Saturday, August 30, 2008

crunch time indeed.

sorry i've been a poor blogger lately, there has just been so much going on. i have all my pots for the wood kiln ready to go, i'll load them in the morning, finish chopping firewood and fire in the evening...if the rain holds off. i was going to have all that finished today but the rain came pourin down this afternoon. i have a bisque going right now that will be unloaded monday and glazed along with the rest of the pieces at the university and placed in the reduction kiln and fired tuesday. sometime in there i'll do a little teaching.

i'll try and get some photos at some point in time this week.

quote for the day: "work these hands to bleed, 'cause i've got mouths to feed"-ryan adams.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

son of a *@#%!!!!!

i just opened up a bisque kiln of exploded platters and bowls that were for my show next weekend. upon further investigation the kiln computer said that i set it to a fast fire to cone 06. hmmmm.....don't really know that i did that as i have a custom firing schedule programmed in that i use, but then again....i don't know. excuse me while i go shout obscenities and try to figure something out.

until then, cheers?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

goody goody!

i just recieved my huge clay order today, enough for the better part of the year. i'll try and get some mixed up this week and get potting again soon. i'm transporting bunches of pots home today to get loaded in the wood kiln. i'm going to fire soon, i'll not say when because when i do it never happens. i'll try and have something a little more exciting later.


Monday, August 25, 2008

perfect timing.

if medical issues gross you out read no further. this evening i lost a fingernail, it didn't hurt one bit though. it got smashed in a dogs mouth awhile back and i've known it was gonna happen and i've just been waiting. its all healed over but it is very sensitive. coincidentally i used the last of my clay this morning which is perfect timing as i can't have my hands in wet clay for a couple of weeks now. plenty of glazing and firing to do though. classes start tomorrow, i figure i can do some hand building demos with no problem.

sorry this was a lame post, gotta run.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

busy busy.

sorry i've been away for so long, i've been trying to pot and get things ready for classes on tuesday. we spent the evening yesterday with my buddy kent and his wife after dropping some pots off at his gallery. it was nice to spend some time with another potter of similar interests, that doesn't happen too often around here.

here are some pots i've been working on. all or most of those pots will go into the reduction kiln. i have a show in two weeks and i'd been hoping to get two firings out before then but we've had nothing but rain for over a week so hopefully i'll get at least one woodfiring and i'll see what magic i can work with these in the other kiln.

i made a bunch more casseroles to replace the five that cracked. i had about 5 of these fluted bowls get s-cracks and i cant figure it out as i am compressing the heck out of them and they're drying quite slowly with all the humidity. i took them all back to leatherhard and worked out the cracks and they look ok now. this works about half the time but i won't know until after the bisque.

cereal bowls, platters and a large fluted bowl.

big casserole with the old jigsaw blade texture trick.

i've been making square bottles for a long time and they always end up looking tight and formal. i saw some of warren mackenzie's bottle shapes while in minnesota and so i took a cue from his and tried something new. i like how taking the wide point down and making them visually bottom heavy gives them a much more casual appearance. the one on the left is textured with a sureform and the one on the right was just hacked away with a fettling knife after being squared. i think i'll try some more like this later.

gotta go. cheers.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

the uni.

here is my studio at the university.

at home i throw on a brent, at the university they have creative industries wheels, i believe CI wheels to be the kia to brent's volvo. i had a CI in my studio which blew a fuse while centering about 20 pounds. i wasn't even aware that they had fuses, in ten years i have never had to do a thing to my brent. so i switched it out with a new one they got last year and it couldn't even handle the torque of twenty soft pounds of clay. i don't care what model it is if you drop $900 on a wheel it shouldn't blow fuses or bog down from 20 pounds of clay. needless to say i hauled my trusty(and heavy) brent up to school, much better. i apologize if you're the happy owner of a CI(or a kia,)just my opinion, rant over.

i had about 500 pounds of clay mixed up using the mixer at the school, which by the way is way more work than the slip method. its aged for a couple months and is still pretty crappy, but i managed to get some platters and dinner plates done with it today. i used the same formula as my woodfire but add about 1% yellow ochre which warms up the the glazes a bit. they only had greenstripe at the school(i use hawthorn35&50) so i substituted that as my fireclay not realizing that it comes as something like 200 mesh, which means butter smooth clay. this is also the main component they've been using for the beginners clay which means they've been trying to teach students to throw with a clay that stands up like porcelain. i may have to remedy that.

here are a bunch of pots waiting for the trip back to the wood kiln.

all these pots(minus the white casserole) are over a year old. they're with my old clay body that i used pre-raw glazing. i've been saving them wondering what to do but now they'll find life in the reduction kiln.

here is the ceramics/sculpture yard. its a mess. i have a couple pallets of bricks back in the corner over there that are going to become a salt kiln.

so long for now.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

1:15...and done.

for all you nay-sayers. they still have to be slipped but they need to stiffen up a bit more.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

in an attempt to be un-original...

its time for another rousing game of name that potter. this ones kinda easy. in fact this might not be this little guys first appearance on the internet.

i spent all morning in the studio and had some decent output: mugs, salsa bowls, dessert plates, and teapots, the lids and spouts are already under plastic. the rest of the afternoon was spent at the university and running errands. this'll be a doozy for finishing tomorrow. until then folks...cheers.

Monday, August 11, 2008


i've been having a small problem with bowls developing s-cracks. here is what i think is happening: when i slip bowls i only slip up to the foot ring, i don't slip inside the footring because it becomes too much of a mess and hassle, i can wax the footring but then it becomes hard to grip,etc, etc. after it stiffens back up i glaze the interior. i think the pots are cracking due to uneven expansion where the inside of the footring is(because the footring has no added moisture on one side?) this doesn't happen everytime, but it does happen too much. sometimes i don't even notice it until after i fire which means i just wasted good kiln space with a cracked pot. if this sounds like false logic to those more experienced than i in raw glazing let me know.

so after much debate and frustration i've decided to go back to bisque firing. slipping the pots leatherhard has no effect one way or another so i'll keep doing that. what this means for me is that i have to haul all my pots up to the university to bisque them and then bring them home to glaze and fire them. so i've decided to cut out one of those steps and move much of my studio up to the university. they've given me private studio space that is nearly as large as my studio now and get this, they have heat and air conditioning. this saddens me a bit but it really seems to be the most economical way to do things. maybe it'll be good for the students to have an in-house potter. i have my own wheel up here so i may leave mine at home for the occasional home potting, who knows? i think in the long run it will be more beneficial.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

come on already.

whats with the friggin s-cracks? i thought we were over this.

Friday, August 8, 2008

yesterdays work

here are the pieces that i finished up yesterday, hopefully i'll get them slipped/glazed this evening. it seems to take forever when it comes to lidded pieces for me. thats probably six hours work in finishing these pieces; lid tweaking, trimming, attaching handles, etc.

these are some small vases i made with the briscoe-via-philbeck board squish technique.

cap-jar foot detail.

i love the surface on this jar. the hakeme is the old 80/20 flashing slip and on the rim & lid was a tile6 slip, should've looked quite different from eachother, but i like it all the same.

i spent today up at the university. i loaded a bisque kiln with a bunch of platters and large vases. i'm trying to reduce these small feet cracks i'm getting with my platters and i think bisquing will help eliminate the problem. i also spent a few hours inventorying and making a list of the materials needed for the coming year, that was a lot of work.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

for kent.

here is my interpretation of a faceted casserole. i haven't done any faceting for a couple years so i'm a bit rusty. it could use some tweaking but i only made one. faceting doesn't look good with my slips, but it was a fun idea to try.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

more pots

here are a few pictures from the firing. sorry a couple of them are blurry.

good firing.

my camera died after these three photos, so i'll go out later and take some more. this was a superb firing. i lost a few pieces but that always seems to be the case with this kiln. the door side always leans towards the oxidation side of neutral, i'm guessing because of the stoking door being opened and closed, the bottom door side also fires cooler than the rest i'm assuming from the same issue. i've learned to use it to my advantage a bit.

this looks a little more washed out than it is, most of these pots on the door front are soft yellows, very nice.

ripoff? over did the glaze trailing a bit.

two of my larger jugs did this. i think this is an expansion issue from the raw glazing.

i'll post some more later.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

waiting game.

i finished the firing at about 4:30am, the kiln was pretty fickle most of the firing, well more than usual. it was real erratic with temperature gains and temperature fluctuations for the first 3/4 of the firing, again more than usual. i had an unusual stack this time so that may be part of it, but i'm just not sure.

i had a nice little reception from the fire department at about cone 9, 2 trucks and 3 police cruisers, someone called them and told them our barn was on fire. while explaining to them about the kiln and that i had a permit i lost about 150 degrees and was asked if i could keep the flame from coming out of the stack because we're under burn ban. so i proceeded to fire with the one or two sticks every 30 seconds method which actually got me back up to cone 10 in about 30 minutes, then i gave it a good soak and shut her down. i had the fire marshall stop by this morning and take a peek at the kiln and he told me that while we're under burn ban i need to have a spark arrester on the stack, he was real nice and told me how to make one because of the size of my stack it would be expensive to buy one. this is grass fire country so these guys take their business very seriously, this is what happens when people are careless with cigarette butts and sparking tailpipes and such things, that place is the next county over, about 30 minutes from here.

unloading wednesday afternoon, keep your fingers crossed. cheers.