Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rust never sleeps



Thanks for all your good wishes that I don’t burn out.  Hey, hey, my, my  it’s better to burn out than fade away- Neil Young.
My life just got a little easier. I went to visit the Amish this morning about my wood supply for next year’s firings. They are cutting it in 3 foot lengths, banding it and lifting it on to our trailer so all I have to do is cherry pick the thinner ones and stack them on pallets. Beats the hand bombing on and off the trailer, stacking it in a rick, cutting it to length,  splitting it, unloading it onto pallets and then moving it to the kiln. That took a better part of my week each week this summer in the blazing heat.
If you think I work hard ya oughta visit the Amish. I said to the father “So I can pick up the wood any day between 8 and 5?”. He said “No, you can pick up the wood  6 days a week any time between 6 am till 10pm. My boys work 16 hour days.
I got one big long row of dry ash 4 feet long that will serve me well for probably 5 or more firings next spring. That is a huge relief off my mind. Whenever I have had trouble with a wood kiln it has always been wood related. The wood at the Amish site is now at 20% water value. That means you are burning energy to boil the water out of the wood. Interestingly dry wood smokes more than green wood. When our kiln smokes too much I throw in a liter of water to clean the stack.  Seasoned firewood is usually between 17-20% moisture content. Kiln dried is about 10% so there is always some water.

Show me a man with his two feet firmly planted on the ground and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants on or off.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dance like nobodies watchin’




Sometimes ya gotta dance like nobodies watching, love ya ain’t gonna get hurt and make pots like ya don’t need the money.  It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work. This is paraphrasing a song I like of Guy Clark’s – Come from the heart.
I haven’t made any production work since sometime in the spring. I’m afraid I have let some of the stores that sell it down. If ya pick something up ya gotta put something down. I’ve been juggling a lot of balls this year.
I could light a match under my butt and crank some out but it wouldn’t be from my ole battered heart. I made these t-pots one day last week when I was carried down to the studio by a swarm of bees. I don’t know how else I could have got there since I have been just plum tired.
I had been sent a picture of some cups I made probably 10 years ago with a thumbed bottom. The customer wanted 8. I haven’t taken a commission since I was 50 years old. I gave that to myself as a present. Orders were always a pain in the keester. Murphy’s Law (Barb) always kicked in and something would happen to them. They would warp, crack, oxidize, a  kiln booger would fall in . I liked the cups so I made some and then got carried away with thumbing and made these teapots. Sometimes ya gotta dance like nobodies watching and make pots like you don’t need the money.
I went for a 6 kilometer walk this aft in White’s Woods. I needed the air, the cold, the sun, the peace, and the time to think.

I have a glaze demo to do tomorrow night for the London Potters Guild, wood prep to do Wednesday and Thursday and then 9 woodies arrive Friday to load Cassius Clay and the dance starts all over again.  I’ve got Andrew coming this weekend to fire with me so if I feel like sitting out a shift he can swing my partner and do the doesy doe with Cassius Clay.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Getting Unmarried



The Mississauga Hot Potatoes just unloaded a very hot Cassius Clay. Cone 12 tipping back to front, side to side. There were a lot of very happy Hot Potatoes with everyone going home with a keeper.
We came back to The Cactus Lounge for some pizza and a crit of two of each person’s favourite pots. I think this is pretty new to all of them and I could sense a nervousness. It is not about the person it is about the work. I get it! It is hard to not take it personally but it is about growth and how to get there not you and your feelings. If you want to be told it’s pretty go home and show it to your partner or your family. To keep the marriage alive they will tell you what ya’d like  to hear.  If you want the truth put it on the banding wheel and let’s talk.
I also gave a little lesson on how to stick things on using JB Weld and how to repair cracks using Bray Patch.
 After 8 women leave your house you know it’s going to be a mess so after clean up I headed back to pick up my work. I told ya the kiln was hot and putting down Bruce Dehnert’s BgreeD and then layering salt yellow, Rhodes black, copper red, and Korean celadon over top I had some pots married to the kiln shard shelves I had beneath them. I tried getting one off but it was a lasting marriage that my trying to break up ended in disaster.
So I am going to take a lesson from the Capital “A” artists  and marriage counsellors and  celebrate the marriage by turning this one into a piece. I am going to glaze the kiln shelf and refire it. I told the Hot Potatoes during the repair demo that it ain’t over till it’s over so what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
This couple are beautiful together in their marriage so I will celebrate it. It was supposed to be a life long affair and so it will be. 40% of Canadians are now living single so I will honour the ones that stand together in wedlock and not try to ruin both their lives by cracking the foundation they stand on.
The married couple are downstairs in the studio as I prepare supper for one and wonder if only the romance hadn’t been so hot whether I could have had one of them here on the table to enjoy supper and  my favourite night Saturday Night Blues with me. 

As I type this Elizabeth at Shane Norrie Contemporary just sold one of my vases for a 70th birthday present. I wonder if they are married?