Sunday, January 10, 2016

Big Jug Country




I’m making some pots to send to the North Carolina Potters Conference in March.
I’m usually pretty relaxed about presenting at a workshop. This one is a big deal for me. I see NC as one of North America’s hotspots for pot making. A state with a tradition dating back 7 and 8 generations. It is also home to some of the countries best makers and many that I know will be in attendance. NC also has a tradition of wonderful big jugs.
If you look at these jugs you will no doubt think hah Mick Casson maybe because he was one of the world’s premier jug makers. I would like to point out several differences between mine and my old friend and mentor. Starting at the top I have a split rim. The handle reaches out over the rim and is not married into the form. The handle is a double handle and not round like Mick’s. His handle termination included two swipes of the thumb nail that he referred to as “Chinese whiskers”. His decoration was to dip the leather hard pot in a thin slip and do wipes with several sponges held in his hand. A variation on the finger wipe except more generous. The intent was to reference the hills and fields in front of his studio My decoration is the application of a thin coloured slip and then a thick gestural swipe of slip to create a landscape effect.  I have lived most of my life in the shadow of a 400 mile limestone outcropping running through southern Ontario known as the Niagara Escarpment. That rock formation has entered my very soul.
I think the real difference lies in the small bottom. I trim the jug while still on the wheel to create an elegant form with my beloved foot.  I like the form to really taper in so that if I didn’t create the foot it would be too tippy to stand on it’s own.  This I believe gives the form power. These jugs will be glazed in a carbon trap shino glaze where the slips will show thru in colours of red, blue, orange, green, white with black highlights from the carbon. I made a couple of teapots too cause I love making them.