Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I realized now while viewing the online catalog for the MAD museum's exhibit "A Bit of Clay on the Skin," why it is exactly I enjoy the ceramic material:
It is "the stuff of the luxurious and the mundane..." It is a material that can subvert your expectations of what it can and should do, both in its physical properties as well its function as a cultural object.
Ceramics is a field that can easily embrace every aspect of my utterly frivolous and fickle tendencies.
I needed a bit of that.

In any case, something ENTIRELY different. Here are some studio shots and works in progress:

Materials include birch wood, encaustic, acrylic paint, oil paint, polyurethane, flocking, slip cast porcelain. Drawing below is colored pencil and acryrlic.
"Something That Happened Between Coffee Dates, A Severe Addiction to Work, and Consequently a Severe Addiction to Alcohol."


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I am happily living out this self-constructed narrative as the so-called "Tracy Lee" in the city of Philadelphia.
Chapter one is coming to its boring, anticlimactic close. We got to know the characters. Built some relationships, but realized we couldn't go anywhere with where this story was going. So, I quit my job and have moved onto another. To celebrate the occasion, I got my septum pierced. Yes. An entirely juvenile move, but I've decided that I just don't care.
Chapter two brings our protagonist to a new artist studio in Kensington: the Amber Street Workspaces. You know, one of those converted warehouses. It's a bit jenkity, and the elevator is frightening, but it certainly has it's charm. Perhaps I'm asking too much of the universe, but I'm hoping the space provided will spark some kind of brilliant inspiration. Otherwise, I'm still staring at my teeth. And that shit-eating grimace just keeps smiling right back at me, like it has something to say, but it refuses to spit it out. Lockjaw.

I don't know what I'm looking for, but this transitional period has been both refreshing and confusing, and my ability to focus has gone out the window. Work comes slow again, but I am telling myself that I am enjoying a state of "input" rather than "output."

Here's something for you. I discovered today that mushrooms sauteed with brocolli di rape is amazing. I've also discovered that you can make pink daikon radish salad by shredding daikon radish with some rainbow carrots (make sure there are pink and purple ones in the mix). The white daikon absorbs that color of the carrots making for a nice splash of fuchsia to your dinner palate. salt those bad boys with a generous shake of sea salt and sugar, let them do their pickling-thing for a good 30 minutes, splash them with some rice vinegar. Dig your dirty hands in there are mix everything together. Serve with brown rice.
(when at a loss of words, but needing something to say, I can always resort to what I know best: food.)


Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm finally going to do it

...buy a real, professional musical saw that is.
What a badass:
David Weiss, Musical Saw Virtuoso (from www.museumofmakingmusic.org)   

I think I'm finally settling on a Musshel and Westphal tenor saw. Although the collection of rusty old hand saws I've acquired has made for a very attractive wall display, the lack of range has proven to be a bit challenging...
Stay tuned for photos.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

grit, teeth, noise, synesthesia.

It's a little embarrassing to admit that those are indeed my own teeth. But it's a pretty cool image, no?

I've decided to tackle a subject that makes me very uncomfortable, so as to gain some perspective on my insecurities that involve the social politics of dental cosmetics. Teeth have been a very interesting subject to me for quite some time. They are gross, they are necessary, they are fascinating, they lack sense and yet can be the cause of so much pain. An animal's habit of showing and gritting one's teeth is a naturally threatening signal, while humans flash their teeth with a friendly smile.

Teeth are defensive, yet vulnerable.
Teeth contain a unique topography to each individual (by this I'm referring to the use of dental records as a means of identifying a body, for example)-- Fingerprints are like the map, where teeth are the terrain.
I could go on and on and on as to why I find the subject of teeth so damn fascinating. There are so many cultural hang-ups that surround teeth: "dental culture", is perhaps the proper nomenclature? Grills, gold caps, obsessive bleaching... There is a status symbol in dental hygiene. There is judgment in its neglect.

These questions that involve defining subject, object and relevance seem to find some answer in these portraits. This certainly isn't a final product, but only a documentation of the process. I'm interested in the initial draw to the image, the repulsion, the comprehension that the image of these teeth in fact belong to someone one might know, and perhaps the guilt that follows. I know it's not there yet, I know it's not nearly as dramatic, but I'm getting there...

I find that I have a much more passionate and energetic response to music these days (as has always been the case, really). I will go out of my way to see a concert before an art opening-- always. I spend so much money on shows. I crawled out of my sick-bed and walked 15 blocks to see Corin Tucker. Granted much of it has to do with atmosphere, social gathering, and alcohol, but the immersive quality of an aural experience can be so utterly captivating and powerful. I find I am extremely drawn to the droning, endless, wall-of-sound-- the feeling of timelessness in a sea of pure noise-- the anti-song. Reality is suspended in the feedback solo or the perfect percussion of a seemingly eternal drum beat. I feel there. I feel here. I feel everywhere. I fucking feel. It's quasi-religious; Michael Gira (Swans) was- for a moment- godlike. You can relate-- I know you can.

Okay, where am I going with this. I have recently become enamored with the idea of finding a visual equivalent to rock and roll. I haven't entirely scrapped my hyper-minimalist, Formal questions of pattern yet (yes, I'm still in love with equilateral triangles), but I think that's merely a single unit to a multifaceted structure I have yet to conceive and construct. Rock and roll is so much about the front man, isn't it? It's so much about persona as much as it is about the noise. Subject/object relationships! Is that what I'm still talking about?!

I'm frustrated with the fact that I suddenly started making pretty things. It's like listening to... Jewel, for example. I'm revolting against my own inclinations towards beauty and elegance. I need some tooth in my life and work (pun entirely intended).

If you follow my studio practice in any way, you already know where these teeth are going. I am excited to say that things have been pretty successful on the making-end, as of late. I'm still asking a lot of questions about my work. I still have a difficult time articulating my interests in relation to my work because they range from (as stated above) rock and roll, to Buckminster Fuller, to material translation, to landscape, to architecture to et cetera, et cetera. And then to relate it back to ceramics and craft? (those are honestly the least of my concerns anymore). In any case, I can confidently say that I am back in production, and the only way to find answers to these questions is to continue making. I am indeed constantly vacillating between thinking and making, but I suppose it's a good thing...

On the next episode:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Poorly written, but tasty.

Who would have thought I'd have readers? I'm happy to know that within the vast sea of information called the internet, someone, somewhere-- YOU--would find my babbling-run-ons vaguely edifying! Thank you!

So how are you Tracy? How's Philly? How's the work going? What's new? Is it cold yet?
Good. Good. Okay. Not much. Jesus, yes. Alright, let's move on to something less inane:

Try this one out. Another happy accident:
Curried Wild Rice and Tofu Burgers*

Curried Rice:
1 med onion chopped
2 scallions or ramps chopped
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red rice
3 cups water/stock
1 T curry powder
olive oil

3/4 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 apple chopped
1/8 cup walnuts crushed
1/8 cup cashews crushed
a few sun dried tomatoes, chopped

4 T olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1/2 t dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced

1 package of tofu, drained and crumbled
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to preference

*I suggest that you make too much curried rice salad, then use the leftovers the next day to prepare the burgers. Otherwise it's pretty labor intensive.

1. In a large saucepan, saute the onions in oil until soft on medium heat, add the scallions and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in curry powder. Stir until onions are coated and yellow. Add dry rice (brown and red). Stir well and frequently until completely coated. Add stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Place tight fitting lid onto pot and simmer until rice is done. (cook as you would normal rice). 30-45 min. Let rice relax for 5 minutes before mixing.

2. in the meantime, combine cabbage, apples, tomates and nuts. in a seperate bowl, prepare the dressing: Mix together olive oil, lemon, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and garlic. when the rice is finished, combine everything together in a giant bowl. If you're having the curried rice salad for one night, garnish with some freshly chopped scallions, or parsley. Maybe something red would be nice to offset the yellow. Impress your friends with your diverse flavor AND color palette. hey hey.

3. the next day, or after step 2, combine rice salad with crumbled tofu, 2 eggs, and flour. Mix very well. Take about 1/4 cup of the mixture to make a single burger/patty. It helps to have wet hands so the mixture doesn't stick to you.

4. Heat oil in skillet on med-high heat. Cook your fancy little patties. about 5 minutes on each side, depending on how crispy you like them. Cover to make sure the inside is thoroughly cooked.

5. Individually wrap the patties that don't get consumed and stick in the freezer. You can pull them out and have them for lunch again tomorrow. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can even make your own buns with The Bread recipe. (just make your loaves mini!)

Wingin' it because I'm too cheap to waste leftovers. Enjoy kiddies. Tell me how it goes. PS. don't write recipes when you're tipsy-- you sound like an ass.