Thursday, May 5, 2016

Kiln fuel

We started the week with a breakfast in the Green Frog Tearoom. Bacon is one of the best fuels I know of for getting lots of work outta a crew.  Here a couple wallpapering the door to make the kiln airtight. We glazed and loaded in one day. We have just finished firing off Cassius Clay in 31 hours. We had Cone 11 down top, bottom, middle and back and held it at 1300C for a few hours. We finished with my old friend walnut so we'll see what kind of final surface we get. We crash cooled it as one of the crew has to be on a plane back to Calgary on Saturday afternoon.
I dragging my anchor a bit but we're doing some throwing today and tomorrow. Having a meat fest at my house tonight. My killer smoked ribs in secret sauce. Thanks to Springwater Packers for meat ya can't beat. No laughter please!
Ok off and running!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Getting Loaded

We have a fresh crew here for a wood firing. We actually managed to get 7 people's work glazed, wadded and loaded into the wood kin on the first day. That is an amazing feat for several hundred pots and 3 or 4 times that many wads. It is a beautiful sunny day and the first day with the bourry (boring) box is rather uneventful. I came home to get my fly fishing rod so that I can amuse myself while the crew does their thing. The is a nice place first thing in the morning before the people start arriving at The Green Frog Tearoom and walking across the dam to the pottery. Let the crew answer all the questions. I've gone fishing!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Rabbit Stew


Had a great day yesterday with friends. Steve and Lis came down and prepped my garden for a flower bed. Marg is coming today to plant the hydraindja's . Ok I tried so from now on ever more they will be tulips. All flowers I don’t know the name or spelling of are now tulips.
Went to Clark’s this morn for my Sunday heart attack on a plate and took along the latest CM with a wee interview of one of my favourite people- Big Boy Bruce Dehnert. I loved how Bruce see’s how lucky he is to have so many students and artists crossing his path at Peter’s Valley and how that keeps his work changing. I think though the strongest thought for me in the interview was Bruce is able to see how lucky he is. Most people when good luck knocks on their front door they are out in the backyard looking for four leaf clovers.
Congrats on the article Bruce. You should have been the cover. I love your work.
I was born in  the year of the  lucky rabbit and this weekend is more positive proof of just how lucky I am. Recognizing your luck and showing gratitude for it is part of the secret. I have  made my living as a potter all these many years and have surrounded myself with such awesome friends. I’ve been eyeballing a piece of Outsider Art by Andy Brown entitled “Rabbit Stew”. A man just can’t enough good luck.

A new crew arrives tonight for the week long wood firing. Then next week a new crew for a course with soda firer extraordinaire Cathi Jefferson. Then the week after a week with the man with the magic hands- Bruce Cochrane. Then the week after that a week with the ash glaze wizard Dick Aerni. Then the week after that the Koreans are landing. Then I go teach a wood firing course with my buddy Bruce Dehnert in NJ.  Then a workshop in Belleville, Then Minnesota for firing workshop with Donovan Palmquist/ Colleen Riley, then Minnesota Potters Festival with Tom Wirt and Betsy Price and then and then and then. Wish me luck with my rabbit  stew!

Friday, April 29, 2016

You're Damn Right I Got the Blues

You're damn right I got the blues from my head down to my shoes.
I can't win cause I don't have a thing to loose. _ Buddy Guy
I got da blues. I've tried everything from alcohol, drugs( like Bill Clinton I didn't inhale), yoga, meditation, therapy, exercise and self help books. The blues are back. People like it when ya have the blues. The more you suffer the better they like it.
Unloaded the gas kiln just now and I have the blues big time. This glaze is really forming some nice crystals like ice break up on my near by Lake Erie.
We have Dick Aerni coming to Pinecroft at the end of May and Dick and I or a bit of soul mates in that we have both been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. He is a master glazer with a spray gun. I'm a dust man. I like to add layers of dry glaze on horizontal surfaces. I just scrap the stuff off the sides of the glaze bucket and sieve it on with a kitchen screen. For vertical surfaces if I'm worried it is going to blow off on the way to the kiln I just spray it with a bit of water and sugar.
I learned this many years ago from Old Bull Ron Roy. I have a very nice "Snow Plate" of Ron's. He sprayed a terra sig on porcelain and then put a crumbs of a white glaze on the rim. It is a beauty!
Well I got to get hustling. Final prep for my grand opening of my new little showroom. It isn't big but it's small!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Who's Crazy?





I came home from North Carolina with a new passion as if I needed another. I got hooked on Outsider Art after reconnecting with my pal Clyde Jones and him graciously giving me a painting of the two snakes. I had visited Crystal King pottery right after getting my painting. Krystal said she had been flirting with Clyde for years and he had never given her anything. Crystal is a bit of a southern expert on Outsider Art and has some nice pieces for sale at her pottery.  I couldn’t get this piece “Love Nature” by Georgia Outsider Artist Jeff Payne outta my mind. So I was turning 65 and becoming a geezer so I treated myself to it. I figure I will put it in the Rat’s Nest to keep Ronnie’s Rat and Clyde’s Two Snakes company. This is my guest room. I wonder if they will stay long?
Here is a translation of Jeff Payne’s narrative on the back of the painting. “If nature was a flower petal that would always be a beautiful meadow where flowers grow on every hill and critters gather in the hills below.”

Now ain’t that beautiful! Maybe the rest of us need to be institutionalized and let Jeff and Clyde well enough alone in their world that only sees beauty.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Will work for food!


I got my new little outdoor showroom ready to rock and roll. I’ve got mostly old stock and some good seconds. If there is something wrong it meets the hammer so they are good pots just not gallery quality. The little gallery has the new work and the seconds and old stock are on ware carts under my covered deck where the food and wine will be.
I need to make some money this weekend to go do some heavy duty grocery shopping. I want to stock up just in case I have to house a bunch of my American potter friends that may well be considering becoming refugees. Americans are not just like any kind of refugee. They eat more so you can see my dilemma. I’ll be able to put them to work around here for a short period of time but eventually they’ll want to move into the cultural center of the province –Toronto. Gee, most of the city has been claimed. Toronto has Little Italy, Little India, Greek Town, China Town and others. Most of the central core of the city has been claimed so I figure Little America will have to be in Scarborough out on the Golden Mile. There are lots of fast food joints out there and temporary accommodation could be
had at The Hava Nap Motel. You can stay long term, by the day, or the hour.

Just fired off another kiln and it went like clockwork. Back in the zone. Come out this weekend if you can.