Art of the Cup: Functional Comfort at the Ogden Museum

Last year’s Art of the Cup 2011 show at The Ogden Museum in NOLA is online, and still worth looking into. I hope they put this year’s up as well. My contributions for 2012 and opening announcement below.

Arbuckle - Sunflower Cup w Striped Top

Sunflower Cup w Striped Top

Arbuckle- Tankard: Wisteria

Tankard: Wisteria


September 6th 6 – 8 p.m.

Please join The Ogden Museum for the opening reception of
Art of the Cup: Functional Comfort 
Thursday, September 6th from 6 – 8 p.m. during Ogden After Hours at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Admission to Ogden After Hours, the Museum’s weekly concert series, is $10.

Prominently installed on the third floor of the Museum, this exhibition is always a favorite with our visitors. In fact, last year over 8,500 visitors viewed Art of the Cup: Functional Comfort

Curator: Elizabeth Bowie
Curator, Southern Craft & Design
Director of Retail Business Operations & Development

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, university of new orleans

Water, water everywhere

Lindsay Rogers was an established potter and resident at The Energy Exchange before returning to graduate school at University of Florida Ceramics. Tapped by Crimson Laurel Gallery, NC, to curate their fall cup show, Lindsay chose the subject of water, and invited a number of artists with diverse approaches to consider the topic and send works for the show, which will feature over 300 cups. Each artist is sending 5 cups.

There is a saying: if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail. Yep. The challenge of “water” flummoxed me for a bit. Water? Water? I don’t “do” water. But that’s the whole point: to be pushed out of my comfortable studio orbit in collision with an outside idea. It was a perplexing, but refreshing challenge that let me open some new windows.

In 2004 and 2008 I visited Jingdezhen, China, and was amazed by the clay activity there. Among other wonders (like HUGE porcelain vases, platters and tiles) there are shops that print and sell ceramic underglaze and overglaze decals. Since I couldn’t fit inexpensive kiln shelves, handmade bent bamboo chairs, or the large size Tang dynasty horse reproduction in my suitcase, I settled for coming home with lovely small horse and a roll of decal pages. (These are now available in the U.S. – one vendor is Chinese Clay Art .) One of the pages I brought back is a graphic image of a pink lotus with a green center – a water flower. From there, I looked at symbols for water, and thought about a drop-shaped cup form and a handle that was wavy. Once the cups were made, bisqued, glazed, decorated, fired, and decaled, it seemed some of them needed some bling, so I used a gold luster pen and added some touches. If you haven’t tried one of these, they’re like using a felt-tipped pen. Ferro’s pen is called Goldrush. So easy, so much control compared to a brush. Way too much fun for something expensive. Uncap. Draw on clean surface. The lines are varnish-brown looking. Fire to 017 = bright gold luster. Very easy to do line work, dots, text.

I shipped my cups this week for Source Materials: an Exhibition on Water and the Ceramic Cup, which will be up at Crimson Laurel in Bakersville, NC, Nov. 3rd – Dec. 31st. See the show link for a list of artists. I appreciated Lindsay’s humbling challenge, and it has me thinking of how to look farther afield in my studio. The Clean Creek iron experiments earlier this summer were a great start. This was the icing on the cake. Being uncomfortable and clueless is a starting place, an opportunity.

Glaze tests

Greenware serving platter w/slip decoration.

Greenware serving platter w/slip decoration.

My test tiles yielded a few things I thought worth trying. There’s a show coming up that’s about using the recycled iron and/or manganese from Clean Creek Products. Normally, brown is not high on my color favorites list. On majolica glaze, iron is just… brown. So, I was looking for something richer. Amber? Rust? One of my test was a nice mottled

Fired work from Glaze Tech kiln

Fired work from Glaze Tech kiln

rust-to-cream and showed darker slips. I tried a few pieces and really enjoyed my Skutt Glaze Tech little kiln – big enough to fit a serving dish and some other things in a load, but small enough that I can fire it every day or 2 and see the results before I commit to more work.

As often happens, I think I liked it best in the greenware state. Happy enough with the glaze results, though, but the color and value ranges are more subdued with the golden iron glaze over all.

Slips on earthenware w/a semi-opaque glaze.