Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner

Check out my Fiesta page for Pots in action for Thanksgiving Day 2011!  
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Appalachian Potters Market

I can see the end of the 2011 tunnel.  My last retail show for the year will be at McDowell High School, Marion NC,   The Appalachian Potters Market is a great show with 66 potters on Saturday, December 2.

I'm busy today cranking out a few more cruets, sponge holders and brie bakers to fill in the inventory from the Carolina  Pottery Festival on the 12th Nov.  Didn't get that one posted due to my abundant wholesale orders.  It went well there and it is always wonderful to see old friends after being elbow deep in the basement with clay for months.

Hope to see more of you in Marion.  Starts up at 10AM and over by 4:30 or so.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Valle Country Fair

This Saturday is the Valley Country Fair!  I have attended this fair for at least 27 years now except for 21 yrs ago when Claire was 2 mo old and last year when my dad was dying of a stroke.  Hope to see you there in shoes appropriate for potentially mucky ground as I imagine it has rained there as much as here.  Check out their page here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hiddenite Exhibit

My favorite piece:  Mermaid evening gown.
Well, tomorrow I take my 42 pieces to The Hiddenite Center for my largest ever exhibition of one of a kind pieces.   Hopefully the next one won't be quite as stressful.  It wasn't the one woman show I had asked for, but Helen Keever will be showing water color pieces that won't detract from my mostly pedestal pieces. It is so much more work than I imagined, not only creating the 15 or so new, one of a kind, never made them before pieces, but cataloging and documenting everything.  Part of my exhibit is education of how the pieces came to be and who inspired their creation.
I've been wanting to do a full set of dishes in my fiesta inspired pattern
The show will run from maybe Oct 7- 30.  The reception will be on the 30th... why at the end?  Out of my hands in scheduling that.

Sam Chung Pot

Sam and his just finished teapot

His first demonstration: a two piece slab pitcher with a hollow handle.
Several months ago Carolina ClayMatters Guild hosted a workshop with Sam Chung, instructor at Arizona State.  He specializes in slab constructed pieces, most of which have a serious set of pattern pieces.  He started with a simple pitcher design shown below and then went on to create more and more complex pieces like the teapot left.
This thing is an ewer- a pouring vessel with no handle.
 After several months, I finally have a finished and photographed my version of Sam's teapot.  It was much harder than it looked to do, and of course I chose the most complicated piece he did to replicate.  Hadn't really planned to have it look so much the shape of his teapot, but that was what worked.  I made things even more complicated by putting texture on the side panels.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Puzzle Jugs, my style

I have finally finished and photographed the puzzle jugs I did while at Wildacres this summer. 
This bizarre thing was an inspiration from a Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew Slipware Workshop I did in Shelby. I found a picture of this one in an English traditional pottery book they brought.  The one in the book was a tower with windows in it, but being the woodsy gal that I am, I decided to make it trees instead.   Pour drink in the top and it goes through the handle to the bottom and out the snake mouth. Pretty wild in action. Had I to do it again the snake would have started at the top of the bottom chamber.  When I poured the glaze in it, the snake projectile vomited it out it's mouth!  Works much better with thinner liquids, but really more of a conversation piece anyway.
Inside the trees is a stump with the squirrel that eats all my pears... eating a pear.

This one is more like the puzzle jug they brought.  Theirs was of course more traditional with a Shelby 2011 written on it.   They usually have a teasing poem about getting the ale out once it is in.  Mine has a door that says "Enter men of mirth."  To drink you must suck through one of the spouts while putting your fingers on all the openings, (except the big holes in the sides, silly!).  It is a puzzle.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Milwaukee Vacation

Bryan Becker Clay Werks Gallery and Studio
 Got back last week from a delivery vacation to the Milwaukee.  Daughter Claire, parrot Petey and I stayed with Bryan Becker at his converted dairy business Bryan Becker Clay Werks.
The throwing "room"
  It was quite educational to see how production potters work in other areas of the country, like bisque firing to cone 010 and glazing cone 10 oxidation, (not at all what I see here in NC).  From what I could tell, Bryan's main production items are wedding and housewarming bowls that he sells mostly through catalog sales.
Bryan and Mosely
  The gallery is nicely set up and he has extra studio space and a teaching studio that he rents out to other artists.  I got several good business tips while I was there for sure.
The gallery
Display of my work

Claire and I also visited 2 other accounts- Cedar Creek Pottery in historic Cedarburg, WI and Zig Zag Gallery in Dayton, Ohio.  Cedarburg  is a cool little historic spot on none other than Cedar Creek, duh.  There is a winery there in a converted woolen mill that also houses the pottery gallery and several other unique shops.  We thought it interesting that the public green way trail advertised that you were welcome to walk, cycle, roller blade, or ... cross country ski.

Cheetah and boy examine each other
 We also spent some time in Milwaukee site seeing: went to the zoo, bar hopped and went to the gallery crawl downtown, caught a drag show at the Brady Street Festival and went to a German Fest where we saw a "weiner dog" race.  The winner weiner needed a drug test for steroids!
Ruth the elephant throwing sand on Claire.  I was just reading about how unsafe this habitat is.  She could fall in that moat.
Downtown Milwaukee on the waterfront

Friday, July 8, 2011

Back in the real world

Yolanda burning feathers on hot pots
Well, I am back in the real world, resting up to get back to the tasks at hand.   I did take a chance on the horsehair experience with one of my pots with great results, (packed up and unavailable for photos at the moment).  Soon I will post the gallery of pots I completed while I was there.
Oliver adding a feather to his pot

There was a lot more going on in the pottery studio that I chose not to participate in as I was valuing the time to work on projects long in my head.
Along with the arranged learning activities, there is opportunity to racu fire with experienced "racuers"  and gas fire in the studio gas kiln.  Gary Lee, from Rising Sun, organizes 2 gas firings during the week for those wanting to participate.  Most bring bisque pots for the first one at least.  The results on the first gas firing were great and I heard lots of oohs and ahhs from over in my carving corner.
The racu folks squeezed in plenty of firings in spite of the use of the kiln for sager firings.  There are several talented potters who know what they are doing with racu that brought things to fire.... they are looking good.  I particularly like the fruit and veggie folks that Yolanda brought with her, under glazed with Speedball underglazes and a clear crackle on top.

Yolanda's racu fruits and veggies
  I made 3 mermaid tails after doing all I could do on the woodsy things things to finish up in my Winston friend's racu kiln using colorful under glazes I have on hand.

The last night we set our things up in a vacant room for viewing and purchase.  Personally there wasn't much I was willing to let go of until I gaze on them awhile.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Horsehair Demo

pot smoked with feathers horsehair and dried orange peel.

Horsehair Demonstration

Yesterday, Edge demonstrated his horsehair and feather technique.  He heats the pots to 1250F and pulls the out one at at time not with tongs but fiberfax pads. Edge had brought his small kiln with a digital pyrometer which was not working so the pots were not heated as accurately in the Wildacres kiln as his are at home  Some sugar gets thrown on the inside so it isn’t stark white inside the pot.  He uses the pads to apply dried orange peel which leaves white spots with smoky halos.
sprinkling on sugar or orange peel
He gets hemostats that are thrown out by the medical industry to hold the horsehair and feathers, getting several ready in advance.  The feathers are applied for a second and pulled away for better results.  Holding the horsehair with the hemostat helps position the hair for the best aesthetic. All this decorating has to happen in 2-3 minutes while the pot is hot enough to leave the perfect smoky impression of the combustables.  The temperature discrepancy was obvious when all of the ginkgo leaves he puts down before placing the pot on the fiberfax pad burned up to quickly to leave an impression.  He goes to great lengths to make his pots perfectly flat for this.  (We got a demo of his burnishing and trimming technique that all happen while the pot is leather hard on the wheel in different sized pvc fittings with padded rims and altered potato peelers that trim and burnish at the same time.)

Edge’s clay is a custom body that is smooth yet thermal shock resistant.  I made pots out of white earthenware which were OK for  the slow cooling sager but is expected to crack if used for this quick cool process. Edge bisque fires to maybe cone 09 and we all bisqued our pots to the 05 or 04 usually used.  It made a difference in the results on the sager firings for sure.  I haven’t decided whether I should sacrifice one of my remaining pots yet.  Other students have been using his inspiration to do horsehair in the traditional Wildacres manner which is more trial and error testing hairs until they are cool enough to leave a mark.  I think the crack rate has been pretty high.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wildacres Retreat 2011

I’m back at Wildacres Retreat to meet with “It was a dark and stormy night” Pottery Guild Retreat after missing last year due my big move.  Edge Barnes is leading the workshop this year demonstrating and guiding us in his aluminum foil sager fired burnished pieces and his version of horsehair pots.

Wildacres is a nonprofit retreat owned by the Blumenthal family outside of Little Switzerland, NC.  For an incredible price you can come here and stay with room, board and studio space do do work you don’t normally get to do.  Rising Sun Pottery has reserved the 4th of July week for a group of about 19 for quite a few years now.  The week got it’s name because we share the lodge with a writers group and a story telling group; kind of a spoof on their efforts to write and tell stories. ( Snoopy always sat on top of his dog house to write his great novel and never got farther than “It was a dark and stormy night...”)  The other motto for our gathering is “ It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.”
Edge and our motto signs

So far, we have done several nice loads of sager fire in the racu kiln.  The process involves using well burnished pots with ferric chloride washed on them. 
Edge demonstrating ferric chloride application
Edge dips them lightly in “swamp juice”, (which is a nasty bubbly mixture that leaves some nice random effects). He then wraps them in damp seaweed, some wood chips, a few strands of steel wool and copper chore boy, maybe some sugar and what ever else you are inclined to try and then wraps it all up like a baked potato in foil and piles them in the kiln.
Like potatoes out of the kiln
It heats to 1250F in the kiln which causes the foil to react with the ferric chloride and burns the combustibles.  The results are wonderful, especially after waxing and polishing.

Edge's fired pots

My 2 best sager fired so far
I have been going cross eyed working on “in the woods” ideas that have been twirling around in my head while I make dozens of mugs, sponge holders, and cereal bowls at home as well as sager firing the prepared pots I brought.

In the woods Puzzle Jug II

In the woods puzzle jug I "Enter Men of Mirth" 

There is lots more going on in the studio, but I’ll save that for another post.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More new one of a kind fiesta

Finished another piece inspired by Neil Patterson that is an upgrade to my footed genie oil lamp.  The foot is an altered thrown cone.  I have used leather stamps that I have had since high school on the foot.  They make a great detail stamp.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Craftsman House Gallery Exhibit

I am excited to announce that I have a selection of Fiesta pots exhibiting at Craftsman House Gallery in St Petersburg, FL.  Check out their website describing the event here:  Among the other exhibitors is Neil Patterson, , who gave a workshop for our guild in February.  It is such an honor to be showing with this talented craftsman.  Unfortunately they don't have photos of the show on their website, but it appears to be a nice gallery.  I sent them cups and saucers, my new mugs, dipping bowls and cereal bowls.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Old Salem Pottery Fair

Come by for the first annual Old Salem Pottery Fair on the Square in Old Salem this Saturday.  While you're there you can go by and check out the antique slipware exhibit in their museum that will be running until the middle of August  Check out the details here:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hannah McAndrew & Doug Fitch

This is Doug blasting the puzzle jug, (pitcher) with a leaf burner.  The piece was slipped and decorated by Hannah.

 Just got back from a great workshop in Shelby of all places with Hannah and Doug, come over the pond to show us farmhouse pots and slipware.  They are big bloggers with Ron Filbeck and were able to work out a tour of demos in the states. [What's up with my formatting!?  Will figure it out later folks.]
pouring the slip.

Finished puzzle jug.
 I found some puzzle jugs in some books Doug had and have some ideas for one or two of my own.
Decorated puzzle jug front.
 Here Hannah is making a large platter by throwing a bottom and adding a coil for the lip.  Due to "American" clay and a pug mill that left a big air hole throughout the coil, we didn't get to see it finished, but great idea I plan to try.

This is a "jug" that Doug made with his "man decorations",(quick and simple).

 Hannah and a beautiful platter she decorated with slip bottles made from tire tubes and mechanical pencils!?
Hope to become blog friends with these great folks.  They did a great job considering we have such crappy clay over here...LOL  Their clay comes straight from the ground without drying out, so it has been seasoned for thousands of years, enabling lots of stretchability.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

OOOOH another Textured Slab Pot!

Got another glaze load out of the kiln today.  Finally getting some consistent results from the adjustments I made on the L&L. This is one of the pots I made using the textured paper. 

 To get the inside pink and outside blue, I protected the "binding" with wax resist and glazed the inside with the pink, re bisque the piece and then glazed the outside.  The glaze at bisque temp crackled quite a bit when I took it out of the kiln, but enabled me to clean off the blue glaze that got on the inside of the pot easily.  After refiring, the crackling repaired itself.
I am really pleased how much detail shows with this paper.  The yellow eyelet pot detail was very faint, comparatively.

Off to Hickory tomorrow to set up for the Festival.  I seem to have collected plenty of pots, this one included.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

learning curve

Hopefully everyone can read this as I made some changes and now I can't get to my page!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Catawba Valley Pottery Show

Well the show is coming up this and I will be bringing quite a variety of my work, since I haven't had any time to make a stock of production best sellers. Hope those of you that can will come by. I kind of doubt that I will be doing the show next year.

The Stucco Guys finished the cement work and will be back in a few days to paint... just in time to get my things for the show out of the garage door before they come back.

Ilse packed up 3 orders yesterday and a big one, (6 18" boxes!), today. I started working on the large order for Mast Store, at last. At least I got started on it before I have to stop to get ready for and do the show. Never a dull or still moment here!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More from the conference

These tea bowls were a challenge to the thrower, seen at the right, to throw as many as he could in 5 minutes. He did 18. Very doable off the hump. I will be timing myself when I get home! BTW he is 33 and has been throwing pots for a living since he was 16.The upper right shot is a plate that the over glaze painter did along with at least 2 other pieces today.

Friday, March 4, 2011

North Carolina Potters Conference

Wow! what a day. The Bailey came yesterday and this morning before I left for the conference, I had the electrician wiring it up and Ilse, my assistant helping to unload and wax bisque out of the L&L. Never a dull moment on Beroth Circle! The Chinese pottery team was amazing, each doing a different step of the pottery making process. The thrower and trimmer were outstanding as were the under and over glazers. The two top images are finished pieces priced around $1280. The bottom pieces were thrown today and ranged between 12 and 50 lbs.