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Pottery Intensive Update – 6.4.2020

My big, exciting event for this summer was going to be a week long pottery workshop at the Arrowmont School of arts and crafts. It was a gift from a friend, and was going to be a really special treat. To be safe during the coronavirus, the workshop was cancelled. I was really looking forward to visiting Arrowmont, and having a pottery intensive experience. My hope was to get better at throwing, and to learn a few new surface decoration techniques.

just because I can’t go to a famous arts and craft school, and learn from a popular potter, doesent mean I can’t still have a pottery intensive experience. I decided to give myself a summer of pottery making!!! So far, I’ve thrown about 20 mugs.

Most of them are being decorated in a style, called sgraffito.
If you haven’t already seen it, here is a short video explaining the process:

I learned a new technique to throw plates. Thanks @Dennis Allen ! So now I’ve been working on a few sgraffito plates.

This squirrel design is based on one of my linocuts.

Another plate…with BLUE underglaze.

These are works in progress…they still need to be glazed and fired, but I’m really excited about making plates…and hope to the have enough to fire the kiln soon.

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Thinking about current events

I AM watching the news, and I don’t want you all to think that I have my head buried in the sand, and am just happily in my own little world, making art. I see what’s happening to us, and it hurts me deeply. I don’t know what I can do to make it better, so I share things that help me and others feel good, and encourage them to work on their own creative projects. Art is a great way to deal with feelings. For me, art is a therapy, and there are a lot of studies that show it really does cause positive things to happen in the brain. There are also studies that show that social media is causing psychological and social problems…

i don’t use social media for politics. In my perspective, it’s a terrible way to try and have dialogue about divisive issues. I’ve watched friendships end and families grow further apart because of the way social media brings out, and magnifies the worst in some people. (i guess it’s profitable, or the tech companies just like to destroy people’s lives) I have friends from a wide range of perspectives, who I know in real life, and I can tell you, we have more in common than social media would have us believe.

I believe that religion is personal, and I don’t talk about it on social media (for the same reasons). Since it’s Sunday, and I think it is important, I will share with you that I believe that we are ALL children of God, we are ALL brothers and sisters. EVERYONE deserves to be treated with respect, fairness and dignity. I believe (and I’m trying to be better at) following Christ’s teaching to love thy neighbor as thyself. I know this is a crazy time, and everyone is scared and angry a suffering loss and going through a million other feelings right now. I hope that all of these challenges we are going through has some kind of meaning, and, in the end, we use this experience to lift each other up, and become better neighbors.

I’m scared, and feel helpless and angry, but I also feel more connected, and a feeling of togetherness with you all (even if we have to stay 6 feet apart). You have gotten me through, what is possibly the biggest trial of my lifetime. Since social media isn’t going away, let’s use it to keep the good vibes going, and try to have a little more understanding and empathy toward each other…this is HARD, but we will get through this together.

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Pig Mug – Sgraffito video

I’m back in the clay studio, working with a decoration technique, called sgraffito. The word comes from Italian and means; to scratch away.

The way the technique works, a pot is covered with colored clay, then I scratch the top layer, reavealing the design.

Since i have a printmaking background, this technique feels familiar. It’s the same way I would make a woodcut.

The idea for the mug i’m working on is tow pigs enjoying a field of clover, and they both found a four leaf clover at the same time. What a lucky pair of pigs!

If you are interested in seeing how these pots turn out, stay tuned, i’ll show them off once they are fired in the kiln.

UPDATE: i forgot to mention…i don’t sell pots online. I believe a pot has to be experienced in person, so the owner can hold it before deciding to take it to it’s ‘forever home’. Hopefully a drive in the country to Old Washington, ky isn’t impossible for you. Thanks again everyone for the great response!

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Home Sick Art Fair – Tomorrow May 16, 2020

Tomorrow is the #homeSickArtFair !!! My original idea was to have a display on the front porch, but since the weather has its own ideas, I’m improvising a gallery inside the house. It feels really good hanging an exhibit. It’s been awhile, but this makes me feel closer to normal…even it it is still a virtual show. Hope you’ll come visit via Facebook and instagram. There are 16 participating artists. Tomorrow, use the tag #homesickArtFair to see everything happening at the fair!

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Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

I’m a lifetime learner, and student for life, so teachers have a special place in my heart! Thanks to all the teachers for making our community a better place!

Here’s a linocut that I made a few years ago for a project, called ArtZine. Visiting and local artists met in a different small town each month to create a ‘zine’ . The theme for November in Vanceburg, KY was GRATITUDE, and this was my entry.

Feel free to click the image above to download and print your own copy of the linocut that you can print and share with the teachers in your life.

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We will get through this together-linocut

My latest linocut!

This will be a greeting card to share with friends and family who might feel alone right now.

i assume all kentuckians know where this phrase comes from. for those who don’t, every day, our governor addresses the state for an update re: covid 19. He always starts saying this, then encourages us to say it together. his demeanor and team spirit has calmed me down on more than a few moments during this anxious time.

I know that a lot of people are experiencing economic insecurity right now, and would enjoy this image, but can’t buy a card right now. I would NEVER encourage digital printing of a hand printed work of art, but these are serious times. If you would like to download a high resolution copy of this art to print and share (for personal use only) follow this link.

https://www.kenswinson.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/GetThroughThisTogether.jpg

Below is the step by step process:
A rough sketch for today’s linocut. This will be a greeting card to share with friends and family who might feel alone right now.

 I used my iPad to do some fine tuning on my design. Now I’m ready to transfer it to a block for carving.

design transferred, and ready to carve!

Carving. I included my finger in the photo to give you a sense of details and scale. I’ve been carving a lot of wood lately, compared to it, the limo cuts lite butter!

a little bit over 1/3 done
YOU ALL KNOW NOT TO TRY CALLING ME BETWEEN 5 AND 6 PM. carving during the governors update
Carving Done! Time To Print!
The first printing!