Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Silver Wings

are taking me away. Really excited to be presenting at the Potter's Festival in Wales. This has been a life long dream come true. In my opening introduction I will be sure to let everyone know that the cutie arm piece 28 years younger than me is my daughter and not my date.   A potter friend from South Africa -Tracey emailed and told me she has a cold beer waiting for me. What a small world this world of clay is. I have been sooooooooooooo blessed to be part of it for my entire life. Can't think of better people in the entire world to hang with. You out there are all part of my clay family.
Robin and I will visit the Hiut Denim Company that I am a fan of , off to Newcastle on Tyne to venture out hiking and see our part of the world where the Clennell family worked in the damp dark coal mines. At the end of our journey we are hoping to hook up with my former student Amber Zuber in London. Amber has been accepted to the Royal College of the Arts for her Master's degree. The gospel according to Clennell is spreading far and wide.See ya in cyberspace! Hugs. T

Monday, June 29, 2015

A man's work is never done!


I’m as proud of my English heritage as the 5 Korean masters were of theirs. I have always loved the herringbone pattern in brickwork, in jackets, and in pots. So with these last few pots I thought I would celebrate my being a Brit with some herringbone and the puncheong decoration I learned in Korea. Let’s call it a celebration of two cultures.
I made a couple of the bowls into baskets for my friend Ann and I went over the edge of minimalism for my stand up guy- Dennis.  As you all know a man’s work is never done so I’m still working on pots when I ought to be packing. A potter friend of mine Wayne Cardinalli said most people tip toe to the edge of the cliff only to find it is 11 miles away. I am not one of these people. I go to extremes and then walk back that is if I don’t kill myself in the process.
I did some circles of puncheong and some rouletting of herringbone. What I like of the puncheong circles is pushing the soft clay out to form these umbrellas or shields. Let’s call them shields or witches hexes to protect me from harm’s way.  Man did I put some honkin’ handles on these babies. No mistaken who made these! Developing a signature in your work takes time and dedication. Then you have to bet your bottom dollar.  Believe in the work. Believe in your creative force. Say yes when everybody else is telling ya no.
I’ll send pics from across the puddle. I'm going to show them some handles. These last few days  has just been me warming up. 

May even have a pint for y’all.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bowling for Dollars

After my post about the boats and what on earth are people going to use them for I decided to spend Saturday night going bowling. I made some 3 piece bowls and while making them Andrew and I listened to the blues and talked pots. He made a great suggestion that I went to bed on, woke up and was so excited to get to my pots I didn't even have time to turn the radio on. He thought my ribbon handles needed to be beefed up at the edge. Not be so ribbon thin. So with some sleep I came up with the pulled handle on each side of the hand built handle. Some would say "excessive" and I would answer "excess is never enough."  I have built a reputation on one single element of a pot- the handle. Go big or go home!
You asked for some better pics of the boats. I will have them photographed but until then Andrew took these pics which are a big improvement. Hey Doc the red shino is one where I added alumina oxide as a replacement for the kaolin. I'm diggin' it! Nice and brain like inside.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Putting the FU in functional

We unloaded the bourry box today after what we thought was an 8 hour stall that turned out to be an 8 hour soak. It was a damn sweet firing. It was probably the best of the mentor ship firings yet!!!! My cousin Brenda is all complimentary of functional work coming out of the kiln but when it comes to mine she said what could you ever use those for???? Chris Dunlop answered" Tony puts the FU in functional!" I loved this response. A creative mind would find a use for these boats if they needed to-flowers, bananas, a pile of strawberries, I dunno. . Andrew thought I needed to make some more before I headed for Wales so he did some prep work for me. I love them and I have no idea in hell  what someone might want to use them for. Maybe to just stare at on Saturday night while listening to Randy Bachman's Vinyl Tap or Holger Petersen's Saturday Night Blues. Hey Young Chul I did pay attention in Korea I just needed my own space and my own time to make puncheong my own. What I love about pots made here in America is that we infuse our own identity into our work. At my workshop in Ottawa a week ago one of my students said to me" I have have been watching you make your pots for the last two days and I have to tell you that my description of them is "generous and friendly". Wow, I love that! How do your pots describe you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hot dogs

The Hamilton Potters Wood fire mentor ship group gathered at Pinecroft to fire the bourry box wood kiln. The kiln sailed up to Cone 10 in 24 hours on some ash and pine. We held it there for another 8 1/2 hours. This was not really by choice. The kiln just decided it wasn't going to budge another inch. So with time and temperature equaling heat work we got a Cone 11 flat on the bottom and just tipping at the top. I was a little puzzled by the kilns reluctance to move but I guess the information lies inside. Wood kilns are designed to keep you humble. Just when ya think you know it all they bite you right on the arse. It wasn't a nasty bite but one that wakes you from a sleep. What a great group of people I am working with. There was talk of them getting all emotional and teary eyed when this is all over in January. I know the dogs will miss them. Here is Roxy and Maggie getting some luvin' from Emma after they swam in the pond. It is hot work for a dog to supervise a firing for a fortnight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blundies, sneakers and berkies

Well the wood fire group are here to load Cassius Clay the big bourry box. He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. We have a nice load of pots and the wood is prepped and ready to go. This time we have a nice mix of ash and some pine for finishing. We are half way thru the mentorship and I am very pleased with directions everyone is heading. I think everyone is starting to get comfortable in their own shoes. If you're going to walk the walk you need to be wearing sensible shoes.  Jen is wearing the steel toe Blundstones a great choice for a wood firer. Chris is in the sneakers. Her boots are in the car- I hope. Catherine has the berkies and the sun dress. Hmmmmmm we will need to talk. Long sleeve cotton is best even though it is hot and sticky just like the pots are going to be.
As I write this Cassius Clay is in the capable hands of some now seasoned firers. I'm going to Johnnie's Restaurant for my greasy spoon breakfast. I missed my Sunday treat. On a sad note Mrs. Johnnie sold the business and I am going for the first time to train the owner on how to treat me. I will miss Mrs. Johnnie saying " Good morning, dear!"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Keepin' the rock rollin"

Well I just got in from a workshop in Ottawa where I set up a show and then had a two day hands on workshop with 12 keeners. It still amazes me how I can make some good saves with pots that look like there is no way possible to help them survive.  I had a knickname at Sheridan as Mr. Mojo because of my ability to correct a problem. It just comes with the magic of your hands and not giving in.
I was then able to visit my son Jay and my two grand daughters for Father's Day. My pride in being a father is surpassed by the pride I have in the great job my son and his wife Denise have done in raising Abby and Olivia.
I am pooped from the week, the driving, the being on and now I have to get ready early in the morning for another workshop of sorts. My group of wood firers are arriving to load the big bourry box tomorrow. We fire Tuesday and Wednesday. I need to either glaze for a gas firing or start making so that when I get back in  mid July from Wales I have some pots. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I am off to Wales next week to present at the Aber

ystwyth International Ceramics Festival. This is a really BIG deal for me. I just have to keep this rock rollin'. At this moment it feels like I am pushing it up the hill.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Howlin at the moon

Last night I couldn’t sleep with all the stuff that is racing around in my one last remaining brain cell. I got up and threw two pieces for my 32 lb moon jar. I’m getting a fuller moon using the sectional technique that I have used and known for almost 30 years. Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it. The only chuck I had handy for trimming was a five gallon round pail half full of glaze so that worked just fine. I put two handles on and thought hey if two looks good then four will look even better. I do love the look of pots when they are wet and especially that thick slip when it oozes out around the handle. The hills and valleys of the moon will be the perfect landing place for falling wood ash.   big moon jars and fill a giant anagama and fire for a week. I guess I’ll have to wait for my next life for that luxury. I need to make some cups to keep the wolves from howlin’ at the moon. This post looks like an ad for Skutt.  I do love my Tommy Stuart's.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Phamtom Ghosts

Y'all know I luv da blues! Last night I bought " I wish I were in heaven sitting down" by RL Burnside. I thought hot damn he wrote that song for me. Except I don't wish to be in heaven. They say you go to heaven for the view and to hell for the good company. I'm afraid of heights and I have made a life tending to fires with some dang fine company so I guess I know my final destination.
I'm glazing today for a wood firing load next Monday with my wood firing mentor ship group. I'm off Tuesday to set up my show at the Dust Evans Gallery and then do a two day workshop in Ottawa. going to spend some good times with my friends Jen Drysdale and Chandler Swain. We'll be sitting by the Mississippi River (the other one in Ontario) shooting the breeze and partaking in a cocktail or maybe two. Then I'm off to visit my son Jay and my two grand daughters Olivia and Abby.  Haven't seen them for awhile so I'm excited. That's what I mean about sitting down. Life was supposed to slow down and get easier. Mine has sped up!  It just seems there is more to do with less time to do it.
I haven't given up on the digital imagery so I am putting wee ghost cranes on my pots. I like to think of them fishing amongst the rocks. Besides cranes are my good luck charm.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I put on 8 lbs.

I made 3 -18 lb moon jars. My last attempts were 10 lbs.  I then added about 3 lbs of slip to each one. It was too much for the one and it collapsed. Too bad, so sad just get over it and start all over.
I'm starting to get the shape OK and I figure another 500 of them and I'll make a decent one. Stayed tuned because I don't give up easily.
I am having a problem with my blog. I used to write it and then go to Facebook to post it and voila it appeared. Now I get a picture of Adam Field doing a demo. I think he must want to move to Canada or he has hired a hacker from Pakistan to invade my blog. I hope my IT expert Emma can save this dinosaur from extinction. I am hopeless when it comes to the computer. I just love to write and hope all goes well after I put fingers to keyboard. Perhaps I am being told to know when to hold them, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run. Everything has it's time and place. Perhaps I need to move on to lawn bowling, chess or tiddley winks.