Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Man is in the House






Bruce Cochrane is giving a workshop this weekend at the London Potter’s Guild. I went into town to join Bruce and friends for dinner at my favourite Vietnamese restaurant. We then went back to the centre for his Power Point presentation. His work blows my mind. Google him and visit his portfolio. He is one of the best vessel makers bar none in my opinion. Now when you look at those pots remember they are “thrown”. No, they are not slabs put together. They are for the second time “thrown”. As many years as I have been making pots I still don’t understand how he does it. There are hand built elements but the body of the work is thrown and in multiple pieces. I look at Bruce’s pots here at the Cactus Lounge and wonder how the hell he did it?
Meticulous craftsmanship, amazing forms, attention to the smallest details, and tasteful surface treatment.
At the Q and A at the end of his Power Point the room fell silent. No bloody wonder we were all still stunned by what we had just seen.  I felt humbled and drove home thinking of how I could be more exacting.
 Erase that thought!

Earlier in the evening Bruce suggested that he and I do a workshop together.  I think it would be a great workshop of the two Bruce’s. I am after all Anthony Bruce Clennell. My work has always been about leaving the marks of the maker in the throwing, the trimming and the firing. Putting a Shurform in my hand would be tantamount to murder. I don’t think I’d look very good in an orange jump suit.
I know you still don't believe me but those pots are thrown! Knock em dead, Bruce.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Living Your Life Generously


Here is a pic of my Atlanta buddy Doc Rick Agel with Clyde of Clyde’s Kitchen that has served over 3 million meals to people in need. Doc helps in the kitchen every Wednesday. You know my admiration for you and your generosity Doc. It is expressed in this small tribute to you and Clyde. The world is blessed by your presence and me by your friendship. Keep living your life generously.
Before bed last night  The Pastor, Jack, and Scratch were sitting around the Hogbin/Black table talking about how I have not contributed to civilian life. I have never been a little league coach, worked at a soup kitchen, been on town council or joined any service clubs. I did when I had a job. I was active on the Board of the Ontario Potter’s Association. I found though that when I went full time into pottery I just couldn’t spare the time. It seems pottery has been a seven day a week job. Not that I make pots 7 days a week but my pottery life and life’s maintenance leaves me so little time.
Life was supposed to get easier and I was supposed to have more time. Life is very good but full to over flowing. If I had more time, I’d really like to see more of my kids and grand children. I think it is no wonder both of my kids stayed away from a career in the arts. 

I listened to an artist the other night that advocated art for art sake and that all artists need to find a real paying job.  I think Pablo Picasso should have been present.

He can who thinks he can and he can’t who thinks he can’t! Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bullied, beaten and buggered


 I received a note from Eric Botbyl (Tennessee) saying my post on “Finding a Tear” had strangely moved him and he suggested I listen to Johnny Cash’s song “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry”. I have to tell ya I love Johnny Cash. Not that I have listened to his music all that much but I love a person that has walked the walk or in his case walked the line and then talks the talk. That song had so many many lines I could use for attention getting titles for my blog. Bullied, beaten and buggered, cheated by a whore and Eric’s favourite which is a cruel one- I hope my ex-wife dies of stretch marks. Johnny had been a bad man who became a better man.
I played the song while making these trays. Anyone can buy a mould roll out a slab and lay it in there. Voila aren’t I a clever artist. But to beat, bully and bugger you need the help of friends. I enlisted my harp from John Neely(Utah), my ugly stick basher by Stanley HurstAlabama), my paddle by Steve Driver(Arkansas), my pestle from Uncle Jimmie(Heaven) and a rolling pin and sticks. I don’t do production anymore so to have a big slab roller would be foolish and it would probably end up covered in stuff from sitting idle.
I am using a black sculpture clay to eliminate warping and making the foot separate. I will just glaze the tray and glaze it to the foot. It just seems easier for me to handle that way.  The cuts I make with a razor blade and bugger from underneath. This is something I learned a long time ago from my old friend Crawdad Ron Roy. He called it his volva series. It’s as close as I could get to introducing buggering.
Thanks for the inspiration Eric and Johnny. 

Have fun with your clay today. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.