Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Posts Tagged ‘slab construction’

Sandi Pierantozzi and Neil Patterson Plinth Gallery Interview

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Sandi Pierantozzi

Neil Patterson

Sandi Pierantozzi and Neil Patterson: New work!

Exhibition dates:
June 1 – July 28
First Friday June 1          
Second Saturday June 9

Sandi Pierantozzi will teach a 2 day participatory workshop at the gallery presenting her innovative approach to form and surface at the gallery June 2-3. This weekend workshop will focus on using slabs, texturing the surface, and then by altering them through techniques such as darting, creating interesting and innovative forms.

Sandi Pierantozzi’s functional work comes from a deep appreciation of food, celebration, and setting a beautiful table. She feels that “pots help me connect with people on a very basic human level” by communicating some creative life into the daily rituals of eating and drinking Sandi believes that a handmade ceramics contains ”the soul and energy of the maker” and that with use, a real human connection is made. These connections between people are essential to keeping alive the soul in all of us.

Neil Patterson ceramic constructions honor the handmade object and the simple daily rituals of use. He makes pots that are designed to be used and enjoyed. Through their carefully considered volume, weight, surface and textures he hopes to provide a slow, savory experience for the user. There is always an evidence of the soft material, clay, often bolstered by a formal or architectural structure. -  Jonathan Kaplan, Plinth Gallery

For more  information on Sandi Pierantozzi and Neil Patterson please go to their website.

And for more  information on Plinth Gallery go to thier webiste.

 Tell us a little about yourselves! And how did you meet?

We met at Anderson Ranch in 1989. Neil was the studio assistant in a Chris Staley workshop and Sandi was taking the workshop. We became friends during the workshop and wrote letters for a couple of years, so I guess you could say we fell in love through the mail. This was before email. Then we hitch hiked all over the UK in the summer of 1991, and that is when we knew we would be together forever.

Neil Patterson

Sandi Pierantozzi

When and how did you discover the passion for ceramics?

Neil:In high school in Cleveland, Ohio, Neil was very inspired by his teacher Joe Turkaly, and decided then he wanted to become a potter.

Sandi: At the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pa. Sandi got turned on to clay in 1984. She took a class because she loves to cook and wanted to learn to make serving dishes for her food. At the time she had a graphic design business, but the more she worked in clay, the more she wanted to. When computers took over graphic design, she decided to make the transition to full time potter.

Sandi Pierantozzi

Neil Patterson

What are you two showing at Plinth Gallery this month?

 Sandi will be showing her newest work in which she combines stamped designs, colored slips and slip trailing.  Forms included will be teapots, vases, candlesticks & jars, among others.

Neil will be showing his current work which is wheel thrown and assembled. Forms include boxes, vases and jars with niches. He will also be showing his newest forms, which are handbuilt bird forms.

Neil Patterson

Sandi Pierantozzi

Since our show is not theme based, we decided we would just call it “New Work” since we are both showing our most recent work.

Sandi Pierantozzi

Neil Patterson

Do you share the studio or have separate spaces? What is it like to work so closely with your spouse?

We share a studio and work right along side of each other in a fairly small space.  Working so closely together presents some challenges, but fortunately we get along very well, and respect each others creative space. We love working at the studio together and cannot imagine having it any other way.

What do you love most about your studio?

Our location in the city, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the community support we get from our neighborhood.

 How do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?

We continue to work on that, but we do have a regular Friday Night Date, where we do something fun and try not to talk about the studio.

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

Find sources from within and through your own studio practice. Look at the world around you for inspiration, not just at the work of other artists. You have to make a commitment of time, energy and lifestyle in order to develop and grow your work.  

Neil Patterson

Sandi Pierantozzi

Would you two explain your attraction for functional ceramics?

Sandi:Since the whole basis of my working in clay came from cooking & wanting serving dishes, that set me on a path of making things I wanted for myself, which were always functional. When people started offering me money for things I made for myself, this was a turning point. That is when I decided I would focus on functional work, so that others could enjoy a handmade pot as much as I enjoyed them. I love that people get a little piece of my soul when they buy one of my pots, and that something I made could enhance a daily meal for them.

Neil:Functional ceramics is an accessible art form that everyone can understand. It is an art form that has been practiced for thousands of years, and continues to integrate into our daily lives.

Sandi Pierantozzi

Neil Patterson

Sandi, it looks like you are handbuilding most of your pieces. Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

I sketch a lot. I always have a sketchbook with me, since I never know when I see something that might inspire a new form. When I am ready to make a new piece, I look through my sketchbooks to see what hits me.  Then I proceed to work out the form. Sometimes I make a small piece to work out the details, but other times I just go for it. Often, the piece does not look like the sketch, but the sketch provided the spark.

Neil Patterson

Sandi Pierantozzi

Neil, it looks like you use the wheel as a tool to start the construction of your work, will you tell us how the wheel informs your choices for what you make?  And can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

The wheel has a historic connection to pottery, but I don’t always use it in the traditional way. The process of throwing informs the choices I make. There is a “back and forth” between my ideas and what the wheel gives, such as round forms and “stripes” or throwing lines. Then I apply my ideas for forms that might be inspired by architecture or nature.

Sandi Pierantozzi

Neil Patterson

Please tell us more about  the CircleMatic Form Finder Template Set. 

Sandi: The CircleMatic Form Finder Templates are a set of 24 templates based on a circle. The development of my circular templates happened several years ago, when I broke a finger six weeks before a major craft show. Since I had to wear a splint for at least four weeks, I could not continue to make my usual work, which was based on rectangular templates, because I could not dart and push the clay out to develop the forms. I devised the circular templates so I could just make parts and stack them without having to push any walls out. This let to a whole new body of work based only on circular templates.

I started bringing a few of the templates to workshops, to teach people how to develop their own, but most people just wanted to either copy mine, or offered to buy them from me. After years of having people ask me if they could buy my templates, I decided to take the time to produce a set. I did not want the set to be a “how to” but more of a jumping off point for people to develop a variety of forms based on their own ideas of how they might put the various parts together.

Sandi and Neil

Bebe Alexander – Artist Interview

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

  Haven   Salt fired stoneware, 22 inches high 

Check out Bebe’s web site. 

Bebe is represented by Plinth Gallery!  Check out the exciting shows Jonathan is exhibiting!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a ceramic artist, living in Denver, Colorado. Most of my work is handbuilt, using slab construction. Surface is extremely important to me, and I use a wide variety of firing techniques to achieve the surface that I have in mind.I run the ceramics education program for The Arvada Center. The Arvada Center is a multi-use cultural facility located in Arvada, Colorado, and is comprised of three galleries, a history museum, three theaters, a conference center and educational classrooms, including a fantastic ceramics studio. I make, and bisque fire my own work in my studio at home, and then bring it to the Arvada Center to glaze fire, where I have access to a number of kilns and firing choices. Lately I have been firing my work at either cone 10 reduction or salt, and lately have been experimenting with cone 6 reduction.bebe Alexandria%20AlexanderHow did you become an artist? When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, who was an artist. She taught me how to paint, and entered me in my first show when I was 9 years old. I went to art classes and workshops with her, and she would take me with her to do site painting in the sand hills of Kansas.In high school I discovered clay, and it has been my medium of choice ever since. Because of my early experience with art, it did not seem like an unusual choice to become an artist.Hopper, 21" high, Bebe AlexanderHow would you describe your style? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look? Like most ceramic artists, my work has been “all over the board” over the years. I tried many different directions, including throwing and hand building functional pots, hand building both organic, and more geometric, architecturally influenced sculpture. I Raku fired my work for about 10 years, because I enjoyed the immediacy of the firing process. I did not like the fragility of the work, and felt limited by the surfaces I could achieve about 12 years ago, and started experimenting with other firing methods including low fire, cone 6 oxidation, cone 10 reduction and salt firing. My work is now all architecturally inspired, and fired at either cone 10 or cone 6 reduction or salt.bebe C%20SentriesWhat is your inspiration for your pieces?My work is a reflection of my fascination with the inventiveness and ingenuity of the human race. The sculptures are very often based on architectural forms and machinery because these are the objects we create to change our environment and landscape.I am very drawn to the lines of deco and streamline modern design. I look at buildings, architectural drawings and illustrations, cars and house wares from the first half of the 20th century for inspiration.bebe urbanformWhat keeps you motivated?Never being completely satisfied with the last piece that I have made keeps me motivated. I always feel that I have a better piece in my mind than the one that I just completed, or am anxious to take what I have learned from a previous piece and apply that knowledge to the next. I think it would be very dangerous for me to complete something and be totally satisfied with the result, or feel that I have nothing left to learn from the next piece.bebe TikalAre you a full-time artist? How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?I am not a full time artist, because of my position with the Arvada Center, although my job gives me the unique opportunity to be in a ceramics studio daily. I am not always creating my own work, but I am continually involved in helping solve technical and aesthetic questions with the students in the program, which constantly improves my own skills.When I do get time to work on my own work, I spend a lot of time looking at images in books and online to get ideas flowing. I try to look at a lot of images, without focusing too much on each one, so that when I begin to work I am not reproducing an object, but rather taking elements that I have seen to combine them into a new form. I do some very simple outline sketching, just to remind myself of the general idea of the form. I then cut templates for the components of the piece out of roofing paper. I sometimes will tape these templates together before I start building, as a sort of 3D “sketch” so that I can see if the proportions are working.bebe SentinelsWhat was it that made you want to start creating? Did something specific trigger it?I have always had the need to make objects, and feel that that is hard-wired in my brain. It’s a personality trait that I couldn’t escape from, even if I wanted to. I love having the ability and opportunity to make a figment of my imagination into a three dimensional object that can be viewed and touched by another person.bebe RavisTurrisWhat or who inspires you?My early influences in ceramics were Hans Coper and William Daley. I think those early influences are still evident in my work. My inspirations now come from Art Deco and Streamline Modern buildings and design.bebe ObisHow do you maintain a healthy work and life balance?Maintaining a balance between work and life is one of the most difficult challenges for an artist. It can be very difficult, especially for women, to balance a job, family and a career as an artist. Sometimes there is just not enough time in the day, and something has to give. Unfortunately, what usually gives is studio time.I tend to work in intense bursts. When I have an upcoming show I schedule my time in the studio, just as I would schedule any other appointment or obligation. If I wait “until I have time” to get into the studio it doesn’t happen. During these times the rest of my life has to be put second to my time in the studio.bebe PeritusYou, like most people enjoy the process of making and crafting and didn’t get into it for the sake of “business”. But eventually you found yourself having to make the transition from crafter to a businessperson. What have you learned so far and what advice can you give others in the same situation?When I was in school I took business management courses, as well as art courses, with the idea that I wanted to open my own studio, and needed an understanding of how to run a business. I wound up working as a bank supervisor for several years, and took additional finance classes during that time. I then had my own side business for several years, doing consulting and tax returns for small business, specializing in self employed artists. I also was a co-director and treasurer for a co-op gallery for five years, and was responsible for the cash flow of that business.The advice I would give any artist in regard to how to run their business is to educate themselves, keep good records of expenses and income, and to never use the “but I’m an artist I don’t understand business” excuse. Being able to use both sides of your brain makes you a well balanced person. If you are a full time artist you must take care of the business side of your career, or you will not be able to continue being an artist.bebe Novus2What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?I would advise an aspiring artist to try every idea and method that appeals to them, and to try and turn off their inner critic. Not every piece has to be a success, sometimes you have to make something to learn that that’s not the direction you want to go. Letting go of the fear of failure is necessary for growth in your work and finding your own unique voice.

bebe Captis1[1]

Thanks Bebe!!!