Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What’s in those nuts?


The jugs I fired in the Pinecroft bourry box kiln look salt glazed next to the ones I brought home from the long firing in Ronnie the Rat’s Ratagama. Ronnie uses pine and oak. The markings from the Ratagama are really very beautiful The surface is much drier.
At Pinecroft we have used a lot of black walnut.  It makes us suffer in many ways since it does want to coal up in the firebox but damn the surfaces are nice and juicy. There is some thing in those nuts that is providing a lot of alkaline vapour to give the pots a orange peel surface. Salt or soda has never been used in the kiln. The same clay is also much darker. This could also be because of Emma's lust for hard core reduction. 
I like the natural salting caused by the vapour in the wood. One of the other qualities of the black walnut is the big bark which I maintain holds all the good stuff needed for a good surface.

So you thought the back up sensor was invented in America- hah! This Chinese farmer found if he backed into a fence he would hear a loud squeal. Hurray for nuts!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Who are you wearing?

It is the day of the Oscar's and I'm wondering who you are wearing? I'm wearing my Stanley Hurst new t-shirt and my stoking sleeves. For some a sure sign of spring is the first sitting of a Robin. For Roxy the dog it is me stacking wood getting ready for the wood firing season. Like all good Canadian dogs she has a hockey puck in her mouth.  Roxy loves when her ladies arrive for a firing. She stays up all night and enjoys all the talk and luvin' from the gang. There is not a snow flake in sight and it is sunny, clear and cold. This is probably my favourite time to fire. We have fired in snow storms, torrential downpours, sauna bath humidity and high heat, fog, and all the kinds of weather Canada can throw at you. My most memorable firing was me firing my train alone in a -46 wind chill. I had my pickup pulled up beside the firebox so i could jump in and out of the heated cab to stoke.  I had a high pitch to my voice for weeks after.  If I could pick a favourite temp for firing it would be between 60-70F with a bit of a wind.
Wish we were firing today. I need to get 10-12 of these pallets of wood ready for the firing and a wagon load of scrap. All you need to do this is a strong back and a weak mind. I have been blessed with both.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bringing Your Own Cheerleaders

Many potters/craftspeople I know think that the hosts of a workshop or the gallery owners should bare the sole responsibility for the promotion of the event or their work. I have heard “Well that’s why they get the commission!”
I am a fan of trying to bring along a few of my own cheerleaders. Some call it shameless self promotion. I call it pimping my ride. They are carrying me so I will do what I can to make sure the event is well known to my circle.  I have worked hard over the years to develop a group of people that like my work. They have stuck with me during highs, lows, stamping, thick slip, earthenware, shino, wood fire, ash glazes. God, I’ve pretty well done it all including the black velvet painting of ceramics- raku.
I was surprised on my return home to find an envelope with a stack of cards with postage stamps included from Shane Norrie Contemporary Gallery in Stratford. How classy is that?  Shane and Elizabeth know how important it is to have the artist’s invite their cheerleaders and have made it easy for me. I often send cards to friends I know can’t attend but I am letting them know I am thinking of them.
I am pleased to now be represented by The Kiln Gallery, Fairhope, Alabama. Potter/proprietor Susie Bowman took the remaining work from the Alabama Clay Conference for her gallery and the 3 larger pieces from the exhibition are destined for The Kiln Gallery, LA- Lower Alabama.  

If my pots aren’t sweet enough to flush you out Susie also carries the hard to get Ronnie the Rat.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Doing Crack!

We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us. Winston Churchill.
I love old painted furniture with all kinds of cracks and blemishes. My home has it’s fair share of old painted furniture that I love. I got acquainted with chaulk paint and painted my kitchen cupboards gray and then white crackle and rubbed off the white to expose the gray underneath. It is little wonder that I am now involved with “antiqueing my pots”. What used to take me a day to do is now taking me two. I bisque, then apply crackle and then bisque again to Cone 020 so that I can rub in a cobalt saturated shino into the cracks and then glaze again for high fire. My promise of making a couple hundred dollars a month as a potter has now dropped to a poet’s wage. I forgot to pay my electricity bill before I headed to The Heart of Dixie for a month and arrived home to a threatening note. I paid it immediately since I don’t want to have to watch Netflix by candlelight.

Shane Norrie Contemporary is having a show of potters work on March 11th. I don’t think I’ll have new work unless these big jugs are killer.  I’m excited about this crack but I just got to land home long enough

to nail it.