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Archive for the 'effigy vessels' Category

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New work for your perusal (or, “check ’em out”, if you prefer)

Here is a stack of small bowls with horned lizards (horny toads, if you prefer), sculpted in low relief by pushing out from the inside (repoussé, if you prefer) with texture added. They are charmingly eccentric (not perfectly round, if you prefer), and each one is different. They have cheerfully glazed interiors (really bright colors, if you prefer) and are about 5 inches in diameter and just under 3 inches tall (not very large, if you prefer). I’m told they’re a good size for modest portions of ice cream (or oatmeal, if you prefer), drinking morning coffee with milk in the French way (alla francese, si’il vous plaît), or to use in any way you wish. There are several available in various colors but related to the ones shown. Inquire if any tickles your fancy, like a beetle walking up your leg (or something less icky, if you prefer).

Posted by Allison on Nov 14th 2015 | Filed in art/clay,effigy vessels,three star owl | Comments (0)

Pondering escalation

It’s Valentine’s Day week, and I’m feeling a little sentimental. So here’s a farewell to a piece that recently found a new home in Florida. It sold from the co-op gallery I’m involved with — On the Edge Gallery, a fairly new outlet for Three Star Owl — and I was there when the customer bought it. It’s a wall piece, not something I frequently make, an effigy vessel of a very much larger-than-life horned lizard. In the lizard’s scaly back is a window into its hollow innards, where a tiny pink and black gila monster hovers in the darkness: the horny toad’s imagination (why not an imagination in a gizzard? — they used to say stegosaurus had a second brain in its hip), where it’s considering what it would be like to be


armed not with defensive weapons like scales and spikes, excellent camouflage, and the ability to squirt blood from your eye, but to be aggressively, offensively venomous. I’d engraved the title, “Pondering Escalation” on a carved banner across the back of the piece, along with the copper hanging wire and my signature stamp.

As I cautiously swathed it in bubble-wrap to defend the clay details against the rigors of travel as carry-on, I realized I wasn’t quite ready to let the piece go. I wished I’d taken more photos, wondered if I’d gotten a photo of the back (I hadn’t, damn it), and hoped it made it safely to its new destination. Like a real horny toad, the clay piece is sturdy and spiky but a little bit tender, and I worried about a horn breaking off, or the tiny inner gila monster on its invisible pedestal being jarred loose on its journey.


We can’t know what a horned lizard would decide after pondering escalation, but I guess that innate tendencies — biology — will always win out: being resilient is a survivor’s most valuable trait. The glow of a vibrant gila monster may enchant a humble horned lizard for the duration of a dream, but after all, venom is expensive for an organism to produce and deliver, and the venomous find it hard to keep friends. Have a happy Valentine’s week.

Posted by Allison on Feb 11th 2013 | Filed in art/clay,effigy vessels,reptiles and amphibians,three star owl | Comments (0)

It’s not all about owls…

… it just seems like it sometimes.

This Friday Saturday and Sunday, from 10am – 5pm March 9, 10, 11, it’s time for the spring Camelback Studio Tour, and if you visit the Sherwood Heights neighborhood of south Scottsdale, you can find lots of things besides owls, even at Three Star Owl Studio (Studio #3 on this map).  Among the exciting Non-Owlular things available are the metal south-west themed garden sculptures of Tracy Paul of Pentimento Metalwork.  Here’s a tantalizing image of the shadow of one of Tracy’s agave-like creations. >> She’s brought a large selection of delectable items and strewn them artfully around our rambling garden, where you can wander around searching them out.

And, there are three other studios to visit filled with paintings, clay, jewelry, glass, and gourds handmade by local artists Lynn Gustafson, Vickie Morrow, Pam Harrison, Jan Campbell, Chris Demma, Reg McCormick, Bernie Nienebar, Lynn Strolin and Margaret Sullivan.

Of course, Three Star Owl Clay is stocked as usual with a motley assortment of owlishness (that’s motley said with pride), some new like the Boiled Owl Sake Sets (see previous post for photos) and Napping Owl Tumblers — which exude a quaint whiff of Victoriana, pushing Retro all the way back to the Martin Brothers.  But I’ll also have on hand some non-owl favorites like Horned Lizard Bowls, a Gila Monster Effigy bowl, Frog Skeleton Mugs, and also a bit of species-faithful Wazzo-ware for the birders among us, and more.  The photo above is my studio bench tonight, with new items waiting to be photographed and priced — note the Gilded Flicker in the Saguaro vessel: definitely Not An Owl, for a change.  Oh, and a couple of Writhing Rαt Dog planter/bowls.

<< And for the first time ever, I’ll have hand-knit hats for sale by Sylvia Schoenfeld (my mother), like these.  And yes, those are owl cables with button eyes — which makes them most definitely mostly about owls.

(All photos A.Shock)

Posted by Allison on Mar 7th 2012 | Filed in art/clay,effigy vessels,Events,three star owl,yard list | Comments (3)

Last chance to see…

“Ossuary: an archæology of resurrection” in the show Death and Rebirth at Maryville University’s Morton May Gallery in St.Louis.  The show will be up until this friday, December 2.  Click here for details about the show and about the Ossuary.

<< Detail (photo and piece, A.Shock)

Posted by Allison on Nov 28th 2011 | Filed in art/clay,artefaux,effigy vessels,Events,field trips,owls,three star owl | Comments (0)

Pick of the litter

Among the sculptural vessels I’ve made recently for upcoming holiday sales, a couple things stand out.  This is one of them:

Feather Bundle Jar with Owl (13.5″ ht, stoneware 2011, photo and object A.Shock)  >>

What you can’t see in the photo is the interior glaze, a fiery glossy red that contrasts strongly with the dry, dinosaur-green outside.  The jewel-like red studs give a hint of what’s on the inside, however.

This piece will be available starting tomorrow at the Three Star Owl booth at Audubon Arizona’s Gifts from Nature event tomorrow and Sunday (12 – 13 Nov, 10am-4pm, click here for details).

I’ll also be offering functional pieces, including frog skeleton mugs, scorpion mugs, beastie pitchers, and ravenware, just for starters.  As always it bears repeating: Come early for best selection!

And, they’ve pretty much taken rain out of the forecast for Saturday, at least — so really, there’s no excuse!

Posted by Allison on Nov 11th 2011 | Filed in art/clay,effigy vessels,Events,owls,three star owl | Comments (0)

…more Three Star Owl news…

Deadlines, shows, and orders have been keeping me busy in the studio the past few weeks as the pre-holiday calendar winds up to year’s end.  Not complaining!  But, I have noticed that recently this space has been more full than usual of Three Star Owl news and less full of natural history, birds, and fiction (will Professor Wayfarer ever find out what kind of accent the elusive shirker Dario is sporting?)

In keeping with this trend, here is more Three Star Owl news.  My recently completed piece, The Ossuary: an archæology of resurrection, is part of a show, Death and Rebirth, currently at the May Gallery at Maryville University.  Curated by James Ibur, Death and Rebirth showcases ceramic sculpture by more than 20 artists, including the work of Mark Messenger, Arthur Gonzalez, Adrian Arleo, Susan Bostwick, Kurt Weiser, and more.  Each piece deals with the eternally cyclical nature of mortality and lifeforce, especially resonant during this season of Día de los Muertos, All Soul’s Day, and Halloween.  If you’re in St.Louis, the show will be up until 2 December 2011.

For those of you who are not in St. Louis or are unable to visit the May Gallery, a bit more information about the Ossuary is in order.  It belongs to the same corpus of work as the earlier Owl Hives.  Here are some images (be sure to click to enlarge), and a dose of scholarly commentary thanks to a friend of Three Star Owl, Darius Danneru, PhD, who has generously squandered his ample expertise on — and occasionally even loaned his person to — my creative efforts.

<< Ossuary: an archæology of resurrection (smoke-fired stoneware, 13″, A.Shock 2011)

Notes on “Ossuary: an archæology of resurrection”

… related to these [Owl-hives] is another well-preserved unprovenanced piece from a private collection (fig. 9). With tiny strigids issuing like bees from its interior, this tripod effigy vessel/ossuary is itself owl-like, large-headed and standing on two taloned legs and a tail, shrouded in a torn, priestly cloak of feathers fastened with curiously unknotted twine. Below the cloak the body is textured with bones, above it the form is both lidless vessel and roofless, columbarium-like house with windows.

Owl about to launch (detail, “Ossuary”) >>

This mix of architectural and sepulchral imagery suggests a funerary significance, but the sarcophagal feel is leavened by a swirl of rebirth: the gravid cavity shelters the proto-owls while they await release from the depths of their bone hoard (whether the owls’ conceptual matrix or simply the remains of the last meal hardly matters), and the tomb’s roof and windows are open to allow the owls to launch like souls from the Guf and be restored, winged, to the world.”

– Text excerpted from D. Danneru, “House-Owls and Owl-Houses: do model ‘owl hives’ at Beit Bat Ya’anah offer evidence of ancient strigiculture?” Obscure Histories Quarterly, v. 42:3 (Fall 2010) p. 84.

Darius Danneru, PhD, is the Wayfarer Professor of Crypto-cultural Studies at MacCormack University, a fellow of the Szeringka Institute, a member of ICER, ESSA, and currently a visiting Professor at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago.

<< peeking through the windows into the heart of the Ossuary.

Posted by Allison on Nov 4th 2011 | Filed in art/clay,artefaux,effigy vessels,Events,three star owl | Comments (6)

Happy Owl Face

The Camelback Studio Tour in the Sherwood Heights neighborhood of southern Scottsdale is over until the next one (that’s March 9, 10, 11, 2012, by the way, so mark your calendars now), and I’m tired but happy.  Thanks to all who came by to visit, shop, or both.  The sale seemed to occupy the last hot days of summer — I can’t recall ever getting a sunburn at an art sale before — and now desert autumn has set in, with sudden refreshing showers, cooler temps, and pranking breezes.

<< content horned owl (detail; A.Shock 2011)

My next event is in less than three weeks: the Audubon Arizona Gifts from Nature benefit art event, Saturday and Sunday the 12th and 13th of November.  More about that soon, when I have more details.  Hope to see you there and, the forces of clay willing, Three Star Owl will have some new work for you to take a look at.  Meanwhile, Happy Diwali!

Posted by Allison on Oct 26th 2011 | Filed in art/clay,effigy vessels,Events,owls,three star owl | Comments (0)

Come visit the Ossuary

Next Friday Saturday and Sunday Oct 21, 22, 23,  is the Camelback Studio Tour, and Three Star Owl will have wares available for you to peruse and perhaps purchase. Other artists’ studios nearby in the neighborhood will be open as well, with more than 20 artists offering their art for pre-holiday shopping. Support local artists and artisans and stop by: 10-5, free to enter all the studios.  Click here for details.

<< sneak peak of a piece that’s about to fly across the country

During the event, a new piece called “Ossuary, An Archæology of Resurrection (<< detail left) will be lurking in the corner, awaiting shipping to St.Louis for an upcoming show, “Death and Rebirth” at Maryville University, curated by James Ibur.  St. Louis artists Ruth Reese, Ron Fondaw, Eric Hoefer, Lili Bruer, Renee Deall, Tim Eberhardt, Mary Ann Swaine, Matt Wilt, Susan Bostwick, Jimmy Liu as well as national artists Amanda Jaffe, Chris Berti, Russell Wrankle, Kurt Weiser, Adrian Arleo, Arthur Gonzalez, Ben Ahlvers, Mark Messenger, Pete Halladay, Paula Smith, and Allison Shock will have work displayed from Nov 2, 2011  through  Friday, Dec 2, 2011.

Posted by Allison on Oct 18th 2011 | Filed in archaeology,art/clay,artefaux,close in,effigy vessels,Events,three star owl | Comments (0)

Drawn in: The Curious Case of the Owl in the Notebook

The VLO (Very Large Owl) sculpture “Windblown Owl” found a new home recently.  The next VLO is underway, currently drying and eventually migrating to a client in California (shhhh, it’s a surprise), and I wanted to use the same greenish-golden surface coloring and glazing effect on the new owl.

I had a basic idea of what had been applied to “Windblown”, but I needed specifics.  That meant doing a bit of sleuthing.  The obvious place to start was my own notebook, which by means of hasty drawings, measurements, and notes records much if not all Three Star Owl clay work, theoretically in detail, although in practice I’m not always as good about it as I should be.  Happily, next to a small sketch, I found helpful marginalia on the slips and glazes used on “Windblown”.

Windblown Owl VLO sketch (photo and drawing A.Shock, click to enlarge) >>

I enjoyed revisiting the drawing, which made me smile, the owl looks so much like a dog riding in a car with its head out the window.  The discoloration of the white background page is a photo-editing effect, a result of mercilessly and excessively bumping the contrast for more stimulating web viewing, as is the ability to see the drawings on the back side of the page, which in the actual book are only faint ghosts of lines.  Shades of paleographical or even forensic document investigation:

  • “I say, Holmes, you can see right through the page!”
  • “Precisely, Watson.  Evidently our potter had made a bowl with a conical foot and hummingbird squares stamped on it, some little time before glazing the large nocturnal bird.”
  • “By Jove, Holmes, how can you possibly know that there were hummingbirds on the bowl?”
  • “Because I’m eating my porridge out of it right now.”
  • [Watson chuckles] “Capital, Holmes — a bowl with cleverly stamped hummingbirds on it.  Well done!”
  • “And, may I add, my dear fellow, it’s made entirely by hand…”

By the way, definitely Rathbone and Bruce, here, I’d say. Brett and Hardwicke would never have shilled for Three Star Owl.

Posted by Allison on Sep 16th 2011 | Filed in art/clay,drawn in,effigy vessels,owls,three star owl | Comments (7)

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