Saturday, November 18, 2017

Getting Unmarried

The Mississauga Hot Potatoes just unloaded a very hot Cassius Clay. Cone 12 tipping back to front, side to side. There were a lot of very happy Hot Potatoes with everyone going home with a keeper.
We came back to The Cactus Lounge for some pizza and a crit of two of each person’s favourite pots. I think this is pretty new to all of them and I could sense a nervousness. It is not about the person it is about the work. I get it! It is hard to not take it personally but it is about growth and how to get there not you and your feelings. If you want to be told it’s pretty go home and show it to your partner or your family. To keep the marriage alive they will tell you what ya’d like  to hear.  If you want the truth put it on the banding wheel and let’s talk.
I also gave a little lesson on how to stick things on using JB Weld and how to repair cracks using Bray Patch.
 After 8 women leave your house you know it’s going to be a mess so after clean up I headed back to pick up my work. I told ya the kiln was hot and putting down Bruce Dehnert’s BgreeD and then layering salt yellow, Rhodes black, copper red, and Korean celadon over top I had some pots married to the kiln shard shelves I had beneath them. I tried getting one off but it was a lasting marriage that my trying to break up ended in disaster.
So I am going to take a lesson from the Capital “A” artists  and marriage counsellors and  celebrate the marriage by turning this one into a piece. I am going to glaze the kiln shelf and refire it. I told the Hot Potatoes during the repair demo that it ain’t over till it’s over so what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
This couple are beautiful together in their marriage so I will celebrate it. It was supposed to be a life long affair and so it will be. 40% of Canadians are now living single so I will honour the ones that stand together in wedlock and not try to ruin both their lives by cracking the foundation they stand on.
The married couple are downstairs in the studio as I prepare supper for one and wonder if only the romance hadn’t been so hot whether I could have had one of them here on the table to enjoy supper and  my favourite night Saturday Night Blues with me. 

As I type this Elizabeth at Shane Norrie Contemporary just sold one of my vases for a 70th birthday present. I wonder if they are married?

Thursday, November 16, 2017


I’m staggering back to the studio to work. It has been a big fall of firing the wood kiln. I don’t spring back as I did when I was 27.  I have one to unload on Saturday and then another to load and fire the following weekend. That’s it for 2017. All week I’ve ended up on the couch for an hour long ciesta after lunch. I go into a deep coma so I know I’m tired.
I need some rest so that I can meet Dan Finnegan at Starworks NC and start on some new work. I haven’t got the foggiest idea what I am going to do yet. I have been hearing rumours Takuro has a dirty porcelain. If dirty means some balls by means of a good course fireclay I’m all over that. This is back to school for me so I don’t want to make what I could make at home. I will have an amazing ceramic brain (Takuro) at my doorstep so I want to tap that to the fullest. I will be living on the property of Bruce Gholson who is one of the best glaze minds in the bizz.
I started making some platters that will fill my gas kiln just so I can say I fired it this fall.  When I have wood on my mind it is hard for me to think gas. I really do make different pots for each kind of firing.
If the triumph you seek isn’t humbling, it’s not the right triumph.

Right now I’m thinking of Dan, Starworks, Takuro/Hitomi, Bruce/Sam, David/Nancy  and the entire wonderful  community of Seagrove that is so rich in ceramic knowledge and history. I am the richest man in this room tonight- Dan Finnegan.

The original Cactus Lounge Flame Throwers pen and ink arrived from DH which I just love. More art for my man cave.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Jin and Toni-C

John Neely put some pictures up on FB yesterday of some water jars from Mr. Jin’s dragon kiln in China.
It was 10 years ago I was with John and the USU gang studying at the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in Jindezhen, China  for a 4 month life time study experience. Mr. Jin was one of the guest artists and for most of us a walking legend. I can’t remember the length of that multi chambered kiln but I had never seen one as big.
He was keeping his men working by having them make roof tiles and wood firing them. The demand for his water jars had fallen off with people moving away from agriculture and living in the city complete with refrigeration. My fellow grad student and pal Trevor Dunn and I were convinced the kiln would not be roaring in a decade. Trevor went back to China to document Mr. Jin and his dragon.
Mr. Jin made all of his pots on an upside down 5 gallon plastic pail. He had a large coil up his arm and over his shoulder as he walked around the pail backwards squeezing the clay as he went. His large pots were more symmetrical than those I make on the wheel. He allowed me to put handles on them. This was an honour for me much like being asked to jam with Keith Richards.
We were firing the wood kiln at JCI the day of his visit and after a day of making in the studio he joined us at the firebox. While he sat in the squat position looking knowingly at the fire I fetched him a bing piju (cold beer). We didn’t talk because of language  but there was a feeing like we were all connected through the fire and the clay.
Look at his eyes. They say the eyes are the mirror of your soul. His eyes are bright and shining and full of life. That has been a life of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. You can tell how he walks he is a man of dignity and if my buddy Doc Agel wants to witness mindfulness I think it is displayed all over his person.

I love the look he is giving John as John gives the plastic bucket a go. It’s OK John you could teach him a thing or two about teapots.
PS: Mr. Jin is one of the presenters at NCECA in Pittsburgh this March- worth the price of admission.  I hope I can buy him a bing piju.