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workshop with kelly savino

updated thu 1 jul 10


Dana & Chris Trabka on tue 29 jun 10

This past week end I attended a workshop at Khnemu Studios (a farm =3D
setting just outside of Saugatuck, Michigan) with Kelly Savino. It was a =
great workshop filled with practical suggestions and insights into =3D
making your work better. Kelly shared how to make simple useful tools, =3D
assembling simple pieces to make a more complex final form and how the =3D
components (line, texture, negative space) of each part of a pot should =3D
fit together to make a unifying statement.

The simple tools Kelly shared with us was a carving tool made from a =3D
pencil and a bobby pin (cut the bobby pin off and stick it into the =3D
eraser), a texture tool (an extruded log carved with the carving tool), =3D
an emergency needle tool (bamboo skewer), saving the chamois (a bobber), =
a throwing stick (a wooden spoon from the dollar store), and how to make =
a cut off wire.

The pots that were demonstrated included a teapot, made from a thick =3D
bowl shape faceted with a "bic" pen spring stretched out and a plate =3D
form; a pitcher made from a simple cylinder and a bellied out cylinder; =3D
a casserole/serving dish made from two slabs (one slab was the bottom =3D
and one slab became the domed lid), an extruded side wall and a handle =3D
all made from templates - the texture tool made on the first day =3D
decorated the sides, the top, and the handle of the casserole/serving =3D
dish, a small flask made with two bellied out circles with a thrown =3D
neck. In each of these pieces the emphasis was to allow the potter to =3D
use simple forms/processes that when combined became a more significant =3D
piece. Additionally, throughout the demonstrations, Kelly emphasized how =
each of the parts should interrelate to the finished piece; how to make =3D
the whole piece look organic not assembled, how the negative space of =3D
the pitcher handle should enhance the lines of the neck/body, how the =3D
joint of the side and bottom of the casserole should "talk to" to the =3D
lip of the casserole, how the texture on the side of the casserole =3D
should "talk to" the lid, how the handle of the casserole should "talk =3D
to" the lid and to side of the casserole so that each piece of the =3D
casserole has a conversation with the other pieces of the casserole (the =
purse matches the shoes). After an initial demonstration of "how to do =3D
it", Kelly spent individual time with each participant to exchange ideas =
of how to solve design issues.

This workshop with Kelly emphasized the significance of the verbal and =3D
visual interactions between the potter and the student. The art of =3D
pottery is best learned through the interactive and trusting =3D
relationship between a student and teacher. We can all be teachers. We =3D
can all be students.