Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Just in Time for Spring Break
Well for us life long learners, there is no rest. But there was some relief for my twenty year old needle tool this week. In Saturday's mail came the new Mudtools that Michael Sherrill has designed and just before he and his crew headed out for Phoenix and NCECA, they mailed these beauties to me for a little test drive. What good timing!
As you can see the old needle tool broke (again) and there's not much left of it. It started out much, much longer as a piece of mahogany that I whittled away while firing Mark Shapiro's wood kiln back in 1990. I then drilled a hole in one end and inserted a snipped off nail and super glued it into place. Then I needed a bottom scraper kind of shape and sanded a pencil-like point on the bottom. I have replaced the nail a few times and sharpened the end a few times. But as I said, there's not much left of it. And, like a lot of tools we make, it's going to be hard to part with it. Basically all the pots I've made for twenty years had this tool in their making! Wow.
I've been using the Needleknife, along with my other MudTools all week and it's a fine addition to my sponges and ribs. I think Michael is doing a great job of reinventing all of the basic tools a potter needs. From ribs, to sponges (one of mine lasted a year, and with my clay that's pretty tough, and they float!), and now needle tools, the updates are smart , extremely functional, and lead the way to better pots. Given Michael's understanding of the making of pottery and it's mechanics, it's just a matter of time until he reinvents the wheel.
Tomorrow: MudTools new Mudwire cut off tools!