30 December 2011


11-9-47  "It will be some time before I can find time to reply. Visitors are incessant & correspondence so heavy that I cannot get more than 1/3 of my workshop hours for actual pot making. If I send you photos & publications etc. can I depend upon their early return-some are irreplaceable & all take time to get out?"
Sincerely, Bernard Leach
I have previously stated on this here blog that I am the luckiest man you'll know...certainly the richest...and while I don't do a lot of gift exchanging at Christmas, there are a few treats this year that are worth noting. The post card above is a real treasure...Bernard Leach complaining just like I do...never enough time to make pots! (you'll have to ask Hollis to tell you the story about Leach that Byron Temple told us years ago!?!)
Life is good anytime a package shows up delivered by the Royal Mail. This one arrived courtesy of that wee red-headed lass in Scotland...strong tea, ornaments for all the friends that she made here (and Kit Kats!) Thank you, my dear!
Any day spent with Ellie is a gift!
Years ago when I had a big black beard a friend made a bunch of 'Dan Santas'. I drag this one out most years.
I'm tempted to write something sentimental here about ALL the gifts that come my way each day, but let's not get weepy here. I am feeling very grateful these days for all kinds of things, including those of you who take the time to visit with me here. 

22 December 2011


"LIDDED BOX" Cedar burl and clay.
Earlier this year I began what is becoming a very fruitful project with my friend Frank. I hand him some random birds and he turns his imagination on! 
"LIDDED BOX"  lump of Coal and Clay
It' difficult to see, but Frank has turned a small container into this.

19 December 2011

A Perfect Pot

Of course there is no such thing, but it is the striving that keeps me moving forward. 
18" tall...it's (still) my favorite from firing #11.
Vase with 4 Handles... 19" tall
4 Handled Platter...16" wide
I fear that many of my friends misinterpret that fact that I'm never really satisfied with my work. When we unload the kiln I seldom find the 'good' pots very interesting...they've done their job as they should...it's the things that don't come out right that are intriguing...it's the mishaps that present puzzles to be solved. It's one of the reasons that I needed to move from gas firing to wood...I'm a man who needs a problem to solve!

15 December 2011

Ask Mr. Finnegan

I never know what the proper protocol for replying to questions left by commentators is....here are a couple of answers to recent questions...

Loren asked about the tiles that we put on the bagwall:
There's no doubt that putting all the tiles on the bagwall altered the flame path as it passed through the gaps between...we lowered the bagwall first, and my plan is to replace the tiles each firing. There seemed to be a lot more velocity to the flame as it passed through the narrow gaps. The pots just inside of the tiles were quite blasted with both ash and salt!

Several folks asked about how I define a 'standard' sized teapot. I make up to 6 different sizes of teapots (I wish more folks bought them!) so over the years they have all gotten different names. Mini, 1 cup, small, standard, large and extra large (sometimes known as megatron). The standard size is for sharing; it holds 3 pints of nectar!

And then there is the Kit Kat question. For all of my fellow Kit Kat lovers out there...I suggest that you contact your local elected representative and lobby them to break the embargo. Over the big pond in the land of Hannah and Doug and Paul and Toff and Georgie (you get the idea) the shops are full of orange flavored...and mint...and caramel...and dark chocolate!?  Here at home, milk chocolate is our only choice. Maybe if we refuse to pay the Kit Kat tax and hurl them into the harbor we can bring about change.

Stay tuned for more answers from our new show here at DFSP when "Ask Mr. Finnegan" returns for another installment.

13 December 2011

Pots, Pets and Poultry

Lots of big ash on a standard size teapot.
A beekeeper needs to make honey pots
Small teapot
Standard Teapot
Miss Moneypenny chillin'
They came from the woods and through the grass. Runaway chickens

12 December 2011

A Few Useful Things

These are just a few of the 100's of pots that were in the last firing.
This is just a small (6") 'off-center' cruet...but I love the gesture.
Small (and tiny) flasks.

06 December 2011

A Few Birds from #11

my favorite
'A Lurking Sympathy' 
A Flock of Vases
Butter Dish
Pedestal Bowl w/ 4 Birds 
World's Smallest Birds...(That's a penny in front!)
Pedestal Bowl w/ 2 Birds

05 December 2011

Selling Pots

Jeremy Gann's "Dali" in the background.
After the hectic pace leading up to a firing, sitting with a good book, cups of tea and orange flavored Kit Kats sounds mighty appealing. But, of course, that's a fairy tale. The truth is that we went straight from firing # 11 to a complete overhaul of the gallery at Libertytown in preparation for our opening on First Friday.

We had a preview on Thursday for our 'Friends' and quite a few new 'birds' flew the coop. All the littlest ones sold in the first half hour and then 'the tree' sold to some local collectors which made for a great start to the season.
Kathleen Walsh, Elizabeth Seaver, Rita Brown
In addition to new work from my latest firing we opened up our first annual "Really Big Show" with great oversized work by 7 LibertyTown Artists. AND we had our 7th (or 8th)  student pottery sale which was a huge hit. Folks line up before we open at 5pm and some take out bags to their car, then return for another armful.
Very early the next morning I hopped in the car and drove to Demarest, New Jersey to visit the '37th Annual Pottery Show and Sale'. This has been a very successful sale for an ever changing group of potters for a long time. It is a fundraiser for the 'Art School at Old Church' organized by Karen Karnes and Mikhail Zakin, 2 of the 'grande dames' of American ceramics. They invite a couple of dozen mostly useful potmakers to set up inside the intimate confines of this quirky building. 

Mark Shapiro
I saw lots of old friends including Mark Shapiro, Matt Kelleher, Michael Hunt, Naomi Dalglish, Jenny Mendes and I met Jack Troy for the first time which was a real honor.

I bought a fabulous teapot from Ryan Greenheck and I know it's a great show when it's difficult to choose which teapot to buy! I almost chose two...there was nary a teapot worth the name when I visited the Philly Museum show last month so I could have justified another.
 I am beginning to plan a show of the same scale and quality in Washington , DC, next fall and I've been checking out shows to learn what I can. I talked to lots of folks who gave me good insight.It's an intimate and amazing show of great pots and people. I'm back home now and theoretically things will slow down a bit. I've got lots of photos of my newest work to show and I should be able to sit still and do a bit more blogging now. I miss you guys!