Saturday, November 29, 2014

What's wrong with this picture?

Last weekend we had a great evening concert in the Green Frog Tearoom at Pinecroft by some local boys in a band called Snuffy Jenkins. The lead singer and songwriter Brian Abbey had been with The Dixie Flyers for 40 years. He is an awesome songwriter and they put on a dynamite show. These are local boys from the little town of Aylmer.  I looked at Brian’s shoes, his sweater, his jeans and thought my why isn’t he well clad??? He oughta be on top of the world.  What we sacrifice to make art is amazing. He looked like he loved what he was doing and that my friends and $1.25 will get ya a coffee at the local donut store. Most of us that don’t have independent means and are trying to make work off the beaten path have subsidized this life with all we can muster. Hey if you have an extra $10 bucks order a Snuffy Jenknins CD.  I’ve been listening to it all day long. Good stuff from the heart.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lord, don't fix me yet!

If anyone has read my book "Stuck in the Mud" ya know I have a bit of a history with Mormonism. I took my daughter Robin to see "The Book of Mormon" the other night. Written by one of the writers of South Park so you know it was irreverent and naughty. I loved it!
  I read that a damn fine potter Brandon Phillips was working at Walmart and Carter wrote of another throwing in the towel. I thought "holy shit" I better make my pots more marketable cause I'm next! I've been working full tilt boogie and I think I may have lost my mind. God, I miss it! 2015 is a very exciting year for me with workshops and travel all over the dang world. So Lord don't fix me until after April of 2016 cause I'm booked to do the North Carolina Potters Conference then and between now and then I've got some pretty great dance dates. I'll be in a town somewhere near you in 2015. I am in GA, WV, Fl, Korea, Ottawa,  NJ(2), Wales, BC(2) and Italy. I also have this amazing wood fire mentor ship group that has us firing wood kilns all over.  In between all this I am organizing workshops for Pinecroft Centre for the Arts. Gee, I gotta make some pots in between gigs. A champion is a dreamer that refuses to give up. Give me until 2016- please!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

5 hot and dirty women

These 5 women are part of my wood firing team for the next year. 4 of 5 of them I have had my way with them. One vestal virgin to go.  I've warped and twisted their minds and lead them down this path of fire and brimstone. Well, I haven't lead exactly, but I have done all I can to keep them hot and dirty. It has been consensual, I promise.   4 of the 5 have been my students at Sheridan and now are part of a mentor ship program offered by the Hamilton Potters Guild. I am very pleased with this small legacy of mine. I have some damn fine people covering my well exposed ass. So from right to left we have Anne Marie, Catherine, Evelyn, Barb and Teresa. Two of my other Sheridan students Emma and Chris also part of the mentor ship program dropped in to help out. This is my retirement plan. Nurture some damn fine people to fire my pots when I am a arm chair wood firer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sleeping with a rat

Here is my guest room that I call the Rat's Nest. I have a collection of Ronnie the Rats pots in this room. Ronnie happens to be my favourite contemporary potter and he is one of my good buddies to boot. I am thrilled that in a little over a month I'll be making the trek down to Georgia to help fire the Ratagama along with a collection of good people I can't wait to toss sticks with. I got a bunch of good ole boys in Georgia I am anxious to see- Steve, Doc,  Carter, Ted, Jeff,Wade, Glenn and others. Ronnie and Hester are the ultimate hosts. Their home is your home and we eat, drink and laugh a lot. I have to redeem myself this year as I completely turned my killer chicken wings into charcoal last year. To say my mind was on a different planet was an understatement.
So to spend some time in the Rat museum is like a holiday for this cowboy. There is a chicken plate on the wall outside I have liked for probably 5 years now. I think it is time to come to nest.If a potter needs a place to stay and you're in my town you got a place sleeping with a rat overlooking you.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Found me a couple of hot babes

Well, I'm broadening my parameters in the search for the perfect hot babe! I went to the birthday party of my cousin Brenda's mums 100th. She was joined by her older sister Helen who is checking in at 104. She was at the tearoom for lunch today so she arrived at the party politely late. Hey and they are both single! I tried to get them both to smile for the camera by saying sex and whiskey but it didn't register a grin. Either they couldn't hear me or they don't remember either bringing all that much happiness in their lives. To think Tress was driving her car up until 6 months ago. Aylmer where I live has a disproportionate number of old people driving cars. I am very cautious around 4 way stop signs. You see a car coming at you with a steering wheel and below it a small head like creature. It's an old person with a license.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ain't misbehavin'!

It's been about 8 months since my old buddy (Tommy) the  Thomas Stuart wheel and I have danced together. I've had other dance partners but I do like my horse- Tommy. . It was like being reunited with an old love.  I ain't misbehavin'! I'm doing the laundry, cooking some turkey soup and making some pots with no "FU" element to them. These are easy pots for me and I need them in a hurry. I'm supposed to be mentoring a great bunch of wood firers and we are firing this Thursday and I ain't got a pot to piss in. I do now have a window to throw it out so life is good. I quickly put together a working basement studio yesterday and was making pots last night. I felt 27 again. Now laundry to be folded, shirts to be ironed and dishes to be put away. A man's work is never done!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Class! Some have it, some don't!

Some display class and others just don't! My daughter Robin showed up this weekend to my new digs with a bottle of champagne and a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. Yes, that is a Matt Scheimann jug, Dan Murphy vase and smaller one by Lindsay Oestritter.  Nice company for Robin's flowers. I'm proud of you Robin. You display class!!! You were raised well.
Today I delivered some of my pink shino to a gallery I sell at to be told by the manager that there had been an anonymous complaint about my pink shino. A shino glaze with 2% pink stain in it for a colourant. The pink according to the supply house is 1% zirconium encapsulated cadmium and 9% zircopax. Why didn't anonymous contact me so we could have some dialogue?  So now I have to dig up documentation and send off a sample of the glaze to BSC Labs in Pennsylvania at a cost of $50 USD. I will do it though as I think there is just too much of this witch hunting going on that is putting back the advancement of ceramics thousands of years.
I wear my scars on my chest and not on my back. Cowards run and hide anonymously. I write this blog and express myself publicly not anonymously. I am certainly
not always right but you know who I am and how to get in touch with me.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Wild Bunch

Here is the group photo from last week at 260 Fingers in Ottawa. I can't believe a week has gone by. It was a great show! I sold some pots and

I made a lot of good contacts. It still amazes me that some of my clay heroes have hung in so long. Most have supportive partners that help with the sooooooo many tasks involved in making and selling pots. Read my book "Stuck in the Mud" for the comprehensive list of over 150 things we do in the life an everyday studio potter. Oh, while I'm pimping myself if you want me to send out my book to a clay friend just say the word. I'm thinking Christmas reading with a hot toddie.
Send me an email at It's $20 plus shipping and I send ya a Paypal invoice. Thanx!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ashes of War

I cleaned out the firebox of the walnut firing today. God, I have never had this much ash and to think of the buckets of coals we racked out during the firing. It was a war zone! I even had to crow bar a ledge of crusty melted ash about 8 inches up the throat arch on the bag wall. The inside of the kiln is a grey matt ashed surfaced. I'm rethinking this total nut firing. I have some ash cut and stacked log cabin style that should be ready for the next firing to mix in with the walnut. I do love the ash from walnut but it sure makes ya scratch your butt. There is really nothing more humbling than a stalled wood kiln. Even the primaries above the hobs(firebox)
are covered in black soot. We just couldn't keep the kiln out of reduction. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Veteran's Day

It is a coincidence that 260 Fingers piggy backs on Remembrance Day. I am home from a successful show with many of my clay war heroes. I have known these people, their work and their sacrifices for the craft of clay for over 3 decades. They are my heroes! I was able to catch up with old friends Leta and Don Cormier, John Ikeda, Richard Gill, Tim Storey, and of course Chandler Swain. New kids on the block Reid Flock and Bill Reddick are friends of the last two decades- mere rookies. New friends were made and as I drove the 7 hours home I thought of how craft has changed and the vets have hung in there. On our tombstones it will read something of what we left on this earth. Mediocrity is the enemy of the good and all of the 260 rise above that. It was my very pleasure to be in such good company. You have inspired me to soldier on. I'd rather work till the final breath than sit on a beach sipping a drink outta a half a coconut with a umbrella straw. I made my students promise if i croaked during a firing  they would prop me up beside the firebox, put some of the devil's liquid on my smiling lips and continue the firing. Dang,
I like potters and hanging with them.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Eye Candy

Having a great time in Ottawa at 260 Fingers. This is a classy show with the opening serving FREE wine and snacks to all. I expected Tara Lynne Franco to show up as she has a nose for free wine. I am staying along with 3 other potters Reid Flock, Rita Redner and Bill Reddick at the beautiful home of potter/core member Sheila Williams. Sheila has wonderful art in her house and a collection of chairs that I of course love to bits. Here is a Jim Thompson plate that is just killer. I loved his work. Such an early death for an amazing craftsman.
Last night we had a wonderful dinner at the home of Victoria Henry Director of the Art Bank of Canada. Hey talk about an art collection. The Art Bank collects work of Canada's major artists and sculptors. You can tell we are an aging group as the party was over at shortly after 9. In my other life I would have headed out to a blues bar, closed the joint and went back to Frank Tucker's room for Marguerita's and we'd watch the sun rise. Now memory offers more than hope.

Anne Doyle got her basket. She chose pink over blue. Pink is the new blue. So good to meet Anne and David in real life.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Blues or Polka?

Well I've got the van packed and I'm wondering what I forgot to take. There will be something knowing me. There is not much I can do about the work I'm taking. It's set in stone and any thoughts I have about marketability and how to survive the winter is all just a dice throw away. Good thing I don't do this for a living! Ooops, I do!!! The one thing I remember about shows was watching some do the polka and me getting da blues. I'll keep ya posted! I don't need a lot of customers. I just need some gooduns. Ann which basket do you want. I'll save it! Gee after the week you've had I feel like giving it to you. Chandler wanted a cup so that is two sales. No wait I'm staying with Chandler and Mike on Saturday night so I'll want to give the cup to them. My whole world is potter friends. I always want to be generous. Choose different and live life generously is my weekend mantra. To all my friends doing the Hamilton Potters Guild Sale this weekend all the best of luck. Watch that Iris isn't boot legging her killer red VW Van cups out of the back of her car. It's a hanging offense don't ya know.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Very Dangerous Men's Work

Well I've been sanding, pricing and packing all day long getting ready for my drive to Ottawa. I'm stopping off in Kingston to spend the night with my friend Jane Thelwell and her dogs Fish and Chips. I wish Jane would write an article on the current day Guild scene. Jane did 4 tours of Bosnia and as a former Major she pulls no punches. We will go out for dinner and solve all the problems of craft in less than a bottle of wine. Well maybe not! Then up at the crack on Friday to get to Ottawa to set up for the show. Someone remind me why I stopped doing these shows some years ago. The up side is being with my friends. Potters are the best in the world to hang with.
So I'm pooped and decided I would do the very dangerous work of a man and spark up the grill. I'm having a rib eye, a nice salad and a glass of grape(strictly for medicinal purposes ya understand) and then down to the basement to do laundry and finish packing. A man's work is never done!

President of CYA Club

I am the self elected President of the Cover Your Arse Club. I am up early and off to unload some pots from the gas kiln. I have some qing hua (blue and white) dinner plates and cups coming out. I really love these as a contrast to the other wood fired nonsense that I do. I found a chun clear glaze that is a baby blue that I can live with and it looks handsome over Andrew's black slip and some thick white slip. I have then added cobalt blue brushwork. I am layering and layering more parts to the surface these days. I wonder what Freud would say? Never mind Freud I'm thinking about my friend Grass who has kept pushing me to find that sensitive side of me. God, it's been a long hard haul.  Hell, I even thought I might take flowers to Doc Ric Agel when I go stay with him in Georgia. It's good being me!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Getting fingered!

I'm getting a few photographs done before I get fingered at 260 Fingers in Ottawa. Reid Flock who is also doing the show is doing the photography for me. Hats off to Reid. I think the white background makes the pot pop more and I am really very pleased with Reid's work. It almost looks like you could reach out and pick up the basket. I have been terrible at documenting my work over the past decade and I am so pleased I can turn this over to a guy with an eye and feeling for pots. Reid is bringing his photo set up along with him to Ottawa in case any of the other fingers or readers of this blog are interested in his services. Hey we potters have to do a variety of things well to stay alive these days. Thanx Reid- top shelf! Reid said his wife coveted the long tray and asked how much I was charging- I started to stutterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I hate the pricing part. I need an agent.

bourbon coming your way this weekend.

New Age Sensitive Guys

My Georgia buddy Doc Ric Agel is forever posting pics on FB of these amazing smoothies and soups that he prepares. He thinks he is the only new age sensitive guy out there. Ha! It seems lots of potters have an interest in cooking. I'm not all that interested in the process but I am enjoying thinking about how I can use the food that is available around me. and I am interested in eating healthy.  Since I am busy unpacking the stuff for my house and packing the stuff for the 260 Fingers Show in Ottawa I thought I better clean up all the veg in my fridge and have a meal that is good on the run. So Doc, turkey bones and left over Thanksgiving turkey, kale, potatoes, red, green, yellow peppers, garlic, tomato, mushrooms, onions, fresh parsley from my window and a couple of spoonfuls of Korean hot sauce since I like HOT! Oh yeah, a bit of curry, some ground black pepper and a titch of that real salt from a mine in Utah.
A big bowl of this and a hunk of the bread I get from the Amish stand down the road and you got a meal that sticks to the bones.
Hey Doc!  I'll eat healthy till Jan then we have to go back to Fat Matt's in Atlanta for some southern BB-Q, a couple of wobbly pops and The Blues. Glenn Dair has a beauty old red pickup called Miss Lizella
we could go to Fat Matt's in. We would totally look like good ole boys and shake this new age sensitive guy image.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wanna borrow my chainsaw?

This is what I give people when they ask if they can borrow my chainsaw. Nope, I don't loan out my chainsaw. It is my fault if it is dull or won't start. I don't want the have it cut through dirt and nails so if that happens I am to blame.
But speaking of borrowing. I need to borrow some advice from my friend Dan Finnegan about pricing. I have been accused of being the cheap guy on the block. Ya Iris I still hear you chastising me for the price of my teapot! Trouble with this wood fire stuff is that not all pots are created equal. I have some cups here that are killer. They should be at least double the price of the lesser ashed pots and now that I no longer have a retail space the thought of wholesaling them for 50% off really puts them in perspective. I really can't afford to wood fire pots for wholesale at my current pricing. SOS, Dan!