has a goal to be 100% solar, wind and renewable energy efficient by late 2008.

Using Durable, Non-Toxic Material
• Porcelain is made from a mix of organic grolleg, kaolin, and flint.
• All davistudio glazes are certified food safe and lead free, meeting the labeling standards of proposition 65, the highest standards for ceramic glaze labeling.
• Porcelain is a durable material that will last many lifetimes. As such, it is non-disposable making it an heirloom quality fine art object. Purchasing carefully chosen house wares of this nature encourages clients to buy better not more. In the event of breakage, the object can be disposed of, without toxic leaking or breakdown. It is like a rock. Reuse as a mosaic material is preferable, though!
• All porcelain is dishwasher safe and microwavable.

Maintaining a Clean Working and Waste Recycling Environment
• Studio is kept in clean condition – use of HEPA filter on vacuum and regular wet mopping as standard protocol, eliminates danger of air born silica dust.
• All waste materials are recycled – i.e. unused clay and all mistakes are reused as reclaim (standard practice in any ceramic studio).
• Any particles resulting from rinsing of brushes and buckets are caught in a special filter that isolates any materials for reuse or safe disposal.

Efficiency in Packing and Shipping
• Just in time inventory reduces unnecessary production, limited inventory and therefore low waste. No production overruns.
• Packing materials are all biodegradable or reused.
• Shipping is done in small batches, to specific clients in carefully ordered amounts.

Mary Anne Davis
Owner, davistudio

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007


"Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life."
The Earth Charter

The green issue. I just made a list of why I can claim my porcelain is green. It will be included in all of my promotional materials from now on. Sustainably handmade has been stamped on my pots for years and the verbiage included with each piece touches upon sustainability, handmade, community and all of the things I hold dear. But, a new intensity around what is green is emerging and I have decided to take a stand, thus writing a stronger statement.

One Black Bird had guest blogger Laura Zindel weigh in recently on what constitutes green ceramics and her post really got me going. I am just glad the conversation has truly begun. There are many points in her post I could address and would like to discuss with others interested in eco-production, ceramic or otherwise. It is a huge realm which we are only beginning to address. Pundits and neophytes alike need to think, act and speak according to available knowledge, which boils down to what you know. Colin Beavan recently wrote an entry on his No Impact Man blog called On not letting eco-dogma start the next war. I call it environmental fundamentalism and it just doesn't serve. Intensity is necessary, but there are myriad problems and solutions needing to be worked on and some of them may take years, decades even to resolve and shift. People need to be engaged, not preached to and alienated.

One thing those of us who are really thinking about this stuff can do, is make a claim! Then defend it. As we defend, we learn, we refine, we interact, and we expand our current knowledge base. It is my firm belief that we really don't know what we're doing. But, we are doing it and however imperfectly that is manifesting, we are doing it together. The most essential thing I have taken away from these years of working on environmental sustainability and community development, economic, social and spiritual is that we are all connected. That is what we need to focus on and develop. Perfection is well, just boring, IMHO.

Peace, love and welcome to the new reality...

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Set of Dishes

This set of dishes went out yesterday to couple in Chicago. Interesting living a life that hinges on making pots. Lots of quiet time spent making, punctuated by very intense, active periods of passionate interaction. Coming off of one of those- Will report on that shortly. Meanwhile...

Espresso cup on saucer, on saucer on cake plate on dinner plate...

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