April 30, 2010

Deco'd by Evelyn

I wanted to get a picture before I glazed these pots that Evelyn deco'd for me!

KC on board for glazing

Kyle Carpenter came over to help put the tenmo 2 da ku on a bunch of my pots. He also brought a few of his pots to go into the kiln tomorrow. Doc Welty of the Leichester Valley Clay also came out to tie up some loose ends at the kiln and it is looking good for tomorrow's loading!

After lunch

Mixing it up. Black under glaze AND wax resist (in pink)


These fit together nicely.

April 28, 2010

This is one of the pots from the last firing that has me excited about the dots. But i may have to curb my enthusiasm to get everything done in time.

More Painting 35

just dots, but I couldn't stop there...
same bowl as above but after some painting of vines
another large bowl
mugs/tankards with dots and leaves

Posted on Facebook earlier today. But just in case you haven't seen them there...

Some Painted Pots


transition to incised surface with brushwork

not painted!
but slipped with bisque slip and incised aprés Shapiro

April 27, 2010

Jug Redemption

Not counting my chickens yet, but I'm happy with these handles and especially happy that these have made it this far. I hope Tom, my handle critic, likes these.

I'm painting pots, but don't have any pictures for you yet. Hopefully later.

Do Over

bigger and better around the heap of dropped jugs.
1,2,3, and 4 gallons

First of all I wanted to thank all of those who sent their condolences on Facebook yesterday (and this morning). It was just what I needed after yesterday's minor tragedy.

What tragedy you ask?

Well, In my hurrying around, I decided to put some freshly slipped jugs on a ware board that was wider than the wall brackets it was resting on. As I placed the third jug on the board it tipped toward me and there was a lot of dancing to somehow save them from hitting the floor, but to no avail. After much very loud cussing and throwing down of my cap I called it a day and headed down the hill in disgust. I knew that the shelf was for narrow boards and not the wide one that was on there! So I kicked myself around for a while and decided I'd better leave the scene before I started to break other things in my rage.

So after supper I decided that there was only one thing to do. Make the pots over. Although I had planned on painting a bunch of mugs and bowls to kick off the deco round, I decided that for my own good I would get "back on the horse" and get"back" to the wheel and knock out some more jugs.

So now I really don't have time for this blog to tell you about the auction at the pottery center, nor show you some interesting pictures I've been taking of the budding trees and shrubs around our "estate", nor expound on the transition I make in the shop from throwing pots to deco-rotating and glazing. Maybe ATF!*

Until then, take it from me, be careful out there!

To quote my old college buddy, Ward Wampler, "Gravity. It's not only a good idea, it's the law!"

*after the firing

April 25, 2010

NC Pottery Center Auction Today

Matt Jones, Sandy Mush, NC

Today is the NC Pottery Center annual auction in Seagrove, NC! Seagrove is very close to North Carolina's actual geographical center, Star, but that's not where the action is today. Come to the auction that begins at 5p.m. The doors open at 3:30 and you can meet other collectors and many of the potters, [including me!] who have donated beautiful work to help the center meets its financial goals! There will be lots of refreshments and the weather looks pretty nice. Help yourself to some wonderful contemporary pottery as well as donated historical NC pottery and help the pottery center at the same time! There will be some great "deals" .

You can see the pieces that will be auctioned at this web site!

Hope to see you there!

April 24, 2010


I call it the Button jug plug. I first saw this trick in the Isaac Button video.
Basically the clay plug seals the air in the jug so that you can pick it up with
deforming the pot!
late night shot of our pear tree.
I have a post waiting in the wings all about
source imagery!

testing out some thrown handle placement ideas
on a finished jar

April 23, 2010

Stop Watch : Finish


Stop Watch: Begin

Friday News Roundup

;-( 's or upside down ;-)'s

It's been a busy, busy week and a general whirl wind since my last firing (exactly a month ago!! 3/22), but everything looks good and just because I see a bunch of frowns on these jars, things are OK. Here are a few pictures taken by "my staff" to cover some of the highlights yesterday!

preparing to pour slip

coat of kaolin slip

awaiting bisque firing
drying in the pleasant breeze

Tomorrow is the "Fire on the the Mountain Blacksmith Festival" in Spruce Pine. An event that Stacey will be overseeing, so that means that I'll be taking care of the girls all day! Yay! Maybe they'll make some wads, clean some kiln shelves, or stack some wood while I finish up my pots?

;-( Lillian) ;-( Evelyn)

April 21, 2010

Just Pictures From Wednesday

More jars aprés Ron above
and a funny pattern idea for a set of mugs, below.

I'd show you all of the wood I cut today, but we've done that, been there.

Instead I enter these pictures as a way to catch you all up to what is going on
around here pottery-wise. I'm starting to feel the singe around my edges from the crunch week burn. Tomorrow will hopefully be a big day at the wheel! As for now I'm going for 12 more by 12 (midnight) I hope you're getting some rest! Night...

April 20, 2010


unfettled vases looking out at the wood kiln.
#35 awaits them!

my fettling knives. the middle one is filed to make
teeth for a serrated cut! see earlier post.


a tumbler in mid-facet
the table and it's trimmings

dipped in slip tumblers/vases

"I'm tellin' 'bout the midnight rambler
Well, honey, it's no rock 'n' roll show
Well, I'm a-talkin' 'bout the midnight gambler
and everybody got to go
"--the Rolling Stones

"...inspiration illuminates at the strangest times...the still of the night can bring the sharpest clarity to the creative mind that otherwise might struggle in the fog of daylight and all its distractions.:))..we are a weird mob" ---Sharon Risdale from Facebook

Here I am telling you all about it. The crunch week has begun in its typical late night fashion. All of this with some sort of hope that in the flurry something good gets made.

I began this series with the intention of faceting these pots and ended up throwing some new shapes and not even faceting some. Funny how change comes along. Although the unfaceted ones will be a bit heavier than intended, they will make nice vases. It's a tough call to leave the pots as they are and take the risk of a hunch that they will be good. But I guess it's all about the gamble. More news tomorrow.

April 19, 2010

Red Dirt Harvest: The Earth's Best Clay, Really

after about 2 weeks of very dry weather the clay is ready to be bagged, or stored.
notice the big space between the wrapped clay block and

the wooden frame.

Maybe not a commercially viable clay, but it's the only one like it for me. Maybe this makes it more valuable to me!? Maybe it makes the pots better? Who's to know? It's still a lot of work until I improve the "extraction" process!

Here's the update I promised on last week's clay harvest. A narrative in pictures...

The texture of the sheet (and some air bubbles) is intact when uncovered

I got this trick from Ron about cutting the clay to remove.
each section holds about 100# clay
ready for storage. notice impressions from the wire in the clay frames.

Monday: Clocking In

Monday morning coming down.

I've made a quick visit this morning to check these tumblers and flip them. They were thrown late last night, and needed to be flipped to even the drying. Since the wood stove was going overnight I wanted to catch them before they got too dry. These were thrown fairly thick and will be faceted when they are about a "cheddar cheese" hardness.

A funny thing happens when I throw a bunch of something. Many times a form will evolve in the space of a ware board. [Check out the shapes of the cups on the left with the cups on the right.] During this session I was thinking that I should make these quickly because the real time is spent in the faceting later. Since time is of a potter's premium I was looking for a way to make these that would be direct and at the same time freeze a sort of freshness to the throwing. [this isn't very logical since I will be faceting, later!] So towards the end of this grouping I was throwing the cups in one pull, and then collaring up the top half, if that makes any sense....I know, it's hard to describe this...

Anyway it's all in my head and the results play out in my hands. The desire for change is pretty strong in me. The back story of this shape goes way back to my "altering" days. Under the influence of "trickier" pots. I haven't made these for quite a while, since I've been in "crockery" mode. But Stacey (and others) ask me when I'm going to make this pot again, so it's to the service to my "clientele that I yield for this one. And I'm glad I did, but this desire for change could explain my impulse to evolve this shape.
It's mailing time! Thank goodness Stacey is here to help with the labels and stamps! Then they're off to the post office. If you're not on the list by now you'll probably not get a card this time around, but you can sign up to receive future postcards and emails announcements here.

I'll try to follow up this post with the results of the faceting. It will be facet-nating, I'm sure. [sorry]


April 17, 2010

Postal Mailing

I'm getting ready to mail my card out for the kiln opening! (see countdown clock to the right!) I'm a little late but you don't have to be if you're not signed up yet! Please sign up on my mailing list, there's still time. I'll be licking stickering stamps tomorrow night!

I'm getting some "pedestals" cut for the kiln opening yard! Here's one of the pedestals with a jar on display. We'll have a preview of the pots on Friday, the 7th. There will be light refreshments on Friday and maybe a birthday cake! Then on Saturday morning, the 8th, we'll have the sale!

I better get busy and make the pots I still need. Here's my list:
  • teapots
  • small mugs
  • platters
  • 5 gallon jars
  • 8 gallon jars
  • wine cups
  • pill boxes
  • pitchers
Have a good Saturday folks!

April 16, 2010

Just Because

When I started blogging a few years ago, I made a deal with myself, and maybe the devil, that I would only share music videos if there was some connection to pottery making. Consequently I haven't shared many music videos!

But today Gary Hatcher shared this video via Facebook, and I just have to share with YOU! What is the connection to pottery? Well I can tell you that it's not the shiny suit or the go-go dancers. But there is an energy and focus these guys have that we all should envy and try to capture to use ourselves when we are at work. With just bass, guitar and drums, these guys unleash a really big sound (and did I say Go-Go Dancers?!) So go out there and kick out some jams with your work!

I listen to all kinds of music while I'm working . With a firing just around the corner you can expect my joint to be jumpin'.

Thanks for letting me indulge.

Last Wet Week

red dirt harvest!

As I head into the last wet week, I finally have a batch of red dirt, the first since November! But it looks like I won't have the time to mix it with the fire-clay and feldspar till next session! That's OK, I probably have enough left from the reclaim batch I just ran through the pug mill for the coming week. It's exciting to get this clay in my hands finally after what seems like a "non-profit" process! I just need to come up with a more efficient way to process the dirt.

new cut rim and compressed platter edge

When I make the small plates with the cut edge, all seems right. But When I make bowls or platters I don't feel that the cut edge is helping the pots, especially bowls. Today I made 10 12-14 lb. bowls and platter/bowls with wide lips. [sorry, no proud picture of the table full of big bowls. I'll try to remember to brag tomorrow]I don't intend to cut the edges. I'll just paint a design on the rim, instead. But the last couple of these I had an idea to cut the edge on the wheel directly after they were thrown and while the clay is wet. One of the main reasons I don't do this until after the foot ring is cut, is to avoid cracks that result from the downward pressure of the trimming tools. The cut edges are somewhat compromised, structurally and tended to crack at the cut edge.

So my idea was to cut the edge while it was wet and then slowly compress the rim from both above and below the cut edge. As my friend Pat would say about now, "You with me?"
The result was pretty nice, I thought, so I made another. By compressing the edge just a bit I might avoid cracking, but the firing will have the last say on this matter!
After supper I made a few knob and all pill box jars. These were some of my favorite pots in the last firing, so I want to continue to cover this one to see where I can take it. Well it's very late as I write this but I wanted to jot don a few of these ideas before I went off to dreamland! Tomorrow is a short day as I get to pick up the girls from school and do something fun with them.

The girls were practicing their bike riding tonight. Evelyn is riding well on her own and Lillian is still on training wheels. But they're both are getting a lot better! It's hard around here to find a flat and safe road without a lot of traffic. So we wait till after supper when traffic slows down to get out on our stretch of Snow Creek Rd. Stacey bought some bright orange traffic cones for the road and I think I'll leave them out there. It's amazing how much slower (and quieter) people go around them!! But that may not fly for long.

Well that's all for now. The week ahead promises to be kind of crazy with the deadlines approaching, so hang on!

April 14, 2010

Blue Birds, Chicks, and Bloggin'

Spring break is behind us and the chicks were wild!

Even the bluebirds wanted in on some pottery fun!

But seriously, I have been curbing my enthusiasm for bloggering every little thing I do and have found it very productive!

Who would've known?

After a visit with Turner last week and some close examination of some alkaline glazed pots Catawbaware, I had the thought that some of these handles must have been thrown. It's quite possible that they were pulled, but I had a hunch about some of these. After some brief experience over the past few years of my fascination with this style handle, I thought there's no better way except to do.

here's the cylinder that I will cut the handle from.
I carefully scored with a needle tool. If you go too fast you may lose control of the soft clay and bang up the handle.
The cut handle layed out on the table to measure equal length for each handle.
A trial attachment.
The handle with a coil added to the upper part of the attachment and smoothed in.
Not bad to my eyes. But we'll see where this goes. The only drawback to this kind of handle is that it makes it harder (but not impossible) to balance a piece of glass on the handle to get a glass run in the glaze. But I like the lines and the thinner cross section of the handles. I think they will be easier to hold.

Back to it and then a trip to Asheville for a visit to Kyle's and then Clay Club at Odyssey!