Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde






Here is what the studio work looks like right now. I have two sides to my personality. There is the work for the studio which is mostly carbon trap shino glaze with multiple slips and paper resist. We mostly use a local clay for the slips and one new one that is Robin Hopper's black slip which I think he uses primarily over the glaze for brush work. We find we like it thick and under the shino glaze. It is a Barnard slip variation and therefore produces some nice manganese crystals where thick. I've always advised that there is more money to be made in the living room than the kitchen so I make these plates with a hole in the foot ring so they can be hung on the wall. Sometimes we put them together in a series and sell them as one piece. A fairly inexpensive piece of art that doesn't need to be framed.
I'm making some yunomi's for the AKAR show in March. I start with the basic Coke can shape and cut it apart and put it back together using a thick defloculated slip. They will be glazed in dry ash glaze and the decal part and inside a white shino.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wedgies and butt cracks





I made a series of cups today with my signature wedgies and butt cracks. The wedgie on the foot ring serves a couple of purposes. I tell customers it drains the water outta the foot when in the dishwasher. The real reason I started doing it was to get some atmosphere under the foot. This often gives me a little spot of carbon with the carbon trap glaze or a flash mark in the wood kiln. The butt cracks I make with my grand daughter knife Sheila bought her for carving pumpkins. The but cracks give me an area for the handle but more importantly I like the looks of the marks on the inside of the cup. Glaze often breaks or runs nicely on the ridges.
By the way I didn't come up with wedgies and butt cracks. It was some crazy potter at a workshop we gave in Lansing, Michigan. Those "Merickans' have a strange sense of humour.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Terminator





A few posts back I mentioned the termination of the handle on my jugs. Michael Kline said he thought they looked like metal work. A former student of mine John Boyd followed up with pics of the forged iron and a form from the Han dynasty-China. Too bad nobody showed that Chinese potter how to pull a handle and a lip. A lovely form for a jug.
I do like that art deco style handle although it is a wee on the feminine side for my work.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spectacles, testacles, wallet and watch







It's that time to check to see if I have everything for the day. Our Christmas studio show is tomorrow December 5th from 9-5. Sheila is a detail person and for the past couple of days she has been tieing bows, putting greens and bells in our planters in the yard, ordering boxes, paper, ribbon, cheese, bread, wine, cider, cookies, making sure we have change etc, etc. So what have I been doing you ask? I dig holes and she fills them in. That's how this relationship works. I carry out boxes, deliver boxes, and work the cash and because of my glowing personality I'm the Wal-mart greeter minus the blue vest. Sheila works in the studio wrapping gifts and attending to the details of the presentation. It's started already I better get out there. Best of the season everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teach to learn







One of the nice things about teaching at Sheridan is getting the help of capable students. I took my jugs into school yesterday and heralded the help of Marcelina Salazar a third year graduating student. Marcelina pulled out all the stops with double screens top and side, polarizing screen, etc, etc but still that shiny shino held it's ground. I think some of the nicest shots from that session were the macro shots. They are like little abstract paintings.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Raising the roof



If you are wondering why we are pooped? Well along with making pots, testing glazes, and all the other stuff that goes along with running a pottery we had to have a new roof put on our studio. Ouch! That was a Christmas present that I wasn't counting on and it cost more than the Peter Pugger I was lusting after. We built a hobo fire in the 45 gallon barrel and burned all the cedar shakes. It took 4 days and now we have a half full barrel of nails. When I put the shakes on 10 years ago I thought they'd last a lot longer. Where did 10 years go and why is Santa making us pay for this gift? We're having a studio open house this weekend. Hey, I ship if anyone needs a Christmas gift. They are range fed and 100% organic and don't talk back.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A fresh thought











A former Sheridan alumni dropped in today and said hey why don't we photograph the jugs in the gray of this overcast day without artificial lights? Victor Levin helped me take a few pics that are a biiiiiiiiig improvement over what i was doing. Thank you Vic!!!
Here are some pics of the jugs. Hey they are for sale if anyone is interested. $225 for the tallies and $275 for the fatties.Hey the best deal in a kiln is always the big pots- harder to master, take up more space, harder to glaze. You potters know that, what am I telling you that for?

What's All the Fuss About Reduction, Anyways?





As much as I respect Steven Hill I gotta say it doesn't get any better than using one glaze (yep, that's right folks one shino glaze) some slips and some mojo and ya get copper red, temmoku, celedon, kaki, navy blue, bronze lustre, leopard spots, black, orange, etc, etc. No room full of different glazes for this cowboy.
I am going into Sheridan next week to recruit the help of one of my students Marcelina Salazar to help me photograph this work. My point and shoot $99 Nikon Coolpix and the glare is not showing you what is there. Hopefully with the help of screens, polarizing lenses and all the tricks up Marcelina's sleeve I'll be able to post some decent shots for you. With all the variation of colour this is a very complex and deep surface to capture under the shine of my showroom lights.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Accidental Brush of the Breast


I had an interesting email from a friend regarding the heart shaped termination of the handle. She said it works if it is like the accidental brush of the breast. Did he do it deliberately or was it indeed an accident. I think that is a great crit of that detail of the handle. If you work away at it and form a deliberate heart it is corny. If you see a kinda heart there but not really then it's working. I showed three of the jugs. I think it shows I ain't working at making hearts on the jugs.
I'd mention your name dear friend but I'm afraid it may be how you met your husband. thanx it is a good line and I will get mileage outta it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Going straight





I handled and finished my Devon style harvest jugs this morn. I added the pie crust rim that I always admired on an old casserole that Micheal Cardew made while in Africa. It is often seen on medieval pots. I also discovered a heart shape termination to my handle which I am going to talk up as a selling feature. Some would think this is corny. They can go to hell! I think the heart surfaced because of the fun I'm having with the exploration of this one vessel. My dear friend Robin Hopper wrote to me with concerns that this orgy of jugs might lead to economic disaster. I assured Robin that I orgy in the morning and get down to the business of bowls, plates and cups in the afternoon.
I also started the 5 straight jugs this morning. I didn't realize going straight was going to be this hard. You see it's not about being completely straight it has a slight variation of curve. I put up a couple of straighties by I think Mike Dodd of Britain that are kinda sweet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On Meds






Here is more stuff on meds( medieval pots). I put the tops on the Devon Harvest jugs and I unloaded some of the tallies and fatties. I apologize for the snap and shoot photography. They are much more handsome up close and personal than my wee camera does justice to. Notice how carbon trapping happens where there is no slip applied. This staightie is what I'm working on tomorrow complete with the scalloped foot.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tallies, Fatties, Skinnies, Roundies, Shorties but no Dinkies






There must be something in my genes. I have an old picture of the first craft show my Uncle Jimmie and Aunt Cavvy at the London Fair(London,Ontario) in around 1947. Their display consisted of 1000 jugs. My aunt was really the jug maker and even made little dinkie jugs that had a leather thong thru the handle to hang around your neck. Today I finished off my shorties and started the bottom section of the roundies which are referenced after the Devon Harvest Jug. If you like to look at historical work there is no better book for the money than Emmanuel Cooper's Ten Thousand Years of Pottery. The shorties are small one piece jugs with a spout that is made by holding the rim between your thumb and forefinger and giving a quick pull forward with the index finger. I have seen this kind of lip on Italian majolica wine jugs. I like the quickness of this process.