Monday, April 28, 2008

i'm back.

i got back in this morning at about 3am. we had a really good weekend, there was a threat of rain and there was some chilly weather on sunday, but the crowds came out in droves later in the day. the denton show is actually one of my favorite shows to do, there are so many people and so much to see and listen to even just sitting in the booth. it has the longest hours of any show, 12-13 hours on saturday, but the level of activity helps the time to go by fast.

i initially had a lot of self-doubt about my new work. i was really concerned about how it would be received, i tell myself that i am not one to need the acceptance of others to justify what i make, but that in fact is not entirely true. i will always hold firm to my "pottery beliefs, ethics and morals" and will not compromise that integrity to make a buck, but without the people who use my pots and come out year after year to get more, where would i be? so, there is always that fear when you change something that the people who have encouraged you and supported you might not appreciate it. my deepest gratitude goes out to all those people who have come out(this includes my blogging buddies and their words of great encouragement) and supported me this year with kind words of encouragement and patronage. it is with your help that i think i have found my place in the pottery world, i have never been more confident with my work than i am right now.

when i moved in 06' to my current studio i looked very carefully at the work that i had been making, i felt that much of it was very strong but the last few months of production were stale and had the feeling of just getting it done. i destroyed many of these perfectly saleable pots and spent several months without potting thinking about where i was going and what i really wanted to do. when i got back into the studio in the spring of 07' i initially was just going to make pots to try to get into graduate school. i really enjoy the interaction of teaching and it is something that i still want to pursue, but the time just isn't right yet. i've always felt it should be necessary for a teacher to have real world experience, but that is just my opinion. anyways, i got to work in my studio making these "great pots" for my portfolio. well, how does one sit down and make a great pot? i believe it was mackenzie that said: "if i knew how to make great pots i would never again make a bad one." i was being very naive and getting extremely frustrated with what i was producing because i wasn't being true to my core values about pottery. i am a traditional potter, through and through. the mingei folkcraft tradition/philosophy has greatly inspired my work, partially because of my pottery roots in minnesota, it was all i knew at the time. even through the endless study in college of every art and craft movement, this is the one that has always held truest for me. "the unknown craftsman" was an excellent read and the ideas have greatly informed my work and lifestyle, but lets be honest, mingei is dead, it was dead from the very start, it is an idealized product of the past, but the ideas are what is important and i hold them close to my heart and i hope i always will. as far as my work goes i don't really do anything that hasn't already been done, and i'm ok with that. one can be deeply rooted in tradition and still be an individual and unique. i don't necessarily want to be famous or rich, i don't want to shock the art world(or even really be associated for that matter,) i don't need to do anything groundbreaking, i don't even care if my name is remembered in 200 years. what i want is to carry on the tradition of making beautiful things by hand that people can afford and use and be greatly inspired and nurtured by in their homes. if those pots are around in 200 years and still being used, i think that is what would make a great pot and thats good enough for me.

the rambling ceases, thank you for "listening."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Denton Art and Jazz Festival

this weekend is the denton art and jazz festival. if there is anyone in the dallas area that wants to come out we''ll be going saturday from 10am-9pm and sunday 11am-9pm. long hours, but its usually a good show, and lots of good music! i'm in the arts and crafts section instead of the fine arts section this year(long story.) so in protest i brought all my seconds and old pots that need good homes. so come out and check out the new stuff, or if you feelin the gas prices in your pocket book come find an old pot that needs a good home. hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

patrick veerkamp

here is a video of some pots by patrick veerkamp. he is one my of my favorite potters. we have a few pots by him that can be seen in one of my previous posts. anyway, enjoy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

good weekend

this weekend turned out ok. sales and attendance were down from previous years and not one of my previous customers even showed up to the festival. i also felt that the quality of art was down, there was some pretty tacky stuff being shown, but what can you do? sales were ok, pretty good actually if you condsider i didn't have any repeat customers, and the work was very well received, all of my favorites were the first out of the booth, go figure. next year i'll try to get a better spot and have a stronger display, and then we'll really knock em dead.
here are some shots of the new pots, most already gone to their new homes.
i was sad to let this one go, its the best pot that has come out of my kiln.

burnt orange and "champagne" were the colors of our backdrop cloths this year. i don't know why either.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lubbock Arts Festival

we're having a bit of a lull right now so i thought i would check in. this show is thurs night and all day fri/sat/sun. thurs and fri are usually throwaway days because not too many people show up, but we've done surprisingly well with the small friday crowds. i have had such great responses to the new work, its been really encouraging. many of the artists that i do the show circuit have been telling me how different my work is, and i guess when i really sit down and think about it, it is. it has been a gradual evolution for me so i guess it never occurred to me that my work is a lot different than it was 3 or 4 years ago. pretty interesting. i wasn't able to get my booth completely finished before we left so its not quite as clean and professional as i would have liked but it doesn't seem to have hurt the responses. i have taken some photos of the new work and i'll post them when i get a chance.

if there is anyone in the lubbock area, the show will continue on saturday from 10-8 and sunday from 12-5 at the lubbock civic center.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


i just unloaded and oh man! what a good firing! i lost a few pieces, but by far the least amount thus far. i did lose another platter(kiln gods, what is it with the platters????) i'll take some photos but i may not be able to post them before we leave tomorrow morning. ron, if you want a gem you'd better hit me up today!

Monday, April 14, 2008

its 4 am, do you know where your kiln is?

its 4:23am and the kiln is loaded. there is still some firewood to be cut, but i think i'll do that in the morning. i find that it takes me between 3 and half and 4 hours to get my kiln loaded, so when i start at midnight as i did this evening, i know i'm screwed. there was just so much to be done today(well, yesterday now), finish glazing, picking up and cutting firewood, cleaning out the kiln and scraping/washing the shelves. i hate when i get forced into last minute frenzies like this. i have 2 shows back to back weekends so i really have to have enough finished work for both before i go anywhere. i thought i had everything under control, but the long hours at "the real job" put me way behind. i ended up quitting so that i could concentrate on getting everyting done. so, once again yours truly is a "full-time" potter. the last two weeks have been very enjoyable even with the long studio hours, though its hard to get used to not getting a paycheck on friday, but i think we'll make it work.

enough rambling for now. g'night.

Friday, April 11, 2008

i need some color

here are some shots from wednesdays firing. i'm very pleased. i lost a few pots, had some weird glaze issues on a couple pieces and reduced the back a bit too much, but overall it looked good.

gourgeous, perhaps one of my favorites.

this is the inside of the lid of the previous pot. i've had weird glaze crawls, but never one that travelled uphill, that is very bizarre. this celadon is on the edge of fitting on leatherhard pieces and sometimes it misbehaves, i should make it go stand in the corner and eat some bentonite. theres some pottery humor for you.
i was sad to lose this guy, i was hoping it was gonna be an eye catcher to bring people into the booth. its about 20" across and about 7" tall. eh, what can you do.

firing again on monday, down to the wire. what pressure?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

you've got mail.

i received a package in the mail today. it was from akar, a linda christianson "yunomi" from their annual yunomi show. linda has been a favorite potter of mine for some years now, the funny part is that i have never seen any of her work in person. i grew up in minnesota and had heard of her, but had never seen any of her pieces anywhere. after seeing an oval teapot in jack troys book on woodfiring, i fell in love with her work. living here in texas her pieces are pretty much impossible to come upon, so i jumped at the chance when i saw some work available at the yunomi show.

i had taken some stylistic elements from her work when i was in college, mostly the way she treats the the bottom of an unturned pot(i still use this today) and i have always loved that little wavering line oround the middle on some of her bowls. the great thing is that the conclusions that i had drawn about how she worked her pots were completely wrong. after handling this particular bowl, it became obvioius to me that some of the stylistice choices are actually just results of the process, not necessarily conscious choices at all! its amazing that one little bowl can completely flip what you thought you knew on its head, but in a good way.

and, this bowl is way bigger than a typical yunomi. which means i can eat cereal out of it, even better.

the rambling ceases, go about your business.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

neither rain, nor sleet.......

i fired today amidst torrential downpours and hail. the kiln got a little wet, but we pulled through in about 11 hours, not bad.

and, we're off!


stoking. cone 10. hot.

i'll unload friday morning.

and now, i'm off to bed.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


two interesting events happened today. the first being the return of our beloved boxer puppy, kaylee. a friend of ours had decided to "adopt" her and took her a few days ago. we have missed her terribly since she left but felt it was the right decision since we already have a full house. kaylee was so depressed and wouldn't eat, play, and has been a bit unruly, so we offered to take her back with open arms, there's always room for one more.

event number two took place out in the kiln shed while preparing to load a firing. i'll preface by saying that my kiln door is a swinging door, a metal frame dry stacked with insulating firebrick held together by friction. for whatever reason, the wind, perhaps a ghost, i don't know, the brick in the door decided to take a tumble....onto my face. i was surprised at how unpleasant it felt to have a stack of lightweight bricks fall on me. thank god it wasn't hard brick, i'd be a goner. i felt a bit concussed and woozy, so i relaxed most of the afternoon in a bit of a stupor. i spent a few hours later rebuilding the door, i don't have a surplus of brick so i had quite a puzzle to figure out which bricks went where. but its done, i'm okay, my face is a bit swollen but i'll survive. long story short, the kiln did not get loaded.

we are leaving town early in the morning to go to austin. the lady of the house has a conference to attend for work at the austin museum of modern art. work's paying for her trip, so i'll tag along and pick up some stuff from the clay supplier and visit some friends. i'll load and fire when i get back. i have a week and a half to get two firings out, so i'll be plenty busy when we return.