Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Be Free and the Landlady

Thought I'd use to the blog pony to pimp a project two of my favourite people are involved in. Bobby "Freedom Fighter" Free was a undergrad at USU while Heidi Kreitchet was a Grad student and my landlady. Bobby, Heidi and I worked hard and played hard together. AMOCA wisely hired Heidi to run their studio and galleries in California. Heidi then wisely hired Bobby to be the studio head. These are two of the hardest working people I know. They have done what it takes to keep their hands in the clay. I applaud them.
Take a look at their kiln building project. This is what I call very clever marketing for a worthy cause. Support Freedom and the Landlady if ya can. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/551881760/amoca-kilns-a-growing-ceramics-community

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boring box, huh?

The bourry firebox, the boring box,  the upside down firebox or the geriatric wood firers fire box has often been given this rap of producing these gentle glazed surfaces. Well the train kiln that John Neely developed put that theory to rest. Donovan Palmquist built our kiln so that I could walk into it and not crawl on my hands and knees. Here are a couple of unglazed pots from the throat arch of the kiln. I told the students that my high iron clay doesn't look all that great in the wood kiln. Well, I lied! Check out that jug with the yellers, greens, blues, ochres  and ya shiny brown. Firing #5 was a beauty with all the woodies going home with some killer pots. We must have had 500+ pots in that firing. I was a bit worried that the flame wouldn't have much room to travel but the kiln worked it's magic. The back of that kiln continues to amaze me with some of the best ash being on the pots at the back.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Here are some pics of first year ceramics at Sheridan College, Oakville.  It was crit day and the students showed their work of the past 7 weeks. If you have ever wondered why go to school for an intensive 4 years this might be your first clue. Look at the quality of work from these students in their first year. They have 3 more years to go. One of the projects is to make 40 lb platters. Many start out with 40 and end up with somewhat less. Nevertheless they are an impressive canvas for the majolica paintings. To show the melting pot that is Sheridan I am showing you some work from students from Lebanon, Mexico, Japan and China. When you offer a quality product with great instructions the world is your market place.  I am very proud to teach these talented people. Hey isn't that one of the nicest coil pots you have ever seen. Gracie used 5 templates to build the piece within.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Making Art with Art

Having a week with this dang flu I felt like I had a brush with death. Last evening a surprise package arrived at my door. I got 4 of the most beautiful brushes imaginable. Troy Bungart sent me four brushes and a couple of ribs. I was eyeballing them at NCECA and it was one of those moments when ya are on the way home and you wished you had bought something. I phoned Grass when I got home to tell him about these brushes with life. The brushes with the wood fired finials are really wall art but I'm itching to try that squirrel tail brush. Good to know squirrels are good for something.
I told Grass the wood in the ribs was so beautiful that I might not want to use them. He said " it is nice to make art with art!!!!". That did it! I am going to enjoy these soooooooo much.
Check out Troy's work https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/burlchaser. It is such a pleasure to use objects that are made with care and love. It says so much about the user. I have bought quality ever since my hippie days of reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Health Insurance

I had to pull off a wood firing this weekend and I've been sick as a dawg. Good thing for me we have Health Insurance here in Canada. It comes in the form of three of my former Sheridan students that are good with sticks. I'd first like to thank my former student Andrew Kellner for stepping up to the plate for the old boy. Andrew reminded me of the the story in my book "The Old Bull and The Young Bull. I was in and out of bed this past 5 days but I could go and rest assured that the kiln was in the best of hands. Thanks Andrew for 10 years of friendship and always being there to help to Old Bull. You're the best!!! Emma Smith and Anne Marie Rowe also former students who are relatively new to the wood firing process and are steady and as dependable as Andrew. I'd take this kind of Insurance any old day. They make the old bull proud of a work ethic that is alive and well in their souls.
I went to bed for 4 hours and woke to snow. Apparently I slept thru spring, summer and fall.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

James and The Village Idiot

Today I dragged my sore and sorry butt out of bed to walk down to Locke Street Walk In Medical Clinic. I have the flu big time. Out front the clinic was James the Busker. He plays his guitar rain or shine most days. I always stop to talk to him and throw some change his way. His guitar case looked pretty full so I had a bright idea of asking him if we could team up. I will learn to tap dance. I've always had an eye for making money!  I've got a head start since in Grade 8 I was invited to a party with real live girls and I was thinking one might ask me to dance. My caring and thoughtful dad enrolled me in tap dancing lessons.  The Beatles and the Rolling Stones weren't doing any of the tunes I had learned to dance to.  My dating career was not off to a good start. Now 5 decades later I think there could be big money in it for me to tap dance along side James. If I don't comb my hair and I wear my grubby clay clothes I can easily look like the Village Idiot that also does dry walling. This is going to look good on my CV-  Potter, Educator, Author and  Exotic Tap Dancer. Tap dancing is going to buy me a pug mill.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Grande Frappa Do Dad!

So how many of you walk by the busker or the homeless person and dodge into Starbuck's for a  Grande Frappa Do Dad with cinnamon sprinkles or the Liquour store for a nice bottle of single malt?
You know this blog of mine is a form of busking except I don't have a guitar case for you to throw quarters in.
Just read of long time potter Johnnie Bauman of Indiana going to apply for a job today. I'm feeling sick and I'm ready for a GIANT rant. If some of you readers will buy my book or a couple of drawings I will buy one of Johnnie's platters. Two busking potters that live by the sword will work for another day.
My book "Stuck in the Mud" has several gems of knowledge on how to stay alive as a potter. It hasn't gotten any easier with people enjoying information without payment. From music to clay it is not in the artist's favour. For the record I don't copy music. I pay for it! If I want a book.  I buy it!
So consider buying my book or perhaps a drawing. I just had them dry mounted ready to hang so it is a pretty sweet piece of art for a whole lot less than a print of a cabin in the mountains with a deer drinking water from the lake. If you have any money left buy a piece from Johnnie http://www.baumanstoneware.com/. Just keep your hands off that leaf platter. That one is mine!
Somehow I feel guilty doing this shameless self promotion but I'm in a bad mood and I'm feeling like circling the wagons.
If ya want a book or a drawing contact me at tony.clennell@gmail.com