Monday, June 30, 2014

Excited to see the kids

Right smartly after the Chris Snedden photo transfer workshop on Saturday I'm off to the Toroonto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Philips Square in downtown Toronto to see my kids. I'm excited! Well, they're really not kids and they really aren't mine. The ceramic line up at the outdoor show this year is owned by Sheridan students that I have taught and corrupted over the past decade.
Here is the line up as best I can recall:
Amber Zuber, Alix Davis, Andrew Kellner, Deb Freeman, Hannun Lynn, Joon Hee Kim, Julie Moon, Lauren Blakey, Lee Ann Janissen, Lindsay Montgomery, and Patrick Yeung. I am soooooooo proud of this bunch of fine makers. If you want to see some great ceramic work run don't walk to TOAE. It is usually hot enough to fry an egg on the concrete so take them a water or relieve them so they can go to the beer tent.
I don't have pics of all of them but here is Andrew with Emma who is my companion for the journey into Teeeeee Ohhhhhhh! Then there is Amber with dogs and friend Jen Drysdale. I have taught Jen at Pinecroft and I am going to poke and prod at her to apply for that show next year. Jen's work is really catching fire in the past year.

So the one with the Fruit Loops is actually my daughter Robin. Her and friends kicked off Pride Weekend with a breakfast of Fruit Loops.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Here is a big SHOUT OUT to all my gay friends in the arts community. I am full of pride to call ya my friends. My daughter Robin  goes to the Toronto Pride Parade every year

to support her many friends in the gay community. Way to go, kiddo your ole man is proud of you.
Here are some dish clothes Robin bought me which are a pretty sweet addition to the man cave kitchen.

More and more

These days I need more and more, less and less. Knowing when to leave it alone can be what makes it all work out best. I think this has something to do with life and pots. When we first start out we try to do it all- stamping, sprigging, poking, texturing, brushing, slipping and almost everything we ever learned at pottery class all at one time. With age comes a certain restraint.
I'm not sure I'm growed up quite yet. Here are a couple of my dinner plates that are going south of 49. They have paper resist decoration, white slip, handles,pink shino, iron brushwork and of course handles. Maybe in my next life I'll just make a plain white plate. No forget that notion. It feels good being me.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Welcoming a hard workin' troubador

I have just finished up the "Shino First" course at Pinecroft. What an amazing group of makers. I can't tell ya how blessed I feel to get to be a part of this learning clay process. People came and met friends that seem to have jelled.
With that course put to bed we now look forward to next Saturday with southern Ontario's prodigal son Chris Snedden doing a one day workshop on photo transfer. Chris is the real deal having been in the trenches for a couple of decades carving out a living and an identity.  What we try to do best at Pinecroft is appeal to all the senses. So if you want to come for a clay day stay over for a night of amazing guitar music with Graham Warthrop the leading acoustic guy from the land of Kiwi- NZ.
It's all on the website. t

Friday, June 20, 2014

Guilty as found

  There are a number of reasons why I should be banned from a our local guild sale and I just added another one. I use a cadmium red stain to get my pink shino and cadmium is a big no-no at the guild sale. I maintain we eat a whole lot worse things than are found in glaze materials. I'd take a key lime pie on a lead glazed plate long before a Big Mac from McPukes. I'm totally pumped with the pink shino and asked Cassara to throw a few test tiles for me. I said fairly large but she went so far as to throw us a new bag wall for the wood kiln. I'll need to make a 10,000 gram batch to test my new glazes on those test tiles. I got an orange cadmium stain I'm going to mix with yeller and red to get a nice peach shino. Many shinos are orange but I want a tin pink peach that is almost like the inside of a shell.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The weeds in my garden

Well I'm just off a 5 day workshop with Chris Campbell where she demonstrated coloured clay here at Pinecroft. Admittedly colour is intoxicating. I threw some of that Frost clay or what is supposed to be clay to demonstrate swirl and coloured handles. Man, I struggled with that stuff in the handle dept. I cam home believing that pink was the new black. But at home a couple of vases served to remind me that as hard as one tries you can not compete with Mother Nature. Here are some weeds from my garden displayed in a Sunshine Cobb oval and a vase from Ronnie the Rat's Ratagama. These vases serve as a canvas for the weeds to beautify my man cave. I call them weeds since if I had my way I'd pull them all out and have a firebrick lawn. Ahhhhhhh that is where the term flower brick came from.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Down right nasty

I have seen a picture of Allison Coles Severance without a beautiful smile on her face. She is slugging bricks with a smile. Dealing with a washed out driveway and studio with a smile. Firing a wood kiln with a smile. I took Allison a cup with my nasty handle that is designed to hurt when you pick it up. I told Allison that perhaps that would wipe the smile off her face. Well from the looks of it it's going to take more than I can muster. Keep smiling Allison, it is contagious. t

Saturday, June 14, 2014

How can it be?

Somewhere back in the 90's on a road trip between Logan, Utah and Salt Lake City David Funk who arranged my trip to USU put Guy Clark on probably a tape deck at that time. I instantly loved his song writing and it began my passion for Texan singer song writers. So in Cascade, Maryland Blair Meerfeld knew of my liking for Clark and gave me an article to read on his newly released CD- My Favourite Picture of You. It is about his wife who had put up with so much shit from him and Townes Van Zandt. So now his wife has died and he has cancer but the worst part was that he is in the red to so many. How could arguably one of America's best song writers not be rich? It seems no different in this field. Dan Finnegan told me how Micheal Cardew lived so close to the bone and Ray Finch too. How can lesser talents prosper and these legends in their fields garner such high regard from peers and pennies from the market place? Here is a Guy Clark song _The Cape that I often play for my students on that last class when I leave them and they are about to go head first or walk away.
I ordered Guy's new CD My Favourite Picture of You and I anxiously await it's delivery on Monday. I hope a few bucks find there way to him.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Handles, forks and chairs.

I have a chair fetish and love to rescue the neglected. Here are three chairs I rescued from the old pottery. Two were used to hold the kiln door open and the other was rotting in the water of the old cabin. The blue ladder back chair with the leather cross hatch seat I think must have been a rocker as it sits pretty low. It really isn't functional but I love it so much I would hang it on the wall as a piece of art. It now resides in the bathroom to rest my clothes on while showering. The alligator bent wood chair has this killer orange paint underneath. I would love pots with this surface. My green ladder back I had a new rocker made at Sheridan. I need to decide to paint the rockers black or try a paint match.  Three of the most important inventions of the Northern Hemisphere in my humble opinion were the the handle, the chair and the fork. Forks may be my next fetish.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Blue and Gray

I left my new friends Allison and Blair after an amazing dinner of ginger shrimp and grits.  I was in the heartland of the civil war. Some in the south think it is still going on. I have friends both blue and gray and I love them all dearly. I feel like I looted the country and headed for cover over the Peace Bridge. I brought home some amazing pots from Allison and Blair. They wouldn't take money so I guess I owe them my first born. Hey, he has a good job and a good work ethic so it might be a fair trade. I just had to bring home an old Windsor chair. Allison sent me to the right place and my chair was right inside the door waiting for me. I headed north to drop in to visit the Rats- Ronnie and Hester. As always the welcome mat is out and I slip into their lives like family. I also should mention that I had supper with my soul mate Dan Finnegan and he sent me home with the best peanuts Virginia can grow-Hubs. Then in the mail was a lovely post card from Dan. What a man of total class!
You have to be a friend to have friends! I count myself one of the luckiest dudes on this planet. Thank you to my friends south of 49. I'd go to the wall for y'all!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Send the Envoy In!

I'm right across the river from DC so with 18 students on wheels to throw BIGWARE I phoned the President and asked him to send the envoy in. I have a couple of torpedos up my sleeve so I should be able to deliver a good solid hit. Great energy here at the Torpedo Factory. Blair Meerfeld is working his buns off here at this place and the mojo is showing with the students. Classes are full and there are lots of happy faces.  Blair even brought in musical entertainment for me. Tonight I get crabs and the blues. Spotted a blues bar in the downtown section. What a beautiful old city with real cobblestone streets and million dollar brownstones.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The BIG hair with a smile.

I landed in Cascade, Maryland at the lovely home of Allison Coles Severance and Blair Meerfeld. I prefer to spell it Meerfield as I am a Brit of origin and we like to colonize the world. Turning a Scandinavian into a subject of the colony is not such a big deal.
Allison truly does have a contagious million dollar smile and Blair and I have walked in each others shoes so it is like a home coming of sorts. The house has thousands of pots both contemporary and historical and just when you think you are visually overloaded they take you up to the attic where there are hundreds more. They even have Ronnie the Rats not on display in the attic. It is a serious addiction with these two. They cleared a place on a table so we could have a delightful meal cooked up lovingly by the Big Hair with a Smile.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In the pink

I have a very nice bubble gum pink shino that is showing my new age sensitive guy side. I've been doing a bit of brushwork with a high iron glaze that is looking pretty sexy. My mouthy former student Andrew told me I'd have to make 20,000 marks before I got a few decent brush strokes. Thanks, Andrew for your continued support- har, har!
I put some slip underneath with a wee swipe to cover my butt just in case the brush work ends up looking like a mark. I am the President of the CYA Club- Cover your


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hells Bells

I dipped my Finnegans today in a thick white slip. Dan's are easy to identify as nice functional vases. Actually his are VAZZES cause they cost over $100. My Finnegans are vases too, at least in my mind. Some people visiting the studio today asked Cassara if they were bells? Good thing I wasn't there as I would have had some smart ass thing to say like "Hells Bells they are vases hoping to be vazzes!" I love the look of pots freshly dipped in thick slip. They look good enough to eat. I should sprinkle some coloured candy sprinkles on them and hope one of the visitors eats one. Oh yeah, the other question today was "How much do they go for?". Where is Dennis Allen

when I need him?

Trimming with a garden hoe

This is a Pete Voulkos tea bowl that I like to visit when I visit my friend Ronnie the Rat. I love how Pete used something like a garden hoe to trim this pot. Marks of process are what so interest me in pots. Glazes not so much! I have recently seen pots by Bruce Dehnert and Lisa Hammond that are trimmed with a piece of stick. These sticks leave great marks of process. Hey,

I don't think they had Dolan's and Bison tungsten carbide blades in the Medieval days when I wished I could have been a fly on the wall.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness

I maintain that it is what you do when you don't have to that really matters. I wrote an piece for a catalogue of the Ronnie the Rat Show that was put together by friend and fellow potter Steve Driver of Arkansas. Steve did a mountain of work putting this show together for our friend Ronnie. Not only did he put the show together but he had an amazing catalogue of Ronnie's pots that included essays by friends including yours truly. My essay was entitled Ronnie the Rat- what else? I just received in the mail a lovely thank you from Steve and a handmade paddle he made. It came totally unexpected and most appreciated. Steve did not have to do that as it was my pleasure but I sure as hell ain't gonna send it back to him. It's sweet!
That's Steve in the MIT shirt at the table in Ronnie and Hester's house having a meal with the firing crew that assembled to fire the Ratagama. Potters really are the best in the world to hang with.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The woman of my dreams

Well here is a pic of the woman of my dreams. Actually I've had a woman in the house this weekend making good food and plucking flowers in the window sills. The family Stone ( Steve and Lise Corner Stone)  have been visiting this weekend and we have eaten well and talked pots until the wee hours of the night. Well, the wee hours for us is 10 pm. Getting ready to take off to Virginia and visit with Allison, Blair and meet up with new buddy Dan. Dan has got  a stash of my new addiction on hand- Virginia Hubs peanuts. Man they are good!