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CobaltRain

Cobalt Rain

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Justin Smith

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Justin Smith

About

Pottery and Quilting. Who would have thought?

Pottery and quilting, who would've thought of that combination? Well actually both go back to my childhood.
I was introduced to ceramics in the First grade when a woman named Evelyn Ducoff brought her potter’s wheel into the school, taking our small hands under hers and forming the clay into pots. If there was ever magic in the world, that was it for me. It was not till high school that I got my
hands in the clay again taking classes under the tutelage of Robert Ogata, I fell in love with the process.

My parents build me a studio on our Ranch in O’Neals, CA, my work for years was primarily functional utilitarian stoneware. Today along with the functional ware there are the decorative art forms and most recently mixed media. It’s always the process that fascinates me, coming up with the idea, creating the form and textures.

Perhaps some of the most exciting part is leaving some of the work to chance and trusting the kiln gods, whether it be salt firing, raku, or pit firing, leaving some of the surface decorations to the random events that occur in these process. The results sometimes mundane but then you get
that occasional “OH WOW.”

In short, I like to think of my work as skillfully playing in the mud never losing my childish enthusiasm.

We went camping often as a child, my father worked for a local lumber mill, and our house depended on wood stoves for heat, so summers were spent camping and cutting firewood.
Along with our sleeping bags, there was always the camping Quilt. It was not till my teenage years that I found out it was one made by my grandmother, her mother, and sister.

One day my mother was cleaning out closets and asked if I wanted 2 finished quilt tops that need a little TLC and to be quilted, something my mom was not about to do…. I took them with glee. Looking at them you could see these were depression era quilt tops. The blocks hand stitched together, then the blocks machine stitched. The camping quilt, hand quilted, stitch lines straight, each small stitch as even and equal as the last. The hours of labor and love put into these is unfathomable.

Along comes 2013, I’ve lived in my apartment for 8 years, 30 miles away from my ceramic studio, and needing a creative outlet I can do in the apartment. I know how to sew, lets work on the quilt tops. This lead me to Rhea Wiens, one of the finest quilters in our area. She suggests I take one of her quilting classes so I have an understanding of the processes before taking on these family heirlooms. Several finished quilts, and twice as many in some stage of production, my family heirloom quilts quietly await their turn.

So Pottery and Quilts.

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