Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grass Hopper Invasion

We are planning a mega workshop with lengendary Ceramic rock and roller Robin "Grass" Hopper. Robin has done more in education thru his writing, workshops, DVD's and his work than most people could accomplish in a life time. We are lucky to have him presenting at Sheridan College on October 29, 30th. This will be his last Ontario workshop as he is booked until 2014 when he turns 75 and wants to give himself a well deserved rest. Robin is a polished performer. If you're thinking about treating your yourself to some professional development this is a "must do" workshop. We are hosting it in theatre Sheridan so it will be fully blown light show. The fee is very reasonable as it includes two lunches and coffee/muffin breaks.
Hope to see y'all there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Popping wheelies

We moved our kiln on Sunday. My neighbour picked up with his big forks on the John Deere. The kiln was heavy enough to lift the front wheels of the tractor so that he had to steer with his brakes. My heart was in my hands. It is ready now to be picked up and a be a faithful workhorse for a friend and fellow mudslinger.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

World's Away

Sheila and her mum and baby sister Linda are in Scotland on a wee journey to the homeland. Her 85 year old mum wanted a last trip to the mother land. They have rented a wee flat in Edinburgh and are enjoying the sights including the magnificent Edinburgh Castle. Word is they have had a nice fish and chip dinner and washed it down with a Tennant's Lager. I'm sure a dram of the single malt variety was to follow.
I on the other hand have been up to my ying yang in paper work for the first week back at school. It has been a very hard landing since our support staff is on strike and I am doing the jobs of 4 people. So far, the program is up and going but I have lost all creative thoughts and wake in the middle of the night thinking of forms I need to create or complete.
Yesterday I found myself at the kick wheel trimming 8 bowls I had made

and talking with the students. We all enjoyed the time together. It was like being on a potter's holiday.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fries with that?

I've often told the students in my second year throwing class at Sheridan that if you don't have independent means you had better learn to make mugs and bowls or be prepared to say "Would you like fries with that?" Harlan House took this quite literally in his show at David Kaye Gallery entitled China, Made in Canada. Harlan took a poke a his name sake Colonel Harland Saunders and the Golden Arches. Some of his vases had carvings or cobalt paintings of Ronald McDonald, the Colonel, the Arches and with the piece you got a generous portion of ceramic fries. Although a little hard on the teeth they are probably just as tasty and nutritious.
The Last Supper was a great spoof on what it might have looked like today. Present at the gallery were two of the grande dames of craft in this country- Jean Johnson and Jean Chalmers. Great to see them there. Harlan and his #1 support person his wife Maureen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hell's Gatekeeper

Hell's Gatekeeper sent an unsolicited note to Medalta Potteries in my home town of Medicine Hat. Seems like he thinks they raised a devil out on those prairies and set him free to take on teaching in hurricanes. One might think that teaching during a hurricane is a little taste of hell and might indeed label the week as the workshop from Hell. Well, to be honest it wasn't. I had a great group and the people at Peter's Valley lead by Hell's Gate Keeper Bruce Dehnert are AWESOME! When you take on a responsibility of captaining a ship ya stick with the crew. Thanx Bruce for the note. It means alot.


ear medalta,

it comes to my attention, after spending a week with mr. tony clennell, that he is, like you, from canada. tony taught a workshop for us here at peters valley craft center at the end of august. and an end of month it was.

being canada's foremost ceramics center, i just wanted to tell you that your countryman, clennell, inhabits a most austere place. that 'place' is found somewhere between total commitment and insanity. he did, afterall, teach for us during hurricane irene. just to make sure i'm being understood...he taught for us DURING hurricane irene.

with trees falling all around, water filling homes and running through kiln rooms, power gone for the three days of a five day workshop [wheelthrowing/shino...and we have electric wheels], students hauling five gallon buckets of water for bathing and toilets, like yaks, from a nearby stream, and pots that seemed to get only wetter after being made, tony held his position and continued to teach like a man consumed by the devil.

tony clennell would make the most stalwart captain of any ship...refusing to go down without a fight.

we raise our glasses to the country that 'made' such a beast.


bruce dehnert
head of ceramics
peters valley craft center
19 kuhn road
layton, new jersey. 07851

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The End of a Era

Well in preparation for our move to "Th

e Hammer" we have been busy dismantling the train which is thousands of hard heavy firebricks and a fellow friend and potter Phil Yordy bought our Geil gas kiln and came down to help build a wooden structure inside the chamber to keep all the bricks in place for shipping.Phil was great to work with and we did a really nice job. That kiln has been the heart of our studio and has fired like a dream for 306 glaze firings. As for the train, now the best wood kiln in the world will have to be owned by someone else.
Another friend Sylvie offered us her Skutt programmable electric to get us started in the new urban studio. To be honest we're very excited about 04 e-ware. I have always maintained that good potters can make good pots in any kiln. This is will be a test of how deep our well is.