Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fire





No this is not a wolf crying “ Fire”. This is the real thing happening in BC where I just visited so many of my friends. BC is covered with trees, trees, trees and more trees. They are also experiencing extreme drought due to “fake”  climate change. The last I heard 47,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. Many will not be returning to a home.
We as potters know the power of fire. Many of us wood firers have felt the burning of unprotected arms or face when stoking a wood kiln at peak temperature. What kind of temperatures the brave men and women fighting those fires may be experiencing blows my mind.  

Send as little or as much as you can to www.redcross.ca  We pitch in when others in the world are experiencing disaster. I’ve done my part and now I send my love and courage to the displaced people and the heroes fighting these multiple raging fires. The heat and air quality are frightening for me to even comprehend. Be of courage and be safe- Canada!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hand Job




I went to physiotherapy before Christmas to see if they could do anything with my left hand that is starting to curl up on me. It wasn’t bothering me and it didn’t seem to affect my work but cosmetically it felt weird.  It appears to have gotten worse in the last 7 months.
I always ask people at a workshop if they all know how to roll a coil. Their eyes roll and then I show them you roll from a dry surface to a damp surface so the coil doesn’t dry out and that you roll from the tips of your fingers to the palm of your hand using as much surface area as you can.
Well I can no longer roll a coil with my left hand. I can’t lay it flat on the table. My friend Shirley’s husband Dr. John said I could have it operated on but I’d be out of commission for 6 weeks.  The first problem with that is that I would go nuts not making pots for 6 weeks and the second problem is that my hands are my pension. I need them to live in the life style I am accustomed to. I also hate hospitals.
I open clay mostly with my left hand and I think it is the repetition of opening mountains of clay over the years that has had it’s final say.  A while ago I was a mudslinger for hire. They ain’t making us repetition throwers anymore and I would hire myself out to potters that had more demand than supply. I charged 25% of retail – thrown, trimmed and handled. I always tried to make $500 a day so that meant throw $4000 worth of pots Day 1 and trim and handle them the next day.  So my 25% of $4000 or $1000 yielded me $500 a day. I could really make money on bowls, wine coolers, open casseroles and stuff with no additions.
That kind of repetition has taken it’s toll. I have some arthritic pain which I take Curcumin and garlic pills to help. It has worked for the most part.

Age doesn’t always bring wisdom. Sometimes age comes alone.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Easy Money

Easy Money
Why don’t I know how to make easy money at pottery?  Actually I do know how, I just don't want to do it. Why don’t I just make bowls and pots with no additions or appendages? Well I have a confession to make to you. I don’t really enjoy throwing all that much. I’m pretty good at it but it is one of my least favourite parts of the process. I love trimming, putting pieces together, making handles, all the little details of finishing, and firing.
I am making pots for a show at Shane Norrie Contemporary and it occurred to me I have made nothing that would fit under a 9” post. I also thought I need to make some affordable items so I thought I’d make some jars and carry on with my new blown trumpet knob. Well here is the drill for TC’s easy money- 9 jars = 9 lids, 9 knobs, 9 foot rings and 18 handles so a sum total of 54 pieces go into making my 9 affordable jars. Then let’s add to this 2 bisque firings for my crackle slip and then a 34 hour wood firing. I think when I was little my mumma must have smacked me on the head and called me stupid.
The potters that make money in this bizz throw barely trim, add very little shape or detail, make no additions. Each and every step you take takes time and time is money.


 Don’t get me wrong I admire them. For years my pottery hero was Isaac Button the English country potter that threw 2000 lbs a clay a day- no fuss, no muss.
There is a looooong list of items that people seem to be goobling up- pate dishes, potpourri pots, incense burners, compost pots, berry bowls, omelette makers, mason jar flower holders, spoon holders, wine coolers, utensil holders, brie bakers, and the list goes on. I don’t want to make any of them. I don’t have them in my house so I don’t see a need to make em!. There lies another lesson in easy money. You don’t make for you. You make for the marketplace. Imagine a donut store owner that decides he doesn’t like chocolate donuts so won’t make them. Artists and their egos.  Bacon holder- I’m holding out for bacon holders to be the new rage. I want to lead fashion and not follow it- said tongue in cheek.

Mumma why did you slap me on the back of the head and call me stupid?  It has had a long term effect on my career.