Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back to work

I got back to making my usual pots for the salt/soda kiln on this week. Monday I made some cups and yesterday I made a couple boards of animal jars which I will finish up today. This is the time of year when I am trying new things so yesterday I experimented with some new lids and jar shapes, I am not sure they will be successful but it is good to try.

We had a good Christmas. I got a new yoga mat which I hope to put to good use this year, I really need to be taking better care of myself. I didn't over indulge in all the holiday food and sweets this year, also no sodas or alcohol. Pretty good for a guy who has a hard time getting out of Harris Tetter without reaching for a free cookie from the kids ballon stand.

My clay should be coming out of the racks this week, so I'll be stocked up for a while. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Charlotte for the day and we plan on having a good meal at Lang Van our favorite Vietnamese resturant. YUM.

That's it for now.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wall hangings

Two slab paintings done on earthenware. These will hang and are for my niece and nephew for Christmas. I used Aamco underglazes and fired to cone 04, no glaze. 18" x 10.5"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Catching Up

Sorry for the long lapse between posts. Here is a bit of an update as to what I have been doing.

I have been to the Mint Museum of Craft and Design twice in as many weeks to see the Don Reitz exhibiton. AWESOME!

The county was hit by a major winter storm less than a week ago that produced mainly ice, leaving many without power. We were spared.

I made two earthenware slab paintings using commercial slips for my niece and nephew. I have to fire them and then I'll post a picture.

I haven't read any books since The Power of One. Mostly keeping myself entertained with magazines, pottery books, and Food TV.

Today I FINALLY mixed clay. I am glad that's done.

I want to get back to work in the studio after Christmas working on some dinnerware orders and pots for an upcoming exhibiton. I have been drawing some but don't know if any of this will work it's way onto any pots. The wall slabs were fun to do and may be where I put my clay-drawing energy for now, as opposed to drawing on pots. This will allow me to experiment and learn some mark making skills without ruining pots.

I have changed the 'comment' software for this Journal Page. I think it is easier to use now. Give it a go if you don't mind, I welcome your comments, etc.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I have mainly been chilling out since the Home Sale. I did make two trips out of town this week to deliver pots to galleries. Other than that I am not putting much effort into anything except reading, and drawing a bit. I just finished reading A Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. It is an awesome book, I can't say I've read anything that good in a long, long time. It is set in South Africa in the early forties and follows a young boy into adulthood. It had me laughing, crying, cheering, cringing, feeling angry, frustrated, elated, and over joyed. And it has a hell of an ending. Read it soon, your local library probably has a copy. I had to have a little history lesson via Wikipedia regarding certain peoples referred to in the book, ie the Boers and Afrikaners.
I need to mix clay on the next semi warm day, hopefully next week. I have a couple of dinnerware orders to fill and I am looking forward to exploring some new ideas.
It is wonderful having Sarah home from school for an extended period. I don't think she has to go back until the second week in Jan. Right now she's in the kitchen making pecan pies.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I have had a successful Homesale. Thanks to everyone who made it out to the pottery. I still have a nice selection of pots on the shelves and I imagine I'll get some folks dropping by between now and the 25th to get some gifts.
I plan on getting some work done on the new studio in Dec. and Jan. I hope to be in there by the March Sale. I am also wanting to get some work done on the kiln.
Tomorrow I'll be delivering some pots to Southern Pottery Gallery in Columbia, SC. Peter Lenzo and Virginia Scotchie are the owners and good friends. It will be nice to have a visit.
That's all for now. I will try and write a more indepth entry later.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Pots with drawings

I had a good turnout this past weekend for my Home Sale. It goes on next weekend too and I am open by chance or by appointment through the end of the year. I still have a nice selection of pots to choose from.

The trays with the drawings were a big hit. I also had a square vase with a drawing of flowers that sold first thing. These pots with drawings were fun to do and I plan on making more to see how I feel about them. My January firing will have some more trays, and vases, as well as jars, cups, and bowls with drawings. My main concern is that these aren't kitchy. I want them to maintain a bit of an edge. Coming from a sort of self imposed strict Leachian background I have a hard time 'playing' and being childlike with clay. Historcally man has drawn on cave walls, pots, animal skins, canvas, etc to express his life, journey, everyday occurances, animals, objects and numerous other things. Why should I have a hang up about drawing on a few pots? I have always been drawn to pots with imagery, yet I was never good with a brush so I gave that up pretty quickly. I have drawn since I was a child. My mom was a constant doodler. She'd talk on the phone to my aunt and fill up a page with doodles in pen and ink. When people ask about my art background I say I was a drawer and that I liked to build things with wood. It seems inevitable that I'd eventually draw on some pots.
For inspiration and validation I am going to the library at ASU on Wednesday to look at books on African and Indian art and pottery, textiles, petroglyphs and anything else historical.
I guess the main thing I should do is keep an open mind, have fun, play, and let my creativity flow. Life is too short to get caught up in over analyzing al this stuff.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I am getting all set up for the Home Sale which starts tomorrow. I unloaded the kiln today. Here are a few trays with drawings. I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time and finally just did it. They are really fun. I had a laugh when they came out of the kiln. I have more with fish, and different variations on the birds. My favorites are the two headed dog and the thunder chicken.

I have a studio full of pots!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Holiday Pottery Sale

Today I am getting the studio cleaned up and all the displays set up for our Holiday Open House and Pottery Sale. I fired the kiln yesterday so there will be some hot pots out on Friday. These include some limited edition trays with drawings on them. I have been wanting to do this for a while. They were really fun to make. The images are kind of cartoon-y, chickens, two headed dogs, giant fish, tiny humans, just fun stuff.

I will have a large selection of pots for the kitchen as well as some more decorative bottles and vases. The hot item this fall has been the animal jars with birds and turtles on the tops. I have some of these coming out of the kiln too.

I hope you'll make it out to see me and Sarah. This is always a good time.
Two weekends:
Friday Nov 25 10 am till 5pm
Saturday Nov 26 10 am till 5pm
Sunday Nov 27 Noon till 4
Saturday Dec 3 10am till 5 pm
Sunday Dec 4 Noon till 4
We'll have hot cider and snacks, lots of pots and holiday cheer

I will be unloading the kiln tomorrow. I''ll try and get some pics up between bites of turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Philbeck Studios Newsletter Fall/Winter 2005

The Philbeck Studios Newsletter is now online. Click here to open the pdf file.
Please send this to your friends, family, and co-workers who may be interested in what I am doing. Thanks!!

Just Another Manic Monday...

la, la, wish it was Sunday, la, la
Remember that song by The Bangles?

Okay today wasn't really manic instead it was sort of slow and sticky and fuzzy and cloudy. Nice. Maybe it has to do with this build up of sinus pressure I am battling. I did get some pots made. Today is my last wet day for a while I think. I will fire next Monday and my Open House is the Friday, Sat. and Sun. after Thanksgiving, as well as the following weekend.
Philbeck Studios Newsletters went out today and I will have a pdf file up for viewing ASAP.

The show I did in Shelby this past Saturday was a great success for me. Lots of my local customers came out and got pots. I am so grateful for the local support I have. It's cool knowing I have pots in so many homes nearby.
I also connected with someone who bought a pot of mine from a garden center over 10 years ago. He send me a pic of it today, it was a pretty good pot, a shallow bowl with handles, and it has been used daily all this time. That was pretty neat.

I am going back down to throw a few yunomi tonight. Those will be the last pots for this load. Tomorrow I will cut feet on plates and bowls etc, slip pots and get things drying out. The warm weather has been helpful in that regard.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Movin' On

The American Craft Council show is over so there is some relief on my part although I still have plenty to do before the end of the year. This was my first year in ACC so it was exciting to be there. My booth and pots looked great. I was proud to be part of this great group of craftspeople from all across the nation.
I heard that public attendance was down this year which explains the lower than normal sales. I did come away with many new customers as well as a few who stroked my ego a bit (of course I am totally uneffected by that). :-)
I saw many familiar faces as well, and felt like I was the local boy on the block, at least on my row in the show.
One highlight was when Tom Gray from Seagrove showed up late in the day on Friday. I couldn't believe he was there. Tom has been so supportive of me from my beginnings in clay and I owe so much to him. He always has time for me when I call and we now regularly bounce ideas off one another and get inspired by each other's work. It was so good to see him and walk around the show together and then have dinner afterwords.
I came right home and got back to work making pots. I have some fresh ideas that are eating away at me and I plan to fire again just in time for the Home Sale, which is the weekend after Thanksgiving. I am doing some drawing on some pots, inspired by African art and Pueblo Indian pottery. This will be done mostly on some trays, and jars, maybe plates too.
Anyhow I better get to work. More later I hope.

Monday, October 31, 2005

He keeps going and going....

I have been hard at it for the past couple days. I had a great firing. Really nice soda on the bowls and some cool side fired flasks. Today I packed up all my boxes for the ACC show in Charlotte this weekend. Whew, LOTS of pottery!!!! I have been in front of the computer for the past 2.5 hrs working on images for the Philbeck Studios Newsletter which comes out next week I hope. Also doing computer work for the Carolina Claymatters Pottery Guild, I am their newsletter editor. I didn't get to go trick or treating tonight. Ha. I am ready for a warm cup of tea. Here are some images from this weekend's firing. Unloading the back stack.
Hot yunomi.
Keg. This pot was influenced by a picture I saw of a pot made in Korea in the 15th century.
Yi dynasty.

Thumbs up!! Killer firing.

88.7 fm is featuring Frank Zappa's A Weasel ate my Flesh ( I think) tonight in it's entirety. Frank is out there, I bet he and George Orr would have had some good times.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Loaded and ready for action

I loaded the kiln today. It was a bit more of a challenge than usual and took most of the day. Lots of wide pots, bowls, and tall pots, bottles and vases. Not many small pots. Anyhow it's done and the burners are lit. I will finish the firing proper tomorrow midday.
Listened to NPR today, Harriet Miers is history, it will interesting to see who choice #2 is.

Today's music: Warren Zevon. Dale Duncan turned me on to him. Very cool.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cool morning

It's a bit chilly out this morning. There is a light frost on the ground. I guess fall/winter has finally decided to show up. It won't be long and I'll have to bring over a load of firewood for the woodstove.

I'm on my second cup of tea and the day is off to a good start. I have practiced my morning meditation and journaling and got in a little positive reading. I have vowed to be good to myself today and practice being impeccible with my word. That last part comes from the book The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz which I highly recommend.

I will be glazing pots today and loading the kiln tomorrow.

More later maybe. Remeber to smile today, even if you don't feel like it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hump day

Today was good. I am still finishing up pots for next week's firing. I cut feet on some yunomi, assembled some bottles,and mixed up some test slip.
This evening I spotted a very small lichen colored toad out on a length of plastic pipe. He was just hanging out and sat still while I shot several pics.


Animal pots from this weeks firing Large serving bowl that got some great soda action.

Slipped yunomi that I threw yesterday and finished up today.
Square dish with black inlay from the firing. This was an experiment. I like it.
More pots

At last

Finally some pics. This is the new studio exterior. I am working inside now on getting the workshop and show room ready to finish up. This cute, little guy was hanging around outside this evening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Light at the end of the tunnel

I can see the light at the end of the pottery tunnel...or is that just the view through the peep hole in the kiln. (hum, I don't know if that's a good play on that or not) anyway I am at the end of the making pots part for the ACC show. Today I made some yunomi and assembled bottles. Unloaded the kiln too. Good firing. I'll try to get pics up soon. My friend Dale Duncan from York, SC stopped by while I unloaded. We had a good visit. Dale is an excellent potter. Then the guy from the propane company came to refill my tank, I haven't even looked at the bill. No reason to ruin a perfectly good day.

I've gotten a few emails commenting on this journal site. Keep 'em coming, I like hearing what's going on with you guys. I have realized it is a bit of a pain to comment directly to these posts via the comment link. So just email me

Here is the quote from yesterday. Very appropitate to my living Intentionally bit.

Truth is perfect and complete in itself. It is not something newly discovered; It has always existed. Truth is not far away. It is nearer than near. There is no need to attain it, Since not one of your steps leads away from it.
- Dogen

My desire is to live from my Truth.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ignore this post.

Sorry for the long lapse between posts. I have had my nose to the wheel making stuff for the upcoming ACC show in Charlotte. Today I am firing my kiln. (it pretty much does it own thing, I just have to increase the gas pressure now and then up until the time I have to put the salt/soda in. That will happen in a couple hours so I have some time to kill).

I have been thinking about the purpose of this journal site. Initally it was going to be all business/pottery related stuff. Lately I have thought it would be more interesting to include more personal entries, ie what I am thinking about, struggling with (clay and otherwise), thoughts, ideas, rants, ramblings, etc. Basically keeping it REAL , which is something I strongly desire to do in my life. Real and simple. The simple part seems to be more complicated than I thought. Well so does the keeping it Real part. Hell, it all seems complicated until I can slow my brain down long enough to see that everything is temporary and is probably not going to kill me so why worry so much about it all. ( now is this more interesting than me talking about studio construction or would like me to stick to that?) Well anyhow, the simple life seems to require lots of planning. Being Intentional. Like getting enough groceries in one trip to the market to last for the whole week, and before that planning a menu of what I'll be preparing. It's so easy to get caught up in the fast track way of life and just throw my hands up in the air and go to Taco Bell. Sickening. Living intentially is a strong desire of mine. (That and wanting a new laptop, but that's another thread). Being intentional...what does that mean? First, it requires me to slow down. Way down. And that's hard for me. I tend to take the stairs two at a time. And often do the same with other daily activities. "Activities", "work", "do". These words have strong meanings to me. My father's work ethic is heavily conditioned into me. I struggle with "doing nothing", "relaxing", and "playing".

Okay well that's a bit for now. Putting this out there is a bit uncomfortable but kind of helpful. I have kept a Journal for over 20 years, writing daily. Never showing it to anyone. So this is a bit fun. Don't worry, I won't be going into any deep psychological details here. I'm not ready to be that Real, plus it would probably cost me. But this may be fun. Or I may just hit 'Delete'

Later. Gotta check the kiln.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Around here...

I had a good turnout for the pottery sale this past weekend. Thanks to all who came out.

On Monday I got back to work. I will be doing the Claymatters Pottery Guild Sale on the 8th, then I have the American Craft Council Show in Charlotte the first weekend in November. I am really excited about the ACC show. It's my first year there and I want to have some good pots to take. So I will be chained to my wheel for the next few weeks.

Dad and I worked on the studio some this evening. It's coming along slowly but surely. All the wiring and plumbing is done. I have a bit of insulating to finish. The siding is almost finished too. I'll try to get a recent pic up tomorrow.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ready for the Home Sale

I am all set up for the Home Sale which is tomorrow and Sunday. Here are some pics. They are a bit out of order but at this point I think they'll be fine. I had a good firing again this week. Unloaded today with Sarah's help getting all the pots sanded and dusted and brought in. Whew, I have lots of pottery.Display in front room.
This is a shot of the show room.
Plates. Just after I took the door to the kiln down.

Pilgram bottles and a new bottle form.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Yesterday I loaded the kiln. I took this pic as I was starting on the front row of shelves. Notice the stacks of plates at the front. I like stacking pots up like this on top of each other. It allows the flames and salt/soda vapor to pass inbetween them making creative patterns.
Today I fired. I will unload on Friday. More pics then. The Home Sale is Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Week before the Home Sale

The week leading up to the Home Sale is usually quite busy. More so this time as I am doing a last minute firing. I will load the kiln on Tues., finish the firing Wed. afternoon, and unload on Friday. Then all the pots have to be sanded, dusted, priced and shelved. Whew. It's loads of fun though. I've been doing these sales for so many years that I just have faith that it will all come together sometime before 10 am Saturday morning. I still have to get the studio cleaned and the displays set up. All that will happen over the next few days. I will try and get some more pictures up before the end of the week.

All in all things here have been good. Sarah was home for the weekend. She spent lots of time on school work and I continued to make pots and piddle around outside and get some minor work done on the new studio space. Construction has slowed considerably. I will be lucky to be in by the Holiday Home Sale. It has been dry and hot which has caused the poplar trees to start losing leaves. I am ready for the fall cool nights.

I picked up a couple children's books by Patricia Coombs last week. Doorie and the Witches Camp is the first and also The Magician and McTree. They are really fresh and fun. I really like Doorie, she is a little witch. She often has mismatched socks, and her room looks like a disaster area. She has a cute little nose too. (okay I know, I've gotten a bit soppy here). McTree is a cat. Sarah and I are huge cat lovers. In this book, McTree falls into a potion and comes away with the ability to talk. If only Loupey our cat could talk. Sarah and I think he was Winston Churchill previously.

Enough for now.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pots from last firing

New bottles.
Bird dish.
Cup and small oval baker at the front of the stack.

Two oval serving dishes.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

This and that...

Postcards for the Home Sale went out today. Hopefully I'll be getting some new images up on the website on the Pots page as well as a few here from the firing. The firing turned out great. I was super happy.
Today I drove to Charlotte and went to a pottery show at the Mint Museum. It was very crowded and everyone seemed to be having a good day, potters and customers alike. I enjoy getting out and seeing pots and being on the other side of the fence sometimes. (a customer as opposed to a vendor). I get to chat with my friends, see their great pots, and occasionally make a purchase.
By the way the Home Sale is at my studio on Sept. 24th and 25th. Contact me through my website for more info.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Pots, clay, reading

Yesterday I mixed over 1000 lbs. of dry clay into a slip and pumped it into the racks to begin drying to throwing consistancy. This took several hours. At the end Sarah came out and commented that I looked like Pigpen (from the Peanuts strip). I confirmed by slapping my shorts and creating a large dust cloud.
Today I will unload the kiln. I have peeped in and the pots look good. Knock on wood.
I am reading a few different things right now. Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. A Potter in Japan, Bernard Leach. And The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, Umberto Eco. More on these later. Off for a walk then to work. I am getting started a bit late today, but who cares, after all it is Friday!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New beginnings...

This is going to be my new Journal Page, the old one on my website was too much trouble to edit. This seems like more fun too. So I'll be learning how to do this. Hope you'll visit often and pass along to your friends.