Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Evolution of WTF's




It took me a day of maintenance after my 17 hour drive home from Minnesota to get back into the studio.  I warmed up with 8 8lb platters. I had some cash in my pocket so I figured WTF why not make some WTF’s.

Donovan and Colleen had a big Don Reitz platter on the wall and the gold medalist Mitch had worked for Don. He told me of wedging 2100 lbs of clay for Don on a weekend workshop. I would love to have met Don and I would further love to attack a pile of clay like that.  I looked at Don’s stacked vases and these WTF’s are a very tame version of them. I put two pieces together and then stood back and thought WTF I might as well add a thrown a foot ring. Then I stood back and looked at them and thought you guessed it WTF I might as well put some ribbon handles on them. Then yep the thought occurred to me again why not put a couple of strap handles over top. They are of the size that would require a lot of cookies or a heckava big bag of weed so the likelihood is they are not for any kind of kitchen use anyways. I then stood back and yep you guessed again I figure WTF they are buck naked and need some surface treatment so I applied my thick slip. I found that when I apply it over my coloured slip it sometimes peels off so I had to paint the coloured slip on the bare spots.  I figure these jars are about as useful as my bacon pots. Sometimes ya just have to turn your back on the market place and make WTF’s. Go ahead make your own WTF today, tomorrow or sometime this week. Don’t delay it is sooooo anxious to get out of your system. Who knows someone may see the love of making that is contained within and take it home. I have this cornball belief that filling your home with objects made with love transmits love thru osmosis.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Do you approve???


Got this picture of a teapot from a former student and friend Amber Zuber who is currently in Japan travelling and what else- lookin’ at pots. She told me of a tea bowl last week priced at $66,000 USD. She just sent me this hagi-yaki teapot with the subject heading “ Do you approve????” A smart lawyer never asks a question they don’t know the answer to. She knew the answer.   I answered “ Ya baby, but try to get it past your local guild standards committee here in Canada!” It’s rather an inexpensive teapot priced at $1200 USD.
I listened to a young singer songwriter from Ottawa on CBC the other day that was invited by Lady Ga-Ga to sing on stage with her. The kid said  “People don’t like different!”. No truer words were ever spoken.




I get my best blog ratings when I speak up against guild standards. Most Guilds do not have aesthetic standards because they are too hard to quantify and qualify. This teapot pushes aesthetic standards. Why should you take the time to look at  this teapot? Why did I come to mind when Amber looked at this teapot? Why had it tugged at Amber’s aesthetic? Ceramic education?????  Look longest at what you don’t think you like because it is from that you will learn the most. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

T is served

Last week I showed you a couple of shino teapots from the Minnesota Fireball. These two teapots also came out of that firing but I was not happy with the surface. I like a shino glaze slow cooled but I like the shiny ones to look juicy which requires a faster cool. Donovan's kiln like the wood kiln here at Pinecroft could take a week to cool if you would let it. I have found the blues and yellers that I am using like a crash cool so I asked if Colleen would refire them in the soda kiln which is soft brick and cools quicker. I'm very happy with the results. The touch of pink is from me adding a touch of copper carb to some wood ash and sprinkling it on. Real men can wear pink.
I had the four teapots on display at the Hutchinson Potters Festival. Not one single person picked one up or even stopped to look at them. It was 100 degrees in the shade so beer not tea was on everyone's mind. I'm actually glad to bring them home and look at them for awhile. It was my first foray into porcelain.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What’s the best schoolin’?


Over the past 6 months of travelling in the US I have bought two pots. One was a dinner plate from Daniel Johnston of NC and the other was a whiskey shooter from Zack Spates in MN.
What kinda schooin’ did these dudes get? Well it turns out they both apprenticed with Mark Hewitt in NC. I was going to tip the hat to Mark for teaching so well but then I figured I should tip to the potters for picking the teacher so well.  
When both of my kids where going to university my advice was – pick the teacher not the course! Why take a course with a so so teacher? Why go to a school to learn pots from a person that doesn’t know how to make pots?
I’m convinced that the best way to learn how to make pots is to make pots. It is possible though that you will learn to make not so good pots. The same goes for if you pick as a teacher a maker of not so great pots.  You will also learn to make not so great pots.
At the Minnesota Potters Festival l I was pleased that two of my young friends from Utah State U tracked me down and we went out for dinner and the USU tradition of a beer and a bump.
Alix Brodeur was my student in tIntermediate Throwing and Johnnie Larson had dropped out of USU but stayed connected to the energy of the gang there. Johnnie was one of the key fireman for the last wood firing of my graduate show.
Alix is skipping from stone to stone, pottery to pottery looking for a final rock to land on. Johnnie went full bore on with pots. He has built his anagama in rural Minnesota, uses a Korean kick wheel, digs and uses native Minnesota clay. He has just purchased a hammermill to process local materials. Hard core!  Both Alix and Johnnie have chosen travel and the U of Hard Knocks  as their teacher. It’s a hard road but it fits their shoes. File these two names. They aren’t off on a 100 yard dash but they’ll pull ahead in the marathon. These are distance runners. I identify very closely with their road map.  

There will always be a light on here at The Cactus Lounge for this two. Sending my love out to  Alix an Johnnie. You thrilled me that you would show up.