Craft in Focus: Ceramic Artist Ana Vizurraga

This is the first installment in a new series featuring fellow studio craft artists who, through their studio practice, are engaging life in the early 21st century in a variety of inspiring ways.  This series is also borne of a desire to illuminate craft as a sublime and appropriate undertaking  in a time of social, political and economic complexity.  At its core though, this series is about the life and work of grounded artists sharing a passion for craft in all its nuanced glory. I’d like to open this series with a little sketch of my long-time friend, Ana Vizurraga.  Ana is among…

Northwest Beach Walk

I am a child of marine environments who ironically lives inland (it happens).  From Hawaii to Cumberland Island, I have been nourished by the big oceans and the ecotones associated with them.  The shoreline is a magical transition zone wherever it is encountered – an abundant strand, rich with life as well as decay.  On a recent visit to the Pacific Northwest, I returned to an oft-visited, ever-changing rocky beach which perennially holds amazing treasures for the texturally-inclined…

Kudzu Rising

It may surprise you to know that the Kudzu plant has a vibrant history of use for various applications – from medicinal to textile.  Until the modern era, most of this history took place in East Asia.  At present, in Southeastern U.S. there are numerous paths to Kudzu fiber harvest and use, and those who work with (and on behalf of) Kudzu are passionate about it.  One such individual is Junco Sato Pollack, who has been devoting a portion of her busy schedule as academician and studio artist to ponder the story of Kudzu in greater detail.  In my quest…

Nested

This recently abandoned, temporary dwelling (which we hope kept eggs and baby birds safe while learning about their new life on planet Earth) was in the trees and spotted by someone else while I was busy combing the ground for mushrooms (see my last Post). The entire structure was attached to a perfectly appointed V-branch with what look like blades of grass, apparently serving as a sort of “warp” or framework for the rest of the construction.  Interwoven were oak catkins, bits of decomposing bark, twigs, leaves and pine needles, now all dessicated, soon to slough off and rejoin the…

Early Summer Emergence

We have had a good deal of rain in North Georgia – a welcome respite from the dry heat of late Spring. With all of that moisture in the mix, many a latent mushroom has pushed its way through soil, moss and leaf litter to play out its short, above-ground life cycle. A recent trip to the mountains revealed just how variously mushrooms have responded to these conditions – in one particular spot, condensed in an area of roughly a few thousand square feet, everything from Chanterelle and Boletus spp. to Amanita muscaria (and many more) were called forth. As…