Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clay Art Burnished and Pit-Fired Pottery Vessels

We are so pleased to be representing the fine work of local artist, Judy Hummell.

Judy creates clay art burnished and pit-fired pottery vessels. They are really quite stunning. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein from San Francisco purchased one. The swirls in each pot are very complex and distinctive, and the surface is so smooth and shiny - it makes you want to kind of rub it like a magic lantern or something.

Of course given that very smooth and shiny and curvy surface, it was about near impossible to take digital photos of her pieces that would really do them justice. She tells me even professional photographers have turn her down because they felt the work was too difficult to photograph. But in person, they are just gorgeous!

Here are her own comments on her process and below her comments are a couple of sample photos of her pieces:

My pots are hand-built using the method of coiling and a low-fire red clay called Navajo Wheel. Coiling is a slow process, but I find it enjoyable, rolling out the coils, attaching one coil at a time, smoothing and shaping the growing walls of the pot as I go along. During the drying process, I burnish the pots several times with a smooth stone in order to achieve a high polish. No glaze is used. When the pots are completely dry, they are bisque-fired in an electric kiln to about 1500 F. Since they are fired at this low temperature, my pots will not hold water. Next the pots are taken to the beach and a pit is dug in the sand. Sawdust is put into the pit and the pots are placed in the sawdust. Black results wherever the pot touches the sawdust. Copper carbonate and sea salt sprinkled in the sawdust around the pots create variations in color, especially reds. I most often use wood scraps as fuel, but sometimes I use cow dung, or both wood and dung. When the fire has died down I cover the pit with sheet metal so that the pots will cool slowly and not crack. The firing usually lasts all day. The most exciting time is of course at the end of the day when the pots are cool enough to remove from the pit. No two pots emerge from the fire alike; each is unique and the results are always a surprise.

A light coat of carnauba wax is applied to the pots to bring out the colors and to finish them.

The photos below are not professional. They are just a best attempt with a digital camera. You can see more of Judy's work at

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Two New Dance Figurative Paintings at the Gallery

Margaret Tcheng Ware has been working on a series of figurative paintings that celebrate her past as a dancer and captures the dynamic energy and beautiful lines of professional dancers. We now have two of these available for sale at the Gallery.

Here are her own comments on it:

"In my new series of dance paintings, I come full circle back to my first love, which is dance. Usually, I approach these paintings by conceiving of a composition made up of individual poses. Separately, each dancer’s gesture is powerful; combined, or re-combined, the impact of their gestures can be even greater than the sum of the parts. This is my goal in these paintings - - to try and express the drama, the rich gamut and the ambiguity of feelings, inherent in the human figure when moving. The overall title for this body of work comes from my own experience In the theater: it is during those highly charged moments when both performers and audience alike are totally committed and engaged in the moment that they experience together the excitement of being in 'a more vivid place'."

See purchase either of these or see more work from Margaret: