Monday, March 25, 2013

Enough Already

Another lovely Spring day here in Western PA.

Although its theoretically Spring according to the calendar, I do believe Spring has not really is still tightly coiled and laying back like a rattlesnake in the tall grass. And today that fact was underscored by the almost 4 inches of wet heavy snow that fell during the night. The wet snowfall continued for most of the day and then eventually turned to a misty rain more than anything. Slush, slush, slush.

My daughter had a two hour delay and we measured the snow and eased slowly into the day. But all this crappy weather and pokey moving morning didn't deter me from getting some more glazing done. I am underglazing a black line that loosely follows the carved areas and/or breaks up the surface space and then overlapping my mid range glazes around the surfaces. I have picked a color palate that I am interested in that seems to work well with the light brown clay earthy but glossy caramel to yellow-ish glaze...a translucent aqua...a nice shiny white...a darker semi translucent brownish liner for the interiors ...and random bright accents of a few opaque glazes. Then its decal city of course...

Speaking of decals...I have entered into an unholy alliance with some inexpensive Ikea stoneware mugs. I was shopping at Ikea the other night with my wife and daughter when my wife reminded me of us talking about trying to re-fire some generic restaurant ware similar to the one I did for my friends at the Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea Co, see the pic at that why not some of these clean Ikea forms!? Why not indeed?! Here they are pre-fired...I just put decals on and did some glamour shots of them in my kitchen. I will fire them and take some pics to post whether they make it or not...could be nice...could be a blistered, bloated and slumped pile of shards. We shall see.

 And a shout out of thanks to those folks who went to NCECA down in Houston recently and are posting pics either on blogs or on Facebook. Love seeing all the great work...oh well, maybe next year. Hoppy Easter to everybody...think Spring and send those thoughts my way.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stray Cat Strut

The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
Julia Cameron 

Process indeed. I have been in the middle of "my creative process" for some months now. 

I have been floundering in the chaos of big life transitions...job change, location change, studio change...and needless to say, its been difficult to focus and finish work. Mix those last three ingredients in with a host of other "bumps in the road" that I touched on in this past post and you will get quite a murky and unpleasant stew. But I am here to tell you that maybe 2013 may not be my unlucky year, that things are still in transition, but also that things may just be looking up.

So transition...yes, its still very much a part of my life ...and I was never that great with transition. I am learning to roll with it better and like the quote above I am also learning to surrender to it more. Not giving up by any means, just digesting and then continuing to move onward. The biggest and best change I want to share is that of my very new studio move. As of last week, I have shifted studios...again. I used to joke when I was at Little Mahoning Creek Pottery that I was the "squatter potter" I am more like the hobo potter traveling with my new kiln, slab roller, clay and tools all rolled up in a slip covered old towel tied to the end of a stick. But I also think that this is "it" and this is where I will hang my apron for a while.

view from the back to front...
Renee Suhr is the owner and visionary of this studio. She is a great ally for our beat up old mill town and has been actively working to bring about something positive. I met Renee a year or so ago here in Beaver Falls. She wanted to partner up and open a ceramics studio but I was unable to financially be a true business partner. She soldiered on and acquired a great space and persevered the permit police and extended delays over and over to finally be able to open...Stray Cat Studio ... here in the greater metropolitan area of Beaver Falls, Pa. We will be offering classes for hand building and wheel throwing, co-op studio space for the more advanced, and a retail gallery space by the fall.

check out that giant stainless sink!

a view from the front to back kiln area...wheels on the right

This whirlwind studio move for me came about a couple weeks back when she and I met for coffee. After some high-test java and half a blueberry muffin, I was going to be teaching classes there, giving private lessons and making my own work from there. WOOHOO! The following Monday Renee helped me move my new kiln and other stuff to Stray Cat last Thursday I had mopped out the old space and returned the key. And as of the last few days, I have been glazing all my bisque ware in hopes of a glaze firing in the very near future. 

12x12 slab wall hangings...carved, bisqued and underglazed.
large platter made to be hung...carved, bisqued and underglazed
I posted about this idea and well as some pics of the outside of the studio space...way back in July of last is the link. I am excited about all the possibilities with the studio, thrilled to be part of a growing community, and thankful that Renee is happy to have me. I have been enjoying myself while getting my glaze on and am eager to have some finished work. While putting this post together I also found a great comment a friend made on that same post that I just linked to...she said "embrace frustration to affect positive change"  this was a quote from a commencement speech at Stanford by Cory Booker. Thanks Jade...perfect for me these days! Finally I want to leave you with some pics that give you an idea of the size and niceness factor of this studio space. Also check out the and of course search Stray Cat Studio out on facebook for news, pics, and random facebook like stuff! I'm off to do more glazing...stay tuned!
...and there is a whole other side!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Quickie

Spring is just around the corner here in western PA...or at least I am being fooled into feeling that way during this weekend. Both yesterday and today will be right around 60 degrees WITH sunshine!!! We haven't seen that kind of weather in a while...however I think we are back into some snow by the end of the week. Its been a long winter. I am officially done with it.
I have been firing glaze tests...decal tests...making sure the new mid range glazes all look good when you fire them back to 04 for a decal. I can't help but pop a few other decal possibilities in the kiln when I do this. Possibilities being random china and vintage local pottery that I have laying around...and maybe even a left over salt fired mug that escaped me during this past Fall season...the man in the moon mug is that one(pictured above and below). A couple of the other local china piece got glaze blisters all over...oh well scratch those but thanks to my geographic location there is plenty of old china to decal and fire away.

Check out  this one(below) I did for my friends over at my local coffee shop, it is beautiful Japanese bone china I picked up at a place going out of business...I thought they might like it and it gives me an opportunity to just try out some new images. I like this know, not actually getting all dirty, very little clean up... just sourcing out plain old restaurant ware and putting a little of me on it...spruces it up some!

Big news and new pots down the road...