23 January 2013

Brain Freeze

    I'm sure that it's the coldest day we've had in some time...it won't be above freezing for at least a couple more days. This is Buffalo weather, without the snow. I find it exhilarating, in small doses, but I am happy not to have to deal with it for months on end.
    This has been an unusual season for me as I've had to keep my momentum in the studio through the holidays and into deepest darkest days of mid-winter. I need to fire in about a month before departing for the Penland School of Crafts in early March. Kevin Crowe and I are leading a kiln building workshop for a the first month and then I will be joined by Michael Kline, mark peters and the kids from Bandana Pottery. Kevin and I led the same workshop there 10 years ago and we are looking forward to a reprise. Jason will be joining us as an assistant and there should be 15 -20 students...there are a few spots left if you know anyone who might be interested. There will be lots of tea to drink and pots to make.
    I always seem to be fighting for time in the studio as life tugs at me in so many other directions. Most of the time these 'tugs' are just as rewarding as studio life, but I never quite lose the sense that I need to make 'just a few more pots' than ever I do.
    Two weeks ago I took the train to the plane and flew to Boston where I met Hollis and his friend Kim. We spent a couple of days talking about wood kilns and firing and planning permission and fuel sources and brick v. castable. Hollis and I have been friends for a long time now and it is exciting to help him figure out this next step. When we first met we both spent a bunch of time in Gapland, MD, firing the wood kiln that I built with Bill Van Gilder. I think that Hollis has quietly had the fever ever since!
    From there I flew to Lansing International Airport via the Detroit Airport to teach a workshop in East Lansing to the folks at the Greater Lansing Pottery Guild.This group was begun in 1969 and was full of lively and enthusiastic potters who take their craft and their co-operative seriously. And they are a lot of fun.
I used to have a big, black beard...
    We talked about teapots (of course!) and all the various pieces that go along with a proper tea party. And  lovely Sarah, who got me invited via my blog, provided homemade lemon curd, clotted cream and scones for our afternoon tea. In general, I am skeptical about co-ops (LibertyTown is a benevolent dictatorship!) but this was an impressive organization and there was a lot for me to learn. My hosts were Pamela Timmons and Jim, wonderful craftspeople and easy to be around. we had great conversations and share a lot of the same views on life. That's always so reassuring.
    I'm off to the Smithsonian today to hear a talk by Louise Cort as she accepts a prestigious award given her by the Institution. Look her up!
On the studio wall
Does it look as cold as it is?
I like how these two handles mirror each other.
Pots to finish up.

01 January 2013

Blogpost #501

One of many happy moments in 2012... my first swarm!
I have neglected you, gentle reader, and Hannah has shamed me into returning to the keyboard here and saying a few words. The last year, like every other, has been full and productive and I find that it gets harder to remember what actually happened in any given year. I'd like to call it living in the moment, but it's more likely creeping senility as the old brain cells slowly fade!
Nowadays, I can just look back at my old blog posts and be reminded of all that has transpired. 
Very handy!!!
So, here's a few highlights:

Started the new salt kiln 
(update ; most of the brickwork is done, we need to cast a key in the arch.)

Taught a workshop at University of Mary Washington

Released the DVD of the movie made about me.
(copies still available!)

Hosted the Kline/Philbeck Roadshow at LibertyTown

Chased a bunch of swarming bees all spring long!

Fired # 12 in the woodkiln.

Spent the summer in Britain: 
(w-a-y too much to relate here...check out June and July and August blog posts where you'll read about red clay and cups of tea and beer and cider etc.)

Firing # 13


Recovered from 'Pottery on the Hill'

Resumed making pot s for a rare February firing.

And here we are are back in the moment. I need to buy a new vehicle and I'm thinking about getting a Ford Transit Connect. An interesting small van. But it might not serve all my needs, as there are big things planned for 2013 and you'll have to stay tuned to get the news. I promise that I won't make you wait a month. I am really enjoying my time in the studio. I have been able to keep my focus through all the holiday revelry and stay in the groove.

I hope that you are fit and optimistic for the year that lies ahead of us. Make good pots and have some adventure!
Pedestal Bowls