Monday, January 23, 2017

Critter roast

I'm at the Rat Hole getting ready to roast some critters. There was a tornado and torrential rain storms in Georgia which meant the Ratagama got flooded so Ronnie had to switch on the sump pump to get the water, rats and venomous snakes out of the kiln so we could pack it.
Emma Smith and her husband squeeze Jesse were here when I arrived. Those Canuck students of mine can smell smoke from thousands of miles away.   Steve Driver rolled in from Arkansas in time for dinner. We had a great supper with all the rats and started the load today. Tomorrow it should be loaded and ready to rock and roll.
Here are some shots of Ronnie's pots around the studio. The painted  Rooster eware is not for the Ratagama and the grain silos along the shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo are also destined for low temp painterly finishes.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

True Love

I headed south of 49 this morning. Jack didn't come with me. True love blew in on a west wind the other day and he has decided to stay home and stare into her eyes rather than come with me to toss sticks and sling mud. I wanted to give him the real goods on true love but figure I'm no one to give advice.
I prefer to drive when the destination is within 1500 miles. It gives me time to look inward and decide what I've done right and where I'm going.   I love driving across America. It is such a beautiful country.
I think we should all give a shout out to the truck drivers. I would say almost all the things in your life from food to computers got to you on a truck. Many call the interstates and 400 series highways in Canada the intestines but I call them the arteries. These highways are the life blood of America.
I'm within 5 hours striking distance of The Rat Hole. I've been told there is George Dickel on the rocks and a nice dinner waiting. Life is good for those of us that know that life is good.
Here is the bad art in my motel room. Oh well, it's just a place to put my head down.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Big jugs

I shouldn't be making pots. I should be packing for my trip down south to Georgia to fire the Ratagama with Ronnie the Rat. I 'm going down to the Deep South to teach them about jugs. We call em jugs and they call em pitchers. We put big pitchers on the wall and small pitchers in our wallets.
I have been wondering what to make so when in doubt make jugs. I like big jugs, medium jugs, small jugs, round jugs, skinny jugs and all sorts of jugs. I use jugs for liquids. I use them for flowers. I use them for canes and umbrellas.
The skinnies with the white slip are going down to Georgia to be fired in the Ratagama. The big ones I made today will be drying out awaiting my return home to get the over the top shino treatment.
I'm debating on whether to take Jack the Bear with me or leave him home. I worry the Border Patrol might think I'm a tad odd travelling alone with my friend a Teddy Bear.  It would be good to have someone here at The Cactus Lounge just to water the plants and keep an eye on things. Scratch, Itch and the Pastor lack the initiative to do the maintenance of domestic life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bloggers take a bow

First of all a tip of the fedora to Carol Epp my fellow Canuck for taking the Gold Medal in Pottery Blogs for 2016. Well deserved Carol as you are an amazing resource for potters looking for jobs, residencies, juried shows etc, etc. There is something for everyone in your blog and you must spend an enormous amount of time preparing it.
And for the rest of my fellow bloggers take a bow for your efforts. Here is a list of the top ten pottery blogs and the Honourable Mentions.
I am pleased to once again be in the fine company of some awesome blogs. We have all listened to Paul Blais Potter's Podcast and to be tied with him for #5 is indeed an honour.  If Michelle Hastings would just print Jeff's BBQ recipe she would move up to at least the Silver Medal.
Next week I hope to be in the fine company of my Georgia blogger pal Carter Gillies who I still think is North America's 21st century Micheal Cardew. A greater mind I do not know of.
For 2017 I promise you I will make you think. I will piss you off. I will make you laugh.  I will give ya some tips.  I will make you wonder!  My vow is that I will write what I feel is the truth on that given day. Tomorrow who knows????
Man's Prayer
I am a man
I can change
If I have to
I suppose (sigh)
author- Red Green aka Steve Smith

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Prince of Boredom

On CBC radio today they referred to Andy Warhol as The Prince of Boredom referring to all the repetitions of his silk screens. Photographs taken by someone else and the printing being done by yet someone else. I could name some painters and potters that might be eligible for the title. A prominent West coast wildlife painter that doesn’t even give you a silk screened print but an autographed photo copy. Oh, but it is numbered and signed by said artist.  Honey, darling let’s put a $500 frame on that photocopy! Can we please? Yuck!  Honey, darling you could own a killer Tony Clennell pot for $500 and have money left over to go out for a really nice dinner.  None of that flotsam and jetsam photocopy nonsense allowed here in The Cactus Lounge.
I’m just jealous. I want a multi-million dollar island home.
Mary Philpott and I have been corresponding about some collaborative work for the Sept show. We’re talking “Murder”. Yes, a murder of crows. Perhaps crow knobs, perhaps carved crows on big jars. Perhaps me eating crow which I figure would please some.
I started making some jar bottoms when I got the idea to make some crow’s nest bowls so I made a few wee prototypes on some balls I had to bounce in the studio when the notion of boredom strikes me. Funny thing it never does. I got too much nonsense filling my brain on a daily basis to ever consider boredom.  

If there is a beautiful single rich woman with an amazing kiln that is bored do contact me. Please send pictures of your kiln.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

For the love of Blackheads

I was one of the lucky ones in my teen years that didn’t have pimples or blackheads except for the day of my wedding I got a big zit on the end of my nose. That was a message from God. You have to learn to listen to your body.
 I bought this jug I’m sure it had to be 40 years ago at The Ontario Crafts Council shop in Yorkville, Toronto. It was an expensive purchase for me and now that I look back on it – a somewhat daring one! I was being taught that thin was very difficult, smooth was were it was at,  clay pots were supposed to look like it was made of something else. This jug by Neil Liske of Alberta has remained an inspiration for the work I make today. This has given me licence to be direct with clay. Although I must admit the primary motivation for buying this pot was not the freedom of gesture. It was the blackheads!  It was the seventies and blackheads were proof of reduction firing. I built my first Olsen fast fire wood fired kiln not so that I could have wood ash but so that I too could have blackheads. An oatmeal glaze with iron spots was the real proof you were a potter.
I still love this jug. I wonder what happened to this potter? I’d like to say thanks and that I have enjoyed living with this pot these many years. You know I even like the blackheads and wonder

if they might come full circle in the clay world again.

Here are a couple of jugs I just made with a double upside down pretzel handle. Sounds like a wrastlin’ hold.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Turd in the Punchbowl

I’m excited to announce I’m in a show with Shane Norrie and Mary Philpott at Shane Norrie Contemporary in Stratford, Ontario with the show opening Saturday September 9th, 2017. You’re invited!!!
The show was just carved in stone today so I’m jumping the gun with excitement to announce it. When you are in a large group show you look around your supply of pots and think ya that’s pretty good, ya that one is Ok. Then you apply the formula that at least a third of other participants are so-so, a third of them will be awesome and that leaves that nice comfy gray area to live in – the middle third.  It’s easy to hide in that area like fly poop in the pepper.
When there are only 3 of you sharing an opening you don’t want the clients to enter the room to have a taste of the punch and see there is a turd floating around in it and it’s you!
It is good to leave your comfort zone and stand with artists that you admire. You know they are going to have killer work so like any other blood sport you have to be in shape. No cornball line  is going to save you- like Tom Cruise’s in Jerry Maquire  “You complete me!”. You have to show up complete. You are only as good as that night. The good ones you made before are no where in sight.

I’ve been thinking about this pairing of artists for the show. Besides being friends and fans of each other’s work I’m seeing surface and sureness of mark. Ya, I’m pretty sure I’m sure I see sureness of mark. That's for sure!

Shane Norrie paintings

Mary Philpott- clay