Sunday, February 28, 2010

wood and goats.

I've finished loading the kiln and today I dealt with the wood so that I can fire on Tuesday, lord willing. When it comes to firewood I usually go and pick up it up on the weekends when I'm getting close to a firing. Today was the first time that I picked up wood, sorted, cut, chopped, and stacked it all in one day. All of that took approximately 7-8 hours...longer than I thought all that took.

It's about time for me clean up this sprawling mess of a wood pile. When I unload the truck I toss all the wood into these piles. Believe it or not the wood is seperated into different sizes even though it looks like a mess. I could be more organized though.

The longer pieces are cut to fire box length on this table and stacked against the wall. When this rack is full all the pieces are chopped with an axe to approximately 2x2 size pieces and then stacked inside the barn. Then I burn those suckers.

Here's a little goat video. My truck is already pretty beat up, it is a work truck after all but I felt this was too funny to pass up and I promptly shooed them off after I shot this. Enjoy.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Clary Illian

Here's a nice little video with Clary Illian. Looking forward to seeing the whole video. Saybra and I met Clary a couple years ago, unfortunately she had no pots in her showroom which she was very apologetic for and I guess now she has made the switch to earthenware. I always wanted one of her stoneware teapots and a yunomi, they are just so gorgeous. Well, maybe someday I'll stumble across one.

Life in Clay: Clary Illian extended sequences
Uploaded by atomburke. - Discover more animation and arts videos.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I'm sorry that I haven't been posting much...I had all these intentions to produce all this work and with my teaching schedule it's just not happening. I am however loading the wood kiln which hopefully will be fired off soon.

We've had an abnormally cold and snowy winter this year(climate change?) We very rarely get snow and if we do it sticks for about 10 seconds before melting. Today was the second time this year that we've had several inches of snow. But of course in true west Texas fashion we had 5 inches of snow and mid twenties temps today and we'll have sixties tomorrow.

I never pass up a chance to throw snowballs at things and the only animal we have that will interact with snowballs in a good way is our lab/dane mix Hoban. The other dogs and the goats run away(yeah I've thrown snowballs at the goats, don't judge me) but Hoban will run and catch them in his mouth. He's one cool dog. He apparently also enjoys MJ's Thriller.

More later. Cheers!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

mud and kilns.

I went out with my wife yesterday to a small town called Buffalo Gap, about 10 minutes from us to dig some red clay. When I was in college this older lady told me about this red clay she dug up from out there that was the most beautiful tenmoku type glaze at cone 10, so now 8 years later I've finally gotten out there to dig some up. I went with the intention of digging various samples from different areas but most creek beds and areas where it's easily obtained are on private property, farms and ranches mostly. Texans like to shoot people and ask questions later so I decided that one sample from the property of some friends was enough for now. Theoretically it's all going to be somewhat similar in that region anyways...I think.

I've glazed and decorated all the pots for the next firing...I think I have a couple big bowls left actually...well anyways: I'm not real happy with my decorating, some of it is derivative and some I just plain don't like. They're not bad, I'll fire them and sell them but I'm just not happy with them. I'll start loading soon, I'd like to fire asap. I have my first show of the season in early March and I'd like to be stocked up.

Since I don't have too much to share with regards to my own work I'll write a little more about one of the kiln's we're building. This is my 10th kiln to build, including my own and the 3rd car kiln. I am by no means a master kiln builder but at this stage I can hold my own.

I'm trying a few new things in this kiln, some ideas came from seeing how other kilns I've built have worn over time and some I've stolen from other sources. I stole this idea of alternating full bricks and soaps on the end of the wall from Donovan Palmquist after seeing the wear on an old kiln I built. I think this will prove to be much more durable. I've also stolen/adapted a couple other of his ideas which won't be implemented until the later on.

Another idea I've adapted is the the cork fit floor. I got the idea from "The Art of Firing" by Nils Lou which for the most part is a pretty terrible book, I wouldn't suggest buying it. I'll leave my review at that. Here is a short little video showing how the floor of the kiln/car works.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

kiln buildin'

I haven't made any pots in awhile and I'm completely out of clay. I've been wanting to mix some but we've been having lots of rain and below freezing days and I don't care to blunge clay outside in that kind of weather!

My kiln building course meets at 8am twice a week and we've been rained out of our build the last 3 class periods so I bought 2 huge tarps and covered the area so we can keep going. Wouldn't you know it today we had sunny skies but at 8am it was about 24 degrees. So being the slave driver that I am I made them work anyways. We accomplished quite a bit between the four of us(only 3 out of 4 showed up today.) On friday afternoon we snapped chalk lines, ground down high spots in the slab and laid the concrete block. Yesterday I spent time laying a cement board base and mortaring the first course to level(the slab's on a pitch of course.) So here's what we accomplished in freezing weather today:

Here's the temporary brickyard and our classy tarps. The backside of the kiln area backs up to one of the main roads on campus, so I'm just waiting for a complaint. The car kiln is under the tarped area, the salt kiln will be built underneath the hole in the roof.

Well, that's all for now. I'm tired. It's dinner time and we're having burgers from the Beehive, come visit and we'll take you there, some of the best food I've ever put in my mouth. It's LOST night, so I'm off!


Monday, February 8, 2010


6:30am: wake up.

7:10am: arrive at La Popular Bakery and score a couple of burritos and the best sweet tea in makes monday mornings tolerable.

7:30am: Arrive at school, eat burritos, be happy for a split second, check email, facebook, etc.

8:00am: Unlock classroom, turn heat on, prepare powerpoint.

8:15am: Review material for the days lecture.

8:35am: Tell student that over-sleeping is not an excuse for missing the exam on friday and no there is no make-up. Proceed to explain that in fact life isn't fair and they should deal with it.

9:00-12:00: Lecture over the elements of design...3 seperate times. Occasionally throw something at sleeping student.

12:15: Run to Lowes for a couple pieces of cement board and then grab lunch and head back to school.

1:20: Critique in Ceramics 2, knock those suckers down so I can build them back up.

More later...

Monday, February 1, 2010

New things.

We had some nasty weather this past weekend, icy roads and such, so I didn't get as much done in the studio as I would've liked. I have about 50 pounds of clay left and I'll knock that out tomorrow and then it'll be time to start getting the kiln prepped for a late february firing...lord willing.

Here are some 8.5# vases. I don't do many vases and even then I really only have one shape so I tried some new things, I was really channeling warren with these guys. I also made some smaller vases with the cut and reattached sides and....well....that's not my thing so no photos of those guys.

3# bowls, aside from mugs these are my bread and butter.

I slapped a yunomi with a stick, it looked cool.

View from the bottom.

I cut the top of one of the aforementioned small vases and then thought it'd make an interesting cup so I put a bottom and a handle on it. Don't worry guys, my work isn't going in this direction. I call this guy my grad school mug, yeah, there's a bit of commentary there, don't get offended.

So long for now. Cheers!