30 May 2010

Photo Session-Bedrock Pots

There has been a lot of good blogger info on photographing pots lately... I am still working out the kinks myself, and I hope by the time I take pictures of all the pots I like from firing # 8 that I will have figured it out. Still more glare than I'd like sometimes and I need to learn about depth of field. Still, I used to pay professionals a lot of money for poorer results than this!
I had quite a few small sculptures in this firing. I've been making these small stacked forms for 35 years but I've always resisted the obvious...of course they are figures, but why make it too easy? Now that I've carved all these cool stamps for the Bartmann bottles I couldn't resist. They are maybe 8" tall and now I want to make a whole herd of them...

I have no real explanation for these next few and the best I can do is describe them as folk art, but perhaps that sounds a little too self-conscious? I see them as models for big garden birdbaths, even though I might not get around to making the big'un.
I've never deciphered the marketing game for my  non-functional work. I don't even have the clever titles I need to promote them. Any suggestions?

28 May 2010


You may recall that back in the winter when the snow lay knee deep or more I picked up a brush and made a little Michael Kline inspired pot. Here it is in all it's toasty glory. The slip I used doesn't hold it's line like Michael's wax resist does, but it has it's own charm, n'est pas?
Now it's the corn and the winter wheat that is knee deep...time do fly..... 

27 May 2010


Whenever I take a big trip I feel the need to rearrange a part of my house when I return. Whenever I fire the kiln, I feel the need to rearrange my workplace. Who knows what that says about me...?
This is my "Doug Fitch Memorial Wood Shed" (Doug is alive and well, thank-you). If you read Doug's blog you soon realize that he is in actual fact a shed builder disguised as a potter.

As I've spent more time in the 'little studio' I decided that I could give up some racking space to gain floor space. At 13' x 20' it is a cozy place to work, but had little room to move about. So I took down one of the two 'stillages' and replaced it with pipe racking. Now I'm ready for ballroom dancing! 
Shall we...? 
Shelves washed. 
Props dipped. 
Bricks stacked for the doors ('wickets' for my British friends). 
 These sponges are covered in little industrial diamonds and work well for cleaning up pots. I forget where they came from....check out Diapad on the intra-net. 
 So, any guesses on which critter chewed these two bricks down to a nubbin. Yesterday I watched a red headed woodpecker pecking on the side of my studio...later I discovered this. I think it could be salt that it is seeking. What a way to get it!

23 May 2010

Riverpots and A Fundraiser

Just yesterday Ron Philbeck posted a photo on his blog of his pots in action in a customers home. This photo also arrived at my computer yesterday, taken down by the Rappahannock River by a customer that visited LibertyTown. She said she couldn't decide on one pot, so bought four. I like that kind of indecision!Like Ron, I've always enjoyed getting these random photos of my pots out in the world, doing their job.
We also held our second annual Patron Show Fundraiser at LibertyTown Friday night. Our second big success! We borrowed this idea from the Torpedo Factory and it has quickly become a very popular event. 56 different artists donated a piece of work and then we sold 56 tickets...in 3 days! The idea then is that each patron must rank the work in order of preference because, at the Big Event, we draw names from a pot and as each number is drawn, that person gets to pick any piece in the show! I can't tell you how much fun this night was...the energy in the gallery was palpable, full of expectation and hope and a little tension! I love this photo below, even though it's out of focus. As each piece is selected, everyone is checking their lists to see where that was on their own list and checking it off. Can you see the couple who already have their choice in hand?
We got half a dozen emails yesterday thanking us for a good time and requesting that we have a party after...they don't want the fun to stop! We will mull that one over...we are usually pretty worn out by the end of any of our events at the center, but it's hard to deny the public more fun! We are very grateful to all of you who support us at Libertytown. Thank-you.

16 May 2010

My Bartmann Homage

This beauty (if I do say so myself) is one of my new favorites from  the firing. I'm using it as I work on my photography skills. It is 17" tall and 10" wide. The glass beads I put in the eyes created a raccoon-like effect that is pretty cool. I made this pot right after the salt glaze conference that I attended at Colonial Williamsburg in March...full of inspiration after sitting in the exhibition that was assembled for this event for hours.

14 May 2010

Tight Rope Walker!

The concert last evening was a real delight...great company...good food...and the lovely Iris Dement. With the exception of two songs, everything was new. Seems like a new album might be in the works. Iris suffers from performance anxiety and sometimes I wonder if she's going to make it through! She did well last evening, only restarting 3 songs!
The Birchmere is one of the premier music clubs for acoustic music in the US and we are fortunate to be so close.

13 May 2010


I'm still figuring out what I did to all those pots from last week's firing...the review continues. In the meantime, I am going to the Birchmere tonight with John and Kathy, meeting Helen and Todd Cymrot when we get there. Iris Dement is one of my all-time favorite singers...check her out!
It occurred to me years ago that I prefer my singers female, my writers, male. Don't know what that says about me....

09 May 2010

More Chocolate Goodness

It's been a hectic week...after unloading the kiln Wednesday I had to switch gears quickly for two receptions at LibertyTown in two nights for our Patron's Show (more on that later this week) (and I had to squeeze in poker night between the two!). And just when I thought I could relax, Dave Breedin called to say that there was wood to be had so first thing Saturday morning I hitched up the trailer and headed to deepest, darkest Spotsylvania County. It seems cruel to be working so hard for a firing I won't do for at least 4 months, but , wood is a problem, so I get it when I can. The firing continues to reveal surprises, mostly good ones.
(I use chocolate in my title, referring to my love for warm, toasty, 'hairy brown pottery'...unlike the folks at Windy Ridge Pottery, who recently wrote of their love of pale pots...to each his own!)
Everyone needs a helper!!!

05 May 2010

Excellent Results

My title here refers to firing # 8 and the election of my great friend Bea Paolucci who will soon be sworn in as our newest member of city council!
Congratulations, Bea! and congratulations to me (if I am allowed), the firing was terrific! Far superior to the previous seven with great heat and color. 12 lbs. of salt in the first chamber (for the first time ever) gave the pots a silky rich surface without going to glassy. My camera does no justice to the pots color-wise...you'll have to trust me. The second chamber had a number of gems, but one big problem that only reared it's ugly head at this juncture. Getting the proper reduction in the first chamber put carbon on a significant # of pots in the second chamber and resulted in slips blistering. I think I know how to cure that (thanks, Toff!) and I also need to cut back the reduction in #2 or else make some clay/slip changes. Still, I am very pleased with this result and I'll write more about it soon...I'm still feeling worn out and we've got receptions at LibertyTown two nights running for our patron show. I'm looking forward to some lazier days!

04 May 2010

From a Blank Slate to a Blank Stare

The firing was as smooth as silk...24 hours from a wooden match to a raging inferno. I'm still worn out from the week's labors and sleep deprivation, but very optimistic about the results. I got a peek last night and it looks very promising! Stay tuned...
 Emily and Ellie did an excellent job of supervising!