June 30, 2008

Still More Pots

Maybe it's seeing these pots through a lens that is helping me process, but here are a few more from XXVII.

This plate has a tiny hint of pink at the top rim. I usually get a lot more of this pink, but in this firingit was rare. Maybe to much salt? Too hot? Probably the latter.

Here is a little bowl dedicated to the little fly that infests my studio every summer and eats clay.

I didn't forget to paint birds on my pots altogether, here is one tiny example.

One of the tree of life jugs.

More Pots From XXVII

One of the few glazed pots in the firing.

A platter

Devil in the Details

Here are a few details that I shot Monday evening. I think the bisque slip looked the best its ever looked in the cooler and less salty spots. The crackle was great when it didn't crackle right off the pot. Contrast was good, and wax resisted areas were juicy.

an extreme example of bisque slip failure to stay on pot, or BSF2SOP.

Some Pots From XXVII

I'm beginning to appreciate the pots from this firing and get over myself. Here are a few of the pots I have been looking at this evening. Of course I didn't mention in the previous post that the results of the firing always exceed the expectations of the potter, eventually. After all, that is why I am using this kiln.

Before & After

It's never what you think it will be, expectation is beauty and the beast. To have expectation or imagine what a glaze will look like or how it might become after a certain trial of fire is an acquired skill when glazing a pot, yet when the pot is revealed after the burn, the expectation can overwhelm and destroy the seeing of the true pot. I always joke that the pots get better every day they are out of the kiln, at least in my eyes. For someone seeing the pots for the first time, the pots are "free of imagination" in that person's eyes. I hope that makes sense. This concept will always intrigue me, although today it is a real bitch. Tomorrow the viewing will be better, I'll take another look and I will begin to see the pots.

What all this means is that I spent most of the afternoon kicking myself and replaying the firing in my head trying in some way to explain to myself why the pots looked the way they did. I could make a list and lay out some theories but as I have written about before, my creative involvement is over now, and that's the bitch. The pot's will be fine, and I will be fine. Acceptance is required now and that which isn't acceptable will be my motivation for change in the next group of pots.

I am reminded that "the kiln is the teacher".

Still Hot

I just checked the kiln (again) and it's still a bit hot, even after 3 days...I didn't quite melt the lens on this slightly fuzzy shot, but I did feel it in the distal phalanges. Check back later for pictures of pots out of the kiln. So far it looks good to me.

June 26, 2008

Race to the Finish

Wow. It was quite a finish to the twenty seventh firing, tonight. Courtney Martin Rocks!!! The Snow Creek Fire Team finished at a little before six p.m. with a race of comps (small thin pieces of wood) to heat a lagging bottom. With the small wood we were stoking almost continuously. What a hot one! Here's CM with her posse. It's not easy to stoke around a dog, not to mention two!
I can't thank Courtney enough. I'll be first in line to stoke her kiln next month. Well, I have to chink the kiln with mud, have a gin and tonic and hit the sack. Its been a long day. Tomorrow we head to the beach for a weekend wedding of friends. I'll be back on Monday to give a peek inside. Have a great weekend.

The Overnight

My overnight shift is over, thanks to my wife, Stacey, who likes to come on early in the a.m. The birds sounded like a symphony tuning their instruments.

The kiln is at about 1000*F as I write this. I will go back on after a short nap and my neighbor Courtney will be here at 10.
Have a good morning

June 25, 2008


Just a quick shout out to all of you who have left comments, compliments, and such. I appreciate it.

I'm off for my disco nap and will get the burn started after midnight. The kiln is almost ready, just have to rake out the ashes from XXVI and clean up the site from today's horrendous events. The door bricks are in horrible shape and I replaced about 20 brick that had broken into too many parts to keep together. Enough is enough. Well after I bricked up the door, I moved to repair grate bars and some general maintenance. I accidentally found a hornets nest in a concrete block and was lucky to get away with one sting on the chin before I bolted away saying things my kids shouldn't hear me say. I took it easy the rest of the afternoon.

So, it's off to bed I go and will check in tomorrow afternoon with a kiln-side report. Weather should be nice enough. Here is a picture of some of the pots stacked in the kiln.

June 24, 2008

XXVII Loaded

Just finished loading the kiln this evening after going up to "The School" for slides. My buddy Mark Shapiro is teaching this session. [More on that next week.] Mark had a really nice slide show, where he talked about 'tertiary' interests and influences. Concerning some of his current work he referenced minerrets and early writing on clay tablets. I couldn't stay for the after-party, but I'm sure everyone had a good time. Anderson Cooper, just back from Africa, was being wisked in with his entourage. [4: S.Royce: just kidding, again]

Here are some pre firing pics.

The back stack

The front stack. Boy, it all looks the same except for a few yellow looking pots. This will be the first all-salt glaze firing (excepts for a couple of straggling glazed pots from XXVI)
There are a couple of Lindsay Rogers pots mixed in there. She is a resident at the Energy Xchange. [spelled xchange, really]

See Lindsay's web site here.

Tomorrow I head back up to "The School" to get some soft brick for my door and check in with Mark's class. I'll remember to take my camera and report back to all of ya'll who couldn't make the after-party. Then I'll check the stack one last time, brick up the door, clean out the firebox, and take my disco nap for the all night 'lobster trick'.

Loading the Wood Kiln Today

This is the last time that I will schlep the pots across the Yancey County line to load into the wood kiln. WoooHoooo! For those who haven't been here, my kiln , located next to the new studio, is about 15 minutes from the current studio. Each firing requires wrapping glazed pots at the old studio and trucking them to the kiln, then unwrapping said potteries and loading them into the kiln. After the firing the pottery is wrapped back up and taken back to the studio and unwrapped to be put either in the showroom, or packed back up and shipped somewhere. Now with the new studio sitting about 20 feet from the kiln, I imagine I will have about ten days on my hands each year. Another WooooHooo. Of course, with a bit of procrastination and butterfly chasing that will soon be frittered away. Oh, well...

June 21, 2008

Will Baker Blog

My friend Will Baker (up on the Roan) has a new page about his pottery here.


Well it's Saturday and the reality of all of the painting still needed and the late nights are catching up with this old man. I decided to put the firing off until mid week to get everything done and remain sane and married. Here are a few pictures of what I have been up to in the last few days...

Brownware: The Exciting Conclusion

The End

By the time this posts I will hopefully be loading the kiln. I hope you've enjoyed this little pottery fairy tale. Burning on Sunday. I will try to post some of the details. Have a good weekend.

June 19, 2008

Brownware Part II


If you missed the beginning you can see it here.

June 18, 2008

Tow It

I had a close call last night. As I pulled out of my drive onto the road my Honda went CLUNCK, CLUNCK, skreeech...and stopped, leaning a little on the drivers side. The ball joint busted and the front end was sitting on Snow Creek Road. Sorry the MeTube crew wasn't on hand to film.We remove it from the road before any traffic showed and towed it to the garage. Luckily I wasn't going 60mph down a curvy road!

I will be driving the truck in the coming days to bring pots to the kiln. I started decorating last night and will continue to bisc fire today after cutting a little wood this morning.

I have meaning to post this children's story "Potter Brownware". This is a book we first found in the Bakersville Public Library, in the kids books. We have since bought a couple copies online as presents. I like to show this as part of my slide talk. I will try to post a couple a day. Here goes.


Doug: I think we could write your story as Potter Slipware, just change a few elements of the story, maybe even make a movie!

June 17, 2008


The day lilies are in full bloom.

Some bars from the bisque kiln showing a slight inconsistency in temp.

My great outdoor drying machine, and car of the year(2006 and 2007) at our Spruce Pine Montessori School, may I present to you my 1985 Honda!