August 31, 2009

Session 32 Begins!

It's been a very rainy summer here in the mountains, and at the end of August there is a slight mildew-y odor in the morning air. A lush carpet of grass in my yard has been impossible to keep up with but the rain has made for a beautiful bouquet on the hydrangea my mother gave us about three years ago. This bush was literally a foot long stick when it was planted. I think it likes this spot because it gets a lot of sun and the drain field of our septic system feeds it daily!

My lumber mill connection, Milan Street has been by three times now, and I've got my work cut out for a while. In this photo you are looking at 2/3rd's of the total amount needed to be cut. This is enough wood to fuel my kiln for the next year and probably enough cut off's that I can heat the shop. The key for me is to get it cut and stacked so that I can use it as soon as next month. I cut a pickup truck load of wood this evening and will try to cut every day.

This afternoon I pugged about 600 lbs of reclaim from the last session in the shop. I managed to throw a few plates after supper tonight. Most sessions begin with a whisper, with a few pots here and there, a loosening up of a distant memory I have of the wet process of throwing pots. Towards the end of a session, it's a juggling act of throwing painting, glazing, and firing the kiln. After the firing, there is a period of commerce, a distribution of the results.

With the Etsy online sale a success, and the pots shipped out, I re-focus on the excitement of wet clay. It's good to feel that the wheel is turning, and I'm excited about this 32nd firing. What will emerge from the intensity of focus in the coming weeks? Seems like I've done this a few times before but the results can't be predicted.

Tomorrow I head over the mountain to my home state of Tennessee to get my wisdom teeth pulled out. Fun! I'm not sure what kind of shape I'll be in to throw pots or cut wood, but this is a start and that's a lot for now.

I hope that I can recapture some momentum here at the blog after an eventful summer of regular visits to Penland, crazy weekly schedules, vacation, etc. Hope you'll be along and I hope you'll join in with a comment from time to time. It's always nice to hear from you!

Ning Slide Show

I just thought I would update my page on Ning with some of the beautiful images that Joy Tanner took for me a couple of weeks ago. Ning gave me the code for this slide show so that I could share with you here on the blog. I'm not sure if it will make the feed for Facebook. More pictures to follow this week.

Find more photos like this on Salt/Soda Firing

August 29, 2009

Hewitt Kiln Opening


I almost forgot to mention (until I instinctively picked up a Mark Hewitt mug this morning to have coffee)! Today and tomorrow you can go over to Mark's in Pittsboro and buy some fresh pots. It's Alex's last kiln load as Mark's apprentice and last chance you Piedmonter's can get his pots in your neighborhood. If not this weekend, you'll have to drive out to Mars Hill to get'em. And then you better stop at my place first!
alex matisse

Here's the preview of Hewitt pottery!

August 27, 2009

Additions to the Collection

,4 new pots!

It's been a busy week of online commerce and Etsy-ness and I'm chomping to get back in the studio and to make some pots, already, YO! But, alas, there's more packing and shipping to do tomorrow. I've been a little under the weather today and just lazing around and doing paper work. I thought I would catch ya'll up on some new pots that have graciously entered our life here on Snow Creek Rd.

The beautiful little jug on the left came all the way over the ocean in Ron Philbeck's suitcase! Doug Fitch, my Devonshire blogging buddy sent it over! What a treat to be holding on to this sweet pot. I'm sure it will be of help when I get back to making pitchers! It has such a beautiful patina that I'm going to refrain from using the dishwasher and hand wash it. heehee. But it has already been host to some iron weed clippings we made while walking the puppy, Jack. It's a most welcome addition to the British wing in our museum!

walkin' the dawg

Lillian taking a swigg!

A few weeks ago a package arrived in the mail from New England! In it was this beautiful wood fired bottle with nice fish stopper from my old buddy Tom White. Tom's been making pots up there in Northfield, Massachusetts for a good while and recently has been firing the wood kiln over at Sam Taylor's place where this piece was fired. It has a most rich surface and holds a good bit of tea. (tee hee hee, that is)

Next in our lineup of super-star pots comes this yankee-mingei jar made by CT potter (as well as potter buddy), Louise Harter. We picked this little gem up at the Liz Summerfield Benefit Auction a couple of weeks ago. I love thinking of Louise wiping her fingers across this just dipped pot and freezing the moment with fire! Thanks for donating it to the cause Louise. We must talk soon, it's been too long!!

small jar by Michael Simon

Last but not least, it was my great surprise to find this jar at a local sale for our animal shelter. I spotted it across the crowded room as if it had a tractor beam of hotness transporting me towards it. It is pot made by my teacher and friend, Michael Simon! To seize the pot, I practically tackled the people that stood between me and the table where this little gem sat. I snatched it up and guarded it with my life as I approached the checkout table! Well, actually Stacey took it up to the check out table and threw down the bucks! [thanks sweetie] I'm the luckiest guy on earth! I am guessing it may have been made while Michael was teaching here at Penland as he did many times. I ran in to Paulus at the sale and he thought it was from the late eighties! Ha! In 1989 I took a pivotal spring concentration at Penland with Michael that changed my potters life forever. Hmmmmm. Maybe this jar was made during that workshop? Hmmmmmm. Wouldn't that be something?

Well, that's it for now. Just thought I would touch base with everyone who's out there reading and share these pots with you. I hope you'll come and visit our little corner of the world some day. When you do, let's sit down and look at some pots!

August 25, 2009

I'm Packing Pots

Well, of course as I write this I'm not packing pots, but as soon as I finish this post, I will get back to work sending the pots that have already sold online at the "Kiln Opening". It went live at 10 am this morning.

If you haven't seen the show I hope you will visit at some point today!

Thanks to Courtney and John who are letting me use their wifi so I could make sure there weren't any problems as I "cut the ribbon".

ETSY Online Kiln Opening Today

At 10 a.m. EST I'll cut the virtual ribbon and let everyone in to the online kiln opening! My first ever. I've chosen forty of the best pots from the firing and you can only get them at my Etsy store. There will be a whole range of shapes, colors, and prices.

I hope you will bring a friend (or at least tell them about it) and I hope to see you there!

August 21, 2009

Learning Curve

each pot has a number to avoid confusion and delay!

With all that we do that's new and exciting comes an eventual realization that the road is steeper than we had thought. But it's going well and I'm coming up with some ways of organizing the sale and come Tuesday I should be ready to answer emails and phone calls and start packing pots to ship. At least I hope. I hope I'm not like the Maytag man, for those of you old enough to remember that ad. By the way you can "Get exclusive content and interact with THE MAYTAG MAN right from Facebook." right-cheer

this square makes measuring a snap!
(at least with pots under 10")

bird's eye view
ha, cracking myself up!!
ugh, sorry...

crude yet refined!
maybe this should be my motto?


I Don't Mean to Offend, Tease, or Brag

Here are some particular nice details that I picked up while looking at all the pictures yesterday.

It may be my 48 year old eyes, but some of these details weren't noticable to the naked eye. Or at least my naked eye. [why do we say naked eye, anyway?Do we mean to imply that the eye lid is some kind of garment?]

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the devil in the details and I'll try to post a few more when I get time. There are still quite a few nice details to share.

But there's Etsy work to be done. The sale is going to happen on this coming Tuesday at 10 a.m. [August25th]. I hope you can help me spread the word. You can use the "[+Share]" button on Facebook or here below this post. I thank you!

"tell you Ma, Tell your Pa, Our loves a gonna grow, ooo wah, ooo wah."

August 20, 2009

our dining table near my computer "work station"
with the Etsy collection, sorting through the images!

It's been a busy day of preparing the images for the online kiln opening on Tuesday. Lucky for me that my old eMac is still grinding along, chewing up pixels and uploading'em to the new shop on Etsy. It doesn't have anything listed yet, but I'm setting it up. I'm learning how to work around some of the ways the Etsy folks want everything to work and hopefully we can have a smooth run come Tuesday morning. Looking at all the great pictures and different views of these pots reminds me how digital photography has changed the way I see my work. Joy Tanner has a great camera, much more sophisticated than my point and shoot Fuji. I'm seeing little details that I had no idea were there. I highly recommend all of you potters taking big pictures on your digital cameras and then looking at them on your computer. There's something really interesting about the views you can have of your work. Some edges are out of focus, glaze details pop out. The lips of some cups are tapered differently than I remember.

All in all it was an interesting day, but at times I got a little zombified and had to walk away from the eMac. Mid morning brought a wayward potter/traveler. Ron Philbeck came by to pay a visit. Ron lives about and hour and a half from me in Shelby, NC, but we rarely get to hang out and we always get excited talking about pots and blogging. Today Ron stood at my door and reached his arms with a little bundle of something wrapped in tissue paper. It looked like it had made quite a journey and sure enough
it was this sweet little jug that Doug Fitch had sent along in Ron's luggage for me to study! Thanks SO much Doug! That was very kind of you to think of me. Now I have a souvenir of Ron and Sarah's trip to England! I hope that someday I'll get to make the pilgrimage to the Fitch Pottery in Devon. For now, though, I'll have a little bit of England to sit on my special shelf in my workshop next to my old southern pots. I'm sure it'll help me with my "pitchers" which I need to make real soon.

August 19, 2009

Save The Date!!

Tuesday August 25th at 10 a.m. EST.

After much debate and a trip to the fortune teller, I've decided to have the online "kiln opening"sale on Etsy, a place you may be familiar with. You can go to my store page, bookmark it for Tuesday, and maybe tell you friends and "share". Just scroll down on the right side of the page you will see a link to bookmark, share, etc. I thank you.

Today I went over to my potter/blogger and photographer buddy Joy Tanner for a major photo shoot. We shot several views of about 40 pieces from the last firing. It was great to see Joy's clever photo setup and talk about the pots. She has a great eye for the camera and makes great pots as well. Here are Joy's Etsy page and blog!

August 18, 2009

Peak of Summer

"LOOK OUT FOR THOSE HEADS!!" girls gone wild!

Not much clay work these days. I've spent the last two weeks enjoying the richness that this peak of summer has to offer. As my daughters prepared for their upcoming school year we thought it would be nice to go to the beach if we could. So we got in touch with our old Penland buds, Geoff Calabrese and Andi Steele's and made a trip to their home in Wilmington, NC and some beach time. On the way back from the shore we paid a visit to Mark Hewitt's place in Pittsboro, NC to see the crew fire up the old salt kiln for the 77th time.

Alex Matisse side stoking "the Beast"
Julie Jones waiting for the next stoke and for that annoying potterattzi to get out of her way!

It was Alex's last firing with Mark and Joseph, and Julie's first! We were fortunate to be at Alex's last firing with Matt Jones last year, it's crazy how time flies. Julie Jones was part of my excellent class of 2006 at Penland. After a couple of big bursts of rain and thunder, a lot of side stoking (not me although I was itchin' to help!! I was in my Birks and beach garb!) we headed over to the Pittsboro Market for a light dinner and some great music by some local musicians. Then it was time to roll on towards the NC Pottery Center for the opening of the new show there, "The Historical Pottery of Fayetteville."
the exhibit announcement postcard

a sweet little earthenware bank by well known Fayettville potter, E. A. Poe (1858-1934). Yes, that's Edgar Allen Poe!

One of my faves from the exhibit. A little
Chester Webster pitcher
with birds, leaves, and flowers

Awesome show! Had a great time seeing all my Seagrove "cousins", Bruce, Chris, Meredith, Michael, Jennie, Chad, Vernon, Pam, David, and Blaine, (among others) at the opening. I missed seeing Samantha who was not feeling well. I also had the pleasure of meeting Deborah and David Garner who had a show of their Webster reproductions.

I bought a copy of the fairly new book "The Living Tradition: NC Potters Speak" and was happy to cash in on my gift shop discount as a member of the Center! Full of interviews by Dr. Terry Zug, and Penland School's own Michelle Francis, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the potters had autographed my copy! [Bonus! ding, ding, ding!] I would really recommend this great book for your pottery library. If you order it through the NC Pottery Center, you might get an autographed copy as well. And if you join the Center, you will get a discount on anything you order. And if you tell'em I sent ya, I'll get even more of a discount next time I buy some books! JUST KIDDING...Anyway, the book is full of anecdotes and photographs of some of our wonderful "treasures" from the great state of pottery . [hey that sounds like a license plate idea]

August 10, 2009

Liz Summerfield Benefit

I wanted to let everyone know about an upcoming event to benefit my friend and fellow "potter of the Roan", Liz Summerfield .
from Lindsay Roger's web site,

I am writing to announce a benefit auction to assist my friend, and fellow ceramic artist, Liz Zlot Summerfield. In April of this year Liz was diagnosed with a type of cancer called non-hodgkins Lymphoma. When she got the news of her cancer all studio work for Liz and her husband, glass blower Scott Summerfield, stopped. For most artists a halt to work, combined with illness and bills, is a hardship too large to manage alone. Like most plans, our ideas for this benefit started out small and have since bloomed in to something that I believe will be a wonderful, fun and supportive event. With all that said, there are several ways that you can participate!

1) Attend the live auction at Penland or visit the online sale as a buyer!

The live auction is August 16th in the Northlight Building at Penland School of Crafts. Doors will open at 1:00pm at which point there will be light refreshments, Bandana Klezmer will provide fabulous entertainment and visitors will have a chance to take a good look at the work available in the live and silent auctions. The live auction of work will begin at 2:00pm and is expected to last around an hour or so. At the end of the auction visitors can pick up and pay for their pieces knowing that 100% of the proceeds will go to helping Liz, Scott and their young daughter, Roby, get through this really hard time.

The online sale will be held on and will begin September 1st. I will post more information about the online auction (including the web address) as we get closer to the date.

2) You can make a monetary donation to a PayPal account created for Liz's benefit.
By clicking on the donate button to the right/above, you can be assured that all donations will go quickly, safely and directly to Liz.

---Lindsay Rogers

I hope you will be able to come to the auction at Penland, or buy donated art on Etsy, or give any amount by clicking on the button to the right! Thanks so very much.

August 5, 2009

Penland Ramble

Here are a few pictures from this session's "Show and Tell" that was held in the Wood Studio. The Northlight building was being set up for the Auction exhibit. Click on images to enlarge.