Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Smokin’ J’s in BC


The #1 agricultural export from British Columbia is weed. They also have a stash of mighty fine J’s in the pottery world out there on the Wet Coast and they just happen to be friends of mine. I’m off next week for a month in the Paradise of beautiful BC and I’m going to be visiting four smokin’ j’s ( Judi, Janet, Jan, and Jefferson Cathi. First of all, I’m going to see Judi Dyelle who has been smokin’ since she graduated from Ontario College of Art and then as a young 20-year-old went off for a couple of years to study in Japan with Shimaoka. Judi has walked the walk her entire life. There is porcelain piled high all over her resume.
 Same goes for long time friend Jan Phelan also a grad of Ontario College of Art. Jan really entered the scene with a big splash in 1984 when she was awarded the commission to make dinnerware for Canada’s Governor General and she has made superb work ever since. Judi and Jan have always made art for a living. Tenacity, courage, stubbornness with a heaping helping of creativity.
Cathi J was a career nurse but as long as I can remember she has smoked up the soda kiln and been a fine maker and sought after workshop presenter. I am going to wind up the trip at Cathi’s making some pots and enjoying living on the gorgeous Cowichan River.
Janet Zadra and I have met in Italy, and here at Pinecroft. She has the fever but not severe----yet!. She is an engineer that is taking a 6-month sabbatical to try to learn to inhale pottery. If the smoke takes effect I will try to talk some sense into her and tell her to keep her real job. If she quits her real job then she has what it takes- tenacity, courage and stubbornness. I too have these qualities with the added bonus of a strong back and a weak mind.
What excites me about these smokin’ J’s is their dedication, commitment, and yes their stubbornness. We have a lot in common and I can’t wait to see them all. I am one lucky bugger! 
Come to think of it there is my friend Jen Drysdale and my grand daughter Julia. What is it with creativity and smokin’ J’s?

Here are some pics of three of the ladies work. Janet Z is a still in diapers but learning to walk the walk.






Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Second Mouse


I came home with a couple of goodies for the gang at The Cactus Lounge. I don’t need another pot!! We as potters don’t make one single thing that anyone needs so we had better damn well make them interesting so that people want them.
Sometimes it pays to be the second mouse going for the cheese. The first mouse runs the risk of dying for the cause and the second mouse walks over his pal and eats the cheese.  I looked at this little vase of Heather Smit’s the entire weekend. Almost every other vase sold but the one I had been eyeing. Same goes for the teapot of Bruce Cochrane’s. Why don’t people have the good taste that I do? Some of my best pots are in my daughter Robin’s collection. They are pots that didn’t sell and so she inherited them.
Heather’s vase screams 1957 Chevy to me. My oldest brothers black two door hardtop 57 Chevy with those great fins on the back. It is the fins on this little vase that I love so much. It is the perfect vase for a single rose or iris. Less is more. Gawd, I never thought I’d utter those words. Heather’s sweet little wine cup with that built in shelf is pretty sweet too. God, is in the details.
Bruce’s teapot thrown upside down with added top, cut feet, lovely handle and spout made with a dowel. Man that teapot is packing a big one. Such a well made and lovely object.
It is important to surround yourself with work that inspires you. We all at times need inspiration and when surrounded by good work we are more apt to find our way out of the dark well. The very best potters and the very best students have libraries full of books and shelves full of pots. It is large reason



why they are the very best. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Beer thirty


Julia and Robin came to visit me yesterday at The Guelph Potters Market. It was an amazing success with next to perfect weather- blue skies and sunshine until an hour after tear down when all hell broke loose with rain and thunder.
It turns out there was a wood fire alley that worked brilliantly. Quite often wood fire is mixed in with the highly coloured work and it gets over looked. The brown and flash started with Kim Harcourt, went to Emma Smith, to the brightly coloured Tc , to Bruce Almighty Cochrane, around the corner to Heather Smit and then the rookie Jordan Scott. It was great fun to hang with my peeps.
My favourite pot that I sold at the show went to Lee Ann Jannisen and was bought by her husband Peter for her birthday. I really loved this pot and I love that it went home with Lee Ann and Peter. Keep that man, Lee Ann.  It was in the back corner of the wood kiln and slightly oxidized which made the cobalt really pop. Sometimes you are just pleased to know where your children are.

 Julia picked out a plate with ants on it from Andrea Vuletin as her new plate for home and a wee creamer from Emma Smith to serve her Jack the Bear when they have tea together.  After Julia visited with Grandpa she was exhausted and her and mama went home for a cold beer at beer thirty

on the steps of her house in Little India in Toronto. Julia the camera loves you and so do I.