Saturday, February 28, 2015

No Baloney

How can baloney be bologna?  Our fearless leader of the Korean Potters trip Unha Yi Hill had a party at her house to introduce the gang to Korean food. There are 12 of us going and all that could be were there. Our two US companions were honoured with soju.  Unha aka Dr. Yi is The Queen of Presentation. Unha over delivers BIG TIME! Unha bought a van load of food and then her sister Carolyn came over with another car full of food. All of this food is real food prepared by two women that grew up working in their mothers restaurant. Food as health care is Dr. Yi's motto. I doubt baloney has ever touched her lips. Fresh food with lots of vegetables and lots of colour is her kitchen palette. She actually paints with food. Colour is ever present.
Hey you gotta love the Korean seafood

pizza filled with calamari, shrimp, sea bass, mussels, crab, and lots of clams.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Give a man enough rope

Give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself. Gee,

I have been told my handles are bordering on the side of EXCESS!. I figure excess is never enough. Reid Flock has me beat by a country mile. Reid is throwing these large bottomless ribbons and folding them up to use as decorative handles. The wheel as an extruder- brilliant!!! Yes, he has my mind working. I think it pretty ingenious to hold them up with rope from the ceiling. The day he wants to load these puppies in the kiln I have a series of appointments. Really important appointments that I can't miss and have I told you my back is hurting all of a sudden.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I'm at The Art Gallery of Burlington for a couple of days learning to fire a computerized Geil gas kiln. Oh my, computers! I really prefer to fire by sight, sound and smell. I feel like someone else is driving the car and I look out the side window for fear of a crash.
To kill time I making some Canatoni's on an old Williams wheel. I love these kick wheels and in my dream studio I would have one. They take up a lot of room and are heavy but for a soft clay, slow wheel man they are a Cadillac. I get an undulated uneven rim on my cups without even trying. Often people look at my rims and feel sorry for me that I never learned how to throw properly.  I  love the sound of the occasional foot step as you give the fly wheel a nice little love tap with your boot. In my opinion all students should start with a kick wheel as it gives you a better feel for when to speed up and when to slow down. Most beginners use far to fast a wheel speed.
There are some great makers working here this week. Reid Flock is throwing and assembling some giant bowls with his signature ribbon handles. Reid had a studio in Japan for 13 years. There is also Jordie Alfaro a sculpture/potter from Spain that is now living and working here. Lucky us for both these dudes.  Some amazing big scale work and a yellow shino that would have the glaze police torturing themselves. Evelyn Kelch my former student and wood fire mentee is here making pots as well. Nice facility and even better company.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pirates Bounty

Four summers ago I taught a summer throwing class at Ontario College of Art and Design University  in Toronto. OCAD has a very good reputation as an art school. Unfortunately the Ceramics Dept has shrunk to hardly a blip on the radar. One of the students was Anne Marie Rowe. Arrow was one credit away from graduating and she followed me to Sheridan College to major in Ceramics. I felt like a pirate taking home the bounty. What a score for Sheridan and me. She has graduated from Sheridan and is now part of my wood fire mentorship group with the Hamilton Potters Guild.
Her graduate work was pierced with thousands of holes from a Dremel tool. It was instantly a signature of her work. Here is some of her work going into the next wood firing at Pinecroft Centre of the Arts. Boy what comes to mind instantly for me is how did you do that???? This is fine craftsmanship and articulation personified!
I know I said "Craftsmanship" but I just think craftspersonship sounds goofey. You hit the bull's eye- Arrow. Now the big kiln will be your next critic.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Take a flying leap!

Since Dan the man is going to one handle pots I think I am really going to get excessive with mine.
The four handled teapots are just the beginning. For those of you that would like to have an intensive two weeks of making, with gourmet food, views of Tuscan countryside from an idyllic studio and trips to Etruscan museums so see pots like these ones why not join me at la Meridiana Oct 18-31 for my course entitled  "Spinning the wheels!". We also are going to visit Super Mario a guy shorter than me that makes enormous jars. To me Italy is where civilization still exists. Good food, good drink, good almost everything. I can't wait. Join me if ya can.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


A friend of mine was making straight sided cups with extruded handles. Ho- hum boring!!! We talked about articulating the form with some precise angle changes to make the form more interesting and yes of course a pulled handle. The difference in the cup is what you would expect- much more interesting and much more professional. With that in mind I set out to make some articulated teapots were I threw them in two pieces. Sectional throwing has the the advantage of articulation without crazy amounts of trimming. What I like about sectional throwing and hence articulated pots is the precise and distinct change in the direction of the form.  I have made these teapots for the next wood firing and big shoulders are a great umbrella for ash to fall and collect on. I also want to do some resist decoration to leave a lot of clay showing so this big surface gives me a canvas to play with.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Work Therapy


When I am digging down inside myself I go to work. I do work that is easy for me. Sometimes I make some of my best work. The buckets that Vicki Hamilton loves I made on the occasion of my mum’s death.  I didn’t know what else to do but go to the studio. Some people march off to their therapist’s spend a few hundred dollars tell their tale and come home and say things that are verbatim what their therapist said. I believe in work. Writing this blog is also my style of lying on the therapist’s couch except I don’t have to pay anything and I generally come up with my own answer- GO TO WORK, MISTER!
Instead of sitting at the kitchen table wondering what I should make next I just made some noodle bowls. Tonight I will make something more interesting. The wheel is my therapist!