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Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Thanks for all the comments. I got home late last night from teaching and it was cool to get all the feedback. I do feel like my testing has paid off and I have a good, simple base of slips and glazes to work with. Basically I have a white, a green and a black slip, an amber glaze and a cream glaze. I have settled on a clay body I like to throw and is nice and tight at cone 03. With these few materials I have all sorts of possibilities.
I really like the black with trailed slip and I have always liked ladling slips to get blocks and stripes. I've done dots off and on over the years on my salt glazed pots and the x's and o's show up a lot in my journal drawings. I'll settle into some things that I'll do more than others for sure. I need to work out some things composition-wise when I try to draw on pots, but that will come from drawing in my spare time and just experimenting. I'm pretty optimistic about my decorating skills becoming more developed, something I've never felt before. I don't want the deco to
become 'slick' or fancy, I just want it to work visually, have some edge, and some tension. (I should have went to art school for at least a year).
Well anyhow here are two pots that didn't get photographed yesterday. A small knobanall (that's knob and all, because you throw it all in one piece and then cut the lid) and a green mug with incised lines.
I'm volunteering a lot at the Arts Council this week, we are having an event tomorrow called Bowling for Dollars. People pay $15 for a pottery bowl (donated by local potters) and come in for a lunch of homemade soup. It's always very successful and sells out way in advance. I think this year we had 240 bowls donated. I was just there and the ladies in the kitchen were getting ready for the big soup cookoff. It smelled great. I'll get some images up tomorrow.
Posted by Ron at 3:23 PM
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Okay here they are. It was a good firing and I am really happy with everything as far as clay and glaze goes. My green slip needs to be thicker. I need to work on my design sense on some things, but other things are pretty good I'd say. Sorry for the terrible lighting on some of these.
Posted by Ron at 3:05 PM
Sunday, February 24, 2008
We had a great dinner last night with Sally and Scott. Sally lived in Italy for a while so I was nervous making pasta for her, but she had nothing but praise.
Today I've been to the Arts Council to unload my bisque, glaze and reload the electric kiln there. I am hoping this will be my last firing there. I should get my little gas kiln finished before I'm ready to fire again.
These pots will come out on Tuesday.
Posted by Ron at 3:46 PM
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Just sitting around this morning having tea and watching Jamie at Home. I really like ol' JO, he's better than anyone on FoodTV. Well, I like Alton too but he's a totally different animal.
Jamie had a sweet little earthenware dish on the show. It had a a scalloped edge and mottled green glaze and the edges were chipped from use.
Tonight we're having friends over for dinner. Homemade pasta and bread. Sauce and salad. A fun time...looking forward to it.
Have a good Saturday!!!
Posted by Ron at 9:50 AM
Friday, February 22, 2008
I've never been so thorough in my testing as I have been over the past month or so. I think it will pay off in the long run. Remember in my last earthenware firing I ruined a bunch of pots because I went straight from a small test batch to a large batch and didn't figure in thickness of application etc.
Well, I didn't want to make that mistake again, so after I mixed up two 5 gallon buckets of glaze earlier in the week I went ahead and dipped several tiles and fired them. The results....great. To make sure I am consistent with my glaze thickness I weighed 500 ml of each glaze and made a note. That way I can check it in the future to see if it needs more water. Of course how I dip the pots will factor in too.
I have switched clays too. These tests show the glazes on the new body. I am happy with the whole package. My 200+ lbs of earthenware came out of the rack yesterday. So I am ready to go.
Today I am firing a bisque load of earthenware. I'll get them glazed and hopefully fired by early next week. Cross your fingers.
Posted by Ron at 9:47 AM
As I made my stoneware pots this week I noticed how I handle that material differently than have been handling the earthenware. Of course this makes sense as I know the stoneware pots intimately, I know they are going to get slipped, and go into the kiln for their final decoration...salt, soda, flame, flashing. The stoneware pots are gestural, carefree, casual. Those are words that come to mind.
I think the earthenware so far has been less carefree, even though I am making the same forms. Well mostly. The small bowls have been new. I guess what I am getting at is this...I want my earthenware to have the same qualities of the stoneware in the making process. Maybe even more exaggerated. Then there will be the opportunity of learning how to decorate on these pots.
I have noticed that my earthenware is informed by pots that are more traditional in form and deco. Which makes sense, that's an okay starting point. But being who I am and working like I do, I'd like to push the earthenware to a more casual place and see where that leads with the deco. As I write this I notice that I also feel some comfort in thinking that I could make more traditionally informed shapes and growing into that area. So who knows.
More or less I'm just writing to get this out of my head. I don't know what I'll do. I do have ideas taking shape in my sketchbooks and journal. For now it's about exploration.
Posted by Ron at 8:49 AM
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Hannah has a picture on her blog of banana boxes filled with pots. I too am a 'banana box' potter. Sometimes at shows people will say, 'here comes the banana boy'. I learned the banana box packing method from Tom Gray so I am just carrying that tradition along.
I have felt out of sorts and lost in my direction lately (that's nothing new really, but I mean in the pottery shop). So yesterday I got down to figuring out what I need to do next and plan for the coming week or so. I am back in the stoneware and have almost enough pots for two firings of the salt/soda kiln. Yesterday I wrote out a short 'to make' list and knocked out about half of it. I will fire the salt kiln next week and hopefully a load of earthenware too. Then one more firing of the salt kiln before my Home Sale at end of March (notice I have my Calender for 2008 there on the right).
I am almost out of stoneware clay so that will have to be mixed soon, but in the mean time the earthenware will come out of the rack and that will be enough for two small firings. Maybe I'll get my gas kiln finished before then.
The NC Potter's Conference is coming up in early March and I am really looking forward to going and seeing all my friends and having a fun weekend.
I just put some bread in the oven and it should come out in about 30 min. Then it's out to finish up pots and move on with the day.
The lunar eclipse was quite beautiful last night.
Posted by Ron at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Early last night I heard two owls calling in the woods across the road. There are small patches of woods there surrounding fields. Good hunting grounds. It's been quite a while since I've heard an owl so I got really excited and went outside for a bit to listen to them.
I am guessing they were Barred Owls.
It's times like last night that snap me out of my mindless habits and put me in the present moment. Those owls calling were 'here and now' , a beautiful moment to savor and enjoy. Of course every moment offers that...it's just remembering to be 'awake' for it.
As Thoreau said "To be awake is to be alive."
Posted by Ron at 7:52 AM
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sarah took some images of the pasta I made tonight. I bought a $30 pasta roller a couple weeks ago and this is the second time I've used it. Making homemade pasta is really simple and so tasty. Here are the sheets all rolled out.Then ya roll them up.
Slice them to the desired thickness (they will get a little bigger when they cook.) You have to be sure to dust the sheets well before rolling or the sliced pasta won't unroll.
Ready to boil for 3 or 4 minutes.
All set with homemade bread and sauce on one of my new plates.
I think the basic recipe for this pasta is 100g of all purpose flour to one egg. So I do 200 g and 2 eggs for me and Sarah. That's a good portion but you could make more. Mix it up, knead it well, rest wrapped in plastic wrap for 30 min in fridge before rolling out. Bob's your uncle.
Posted by Ron at 9:18 PM
Doug asked how things were going so I thought I'd catch you all up on things.
I threw the last of my earthenware today so I'm back to stoneware for a bit. Honestly I just want to make earthenware for a while, which is a nice feeling to have. I had fun today slipping some mugs and putting dots on them. I am going to fire this load of pots early next week. I'll bisque later this week as soon as a few things dry out.
I haven't worked on the kiln again, but plan to getting it knocked out soon. Things are sort of piling up around here, lots of pots in the workshop, the kiln shed is a mess etc. I need to get back to some order.
I am feeling pretty well too. In good spirits for the most part and it didn't hurt that the weather was sunny and spring-like today.
I've been baking plenty of bread and tonight I am making pasta from scratch with a simple tomato sauce with garlic and onions...and maybe a mushroom or two.
So that's that for now. More later maybe.
Posted by Ron at 6:20 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
I didn't get to work on the kiln today. I stayed busy finishing up yesterdays bowls and plates and after lunch mixed up a rack of earthenware. Looks like a big batch of chocolate pudding. I've got to start making stoneware on Monday, so by the time this is ready to come out of the rack I'll be ready to make some more red pots.
Below are all the pitchers, slipped and decorated.
And I got my platters finished today too.
So I'm a happy camper.
Posted by Ron at 9:24 PM
Thursday, February 14, 2008
It's been a beautiful day. The cows across the way were out bright and early enjoying the sunshine and grass in the pasture.I got all my pitchers and mugs handled today. Made more bowls, plates and cups too. I mixed up a larger bucket of black slip and some more green slip. I will fire this earthenware next week and probably the salt kiln right after that.
I am really having fun making this work. I just feel like I have all sorts of options and things to work out, but for now it's exciting and I am trying out whatever I feel like.
I am going to finish up pots tomorrow and work on the kiln for a bit. It's supposed to be sunny again so I will take advantage of that.
Posted by Ron at 6:04 PM
Happy Valentines Day.
Okay, now no laughing from you all from across the pond...
As a special treat for Sarah this morning I thought I'd get up and make crumpets. Sarah has talked fondly of having crumpets when she was in school for a semester at Kingston University London.
Of course I've never even seen a real crumpet. Anyhow with some info from Andrew I was able to get on my way with a recipe. My first attempts (on the left) resulted in 'blind crumpets', ie no eyes, or holes. I had to thin my batter down and I tried a few freeform shapes without the cookie rings. Andrew informed me that these are known as pikelets. There are a couple pikelets there on the far right. After I got my batter straightened out I went back to the ring method and turned out quite a few acceptable crumpets.
Of course my sweet wife was surprised and tickled to see me trying something that was distinctly for her. (She would have ate one even if was terrible, just for my efforts). Anyhow we shared a couple with butter and jam before she headed out to work. The rest will be saved for later.
Another recipe for crumpets here.
Posted by Ron at 9:01 AM
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I bought some commercial earthenware while in the city yesterday. Today I gave it a go and made some pitchers. I liked the way it threw, it was pretty tight and I was able to get the clay up and into the wall of the pots, getting the weight out of the bottoms. So these pitchers are much better than the ones from last week. I tried some fatter ones too, I've never been too great at making this shape but the one on the left is okay, and on the right too. That one in the center ...not so much. These will all get handles tomorrow. This clay is similar to the test batch I mixed up last week, so I am honing in on finding a clay I like. The first body I mixed had great qualities but it doesn't throw that well and it's just too short and course for me.
I decorated a few plates today and some bowls too. I am trying to leave some blank space.
These 16" dishes have lots of space. I guess I'm up to putting something on them. They will get slipped and drawn on tomorrow or Friday.
Posted by Ron at 6:28 PM
We had a good turnout a the Treasures reception the other night. Here are a few shots of my booth and pots. My earthenware was well recieved and I sold a few plates, a square dish and a few small trays as well as some of my salt/soda work. The show is up for a month so I expect a few more things to go.
The Circle of Eight crew was well represented in the show. Here you see Greg Scott, me, Amy Sanders, Julie Wiggins, and Adrienne Dellinger. Jen Mecca was in the show too but couldn't attend the reception because she had a class to teach.
Posted by Ron at 8:17 AM