Micòl Ceramics x Samantha Dion Baker Collection

Over the years, I've enjoyed working together with many different artists. The final product is always exciting, fresh, and very different from what I might have come up with on my own. So, this past summer, I began thinking about the possibility of arranging a new collaboration. A few names came to mind, but Samantha Dion Baker was at the top of my list.

Sam is an extremely talented illustrator who also lives in Brooklyn. We first met last year, when she stopped by my booth at a fair. We chatted for a while. She bought a couple of my pieces and signed my mailing list. Since then, I've been following Sam on Instagram, where she has a very active and gorgeous feed. Every day, I'm stunned by her beautiful journal pages and hand-painted leaves.

And so, this summer, I reached out to Sam with the idea of a collaboration. I was very happy when she told me she was excited about the idea! Sam had never worked with ceramics, so it was a great opportunity to learn a lot from each other. We immediately arranged a time to meet up at my Industry City studio. 

During our first two meetings, we tried a number of different techniques, glazes, and forms as test pieces. I loaded everything into the kiln and we waited. Though neither of us were completely satisfied with this firing, the results were inspiring and pointed us in a strong direction. 

The next time we met at my studio, Alex Baretto, a photographer with Industry City, came by to take some shots of us working (see the two photos below - you can see more of Alex's incredible photos at Industry City's Instagram feed!). As an artist, it is so beneficial to work in a creative environment like Industry City. You just have to walk through any of its halls to see all kinds of artistic disciplines side by side!

 Photo by Alex Baretto
 Photo by Alex Baretto

The direction Sam and I chose for our collaboration was to glaze my ceramics in the style of her painted leaves. We designed several different shapes of vases, bowls, and cups, and choose a palette of glazes.

The result is a limited collection of 15 unique porcelain pieces with the free-form drips and line work of Samantha's leaves. We are both so thrilled with the collection! It was an extraordinary experience for me, not only because I got to see how Sam works, but because I gained a great friend. We had such a blast making these pieces... we're already thinking about what our next collaboration will be! Stay tuned!

The collection is now available in the shop. Enjoy! 

Mold-Making Workshop for Ceramics

As one of the rewards available in my Kickstarter campaign, I will be hosting a 2-day mold-making workshop in my new Brooklyn studio!

The workshop will focus on plaster mold-making (one, two, or three-piece molds), with instructions on slip casting and clay pressing methods for creating accurate reproductions. 

Each student must bring one or two objects (depending upon complexity) to recreate with a mold. Before the workshop, I will discuss specific details with individual students via e-mail. 

Points of interest:
*How to divide an object into parts for plaster mold making
*How to build and seal mold walls
*How to prepare the plaster
*Slip casting techniques
*Clay pressing techniques

If interested, please visit my Kickstarter page, or e-mail me at micol@micolceramics.com. 

Capacity : 4 students
Dates: Saturday 5/6/17 and Sunday 5/7/17
Time: 12am - 4:30pm
Location:  67 35th Street
Floor 2, Suite C239
Brooklyn, NY 11232

All materials included.
Refreshments will be served. 

 

Akio Takamori, Ceramic Sculptor, 1950-2017

While heading home after my ceramic classes this past Thursday, I read that Akio Takamori had passed away. I was shocked; I hadn't known he was sick. 

Akio Takamori, Ceramic Sculptor, 1950-2017

I met Akio in Denmark during the summer of 2009, when I was doing a residency at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center. My poor English made it difficult to interact in a deep way with most of the other artists. But it was always very easy to communicate with Akio; he was always happy and excited to share.

Group photos with Akio and my other residency partners at Guldagergaard in 2009

From day one I was very impressed with his work. He approached figurative sculpture (the field of study I was also pursuing) with a simplicity and plasticity that fascinated me.

Since Thursday, I have been looking at the photographs I took during my time at Guldagergaard, and recalling a lot of wonderful memories. I remember one day in particular when I got to the studio early, and Akio hadn't yet arrived. I used the opportunity to take a close look at his new, unfired sculptures. Studying all the fresh details, I realized how different my way of working with clay was. I wasn't comparing his work with mine (I was still very far way from the confident patterns his experienced fingers were capable of)... I just wanted to learn as much I could by looking at them.

Akio came to my space later that day to ask me some questions, in English, that I could barely answer. But I think he understood me. He seemed to know how I felt as a foreigner in an English-speaking country, just as he was when he came to the USA. 

Akio Takamori was born and raised in Japan, but moved to the USA in 1974. In 1993, he began teaching at the University of Washington School of Art in Seattle, where he remained as a teacher until his death.

The ceramic community has lost a great artist and a greater human being.