Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I have my pots, display, carpet, lights, business stuff, etc all packed up and piled high in front of the studio door. Tomorrow I will load up the truck and head to the Convention Center to set up for the American Craft Council show. I have to say I have been stressed out and a bit nauseous thinking about this show. I need to relax and take it one step at a time. I will feel much better once my booth is all set up tomorrow evening. Then I'll go back on Friday for the first day of the show. I'll try and get another post up before the weekend. Check back.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I got the kiln unloaded today. I was happy with the results. Lots of good work. I still had some oxidation happening down front and up the left side. I don't know what's up with that. It's okay, I'll keep looking for ways to fix it, the pots in those areas are just lighter in color and not so bright. Here are some general group shots, scroll down for individual pots. I was happy with my owl candle holders, I had some good bowls, mugs, tankards, tea cups, and well basically everything. Yea! My test glazes were a little less than acceptable. The green was sort of Irish Springy, the blue was lavender (yikes) and the yellow was too yellow. I think the yellow stands a chance if I tone it down a percent or two. I'll show these later.


Deep bowl.
Big Jar.
Owls. Candle stick holders.

More pots from the kiln

Large bowl.
Rectangular trays.
Big oval and bird jar.
3 Bird dish.
3 ovals.

Friday, October 27, 2006

What to do today?

My kiln is cooling. I am going to resist the urge to peek in until tonight when it is very dark outside. I can never really tell anyhow, I always say "they look too brown". I will unload tomorrow around lunchtime I hope.

I have decided not to stain my display. I did some spot tests this morning and the stain didn't take well on my upright side units. I think I will have to do some sanding and preping to get it to look uniform. So that's out for now.

I have been reading The Morning News. Recommended by Danny Gregory.

Let's see what else? Well I better go do something. I need to run out and get some office supplies and a track light unit for next week. In other words go spend more money on this show before I begin to make any.


Here are the two cups Tom send me. I am having my oj out of the shino one this morning.
Thanks Tom!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Today's firing

Here are two photos showing the loading of the kiln. That happened yesterday. Today I fired and all went well. The new burners really made a difference. The kiln fired faster and with less gas pressure than it had been. It's funny how things slowly changed and I just accepted them and went on instead of trying seek out why they were different. Of course I am saying this before I have even seen the results of this firing. I am hoping that my funny reduction/oxidation problem is solved. I will unload on Saturday and have some pics up then. I am testing some new glazes for the insides of my pots in this load too. I am hopeful I will get a good one or two.

Tomorrow will be rainy all day. I will probably work on my display some. I am thinking of staining it black. I don't know if I am asking for trouble or not doing this less than a week before I have to set up. ?? I will probably chicken out.

On another note, I talked to my pal Tom Gray today. He is doing well. Yesterday I was happy to see the mailman coming down the drive. This always means a package is on the way. This one was from Tom and contained two awesome cups and some olive tapanade. The cups are great, one is a shino with some nice crawling on the inside. The other is Tom's new yellow glaze combined with his blue ash. It has some nice reddish color on the inside and over the trailed slip. I'll try and get some images of these up tomorrow.

I was thinking today after my firing was over that it was in October of 1994 that I fired my salt kiln for the first time. Tom came down from Seagrove to help me fire. I'd never even lit a gas burner before. He walked me through the firing and I unloaded a couple days later to my first salt glazed pots. It was a good firing and it's fun to think about what all I have done since then, all the pots I've made and how Tom and I have become close friends. He still helps me out a lot and I am able to help or inspire him every now and then too.

Well that's it for now.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Everything that gets glaze got it today. I didn't do much else today which was nice.

I have been checking out potters on the Web and I have found some new folks I like a lot. The most recent is Diana Fayt. I emailed her earlier today and we had a short exchange. I like the drawings on her pots and the color aspects. It's very cool. I also looked up her blog. I think it's interesting that I have become drawn to more colorful work of late as well as white pots. This from a guy who has done brown earth tones for years.

I'll get some pictures of pots up here tomorrow.

Slow Monday Morning

I got up early and unloaded and loaded a bisque. Got it going and let the dogs out for a while. Since then I haven't done much except have tea and breakfast. It's cold in the house, cooler than outside probably, a warm shower helped and I have been stuck in front of this machine for a while wasting time. Today I plan to glaze pots so I can load on Wednesday and fire Thursday.

I'm obviously not in a 'go get 'em' mood this morning. Which is fine considering I've been hard at it for a couple of weeks. I think I'll go sit out in the sun for a little while and then get started on my glazing before lunch. It shouldn't take too long, it's nice only having two glazes to choose from.

Maybe I'll have more to report later.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday's work

I am not doing too much today but I did get my new burners put in place. I am hoping this improves my control over my firing some. It appears the orifices in the old burners had gotten smaller. Probably due to carbon build up or something. (I really don't know but that sounds good.)
I also set some things out in the sun to help them dry a bit faster. I hope to unload yesterday's bisque later today and get the next and last one loaded.

I'm off to Sarah's parents for supper in about an hour.

That's it for now. Sunning teapots.
New burner in place. Pots in the sun.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Circle meeting

The Circle of Eight met here last night to have dinner and go over somethings regarading two exhibits we have coming up. It was fun to get together and we had lots of laughs and good conversation as the night went on. All eight were here minus Dale who had to stay home to get ready for a show that he is doing today. It's awesome being part of a group of like minded individuals who want to help and support one another. I can't tell you how much I need this in my life. Being a potter means many hours spent alone in the studio, so when I get together with my friends it really nutures my soul.

Today I am firing a bisque and I hope to get my shelves scraped and work on my new burner setup. The sun is shining and it's a bit cool out. My 11 year old neighbor Michael told me yesterday that the weather was "just right". I agree.

There is a music festival going on in town today but I will miss it since I'm on a pretty tight schedule getting ready for upcoming shows. I need to allow myself more time for these things so I can maintain some sanity and not deprive myself of things I'd like to do. It's hard to time things just right.

I talked to everyone last night about some glazes that I would like to test to add an element of color to my pots. I got some ideas and hope to mix some tests for the next two firings.

Well I better get on with it. I have a visitor coming today from Chapel Hill to buy some pots and I need to tidy things up a little.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Coming to my Senses

There is no way I am going to maintain my sanity and fire twice before the 1st. Actually I could do it but it would leave me no time to pack or do many other things I need to do to get ready for ACC. Yesterday I felt like my head was going to explode. So when Sarah got home we analyzed my options and I decided I'd fire once. I didn't have a great show at the Barn Sale last week so I have plenty of inventory. I'll get a good bit of the new stuff fired and have plenty for ACC. It feels good to have made that choice. I can take a little better care of myself now.

I don't think most people realize how much time and energy potters spend on their work. We are hard workers. I know I could manage my time a little better and things may be easier. I have a hard time making decisions sometimes too and can waste a lot of time staring off into space waiting for some divine inspiration. No luck with that yet. I was reading my friend Jen Mecca's blog this week, she's a full time mom and a full time potter. That's two full time jobs, I have no idea how she gets anything done. It does help to have a good partner and both Jen and I do, which is a blessing. Well enough about all that.

My new burners came yesterday. I will go to the hardware store tomorrow and get new fittings to get them all hooked up. Today, I have a bisque to unload and load and yes more pots to finish from yesterday. I am looking forward to having supper with the Circle of Eight tonight.

That's it for now. Happy Friday....I think the sun is going to come out here today. Yea!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The End is Near

No I'm talking about North Korea or anything like that. I mean that I am finally, finally at the end of my making cycle. Yea!! Yesterday was a bit trying as I threw 8 teapot bodies before I got 4 that I liked. And when I came back from lunch Karma had shredded some plastic and made a general mess of the studio floor. I bet I swept 3 times yesterday. Anyhow, today I am putting handles on some small ovals, assembling my teapots and throwing some mugs and yunomi. I also have to scrape my kiln shelves so I'll be all set to load on Saturday. Lots to do still, but I am glad the making part is at an end. I need a break to refuel my pottery brain.

It's dreary out again this morning and I'm waiting for the fog to lift or burn off before going out to walk Karma. I am going to miss the long sunny days of summer. I hope we have a mild winter and that it isn't damp and wet all season.

If you have a high speed connection and want to see a funny pottery video go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXnS0erWfJE
My friend Lester sent this to me and it's really cute. I guess this is sort of a Japanese version of SNL with skits etc. It's amazing that the general population in Japan knows so much about pottery that they can spoof it on TV. If you did that in the US people would be so not interested, unless you blew up all the pottery at the end or had some semi-nude Victoria Secret model taking the pots out of the kiln.

Okay got to head down for breakfast and out to work.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I am lingering inside a bit longer this morning. It's damp and rainy out and I'm in no hurry to take the dogs out. I'll get to them after I have my breakfast.

Today I will be finishing up some pots from yesterday and getting ready to go teach this evening at Clayworks. I am planning on showing my students how to make candle stick holders and goblets tonight. I am having a good time teaching and have been asked to stay on for the next round of classes that will start this winter.

I stumbled back upon Andrew Douglas's blog last night while surfing the web. I can totally relate to his struggle with pitchers and handles.

Well that's about it for now. I probably won't get a chance to post again until sometime tomorrow. Enjoy the day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Productive Monday

I had a good day working in the studio. I made several slab, oval serving bowls first thing and got two rectangular ones layed out and started. I then got to work on the wheel making the things on my list I need to finish up for this cycle. I can see the end of the road and will have it all made by Thursday. I am firing on Sunday so I need time this week to glaze and clean up down at the kiln. I'll be bisquing on Wed and again while I load the kiln on Saturday. That will be in anticipation for my second salt firing the next weekend. Busy, busy.

Above is a picture of the owl candle holders all ready for the bisque. I am getting excited about the American Craft Council Show which is the first weekend in November. I am going to have plenty of pots for that show and hopefully have some left over for the Carolina Pottery Festival here in Shelby the weekend after that.

The Circle of Eight gang is convening here on Friday night. That will be fun. It also means Sarah and I need to clean the house a bit.

Check back throughout the week to see if I am staying sane.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I have been lucky over the past few years in that I've had no major problems with glazes, slips, clay, or firing. Knock on wood. So today when I unloaded my bisque and saw that my slip was flaking off some pots I realized my luck had run out... temporarily. I made a switch to a new white slip a couple weeks ago when I ran out of my other and didn't have the right materials to mix up a new batch. Well this new white doesn't jive with my flashing slip when they are layered. So I lost a few nice slab trays today. Tomorrow I will make more and on Tuesday I'll get the materials I need for my old white slip. Live and learn.

Sunday morning

Sunday mornings are so nice. It's the one day I enjoy a good cup of coffee and relax and have a long morning without having to think about going off to the studio.

Yesterday I did the Claymatters Pottery Sale in Charlotte. The show went okay for me but I'd liked to have sold more pots. The highlight was that a lady bought one of my nice slab serving dishes to send to her brother who is a professional chef in Texas. I think he will really enjoy using it. I always love to hear that my pots are going somewhere to be used.

I also got to visit with other members of the guild and my friends from the Circle of Eight. Five of the Eight were there and I have to say that we all have very good work.

I showed some of my drawings to my friend Ann who came by to see my pots. I haven't really shared my sketchbook with anyone other than Sarah and a few other people. It was fun to get some feedback from Ann. She really liked my drawings of buildings and my more detailed drawings. I am still thinking how some of this is going to work it's way onto some pots. I will probably dedicate some serious play time to this in December and January.

Time for more coffee. See ya.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Morning

Where has the week gone? I have been cranking in the studio. Below are a couple images from the week. The first one shows some owl candle holders. They will get slipped today and the features will get incised in. The next shot is of some tankards that I hope to get handles on today.

I spent a good amount of yesterday throwing and assembling some pedestal type candle holders. I'll try and get a picture of them up later. I made 15 of these in all, 5 each of 3 sizes. For me that's over kill and I was regreting it last night at 7pm when I was finishing the last one up. I am making them because I think they may be good sellers at the ACC show. That's not a very good reason for me to make pots. I want to make what I want because I am excited about it, not because I think it may sell. In the past I have found this to be the best way for me to work and that in the end, the work I am excited about is the work that sells. Anyhow, I was excited about these when I started, maybe I should just have made a smaller run.

I have a show in Charlotte tomorrow. This is with the Carolina Claymatters Pottery Guild and will be held at the McAlpine Business Park off on Monroe Rd from 10 till 4. I have not even packed the first pot, I have a busy day ahead.

I fired a bisque yesterday and I am beginning to see the end of the list for all I want to make for my two firings at the end of this month. I think I am all finished with the stuff I was putting off. I need to make a few teapots, some tea cups, and small vases and bottles. Next Friday is my last wet day I think. I am excited about seeing some pots come out of the kiln. I took time Wednesday to order a new set of burners for my kiln. I hope they arrive next week. I'd like to get them hooked up before my firing.

That's it for now. Check back in from time to time to see what's happening. Have a good weekend.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday Night

What a weekend. We had a stray dog show up on Friday and she is still here. I think I have found a home for her. She is a pit bull, chocolate, and very sweet. She is sort of skidish, I wonder if she was mistreated, but she has no scars so I don't think she's been fought. She likes Karma, but I am nervous and keep her on the leash.

On Saturday I got an email letting me know my friend Tom Gray had a heart attack that morning. He is home now and I hope to get to talk to him in person tomorrow. Tom is a VERY important person in my life and so I am wishing him a full recovery.

Sarah and I went to the County Fair on Saturday too. It was sort of a wash. It's always a blast to people watch, the Fair really brings the locals out of the woodwork. Sarah's favorite part was going to the livestock barn and looking at (and petting) the Brahman bulls. She said "we should get one, they are so sweet." "And tasty too," was my reply. Just kidding, no bull.

I got some work done in the studio today. I have a board meeting at the Arts Council tomorrow and then later I have to teach at Clayworks. Hopefully, I will get a few hours in tomorrow to finish up what I started today.

That's it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I woke up in a bit of panic thinking about getting everything made and fired before the end of the month in time for the ACC show in Charlotte. I went down and lit my bisque kiln and came in for some tea and journalling time. That seemed to help some and I figure I'll be as ready as I can be and that will be that.

To perk me up more I tuned into KEXP Seattle. Where else can you hear the Pixies at 7:30 am?
I am off to the studio now to make some slab trays, and servers, and finish up yesterdays pots. I really need to get some speakers wired in there from my laptop station here in the house.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday morning

It's going on 10 am and I am finishing up my morning tea. I got a bit of a late start, but the dogs have been fed and walked and so have I. I did a couple drawings this morning too.

I had a pretty productive day in the studio yesterday, even with a bum finger. I need to get started on some vases of various sizes today. I have some jars to finish too.

We got our DSL connection last week and I am having a blast zipping around the web. Last night I was looking at Danny Gregory's site and found out about Stephen Whitshire. He is amazing. Check out the videos of him drawing if you can. The human brain is capable of such incredible feats. Most of the time I feel like I'm using about 1%, if that. If those damn voices would quiet down maybe I'd get up to 2%. Ha.

I am also enjoying listening to WXPN out of Phiadelphia. Great programming.

Well, it's taken me forever to peck this entry out. My jkl; hand is one finger short which is slowing me way down.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Monday evening I was helping my dad clear a fallen tree out of my grandmothers yard. We were loading a big log into the bucket of the tractor and I put my right hand in the wrong place. The result was the tip of my index finger getting smashed. It hurt terribly. Right now it's swollen, purple and white, throbbing, and I will be having the fun experience of loosing the fingernail sometime soon. Just thinking about it makes me woosey. Typing is a problem. I did manage some pots yesterday using a rubber finger cot to keep it all covered up. It's not the best time for me to be injured as I have several shows to prepare for and need to be working.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I had a great weekend. I went to Charlotte for a couple days for the Ron Meyers' workshop. Ron is one of my favorite potters. I am a little embarrassed to say that I have been to 5 of his workshop demos. The first was back in 1994 or 95 I think. He captured my attention very soon after I had started making pots. I love the way Ron handles clay. His pots have been touched by his hands over and over in the process and it is left to show in the final pot. I like his immediacy with the material. He is direct and intentional. He has a great sense of play, whimsy, and humor.
Needless to say I came home inspired to work. I feel that over the years I have absorbed some of what Ron does into my work. I don't want to make Ron Meyers' pots but I would like to make pots in the 'spirit' in which he does.
Anyhow I am off to the studio to catch up on things from last week that have been wrapped in plastic for the whole weekend.