Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Circumcision Preferred

I have come to the conclusion that most people prefer circumcision. When I don't circumcise my teapot spouts they don't sell. I'm not sure whether they just don't quite looked finished or that we tea drinkers are used to seeing a cleanly cut spout. The spout has to be firm before you make the cut- ouch!
I tried working upside down like Bruce and Cathi seem to do a lot of. The oldest trick in the book during a crit is to turn someone's pot upside down. It is usually amazing how much better it looks. So why not throw the form upside down?
 I threw an enclosed form so that the top was to be



the bottom. I then threw a foot ring and added it to the top. I then flipped it over in a chuck and threw the gallery on the bottom now the top.
This is a helluva lot of work to make a bulbous teapot. I can really do this form better right side up. I was anxious to try it though. I trimmed my brains out and the pots still seem to be super heavy.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Givers and takers

 In my world there are two kinds of people- givers and takers. The boyzzzz are set to arrive in Canada from Korea. The boyzzz being the 5 Korean Master Potters and their lovely wives. It was just a year ago that 13 of us experienced the unbelievable "giving" of these fine people. Plans were set in motion to return their hospitality when Chris Snedden put the wheels in motion for the Fusion Conference this coming weekend in Toronto.  From my far away vantage point I have been on a small sub committee Chris set up of people in his hood. I will publicly take a bow to Chris Snedden, Unha Hill, Judy Sparkes and Donn Zver who have given enormous amounts of time, money and energy to this project. You have no idea what they have done to make this conference of over 250 potters happen. You are all BIG TIME GIVERS!
Chris has helped make over 1200 pots for demo purposes. That was the easy part. He has been arranging all kinds of administrative stuff that would kill a lesser being.
Unha the pesky mosquito always there to do whatever it takes. She repays friendship with more friendship.
Sparker- (never hire a Electrician with the name Sparks) is providing her cottage to show the Koreans Canadian life for 3 days- tubing,  canoeing, campfires, bacon and eggs,  and the significance of "eh".
Donn has given them his lovely house for 2 weeks, arranged welcoming and farewell dinners in his restaurant and has stepped up like he was the guy that started the Ontario Potters Assoc some 40 years ago.
Big things happen because of giving people. Don't miss this conference or at the very least go to Donn's and see their work. Go to the Gardiner on Friday night for their show opening. There are a few spots left for their farewell dinner. Do that! Somehow see how giving gets!
My buddy Doc Agel who went to Korea with us is flying in from Atlanta for the farewell dinner. Yep ya got to be a friend to have friends. This is the display at Donn Zver Pottery of the Koreans work. It's for sale. Don't walk, run!!! 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Worn Down



The sediment (the sand, mud and pebbles) that make up Sedimentary rocks come from other rocks that have been worn down by wind, rain and snow.
The pots I am currently making suggest sedimentary rock formations.
This is the end of 4 weeks of long days than rarely end till usually around 10 or 11. I am worn down like the rocks I love.  I had an hour power nap this afternoon.
 This week Dick and I were up late talking about geology and sedimentary rock formations. I woke up in the morning and ran down to the studio to implant some feldspar chunks into the still wet slip. Man these wall plates ought to be expensive since a western potter friend Richard Selfridge who gave the chunks

to me said they were collected in a rattlesnake infested cave in Alberta. I’m not a fan of snakes so I ain’t gonna collect no mo!

It’s Saturday night so I was in the studio to try and get back my mojo. The blues are on and life is good.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hardest Workin' Man in Show Bizz

I've been called one of the hardest working' men in show bizz. Well, I just woke up off the couch from a 2 hour coma after saying good bye to Dick Aerni who was here at Pinecroft for a glaze and making workshop. My work ethic pales in comparison. He wins the title hands down!
Last night we watched Dick's power point on 4 decades of superb pots with absolutely stunning glazes.
Here are some shots of the some of the students pots from the firing. He did a big car kiln load of gas fired Cone 10 reduction ware and an electric kiln of Cone 6 Oxidation. Dick can pretty much match the Cone 10 reduction and Cone 6 Oxidation. His Cone 6 glazes are to die for. For all you out there in Cone 6 Oxidationland you may want to consider having Dick for a workshop. Just don't decide later to set up a pottery in Aylmer, Ontario. Aylmer is my town!
Jack and I have the house to ourselves tonight after a month of visitors.  He hans't said a thing but I know he needs some lovin. I've neglected Jack so tomorrow morning I think I'll take him for breakfast at Clark's Diner and then for a walk in White's Woods.



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Scribble, scribble, edit, scribble, scribble, edit

The past 3 weeks I have had three incredible makers staying here at The Cactus Lounge and working/teaching at Pinecroft. I love all their work and am envious of their attention to detail. It is hard to fight off the urge to make work like theirs. I haven't been able to get much of my own work done and have actually started dreaming of this Saturday night with Randy Bachman Vinyl Tap, Holger Petersen's Saturday Night Blues and Jim Corcoran's A Propo. Their music will be the perfect background for my day and night of making. I ain't going grocery shopping. I ain't doing the laundry. I ain't mowing the lawn. I ain't doing nuthin' but listen to music and make my pots.  I've tried a bunch of things in the past year.  I've decided I like my thick slip work the best. It certainly ain't much like my 3 guests work but it's me and I'm enjoying making it. What is new to me is the layering of multiple layers of dry glaze over the base carbon trap shino glaze. This creates a deep surface with multiple slips, thick slip and then multiple layers of dry glaze. When you know your materials you can start making surfaces like a chef would make a great stew.
I'll show pics from Dick Aerni's class tomorrow. He is a glaze chef and there promises to be some really sweet and tasty glazes.



glaze surfaces.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Why you need a professional

Here is a picture of a thrown and altered oval box made by Janet Z of Vancouver during a week long workshop with Bruce Cochrane.  Nice form and nicely crafted. Janet is like many of you that have professional careers or maybe families and have fallen in love with clay. It is something she gets to do once a week or maybe during a weekend. The difference between Janet and many is she sees the value of professional workshops as a way of improving. U-tube ain't gonna do it and the social club at the guild although a great start will only take you so far. Our workshops here at Pinecroft start with clay talk at breakfast and end the day with clay talk. This is usually a 12-16 hour day.
As a workshop presenter myself I see the need for intensive, focused workshops with the best instructors, I can find. It is of great pleasure for me to see students like Janet progress soooooo much in a week. This box is at a professional level. Janet is taking a 7 month sabbatical from her job to study clay.  I have recommended a month at Medalta for her next step. I will do anything I can to help someone that is serious about reaching the next rung in the tall clay ladder.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Minnesota Fireball

I'm pretty excited about offering this wood firing workshop with Donovan Palmquist and Colleen Riley. I started practicing a tip Donovan gave me when we were building the big blurry box at Pinecroft. He suggested holding the kiln at the beginning of radiant heat for 4 hours to even out the chamber. "Heat goes where heat is" is the theory. It has worked amazingly well with an even chamber at firings end.
This workshop will be so full of content on wood firing combining the expertise of an expert builder, a seasoned wood coon and a very nice maker/decorator. If you think making, firing, talking and sleeping pots is a ball then join us at Minnesota Fireball.  This will be a killer workshop for all.