Inspired By The Tides Project Blog
12JAN14 – Happy New Year 2014! So much has happened in this past year! The show at Misho Gallery did not happen for a few reasons, one of which was that Misho went to China in May-June of 2013. But, another opportunity opened up instead. My dear friend, Leslie Tagorda, graciously offered me the opportunity to set up a show for the project in her lovely Japanese inspired garden. It was a lovely day, June 8th. I had a great time showing all the pieces that were completed at that point as well as reading poetry from the project and displaying some of the photographs, as well. Here’s a poem:
For The Anniversary #1
An earthquake woke us
The light had barely begun
Slipping through the window
Crystals hanging on a lamp
Tinkled like wind chimes
As the whole room shook
It’s the season for them
Documentaries of Fukushima
Air on public stations
Along with those of ruined cities
Wives and children lost in the waves
How many sleep in Poseidon’s enclosure?
By his other name
Neptune dissolves old forms
The sacred brine of his deep
A solvent for transformation
A cradle for islands of change
What washes up on the shore now?
07 FEB 12 TASH c
In March of 2013, I moved from working at Hoch Ceramics which was two buses away in the Richmond District to Ruby’s Ceramics Studio in the Castro where I live; six blocks from my apartment! The energy there has been amazing! I have been so inspired and motivated working there, being a part of such a vibrant, creative community. I am bringing the vessels portion of the project to conclusion with the last three completed at Ruby’s. So, there will be forty-two when they are all done and several of the ones completed in 2013 also incorporate crystals in them. I am still working on the stands for the last two vessels using a whole new technique to create them. It is definitely inspired by wave patterns of the ocean. As a “drop-in” at Ruby’s I am using high fire clay and glazes and these last two vessels look like an ocean wave has washed over them.
Next on the agenda for the project is creating the poem paintings that will incorporate the ten poems mounted on glass and floated on images of a kimono painted on ten of the photos from the tide pools. When those are completed they will be featured in a book that will include all of the elements of the project: vessels, paintings, photos, and poems. I’m still considering how to approach the video, as well.
Who knows where this project will ultimately lead me? It has certainly taken me in a direction I never would have considered and is informing my new work with its forms and images. The poems have allowed me to express my feelings about surviving disaster and moving forward to create new opportunities after loss. Although it started out very specifically addressing the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I have come to realize that the project has impact for everyone, as we all have had to learn to pick up the pieces after loss and start again.
07JAN13 – Looks like I may have an opportunity to exhibit Inspired By The Tides Project in June of 2013! I had a meeting with Michel Misho of Misho Gallery in San Francisco on Dec 12th. I need to come up with some out-of-the-box thinking about creating a more diverse audience for the project. Got any ideas? Here are some preliminary photos of some of the newest pieces completed at the end of 2012.
12NOV12 – Yesterday was my first trip to Moss Beach to video and photograph the tide pools at James Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. My fabulously supportive friends, David and Joan Lincer, drove down with me. As I explored the amazing tide pools I was struck by how insistent this project is in my life. Taking video footage is a new skill which is very slowly developing. Slow seems to be a key word for the process…slow and steady. Looking at the footage last night was instructive. The number of shaky, jerky and blurred video images made it clear to me that I have to practice, practice, practice!
Meanwhile, I was encouraged by how much my vessels echo tide pools! Even though they are my inspiration, calling up memories from years ago which I didn’t even realize were stored somewhere in my brain, the tide pools felt like a revelation. I will go back to this set again and practice, practice, practice.
Now, I start working with the video footage I’ve already gotten both yesterday and at Land’s End. I have a vision of interspersing the video footage with still photos both of the tide pools and of the finished vessels with the poems. I am starting to wonder about music. Any ideas?
The sun rippled
It’s reflection multiplied
In tiny rivulets
The tide pools acknowledging
A vision expanding
To include each tiny life
12NOV12 TASH c
20OCT12-This past Wednesday I took several new pieces to Almac Camera to have them documented. I always love working with Donnie Felton of Almac Camera! Seeing the work through the lens of his camera and then looking at the beautiful professional photographs he produces from the shoot always gives me new perspective and ideas on how to go forward with new pieces.
This project Inspired By The Tides/28 Vessels From The Shallows is progressing well. This coming week I will complete another vessel sculpture and begin the poem paintings that are also part of the project. When I was telling one of my friends, Joan, about the video that I’m working on…the vessels in tide pool settings…she suggested that I go to the tide pools with her and her husband since John will not be available until mid-November and they have been wanting to explore tide pools. That will give me another set of eyes to create perspective.
Tonight I met several people when I attended an Open Studios show at Misho Gallery. One of them, Leo, talked with me about a book called Reading The Rocks; The Autobiography of the Earth. I want to read it as a further enrichment of the process of making these sculptures…especially since many of the vessels are being incorporated with stones and rocks. I am learning to listen more clearly to the materials I use so that I can be informed about the process that wants to unfold as I make the sculptures. Beginning the poem paintings will add a whole other dimension to the project. More photos of completed and documented vessels:
10SEP12-Well, lots still going on with the project! At the end of July I went with my friend, John Coveney, to Land’s End near the VA Hospital to start working on video and photos of the vessels. We took Masks of the Gods/Poseidon down to the beach and small cave that is off to the right of the beach. Also, a couple of the vessels which just got photographed at Almac Camera a couple of weeks ago, as well. The video session was a beginning of the learning! I just went for it with some technical support from John, who also acted as my Sherpa. I got footage and photos, some of which are seriously overexposed, but some will be useable. We had a great time even though the tide was coming in and, at one point, I got pretty wet.
I was excited to download the images from my camera into my PC first to get a look at them and then into my MAC to actually start editing the video footage. That was the start of another phase of learning with this project, as the download was a bust! My friend, David, who helps me with my computers, and I made a folder and downloaded the images from the camera and then cleared them out of the chip. Unfortunately, when I tried to access the images in the file we created, they had all disappeared! Deep breaths and conversations about not panicking ensued…Good news! David found a program that allowed him to recover the images from the chip, even though they had been erased from it. So, now the next step is to work with the video in my MAC…more learning curve ahead.
Here are some photos from the shoot:
Here is the latest photo of Inspired By The Tides/28 Vessels From The Shallows-Vessel XXXIII:
And the following pieces in progress are being developed as of 09SEP12 and will hopefully be ready for professional photographic documentation by the beginning of October…that’s the plan for them.
13JULY12 : So, I went to the workshop of Ray Buffalo downtown behind the Chronicle building last Monday-July 9th. It was right in the heart of the worst area down there. Whew, a bit of descent into the inner circle of the Underworld, but Ray was great! After spending quite a bit of time looking for someone who would cut the chunk of wood into three pieces for the stands, I finally found Ray. He looked at the chunk and determined that it probably isn’t maple, cutting it after I marked it with pencil to figure out where to cut it. It took less than five minutes. Ray didn’t even charge me for the cuts. Sweet. I have purchased a maple stain that will give the wood a red/golden glow. Now to sand the pieces and stain them. Once they are stained I will use Pledge wax on them so that they have a shine as well as glow to them. After Epoxy attaches the vessels on each one, I will make the knotless netting accents to complete these three dream catchers. I love this wood and the stands will be dramatic with the golden vessels and golden yarn knotless netting with pearl accents. The first photo shoot with John will happen at Land’s End on 23JULY12. We will be taking Poseidon and a few other completed vessels down the long stairs to the beach and taking the photos on the beach and in the cave that is off to the right on the beach. It will be overlooked by the Labyrinth on the cliff above, which will feel just right! I’ve also started working out how to create the poem paintings…more on that to come.
29JUN12…Even though it has been three months since my last post, I have continued to work on the project diligently! In the studio the vessels that will be wall mounted and painted with acrylic paint are in progress. I bought a beautiful chunk of bird’s eye maple which I will have cut into three sections to create stands for the three vessels that were glazed with the last of the gold filigree glaze; Vessel XII, Vessel XIII and Vessel XVI. Those vessels will be worked with gold yarn and pearls after the stands are created. It was quite a journey to find someone willing to look at the chunk of wood to cut it with a band saw, but I finally have an appointment on July 9th with a furniture maker in downtown San Francisco! I am excited to see those three vessels completed. I finished Vessel XXXII last week after several weeks of work and I am excited to have it completed in time for the photo shoot that will take place at Land’s End featuring Masks Of The God Series/Poseidon as the first photo. I had a long talk with my friend, John Coveney, a videographer who will be working with me on the video. We will start in July and he knows all the right tide pools to go to for the shots! Stay tuned for more updates on the project! You can still see the fifteen (so far) completed vessels which have been professionally photographed by Don Felton of Almac Camera by going to ART>Gallery>New Work on this website.
31MAR12…After several weeks of epoxy and glue and attaching the hanging elements to the bottom of the piece, Masks Of The Gods Series/Poseidon is curing on the table at the ceramics studio. All that is left of the process now is to see how it hangs on a wall and have it professionally photographed. It will definitely take a heavy duty picture hanging hook or two sunk in a stud to hold its weight. I procrastinated finishing the piece because I was unsure about how to complete the wall mounting features on the back, but it is done now. The addition of sea glass on the hanging elements and around the right side of the mask were last minute touches. I am looking forward to the next available low tide to carry Poseidon down to the cave on the beach at Land’s End. I want to set it up among the boulders and stones in the cave to take photos and begin the video which will feature completed pieces in tide pool settings. I’m in the process of learning how to use iMOVIES on my MAC and making videos with my camera. It’s all pretty exciting, though the learning curve definitely leaves me frustrated at times.
08MARCH12/Full Moon in Pisces-Virgo…The one year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami will be on March 11th. I watched a documentary on Fukushima, as well as one on the devastation after the event last year. Chilling images, but also amazing acts of bravery and heroism on the part of the fifty employees who stayed at the reactor to make sure that it didn’t blow up. They probably sacrificed their lives for Japan and the rest of the world. Death from radiation exposure is often not immediate.
I am closing in on finishing Mask Of The Gods Series/Poseidon and plan on having the mask and its background completed to be the first piece to be photographed in one of the tide pool locations that will be included in the video/book. I plan to photograph it at Land’s End in the beautiful cave down on the beach. I would love to have it completed by March 11th, but that doesn’t look like it will happen. The finishing process of attaching everything with epoxy will take more time than I currently have available. My most recent excitement for the project has been about a process that Shiloh Sophia told me about called acrylic transfer. I have been researching the process and look forward to experimenting with it on sheets of thin acrylic plastic which I float on the surface of the twenty-eight poem paintings that will be part of this project. Each painting will have a poem which will be embedded in the acrylic transfer and attached to a thin sheet of plastic and then floated on the surface of the painting possibly with sea glass as the spacer between the painting surface and the sheet of plastic. After completing fifteen of the 28 vessels in December, I am continuing to work on the remaining “dream holders”.
23FEBRUARY12…Well, still basking in the energy of the New Moon in Pisces on Tuesday. Neptune/Poseidon is a strong influence these days and has led me to more insight about how to go forward with Inspired By The Tides/28 Vessels From The Shallows. I am going to set the 28 poems for the project into paintings with the use of kimono images and images from the photos I will be taking at tide pools.
December 29, 2011…It’s past three am in the morning and I just finished organizing the files for this project. Sixteen pieces completed and photographed! Getting the pieces photographed yesterday made them seem real; as if they are no longer a part of me, but have taken on their own distinct new life. It was a moment of revelation and renewal. There have been so many obstacles in the path of this project, but it is moving forward regardless of them. The vessels truly are Dream Holders! As the end of 2011 draws near, I am filled with a sense of purpose and dedication to my life as an artist! To see 15 completed vessels from the series: Go to ART… GALLERY…NEW WORK.
December 21st-WINTER SOLSTICE 2011…Taking a break from working on the vessels which are now firmly nicknamed Dream Holders, I find myself remembering the process of choosing stones during my two visits to American Soil and Stone. What a fabulous place to wander through; looking at piles of stones of all shapes, colors and sizes. My favorite two stones from that trip are possibly Mexican Onyx, according to my dear friend, Gary, who is an amazing artist who started out as a stone cutter and currently works with crystals and stones in jewelry making.
The process of completing each of the vessels, choosing the right stone to use as the permanent base and selecting the feathers, pearls, and other embellishments, as well as creating the knotless netting settings that are meant to look like the foam left on the stones after the ocean waves have receded, continues to be an exercise in surrendering to the process. I will be taking twelve of the finished vessels to be professionally photographed by Don Felton of Almac Camera next Wednesday! Stay tuned. In the meantime here are more photos of some of the pieces in progress without the stone bases…
December 15, 2011…The process of creating these vessels continues to amaze me! I keep surrendering to their direction without knowing if I’m making art or just…what? If each piece is beautiful and individual, is each one also meaningful? It’s been a year since I woke up with the first vessels reverberating in my head and heart demanding to be made. I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. Now I wake up asking myself “what are they?”. As I complete them with stone, yarn, pearls, ceramic medallions, feathers and think about creating the video and book about them; having them photographed, I continue to question. I wonder how they could have obsessed me so for a year and know that there is still so much more work to be done in order to complete the group. They are dream containers, for sure. In and of themselves they have held my dreams during this grindingly difficult year.
November 16, 2011…Great news! After my fabulous ceramics teacher, Deborah Hoch of Hoch Ceramics Studio found a new manufacturer for crackle glazes, I have finally glazed the Poseidon mask and it is out of the kiln and ready to be mounted onto the background ceramic piece! The crackles are really interesting and some of the pitting that occurred in the glaze firing has given the mask an ancient look…appropriate for the mask of an ancient god! I also have begun to work with the knotless netting technique to create the effect of tide pool foam for some of the vessels. All of the Twenty-eight vessels have been glazed now and I will be purchasing acrylic pedestals for some of them and for others, I will be purchasing large rocks and stones as pedestals. My new camera still remains mysterious to me, but I am continuing to learn to use it. Next on the agenda is figuring out tide pool/low tide schedules so that I can begin with the video. Stay tuned for new photos!
INSPIRED BY THE TIDES: TWENTY EIGHT VESSELS FROM THE SHALLOWS
Up until December of 2010 I was mostly not interested in vessels. I hadn’t ever made a utilitarian cup or bowl as my imagination was fired up by hand construction sculpture! Then one morning in early December I woke up with vessels in my head…I was obsessed with them. They seemed to be an extension of a series that I had started a couple of years ago called The Shallows which was a small group of pieces that came out of a trip to some tide-pools. They were also reminiscent of a piece that I had made in the early 1970s called The Sun God which was a stand alone. A trip to Land’s End with my friend Elaine had rekindled my tide-pool interest and may have been the spark for this new obsession. At any rate I was now making vessels that reminded me of ocean waves and rocks around tide-pools. In the next six weeks of one class per week, I made twenty-eight of them. That was the start.
Over the next several months my little vessels were faced with challenge after challenge. The first one was that the delicious crackle glazes that we had been using in the Hoch Ceramics studio were suddenly no longer producing crackles. Another was that after legislation that had been enacted ten years previously went into effect in 2010, glaze formulas no longer contained lead. That was certainly a good thing for the health of all of us using the glazes, but it changed the effects of the glazes. We could no longer buy the rich metallic formula called gold filigree and some of the clay bodies which we had been using became extinct! These challenges made the next steps for turning the vessels into finished pieces more complicated.
After rethinking how to proceed, I realized that I wanted to incorporate my other skills as a painter into the process. I had had discussions with my teacher, Deborah Hoch, about the effects of using acrylic paint on ceramics which sometimes gave a plastic, unnatural finish which was at odds with the organic nature of ceramics and I didn’t want to end up with that effect. However, I could see the beauty of paint used on pieces that were meant to look wet and slick from the ocean spray and pools of water. So I started experimenting with stains on the bisque fired ware and applying paint as an added accent to some of the already glazed pieces.
I was preoccupied with these vessels, not really thinking about the other series that I also work in until another morning epiphany occurred. The series Masks of the Gods suddenly demanded my attention. I woke up on a March morning with a vision of a mask piece for the god of earthquakes, tsunamis and the deep ocean; Poseidon, also known as Neptune. I felt compelled to start setting up the plans and sketches immediately and did so. I decided that it would be ceramic instead of the plaster impregnated gauze that I usually work with when making mask and I started thinking about how it would relate to the vessels already in progress. Then the earthquakes and resultant tsunami hit Japan. I listened to the news with dismay and a growing sense of awe at the power of the gods of nature. One tragedy followed after another, as the meltdown at the atomic power plant unfolded into a catastrophic blueprint for disaster; one that was wholly man made. The personal nature of the horror hit me full on when I found out that one of my colleagues at the fitness center where I worked had not only lost a family member and a friend in the wake of the tsunami, but that she was from one of the villages that was wiped out! Her place of origin was destroyed. The project of the mask and vessels took on new meaning for me, then. Brewing in my subconscious was the combination of Kimi’s loss and the hardships of the survivors, the power of Poseidon and natural disaster to shape and change these human lives and the rich tradition of ceramic vessels in Japan. All of these factors brewed together to create another morning aha! moment. I wanted to contribute in some way to the relief effort and realized that if I made a video to show on You Tube and created a book, as well as sold the vessels and the mask, I could donate a percentage of the revenues to the Japan Relief effort.
The video will include the poem:
By The Tides
The shallow depressions
Carved by the pull and crash
Of the ocean’s constant tides
Sparkle with the tears
That luminesce in the moonlight
Is it simply the waters of life
Salt to flavor the inexorable change
Or the mystery of ebb and flow
That balances out the breath
Of an expanding palette of stars?
Connection in the space of loss
Renews the heart’s knowledge
Of unfailing Divine Love
Gathering up the shells and stones
Washed ashore in Poseidon’s wake
17 JUN 11 TASH c
It will also include video footage of various tide-pools with some of the larger vessels perched on the rocks, shots of the moon, ocean waves, and professionally photographed still shots of the individual vessels interspersed throughout the video, as well as the mask of Poseidon. If Kimi’s schedule permits, I also hope to have some video footage of her holding some of the vessels at tide-pools, as well. The book will document the project and both the video and book will be dedicated to the people of Japan who have survived so much. Though the world has moved on to other issues and disasters since March, the people of Japan will be in need of assistance and relief as they rebuild their country for years to come. Japan Community Center Relief Fund: