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.