2019 Sculptures

L-R: Porcelain teapot original design, handmade & painted high fire porcelain. Maquettes: The Cry, Flight, Last Man Standing, Achilles, Solitude, Three-Masted Bark, Dragon.

Besides volume and shape, my abiding interest is in surface and texture. The shipworm distressed mangrove wood provided the perfect surface, shapes, and aesthetic for this project facetiously titled The Diet of Worms.

From The Diet of Worms

All the sculptures in this series are made from a stump of a mangrove tree found floating in Sarasota Bay four years ago. The wood was riddled with holes made by Teredo navalis, or the shipworm, a marine clam that bores into most woods in salt water environments. The shipworm was the bane of the wooden ship navies.

A friend, John Lynch, delivered it to my home where I let it dry out for two years. To make the sculptures I chiseled small pieces from a piece of the main root that had broken off when I accidentally dropped the stump. I glued and shaped these pieces into sculptures. The bases are stones and tiles rescued from building sites. The broken piece of the stump is in my studio, but the bulk of the mangrove is living in my Zen garden where it is being further distressed by termites.

The title is a word-play on the 1521 Diet (an assembly) of (at) Worms, convened by the Holy Roman Emporer, King Charles V, to address Martin Luther’s protestant uprising. In this case, the wood used to make the sculptures had been the diet of shipworms.

The Cry

The Last Man Standing
Three Masted Bark
Teredolites Plaza

Bouteille de Parfum: Redux

After Ki Woon Huh, my Korean master ceramics teacher accidentally broke my laboriously constructed and painted piece, Bouteille de Parfum,  he made a copy from my drawings. My version was slab made, Ki Woon used the wheel and expertly bent the clay into the complex shape. The result was a much lighter piece which has been drying for five months in the studio.

After I finished painting Kneeling Woman, he asked me to decorate the new Bouteille de Parfum. Because the porcelain was so dry, it was not possible to make a wet transfer from a cartoon drawn on calque, I had to draw the cartoon freehand directly on the clay with a pencil.  The drawings are different than the first version and are derived from newer pen, ink & wash drawings from my Night Book series. Below are the four views of the new Bouteille de Parfum with the cartoon drawn on the clay. The piece is a little smaller than the original. It is ~12″ wide and 16″ tall.

Here is the piece painted. It still needs a bisque firing and then a firing with the over glaze.

Bouteille de Parfum View 1

Bouteille de Parfum View 2

Bouteille de Parfum View 3

Bouteille de Parfum View 4

Kneeling Woman Porcelain Project

After the demise of the Bouteille de Parfum project, I began work on another large-scale sculpture of a kneeling woman. Here are two views of  the nearly completed piece: (click on images to enlarge)

360-degree view of Kneeling Woman: a Work-In-Progress


Kneeling Woman WIP_10

Kneeling Woman WIP_9

Kneeling Woman WIP_8

Kneeling Woman WIP_7

Continue reading “Kneeling Woman Porcelain Project”

Death and Rebirth of a Pot

I go to a Korean Master Potter’s twice a week for two hours and make porcelain objects. (Many examples on this blog.)  In April of this year, I designed and constructed a large, 20″ x 24″ oblate spheroidal vessel, ironically named Bouteille de Parfum. It took about eight hours to construct. Since it is totally asymmetrical, it was not thrown on a wheel but painstakingly constructed from 1″ wide slabs. When nearly finished I took a photo of it in the studio.

Bouteille de Parfum ~20″ x 24″

After some discussion, including not painting or decorating it at all, I was pressured to cover it with drawings from my Nightbook Project. It was a laborious process, which I finished about a month ago—July 2017. Last week—August 11, 2017, my master gave it a preliminary bisque firing. I found many places where the paint needed touching up. I spent last Tuesday doing that. Last Friday I was ready to finish touching up and then apply the overglaze. Before I started painting, my master, said he wanted to blow the dust out of the inside of the piece. Alas, when he put the compressed air hose in the spout of the “bottle,” it blew out of his hand and smashed on the stone floor.

He was devastated. I was upset but kept up a jovial demeanor saying, “Well, master, all pottery eventually breaks. Some just sooner than others.” While he was walking around feeling bad, I gathered the shards and took this photo of the resulting assemblage. A cubist Bouteille de Parfum.

Cubist Parfum Bottle

I telephoned him on Saturday and told him I wanted to take the pieces to make the above as a real 3-D sculpture. He said he’d already ground them to dust. I am now double bummed.