Friday, December 7, 2012

The Group and John Barry Mathews

I am in the throes of creating a Picasa album to commemorate the passing of my good friend Barry in November, 2012.  It will be an ongoing project designed to have a life of it's own by the time it is completed.
On December 15th, 2012, his family hosted a Commemorative Gathering in Mt. Holly, New Jersey which was more like a combination Wake, Shiva and Roast to Barry - we all came away from it with a satisfying feeling of closure.
Barry's family commissioned from cousin/artist Maureen Murray, a wonderful Sea Glass Necklace which they presented to me as a thank you.  Totally unnecessary but totally appreciated by me!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Clay Rattle
I have been forming rattles in clay for awhile now but have recently been adding found wood handles to them as well.  Living on New Jersey wetlands and having plenty of tall Pin Oaks and an assortment of other trees, I am never at a loss for fallen limbs, twigs or branches.  I also have quite a deluge of bamboo but for some reason, the gnarled wood seems to complement my rattles in a more pleasing manner.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


 Each participating CHALLENGE Artist has a site where you can see or purchase more of their work. 

Maressa Garner

Emily Cohen

Lynn Farro

Mary Shannon Hicks

To see detailed images of the work submitted by the participating artisans & to learn about the process and complementary materials which led to the creation of their individual pieces, go to Jean Wells blog,

Julie Thelen

Monday, September 10, 2012


JEAN WELLS posted a CHALLENGE on her blog to anyone wishing to make an artisan necklace using one of the clay sculptural focals.  The CHALLENGE officially ended today, September 15th, 2012 and the winner of the $50 to spend in my BHClaysmith Etsy Shop will be announced at the beginning of the week. I want to stress that the prize will be awarded randomly to one of the artists who chose to enter and in no way is determined by the entry submitted.  I just spent a good hour looking over the work submitted and am simply blown away by it. (I am so glad that I do not have to pick just one as BEST of CHALLENGE and that the winner will be decided by an impartial computer!)  Every participant came up with such magical, innovative Art-to-Wear necklaces which not only include one of my focals but thoughtful, appropriate complements.  

Jean Wells
To shop for sculptural clay pendants & beads 

Jean Wells

Jean Wells

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In September 2012...

The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Exhibition
celebrating their new permanent location in Lancaster, PA.
September 7th - December 29th, 2012
I missed the opening of this exhibition which was on First Friday in September but was able to get to see everything the following Friday when I went up to Lancaster for the Strictly Functional Pottery Opening. What a varied collection of pieces all stating in one way or another, HOME AT LAST.
My entry pictured above,
was sold the night of the opening.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


When our ancestors descended from the trees millions of years ago and took an upright position, their hands were free for new uses. They perfected the overhand throw and engaged in making tools. This made them dangerous predators.

By devoting the hand to the more complex tasks of making artifacts, instruments and drawing on cave walls, brain capacity increased. Drawings became stories. Music, song and dance were born. The use of hands, language and visualization all evolved interdependently and the individual started to form.
Human behavior is profoundly influenced by these learned skills of the past which go a long way to define who we are today. Our individual biological nature or ‘who we are’ is who we were. Genetically we carry the genes of everyone who came before us and with that, the ability to discover our own unique predisposition for the need to create.

But we live in a consumer oriented culture driven by technology. Why bother to encourage labor intensive, demanding and often un-marketable visual arts, crafts, wearables, music, performance arts and literature?

Because those of us who use our hands, language and cognition to create do so as an antidote to this very technology which alienates us from society. Making clay vessels, creating art to wear, penning poems, blending colors on canvas, composing concertos, weaving, dancing, singing, photographing and filming - all of these, validate who we are! Our self-expression gives us meaning. It is a personally rewarding passion - a legitimate way of resisting a culture of bigger, faster and right away.

Creativity communicates. The maker's mark, though not always evident, forms a shadow of the work itself. It tells us a skillful, caring person has been there. The attitude of a time card puncher is never present when someone is driven to do something well. The work becomes endowed with a powerful emotional charge and a sense of sincerity which is instantly felt by others. More often than I like to admit, contemporary society ridicules the importance of feelings and does not particularly value the passion exuded by the creative spirit or their work.

But those who create have chosen a lifestyle which goes against the grain. Learning to embrace all that it entails, then be available for others embarking on the same journey is my charge. As both an educator and artist, I am intent on protecting, nurturing and celebrating the creative spirit and insuring it will never become obsolete.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BHClaysmith on Etsy

Slow Time


I was introduced to clay in early 1991 by having a chunk of it placed in front of me and being told to ‘make something’ in a period of 20 minutes. I still remember the feeling of cold wetness as my hands plunged into it….how it responded….how intuitively I knew this was the beginning of my new life with clay.

Finding a local Art Center to learn about clay was my next challenge. Once that was accomplished, I became the challenge. I’d arrive at my morning classes in FAST TIME, my design business attached at the hip, nudging me about commitments to everything but clay. Back then I flourished in the avant-garde world of FAST TIME unaware of the fascinations I was missing by not stopping to smell the proverbial roses, hug a tree or ask, “What color is the wind?” FAST TIME is a one-track dimension which flies through the crossings and doesn’t make stops in the mellow clay world of Kansas! But because of this, I understand why, after a 3-hour long weekly class, the clay hobbyist or novice only feels satisfied when lots of things get made. AND why, when it comes to finishing all those churned-out pieces, it’s impossible for them to return to the level of satisfaction they initially felt and glaze these pieces with realistic expectations. All this producing has occurred in the dimension of FAST TIME.

Art is a process of creating, not producing.

ART happens in SLOW TIME…THE PROCESS is the ART, not the product.