Wonderful wall pieces by Maura Wright @ Archie Bray Show at Lewis and Clark College
How do I describe my 2017 experience in Portland?
A three ring circus filled with too much to see and do.
Socially I always feel pretty awkward at NCECA. It reminds a little of a high school experience. It’s a gathering of obsessed clay people,some who have become elevated to rock star status. I consider these my people but I always feel a bit in awe. There were 6,008 clay nerds attending. I think I personally ran into about 10 that I knew!
I went on a bus tour that made me feel really good about what I’m doing. I went to some beautiful shows that filled my eyes with wonder and inspired me. I heard lectures about folks who have greatly influenced my life. I sat through a key note speech that made me laugh and think. I bought $100 worth of diamond grinders. I ate delicious corn dogs, ramen and drank lots of famous Portland beer. I walked/limped 15,000 steps one day.
I look at other people’s pictures of what they saw and did and wonder …How did I miss THAT ???? But I know I was running to see all I did see and couldn’t have squeezed in a moment more. NCECA doesn’t disappoint. I couldn’t do it every year but when it comes close again I’ll be there with my track shoes on. Maybe next time I’ll get off my butt and apply to be in a couple of shows.
This incredibly detailed birch bowl by Heesoo Lee at Lewis and Clark College was mind blowingly beautiful.
Sometimes I can find inspiration in the most unexpected ways.
My friend,Lana Wilson, asked me to join her and her buddies at the Sergei Isupov workshop that was recently held at the Walnut Creek Art Center. I am not figurative clay artist. To be honest, as much as I admire Sergei Isupov’s intricate,dream-like, sometimes sexually explicit work, it is about as far from my pattern driven, rather naive functional pots as night and day. However I really love hanging out with Lana and haven’t been to a workshop in a long time so thought what the heck and signed up.
We arrived to a packed house. The chairs were closer together than coach class on Southwest Airlines. Sergei, a sprightly guy in bright red pants, began his presentation and immediately the entire room was captivated. He took impossibly large slabs of B- mix (though he uses porcelain in his own practice) and began cutting and smooshing together the seams, darting, paddling, pushing out and pushing in. A bigger than life sized head took shape. It looked remarkably like Sergei. All the while he was doing this he was keeping us totally entertained. The guy is a performer…funny stories, gossip, the inside scoop, family history all told in a wonderful Russian accent that I had to listen very carefully to so I didn’t miss a thing. Whew…the whole room was swept up in the Isupov whirl wind. Not satisfied with just a massive head he began sculpting a tiny lady head who would be holding monkey tails for the back of the piece.
Lunch was served. The piece was whisked to the kiln to dry out a bit. Slides were shown.
After sufficient time and the piece was dry enough and with less than an hour and a half left in the workshop Sergei began painting. It was a dazzling feat to almost complete the entire sculpture in the 5 hours of the workshop. BRAVO to Mr Isupov.
For me I came away with more than just a day spent with friends watching a true professional ply his craft. I didn’t know when I signed up his pieces were slab built or that he used underglazes and slips in ways that I could adapt in my work. I came away not only wowed but filled with ideas.
If you haven’t been to a demo given by this guy I would strongly advise signing up the next time he comes to town. It was truly one of the best workshops I have ever attended.
Poppy Box Vase with Patterns – side 1
With everything that’s going on in the world right now, including the never ending much needed but mood dampening rain, I have been inspired to work pretty much non-stop in my cozy studio. This new “black poppy series” is inspired by my love of my state after the election (poppies are the CA state flower), my frustrated, disbelieving feelings toward our new president (hence the black) and my worship of Betty Woodman’s freedom of form and color. If that isn’t a mish-mash of ideas I don’t know what is ! But I think the work is coming out pretty cohesive. Sometimes throwing everything in the pot and stirring it up works. More photos of this series can be seen on my web-site: josiejurczenia.com
Poppy Box Vase with Patterns – side 2
unfinished flower brick side 1
5 years of drought have ended this January in the Bay Area. The creek in our backyard has turned into Niagara Falls…when we hear it roaring it’s the signal that it’s pouring. Every day (except Sundays..usually) I commute out the back door, down the brick steps and into my sweet new studio.
January is my favorite month in my clay practice. I take this time every year to try out new stuff that will shape what I’ll probably be doing all year for shows and gallery sales. Being in my studio with the rain hammering outside is the perfect place to reflect on what new directions to explore and what I want to continue to work on and expand upon from last year’s efforts.
Pictured is a flower brick based on the poppy pieces I did last fall. Lately I have been looking at a lot of Betty Woodman‘s work and getting a giddy rush of inspiration. I think you can see how much these days of drooling over her images has influenced me – loosened things up. I can’t wait to bisque and add the color to these pieces and see what my January musings bring.
unfinished flower brick side 2
My first Open Studio in my new space exceeded my wildest expectations. I want to thank all of you who came and supported my work. I especially want to thank Diablo Magazine. The beautiful editorial featuring my pieces brought so many new folks to my studio. It was a delight meeting you.
If you were unable to visit during my Open Studio you can still find my some of work at Albrams Claghorn Gallery in Albany, CA. Also Bespoke, Truckee carries my Wildlife Ornaments and Cups.
Thanks you and Happy Holidays, Josie
Wild life Collection
Thank you all who have come to my Holiday Open Studio these past 2 weekends. It’s been so much fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Your support means so much to me.
I will be open one last weekend – this Saturday (Dec 10) & Sunday (Dec 11), 2236 Summer St (cross street Spruce), Berkeley, CA 11 am – 5 pm.
I will be joined by guest artist Christa Assad who will be showing her new line of hard wood accessories.
My husband John Schnick will also have his studio open. Please drop in to see his magical video/ceramic sculptural pieces. His studio is on the path down to my studio..it’s an easy stop and I promise you won’t want to miss seeing his work.
Please come join us, see my new space and stock up on some GREAT GIFTS.
Christa Assad’s terrific “hardwood accessories”.
John Schnick’s “Hot Rock” can be viewed this weekend in his studio.
I am honored to have my work included in the December Diablo Magazine article “Best Holiday Gift Guide“. I love how they used my tools as part of this gorgeous photograph.
I am also thrilled to have my work as part of Albrams Claghorn Gallery‘s Holiday publicity. This ad can be seen in the East Bay Express Holiday Gift Guide. It is such a joy to be part of this wonderful gallery. They represent terrific local artists and have wonderful shows. If you are ever on Solano Ave in Albany, CA give them a visit.
Don’t forget – my studio will be Open starting this weekend:
Please save the dates and plan on joining me at my new studio. I am #22 on the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios Map.