T bones arrived safe and sound and on time. Modern travel can be amazing. We walked straight to Caezar’s for dins en route back from the train…..a great way for T. to start his travels. Sarah Williams from Boston, has just arrived for a one month residency. She will work in the ‘fishbowl’ or ‘birdcage’studio.
She hopes a perfect fit. The next day was consumed with getting ready for and heading out on the big bus for the opening of the ‘Art from the Cloister of Clay’.
The opening was quite formal, as befitted the occasion, with music, wine and speeches. Emese taking her pictures, Janos talking with reporters, Jona greeting visitors, and Marinann distributing flowers to friends from the ICS. Everyone who could come, came. The Exhibition was in the planning stages during the time that Janos and Jona withdrew from their involvement with the ICS. They proceeded despite many difficulties to curate a fascinating exhibition.
The exhibition, made up of 260 plus works taken from the ICS Collection, showcases the most important Hungarian and International artists who have worked at the ICS over the last 40 years. Janos and Jona curated the exhibition to emphasize the cultural importance of this unique world-class collection of contemporary ceramics. The Collection came into being because of their leadership and vision. The catalogue supports and re-initerates the importance of this collection for the Hungarian people and for people interested in ceramics worldwide. We all hope that the various levels of Governments and funding agencies are paying attention.
Terry and I spent the last day packing, finding my trunks amazingly heavy, and running out of bubble wrap. I pulled Annie’s Tribute out of a trunk, and happily handed her over to Jakab’s care…he often came in and gave her a pat. She was last seen in the back of his car! Jakab left a bottle of Palinka on my worktable, so I nipped off to have a comforting Palinka with Zsolt, Balzs and Marton. Then emptied my fridge of wine, beer, eggs, sausages and all, and asked Marton and Balzs, a great cook, if they would kindly whip us up a dinner…..it was fabulous – a classic Hungarian ‘casterole’ and good company – with a rainstorm outside accompanied by thunder and lightening.
Once again the Studio has quieted down. Botos Balazs and Stohner Marton continue to make repairs in the old glass studio – a great project to restore the old glass studios. They have been working away at this for months. It will make a wonderful space for their future slip-cast business. Zsolt Szegedi, the Studio Director, has been facilitating many repairs around the ICS.
I spent a delightful week with Ban Marinann as my studio neighbour. We scoured the Kecskemet flea market with Kahlil Irving and David Wolf, kindly acting as sherpas, carrying rugs Mariann had bargained for. I found some wonderful pots and charming aprons. Mariann also took me to our local market – she knew where to find the best bread, coffee, eggs etc…..and we took in a movie – a beautiful old art deco film house steps from the ICS…and we have had lots of fab asparagus soups. Bibo gifted Mariann with 2 baby chicks, and Kis Jakab and Kiraly Klari came up with a chicken coop pronto.
Sadly for those of us remaining at the Studio, David V. Wolf returned to Israel this week. I have never seen such a carefully packed trunk! Wish I had taken a picture.
Jakab, Klari and Balazs have been working all week packing up the selected works for the major exhibition – “Art From the Cloister of Clay” at the Iparmuveszeti Muzeum, the Applied Arts Mueum in Budapest. They have made at least 4 trips back and forth to Budapest in the truck and trailer. It is an important exhibition for the ICS, opening on June 16th…on till September 1. Meanwhile I was working hard to finish up work for the last kiln…..and ended up with so much work I filled the Lazer and a small hi-fire electric. It is a somewhat melancholy time, winding up a residency, thinking about deconstructing a temporary home. However I am looking forward to Terry’s arrival in a few days!
David Wolf and Botos Balazs were the main chefs for Kahlil’s 21st, a cookup by the kiln, launched with Palinka, and onwards into the small hours. Kahlil will finally be legal in the USA!!
Tim wound up his ‘naked raku’ class with a marathon of firings on a very hot day, and there were a lot of whistles made in Ban Mariann’s class included in the firings. Gessler Maria came and did her own marathon preparation and firing in the big gas. We marked Mary’s departure with a cello concert at the Calvinist School and a dins later at the Rosemary restaurant. It was very strange to say goodbye to Mary, who left very early in the morning by local taxi, and she is much missed.
The next evening there was a cook-up for Tim’s departure, a supper in the inner courtyard on a summer-like evening.
Mary got some impressive results from her firing, and was very pleased to see her paper clay forms held up well!!
I have been making some more architectural forms with figures in them, and am interested in the results. Fairly pleased with glaze results, but
colours still not under control.
On April 8th, Mary was the first guest artist to arrive since my arrival 0n March 11th. So it had been a quiet month! These last couple of weeks the ICS has filled up with teachers from Turkey, and workshop participants from Australia, Poland, Hungary, and Austria. Mariann Ban has been working with her Sound of Music showing everyone, one at a time, how to make a whistle, and Tim Andrews leading his Naked Raku workshop. Mary is well into her 3-week-race to throw, finish and glaze enough pots for a gas firing in the mid-sized blue kiln. We have trailed after Mariann as she took people to various museums around Kecskemet, and particularly enjoyed the Bozso Collection and the Musical Instrument Museum.
Tim Andrew’s ‘Naked Raku’ process is a specific way of working with form and subtle surface design using porcelain slips, scraffitto, and lowfired glaze. The surface is covered with porcelain slips that is then covered with a lowfire glaze. The glaze is then carefully scratched through to the slip surface, this exposing the slip to the carbon from the firng.
The glaze is chipped off while still hot from the firing. The glaze is supposed to protect most of the the porcelain slip surface and only reveal the embellishment scratched into it, however, ultimately it is exposed the vagaries of the firing.
Started Annie’s Tribute, as Terry, Max and Jasper took her for her last appointment early Tuesday morning. She was nearly 16, and only just managing the stairs, and not much else. So we are dog-less, and I am sure Terry misses her ‘presence’ which took many forms – olfactory, spacial, and special object-leavings.
Work is building up, and Mary is already amassing her pottery, and starting her paper clay process. I am playing with the slips on the cast standing babies, and want to make a forest.
Making more moulds, spending time with the exchange students, Kahlil Irving, and David Wolf in the plaster room and at the Kisbugaci for goulash…, first cone 10 tests from gas kiln, some new work started, and setting of to find Mary. She got lucky, and the sun shone on her first afternoon, so we has to stop for a beer at our fav place.
Zsolt, as the new ceramic director, has been concerned about the repairs needed at the ICS – however there is no funding for this. Since I arrived, I have seen Zsolt working with the students, restoring walls, painting and making repairs, often on weekends, working pro-bono.
So this Saturday was designated a Studio clean-up day, and word was put out. Artists from all over town, the students, and residents went to work. Staff members like Emese and Klara as well [Jakab has been home with a cold this week] . Bibo came and spent the entire day cooking Goulash, cabbage rolls and some cakes and some wonderful rolls. WE had a great feast at the end, with palinka and wine and Bibo’s wonderful food. The painting and cement restoration will be ongoing, but already the Studio has a nice fresh look.
Went for a nice long walk, as it was not raining, and took pics of some of the edifices leading up to and around the town square. It was pretty deserted around 1 pm, but when I came back around 4, the sun was out and so were the brides, and the town pillow fight was amping up.
In the studio. I have been working on a baby and dog combo, and on some more buildings. Have heaps of slips to work with, some bisque ware results. Tests are ready for the next glaze kiln..hopefully Monday. Then I will have an idea of what I have made, colour wise.
Late on Wednesday night the Asuur group arrived at the ICS after escaping a snow storm in Poland as they were traveling from Tallin. They parked their caravan in the back and prepared for their interactive ‘raku’ firing that they were presenting to the ICS on Friday night. It was a great event, with lots of people and the media. Centre and front was their ingenious travelling book-like kiln. When opened there are fired symbolic shapes to hold small offerings during the firing. If you look closely you will see a baby in the lower right side, glowing away. I asked them to let the baby travel with them.
The Asuur group is traveling to ceramic centres around Eastern Europe [see www.asuurkeraamika.ee] for route, to celebrate their 20 year anniversary, and to embrace ceramicists everywhere. After the opening of the kiln, and a glowing
raku heart being taken out and presented to the ICS, we went on to enjoy a wonderful Goulash made by Zsolt Szegedi, and his students, and his wife, Ildiko’s delicious dessert, a Kecskemet speciality called the lazy wife’s dessert, and fab Palinka made by Jakab’s Uncle. Tomorrow Asuur Keraamika travels off to Croatia.