29 March 2011

Snow Falls on Spring

Just as we were getting used to spring-like weather, winter has returned for another visit. I don't really mind...if spring arrives early here it means summer can't be far behind...the dreaded season of heat and humidity. 

25 March 2011

Bird on a Bowl

This is about 14" wide.
I've got a few proto-types for a bird bowl in the studio but this is the first one that I've finished. I know that there is an awesome idea here, and this is just fine, but I think I have to increase the scale to really make it work. I've been letting the bird-bowl idea gestate for a while now and I certainly have had the incredible pedestaled fish bowls of a certain Toff Milway in mind as I've pondered this form.
The form of this pedestal makes it seem like it is in flight so I've dropped the feet back trying to represent that feeling.  It's hard to see, but I put a rather straightforward pulled strap handle on the backside. It fills an important visual and functional purpose. I think...
Detail of a large 'double bird' vase that I'm working on.

23 March 2011

A Treat for Doug?!

Just a couple of weeks until "The British Invasion" gets underway with the arrival of Doug and Hannah in Boston. Doug was hoping to ship some of his local clay over but I'm hoping that this beautiful ocher clay will do the trick. 
I'm sending some to Hollis, Doug, and I think you might like it?! It has some sand and fine pebbles and is part of the estuary mud left behind by the Rappahanock River. It's a little 'short' but has amazing dry strength and I love the color. I've used it before as a slip for stoneware temperature and Jason, my new assistant, is putting it through its paces in the electric kiln at LibertyTown.
P.S. John Britt has a great article on roadside glaze material in the latest Ceramics Monthly

16 March 2011

Big Boys...and a Return to Chattering

I'll never be a great big pot maker but it's thrilling to take 'em on!
10 -15 lb. planters...still to be slipped and combed.
I have, from time to time, played with 'chattering' on the surface of my pots.  I like any decorating that involves the wheel going 'round and 'round. Traditionally the 'divots' would be filled with a contrasting colored slip and then scraped back to reveal the diamond shape in strong contrast. I used to use glazes that pooled to highlight the effect...now it is slips with salt working the edges. The old tricks are the still my favorites, just adapted to suit my own muse.
6"long metal banding...split length-wise. Very flexible
The tool bounces like an old fashioned typewriter...if the clay is right, if the angle and pressure of the metal is right, if the wheel speed is right...it's easy!

15 March 2011

Les Ismore

I don't seem to have the time to organize thoughts into words these days, so I'll let my little camera do the talking...with all the news in the world I'm feeling blessed and worried all at the same time.
Fat and juicy handle.
Pies and planters.

13 March 2011


5lb. +  3 1/2lb. + 1 3/4lb.
= 10 1/4lb
I can't face any more 'feathers' at the moment so I've put the birds aside to make some 'real' pots...8 pie dishes (that's for you, Marie N.!) and three large planters. I need to fill up that big-ass kiln!

11 March 2011

Got Wood?!

The wood pile has been growing quickly now that Jason and his muscles have joined our crew. We've spent several days running back and forth to the old lumber yard I mentioned a while ago to collect fuel for the kiln...free for the taking! This stack is 5' high by 4' deep and close to 45' long. More than a few firings I reckon!

09 March 2011

Where Ideas Come From...

I'm not sure who first suggested to me that I turn a piece that I had made upside down, but I've been doing it for a long time! Stacking forms on top of each other is another way to try and see things differently. I think that 'seeing' is the most important part of a creative life and I don't want to get too accustomed to accepting obvious solutions to my work.
Pot on top of pot....a new totem idea...?
These two on top of each other are an interesting, and maybe even better, approach to my totem idea. I would usually have each piece diminish in size as I stacked them up....like the one that just finished, but I really like the 'posture' of these two together...very anthropomorphic, don't you think?  So, I'm asking myself, how high can I take these? 3 high...4...?
I am reminded of the tree pruning technique called "pollarding".  
Shiva, the multi-limbed Hindu goddess also comes to mind. 
Then I started wondering could I put digits on the end of these spout-like appendages and turn them into hands?! Some ideas are just plain scary...
               I've been thinking about these birds as legs or bases for a while and, while I have no concrete ideas yet, I'm sure that I'll do something with it eventually! I really like the look of this.

08 March 2011

Just Photos Today

24" high
After...I tried to make the wings appear to overlap...it'll be more evident when glazed.

01 March 2011

Yesterday's Wet Work

In case you thought I'd forgotten how...7 and 8 pounders.