Thursday, February 28, 2013

Unloading, Cleaning, Sanding, Looking




Anagama loaded for its ninth firing since May, 2011. For this firing I have constructed additional shelves in the firebox to support work. When placed directly on the floor the pieces became buried in coals too quickly. With this method I can allow for areas to remain exposed for longer periods of time, thus building up layers of ash before becoming buried in embers. Placement is key to color development.


Door is bricked up and preheated over night with propane. 



Cub Creek residents Jessie, Abby, and Gabby unbricking the door after the cooling period. 


The weather changed as soon as we began unloading. Although cold and rainy, the ember bed still contains active coals even after three and a half days of cooling. Plenty warm inside the kiln! Come July we will be sweating profusely while unloading.  



Pieces in their prime. The excitement of unloading work from the firebox never seems to last long enough. Surfaces display an amazing amount of variation (both subtle and dramatic) from interaction with coals. It always amazes me to look back at photos taken during unloading after I have scrubbed and removed loose ash from the work. Something new is continuously revealed in the days following the unloading. The Tea Bowl in the foreground was pulled into the firebox using a long metal rod at the end of the firing. The high iron clay shifts beautifully when cooled in reduction amongst the coals. Photos of this bowl to come...



View of the other side. I've revisited these large forms which convey a very organic fullness - almost as if expanding from the inside much like fruit and vegetables. I admire the natural irregularity of these forms that results from the process of coil building. 



Here are the same two pieces as in the photo above - both cleaned of loose ash. The form on the left opened up beautifully! I couldn't be happier to see the forms change from the intense heat of the firing. Accidents like these always reaffirm my interest in using clay as a means of documentation for change. 



Tea cups, whiskey cups require the greatest amount of care after the firing to ensure that they are both comfortable to use and reflective of the material of which they are made. I find it difficult to start work on beautiful sunlit mornings. Pots deserve to be seen in natural light. 


An arrangement of several several favorites, for now. It is much to soon to become attached to particular pieces at this point in time. Everything continues to evolve with time.

Occasionally it takes many months in order for me to finally understand a piece or appreciate it for its peculiar qualities. The plate on the upper left of this photo was loaded in the first four firings of our anagama. After its final time in the kiln I concluded that it wasn't going to get any better, so I discarded it - only to find myself speechless after discovering it months later in a box of forgotten work. 

There is something about objects changed by time that escapes the aesthetic vocabulary. I could come up with no good reason why, after many forgotten months, the plate expressed something which it had not expressed before. Perhaps it was calling out all along - it just took me this long to hear its voice.




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Natural States of Change



Mountains into stone
Roots into dirt
When does one cease
and become the other?

     The air was warm enough for a walk today. Wandering is the greatest cure for a frazzled mind after a long firing. I ventured down the road and later off into the woods. During my walk I found myself becoming attracted to certain qualities within particular objects. First, it was a palm sized quartz stone displaying variegated layers of opaque light pink and darker red-orange. There was something about its form and surface – much like that of a fragmented mountain. I pocketed the stone and trudged through the damp leaves into the woods.
     I encountered a tree stump whose center had rotted far beyond what would be recognizable as plant matter. The ½ inch thick bark and exposed root structure remained – providing the only reference to its once being a tree. Several feet away, small mounds of fluffy matter rested on top of the leaves – stumps whose ability to retain their form had been abandoned long ago. I approached another eroded stump that still retained the slightest trace of its age and removed a fistful of of matter. Instantly, it becoming dirt in my hand and fell through my fingers. It's smell was invigorating and brought back memories of digging holes in my family garden when I was young. After a long afternoon of digging, the evening would approach, bringing with it the damp scent of dew. I remember placing my face into to the displaced dirt as I stood in the shoulder high hole, enjoying the ineffable scent. What was it I smelled back then? Today?
     I continued walking to the ravine from which I excavate one of my clays. Approaching it from the opposite direction I began digging with my hands through the dirt of its banks to see when the dirt shifts to clay. Surely enough, only a small layer of dirt and tree roots separated me from white clay, sand, and quartz.
     I remembered the quartz stone in my pocket as I let the clay crumble through my hands. At one point in the history of time, both this clay and the stone likely existed as one source, in one location. Hundreds of thousands of years resulted in their separation, transportation, and eventual erosion into the granular mass now located in the remains of the ravine. In this moment I could not help but be overcome by a humbling sensation of immeasurable time and change.

     One commonly claims to know things as they exist according to our viewpoints. “What color is the sky?” “How wide is the tree?” “How tall is the mountain?” To answer “light blue, two feet wide, and 5,700 feet” is to answer from one perspective in time, not in accordance with something's natural state. The sky's hue will change, the tree will grow and fall, and the mountain will slowly erode. Yet, surely if the sky is light blue, the tree is two feet wide, and the mountain is 5,700 feet tall then this observation must be fact until it changes.
     I thought of the stone, the clay, the tree stump and dirt - One material transforming into another. Surely we do not refer to clay as stone, nor to tree as dirt. Yet stone' will later become clay and the tree, dirt.


Where is the afternoon cloud
sitting above the horizon?

See it now,
Hiding in the moonlight.




Friday, February 22, 2013

February Sale

In preparation for the new work waiting to be unloaded from the kiln I'm offering 20% off all items listed through my etsy site through the end of February. Enter coupon code FEBRUARY2013 to redeem the discount. Hope you find something you like. Please click here to open my etsy page. 



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sipping Cups for Sale



I have four new whiskey cups from my December firing available for sale on Etsy. All perfect for tea, sake, whiskey, or any other savored beverage. Please visit my site at www.etsy.com/shop/mliburg










Exhibition Updates

For those who may be interested in viewing work in person I thought I'd share some photos and information of work currently on exhibition or to be exhibited within the year. Please visit the gallery web pages for more information.



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The following five pieces are featured in 'Atmospheric Perspective' at Saratoga Clay Arts Center in Schuylerville, NY. Other artists featured in the show include Kenyon Hansen, Fred Herbst, Justin Rothshank, Tara Wilson, and Lindsay Oesterritter.  The exhibition will run until March 2nd with a closing reception on February 24th.

for more information please visit: www.saratogaclayarts.org


Ember Buried Vessel
Native Virginia High Silica Stoneware with Flashing Slip
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012





Tea Bowl
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware with Flashing Slip
Wood Fired
2013




Ember Buried Vase
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012





Small Jar
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware
Wood Fired
2013




Tea Bowl
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware
Multiple Wood Firings
2012




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The following three pieces were selected by Juror David Toan to be included in Terra Incognito's 'Coffee, Tea or...#2' exhibition. The show of drinking vessels will open on Feb 23rd and will conclude on March 27. Work will be available online or through the gallery starting Feb 24th. 

please visit www.terraincognitostudios.com for more information.



Tea Bowl
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware with Flashing Slip
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012




Whiskey Cup
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware with Glaze
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012




Tea Bowl
Native Virginia High Silica Stoneware
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012



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Juror Dan Anderson selected the following Tea Bowl to be included in 'Red Lodge Juried National 2'  at Red Lodge Clay Center. The exhibition will be open from May 3 - June 14 and will be available online as of May 6.  

Please visit www.redlodgeclaycenter.com for more information.


Ember Buried Tea Bowl
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware
Wood Fired, Pulled into Firebox at End of Firing
2012


Ember Buried Tea Bowl *Detail*




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I am very pleased to have been invited as a participant for this year's international tea bowl exhibition - 'Chawan' hosted in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. The exhibition will feature works of 100 artists from all around the world. The exhibition will open this October. Please stay tuned for more details. 



Tea Bowl with Scar
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware with Flashing Slip
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012



Ember Buried Tea Bowl
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware with Glaze
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012



Ember Buried Tea Bowl
Native Virginia High Iron Stoneware with Flashing Slip
Wood Fired with Ember Contact
2012