Not only did I score a great teapot… but my friend & metalsmith Amy Taylor also made a special bracelet just for me!!! So much fun to play with her in Hinsdale today… but even better when she makes cool things for me!!! Made of oxidized sterling silver. Seven links. Each with a different pattern & style. And two of Amy’s “trademark” hinges! Such a wonderful surprise… from a wonderful friend!!!
You know I’ve said it for years… I LOVE HAVING TALENTED FRIENDS!
Seeing them & playing with them at the art fairs is a lot of fun. So this weekend is playing out to be extra fun with some many of “My Talented Friends” participating in the Hinsdale Fine Art Fair along with me. So imagine my surprise & excitement when I “walked away with” one of Cory McCrory‘s incredible teapots to add to my collection?! And the real kicker is that she recently told everyone on Facebook that she might be done making teapots for quite awhile. She’s kind of burnt out on them, and ready to focus on making some new fun pieces! So color me thrilled with my new whimsical masterpiece by Cory McCrory!!! She’s a sweetie… and so is my new teapot!!!
Don’t forget that tomorrow is the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival. I will be in Booth #101. But if I alone am not enough to drag you out to the ‘burbs, you’ll also see a bunch of “My Talented Friends.” Whimsical potter & sculptor Cory McCrory, hinged jeweler Amy Taylor, watercolorist Anne Gilna, precious painted pots by Nancy Gardner, stained glass windows by Richard Diens & crystalline glazed pottery from The Pottery Boys!!! And over a hundred more artists to boot. Plenty of art. Plenty of fun. Come on out this weekend!!!
My day started with a bike ride along the lakefront. Much like many other mornings.
However, I had somehow forgotten once again that “other people” may want to use my bike path once in awhile. I mean, I get so accustomed to pretty much having the entire bike trail to myself, gladly sharing with a few joggers, pretty much every morning. Then all of a sudden, on a busy Saturday morning, there were THOUSANDS of people on MY bike trial. The nerve!!!
So while I was getting re-accustomed to “sharing” the bike trail, if I must, it was pretty nice to see the Avon Breast Cancer Walk using the path. So many people out walking for a great cause. And it was great fun to see one of my former bosses Bob Smusz, the “Good Bob”, doing the walk with his sister. Very touching, as she had just had a round of chemotherapy days earlier… and was out there walking with the rest of them like a trooper!
I finally made it down to Navy Pier where I met up with my friend Nancy. We met MANY years ago biking and have been friends ever since. She’s even the one who got me started taking pottery classes at Lillstreet. So it’s all her fault… Anyways, our plan was to pedal down to Hyde Park to visit the 57th Street Art Fair. So we head out South into the wind…
Once we were there, it was so much fun to walk around with Nancy, looking at a lot of great art and seeing a lot of “My Talented Friends.” So if you’re going to the 57th Street Art Fair tomorrow, be sure to stop by and say “hi” for me!
Sarah Chapman - my favorite metalsmith mostly using oxidized sterling silver
Karen Patinkin – decoratively glazed porcelain pottery
Roberta Polfus – the sweetest carved porcelain vessels, miniatures & pods
Delores Fortuna – functional stoneware pottery
Judy Zeddes – printmaking
Amy Taylor – groovy “hinged” jewelry
Glynnis Lessing – sgraffito porcelain pottery
Glenn Woods – one of “The Pottery Boys” with beautiful crystalline glazes
Mary Dye – functional soda-fired pottery
Teresa DeVer – gold & silver chain maille jewelry
I would also highly recommend the pulled pork sandwich… but I digress…
It was also fun to finally meet Mark Williams. He’s a potter up in Michigan who makes great textured pots. I’ve enjoyed them for years… perfect geometric pattern repetition… what’s not to like?! Anyway, the story goes like this… One of my students was up in the South Haven area of Michigan and stopped by a few pottery places. She came back and told me all about two of them. One of which was Mark Williams of Blue Star Pottery. Lori was impressed by his textures & patterns, and she knew I would like it as well. And she was right. So it was kind of ironic, and a great surprise, to finally meet him at the 57th Street Art Fair.
Also, while you’re there, if you have time you should also swing by the Community Arts Festival adjacent to the 57th Street Art Fair. Not quite the same caliber, some a little quirky, but some really fun stuff to see. If you go through that “Community” part, be sure to say “hi” to more of my friends…
Marian Casto-Palanyk – carved porcelain pottery
Melissa Banks – chain maille jewelry
Mary Zehnder – sculpture with a Southwestern flair!
With tomorrow being the kick-off of my Summer Art Fair season, I figure it’s perfect timing to share this brilliant video again. Sadly… it’s oh, so true. We’ve all been there. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all suffered through it. And if I’m lucky, maybe it will happen again this weekend. If it does, I’m sure I’ll have a good story to share! One of my favorite lines… “Like real pottery I buy at a store?”
Just promise me that YOU won’t be one of THOSE art fair people!!!
Click here to watch the video : “Potter At An Art Fair.”
So you’ve seen Terry Hogan’s incredible pierced porcelain pieces here on my blog before. Now she’s working a little larger while she’s getting ready for an upcoming gallery show. Last night, this incredible piece came out of the kiln. Hard to even fathom the number of dots that went into this one made out of stoneware with ochre!!! It’s stunning!!! And now she might just be the “Ochre Poker”?!!!
After three days of fun in Minnesota, and thousands of pots everywhere you looked, it’s always tough to keep your cool.. and keep your cash. There’s a certain excitement, and a certain compulsion that takes over as you see more & more incrediuble work. And the quesiton is always “which ones” would be coming home with me?!!! And here they are…
Always a favorite… As I’ve said before, we always go to Bob Briscoe’s studio first. Some of my favorite potters are there, as well as the one responsible for one of my pottery addictions. Matt Metz.And his incredible sgraffito technique!!! Let me just say upfront that I already have too of his pieces in my collection. But when you’re surrounded by so many more, along with Matt himself to talk to… it’s so hard to resist. I tried my best. But apparently didn’t do so well in the self-restraint category.
This sweet little rectangle box was the first piece I picked up. Then I put it down. Looked around more. Picked it up. Put it down. More admiring. Picked it up. Put it down. Eventually… after being drawn back to it so many times, I knew it was coming home with me!
And then I decided that I needed an Matt Metz “tumbler?” to actually use in the kitchen. So many of his pieces are part of “the collection” and they’re too cherished to use. So this one I purchased with the intention of actually using it… and loving it everyday!
Sure, I should have stopped. Sure I should have kept my wallet in my pants pocket. But then I saw this tall cylindrical vase. And it was over… mine.
And while I was getting a Metz to use everyday, why not get a Suze Lindsay tumbler too?!
Then we moved on to the other studio locations and we made it to Will Swanson’s studio. Another batch of incredible potters. Karin Kraemer was there once again. I remember last year being enamored by her colorful work. But it’s really not my style. I knew I liked it, but not sure why. Then this year I was drawn to it again. And had some time to talk with Karin as well. I kept going back to the same cheerful bowl… and I realized they just made me happy. So colorful. So fun. And if it makes me happy… I think I need it.
And another mug for my official “mug collection.” Again, who wouldn’t smile every time you see a rooster smiling back at you every morning?!!! So two of Karin Kraemer’s colorful majolica pieces made their way back to Chicago. And they continue to make me smile!!!
It was a late night last night. A long drive back from Minnesota AND even later in the studio loading my bisque kiln. So I was a little tired… but never too tired to have a great breakfast with a good friend.
My favorite metalsmith Sarah Chapman was in town and ready to “break some bread.” Oddly enough, Sarah used to live in Chicago. About a year ago she moved to Minneapolis. Of all the bad timing, she was back in Chicago while we were up in Minneapolis. And now that I’m back in Chicago, she’s headed back to Minneapolis as soon as we finish breakfast!!! Not only was breakfast yummy, but she also had some exiting news to share… a little “teaser” about a special commission piece she has done for a TV commercial. She can’t quite share all of the details yet, but it’s intriguing that there will be some computer-morphjing of her stunning necklace into the product the commercial is for! How cool is that?! And so intriguing… can’t wait for more details… and to see the final results!!!
So we met at Pauline’s for breakfast… so share some stories and get caught up. Imagine my surprise & delight when I found “s’more pancakes” on the menu! Yes. S’mores!!! You know how I love ‘em!!! Graham cracker crumbles, chocolate chip pancakes and mini marshmallows sprinkled on the pancakes as they were cooking on the griddle. The tiny “holes” in the pancakes are where the marshmallows used to be before the melted into sweet goodness.
We both laughed when we saw this sign as we were exiting Pauline’s. So true!!!
Okay, sure. Our weekend had been jam packed full with clay, pots & potters.
We did the official St. Croix River Valley Pottery Tour, we did a little shopping, we did a little chatting. We also went down to Continental Clay, Northern Clay Center and Emily Murphy’s pottery studio. We also played with the Rogue Potters and toyed with Steven Hill. But today was our day to head home. So why not make one more stop along the way?!
So we drove to Hudson, Wisconsin… right across the river from Stillwater, Minnesota. It’s a cute little town with a very nice art gallery. It used to be located on the east side of the street, but Seasons On St. Croix has relocated to the the west side of the street to a much larger facility. And when you see a big sign like this on the side of the street… you’ve got to stop by!!! You know we love ART!!!
We’ve been tot he gallery before. They have a lot of great artists, and generally quite a bit of nice pottery. And this newer gallery space has room for even more pottery! Including some really large pieces by Joe Christenen If you’ve been to the One-Of-A-Kind Show in Chicago, there’s a really good chance you’ve seen his large vessels on display there. But his is a much larger collection of his work… large urns, bottles and newer pieces with some sculptural animals on them. I know my friend Nancy loves his work!!!
And while you’re there, you need to go downstairs to see Joe Christensen’s studio. It in the walk-out basement of the gallery building. There’s a large work space and a separate kiln room. Unfortunately, Joe wasn’t around today while we were there. But luckily, his studio space was unlocked so we got a chance to look around.
And a great pot that he had apparently just finished sgraffito carving as it was now drying.
For more information about Joe Christensen’s pottery, click here for his website
or check out Joe Christensen’s LINK the right hand column of my blog.
And you’ll be glad you did… there’s a time lapse video of him throwing a 5-foot tall pot!!!
While driving the official Pottery Tour route, you’ll pass this great sculpture park on the side of the road between Conne & Guillermo’s studios. I’ve driven past it many times, but this year we finally decided to stop. We had pretty much “closed out” the Tour at Guillermo’s after playing with Delores Fortuna. The weather was great, the sun was slowly setting and we decided to take in even more art. So we stopped off at the Franconia Sculpture Park.
Of course, some of it is better than others. I’ve tried to capture some of my favorites. Trust me, there are a LOT more pieces out there. But my thought is that just because you throw a bunch of stuff together, and weld it in place, doesn’t necessarily make it “ART.” Some times I wonder if I just don’t get it?! If there’s some concept or message that I’m missing.But I know what I like… and these are a few of them.
This one is actually a boat filled with the large wooden balls. I was especially drawn to the textures & woodgrain of the balls… especially how they’re cracking and the way the shadows played against them.
Then there was this crazy playhouse. Yes, they encourage you to go up inside it. Stairs, slides, swings… and a LOT of colorful pieces all welded together. Kind of made me think of a whimsical take on an post-apocalyptic shelter. Enter Mad Max.
This one was pretty cool. It just looked like clear acrylic triangles arranged in the mulch bed. But as the sun continued to set, the prismatic surface of the pieces started to glow in a rainbow of colors.
I think this one was my favorite of them all… a great metal contraption of a Fibonacci Spiral. Not so bad that it’s all rusty either!!!
Oh… what to do with a bunch of logs???…
I loved the silhouette of this contraption. Again, they encouraged you to climb up inside of it. But it was really the strong silhouette and the really cool dot of blue glass glowing in the top center.
And speaking of rusty metal… another favorite. Basically it’s rebar & wire mesh.
I also loved this one – a combination of weathered wooden crates and classical columns. The balance and precariousness of it was pretty cool.
One last one on the horizon as we were leaving. It was a lot of “art” today – what with the Pottery Tour, Continental Clay, Northern Clay Center and now Franconia Sculpture Park!!!
For more information about Franconia Sculpture Park, click here for their website.