Saturday, March 29

25 lbs!

This is me standing next to what I intend to be the bowl of a birdbath. At 25 lbs. it is probably the biggest thing I have ever thrown. Between wedging the clay-three, 8 lb. pieces which I threw on top of each other, and the throwing itself It took me about an hour and 15 minutes. The largest piece of time probably being centering and pushing the mass down into a disk to begin throwing. My wrists and elbows were killing me when I was through. Tomorrow I plan on
making another one, using the same amount of clay but will try to get it bigger. I didn't get the base quite wide enough on this one so was limited to how far I could bring it out. I'll post a picture in a few weeks when it is finished.

Thursday, March 27

Porcelain oval baker. I am having major problems with the handles on these cracking. I've got them tightly wrapped in plastic, but any exposure to air and crack!! Going to be challenging drying them.

Little teeny tiny test pots ready to go into my test kiln with the teapots.

Vases, about 10" high. I really like the way these came out. I'll have to keep posting photos of my pots in this leatherhard stage so you can see some nice pots. Most will not survive my glazing "skills". But they are beautiful now.

Monday, March 24

Visions in White

teapot in "leatherhard" stage

I've been sampling some porcelain clays. I am testing Laguna 365, Laguna Frost and Laguna B-mix 5. The B-mix an 365 threw and trimmed really well. 365 really seemed to be able to stand up to a lot of abuse.

spoons with stoneware "branch" handles and porcelain bowls

I've heard Frost is supposed to be really beautiful when it is fired, and it better be fabulous to win me over because it threw really unevenly and trimmed horribly for me. Also, it is almost a dollar a lb (compared to roughly 35-45 cents for most porcelains). If I were really happy with it I would be happy to pay the extra. We'll see when it is fired.

army of cups ready for battle in the kiln

I am most concerned however with the appearance of the fired clay. All the white clays I have tested to date looked "underdone" in their fired state. I am looking for a white clay that looked completely mature at its temperature. 365 is supposed to have parian qualities, which means it resembles marble, so I am looking forward to seeing it.

test kiln with test bowls and teapots

The orangy teapot is in my test kiln which I fired yesterday. The little white cups are test pots. There is another layer with another teapot and more test cups.

sexy teapot

There is teapot show April 3 at my supplier Portland Pottery, so I am trying to get a teapot ready in time for the show. I will post a picture if I get one worthy of the show.

Tuesday, March 18

Jury Duty

Well I heard from the League today. Just a confirmation that they have received my application. I want to keep my spirits up and be optimistic, but it is difficult to do so when you are told not to have hope (see previous post), especially when something is so important to you. So I am working as hard as I can, given the constraints of also working another job, to get my pots ready for the jury. The photos I submitted are used for the purpose of identifying my medium and determining whether or not I should be given the opportunity to jury. If I am given the opportunity then the actual jury will take place in person. Good luck to me!

Thursday, March 13

I really shouldn't talk about this, but . . .

It's probably a really bad idea to write about this. Fortunately I don't think anyone ever reads this blog so I may be safe. I applied to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen yesterday. It's a pretty big deal to get in. Other than how super special it would make me feel and validation and all that, it would allow me the opportunity to sell my work at some very respected places. Then there is always the Sunapee Craft Fair in August, oldest craft fair in the country and very heavily attended. I want to have optimism about this but I know it probably won't happen. I didn't really know this until a jewler I know who is a member of League told me point blank, "you won't get in,but don't take it personally". He said no one gets in on their first try, and that it took him three trys to get in. Of course, tell that to Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama if they don't get the ticket, "don't take it personally!" So, after much preparation and filling out of forms and sending photos and 100$ I don't really have to spend, I am waiting for rejection. But he's right, it's a process, and sometimes you just have to learn from something that didn't work out and try again.

Wednesday, March 12

Luscious Bowls

Electric Fired 2008.

Wednesday, March 5

Twelve Lemons

I think part of the problem I have with making pots is the inability to become atatched to them. As I wrote earlier, you never know if they are going to survive. It is hard to dedicate hours in a day, days in a week and so on to a pursuit that sometimes yields so little concrete satisfaction. Tonight I threw the beginnings of twelve lemon juicers. Twelve being the starting number, who knows how many survive trimming, attachments, glazing and firing. What, maybe five or six? If I am lucky. I guess part of this is inexperience. Certainly the longer one is a potter the higher the success rate, but still . . . I look at these beginnings of pots sitting on their shelves and at this moment-I love them. They are beautiful, fresh and full of possibility. They are sexy, moist and enticing. I also love them when they are leather-hard. In this stage you can pick them up and they have this gentle sheen and soft coolness to the touch. It feels like you are holding damp silk. Once the water leaves there is something else that leaves as well. Maybe it is the possibility of change. When they are dry they seem almost dead and the pot I held in my hands just a few days ago with pleasure I now feel somewhat indifferent to.

Post note: none survived. I had a very difficult time carving the reamer parts of the juicers, and realized quickly I'd never do twelve. I will have to try carving one, and casting the part I think. So now I have 11 "salsa" dishes instead. I'll post a picture of the miraculous transformation later.

Tuesday, March 4

Bluer Than Blue

I love these pots. It might be hard to see in the photo but they are covered with fine craze lines.
I have tended to avoid making covered pots in the past because making lids that fit well is challenging but also very satisfying when you get it right. The designs in the sides are from plaster stamps that I carved. I've tried making stamps from clay but find plaster to be far easier to work with. I made a long squarish form of plaster, maybe and inch and a half wide and sliced it into chunks. Once it sets up, carve away. The nice thing is that if you don't like it you don't loose the stamp. Just scrape off the design you just made until it is a flat surface again and try again. I made these stamp blanks over a year ago and they are still fine to work with.

Saturday, March 1

Rotten bananna

I'm really excited about my new photo set up. I've still got a bit of work to do on it, like sew the fabric panels together and resize it a little, but the gist is there. I should back up a little. As I mentioned earlier I have been photographing my pots with a light system I rigged up, and it was okay, but really frustrating to work with. Hard to get rid of highlights, not getting a good color reproduction, loosing a lot of detail, etc. So I did a little research and discovered that many products are shot in a light box. You can buy these in the size I wanted for about 150 dollars, but there are all sorts of ways to make your own, and so I did. I used cpvc pipe and a sheet and three, hundred watt bulbs and my graduated paper of course. So I get this set up in a rudimentary fashion and snap a few shots, and I'm not impressed. Then I remember reading about taking a white reading for shooting. Looked in the manual of my digital camera and did what it said, and oh my god, what a huge difference. I grabbed a few items laying around the house and just held the camera in my hand and shot to test. Unbelievable color reproduction and detail etc. from what I'm used to. The difference is drastic. So I'm looking forward to finishing the tent and shooting some pots. I think I'm going to be pretty happy with this set up. I can break it down and store it in the bag my tripod came with (which I never put my tripod in) so that's nice.