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Flashback: The Axes


brushes almost eclipsing the bat, 2007

Did you know that the last time there was a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice (Dec. 21st) was 1693?! And did you know that the next time it will occur will be in 2094?!

Anyway, this post first ran on Dec. 18th 2007! (not exactly the solstice, but are you reading Catherine White's great blog?)

Looks like I'm still using most of these beat up brushes!

excerpt from the original,

I tend to paint patterns on most pots, but sometimes a pot has such a nice line that I leave it alone. I once heard the phrase, "decorate the dogs", and if that were the case for me I guess I make a lot of dogs.

I guess I'll take Jack out to howl at the moon!

[read the original post here]

Keeper


There is something about a pot that is completely different and the one that we take risks with. The soldier pot at the front lines. When they come out of the kiln most times they look like risks taken. But I am really intrigued by the possibilities presented by this piece. It is what we call a keeper. Maybe the definition of a keeper is a pot that approaches a priceless-ness. At least for the time being. A bookmark. A mark of some kind. A reminder. A pot to study. To figure out. Worth more in the hand than in the bank.

The cross hatch pattern is taken from an Italian jug that sports quite the bird and an area with this type of cross hatching in manganese and iron. [a responsible blogger would have source imagery] Maybe I will steal some time away from packing and shipping EtsY sale pots to scan the image for you.

In the meanwhile here's a toast to the luxury that all potters should take. the pot that we don't sell. In this season of commerce, here's to the keeper.

[NOTE]: Here's what it looked like before it was fired. [read post]

[UPDATE: Jenny Mendes saw the inspiration for this pattern and posted a picture on here blog! How I envy her! Check out Jenny's blog here.]

Weary But Well

Alas, I return with good tiding of comfort and joy. Tis the season of eggnog, quite possibly my favorite beverage, next to bourbon. They go well together, too! The wood stove is crackling, the kids hum Christmas carols as they lolligag around the house on another snow day from school, and I just listed a few more pots to replace the ones that sold today at Stacey and I's annual Online Christmas sale!


It's been a dizzying two days behind the camera and the computer to put all of this together. But now I can sit back with a cold one and pray that I have enough packing material to ship all of these orders out in the morning!

You know, being a potter these days doesn't just mean getting behind the wheel. It also means getting behind the tripod and clicking away pictures to use in an email campaign. It means knowing a little about photoshop and and little about spreadsheets. It's a whole lotta stuff I didn't learn in school. Maybe these days they are teaching student-potters how to do this stuff to stay above the waterline!

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and say that all is well on Snow Creek Rd. The chickens are all cozied up in their new chicken condo that John and I finished last week. The wind howls outside and the roads are icy. But the shop is open 24/7. Stacey and I have some great stuff for sale. click on the "shop" tab above to check some of the listings. [clicking the images will take you to ETSY.]

Time to make my rounds and check on the animals before I call it a day. Tomorrow it's shipping day! I bid you a good night!
babe, bunny, and beer

The studio tour weekend is over and it's time for a beer! Stacey claimed this "eine Kline bier stein" and we're so grateful to all of our fierce pottery fans who support us year after year, come snow or come shine. Thank you also to all of our new customers! We hope to see everyone again next year!

As for what's left, we'll be announcing the time and date of our Etsy sale tomorrow. So if you weren't able to make it this weekend you'll get a chance to shop for some of our pottery and jewelry next week! We'll let you know!

Check here at ye olde blogge or text "pottery" to 70259 to sign up for our mailing list.


Thanks again folks!

Get'em While They're HOT!


No wonder Simon hasn't been saying much around ye olde blogge for quite some time. He's been busy building kilns and making pots!! This card may very well be the best announcement of a pottery sale that's come through my inbox in a long time!


New pots!
New kiln!
On Sale!
On Line!

Saturday at 9 a.m. CST


Unloading the CMP


Courtney and I unloaded the kiln and we were both very happy to see the multitudes of pots! We weren't very happy to see the pool of glaze around pots glazed with my alkaline ash glaze, though. I think the shelves will be OK after some grinding, otherwise I'll be shopping for some new shelves!

courtney and her multitudes

Courtney was busy getting her pots set up in the showroom of her husband John's glass shop, when I was there grinding the glaze off the bottoms of the runny pots. John has refinished the walls in the showroom with beautiful walnut and cherry boards that he got from Milan Street up in Buladean. Milan runs the small lumber mill and brings us the bundles of wood Courtney and I burn in our kilns. The walls and shelves look super beautiful! The pots and the glass looks so good against the walnut and cherry! (sorry I didn't have my camera to get some pix.) Maybe I can visit over the weekend during the sale and get some pictures.

The Toe River Arts Council December Studio Tour begins tomorrow at noon, and John and Courtney have lots of beautiful work. They are hosting Penland resident metalsmith extraordinaire, Amy Tavern.

We were busy getting the pottery shop set up to host our friend Wendi Gratz who will be joining Stacey and myself for the tour. You can see Wendi's work here! In addition to all of the new work we've been making for the tour, we have lots of goodies for our customers . We've also "spruced" up the shop with a Christmas tree and lots of boughs of balsam fir grown just up the hill from our house.

If you haven't been to a TRAC studio tour before you really should treat yourself to a trip to the mountains to ramble and visit the over 100 studio artists and 9 galleries in Mitchell and Yancey counties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(exclamations by evelyn!)

I'll take more pictures of the fresh pots and try to post them tomorrow. Maybe I will shoot a video.

Painting/Glazing Highlights


As usual, I'm completely (well, almost) tapped from getting the pots painted, glazed, and ready to fire. Lucky for me, Courtney loaded the entire kiln! I don't have a lot to say. I just wanted to post a few pictures of the painting session (in no particular order) and make some ever so brief comments and then it's off to dreamland so I can be an effective stoker in the a.m.!

Thoughts?

horse-rabbit?

couldn't go wrong with the brush marks in this one.
flowin'!

trying to incorporate my style of leaves.
combing included free of charge.


we'll see if these wiped highlights show up
in the fired article.
a visitor to my studio recently asked if I took notes.
If you are trying something new, take a picture!

big pitcher with random leaf and
dots deco

lillian and her ballerina cup

iron, copper, cobalt

the stack

A Chosen Path

Mark Shapiro is a potter, workshop leader, occasional curator, and now editor! from Worthington, MA. Mark Shapiro has made wood fired functional pots in Western Massachusetts for the past twenty years. Mark's pots can be seen in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Racine Art Museum, the Mint Museum (NC), the International Museum of Ceramics at Alfred,NY, and the Currier Museum (NH). Mark can also be reached at mark@sawdustanddirt.com


I have recently edited the book A Chosen Path: the Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes published by University of North Carolina Press. Over her long career, Karen Karnes has created some of the most iconic pottery of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The body of work she has produced in her more than sixty years in the studio is remarkable for its depth, personal voice, and consistent innovation. Many of her pieces defy category, invoking body and landscape, pottery and sculpture, male and female, hand and eye.

Equally compelling are Karnes’s experiences in some of the most significant cultural settings of her generation: from the worker-owned cooperative housing of her childhood, to Brooklyn College under modernist Serge Chermayeff, to North Carolina’s avant-garde Black Mountain College, to the Gate Hill Cooperative in Stony Point, New York, which Karnes helped establish as an experiment in integrating art, life, family, and community. After twenty-five years of communal living, Karnes moved to rural Vermont with partner Ann Stannard and began making some of the most complex work of her career.

Karen’s life and work illuminate both the golden age of the American craft movement and the ethical, aesthetic, and living choices that all craftspeople face today.

Editor's note: Here are some reviews so far,

Reviews

"Filled with high-quality images spanning 60 years of [Karnes's] work. After reading the book, you will understand why she is commonly referred to as the 'grandmother of American ceramics.'"
--AmericanStyle

"There are too few books that treat pottery as seriously as other art forms; too few that pay sufficient tribute to the achievements of women artists; and too few that situate great art within a rich biographical context. This finely textured book does all three, providing in-depth analysis not only of Karnes's pots and sculpture, but also of the life of the fascinating person who made them."
--Glenn Adamson, Deputy Head of Research and Head of Graduate Studies, Victoria and Albert Museum

"Mark Shapiro has assembled a stellar cast of essayists to explore the intriguing life and work of potter Karen Karnes. They write with a grace, clarity, and reverence befitting this maker of sublime yet curiously humble clay masterpieces."
--Mark Hewitt, potter and co-author of The Potters Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina Pottery

"A great book about one of the important potters of our time. Seven artists, critics, historians, and friends, followed by Karen's own observations, document her life and work. Central, analytical, and factual, it is a fascinating story of creativity and dedication. Inspiring and long overdue, it is important reading for all artists."
--Warren MacKenzie, potter

From Where I Sit


Here's a quick view of some of the pots I've painted for the upcoming firing. I will try to keep you informed of the other pots I've painted as well as some source images from one of my favorite pottery books before the holiday break!

But for now it's lunchtime and then more brush play!

Questions? Leave a comment! Thanks.




Pots & Chores


I finally finished my pots yesterday after slacking with other things and I needed a little warm up to my brushwork ahead and
painted a bunch of invitations to the studio tour coming up on December 3, 4, 5! Are you on my mailing list? [sign up here]

I also cut some wood that is too big/wide to stoke in the wood kiln, but makes nice heat for the house and studio. Nothing is wasted here! Unfortunately this makes for a lot of various pile of wood around the kiln yard. But I developed a pretty quick way of cutting and stacking.


I'll be deco-rotating the pots for the next few day until I haul them over the hill to load with Courtney next week. I will send images of some of the motifs that emerge from the session.
Digg Button

Have a great weekend.

Yunomi

for the 2011 Akar Yunomi Invitational

The upcoming firing is probably the last wood firing I'll do before the deadline for the spring show in Iowa City, so here are a few hopefuls.

This is from the AKAR web site:
3/25/2011 - 4/4/2011
2011 Yunomi Invitational
(ONLINE ONLY)
~200 potters,
5 Yunomis each

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Coffee Break vol. #30



Bailey's Peak, aka the Peak, is always the focal point when I go in my walks around the field with Jack. Today I took this beautiful Courtney mug with me! It came from the firing last month that Courtney and I shared and has become a regular in my coffee break rotation. The handle fits my hand very well and the size is just right for an afternoon jolt-o-joe. Although you can't see it from this picture it has a nice liner glaze. I think it might be called salt white or white salt. The white glaze is a good way to tell whether the coffee is brewed strong enough. If I can see through the coffee to the glaze I might as well toss it out 'cause if I wanted tea I'd brew a pot of Earl Grey!

By this time next week Courtney and I will have loaded the kiln at her place and we'll be taking the holiday with family and friends. We'll return to fire the kiln on cyber Monday!

Back to work...



[ post posting note: here's another shot of CM's mug showing more detail in the glaze, etc! as always, you can click the pic to get a closer look]

Arrowmont and Beyond!

participants in the ACC Convening at Penland last month

I've just spent the morning doing paper work for my workshop at Arrowmont next September! OOO fun, fun! But seriously, it's pretty exciting to plan a workshop! The paperwork is a reality to assure that everything is in place for this one week adventure into wood firing and pottery making!

Just for you I will leak the course description to be published next month in the Arrowmont catalog:

Wood Fired Pots: Expect the Unexpected

The wood kiln is a great vehicle for expressing our best intentions and celebrating the process and the natural effects of fire on clay. We'll experiment with brushes and discuss imagery to create simple or complex patterns in slips and glazes. BYOB (bring your own cone 10 bisque ware) to be fired in the wood kiln. While we wait for the kiln to cool, we'll make pots of all sizes and join in a series of fun exercises that are guaranteed to brush up your decorating & painting skills!


Here is the longer description:

This will be an action packed week that will begin with decorating/glazing your pots to be fired in the manibigama wood kiln. Bring cone ten stoneware pots that have been bisque fired. We will load the kiln and fire the kiln paying close attention to the effects of different kinds of wood and frequency of stoking. We will use our sense of seeing, hearing and smell to understand what’s happening inside the kiln! While the kiln cools, we will make pots and do lots of fun brushwork exercises. I will demonstrate how to make pots of all sizes, especially larger pots. We will explore brushes, pattern making on the pottery surface, slip/glaze strategies, and other decorating techniques including my pigmented wax resist technique. In addition, I will discuss my blog and how it informs my studio practice. We will discuss various approaches to this online media and how it is shaping our pottery field. At the end of the week, we will unload the wood kiln and assess the results and have an informal critiques of the pots.

As I read these I am reminded of the tone of voice pro athletes fall into when being interviewed, or the tone that a museum docent falls into when giving a tour of a exhibition. You know that tone?

Anyway, I also wrote a brief statement for the American Craft Council's for the symposium, "Convenings", I attended at Penland a few weeks ago. Yea, I was supposed to submit this before the symposium, but just managed to get it together this morning. It's pretty brief because I had to send it in "Now", as the email I received stated! Well, the question was, after all, Why craft NOW?
Why craft now?

As a maker my question is usually why craft then? As a potter I tend to look at the history of my craft as a well to dip my hands into and a fire to keep stoking.
In typical Kline fashion I avoid actually answering the question by restating the question and then giving a rather mysterious and vague poetic kind of answer. Hmmm. Suspicious art speak?

I'd better get back to work. Please take aim at these words. Maybe it's not too late to edit for future consumption.


Oh, and don't be like me and procrastinate! Sign up for the Arrowmont workshop ASAP! The catalog comes out next month but you can preview the 2011 Workshop listing and reserve your spot by calling 865-436-5860!!!

ode2joy



You know it's a slippery slope to post 3 times in a day. But at the risk of saturating you and plain losing some of you, I submit this last post of the day. Sometimes later in the day, when one is tired and a little bleary eyed magical (at least to me) things can happen. As I was combing these bowls I thought about the feeling I had doing them.

Joy is something that doesn't get talked about all that much, but it is something that guides a lot of what I do. Combing these slipped bowls was a lot of fun and if I had another hundred I could have really gotten lost in it and I'm sure some interesting designs might have emerged. sigh

Alas, (which I think is Gaelic for girl)
Oh....as I was saying, when something feels good and you enjoy it, it's best to follow that feeling. Some might call it passion. Whatever you call it follow it.

I know what you're probably saying, "But where is the vine, Mr. Kline?" and to that I would say, "It ain't over yet."

So thank you if you are still reading this. As always thank you for reading and indulging me!

Stay tuned for some mad deco-rotation in the coming days!


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Same Not Same

Some slip combing from this afternoon. After combing 12 of these it dawned on me that I could use the same tool in a variety of ways! They didn't all have to be the same!











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Human Sandblaster

John has taken on my derelict kiln shelves and his mission is to make them like-new or least "newish". After 36 firing in my kiln and who knows how many firings in the train kiln down in GA (where I picked them up second hand), the layer of kiln wash and wood ash, kiln wash and wood ash, had built up quite a bit. After a ridiculously absurd kiln shelf demo by moi, John went to work on them. About a half hour and a couple of shelves later, John came in to report that we should scrape those suckers completely and start over with the kiln wash! And he was absolutely right. I realized that I was blind to my own kiln shelf status quo (that's Latin for status quo)!!




John pointed out that not only did the layer add weight to the already heavy silicon carbide shelves, but it was also pretty brittle and would come off without too much effort. Well, it's a lot of work, but in the end, the shelves will be a bit lighter and we will gain a little real estate!

Some math: With the current layer of wash on the shelves at about 1/8th of an inch, maybe more on some, I figure with 24 shelves, that's about 3 inches in height! As you can see from the picture on the left there will be a whole lot of kiln wash crispies. I've started a bucket to save them. When John's done we'll weigh the bucket to see how much weight we'll not be lifting every time we load and unload the kiln!

Now it's time for some bisque ware rustling and hustling, some wax resisting and some crockery slipping.

Later.

Four quarts

I'm in the fourth quarter of this brief session in the pot shop and tomorrow I'll start to paint the pots. Here's some little pitchers from today's throwing.


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