Someone else’s great thoughts…

I know that this might be strange blog procedure, but this morning I got a great comment from Shannon Garson in response to an earlier post about sustainable practice and I thought it was just too good to simply publish in the comments section as I wanted to make sure that others read the great insightful ideas. So hopefully Shannon, this is okay with you! Make sure to take the time to check out her website and blog, full of yummy pots and thoughts!

Here’s her comment:

Hi Carol!
I am very interested in alternative models for a sustainable practice in the crafts and over the past few years I’ve been putting my theories on this into practice.

One of the models some friends and I came up with was The Umbrella Collective which is a collective of craft artists- two ceramicists a toy maker, two jewellers. We joined together to pool our joint resources, physical and intellectual so, the collective attacks the wider world from quite a few angles. We have a good web presence through our blog
which links to each artist’s personal blog, websites, flickr sites and etsy. Through the web we have established an international profile and this has translated into galleries from overseas contacting us and individually ordering from the artist.

We also believe it is really important to grow support within our communities and have held an annual fair which is very well attended in Brisbane. This coming year we will do an “Outreach”(!) event in my tiny little rural town and invite one or two local artists to be guests of the Collective, giving them the benefit of our expertise, advertising and Love! The other things we are involved with include hosting artists network evenings where we each bring 5 or so guest from a professional field connected to the arts and meet at a cocktail bar where the invitation is open to all who want to attend to come and make professional connections with people from education, the media and other artists. We in the Umbrella Collective believe that we are powerful by sharing our knowledge and experience and hope that other artists will start their own collectives with an emphasis on sustainable careers in the arts.

The other thing that I am trying this year is an alternative model for exhibition. Making art ceramics is a pretty specialized field and I observed that I don’t need to sell 1000’s of items (I can’t as I can only make so many) By holding an exclusive launch of new work through a business that wants to have a special event for their favoured clients I will be building a small but enthusiastic band of collectors. I found this business through the founder buying some of my work and put forward a proposal to him that we hold a series of launches of the “Art Series” of Shannon Garson Porcelain. He would invite a very select clientele (20 or so) and I would show the first works from each series before it is opened at a public exhibition. This way my patron’s clients get to attend an very exclusive event and his company becomes (for a relatively small, tax-deductible outlay) associated with the arts, creativity, exclusivity and all that applies. It is a great way for business people with and interest in the arts to support artists and support their business at the same time.
Thanks Carol! This is a really long comment so I completely understand if you don’t want to post the whole thing! Thanks for the thought provoking blogging.

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Well I’m back from the Neocraft conference, exhausted from having my brain fed, but happy to have some new ideas bouncing around in there, and I promise to share some of the highlights of the weekend asap. But for this morning, this cold snowy morning I thought I’d post a few fun things to help with the impending Christmas shopping season. Our family last year made a bit of a decision about Christmas and agreed to tone it down a bit this year and really focus on handmade gifts, should be interesting to see how that goes. So in that frame of thought here are some wonderful ideas for the ceramics lover in your life (or for yourself!)

First off I just got an email from Ayumie Horie, one of my faves, and she’s going to be posting new pots for sale on her website today, Friday November 30th at 11am EST. She makes beautifully “cute” pots of which I own a Turkey mug I bought in Portland at NCECA, which I love and find most people chose when faced with the multitude of cup choices in my cupboard.

Here’s a gorgeous piece by Rain Harris, a bit more of an expensive present, but worth it!

You can find it here.

And these lovely earrings are polymer clay by RG Creations:

Here’s some pieces by Sara Paloma. I love the vertebra series.

Or what about this prize winning teapot by Kristin Pavelka?

or maybe this one by Sam Chung

Well I know that this would barely even begin to scratch the surface of the long wish list of ceramic pieces I’d love to add to my collection. Best of luck with your holiday shopping. Buy Local, Buy Handmade.

It ain’t easy being a “green kiln”, or is it?

Well it’s early morning and I’m watching the sun rise over the freshly fallen snow in my yard, waiting for it to warm up a bit before venturing out to the studio to check out the results of the latest firing and contemplating the various aspects of Global Craft which are still plaguing my mind. I’m off tomorrow though for Halifax and the Neocraft conference and beyond the conference am quite excited to check out the new facilities at NSCAD (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design),particularly the new ceramics department and specifically the new kilns installed by Gerard Blaauw, kiln designer extraordinaire.

“Blaauw kilns represent the most sophisticated combination of refractories, software engineering, and exquisite design – only recently accessible to artists. These kilns, which industry terms “green” kilns, are designed to economize on fuel and provide students with industrial-style control over their processes. Insulators, made possible by NASA research, are the basis for heat retention, while super-efficient burners quickly propel the kiln to high temperatures. These kilns recoup much of the excess heat from firing.”

NSCAD is the first facility in Canada to have these kilns so should be exciting, well at least for geeks like me! I’ll do my best to get some more pics of the facilities for a later post. In the meantime check out their website for more info on the facility.

Craftwork – Craftsmanship; Process as Ritual

The Open Sky Creative Society in Fort Simpson Northwest Territories is currently seeking submissions from artists working in all media from artists currently residing in Canada for a group exhibition titled: Craftwork – Craftsmanship; Process as Ritual Selected artists must be willing to be present in the community of Fort Simpson, NT in order to attend an exhibition reception as well as conduct a series of two four hour technical workshops which will be attended by community & audience members. The Exhibition will take place for one week in conjunction with the Open Sky Festival 2008 taking place from June 27-29, 2008.

Submissions should include:
– 8-15 images (35mm slide or JPEGs & BMP formats on CD-ROM) Media & audio artists may submit in DVD, VHS, or Audio CD)
– A Slide/Media list which includes title, media, dimensions, & date of pieces
– An Artist CV outlining exhibition, workshop & other relevant experience
– A brief Artist Statement (500 words Max.)
– A personal statement in response to the Craftwork – Craftsmanship; Process as Ritual Artistic Direction Vision Statement (contact the Society for more information). This statement should tell us why your work is relevant to the overall artistic vision of the exhibition & should describe what you intend to exhibit.
– A self addressed stamped envelope for the purpose of returning submitted materials

Submissions should be mailed to: Artistic Director / Festival Coordinator
Open Sky Creative Society Box 587 Fort Simpson, NT X0E 0N0

Submission Deadline December 14

For more information please contact the Open Sky Creative Society office:
Phone/Fax: (867) 695-3005 E-Mail: [email protected]
Or visit their website