Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Another year come to an end. I hope you all have a great 2007 and that it brings much love, peace, and happiness.

Today has been a good day, Sarah and I went out for breakfast, after sleeping in a bit. We just finished cleaning the house. That's a good way to start the new year, with a spic and span cleaning job. Karma has been hanging out with us too.

I plan on putting in a full week of work in the pottery starting tomorrow, working towards a firing in a couple weeks. I have enjoyed my time off and have been thinking about new pots or new takes on old forms. I reached up to the top shelf in the kitchen today and pulled down a lovely small jar made by the late Byron Temple. It's simplicity and fullness really speaks to me. I'd like to be able to make that pot.

I hope you'll keep checking in this year, and pass my Journal page on to others who you think may be interested. One of my goals for the future is to get more folks coming out to the pottery. I will still do a few shows to get out and be seen, but I'd love not to have to do that someday. Thanks to all of you who have been supportative over the years, it means so much for me to continue to be able to do what I love. Ron.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What day is it anyhow?

Thursday. Right. Well it seems like a Monday. Sarah and I have spent almost everyday since Sunday over at her folks. All her siblings and their children came into town for Christmas. We went back and forth (which is only about 12 miles) for meals and gift exchanges and more meals, and snacks. I always eat way too much over Christmas. We all celebrated Sarah's parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary yesterday. It was really nice. Everyone has gone home as of this morning and Sarah returned to work too. So I guess that leaves me here and I suppose I should get into the pottery and make a few dishes. I have re-read Gail Nichols book on Soda glazing over the past few days. I am getting excited about my next firing. I am seriously considering rebuilding my kiln this year (if I can afford to buy some new bricks). Anyhow, we'll see about that later.
Okay check back in and maybe I'll have a few images of whatever I get made today. Happy Thursday!! Ha.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kiln Work

Today I got the fireboxes cast. Since it was so warm out, 70 degrees, I went ahead and dipped 150 new IFBs in greenpatch for a new door. I have them all layed out in my clay racks drying. It's almost like having a new kiln, or at least part ways.

Friday, December 22, 2006


I finished up a few bakers and some lasagna dishes today. The latter are new and not quite 9x13, I'll have to see how they turn out when fired. I also did some running around Shelby picking up some groceries and odds and ends. I am glad to be finished with my Christmas shopping, Sarah is going out tomorrow. She must be insane.

I am going to try and cast my fire boxes tomorrow. I went to Concord yesterday and picked up some castable as well as some ceramic fiber and Greenpatch and a few other things. All for free. Thanks Randy! It will all come in handy in the future.

Well I hope you all have a good holiday. I may get a post or two in over the next week, but I imagine we'll all be busy doing something.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Here are the few pots from yesterday. I got the mugs handled and the feet cut on the bowls today. I am going to be making small runs of things for this next kiln. Mostly kitchenware.

I got some Christmas shopping finished up today. I think I'm all done with Sarah and I even got her gifts wrapped today. She'll be surprised when she gets home tonight.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I made some bowls and a few cups today. I will get a pic up tomorrow after I get the feet cut on the bowls. I was trying a combing technique on the bowls with a toothed card I made. I'm not really into it. I need to just get back to my pots and let things evolve slowly as they will. I also need to get my kiln floor finished.

It was 74 degrees here today. Crazy.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Week Ahead

I am planning on making some pots tomorrow. Maybe a few cups and bowls. I have to do something, I'm going nuts. I have some slip tests to mix up, I hate measuring all that stuff out but it has to be done. We had a good weekend, several visitors including our friends Lex and Michelle who brought their new pup George out. He and Karma had a good play time. We also celebrated my dad turning 60 Saturday night. My 83 year old grandmother was in good spirits and wacked balloons around with her great grand kids.

It's been warm here and will be close to 70 degrees tomorrow. It's hard to believe it's almost Christmas, Sarah's family will be arriving late next week.

Friday, December 15, 2006


This is a drawing I did back in October of a Snickers bar. I figured out tonight that I could color it in using my PhotoImpact program. This is the first time I've done anything like this. Pretty cool. Most of my drawings are pen and ink line drawings. I have been looking at Oliver Kugler's work. He is amazing. Clicking on this image will open up an image that's a little larger. Here's another link to Oliver.


I worked on my kiln some today. I piped one burner around to the front so that now I have a diagonal setup, one burner firing in from the front and the other opposite, firing in from the back. This seems to be a popular setup among UK potters who fire salt and soda. At least that's what I have gleaned from looking at books and websites. My next firing is going to be more of an experiment with this new set up and I'll probably use little or no salt and more soda. After my last firing I have little to lose. Gail Nichols' book has inspired me and January is a good time to try some things (even though I do have some pots due for a show in early Feb. and I am way behind on some special orders). Well, if they get in this load they may be the best pots ever, who knows. I have found some castable in Concord and will try and pick it up early next week.

Today I also replaced the doorknobs on both front doors. Twice. I didn't like the finish on the first ones once I got them on, so off they came and back I went to the hardware store. I always end up doing stuff twice, I never seem to get it right on the first go. I'm happy with them now.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Here are some qualities I'd like to work on in my pots. Movement, looseness, simplicity, texture, directness, line quality, gesture. That's mostly in the throwing phase. In the kiln I'd like to see color, color change, areas of shiny and matt, salt/soda build up, color change on edges (salt/soda or carbon trapping). I want to work on a new wadding too so the wad marks aren't so stark white. I want to play with some new handles, knobs, and lugs. I have some new slips to try also. Whew, I better get in the studio soon if I'm going to do all this.

Today I am going to Charlotte to drop off a pot, pick up some pots, and have lunch with a friend. I'll probably hit a shop or two also, I need a new drawing journal. I've gotten sort of picky about these and right now I like the Moleskine 5x8 Sketchbook. Here's a cool site featuring Moleskines.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I am having sort of weird days since I'm not making pots or working in the pottery. Today and yesterday I spent the morning working on bookwork, updating my mailing and email list and messing around on the computer. Today I hit the hardware store and the grocery, I had lunch in the truck inbetween the two and listened to All Things Considered on NPR. I enjoy radio very much, especially NPR stations and college town stations I can pick up on the computer. Right now I'm streaming WEXP from Seattle, Washington. I don't have an extensive CD or album collection anymore and I don't own an iPod or MP3 player of anykind. I enjoy hearing good quality programming, variety, with cool DJ's, live in studio guests and bands, and the like. I'm mostly into alternative rock, reggae, some techno and dance too. I like jazz but don't really know what kind of jazz I like, I know it when I hear it. I tried for a couple years to like bluegrass and folk but honestly I can't stand most of it now. No commercial radio, or country either. I remember back when I first started making pots that I gave country a try. I was working in an empty migrant house on a friend's family's apple farm. I had a wheel, an old electric kiln, a kerosene heater, and a small radio. I could pick up a country station and that was about it. I listened to that while I worked for about a year. Never again. I like breaks inbetween every 5 or 6 songs with the DJ giving a little set list update and comments.
In my early 20's a friend of mine discovered 88.7 in Spindale, NC broadcasting from Isothermal Community College. We listened mostly at night and into the early morning while out partying or skateboarding or sitting around in the car. They had, and still have, a good alternative late night show. Our favorite show was Joe Frank in the Dark. It's hard to explain but it was usually sort of a weird monologue that went on for about an hour.
Well that's my post for today. I had no idea what I would write when I sat down here. Keep checking in, maybe I'll make some pots.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Morning

Last night Sarah and I went out with another couple to Charlotte for dinner and then went to the Actor's Theatre to see a performance of David Sedaris' 'The Santaland Diaires'. The company and dinner were wonderful; the acting was awful. We were all disappointed with the performance especially after spending $20 each for tickets. The guy just couldn't pull off Sedaris, he had no delivery, and stumbled on his lines several times. We all had a good laugh on the way home, actually our reviews of the performance were more funny than the play.

On we way back we drove through McAdenville to see the whole town lit up in Christmas lights. I've only done this once before years ago and I have say it was quite nice.

Sarah and I ended our late evening by watching some clips of the real David Sedaris on Youtube and even a few of his sister, Amy, who is a hoot and has been on Letterman numerous times. She has a group of friends who get together and do crafts. Their name....the Crafty Beavers. I love that. Circle of Eight is a good name but the Crafty Beavers....that's hard to beat.

I think I'm going to dig out our copy of Sedaris' book Naked and give it a read over the next few days.

No pottery news at this time, my clay did come in out of the racks and I have been thinking about my next kiln load. I still have to cast my fireboxes and finish setting the bag walls but that is no big deal. For now I just want to make it through Christmas and relax a bit.

Hope your up coming week is a good one.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pottery Books

I buy most of my pottery books from The Potters Shop in Needham, Mass. Right now they are having their end of the year sale and most everything is 25% off. I like buying from the Potters Shop because they are potters too. I am supporting another potter, not the corporate guys at Amazon or Borders or whatever. Plus, they have tons of titles and some out of print stuff too, as well as tools and videos. They are also very helpful in answering questions and giving you specific information about the books. They now have their list online I hope you'll give them your business if you are looking for some pottery books.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Kiln work/scabs

I sort of piddled around for the first part of the day. Went to the hardware store and got a chimney brush and swept my chimney. I've been wanting to do this before I fired up the woodstove. It's in good shape now.
After lunch I found myself standing in front of my kiln. I thought, "I'm gonna bust out that bagwall, it needs replacing." Which it did.
You know how sometimes if you have a scab and start picking at it and can't stop, and before long you've picked the whole thing off. (and then it's sore and bleeding again but that part doesnt' really fit into my analogy) So after I got the bag wall out I busted out the castable in both troughs. It needed to go too. Well then I just decided to take the whole first layer of floor brick out and clean them up and replace them too. (That's the whole bleeding). So now I have to scrounge around and find some brick to replace those bad ones I threw out and I will have to go buy some castable to recast my troughs. So much for doing nothing today. It looks good and I'll be happy I did it when I go to fire again.
Bagwall in a heap.

Castable and some floor brick all busted up.

All cleaned out and ready for replacement.


It's Wednesday and I have to say I haven't accomplished much at all this week. Which is fine I guess. It's hard coming from my family's work ethic background not to feel guilty, but I am just going with the flow and allowing myself some space.

I saw a great interview with Pema Chodron on Bill Moyers' show the other night. You can watch it here or read the transcript.

I got two new books in the mail yesterday so I'll spend part of today immersed in them. The first is Gail Nichols new book on soda glazing entitled Soda, Clay, and Fire. The other is An Autobiography of Sorts by British potter Mike Dodd.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Here's an essay entitled "On Insignificance" from This I Believe that I read this morning. There are lots of good essay's there.

We have this quote from Nelson Mandela on our refridgerator.

"Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
I read this often and somedays I believe it and other days it's not so easy. This morning, out walking my dog Karma, looking at the mountains in the distance, feeling the crisp morning air, I felt energized, at peace, and one with my surroundings. I hope I can carry that feeling for the rest of the day as I go out and interact with others and move through my day. I struggle constantly being overly self conscience, and worrisome, some things I'd like to change.
Have a great Monday, walk tall, smile at others and yourself, I'll try to do the same. We are all signifiant in many ways, maybe we just don't know it. Peace. Ron

Sunday, December 03, 2006

the end

My Sale is over and was a grand success. Thank you to everyone who came out to the Pottery over the last two weeks, I am very grateful for all your support, kind words, and encouragement. I hope you all enjoy your new pots.

I have no major pottery commitments for the rest of the year. Whew. I do plan to get back to work in my studio this week and to try and figure out what's going on with my kiln. My last firing was not up to par and I'd like to get that worked out. I'm also planning a visit to a potter friend in the NC mountains in a week or so. That will be fun.

I have done no Christmas shopping, so I guess I should start thinking about that.

I'll still be posting often so check in from time to time.

Getting it

I had a good day yesterday. I had several folks come to my Sale from Charlotte, many of whom have bought my pots in the past but have never been out to the pottery. It is good for people to come here and see how Sarah and I live and work. I think it allows them to see the connection between the work and the maker. We live a simple life out in the country, we have minimial material goods, (other than tons of coffee mugs and other pottery), we love our natural surroundings, we love to eat and relax and read and make art. I like to share all this with my customers, after all, they are taking a little piece of me home with them when they make a purchase. Once that pot is in their home they will remember coming out here and visiting and seeing where it was made and why it is the way it is.

Friday night at the Clayworks opening I didn't sell too many pots. I left a little discouraged. My work is very minimal in decoration and not brightly colored. It tends to get lost in a large room full of other pottery. So my inner critic kicked in and started shouting, 'make some colorful pots, you need to decorate more, your pots are no good'. I hate that voice because I know it's not true and it's not helping me, but it gets really stong sometimes and I get myself all lost in it's lies. Well on Saturday I had two young women come in from Charlotte who had seen my work at Clayworks (and at ACC). They were so into my pots, they both totally got it. It was wonderful and validating. They loved the timelessness of the work and the minimal deco. and the focus on form. They understood my salt glazing process and that the pots are all different in subtle ways and that makes it all unique and wonderful. What a gift these two women gave me yesterday. I am re-engerized and my critical voice has quieted down. Over the next few months I will be working on a dinnerware commission for one of these ladies, it will good work and I will be putting good energy into each pot, as I should be each time I sit down at my wheel.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Just a last minute reminder that my Holiday Sale continues this weekend.
Saturday Dec 2nd 10 am till 5 pm
Sunday Dec 3rd Noon till 4 pm
Lots of pots in the showroom still.
757 Wallace Grove Road Shelby, NC
704 480 6046

Mapquest gives pretty good directions or call and I'll try to help.

Wooden Stone Exhibit

Below are a couple images from the exhibition Circle of Eight had at Wooden Stone last month.

Circle of Eight is a group of eight potters/ceramic artists that includes Ron Philbeck, Jen Mecca, Julie Wiggins, Adrienne Dellinger, Greg Scott, Dale Duncan, Sandy Singletary, and Amy Sanders. We all get together often to talk about clay, give each other support, plan exhibitons and shows, and generally have a good time. The Wooden Stone show was our first gallery exhibition. The next exhibition we have planned is in Louisville, Ky in March 2007 and will concide with NCECA.