Blog Title Photo

Blog Title Photo

Friday, October 17, 2014

"The Shaman's Love Box"



"Wearing headdresses, of fur and feather,
 Some Shamans and Brahmans got together.
 They met two sorceresses from another tribe,
 And tried to forget their Shamanic vibe."


This is another one of my crazy figure drawing boxes that I've listed on Etsy.

Why do I put these hats that look like sandwiches on people's heads? I'm not sure. All I know is that I like drawing hats, and the hats that really impress me are the really big ones, the elaborate ones.

Shamanic hats from around the world are unique in shape and design. Traditional native American and Siberian shaman's dress in colorful finery of furs, and feathers, and beadwork. Such costumes speak of a connection with a psychic and mythological world, a connection with forces beyond the daily realm of experience.

The Shaman lives on the periphery of society. He or she is generally not included in most group activities. He is tolerated, paid for, kept up by a kind of group will as a sort of insurance practice for bad times. For when were Shamans consulted? When all was well, when crops were good, when the tribe was at peace? Not on your life. During such times the Shaman would be laughed at, and barely thrown a bone to nibble on. But as soon as some reckoning with the underworld needed to be made, some dialogue with primal forces of nature, or a debt settled with ancestors, or ghosts, or demonic creatures, then the Shaman was in huge demand. It was in such times that he or she was paraded out in the open in all his or her finery for all the tribe to see.

Naturally the Shamanic caste and Brahmanic castes have something in common. They are conveyors of cultural liturgy, of knowledge, of the power to heal, to worship to conduct rituals, marriages, death rites etcetera.

Shamans are people too . . . they marry . . . they suffer all the usual temptations  . . infidelity greed lust, the coveting of power etcetera. However their profession places their work in a kind of sacred trust, which they must never betray. This is why Shamans, when they are not Shamans, are in a kind of ecstasy. The weight of the world has come off their shoulders.

Hence Shamans and Brahmans are, and were similar . . . and always will be.


"The Buddhist Queen"



"High in a palace in old Indonesia,
 There once was a Queen who practiced amnesia,
 She gave up all knowledge in exchange for her vows,
 To meditate on the Buddha without wearing her clothes."

This box is a what I call medium sized . . nine inches in length, larger than the other boxes here. More views of this piece are on Etsy.

Again the recurring theme of a woman in meditation . . . this time I exploited the flow of temoku loosely applied over Shino and wax resist to create the shimmering halo effect of a crown.

The rhymes and titles are something I write to complete the work, in my mind, in my imagination. My pots are never perfect, but by writing something about them I hustle them along towards their destination, a little like a shepherd calling out to a flock.

"Move along there!"

"Night of Revelry"




"At a festival in France that was somewhat arty,
  People started to dance, to enliven the party."


This is a High-Fired Carbon-Trapped Shino Glazed Stoneware Box, decorated with Figures. The lively white lines with lascivious tones of red made me think of the title, "Night of Revelry".

Of course the title, the name, even the images on the side are all fantasy! The work is just a piece of ceramic, innate rock, as truthful to fire as a puddle of melted pyrometric cones. Everything we do is marked and defined by perceptions. The effect of naming is key in this process. The assignation of words to an object forever colors its perception, even to those who cannot read.

The effect was made by drawing on the Shino glaze with wax resist, and precisely controlling the flow of reduction atmosphere around the piece during the firing. There is no application of oxide washes.

Approximate Measurements 7 1/8" Long, 4 1/2" Wide, 31/2" High, and weighs 1.43 kg. It's listed on Etsy.

"Box for a Masked Ball"



"After the ball she put her mask,
 With a beaked nose from a lover past."

I think these boxes are a place for me to develop subconscious content, in so far as I have no idea what I am going to draw until the drawing's done. Then I have to identify, for myself only, why I made it, and what it's about. Hence the rhyme and title, they are for me. You may think my notions about my work are entirely incorrect, or even inappropriate. 

An artist is simply one that recognizes that the subconscious is the real motivator in life, and one who learns to work with it. 

There are some other pictures of this piece on Etsy.

"Three Critters went to Town"

"Three storybook critters put on clothes,
  And headed to the city, . . .
  . . . for what reason? Who knows?"

Another of my boxes made with a light high-fire clay, glazed with Shino, and drawn on with a brush and various oxide washes before firing at Cone 10.

This box is on Etsy of course.




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