Sunday, December 21, 2008

Images Of My Older Work

I had a great time visiting Berkeley with John Toki as my guide. I met many creative people and really enjoyed seeing the kilns first hand.

It's an amazing opportunity, visiting other artist's studios and being so warmly received. The ceramic arts in Berkeley is known worldwide, and John Toki literally knows everyone. I was pinching myself all day!

I've got my choices narrowed down to a very nice "front loader", or an oval shaped kiln with a custom lift and Toki controls on it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Berkeley Bound!!!

---- John Toki wrote:

I will see you on Friday. When you exit the Southwest terminal, walk across the road to the island for passenger pickup located at the (south end) near the taxi pickup. We have a 12 o'clock appointment to visit Lynn Franco, in Berkeley, who has a custom kiln with lift system similar to the style we have discussed.

We can then visit Leslie Ceramics, and if you are interested my studio, which has a large gas kiln, and ConeArt kiln etc. We could also visit the California College of the Arts (where I used to teach) to see a large oval style kiln. Let me know what you want to see.

I may drive my red car which is easier to spot when I pick you up at the airport.


John Toki



I was just thinking I needed to call you to confirm. Thanks for the e-mail. This all sounds great. I really appreciate it. I'm game for all we can comfortably fit in.

I have medium brown long-ish hair, and I am only five feet tall. I will just look for a red car! See you soon. -Kim Fox

Monday, December 1, 2008

On Nov 24, 2008, at 8:16 PM, Kim wrote:

> Okay, John, I have browsed through the catalogs. Thank-you very
> much for taking the time to highlight the kilns, and for the
> notes. I do want to visit the showroom. It will be good for me
> to spend time looking at the actual kilns, to get a sense of what
> they are like.
> I am not sure where your showroom is, exactly. Agnese keeps
> mentioning Leslie Ceramics, but it seems to be a separate operation
> from your Toki Kilns? What are your hours of operation? I may try
> to do a day trip. Are you opened on weekends?
> -Kim Fox

RESPONSE TODAY December 1, 2008:


Leslie Ceramics is in Berkeley, CA. The airport you would fly into is
Oakland. I could pick you up & drop you off. To clarify things: The
Toki Kiln is a kiln brand. Leslie Ceramics is a retail store. I have
a prototype of the Toki kiln at my studio which you could see, and
there is a sample of the controller at Leslie Ceramics. At Leslie's
there are examples of Nabertherm, Cress, Skutt, Paragon kilns & some
gas kilns as well. We may want to visit my studio which is seven
minutes from Leslie's. There, I have a ConeArt Kiln & Toki Kiln.

I am available to meet just about any time except Dec 8,9,10. Provide
me with a few dates that will work for you.


John Toki

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday at the Museum & Kiln Dreams

Sunday, Clancey and I participated in a yearly "celebration" at the Museum of Figurative Art. We were able to participate in the celebration, view a recent exhibit of Japanese prints, eat awesome paella, and bid on donated art to raise funds for the cause. It was great. I had fun lifting up my bidder's paddle when the prices were low, and keeping my paddle firmly down thereafter. I didn't win any bids that way, and so no new purchases to report.

The Exhibit titled "Gestures of Beauty and Elegant Pose, Japanese Prints of Actors and Beautiful Women 1690-1830" was especially interesting, and I love the simplification of form. I also learned that the "Beautiful Women" were drawings of either prostitutes or male actors depicting women on stage! (Example of male actor follows.)

I saw Julius Forzano there, the wonderful Juli who helped me with my last show. He quickly asked me how my art was going. I had no new work to report and was instantly ashamed. I'm outed.

I need a kiln of my own. I've been saying this for months. I am quite intimidated by the process. Help is on the horizon, however. I have been referred to another artist, John Toki, who lives in Berkeley California. He's a great ceramicist and his work is comprised of stacked, fired clay pieces.

It seems that Toki is willing to tell me everything I need to know about purchasing a kiln of my own. He wrote a book on the subject and I am planning to purchase it. My goal is to fly out to Berkeley, look at my many options, and with Toki's guidance, find the right one for me. The technical "stuff" such as setup and first firing of the kiln will just have to work itself out as the time comes. I am contacting Toki today, to set things in motion!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I was in my backyard this morning, putting finishing wax on several pieces. The morning sun is bright enough and warm enough to help the wax melt in, and the next door neighbor was playing "oldies but goodies" for a nice ambiance.

I finally think it's going to be O.K. This is when I think maybe I shouldn't have thrown out the whole stack of invitations I was given to mail & hand-out. Tossing them dramatically into the waste bin was a bit of a temperamental fit, I admit, but I seriously was convinced that I was never going to want to invite attention to this first body of stoneware. Things really started out badly.

There was the first firing which literally annihilated the first bust I did because it was constructed too thinly. "No big deal," I thought at the time.

There was the full 3 foot plus figure that I lost due to an experiment -enforcing it incorrectly with fiberglass screen. It fell apart during construction, and was added to my bucket of clay to be recycled. I wasn't too concerned. I knew there was going to be several weeks of just trial and error.

Another full figure was reduced to a bust sized piece because I over-stressed the ankles, and the feet literally broke off. She seemed so great before she broke, I hated to lose her. The following day I ruined a male figure that was sort of reclining. I was moving it around too much when wet. I also placed it on a hard surface flattening out the whole back side. I didn't have a sense of humor about realizing that error. I hit it with a long stick, and then I punched at it a few times before moving on.

I lost almost as much as I made over these last weeks. There isn't going to be a large body of work at this upcoming show due to this. Regardless, I am happy with myself for trying. All in all I gave a good effort. I wouldn't have learned this much without a scary looming deadline. I can thank Agnese, the gallery owner for this. She introduced me to Julius Forzano, and really made it easier to take a leap.

Julius Forzano, by the way, is a great mentor. He is always positive. He provided me with quick 1-hour tutoring sessions, and a dose of inspiration with every visit. (I would like to someday pass on the favor to someone else.)

Turns out I really like working with clay for several reasons. It's pretty immediate, as far as the creative process goes. This is not so with bronze or working in plaster, which takes a bit more pre-planning and more elbow grease. Clay also lends itself to more movement, or flow, which is a direction I really want to go.

I will be delivering my work to the gallery on Friday, and the official opening of the show is Thursday, October 2nd. (7-9'ish PM) I hope to get a positive reaction from Agnese, as Juli has been telling her about some of the work, building it up a bit.

Udinotti Gallery
4215 N Marshall Way
Scottsdale, AZ

*After the show I will post some pictures!