Saturday, May 31, 2008

i'm loaded.

the kilns all loaded. i'm a little worried about how this is going to fire. usually you'd want to have a variety of shapes and sizes to assist the flow of the flame through the kiln, here i have 148 pots of the same size. so we'll see how that works. i was only able to fit a few other pieces in. the packing list went like this:
2: cereal bowls
1: large platter
1: mug
1: large slab dish
1: medium vase
1: small pitcher
148: yunomi

this is how i "candle" my wood kiln. i put a space heater in the firebox overnight and it keeps it anywhere from 100-115 degrees. my pyrometer says its 98 in there right now so the space heater might be a moot point. it gets everything nice and dry though.

i'll start the firing first thing in the morning.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

its a hot one.

i spent this afternoon cleaning out the kiln shed, taking pots to the kiln, and some taking care of some general outdoor cleaning. it hit 98 degrees so i decided to spend the rest of the day inside. its supposed to hit 100 tomorrow. eeek. i'm firing on sunday and the projected temp is 101, that'll be fun. i'm thinking of removing some of the metal on the sides of my barn so i can get some more ventilation. good day y'all.

Monday, May 26, 2008

for keith. and everyone else too.

keith made a comment about how no one has been posting anything this weekend so here is what i did potterywise, i made two big lidded jars, heavy production i know. i've spent most of the weekend giving the outside some much needed attention. our lawn mower is broke so we took that to saybra's grandpa who runs a lawnmower repair shop. i've also been cleaning out our carport that has been filled with lumber i've been gathering, clay mixing stuff, sheetrock, and odds and ends from the house renovation. i sorted the lumber and stacked the good stuff nearer to the workshop. i'm replacing the roof to my workshop in june sometime. i have seven foot walls and a flat roof that leaks, so i'm going to raise the wall a foot and put a new gabled roof on with a shed roof off the back to cover the new future kiln. all of this lumber has been gathered from construction sites, some from dumpsters and all of it was going to the landfill. i have a pile of full length hardiplank siding and plywood around the corner as well. what a waste, it makes me so mad. that big fat piece of lumber in the picture is an LVL beam that would cost in the neighborhood of $100 if you were to go to the lumberyard and buy it. it had been nailed up and then removed and it couldn't be returned, so they tossed it. enough with my rants.

i'm going to be a copycat here and ask your opinion(s.). to give you a sense of scale, the one on the right is 21" and the one on the left is 18.5". i didn't like the original configuration of the lids to the pots so i swapped them, lucky for me the lids were the same size! i'll tell you which one i prefer later.
which configuration of lids do you like better:

or #2.

there is a "best of deadliest catch" marathon on the discovery channel and i've been sucked in, not a bad way to spend the holiday i suppose.

Friday, May 23, 2008

156, count 'em.

well, here they are. half with a slip and half with an ash glaze.

and another view.

here are a couple slab serving platters, the one on front is 21 inches in length.

i haven't tried this since i was in college and i was never good at it then. i did a couple of these, this one turned out pretty cool. we'll see if it makes it through the firing.
gotta run.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

whats going on.

i've finished all the yunomi for our wedding. i'm glad that i was already stocked up on these because i don't know that i'll want to make any for awhile. i tried some variations of shapes that i make but of course that last couple boards were the best, to me. they were my basic form but had become much looser and casual, the result of the repetition i'm supposing. i purposely didn't make them all exactly the same, they're all formally similar but different in the proportions of the curves and gesture. i'll try and snap a picture tomorrow if i can find my camera.

i mixed up a couple hundred pounds of a new clay body that i'll potentially be using. its mostly a fireclay body and is very nice, it needs a little tweaking but its promising. i made a bunch of my "standard" work with it and i am making a bunch of slab work with it as well. i'm spending some time off the wheel and have been coming up with new ideas for slab work. this new body is much more responsive to the slab process so its opening some new doors for me. my back has been hurting me a lot lately(too many yunomi?) so i think it would be wise to try something new for awhile. for those who don't know, when i was 20 i fell about 7 or 8 feet onto my side and knocked my lower spine out of alignment. it has flared up every now and again and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. i used to throw standing up but absolutely hated it, but throwing seated is giving me too many problems so i'm going to try this half sitting half standing thing that don brimberry does.

my friend kent harris started a blog that can be seen here. he is an amazing potter, we met a couple years ago at a show and have hit it off. down here in texas its hard to find young people who have made it through college and have still stuck onto the romantic ideal of traditional pottery. sometimes i think we're the only ones down here. he runs a studio and gallery in amarillo that i have yet to visit but hope to someday soon. amarillo is about 4 hours away and not even halfway across the state. sometimes i think texas is just too big.

in other news i'm toying with the idea of hosting a kiln building workshop next spring/early summer. i'm going to build a larger version of my kiln nearer to the studio, the current one is about 150 yards away which doesn't sound far but try carrying kiln loads of pots back and forth all the time. i thought it might be a great educational experience for anyone interested in woodfiring. so if anyone has an opinion or is genuinely interested let me know.

there are new willem gebben pots at earth and fire gallery. he's brilliant.

check out alex matisse's blog, maybe drop a little encouragement. they just had a doozy of a firing.

email ron and tell him to get on with his minnesota story, he's killin me.

so long.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

in response to m. kline

michael said: "I hope you will still be able to make a lot of pots there."

upon thinking about this statement i thought that yeah, it shouldn't be a problem. between classtime, office hours and firing kilns it'll be 25-30 hours a week give or take. its been rare that i've been potting without a second job. i've almost always had something else pulling in a small but consistent income to supplement the potting. i'm going to have private studio space and access to the facilities so that i can work there if need be. this is where the problem started. i started thinking about the way that i do things here in my own studio. the reason i work the way i do is because of the limitations that are placed on me(some of them self-imposed.) i have very limited resources, both financially and as a potter. i don't have a clay mixer or various types of kilns or access to unlimited variety of materials and suppliers. forgive me if this sounds snobby or pretentious, i don't mean it that way at all, but i think my work has developed its own strength and integrity by exploiting those limited resources and creating sound work with what i have available. much like the old "peasant" pots from various locales that many of us admire so much. my process is very labor intensive and i would be lying if i said that i enjoyed all of it.

i have this fear that i'm going to fall into the trap of taking the easy way out. the other day i was looking at slides of much of my old work and thinking about what work i could do in the reduction kiln. i haven't done any work like that since college, and while it may be fun to experiment i'm worried that it will replace what i have here because its easier. i don't mean to belittle those who have all these things, not at all. those things are what you have and you have made that work from those facilities your own. i'm worried about sacrificing the integrity of what i do here because its easier to do it at the university, because honestly, i'm not really that genuinely interested in standard reduction firing anymore but i could make myself believe that i am because its less work. i'm very proud of what i do and what i've built here. i feel like i would be cheating on my pots. pshhh...thanks a lot michael(sarcasm.) though i suppose its better to realize these things now than to catch it 4 years down the road. something to think about i guess.

i apologize if this made no sense to you.

Friday, May 16, 2008


yesterday i accepted a job at hardin-simmons university as the adjunct instructor of ceramics. it came out of nowhere, and a week later after a couple interviews the job is mine. its so bizarre, but i am so excited. i'm starting in the fall semester teaching 3 seperate classes. i feel really old, not in the sense of being elderly, but adult-like. its hard to explain, getting married and landing a teaching job, i guess i'm all growed up.

i'm finishing up an "order" of 150 yunomi for our wedding on june 7th. i have about half of them made, its been slow going, i can only make about 10-12 in a sitting before my finger starts to hurt too much(its broken, the nailgun incident.) we're giving a cup to everyone that comes to our reception, so i guess i'd better get off the internet and get back to work.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

no potting yet.

today was a fun day. i was invited(and paid!) to go down to one of the local universities and sit in on portfolio reviews for a few of the students. they invite local artists to come and help so that the students can get a more unbiased opinion about their work. i really enjoyed it, the last time i was in a portfolio review i was a senior in college so it was interesting to be on the opposite side of one of those.

here is a photo that a customer sent me of a large bowl that he purchased. i really enjoy seeing people putting my pots to work. let that be a hint to all of you out there. i bet that dogs wishing he could curl up inside that thing.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

not much goin on

i haven't been doing too much pottery related this week. on tuesday while working on the garden i shot myself with a framing nailgun. now, one might ask: what were you doing with a nailgun in the garden? bug hunting? while that sounds fun, no. we are building a raised garden and i was building the forms. i have never had a self inflicted injury in all my time as a carpenter and framer, 4 weeks off the job and bam, curled nail into the left index finger, such a newbie mistake. you'd be surprised how much you depend on your non-dominant index finger. it swelled to the size of a sausage and was very tender to the touch, not to mention unbendable. probably at least another week before its useable again. so it is.

i was able to mix up a bunch of test clay bodies yesterday. just waiting for them to dry and we'll get back to work. the studio could use a good cleaning, maybe i'll do that......