Ceramics, Part II – The Ornaments!

I am excited to share the results of my experiments in the ceramics studio – a very well-received selection of Christmas ornaments that I gave as holiday gifts.

I made them by rolling out sheets of clay through the slab roller, cutting shapes with cookie cutters, and then making impressions with various articles found in nature like pine cones and seashells. Before firing them, I used a little green and white glaze over the impressions.


December always feels to me like a time for going inward – we go to see our families, and the distant memories we carry from childhood are suddenly re-animated – the trees and animals go into hibernation – and the sun retreats for the greater part of the day to the far side of the world. So, I feel it is a wonderful time for introspection, and for the sights of winter and its quiet coldness to allow us to retreat into the depths of inner thoughts.

Still, I like to embark on little adventures at this time, so that I can experience the natural parts of winter – the clouds, the infrequently visible but sometimes dim sunsets, the life drying out of the vegetation.

This year, after hearing the Men and Boys Choir at the St. Thomas Church on 5th Avenue, I went to the Top of the Rock – the top observation deck at Rockefeller Center – on a dreary but mild day. It looked New York from the black-and-white movie days, all misty and foggy, and with the towering buildings rising up out of the sea.

I’ve also enjoyed gazing out beyond my Brooklyn fire escape for rare glances at fiery sunsets, and even poking my head out the window into the windy, brisk air. It’s a great city pleasure to be at once perched upon a warm radiator and also leaning onto a freshly iced-over fire escape.

Holiday Hype

I was delighted to find out that the art-savvy folks at Gen Art just gave me some very flattering press about my work and my holiday gift shop. Check out what they’re saying about me by clicking HERE. (photo of me by Xiang Ren.)

photo of La Boca, Buenos Aires – for sale online in the gift shop!

Verb List

Above is a list of verbs I created about my photography career – inspired by the same, as created by graphic designer Rob Giampietro. Rob has an incredibly intelligent blog called Lined & Unlined, where I saw his verb list, inspired by life as a graphic designer, and his citation of the artist/sculptor Richard Serra’s original verb list in UbuWeb’s Anthology of Conceptual Writing.

New Museum Field Trip

I went to the opening of the New Museum on New York’s Lower East Side yesterday. It is an incredible space! I recommend taking the elevator to the 7th floor with the observation deck and working your way down through the huge concrete levels.

The current exhibition, Unmonumental, was pretty much that. It was an interesting commentary about objects, or to be more plain, it was a lot of “sculpture” made out of junk. There was an arrangement of a whole bunch of wooden chairs strung upwards into an arch, there were objects from public places, construction sites, and demonstrations, there were bundles of clothes, and a mattress covered in buttons.

The exhibit felt very dingy. It made me think of must and mildew, even though the objects were clean, and the brand-new museum space was immaculate. It conjured images of an old pent-up recluse hoarding boxes, cans, labels, clothing, signs, many more objects than there is any use for, just because they see that they have some tinge of value. Anyone else would see that it is just trash, and that to elevate something that is past its usefulness to the level of cherishing it, instead, is a kind of sickness.

It reminded me a lot of what artists were working on in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when I first moved to New York in 2002. Many of the artists in Williamsburg then were very poor and making things out of anything they found on the street. Their “art openings” were simply opening the metal grate of the store front that was doubling as their apartment, or draping sheets over portions of the dank loft spaces where they worked to create a “gallery” space.

It was interesting in the museum environment to be looking at things of this nature on display – held up, if you will, under a glamorous spotlight – and to experience the sensation of opening the door to a closet that has been closed for awhile and thinking to oneself, “Most of this has to go.”

It did make me think about how much we produce in our culture, and how disposable and replace-able most things are in the highly commercial lifestyle of present-day civilizations. What becomes of so many of those things that people find in the old closet and finally dispose of? They are not totally useless, even when they are no longer in use.

Despite the fact that I usually prefer my art intake to be beautiful and inspiring, I feel that it was quite an appropriate vibe to get from the opening of a museum on the Bowery – where my fellow New Yorkers and I have been salvaging discarded furniture from street corners for years. And after all, we all cling to something, don’t we?