Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Historical References

Here is some of the stuff I've been looking at as sources of inspiration. Some look at flowers. Some look at rocks. Some look at fashion. I look at old pots! I am always humbled by how much better those pots of 500 years ago are than a lot of what is being produced today and hey that includes most of mine. I get the odd goodun' out.  Sometimes even a deaf, dumb and blind wart hog can find an acorn in the barnyard.

Isn't that Oribe ware killer?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Expansion of the studio

We have had an exceptional winter with little or no snow and seasonally high temperatures. Today was warm enough to put pots out to dry. With nice weather our small studio increases in size 2 or 3 fold.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bobby's Beer and a Bump

Hey Bobby Free I got a note and pic from Never Dunn doing night patrol with his new twins. Trev was  having a beer and a bump and catching up with old friends. I haven't seen you guys since 2009 and the time has flown. We have all been up to so much. The pine table at The Landlady's must still be stained from cheap bourbon and even cheaper beer. Long days and even longer nights eating, sleeping and talking pots.
It's so nice to know that at NCECA the first round is on you. God, I'm thirsty!
 I hope the USU wild bunch can get together for a reunion in Seattle. A better crew I can not think of- Crumpet,  Freedom Fighter, The Landlady, Never Dunn, Denny,  Mississippi, Willie Nelson and visiting Young Jonnie.  That last wood firing we did was the most amazing event of my career. Four guys to lift that last log ( a carved Kon Tiki) into the firebox was beyond real.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cupcake Mode

I threw some dinner plates the other day. I had them drying upside down and I thought of cupcake trays. Cupcake trays gave me the opportunity to put handles on my plates.  So I put handles on the foot and put some little feet on the rim. The flat surface will give a great spot to put the abstract paintings in bright colours. It will also give me an excuse to buy some more cupcakes to take a photo to show y'all. And you thought I was just cute!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


We are Bitten and Smitten by colour these days. One of our favourite little shops on Locke Street just minutes from our house is a cupcake store called "Bitten".  We made some little plates with cupcakes in mind. The City of Hamilton where we live is affectionately known as "The Hammer". Don't ya just love The Hammer cupcake? A tray full of cupcakes would be amazing. I only bought two cupcakes today as they are sooooooo delicous we'd eat them all and I am watching my figure. Once a six pack stomach it now is now more of a baker's dozen.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm thirsty

for Bobby Free's glass of whiskey. Hey, Bobby Freedom Fighter here is a pic I took of myself with glasses down on my nose adding a dab of Dusty Rose to the spout of a teapot. You wagered a glass of whiskey for a shot of me with glasses over my nose and a dab of pink glaze on my brush so here it is my friend. Now you know I like good whiskey and you didn't mention the size of the cup so ya had better sell some good pots before you head for NCECA.  I don't want no John Daniels or James Beam I'm lusting for Eagle Rare, Woodford Reserve, Corner Creek, or maybe that Bulleit that the landlady would serve us up at Muskrat Crick washed down with a PBR.
Looking forward to seeing your goofey face in Seattle.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

mug and bowl- O- rama

Each year at Sheridan the faculty and some alumni gather for the weekend to make pots for the Clay Club to sell to raise money for workshop presenters, guest speakers, and to help subsidize travel to NCECA. We have 10 students traveling to Seattle, Washington in March for the NCECA conference with funding provided from mug and bowl O- rama. I am very proud of the students that have filtered thru the Sheridan program. A group of very competent makers that give their time and talent back to the school that means so much to us all.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I just left myself, today!

My standard line to the students is that you should know what glaze you are going to use before you make the pot. I've been guilty of not knowing what the hell we were going to do. This new direction into e-ware had me in a kerfuffle.  Now that I am seeing this uptown goes downtown direction in the decoration and colour of the work I can see that the work has to change. I have always made classical historically referenced work. Today I left myself and it felt good to get the hell away. There was life back in the throwing and lots of marks of process. I made jars that look like ladies, cups with Australian upside down handles and little Tommy the Tank Engine teapots.  Tomorrow we go slip slidin' away and they will all be dunked in a white slip and then the bright lights of the city will be turned on. I'm having a good time away from myself.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


My first undergraduate degree was in Business. My parents were very proud of their only son to graduate from university. They of course wanted me to go to graduation and wear the garb. Much to my disappointment my Academic colour was called "Drab". For much of my pottery career I pretty much used quiet, sober and perhaps a drab colour palette. This low fire e-ware is offering so much in terms of the colours of the bright lights big city where we now reside. We are now using 3 different white slips which all offer a different white- cool, warm and dirty. We are also obtaining a opalescent  blue from our clear glaze that we tried for years to master in a rutile blue glaze in reduction. We're inching in on an aesthetic here. Why did I think we'd nail it on the first firing?

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Decorating Fairy

While I was at school today the decorating fairy decorated the cups. Apparently I fired the white clay to high and it ate the the clear glaze.  We have to tip toe slowly with the slips as we have no clue what to expect. Hey, it is no wonder that Ron Philbeck likes the clear glaze we're using as it is his. One of the great things about the clay community is the sharing. Fellow blogger June Perry sent me the glaze and when I saw Ron's name on it I thought- YES! Bisque firing tonight so more results in a couple of days. One of the advantages of this small kiln.  I did like the making time for my 220 cubic foot Noborigama. I do however remember the bad firings. Ouch!


A couple of hours throwing and we have probably two bisque loads. I dunno how this small kiln is going to work out although Sheila says the decorating is painfully slow. This transition to low fire e-ware has us both in a funk.

My diner cups outta the last firing looked great except the white slip cast e-ware handle I put on them absolutely rejected glaze. Dunno what it was- talc, my glaze , just dunno.  Too disappointing to show y'all. I emailed Grass Hopper and he needs more info. He did say why would one of the best handle pullers in the biz slip cast a handle? You're right, Grass. You have a few years of wisdom on me.  I went out and made some more with pulled handles. I'm a slow learner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gone Soft

I was hoping Ron would see these images and think I've really gone over the edge with colour and imagery. They are pillow cases by my former student Andrew Kelner. Andrew was my first student at Sheridan a number of years ago with  flourescent Mohawk spiked hair, mutton chops,  those big stretch ear holes, piercings everywhere and tattoed up the whazzoo. He was also a very fine student and gave clay everything humanly possible from apprenticeships at a production studio, wood firing in northern Saskatchewan, further study in Alberta and Australia. Andrew has gone soft and  is now in textiles at Ontario College of Art. Bed bug pillow cases ought to be a hit. Heck Ayumi and Ron Meyers can sell rats.  I like that there is the Oribe influence in his textiles.  I hope he can market them and get back to the hard life. The clay world needs more Andrews.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Too much information!

Lordy, Lordy we have a lot of information to process outta that little kiln. We inherited a ton of under glazes so Sheila tried them on green ware, on bisque and on top of glazes. We had read in this famous potter's book the line -Try it and see! So we did and it all seemed to work. The glaze we put on the green ware fluxed at 06 in the bisque firing and therefore when we dipped the pot in the clear it resisted the glaze. We thought oh ca-ca this is a problem. It worked! Now to sort out what we really like, what is so-what and what is land fill. We probably need to look at the results for a day or two. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

We're surrounded!

It's nice to be back in the studio riding my Tommy Stuart wheel again. Hey, I could be doing a Skutt ad with my Tommy and my programmable Skutt. This morning we put up some cement Wonder board around the kiln, glazed and loaded a glaze firing, and I started throwing some pots. I found that my pots were looking better with 2 pulls rather than the usual 3. With 3 pulls they were too light and I lost the strong look that I like.
Being back on the wheel gives me time to think again. One of my more perceptive students e-mailed me last night in reference to all the talk in academia of the future of craft. She wrote: Tony you are surrounded by bullshitters and you're outnumbered. I wonder how many of my students will walk the walk?
In my twenties I would have filled the room with pots. A run of 5 jugs would have been embarrassing. With this small kiln our day will be scattered with unloading, glazing, loading,  and making. We get to unload a glaze firing in the morn. I hope there is something this time worthy of showing y'all.
 To makers of the world- Circle the wagons we're under attack!