Posts made in August, 2011

Consequences of a Hurricane and a Canceled Show

Posted by on Aug 28, 2011 in About Me, Craft Show, Sous-potter | 1 comment

I didn’t get to see my very good friends who live in Cary. I spent the day reading. My dad had a generator on stand by for me so I could power my wheel even if the electricity went out. Jeff suggested that we hold a HurricanePottery Sale in which ‘everything must go’. My house isn’t any cleaner. I am already packed for the next show! Extra security was required because pottery groupies were rioting in the streets of Cary since Lazy Daze was canceled. Braum got a bath.  (He is not a fan of hurricanes.) The foot paths to my studio and sink area floated away. I have to wait another week for a trip to Trader...

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Production Pottery

Posted by on Aug 26, 2011 in About Me, Multiples, Philosophy | 1 comment

As I was packing pottery for the forthcoming show (which was subsequently canceled), I was very surprised at what we have accomplished.  We made a lot of pots this summer – and multiples give me A LOT of satisfaction. While I was trying to make space for all the pots, it occurred to me – I am a production potter.  To which, Julie pointed out that in some circles, this is not a complimentary term.  She is right – among some ceramicists, a production potter is perceived as a low-level craftsperson. Although the concept of a production potter is disdained by some, it doesn’t bother me because I don’t share that perspective.  Differing opinions of my accomplishments or of me only bother me when I fear there may be a kernel of validity in them.  And, in this instance, I am not concerned that there is any truth in it because I consider my arrival to status of production potter as an accomplishment.  It took a lot of time, practice, and perseverance to acquire my technical skills.   And, after all, skill is the beginning of any creative endeavor.  In fact, without skill, no quality creative work can be accomplished. I love making multiples and I love thinking of all the people who will use and enjoy the pottery that I make.  I want the pleasure of handmade pots to enhance enjoyment of meals with family and friends.  So I am happy to be a production potter because to me that means I can make even more pots to visually and tactilely embellish ordinary...

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Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Glaze Loads, Oh My!

Posted by on Aug 24, 2011 in About Me, Philosophy, Shows | 4 comments

The earth shook, Irene is coming, and the glaze load was a failure.   I guess a failed glaze load is inconsequential in the great scheme of things.  But it is quite a frustration.  Lazy Daze Arts and Craft Show is scheduled for this Saturday and from the weatherman chatter, it sounds like Hurricane Irene may be attending. We have been attending craft shows since 2008.  So far, we have had high temperatures, thunderstorms,  and  bad attendance; but we haven’t had a show to cancel.  It is too early to know whether the show will be held; but, this is the reality of outdoor shows.  And, bad glaze loads are the reality of the pottery cycle as well.  In all of this, I am very thankful that the earthquake wasn’t more severe and I continue to be overwhelmed by the blessings the Lord has given me – many of which come from being a potter. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew...

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A Bit More About Workshops

Posted by on Aug 17, 2011 in Workshop | 0 comments

Before I leave the topic of workshops, I had a few more thoughts I wanted to share. In addition to time and money, there are several things to consider about going away for a workshop.  The first is distance.  Basically this is an issue of logistics.  If the workshop is too far to drive, potters must consider how to transport tools (usually requires checking a bag) and how to transport pots (usually requires a lot of bubble wrap and UPS).  I flew to a workshop in Pittsburgh and it was well worth the minor casualties my pots suffered.  Otherwise, driving is preferable because you can take all your tools and pots can be easily transported when leatherhard. Another consideration is whether to attend a workshop alone or with other potters you know.  I have attended workshops alone and more recently, Julie and I travel to workshops and room together.  This works for us.  However, it is a lot of time together so if you choose to travel to workshop with company, be sure you are comfortable with them.  I also attend workshops by myself (usually because the topic doesn’t interest Julie).  Don’t sacrifice what you want to do because you are afraid to do it alone.  You will get more out of a workshop you attend by yourself than you will get out of a workshop you attend with some one who puts demands on your attention. Workshops have a rhythm.  After you check in, there is studio orientation when you are shown the studio space, select a wheel, and get clay.  Once those formalities are done, the instructor explains her process/aesthetics and demonstrates a form.  After the demo, there is time to practice the techniques.  Typically, there is another demo after a break or lunch and then more time to work.  Take the breaks when you need them (even if they are more often than the others seem to need).  If the studio permits after hours work, potters often come back the studio to continue working on class projects or their own projects.  Again, work at your own pace.  I have learned to call it a day even if the studio is still available – I am happiest when I am balanced.  If the workshop is long enough, there may be a bisque firing.  My advice is to avoid rush drying and take leatherhard pots home to be fired.  It isn’t worth loosing work because you rushed the drying.  The last day is often a day reserved for a critique and studio cleaning, which means that there isn’t much time to work.  So projects should be finished before the last day if possible.  The critique may be scary but it is often worth overcoming the fear. If you have the opportunity to take a workshop, it can be well worth the time, money, and...

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Pottery Hangover

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in A Bit Off Center, Workshop | 0 comments

I am recovering after a great week-long workshop at Arrowmont so I took yesterday to rest and piddle around the house (although I did unload and reload the kiln).   Workshops are fun but they are a lot of work.  Arrowmont is one of my favorite venues for workshops because I stay on campus (in a renovated old house) and meals are available in the dining hall.  Not to mention that the pottery studio is big and bright.   So it is a very pleasant place to be. The session was conducted by Kristen Kieffer and she focused on surface decoration.  This is where I want to make changes in my pots so the workshop was timely and applicable.  We practiced several surface treatments: stamping, slip sponging, slip trailing, and underglazing.  Kristen was generous and took time to explain what she does to her pots and why she makes those choices. She has made an instructional DVD of her surface treatments which is available for purchase.  I watched it last year and found it informative and well organized.  The workshop covered all the aspects she discussed in her DVD.  It would be a useful resource for potters at any level. There are several things that I learned from the workshop but perhaps the concept that is rolling around in my mind the most is that I need to actively seek ideas for my pots and consider ways to implement those ideas.  Kristen showed us her sketchbook and images that she was working to introduce in her pots.   This is the work that I have not been consistently doing and it is something I want to...

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