Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My sincerest apology!

 Oh my darling I must offer you my most sincere apology. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot figure out how to handle you. After all these years I’ve decided to call it quits. I’ve handled everything so well before but this time I am at a complete and utter lose. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to handle you- wink, wink, nod, nod but I can’t figure out how to handle the new you.  I had thought of perhaps some wee bra straps coming off the points- no pun intended.  I thought of the overhead basket handle that I am so fond of.  Nope to both!  Then in lieu of handles I covered your shoulders in leaves as a sort of shawl to adorn you since I feel I have left you so naked. I must say though that you do look beautiful.
I am working on one more gift for you my love. Today’s gifts involved addition and tomorrow I am thinking about subtraction. These two gifts took the better part of two days of making. At this rate you had better get used to my trusty 2001 Honda CRV. The Lexus is just not in the cards unless I win the lottery.  That is not very likely to happen since I never buy a ticket. You’ll have to stick with me for love and not for money. Oh yeah,  I also make a pretty good cannelloni!
Till Niagara falls,
Tony xox

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What keeps love alive?

I usually get great response to my blog posts when people think I am quitting pottery, reconsidering marriage, or best of all pointing a finger at the cookie cutter potters.  They think I’m pointing at them. So I thought maybe if I tackled the age old question of “What keeps love alive?” I might see a large increase in readership.
Many of my friends out there are thinking what the hell does he know about love? Truth is- not much! I’m still learning. What I have studied is pots and that is the comparison I’m going to draw. How do you keep your work alive and your love of making it? It has to be the attention to details, the unexpected, the trying something new or something old but with a new twist. Doing that little bit more even when you don’t have to.
Doing the same thing in the same way at the same time has got to be the kiss of death in love or  in pots. Perhaps that is why I have always maintained a wood kiln as my mistress. She is very demanding of me but she is always full of surprises and I like to surprise her. I always bring something special to our very hot and sweaty love affair.  If I don’t give her enough foreplay she just won’t allow us to reach temperature or something like that.
I’ve been working hard of late and so I thought I would make a nice chicken stir fry, relax and read a book tonight. This afternoon I had started a special hand building surprise for my darlin'  
and after dishes I found myself back in the studio where a couple of hours went happily by. Now for this little love letter and off to bed. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, March 30, 2015

So you want to be a potter that drives a Lexus?


So you want to make money making pots!
Well for starters stop reading this blog and go to your studio and get some work done. Then secondly if you have to take a break and read a blog for heaven’s sake don’t read mine. I just made 8 big rolls and put 48 handles on them. Now that I am on this double handle craze it meant 6 pulled handles for each roll. Is that any way to drive a Lexus? With these articulated forms the rolls don’t actually need handles at all. I pick them up under the belly of the pot. I have made one brilliant decision and that is that they won’t be wood fired. These ones are destined for the gas kiln. A nice big canvas for me to practice my brush work. Besides the thought of wadding the lids just puts these over the top for the most given unused wedding gift of all time. I swear nobody uses the dang things. They sit somewhere and look pretty. I call it a visual function. That way I can still call them functional vessels. Ten pound roll, 4 pound lid,  fill it with mac and cheese and you got yourself a  grunt coming out of the oven.

48 handles later

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Cactus Lounge

Last night people were out looking for the heart of Saturday night. It's time to party, go out for dinner, go to a show or get out of the house. For me the heart of Saturday night is staying home at The Cactus Lounge, making some pots and listening to Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap and then Holger Peterson's Saturday Night Blues on CBC radio. I made 8- 10 lb rolls and their lids. Better to make money than spend it. Then what could be better than Sunday morning. I get up early and walk downtown to Johnny's Restaurant for my breaky. It's two eggs over easy, bacon, brown toast, coffee and a orange juice. There is no garnish of twirled oranges, greenery or a side of fruit. It's your basic heart attack on a plate and Mrs. Johnny delivers a newspaper to my table, a coffee and breakfast will be ordered without me having to say a word. Then I walk home to finish the rolls and listen to Sunday morning CBC with Micheal Enwright. I love this program as it is my University of the airwaves. I am always engaged listening to so many brilliant people. Life's small pleasures are often what mean the most. It is not the big events of one's life that often bring a smile to your face.
One small event for me was one morning before sunrise lighting the firebox of my large two chamber kiln. I heard an owl screech and a rabbit scream. Then at sunrise my neighbour Clarence saw and smelled the smoke from the chimney. He came over with a coffee, a warm egg sandwich and a roll your own cigarette of Drum tobacco. I always had a pre-firing smoke with Clarence. Then while we stood there on CBC radio came Joe Cocker and Jennnifer Warnes singing "Up Where We Belong". I knew it was going to be a dang fine firing. That small memory is 25 years old.
No dream is too big!
No dreamer too small!

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Here is a bowl in my collection that was a gift from Ryogi Maysumiya in Northern Japan. The bowl was a gift to him from his friend the Emperor of Korea's daughter who is his friend.  I did a one month residency at this pottery and one night he got out his collection of Yi dynasty Korean rice bowls used in Japan for tea. We were allowed to hold them but only about an 1" above a cloth table. I made the unpardonable mistake of drooling all over this one. I love hakeme and this one has these beautiful little orange blossoms that show in the kaolin slip. One night on my way to do a shift on the noborigama Ryogi handed me a wooden box and said "Tony, you love this bowl more than I do! This is a gift to you. Man you could have knocked me over with a sparrow fart at this unbelievable act of kindness, thoughtfulness and generousity. I later found out you are supposed to be too complimentary or they feel obliged to give it to you as a gift. I am now worried he will visit and I might have to give him my first born.
I don't know if this bowl is worth $10, $100 or $10,000 dollars. I held it tonight on my lap and dreamed of my upcoming trip to Korea. I leave next month. I am so excited!!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Skyrocketing to the bottom!

I wear this silver pin of the Avro Arrow on my sports jacket. It could use some polish but so could I. The Avro Arrow was the most advanced fighter plane ever produced in Canada. My dad worked for Avro. The government of the day scrapped that plane and urban legend says there is one hidden at the bottom of Lake Erie. A friend wrote me and told me how lucky I was. I answered "Yes in 35 years I have skyrocketed to a wage under the national average. " He answered it takes focus and perseverance to be successful. On the same day I had a potter friend phone me and she wanted to throw in the towel. Working too hard for too little money and no time to play. What do I answer? There are those that want to make pots and there are those of us that need to make pots! I get crabby if I don't make pots for more than a week. I tried it this year in Cuba and found myself sketching pots and dreaming of what to do when I got home. Yes, there are days when I am lonely and you my congregation are who I preach to in order to get out of the studio. Cary called me a preacher so I might as well live up to it. Hey somebody pass the collection plate around will ya? Pots are what I know and love. They are what defines me. I have maintained no one else would hire me anyways since I have a resume covered from top to bottom in mud. If you can think of something you'd rather do then I suggest you do it. Unless it is become a poet then you will probably make more money for less work. If you are like me I suggest you will be damn crabby in no time at all. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Fight,
big fighter, fight!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

WARNING! Beware of this man!

For those of you enjoying the friendship of NCECA in Baltimore I send you out this warning. Sitting in a bar near you is this man who poses as a friendly, lovable, all time great guy. He is a rat! He came to Canada for a workshop at Pinecroft Centre for the Arts and hit on our young women. He is wanted here in Canada and is known far and wide as Ronnie the Rat.
If you see Ronnie the Rat go up and tell him to share the women and buy him a George Dickle with one ice for me. Have a great time everyone. Wish I was there with y'all!