Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss - New Mentorship with Dan Hill

Well no sooner had I "graduated" from the Fusion mentorship than I rolled myself over into another one - with Wilno area potter Dan Hill
Cone 6 soda fired urn by Dan Hill

Dan makes cone 6 soda fired work and he has given several great workshops for the Deep River Potters Guild. I've always admired his work. His insight and analysis of his work as demonstrated during his workshops has always been invaluable.

There are 7 of us apart from Dan who will also work along with us. Three are from Deep River, two from the Maynooth area and two from Madonna House - a lay religious community in Combermere. So a very diverse group from diverse backgrounds, experience and ages - which should make for an exciting journey.

Our first meeting was in mid November. In the morning we examined and discussed examples of our work as well as work that we admire - either pictures or actual pieces. I feel that I want to make more contemporary edgy work - I feel that many of my pieces end up being "cutsy". This has been a goal of mine ever since the mentorship with Steven Hill  5 years ago. At that time Steven felt that a more contemporary palette would help - but it is so hard for me to resist the yellow, beige and browns that I love.

We were supposed to bring an example of work that we admire or work that points in the direction that we wish to go. I had brought John Ikeda's cup that he had given me at my summer group woodfiring. I have always thought John's decoration style not only superb but very contemporary.

Underglaze decorated tumbler by John Ikeda

 John has a strong, forceful, abstract design - nothing cutsy about it. I can look at it for hours - each time seeing something different.

After lunch we discussed what we would hope to achieve with the mentorship - whether it is a generalization - to make better pots - better rims, feet, bowls, etc or to make pots with more movement, or with more elegance, better  design. I plan to continue with the 4 themes that I had with the Fusion mentorship - the nuclear theme, the forest theme, the Bottom Billion, and the dancing girls/women series. With inspiration and guidance from Dan and a mental image of John Ikeda's tumbler I hope to give my designs a more contemporary edge.