Monday, August 20, 2012

Studio Visit: Greenwich House Pottery

Teen Wheel Workshop

Working on the wheel is amazing. You take a blob of shapeless clay, place it on a wheel, start the wheel turning and press on it with steady hands. It wiggles a bit, but soon,  as if by magic, a beautiful pot rises. It grows taller, or wider, as you press it. You stop to admire it.

We visited the popular Teen Wheel Workshop at Greenwich House Pottery in Greenwich Village. Master Potter, Dave Gibson, is the instructor. It's an exciting workshop where teens (13 to 18 years old) learn to shape beautiful pots on the wheel. 

Dave Gibson Demonstration 
A video of Dave's "centering" demonstration on YouTube :

The students practice "centering" on the wheel:

They add decorative details...

...with "slip," liquid clay.

One student adds graphic letters to his artwork.

The pots can be painted with shiny glaze in every imaginable color.

When the pots are ready they are loaded into a kiln and fired...

... at 2000 degrees.

Here are some "fired" pots waiting to be picked up.

Here is a wall of beautiful pots on exhibit in the gallery.

Meet Christopher Adams
Greenwich House Pottery is proud of its artist-In-residence program.
Leading artists like Christopher Adams are invited to share
their art with students and with the community.

Greenwich House Pottery is pleased to announce Christopher Adams as its 2012-2013 Resident ArtistOf his work, Adams writes: “My ceramic work relates intimately to my interests and experiences outside of art...and falls into the category of ‘organic abstraction.’ The pieces are influenced by a variety of creatures, but none of them represent any specific organism. Instead, the works usually play on biological concepts—speciation, convergence, mimicry—to generate aesthetic novelty. My most recent efforts relate to a series of wall-hanging ceramic biomorphic abstractions that play on the biological speciation concept of adaptive radiation – a phenomenon in which some pioneering organism enters into a relatively untapped environment and differentiates wildly and rapidly while at the same time not departing too dramatically from its original form. All the works in the series are members of an arbitrarily designed family. The population—currently hovering at around 5,000—has been evolving over the last 10 years…pieces range in size from half an inch to four feet in diameter and all are hand-built.”

This project was inspired by artist Christopher Adams' work...

 You can do this project at home. It is based on the fantasy forms Christopher Adams creates. You will need some clay or playdoh. Create (shape) some fantasy plant forms. Give them lots of wiggly "arms." Design some insect or animal "creatures." Have they come from another planet? Glue your "creatures" to a wood panel (or heavy cardboard) to create a "world," like Christopher Adams did. Give your "world" a name...and a story.

Meet Adam Welch, Greenwich House Pottery Director.

Adam Welch, Director
Greenwich House Pottery
16 Jones Street
New York, NY
Tel: 212 242 4106

You will find the Greenwich House catalogue at:

If you have young children, you will enjoy this post about the parent-child class at Greenwich House Pottery:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Studio Visit: Dancing with Pilobolus

Paula Lobo for The New York Times

These are photographs of the Pilobolus performance of "Skyscrapers" choreographed by Trish Sie.

Trish created "Skyscrapers" as a music video for the rock band "OK Go." (Her brother, Damian Kulash, is the band’s lead singer.) The music video shows Trish and dancer Moti Buchboot, as they   slowly tango  across a string of colorful street backdrops; their costumes change colors with each frame. 

Trish was a childhood fan of the dance group Pilobolus. She sent Renee Jaworski, at Pilobolus, the “Skyscrapers" video, and Pilobolus agreed to collaborate on a live performance version. 

Music videos are fun to create. Here are some ideas you can try:
Music Video Projects Inspired by Trish Sie
1. Colors- select music you feel is "red" (or blue, or yellow) music. Put on clothes in that color. Create movements for the music. What is the "red" feeling of the dance?
2. Changes- change to blue clothes. Change the music to "blue" music. Create movements for the "blue" music. Is there a different feeling?

3. Ideas- what other "color" ideas can you come up with for dances? Green frog? Yellow sun? Red rose?

4. Videos- create music videos of your dances. Talk about your ideas for the videos...the music...the movements...

5. Friends- invite friends to collaborate with you. Ask them to create dance movements. Talk about the dances together. Rehearse the movements. Perform them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Studio Visit: A Box of Crayons

Here is a fun video about creativity with a box of crayons. It features musicians Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein and Garrett Davis as the director and animator

Public Art Visit: Discovering Columbus

There is a statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle, in New York City. Usually, we walk past the statue without  noticing it. It's just part of the street. But Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi wants us to notice it. He want to change the way we look at the statue of Columbus. So he is constructing a six-story tower around it. What? And, it will have a furnished living room at the top level. Really? When you climb the stairs to the living room above, you will "Discover Columbus,"  (the actual statue), poking through the floor in the middle of the living room. Fun, yes? 

Nishi's art is called "conceptual art. Here is his sketch of the living room he designed to surround the top of the Columbus statue.

"Discovering Columbus" celebrates the 400th anniversary of Columbus' journey to America. You can visit the tower starting on September 20th. 

A Creative Project Inspired by Nishi

Select an object from the kitchen, a whisk perhaps. Select a shoe box. Decorate the box with drawings of shoes. Put the whisk in the box. Close the box. Ask friends what they think is in the box. If they say shoes, you have successfully changed the way they think about what to expect. That's what Nishi does. He changes the surroundings of objects to make you see them in a new way.