New Work: 18 May

I smoked a few pieces this afternoon, or at least tried to, in the kiln since I don’t have my little brick unit put together in the backyard yet. I finished two of them.

I’m using the gallery here and it’s still not working properly. Click on the thumbnails, and then click on the images again to see the photos which actually did upload correctly. I hope they get the bugs worked out of this feature soon, because it really is a nice little tool.

Each terra-sigged ceramic element is about the size of a fist, the orange work being larger than the other. The wood in the hanging elements is myrtle wood, which my brother brought back from his honeymoon in southern Oregon. I finished the myrtle with beeswax, giving it a wonderful sheen.

The orange piece looks a lot like a heart. I’m not terribly fond of the glaze, but it works here. The red inside the small “cave” is an underglaze.

The beige piece is glazed inside the small “cave,” and set in that glaze is a sapphire cabochon. Its edges are also glazed, and as you can see in the detail the smoking process attached itself to the glaze, to my surprise, and now looks a lot like something that came out of a wood firing. A happy little accident.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

6 Responses to New Work: 18 May

  1. Arnold says:

    First impression: I’m seeing elements of the cross in your work. The wooden crosspiece, the hanging ceramic vessel, and the bruized/pierced nature of the hanging vessel.
    I’m not sure if that’s your intention, but it certainly comes across.

  2. TAE says:

    Not my intention, but thanks for the observation (I always like to know how people perceive my work!). I do work with ideas from Christendom, and some are employed in these works, particularly as I think of icons. That is, I hope people take TIME to examine these small pieces. The small cave with the rock is kind of set up as a reward for people to actually view the artwork at length. The cross, however, has never entered my visual palette that I can recall. No doubt it’s important to the faith, but it’s also a cliched subject matter, mostly on account of kitschy works that, IMO, do not do justice to the subject matter.

    The form of the ceramic element, like so many of my works, originates from my observing clouds. Bear in mind it’s not meant to be a rendering so much as I use things like thunderstorms for inspiration. I do hope to create some more realistic, so-to-speak, storm forms in the future, but up to this point all of my finished pieces that I can recall abstract the vaporous white objects.

  3. Jim Janknegt says:

    Speaking of critiques, I thought I might give you my response to your new work.

    I enjoy the organic quality of the ceramic pieces and the interior exterior contrast, a nice sense of mystery and surprise as well as the glazed/unglazed contrast.

    What I am not so sure about is the reason to hang these from a string and a piece of highly finished wood. The string makes a shape: a rectangle with a triangle on top which, for me, I can’t help immediately thinking of a kids archetypal drawing of a house. I find this distracting.

    I also feel a sense of incongruity between the organic ceramic shapes and the highly finished pieces of wood rather than an enjoyable contrast.

    Why hang these from a piece of wood? Why not just mount them on the wall?

    Keep up the good work. – Jim

  4. TAE says:


    Some very good observations here. I’ve used pieces of wood like this for years now and I haven’t the slightest recollection how I got started down that road! The earlier iterations did not have the string above the piece for hanging, but hung with two nail holes drilled in the back of the wood. I may still do that with these pieces, but was playing around with the way you see them this past weekend.

    However I’ve also employed a number of other mechanisms for hanging my ceramic pieces, and like you observed “Why not just mount them on the wall. I have indeed though and planned to do this, but have yet to actually do this. I think we’re thinking the same here, I’ve just not been able to spend enough time in my studio this spring to get the other works finished.

  5. Teri says:

    I just got a knight klin. Do you have any manufacture infomation on these?

  6. TAE says:

    I don’t, Teri, but the older kilns are especially straightforward. You can purchase elements for it from Euclids:

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