Tuesday, November 29, 2016


This post is for my friend Jen Drysdale. At the past firing we didn’t have our pre night of experiential learning which includes eating, drinking wine and discussing the health of good pots today. Jen has told me several times she sold more pots before meeting me but yet I make her want to make better pots. Now that is a confusing and difficult conundrum! I bet some times you must rue the day!
At one such night over a wine bottle I suggested she make some blue pots. The old some and some strategy- make some for yourself but make some for the marketplace. She did and they looked very marketable except she didn’t like them. To be honest I was thrilled but not excited if that makes sense. Sometimes I think she must rue the day!
 So at our last meeting I told Jen not to make anything she wouldn’t want in her own house. Sometimes I think she must rue the day. 
I became a geezer this year so in 2017 it offers me this little bit of passive income which is the luxury to  practice what I preach. I have two months ahead of me to make some work for the Alabama Potters Conference which will be a room full of 250+ potters.  They’re not there to see a guy show an easy way to make slab trays, to show the new paint colour chart for 2017 or talk about  how attaching a recipe to a brie baking dish helps it to walk out the door.
What I will give to them

is something to think about. I don’t tell anyone what to think. That is completely up to them.  You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.
So Jen remember the Confucian faith ‘ Virtue is not an orphan; it will necessarily have neighbours.  I feel blessed to have so many students making such wonderful work for richer or poorer. Sometimes I think they must rue the day.

Pictured is a sweet little bourbon cup Jen just gave me by Don Goddard of Quebec. Not a pot for everyone but she knew I would love it and I do. Also one of my bacon dishes fresh outta the gas kiln.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Ain’t no vegetarian convention

The Cactus Lounge Flame throwers gathered for a blast off of the bourry box. The pot luck had the world famous Tony’s BBQ ribs, lasagna, beef stroganoff, and salad just because we heard it is good for you. Oh yeah there were some killer desserts too- the non fatting kind of course.
The meat tasted all the better the next day warmed in the firebox of the kiln. Much faster, quicker and tastier than preheating in a microwave.  Teresa made veggie chili at the firing just because she thought maybe we had had our fill of red meat. I told her it was delicious and then went home and fried up a ½ pound of bacon just to try to kill the taste in my mouth.
Kiln sailed throughout the night and then got stubborn around Cone 9. It took us from 6am to 4 pm to get the cones down and even out the kiln. So what that means is we got about 10 hours worth of jam on the surface- yummy!

I’m a little slow off the mark today. Getting ready for my weekend sale. I will start dreaming about new works for next week in the studio. I then have till almost the end of January to make work for me.  I then  head down to Georgia to help Ratie with the Ratagama. I always find that so inspiring.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Those magic hands of Bruce Cochrane's

Just got an invite to a show of Bruce Cochrane’s work at David Kaye Gallery in Toronto. I have been watching the career of Bruce since 1982 and have a few signature pieces of his work in my collection.  Bruce was Head of Ceramics at Sheridan College and my boss for 15 years. It was a pleasure to work with Bruce.  I think I have said it before but in my opinion Bruce is one of the best potters in North America.
He makes me sick actually because he can change from earthenware to porcelain to stoneware, lowfire, highfire, gas, salt, wood and do them all at a level equalled by very few.
For the most part Bruce doesn’t decorate his work. There have been periods of decoration with mostly recently the use of a roulette. Bruce’s sense of form is so amazing that the pot is the decoration. Said best by Professor John Neely of Utah State University- No decoration is a form of decoration. I often look at a pot of his and find myself muttering how did he do that lid, how did he do that handle, how did he do that shape, how did, how did, how did.

Bruce has a show every two years at David Kaye Gallery and he changes his work full circle. I am going to get in to see his show of what looks like a venture into hand building with soft slabs. He truly has magic hands when it comes to our medium.