Saturday, June 30, 2012

I'm slippin'

These pics pretty well sum up the week I've had. My timeing has been off all week. Slip them when they are too dry and the surface has dozens of blisters or air pockets. Slip them to wet and the handles fall off taking half the pot. So getting the pot and the handle to be just right is my current mission. If my resume wasn't covered in 30 years of mud I'd like to apply to be a postman.
Another group of cups is waiting for me to kill them this morning. They are under plastic resting while our kiln is firing in the studio on this 37 degree day. Talk about a hot house.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Will work for food

Here's how tuff I have it working at Pinecroft. After a long day of throwing pots, glazing and loading kilns they make me go fishing for my supper. The scary looking guy with the shades and the Hell's Angels look is my cousin Brenda's son Chad. He is the skipper of the boat and all round handy man at sea. We went out on Lake Erie to fish for perch. We caught over 100 between Brenda, Chad and I but kept 37 for our feast. Man there ain't nuthin' like Lake Erie perch deep fried with Herm's killer potato salad. You can have your Pacific salmon. Me I like perch or pickerel (walleye south of 49). Hey doesn't that pic of me look like Canada's Jack Nicholson? If I only I had a fraction of his doe rae me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tank top, shorts and a Stihl

Here are some pictures from Peter's Valley, NJ. The one with the knobby knees and the chain saw is Amber Zuber a Sheridan student that is the tech at PV for the summer. What a great experience including the chainsaw massacre. I would have rather seen chain link chaps, face mask and steel toed boots but hey in my youth I survived a knick on the knee from a chain saw when sporting Birkenstocks and shorts. Never again!!! Here is a pic of Amber, Susan Harris(Instructor and Professor from Utah) Andrea, Rhoni and Habiba. All of these students received partial scholarships to attend Susan's course on reduction cooling. I hope one of them applies that colour palette to their work upon return to school.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Salt of the earth

Yes, that's me. This is a salt glazed jug of mine from the second firing of the Sheridan salt kiln. I used my Cone 04 black slip and got this Wally Keeler like surface. I am giving a workshop this August at Sugar Maples in the Catskills and I will be including a salt firing. Since it is a week long workshop on making your work larger I ask people to bring 4 or 5 pieces bisque fired for the salt kiln. Otherwise people rush the first two days to get something in the kiln and we basically waste our making time.
Sugar Maples Center for the Arts
August 2-7
Size Matters!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jobs, Hope and Cash

I gotta give credit for this post to the The Jammin' In the Cabin Band at Pinecroft. A decade ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnnie Cash. Now we have no jobs, no hope and no cash.  It may not be altogether true but everyone I know is working harder than ever before for the same or less money. It was supposed to get easier. Good thing for us potters we like our jobs.

Hot Car =Hot Babe

 If you're going to drive a hot car you're bound to pick up a hot babe. Here is the grand dame of Pinecroft, Tress Caverly in a 1915 Gray Dort built in Chatham, Ontario. Tress was born in 1914 so they both run a little slow but start up like a clock each morning. Tress looks like royalty in the purple outfit.  There is a 6 pack of beer under her seat. She was driving all over last year but at age 98 has hung up the keys.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lemon Aid

I teach Introductory Ceramics at OCADU- Ontario College of Art and Design University in downtown Toronto. Tell me this isn't a cool looking building. The students are cool too and I love teaching there. It is a a great culture from the receptionist to the janitor. Everyone is friendly and most helpful. It was week 4 and as you all know throwing is hard and these creative people start to get frustrated with their beginner pots. Their hands won't do what is in their minds so I send them home with a lemon and tell them to bring it back next week as a cup. I am never disappointed and the students love the assignment. I offer prizes of my cups and my clay supplier Pottery Supply House in Oakville always gives me a t-shirt or some brushes to present.  Lemons are frozen, cast in clay, sewn, baked, wired, fluted, folded and the imagination is the limit. Here are some pics. Does it look they are having a bad time? Lots of smiles, laughter and a new crop of mudpushers.

Friday, June 8, 2012

God's slip

Dunking your pots completely in white slip sure can identify the flaws in the making. They say God works in mysterious ways and this time she decided to get to me thru a white slip. I've been listening to Terry Allen's "Give Me a Ride to Heaven" where he picks up a hitch hiker that is JC himself and JC drinks his beer and steals his car. The Lord works in mysterious ways and tonight boy he's gonna use your car!.

I just checked! My car is still here but I lost a few baskets and teapots.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The businesses that will be successful in the next decade will offer an experience. At Pinecroft experience is offered up in spades. Here is the summer line up for music. There are continual summer Sunday jam sessions. I'm there this weekend as The Jammin' in the Cabin Band  have guest Kiwi guitar guru Graham Wardrop playing with them. Chad will be on the grill serving up the burgers and word has it 350 tickets have already been sold. I will be in the studio answering 1. Where does the clay come from? 2. Have you seen the movie Ghost? 3. Is clay hard on your hands? 4. Is that oil furnace in the corner your kiln? 5. Do you have a real job?
#1. The ground
#2. I starred in it.
#3. My manicurist at the spa thinks so.
#4. No!  That is the furnace.
#5. No one else will hire me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Promotion

I got the keys to the Executive Washrooms at Pinecroft yesterday. The summer music season is kicking in and the new Jimmy- Jons have been moved on sight to handle the visitors to the studio. I have a sink, a mirror, soap, towels, no visiting chipmunks and they clean them weekly. Ah the life of an executive potter. Here is a showing of one day's throwing of bowls. Those that think the life of a potter is making a bowl and spending the next day waiting for it dry have a rude awakening.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Get a Handle On It!

First weekend back in the workshop and I had to tackle this disconbobulation that has overcome me. I figure I would take my own advice and put a handle on it. For good measure I doubled the handles. I have been looking at Oribe ware but I need to not copy Oribe but make it my own borrowing from the tradition but making it contemporary. It can dry under dry cleaners plastic for the next couple of days while I think about how to slip and decorate it.  Where is the decorating fairy when you need him?

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I just went back in the studio today. Haven't made a pot for us in over 6 weeks. Sheila says I'm getting forgetful. I claim I'm just disconbobulated! Wrapped up Sheridan, had a show at Burlington Art Center, an open house here,  did a workshop in Frederick, Maryland, started back to work at Pinecroft and OCADU, rewired the entire basement of the house with Sparky the electrician and getting this grand ole house in shape can present me with a thousand reasons not to make pots.

A felllow potter Reid Flock dropped in the other night for a few wobbly pops. He had come for some inspiration. We stayed up till the wee hours and we laughed as we are not the ones to be an inspiration to anyone right now. As it turns out Reid's visit inspired me! I am making some peony shaped bowls inspired by some oribe bowls I saw. Mine of of course will have overhead handles. Focusing on getting back to the studio will help me overcome the disconbobulation. Now what was I going to do this afternoon? Oh, yeah go to the studio.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Brits are Coming

It seems to be the "in" thing to study in Japan, China  or somewhere in the Far East. Many of my influences can be attributed to Europe and 4 excellent potters are on a panel at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art this coming Thursday. I'm hoping they have something to say about the direction of ceramics in North America. From my vantage point some of the best and most exciting pots are being made today in spite of the chipping away at the studio pottery movement by Academia. Guilds are full to over flowing with people wanting to make pots and art school ceramic programs have embarrassingly low numbers. What's up?
I'm back this summer at OCADU and I have a full class of 17 with 14 working wheels and students that wanted in were turned away.