Friday, August 22, 2014

The Hard Road

I've been teaching long enough now to see my influence. Making pots is as easy as falling off a log. Making good pots and pots that have a signature of the maker is hard. I figure anyone can learn to make pots in  less than 7 years. It then will take another 10 years to develop a signature in your work. I fear my influence leads to a hard road. Here are a couple of Cassara's teapots from second year at Sheridan. I traded her for the teapot on the left. She didn't like any of mine so I owe her. Student gratitude- geez! I like that! Keeps the ole man on his toes.
I think the future for young makers is to make interesting work. Some of the old timers have a audience that they have nurtured for decades. You don't! Easy doesn't make great pots!



Thursday, August 21, 2014

A summer in the mudpits

Here is a pic of Cassara Kennedy the summer intern at Pinecroft this year. Cassara has thrown hundreds of bags of clay this summer doing repetition throwing. She has done a great job and I am thrilled to see such a work ethic and willingness to put the artist's ego in the closet and show up to do what she is asked to do and MORE! Pinecroft was lucky to have her.  Repetition is a valuable skill to learn as a potter. There is a time to move on though and that time has come for Cassara and me. I cleaned up the work horse today thinking of the two of us going back to school. She will be in third year and I will be in the mudpits with the second years hoping for another Cassara to show up. The best pots are made with the head, the hands and the heart. It is my hope she will take the skills she learned to train her hands and head and now transfer that to her heart. She will be back in the school environment within a few weeks and the pressure will be on to have a distinctive body of work. Having a good strong foundation of throwing skills is a good start then have to choose interesting!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Canatoni's

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There is this rage spreading across America like a prairie fire. It is the yunomi rage. What does yunomi mean to my farmer neighbor or to me for that matter?  I almost got caught up in this handleless craze but better judgement has me on a path away from that fire. I am a Canadian man making pots in North America so I have decided to celebrate just that. I am lucky enough to live in an Amish community of skilled makers that do things the way they oughta been done. I took over a yunomi box with the ribbons and all the bows and whistles that I bought a yunomi in. The Amish maker Ezra said “ I’m sure you want it made better than this!” This is glued and stapled!!! I will make yours with dovetailed joinery and why don’t you use a nice hook and eye? Brilliant! I will use this box for my cups that include handles and some that just have been inspired by the handless cup but mine have a European foot that flares outwardly versus the Asian foot that references a nod of bamboo. Of course, they will have the signature lug of a bit of trimming.
This is my get rich quick Christmas scheme so stay tuned. This is just another of a long list of them over the years.  I like that I am staying true to me and presenting the work in a quality  Canadian maple box made by hard working Amish neighbours.
Oh 
yeah and since I am a Canadian man named Tony I will call them Canatoni’s.

A summer in the mudpits

Here is a pic of Cassara Kennedy the summer intern at Pinecroft this year. Cassara has thrown hundreds of bags of clay this summer doing repetition throwing. She has done a great job and I am thrilled to see such a work ethic and willingness to put the artist's ego in the closet and show up to do what she is asked to do and MORE! Pinecroft was lucky to have her.  Repetition is a valuable skill to learn as a potter. There is a time to move on though and that time has come for Cassara and me. I cleaned up the work horse today thinking of the two of us going back to school. She will be in third year and I will be in the mudpits with the second years hoping for another Cassara to show up. The best pots are made with the head, the hands and the heart. It is my hope she will take the skills she learned to train her hands and head and now transfer that to her heart. She will be back in the school environment within a few weeks and the pressure will be on to have a distinctive body of work. Having a good strong foundation of throwing skills is a good start then

you have to choose interesting!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Your work is a gift!

What a radical idea! I have written so many blog posts sometimes I forget what I have written.  Have I written about Hiut Denim  in Wales?  I love this company! I love the philosophy behind the product and the philosophy of the management of the company. The makers at the company are "Grand Masters". Man that says something about how you feel about your employees skills and their worth to the company.
Here is a wee snippet of their company philosophy:
The year book is our way of telling the world what inspires us, what we dream about, and yes, what we make for a living. It also puts a marker in the ground: we want to be ‘crazy good’ at what we do. Our enemy is being average. Average won’t get 400 people their jobs back making jeans.
 So today I made some cups. It was a follow up to yesterdays post on "Choose interesting". I figure for me to stay alive financially and enjoying my work I have to attend to staying interested in my work and attending to details even and most especially when I don't have. 
PS: I ordered a pair of jeans and am pacing the walls waiting for them.



Monday, August 18, 2014

Choose Interesting!


This t-shirt was given to me by my daughter Robin’s boss Lisa. She got it at Toronto’s Pride Parade. I love this slogan “Choose Interesting”. It says so much about life and yes the person wearing the T. Thanx Lisa!  I have lived an interesting life and have surrounded myself with interesting people, interesting objects and interesting times. Sorry no room or interest in the uninteresting.  They say you can judge a person by their library. I say you can judge a person by their walls and cupboards. Fill your space with interesting objects.  So next time you have to pick a shirt, a jacket, a pair of glasses, a hat, a piece of art or craft, a career, a partner- choose interesting!!! It will never be the safe choice but it will be the interesting one. May you live in interesting times.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Home from work

I'm home in Amish country after a couple of days doing some custom throwing for a few friends. When I go away and work hard I like to bring home some art to reward myself for my labours. I threw a couple hundred pots in 4 days.  I used to like the comedy and work of a folk artist in Prince Edward County by the name of Robert Danielis so I swung by to see if he had anything I was interested in. Yep there was " Looking for the heart of Saturday night" a Tom Waits song that I like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7UHd7NVegE&list=RDf7UHd7NVegE#t=233What is great about this piece is that Yuko who I was working for is a smoker and the buzzards will remind me of Yuko smoking. She is much better looking than a buzzard but the connection is there.
I'm going to paint up a sconce and mount the buzzards on the wall as real estate for pots is at a premium.