The search continues for compelling concepts, appropriate materials, and a balanced creative life. Watch and learn how I deal with not knowing what's going to happen.
It was a real pleasure to go back to the St. John's Pottery to pick up my sculptures. It's been 6 months since my residency and I felt right at home. Richard, Ryan, and Brandon took good care of me at tea time and throughout my visit. Hospitality has been a major lesson of my time at the pottery. I even got back to the Refrectory (cafeteria) with Brandon! After I was packed up, Richard was very willing to answer some "making of the studio" questions. As we were finishing up, I asked him to put the St. John's Pottery in 5 words. He quickly replied, "a place of sacred beauty."
Richard likes to say that every ceramic piece is influenced by 3 equal forces: the clay, the artist, the kiln. Even though I was expecting to be surprised by the kiln's contribution to my sculptures, I was still surprised. The raw power of a raging river of fire is evident in the kiln's effects. So is the delicate hand of "fire whisperers" who stacked the work predicting the path of flames, and stoked the fire listening to the sound and watching the color. I'm told the heat got so intense in this 14th firing that the steel on the back door was melted and warped by the rushing river of fire. At times the flames blast 20 feet into the sky from the top of the chimney. For all you Avatar fans, these people are earth benders first, then they are fire benders. Now that I think of it, I may have seen some water bending too...
I've teamed up with Steve and Mike, the filmmakers at New Ulm Cable Access Television (NUCAT), to produce a new series of videos. I have a history of making my own "making of" videos. My youtube channel is a sporadic collection of mixed production quality, poor sound, and learn-as-I-go experimentation. My videos turned out ok, but they were always amateur. The NUCAT guys bring it to a whole different level.
It's still called "The Process". We have a handful of videos in the works. Video stories are based on the projects already happening in my studio. Steve and Mike occasionally come by to film some B-role footage and interview me. I make a few GoPro clips along the way. The guys edit it all together into a lovely 24-minute show. In a short amount of my time, I'm afforded a powerful way to explain the processes, concepts, and intents of each project. This arrangement allows me to focus on studio work while the professionals focus on the video production. The result is a Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood-style conversation and tour in which I can be hospitable to so many.
Episodes air first on New Ulm Cable Access Television. If you live in New Ulm, browse the program schedule here. I invite you to watch our first episode below (in which I cope with a large print commission by building a press).
Check out NUCAT's excellent "Off the Shelves" music series. It's an impressive collection of acoustic musicians performing at Bookshelves and Coffee Cups.
Hey Lutherans! Here we stand at the 500th anniversary of the 95 theses! Its time to get your Reformation on. We've collected all our Reformation themed items for you to wear, contemplate, listen to, and read for this special anniversary celebration. Spread the word that God's Word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever!
It started out as a little experiment based on a hunch. I tried to print my wood block on an old tshirt from my bag of painting rags. I wondered how my printing press would handle fabric. I'm thrilled at the results! Now we're fulfilling orders! My son Teddy has learned to print and has been cranking these out with laundry safe ink on a variety of men's and women's sizes.
Interested in wearing or gifting one of these unique, Biblical statements? Get yours at http://www.jjjaspersen.com/prints/not-ashamed-t-shirt-758ea
Koine asked me to develop a visual for their album of Martin Luther hymns. The title, "Cross, Heart, Rose, Sky, Ring" refers to the parts of Martin Luther's Seal. Benj Lawrenz explained that the band wanted to deal with Luther as a fellow artist. The album cover alludes to a materiality and an unresolved concept. It presents the parts of the seal before they had converged in his mind. Luther may not have always been so sure of himself. I can relate to ideas part-formed. While our salvation is sure and finished, the direction of our temporal lives remains mysterious.
There was something meta happening during the making of this piece. Benj said he wanted to get at the idea of Luther trying hard to get something right. He wanted a very tactile quality to the artwork. As I searched for a solution I found myself engaged in exactly that kind of "trying hard to get something right."