Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I'm hearing voices!

At our last firing the people I'm supposed to be leading suggested that they would like me to up my scale. How dare they???? Then I posted a proto type of one of my newly launched 3 foot long boats and  one of my former 2nd year punk rookie hotshots says she can't wait to see the handles. Lord Almighty this teaching is painful.  So I built this long boat and I sat and stared at it wondering how the hell I was going to include the signature handle. Well Gracia, I chickened out! I made the handles and then laid them over the decks. I need to sleep on this. I was also a bit disappointed that the ribs didn't show up on the interior of the boat so I beat the livin' hell out of the boat and live in hopes that the morning brings me what I have as a vision. I'll try to come up with a handle solution. I've always said "Teaching would be

the best job in the world if it weren't for the dang students!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

OOps, an oversight!

I guess I know why I'm not a carpenter. I built the boat and it is 34 inches and the diagonal on my kiln is 29 inches. I guess I'll have to stand it on end and prop it up somehow. Oh well, necessity is the mother of invention. Problem solving has been the story of my life.  I actually can't wait till morning when I will flip it over and add the stern and the port decks and any other foo fa raw that I can come up with. I am anxious to see the interior of the boat. The stick interior will be awesome for a glaze that breaks and pools. Oh, I guess that ain't my shino.
 I don't have a lot of time for making in the next month so I might as well make what turns my crank. The boat form reminds me of Vancouver Island and paradise .Maybe
the boat is a metaphor for my longing to head out to sea.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ship wrecked!

I’m home from The Shadbolt Centre in BC and I’m feeling a bit like a ship wreck. With the 3 hour time change my internal clock is all screwed up. I can’t sleep at night and then I sleep in till after 9 which is unheard of for me. Found myself asleep in my chair just before dinner. I have been draggin my anchor and avoiding the studio. Today I threw some no brainer bowls and got to a project I had thought of before heading to the Pacific. I saw this woven stick boat on sale at the furniture store for $5. I thought hmmmm that would make a nice mould for a shipwreck.  So today I poured a plaster mould which I will use as a hump mould to build my boat on. It is now 34 inches long so with additions we should be around 3 feet.

. The clay should take on the impression of the ribs and decay quite nicely.
How could anyone be bored when there just seems so many endless possibilities with this wonderful material? The possibilities only appear if your eyes are wide open.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Birds of a feather

In the past few days I have shown you a couple of my brothers and sisters in the clay family. This is my family- the clay community.  Yes, closer than the Clampits of Beverly Hills and the Walton's of Walton Mtn. Here is a great pictures of my brothers in Korea. These guys are amazing makers and guess what they flock together. You know why? If you want to play better pool, better tennis, better golf or make better pots who should you hang with? Play the very BEST!  You don't always play someone you can beat. You play someone better than yourself and you rise to the occassion.
I came home from BC with so much booty that I am glad I invested in some new Samsonite luggage. I always tell my students to buy pots and books. Surround yourself with good pots and good books. I was lucky enough to be gifted 3 great books on BC ceramics. Linda Doherty( The Energizer Bunny) gave me a book she published "Made of Clay- Ceramics of British Columbia", Glenn Lewis a former Leach apprentice gave me  "Thrown" - the BC apprentices of Bernard Leach  and their contemporaries". and my gracious hostess Gillian McMillan gave me a book on the rock hound of BC Tam Irving. I also lugged home about 5kg of raw ochre from a crick only known by my Mafia boss Frankie.
I got up at 5:30(dark) and went for a run. I was on BC time so it was actually 8:30. Got home and went straight to bed for 4 hours, did 4 loads of laundry, banking, groceries, mowed the lawn and then made supper. A man's work is never done!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Long Ball

I’m sitting in the Vancouver Airport leaving the Promised Land to go to The Center of the Universe- Ontario, Canada. Thinking about new friends made and old friends I will miss.
Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver.
The other is gold.
Sometimes when I get caught up in the moment I forget to take pictures for my blog. I didn’t take one pic at the unload of the train. Here are a couple of Cheryl's pics of the quiet zone at the back (not me I'm far from quiet).  My eyes were busy and there was so much to think about.  I can get off my knees and stop praying to the kiln God whoever she is. 

Conducting a workshop is stressful enough although I have delivered my fair share of them. When you are called into do a kiln firing there is additional stress. It is an unknown kiln, unknown variety of work, wood wet or dry, unfamiliar crew, weather, and most importantly expectations. All are there expecting a long ball home run. A single or a double is not good enough. All will settle for a triple but the long ball homer is the one they are expecting.
We had a lot of shino in the kiln so I had planned for a hot firing in the Cone 11/12 range and an oxidation cool. We made a big stoke at the end of the firing with every one of the crew stoking a celebratory piece of wood.  We then closed up the kiln from the air back to the chimney. There was a bit of drama with the flames licking out the available cracks between the peep holes and the kiln. The good news is we hit the long ball. Everyone on the train gang got parole and a take home prison tattoo . The kiln had left some beautiful marks and all went away with a gift of  some lovely work, some new found friendships and expectations of the next train ride.  Ted Neal emailed to ask how the floor of the kiln was holding up. When you are asked to lead a kiln building workshop the kiln is forever yours. Nice job Ted. The kiln is an absolute beauty!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Smokin' Grass

If you don’t have a Robin “Grass” Hopper in your collection and you think you should have I have to tell ya there are still a bunch of beauties in his shop. This dude has made some pretty amazing pots in his life and the depth of form and colour is mind blowing. In fact there were more killer pots this time because when I last was out here Grass was still throwing production ware. You all know when ya pick something up, ya have to put something down. He decided no more mugs, no more kitchenware. He also put away some favourites from the various prestigious shows he was in and now they are for sale.  Many of these pots really smoke!
Many Canadians would like to have a Jack Shadbolt, a Tom Thomson, a Alex Coville, an Allan Sapp or other such notable painter in their collection. If you are a potter your collection needs to  North America’s  Hall of Famers.

include one of
There was a selection of Oribe inspired pots in the showroom that I really loved. Filet mignon taste and a hamburger budget.
I’m sitting in the Shadbolt Centre waiting for the Train gang to arrive. I was up early since I am anxious to get in the kiln. It is like the first day of teaching, or the anticipation of giving a public talk or the birth of your child. You have prepared for this moment and yet it still has you on edge. Will Murphy’s Law show up or will the wood hit the ball?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Robbin the rich

I landed on Vancouver Island to be picked up by one of Canada's best salt/soda firers Cathi Jefferson. Cathi should have a pot in any serious collectors stash of pots. Cathi let me drive her sexy Mazda Miata down the winding narrow roads to Chosin' Pottery home of Robin "Grass" Hopper and Judi Dyelle. We had a wonderful seafood chowder dinner surrounded by a collection of over a 1000 notable pots. Here is one cupboard loaded with pots that I'll let you do the guessing game with. If you can't name at least 4 makers you need to stay after school for some private tutoring.
It was Robin Hood's mission to rob the rich to feed the poor. Grass and Judi aren't rich in money but are loaded with great art and books. I don't think I need mention the surrounding gardens.   I made out like a bandit. Their generousity of gift and kind are heart felt. I had told Grass that the plate on my favourite book of his "Makin' Marks" was such a great example of his skillful brushwork. As it turned out Grass had put away the sister of that plate some many years ago and it was presented to me as a gift. I hope it fills my home with the wonderful energy I felt in their home. Grass also knew I was a fan of two old UK curmudgeons Harry Davis and Richard Batterham. They packed up a Harrry Davis luncheon plate and a Richard Batterham egg baker along with my killer bowl. What a wonderful day and night