Friday, October 31, 2014

Pink Mohair Hat

Well it was moving day yesterday and today and I was sure that the first item into my new home was my Uncle Jimmie's pink mohair hat. When he died the family asked me what I wanted and the pink hat was to be mine. I covet it like the Holy Grail. Hell, I've even secretly talked to it and asked for advice about this crazy mudslinging life of mine.
The people I bought the house from were kind enough to leave me their dad's tools. You can tell a lot about a man by his tools. His work bench is nicely organized with all sorts of tools, screws and here is the tell tale item for me. There wasn't a Philips screw or screwdriver to be found. No sure he had only the Canadian invented screwdriver The Roberts which is by far the most superior screwdriver. The Philips is forever stripping and in general is a pain the arse. The old man of this house knew his screws. Gotta love a man that knows his screws.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No tables clothes

Well I'm getting ready for the 260 Fingers Show in Canada's Capital City- Ottawa. Man this is looking like a classy event with wine and finger food for the opening and a beautiful dinner Saturday night for all the artists. I'm bunking with 3 or 4 really top notch potters so I am sure there will be some conversation, much laughter and a tiny wee bit of indulgence.   I got this directive from one of the presenters- "just like it to be classy-like as we are all about showing ceramics to NOT BE cheap rubbish a la Guild sale-o-rama: NO TABLE Fucking Cloths for example". Oh this will set off the fires of my blog readers. Hey you want to be invited to an invitational show then live up to it. I've been at this almost all my life so it is time I took the high road. It is a traffic jam on the low road and it ain't doing much to educate the new demographic that are sizing down or the young that ought to be choosing interesting.
Choose interesting is my motto!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Emma gets nasty!

Well the walnut firing was a war! We fought to keep the firebox clean as the dang wood kept coaling up. We did everything under creation to keep the kiln from reducing. We had the woof, woof, woof  from the primaries almost throughout the firing. We struggled to get Cone 10 down after 36 butt scratching hours. Lucky for me I had a team of damn fine women to back me up. I wasn't sure we had got quite hot enough but upon opening it is the best firing we have had in 7 firings of the big bourry box. That walnut ash is the most beautiful soft yellow/gray you can imagine. Everyone in the group had a couple of real killers. Here is the team Emma Smith, Jen Drysdale, Unha Yi Hill and Amber Zuber. Unha is always eating so she has pastrami hanging out of her mouth- very attractive!!! Here are some of her paper clay/fiber tiles that were leaning against the back wall. Emma is starting a mountain range so she had some in the firebox, some on the bagwall and some back chamber- all are stellar! Congrats ladies- bon feu!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pretty nasty

Got my ladies coming tomorrow to get the big bourry box loaded and then we fire Friday and Saturday with all that walnut. I spent 2 days glazing and decorating. I've put some pretty marks on some nasty pots. I'm calling them marks and not brush work in honour of Andrew Kellner who will be missing this firing as he studies in Jingdezhen. He told me I had to make 20,000 marks before I would be any good. Ah it doesn't take the students too long to get sassy. Hey, he has been sassy since day #1. I guess that's why the student teacher relationship became a long term friendship. I like people that speak their mind. Amber Zuber is coming tomorrow and she is the female version of Andrew. Very perceptive and she calls what she sees. I think the world needs more people that have back bone. Wishing you were here Andrew. Have a bowl of noodles and a bing p
ijui for me will ya?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Here's to the corners yet to turn

I haven't done a show in a loooooooooong time and I thought I never would again. 260 Fingers in Ottawa is the brain child of my friend Chandler Swain and I think it may well be the path to follow. Good potters inviting good potters to be in a show. None of this I am a member of the guild so I get to show my pie cutter work. This is an invitational show, a badge of honour and not a right of passage. I'm rollin' the dice with this show as I haven't done anything like this solo for decades and the work I have made is somewhat edgy, somewhat nasty, somewhat pretty and nasty and if the kiln god's are kind could be the best in a long time. I spent the entire day glazing and decorating less than 50 pots. I would usually have glazed the entire kiln load. I go back at it tomorrow. I'm excited about the work and that is worth dreaming about. Here's to corners yet to turn.  Here's to bridges left to burn. Here's to the whole thing coming undone. Here's to the life of a potter!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Confirmation of my good taste

I picked a Joan Ulrich teapot as Best in Show at the Tableware Show at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia back in the spring. Of course you walk away wondering if you hit the mark. There were some awesome pots. I wavered between Eric Botyl and Mathew Schieman. Anyone of these potters would be welcome on my mantle piece. So it was somewhat of a relief to see that Joan got second place in the highly acclaimed Best Functional Show. Congrats, Joan you got a look about you that is working. I wish I could remember my juror's comments on that night but in a nutshell it was about attention to detail. Every single part of Joan's teapot was considered and a delight to look at. Here are some of Joan's pots.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

On the move!

It all hit me like a ton of bricks but I'm moving again. I hope this is my final resting place. Building up 3 studios in 24 years is more than any one potter has any right to try to do. I'm back full circle where I began at my uncle and aunts pottery. I bought a wee house a mile from work and I finally feel settled. I'm in the small town of Aylmer and I love it. People say hello and even talk to you. 

As most of my royal readers could read between the lines I am solo. My plan is to turn my house into a home where all friends are welcome to eat, drink, talk pots and stay over. I have always maintained that it takes a friend to have friends and I plan to live up to that. It starts next week when Amber, Jen, Emma and Amy? are staying at my place to fire the wood kiln. As shifts change we will be like ships passing in the night but we will celebrate with a feast when the beast is slain and we can rest. It sure feels good being me.

Finding my footing

Life has been a bit of a turmoil of late and I think these vases suggest that. The tops of the vases are probably referencing the state of my brain. I just arrived home last night from seems like a month at Sheridan. My term there is now over and as I look around my house it is not the way I like it. I am a bit of a neat freak when it comes to my living space. I need to spend some time on me and my house but that is going to have to wait as I move next week and I have a wood firing in the big bourry box with some of my favourite women. I'm rolling the dice with this firing as it will be all walnut and it's all the pots I need for my first show in years. I wake now before 6am with my mind racing of things to get down. Guess I'll sleep when I'm dead.
These vases are glazed with 70% local clay and 30% whiting and salted. I like easy glazes especially when my mind is so full of stuff n one

should need to know.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pimpin' my ride

Hey you're damn right I got the blues. I just took some pots to Reid Flock to have him photograph a few that came from Cassara's salt firing.  She was unhappy but I was elated. Hey if ya need a good photographer Reid is top drawer. Not only does he has an eye but he has the techno savvy down pat.

So since I don't have a mother in law I can't call this blue "Mother in Law" blue so lets call it "Cash Flow" blue. I'm in bad need of a few extra shekels.

Sperm Count

Hey Dennis the very mention of sperm decoration skyrocketed the comments, likes and visits even more than my faked hospitalization, my going nuts and my death. Sex sells, man! Thanks Holly for taking the ball and running it. I often feel like I write for about 13 people that are just about as maladjusted as I am.  I must have struck a chord. There was some great dialogue and there needs to be more of it. While I sanded the edges of some of my pots today to get ready for a wood firing I thought these are bad ass pots. These are not pots for everyone. These are pots "only a mudder would love!" How stupid can I be to think this could be my market and my livelihood?  A potter friend told me she makes what people want. Gee, I think I missed that memo.

Today is Canuck Thanksgiving and I'm having spaghetti. I actually like day old turkey and especially the soup more than the big meal. Memories of my dad on this day who always wore a suit and tie for Thanksgiving dinner. He also cooked dinner as my mum was not so good a cook.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of the clay community. You are the best, the very best!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cookie Cutter Potters

Johnnie Bauman thought that Carter and I might like a keynote address by Bela Fleck. To be honest I had never heard of the dude. I suffered through his keynote since I trust John knows his stuff. I must  say Fleck is no dynamo orator but he did have great parts to his message. Be good at being yourself! You have to play a long time to play like yourself- Miles Davis. He also made mention of cookie cutter musicians which had me thinking all day about how this relates to my pottery scene. A certain rock star potter on tour of the province did a squiggle of slip on the side of his jugs that I refer to as sperm decoration. Soon almost everyone in the province was doing sperm decoration. There was sperm everywhere. I believe he has moved on but his sperm remains. Many decades ago a Brit deva introduced my province to rolling a coil on a car floor mat. This effectively killed the pulled handle for decades to follow. Then you get a guy like Phil Rogers doing a workshop and yes the pots are simple and yet hard to do. Simple is hard!!! The wave he creates is smaller and yet one that I would rather ride than the big surf that so many like to pile on. Is it my imagination or is there so much sameness in clay at our local level? More than ever there is more room at the top than at the bottom. Thank you Johnnie for thinking that I belong in the thinking mans club along side Carter. Carter is waaaaaaaaaaay smarter than me. I was just blessed with a strong back and a weak mind so I keep getting knocked down and up I get.  I have no rationale of why. Carter would!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Playing dead

Ok I have been severely chastised by my loyal readers of this silly nonsense that amounts to being my life for yanking your chain. It is interesting though to see the number of readers skyrocket when they think I am nuts, sick or dead. Most know I am nuts but always enjoy seeing me fess up to it. Gee, thanx guys! Here are a few pics to show you why my trusty Mac ended up in the emerg at Mac General Hospital. They say that dust is the enemy of technology and my computer lives in the mud pits. Here it is visiting some of the third year Sheridan students on my one day crit with them. The computer is sporting the Hiut Denim label and Fat Matts BBQ and Blues club where I hope to revisit this Jan when spending some time with my Atlanta friends. I'm doing a workshop in Atlanta and helping Ronnie the Rat fire the Ratagama.

Looking forward to seeing my buddy Doc Agel over some bone marrow and sweet potato fries. Yes, he is my health professional from whom I garner all my good physical and mental health advice. Gee, maybe I am nuts!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Well I've had a week long celibacy from my computer. It went to the Mac Hospital for a serious bout of trash in the internal workings of the beast. I had over 38,000 things in my trash that needed to be given a powerful laxative to rid themselves of my past. They say the brain rules the body but I have found it is really the lower region that can shut down all creativity. So at least my past is long gone and only today and tomorrow matter. I had 52 Amish kids at Pinecroft today for a demo and talk. What great kids! There is always one kid in the pack that has eyes as big as dinner plates when watching you throw on the wheel. Since there were so many I never offered them to try the wheel. I did some hand building and they made some awesome stuff- snowmen, hotdogs, cowboys on horses, coffee pots with lids. geese, ducks and lots of really cool stuff. The kid with the big eyes had his buddy spin the Shimpo banding wheel so he could throw. Man, the little dude had the clay centered and was making a decent cup. To thank me they all lined up and sang a song to me. It was powerful and moving. What goes around comes around.