Ok… it’s time to throw a few more bananas into the cake…
I’ve decided to get another studio monkey to help with the R&D in prep for the Small Monsters exhibition.
Enter the Jade Monkey… (inside joke)… I had the good fortune to have a helper out in the studio testing a set of Drop Frames this week-end. Jade’s slab work was exceptional and opened up a whole new path. High Five!
These frames are from Matt at MossBeach Ceramics. Check them out, these are a whole bunch of fun!
Decorate a slab an set in the frame and drop!
There are so many directions to take this…
Big thanks to Matt
& the Monkey!
This is only going someplace good…
3.25″ by 3.75″
Thrown in a cone 6 Laguna “Calico” clay.
The surface design is done in a black slip. The exterior has been glazed using a thin application of Nut/White and the interior is a studio white liner.
“Racers” are my top-shelf items. These are what I consider to be either exceptional gallery quality work or work that I consider pivotal for my studio. The latter usually means making a leap of faith combined with a touch of experience to steer the results to a dramatic finish. This is generally how I make head way. It’s usually rather self indulgent I admit… but it is what I live for.
These are experiments using a new crawl and texture glaze. When this glaze works, it’s amazing! But it doesn’t always work.
Here are 3 racers from this week’s firings.
This project spun out of this winter’s bowl marathon for the Tidewater Gallery’s annual soup feed. I throw about 7 batches total, 10 to 17 bowls at a time and break these down into smaller separate groups for handling the surface decoration. This is how I generally prefer to create my work. I enjoy working in series of 5 -15 pieces at a time, this lets me explore any new idea or technique a little before drawing any initial conclusions and making any changes in my approach.
This started with a big 3 gallon bucket of white slip I made using the trimmings from my standard white clay body. The trimmings were added to the water and allowed to soak overnight. After a night of soaking I mixed it up with my trusty paint mixer on a drill and added a tablespoon of deflocculate (sodium silicate) and more water until the slip reached the consistency of a thick heavy cream. The sodium silicate lets the clay platelets to slide over each other easier so I don’t have to add so much water to the mix to get the slip to the consistency I want.
Next, I had an idea of what I wanted to try… might work, might not. Going to find out though. So I made some thumbnail sketches to keep me pointed in a direction. I’ll usually have 2 or 3 experiments going on at any one time and I have a tendency to become easily distracted. I’ve learned it’s a good idea to leave a trail of bread crumbs leading back to the project at hand.
With this idea, I’m using a contrasting red stoneware clay for the body and I’ve applied a simple paper stenciled sponged cobalt slip design around the lower half of the belly.
After the stenciled design has dried sufficiently to gently handle, I invert the bowl and pour the slip over the upper half.
I really like the effect and I’m excited about trying a dynamic gaze combination I’ve been thinking about…
What do you say if the local gallery asks you to produce 250 bowls in 60 days?They’ll pay for the materials, the firing costs, provide floor space at their gallery to host a spring show, and even feed you at a fantastic gourmet soup feed surrounded by 250 local patrons of the arts.
I say “YES!”
Since 2002 I’ve been part of the stable of ceramicists that have helped contribute to this event. I’ve always looked forward to this event, being very happy to be just part of the background. It’s always been an amazing opportunity to explore and develop new ideas for surface designs and forms. It’s a project that’s never failed to propel me forward into a new year.
This year was something very new though… they asked me to recruit and organize the ceramic artists needed for this year’s event and I’ve found 10 amazing local ceramic artists to stand with me so far. With 27 days left, and over 200 plus pieces still in green ware, we’ll see how this all works out. You’ll be hearing more about this as the due date February 6th approaches.
What a difference a year can make!
Last month my wife and I noted of one year Etsy anniversary, but it’s this month that we are celebrating a year since our first post on Etsy.
Quite honestly, I think that first post was one of those amazing unexpected pivot points where you can feel your life shifting and moving in a completely new direction. This change was no small thing for me… I literally couldn’t turn on the laptop my wife had gotten me, I had no idea how to get on the internet and just about lost it the first time the damn thing went into hibernate.
Now, really big chunks of my studio activities are connected in some way to the web and I’m thoroughly enjoying learning to work as part of larger communities. Another big thanks to Etsy! I’ve met so many great customers, craftsmen, and artists through our stores and street teams. A big shout out to the Etsy Mud Team and the always amazing SteamTeam! Thanks everyone!
Swinging the hammer of judgment is one of the most anticipated yearly studio activities for a lot of potters.
Some artists choose to just swing the hammer all year round, but I prefer to save up all of the messed up pots, setting them in the nooks and crannies of the firing room and garden.
I save them for a special day… SMASH POT DAY!
I traditionally save this special day for the end of the year, but I really can hardly wait to swing the hammer on this year’s accumulated ware. A lot of these pieces are gorgeous, but they have one flaw or another… a crack, a stuck lid, a glaze that ran off, kiln wash fired into the surface, the list goes on and on.
This is a ritual of necessity, ensuring the quality of any studio’s line-up. This year I’m happy to say I’m letting go a 140 pounds of fired work. DOH!
“Smash it up and plan for the next year”… that’s my motto.