29 October 2012

A Wonderful Weekend

The first fine misty rain that has since become a hurricane began to fall just as we packed up the last of the exhibitors and sent them on their way last evening. The timing was more than fitting for a flawless weekend in our nation's capitol. Everyone arrived and got themselves situated throughout the day Friday and then returned for the Evening's festivities. There is nothing like the excitement of a 'first'time' event...I was nervous as the day approached but once all of these great potters arrived and seemed to like the set-up, I was ready to enjoy my self. We had a wonderful crowd, some waiting in line to get first dibs! Sales were brisk throughout the week-end and we saw new collectors as well as folks who have been buying pots for along time. There were also plenty of people who saw useful handmade like this for the first time. To tell you the truth, it must have been a bit overwhelming...everyone arrived with a lot of work x 14 potters in an intimate setting! Most of us were able to have a meal together on Saturday night and as always, it's often the highlight of these gatherings to break bread away from the show itself!
Michael Kline
Ryan Greenheck
Bob Briscoe part1
Bob Briscoe part 2
Sam Taylor
Sam Taylor
Mark Shapiro
Mark Shapiro
Matthew Hyleck
Matthew Hyleck
Warren Frederick
Warren Frederick
Catherine White
Catherine White
Trista Chapman
Stacy Snyder
Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish

Bruce Gholson
Bruce Gholson
Bandana Pottery 
Samantha Henneke
We sold many hundred's of pots and met lots of wonderful people. Working with the staff at the Hill Center was a dream. It was a lot of work, and without Beth and Jason, my friends from LibertyTown, we would have been lost. We also had a great contingent from Fredericksburg which I'm really proud of!

25 October 2012

Finally Here

I'm sure that you will all be happy when The "Pottery on the Hill" show is over and I stop writing about it. It's here at last and all that's left to do is set up the pots and wait for what I hope will be big crowds of buyers. You never know with a new idea, but we've done a good job of promotion and now it's up to the universe. My friends below, Ken and Vernon, urge you to attend!

22 October 2012

Ultra Secret Sneak Preview

I spent Saturday amidst the splendor of the Virginia autumn, figuring out how to put together my display for the show this weekend. By now you know that the "Pottery on the Hill" show is this weekend and soon some of my favorite potters will be gathering to share their amazing work at a brand new venue. I have been working along with a bunch of other folks for some time on this and now all the preparations have been made. 
Kilns are still being unloaded, vans are being packed and  the anticipation is killing me! 

Jason and I spent three days last week building 28 of these.

16 October 2012

I Didn't Mean to Lie...

...it's just that I'm a poor typer and proof reader. Yesterday's group of tall pots stated that they were made from 7 pounds of clay and were 18"high. They are actually 16 " high, a mistake that made it obvious to me that you readers are actually  paying attention!
I love handles...and texture...and glazes that move!
Pedestal Bowl 16"w x 7"h

15 October 2012

First Taste

Handle detail
I haven't had much time to savor the pots from last week's firing, nor has there been much time (or energy) for taking photographs. But today I'm starting to feel like things are under control, that we've done the best we can to make the Pottery on the Hill show a success and maybe I should stop stressing out. It's a risky thing to start a new show like this and it's impossible to predict how it will turn out. We  do know that it's a great group of people and it will be a treat to spend a week-end with them!
I have been feeling a bit guilty about my lack of posting here...I have dipped my toe into the Facebook world and I'm trying to figure it out. Perhaps because I'm into the blogging groove, I 'm not sure that I get the social media world. There were some great photos on FB of cider jars made by both Ray Finch and Doug Fitch. This is my stoneware version. It's about 17" high and would hold several gallons of cousin Vernon's cider!

I have been in love with this tall narrow form for some time now. They are thrown in two bits using 7 pounds of clay altogether. 

This firing was mostly loaded with my domestic ware for the show. I made a lot of things that I haven't made in a while. But I also made a few avian things and these two "Biblio-birds" are pretty sweet.

This is the 'tracheotomy' bird 
Check out this old blog post if you don't know what it's name is about!

08 October 2012

Unloading #13

My usual group of good friends joined me yesterday in the cold and rain to unload some hot pots. In spite of changing bagwalls & exit flues and using untested wood ash in a glaze, all my worries were for nought. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect black and blue slip, but most of my tests bore some fruit and I will continue to chase that idea. I may forever fight to get more heat to the bottom of the first chamber (changing the bagwall didn't seem to help).
I need to go back out today and go through everything one by one and start to sort out the work for "Pottery on the Hill" which is less than 3 weeks away. 
Will you be coming to the show?!

06 October 2012

Waiting for ...

My 'happy place' in the woods.
It is a good thing that the firing marathon leaves my wiped out...2 and a 1/2 days of waiting could be an eternity, but mostly for the first day I'm too tired to care. But today was day # 2 and I spent most of it poking around the kiln, peeking in the spy holes trying to get a read on the results. There are a number of questions that need answering, but if my tiny windows into the interior are any indication, unloading tomorrow should be a happy occasion.
The sounds of big tractors are the background music these days...harvesting beans and planting winter wheat. I watched a big wind gather leaves from trees that stand on the far edge of my field and spread them across the tall grass and expired wildflowers...it was a quintessential autumnal moment and I was in just the right state of mind to see it properly.
I haven't fired my kiln with a show looming in many a year and it brings with it a different level of stress because we all want to look good amongst our peers, don't we? So, with a little extra pressure it was a good time to change bagwalls and exit flues and employ a new (untested) batch of wood ash in my favorite glaze. You've gotta love living on the edge!

Just the right mix of pickling and kosher salt.
Ellie's depiction of the firing
 I asked Ellie about what appears to be a beret on my head...she said that this is how she draws short hair. That's Jason on the left, myself, the kiln (both chambers!) and the door to my studio...excellent perspective for a 5 year old! ) I do like the french bohemian artist look she has given me.
Part of last firing's log and the frontespiece of Ellie's card
Salt delivery system
Fire in the hole!

02 October 2012

Ready to Burn Some Wood

I've been happily loading the kiln for most of the last week. The weather has been grand and today Jason and I buttoned it up and gave it a couple of hours of pre-heating. We'll light up at 5PM tomorrow and than stoke for 24-26 hours. I want to soak the first chamber for a couple of hours at the top temperature to see if the bottom will catch up. We also opened up the bagwall some with the same idea in mind.
Full moon rising over soybean field.
The last pots made for this firing.
Making wads.
Gluing wads to foot
Each chamber is 40" dep. I first stack two 24"x12" shelves in the back and than a stack of 24"x16" in front. It's a lot of pots. I'm always amazed how it eats them up. That's my medieval jug/Doug Fitch homage in a sweet spot.
First chamber/ backstack
Second chamber/ backstack
Front chambers loaded and ready to go!