November 30, 2008

Last Post of November

A drawing by Evelyn

I guess the holiday is over and the month is over. Where does the time go? Here's where the new shop stands,
  • Main room painted
  • Showroom not painted, not even sanded
  • most electrical devices installed
  • electric not on
  • mud everywhere, no surprise
Here's what I hope to get done this week,
  • Finish drywall in showroom
  • paint primer in showroom
  • paint finish coat showroom
  • install wood stove and chimney with Shane
  • put gravel on muddy entrance
  • trim doors
  • trim windows
  • clean floor of dust
  • set up tables for pots
  • set up track lights
  • set up pots/jewelry
  • tidy up
Thanks for allowing me to bore you with these details. I can't wait to get the wheels in place get some clay splattered around on the walls and make some pots. Oh, how I long to take some pictures of some freshly thrown pots and tell you how sweet it is to be making pots in the new shop. I appreciate your patience and thanks for reading.

November 26, 2008

Every Man a Rembrandt

While I was sitting here painting my invites, I was telling Evelyn about my love of paint by number when I was a kid. As I was explaining, I looked this up. It's a pretty amazing story. Taken from the web site:
The making of the fad is attributed to Max S. Klein, owner of the Palmer Paint Company of Detroit, Michigan, and to artist Dan Robbins, who conceived the idea and created many of the initial paintings. Palmer Paint began distributing paint-by-number kits under the Craft Master label in 1951. By 1954, Palmer had sold some twelve million kits. Popular subjects ranged from landscapes, seascapes, and pets to Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. Paint-kit box tops proclaimed, "Every man a Rembrandt!"
As far as I know I'm not related to Mr. Klein, but you never know, do you?
I've also been a great fan of geological survey maps ever since I can remember, and upon looking at illustration above I can see why I loved paint by number.

Maybe you like paint by number too?

The cards are done.
That was fun.
Maybe I should do more watercolor painting.
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Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

November 25, 2008


watercolor, 4 3/8" x 5 3/4"

I spent the evening painting invites to our upcoming studio sale on Dec. 6th. It was nice to be painting again. Maybe just me, but the one above one reminds me of my neighbor, Carmen Grier's beautiful work. I thought the bird below had a funny look.

watercolor, 4 3/8" x 5 3/4"

November 24, 2008

Coffee Break vol. #15

The electricians are here putting their finishing touches on the studio and I'm digging a ditch. It's a little overcast and not that cold, thank goodness. But it's mid morning and I'm in need of a break, and just a little bit of joe to keep me shredding on the ditch. I picked this little bit of a cup, or as Hannah would say, this wee cup. This wee cup was made by Bandana Pottery (aka Michael and Naomi) for their wedding back a few years. It's a great cup for wine and a great little cup of joe, as well. Why do we call coffee joe? The incising is so casual and expressive. Michael and Naomi's pots have that wonderful combination of skill and playfulness, just the right touch.
The Toe River Arts Council Holiday Studio Tour is coming right up and it's my deadline to get the studio presentable. I've given up on the idea of having it all done, but at least I will have a cozy place to show Stacey's jewelry and my pots. Here's the list as of today, in no particular order,
  • Finish the painting.
  • Trim out the windows and doors.
  • Paint trim.
  • Install wood stove and chimney with Shane.
  • Truckload of gravel for the muddy entrance.
  • Install track lights.
  • Get rid of VOC odor.
  • Bang up some siding in entrance alcove.
  • Temporary handrail.
  • Paint invites to opening.
  • Hire DJ.
  • Hang disco ball.
  • Have fun in the new studio!
Well, that wasn't enough coffee! I better get back to work, that list made me nervous. Have a great day ya'll.

November 20, 2008

Another Kind of Alkaline

Handled Bottle

alkaline water blue glaze
white earthenware

Here are some more pots from my earthenware years in New York City from the late eighties. They all are glazed in Woody Hughes' Water Blue glaze. Again my apologies for the images, that are not only bad to begin with (taken in my Brooklyn apartment with a couple of floor lamps), but are worse for the wear of traveling, moving, and handling over the years. The clay was a store -bought white earthenware. It's funny to see these pots from so many years ago. But I'm excited to keep looking through the piles of slides I have taken over the years.

3 Small bottles
alkaline water blue glaze
white earthenware

More to come.

Picture of a Pitcher

a "keeper" from a couple of years ago

Customers would ask why I trailed 2006 on so many pots. After my accident with the table saw I was back to work after a few months. 2006 wasn't the best year and it was a lot of work to make good pots again. But I was lucky and was thankful that I could continue to work in the clay. That's why I trailed 2006 on so many pots.

November 19, 2008


It was 16*F when I when out onto the back porch this morning. BRRR! Not as cold as it can get here, but still, I'm in awe of the cold. When I lived in MA there was a certain urgency each Fall to get the kiln site and studio ready for the oncoming Winter. It seems that in New England there was nothing more certain than Winter. But here in North Carolina we have a bit of a pass. We have our issues when it comes to school closings and road conditions, but it comes in a storm and then goes with the sun. My snow blower sits in it's rusty jacket of peeling orange paint. Today everything is frozen solid. All of my clay is outside, glazes still in the buckets that I left them in during the last session, wood is stacked for the kiln, but there is still a lot to cut. There's very little wood to burn in the wood stove, but that will come.

This week I wait for the electricians to come here after they finish their current job. I still need to dig my 60 foot trench, I will buy paint today and a few other sundries. But as I read all those busy potter-bloggers out there I am a little envious of all the production that goes on this time of year. While I read about you productive ones, I am reminded of Ron saying, "Now, get out there and make them beautiful pots". I can't wait to get through this tedious work and get those wheels in there, get the stove hot and slam some clay on the wheel head.

November 17, 2008

Show at Pucker Gallery

I received a fabulous catalog in the mail from the fine folks at the Pucker Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston. "It is I" is the title of a show soon to open with recent pottery by Mr. Kang Hyo Lee. You can download a pdf version of the catalog here, click on the image of the white jar. The pots have a well handled feel to them. The slip, incising, and motifs on the pots are painterly and suit the forms well. I love these pots! I just wish I could go see them in Boston.

I spoke with Naomi Dalglish yesterday and we talked about the Lee catalogue of pots. She told me that she and her husband Michael Hunt are going to blog while they travel in South Korea next month. I will certainly let you know about that when it happens. Michael spent 6 months in Korea working with Mr. Oh Hyang Jong to learn Onggi techniques. Blogging, traveling, and potting. What could be finer?

November 16, 2008

Carolina Mingei

I just spoke to my porcelain buddy Tom. He's really excited about this survivor. I can see why. He sent these pictures. Tom's thinking from the evidence of bloating and burn outs/melt outs that the pot was an early, maybe 1850's, pot made from an exploratory field of clay. Tom pointed out to me, and as I see, that the clay had several technical issues. It could have been essentially a test or clay that was being used for the first time or an example of some transitional clay. During our conversation I kept thinking that he could have been talking about my clay, haha. Perhaps it was a pot made from the best available clay at that time. Obviously this was not a beginning potter, but the materials may have been new and untested. The jar's rim/lip is unglazed and I think the deformation is from other pots being stacked upon it. I don't recall what Tom said about that. Here is a picture of that rim.

I would have to say that there must be many more similar pots out there yet to be discovered by the wider pottery loving audience. It's exciting to see these pots surface and have access to them. Thanks Tom for sharing!

Here is Tom's recent, and very relevant commentary in Ceramics Monthly.

November 14, 2008

Friday News

News? Maybe not, but I wanted to say that for the last few days, Stacey has been in Seattle presenting at a conference and I have been the alpha parent. I've realized how much Stacey does for and with the kids while I'm chasing drywall around a room, making pots, and chasing my blogs around the world. I'm walking just a few miles in my darling's shoes and my feet are sore, maybe even a blister or two. After three days of flying solo, though, I think I'm getting the hang of it, (we finally arrived to school this morning a little early). But the house needs picking up and there's laundry, etc. What really amazes me about Stacey is that she still makes time to do her art work and make beautiful jewelry. [Renee Margocee wrote an interesting post about this here] I mentioned a little while ago, but I'll mention again Stacey's web site, for those just coming into this conversation.

I may have also said this before, and many non-bloggers ask me when do I have time to post regularly, the answer is that Stacey provides the wiggle room I need to get this blog published within and around my own responsibilities of parenting and potting. I hope you find this blog worthy of your time.

So my hat is off to my lady, Godspeed, really.

Now I better get back to work, because before I know it will be time to run into town to get the girls from school, and oh ... what's for dinner tonight???

November 13, 2008

Artist Potters

15th c. Vietnam
click this pot to see the show of these
Asian Trade ceramics

Someone asked about home made brick and I thought of this website, Several years ago when I was building my kiln I was told to check out the anagama info on Warren Frederick and Catherine White's web page. Not only did I find the info but a lot more! There are several articles of interest about their pots and historical pots. Many of you may already know about this treasure of a site, but for those who aren't familiar please take some time to read. Catherine also has a blog that you can find here.

For info on the castable refractory recipe, go to the home page and then look at the bottom left of the screen for anagama info link.

It's a rainy muddy day. We need the rain and the peacefulness that a cloudy day brings. More mud and tape for me! Have a good Thursday.

November 12, 2008

Another Bucket of Mud

Just wanted to check in and report that the mudding of the drywall is about done. I'll do some more taping and mudding and sanding tomorrow. It's pretty exciting to see the walls take shape and I'm kind of in shock that we're this close to moving in. Of course I may not be as close as I think. Just one look at the "punch list" reminds me of all the little details that have to be taken care of.

Here are a few more exciting pictures of the main room taken from different angles, oooo wow...

LinkHere is an embarrassing shot of the area that I made pots this summer,
now being used as a tools, fasteners, odds'n'ends pile.

November 11, 2008

Art Centered

Jann Welch, of Art Centered, hosted Ken Sedberry, myself, and about thirty students from Gouge Elementary, yesterday for a bowl workshop. Here is a shot of Ken making a hump molded square bowl. I first met Ken way back in 1989 while I was a student at Penland School and only remember him as the potter who had this huge kiln and made these really big wall pieces depicting canine/equine of some sort. Since then I have gotten to know Ken by working with him on the Spruce Pine Potter's Market, and most recently, the Potters of the Roan. He does amazing brushwork and fires his pots in a kiln that predates mine by about twenty years. As a matter of fact his kiln is poured castable just like mine. Ken encouraged Mark Peters to use castable refractories for his kiln and in turn Mark was the one that encouraged me to do the same. So there is the circle of influence here in Mitchell County, NC.
While I watched Ken make a couple of hump molded square bowls, it occurred to me that I have never seen Ken make his pots. It occurred to me how most of us work in isolation and how rare it is to have the time to visit and see one another working. It's by necessity that we venture out to visit our neighbor potters. Instead of borrowing sugar we may borrow a pound of Wollastonite, or a few cones, etc. It's a great community, but it's rare that we get to visit and watch one another work. It is more common to see each other at the grocery or hardware store. There are more potters in this area than I can list, let's just say a lot, mostly because of the proximity to the Penland School. It's not because of the availability of natural resources, as a potter would need 150 years ago. [Well, maybe for some, heheh. ] There are abundant glaze materials in the area. Most of the potters reading this may look at their bags of feldspar and see the source as Spruce Pine, NC.

[ramble...Back to Ken Sedberry]
Ken is one of those rare wood fired potters that works in a highly sophisticated way with surface design and wax resist. His work is colorful, too, another rarity among high fire wood burning potters. [more Sedberry work here]

We can learn so much, as potters, in just a few minutes watching each other work. So if you can, get out a visit a neighbor potter, better yet offer to wedge some clay! Not only would you be a helping hand, but you can see how they do their thing.
Maybe I should get over to Ken's!? I'd better call first...

November 9, 2008

The Writing's on the Wall

Here are a couple of drawings my daughters made on the walls. It's a rare moment when you can tell the kids to "go ahead and write on the walls!"

November 8, 2008

ang design blog: Leach Pottery

Check out this video when you have 30 minutes, it's well worth it. Fantastic.

at ang design blog: Leach Pottery

St. Ives via Russell via Ang

If you haven't already watched this video posted by Russell Fouts check it out. Thanks Ang! Thanks Russell!Link

A Different Sort of Mud

The Mud Team of Keenan and Ian
working last week on the 'rock.

This week I've wanted to post about the current 'mud' work, joint compound! But I wasn't sure what to say about it. It's not as exciting as digging dirt! but the drywall is almost finished and hopefully we'll get the shop painted next week.

Drywall lifter.
I was able to do the whole ceiling with 12' sheets of drywall myself.
Without it I would have needed scaffolding and a another back.
Shane Mickey come by one day for a little drywall fun,
THANKS, Shane!

On the docket for next week are the electricians who are coming back to finish their device installation and I'll be digging a ditch to bury the electrical cable from the pole to the building. Hey that'll be fun! Since I'll be digging, I might process some red dirt. With colder weather ahead, I'll need to get as much made as I can until next spring/summer when it's warmer.

November 2, 2008

Cupboard Confidential

For the lack of content I have to reach into some themed posts and update the theme. Here is today's cupboard. Who's on top?

In the monkey dish pile, far left, I guess I'm on top since I'm the only one in the cabinet that qualifies. In the bowls category, looks like Ron is still on top after several months. Also the Gloria Kosco is winning over some Hello Kitty bowls. Looks like the contest in the plates section has been "stacked". We'll have to go to Price-Waterhouse for an official audit next time the dishwasher gets unloaded.

We have had some casualties this go around. I broke a nice little shino glazed teacup (maker unknown) that has been in the cabinet ever since I can remember, and that nice covered mug from Marty Fielding bit the pavement the other day when I got out of my truck in downtown Spruce Pine. Damn. Oh well. They say that the only reason potters stay in business is the breakage of their product. Well, I guess that's true to some extent.