Monday, September 1, 2014

Bird brains

I love birds so much my two kids are named Jay and Robin. My daily routine is to have a  cup of high test at around 6:30 and go for a 4km walk/run. I pass by a creek which when I'm really lucky I can stand and watch a heron patiently waiting to spear a frog, snake, fish or anything edible really. This usually means I'm going to have a great day. Gee, I haven't seen him all week.
Up a few hundred yards there is usually a field of hundreds of Canada Geese. I've been wondering lately if I came back to earth as a bird which one of these two I would be?
The heron or crane symbolizes longevity and good fortune. It is fabled the crane has a life span of 1000 years. Stand still and be patient and you will be able to calmly and deliberately catch the opportunities that life presents to you. Move too fast and they are gone. Move to slow and you missed your chance.
The goose on the other hand symbolizes co-operation, communication, dedication and knowing when to follow and when to lead.
I guess as a potter I haven't followed too well and since a goose poops every three minutes that can't be me either since more than once I've been told I'm full of shit.
I also think I'm going to have a great day when I see a hawk. I love hawks! Maybe if I didn't need glasses I could be a hawk?
Gee, it's not looking good for me in the bird dept. How about an old crow?




Sunday, August 31, 2014

I'll be buggered if I know!




You have to understand I am working at Pinecroft Pottery a pottery that was established by my aunt and uncle in 1947. The tearoom there attracts over 50,000 customers per year. They wander the property and come armed with cameras to take a shot of potters at work. Usually I can be seen making pottery that looks like pottery. Mugs, jugs, casseroles all in a 70's, 80's fashion. I'm fast and can do it with my eyes closed. It is bread and butter and there is a huge market that has been cultivated.
 I'm on a self funded sabbatical. I've been feeling like my grad school mojo is coming back except this time it is with what I like to think of as functional vessels. Today the cameras didn't go click and the visitors had no questions. Their faces were full of wonder as in I wonder what the hell he is making? A lady asked and I was totally into making the pot and the only answer I could muster was "I'll be buggered, if I know!"
Tomorrow I section them and add more gnar-gnar and perhaps handles. I have to sleep on it! I have a friend that is a flower arranger that will make these pots look UNBELIEVABLE! The rocks and shale on the top of the pot will be the perfect setting for Mother Nature.
These pots are destined for the wood kiln and then if she is good to me off to 260 Fingers an Invitational Show in Ottawa with many friends whose work I adore and admire. I have no intention of showing up with pottery that looks like pottery.
P.S Dan please don't show this to the Soda Chicks. I have been invited to be a presenter at the North Carolina Potters Conference in 2016 along with the hottest clay chick in the nation my fellow class mate and alum Sunshine Cobb. I am thrilled to present to a state with so many awesome potters and to be with Sunshine it all just couldn't be better.  I haven't received the contract yet and I'm afraid they just might not want me after all. Keep this mum will ya?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pink is the new Orange

There was this banner ad that kept coming up on FB to win some safety equipment from Husqavarna for your photo with your favourite saw. I had Christine Williamson take this photo of me and now I can't find the contest. Thanks, Chris!
Oh well  my picture was to suggest that not all those that use chain saws wear camouflage pants, and sport ball caps. Some of us gentlemen potters wear pink t-shirts, handmade Art Fawcett straw hats, sport Hiut denim jeans and Blundies. I could use the safety equipment to be sure. Once in my youth I wore shorts and Birkenstocks to do some chainsawing. I nicked my knee and looked down at it and fainted. Flat on my back. Never again!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Is anyone else out there-nuts?

The last wood firing we had in the spring I was sick as a dog and the wood was less than satisfactory. It had been a nasty wet winter, it was pissing rain and our wood had beat the hell out of me. I was out in the pouring rain in the dark trying to scrounge good wood, chainsaw and bring it back to the kiln.  I vowed never again! Well we got a load of 16 bundles of 5 year old dry walnut. I am stacking it in the kiln shed beside the kiln for our October firing with three of my favourite women. Former students Amber Zuber, Emma Smith and Jen Drysdale and me are firing the bourry box and I want it hotter than a southern baptist girl on prom night. The entire firing will be walnut. Has anyone out there done a entire nut firing? The walnut has great bark almost as good as the treasured cottonwood of Utah. The difference is the BTU's. Walnut is hot!  I know this wood will coal big time but I'm hoping that since it so dry the throat arch will remain clear.  OK ladies make great work!  T

he kiln awaits you! I'm excited to fire with y'all!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Every rose has its thorn!


I am pleased and honored to have  been asked to mentor a year long mentorship program for the Hamilton Potters Guild that will culminate in a group show at The Carnegie Gallery in Dundas. They are even paying me!!! I will probably spend it all on clay, wood, good times and travel. Hey, that has been the story of my life so why change it now? With every pleasure in your life there seems to come a nasty bit of business. I must narrow the team down to 8 members. That would be easy if I only had 8 apply and I could take all that have a pulse but in this case there are 14 and they are all really awesome.  I really want to assemble a team of people that like each other and most of all like me. I like people that like me! We are going to be living together for  sometimes a week  at a time. We are going to hear each other snore, smell each others t shirts after a long stoking shift and we are going to feel the pricks as well as smell the blossoms.  Now,
I will get the label of “prick” hung on me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Almost like the blues!

I don't know if it is a hangover from being a kid and thinking about heading back to school but this time of year gives a feeling "almost like the blues". This is a song title from the anxiously awaited new Leonard Cohen CD celebrating his 80th B-Day in Sept. The album is entitled "Popular Problems".
I've been a funk this week and somehow I think I write my best blog posts when in this state of mind. If someone near me had a bag of Drum tobacco I'd roll me one and I haven't smoked in 25 years. I believe in work therapy to solve life's problems and I'm winding down the work to ready myself for back to school. I love the students and the job so it ain't like when I was a kid and I hated school and would rather be at the pool hall.
Perhaps it is what feels like another another year gone by like a raging freight train! The next 4 months are my favourite time of year so that is no excuse. I won't have to keep my head down and my back to the wind for some months to come.
I got a wood kiln to clean, wood to ready and pots to make for a wood firing with 3 of my former students. Better shake this off. I got work to do!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Spookin' the horses!

Well Danny boy these cups are goin' to the death of you. Are you  sure you still want to work together in the winter? We might rub off on each other and then what?  Actually I  have mentally been revisiting my friends at USU and the pots I made there at grad school. It was fun to translate that nasty edge to some cups for occasional use. Actually, Dan you inspired the use of all the scraps lying around. One of our requirements at USU was to curate a show from the gallery collection which is extensive and every big shot contemporary clay artist has a piece in the collection and a knock out piece at that. My show was called "Pots only a mudder could luv.! I choose pots of Tony Nansveris, Owen Rye, Chester Nealy,  Svend Bayer, Donny Reitz, Dan Murphy and I forget the other notables.  On the night of the opening the gallery director said to me " Tony, you sure didn't pick pretty pots". John Neely (my prof) was standing there and for those of you that know John he is never without something clever to say. John replied " No, they aren't pretty but they sure are beautiful!" Wow! That is what I am chasing!