Perambulating the Bounds

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Acquisition

I picked up this nice little pot at the American Artisan fair on Sunday. It’s a small raku pinch pot by Tim Weber. Tim was for many years a program director at the Tennessee Arts Commission and then had a short tenure as director of the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Smithville. When that didn’t work out (one assumes that’s the case with a short time in a job like that), Tim stayed in Smithville to focus on making and selling his own work.

My wife pointed out that I am enamored with organic surfaces on pots, and that’s just what got me interested in this. The colors and are textures are varied and subtle, rough, not shiny, like animal skin. One pitfall for raku pots is that sometimes the color can be garish, but Tim avoids that. There are shades of yellow and iridescence here, but not too much.

Like any craft artist trying to make a living from his work, Tim makes usable pieces like vases, covered jars, and platters, wheel-thrown with less delicate surface treatments. But he also goes in a more sculptural direction with things he calls “Neo-Primitive Objects.” A lot of them have the general shape of tea pot or some other vessel, but for the most part their lids don’t open, and they are definitely not functional vessels. He impales bits of bamboo through the sides or works them into the lid as if were a handle (but it's not). In the past I had the feeling these pieces were too busy, too much going on, but I didn’t feel that way with the pieces I saw in his booth Sunday. It seemed like he is using a more limited range of surface coloring (I may be misremembering the older pieces), with the primary colors coming from the carbon smudges produced when the pieces are put red hot into sawdust or whatever combustible material Tim uses at the end of the firing process.

Tim needs to get a website so I can show some of these images. I’m sure I’ll acquire one of the neo-primitives one of these days, and I’ll post pictures then.

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