Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Gray Area.

I was really excited about the book that goes along with Michael Simon's exhibition at the Northern Clay Center but was very bummed that I wasn't able to get a copy of it...yet. (By the way...if you're at NCECA and want to get me a copy that'd be great!)

I googled "Michael Simon Evolution"-the name of the book and a link popped up on the first page that was a pdf version of the cover. Going backwards on the address took me here. So if you are so inclined you can view the book online. I'm not familiar with "ibiblio"...apparently some sort of sharing site. I took a gander and you know what? I'm still gonna buy it, it's better than I thought it was going to be.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Clay

I made some pots this evening while waiting on the gas kiln to finish up. I have a couple of new clay bodies that I'm testing out and I mixed up about 300# of each. They're really just modifications of my current body. This one that I used tonight has an addition of fine sand on top of the grog and I must say that I really like the feel. The clay feels sandy...instead of gritty. I don't know how to describe it better than that but I like it.

Here are some yunomi, this clay was really soft and I think influenced the shape a little. These are a little shorter and fatter than I typically make them. I think they look a little more generous and inviting.

I received an order for some plates so I made a small run. This is the year for plates, I have to figure out how to get 2o something plates into the next firing, that'll be a challenge.


That's all for now.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

How do ya like them apples?

Oriental thinking, and indeed all pre-industrial thinking, knows that nature may seem hard-hearted and her laws inexorable and often cruel, yet she herself is the very raw material you are working with, and of which you yourself are necessarily a part. You therefore always have to treat her as your friend, as someone with whom you must somehow keep on good terms, or else you and your works will be no good. She is after all your mother, not an enemy to be subdued, or a slave to be violated.
-Michael Cardew

Speaking of apples, it makes one want to put down their brush entirely.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I'm going to spend some time over the next week getting my etsy shop back up and running. I've been happy doing etsy for the last couple years and will continute to utilize it for online sales. The main seller on my etsy is the mug/cup. Can't sell a serving bowl on there to save my life. I do move some smaller bowls, lidded dishes, plates, etc. So here is my question:
What would you like to see on etsy as a buying customer?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

much ado about procrastination.

I remember about 8 or 9 years ago turning in my last college essay and thinking to myself "boy am I glad that's the last paper I'll ever write!" Shoulda knocked on wood.

I'm writing a fairly lengthy essay on Michael Cardew and his time in Africa(at the time of writing this post I am procrastinating the writing of the essay, but that is neither here nor there.) Not for publication or my own bemusement but for credit. No, I will not share my thoughts on why Cardew all but abandoned his wife and children to pursue idealogical dreams about a pottery in West Africa(his words, or thoughts anyways.) I will not for 3 reasons.

Because I am not (insert deity here)'s gift to writing. I am constantly befuddled at the number of people who find value in my lack of wordsmithing when there are better options. Then again...I'm assuming people read my blog because of what I have to say. It's certainly not my charming personality...maybe it's the stunning photographs? I dunno...have to get back to you on that one.

I will not give you the answers. Read his autbiography and draw your own conclusions about this slightly self-absorbed-(but not?!)-man(my words.)

I feel that when you do something because you have to it doesn't always have the heart of something you do because you want to. This is a fancy way of saying that I'm not giving my all. You might say: "but Brandon, I don't want to make pots, I HAVE to make pots." It's possible that you have to make pots to be happy(as I do) but your basis of need stops there. There has never been the threat of a gun to my head or malnourishment because I wasn't making pots, there is however the ever-present threat of my grouchiness if you take my pots away. We make pots because we want to. We follow our dreams because we are encouraged to do so, or at least we were. Remember that quote from Finding Forrester: "we walk away from our dreams afraid that we may fail or worse yet, afraid we may succeed." I don't know if following your dreams fits into the current standardized one-size-fits-all public education that promotes a fear of failure, because after all you may fail at something, heaven(mecca, nirvana, etc.) forbid it may even be a learning experience.

West Africa is littered with Michael Cardew's failures. Okay maybe not "littered" but those thousands upon thousands of pots from years of disasterous firings had to go somewhere, right? When I think of MC's time in Africa I don't think of his failures, I think of his journey to the (relative)success of his pottery training center in Abuja. One success can wipe the slate clean of your failures. Apply that nugget of wisdom to whatever facet of your life needs it.

See what I did there, tied it all together? Clever.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is he talking about?


Monday, March 21, 2011

Off-topic...or is it?

Someone shared this video on facebook today and I thought I'd share it here for those of you who don't do the facebook. This speech is in fact a poem, much more powerful as spoken word. I have a feeling he's talking about the public school teachers working in the trenches, not the candy-ass college teachers riding the gravy train( I can say that because I'm one of them, right? Also, that was a joke, no need to rip me a new one in the comment section...unless you just really want to.) Though they certainly have their impact as well.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Punching Platters.

Here is a video for making a 15# platter. Enjoy.


Friday, March 11, 2011


I got myself a fancy new camera so I can rejoin the world of vlogging. Fridays are the closest thing I have to uninterrupted time in the studio so it seems silly to waste such precious time with doing a video but it was fun, so enjoy the lidded dish.


Monday, March 7, 2011

The NC.

On our way back from Baltimore we stopped in North Carolina for the night to stay with the Philbecks. I have been blogging for about 4 or 5 years now and one of the reasons I started blogging was after reading Ron's blog. It was nice to finally meet and get to spend some time together. We got on like old friends and Saybra and I had such a wonderful time we stayed a second night.

Knowing that we would be passing through NC it seemed foolish not to try and stop at a pottery or two. We only had a few hours of free time so I made a mental list of the places I would like to stop, number one on my list was Bandana Pottery. I've long admired Michael and Naomi's work and have longed to pop in for a visit. I called them in the morning to see if it was alright to stop by, when we arrived they surprised us with a couple of open chairs at their table and lunch. We had some good lunch, tea and conversation. Michael then gave us a tour of the kilns and pottery. It was wonderful to finally see many of their pots in person, and of course to bring some home.

Just down the road from Bandana is the one and only super-blogger Michael Kline. We popped in to say hello and see what was happening at the Sawdust & Dirt headquarters. It was nice to finally meet him(and 2/3 of his family) after reading his blog for so long. We visited for a bit and got a tour of the facilities and again took home some pots.

Kline is one tall mofo.

Just down the road again and after passing half a dozen other potteries we arrived at Shawn Ireland's place. He was out of town so we took the self-guided tour guessed...left with some pots.

After visiting Shawn's place we went back to Shelby for dinner with Ron and Sarah. Upon leaving for dinner we noticed something a little strange. Brothers from different mothers. Great minds...

The end(s).


Thursday, March 3, 2011


We're home from Baltimore. We had a variety of electrical problems with our trailer, we'd fix one and something else would pop up. Overall though, that's nothing to complain about. We had a great show, sent a lot of pots off to good homes, made some money and met many bloggers and blog readers. We had a nice visit from Dan Finnegan and his crew from Liberty Town. We also had a nice visit with Maishe Dickman from Connecticut, Dan and Maishe had never met and we all got on pretty well with each other.

After the show we stopped in NC and stayed with Ron Philbeck and spent a day out and about but only made it to 3 potteries. I'll save that for another post though, I'm really wanting to just lounge on the couch for a bit.