Saturday, April 27, 2013

Public Art is for the Birds

 I am very proud of what we are personally doing at Pinecroft to build Pinecroft Centre for the Arts using our own energy and money. This is all being done without the help of any government money. Today  I get a note from my friend Ying-Yueh Chuang about the eviction of the studio program at Capilano College in BC. Are we part of Harpers plan to have private enterprise fund the arts? It has been shown time and time again  the economic impact of the arts on this province and our entire nation. Maybe Harper doesn't understand  Terry Allen's line " Public art is for the birds!" Git it Steve- the pigeons, sparrows and robins etc. etc. I can't ever remember mixing politics into my blog. My blood is boiling this morning. Shame on those that think we can live in a world without the Arts.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jim Thomson- RIP

It is with sadness that I heard today of the passing of Jim Thomson. Too early for such a talented maker. One of my favourite pots EVER is a basket form by Jim  in the extensive collection of my friend Judith Graham. The pot is inspired by his backyard pond in the fall. The depth of glaze is amazing. If I ever stayed at Judith's house I might embarrass myself and ask if I might sleep with that pot.
Jim you will be missed! Rest in peace. T

Potters Shoes

They say you can tell a potter by their shoes. I have always bought quality. It all started after I read Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance. Wearing quality shoes in the pottery is rather destructive. I wore my Keens in the studio and damned near ruined them. They looked really awful! They were dried out and looking like garbage material. I went to the local cobbler to see if he could put some life back into them. They look almost new again. He said "These are good shoes! People bring me shitty shoes and say fix them. I tell them if I fix this part , that part will tear tomorrow.
Although I hate those rubber Crocs that is what I really should wear in the pottery. Hose them down at the end of the day. Going for a nice walk in my old happy Keens. They are the most comfy shoes I've ever owned.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Will work for food

No this is not a group of homeless people. It is a few of the students firing the wood kiln at Sheridan College this weekend. They usually bring in some pretty good food so I came in to chop some wood. Some have pots in this firing for exhibition this coming weekend. They say pressure makes diamonds so here's hoping they have a nice hot firing with lots of racers contained within.  My daughter Robin picked me up and took me to a civilized restaurant for lunch.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


A woman in my class came in with a teapot she purchased in the 70's while in Banff. Anyone care to guess who made? She purchased it for $25 which she thought was a bargain at the time. There was an old tea bag in it as she was still using it.  The curator at the Burlington Arts Centre said if she would donate it to the collection he would give her a tax receipt for in excess of $3000. Not a bad Return on Investment. She said no she would rather continue to use it for the occassional tea. It had a nice locking lid and the giveaway lug on the handle.
If you guessed Micheal Cardew you can move to the front of the class. I never thought his stoneware matched the lovely English slipware. Micheal would have been in his eighties when this pot was made.

Friday, April 19, 2013

AKAR- Yunomi Show

AKAR is the best pot shop in the country and it's stuck out in the middle of the corn fields of Iowa. Each year they invite 200 potters to send in 5 yunomis. The show opens at 10 am in the morning and usually by supper time most of the gooduns are gone. If you have some time go on line and take a look at the cups. There are a lot of good cups being made in North America. I am always thrilled to be asked. Good gallery and excellent people to deal with. They work hard for their money. They usually take 3 great photos of each pot.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Big Erection

Here is Uncle Herm after preparing the floor of the kiln shed for our big woodie. Bricks are arriving daily by the thousands. I hope we all still love each other after this is all over.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Your library

I maintain that potters should fill their homes with good pots made by others. Don't fill your house with your own pots. It is like talking to yourself. Surround yourself with good pots made by the best.
Also have a library full to over flowing of books on your subject- Ceramics. My buddy Bruce Dehnert has just published a book on Simon Leach. Bruce is a hellava good writer and he has some pottery family tradition to work with in this book. Add it to your library- I have! t

Monday, April 15, 2013

Black Velvet Painting

Well the third hands on workshop is over at Pinecroft and to be honest I'm pooped. Teaching means giving of yourself all day long. My workshops seem to spread into the night so I'm home today after unloading a glaze firing. I'm going to get the Black velvet painters of ceramics knickers in a knot since I am now giving that raku lustre look to high fire ware. Imagine ware that you can actually use with colours that will stay permanent!

Our local red clay is shining beautifully on shino. I think I'll dig some up and start selling it at gold prices.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It grows hair

I was at the Burlington Arts Centre today glazing some work for a gas firing. I used the shino glaze with soda ash in it. Soda ash grows hair. I have a shower cap on right now with my scalp soaked in soda ash. I'm hoping to wake in the morn with a full head of hair. Add a bit of RIO and I could be a red head or some black iron and I could be Elvis. Don't tell anyone of this amazing discovery till I pitch it to The Dragon's Den and ask for $500,000 and 25% of my company.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Potter's as Rock Stars

For  any of you potters that are planning to come to the total Ronnie the Rat, perch and music event please sign up soooooooooon. The musicians can draw hundreds or thousands and the best potter in the land can only draw 13 muchkins, a troll and 6 winos off the street. So what is happening is the music and perch fry are filling up which means any potters that are coming for the total experience will be SOL for dinner and music as it is getting full.  The workshop with Ronnie will be awesome but staying for dinner and music afterwards will make it a Woodstoke event.

Size Matters 2

Here are  a few of the pots from our second Size Matters hands on throwing course at Pinecroft. The one woman looking at her pot has been throwing since September. I maintain I can teach you how to throw faster than I can teach good handles. Handles are harder!
We are doing our level best to make Pinecroft the place to learn how to make pots. Our workshops don't end at 4pm. This past weekend after the workshop we all went to Port Stanley to a restaurant that serves the best Lake Erie perch and chips in the world and then back to my Uncle Herm and cousin Brenda's house at Pinecroft for some wine and my Power Point on a potter's 4 month study in Jingdezhen, China. We are receiving many rave reviews of the workshops and the total experience.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Whirlwind 5 days.

I did a Atmospheric workshop at The Burlington Arts Centre on friday, went to Wayne Cardinalli's show at the Carnegie on Friday night, did a two day sectional throwing workshop at Pinecroft and then did two days of production throwing for the showroom. First let's look at Wayne's Teapots and More. Wayne  gave the first workshop I ever went to some 30 years ago. We built a castable salt kiln and melted it on the first firing. I knew then that Wayne and I would be life long friends. I've learned so much from mistakes I think I'll keep making them.  Wayne had 44 different teapots in the show. Try that some time!!! Here is Wayne and a cute chick.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Class of 2013

Tonight was the opening of the 2013 Sheridan Grad Show at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. It really was a hard decision to narrow it down to a winner. The winner received $500 cash and a show at the Gardiner. All five jurors picked the same two students. I call them the A team - Anne Marie Row and Amber Zuber. Anne Marie used a Dremel tool to pierce all of her work in black stoneware and porcelain. Amber used the narrative of baggage that she is carrying after the death of her father. Here is a pic of Amber and her proud mum. Amber took the prize this time. There is the Sheridan grad Best in  Show that in my mind is the big trophy. Anyone's guess for the next show.

Vulnerable Persons

I am doing an Atmospheric course at the local arts centre. In order to do this and get paid I had to visit the local cop shop and pay $50 to have a back ground check done. Apparently if you teach the elderly or young children(vulnerable persons)
this now a requirement. I told the officer that I am over 60 and that I might well be a danger to myself. After nearly 40 years of teaching I needed a background check. The walk to the station was in a bad part of town. I really felt like I was in a strange land and that I might well be the only sane man on the street. There were people having parties with themselves, crazy eyes, running noses, swearing, smoking and shopping carts full of their lives. I guess it is wise to check out your teacher. The world has changed!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Size Matters

There is still room in the 3rd session of Size Matters at Pinecroft. I keep extending it to another weekend due to demand. Number 2 will be this coming weekend and it's full. The week end of April 13th/14th has a few openings. I keep the group under 8 so we have lots of room and the intimacy for dialogue. Saturday night we went out for perch and chips in Port Stanley- yummy!  Then we came back for some wine and I showed my power point of my 4 months in Jingdezhen the porcelain capital of China. A good time was had by all and some nice pots made. If you have the time and the inclination love to have ya. The photo credit for this early rising hard working dude goes to Drop Stitch Chris.

Jimmies Shed

Work starts early at Pinecroft on a cold morning. They work me like a dog! Here is a pic of the shed my Uncle Jimmie and his sidekick Guy (pronounced Gee) built to house a fast fire wood kiln that we built some 30 years ago. They built the shed and never fired the kiln again. I went off wandering the world and my cousin Brenda built up the The Green Frog Tearoom. Well, we're united again and plans are under way grow the seed of a teaching facility that my Uncle Jimmie and Aunt Selma planted some 65 years ago. Herm is leveling the floor for a concrete pad to be laid. Seems my uncle Jimmie never used a level. He would always laugh and call himself a fine finishing chainsaw carpenter. In less than a month the kiln will be started. I can hardly contain myself.