Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bad is good!

I’ve written about this before but I am reminded of my being at The New Orleans Jazz and Blues Festival where I learned that bad is good. I was yucking it up having a beer and listening to music and enjoying the company of a giant of a man and his equally huge wife. Ernie K Doe was about to perform. The large man said “Ernie K Doe is the baddest singer in New Orleans! I said “Is he really bad????” He laughed, slapped his knee and said “Brother, baaaaad is goooood!

If you look at these vases I made even if you don’t like them you must see that the maker must be  pretty good to be that bad. In a recent post by Robert Genn there was an excellent comparison of mastery and spark. Some people just look for mastery of skill and not the energy/spark in the making. As you know I am surrounded in The Cactus Lounge by the pots of my friend Ronnie the Rat. If you look past the amazing imagery you see very casually made pots that have not been fussed over with an emphasis on mastery however they exude energy and spark. I was pleased that a few of you liked the vases. I don’t want to make pots for everyone just a few of you.  Thank you for steering me in the right direction as I often feel yesterday’s anxiety and make what I call easy pots. Thank you to my friend who is an
itch I can't scratch.

I have enough easy pots for my Christmas Sale December 2,3, and 4. Mark it on your calendar if you can make it. I am going to display my production pots in my little outside gallery and I am making some very personal pots to be displayed in the living room of The Cactus Lounge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


My buddy Dan Finnegan had cajones big enough to announce on The Red Clay Rambler interview that he would not accept academics into his show in Washington, DC.  He did this in a room full of academics since the Rochester Invitational is loaded to the brim with them and many of them are friends of his and mine.  Dan said he was trying to give the working stiffs a leg up. After tear down Peter Beeseker (Syracuse U), Liz Quackenbush( U of Pennslyvania) , Richard Aerni and Ryan Greenheck and I went for a beer at the local pub. Peter jumped up 6 rungs on the ladder in my high esteem of him when he explained to us all “anxiety”.
He must have walked the walk as he understands it completely. Those are lucky students to have him as a teacher. He explained how potters live so close to the line that going into a show can create so much anxiety that it creates stress you can’t understand until you have been there. He talked of potters tearing their cheques along the magnetic strip so that it would be delayed a few days and give them some more breathing room till some money came in.
I came home with some money. Money enough to allow me to finish the vases I made before I left in a way I wanted to. I was encouraged to make these vases by a friend who I value her opinion and by an old customer that said he missed my nasty work. I decided I didn’t belong at my local guild sale and this is a celebration of that freedom to make work that I enjoy making.

The two big jars in the background show I am capable of tidy work. They are made for an old customer that stores large amounts of rice in the kitchen.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Old Guard

I’m home from the Rochester Potter’s Invitational and my mind is buzzing. On the Sunday afternoon Ben Carter host of The Red Clay Rambler an online radio podcaster was there from California to interview some of the old guard who are responsible for organizing some of America’s Potter’s Invitational Shows. These are potters that have put in 30, 40 and 50 years into making and loving pots. From left to right we have Bob Briscoe founder of the St. Croix River Potters tour (Minnesota) which is one of the most successful in the country, Dan Finnegan of The On the Hill Potters Tour in Washington, DC and Mathew Metz and Richard Aerni of the newly formed show in Rochester. The interviewer is Ben Carter a potter from California. These are potters that were raised in the fifties when the maxim of commerce was “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” They still believe that showing quality is the answer. Walking the walk not just talking the talk is what this was all about. It is on these broad shoulders that the new guard is building a life.  In the audience was the new guard who were asked by the old guard to come up to the mike and give their two cents about social media and what is foreign to many of us old dinosaurs. Doug Peltz, Forest Middleton and Adam Field talked about hash tags, Instagram and Periscope which for me was a foreign language. It is encouraging that these 30 year olds are making such fine work and finding a new way to wave the flag. Thanks to the giants whose shoulders they stand on.