Wednesday, July 27, 2016

pinch - seriously! (part 1 of many)

Great to see Monday morning’s Ceramic Arts Daily post, featuring Emily Schroeder-Willis hand-building—pinching—a lovely full-bellied pitcher.

I really admire Emily's work, and as a larger-scale pincher myself, I am super-happy to see this fundamental technique receive more profile. A quick on-line search for the earliest clay pots around the world - Chinese, Jomon, Anglo-saxon, iron or bronze age - gives us pots that range from the ceremonial to the sublimely beautiful, a process in which humanity declared a relationship between form and function, and built joy via beauty. Because hand-building can do it all. 

Little to large... Everyday hand-built pots on my kitchen counter. Christine Pedersen. 2016.

From a making perspective: I like to mix up the methods.

Developing our design ideas is fundamental to building variety and refinement in our finished forms, and any technique requires dedication and an investment of time for us to become really skilled at it. So it seems that it is the process of exploring any and all techniques that will allow us to develop our very own "clay-idiolect”—a language or personality in the way we use technique. 

Fundamentally, pinching tells us how clay feels, and we learn to use and adjust the relationship with water in the body to get the results we want. And we find out what fingers can do versus other tools. I prefer to teach all the basic forming ideas - pinch, elbow pot, coil and small slab, and blur the divisions, moving between techniques on the way to achieving similar small forms, so that the properties of the clay—and its needs—are always at the centre of the journey. And what a journey! :)

References - enjoy images on-line and explore our clay culture with a good book. Here's a couple of links to my on-line reviews (links are to worldcat.org, also on Amazon):
1. Freestone, I., & Gaimster, D. R. M. (1997). Pottery in the making: Ceramic traditions. Washington, D.C: Smithsonian Institution Press.
2. Cooper, E. (2010). Ten Thousand Years of Pottery. London: British Museum.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

heads up

View the registration page for the Equine Clay Sculpting course, fall 2016, presented by the Town of Okotoks, Alberta. Instructor - yours truly! Registration opens August 11, 2016.


New horse head studies now on show at Bluerock Gallery, Black Diamond, Alberta. Meet Battle - a pony with attitude.

Battle. Equine head study. Hand-built, stoneware, glazed. Christine Pedersen. 2016.


I have been invited to teach a clay horse-head sculpting class this fall at Okotoks Art Gallery, Alberta. Part of my journey is to design a format that will encourage students to get into creating assertively, successfully, within the time limits of the class. I want the students to enjoy the clay material, to really work it, to learn to build attitude. 

This invitation set me off sculpting horse-heads, looking for new ways, new styles—and a rogues gallery appeared over a month… It is incredibly inspiring and stimulating to mess with my own ways of making, to look for other and different.

Teaching truly does help you learn about yourself, as a maker. I hope I can help my students grab onto that Battle attitude, and build something that their heart understands, but their hands might not yet know how to make. It's going to be a lot of fun learning.

A note on my inspiration for Battle: Cycladic art. Strong, minimalist forms, "in the white".

Monday, July 11, 2016

part of the herd

New work on its way to Bluerock Gallery for Meet The Herd, this weekend July 16 and 17, 2016. Follow this link for full event details. Hope to see you there :)

Untitled #1. Chased and repousséd biomorphic form. Oxidized aluminium. Christine Pedersen. 2016.

I make what I love—way to start a Monday! It’s a really great feeling that I can walk into my office (aka the basement studio) and love what I do. Now that doesn’t mean it’s easy… I spend a fair bit of time hugging a mug of tea and staring at things ;) And it really takes time, that wondering how to do them—I know what I want—but I’ve got to figure out the how, and what materials, and which techniques will get me there.

I sketch a lot. All sorts of designs… The process of making becomes what my brain says is interesting, it is what “we"—the head, hands and heart of me—will do. All to say that I have a very wide variety of inspirations, and the biggest joy is going where they take me.

This is the first piece I have ever called “Untitled”. I had a feeling about how it should look, and this time it was in metal, rather than the porcelain I often use for sculpting. It was a complicated process getting to finished - and a lot of fun. And this is a key part of the rhythm of making: during the process, the next 3 in the series emerged, hand and brain designed them as I was chasing this one. Can’t wait to get started.