Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I just came in from the studio. I'm beat, my back hurts, and I stink. It's been hot the past couple days, I guess I'm going to have to get used to it being summer.

A good day again today. Ran out of clay though. I didn't know I was quite that low. Anyway, I have some stand by of this other body that I made up a while back. Probably 50 pounds, I'll finish out some small stuff with that. Today I finally got another big jar thrown, or the two parts anyway. This is my third attempt. I was using some commercial clay I bought last week (wanted to test it out). Anyway that stuff was super stiff out of the box. I don't know how people use it. I soaked it and tried throwing it on the kick wheel, still too stiff. Tried again and failed. Today I finally ran it through the pug mill and really got it nice and soft and consistant. Made the two parts on my treadle, and then threw 2 more for a smaller version.

I'm going to get horizontal for a few minutes before having to get the dogs out for some play time.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Back in the saddle

Today I got back into production mode in the workshop. Made some serving bowls, soup bowls, animal jars, and a few more things. At the end of the day I had some fun throwing some test clay into pots that were loose and fun. These are pretty much test pots but I did have fun making them while envisioning how perfect this new clay test is going to work and be the answer to my clay dreams. Ha! I do think though that envisioning what I want did sort of allow me to break out of my normal habits and make some things that came out from my more playful side.

Tomorrow I need to load a bisque and go to Grainger in Gastonia to pick up a sump pump for clay mixing. My old one bit the dust recently when my dad and neighbor borrowed it. It was on it's last legs anyhow, I got it second hand so no big loss.

I'll probably have a couple more wet days this week and then get ready for a firing.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Weeks end.

This week has gone by and I don't really know that I got anything much done. Oh well, no matter now. I feel like maybe I've been in a time warp. Wednesday night I got all worked up over some decision I had to make. I think I've gotten it all worked out, but at the time I felt like my head was going to explode. I don't do very well when I have to make decisions that involve other people. I often put them before me and end up regreting it later. I am trying to learn to say "No" and also to give my needs and desires priority at times. I am learning also that it is okay to change my mind and that I don't have to take care of other people's feelings around me doing that. I have to be true to me. Of course I want to do this in a nice way but if someone ends up mad or hating me well then that's not mine to own. Blah blah blah okay I'll not go on with this any longer.

Pots...they don't just appear in my studio on their own, and the potter fairies haven't showed up this week and made lots of work either. Oh right, Wednesday I wasn't even in the studio most of the day! I went to Boone with Sarah. Last minute decision, I wanted to go to the library. I got a couple of pottery books, one on Tom Coleman and one on Cardew. I also checked out another Anne Lamott book. I am totally into Anne Lamott right now, I have 3 of her books checked out, I've finished Operating Instructions, and I'm reading Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies simultaneously. I've got to do some entries on this reading. Not today though. Does anyone else like Anne??

Okay. Gotta walk Kharma this morning and later my friend Steve is coming up from SC for a visit. I am looking forward to seeing some of his new pots. He got his studio set up a while back and has been working hard.

See ya.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pitchers: Day 2

So here are the pitchers I made yesterday complete with handles that I got put on today. They have fairly tall necks which is something I kinda like. Below are two pitchers I made today, these have bigger bottoms and shorter necks. I also made a couple vases based on yesterdays proportions. All these will get some handles tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Today got off to a pretty frustrating start. I was so discouraged by lunchtime I almost didn't go back out into the studio. Pitchers are a big challenge for me. I do fine with the smaller ones but I really want to be able to make a nice tall, light pitcher that has a good form, and a good handle. That's what I was working on this morning and not having much luck. Anyhow after lunch I had a little pity party with myself and then went back out to work. I managed to make a board of 6.5 lb pitchers that looked pretty good. I threw these in two pieces each. I learned this at the workshop this weekend. I am not sure I totally like the shape of these but I'll work on it. For now I've got a start. I feel like sort of an inadequate potter in that I have to make these in two parts but what the hell, it works. Tomorrow I'll see if I can get some decent handles on them. I'll get a picture up too.

I finished up the day by putting some handles on some oval and square bowls and getting them plus some other bowls slipped and incised. I have been having thoughts of doing some slip trailing so tomorrow I am going to make some dishes and see what I come up with.

That's it for now.

Monday:Fresh Start

The weekend was okay. I enjoyed the workshop on Saturday. It was good to be around some clay people and to get away from home for a while. My friend Amy brought me a nice cup made by Warren Mackenzie from her trip to Minnestoa. That was really cool.

Saturday night Sarah and I went to supper at Doc's Pizza in town. Doc's opened a few weeks ago. I have been waiting for months for it get going. I had high hopes for the place as we have no good pizza in Shelby. We've had four pizzas so far and only one has really met my approval. I think the problem is in the cooking time. Three more minutes in the oven would make a huge difference. I judge pizza primarily on crust. I think they have a good dough, but I think they need to cook the pizza just a little longer. I'll prob. mention this to my friend David who is managing the place. Maybe it will get worked out as time goes on.

Sarah's aunt passed away last week and so we went up to Boone for the funeral and burial on Sunday. It was a beautiful day in the mountains and Aunt Margarot was laid to rest on a peaceful hilltop.

I am looking forward to a fresh start in the workshop today. Kent's workshop gave me some ideas for pitchers and I am going to try and make a couple big jars. I hope to finish up this making cycle this week, I need to mix clay soon too.

Well that's it for now. I hope you all have a good start to your week.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Today for lunch I made myself a panini sandwich on the grill. The top photo shows how I weighted it down with a brick covered in foil. This is a great sandwich. Whole grain bread, fontina cheese, ham, spinach, red onion and then more fontina. The outside of the bread is brushed with olive and then onto the grill.
I worked in a deli for a number of years in my 20's. Sarah says I am a sandwich snob, which is kinda true. I have to do things just a certain way, for instance I like the mayo on the side that the cheese is on, and I like things stacked a certain way. Picky me.


I plan on getting some work done in the studio today. I am taking Kharma in to the vet to get spayed today. She was a real handful yesterday and tried my patience. Anyhow I need to be working with her on certain things.
Tomorrow I am going to a workshop at Clayworks in Charlotte to see Kent McLaughlin make pots and talk about how he fires his kiln. He fires with used vegetable oil. I am interested in this as propane is getting very expensive.
Sarah did an overnight at the hospital last night. She will be home later today. I imagine we'll just hang out here tonight. I'll prob. cook fried rice for supper and maybe we'll rent a movie.
Well that's it for now. Have a great Friday!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wooden Stone

I delivered an order of pottery to Wooden Stone Gallery in Davidson, NC yesterday. It was a nice trip and I enjoyed hanging out at the gallery for a while talking to Drew the owner and his staff. Wooden Stone is really nice and I am proud to have my work there. They have a fully functional kitchen space right in the gallery where lots of fine crafts are displayed.

My friend David the woodcarver went with me and we walked around town a bit. We wandered into the Tom Clark Gallery where we saw hundreds of gnomes and figures. The lady working there answered all our questions about Dr. Clark and his work. Honestly I've never really liked these things but they are well done and highly collectible.
We had lunch at a great Mexican resturant on the way out of town. Don't remember the name but I'll be back next time I'm in the area.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Walking Kharma today I had some thoughts on litter. It seems most of the folks around here who litter are addicts and in poor health. I make this statement on the observation of what is along side the road. First of all there are lots of beer cans and fast food wrappers. Also cigarette packages. These people must be driving down the road eating a quarter pounder, smoking a cigarette, and drinking a beer. Then when all finished they toss everything right out the window. On top of that they must be cheap too. I mean I never see an empty bottle of Guinness Stout on the side of the road, it's always Coors Light or Natural Light or Bud Light. Hey all these are light beers, maybe they are trying to be calorie conscience. ?? And cheap cigarettes too, Misty's or Doral's or such, I guess the Marboro man hasn't been riding his horse up and down my street. Horse's don't have cup holders to keep your cheap beer in.

Monday, May 15, 2006

You might be...

a redneck if you spend part of Sunday afternoon building an outhouse. Which is what I did for a few hours yesterday with my dad. One of his friends asked him to build an outhouse for him. Apparently this guy has a picnic area on his property down by the river (yeah he's for sure a redneck) and he needs an outhouse for when he has cookouts. So we are building him one. Just one more thing to add to my resume'.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday/Mother's Day

We had breakfast today with my mom and stepfather, as well as my sister and her family to celebrate Mother's Day. Afterwards Sarah and I came home and had a good nap with the cats. I think Sarah needs to catch up on her sleep. She is not used to getting up so early during the week.

The show in Charlotte went okay yesterday. A gallery owner was supposed to get some pots from me there but he gave me some excuse and said maybe he'd wait till later. That was disappointing as I had been counting on this money coming in and then no go. Oh well, I did have an okay show and sold some pots. It was nice to see some folks I hadn't seen in awhile too and catch up. I always get lots of compliments on my work at the Guild show, I am the only person in our guild who is doing atmospheric firing, and what can I say? the pots are good.

It's a beautiful day out today. I need to get out for a bit. It's rather windy. We had a terrific thunder storm last night around 11:40pm. The tin roof was getting pounded, it also hailed I think. Sarah slept through the whole thing but I layed awake and enjoyed it for awhile.

Tomorrow I'll be back in the workshop making pots. I am looking forward to a productive day.
That's it for now.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Here are some pots from the firing. New slab tray. A couple cups made with the new clay body test. I don't really like this clay but I like how it fires and how the slip looks on it. It's more shiny than my body and it is very light so the slip breaks nicely on the edges. It doesn't throw well and I don't like the way it looks without any slip on it.
Big jar, I had two of these in this load. I had lots of animal jars, here's a little dog (thanks Kharma). And some new soup/cereal bowls with taller feet and little lugs. Good stuff.


Okay, here are two images of list weeks firing. I was pretty happy with the results although the front got super blasted. I tried to put some blocker bricks up there up it didn't quite do the trick. I am getting a lot of gray soda action up front from all the build up. I think I'm going to back off on the amount of soda I'm using and add more salt. I'll have to think on it a bit.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I loaded the kiln today. I'll fire tomorrow and unload on Thursday. I have some new takes on my usual forms in this load. Some new cereal bowls, mugs, long trays, small trays, and a couple bigger jars. I'll get some pics up when I unload on Thursday.
I'll be at the ClayMatters Guild pottery sale on Saturday May 13th at McAlpine Business park on Monre Road in Charlotte.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Sarah graduated from Applachian State University on Saturday with her masters in community counseling. She will be doing her intership over the summer at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte. She starts this week. I have said again and again how hard she worked during school but I think I failed to mention that she finished with a 4.0 GPA. What can I say, she's awesome, and she's going to make a great therapist.
Sarah and her proud parents.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Off to Boone

Tomorrow we heading up to Boone. Sarah is graduating on Saturday. We are going up tomorrow to have a celebration dinner with some classmates of hers and spend the night at the house where Sarah lived for a year. It will be fun and I am looking forward to it.
Saturday will be a special day. I'm sure many of us will be in tears, I probably will anyhow. Sarah has really worked hard and been so dedicated to her studies, her assistantship, and her department as a whole. I know she was an asset to them and they will miss her. I on the other hand will be happy to have her home!!

I had a good day here today, finished cleaning up the house, unloaded a bisque kiln, messed around a bit and then took Kharma to puppy class. One more week to go and then she will graduate too! After class we headed over to Sarah's parents for supper which was delicious as usual.

Well that's it until I get home late on Saturday. I'll have some pics to post from the graduation ceremony.

Keeping it Real

Sarah and I have been busy this morning cleaning house. We have a pretty small space so it can get cluttered, dirty and dusty in a hurry. We are about a week overdue on cleaning so it's nice to be getting that taken care of. I love scrubbing the kitchen sink.

My two new words for how I've been feeling are 'blank' and 'dread'. I have been feeling sort of out of it since sometime in January, maybe longer. When I get over stimulated or overwhelmed I tend to blank out. I find myself standing in my studio looking at the table or going over nothing in my head, over and over. It's weird, but 'blank' pretty much sums it up. I came up with 'dread' a few days ago. I'm not depressed, I know what that feels like. Maybe this is what could lead up to that. Or not. ?? I find that I wake up with a feeling of dread. Dreading not knowing what to do, dreading seeing my family, dreading walking the dog, dreading going back to bed at night. Whatever. It's strange but that is how I feel. I think with Sarah being in school for the past two years and me being home a lot by myself that I have sort of gotten lost. I have gotten caught up in some of my Fears and that often leads to procrastionation, dread, and blankness. I have told myself often that I need to work on my daily routine. My pots are going okay, but sure I could be doing more, and I could be playing more and allowing myself to have some fun and not feeling guilty about it. Some of this stems from living so close to my family. (long story).

Right now it kind of feels good just to put this out there. What comes next? Action? Contemplation? Play? Sleep? Food? All of the above? Something new? ??

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wear and tear

Here are some images from the inside of my salt/soda kiln. Foamy blob of castable in firebox.

Salt glazed brick. I wish my pots looked like this!

Front corner around salt/soda port.

Contour line drawing

I want to get into the habit of doing some kind of drawing everyday. Today I did a couple blind contour line drawings, one of a pen and the other a tissue box. I like doing these. It's fun to draw without looking at the page and see what I get when I am finished.

Monday, May 01, 2006

New week

Monday. Today is usually one of my more productive days. It's off to a good start I guess as I've loaded a bisque and got it going as well as walked the dog and got a bit of journaling in over a cup of tea. I am planning on getting some pots glazed and later putting some plants in the garden. I feel I am a bit late on that this year, but it will be fine. My father in law, Roy, always gets lots of plants going in his greenhouse and gives us all we want for our garden. He planted on Saturday so I guess I'm on schedule with him anyhow. I didn't get a lot of my early stuff in this year, ie spinach, lettuce, chard, etc. I do have some lettuce and chard beginning to come in now though.

I lost a couple trays in my last bisque load. I think they weren't dry enough. One blew the foot off and another blew out a big chunck off the bottom. These are new forms and I was hoping to get them through the firing. I have 2 that made it so far. I will make more for the May kiln.

I found Kevin Crowe's website yesterday. I've always liked Kevin's work. We had a cup of his at one time but I can't seem to find it in the cupboard. I'd like to visit his pottery in Amherst, Va. sometime. He has a good article that I recommend reading. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Have a great week.