Kent, Connecticut. I did some photo work for the artist Joy Brown who’s a good friend of mine. I’ve been doing this kind of work for her for many years and it’s wonderful to have such a great working relationship as well as a close friendship. Many times one of these will get in the way of the other but in fact, we’ve made it work well. No doubt part of the reason is that she’s a fine person who does exceptional work that’s a joy (pun) to photograph.
These pieces are out of the wood fire she did in her large anagama kiln this summer.
I was on the night shift firing Joy Brown’s kiln last night and shot this moth on a metal beam in strong light. This slide show of the entire making and firing process will help tell the story of what it’s like to fire a big anagama kiln: Joy Brown’s 108 Dancing Ladies.
My friend the artist Joy Brown is raffling this “dancing lady” wood-fired ceramic sculpture the proceeds of which are going to tsunami relief in Japan where she grew up.
Tickets are $20 and you can send checks to her or, if you’re overseas use paypal to send money. I’m late in posting this notice and I’m sorry about that, the raffle will end on midnight, April 20th. If you can’t make this deadline with mail, use paypal.
Find all the details here, including Joy’s email address for paypal users:
Good luck and thanks for taking part.
Figures in a park
My good friend Joy Brown is in China and just finished and installed three of her bronzes in a city park in Shanghai. These are the first of a number of bronzes she’s working on for this and other parks.
My friend Joy Brown is in China for a few weeks working on large scale plaster moulds for bronze castings of her sculpture. This is a big project and the sculpture will be displayed in a public park in Shanghai.
Joy has started an online journal to document the process: Joy Brown Sculpture. I’m helping her update it as she sends new entries and images.
Click the image above to start a slide show of the various image in this set. The slide show application has various tools including a button at bottom right to zoom to full screen. Let go of your mouse or trackpad and the slideshow will run automatically to the end or until you stop it.
A few shots from the opening of Joy Brown’s show: 108 Dancing Ladies.
Click the image above to start a slide show of the various image in this set. The slide show application has various tools including a button at bottom right to zoom to full screen. Let go of your mouse or trackpad and the slideshow will run automatically to the end or until you stop it. Use your browser’s back button (left arrow) to return here.
Note: Those of you who have tried my other slide shows, I’m trying this one in a new window (on top of this one) to make it easier to bail and get back here by simply closing the new window. Let me know what you think either way, thanks.
This set of images documents the process of the artist Joy Brown making her newest collection: 108 Dancing Ladies.
These images were taken with a Canon EOS 5D camera and for the most part, a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens.
This image, which I took for the artist Joy Brown in June is on the cover of the September, 2009 issue of Chronogram, an arts and culture magazine distributed in the Hudson Valley of New York (as well as Kent, Connecticut).
Chronogram’s art director, David Perry has done an excellent job reprocessing the image and integrating it with text. I’m delighted.
Kent, Connecticut. A few of Joy Brown’s 108 Dancing Ladies drying before being fired.
One of Joy Brown’s reclining figures, unfired. This figure is over 4 feet long.
Warren, Connecticut. I printed a thousand (1000) post cards for my friend Joy Brown to announce the opening of one of her shows a few years ago.
Printed on Red River Polar Matte card stock on a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 printer.
I filled my office, our bedroom and other rooms with flat surfaces with these cards for drying overnight and it took three days to get them all printed and dried.
Kent, Connecticut. This was shot in 2006 at a gallery during the opening of one of Joy Brown’s one person shows. The mural is quite large and made up of approximately one foot wide tiles.
Kent, Connecticut. A few of Joy Brown’s 108 Dancing Ladies.
Kent, Connecticut. In photographing my friend Joy Brown’s studio, I caught a small reclining figure, two large pods, and without knowing it, three photographs in the upper right hand corner of this frame.
Those photographs were shot and printed by me of my own ceramic work for my MFA show at the University of Oregon in 1980. I got into photography just to do this documentary work. The porcelain piece in the photograph on the right is 1 inch tall. So you see, I was into macro photography even back then. Here is an old scan of the exhibition postcard.
It’s nice to know that Joy, a person I have deep respect for finds my old work inspirational in some way.
Kent, Connecticut. Another view of two of Joy Brown’s ceramic sculptures. The pod is a large, hollow ball that joins dozens that Joy has made over the years. These are environmental sculptures that one can place out on a lawn or in a garden and move around experimenting with various configurations.
Joy’s figures, while not explicitly feminine capture feminine gestures, like the hips and legs of this figure from this angle. It’s one thing to photograph a woman lying back, looking for the right pose and feminine detail, yet another to take a month to build that pose from scratch out of clay. This is, no doubt, one of the many things that makes Joy a successful artist.
Kent, Connecticut. I was over at my friend Joy Brown’s studio today doing a bit of documentary photography for her. I’ve been doing portfolio, gallery, and magazine illustration photography for Joy for a few years now and it’s always a pleasure to work with her. She’s a world class artist and a great person and together we’ve made some nice images of her work.
She’s best known for these large, voluptuous, life-like figures in clay and in bronze. Her work is in collections all over the world.
She fires these pieces in a large wood-fired anagama kiln that she built on her property. It takes a week to fire the kiln with dozens of people working in shifts throughout the days and nights. An entire year of Joy’s work is in the kiln along with numerous other local potters. I try to get some pieces in each firing and I put my time in stoking as well.
Joy Brown lives and has her pottery studio five miles up the road in Kent. I’ve known her for a while now and while I met her through her ex-husband (we drummed together) I now consider her to be a good friend.
Because I have a background in ceramics, hanging out at a successful, working pottery is not novel to me but it is novel these days; up until last year I hadn’t touched clay in over 25 years. But, Joy has me making things again if for no other reason, to put them in her huge anagama wood fired kiln which is fired once a year and takes a week to fire.
That fire is going on now and I routinely volunteer to stoke for a day or two. I helped yesterday for a while and while there, wandered around her place taking pictures of her work which is scattered all over the place, tucked into weed patches and piled in the woods.
Joy lived and studied in Japan for many years so her work is heavily influenced by traditional Japanese ceramics. I think her work is outstanding and it’s a lot of fun to photograph. Check this flickr set for more of it. I’ll be taking more pictures today and adding them to this set.
Our friend Joy Brown was loading her big anagama kiln the other day and I went by to see where my clay “balls” were going to be in the kiln and just watch the action.
Joy makes large ceramic sculpture of what seem to be large, round women sitting or kneeling. They’re wonderful and she’s got “clients” who have them the world over. Getting them in this long tube of a kiln is no easy job.
During my 12 hour shift firing the kiln Joy and I “mudded up” the door with wet clay and straw and rebuilt the firebox to let in a bit less air. Messy job but nice to get messy again after over 20 years of being mostly digital with little clay mess.
In the old days we used only pyrometric “cones” to measure temperature inside a kiln and they’re still used in many places. Cones are small ceramic objects that look like 3″ long, tall, thin pyramid that one sticks in a wad of clay and then places near a porthole so one can see it melt and know the kiln has reached a certain temperature. Now, in the modern (digital) age, digital pyrometers are used. The older one on the left here isn’t used anymore. The newer one (yellow) has two inputs from two probes: one for the front (the larger, higher number here) and one for the back of the kiln. This instrument is so accurate and the big kiln so responsive that you can affect change just by putting in the smallest piece of wood.
I went back the next day and Joy was struggling to get the back of the kiln caught up with the front and was stoking heavily with little air to create a longer flame and so, heat the back more. The flame was so long it came out the closed portholes looking for air.
The fire is over now. In a few days, I’ll go see the kiln unloaded.