Thursday, February 11, 2010

Casey McDonough

What's inside:

In the larger of the two blobs (eggs? orbs?) is a small commercial amplifier that I stripped down and retrofitted. You can see it runs off of a 9-volt battery. The stock volume control sucks, so I installed a more sensitive volume control in the other half of the pair. In the smaller blob is a simple homemade oscillator, which also runs on 9 volts. I can control the frequency, or pitch, of the tone quite carefully. In this version I've used a photo-sensitive resistor in the circuit, which you can see as a tiny little eye on the smaller blob. A photoresistor is exactly what it sounds like: a light-sensitive resistor. Changing the resistance in the oscillator circuit causes a change in the frequency, so here the resistor acts as a sort of motion detector; as a person gets closer to the small blob and cuts off some of the light (even a tiny amount), the frequency of the tone will change and a new sound will come out of the big blob. I like to think of it as involuntary user interaction with an initial element of surprise. I will have 5 or 6 of these guys playing their own tones very quietly, though I haven't decided if they will all play the same tone or something else.
As soon as I figure it out I will post a quick snippet of the sounds themselves. Until then consider it a surprise.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jim Hake

Jim wanted to share a bit of his progress.

See more of Jim's work at:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Casey McDonough

At NCECA 2009 in Phoenix I worked on an installation in the so-called "project space" during the conference itself. I was permitted to use the space to experiment, which is exactly what I did, working to incorporate ceramic and unfired clay with several mixed media elements including electronics that generated sound. For "Multiples of Five" I am working to refine some of the perceived shortcomings from that experience.
So far I have completed several pairs of ceramic elements with electronics smoothly incorporated into the objects themselves, thereby addressing the disconnect that I've recognized between ceramic and electronics in the past. I've also been constructing some modular elements using unfired clay and steel, which should make installation substantially easier.
One of my major shortcomings previously involved a lack of material knowledge, in particular the material I chose to use in order to delineate sculptural elements from the floor and/or wall. My friend, the artist Joe Page, introduced me to adhesive vinyl for signmaking, which comes in a great variety of colors and provides me with the flat and consistent ground that I had been looking for. I've found that this vinyl is helping me to resolve several aesthetic issues, though it is relatively difficult to work with.
It won't seem apparent in any of the included images, but I plan for this piece to connect the vertical plane of the wall with the horizontal plane of the floor. Expect to see details of the electronics as I get further along in the development of that element.

See more of my work at:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Frederick Bartolovic

From the start I knew that I wanted the Philadelphia show piece to be site specific. I had the time to design a piece for the show, so I started where I usually do, looking for resources online, trying to find older maps, or documents that speak about the local history of Philadelphia. In that search I came across the "The Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network" which can be found at:
What an amazing resource this is, with 200 year old historic maps of the Philadelphia area catalogued online, as well as images and blueprints of contemporary and historic buildings. From here I knew that the piece had be an interpretive map, combining my most recent hand built forms with real geographic data.

8 weeks to the show, I still have quite a ways to go but here are the progress shots to show where I'm at.

Frederick A. Bartolovic

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

blake jamison williams

Blake has been busy in the studio working on a piece for "Multiples of Five" and she wanted to share her progress.

she provided the following background for her current work:

"I learned how to make traditional flowers in China when I was at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen. There, I created dogwoods using this technique with Jingdezhen porcelain. When I returned home to Michigan, I combined left-over wire from a previous piece ("Takt") with the porcelain dogwoods from China to create the first small version of "Resilience"
For Multiples of 5, I will create a much larger version of this piece. The dogwoods in the new piece will be created from Laguna's Frost porcelain."


see more of Blake's work at:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

the process

A bit more about the Concurrent Independent Exhibition program that NCECA hosts can be found here:

In late 2008 this group of artists came together and began to develop a CIE proposal for the 2010 NCECA conference in Philadelphia, PA. The process was entirely collaborative, as it was important to us that we all have had a say in developing the concept behind the exhibition. You can think of this as a collectively curated exhibition. As outlined in the above link, NCECA requires a standard proposal format that includes a written description of the exhibition as well as a number of images and supporting documents for each of the artists involved. Below is the proposal as submitted:

"Title: Multiples of Five

Participating Artists:
Frederick Bartolovic, Jim Hake, Casey McDonough, Robin Strangfeld, Blake Jamison Williams

Blades of grass in a field, plastic Solo cups in the grocery store, individual units repeated add infinitum and composing the texture of much of our world. Whether man-made or organic, designed or grown, multiple units evoke issues of the unstoppable forces of nature, the mass production of a culture which always consumes more, and the obsession of the maker.

For us as artists, repetition of form inspires a repetition of process, while raising questions about matter produced and disposed in both nature, and our culture. Through our own hand-made assembly lines we question the value of the object and seek to create something new through the repetition and rhythm of form. A dance ensues that vacillates between an object’s fragmentation and it’s accumulation into something surprising, creating a new dialogue.

Individually we question the obsession of process, the collective networking systems related to the individual, our corporeal relationship to technology, as well as the mystery and meaning of new forms emerging from multiple individual objects. Collectively, we compose a cross section of ceramists, both men and women working throughout the United States and Canada. We are five individuals, each of whom works with multiples as a means of expression.

"Multiples of Five" will be an energetic exhibition where figure, object, and installation intersect with repetition...from translucent porcelain to earthenware, each artist's approach to process and conceptual exploration is expressed within the realm of the multiple.

If this proposal is accepted as a 2010 NCECA Concurrent Exhibition, we are aware that we will need to pay for shipping to and from the venue as well as be responsible for the set up and take down of the exhibition. Conveniently, many of us live within a short driving distance from Philadelphia ranging from one to nine hours. The nearest member of our group, Casey McDonough, lives in Allentown, Pa, and will work as an on-site liaison if necessary. We are open to working with a commercial gallery, non-profit organization, or "raw" space. Since our work is based on multiples we are a flexible group when it comes to space. We will install work that fits the space in an aesthetically pleasing way"

In January of 2009 we received email confirmation from Linda Ganstrom, current NCECA exhibitions director, that the proposal for "Multiples of Five" had been accepted as a Concurrent Independent Exhibition for the 2010 conference. We immediately launched into action, working together to develop interesting ideas for the promotion and execution of the exhibition. Linda subsequently passed our proposal on to Naomi Cleary from the Clay Studio in Philadelphia in order to find a suitable site for our exhibition.

In October of 2009 we received confirmation from Naomi that our exhibition would be sited in a unique "industrial" or "raw" space at Amber Studios in the Richmond Mills area of Philadelphia. We would be responsible for installation of the exhibition, which suited the constituents of the group nicely.

With a site finally pinned down we pushed onward with our amazing and incredible ideas...

Monday, February 1, 2010


This year the city of Philadelphia is hosting the annual meeting of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, a gathering of ceramic artists, educators and students from all around the world. Each year NCECA accepts proposals from it's members for Concurrent Independent Exhibitions, which are handled by a small panel of jurors and subsequently farmed out to independent galleries, museums, and alternative spaces.

We are happy to announce a CIE exhibition for NCECA 2010, titled "Multiples of Five". The exhibition will feature ceramic and mixed-media artworks by five artists from the U.S. and Canada.

Featured artists are:
Frederick Bartolovic
Jim Hake
Blake Jamison Williams
Casey McDonough
Robin Strangfeld

We plan to update this blog regularly with information concerning the nature of the proposal process and the exhibition itself, as well as progress reports from the individual artists leading up to the exhibition itself. Check back often!