Clay, Smoke, Fire, Steam: Raku Party ’17

Urn Baby - raku by Skylar

Urn Baby – raku by Skylar Flemming

The Salty Dog Studio raku party this weekend was one of the better ones, well attended and with a good balance of beer and glaze, both put to use.

Raku rockets - bisqued shapes by Greg Federighi, ready for glazing

Raku rockets – bisqued shapes by Greg Federighi, ready for glazing

As usual the Salty Dog clay artists provided some basic forms for guests to glaze on the spot, but Greg Federighi went beyond that and did a whole suite of thrown and formed rocket shapes, ranging in style from Italian bell towers to bulbous Buck Rogers.

Raku Hachet - by Skylar

Raku Hatchet – by Skylar Flemming

Skylar Flemming provided some of the most unusual porcelain forms, ranging from cats, surreal babies, and a singular hatchet.

Unloading the last firing of the night

Unloading the last firing of the night

The sight of an open kiln at the stage of unloading is something approaching awe inspiring. With the gravel alley at dusk as an urban backdrop, the orange light radiates like lava in a Hawaiian crater. Then a dance ensues with intense hot glow of glazed pots being plucked cherry orange red from the kiln with long tongs and smoothly plopped into a waiting metal garbage can full of crumpled newspaper which immediately ignites and is then quickly smothered with the lid. Eyes wincing from the wafts of acrid smoke and heat.

After about 20 minutes of smoldering in the closed can, the tongs again retrieve the pieces and they’re then immersed in a large basin of water with resultant steam and ash released in the process. They are still quite hot and remain that way for a bit.

Ernie Hilsenberg with attendees at the glaze table

Ernie Hilsenberg with attendees at the glaze table

This party is a tradition started by the late Regnor Reinholsten, who moved his studio here about 10 years ago, and brought the tradition with him.

Young boy applying blue glaze

Young boy applying blue glaze

 

 

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Two Joggers – wall sculpture for Villa Sport

Two Joggers; mixed media bas relief wall sculpture - R Williamson, 6/17

Two Joggers; mixed media bas relief wall sculpture – R Williamson, 6/17

I recently completed a new wall piece for a new family sports complex that will be opening soon in Cypress, Texas. Villa Sport facilities are part family gym, part resort spa all within a large landscaped campus-like setting. There are only a few of them in existence so far, with another coming online later this fall.

They had seen one of my Lucha Libre pieces on display in the remodeled Nordstrom store in San Rafael and sought me out for this and some other up-coming work. Similar to that piece, this is constructed primarily from reclaimed wood that has been ripped, stained, and puzzled together.

The sketched proposal for the piece. R Williamson, 8/16

The sketched proposal for the piece. R Williamson, 8/16

Thanks to Paula Ullman of 21st Century Art Consultants, out of Denver, CO, for involving me in this project.

The Joggers, mounted in an air crate, ready for shipping ...

Two Joggers, mounted in an air crate, ready for shipping …

 

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John and Patricia Patkau at Peter Miller Bookstore this Thursday

Ice skater shelters from bent plywood - Patkau Architects

Ice skater shelters from bent plywood – Patkau Architects

John and Patricia Patkau, principals of Patkau Architects based in Vancouver, BC, will be in Seattle for a talk and book signing at Peter Miller Books this Thursday, June 15th at 6pm. Wonderfully creative work with a strong Northwest flavor – abundant and original use of wood; wide protective eaves on buildings; expressive, sculptural roof forms; lyrical; – shunning the trendy in favor of a devotion to a deeply felt contemporary regionalism.

Peter Miller Books is located in the Pioneer Square district at 304 Alaskan Way S, Post Alley, Seattle WA.

Seabird Island School - roof detail echoing coastal mountains - Patkau Architects

Seabird Island School – roof detail echoing coastal mountains – Patkau Architects

Residential entry with sky lap pool - Patkau Architects

Residential entry with sky lap pool – Patkau Architects

Roof with shape of Salish cedar hat - Wood model - Patkau Architects

Roof with shape of Salish cedar hat – Wood model – Patkau Architects

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William Cummings long-lost WPA era mural on display

Cumming Mural - Dairy Detail

Cumming Mural – Dairy and Strawberry picking detail

A large, very distressed mural painted on railroaded sail cloth by William Cumming back in 1941 is on display at Seattle’s Woodside/Braseth Gallery for another week, through June 17. Cumming was in his early 20’s when he painted the piece, around the time he was starting to get a some traction in the local arts scene. Created for a school up in the Skagit Valley, it has a somber, earthy palette and a grey light, which rings true to the Northwest winters. It was retired from display sometime in the late 40’s, folded up and unceremoniously stashed in a small farms out-building.

Despite the weathering and damage, the painting has a strong presence and is a good effort by the young painter working in a WPA depression era style. It emphasizes agricultural and other outdoor workers, faces mostly obscured as the men and women toil away at their manual tasks.

Bill Cumming mural, grommets and all, at Woodside/Braseth Gallery

Bill Cumming mural, grommets and all, at Woodside/Braseth Gallery

Apparently the mural came out of the barn occasionally to be used by some local kids to help measure their long jumps in the pasture. Under the circumstances, I’m surprised that the mural isn’t more soiled than it is. Most of the damage is from the creases from folding. The plan is for the mural to be restored and to reside in the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, WA.

Cumming mural detail - face of railway worker

Cumming mural detail – face of railway worker

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Bambu – hand painted graphic wall

Bambu wall - painted graphic mural; Tacoma, WA

Bambu wall – painted graphic mural; Tacoma, WA

Just completed a small mural wall for a specialty desert store in the Lincoln District of Tacoma, WA. Anyone who might be familiar with this area will know how startling a new store with a crisp contemporary design will be in the neighborhood. The impression there is of several blocks lost in time and unchanged for many years since becoming the Little Saigon section of Tacoma. Visually fascinating and a possible great movie location for a period piece but from a community perspective, in need of some new energy.

Bambu, which serves various Vietnamese sweets – Ché, Sweet Ice, Bubble teas, Pandan Waffles, and lots of stuff whose names escape me – is a national franchise based out of Denver. CO. This location was designed by Nos Narin of Seattles Catch Design. This wall graphic design could have lent itself to being printed, but since for now it’s a one-off piece, it was actually cheaper to do it in place by hand.

Look for the location to open by the end of June.

Here are some shots from the streetscape in the same block.

The nearby Chinese Herb and Grocery Store in the Lincoln District

The nearby Chinese Herb and Grocery Store in the Lincoln District

Dahuru MC - A local branch of a motorcycle club has a cool graphic storefront

Dahuru MC – A local branch of a motorcycle club has a cool graphic storefront

 

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