Flag Day in Philadelphia

I volunteered for another Color Wheels last weekend and the theme was Flag Day. We parked the Color Wheels van outside the Museum of the American Revolution, and set up tables with art supplies and blank flags to decorate.

Now you might wonder what Flag Day is and why we celebrate it in the United States. Even though we didn’t have an official flag when the Revolutionary War, started, the Continental Congress soon got around to designing one in 1775. Legend has it that Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, right here in Philadelphia. Some say that this story originated with some tall tales perpetrated by her relatives in the 1870’s. There is a paper trail showing that she was contracted to sew flags for the US government in 1777. More information here. The Betsy Ross house, where Ross purportedly lived when she sewed the flag, is only a few blocks from the Museum of the American Revolution.

Most of the people who dropped by to make flags were from out of town. And interestingly, I didn’t see many kids try to reproduce the American Flag. A couple of flags I recognized were the flag of Suriname, and the flag of Israel.

Do you see a flag in the pictures that you recognize?

To learn more about Fleisher Art Memorial, who sends the Color Wheels van all over Philadelphia, press here.

Fleisher 123

Some pictures from the one hundredth and twenty third annual student exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial. Click on each picture to see the artist and the name of the work.

New Mugs at Fleisher Handmade Art Market

Here are pictures of a few of the mugs I’ll be offering at this years’ Handmade Art Market at Fleisher Art Memorial. If you live in Philadelphia (or are visiting) catch me and the other Open Studio potters.

See more work from the Studio Potters gang on my Instagram account here, here, and here.

Fleisher’s 122nd Annual Faculty Show

Some selected works from Fleisher’s 122nd annual Faculty Show. The works this year range from oils and photography to collage, prints, mosaic, mixed media, sewing and ceramics,

Robert Reinhardt The Circle Game
Kayoko Paw Bowls
Marie Elcin Touch
Inga Kimberly Brown Captivating Ron
Fran Gallun Flight of Fancy
Daisy Diamond Vessel of Sewn Memory
Dianne Koppish-Hricko Cycle
Claire Brill Loss
Carol Stirton-Broad Perceptions (#1 Red Sky)

The show closes on September 24, so you still have time to check it out in person. Fleisher is located at 719 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147. For more information, press here.

Not Your Mother’s Majolica

Majolica glaze is a white tin or zinc-based glaze that provides a smooth coating on terracotta clay and acts as a perfect foil for underglaze decorations which are painted on top of the Majolica glaze.  The beauty of the Majolica is that it doesn’t move,  so anything you paint on top of it stays put.   For an explanation of the process, press here and here.

Here are some classic examples: tiles from Portugal.

MajolicaTilesPortugal

So I probably should not have been delighted when I took this out of the kiln.

8-out-of-the-kiln

And yet, I was.   To be fair,  I didn’t start off conventionally.  I took a terracotta bud vase, dipped it in a cone 04 dipping glaze called Ice Blue (you can get the recipe in a free booklet on the Ceramic Arts Network site here. ) 

The glaze has chunks in it and it’s supposed to run and collect in crevices.  It can look interesting when you use it on white earthenware (see right) and beyond boring over terracotta (middle). 

We have a bucket of Majolica glaze in the studio and I decided to experiment.  I had to dip the vase three times to get a good coat, letting the glaze dry completely between coats.  You can see the crackling and crazing from the Ice Blue glaze in the right hand picture below that might have looked interesting had it been on the right kind of clay.

7-underglaze-decoration

I let the glaze dry overnight before adding the underglaze decoration.

7-underglaze-decoration

And here’s what I got!  This was fired at cone 06.  I surmise that the Majolica and the underglaze shifted because the Ice Blue glaze beneath it moved.  I am not sure what I expected.  Not everyone will like this, but for me it was a pleasant surprise.

Drawing Bridges at Cherry Street Pier

I went to Cherry Street Pier with the Color Wheels gang last week. It was the first Color Wheels outing I’ve been on for more than a year,

The Color Wheels Van

The art project was drawing the Ben Franklin Bridge which is right next to Cherry Street Pier.

It’s not an easy task to draw a suspension bridge, even with an army of erasers and rulers. But lead artist Maureen Duffy helped a lot of people tackle the project and walk away with drawings. Here are some I got to photograph.

Glad to be Back

I’m back in the pottery studio this week decorating and glazing all the bowls I threw last year. The studio has limited access, we observe social distancing, and we all wear masks which is generally a good idea in a pottery studio. I’m glad to have a little brightness and color to add to these dark winter days. Spring is just ahead! Here are some pictures.

Waiting This Thing Out

The pandemic is raging again and I joined my family on Zoom for Thanksgiving dinner. I was surprised at how well it turned out. We all just fired up our computers, parked in front of them with our dinner, and had a meal together even though we were in different locations. Much safer than traveling but we did miss the human contact.

The pottery studio is closed
My shelf as I left it.

The pottery studio is closed but I was working on decorating some bowls I had thrown when the closing announcement came down. I’m hoping to get back to them after the first of the year. In the meantime, here are some pictures. Stay safe and wear your mask!

Look! I Made a Mug

Actually, I made two, and snatched them out of the studio before the Fleisher Art Memorial open Ceramics studio closed in response to the latest Coronavirus surge. We had been working in the studio since September with added precautions, masks, a limited number of people, and social distancing. But safety is more important.

I decided to try making a hand-built mug where the handle and walls of the mug were all one piece, and I would add a bottom. In pottery as in jewelry designing, making paper models saves a lot of time and materials. So I made a paper template for the mug.

Mug template with bottom
Mug in the making.
Underglaze painting on greenware.
Mugs after bisque fire. I covered them with a clear satin glaze.

And the scraps from the foot rings inspired me to make a covered jar with a fancy lid. I’ll do some cold finishing on this one.

In Her Memory

Thrown platter, white earthenware, black underglaze painting

Marjorie Waxman created this platter in the pottery and ceramics studio at Fleisher Art Memorial.