Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rats in the studio

When my son was growing up he was a rink rat. He loved hockey and any moment he could spend at the rink was where you found him. Rink rats have a passion for the game. I'm staying over with a friend because I teach Monday and Wednesday and it is toooooo far to drive in an out to school. So Tuesday I go in a work in the Sheridan studio and stay later since I ain't got all my creature comforts of home around me. The advantage of coming in at night is that you see who has the passion. Here are a few of the studio rats. We almost expect the graduating students to spend 12-14 hours per day in the studio. The best ones do and really don't have a life outside the studio. I guess we build in an unbalanced life like mine into their schooling. You want to be good at something you got to put in the time. Lots of time! Here are three rats- Jordan London, Ont., Gracia- Mexico, Queenie- China. All 3 are putting in the time. If you're going to do the crime, you gotta do the time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Steady the wheel

My former student and friend Andrew Kellner is in Jingdezhen, China with West Virginia U starting the first leg of his MFA. He will be studying at Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute for the next 4 months. He was there 2 days and has been to the USU favourite street food eatery which we called Mr. Noodles. A bowl of noodles and a beer for a couple of bucks- delish. The guy needed to level his wheel so what works better than a porcelain plate. They have more clay objects in JDZ than wood.
Keep the pics coming Mr. K. I'm with ya in my heart and soul. t

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Messing my pants

I got my real denim jeans from Hiut Denim in Wales. It was a bit of luxury buying these jeans but I figure I want something made by hand, I don't want to support sweat shops and I bloody well deserve a nice treat. Washing instructions said to refrain from washing for at least 6 months. I have had them a month and haven't washed yet but I can't wear them like this to school. This may be a good idea for an accountant or some non blue collar type bu I am a clay pusher and teach at a college. I hung them out on the line praying for rain to wash them so that I won't be accused of giving in. The other issue without washing them is that they feel like cardboard. It's a bit like using a clay that is too hard. I figure these jeans by January will be able to walk by themselves to the pottery and they will weigh 600 lbs.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I'm in love- again!

In low periods of my almost 4 decade career as a potter when my hands are cold and my well seems empty I have sketched and dreamed pots with hakeme slip decoration. Now, after all this time I find that ones I really have lusted to make are the Korean Buncheong wares. Current reading about the Japanese invasion and occupation of Korea has helped me understand where the original reference of this work really belongs.  I'm putting down a black slip that fires to a mouse gray and applying a thick white slip over that. Using a white shino to top it all off. Gee, I can see the cash register just singing!  My long time buddy Frankie Tucker wants some dinner plates( without handles, damn him) so he's getting Buncheong Canuck style. I've tried to be market driven, honest I have!


When I lived in Hamilton for 2 ½ years I never went to an Art Crawl never mind the Super Crawl that draws 80,00-+ plus people. Now I live a couple hours away I went last night with a friend Chris Snedden from the London Potters Guild. We went to see the buzz of a HUGE art community and to support our friend Chris de Takesey with the opening of her new gallery “Store”. Whenever I get in the midst of all this activity I “forget u” my readers.  I forget to take pictures.  Ha you thought the title meant Felix Unger. Here are some of the good peeps I have as friends.  I’ve been told I should have more balance in my life. I shouldn’t just mingle with only clay people. Sorry gang I’m a one trick Tony. I love these people and they are my life.  On the way home Chris reminded me of the influence I have had on this generation of potters. I was indeed and still am
flattered to almost tears. From right to left Emma Smith one of the sharpest young minds in the bizz,, TC,, Iris Dorton potter and gallery owner from Guelph, Ontario, Duncan Aird- potter and teacher Mohawk College, and Tara Lynne Franco an excellent maker that needs a silk pottery life line to hang from . A bad fall and back problems thru her off her career track. Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.-Mike Tyson.
When you have great friends like this pack you keep up the fight. Fight big fighters, fight!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I must be nuts!

If it is true we are what we eat then I am afraid I am nuts. I love nuts and put cashews, almonds and walnuts in my morning grog. The grog that I make in the morning is granola, chia and flax seeds, bee pollen, walnuts, almonds, cashews, and cranberries. I then pour over canned peaches and use the peach juice instead of milk. I actually can’t wait to get up in the morning to eat it. I make sure I go for my run before I eat though as it works like a tornado going thru a trailer park.
Gee I had better rethink my love of bacon as someone just might call me a pig.
Speaking of nuts my former student Chris de takesey is planning to open her fabulous James Street North(Hamilton) “STORE” gallery tomorrow night. I dropped off pots there yesterday and it looks FABULOUS! Small detail it has no front on the building yet. The large glass windows and doors are missing. Chris will open as planned for Hamilton’s Super Crawl Friday and Saturday. The streets are closed, bands are playing  and art is happening everywhere. Last year 80,000 people attended. The Sheridan gang will be there tomorrow night beginning at 7pm  to support Chris and this amazing space.  Hamilton –where art is the new steel!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Be soft!

The best advice I've been getting of late comes from the kid I raised. I sent Robin a text this morning asking why I should remain soft? Her answer -Don't let your heart and soul get hardened by life. Be vulnerable even though it is a risk! Be open to possibilities even though they many fail. Hey potters this applies to your work as well as your life. She went on to quote hockey great  The Great One- Wayne Gretszy "100 percent of the shots you don't take , don't go in!" She said his success was based on just going for the shot. If you make lots of them some are bound to go in. It is a better quote than "throw a bunch of shit at the wall and some of it is bound to stick!. I think I probably taught her that one.
Make lots of pots and a few are going to be racers.
Here is Robin posing in a Bobcat. Hardly a soft machine!