Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa came early...

That's right, opening a kiln is like Christmas presents under the cant wait to see what they are , some you might want to take back, some are just what you wanted, and some are real surprises. Well, the other day when we opened the kiln up, it was full of just what I was asking for...I must have been a good boy this year. What an easy and steady firing we had, and the work in the kiln sure reflected that experience. We flattened cone 11 all around and our shinos sure liked that...they are juicy! Everybody was pleased with their pottery booty that we unloaded and I celebrated with a cold Troeggs Rugged Nut Brown Ale.

I am posting some images here as a teaser for
my upcoming 2010 etsy sale. I just finished making new decal images that started with my own digital photographs and I am anxious to fire them! Wild Cucumbers a.k.a Balsam Apples, Hops and Milk Weed...

Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the images.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow and fire...

'Tis the season...just finished firing the wood kiln last night. Nancy Smeltzer and I fired the bourry box kiln in 18 hours or so, with a little help from some friends. It was also our first winter snow storm. It started around 10:00pm Friday night and didn't let up until late Saturday night. The snow made the roads a little treacherous but it was not blowing and I guess if all you had to do was chuck wood into a kiln for the whole day, it was rather beautiful. Nancy started it about 3:00am, our friend Cindy Rogers(below) came to take a turn at 7:30am. The kiln climbed steadily all day and we put in the soda mixture with Dan Boone(pictured below) and Nance and I cleared it out for a little while, then closed her up.

Below is an image of Nancy blowing back the flame so she can see our flattened cone11!

Just like kids at Christmas, we are eager to see the goods...we will be opening Tuesday afternoon and hopefully having a little celebration of sorts. I have around 30 pieces in this firing and most are bigger pieces; platters, large vase, pitchers and bowls. I will try and post them on here before Christmas Eve...Speaking of which, I'd like to say thanks for continuing to tune into this ol' blog and I hope you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday,Great New Year and wish you many more to come. ....until next time gentle reader.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mr. Gallery dude...

That's the identity I feel I switch to for short periods of time...and as of today, I'm returning back to me...whomever that might be.
I have been in a mad rush of setting up for an opening this past Monday and also preparing for our visiting artist Justin Shull. Justin has been traveling around the United States with his project "Porta Hedge: Mobile Observation Laboratory since July of this year. We hosted this piece of his in what the University calls The Oak Grove. It is the center of campus and is a very pretty green space complete with, that's right you guessed it, Oak trees. The Hedge was open for two days for people to view and visit and Justin met with our grad students. We had a great visit and I hope to continue being in contact with Justin.

Justin Shull and grad student Bifei Cao decorated the side with Christmas lights powered from the Solar battery in the Hedge. It is the season you know...
Th exhibition in the gallery is(was, it comes down today) a very successful collaboration with a colleague in the English department. He teaches Literature and Criticism and is also the co -founder of what is called The Center for Digital Humanities here at IUP within the English department. Ken Sherwood did a great job curating this group of interactive, fully digital, text based pieces created by artists/writers/programmers from around the country. Ken was enthusiastic about showing the work and really invested in the idea of the gallery setting to feature the event.

The exhibition was a great success as a "New Media" art exhibition that was well attended, an English department experiment in pushing the envelope, and a collaboration of two separate schools within the University that worked together to create a week long event that educated and/or introduced people to new concepts of poetry and fiction writing in the post-book era using current technology. You can visit the site for the show as Ken was putting it all together in conjunction with the course he is teaching this semester...readingrebooted...there are links and thumbnails of all the pieces we are showing in the exhibition, slide show of images I shot at the opening, and other related links. I was very pleased about this venture, and I would say to anybody who poo-poos the idea of cross discipline collaboration, to try and jump up and down because that might help release your head from your tightly puckered ass.
OK, I'm much better now...
AND, now that I am about to enter the last week of the semester really, I am feeling a little more relaxed. Even though I just took in a really big contemporary wood show that a friend curated for The Dairy Barn Art Center in Ohio...its big...and I am opening it on February 2, 2010. But in the in between time, I'm concentrating on making some more pots, firing some new decal images, and throwing the last of the chocolate brown clay for a new sculptural wall piece...oh yeah, and Christmas and my family and teaching the winter online course problem.

Check out the links...PS. firing the wood kiln in the next couple weeks...stay warm.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New stuff, new show...

Hello gentle reader...thought I would toot my horn and share my good news. Recently I finished up a couple new sculptural pieces that I began back in Chautauqua this summer. That's how it usually goes with me...make the main part of the work first and then drive myself crazy with the details. I realized I needed to get my ass in gear and finish the work and at least try and get them out there. Well, I have sent out a couple prospectus and yesterday I heard back from one...I had two works accepted into the Dairy Barn Art Center's OH+5 2010...its like their regional biennial. Another cool aspect of this exhibition is that they also invite the selected artists to provide 3 smaller artworks to be for sale in the Gallery's shop...bonus! The work above and below is my new piece "Seasonal" that will be included in the exhibition...

This is my other piece that will be in the exhibition, "Tubors and Corms: Landscape#1"...its a wall piece that can vary in size and is ceramic, glazed, layered in commercial decals, and flocked in a soft and fuzzy baby blue. The pieces are backed with drips of indoor/ outdoor turf.

This last piece is another new one that I began in NY... "Poppy Field"
here it is in detail ...
I am still waiting to hear from another exhibition...hopefully with some good news... I entered this piece, along with a few other pieces that I felt were related. Keep your fingers crossed for me. TOOT TOOT.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Abundant Sunshine...

That has got to be one of my favorite weather forcasts...abundant sunshine. When I hear that and I am on my way up to the studio, I grab my camera. Its always good shootin' around the studio when the light is good...especially now. We have had some pretty cool weather and a number of good frosts and most everything has once agin been transformed...changed into strange, shrivled, shrunken heads of their former selves. It is just as interesting a time as Spring when all things come alive...well, almost...anyways, its another great seasonal change.
I am heading back up as soon as I finish this post to trim and add handles and throw a little more for Monday's studio time. Its another gorgeous, almost late Fall, day here in foothills of the Aleghany Mountains. I am busy making pieces for our upcoming firing of the Bourry Box kiln at the begining of December, as well as working on a few new sculptural pieces that are way off the beaten path of my wood fired functional ware...I will post those images soon.
Also, a big thanks to all that have been traffic-ing my etsy shop...homefry::eclectic ceramics...I have had a good number of sales in the last couple weeks...and hoping for more ;>)
Enjoy the images and stay warm!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Filling the ol' shopping cart...

Howdy readers! This is my post studio tour post, and I am here to report that Nancy and I did pretty well ...despite a very chilly and constant drizzle on Saturday. I have talked with a couple other people that were on the tour and they also said good things. Its good to see that in our very sluggish economy, with all our current issues and problems, people will still come out and enjoy the natural beauty of the season in the foothills of PA and spend a little money buying quality hand made art my pottery.

This week I have been hard at work in every moment of my spare time, snapping off pictures of my work and getting them all put on my Etsy site. If you do not know should. This is an awesome global network for hand made art and vintage items. There is something like 150,000 stores on the site and its in 50 countries. I am loading up my "homefry::eclectic ceramics" shop with a good deal of work that I had left from the tour...heck, I already sold 3 pieces this week by doing this. I will be giving discounted shipping rates and deals on some fine wood fired, salt fired and other misc. funky and wonderful utilitarian pottery.

In all Honestly, this post is yet another shameless advertisement for my online shop. That's right, the only redeeming shred of content in this post is the images of the work that I am posting as a preview for what is selling in my shop....geeeezzzz what a pottery selling commercial whore. I feel cheap, naughty and a little dirty, I like this! I should get myself drunk and maybe keep some of this sexy wood fired work to myself...hubba, hubba. Quick somebody stop me, I have no self control.

OK,Ok,ok, I take it back, I am posting a some images from the studio tour to help regain my dignity...what little I have left.

Hope to see you in the shop!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A little preview...

If you are in the Indiana County area of PA this weekend (17&18)...about an hour or so north of Pittsburgh , c'mon out to the Annual Potters' Studio Tour...there are 8 studios on the tour with with each one hosting an extra squatter potter like myself. Check the website for further directions and details...

Here is a little preview of some of my new work fresh out of the train...

mmmmm, mmmmm, good.

Hope to see you out on the tour!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gettin' ready...

That's right, Nancy and I are getting ready to fire the train kiln ...loading on Friday and starting bright and early Saturday morning. We have a lot of work to fire! This will be the last wood firing before the big Potters' Studio Tour coming up on the weekend of October 17 and 18. Nothing subtle about that bit of advertisement, so if you are around the area please stop on by and say hello. This will be my third year on the tour with Nancy at Little Mahoning Creek Pottery and each year I am amazed and thrilled with all the good pottery loving folk who come up to visit, buy some fine wood fired work, and witness the colorful change of seasons in the greater metropolitan area of Smicksburg, PA and the even more remote outer lying areas nearby.

While I was watching my pots dry, and they were drying awful slow due to our current weather, I snapped off a few pictures of the mounting work. I have a bunch of pieces on the top shelf, some waiting to go in the bisque kiln and some waiting to be glazed. Nancy also has an army of tall mugs and cups waiting in line for the same. On the table behind the rack I have serving dishes, cups and mugs that are in need of some slip and a little sexy shino. When I wasn't out admiring the trees and their impressive show of Fall color, we necked in the back chamber and added another foot to the chimney of the train kiln in order to improve the draw. I will be scraping down shelves tomorrow evening and turning up the bisque...get those pots fired so that I can get to glazing on Friday morning....I'm looking forward to firing and looking forward to seeing you on the Potters' Tour too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Helping hands...

As I am gearing up for the annual Potters' Studio Tour here in Indiana County I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be involved in an active arts community. It may be pretty loose knit with its own little factions but hey, for the most part people are usually willing to lend a hand or get involved. Which leads me to my little Chautauqua reunion I had over the weekend with Dan Kuhn who worked with me all summer as the studio tech and visiting faculty member and face jug maker extraordinaire Jim McDowell. Dan fired the Phoenix Fast Fire Kiln at IUP(Indiana University of Pennsylvania) where I work and where he is finishing up his MFA . He and Jim pretty much filled it full leaving a little room for squatter potters like me and whomever else was standing around to throw a few pieces in too. Well, unfortunately it was a miserable weekend for firing a kiln, especially one that is not under any sort of roof. I stayed around a short while...brought them my old E-Z Up tent to help provide shelter and drank a few beers. The bad new was that getting to temperature was not in the cards due to several factors. Dan and I talked on Monday morning before I left for the studio and decided that while the kiln was still hot, why not just give it another try. The kiln was dry, hot, and loaded still(like me when Im on vacation in Florida!) made good sense. I stopped over around 4 and stayed until almost 11:00...cone 9 was soft and I went home. Dan fired it up right... we blocked up the firebox some to restrict the air intake and put the torch to it for periods of time in between heavy stoking and vigorous raking. Dan said they salted and finished off around midnight. I was happy I could put my two cents in and lend a hand...there is nothing more disappointing than spending a whole lot of time working a kiln only for it not to get to temperature. I'm happy for Dan, Jim and all 5 of my little pieces that were in the firing. Results on Thursday!

Oh, and that Potters' Tour I mentioned...October 17& is around this whole area and has 7-8 studios with at least double the amount of clay folk involved. Its a great tour with a lot of great work at peak time around here for autumn color.
I leave you gentle reader with a final gratuitous Autumn image...heading up to the studio.