When my father and mother were first married they lived in a
second story room in North Beach, San Francisco.
There was a man who was into photography living next door called Ansel Adams. Another man in the building was making jewelry his name was Peter Macareni (spelling?). Elsewhere in town a man called Benny bufano was doing sculpture. My father tried painting, but ended up doing ceramics. Later we moved to Palo Alto and he had a pottery shop out back called Willow Road Pottery. Then he had a shop in the Allied Artists Guild in Menlo Park where he made ceramic sculpture and custom tableware. The current Pottery Shop is probably in the same location.
At some point he worked for Edith Heath Ceramics in
Sausalito, CA. He was a smoker and my mother complained
about cigarette burns on our furniture. The existing ash
trays either allowed an unattended cigarette to fall into the
ashes, not good if you wanted to have another puff, or fall on the
table. He came up with an ashtray design that had a notch in
the side. If the hot part got to the notch the cigarette
went out. This design is seen to this day.
This is the idea but the notches are too shallow. Other images of ashtrays show a long groove where the cigarette is to rest, but these would allow wind to blow the cigarette off or would put out the cigarette sooner. It's important to have a thin wall to maximize the cigarette burning time.
He did a number of sculptures, the prototype in wood and later in cast ceramic. Here are some of these sculptures:
When I reglued the ceramic part to the wooden base I could see that the thickness is about 1/4 to 1/2" and this is a slip casting. Other copies of this prairie dog must have been made.
I had an artist make a bronze version of the ceramic bears originally created by my father.
This does not appear to be a slip casting, but may have been reinforced?
There were versions with a smooth finish and others with sand under the glaze to be more like hair. I was worried that these would break and be lost so commissioned a Bay Area artist to duplicate them in bronze. One for myself and my two brothers and a couple of friends also wanted one. I still have the molds for these. I first tried to have a casting business do this but they could not figure how to place the part lines. My father made a paper template, but it was too much for them. The artist used a lost wax process that does not need to save it's mold.
This is the only one of these and is an origional.
This is a one off wood carving.
This wood carving is in rough form.
Bob made his own glazes. He got the ingredients by making trips into the California desert where he collected rocks.
He had a sense of humor.
Sculpture "Dancer" by Marc Gengoux Aug 2013
As practice for making this sculpture Marc made some smaller versions. Photos to follow.
art by Marc Gengoux