November 29, 2007

In The Studio Today

Hand cutting the edges of dinner plates with
my very special pimped out cheese cutter. (or
as we old timers used to say hot rodded cheese cutter.)

November 28, 2007

Pot #59

In the Research & Development Dept. we have this quietly fantastic piece of pottery made by Daniel Seagle, a 19th century pottery from Lincoln County, NC. I first saw this fine and subtle pot at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh 2 years ago. It's also in the companion catalog of the show, "The Potter's Eye" by Mark Hewitt & Nancy Sweezy. That's where I have been looking at it lately: in the corner of my studio where I gradually stack up books during the course of my cycle of work. This pot slays me. No doubt this shape/format was repeated by Seagle and many other potters for storage of food, serving of food, etc. This pot has survived the countless times it was used, as evidenced by the many little chips along its rim. From my experience this type of edge on a pot is vulnerable to chipping, yet this pot had enough clay to spare and has nicely "rounded off" over the years. Yet the squareness of the rim is intact and leads the eye to the overall shape that at first glance (and second, and third glance) looks square. But the measurement shows that it is 9" tall by about 8" at its widest. Not quite square, but by banding just below the rim Seagle has tweaked the proportions a bit. The handles or "ears", placed just below the ridges around the rim give this pot its sublimely anthropomorphic look. It may be without literal mouth, nose, or eyes, but this "head" listens, standing stoic, waiting. This stroke of brilliance happened not by the use of calipers, or labored thought, templates, etc. but probably exist here as a result of all the jars that Seagle made up until this pot. I don't mean to say that this pot was a fluke, but it was made with many others like it. It was made in the course of a day's work. In our information age we can share with the world great things like this jar, I am influenced by these great pots. I'd love to hold this pot and "look it over". I'll add it to my list of pots to "look over".

November 26, 2007

Message in a bottle

I promised Chris Luther that I'd upload this as evidence that we in fact made pots in Norfolk and tossed'em in the harbor. This jug lasted about a half an hour. As we observed, the jug was plugged at the mouth, but the bottom gave way first. It opened up and took on a little water. Then to our surprise it righted itself and floated for a little while longer. I've heard of salt glaze, but salt slake? Enjoy.

In the studio today

November 25, 2007

Visiting an Old Friend

A view of the stack in the Barns kiln. Nov. 17, 2007. Matt Kelleher's pots are at the left.

November 24, 2007

Visiting An Old Friend

It's been a while since I've had time to write. Recently, I teamed up with Matt Kelleher and fired the salt/soda kiln at the Penland School of Crafts. This kiln was built at the Barns by Tracy Dotson and Suze Lindsay in 1993(?). During my residency(1998-2001) I repaired the kiln every other firing. Something was either melting, sagging, or cracking, but the kiln produced some nice pots. This kiln is a true survivor. At 14+ years old it's had quite a history. Suze fired the kiln during her residency, then Terry Gess fired the kiln until 1998, and I came along and fired it until 2001. The kiln somehow escaped demolition and in 2005 Matt and his wife Shoko Teruyama became residents and Matt revived the kiln. I must say it is firing very nicely (thanks to Matt's kiln compassion!). Old salt kilns never die, they just slowly melt away. Here are some of the pots we got out the kiln last week.