Monday, October 28, 2013

Undercover Investigation: Inside an Art Teacher Conference

We recently sent some of our reporters undercover to check out an art teacher conference. The Kansas Art Education Association Fall Conference was held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum and at a technology center in Overland Park, Kansas.  Here is the report they filed.

As we enter the technology center, we spot attendees wearing red lanyards around their necks.  We learn that the lanyards contain tickets for meals and a pen. At the start of the day, attendees linger by coffee and muffins until the first session starts. We see attendees pull out complicated workshop schedules from these lanyards, and mull over their next destination.

During the day, the 250 attendees from public schools, colleges, and city arts organizations attend workshops, visit with vendors, and participate in activities.  One focus of the conference is implementing "Common Core' into the art curriculum.  Common Core is a recent educational development which promotes higher order thinking, and combines art with other subject areas such as math and writing.  Other presentations focus on new technology, art demonstrations and activities, and media.

We keep tabs on events through the day with a twitter account set up for the event. Although the conference is busy, the art teachers seem to have time for fun as well.  Here are our pics:

Attendees at the Nelson-Atkins Museum where a docent is giving a tour

Attendee Beth Koon clowning at the Nelson-Atkins Museum

Dave Sturm of Bracker's Ceramics is modeling the red lanyard that attendees wore

Attendees learning a new monoprint technique

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thieves Guild Drawing and Lindsay Yankee at Wheatfield's

Thieves Guild Presents:
Nov. 4, 7:00 PM
Fatso's Public House

Here's what the Guild's FB page says about the event: 
What are these mysterious beasts that lurk in the recesses of our imaginations? Join us and SNIPE HUNT, (Society of the Neverending Inquest to Prove Existence and Hopefully Uncover Non-typical Terrestials), as we attempt to sketch an elusive cryptid. Poses provided by the lovely lupine Putressa Le Pew of Foxy by Proxy.
Only $5.00! Bring your sketchpads and art supplies


We love this post by Harrisonic's singer John Harrison:

Sometimes when I hear a song I loved in the ancient long ago I get a strange, instantaneous flashback to something I felt when I first heard it. It's not so specific as to evoke a particular place or a certain person; it's much more nebulous. Maybe it's the feeling of being young, of possibilities, of a sense of something beautiful freshly discovered. I can't really say, because it's so brief, but I long to somehow grab it and pull it to me, to rediscover it and communicate with it like a lost soulmate. It vanishes before I can clutch it and hold it. It is, at the same time, one of the most beautiful and painful things I experience on a near-daily basis. I feel I am addicted to it, and always will be.

Check out the new work up at Wheatfields Bakery.  Poppies and other flowers are part of the display by Lawrence Illustrator Lindsay Yankee.

See her website for more information here:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Great Balls of Fire

Great ball of fire coming from "The Performance Kiln"

Months of planning and days of constant feeding of logs to fuel kilns came to a magnificent end last night as KU, Lawrence, and regional artists finished a huge kiln burning event at Chamney Barn.  Spectators also watched an iron pour.

Water hoses were on hand as Sam Holloway unveiled his homemade kiln. He wore protective gear as he removed the outer insulation layer that maintained the kiln's core temperature. The result of the unmaking was a striking ball of fire coming from inside the skeletal structure.

Sam and Zach preparing for the unveiling

Historically, wood burning was the only choice for potters.  Although labor intensive, these wood burning kilns are favored by some for their high fire abilities which allow unique chemical reactions in the ceramic pieces.  The high fire takes away the oxegen creating color changes within the clay, and flying ash leaves unpredictable patterns on the pieces.

Getting ready for the iron pour

Elliot watching from on top of logs

Ceramic ware inside these kilns will require one week of a gradual cool down process before they are throughly removed from the extremely hot kilns.

T. J. Tangpuz getting ready for the iron pour

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wood Fire Spectacular: An Early Morning Chat with Kiln Feeders

Photo via Dave Sturm

A big occasion in the ceramics community is happening right now. Artists from KU, The Lawrence Arts Center, and regional artists, are firing ceramic pieces in wood fed kilns that take days to fire.  Artists labor over these precious kilns to achieve a unique finish and glaze.  Even in the overnight hours, smoke is seen from blocks away from where the kilns are located by Chamney Barn off 15th street.  The kilns have been in production since Wednesday. 

We wanted to check out this scene and thought it would be fun to talk to the 4-8 am kiln feeding shift. It is a chilly 32 degrees, but the fire from the kilns makes the temperature tolerable. Many kilns are going at once.  We witness the process of the feeding which requires intuitive as well as scientific knowledge about the desired temperature inside the kiln.  Temperature can be adjusted by methods such as the adjustment of dampers which control air flow and regulate the kiln's atmosphere. 

One hand built kiln is called "The Performance Kiln".  We talked to its creator, Sam, whom is inside his tent.  We are told that this kiln will be taken apart tonight to reveal a pure ball of red fire.  This kiln gets very hot, reaching a temperature of up to a cone 10 (which is the hottest degree ceramic ware is fired, over 2, 500 degrees). 

 The work will be pulled from the kilns tonight in a culminating event. 

The Performance Kiln