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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)

One more day — Camelback Studio Tour

This is the little white booth in the desert.  It’s Three Star Owl‘s show tent, currently set up in the backyard for the Camelback Studio Tour and housing an ever-decreasing number of objects.  It’s great fun to have people drop in and peruse the selection, marvel at E‘s epic number of specimen cactus and succulents, and maybe go home with a rαt-dog or a beastie mug.  And it’s fun to talk to folks, too, friends and strangers alike.  During the last couple of days, I’ve referred people to Mike Cone for cool cactus pots (mysteriously, I don’t have any for sale, currently), recommended the book “Desert Gardening for Beginners” from Native Seed Search, and talked to a man who used to work for the Pomona Tile Company in LA and who said he’d lost track of how many times he’d had lead poisoning — “you wait for the symptoms to go away and drink lots of milk” !!  (Just FYI, most contemporary potters, and certainly anyone making functional ware, don’t use lead in their glazes anymore, but lead compounds make beautiful colors.  They were used in ceramic glazes worldwide for thousands of years, and in the U.S. until the 1970s.)

Lots of pieces have found new homes, but there are still great items left.

<< Here’s one “Neither Fish Nor Fowl Tentacle Bottle”.

Also, this, a frog skeleton beastie creamer, about 4″ tall  >>

You can drop by Sunday, 10 – 5. Admission is free.  The open studios are artists’ homes in the Sherwood Heights subdivision of southern Scottsdale, between 56th Street and 60th, and Thomas and Oak.  More info here.

Also, we’ve got a 5.5 lb container of Red Vine licorice that needs desperately to be shared!

Posted by Allison on Oct 22nd 2011 | Filed in art/clay,Events,three star owl | Comments (2)

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)

Upcoming Three Star Owl manifestations

A couple of Three Star Owl events you should know about are coming right up — these are your only two chances for pre-holiday shopping for Beastieware, Wazzoware and the like.  Both are Phoenix-area events:

The first is the Camelback Studio Tour, Fri Sat and Sun October 21 22 23, from 10am to 5pm.  My yard and tiny, cluttered studio space will be open to all, along with several other artists’ home studios in our neighborhood, pretty much within walking distance.  The work of 17 artists in a wide variety of media will be on display and for sale.  Details here, just click on the brochure or map links on the page for specifics.  As usual, come early for best selection!  Parking is a breeze, and the event is free.

In November, Audubon Arizona has revived its Gifts from Nature art/fundraiser, and I’m very excited that Three Star Owl has been invited to be part of this juried event, which features the nature-related work of Arizona artists in many media.  This year it will be on Saturday and Sunday, November 12 and 13 at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 South Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona.  Keep an eye on this spot for more details.  A percent of all sales go to benefit Audubon Arizona.

Hope to see you there!

Posted by Allison on Oct 8th 2011 | Filed in art/clay,Events,three star owl | Comments (2)

Categorical gory detail

Most readers probably follow this blog by reading day-to-day, post-to-post as new entries are uploaded — I appreciate that: thanks for reading! Here’s another way to view the Three Star Owl journal — by categories. In case you haven’t noticed them, categories are the long list of words partway down the left-hand side-bar. It’s a good way to search topics that interest you which might have appeared on these pages, or to catch up on old posts, read a series in sequence (complete or in progress), or check out something you might have missed in a feature such as “Spot the Bird” or “Cranky Owlet” (who, I’ve just realized has not made an appearance for quite a while). Click on one of those categories, and a clump of posts will turn up, most recent at the top, on the topic you’ve chosen.

Every blogger sets their own categories, and many of mine are obvious, like “owls” or “natural history“.  I’ve used some, however, that are a little oblique: for instance, “close in” pulls up posts with macro shots, close-up photos, and detailed species accounts.  “nidification” gets you all the posts I’ve written on nesting, or more generally, reproduction and young life. “doom and gloom” gets you photos and essays on death, dying, and other mundane instances of mortality and bad luck. Fortunately, this last category doesn’t unleash a lot of posts, but, here’s a heads-up — it’s where you’ll find photos of dead organisms and disasters like our Thanksgiving Saguaro Plunge.  This is not a perfect system: it relies on me to be consistent and systematic about tagging each post with the appropriate categories as I add it, and that doesn’t always happen. But for the most part it works, and I invite you to try reading by category.

In fact, here’s one to start on. I’ve just added a new category, launched by the title of the last post: “drawn in“. This category includes all posts with drawingssketches, watercolors, or digitally-created images — in case you want to check out which direction my non-clay renderings wander (excluding Cranky Owlet, which august personage deserves and is relegated to his own category, see above). Sometimes, as in the last post, the drawings are related to clay work, sometimes, not.

Finally, let me encourage you as always, but especially with hand-drawn items, to CLICK to ENLARGE: often the images embedded in the blog text have lower resolution than the version you see once you click — even when they’re not actually bigger, they’re clearer, have truer colors and sharper contrast.  See what I mean by comparing the image of the dove above as you see it with what you get when you CLICK.

Why not take a look, and let yourself be drawn in

Posted by Allison on Sep 17th 2011 | Filed in three star owl | Comments (2)

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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