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Ceramic Sculpture

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The work below is from the story of the "Tasux Tæ Bazoüde" .

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“Lau (Longwalk) Tau”, 2000, 21"h - 20"w - 16"d.
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
Owned by Karen & Jeff Berttelson
Lau Tau was not a Terrain but looked very Asian, tall and lanky, with an orange cast skin, mottled by puzzle shaped brownish marks and long flowing red hair. He earned the name "Longwalk" for having rescued his species' genome from the Mibbs. The Yartacs, as his species referred to themselves, had nearly been wiped in the war with the Mibbs. Without the genome code his race was doomed to extinction due to the complex genetic and religious system the Yartacs use for procreation.
click for larger view “Pælo Myathis at the River Styga”, 1992, 17"h - 10"w - 20"d.
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
It was five years after my recruitment that I meet Pælo. She was a hand taller than me and a good eighty pounds more of muscle and sinew. She belonged to a human-like race known as the Vacune. Of all the non Terrains I liked her the best. She was a pirate with a heart of gold. She never kept anything she took – gave it all away. Pælo loved to tell her tale of the great battle on Greck at the River Styga.
click for larger view “Jardow and Sytheen Together”, 1989, 14"h - 12"w - 12"d.
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
Owned by Terry Lyon and James L. Cook
Jardow, was a member of the stocky (troll like) Rägick and one of the persuasive Deciders. Sytheen, invisible to all but the highest in the Æta Bolatæn of the Scizentheens, was young (he was only 10,000 Solar years old) and a very adept spatial manipulator. It took almost 6 years of negotiations, a war with the execrated Mibbs and the loss of our close friend Kaulyn – the 6th Tasux Tæ Bazoüde to go – to bring Jardow and Sytheen together.
“Steps above Galumýth”, 1989, 14"h - 12"w - 12"d.
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
The valley of Galumýth was where we, the Tasux Tæ Bazoüde, completed our final training. Above the valley rose Mount Orbin, crowned with a domed temple. It took us seven days of prayer and meditation to climb the "Steps" to the temple. It was there we received the sacrament and blessing from the Guides of Yaweht.

Another view.
click for larger view “Shining with Isnowith”, 1988, 14"h - 8"w - 11d".
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
The Tasux Tæ Bazoüde had no official leader but Isnowith Mool was closest with his sagacity. We were all trained to hide our thoughts from the Scizentheens but Isnowith had the unique mental facility to be able to have two distinct thought process going on at the same time.
He and I were about the same height. I being 6-5 and Isnowith 6-7, but he was thinner than me which made him look even taller. I think he was born in Nepal; once he started to tell a story about his boyhood in the Himalayan hills but never finished. I could never find out what his nationality was. He is dark and hairless except for long wisps of white trailing from an almost bald head. His skin is so thin that you can see every vain and muscle fiber. Age is another thing. He might be 40 years old or over a 100 but I suspect he is much older than that. For awhile I thought he might be a human hybrid, genetically engineered, but now I don't think so.
click for larger view “Blossoms on Zânduwean”, 1987, 18"h - 9"w - 8"d.
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
Zânduwean was our refuge on one of the 24 livable worlds in the star cluster know as Persipæ. Originally there were twelve of us the Rägick called the "Tasux Tæ Bazoüde". Three would return and only one would remember the beauty amid the wreckage. In the beginning we had no idea why we were brought to Zânduwean but we knew this was not going to be any vacation. At times we had fleeting glimpses of other groups led by one of the white Rägick. These other groups were people from other parts of this space, or so I thought. Jardow, one of the white ones – almost translucent and really wrinkled, was from time to time our guild and councilor. It was he that reveled why we were brought here. Of the four times I was on this planet, Jardow was always there to greet me, even after all the dark ones left. If you could think of the most beautiful tropical paradise, Zânduwean was ten times as beautiful.
click for larger view “Princes Fusina”, 1986, 10"w - 6"w - 6"d
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
On Zânduwean, where we were first brought, was a woman, at least I think this being was a woman. "She" had the standard erect bipedal bilateral form that is relatively common with self realized  beings. It was quite possible that she belonged to one of the few races that were sexless. That is, they were neither male or female. To me, she was more female than male. Her light airiness, the grace in gliding across the ground, the softness in her thought and the caring love that all around her felt, said feminine to me.
I made this piece with the intent to reflect my memories of her grace and how she so prominently represented the planet Zânduwean. After her death by the Mibb assassins, the Rägick reverted to their savage warring ways. I remember some years ago seeing a SciFi video about these little round fur balls that were all mouth and teeth. The Rägick were like that, in that when Princes Fusina died, they all began to physically change – like male Chinook salmon do then they return up river to spawn. The Rägick's smooth dark skin turned red and scaly and in-between each scale grew a poisonous crystal clear quill. Their broad grin turned into this maniacal smile and their small purple teeth grew white and pointed, tipped with red. You didn't want to mess with these little shits – Hobbits from hell on a holy war path.


The work below is NOT from the story of the "Tasux Tæ Bazoüde" .

Far-out Facets
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“Far-out Facets”,1980, 15"h - 16"w - 17"d.
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors, clear over glaze and refractory brick.
After returning from Las Vegas, I felt like I had fallen into a hole. There was something definitely different about the way the world looked and how I felt. I felt somehow incomplete and I kept having these strange dreams. Actually the dreams were more alive than my awaking time. I found it hard to go to work. I just wanted to sleep. Some times I shared my dreams with Ross, my house mate. He liked the stories and suggested I see a dream counselor.  In 1976 I started to see a dream therapist. he suggested that I explore some of the images from my dreams in clay. "Far-out Facets" is the only piece that came from this work. Between 1974 and 1984 I made one ceramic piece.

Close Up

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“The Angel of Victory”, 1976, 14"h - 8"w - 8"d.
Cone 6 cast porcelain with underglaze colors and clear over glaze.
Sold. In the collectionn of John Corbett
The at Sonoma job ended with the return of "Muffy" Anderson. I went to Las Vegas to teach (that's a story for another page.)  From Las Vegas I moved to Marin County. I setup a little studio in a 2 two car garage, sharing the space with an inflated rubber boat (Zodiac) that belonged to a professional skin diver and house mate. I did a few cups while there and this bottle. These were my first attempts at casting with porcelain. I really liked this way of working with clay. It is so involving; first the idea, a clay model, mold making, careful firing and glazing with control. I first started casing clay when an old friend, Steve Samuel, who had asked me to make a mold of a steel drum called a "Dumbec". These drums vary in size, look like the combustion chamber of a rocket motor and make this great resonate DOOUNG sound. I still have one. Before this piece, I did a series of stoppered bottles, one which can be seen below. Low fire white clay just looks too soft and artificial, porcelain is hard and the color is fired right in to the surface.
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“She Smells So Good,” 1970, 14"h - 11"w - 6"d.
Cone 05 white ware, underglaze, clear over glaze, china paints and lusters.
Sold. In the collectionn of John Corbett
After moving to Novato, CA, I got a full time replacement teaching job at Sonoma State College. The Vietnam  War was really hot and all the fine young white boys were doing all they could to keep their draft deferment. We had art students lining up by the hundreds. Today art classes are empty and college administrators are cutting art faculties in all but a few colleges and universities nation wide. I had some really great students then; Jeff Mann, a model wizard at ILM and Scott Chamberlin, a ceramic sculptor and professor of art at the University of Colorado. Sonoma State  is were I met Steve Dubov, who has become a life long friend.
click for larger view “Before 880”, 1967, 13"h - 8"w - 3"d.
Cone 05 white ware, underglaze, clear over glaze.
Personal collection.
After I finished the work for the Dilexi show, I finished this bottle, a series of small cups and the large goblet shown below.
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“Tree Farm Milk” & “Nut Tree,” 1968, 15"h - 6"w - 6"d.
Cone 05 white ware, underglaze, clear over glaze, china paints and lusters.
Owned By Richard Beggs
Between '64 and '68 I wasn't doing a lot of clay as I was focused on non-clay sculpture. While teaching at University of California at Davis, I couldn't help but be influenced by Robert Arneson (the Farther of West Coast Funk Ceramics), Richard Shaw (doing these great hand thrown cows) and Chris Unterseher (with his wonderful miniature dioramas). Bob stopped using stoneware clay in TB9. He moved to low temperature white clay for his own work and as a material for teaching. While teaching there I tried throwing some cylinders with it. The jars to the left are a takeoff on the "tree" restaurant theme.
In 1968, between San Francisco and Davis, just over the hills east of Benica and along highway 80, were a series of restaurants, starting with the "Nut Tree" then came the "Coffee Tree", "Stuckies" and the "Milk Farm". I did a series of 3 jars using a tree trunk as part of the top of the lid. In all honesty, this work was more of a steal of the Davis atheistic than a real outgrowth of my own atheistic. In 1969 the Cal. University system took a heavy budget cut at the hands of then governor Reagan and I lost my job. I had been given verbal approval for a position in Reno but when I reported for class assignment, the job had been given to someone else. A sad lesson in art politics.
That summer Joan and I traveled through Canada which lead me to a National Park ranger job at the Chiricahua National Monument, AZ. Then another budget cut and a move to Lompoc, CA.
click for larger view “Golly Goblet”, 1965, 16"h - 13"w - 9"d.
Cone 05 white ware, underglaze, clear over glaze, china paints and lusters.
Lost (stolen by a room mate).
In 1965 I got married to my college sweetheart. At that time I was sharing a studio with Mel Henderson. It was a great space on the corner of Potrero Avenue and 24th street and San Francisco. He lived there and I had a small space where I was doing some small hand built work using low fire white clay. These pieces were my first attempts. The overly large goblet to the left was one of those pieces. I had about a dozen bottles and other shapes drying on my bench. One afternoon, I came in to check my work to see if they were ready to fire and found all but two smashed. Apparently, Mel's new girl friend slipped or fell while standing on the bench as she was trying to open the window above the bench. It became clear I had to find a new place to work. Mel needed privacy and I needed a larger space. After two moves with in a couple of months Joan and I found a house on the corner of Vermont and Mariposa on Potrero Hill right across from the Slovenian Hall. It had a huge basement garage. I covered several walls with Cel-O-Tex and stared the Masonite, fiberglass and plastic work that was show at Dilexi in 1967.
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“Void Where Prohibited by Law, #1 ,” 1965, 16"h - 13"w - 9"d.
Stoneware glazed clay, polyester filler, wood, enamel paint.
This work was part of my graduate thesis. I built four of these totems. The box like base was made from plywood and the horn shape was "Bondoed" on to the box and the organic shape placed on the small end of the horn. This basic concept has been the underling format for most of my clay work.
From an aesthetic point, the contrast between extremes has always been attractive to me. Or as we learned in our critique classes "the didactic play between the
formal elegance of one form playing against the organic vitality of another form." It has been the juxtaposition of these two contrasting elements that has dominated my clay work.



#2 of 4 from this series.

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“Rise of the Slime Molds #3 and #4” 1964, 2"h - 13"w - 9"d.
Porcelain with underglaze pencil drawing and china paint over glaze.
#3, Owned by Jerold Walberg, Sacramento, CA
#4, Buried at 80 Canyon, San Anselmo, CA.
This work was part of my masters thesis. There were six shapes that represented the stages for development between morphogenisis and fruiting body of Slime Mold. In my microbiology classes I was very fascinated by a class of myxomycetes that reproduced in a very interesting way. Using the the potters wheel, I made the shapes in clay. From the clay I made plaster molds. I pressed porcelain clay in to the molds to make the shapes.
Later I used these same molds to made some of the fiberglass shapes for the Dilexi show.


click for larger view “For Wolves and Old Ladies, #5,” 1964, 65"h - 17"w - 12"d.
Stoneware glazed and fired to cone 05 with lusters and china paints.
Owned by Mel Henderson
In my first graduate year I saw two shows that had a profound effect on the direction of my work. The first was a group show at the San Francisco Art Institute, where Ron Nagle had some of his latest work and the other was a small show of Jim Melchert porcelain masks at Wanda Hanson's "Downstairs Gallery" in a little San Francisco alley call Tillman Place. One of Ron's that really made me look at clay in a new way was a very large stoppered perfumed bottle with large handles titled, if I recall correctly, "Talbot" (inspired by Lon Chenny Jr. as the wolfman). Jim Melchert did a series of small hand built porcelain mask like heads. I had never seen white clay handled like that. The piece to the left is an outgrowth of those experiences. This is a stoppered bottle idea. I made it in stoneware clay because it is easy and forgiving for hand building. Then I applied a white slip, bisqued fired it, applied a commercial clear glaze, fired it to cone 05 and colored the surface with metallic luster and china paints which were fried to cone 018. When Bud McKee (my graduate adviser) saw this work, he had a fit. We got into a big argument about plagiarism. I got pissed off, change my graduate emphasis to sculpture (because that was the direction I was going in any way) and change advisors. Mel Henderson was less confrontational and more directional. He would point out things I hadn't seen or ideas that were barely within my sight.


click for larger view “Covered Jar”, 1963, 13"h - 6"w - 6"d.
Cone 10 Stoneware
Owned by Joan Valerie (Cutting) Burk.
This was the last fully stoneware vessel I did. In every art work there is a transitional piece. This was it. I started to integrate some of the graphic elements from my drawings in to my clay work. Also. this piece was the first where I was trying to move away from the organic warmth that dominated every object made with this material. No mater how I looked at clay, it still looked like pottery. There was no way my work could grow using stoneware as a medium. I had to change the medium or at least the color.


click for larger view “US Mail”, 1963, 13"h - 12"w - 6"d.
Stoneware, Cone 10 fired, glazed glaze color is cone 05.
Lost (left on house in Novato)
After  the below painted pot, I discovered “lowfire glaze colors”, I did a whole series of cone 10 fired forms (mainly because stoneware clay was what we were using in class). This was one of them. The earthy richness of stoneware was initially very attractive to me, but young minds are restless and move very fast. Mine was on a rush to discover as much as I could about fired clay.
click for larger view “Holly of Whole Lilies”, 1962, 16"h - 13"w - 9"d.
Stoneware, Cone 10 fired glazed and spray painted with automotive alkyd enamels.
Lost or destroyed
This is my first painted pot using non-ceramic carbon based coating. Although this looks like a container it is totally nonfunctional. This piece was done on a whim. I felt that there was too much dogma being taught in the ceramics in Northern Cal. I did this piece as a protest against "pottery."  No one ever used paint on clay. One HAD to maintain "integrity of the material ... one can only use glaze to color the surface. BS.  I wanted my work to stand as sculpture.
It was my first real attempt at "content art" – making a statement. I tried to capture my feelings (undefined impressions) about my relationship to women. Being 21 and sex-starved, thinking of women in any terms other than sexual was near impossible. For me they were:.. soft, "Iron Maidens", attainable, shielded, madonnas, Joan of Arks . Would my desire consume me, are sharp teeth waiting in the sacred sexual sacrament?  After 40 years the answer is in ...


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