29 February 2012

UMW Workshop!

I spent Tuesday entertaining (I hope) the students at the University of Mary Washington here in Fredericksburg. Jon McMillan (with the mug raised) took over the Ceramics department last semester and he has hit the ground running. We quickly made a connection and he is already doing great things for his students and the school. Like bringing me in to expose his students to the world of a working potter.
It was a good, fun day with an excellent lunch at Miso restaurant, my new favorite!
We will also open the first exhibition of work by the University's art students at LibertyTown this Friday, so it's been a great week for tearing down the town/gown walls! 

26 February 2012

"the Art of Earth"-the (fake) Trailer

You asked for it, so don't blame me! 
In response to the numerous (2) requests for a movie trailer I present to you for your viewing pleasure my very first film attempts. I'm no Timothy Ryan Poe, and I'm certainly not Doug Fitch or even John Britt, but it turns out that my little blogging camera is all a man needs to make the next Isaac Button classic! Sorry that the last one is sideways, I can't seem to turn it upright. Check the last post for details.
Click the little box in the right hand corner for a bigger view!
Gratuitous slippage
Tony Clennel's got nothin' on me

23 February 2012

Unleash the Beer* and Popcorn!

O.K., boys and girls, at long last you can see the film that rocked Fredericksburg last autumn, in the comfort of your own home! Ryan delivered a boxful of DVD's to LibertyTown this morning and, just in case you can't live without it, you can contact us at LibertyTown and we will promptly send you one.
The cost is $12.50 for the those of you in the U.S of A. and $15.00 overseas. Price includes shipping. 
                                                                 I accept all currencies! 

LibertyTown Arts Workshop
916 Liberty Street
Fredericksburg, Virginia
or email me at danfinneganpottery@cox.net
I am just vain enough to know that I look like hell, but in my defense, the Virginia summers are sheer misery for me, with crazy heat and even crazier humidity. That's my excuse...and that's one of the many good reasons to be in Great Britain instead.
* I think I would go to the movies if they served beer...instead if you purchase a DVD of your very own, you can watch at home with your favorite snack and beverage. And you can yell anything you'd like at the screen...only I will hear you...

19 February 2012


Jason and I have have been pretty pleased with our tile efforts so far and I hope to take the next step with them for this firing. I started playing with books as you may remember last fall....this is the next logical step. These first two photos are the originals that we will cast in plaster...they will be 8"x8" when finished and I imagine a fair bit of hand decorating will happen after each impression is made. I plan to make several different ones so that they won't get repetitious if using a bunch in a row.
Ready to make 2 1/2 lb. bread plates...3 dozen and one 12 lb. bowl.
I've been slowly finishing the big pots that I made last week. A lot of work for someone who doesn't think of himself as a decorator. I've been working on this decoration for some time...but now it has a name..."Barrel Stave"...for what I hope is obvious reasons.

I'm saving this beauty for Michael Kline to decorate when he and Ron visit!

sort of a Ray Finch homage...

16 February 2012

Kevin Crowe makes Seriously Big Pots!

We took a field trip yesterday to visit with Kevin Crowe and now we are feeling very inspired by this master of woodburning kilns and large scale pots. He and Linda are just about the warmest, sweetest folks you could spend a day with. I only wish we had more time. 
Three of the young residents from the Cub Creek Foundation also joined us and we had a very convivial day together, taking in their wonderful home and studio, talking pots and catching up as well as sunning ourselves on the deck over a tasty lunch.
Kiln shed


This is one of two chambers that come after the big tube in front


Inside the tube/anagama chamber

Copious amounts of tea!

The kiln is about 400 cubic feet altogether...a monster of a kiln that he fires twice a year with a great team of folks who come back every year to share the experience of a prolonged firing and they're collective knowledge of the kiln produces fantastic surfaces.

13 February 2012

More Big Fun

Once I got to the studio I started to finish the pots from the week-end big-pot fiesta. I am always aware of where the widest point of the belly falls and you can see here a couple of different ideas.

This little treat was waiting for me today courtesy of Emily, Ellie and Maple. They were rooting around my little 'boneyard' in the woods when I arrived!
I like the cider jar in the back
I'm not sure that I'll ever feel like I'm really a big pot maker, but it's been great to devout a good chunk of time to stretching my skills. Because these are made in sections they are a much more deliberate way of working. The pots that I typically throw end up being fresher. That's next. Can't wait!

12 February 2012

Winter Work

I'm working on taking the wings off into space. 5"h
We've barely had a winter this year until this weekend, when temperatures plummeted and a dusting of snow fell, exciting the locals into another bread and milk frenzy. We are desperate to have a good ol' panic here in Dixie.

I liked the grid pattern that appeared on the roof
After finishing all of the 1/2 pound test pots I very logically moved on to making some (for me) huge pots...10 - 20 pound pots. I've got me a second wheel and a propane weed burner and I'm having a nerve racking blast. I made 4 more beauties today (not pictured) and I'll spend a few days finishing them off. That makes 13, which, if I kept them all, would go a long way towards filling a kiln.
I have a Greek friend who spent his teens making pots in a factory there that made reproductions by hand for the tourist trade. He was amazed that I made plates and bowls and jugs and teapots...in his world each potter specialized in a particular form and scale. Tony made 6 different 2 lb. vases and couldn't imagine making something else.
My point is ...how cool is it that we can shift gears so drastically and find pleasure in exploring all kinds of form and scale. I'll never really be a 'big pot' maker, but I like the challenge and this weekend has been a blast.
There's a 'drinking bowl' from my tests to compare.
Once I get these finished I'll get down to more usual things. My hands are chapped and raw and I'm ready for more.

07 February 2012

118 Before (2/7/20)12

It's been longer than I care to admit since I've been in the studio making pots...but, I expect to be getting plenty of quality time with my Shimpo Whisper Wheel in the days to come.
When I first built my kiln I did a lot of testing...after 11 firings I have a much better understanding of it's qualities and I decided that a good way to begin this cycle was with a series of tests. I'm always looking for something new and interesting or better. So I made these little cups/shot glasses/drinking bowls, gave them each a number, and then did a series of tests. I used a half pound or less, so they are quite petite. I have always enjoyed the challenge of making small pots that are also as elegant as a normal sized pot. Not always easy. Lots of 'finger-tip' throwing.
I've mixed kaolins and fluxes, did a 21 point triaxial blend looking for a black and blue slip, and tested some mixes of ash and local clay.
See the Valentine?