October 31, 2009

Finished the pots for the Montessori set! Yim, don't these trimmings look like chocolate? Well it is Halloween and that means it's that time of the year for small candy bars. I'm off to paint some pots at the Crabtree Creek Art and Floral Gallery in Micaville. See you there.

I will be back at the pug mill to prep my clay for the stoneware I'm going to throw for the upcoming firing. It will be number XXXIII! That means a lot of roman numerals on my pots. I'd better make a stamp!

May your Halloween kilns turn out more like Christmas.

October 30, 2009

Tom White

circa 1974

I got a call from an old friend up in Mass. the other day. We had a nice chat and he told me about his new website. You may remember mention of Tom White a while back. He sent me a beautiful jug with a fish stopper, that Lillian likes to sip from time to time.

Well you've got to check out Tom's page. Here's a link to his early years! These pictures are not to be missed. Tom, no doubt from these pictures, fought in the early battles of selling pots across this great land back in the 1970's!

He's also go a nice gallery of the pots he's making today. Check it out. Tell him I sent you!
And it's not to late to start planning your trip to Northfield, MA for

the 30th annual
Tom White Pottery Holiday Sale!

(WOW! I had just graduated from high school 30 years ago.
Some of ya'll weren't even born!)

Every year Tom sends out a great holiday
card to all of his fans. Here is one of those.

Tom's sale this year will be on Dec. 12-13th and 19-20th. I'll try to remember to to remind you.

October 29, 2009

Crabtree Creek This Saturday

I'll be doing some deco demo at the Crabtree Creek Art and Floral Gallery in Micaville this coming Saturday! Come on out if you're in the neighborhood. There will be refreshments and me (possibly in costume) sitting there painting pots and telling all of my secrets! Or if you have some bisqueware you need painted, I'm your man. My rates are reasonable!



When I came in the shop this morning and went to the wheel to throw I noticed the layering of earthenware clay and white slip from yesterday's slip spray had marbleized very nicely. So I snapped this picture being the resident shutterbug.

It was a beautiful day with lots of sun and bright fall colors in the hills around the shop. I continued to work the earthenware for the special Montessori pots that I'll need to bisque over the weekend. Meanwhile I'll need to get started on some stoneware.

Other activities that filled the day:
  • re-rolled fluorescent red tape onto a spool while talking to Sam.
  • packed and shipped some pots.
  • cleaned showroom and priced some pots.
  • cut a bunch of cord wood
  • took Jack on our trail loop up the hill and around the edge of the woods
  • baked some rye bread
  • found Google Mars!
  • sanded plate rack getting it ready for a fresh coat of paint
a good day


Unintended Changes (or, OOPS, I Slipped!)

Many potter bloggers talk about their love of the freshly slipped pot! I love it, too. Those slipware potters must have a lot of fun!

In other news, there were some unfortunate things that happened last night as I was updating the blog. Without getting into details I wanted to let you know I'm working on getting back to normal. For now you will notice at the bottom of each post there are some reaction checkboxes. Please feel free to "react"!!

I hope to have normal commenting back soon. Thanks.

October 28, 2009

Slipping, Combing Earthenware!

I'm making some limited edition earthenware dishes for Evelyn's Montessori class! The class has a special literary tea once a month and since there are several potters kids in the class, the teacher asked us to make some dishes. Anyway, here is a video showing a way I came up with to apply some white slip to some freshly thrown plates. I could have brushed the slip on, but I wanted an even layer.

Brick Kiln

I had a couple of very short snippets that
I just didn't get a chance to edit/merge so here they are individually.

More Impressions from the 18th Century

Ironically, with all of my new technology here at the Sawdust and Dirt HQ, I've been having a little trouble focusing on the tasks at hand. It is later than I think, there are most certainly some pots to make as my firing deadline approaches. Yet I haven't finished sharing some of my impressions of Colonial Williamsburg.

Well here are some more pictures of details around the colonial city.

Meanwhile I open a bag of earthenware! What!!

More later.

October 26, 2009

Return From the 18th Century

table where brick is made

I've been having too much fun surfing at high speed to take the time to blog! Well, I've got to start somewhere.

After the Craft Fair in Asheville, which went really well, I took the family to colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. I've wanted to go there ever since I visited Jim Chalkley in Norfolk a couple of years ago and I did the pottery show at the Hermitage. I think Jamestown was celebrating the 400th anniversary at the time.

Williamsburg is home to the College of William & Mary where my fellow potters Andrew Coombs and Kevin Crowe hail from. I'm sure there are more of you W & M potters out there, only time will tell.

Back to: Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg is an historically preserved late 18th c. city. See this link to view a map. It was pretty amazing being there, although it took some getting used to. There is nothing there that wasn't present or in the historical record of the time.

brick kiln being fired

We were lucky to be there the day they were firing the brick kiln. It would be fired for 4-5 days slowly drying out the bricks and bringing them to about 2000*F. They fire the stack of bricks once a year and during the fair weather months, the brick is made by stomping the clay, then forming the bricks by hand in the brick form.

They wasn't a potter in Williamsburg at the time that this city was "preserved" and that is why there wasn't a pot shop in the hitorical village, only the brickworks. Most of the houses there were were made of brick. In nearby Yorktown, William Rogers made pots. Steve Earp has some interesting posts at his blog, "This Day in Pottery History".

I have hundreds of pictures that I took there and I'm trying to edit them so I can show more here. I'm also trying to get back to the swing of things in the pot shop as well. I guess I'll have to knuckle down and organize my time. With the high speed and the new Mac, I may have to disipline my online time. Oh my.
speaking of disipline!
I'll schedule another post this evening after the gals have been put to bed.

Thanks for your patronage (or matronage) as the case may be!

October 20, 2009

Counting The Eggs

I've been back putting pots away, putting the booth away, enjoying the beautiful clear cool skies, visits, tether ball, whiskey, some truck camping, etc. You know, the usual.

I promised a recap of the long 4 day show in Asheville and hopefully by typing this intro some memories will return, so be prepared for some stream of consciousness.
Hmm, to start with, I hadn't used my booth for a crafts show since 2005. So I rearranged things in my shop to accomodate my 6' x 8' booth. It wasn't easy, but it fit. I didn't want to have to make any big changes at the show, but brought my handsaw anyway.

I didn't need it because I was very lucky to get this corner spot!!! Wowsa. How lucky is that? This booth not only had enough space behind for storage and sneaking around to snack, but was also at the entrance of the show. Although Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were cloudy, the weekend was nice and I had a great view of the weather and the oncoming craft enthusiasts! Usually I did the show in the windowless arena floor that you saw in the previous post. I would have to say my attitude was much better in the light of day versus the arena/stadium lights.

One usually tries to predict what to show and where to put it, although one doesn't know who will be coming to the show and what they may be shopping for. This speculation also extends to the prices of one's work and the market. I price my work consistently with my show room prices and my local and national gallery prices. Some of my fellow crafters thought that my prices were a little low. Some customers picked up pots looking for the price, flared their eyes, put the pot down and walked away. I don't know. I guess everyone has different expectations.

In the end, I sold almost all of my jugs, most of my bigger pots, and lots of little plates. My cylinders, although I sold a couple to some enthusiastic folks, didn't get much attention. My little jars and tumblers weren't as popular as I thought they might have been. Some pots were looked at, picked up and marvelled at, but nobody took them home, excet me! What is the message there? Wrong market? Since folks reacted visiblly over and over again, I would have to say the price didn't match people's perception of the pots worth. Hmmm. I guess you could say that I just didn't meet the right person to close the deal.

Maybe next show.

I failed miserably on documenting the many beautiful objects that friends and colleaugues brought to the show. I took my camera with but didn't organize my time to get around and use it. I was busier than usual and that was a good thing. So next time you'll have to join me and see for yourself. I thought the quality overall had bumped up a notch since I had done the show. There were some new faces with great work. Some folks that have been showing for a while brought new work that really blew me away and that was encouraging and inspiring.

I look forward to doing the show again next year and hope to do as well as I did this go-round. But I should never count my chickens before they hatch.

(this from someone who hasn't seen an egg all summer from his 4 roosters!)


October 18, 2009

October 14, 2009

Show Setup

The 62nd Annual Crafts Fair of the Southern Highlands opens in Asheville, in the morning. I'm almost set up and priced and probably will come back in the morning to finish and be ready for the crowds! Come see me in booth # 5, just inside the main entrance. The show continues through Sunday at 5 p.m. I hope to see you!

October 13, 2009


I gave this pot to Stacey, since it had a little crack in it. It was one of my faves from the bird series I started with at the beginning of the XXXII session. I'm enjoying a bagel and sausage for my late lunch on this very plate.

Coffee Break vol. 23

Just back from the SPPM and prepping the booth for the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands this weekend. But before I pack the truck, why not have a piece of coffee cake and a cup of joe? The cake courtesy of Erin Peters of Bula Bags in Buladean!

Erin is the better half of Mark "pallet-kiln" Peters and she catered the pottery market last weekend. Yummy doesn't do justice to the fine food Erin served up! Maybe "sublime" would be more appropriate.

As for the cup, it's one of my signature 'breakfast cups' with some "church" coffee. French Roasted! I just got it back from Gary Roper. My show with Dan Finnegan is over and it was one of the pots that didn't fly out the door. Gary came down from Lewisburg last night and took a tour of the "compound".

But if I hear one more person say, "that's a big cup of coffee!" I think I'll just.....well, I'm sure ill hear it again. Alway's do. Hey, I know it's big but just look at the size of cups people are being served at their favorite coffee boutique!

We'll, just thought I would share the coffee break with you all. Still planning to return to more regular blogging soon. Just have to stay focused on making some moolah.


October 9, 2009

XXXII: Others

some of my favorite pots from the
firing were the double dipped RJB slip with wax
resist like this pitcher. it's always nice when a little
fly ash melts on a pot's shoulder.

this was the only pitcher that i made during this brief session

a design from a Tz'u-chou vase that I incorporated in many
pots. I use new motifs on as many pots aas I can to see how they work on various forms

a hollow rimmed bowl

one of the many cylinders that I explored in the last session

this is a little flask made by my friend Micah Cain.
Micah is a resident up at the nearby Energy Xchange.
He gave me a few of these to paint. the pinkish blush was
occurred when the flask tipped over in the kiln and laid against another pot.

October 8, 2009



this particular kind of glass (some stained glass remnants
that Shane Mickey gave me a long time ago) is the only
glass that seems to be compatible with the slip only surfaces. Thanks Shane!

blue glass run on copper green glaze fired on the front
near the bag wall.

the little orange spot at about eight o'clock
came from a flask that had fallen onto the jar during the firing.


copper green glaze over black underglaze

These are all 2 or 3 lbs of clay and range in height from 5 to 8 inches.

A Sampling

Just a little taste of the pots I've unloaded this morning. Now back to sanding, grinding, and grading! More this evening.

First Viewing

We had a nice crowd for the first viewing of PBS's Craft in America over at Penland tonight and afterwards Alex Matisse and I unbricked the door of my kiln to get the first view of the pots in Numero 32! It looked pretty good to me so far. I was too tired to unload the kiln so I will wait till morning. Here are a few snapshots of the stack.

October 7, 2009

Craft in America/Pottery and Ice Cream in NC

The Potters of the the Roan are excited to announce that on Wednesday, October 7, at 8pm, an episode of the Peabody Award winning series, “Craft in America,” entitled “Origins,” featuring Jugtown Pottery owners Vernon and Pam Owens, and Mark Hewitt’s Pottery in Pittsboro, will be broadcast nationwide on PBS-TV. Both Pam Owens and Mark Hewitt are on the Board of the North Carolina Pottery Center!

Please join us for ice cream and fellowship at 7:30pm to support the NC Pottery Center and watch this excellent Craft in America episode at 8:00 pm. The program will show the nation the continuing importance of North Carolina’s role in shaping the ceramic heritage of America.

Donations are most welcome and go toward continuing the Pottery Center's commitment to our state's ceramic heritage. All donations of $20 or more include a NCPC membership which includes free admission to the center, quarterly newsletters, and notice of on-going pottery exhibits and events. Suggested levels of giving include: $20 for potters, $35 for individuals, and $50 for families.

There will be pottery door prizes for those donating at the $50 level courtesy of The Potters of the Roan and the Penland Potters.

If you think you will attend please RSVP by doing so in the comments!!
Thank You!

October 6, 2009


one of the great satisfactions of loading the jigsaw pieces of a kiln load
is the orderliness of the stack:
a sort of re-centering of the pots after
the shuffling of decorating and glazing.

What a week! What a month!

It's been quite a roller coaster ride this time around and I've taken the last few days to regain a foothold on the life. The kiln cools as I grab the domestic baton that Stacey has handed to me as she teaches at Arrowmont this week. I've traded a hectic life of pottery for the hectic life of Mr. Mom! It's been interesting to say the least. For the last 2 and a half weeks the girls haven't seen much of me and now I'm all they have here at the homestead. We're all holding on to each other as if we're on some sort of life boat waiting for Stacey to return on Saturday! Well, it's not that bad, I'm being a little melodramatic. But we do miss her!!

There's much to tell you about, but I'm afraid that so much will be swept away with the unloading of the kiln tomorrow and the events of the next few days, which I will have no choice but to give more attention to because they will be front and center in this potter's life. I do hope I can look back and write about last weekend's loading and firing of the kiln. Maybe I can weave in some before and after pictures with tales of the perils and the ecstasy of long hours, hard work, and the help of friends and family.