Thursday, September 10, 2009

red S C U L P T U R E

The river of my creative life winds along. OK, so I went back up the mountain to Penland for the 4th of July and some unknown wierdness forced me to buy 3 more boxes of the RED clay? It was cheap after all. Back in the studio at home, glazing beckons. But, I'll be glazing for good ole tried and true high fire reduction, no WOOD no SALT, no romance, no inspiration. SHIT, what can i do so that the procrastination is less obvious. I think to myself, lots of people handbuild with earthenware, maybe I'll play with a bit while I'm teaching a lesson with someone who is working with the red mess anyway, no real commitment. Much to my astonishment this odd craggy and gritty clay is amazingly forgiving and plastic and healing and workable, not at all the properties I expected. From there I began to make a seed pod like form which morphed into a rattle (utilitarianism rarely escapes me). So, next I decide I'll offer a rattle making workshop, mind you I've never offered a workshop in my studio and have made ONE rattle at this point!!!! Since I offered the workshop I decided to explore and work out some of the kinks and technical issues with these forms, I made 10 the next day. They are hollowed forms, some thrown, some scooped out, some slab built. This R E D clay and it's amazing workability is enticing me, it was hard sell, I was downright obnoxious with my disdain for it at Penland earlier this summer. Then I begin to realize that I have been lulled and cajoled into S C U L P T U R E. Although I have a skilled hand in the clay, S CU L P T U R E is for artists, not craftspeople. It's scary how much I love these pieces and MY WORK these days.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Knocked about by the W O O D

I'm in trouble, I was in much better shape before being bitten by the W O O D bug. I'm lost. How does one integrate all of the lovely surface, warmth and variability of atmospheric firing into good old gas reduction with all it's sheen and consistency? All of my glazes are now (UN) magically deliciously way too S H I N E Y! What's a girl to do? I guess I can play with the shino's some to afford some kind of consistent variability.
On the positive, the throwing is going splendidly, the treadle taught me a lot. Slow throwing for me, keeps me in very close rapport with the nuance of the clay, it's all more intentional, less wandering around hoping for something. The pots are going where I want them to go.
I'm two thirds of the way towards firing the big kiln. You know the one with the hairdryers for burners and a kiln shelf picnic table under the damper to trick the fire back down into the lovely O L D Alpine updraft with the blown out spy holes and the two layer soft brick door!!! Potters, we are a "make do", haggard bunch. Wonder what wood happen if I threw in a stick or a burrito of salt or something? Guess I'll scrape some shelves!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Red M U D City

Somehow a box of red clay came home with me off the mountain. I worked with a student with it today. He loves it's rough and craggy darkness. I'm not a fan, or I have very little experience with this material....I could be a fan (in some other lifetime). It was fun to teach someone new to throwing with this material. It really behaves much more passively than does porcelain. This clay is open, it sounds hollow to me, and feels that way to. It is easily manipulated. This batch was S O F T as well. Setting it out overnight in a horse shoe wouldn't dry it enough. It is beautiful and charming somehow to work with. I'm much less tolerant of it's slip left coating too many things in the studio. White slip encrusted on everything,OK ,red slip, gotta go! Why is that I wonder. Dirt's dirt. It doesn't matter what color it is!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Penland Summer 09

This is my 10th summer at Penland. Once again it was home and challenging and crazy serious fun. Ron Meyers and Chuck Hindes were delightful clay rock stars. (Look close at the photo, They are both cracking up. It was fun to watch! :o))
I feel privileged to have been a participant of this class. We looked at a lot and I enjoyed all of the variety. It felt a bit nuts to be thinking about "Loosening up", hand building, treadle wheel, throwing off the hump, low fire, high fire, and the wood, soda and salt kilns. There sure was some bang for the buck going on. As one would expect, all got crunchy at the end but everything worked out. My pots were hard for me to look at still warm, as is usually the case. I have the sense to know to NOT make a judgment. I hastily boxed them and drove off the mountain in tears. With some wine, and Josh Floyd's comment, "get the pots out of the studio to truly be able to see them", I found a few winners. Thanks Josh. I learned a little bit more about who I am and who I am not as a "clay artist", really I'm a potter and the tears flow again.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I come home from a glorious week in Anguilla to find a great big box of
P O T S from Stonepool pottery. My expectations were low. These were process pots.....treadle wheel for the first time, made quickly and slipped in an unfocused frustrated rush, not nearly picky enough for my glazing agony. Much to my surprise. I L O V E these pots!! They are rough and brown and Glaze and salt kissed by a Master of the fire. Thanks Mark.
Technically, I threw off the hump and not one "S" crack, evidence of the slow throw is showing and I like it. My haphazard halfhearted slip and oxide brush work has merit, aided greatly by the fire.
These pots are warm and friendly and best of all I N S P I R I N G.

Friday, May 1, 2009


It's the point of living.
Life feels right when I have my J O Y on.
There is no dispute,
so smile and find your joy.

I made little tiny letter stamps J O Y to remind me.
Sometimes I loose sight or have forgotten.
So I'll stamp this seed in my pots for me and YOU.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

B E L L Bottom Bowls

Thanks Mark (Shapiro), Now I have to rethink how I make the primary pottery object. But, your right, at least if I'm going to make B E L L bottom bowls there shall be intention about it. I think I was just taking what I got. I do much prefer bowls with less of a B E L L, more angular and appearing lifted vs. sagging.
I'll say the less sagging at this point in my life the better.
I am jonesing for a T R E A D L E .......hard.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trimming and Handleing and Bell bottom bowls

Again. Remember to be intentional and thrifty with revolution, deeper more meaningful cuts. It's coming. I like the cutting vs. seemingly endless shaving the surface. For what??
At least I'm working.
Handles seem better to me, also more intentional, less weight at the top attachments. Easier, I like that. Bottom attachments for Handles are still somehow uneasy. It would be fun if I could do it with some pleasantry.
Mark keeps ringing in my head about the Bell bottom bowls, wavering between making some off the hump or not and/or just getting to them, think I'm scared......Boo! Maybe next week.
Hogwarts tomorrow.

Spencer's Muddy

Because of a "mishap" at school my Spencer's now home with me for the remainder of his sophomore year in High School. We will be finishing his ART class here in my studio.
:o} YEA!!
He tried throwing today for the first time. My, my he's an expert, doesn't really think he'll need much more of my help after throwing one piece so proficiently. He actually did do very well. I actually am a good teacher!
Secretly, I loved having him in the studio. I was doing my best to HOOK him in without being WAAAY to obvious about my interest in his interest!
I'm always amazed at how consistently and profoundly I love those boys of mine.

Monday, April 20, 2009

You can't f a k e FOCUS

Went back to it yesterday. Back to everything old and too fussy and unfresh.
I know why.
Let's see how the trimming goes with these?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Favorite place to see my pots

In other people's dishwashers!

You can't F A K E fresh.

So I came back to the cups today. Now to trim them with a similar freshness so the bottoms don't appear to be from another universe. The same slow methodical wheel, but quick, don't mess too long. Deeper cuts more confidence with the tools. Less attachment. Production is N O T terrible. It can teach.
And then handles. Porcelain likes to make handles better then stoneware does. Some redemption for the white jelly sticky stuff. They are less bulky at the top attachment and less fussy at the bottom.
Handmade is obvious all around.
More tomorrow.
That's the point of this,
lots of working tomorrows.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back at It

I went to Massachusetts. I worked at Stonepoole Pottery with Mark Shapiro. I shifted. I worked on a treadle wheel with stoneware off the hump for 5 days. Came home changed. I love the slow intentional methodical rhythm of the treadle.
I came back to my porcelain all jelly and sticky and my kick wheel speedy and wet and far away.
I got back to it today, it felt odd and i needed to adjust but then good and fun and productive. The pots are in the sun. I better go care for them now, more tomorrow.
S L O W is good.