THE POWER OF BLOSSOM
Opening reception Friday, September 13, 6-9 pm. Gallery hours, every Saturday & Sundaythrough October 13, 12-5 pm and weekdays by appointment.
The Power of Blossom, opening September 13, draws out the beautiful subtleties of the metaphorical connection between people and plants in their blooming phases. Painter Ines Sunand ceramic artist Janine Sopp, in a courageous collaboration inspired by the organic environments translated through their work, blend their forms and styles together in unique ways to explore themes of womanhood, strength, and the natural world.
Ines’ paintings meld her training in abstraction and traditional Chinese brush work, which sit well beside the lithe ceramic sculptures Janine brings to life. The openness of their artistic processes takes its own blossoming form, in the pieces created in a unique collaboration– ceramicist sending work to be painted, painter sending it back to be critiqued and fired in the kiln.
This is the first time these two respected female Brooklyn artists, each representing a spectrum of Asian-American histories and influences, have been shown together. Their mindful exchange of process and work, entrusting one another to openly assess and participate in each other’s form, creates a new environment which is to them analogous to the blossoming forms which take shape from the myriad budding flowers devising any particular view of a landscape of verdant abundance, from which they draw deep inspiration.
The opening reception will coincide with Greenpoint Gallery Night, and will transform Gallery 1205 into a garden installation of color and form to welcome visitors on Friday, September 13 from 6-9. Gallery hours are every Saturday and Sunday thereafter from 12-5 pm through October 13 and weekdays by appointment.
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When you look at the photos taken by Winona Barton-Ballentine you are instantly swept into a world that is all encompassing. From bands like Animal Collective and Beach House and glowing fashion models to the stark landscapes of old industrial towns, farms, campers, and textiles resembling the organic matter she thoughtfully placed on them. As diverse as her subject matter may be, it is easy to see a connection in all her images: a shared life and resilience to all things that survive under the same sun (which happens be how she almost exclusively uses to light her work).
Winona’s photographs can be seen on the Clay Space 1205 website. Her sensitivity and keen eye for detail give a glimpse into the life of the urban potter.
After six years of working in commercial and fashion photography, she found herself being called to focus on other issues. Her hometown of Binghamton, NY had found itself in the middle of the fracking debate and Winona became eager to use her talents to highlight this issue and others. She enrolled in grad school and began a whole new artistic journey.
Winona often incorporates nature into her work, fallen leaves, a wave receding back into the sea, or the side of rock shelf. Although they may sound common place, to view them though her lens transforms them into something close to divine. Her connection with nature even translates to her method of printing. Winona will sometimes choose to print using a handmade soy ink digital mimeograph. A labored process that leaves her with books pressed with a real tangible life to their slightly raised images.
Her creative voyages, well documented on her website, show a deep desire to take in and appreciate the world at large. The thought provoking, evocative details of her work will no doubt leave her viewers longing for more.
You are invited to join artist Ben Howort the opening of At the Banks of Uncertainty, Saturday June 15th from 2-4pm. This 66-piece wall hanging installation is the last in a series of four shows featuring artists selected by InFUSION Gallery. Based on the theme of Wishes or Dreams this ceramic sculpture was inspired by the images created when particles collide. At the Banks of Uncertainty explores the beauty and paradox of things we create in our pursuit of knowledge. Hope to see you there!
Crawling through Clay
Chung Hee Han
Curated by Ulrika Strömbäck
Opening reception May 31st 5pm-9pm
By appointment through june 23
1205 Manhattan ave, suite 241
Brooklyn, NY, 11222
The show borrows it’s title from Crawling Through Mud Associations (Sodeisha), a ceramic movement that emerged in Japan 1948. By taking the name from a Chinese glazing term, the members wanted to highlight their complete absorption into the medium. They questioned all the conventions of ceramic traditions: form, decoration, and function. They utilized the material to come to terms with their own existence and addressed issues of presentation, social hierarchy and politics.
Crawling through Clay brings together three artists, that today, continue to push the possibilities and associations of clay with a strong emphasis on creating a sensory experience and physical interaction with the material.
Fanny Allié questions existence and the human relationship with our own bodies, memories and society at large. She uses natural and commonly available materials such as clay, fabric, wood, paper and plaster. One of her pieces in this show bears an imprint of a face, suggesting the ceramic process of mold making while giving reference to memories and the relationship between objects and our bodies.
Chunghee Han lets the viewer enter into an unfamiliar event or situation in order to create a heightened consciousness of our bodies and our senses. The piece in this show is comprised of shards of ceramic embedded in tiles of transparentlatex. As the tiles are walked on or touched we can experience the ceramic shard breaking under our feet, and thereafter watch it regain its original shape. Chunghee is giving the fired piece of ceramic the properties of wet unfired clay, a malleable material that can be modeled and remodeled innumerable times.
Larisa Daiga combines ceramics, video and sound. Her pieces are multi-sensory experiences of clay as a material. They consist of large, hollow ceramic balls with a camera mounted in its interior. The balls are set in motion and the camera records what the ceramic object sees. The hollow, rhythmic sound of the ceramic as it rolls over the floor with light entering through the opening and cracks in the walls of the piece appear to grow bigger through its sometimes aggressive rocking motions, giving the viewer a rare opportunity to experience the properties of fired clay from the inside.
Following the ideals of the artists associated with Crawling Through Mud Association, the three artists in Crawling Through Clay are moving away from considerations of conventional form, decoration and function. Instead, their work focuses on the deeper understanding the physicality of the material as a way to address issues of existence by creating pieces that reflect on our bodies and senses.
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Clay Space 1205 celebrates 7 years of community and creativity
Join us for a group show of former and current members’ work exhibiting the diversity of the Clay Space community. An idea that started as a small spark has vitrified into a dynamic collective of talented and successful clay artists. Our supportive environment helps members follow their dreams, both within Clay Space and beyond to new studios and growing businesses.
By: Kim Gilmour
I discovered Potters for Peace (pottersforpeace.com) about a year ago in the classified section of Ceramics Monthly. They run an annual 2-week brigade in Nicaragua where you learn about what their organization does and you get to travel through the western part of the country to visit several different pottery villages. We went to places far off the beaten track. Places that are not in guide books. It’s not your typical “tour.” We did not travel in a fancy tour bus, we did not eat at expensive, fancy places, and we didn’t stay in high-end hotels. We ate in local restaurants, sometimes the only restaurant in town. We ate in people’s homes. Sometimes we even cooked our own meals. We stayed in everything from a dorm-style eco-lodge with 7 of us in one room to sleeping outdoors on cots.
This year’s brigade consisted of 8 people from across the country and Canada – Ottawa, Los Ojos, California, Missoula, Montana, Asheville, NC, etc. They ranged in age from 28 to 69 – 7 women and 1 man. Everyone was a potter or sculptor except for one – she was a Cultural Geographer and a collector of pottery. We were also joined by Robert Pillers, leader of the brigade and the PFP representative in Nicaragua, his son-in-law, Alvaro, Doña Luz from Jinotega who was our guest traveler – a Nicaraguan potter joins the brigade every year, and Jorge, our driver.
Potters for Peace is an organization that trains people to make ceramic water filters. These filters have been proven in over 40 research tests to eliminate 98-99.8% of bacteria. We visited one of their two factories in Nicaragua, in a town called San Marcos, just outside of Jinotepe. The clay they use comes from the local region. They mix it with water and sawdust in a Soldner clay mixer. It’s then formed into 15 lb blocks and formed into filters in the hydraulic press mold. Once it’s bisqued, it’s painted with a thin coat of colloidal silver. They cost $12 (a few $ more if you need the plastic bucket with spigot) and last an average of 2 years. More cost efficient than a Britta filter which is why I brought one home with me!
Each place we visited we were told the history of it, given a demonstration, and then were allowed to get our hands dirty. This was my first experience with a kick wheel, which is all anyone in the country has. What a workout! Each of us on the brigade also got to demonstrate and teach. Everyone has different skills and skill sets – production potter, professor, student, etc. I learned more in these 2 weeks than I think I ever learned in the 8 years of classes I took.
The first pottery village we visited was up in the mountains, just outside Jinotega. The last 30-45 minutes of the drive here was along a road where a lot of the fighting happened during the revolution in the ’80’s. Ceramíca de negra, a cooperative of several women, headed by Doña Luz, who was the Nicaraguan potter selected to travel with us this year. Once they throw their pieces, they cover them in a slip, then burnish them with stones 2 times. The 3rd and final burnishing is done with a cedar stick. They are then fired once in a wood fire kiln for about 2 hours. As soon as they remove them from the kiln, they cover them in cedar chips or dry pine needles which turns them black.
Ducuale Grande is in Condega and the women here are known for their slip decorating. The slip is “painted” on the pieces, fired, and then washed off. This process leaves behind a beautiful shadow-like design. Several years ago they had a large order of 18,000 pieces from Pier I Imports, which enabled them to build several kilns. They are still fairly busy, but their leader died a few years ago and there hasn’t been anyone charismatic enough to replace her. Their sales have been slipping recently because of this. Also, the older women are reluctant to teach their skills to the younger women in the village. PFP has been trying to encourage them to change and adjust, but it’s been a slow process.
An hour plus ride over the mountains on dirt roads to San Juan de Limay. El Calero and La Naranja are two tiny (4-6 houses) villages. In El Calero they make chicken water jugs. These jugs are entirely hand built. They recently received a kick wheel, but no one knows how to use it yet. PFP will send a volunteer up there soon to spend about a week with the women teaching them. El Naranja is a small studio with Carlos, one of the few male potters we visited, his mother, and sister. They also make the chicken water jugs, plus small drums. Carlos was an excellent thrower and used many different and unique tools to create texture on his pots. He also showed us how he made his clay.
The favorite place for most of us was Santa Rosa, a socialist cooperative started in 1983, just as the revolution was beginning. It’s the only community of its kind that has lasted this long. The potters in the village are a young couple – Isidro and Consuela, their 10-year-old dauther, Cindy, and Consuela’s mother and aunt. Isidro does all the throwing and Consuela does most of the decorating. This was the homestay part of the trip – we all got to stay in the homes of the potters and their family. The community is on 700 acres of land. They found their clay out past all the houses, across a field, and a short ways into the jungle. It’s black clay, but turns a light brownish/reddish color once it’s fired. I showed Cindy how I make my shell bowls and a few minutes later I looked over and she and her aunt are standing there making them! Much of the clay in the country was too groggy and not very conducive to my bowls, but sometimes it worked quite well.
Somotillo is not far from the Honduran border. Loma Panda is a tiny community about 40 minutes outside town and we had quite an adventure getting there. In order to reach Loma Panda we had to ride along a bumpy dirt and stone (sometimes boulder)-ridden road standing in the back of a pick-up truck. The years of subway riding came in handy! Then we had to hike up a small mountain for about 30 minutes. This village was completely wiped out by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, but the women rebuilt and kept their livelihood going. They make dolls with moveable limbs and teapots. They use the 100 Japanese teapots poster for inspiration – mimicking the designs, but using their own style.
The next day we crossed over into Honduras for a day and a half to the southwest port town of San Lorenzo. We had a lunch of ceviche and fried fish on the waterfront and then took a boat ride around the Mangrove swamps in the Gulf of Fonseca. From the water we could see Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. The pacific was on the other side of the Mangroves. We visited Alfareria Lenca Magu. Apparently there was a misunderstanding and they didn’t expect us that day. They were busy trying to get a large order done, but still were happy to tell us their story as they sat there burnishing large pots. Most of their pieces are heavily decorated black and white designs. They get the clay black by smoke firing them after they’ve been bisque fired and decorated.
El Ojoche was the probably the least experienced group of potters we visited. But, they were some of the most eager to learn and to really start moving their business forward. 7 women had already formed a cooperative and they all had their assigned jobs – quality control, treasurer, etc. They also had a kiln, but they didn’t have a space where they could all work together. At the moment they were working individually. They didn’t have much clay for us all to work with, but what little they did have was used for a few demonstrations by a couple people in the brigade. These women were very eager to learn. One of the other brigadistas, Julie, and I had brought over some tools to donate. The last bunch we had we gave to this group – Alvaro helped them record an inventory of each piece. Our group pretty much decided that we wanted to sponsor these women, so we’ll each send whatever amount of money we can periodically that we’ve been assured will go directly to helping these women build a communal studio space and whatever else they need.
The last pottery village we visited is the famed San Juan de Oriente, about an hour south west of Manugua. One of the more prominent potters in this community is Valentín Lopez. He put on an elaborate performance for us of the history of Nicaragua and how San Juan de Oriente came to specialize in pre-Columbian style pottery. San Juan de Oriente is more a small town than a village. We visited several of the potters around town. They all have a similar style, but some are definitely more talented than others. Because of its close proximity to Managua, the capital, and Granada, the well-known colonial city, San Juan de Oriente is a stop on the tourist route. Fortunately for us, we were the only tourists around that day.
This trip exceeded all my expectations. Potters for Peace is doing amazing work with these communities. I’m not a group traveler, but this group of people and all the people we met in our travels were amazing. I learned an incredible amount from all of them and from Robert and Alvaro. My Spanish improved a little bit too. Nicaragua is a beautiful country with beautiful people. The trip and all the people involved provided loads of inspiration for me, so hopefully I can find enough time this year to put it all to good use!
The trip wasn’t ALL about pottery though. There are 14 volcanoes in Nicaragua, with San Cristóbal being the largest. And, we got to spend a beautiful afternoon and overnight next to Laguna de Apoyo, the largest volcanic crater lake in Central America.
CRAFTING THE LANDSCAPE:
Multimedia group show Landscape Story blurs line between craft and fine art.
Opening: October 26, 6-9pm and by appointment
Location: CLAY SPACE 1205:
1205 Manhattan Avenue, Suite 241, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Opening October 26, Gallery 1205 will feature Christine Gedeon, Mitsutaka Konagi, and Ulrika Strömbäck in a show exploring themes of topography, repetition, urban environments and constructed worlds. The artists each use materials and techniques traditionally associated with the craft movement but the work moves freely in and out of such distinctions.
Working with a limited palette and an improvisational process, Christine Gedeon’s pieces are inspired by aerial-view landscape drawings and maps.From this inspiration she invents plots and spaces and plays on abstraction of something usually designed for precision and specificity.
Mitsutaka Konagi’s process in clay is refined and methodical. With an incredible attention to detail Mitsutaka creates miniature building blocks. Individually crafted, they are assembled on both horizontal and vertical surfaces to create a plane of texture defined not only by the pieces themselves, but the shadows they create.
The mixed media sculptures created by Ulrika Strömbäck are investigations of movement and gravity. Chance, accidents and randomness are given room to act within structured systems, simultaneously ruining some constructions and creating situations for new ones to grow. While her forms hint at traditional vessels they have been reconstructed to become something far more elusive.
Landscape Story presents three artists simultaneously working in the craft tradition while moving to blur the lines of such distinctions. With no slight to traditional artisans, Gedeon, Konagi, and Strömbäck take a playful wink at the past while stepping confidently to a future wondrous and unknown.
at “Locating The Sacred” Festival Friday, September 14, 2012 | 12-8pm
Tenri Cultural Institute 43 West 13th Street #A New York, NY 10011
(212) 645-2800 | http://www.tenri.org
The concept of the Mobile Tea Garden is to transform the viewers’ state of mind through the mys- terious power of tea in an artful setting. All participant artists share the same vision and generously contribute their talent and time to make an indoor tea garden, based on the principle of Wu-Xing (fire, wood, water, metal, earth). Our creative theme is “Being Wild Is Living A Natural State.” Enes has collaborated with seven artists to create an overgrown wild garden for you to experience the moment of tea. The installation includes: Large-scale naturally dyed silk textiles by Kyoto Textile Master Akihiko IzukuraAn 8 paneled-screen of contemporary Chinese brush painting by the Hong Kong based artist Simon YungVibrant 3D ceramic installations for the ground by Janine SoppA sound installation, “Aquatic Chandelier”, by Taunya van der Steen-MizelVideo Art by awarding-winning documentary director, Heather GreerA tidal movement piece with shakuhachi music, Listening To The Body Fluid, by Jayoung Yoon and Zachary Sinner. Lastly, our wonderful Tea Volunteer Team will harmonize the art and serve you a generous cup of tea.At the Mobile Tea Garden we engage all your five senses and together tell a story of “A Cup of tea; a cup of humanity” There will be a pop-up shop to feature 50 pieces of handmade silk wearable art from Kyoto, exquisite loose tea from China, Taiwan and Japan, paintings and ceramics from the participating artists. If you were the patrons of Wild Lily Tea Room in Chelsea, please come to visit and shop to support our vi- sion to serve free tea to all people alike.
HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS FROM THE MOBLE TEA GARDEN!
As I sat in Milk and Roses with Andrea Miranda Salas, I hovered over a spread out pile of full sized images of her latest show at Brooklyn Workshop, “Elements of Protection: the Process of Progress”. The show looks incredible and I could see why this gallery was the perfect space to view her work, a space that reflects the authentic nature of Andreas pieces. The white brick walls rest under thin yellow tracing paper that Andrea has hung behind her beautiful, hand made rope and slip cast porcelain neck pieces.
Andrea tells me that in the beginning of the process, her work has always been very artifact driven. “I live with all these pieces for a long time, I have them in my house, and I hang them on the walls consistently, and I shift them around. And slowly they just become, something.”For this collection of work, Andrea focused on the idea of protection of one’s Self, through delicate armor. One part of her artist statement really struck me. “These shields, mostly composed of porcelain, which has the quality of both strength and extreme fragility, provide an ironic sense of protection. They become less a function of actual protection, but instead, become a facade that shields you from others; a symbolic representation of self preservation. As these works unfold in the series, they evolve from solid constrictive shields into softer forms, working with softer more permeable materials. Almost symbolic of the self becoming lighter, softening and finally surrendering.” One can relate emotionally to these very tangible, wearable, works. Even without reading the artist statement behind the work, one can’t help but feel this depth of soul in the works.The cotton string that Andrea has woven into her own delicate layer of armor looks almost religious in it’s purity. While taking a class in weaving at the Textile Center, she found herself merging these delicate threads with the artifacts of porcelain she had begun making were starting to evolve with and into the string. “Making rope is really easy actually, unless you have a cat, then it gets a little messy.” Andrea joked. But the incorporation of the cotton string in this work really pushes it to another level. The loosely woven cords of cotton in the form of a chest plate descends naturally from the twisted ropes and makes you feel a sense that perhaps you are already wearing this armor in someway
It’s not uncommon for Andrea to put her heart into the process of crafting her works. When I asked her if there was a project in her past that she was maybe most proud of, she began to tell me an adorable story about two match sticks stuck together. She had found them in a match book at a bar, and something about the way they were stuck together had her see this as a special moment. She loved them enough to take them home with her and save them for quite awhile, until one day she decided to cast them in porcelain, (you can see beautiful photos of this process here.) She explains at the end of the story that she likes the idea of taking the porcelain matches and placing them in match books at bars or restaurants around town. “You throw it in there and someone else finds it, and it’s magical.”
Andrea has been working in Ceramics a Clayspace1205 for 5years now, and has formed lasting bonds with many of the other artists. Some she’s even collaborated with and plans to continue doing so in the years to come Andrea’s work is on display to be viewed by appointment at The Brooklyn Workshop, 393 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn (718) 797-9427. There are more photos of Andrea Miranda Salas’ work on her website. Keep a close eye, as she plans to incorporate a line of “more accessible” neck pieces for retail. Also, if you are ever in a bar and happen to flip open a box of matches and find two porcelain ones stuck together, you’ll know where the wink is coming from 😉