I know what you're thinking- how in the world can it already be week four!?!?!? I know the feeling, yet, here we are, half way through the summer session, the shelves are full, the kilns are pumping, and tomorrow, we are loading our cone 10 soda kiln! Yes, it is ALL happening, so with that in mind, here are some things you might want to consider while going about your work in the studio. First, weeks seven and eight are for finishing work only, and not starting new work. B, there is only a one week break between sessions, so, if you are planning on signing up for a fall class, you can keep your cubbie and unfinished work in there, though I'm guessing that if you're reading this for updates, you are most likely not a person who will need to do that. Three, the sign up for Fall session is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, so pay attention to ye ol' inbox and IG account for announcements for students/members to sign up before the general public. Classes fill up super, duper, diabolically FAST, so...don't get caught snoozing on this. There is going to be some really cool stuff this fall. Don't miss it.
Critique club is not just about the critique. I mean, it is, but it's really more about learning how to look at art from an unemotional place and figuring out what works, what doesn't, and how it could be stronger as a piece of art. Even if you don't have a piece to bring, you can learn an extraordinary amount about making things well. Listening to people talk about their processes and having dialogues around goals, strategies and problem solving is an invaluable and unique way to learn about the creative and not-so-creative approach to making things with clay. So just come. It's awesome. Also...Dylan often brings home baked goods to these things, and I have to tell you, he is not only good at making pots and hiding in bisqued vases. He is also very good at yummy treats. See you Tuesday night at Burnish at 6 pm!! There is nothing like this in Bellingham, and it is a small slice of the value you get by being a part of the Burnish community. Take advantage.
If you have been around the studio for any time at all, you know Hilde Schaaf, clay artist, instructor, and living legend. Hilde started in clay at a very young age in Germany. She grew up in an area of Germany where there is a long-standing pottery tradition, in a family of potters. It is easy to see her ease and expert touch in her work and in the way she assists her many students.
Hilde also makes her own bamboo brushes, which led to an exploration of mark making and brush strokes on her work. She has worked with some of the greats, was a studio potter for roughly 30 years, and now, she is at Burnish Clay Studio. Hilde helps. She feeds people, supports friends and colleagues constantly, and is incredibly generous with all her amazing clay knowledge. If you get a chance to take a class with her, count yourself lucky. She is truly a gem of a human and a spectacular maker.
Tip of the week
This tip comes straight out of a throwing class this week and it's about trimming. Trimming seems like it is mostly dependent on the tool you use, but the real secret to trimming is that you have to let the wheel do the work. When your clay is leather hard, and your wheel is moving slowly, this is when most people push down on the tool, dig in to the clay, and make mistakes. The best way to trim is to speed the wheel up and allow the tool to skim the surface of the clay without too much pressure, thusly allowing the clay ribbons to come off the pot evenly while minimizing the occurrence of chattering.
If the attempt of trimming does result in chattering, simply take a small trimming tool, find a corner and trim off an unpredictable and different thin pattern around the pot to throw off the rhythm of the chatter. Once you have that thin and non-rhythmic pattern carved into the pot, you can use your large tool and the wheel's speed to trim off all the chattering and the uneven pattern you created to obscure it.
Bellingham National Juried Art Exhibition and Awards
Acts of Healing and Repair
The Whatcom Museum is seeking submissions by artists of all backgrounds who respond to the theme of healing in their work for this year’s Bellingham National Exhibition titled Acts of Healing and Repair.
This fourth biennial Juried Art Exhibition and Awards will take place at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building, and will open to the public Sunday, November 12. The guest juror of this year’s “Bellingham National” is Grace Kook-Anderson, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art at the Portland Art Museum.
Artists may submit up to three artworks for consideration for this exhibition. Application fee of $35 is a one-time fee.
Important dates to note:
August 11: Deadline for Entries. Apply online.
September 25: Juror’s selection for the Bellingham National 2023 will be announced via email and the CaFÉ website
October 23 – 28: Artwork received at Whatcom Museum via shipment or personal delivery
November 11: Exhibition preview reception
November 12: Exhibition open to the public
February 25, 2024: Exhibition closes and artwork is returned
In an ongoing effort to familiarize folks with Burnish Clay Studio and all the wonderful things that happen here, we are including a segment once every few weeks where we will introduce one of the staff at Burnish. This week, it's the one and only...Finley Rick! I asked Finley to jot down some details for an IG post and they gave me this:
“I started ceramics back in high school. I needed an art credit and figured I should give ceramics a shot. I'm so glad I did. I fell in love with messing with mud and I never looked back - I’ve been creating pottery for 8 years and teaching off and on for 4 years. I started working at Burnish in 2021 as a studio technician and instructor, and I can honestly say it has been more than I ever could have asked for. I can't tell if I have more fun doing tech or teaching! One of the many reasons why I love working and creating at Burnish is the opportunity to be a part of such an uplifting, inspiring, and accepting community. I’d had challenges finding a safe space as a non-binary person in the art community until I met the folks at Burnish. Lately I have been experimenting more with soda firing and contrasting the simple lines and refined shapes of my pots with the unpredictability of soda!”
Up and Coming
July's critique club was pushed to August 1st so more people could participate. Please do come, bring any work you would like discussed, (we are incredibly encouraging and wonderfully helpful), and bring snacks or drinks if you are so moved. The club starts at 6ish and all levels are welcome and encouraged to attend.
The next Cone 10 community soda firing lead by Zoe Petersen will be loaded Mon 7/31.
The next Cone 6 community soda firing lead by Ann Marie Cooper will be loaded Mon 8/21.
Fall classes will be announced soon, so please watch your emails and IG for announcements if you are interested in signing up for fall classes.
If you are not signed up for the Burnish Clay Studio Newsletter, please sign up below! You will get all the Burnish news in a timely and efficient manner.
If you have been making with clay for any amount of time, you most likely have ceramic artists you have followed, studied, or like me, completely lost your mind over. One of my earliest influences was Beatrice Wood. She was part of the Dada movement and became a ceramicist quite late in life, after having taken a ceramics class in order to replace a lusterware teapot she had broken. Like so many of us, after she got her hands in clay, she was hooked. If you are interested, read her autobiography, I Shock Myself.
Another of my early influences was Betty Woodman. Mostly due to her surface design and her tendency to deconstruct traditional ceramic vessels.
I am still always searching for influences, in all genres of art, but my love for clay always brings me back to ceramic artists, their work, their stories, and their philosophical approaches to clay.
Tip of the Week!
This is specific to commission work, and it is my experience that at one time or another, we all get commissioned to do some type of piece for friends, family, and sometimes, strangers. Here are some guidelines I cling to for dear life when creating commission work:
The right residency can more than an opportunity to enrich your personal practice. Some residencies have the power to launch your career as an artist. Here are a few:
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Whitney Museum of Art Independent Study Program
The MacDowell Colony
National Parks Arts Foundation
The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Hello and welcome to the Burnish Clay Studio Blog. In the studio, classes are well underway, we had our first Raku firing of the session on Saturday afternoon, and we have re-scheduled the Critique Club for August 1st at 6 pm. Additionally, I have been having a lot of fun on Burnish's Instagram account. I took some pics of the two Dylans and have been super-imposing them into studio pics once or twice a week just to mix it up. We are also seeing more and more people tag us in the posts of their pieces, and we love that. Please do keep it coming, and if you haven't done it yet, please do!
There is a poll in the studio regarding a karaoke/sing along night. It's on the white board next to the glaze samples. If you can, let us know, (by marking it on the board), if you would be interested in singing along to your favorite tunes on a karaoke machine while working on your pieces. As soon as we know if there is another interest, we will go about scheduling the event. The picture to your left is not of the poll, but of the Tradesies shelf with Dylan on it.
Knowing When to Let Go.
When you first learn how to create with clay, you tend to save everything. Every piece you make is rife with learning opportunities. It is the task of every ceramicist to become familiar with drying time, warping, cracking, and clay shrinkage. In addition, potters must learn how to use the wheel to create usable ware; including how to trim a decent foot and shape a pot worth holding. Creating satisfying surface decorations can at times feel like a life-long process.
After you feel like you have gotten the hang of the tools, materials, and patience required to work with clay, it becomes less necessary to save every piece you make, simply because the rudimentary lessons have been learned. So how do you decide when to let go? Do you measure the value of a piece by the lessons it can teach you? Is there more value in setting out with a plan in mind for each piece, and seeing how far you can go down that path before having to discard it when it goes too far from goodness?
The answer is most likely different for every maker. It is a special kind of accomplishment when you no longer have to hold on to the pieces that aren't quite there, but most learners don't take the time to celebrate that milestone, most likely because they are too focused on the next project.
As an instructor of many years, I have watched students throw work away because the piece didn't meet the unrealistic expectations they were holding on to, and have observed others struggle for too long with a piece that was too far gone to save.
The best advice I can give around letting go is to pay attention to how you are feeling when you are working on anything. If you are forcing it, struggling, or constantly frustrated, it might be worth considering if it is worth it. After all, this practice is really supposed to be relaxing in some measure, and if working on a piece is causing so much stress, that might be a sign that it is time to let go.
The other consideration is, and this is a biggie, what will happen to that piece after you are finished? Meaning, is there a place for another mediocre cup in your cabinet? Does your mom still love everything you give her, or, when you give your work to friends, do they thank you less enthusiastically than when you gave them those first (few) pieces?
One of the ways I know to throw something away is if it has been in a bisque state for any length of time. If I have work that has been sitting on the bisque shelves for any longer than three weeks, chances are I am not invested enough to glaze it. Likewise, if I come across a ware board full of work that I forgot I made, I force myself to examine whether or not I should be putting those piece through the system.
We each (should) have our own ways of determining when we should let go, and if you don't know, here is a list of things to think about when deciding:
It is worth considering these things when making objects that do not break down easily. Ceramics in most cases last forever, and it is simply not prudent to keep everything you make. You will save so much time if you set up guidelines for yourself before your throw yourself into making a bunch of work that might end up in Goodwill, or worse, the garbage.
Tip of the WEEK!
Here are the guidelines I use when I am considering throwing away my work. Keep in mind that I do a lot of class demonstrations, and also sell my work at shops around the Northwest.
The way I use this rubric is that if I get three out of five "yes" answers, I keep the piece.
1. Is this the best version of this piece that I can make right now?
2. Do I have a place to sell this, or a friend/family member I can give this to without annoying them with yet another piece of pottery?
3. If I see this piece through to the end, am I going to learn anything from the level of experimentation I undertake?
4. If this is a demo piece, will the students I am teaching learn anything by watching me complete it?
5. Is this work something I have kept track of in a timely manner as it moved through the firing/glazing processes?
Once you get your clay legs under you, you might want to think about ways to measure if something you have made is kiln worthy. Letting go of work that isn't up to standard is a lesson well worth learning. The sooner you can be more discerning about the work you let through, the more satisfied you will be with the quality of your work overall.
Grants with rolling deadlines-
Pollock Krasner – Rotating, No deadline – Information here.
Awesome foundation – No deadline – Information here.
One Grant Library for Research Online- Foundation Center.
Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants – Information here
CES Artslink U.S. and International Grant Opportunities – Information here
Upcoming grant deadlines
Harpo Foundation offers grants to under recognized artists. To submit you must be at least 21 years of age and there is a $15 fee for entry. Grants of up to $10,000 are awarded to multiple artists dependent on yearly budget. In order to receive further information about deadlines for submission, visit the website and sign up for email notifications.
The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation supports representational artists emerging artists who demonstrate a commitment to a lifelong career in the arts. Grants are awarded on an ongoing basis in the amounts of $15,000 and $18,000 Canadian. For more information and to apply, visit the foundation website. Deadlines are rolling.
What's happening in the studio?
Summer session is under way! It's great to have people back in the studio, and classes so far have been action-packed and super fun. Remember to get into the studio as much as you can to practice, it's the best way to improve your skills. You can use either side of the studio as long as there is not a class or workshop happening during that time. There is an overflow pottery wheel area for practicing during pottery classes in the back of the studio, and there are a few tables around the studio for use when handbuilding class is happening. As of today, the studio class schedule is as follows:
Hand Building/Glaze area:
After a slow start, the TRADESIES shelf is starting to show some signs of greatness. This is a wonderful opportunity to grab something you might like to have in your home and trade something groovy you made in exchange. There are some cool things there right now, so the next time you're in the studio, check out this situation and see if there is anything there that catches your eye and leave something groovy in return! If you are not a tradesies shelf type of person, you can always offer to trade with any other artist in the studio. It's a nice compliment and very often, the person you ask will be quite complimented by the offer.
We are in the midst of creating online classes for kids and their parents in the local area. They will be simple, come with a small bag of clay and include the ability to bring your finished work in to get fired when you're done. We are very excited about these and hope to get a few done to launch in August. Stay tuned!
Pottery as a Mirror.
One of the things I teach my beginning students as they are sitting at their wheels for the first time is that the practice of pottery tends to be a bit of a mirror. Your initial approach to clay is often reflected in your personality. One of the most common things that first timers struggle with is being aggressive enough to move the clay, and compassionate enough to let the clay do what it needs to do to grow into a finished piece of pottery. Clay is alive, and it reacts to even the slightest touch, while simultaneously needing a firm hand to get centered and stay there while the pot is being brought into being. I realize that's a passive phrase, illustrating an active experience, but that's life sometimes. Just like pottery, I guess.
The point is to keep at it. No matter who you are or where you are in your clay journey, practice will always help you improve, and watching and learning from many people will help you see that there are a million ways to throw a pot, and your job is to find the way that best suits you.
Tip of the Week!
Expose yourself to art. There are a ton of cool books in the Burnish library, and there is no harm in checking out all the cool stuff in them. Reading some of them might help, too. It's what people used to do before the interwebs, and there are tons of images in these books you just won't find on the web. Dig in the next time you're in the studio.
We have groovy new glaze samples at Burnish Clay Studio for electric and reduction firings. We even have examples of Burnish glazes on all the clay bodies we use in the studio! I know. It's a lot. Personally, when I saw the good work our techs, Finley and Parissa are doing, I was somewhat blown away. It's just more proof that good things happen in good places like Burnish.
Summer Classes Start Friday
Believe it or not, summer classes are starting on Friday, so get ready. Summer session only lasts eight weeks, so take advantage of the open studio times whenever you can this summer. The ten week sessions normally go by pretty quickly. The eight week session are just like that, but faster.
There is no question that Burnish is a great place to make work. The number of wheels, the clay bodies, the glazes, and the helpful techs and teachers all contribute to making Burnish the amazing community that it is. While working, it is important to remember that it is a community, and part of feeling happy in that community is taking good care of it through cleanliness. Make sure to clean your wheels, tools, work stations, and the wedging area whenever you use it. Don't put it off, because it is easy to forget. Additionally, if you are cleaning the area you have used and notice that something in the general vicinity needs some tidying up, please lend a hand. That helps Burnish be better, for you and for the blossoming community which operates there.
Monthly Artists Critique
Our June critique was quite successful. We all got a lot out of the dialogue around the different works of art that people brought in to discuss. It was mentioned in the critique that some people might be intimidated by the name, and I just thought I would use this space to express that the critique is facilitated by and with people who focus on encouragement, support, and creative growth. There is no tearing down of ego at these critiques because that is not a useful tool in a community of inclusion and acceptance. So, our next scheduled critique is happening on July 25th at 6 pm. Please, if you are interested, do come. At the very least, it's a nice place to talk with like-minded people about art, pottery, and food. Yes, food. It always comes up.
Do You Even Insta?
Our Instagram is going next level. We will be posting challenges, tips, and all kinds of fun stuff for the people who follow! Don't miss out. Take a look!
When creating functional work, approach it in a way that recalls the pleasure one can take putting one's lips to a mug, holding that mug as the individual strolls through their garden in the morning, or considers the strategy for the day ahead. Too often, when we sit down at the pottery wheel, we forget that it is a privilege and an honor to create functional objects which will become a part of someone's life. Our ability to affect a life in this way is a gift. So, smooth those edges, lighten those bottoms, and remember what it feels like to hold something that feels like it was made just for you.
The Studios at MASS MoCA Residency
Deadline: July 8, 2023
Fully-funded fellowships at MASS MoCA are available for two or four-week residencies, including General Fellowships and fellowships for Black or Indigenous Artists, Massachusetts Artists, Oregon Visual Artists, and Puerto Rico Artists. The opportunity is open to national and international artists, and it is free to apply. Selected artists receive private studio space, housing, access to workshops, member benefits, and more.
UNIDEE and Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto Residency Program
Deadline: July 9, 2023
This open call for the residency program Neither on Land nor at Sea pluralizes Mediterranean concepts/spaces as sites of world-making and experimentation in communal living. Applications from artists, curators, writers, theorists, activists, are welcome and encouraged. Residents will be offered the opportunity to expand on their ongoing research and practice exploring Mediterranean complexities and geographical thinking in the arts and beyond, within a group of peers and invited guests. Participation in the Autumn module is offered free of charge, and the residents will be provided with free accommodation at Cittadellarte. Residents will be required to arrange and cover expenses for their travel to/from Biella and for the food/living costs whilst in Cittadellarte.
Chashama and Blick Sidewalk Studio Open Call
Deadline: July 11, 2023
In collaboration with Blick Arts Materials, Chashama is accepting applications from artists who would like to utilize a window display for the presentation and sales of artwork at the 23rd Street Blick store in NYC.
QUEER | ART Illuminations Grant
Deadline: July 12, 2023
This annual $10,000 grant will support Black trans women visual artists, drawing attention to an existing body of work. Four finalists will also receive a $1,250 award. Winning artists will receive additional professional development resources and further guidance to bolster their creative development in the field.
Penland School of Craft: Resident Artist Program
Deadline: July 12, 2023
Penland’s Resident Artist Program is one of the longest-running residencies in the US and is designed for professional craft artists who are at a pivotal moment in their creative practice or career. Candidates can apply to either a one year project-based residency or a three year career transition residency. They encourage self-motivated, focused individuals working in traditional and nontraditional studio crafts to apply.
Crosstown Arts Residency Program
Deadline: July 15, 2023
Crosstown Arts hosts residencies in an urban setting inside the 10-story, million+ square foot, former Sears distribution center in Memphis, TN. The residency is open to applicants from any creative discipline, including visual arts music, filmmaking, and writing in all genres. Residencies include private studio workspace, lodging, access to Shared Art Making, and free access to various Crosstown Arts events. Residents are asked to participate in a limited number of public engagement activities such as informal artist talks or open studio events, depending on the length of the residency
Loghaven Artist Residency
Deadline: July 15, 2023
Loghaven invites artists working in architecture, dance, music composition, theater, visual arts, writing, and interdisciplinary practices to apply for residencies occurring in 2024 and 2025. Both emerging and established architects are encouraged to submit applications. Loghaven provides all resident artists with a living stipend of $850 per week in addition to travel and freight reimbursement.
Art For Change Prize 2023
Deadline: July 17, 2023
This free-to-enter prize is an international art initiative from M&C Saatchi Group and Saatchi Gallery. This year’s prize asks emerging artists to creatively respond to the theme of Regeneration. A total prize fund of £20,000 will be split between six winners, and winning artists will be able to exhibit their work at Saatchi Gallery in London. Entry is open to emerging artists based in: UK, Europe, Americas, Asia, Australia, Middle East & Africa. A winner from each location will be decided by the judging panel before a grand jury selects the overall winner.
Fountainhead Residency Open Call
Applications Open: July 17, 2023
Miami’s Fountainhead Residency seeks exceptional visual artists who are at a pivotal point in their career where connections and conversations are the catalyst needed to evolve their art practice. Open call applications will be accepted until 300 applications have been received. Applications will go live on Monday, July 17 at 9:00am here and are open to artists living outside of South Florida
Deadline: July 21, 2023
This year-long program leverages arts and culture to make creative public policy interventions around housing and related social justice issues. There is a $10,000 honorarium plus a $10,000 budget for project expenses. Projects supported by the residency may take place anywhere within the United States, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
Boynes Artist Award
Deadline: July 30, 2023
The 9th Edition of this award will accept artists of all career stages, experiences, and backgrounds within the categories of Emerging Artist, Young Artist, and Professional Artist. Winning artists have access to a $3,500 cash prize pool, $250 in art supplies, the creation of a professional artist website, publication, newsletter features, and long-term support and guidance from the Boynes Artist Award team. Fee: $25-$35.
Grand Canyon Conservancy 2024 Grand Canyon Artist in Residence
Deadline: July 31, 2023
Grand Canyon Conservancy’s Artist in Residence program supports contemporary solo artists who wish to contribute to the cultural and aesthetic legacy of the Grand Canyon. Solo contemporary artists exploring concepts of conservation, cultural identity, or community through any discipline are encouraged to apply. They prioritize artists whose work and outreach programs best fit the park’s interpretation and education goals of telling stories that have been excluded, hidden, unknown, untold, or under-emphasized. Fee: $45
National Parks Arts Foundation: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park October 2024 Artist in Residence
Deadline: July 31, 2023
The National Parks Arts Foundation invites artists in all artistic media to join their 2024 artist-in-residency programs — October is currently (from July 1st onward) open to apply — at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, which offers a $4,000 stipend, housing, and artist events. Apply at their residency listing submittable.
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Open Calls
Deadline: August 1
Artist-in-Residence Open Call:
Located in the historic Old Market, Bemis Center’s 110,000 square foot facility accommodates a broad range of artistic activity. Selected artists-in-residence enjoy generous sized, private live/work studios complete with kitchen and bathroom, a $1,250 USD monthly stipend and $750 travel stipend. Due to the limitations of B2 visas (touring/visiting), international artists-in-residence are eligible to receive reimbursement of qualified expenses, such as airfare, ground transportation, and meals. Selected artists are responsible for organizing travel to Omaha to attend the residency. Fee: $40.
Peters Valley School of Craft
Deadline: August 1, 2023
This residency is seeking artists who work in blacksmithing, ceramics, fibers, fine metals, wood, drawing/painting/collage or printmaking, and is open to all artists from emerging to professional. Selected artists will spend either two weeks or one month immersing themselves in time dedicated to their craft. A private room in a fully-furnished shared house and unlimited access to a fully-equipped studio (all utilities included) will be provided at no cost to the artist. This residency opportunity also pays the artist a stipend of $500 for two-week long residencies and $1,000 for month-long residencies to help off-set the costs of materials and travel. The acquisition of all materials and supplies are the responsibility of the artist. Due to the rural nature of their campus, a personal vehicle is required.
SculptureCenter In Practice 2024 Open Call
Deadline: August 6, 2023
In Practice 2024 invites artists who have not yet had an institutional solo exhibition in New York City to submit proposals for solo exhibitions in designated gallery spaces at SculptureCenter. Artists are also invited to propose off-site projects, publishing initiatives, performances, and nontraditional formats, which will be considered based on feasibility. Up to seven artists will be selected to participate in the program from spring 2024 to winter 2025. Each exhibition will be on view for approximately four to six weeks.
Centrum Residency Programs
Deadline: August 15, 2023
Emerging Artist & Writers Residency
This Residency provides stipends, multiple resident gatherings, visiting artists & curators, and an open studio/public reading, and is aimed at writers, visual, and interdisciplinary artists in the Pacific Northwest who are towards the beginning of their creative paths and can benefit from the time to focus and receive support from a community of peers and specialists in their fields.
Malta Biennale Open Call
Deadline: August 25, 2023
This call is open to both local Maltese and international artists, curators, curatorial teams, and project managers wishing to present projects in accordance with the theme of this year’s Malta Biennale, “white sea olive groves.” Artists can apply from any stage of their career (emerging or established) and from any nation. Accepted artistic media include all forms of visual art: installation, paintings, sculptures, photography and video art. Maximum grants provided by the call are €13,000
Bryn Du’s Artist in Residence Program
Deadline: August 31, 2023
The focus of this residency is to enhance local awareness and engagement in the arts by introducing new and varied artists to the Granville community throughout the calendar year. The residency is open nationwide for artists of all disciplines to apply including but not limited to those in the fields of visual arts, literature, music, theater, fashion, dance, storytelling and audiovisual studies. Stipends include $2000 for an 8 week residency and $3000 for a 12 week residency. Fee: $15.