Sunday Weekly Ketchup 

Playing with Jessica’s etching press is a bit of a shift…

Andor has been going through a new set of life changes. Looking for purpose after Highschool and looking for a job… 

No fun… It’s all to easy to put myself back into his shoes. Exasperating.  


“Recklessness is taken as a counterweight to all the errors of reason, that catalyst of misery, that accountant’s demand. The prestige of instinct is the traumatized reaction against too many centuries of unreasonable reason”

Alain de Botton

We go to art school to get dusted in artist’s sensibility, a rationality and sense of reason that can justify literally any action. It becomes obvious that an artist is good and educated when the beautiful, the lovely, exists solely to be deconstructed. an experience becomes superseded by an involuntary need to rationalize, to explain,  a need to understand why something is lovely, or diving even deeper, how can lovely be arrived at. It quickly becomes a matter of reciting an equation or following a recipe to arrive at a desired result.

Admittedly, it’s all entertainment by this point, and one of Art’s many functions is just that… Entertainment

The pivot is when we choose to set reason aside and let instinct drive, chuck the “why” into the back seat… We don’t have to feed the need to rationalize our actions.

…”That” it matters takes can be allowed to take greater precedent than “why” it matters… a stance that openly advocates for a more personal and intuitive mode of making. In action, the “why” seems to take care of itself in due course.

It’s a bit like comparing Classical chamber music with Jazz… rote vs interpretive. Both can be beautiful, but the results are very, very different.

Note to self… Just make the fuck’n work and figure out what your id is saying afterwords please. If you want to make a rooster… make a fuck’n rooster. All the fluff that’s around it can play itself out as it plays out.


Just play…

Stepping Stones

I like the metaphor of seeing each work as a stepping stone. Each leading to the next. A path leading from one daydream to another. From the perspective of the maker, it’s an intensely subjective experience. From the outside, we see each work as an end unto itself.

Art need not be a process. Art can still be a tool to help us relate to and decipher our own inner world. For both the artist and the viewer, art can be transformative. I feel that I am at my best when I’m reaching for something just outside of my own understanding.

I’d like to think that it’s the commonality of that struggle that speaks directly to others. It’s the universality of struggle that is so relatable, but ultimately the audience is silent and I’m left with just myself. Just me alone, inside my own head, watching the busy hands pull me along.

The lesson has been that polish that’s put to each stone in the path is merely the result of a soul in joyful celebration of a greater miracle, creating wonder as a Lover, not as a banker totaling his piles of success.

All the work shown was done in collaboration with ceramic artist, the fair Lady Fong.

SAG Cone 6-7 Shino

The SAG Shino glaze is a cone 6-7 exterior glaze that’s been developed to provide a semi dry, textural surface that interacts with slips.


40.9 Nepheline Syenite

9.8 F-4 Kona Feldspar

18.2 EPK

13.8 Kentucky Ball Clay

17.3 Soda Ash

6 PV Clay

Dissolve soda ash in hot water before adding in the rest of the ingredients.

Bisque fire stoneware between cone 08/05

Apply thinly for a glossier effect. Thicker applications give a chalkier surface.

The results shown have been fired to cone 7

Before and After

Studio note: the SAG Shino went on a bit too thick. The readability was still good, but it bubbled. After grinding the tops off the bubbles, I’m filling them with a yellow underglaze and refireing. I enjoy the strong character of this round. It’ll be worth seeing how it develops.


SAG Shino used again. Thinner application but still a very dry, matt surface came out of the kiln. I think the soda ash has left the glaze as water in the solution became absorbed by the bisque. Dispite that, a light  buffing with a diamond pad softened the surface.


We’ve been burning micro-batches all week testing out clay/glaze/slip combos at cone 7 in a small test kiln. I wasn’t intending on getting hooked on firing this way, but there are a lot of upsides.

The big one is that I keep my risk levels to a minimum by firing 5-7 cups per load. That’s right… 5-7 cups tops. So I can make a decision and either get a result that doesn’t quite work for me (like the above piece) or hit the mark and keep rolling, or screws the pooch, swing the hammer, and make adjustments and try again. It makes it easier to accept one off characters of questionable aesthetics for their uniqueness, after all, there’s only one or two of the buggers rather than a sizable chunk of a proper sized kilnload. 

The above work is a good example… I really enjoy this piece. It’s readable with a decent composition, but it’s surface is fucked up. Strangely comfortingly fucked up. Because there’s only one of these, rather than a dozen, it’s allowed to be what it is… a very nice piece.

Granted, the small kiln isn’t exactly economical, but it’s a trade off. It is perfect for doing some serious R&D. It’s flexible, and the small kilnload size doesn’t just allow for flexibility, flexibility is its greatest strength, (not a bad strength to have) and in turn, it allows us to be flexible as well. 

Frankly, for me, it’s reenforcing a point of view that studio life can and should be more about the joy of passion play rather than merely the pursuit of products. It’s about using the Arts to create a lifestyle that’s worth living rather than a life trapped in a hamster wheel of our own making. After all,we’re not doing this to make a living… We’re doing it to live.

p.s. All the work on this page are collabs with the lovely Lady Fong 🙂


There’s absolutely no way I could have landed this fish without my studio partner Jessica Fong playing the lead.

It’s her sense of form and craftsmanship that not only provides a solid base for the design, but it’s what makes the design truly successful.

The bar for the studio just got raised waaaaaaaaay up.

What Do We Have Here?

A delightful symphony of faults. 

Not sure what the results of this round are yet. I’m still flush with the memories of meeting all of the challenges that continuously kept popping up. I was starting to feel sorry for what my partner was going through. She was watching me ruin piece after piece after piece by taking too many risks. As collaborators, it’s not an insignificant loss, and as the shard pile grows, any reasonable person is expected to seriously begin to question the path we were wandering on. She didn’t, but most would have. The reasoning was that buried in all the faults, there was too many interesting things happening.

Now that everything is finally coming into focus, I’m finding that I’m so fixated on the details as the pieces come out of the test kilns, that I can’t see any of the work as a whole yet. 

Without any (easy) options for getting any critical feedback, this round of work needs to get packed away into boxes and set aside for a spell while we move on.

Right now though, I’m enjoying the delightful symphony of faults.

Studio Notes 6-20,21,22

Glazed on 6/20

Small test kiln firing to cone 7. Turned on at 6pm 6/22, finished and cooled by morning.

Glazed using a thin application of SAG Shino over a Duncan black underglaze wash with a Fritted White Liner interior and a dipped and brushed foot ring.
Testing the shino, and it’s interaction with Fritted White liner at the rim and the underglaze as it’s taken up to cone 10 in electric.

The very first attempt at blocking out the floral motif was the only cup to carry one of Jess’s bee stencils

The results were pretty good. Nicely textured surface. The yellow ocher dots add further texture. The white liner and the SAG Shino did well together with minor crazing where the two overlap at the lip. The lip needed slight sanding to finish. The speckled buff clay used players well with the shino, the red stoneware tested in the same kiln load didn’t work.

Glazed using a medium thick Mag Carb White Liner glaze (I need to rename this glaze, I keep mistakingly using it thinking it’s actually the Mag Carb glaze) with a Fritted White Liner interior and foot ring.

The glazes, slips, and the clay body do well together. It still needs something to pop the design, possibly a blue or underglaze wash… or maybe it’s fine just the way it is.

Busy, Busy, Busy

… But is it a good busy? Is it a productive busy, or is it just spinning wheels?

Just this weekend, it’s been 2 days of loading and test firing the gas barrel kiln. It was start and stop as new brass nozzles were spun into place. The factory #40s definitely passed more gas, but judging from the smell of unburnt propane, even with the shutters on the burners open full, we couldn’t get the kiln breathing well enough to fire past candling. After shutting down the kiln in order to crawl under the kiln to change out the nozzles, we also switched out the variable pressure regulator with the factory fixed regulator. It worked well enough through candling and the first 1000 degrees, but stalled out flat at 1200. After calling “bullshit” on the second experiment, the variable pressure regulator got put back on and it was a race to bisque temp before running out of gas.

Made it to 1740 and the take away lesson for next time is that we’ll be running the line under 5lbs of pressure with the old nozzles in. Also need to install new gauges on both the regulator and the line so we can properly work our way through the problems, testing until we get the results that we feel comfortable with.

Managed to glue together another plastic positive for an embossed print to add to Wendsdays’s positive. Looking forward to this week’s printing session.

Made 3 great dinners. (Always a plus). Had friends over for dinner to hear everyone else’s studio stories… always a favorite.

… and settling into recovery from Andor’s Highschool graduation last Sunday. (Super proud of his accomplishment!)  … my birthday was on Tuesday, and my Mom and Dad took off for their drive back home on Wendsday (which left me time for a nice long talk with Troy).

Jess kept puttering around, with multiple meetings, cutting prints, playing at the silver bench, and generally being patent and supportive of the world around her.

Like I said… busy. But other than the dinners, nothing much got actually got done. A lot of doing, but not many finish lines got crossed. There were a few celebrations, but all the busy work that I famously measure myself by just didn’t seem to happen. I’m suspecting that I’m becoming numb to the common movement that graces our days here at home. That’s taking a lot for granted that probably shouldn’t.