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An article by Wali about building and firing a set of fire trees. There is also comment in “Terrart”a Barcelona magazine published by¬†L’Associaci√≥ de Ceramistes de Catalunya. See front cover above…
This is a copy of the article on Wali’s blog – for more interesting articles visit his blog.
Heloisa Alvima is a potter from Brazil who lives in Monferrier, France. I was very happy to be invited to build and fire a set of Fire Trees which would coincide with the festival of San Jean which is also the same day as the Summer Solstice. The setting was the Culture Centre and I was ably assisted by students from the ceramics school, local potters and enthusiasts. We started off with the usual coiling techniques and found the clay as supplied by SolarGil to be good allowing us to dry out the structure quite rapidly without cracking. Those who participated in the project were also invited to create decorations that reflected the local landscape or at least inspiration was from our surroundings. I did so in order to make people more aware of the environment in which we inhabit not only in the physical sense but also in the social context. It is another aspect of the Fire Trees that go beyond technique and process.
It was great to have the support of the Asociation de Clubs de Loisir (Hope that is how it is spelt!), Daniel who is the president, Gerard who put up with me and his wife Jo—many evenings were spent enjoying their hospitality, Loule, Izabu, Tibo, Caren and a host of others. Their help and kindness also the hospitality knew no bounds. If I have forgotton anybody then I allow myself to be shot for such an omission. Unfortunately we discovered that the clay did not quite meet up to the tremendous stresses during the firing and structural damage was quite severe…despite our attempts to repair the damage I am afraid the trees will have to be re-built and fired again. We got to temperature and the clay fired well…in some cases it actually fused. The firing was quite a spectacle. Looking forward to the next firing.
Eddie is having a major exhibition of his work at Rufford next June (starting on the 13th). To make what is already an exciting exhibition even more exceptional, Eddie plans to use the opportunity to celebrate the international bonds and friendship that exist within the ceramic world. He has come up with an original and very special way to demonstrate this friendship. In his own words:
“As a part of my exhibition I want to celebrate the international aspect of ceramics and the camaraderie only shown in the world of ceramics.¬† I had this idea that if I asked my friends to fire a piece of my work in each of their kilns it would be the ultimate cultural exchange.
After taking a deep breath I asked Shozo Michikawa, Japan; Rizu Takehashi, Japan/France: Pascal Geoffroy, France: Linda de Nil, Belgium; and Uwe Lollman, Germany.
Without hesitation they all agreed and were very enthusiastic.¬† I am so honoured to have my things in their kilns.¬† Each of my pieces will essentially be made in the same manner¬† in my normal, stoneware ‚Äėstretched‚Äô style but only glazed by me (Iron celadon) on the inside.¬† The Anagamas will do the rest.¬† I am not aware that this has been done before.¬† I have given them no instruction other than to make their own decision on how they will be placed in¬† their kiln.”
This is a great idea and should produce a stunning exhibition.¬† It is hoped that the exhibition will move to a leading German gallery (Galerie Metzger) near Frankfurt in Autumn 2010.
Curtis Benzle, Huntsville, is featured in the publication; ‚ÄúMasters: Porcelain‚ÄĚ, a survey of the premier artists working in porcelain worldwide.¬† Of the forty international artists included in the survey, only Sunkoo Yuh of Athens, GA, and Mr. Benzle represent the Southeast region of the U.S.
Curator Richard Burkett invited artists from around the glode to contribute to this, the first in a major new series featuring the top artists in varying media from Lark Books.¬† Burkett‚Äôs choices condense these artist‚Äôs achievements to a relative handful of remarkable pieces‚ÄĒsomething of a mini-retrospective in print-yet they masterfully illustrate what is unique and worthy of study with each artist.
Not quite like any other material, porcelain in the right hands is capable of being awesomely delicate as well as expressively forceful.¬† In the 18th century, porcelain attracted the admiration and greed of alchemists and princes.¬† Today, for many, that age-old mystique still clings to this unusual and notoriously difficult clay.
Mr. Benzle has maintained his studio in Huntsville, AL since 2002 and recently completed an solo exhibition at the Sherrie Gallerie in Columbus, Ohio.
We visited the new show, promoted by John Rastall of Harlequin gallery at the Duncan Cambell Fine Art Gallery in Thackeray Street, just off Kensington High Street.¬† There was (and is until 25/10) some tempting new work on display and for all who like Jim’s work – try and get there.¬†¬† Jim was telling me how pleased he is with the kiln he built at Lessonhall and this exhibition certainly demonstrates that! I have attached a number of images taken by Richard Dee, my son who also designed my website.