Maybe It’s Time for a Beer!

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As a measure of how antsy I get when I’m firing, I can actually can hear the kiln sitter go off in the dead of night… while I’m asleep… one story up. For anyone not familiar with the sound… it’s a mere click… that’s it. For me, it’s a Pavlovian sound that triggers a salivary anticipation reflex. I’m desperately hooked on seeing what happens when I mash-up a few weeks of effort in the studio and a day or 2 of experimental chaos.

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It’s really a great mix when everything works…

(Bad picture, amazing glaze!)

But it still kind’a sucks when it doesn’t work…

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And I’m still learning that merely unexpected isn’t the same as failed.

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Most of this kiln load looked spectacular coming out of the kiln, but the plan was for most of it to go through one more low fire to resolve the surface designs, (I do have a plan…). Curvy forms, finicky glazes, and multiple firings… Yea, I know. Friends are telling me I’m making this way more complex than it needs to be, but I just can’t stop myself. I’d be a lucky man if this was symptomatic of manic compulsive behavior, then at least I’d end up with a clean house once in a while. Unfortunately that isn’t the case…I’m just bent.

Mabey it’s time for a beer!

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Biggins

2 months back on my birthday I had posted a few pictures of a few large canisters that I was entertaining myself with for the weekend.

2 months later… a few of these canisters are fresh out of the kiln… Fortunately they seem to have been already claimed… one is for a local fundraiser…

The other canister seems to have been claimed by Nico (my resident shaved monkey of a six year old) she gave it a big huge wet lick to lay an arguable claim to it. She and her brother already are planning wishes to fill it on Halloween this fall.
That’s what it’s for!

From Doh to Oh

If all my weeks that started out kind’a in the dump, worked out like this, I’d be a pretty mellow guy. The the week started with bad glazing decisions on a whole kiln load. Mental note… I’ve learned the sieve and receive all glazes that I plan on using for a firing, No exceptions!

In the end it turned out rather well all and all. I only lost 3 out of 33 pieces, and those lost 3 will happily find their way into the Kitchen cabinet, we seem to be coming up short again. A few always seem to disappear at the MadHatters Tea down at the corner coffee shop.

Here’s a quick peek at 4 from last nights load. I’ve got another 30 plus going through tomorrow night. It’s a been good week… knock knock knock.

I love how this ribbed form has been developing over the course of the year.
I’m a bit taken aback when I realize that it was January that I started experimenting with not only the ribbed and swollen forms, but the crawling glaze too.

I guess there’s a lot to be said for jumping off the cliff.
For better or worse,
It definitely instigates change.

Doh!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… I learn more from my mistakes than from my successes, by that logic I learn LOTS everyday and I’m hoping to wake-up brilliant any day now…
Luckily, working in clay is a study of mistakes, (that’s probably why it takes so many of us decades to get where we think we are going with our work), so I know I’m not alone.

This last firing is a great example of me not listening to that tiny voice of reason that plagues me in the studio. As the voice suggested, I had sieved all of the glazes I was getting ready to use for the firing, well I thought I had… I noticed my white liner had small flecks in it. The little voice said I should stop glazing and sieve one more time, just in case… my thought, of course, was “it’ll melt”…


Well I was WRONG!

Of course the entire kiln load came out better than I was aiming for until… you look at the interior. None of the flecks melted, leaving a rough surface on the interior of every single piece. Now I get to try my hand at getting a nice thick reglaze on the interior without that making an even bigger mess of it.

Any suggestions?

Here are a few before and after shots using the texture and crawl glaze showing differing thicknesses in application. It’s pretty thin on the cup, but you can see where the unfired glaze starts cracking up at the plane changes at the ribbing.


These will crawl a lot unless a compatible glaze is used under the crawling glaze. Over the past few firings, I’ve been learning to use my Blue Hares Fur glaze to act as a stabilizer at these severe crawling points.

With the large canister, the whole thing is a sever plane changes, so the whole canister has been given a coat of the Blue Hares Fur before the crawling glaze was poured over the top. Too thick and it’ll peel right off as it dries. I needed a heavy separation on this piece so I kept spritzing down the glaze as it was trying to pull away as it was drying.


The technique seemed to work and I was very happy with the results.

Line Em Up

I’m so excited!
There’s a few good handfuls of silver that came out of the studio this week. It’s not like opening a kiln where I’m dying to see what happened while I wasn’t looking… the excitement comes from watching peoples reactions when they put on my work. There’s a private thrill wearing a piece with heft. The weight plays well with the kinetic movement of the body and feels goooood.
Here’s the next 4 uploads…

More to come…

Sniffing the Leather Glove

oK… I’m sniffing the leather glove with this one…so I’m gonn’a have to ask for you to hang with me on this for a bit…. I ‘m wading back into a media that I probably shouldn’t be playing with again, but now that the studio is getting itself temporarily reestablished for the season, I’m going to go on a casting binge.
As I’ve alluded to before, this is a sociologically complicated media for me… (we go way way back). I’ve been joyously flirting with my silver studio again, but this is not a simple choice for my wife and me. I tend to lose myself in this media and she know it. The simplest way I can describe this feeling is to ask you imagine meeting up with an old mistress that enjoyed giving you everything you ever dreamed of, and still, she asks for more…. It’s really all of that and more.
That’s a huge problem.
I am soooo going to enjoy this until someone makes me stop again.

The Final Finish of this Summers “Hand in Clay” Exhibition

What a great ending to this month’s roster of SJPotter’s Guild events! Bruno Kark and Tom Collins gave a top notch day long workshop in Joe Mariscal’s ceramics room at Delta Community College.

What a fantastic day! Everyone had a blast to watching both of these amazing artists sharing many of their insights on throwing large. Admittedly though… I’m still finding a guilty pleasure in a long day spent listening to older more experienced studio artist’s retelling their personal stories from the past 30 years of first hand art history. Oral history has always been a very decadent pleasure for me, but I’m beginning to see it as an “US Magazine” kind of thing. (I’m a total sucker for the old Volkus stories). There is so much West Coast history that you just can’t find between the covers of Ceramics Monthly

I really would like to take this opportunity to thank the other principal organizers for this event… Gary Carlos, Joe Mariscal, Jeri Ross, Don Hall, Kathy White, John Nagle, but most importantly… I really want to thank Bruce Cadman for all of his help in keeping me motivated in getting this event off the ground!

Hey… the next event will be even better!
PS… Bruno, I’m telling you… the next big thing is going to be on-line nude ikebana vase throwing… I think you could really set the pace on this one… get in on it now and you’ll define the whole movement!

A Whole Heard of Moo

I’ve been a huge fan of guerrilla marketing for the past 2 decades. Knowing full well that locally, it’s the small things that seem to make the difference in how new viewers find my work. Over the past 20 years I’ve really enjoyed creating the new support medias that cater to my diverse niche markets. It’s been a gambit of stickers, wheat paste posters, silkscreened canvass, spray painted stencils, art magnets, postcards splits, and now… MooCards.

I’m sure good amount of you know exactly what MooCards are. For anyone new to the name, these are 28mm by 70mm double sided collectable business cards printed on a high quality card stock. You can buy them in lots of 100 with dozens of different designs in each lot. It’s the Online market that makes this media such a success. Personally I find that the odd size contributes to the success of the media. People really enjoy the smaller size of the cards. And hey… different is good, and when it’s combined with a decent set of designs… a good Moo goes a long way.

The reason I’m working to develop this media up into something that I can use is that I’ve been given an opportunity to attend a black tie meet and greet as a guest artist at KVIE’s preview event for their televised Art auction at the end of August. (Obviously the organizers have never met me…) This is a PBS fund raiser. I’ve not a TV watcher anymore, but my children are, and as an enthusiastic supporter of Public Television, I’m thrilled at being selected as a contributing artist for this event.

Late Night Pour

It was a fun late night for the family. Non-ferrous FireWorks. The kids are really enjoying learning the process. A six year old with a blowtorch is still kinda scary though… ok, it’s still really scary.

Investment covered sprewtrees, give them a quick shot with a power washer and…

They are clean enough to begin disassembly.

This should keep me busy while I sprew up the next load.