31 December 2013


I've never been a resolution-maker....I suppose that I know myself  too well for that. But I do have some projects for the new year to keep it interesting. Of course, the biggest wrinkle is my return to full-time pottery making...some great opportunities lie ahead and I'm so happy to be ready and available for some new adventures. My plan is to buckle down now and make pots for 3 straight months and then do 2 firings back to back in late March and april. That keeps me covered for my one-man show at Chris Cooley's Gallery in Leesburg, Virginia in April and my second trip to the St. Croix River Pottery tour Mother's Day week-end in Minnesota. My second one-man show is in July at the Washington Street Gallery in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Labor Day week-end you will find me back in the mountains, joining "The Soda Chicks and Chet" for their annual sale. That's Gay Smith, Suzi Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin, part of the Penland community for many years. And then it will be time to prepare for the 3rd "Pottery on the Hill" show! A year can get filled up pretty quickly and yet there are still a couple of possiblities hanging that could fill in some gaps. And, of course, there is always a trip to England to fit in. I truely feel fortunate and excited and I'm grateful for all of my friends and supporters and you, gentle reader! Happy New Year!
It always tempting to show off all the special things I make...but mugs pay a lot of bills in my world and I make hundreds of them every year!
12" high I made a few of these for Christmas. They were a big hit!
Toff's dragon on top
My dad would have been proud to know that I was a bookmaker...

I've made several variations on a garden bench  22"h
These guys now sit atop various stacks of books (to 7"h)
I will add a bung hole to this to make it a true cider jar. 24"h
My friend Paul is a bookseller/bookbinder/restorer. He gave me these for Christmas and said he was tired of me making books out of clay so he made pots out of books! Fantastic!

13 December 2013

Tim turns 50!

My second to youngest brother, called Tim-mo by our grandfather, is 50 years old today. It kind of hurts...thinking of how fast life moves. But move it must and a lot has happened since my last post.

    The 2nd Annual Pottery on the Hill show was another great event. Last year we were inventing everything, while this year, with a solid plan in place, we were able to make some improvements and add some events which added value to the whole week-end.
    Mark and Carol Hewitt joined the same group of potters from last year and were a wonderful addition. Sales were up 25% and we sold one of Mark's giant pots! I had fun delivering it.
    We were also joined by Cheyenne Kim, master flower arranger, who led 2 workshops for more than 70 people, demonstrating a wide range of ideas for arranging in hand made pots. He was delightful and the arrangements in our displays added a lovely touch.
    Chris Cooley was our special guest on saturday. Chris recently retired from his career as a professional football player and now devotes all of his free time to making pots and running a gallery in Leesburg, Virginia. He gave 2 charming and informal talks about his love of art and craft and his particular interest in making pots.
    One of the nice things about the scale of the show (15 exhibitors) is that we can all go have a meal together, and being in Washington, DC that's an easy thing to do. Great conversation and a relaxed pace made for another fine week-end.
    Since then I've feel like I've been catching up on years of odds and ends. With LibertyTown behind me and nothing on my calendar until April I am enjoying myself immensely, slowing down just a bit and trying to savor the days.
As the winter weather is taking hold, I'm heading back indoors to the studio and a pile of new ideas to explore.

Mark and Warren with one of Mark's giant pieces!
Some of my work.
Louise Cort holding court with Ryan and Matthew.
The first bird holding a book. Made in England summer 2013.
...and the first 'Library Bird'
Another view with spectacles that look like a bicycle.
I put this together in September, but just finished it this week.
A brand spanking new idea...garden stools.
New fence.
New stoking lounge.
And a visit from Fiona and Simon from England!

14 November 2013

Monthly Update?

    I am just now getting into the groove of this life as a 'retired gentleman'. The second annual Pottery on the Hill Show passed in a blur of great conversation, excellent sales and plenty of plain old labor to put it all together. The scale of the show is by its nature an intimate one and this ends up being one of its delights. Big enough to be of great interest to collectors and pottery lovers, it is also small enough for all the potters to spend time together and even fit into the back room of a restaurant to share a meal. Mark Hewitt joined us this year and he had fantastic sales, including one of his enormous lidded jars which I delivered to a house in horse country outside of D.C. It was great to get to know he and Carol better. In fact, the chance to spend time with these wonderful makers is one of the real pleasures of co-ordinating the show.
    We were also privileged to have Cheyenne Kim join us at Hill Center to arrange beautiful flowers in a wide assortment of our pots as part of 2 sold out workshops. He is a humble and quietly hilarious master.
    On Saturday, former Washington Redskin tight-end and present day potter Chris Cooley gave a couple of entertaining and casual talks about his love of art in general and pottery in particular. He was excited to meet us, a situation that he admitted that it was a role reversal for such a well known and liked celebrity. He has a gallery in Leesburg and is a great advocate for the work that we do.
    Of course, now that it's over we're talking about plans for next year already.
My assistant of many years, Jason, has moved south to the mountains of NC to work with Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish. I'm back to digging my own holes and handling all the odd jobs that make up a pottery life and I'm glad of it.
I have a bunch of greta opportunities next year. I'll write about that next.
My work.
Samantha, Stacy, Bruce and Bob.

Louise Cort with Matthew and Ryan.

16 October 2013

# 15

Too much time has passed to catch you up since my last posting. Let's just say that 'retirement' so far seems just as hectic as ever. The transition from 'Art Center Director' to full-time potter is still quite new. Once my travelling shoes were returned to the closet I had to go on an accelerated making regime in order to get a firing in before the 2nd annual "POTTERY ON THE HILL" show in Washington, DC (our nation's capitol!). I made plenty of pots and cleared out a few old things that have been lying around the studio (I think that there is still a serving dish from 2007 on the shelves.) Jason has also returned for a month or so before he moves back to NC to work with Michael and Naomi at Bandana Pottery and he has been a great help getting to this point. We still have to brick the doors up, which I despise, but otherwise we are ready to light up the kiln on Friday evening.

Bagwall Tiles and dishes.
Back stack / first chamber
First chamber done
I'm very excited about these new dishes and tiles... thick and rough!
Back stack - 2nd chamber
Front stack - second chamber
400 pots or so and lots of hope and expectation. A message from my friend Jill has prompted me to get back on the computer and write this here blog. I'm always amazed at the folks who say they read this, so, if that happens to be you, thanks! And how are you doing?!

25 August 2013

British Birds

    Well, I am back home (again!) and, after 4 months on the road this year I am ready to hunker down and make things!!! I am in a serious organizing mode since my return, but I must get a bag of clay opened soon and see what happens.    
    I saw so many old pots on my trip to England that it's hard to remember any one in particular. Maybe that's a good thing...I'm looking for inspiration not reproduction. I will be posting photos from London for a bit, starting with birds and bird parts. There are a few Martin Brothers' pieces included. They were my original jumping off point, but I enjoy all the different variations...I think of looking at old pots as building an encyclopedia of form and surface to feed my own creative ideas.

Church Pulpit, Overbury Church

My first bird with book in hand.
A gem of a bird.
Outer space bird?
Dead bird society.

So, it's not really a bird...
Bird, woman, dog???

21 July 2013

Home Away from Home

Toff and Georgie's home in the Cotswolds

I depart for the U.K. tomorrow for my 34th visit. I first came to that Sceptered Isle in January of 1978 and I can't explain how much I value all the time I've had and friends that I've made...I love being a part of this tiny village and the community that continues to welcome me. I always think that i should arrange a show somewhere with Toff, but then there is tea to drink and cake to eat and plums to pick and before I know it, I'm back on the plane home! But I'm open to suggestions...
Parry, my arch enemy. I have 5 lbs. of peanuts for you, pal.
The old bottle kiln at Winchcombe.
I'll be recording my cider friends history.
Important to avoid the sheep poo.