Monday, July 27, 2015

My house is bug infested!

Here are three of the pillow cases that Andrew gave me. He made them when he was the textile program at Ontario College of Art and Design University while he was awaiting acceptance into a MFA program in Ceramics. It was in part to get to get his GPA up and to stay creative. What I love about these pillows is that they are referencing Japanese "Oribe ware" with a young persons twist on it. If there are two periods of Asian ceramics that I love it is the Tang Dynasty san cai (3 colours) earthenware and the white shino type glaze with iron decoration and the bright green runny glaze as an accent. I often get some so so pots from the wood kiln and have thought of redipping portions of  them in a low temp glaze and refiring in oxidation in my electric kiln. I have tried the "Oribe" type high temperature glazes in both gas and wood and because of reduction I get liver red. Nasty red!!!
I love the wood fired pots that Ken Matsuzaki does with the oribe influenced green and iron brush work. I saw a show of his in Mashiko when I was there and the pots blew my mind. Pots can reference textiles and textiles can reference pots. Look everywhere for your next influence.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Best Wood Kiln in the World


The very best wood kiln in the world is somebody else’s. Before you arrive with all your precious treasures someone has cleaned the firebox, chipped bricks, dipped kiln posts and most importantly moved tons of wood around from place to place, split it, stacked it, covered it, and got everything ready so that you can rock and roll. Hey take my picture stoking the kiln so I can put it up as my Facebook profile! Wish I could have taken a picture of Andrew soaked to the bone with sweat in very bad need of a shower. Some of the wood he split is what I call ball busters. Too nasty for me!



This is the start of the wood for the next firing. Andrew and I bucked the wood into 3 foot lengths, loaded it on the tractor, moved it to the wood kiln and then I threw it at him while he wielded the axe. We then gathered it and then stacked it in what I call log cabin style so that it gets lots of air movement through it.
So thanks Andrew. I am now doing a half a stack early in the morning just to keep ahead of the game.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Kid!


Well a week today the kid (Andrew Kellner)  heads back to Morgantown, WV to complete the second year of 3 years of his MFA at WVU. The summer has whizzed by and he is due back to start preparing for his classes. It's been awesome having him here for the pot talk, the company, and the sarcasm. It is going to feel lonely without him around.  He has added a couple of welcome additions to my collection. I am very particular about the pots in my house and I welcome these pots with open arms.  The large jar is a sweetie and I have yet to decide it's place of honour in The Cactus Lounge. I hope the next couple of years at WVU will add a few little tweaks to his solid body of work. The work is confident, strong and without pretense.  Yep the work is a lot like the man himself.  Go git em' kiddo! I'm counting on ya to stoke the dang kiln when I'm too old. Memory should never offer more than hope. My hope is to keep making and firing!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Getting your bell ringed!

Today I reversed the ribbon and put it at the bottom of the cup to rest the handle on to. I'm not sure yet how comfy this arrangement is going to be. I am sketching! I am sketching with clay. As I finish this set of cups I'm thinking of glazing for an upcoming wood firing. I have two glazes - a shino and another shino! How brilliant is this????? If I were a smart man I would pick one of those maverick glazes that does all the colours of the rainbow and people would oooooooh and ahhhhhh at how clever I am. If not multi coloured then at least I should glaze it blue.  I don't make any pots that I wouldn't want in my own home.  I like pots with a looooooong shelf life not ones I would easily tire of. I remember once as a young man deliberating over a bright red or a green down ski jacket. I loved the red one  because it was show offy and since I was paying a lot of money for the coat

I wanted people to  notice me. I bought the green one because I knew I would like it for longer. There are many days for me that are not red days. These are the days that I prefer more somber colours. As I look around The Cactus Lounge here in my man cave I see pots and art that don't scream- LOOK AT ME! The loudest one in the room is usually the weakest one in the room.  My dad used to warn me " watch out for the quiet ones because they are the ones most likely to ring your bell.  I feel that same way about pots.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Taking handles to Rochester

I know it sounds crazy but I am currently making pots for the show in Rochester in October. The shit hits the fan in my schedule for September so I need to get them made now. I've decided I'm going to make a bunch of handles and attach some pots to them.  Each additional step a potter adds to the process takes time. I seem to keep adding more steps which isn't brilliant from a money perspective unless of course the cups cost more. There seem to be a gazillion potters making cheap cups out there. I hope in Rochester mine will be amongst the cheapest and I will sell out. I know my buddy Danny Finnegan is a good cup maker and I am pretty sure they are a main stay of his business. I love making cups and it excites me to make cups that are unique to me.  If they put your cup in a police line up would anyone be able to identify as you! Stand Out! Be Different! Making creative work is a life sentence.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Shagadelic baby, yeah!

Had a great day today trimming and putting handles on. Here are some of the bowls I turned into baskets. I also did some awesome mini moon jars. I'm actually pooped from doing handles. Some of these pots have 6 handles on each. Each one I did I changed the position and kept referencing Austin Powers( Canada's own Mike Meyers) with "Shagadelic baby, yeah!" Andrew thought I had lost my mind but I actually felt like I had found it and was on a handle roll. There was probably more weight in handles than there was in the weight of the bowl. Making one off pots takes longer than making repeats. I had a great day!
The workshop I'm doing at La Meridiana, Italy in October is really about developing a signature in your work. I wondered for a split second today whether I am the right man for this. In the past few months I have done vinyl resist, puncheong and thick slip. The one common denominator is the handle. It is amazing to me that one single element can become one's signature. The slogan of my favourite denim company Hiut Denim of Wales- "Do one thing well!"



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I'm a basket case!

No time for jet lag. I got pots to make. The next 3 months are nutzzzzzzzz for me. I have a couple of shows in Sept, a wood firing with my wood fire mentorship group,  a work shop at the Shadboldt Center in Burnaby, BC- home for a few days and then off to the Rochester Show with all the hot shots- home for a few days and then off to do a two week intensive workshop at La Meridiana in Italy. So I need to get some pots made and pronto!!!! I thought I needed some "you know me's" so I sat down and made 40 of them. When it came to trimming them I thought gee they would make nice baskets. I think this may very well be a dumb idea as a lot of people don't seem to be creative enough to figure out what to do with them. I've taken to gardening these days and I really enjoy the flowers arranged in the basket forms. The way I figure it an imaginative soul isn't predictable. Well I was playing Andrew threw 24 mini moon jars for me. He is a hellava good thrower that I call a wink and a nod. Tell him what to do and voila it is done. I'm as happy as a clam cause I get to trim them and handle them which is my favourite part of the process. I also made 8 two piece bowls that I get to trim and handle tomorrow- yep they are going to be baskets. I'm a total basket case!