Saturday, August 27, 2016

3 guesses

the first two don't count. Where am I? Hey Cassara if you want a plate let me know ASAP as I'm  just here for the night and then off to The Hamptons for my workshop. We're having a perch fry and a bourbon with ice. Do you need anymore clues as to where I am? God this work drives me crazy. I wish I could buy it all. I've said it before and I'll say it again Ronnie the Rat is North America's best potter and all round cool guy. His wife Hester is his rock.  I love being in their good company. T

Friday, August 26, 2016

It’s in the mail!




Here is a pic of fine craft displayed shoulder to shoulder with fine art. As it should be!  It so happens to be my pots on display at Shane Norrie Contemporary Gallery in Stratford, Ontaio. Billy Shakespeare is on stage just down the street.
When I was in the tourist pottery business the maxim of commerce was “Pile it high and watch it fly.” Pile all those 20 dollar items on top of each other and let the shopping begin. The more you crammed into the space the more souveneir pottery you sold.
Mixing the more expensive items in with the lower priced ones may give the lower priced ones some credibility but it doesn’t have the reverse effect on the higher priced object.
Yesterday I mentioned that I wished people knew what went into making fine craft to be sold in a Fine Art/Craft Gallery. The same work goes into making a fine gallery.  What is the difference between a gallery and a craft store? What is the difference between fine craft and so whats?  Can the two live in the same space?
When a gallery gives your work room to breathe they are giving up retail space that has an opportunity cost. The opportunity to cram more stuff into that negative space.
I really believe there is lots of room at the top but it is a dog fight at the bottom. I like the direction Shane Norrie Contemporary is going and I am happy to be in it’s stable.
Since the mantra of my blog is to keep it short, sweet and readable. I have stopped at 4 criteria.  You can add what is missing.
My criteria for a good gallery
1.   They represent you. They don’t just warehouse you as a new flavour of the month. They believe in your work and encourage you to grow.
2.   They communicate with you. Their is a relationship.
3.   There is a standard that represents the gallery and you. Your work is in the good company of other good work.  Your work is not expected to give the Brillo frogs or the wind chimes from Bangladesh credibility.

4.   They pay you! This means they pay you promptly and without your having to ask. (In the case of Shane Norrie Contemporary I receive a electronic bank draft same day each month. None of this  “It’s in the mail!”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Almost bullet proof!



Most people put up with commercial clays that really are made to suit a wide variety of potters and not themselves and their needs. . Many years ago I developed my own clay bodies and with the help of Ron Roy he tweaked them to the formula I have used over a couple of decades.  My stoneware throws well. It has good colour in gas reduction, and wood firing. It has good green strength and an ability to be dried quickly. You can make big pots, small pots, one piece pots or multiple piece pots.  No covering, babying and singing Kumbuya for days waiting for the magic moment. Throw it, put it out in the sun, trim and handle it and put it back out in the sun. Then put it in the bisque kiln and fire it.
The above is almost all true except I made some multiple piece jars and didn’t put them out in the sun or dry them sufficiently. I blew up 3 of 5 and the remaining two had it’s  lid fall inside. It was too stingy a fit ,shrank and fell in. Help!!!! The one remaining nice one is at Shane Norrie Contemporary in Stratford, Ontario waiting for a good permanent home. I really liked the jar so here I am making 5 more. This time I will be more careful. Haste makes waste!

It would help if people knew what goes into making gallery quality one off work.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Stepping up to the plate!





I’m thinking about the end of summer. I shouldn’t wish it away since we only have two month’s summer and 10 months bad skating here in Canada. Actually I love all the seasons except summer- too hot and humid for this cowboy. I will miss my beautiful Rose of Sharon and the lovely leaves on the Japanese maple so I paid tribute to them today with some big bowls. What’s the difference between a bowl and a plate? The way I throw these bowls they start off looking like a plate but the rims move up in the drying. I once told a group that clay has a memory. I made a jug and cut it in half to show the cross section. I then rewedged the clay and declared I would make a bowl. One student said “ If clay has a memory won’t it become a jug again? I made another jug so that she would continue to believe everything I told her.
The smaller plates I will cut into squares and ovoid shapes.

What I find interesting about the leaf resist and this copper  slip is that the copper red will appear where the slip isn’t. It migrates under the shino glaze and pops up on the slip free image. Don’t ask me why. That is a question for the glaze geeks.