Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No more waiting...

small tweaked out basket in some lovely light...
The wait is over and I am home with my wood kiln treasures...and what treasures I did receive! Instead of blathering on about stuff today I am going to let the pictures tell the story. Most images I shot at the studio but there are a couple I couldn't resist tossing into the light box when I got home. The light was wonderful yesterday and Little Mahoning Creek Pottery is always so photogenic. Captions under each(click to see bigger)...will start listing on Etsy this week...others are bound for different places...if you happen to be looking for a new mug or whatnot please do not hesitate to contact me...more coming!
set of soup bowls


triangular egg beater bowl

just a fat little fella with lug handles

striped mug with flashing slips and glaze

batter bowls
pour-over tankard set

this mug needs beer...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


late night firing madness...
Armed with a 24 inch steak and cheese hoagie and a six pack of Shiner "Family Reunion" I headed up to Little Mahoning Creek Pottery to take my first shift firing the wood kiln with Nancy on her name  to get to her new blog. Nancy will be using the blog to post pictures of her new work and events happening around the greater metropolitan area of Smicksburg, PA. I now also have a link on my blog roll on the sidebar that will take you directly to Little Mahoning Creek Pottery...use it often to check out whats going on there.

But back to the kiln talk, Nancy and I finished the firing, just shy of 20 hours, right before 2:00 am with cone 11 down, top and bottom. Now all that's left is the waiting...that and the continued making for our next firing...probably in a few weeks. Nancy and I are both busy making new work for the upcoming Fall season...she has "A Fair in the Park" coming up the 7-8-9 of September(click for more info),which is always a good show as well as keeping an inventory in the gallery AND we have the Indiana County Potters Tour event coming up in mid October as well as a couple Indiana County Potters group, group shows also taking place...The Clay Place in Pittsburgh, PA next month and The Artists Hand Gallery, Indiana, PA. through the month of October.

So be patient with me and keep your hands busy...its a good time to sit and "make". Before you know it the kiln will cool and I promise you will be the next to see what we unloaded...until then.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


and upwards I guess...but more like onward to the studio and onward to the kiln and onward to whatever and where ever it is that helps me make more work for the Fall. Speaking of which, thanks to our latest trend of mild weather, has me gearing up for it even more.

I thought I would post a few pics of my recent trip to Little Mahoning Creek Pottery where I dropped off pieces for our wood firing this coming Tuesday. The top image is the studio there in full bloom...dahlias and amaranth are taller than me and Nancy's owl keeps vigil over the garden in the bright morning light. And speaking of bright, I have a new color/pattern/texture experiment I am trying out for this firing. I am using underglazes like slips to add a little something extra to the surfaces.

The black/white on the large 14 inch stacked vases I can kind of envision in my mind but the bright colors of the encapsulated underglazes, now that is still hard for me to envision post firing. The encapsulated colors are supposed to hold up to cone 10 reduction and not change... I might be happy if they do get a bit knocked back, maybe a bit obscured, but I am not one who is afraid of bright color or what might be a real stylistic fact, I wouldn't mind either. I will be using some flashing slips and a clear high fire glaze to finish the surface for the firing...and I guess we will see then. The new colors and bold stripes are meant to go with a larger body of work that will also be fired again with decals. This body of work is more or less intended to be mid range stuff but I certainly plan on traveling over to Little Mahoning Creek Pottery to do a few more wood firings while I why not just see how it works on these pieces...again, we shall see.

bright and beachy for the wood kiln!

And while I am have been busy making pieces Nancy fired the salt kiln and tossed in 5-6 mugs that I had laying around over there...they do look nice! Here are a few quickie shots of some of the sweeties that I picked up on Saturday.
 I can guarantee you there is more where that came from as I have a bunch of pieces like: pour-overs, bowls, and tankard mugs being loaded into the wood kiln for the firing on Tuesday. I am gearing up for the Fall and I plan to try and revive my poor, neglected etsy shop as well as continue to populate the Self Serve Pottery Kiosk at my local coffee shop...who knows, maybe even have plenty of new work to farm out to a couple galleries this Fall. That's the plan. Keep your check book open...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

CHQ 2012

I have just returned from a week of teaching beginning ceramics, critiques with resident students, and chillin' in the Institution on the lake...more precisely, Chautauqua Institution School of Art in Chautauqua, New York. It was great to return to a place where in 08, 09, and 2010 I spent the entire summers firing ceramic work, making glazes and clay bodies, ordering supplies and generally running the ceramic facility with help from my trusted techs and dedicated ceramic resident student workers, and knowing all I had to do was teach a morning class and participate in critiques for a few days. That was truly the best way to spend my Chautauqua week long experience. I was also happy to catch up with old friends that I knew from being there those three summers as well as to revisit some of my old beer and wing haunts and breakfast joints.

me making strange glaze room gestures as the students look on and wonder what was really in my coffee mug.
Besides all the easy going activities to check out like opera, theater, symphony and visiting artist talks, I got to check out a few really great shows in Chautauqua's awesome gallery spaces. Judy Barie is the Director for both of these beautiful galleries and does a fantastic job in getting great work and exhibiting it in a way that showcases the individual pieces as well as the cohesiveness of the overall show. One such show was the "Contemporary Portrait" exhibition that had work by one of my faves Wesley Anderegg as well as awesome work by Michael Ferris of which I had only seen in pictures...his work was really massive and incredible in real life. See pics to see bigger.
detail of Michael Ferris's work

Wesley Anderegg

Michael Ferris and more in the Contemporary Portrait exhibition...Strohl Art Center.

Vanessa German
Another show also being held in the Strohl Art Gallery was by artist Vanessa German entitled American Ju-Ju: Root and Power for a New Century.
 This show blew me away...the work was both fantastic and powerful and demanded my continued attention to visually explore all the complexities that were included in each object.

In between my teaching duties I was able to squeeze out  some more "pour-overs", get them bisqued for travel purposes and even use one(flawed one)for a glaze demo. Check it out here...this one went to cone 5/6 and I re-visited some old fave glazes. Here it is sitting on top of a mug I was given by visiting artist Chris Miller...and in a couple shots by its lonesome.

 Note the new bottom...the ones on the previous post had a flange on the outer part of the rim and fit over the cup, these have an inner flange so it doesn't slide off the mug.(thanks Barbara Donavon)... The other image is a teaser for things to come...all it needs right now are some scientific diagram decals

The cool, wet weather up there marked the end of the summer for me in more ways than one...its time to make more work for the wood kiln at Little Mahoning Creek Pottery...its time to buckle down and get ready for the Fall season as far as having a big inventory goes. So, let me send out thanks to Lois Jubeck and Don Kimes who are the Managing and Artistic Directors for the School of Art there within the Institution...thanks for everything including making us feel at home and even walking Max. I wish you a good year and I hope to see you again down the its time to get my hands dirty. Stay tuned...

see more pics from Chautauqua here...and see old CHQ posts here and here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Poureth Over

pouring over it...
This post title is very accurate in describing this week(and a bit of last ) for me for a few reasons...Reason #1: check out my new forms that will either be fired in the salt kiln or the wood kiln...just not sure which yet. They are "pour-overs"...the piece sits on top of your mug or cup, you put a paper filter in and add your coffee, pour over hot water and sha-zam! have coffee...these are loved and used by many a coffee know who you are. Anyways, these are my first ones I have ever made soooo... I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will perform their intended function and perform it well. If you have made these forms yourself, I would love to hear your input in the form of comments on here...really, anything you have found that needs to be done while making...importance of size or shape...those lines on the interiors...water trim or not to trim a foot..boxer or briefs...let us know.  I did talk to several people who use the plastic "pour-overs" and I felt I was able to gather some insight but I am not so sure and would love to hear others input on the subject.

  I threw the pour -overs  from some "B-mix for Wood" that I mooched off Nancy Smeltzer over at Little Mahoning Creek Potter. Beggars can't be choosers but I have to say that's some finicky clay...very nice smooooth clay, it just doesn't act like a rough and tumble stoneware...its essentially a very porcelaneous clay body. Regardless, it fires real nice in both the wood and salt kiln....and I am very grateful to have been spotted a couple bags of clay in a pinch.

My basement at the house in Indiana, Pa was the other thing that runneth over...more like, all the water that ranneth in to it. I ended up with just under a foot of water down in the basement last Thursday night. That was a lot less than some of my neighbors however. People lost their furnaces, washers, name it...I lost my hot water heater and washing machine. Long story short we had a major storm that produced flash flooding conditions all over town. The water was high both in the basement and standing lawn mower was in water over the lower portion and up some to the motor far I don't know exactly, but it was high enough to have drowned it so that it will not start anymore. The mower was inside my old shed out back. Insane. It was the first time in my 8 years there that I ever had water in my basement. The water penetrated my defenses(sump pumps and french drains) and just kept a coming...a neighbor told me that the water came in from all over and his pumps just could't keep up either. The firemen were out until 1 am pumping out people's basements. We lost a lot of books and magazines, some art work...but mostly a bunch of crap we just shoved in boxes and never dealt with. The kicker is the cost of the hot water heater and well as the general clean up...not too mention the back breaking work lumping all that wet shit up stairs and out to the curb. pictures although I am happy to say its in better shape right now.
Factory Direct...
Installation art at the Mattress Factory
All that trauma and I still squeezed some time in to see some fancy shmancy art with the students from the Visual Concepts class I am teaching right now. Installation art at Pittsburgh's very own Mattress Factory, some very funny objects at The Society for Contemporary Craft, and the cherry on top was The Warhol Museum's "Factory Direct" show's annex site...6th floor of an old Pittsburgh building on the outskirts of the Strip District...installation based work by 14 established contemporary artists that were paired up with corporations around the Pittsburgh area in order to  create the work exhibited. The results were interesting pieces that were cleanly shown in that awesome space as well as in the Warhol Museum.

Minus the great flood it might have been a better week. Right now I think I will let the beer poureth freely.