March 30, 2013

Andy Saftel

"It's always been hard to write artists statements about the art because I always felt that when I sat down to do that it was about everything, and how can you just say that it's about everything? It sounds inadequate."----Andy Saftel

everything from Arrowmont on Vimeo.
It was great to discover this video (via Arrowmont) and see some good friends from my days in Knoxville. 

March 29, 2013

March 28, 2013

Pottery is Everything? Pottery is About People?

This morning I want to share a couple of great videos.

One of the exciting things about the internet is it's interconnectedness and it's ability to share ideas. I started this brief session while making a second cup of coffee after seeing the kids to the bus stop.  A comment here led to a blog, new to me!, that led to a tweet, that led to a video, then to a second video.

Even though these videos have been around since last September, it's the first time I've run across them. Maybe you've seen one or both?

a quote from the Moggridge video, "Design is everything, Design is about people"

Can we say the same about pottery?

Here's the second video (that was auto-magically suggested to me by "the Youtube")

from the video caption, "'Is your school or workplace divided into "creatives" versus practical people?' Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few."

People sharing.

Enjoy and pass it along.

March 27, 2013


marks made with serrated metal rib and wooden ribs in freshly thrown clay

First my apologies with the above photo experiment. It's just that I wanted to fiddle with the picture and clicked this and clicked that until I discovered that I could mask around this freshly thrown plate with a click of a button in iPhoto. The only reason I am using iPhoto in the first place is because I asked Ron how I was supposed to get all of those damn pictures off my iPad, he said "iPhoto!" I said, "Duh!" Sometimes the most obvious things elude me.  That's right, I'm not the geek you might think I am. I haven't used iPhoto much, mainly because I thought it was awful, but maybe it's because I screwed up ALL of  Simon's pictures on his laptop at NCECA 2 years ago using iPhoto (take my advice, never borrow someone else's laptop)

Back to the blog: Just thought I would share the above quirky-wheel-deco-exploration. It seems like too much to me at the moment, but it's early yet. We'll see. I'm firing the kiln soon, need to keep making! Later!

March 26, 2013

Snow Changes Things

The light is very nice and even in my studio this morning. It is also blanketing the wood I cut last week! Even though it is under a roof, the wind blows the snow all over. The poplar  wood needs time and plenty of air to dry. I hope I get more of the latter and I hope the air gets closer to a sensible seasonal temp real soon!

This hope is just part of the territory when your tools and materials are as basic as earth wind and fire.

March 25, 2013

More Comb and Rope

See this image on Instagram-
previously seen on Instagram

Last night I attacked a table full of plastic, several days of 12's, and finally trimmed these little cups as well as bowls and  plates. I practically ran to my bucket of #6 Tile slip to dunk these. You might call it March madness!

This week is off to a snowy, no-school start, but it feels like it might be a explosively productive one! We'll see!

March 24, 2013

Blog Rollin'

Hi everyone,

It's a wet drippy Sunday here in the mountains of North Carolina, a perfect day to catch up on some pottery bloggery and some prog-rockery! Maybe you're doing the same thing? ;-)

I don't know about you, but I find and read blog updates using the blog roll here on and surf from here finding other blogs of interest along the way. Sometime I use Google Reader, but that's not so good, especially come July when it's being canned. On the iPad I like to use flipboard, a really awesome app that consolidates all kinds of content from RSS feeds (blogs and webpages I have subscribed to), to Facebook and  Twitter feeds. I subscribe to many blogs by email, too, and get daily, weekly updates. You can subscribe to this blog and recieve updates via email by plunking down your email address in the Feedburner block in the side column to the right or
subscribe to Sawdust/ here.

But as much as I'd like to read everything, I'm afraid I don't and I start feeling guilty when the posts start piling up like so many New Yorker magazines on the bedside table. But if the blogging is awesome, I like to read.

Alas, I'm always looking to update the blog roll here awesome content and thought you might want to suggest some awesome blogs that you like reading or feel would be of interest to other readers.

If you have suggestions, won't you please leave a comment with a link to pottery/ceramic /art blogs you like? And if you are having trouble leaving comments, it happens,  could you e*mail them to me?

Thank You!

March 22, 2013

Outside Day

The day started out with some hi-jinx in Houston and ended with enough wood to burn up a bunch of pots in April.

in the porta-potty,
hide-n-seekah pottery treasure hunt via Instagram and Adam Field
rick ready 
march madness and wood stacking via iPad
carefully placed out of harms way
almost there
safety first=wood stacked=happy potter
A good day all around.

March 21, 2013

Sine Waves, Hoops, and Pots

thrown roped and slipped plate
sine wave in soft home clay

hoops and pots
Follow me on Instagram. You might just get a clue to something hidden in Houston!

March 19, 2013

Big Oops

Akkkk. The 12 x 12 Challenge was a little bit of a huge challenge for me! Ha!

A lot of keeping track of pictures, URLs, and captions! (more than I was prepared for!)

In the email shuffle, I left out a few potters from the drawing as well as the previous post. ;-(

So, to make up for my shortcomings, I thought I could at least give them props here, today, with their very own post!

Here is the Honorable Mention addendum to the 12 x12 Challenge in hopes that the next one will be a little bit more together. Molly, David, and Jeff, my apologies. You didn't win but hopefully, as my firing buddy says,  you will win "the adulation of your peers"!

First up, Jeff Hulme!

Jeff Hulme
Jeff writes,
Hi Michael,
Thanks for the motivation! I've tried to follow your 12x12 idea in the past without much success, but this time the stakes are higher and so is my productivity! For this photo I finished up 2 long servers; squared off a box and started the slab lid; finished up 4 jars with lids; and I threw 3 planters and the components for 2 juicers(my 1st attempt)!
Thanks again, this is a great idea!
Next up David Orser of Cedar Mountain Pottery up there in Maine.
David Orser

I'll always remember David's generosity and the many others who donated their beautiful work to my benefit sale after my hand accident in 2005. Thanks again, David.

Here's what David told me about these pots,
Well, I usually make these later in the day and then they are ready to decapitate and trim to fit the lids the next morning depending on humidity levels, not an issue in winter. ...
Hey, look at that nice mug in the background purchased at the (now defunct) Foundry Lane gallery in Portland some time ago..
and look at that Jian style hare's fur bowl  that i think relates in some ways to the aforementioned...
 that was purchased from a (also defunct) gallery in Seattle called Thesaurus that dealt in fake asian antiques ( hence their demise... ) another story.. right next to the porcelain depiction of comet Hale-Bopp....
oh yeah and so we got the dogs walked and into the studio by 10 so, yikes, ok, crank out some little jars...
can't make too many of them, they're paying the mortgage. and there is always room for a couple more in the kiln.
look forward to seeing what folks are up to this fine spring day
speaking of comets, there is one in the sky... get binoculars to a clear view of the western horizon just after sunset....more @ 
okay get back to work or lunch or somthin...
thanks for the comet head's up, David, but my western horizon is a mountain with tall trees, but i'll grab the binoculars tonight and climb on top of my kiln shed!  if it's clear I'll check out the comet!

And lastly, WNC's own rising pottery star, Molly Poore. I love the tunnel of handles in this shot!

Molly Poore

Well, until the next 12 x 12 Challenge. I hope you all will go to these artists blogs, web sites, etc. and check out their work!

Thanks everyone!

I'm afraid to click the publish button for fear that there might yet be another forgotten misplaced 12x12 potter out there, but, sorry I'm all out of apologies. Here goes!

March 18, 2013

and the winner is!

WOW! Thanks for all the hard work and all the pictures! It has been a little overwhelming! Here comes the 12x12 parade. 

First, the work! (then the winner chosen by the random number generator)

Robbie Bell

James Larkin
Sandy Miller

Dane Austin Meier

Ronald Deaver

Laurel MacDuffie, prayer rocks
Vernon Smith

Jess La Bella

Lynn Zetzman

Cynthia Guajardo
Eva Gallagher
Fuzzy Schwartz
Colleen Riley
Tammy Josephson

Dennis Allen
Justin Crowe 
Kyle Carpenter

Peter Jadoonath
Linda Bloomfield

Scott Reed and Angi Pogue-Reed

Warren Smith

Julie Walther

Bryce Briscoe
I went to and rather than paying to use their paid number generator  I just used the free one on their home page and took a screen shot.

and the winner is...

no. 14!

Tammy Josephson, of in Atlanta GA!


Thanks to everyone who participated and thanks for your patience. We'll do it again soon!
Now I can finally get to work! Well, after Lillian's basketball game, anyway. 

12 by midnight?

Late Tweet and Apology

as seen on Twitter just now


March 16, 2013

Basketball and a Little Pottery

Lillian, ready for the tournament
It's been a busy day of March madness, heat waves, more wood cutting and stacking, and finally, pottery! Stay tuned for the 12x12 Challenge Winner Announcement and blog MEGA-post tomorrow!

a little "nacht" pottery

March 15, 2013

The Prize

“Inspiration is the windfall from hard work and focus. Muses are too unreliable to keep on the payroll.” ― Helen Hanson

“I'm exhausted. I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out” 
― Oscar Wilde

Thanks for all of the entries I've already  received for the 12x12 challenge. Many more than the last one I did. Maybe because I'm giving something away? Couldn't be that.

Well, here is the little pot that I will give away randomly to one lucky 12x12 entrant Sunday.

See this post for more details of the contest. Deadline for entering a picture of your productive morning (or night) is midnight tonight, March 15th. So get some clay out and make some stuff!

I'd ask you to share this with your potter friends, but that would make your odds worse and it would make more work for me handling more pictures. 

March 13, 2013

Contest Clarification

photo: Evelyn Kline
Although I have already received over a dozen 12x12 pics from readers all over the world, I feel that some clarification is in order since the announcement of the contest was an impulsive one which landed below the lead of yesterday's blog post.

First off read this post from yesteryear to get some background on the idea of 12 x 12.

The basic idea is to get off our duffs [sorry, cousin], away from our social networking, away from those seemingly urgent emails, your favorite pottery bloggery, away from everything! Just darken the doorstep of your favorite workshop and get to work!

The assignment:
  1. Get to work and make 12 things before noon.  Midnight is only acceptable if you have a day job. Respect the clock in whatever time zone you might be. Get a move on! 
  2. If you are throwing, glazing, packing, firing, it matters not. All good honest work will be accepted. 
  3. Once you have satisfied this very simple assignment, proudly take a picture of your productivity!
  4. Send me the picture, preferably a jpeg or a png that is of decent composition and clarity, not too big, not too small.
  5. Send it to no later than midnight of the Ides.
  6. Be sure to include your name, a caption and/or your web site
Now for the fun stuff,

After the deadline I will assemble a blog post with all of your wonderful hard work and productivity. Each submission will get a number according to their order of submission and on Sunday night, I will spin ye olde random number generator and announce the winner.

What does the winner win?  Well I guess I will stroll through the showroom and pick out a nice piece of pottery! How's that sound? I will pick something and post it here in the next day or so.

SO, are you in?

Let's see what you got!

roped cups from today's 12

March 12, 2013

12x12: Rope and Hump


self impressioning rope trick

It's funny how questions from last week's symposium in oHIo still echo in my head. It's good to get out and stretch my pottery technique. One of the questions was about throwing off the hump. I don't throw a lot off the hump. Usually I will weigh and ball the clay and go from there, no matter what size, big or small.

But today I decided to throw my 12 morning pots off the hump. I even threw a few small flat bottomed pots, where the cut off is SO important because I don't want to trim these. 

Want to take the 12x12 challenge? It's 12 noon or midnight somewhere in the world, right? 

Here's what to do to win a piece of pottery from me ( I will pick out something nice)
  1. send me your picture of 12 pieces at any stage that you are working on this week. 
  2. send along your name 
  3. send along your website/blog URL
  4. deadline is friday, March 15th, noon ;-)
I will post all of the pictures here on the blog, on Saturday, March 16th.

Sound like fun? To see what all of this is about refer to this blog post  from 2010. 

This is going to be fun!

email your pics to me here.

March 10, 2013

Post #1500: Roped

edged with rope

rope impression on a plate

the rope
Somehow I included these images in yesterday's post and they had nothing to do with wood, firing kilns through the night and the eternally optimistic potter, etc.

So here they are reprinted for the 1500th edition here on ye olde pottery blogge! Here's to a great week of spinning clay and cutting wood. Don't forget to give yourself enough rope.