Thursday, March 26, 2015

WARNING! Beware of this man!

For those of you enjoying the friendship of NCECA in Baltimore I send you out this warning. Sitting in a bar near you is this man who poses as a friendly, lovable, all time great guy. He is a rat! He came to Canada for a workshop at Pinecroft Centre for the Arts and hit on our young women. He is wanted here in Canada and is known far and wide as Ronnie the Rat.
If you see Ronnie the Rat go up and tell him to share the women and buy him a George Dickle with one ice for me. Have a great time everyone. Wish I was there with y'all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I'm a fraud!

At the NCECA conference panel last year entitled "Where have all the potter's gone?" Mark Hewitt made the pronouncement that a full time potter is one that makes pots full time. A friend Chiho said to me afterwards "Hey Tony you're not a full time potter!" Whadda ya mean says I? You don't make pots full time. You teach and you do workshops. You make pots for others. You don't make your own pots full time. Hey Chiho you are right and guess what? I don't enjoy making pots alone all day, seven days a week. I like people and I ain't got a water cooler to stand at and talk to someone.
I do the damnest things to make it harder for me. Take these bowls with handles for example. They would probably be good sellers as bowls but then I have to go and put these overhead handles on them to turn them into baskets. I call them flower baskets. Not many would buy them for the reason of displaying flowers.
I do a lot of other things to subsidize my wood fire pots.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Potter's Dilemma

Many years ago I read the book by the other TC- Tom Coleman entitled "The Potter's Dilemma". That book still resonates with me today .How does a potter make a decent living making good pots? I posted some teapots on my blog the other day. Bless you all for your positive comments and interest. Trouble is that I have so few pots and so many places I'd like them to go. It's not that I am lazy but the process I have chosen is so labour intensive.  I need to look good in Korea, in Wales, at a wood fire show in Hamilton in June at The Store, a retrospective and invitational of my old teacher Roger Kerslake and then I have a feeling my back is going to be to the wall for the show in Rochester with all the big shots of ceramics in upper NY.
I have a making problem not a marketing problem. How can I make enough pots and do all the other clay related things that I do? Pick something up and you have to put something down. Every workshop I do takes another week out of my clay making. The workshops though are my social life and some security from month to month. Knowing I have a workshop in April is a comfort. I need to feel the same comfort with having a room full of pots ready for market. Right now I'm making some jugs for an anagama firing with my wood fire group. Pick something up and ya got to put something down.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The leaves have fallen!

We unloaded the wood kiln yesterday to a chorus of oooooooooohs and ahhhhhhhhhhhhs! There were some spectacular pots in the kiln. Every zone in the kiln was really well reduced and HOT!  What still continues to surprise me about the ride that Donovan Palmquist built is how beautiful the pots are at the back of the kiln. Ordinarily there is a longing to own the prime real estate near the bag wall. Yes this is still a nice piece of land to occupy but the pots at the  back get ash on their back sides since the flame has to circle back and go to the front of the kiln once again to enter the flues that run underneath the chamber. When you place a teapot and ya think I want ash on the spout so I should face it to the firebox you are wrong. With this kiln you get it front and back.
Here are some of my teapots. Same glaze on two different clays. One clay is iron rich and the other is a Helmer kaolin body. I am a one glaze man so the two clays give me some variation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Last Waltz

I was shuffling thru my I-Photo library and I came across some photos and some memories of my friend Robin "Grass" Hopper's last workshop. I had invited him to do a workshop at Sheridan College. It was the last of 3 he had done in 2 weeks. It also proved to be the last one he would do. He has warned me against burn out and I know what he talks of. The difference is that Grass attracted people by the hundreds. I attract 13 winos and a troll. My workshops are much more casual events unlike the big stage of Canada's biggest rock star. I will experience the big stage this May at the Icheon Ceramics Festival in Korea and then again at the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales. I know I will receive counsel from Grass before I head out.
 If you are quietly working away in your studio making pots out of the limelight of Broadway don't sweat it. Your stress level is lower and you're still dancing.  I've found dancing alone isn't all that bad and nobody laughs at my awkward moves.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tired dawgs!

With all the energy of being with the group this weekend I thought I'd go into the studio the day after the firing and tear into a pile of clay. Well, truth is that I ache where I used to play. I caught up on some household stuff and napped, did some banking and napped, made supper and napped. I found myself in my favourite resting place dosing off. I did get as far as putting my studio shoes on. They never made it downstairs to go to work.
I really should re-read my book and remind myself of the story of the Old Bull and the Young Bull. When this old bull decides it lovin' time I'll do the work of 10 young bulls. I haven't lost my work ethic, my focus or my mind. Actually I drew some images yesterday that I am making today. Tempted to head over to the kiln and melt a flashlight trying to get a sneak preview. No, get to work young man!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dream team!

We fired the big bourry box this weekend. I had the dream team of women stay at my house.  I'm pooped but can't sleep with the energy of the week end. My frig is full of groceries and the wine cellar is full to overflowing. We had a surprise visit by our friend Dr. Yi who brought a grill, the beer and cooked her homemade sausages for our lunch. You're probably tired of hearing this but I am blessed with so much love and friendship. We went with the walnut for the firing because of the love of the colour of the ash but it did try to kick our ass. I had bought some insurance with a pick up load of kiln dried hardwood flooring scraps and we hit the walnut with a left jab, a body punch and the big right hook as the knock out punch. Down went Cone 11 top, bottom, middle and back. A former boxer sizes up the opponent and goes into the fight with a plan and a secret weapon. Our kiln "Cassius Clay" floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. Now we wait until Friday to unload. Sleep tight me

ladies. Ya dun good!