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Monday, December 31, 2007

Not Exactly Idle

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This is one of the latest to come out of the kiln. Perhaps, y'all remember when the bisque photo appeared. Since i lose so many pieces to the glaze firing, there's usually a long delay tween the time they are bisqued then glostfired. However, i'm getting braver. Discovering that they can be dremeled, sanded, Aztec'd, reglazed and refired has given me courage to get some of these pieces off the "hold" table and into the finished pieces cabinet. The lady wore an intensely blue hat the first time she was glazed and fired. This turned a lovely shade of lavender (all by itself) upon exiting the 2nd glaze fire.
The cup still isn't quite right, so am going to try for a 3rd firing soon. Am hoping the hat doesn't decide to change color again!

This is a teapot in the making. If one looks through the slit near the bottom, daylight can be seen on the other side. That, of course, isx - xif it isn't nighttime when you glance through the aperature.
Had fun creating this one. In fact, got so involved in making it and was so focused in getting the proportions just to my liking that i failed to consider how large it was getting.

Darn thing won't fit in my electric kiln !!!

Soon the snow will melt (ok. that might be a day or two) and i can get out to the kiln room and fire up the gas beasti but i have a hunch this teapot isn't going to be fired until way into the new year.

Speaking of New Years -- here's wishing you all the very best in this coming New Year. Am hopin' and prayin' that all your desires come to fruition and that it's the very best year ever!
Happy New Years!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Perhaps it's because these are the closing days of the year, or perhaps it's because i had a wonderful Christmas and am feeling very sentimental; whatever the reason, a few moments ago i visited the site at: and my heart swelled up with emotion.
"What set of circumstances could cause that?" you ask.

There's an extremely well-done mural board on the right side of the blog and just below this is located a "snips" player playing an exceptionally well-done version of the sentimental song: Auld Lang Syne. As the mural board pictures tastefully fade, one into another, of local artist's works (all are noteworthy) the music fills your heart with a certain sense of awe.

Normally, i'm not an advocate of music playing on websites, blogs, etc. Generally, i think they're tacky.

However, i believe Jafabrit at the Yellow Springs Arts Council (and the address is worth repeating: )will have me as a repeat visitor many times just to hear the music and watch the mural.

Well done

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Time To Reflect

The year 2007 has basically ended. The new year is about to begin. What will we bring ourselves in the new year?

What gifts of creation, what goals, what purposes will we endow ourselves with in the coming days, the coming months?

Today is the first "breather" from recent hectic holiday activity and i thoroughly intended to reflect on the work accomplished this past year and on the direction it should take during the next 12 months.
However . . .
My thoughts hid in sleepiness, not actual sleep mind you, just that grogginess of a mind not quite in gear. A mind slumbering in the fog of exhaustion.

I intended to reflect on the pottery pieces that pleased me and seemed meaningful. Should i pursue the character mugs? Or focus on teapots? Fashion a series of casserole dishes?

It may be a time to look at this from a different perspective -- should i focus on production pottery, do simple bowls and plates (which have more market potential) or continue with fancy creative endeavors (which will require, perhaps, a specialized market niche)?

Or possibly, explore new opportunities and fashion pieces which make "statements" about our culture. About the world we find ourselves in.

It's definately time to reflect on marketing techniques and strategies.

What direction are you going with your pottery endeavors this year? Will you stay with a style which has been successful for you? Or try something new?

Ah yes . . . A time to reflect.

And i will - right after i finish trimming the milk pitcher started a couple of days ago, finish glazing the casserole bowls waiting for their decorative colors, add the spout and handle to the teapot which is still on the wheel, bisque fire those pieces that are dry enough, fire those that await the glostfire . . . .

Happy Reflections

Monday, December 24, 2007

Tis The Season

Merry Christmas to one and All
Hope your pottery endeavors of 2007 were a success and that those successes are doubled, tripled, quadrupled and even better than that in 2008.
May all the JOY of the Season be upon you.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Simon Leach

Found some of Simon Leach's videos on Ron Philbeck's Dec. 13, 07 blog entry.
More than likely y'all are already familiar with Bernard Leach's fame and this is his grandson.
Simon has 109 videos posted on YouTube and apparently adds a new one every day! Worth checking out at: Here's one of Simon's videos on making quadruple bowls. (Ron has different ones posted on his blog.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Work In Progress


This little puppy survived the bisque firing. When it went into the kiln, the lid fit perfectly. However, the lid warped a bit during the process. Am tickled pink the pot bisqued well, but bummed out about the lid.
Have been studying (trying to find info on) firing in high altitudes. 6000-7000 feet. There's not much information on the web about this subject.
Thought perhaps, preheating pieces before putting them into the kiln might work. Spent most of last evening trying to revamp a wire birdcage so it would fit atop the woodstove. Add a shelf and surround it with tin foil and Walla! A mini oven . . . .
However, i'm not particularly handy when it comes to projects like this and by 11pm gave up in frustration.
My batting average for pieces surviving the glost-firing lately has been nil. (Think the altitude may have something to do with this.) Plus, it's been truly exhausting. As soon as the previous day's pieces come out of the kiln, i prepare to fire again the next day. Set the alarm for 6am, turn the lights out and fall asleep by 2am. At exactly 3:16am, my eyes pop open, thoughts are in full gear and i'm wide awake. An hour and a half's sleep just isn't going to cut the ice, so try to fall back to sleep. At 4am, i give up the ghost, get up and start the kiln. Yep! A truly exhausting schedule.
Hey! Hope you are having a great weekend.
Me? My elbow is propped on the desktop holding my head in an upright position while i pretend to be awake. Can hardly wait til tomorrow to see what comes out of the kiln . . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

To Be Censored? Or Not . . . .

Was reading Carole Epps's blog this morning. and her December 2, 07 column "Controversy of Contextualising" about Leopold Foulem's work caught my eye.

All of this leads to the question: Do you self-censor your work if you think the content/concept will be received by the viewer in a negative way?

And: Is self-censoring of "confrontational imagery" a valid use our artistic talents?


Saturday, December 8, 2007


When you sit down at the wheel to throw a cup, casserole dish, vase, bowl, plate . . . . you've gathered everything you need, wedged the clay and are ready to begin . . . . . . . do you feel more creative - if previously - you've been drinking your coffee or tea from an exceptionally unique cup? One that stimulates the imagination?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Videos Worth Watching

Found an absolutely absorbing 2-part video series by Ron Dahline, titled "Reflections in Mud". He demos how to make character mugs. His techniques and finished pieces are far different than mine. He seems to know what he's doing while i am usually guessing. These videos were the treasured "find" of the week for me. Hope you enjoy them and find them as useful as i have.

Also found Susan Ting's video series on "How to Make Double-Walled Pottery Vessels". Beneath the bio of Susan are links to each segment of the series. She makes this look so easy! And her finished piece is awesome! This is a technique i'd dearly love to learn. So after watching the series through twice, was quite prepared for success. Into the pottery room, clay on the wheel and began. I now have several nicely rounded pots, sitting in the wet/dry box.
None of which are double-walled.
This technique is a lot harder than Susan makes it appear . . . .

Tim See has 2 videos that i found helpful. One is on rims and lips.
and the other is about faceting:

Happy viewing

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Recently Out of the Kiln

Was trying for an "old world" lacy effect. And while the picture does it justice, in actuality the poor little bowl is rather lopsided. It never would have progressed to the glaze firing except Reed thought it was charming. Naturally, when it survived the glostfiring, it went home with him.

This face mug is the very first one i created. Last December, sitting down with a lump of clay, wondering what to do with it, and by golly, this fellow more or less created himself. I was so delighted, yet scared to death to glaze him. Finally, a year later, with bated breath i applied the glaze and gently placed him in the kiln. Other kiln survivors have pleased me, yet never as much as this one when it came out of the kiln grinning at me !!!

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And now we have the mini-teapot. In this case the pictures do not do it justice. It's actually quite lovely in a whimsical sort of fashion and the colors turned out swell. Unfortunately, in the photos, the blues are rather washed out. In real life, holding it in hand, one experiences richly saturated opal blues.
So the colors are great; the shape is pleasing; and it holds one full (large) cup of water.
I capered aroung in 7th heaven until i discovered it's a bit tricky to pour. Because the spout is near the top of the pot, there was no room to construct a proper flange in the lid. It would have covered the holes. Now i've seen teapots with "U's" cut out of the lid's flange and thought this was the reason why.
The water pours out the teapot spout
Out of the lid too !!!
On the other hand -- The spout doesn't drip! The last drop of water plops into the cup in courtly fashion.

Ah . . . the pro's and con's of design. Little spouts near the top of teapots have a really neat appearance but how the heck does one design the lids ??? Would love to hear from any of you who have wrestled with this situation and developed solutions . . .