Friday, November 30, 2012

Ladies of the Knight

Here  are a few of me ladies of Sheridan that fired the woodie yesterday. It was a text book 24 hour  firing with Cone 11 flat front and back. The students that had the night shift had a cold evening in the kiln shed with not much heat from the kiln. They wrapped themselves in blankets, lounged on the chesterfield and drank hot bevies. A pot luck was planned for the day of the firing. Funny that people seem to swarm around food and many never even visited the firing. I thought pyromania was a requisite of being a  potter/ceramic artist. As a young potter I was mesmerized by fire like a deer in the headlights.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Teach to learn

If you think all I do is disburse information from this blog you're wrong. It is a diary, a search into myself, a questioning of work made and all that kinda stuff. A few posts ago I showed some platters with handles and Dan Finnegan said " Hey I put handles on plates too!" I had a look at Dan's and here is my interpretation. Thanks, Dan for a new way of walkin'! Put a coil on the rim and then pinched.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Old Yeller

I'm back throwing my stoneware clay "Smokie's Hot Bod". Yeah, I named it! Feels good to throw a clay with some sand in it to give it some backbone. Micheal Cardew one of my favourite philosopher/potters said " a handle should have a backbone'. With these double pulled handles I then went back and pinched them to form the backbone. I like leaving marks of process in the clay. If you look closely you can see my thumb nail marks. A handsome glaze will show that off.
I have trouble with platters come winter with the rims drying quickly and splitting. I use these rings to set on top. It keeps the rim from lifting and slows the drying. For students on a budget I tell them to use the tops of their pizza boxes and cut a hole in the middle. Don't worry the platters will be receiving handles in the morn.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A red ski jacket

I remember going to look at goose down jackets. They were expensive and I wanted to buy one that I would wear and love for a long time. There was a bright red one that I  immediately lusted for. I thought to myself will I want to wear it everyday, tomorrow or next year? I walked out with a green jacket that I wore for many happy years. This is raku to me. I love it at first sight but I'm not sure I could live with it for long. I saw this little ash glazed bourbon cup by Phil Rogers today on Facebook. I can't help staring at it. I would enjoy using this wee cup for many years. This cup and that glaze/decoration have staying power.

A glorious day

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful sunny cool November day to do a raku workshop at Pinecroft with Reid Flock. I was interested in having Reid present his firing techniques since seeing his show at the Burlington Art Center. The work I saw there was very much like the reduction cool wood fired effects I had lusted for at Utah State. So 13 people gathered at the workshop overlooking the pond and we fired a bunch of pots. Much to Reid's horror the glaze application presented the most beautiful gasoline  in water lustrous red copper, and iridescent blues that everyone in the world lusts for. We laughed on the way home and I assured him that pots he fired sent 13 people away happy.
 The bright glitzy surfaces are very intoxicating and I understand why people drink them up like shooters at a stag and doe.  The dark somber colours are an acquired taste like a top shelf bourbon or a fine single malt. I wish I could afford better bourbon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Slippery Commute

Here is my morning commute at Pinecroft from the morning Jo to the studio. It had about 50 Canada geese on it this morning. That means one hellava lot of poop. That means slippin' and slidin'! I made some teabowls today from the clay made by Hermie the light weight our number one clay maker. This clays was soooooooooo short and so bad it is great! Try to get those nice nasty edges with prepared clay. Hamada once said a bad clay takes 7 years to learn how to throw and a good clay takes a life time. I'm  going to stick with Herm's clay. Bad means good as I was told by a big guy at the New Orleans Jazz and Blues Festival. A guy came on stage Ernie K. Doe. Everyone went nuts! I said who is that! This big guy beside me said Ernie K. Doe is the baddest singer alive! I said " He's really thatnbad?" He answered "No, bad is good!"
For those that don't know Ernie K. Doe had a hit in 1961 with "Mother in Law".

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Be still my heart

This post was going to wait till I got home from Pinecroft on Wednesday but I am too excited! I made these plates today and thought  who other than me would put handles on plates. I then wondered down the street to Locke Street to an antique store that always gets some killer ceramics. I saw this  18th century English pedestal bowl that stopped my heart. This person loves handles as much as I do and they're better at it. Dear Santa this bowl loves me and  I love it! It's only $160. I would care for it and caress it's handles nightly. There is bourbon and Amish cheese on the table Christmas Eve. I have been a good boy. Well, with a few minor indiscretions and wanderings off the path.

13 mug salute

On this Remembrance Day I take time to think of my Uncle Jimmie and Aunt Cavvy. Uncle Jimmie left the potteries to  spend 5 years in Europe fighting the Hun or Fritz as he called them. Probably not PC terms  but on this day I don't give a diddly damn. Here's to you Lance Sargent James Proctor Cowie Clennell and to you Selma Caverly of the WREN's- Womens Royal Navy.Thank you and thank you, again.
I am doing a 13 mug salute in their honour today. When my Uncle Jimmie died I went to the pottery to trim and put handles on the mugs he had made the day of his passing.

Thinking of you too Grass who I know spent much of childhood in a bomb shelter in London. Grass recorded this time in his blog and books.  We both were very much effected by the war. My time spent laying on the pine needle laden roof of the pottery listening to Uncle Jimmie telling me stories of the boys in the  potteries and the war. Wish I had recorded them.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snakes in the studio

On Thursday I was teaching the students to make thrown spouts. We then went off on to slab spouts and pulled spouts to hollow out. This morning  I tried 5 of what I'm calling a cobra spout . Getting the length right was a bit of an issue for me. Practice, practice, practice. I don't know if these are teapots or coffee pots. I also don't know if they are going to work or whether they will lean in the firing . If they don't work  they are ART and I will charge more.

Friday, November 9, 2012

All in a days work

As part of my job as teacher of Ceramics I like to take the students to look at good pots. The Burlington Arts Center is close by and has the largest collection of contemporary pots in Canada. Jonathon Smith Curator is a wealth of information and is very enthusiastic to show the students the works in the vault. Nice to get up and personal with Cardew, Leach, Ferguson, Hamada as well as many other top shelf clay makers.

Fortunately there was a dinnerware show on which showed the Center's 20 years of selecting comtemporary Canadian dinnerware. I do love the set by Colleen O'Reilly Lafferty. My grand daughters would giggle with joy to dine at this table setting. 
We went to an awesome fish and chip shop for lunch and then back to the studio for some Tony demos. To be honest I could have had a nap.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mug and Bowl

Each year at Sheridan faculty, alumni and students gather together for the weekend to make pots for the Christmas sale. We eat some pizza, make a lot of pots and catch up with what's going on in the clay world. There are some of my flower baskets in the foreground. Students will be dipping them in white slip and doing some great decoration.