Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Micropterus Salmoides

That was just about as much fun to write as zirconium encapsulated cadmium. I usually drop that one when I want to sound intelligent in a conversation with glaze  geeks.  One of the perks of my job at Pinecroft is my own stocked bass pond. I have taken up the fly rod and at 6:30 before the wheel turns I cast a few lines. Almost every poorly cast line of this beginners fly fisherman's rod got me a wee fight with a large mouth bass and the odd chubby little sun fish. It's addictive! That's the kind of personality I have.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cow pooh, tractors and the smell of smoke

Some years ago a puff of smoke drifted North of 49 that a fellow wood fire potter Susan Beecher was being shut down by a city slicker that didn't like the smell of smoke from her wood fired kiln. Being 33 years a country bumpkin I was all to familiar with those that wanted a house in the country without the smell of cow pooh, slow moving tractors and the smell of wood stoves. Along with many others I wrote to the town council in defense of Susan. I'm happy to say the flame is still alive in her kiln.
I am teaching a course this summer August 2-7th at Sugar Maples where Susan steers the ceramic ship. I am teaching a 5 day course called "Size Matters". It is about making bigger work. Don't get put off thinking you need to be able to throw gigantic amounts of clay. I just claim you will be able to throw three times what you are currently able to. So if 3lbs is your current limit you will be making some 9 lb pots. That's not to shabby.
Last years Peter's Valley tech Nick is my tech this summer at Sugar Maples. A young promising spark that fell off the wagon on his way from Utah. 
Let me know if you need some more information.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May I Help You

One more day of sporting the blue vest emblazoned with "How may I help you?" and the smiley face logo.
Tomorrow we revert back to studio clothes covered in clay and our own faces become smiley. I've come to the conclusion I like making pots more than I like selling them. After 30 years of retail I am ready to become a pottery introvert and  wholesale to stores. We did have some of our students and friends drop by which was so nice and so thoughtful. They can come any ole time and we don't need to have an open house for that.
Some old customers came and were in shock as to the new work. I started my morning by reading Page 236 of Micheal Cardew's Pioneer Pottery. This is my favourite page on Ceramic philosophy. I wish I could have chatted with old Micheal. I have read this page on  more than a yearly basis for over 30 years. It helps me to keep course
Micheal says" The essential thing is that the potter does not merely follow what his public wants but leads it, so that in the end they want what he wants. " It is important that people see that your work is alive and often that requires change. Just like our move it is difficult! Ok, blue vest time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Art Mob

is out tonight. All the participants in the WHAT tour stagger around to each others studios tonight for a wee look and a wee nip. A younger person must have thought of this as we will turn into pumpkins very early tonight after spending the day getting our house and studio ready.

Here are a couple of the hand built trays and little olive bowls.  The cup rack is usually in our kitchen filled with our favourite cups of other potters. A person can't have enuff good cups.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Content Providing

Apparently we are no longer potters, musicians, poets, painters or jewelers. We are "Content Providers"! What the hell is that? I am a potter and I rather like that moniker. If you have a day this weekend here is a great little itinerary for you. Go to see our show "High and Low" a survey of the pots of Sheila and Tony Clennell, then trip over to The Hammer for the WHAT tour (West Hamilton Artists Tour). We live in a great hood with lots of great antique stores, used clothing stores, pubs, restaurants, bakeries and there are 10 studios to visit.  Emily Carr is in town this weekend and is 15 minute walk from our house at the Hamilton Art Gallery. Hamilton- where art is the new steel.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

High and Low

Starting tomorrow May 5th there is a "survey" of our work from the past 25 years. Thankfully it is a survey and not a retrospective so that means we're still alive.  Titled "High and Low" it will be showing at The Burlington Arts Center from May 5th to July 29th. If you are in the area please go have a look. It includes work from our 3 potteries. Gleason Brook Pottery on the Bruce Peninsula, Sour Cherry Pottery on the Niagara Peninsula and now our new unnamed pottery in downtown Hamilton. We gotta stop moving around.
When you make the number of pots that we do it is hard to keep track of where the gooduns' are.  We own probably 5 pieces of our work. We are indebted to customers that have become friends that have collected our work and they have graciously loaned it to us for the show.
Jonathon Smith has done a remarkable job of curating the show and wrote some really insightful thoughts about our work. Never thought of us as wabi sabi potters but I do know that the work we like to make and use shows marks of process.
High and Low  means a bunch of things. Change in latitude, change in attitude, change in temperatures, change in life style, and probably most of all the ups and downs, highs and lows of making a living as a couple of potters in the 21st century.

Friday, May 4, 2012

European Foot

Hey Liz. You shouldn't mention the tidy rim it just makes me want to undulate them even more. I must admit you do have to pay attention to the cup when drinking from it. Pick a low spot or you could wear some bourbon on your shirt. Yes, it is another way I force you to look at the cup.
For decades I trimmed what I call an Asian foot which references the nod on a stalk of bamboo. With a switch to e-ware I look to it with more of a European foot. I exaggerate the foot. This is also a lazy man's way of trimming. Just push the excess clay down with a sharp rib to form the foot. The courtyard in front of the workshop is starting to look nice.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Not everyone's cuppa

I posted pics of these pots on Facebook today and God and Gary didn't like them. Good God they're ugly! said Gary. On the other hand Phil Rogers sent a thoughtful comment Phil wrote: "Tony...these are terrific. Its hard to take a medium and, with all the history, make it your own. These are quite different....very nice indeed."
I was pleased with both these reactions as we have made a living for some 25 years making pots that not everyone likes. 33 years ago I built a wood kiln when oatmeal and iron spots were all the rage. Then about 13 years ago someone told me "shino doesn't sell!' We made our living for the past 13 years from shino. Now shino and wood fire are all the rage and we could have rested on our laurels and been the grandparents around the bonfire.
We are both thrilled with this huge tray of colours and are liking the uptown contemporary look.  It took us about 3 years to nail the shino and even then when we thought we had it figured out it would nip us in the butt.  I figure you'll have to cut us some slack with this e-ware.

Here are the wee bourbon sippers and Sheila's diamond wall pieces.