Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday 2008-09-30

Sometimes I drop in on Ron's Tuesday night class. This week I was there for the bowl demo and I learned a lot about throwing larger bowls. Thanks, Ron.

Ron discussing Rick's bowl.
These guys get into their work --just look at their clothes.

I am trudging ahead toward my 100 pots, but I have no idea where I am in the numbers. I will try to get a count on them next time I'm at the studio. I am still trying new things every time I sit down at the wheel.

My "pods" sculpture.

Oh yeah, here's the top of it.

Another in what's becoming
my "forest gnome series".

I am working on a new lid form (thanks Rick!). Instead of the plain dome lid I've been making the new lids are cone-shaped and flip up at the edge. After trimming I add a "carrot" of clay and throw the knob onto the lid.

I could live to be two hundred years old and never try all the things I want to in clay.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Barrel Firing # 4

Saturday was also another Barrel Firing (#4 for those following along at home) and although I was at the studio, I didn't have any pots to go into the fire. I'm glad I got to be present at the lighting, which is always a momentous occasion. It turned out to be the best firing yet as far as colors and contrasts on the pots. To see some of the great results, check out Becky's blog here and here. See Elaine's pictures here. Amy's pictures are here.

I'm sorry I didn't get a pot in this round, but I'll be sure to put some work in the next one on October 31.

The pots are prepped with everything
from copper Chore Boys to seaweed.

Amy is tucking her pots in snugly.

Cindy and Becky going to town.
Work, work, work.

I don't think Elaine likes newsprint.
I have several pictures of her rending it
or throwing it into the fire.
Not a judgment, just an observation.

While the barrel firing and Muddy Fun was going on. People were also getting other things done. Clayworks on a Saturday can be a busy place.

Ju-Ian was there and she gave me
one of her wonderful pots.
Thank you Ju-Ian, and I LOVE your Bubba Shirt.

Minke was there working away on
some of her beautiful sculptures.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Muddy Fun 2008-09-27

Big catchup posting.

Last Saturday was another Muddy Fun Day at Clayworks. If you missed it, you can catch another one on October 25 (two sessions: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm).

We volunteers had a blast and I'm pretty sure the students enjoyed themselves. In fact I think we all had some... Muddy Fun!

Eager students staking out a wheel.

Are you sure this is your first time at this?

Julie, our Muddy Fun leader.

A camera man was there from WTVI
to tape a segment for the ASC.

Angela taking a well-deserved break.

Julie appears to be exorcising the clay
with her "Who-hands".

Another good day.

More pots anyone?

"Still going..."

I just can't stop making pots. I was at the studio until 12:15 Friday morning and I was planning on leaving early. I'm all over the place and loving it all. I am throwing off the hump to expedite production and am full of confidence that when I sit down to make something, I just make it. It may not be the perfect vision of what was on my mind, but it's close. I think I can get most of the shapes I want with a bit of tweaking. It's a nice feeling.

The rogue's gallery.

The scene of the crimes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some more pots

Once again, I didn't get as far as I was hoping last night (Wednesday), but I trimmed up four bells and a small plate. I am working on some lids for some of the larger pots that I threw last week and I have to wait for the lids to catch up to the dryness of the pots so they will fit for trimming. At least I'm getting some pieces into the bisque cycle.

I spent a lot of time after trimming in discussions with different people so there was no time to throw.

More tonight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More pots

I got some more pots and lids made last night (Tuesday) in Ron's class. Working like a fiend (why is friend so close to fiend?) on my 100 pots. I actually put some on the greenware shelf to be bisqued. Woo-hoo!

I missed Ron's demo on Alan Gaff's cut handles, but Julie came in and demonstrated the way Ayumi Horie "dry-throws" her mugs. She starts out with a solid cylinder of clay and "carves" the mug out of it. It was quite interesting, but I don't see myself using that method any time soon --I'm still trying to get the hang of throwing wet.

Tonight: more pots.

Editor's note: I have been informed today (9/24/08) by Ayumi Horie herself that she throws the mugs wet and the bowls dry. My mistake.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Since the kids were out of school Thursday and Friday we decided to skip out of town for a couple of days. In 1992 we stayed in Highlands, NC. This time we stayed in Cashiers and visited Highlands. By the way, it's pronounced 'Cashers', not like a 'cashier' at a store. We were told the story that way back a farmer owned a mule named Cassius that often ran away and always ended up in this valley. The area was named after the mule and some civil war era maps apparently spell it with an apostrophe 's'. I can't find anything on the web to corroborate it, but it's an interesting story and attempts to explain why the local people pronounce it the way they do.

We stayed at the Laurelwood Mountain Inn and had a wonderful log cabin all to ourselves. There was a queen-sized bed in the downstairs bedroom and twin beds in the loft. It had a full (though small) kitchen, a window air conditioner, gas logs for heat, cable television, wi-fi, and us.

We went to Arrowmont in Cullowhee, NC on Friday and Karen and the girls took a two hour horseback ride. I didn't think flip flops were very good for using with stirrups. Their guide's name was Adam and they were lucky to get him since he told them all the local lore from how to age a pine tree to the legend of Judaculla, the seven-fingered, slant-eyed giant who according to Cherokee legend could leap eight miles from mountain peak to mountain peak. Cool stuff and a great day for a ride.

We went to Highlands and did some shopping, ate lunch and way too many sweets. We went to a candy/ice cream shop called Kilwin's and stocked up on fudge. During our visit we noticed they had luscious looking caramel apples, but we didn't buy any. At 10:00 pm that night, Stephanie decided she had to have a caramel apple, so we drove the ten twisty miles back to Highlands and got some. Luckily they were open until 11:00 pm on Saturday. Hey, it's vacation...

By far our best meal was Sunday brunch at Zookeeper Bistro at the Mountain Laurel Inn and Shops (notice the subtle name difference) that was less than a half mile away. It was wonderful and I highly recommend it to anyone who's going to be in the area. It was SO good I forgot to photograph the food, which is not like me.

It was good to get away for a few days.

The place we stayed this time.

The front of the cabin.

The back.

The kitchen.

The stairs. Nice railing, eh?

Meredith holding down the couch in the living room.

The other side of the living room didn't need any help.

On the road from Cashiers to Highlands, the views are spectacular.

Found some pottery --some really old pottery
at the Highlands Nature Center museum.

Something to think about at the Highlands Nature Center.

Some great flowers on the trail at the Highlands Nature Center.

Some more flowers on the trail.

From the desperation of waiting for ice cream to be dished out...

... to the exhilaration at winning the "ring game".

Meredith and Karen at Bridal Veil Falls.

Stephanie attacks her caramel apple.

I took the more mature (read: easier) route
since they would slice it upon request.

My three musketeers relaxing watching TV.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some pots

I didn't get as far as I wanted to tonight (Thursday). I made three more pots (up to twenty-three), but I broke one (down to twenty-two) while trimming it. I did get a bunch of them trimmed and it's as important to move the existing pots through the process as it is to make new ones.

Onward and upward.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pots, pots, pots

In my quest to make one hundred pots this session, I threw nine last night. That makes a total of twenty so far. Currently I am close to my target at ten per week, but I need to get ahead since I still have to bisque, glaze, and fire them. I am hoping to get back tonight and make more.

I mentioned earlier that I am working on some garden bells, so that's why there are a lot of cylinders with rounded bottoms (that will become the top when I hang them upside down). I hope they sound nice when they're finished. Right now they would just kind of make a splat sound.

I need to trim some of this stuff since I have no more room on my shelf. One of the problems with making 100 pots is figuring out how you are going to store them. Since they are not drying like they do in the summer or winter, the ones from last week are still too soft to finish.

Steady as she goes...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Funny Stuff # 001

Found this on Jerry's blog:

EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo.

And it made me smile. The guys from eepy bird have entirely too much time on their hands, don't they?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Peter Lenzo Workshop

Today for the second time in as many months, we were treated to some fine hospitality by Bob Hasselle and company at the Rock Hill Pottery Center. The last time it was for the Peter Rose workshop, this time for Peter Lenzo's.

I already mentioned in a previous post that I am fascinated by Peter Lenzo's face jugs and now I am equally impressed with the man who makes them. The life and spirit that he imparts in the pieces is amazing. He starts off with a simple thrown form and in twenty minutes, it's got a life of its own. In another twenty, it's refined to museum quality, but it's in the next little while that it becomes a whimsical, haunting, narrative. He achieves this final step by adding all manner of "found items" to the piece and making it work as a unified statement. It is an amazing process to observe.

When he talks about his "found items" his eyes sparkle. It could be the porcelain cats and dogs he found at a thrift store or shards of broken pottery he found on a walk or unearthed doll parts from the former East Germany or even 800+ year old Mayan pottery pieces. Anything and everything is fair game when he's telling his story in clay. Peter brought quite a few of his treasures to show us before using some of them on his work.

Not only did we get to watch Peter work, but we got to see him work with his son Joe. Joe, who's twelve, was right by his father's side making a sculpture of his own. Joe's mom, Virginia was there to help out as well.

It was truly inspirational and a privilege to meet Peter, observe his work, and interact with him today. My mind is racing with all the possibilities he's got me thinking about, and I will be watching where I walk. You never know what you'll miss if you don't.

Peter's counting down from 100 pots and I believe he said today's was 57. I hope he gets as much enjoyment out of his next 56, I know everyone else will.

Thank you Mr. Lenzo.

Just beginning the forming.


Eyes and nose taking shape.

Peter and Joe.

A different perspective.

More detail.

A finished product next to a work in progress.

Greg admiring the piece.

Joe's piece is coming along nicely.

Peter starts on another leather-hard piece.

A chapeau.

Some underglaze and now the "found objects".

Both artists working.

More visual storytelling.

Everyone helps Joe.

Hard at work.

Getting there...

The finished (for today) product.

The second face.

Joe's piece.

Following are some finished pieces that Peter brought along.
Some are low-fire and some are fired to cone 10.

Finally here are some videos of the work completed today.

Peter's piece.

Joe's piece.

For more about Peter Lenzo, read here.
For more of his face jugs, go here.
For some of his earlier work, go here.

You can see all my pictures from the workshop here.