Compound Pottery

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Challenge, Mugs, Multiples | 0 comments

After the fullness of the holiday season, I enjoy the contemplative quiet of January which is why I have only just fired my first kiln load of the year.  And although I have been working in the studio, it has been at a much slower pace.  Last year, I worked steadily through the year and the end result was that I made over 300 mugs which is a bit overwhelming to think about but is also the magic of compound pottery.  A few pots made regularly result in a large accumulation of pots over time. I have often referred to my number – that is the number of pots I can make at a time, remain interested, and avoid tedium.  For mugs, my number was 5.  (In fact, I made 5 mugs so often, that my number increased to 8.)  So essentially, I made 5 mugs a week last year which is less overwhelming to think about and makes the number of mugs that I plan to make this year seem very do-able. What pots could you compound this...

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Mug Mania

Posted by on Aug 11, 2012 in Mugs, Multiples, studio work | 0 comments

I make a lot of pots because I enjoy making pots.  As a consequence, I sell those pots.  A lot of potters don’t sell because they don’t want to feel pressured to make a certain number of a particular pot.  But, I don’t feel that way.  In fact, I was quite excited after Bele Chere because we sold a lot of mugs.  Now I get to make more mugs! Last autumn, I made a lot of mugs which have provided an inventory for our recent shows.  But with the shows we have scheduled, we need to add to the  collection.  So I am in production mode. This means I am making 5 mugs every other day.  Five is my number for mugs.  I can make 5 bodies,  pull 5 handles, trim 5 forms, and attach 5 handles without feeling like it is tedious.  Knowing my number (5 mugs) helps me keep from succumbing to the temptation to over-produce.  Over-production is bad when I am putting handles on mugs because too many mugs results in too little...

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Goals revised

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in About Me, Mugs, Multiples | 0 comments

I enjoy making multiples (as any reader of this blog already knows).  I find it challenging and satisfying.  So when we found out that we would be attending Bele Chere in July, I began making mugs. I love to make mugs and having a set goal really motivates me.  I had intended to make 75 mugs by the end of June; and, I was on target until I got the opportunity to take an unexpected trip.  As soon as I confirmed the trip, I increased the number of mugs I was making at a time (usually I make 5 per session).  I think I finished about 60 mugs; most of them have been bisqued and some have been glazed. Although June isn’t over, I am done with mugs for the month.  I am glad that I got several done and I am really excited about the trip to NYC and Boston.  It is good to have goals but sometimes it is good to revise...

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Rice and Bowls

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in How-to, Multiples | 0 comments

Fledgling sushi chefs spend months (sometimes years) doing nothing but making the rice for the head chef.  If the rice isn’t right, it really doesn’t matter what else you do, you’re not going to be able to serve great sushi.  Too often, we quickly jump ahead to the new thing, failing to get good enough at the important thing.  -Seth Godin                                               If your 2 lb bowl is wonky, then practice more 2 lb bowls.  All the struggles  that you have making a 2 lb bowl will be amplified when you are trying to throw a 5 lb bowl....

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Production Pottery – Storage

Posted by on Feb 7, 2012 in Class, Dinnerware, How-to, Multiples | 0 comments

When making functional pottery it is vital that the pots perform their role well; but, when making dinnerware sets, it is also necessary to consider how those pots function when they are NOT in use.  So once you have acquired the skills to make similar pots the same size (challenge no. 1) and once you have developed a conceptual resolution to make dissimilar pots relate (challenge no. 2), you must also consider the pot’s non-function (i.e. storage).  Because many pots comprise a dinnerware set, storage becomes an issue for the owners. Consider how the pots will stack in the cupboard or dishwasher.  You may prefer a cereal bowl to be low and wide; and, you may prefer soup bowls to curve inward so the soup will stay warm longer.  The result is the cereal bowls stack more compactly than the soup bowls.   Either way, functional choices should be made with full recognition of the consequences on how well a pot performs when it is not in...

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Production Pottery – Challenge #2

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in Class, Dinnerware, How-to, Multiples | 0 comments

“Technical ability grows naturally with experience, but conceptual rigor needs constant attention and exploration.”  Sean O’Connell Although not all potters aspire to be production potters, all potters will benefit from the skills required to make dinnerware.  Potters who can make multiple pots similar in form and size are efficient throwers and have the technical skills to accomplish any sort of pot.  And, potters who can develop a unified dinnerware set are effective in creatively relating one pot to another. Essentially, there are two basic to making dinnerware sets: Similar pieces must be similar Dissimilar pieces must relate to one another No. 2:  Dissimilar pieces must relate to one another – the dinner plate and the chili bowl must look like they belong to the same series.  Although there are some technical considerations, this challenge is mainly conceptual.  How do you go about creating a family of pots? Here are some tips that can help achieve this: Use the same clay for the entire family of pots Glaze the family of pots in the same glaze(s) – this is the easiest way to make diverse pots relate; color unifies and mutes differences Glaze the family of pots at the same time Fire glazed pots in the same kiln firing Make structural marks when throwing Add texture – carving or slip on all pots Use wax resist to make similar patterns on the pots Use the same rim treatment on all pots – cut/wavy/split/squared Keep shapes similar – organic/geometric/chunky/elegant Making a dinnerware set requires getting plates and bowls and tumblers to associate with one another.  Ask yourself how you can make the pieces relate to one another.  Give your pots something to make them look like they are a family.  This is a huge challenge and one that you may enjoy resolving over and over...

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