31 March 2012

Wee Ones

This is a very big teapot. Perfect for your next garden party. Click on the box in the right corner for full screen wonderment.

Ever since I built my big-ass wood kiln I've really cut back on the smaller pots that I used to make...bud vases, creamers, little cups and bowls...I used to make lots and lots but they don't go very far in filling the kiln and I keep running out of time to make them,
    For many years my work was all meant for the table and many of the pots that I made used less than a pound of clay...a six or eight pound bowl was BIG. I'm giving myself more time to make this time around and I made all those monster pots earlier so I've taken advantage of the last week or so to revive some other ideas. 
     Back in the Winchcombe days Toff and I would discuss ideas for little pots that would fit the negative spaces left between the pots we usually made.
    I've got a bunch of sweet little oval creamers underway as well as the flasks shown here.
With just two more weeks of making until I need to start loading I need to start putting some bigger lumps of clay on the wheel but this has been fun.
Honey Pots, etc. The green lines are food coloring

24 March 2012

A Good Week

I spent a lot of time in the studio this week with little to distract or divert me except for the swarm of bees that I almost captured! Teapots and baking dishes, bud vases and creamers have been flying from my fingers! To day I finished making a mega teapot and then threw a dozen honey pots (I am trying my best to revive interest in this once noble pot!)
It's a well known fact.
Think of your favorite comfort food...
Up to 4" tall
Lugs for handles
1/2 and 3/4 pound cream jugs 
Here is my newest film titled "White Tree"  they are covered in bees!

19 March 2012

Today's Soundtrack via Satellite

This first song is the Beatles, early on, and the casseroles are accompanied by Loggins and Messina.

I can't edit these little vignettes in any way, but I'm delighted that my cheap little Casio blogging cam can also record even quiet sounds along with video. Won't wonders never cease!?

18 March 2012

Teapots and Cinema Verite'

There's one detail missing from each of these...first person to guess wins a prize!
We've set a date for an April firing...#12 in a series... and now I've got to put my head down and get some serious mud slinging going. I'll be teaching a one day 'American' tea party (you know what I mean...!) workshop at Hannah's this June, so I thought I'd better make a few to take along. I've also got small milk jugs, 4 nice lidded casseroles and oval baking dishes in progress. Big fun!

16 March 2012

Another Quiet Week-NOT!

One more night's sleep and I'll be as good as new after a particularly busy and fruitful week. After a whirlwind visit (38 hours), Michael and Ron are now safely arrived in Cape Cod., no doubt eating disgusting things like clams and oysters etc.!
I urge you to write Ron and ask him what he's doing here!?! Some kind of Shelby gang sign is my guess...
We had a grand visit, staying once again on the farm thanks to Steve and Nicky. We ate barbecued tofu and hotdogs with Paul, Emily, Ellie, Maple and Jason on Tuesday evening and enjoyed a leisurely morning with breakfast on the porch and a walk down to my studio and kiln. For some reason the bees went nuts on us and I got a couple of stings as we all ran around flapping like mad to brush them off.
Another gang sign from Ron which puts Michael into a dream state.
We spent Wednesday afternoon unpacking pots at LibertyTown, having lunch and a very brief walk through town before it was show time.
Lunch at Sammy T's
A couple of dozen folks showed up for pizza, beer and an excellent introduction into a variety of decorating techniques from the NC boys and our very own Trista Chapman.
Ron started us off with tales from his journey to sgrafitti decoration on red clay from the quieter salt glaze that he made for years. He talked about getting comfortable with imagery and the whimsey of his work in spite of the simultaneous desire to make 'serious' pots...what is a serious pot? 
My pots are as serious as a heart attack...
MK and RP paying close attention
Trista Chapman has a studio along the river here in the 'Burg. She started her pottery career in Richmond before moving to Fredericksburg to join Phil Chapman, another local pottery legend. Trista works with a white lo-fire clay and a multitude of colorful Duncan underglazes. She layers multiple colors and patterns, one on top of another, to create a wonderfully integrated and wildly colorful body of work. 
I'm sure it must have been funny...
Michael came equipped with his beautiful brushes and spoke of patterns and wax, wood, salt and alkaline glazes.  A blog he wrote recently provoked a conversation about the way we make pots day after day. Making big batches is not unusual, but what happens if you make little batches?
Mk decorating a DF pot
I think that everyone enjoyed themselves and left with plenty of food for thought. We went back to the farm and stayed up way too late, telling tales. The lads left in the morning, and I am so glad that they took the time to visit and share their ideas with us. It was way too short, but sweet just the same.  

Just days before, I helped Jason and Misha and Trista as they begin to learn how to fire a gas reduction kiln. We didn't get great reduction, but It'll get better as we figure it out. This kiln was built for raku but should be perfect for their needs. It;s been years since I fired with gas. I know how to do it, did it for years, and I never really enjoyed the noise and moving parts, but it's fun to revisit it.
Trista, Jason, Dan and Misha
Ah...the first view...
And, as requested, the cruets I was working on. 

09 March 2012

Knob Knews

I'm working on a bunch of cruets and I threw dozens of these knobs.
Now I've got a completely  different idea for how to make them...
I love making bottles! I always think of Ray.
creamy goodness, with regards to the real jug maker...the other DF

08 March 2012

Deco-Rotation Demonstration Invitation

Just one week from today there will be an historic gathering  of brush wielders and slip carvers at LibertyTown Arts Workshop in Fredericksburg (our fair city) Virginia. In addition to the North Carolina travelers (that would be Michael Kline and Ron Philbeck) we will be joined by our very own Trista Chapman and her pots of many colors. Rumor has it that Brandon Philips might make an appearance as he winds up his trail drive to the east coast. Call us at LibertyTown for more details... a multitude of potters, pizza and beer should make for some excellent entertainment! 540-371-7255

06 March 2012

In the Studio Right Now

Atmospheric photography - 3 lb. bottles
Tea jars
Tea Jar lids
4 lb. bases
4 pounders 'capped' plus tea jars
I looked up from the wheel this afternoon...!

04 March 2012


I am very excited to finally share the news that I hinted at awhile back!

Two dear friends of mine have spent many years overseeing the renovation of a wonderful civil war era Naval Hospital on Capital Hill in Washington, DC (our nation's capital!). With the completion of this new community center they asked me to help organize a 'signature' event focused on the only thing I know, pottery. 
I visited several shows last fall to do a little research and I had some very useful conversations with Bob Briscoe and Mark Shapiro and Michael Hunt and I drove home from Karen Karnes/Mikail Zakin's Demerest show with a plan. 

Mark and I have had many conversations since....we came up with a framework and mission statement of sorts and then we had an interesting back and forth as we put together a 'dream team' to join us. There are so many great makers to consider and our formula was not scientific and if your not on the list please don't feel bad...we are starting small and will grow as we get established.  We tried to choose a good variety of styles and geographical locations as well as considering folks who have already established markets in DC.

Here's our 4 point plan:
1) Assemble an excellent group of functional potters.
2) Create an exciting market.
3) Raise awareness - educate the public.
4) Fundraising for a good cause.

I have never been very interested in the big shows that we have here in the US...hundreds of exhibitors...every craft imaginable...looking a bit like a gypsy encampment with everyone providing their own unique display. I have always admired the more focused shows that I've visited in the UK....there are lots of craft shows that specialize in a single medium, especially ceramics. It's also not unusual that many of Britain's best are assembled at the same show! We are just too big of a country for that to happen, but we can certainly aim to have some of the best!
    So, this show will be held in an intimate and elegant setting in a city that has great potential as a market for excellent pots. 
    We have plans for a series of events highlighting 'pots at work'. The Hill Center has a demonstration kitchen where classes will be held showing students how and why pots can be used in the kitchen.
    We will provide a uniform display for each exhibitor with the idea of bringing focus to the pots rather than to a particular display.
    I will continue to provide updates as time goes by. We hope to create a model for an event that can be held all over the country. The times keep a'changing and it is up to us to keep up. Stay tuned!