Saturday, December 22, 2012
"We are still alive!", my daughter exclaimed as she came downstairs this cold December morning. That's right folks, another "end of the world" has come and gone! Silly Mayans.
Since the world did not end, I must once again resume my normal daily routines...and maybe take back the shiny red sports car I bought, stop looting the neighbors houses, and put away my "Mocking jay" brand bow and arrow. Then its Christmas time as usual...hurrying to finish last minute projects, frantically cleaning up the house in preparation for visiting family members, scratching and clawing my way through the stores with the rest of the last minute shoppers...hmmm, that end of the world stuff doesn't sound so tough compared with this...
But, we will make it and we will be happy we did. When I am able to sit and reflect and just take in the goodness during this time(perhaps in a haze of egg nog and glazed ham), I know it will all be worth it. We here at homefry sketchbook hope you will also find that moment of peace...that moment that reaffirms all the reasons you put the extra work in, the extra care in to all that you do...for your family and yourself.
Much to come in 2013...starting with the first in our series of artist interviews...Kwak-Pong "Bobby" Tso...
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
Hope Santa's good to you...
Saturday, December 8, 2012
This week as I was scurrying around getting things ready for Christmas...shopping, decorating, cleaning up this house...Santa paid me an early visit! HO HO HO, I got my new kiln! This is a major thing for me as I have never had my own brand new electric kiln. I have had a couple clunkers that I used as bisque kilns that I either got free or really cheap but not a new one and not a nice shiny digital Skutt either. Just look at that baby, look at those bricks...no chips or chunks torn out, no hanging or bulging elements, no shards embedded into the soft brick, no glaze stuck anywhere! Maybe I just won't fire it....ha, NOT.
The kiln has a new home in the new super secret studio. I have been getting all my stuff into the new space and slowly getting ready to pump out a very big body of cone 5/6 mid-range work... and now, I'm pretty much ready. This has been a long and somewhat difficult transition from firing the wood kiln with Nancy at Little Mahoning Creek Pottery, who is now 2 hours away, to deciding to go all electric in a somewhat weathered old mill town. Thanks to the love and support of my wonderful wife and her family here in the greater metropolitan area of Beaver Falls, we are making it happen.
And while I am in the thanking mood, let me say thanks to all those folks who have been keeping me busy sending out orders. MUCH APPRECIATED!
While Santa was dropping off my big present at the studio, he slipped a little something in my stocking too...via Barbara Donavon down in Baton Rouge. I purchased this really cool, shifty-eyed, wild hog mug from Barbara when I saw the recent post on her blog...which you too can see by clicking on the link just above or over on the side bar blog roll. She is donating 100% of all the sales from these mugs to CERF+...Craft Emergency Relief Fund...monies that will be going to help artists recover from Hurricane Sandy. Click on the link to check it out...or maybe see if Barbara has any more mugs left in her Etsy shop by clicking HERE. Its a great cause and I applaud Barbara's efforts to lend a hand...and it was a good excuse to finally purchase one of her mugs that I have been checking out for some time now!
Saturday, November 24, 2012
|...first snow of the season today|
Remember this weekend ..shop small, shop local and most importantly shop online!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
|mid range electric flamingo fantasy...|
|damn fancy high ball cup...|
|large cone 5 landscape platter|
I hope you will embrace my new work the way you have supported the wood fired work...enjoy the images and I hope they give you a better idea of what I will be making. While I play the waiting game, I am throwing so that I can be ready with a kiln load when it arrives! In the mean time, I hope you are all safe, warm and dry out there.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
|keepin' warm outside by the fire...|
The tour was a good one and I am quickly spending my loot on wicked salted caramel mochas from that dastardly corporate coffee monster...you know the one. I am addicted to their deliciousness this time of year...that salty salt on top of the sweetness all mixed with foamy, creamy espresso and whatnot. DAMN your yumminess salted caramel mocha!!! I am having to add an extra day to my gym schedule because of it!
|my new crow mug from Nancy!|
Well, that was my sales pitch...
Nancy Smeltzer for having me once again as her guest for the 5th year in a row on the Potters Tour. I am thankful for her generosity and hospitality for allowing me to finish my work, fire and crash out at the house... and also for the good eats and numerous beers. Thanks to Mr. Daniel Kuhn for squeezing me into a couple last minute 04 firings as well!
|inside the gallery|
|return customers and cool people!|
|hula mama tumbler...|
|Utensil holder with jellyfish...|
|large stacked wood fired vase|
|pour-over and mug set...brew your own!|
Friday, October 19, 2012
|The Gallery at Little Mahoning Creek Pottery...see you this weekend!|
|lotsa new graphics on lotsa new wood fired pieces!|
|lidded jar fresh from the firing!|
|perched and waiting by the window...wood fired mug by Nancy Smeltzer|
Saturday, October 13, 2012
|Little Mahoning Creek Pottery|
We did have a good firing this past Wednesday...I started the kiln around 3:00 am to prevent us from going too late into the night and it sure worked out. We had about a sixteen-seventeen hour firing on that breezy Fall day. And it was a pretty nice day to boot...a little rain and some clouds during the afternoon but the wind kept pushing the bad weather away and we ended up with a beautiful, bright Autumn late afternoon...just the way we started the day. During our firings, I have made a habit of shooting pictures. I have a visual record of almost every firing of the wood kiln(both kilns) that I have been involved with there at Little Mahoning Creek Pottery. So, in between stokes, this firing was no different in that fact. The light was gorgeous in the morning and, like I said, when the afternoon cleared up, it was equally as nice. Little Mahoning Creek Pottery is idyllic especially in the golden Fall light. Today instead of showing you some new freshly fired pots, I want to show off the place where I have been firing for the last 4-5 years now. I think that environment truly influences the work...like a biscuit in rich and creamy sausage gravy, the flavor of the place where you make work can come through in the finished product. This idea is very relevant right now as we have a big studio tour coming up on the 20-21. If you are in the Pittsburgh area/ western PA, I highly recommend making the time to travel the back roads and see the pottery studios, the super work, enjoy the Fall colors and visit with a bunch of friendly potters. The link for this is located on the sidebar or heck, just click here. If you want a better taste, here is the link from my post about the tour last year.
|daybreak...the early shift|
Nancy is firing the wood kiln one more time this week...probably unloading Saturday during the tour...get your fresh hot pots here!!! Hope to see your smiling face during the tour...October 20-21! Enjoy the pictures here then get out of the house and come see it all in person...
|See Nancy Smeltzer in the Smicksburg Chainsaw Massacre...of hardwoods.|
Sunday, October 7, 2012
I hope you can forgive me. I have neglected you for a long time now...pushing you aside for other venues that are more direct and with less changes. I have seen the error in my ways and I would like to breathe a little life back into my online shop that is homefry : eclectic ceramics. It seems that the shutters had been drawn and the virtual dust had accumulated on the virtual shelves where once there were wonderful virtual ceramic wares. I pledge to you that those days are behind me and although I will continue to send work out to those large percentage taking "brick and mortar" spaces, I will not, and I repeat, will not use those "other" online art shopping sites. We had some good times in the past and I am hoping we can bring some of those glory days back. I am willing to give you another chance, if you are willing to give me another chance. Your my girl...um,er...site, or something.
P.S. Below are some pictures of some of the pieces that I have now listed in my etsy shop...click to see bigger.
P.S.S. I hope people visit the shop...homefry : eclectic ceramics
Sunday, September 30, 2012
|on the tour...|
It happens every year about this time...make, glaze, fire, repeat, make, glaze, fire, repeat, make, glaze, fire, repeat.
And that is where I am right now...currently I'm somewhere between glaze and fire...after already having repeated.
So today instead of posting some deep philosophical musing or pretty pics of finished pots, I thought I would post my current position...you know, somewhere between glaze and fire. I still have a bunch more work to glaze but I have finished the bulk of my mugs, which always take me a little long to finish. I will be driving back over to Little Mahoning Creek Pottery this week to finish all the bigger pieces. Although these large forms are substantially bigger than the mugs and cups, I will be letting the kiln do most of the work for me, slipping and glazing only sections and interiors thus speeding up the process. With drinking vessels I am more concerned about making a smooth and pleasurable contact for the user...glazed interiors, lips, handles, and partial body of the piece. Ahh, who knows, I'm sure it will take me longer than I expect...
|image on card: me on top, Jante Runyan, Josh Floyd, Cathy Bizouski, Rita Nichols|
Friday, September 21, 2012
In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
...Robert Louis Stevenson
A warm welcome to Autumn this weekend and also Happy Birthday to me...enjoy the images...
Thursday, September 20, 2012
I have so much to post about right now, I'm not sure where to begin. I have so many new pieces and great pictures along with news of coming events...I'm on overload.
Let me see if I can't just jam most of it into one single blog post here...
I will start with a follow up from last Friday's opening at the Clay Place at Standard and the exhibition "Potters of Indiana County". Admittedly, it was one of the first openings I had attended at this location since Standard had taken over this long standing Pittsburgh ceramics gallery. I quickly understood that I had been missing out. This was a well attended opening with many of Pittsburgh's local clay luminaries coming out as well as people driving in from out of town. I chatted with several of the other ceramists included in the show, gabbed with my favorite maker of masculine majolica, Ms. Christy Culp as well as meeting a ceramic fave of mine, Ed Eberle AND hanging out with Jeff Greenham and his wife that had driven up from West Virginia where he is the ceramics professor at Fairmont State. With all that jawin' I barely had time to shoot many quality pics but here are a couple just to give you an idea. From here on, I will be marking my calendar for the openings and making sure to attend.
|Birch Frew and Cathy Bizousky in foreground|
What I will post today are what I am feeling are transitional pieces for me. Transitional in the fact that they bridge a gap in my own creative output that lays between my interest in electric fired sculptural work and my wood fired utilitarian pieces. Although these pieces are in fact wood fired, they feature bright underglaze color and not much(but some) in the way of effects from the wood kiln. This becomes very interesting to me because I have decided to go all electric and I will be focusing on making more wall based works. The new colors, including the sorta "blah" grey, are a big part of the thrill for me. The surface imagery has always been the most important component to me and I plan on flattening out the forms to concentrate more on the composition. The composition now includes slips, underglazes and glazes used in combination with mark making(scaffitto), stamps, and layered decals. In the following pics, I am literally flattening forms so that they become a wall hanging...thrown mugs squashed flat and hung by their handles. Sounds goofy but they turned out really cool...here are a couple that I shot hanging on the outside of the studio at LMCP.
The other real breakthrough for me would have to be the mugs below. Like I said, not much in the way of looking like a wood fired piece but they still retain a certain element from the firing that I like. I am not sure if its the larger loose-ish forms or the fact that the grey exterior surface has a strange clashing sensibility with the interior and foot...but I like it. I think I have been wanting to get a certain look from the wood kiln for so long now(and been getting) that I have been closed off to explorations. Well, no longer, I have decided to broaden my palette. I have many new pieces to fire that sport uncharacteristic colors and scrawling line work for the next wood kiln firing. So please comment and let me know what you think and I will stop this post here. Next time I will post more pics of my usual suspects from the wood kiln complete with decaled surfaces. As always, click on the images to see bigger. And on a final note, the Potters of Indiana County will be having another group show at the Artists Hand Gallery in Indiana, PA starting the first week in October. This show will coincide with the Potters Tour that happens on October 20 -21. Thanks for looking and hope to see you at one of these events!
|backside of Hula Mama|
|Double Flamingo Head|
|Backside Double Flamingo|
|backside of Go Ask Alice|
|Go Ask Alice|