Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lone Pine

Sheila made me a new chop mark for my pots this year. It is the 65th of Pinecroft this year so I figure this little mark will be on my one off pots fired in our wood kiln. They'll also have my TC that I have used for many years. For about ten years I used a  "t" but it started to look too much like a cross and I had people start talking religion with me.
On another topic Ronnie the Rat is having his retrospective in Arkansas this coming week. I loved the banner of child's art and Ronnie's. My grand daughter Ava loves Ronnie's goat plate and refuses to eat off any other. Adults may find his work angry while children see the humour. Wish I could see the show.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our first hands on

I'm just back from Pinecroft where we just had our first hands on workshop. What a great group of makers I had at this workshop. I teach them to make work that looks like mine. I teach the 3 i's as explained to me by Stoner Corner- initiate, and innovate. Make my work as best you can and then take the initiative to innovate and make the process your own. I was very pleased with the work the group produced. Some of the potters were old pros and some weekend warriors. What pleased me most of all were the results that could be seen by professional instruction.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Half an apple.

I once again raided the molds at Pinecroft. I had always loved the half an apple dish that I used to slip cast as a young man. This dish is still in use in The Green Frog Tearoom and for sale in the showroom. Cast in a white porcelain it is an attractive little dish. I decided to use the two halves as press molds for some little bud vases. I thought about making a porcelain leaf to put on it but that would be too literal. The one mold looked like a pilgrim bottle or flask so I put little lugs on the shoulders. I'm not sure I resolved the stand for these. I probably need to make some sort of a press mold to complete the look. Making individual pots is hard. It takes time to resolve things as it rarely happens on the first try.

Those little white rocks are pieces of feldspar a friend from Alberta gave me. He claims he has to get them in a rattle snake infested cave. That should make these very expensive!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Our House

Hey this workshop at Pinecroft Centre for the Arts is not until November.  I'm just so happy to have Harlan come out to do a workshop and I just had to share it with you. He doesn't do many workshops and will not do any in universities and colleges. Sheridan College being his only recent exception.  Reasons he will undoubtedly share with you on this amazing weekend. Harlan is one of our most decorated porcelain potters. His awards are for studio work, not teaching, not anything other than fine porcelain.  We're very pleased with how things are shaping up at Pinecroft. 

Making dishes for ourselves….A weekend workshop by Harlan House RCA

A weekend workshop for potters that want to make useful, beautiful dishes.
The weekend will be one of demonstration on some of the fine points of using
porcelain for the potter who cooks and eats and knows how to wash up

I have been making pots for almost 50 years, and while I still have lots to
learn, I am getting the hang of it most of the time. I will attempt to show
how to make the useful things we all need into works of art.

Most people in our modern world know all the fine points of a cell phone,
and show almost no interest in the fondling of a dinner plate rim. This is
a dilemma for potters who fondle rims quite regularly, and encourage others
to do the same. There is no app for that. But we lead by example, and
actually make dishes that we love to use.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


The past week the news was covered with anticipation of white smoke from the chimney. The world awaiting a man in bright red  slippers,  a gold lame slip under his moo- moo type dress, and a sweet Mad Hatter Hat  to direct the world on the  wrongs of gay marriage. I figure I needed a new look to command some authority so I have taken to sporting some new hand made lime green sockets. Hey, they match my glasses. Potters have moved on from tie die to neon.
Thanks Drop Stitch Chris for the new booties. t

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Aunt Cavvy

Today I resurrected the press mold my Aunt Cavvy made in 1947 while at MacDonald College in St. Anne de Bellevue in Quebec. This is where she met my Uncle Jimmie and the 47 year career in clay began. I celebrated her art work today by making some squirrely candelabras. There are many days I'd like to fire squirrels to Cone 10 in a wood kiln.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

White Smoke

I'm missing our kiln BIG time. I have hundreds of pots just waiting for the woodie to be built. When you see white smoke a pot will appear.   I keep piling the pots in the basement waiting for May to arrive. I have porcelain, our high iron stoneware and our Helmer Kaolin wood fire clay all just waiting the arrival of spring and the BIG ERECTION! I hope to be able to fill and fire the wood kiln lickedy split.
We are firing a gas fired glaze kiln next week with some hopeful glaze tests. I'm pacing the place waiting to turn bisque into gold.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Waiting for Godot

This old building was erected to house an Olsen Fast Fire Wood Kiln we built at Pinecroft over 30 years ago. After the building was erected the kiln was never fired again. So after 30+ years of my meanderings I'm home to fill this old building with a big bourry firebox wood kiln. I have been scratching my head as to what name to give this new kiln. With the permission of my partners I'm putting forward the name "Jimmie". It is a tribute to my Uncle Jimmie who because of him my cousin Brenda and I are potters. Because of him so many have made a life in the arts. Not to ignore my Aunt Cavvy's contribution but Jimmie was the kiln, the fire , the work horse. I will be able to talk to him each firing when I spark the first match.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lively Conversation

A few weeks ago I posted a recommended read Michael Cardew The Last Sane Man. I did the same on FB and it has stirred some lively conversation. Dick Aerni a potter I respect as one who has walked the walk commented on Cardew being a conflicted man. A comment to which I agree.
 Here is a little ditty from  an article about Michael Cardew by Edmund de Waal
he quotes him as saying "Are you a craftsman or not? Answer yes or no" and then says 'This is the quintessential man, interrogative, animated, cussed. A man whose life comes down in the end to his passion for pots: pots to hold and use,pots at the center of people's lives.'

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Potato Chips!

This past weekend at my workshop in Atlanta I made one of these buckets. I said it was a flower bucket. A woman potter said she would serve potato chips in it. I thought oh, oh I better get home and put a wider handle on them so that they are really not kitchen pots.  I also want to save America from junk food. I used that horrible white stuff called porcelain. Wish I had some silica sand to add about 30% to the clay so as to  give it some tooth.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More schoolin'

I had a nice couple of days with Ron and Hester Meyers. We met over 10 years ago and we like to tell everyone it was love at first sight. Let it be said we feel comfortable in our own skins when in each others good company. I had one of my former students tell me she hated Ron's pots because they were so mean and angry. Really???? I think she needs more schoolin'! Lots of attitude to be sure but angry???

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chickin n ribs

I couldn't decide which plate to order when I was visiting with Ronnie the Rat. I brought home the pork cause I like southern BBQ and I can do chicken at home. Had a great time at the Spruill Center and then went to stay with my southern rat friend Ron. He arranged for me to do a lecture at U of Georgia- Athens. A whole bunch of good potters showed up. I do love that southern hospitality. Here's a pic of the boyzzzz- Yours truly, Ronnie the Rat and Ted Saupe- Head of Ceramics.

Here is a picture of Ron's wall of shame. He has a couple of our cards up there and now he can add this poster.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Georgia on my mind

Well thanks to my friend Doc Agels I did a workshop at The Spruill Center in Atlanta. I met Doc last year during a workshop I gave in The Catskills and he has become my advisor on all things healthy. We went to Fat Matt's on the Saturday night after the workshop for ribs, bourbon and beer. Doc let his hair down and was chowing down on Wonder Bread, gravvy and the previous day took me out for beer, sweet potato fries and bone marrow. Perhaps I need another health consultant. Doc and I went to the High Museum to see the Freida and Diego Show and guess who was in the gallery. Our Georgia friend Ronnie the Rat Meyers in the company of Voulkos, Viola Frey, Akio and Rudy Autio. Hey not bad company to keep.