Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Secret Raku Past

During the late 90's through the early 2000's I was a Raku addict. I admit to getting hooked on ceramics way, way  back in the late 80's when I was exposed to the gateway drug...Raku. The drama of the firing process, the flames, smoke and the immediacy of it all really clicked for me and I ran with it. I set up a studio in the down town area of the Central Florida town where I was living sometime around 1997 and did nothing but make work strictly intended for the Raku firing. From there I peddled my charred and glossy goodness to the many out door festivals around Florida and even up to my now adopted hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. on several occasions.

These days I very rarely make anything that I think I will be putting in a Raku kiln. I enjoy teaching the process and students enjoy just what hooked me in as and smoke and the promise of your work finished in under an hour. I held monthly firing workshops back in FLA., fired every Friday when I was in Chautauqua, NY. and even flew my fiber kiln over on a 16 seater plane to Andros Island in the Bahamas to do workshops on a military base...twice! But personally, I went cold turkey in 2004 and although I have fallen off the wagon here and there since, I have never had a serious relapse.

It was fun to revisit a few pieces as I was in need of a high res. image for an upcoming ceramic class catalog. All my Raku work was made pre-digital camera era, so I had to shoot a couple pieces I had around the house still. These images are of  pieces I made sometime between  1998 and 2001...I think...still look pretty darn good. The mixed media piece was most likely made in 2001.

Bamboo Bowl

Lidded Full Moon Vessel

Paragon Five
Glad I got this all off my chest...your a good listener.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Logo Land/North Pole

Greetings and salutations from the frozen north.

 They are saying that ol' evil "polar vortex" is coming to get us again this week...yeah, great. In my now 10 years of living here in Western PA this is the coldest winter I have experienced and as a Florida boy, this is some of the coldest weather I have EVER experienced. I think I have had my fill.

Dear Mr. P. Vortex,
Once was plenty, a couple times just makes you look bad. Please just stop.  
Lots of us in the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area

While this frigid winter weather coupled along with my slow recovery from hernia surgery has hampered my making of much work, I have been concentrating on ways to "make" that don't require a lot of physical exertion. So I thought I would post a bunch of shots of some of the branding ventures I have been doing over the holidays. 

Recently I have been firing restaurant grade stoneware and porcelain with my laser transfer decals. I have fired a handful of different types with some variation between the pieces. I have to say, the cleanest and best decal firing on restaurant wares came from a feldspar porcelain cup and saucer from Ikea. That being said, some of the worst results came from other Ikea stuff. 

My local coffee shop haunt, Beaver Falls Coffee&Tea Co. is always up for cool stuff and I recently completed a set of 6 cup and saucers for "in house use" and then a grouping of demitasse and tea cups for the employees as gifts from the owners. I even branched out some and got a similar gig from another great little coffee shop not far from me called Wunderbar. With BFCAT I was allowed to sorta go wild, the only specifications were that it  had to have the business name clearly visible while Wunderbar already had an existing logo they wanted to use as well as specific style imagery on the reverse side. Both turned out pretty darn cool if I do say so myself.
Wunderbar commercial stoneware mugs worked nicely too!

Along with the commercial logo mugs I also handmade a couple for a friend and a larger group for an author in the New England area(sorry no pics) that preferred the hand thrown look. So have a gander at my graphic nature for now until I can crank out a bunch of new work. Oh yeah, its coming, just like that damn polar vortex.
handmade branding!

lovely Ikea Porcelain...favorite to re-fire!