Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Glazing

Today was pretty much taken up by unloading the bisque, waxing, and getting everything glazed. I managed all that and got the kiln loaded around 5pm this afternoon. So it's going now and I should have some pics of new pots up on Sunday.

No big Halloween plans for us. Just maybe a movie at home.

Thanks for all the comments on my quiche. I don't think that baker is as deep as you all think it is. Anyhow I'll get the recipe up over the weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Real Men....

Hey, I just made my first quiche! Not bad. I was inspired by Jen (a Domestic Goddess).

I'm off to teach again tonight at Clayworks. I'm filling in for Julie who's going to see New Kids On The Block (I'm not going to comment on that one).

I thought Sarah would be happy to find supper ready when she got home so I whipped this baby up.

The bisque kiln should shut off in about 30 min. so tomorrow I'll be glazing and reloading. New pots by Monday! I'm getting ready for the Carolina Pottery Festival which is Nov. 8th.

All for now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Birds. Planning.

This is a fan shaped dish with a bridge handle from the early 17th century Japan. Mino ware.

I've got it up here to show where I got the idea for my birds from originally.

Mine are different, but I guess you can see the similarities.
I am trying to approach the decorating process with some structure but still have it be spontaneous and quick. Today for instance I had a board of cups to draw on. I sat down and tried to get my mind quiet and be in the moment. (That meant getting Karma out of the shop for awhile). I picked up the cups and looked at them. I studied the slip pours and the marks on the cup. I thought, "what would work on here?" Then I'd quickly do a little sketch of my subject in my journal. I might have to do 3 or 4. I wasn't drawing the cup. Just the bird or fish or dog or whatever. Once I had that, I did a little rough in with pencil on the cup, and then worked over that with my incising tool. I try not to think too much and to let the tool have it's say in the mark making. I like to get it done quickly too.

My hope is that this will lead to more confidence in the drawing and less fear about screwing up. It will also probably eliminate me from putting things in weird places on the pot or just generally sabotaging myself. Better composition will result. I hope.

I didn't take any pics of those cups and they are already in the kiln, but I'll get some images of the process up later on. I just wanted to share what I'm doing and that it's helping.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In Search of....

This is the last hat I had that I really liked. I bought it in Durango, CO. some years ago.

I also like this little hat of Shawn's. My favorite part is that little red/orange ball on top.

So I guess I'm in the market for some kind of knit something or another. Having a top element seems important. Color would be good. (I'm tired of brown and gray). If it cost less than $40 would be nice too.

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions on the Monday. Later. post.

Wreck It

Remember the post I did a while back on Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal? Well, to really wreck a journal all I have to do is leave it out where Karma can get it, turn my back for 3 minutes and there you have it....
It was in pieces all over the yard when I found it. Good thing I was at the end of it and just bought this new journal.

I'm going to play around with all those pieces and paste the whole thing back together in some way. Maybe adding new elements as I go. Should be fun.

For more about Keri click HERE. She's amazing, I feel like she just lives and breathes creativity.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday. Later.

Sarah came in this afternoon and caught me decorating. Nice head wear huh? See where Karma tried to destroy it earlier? I've got to get a new hat for winter. My best one is worn out so I dug up this old toboggan. If you know of some cool winter hats let me know. I bought the last cool one in Colorado five or six years ago. I'm due a new hat. I don't want anything crocheted!

Okay on to serious business. Steven put a post up recently and in it he said, "I decided awhile ago that I can’t be creative and critical at the same time. When I attempt the two simultaneously neither the analysis or the subject of that analysis prove terribly valuable."

I had that on my mind today as I made pots but even more so when I sat down to decorate this afternoon. This whole deco. thing is really new to me and I am trying not to just give up and go back to making my old pots. It's very intimidating and there are LOTS of people out there who are exceptional at it. Okay, that's me being 'critical' before I even get going right? So what I figure is that Steven is right, I can't stand there and analyze everything before it even happens. I have to let go, work, make, decorate, whatever. Just let go, try to possibly be in the moment maybe. If I stop too long or take too long to start...well it just looks forced, too thought out, stiff, no good.
At some point after that I can come back and ask questions, "What is good about this?", "what do I like?", "what can I do differently?"and so on. I can do that all along the way, making, slipping, decorating, glazing and after the firing. I think that sort of analysis can be very beneficial to me.

As I write this I am aware that I have to remember that I am making these pots first and foremost for myself. So I don't need to compare these pots with anyone else's. I have learned (and unlearned, and forgotten and remembered at times) that comparing is never productive for me. Not unless I can leave that annoying self centered judgmental voice somewhere in a sound proof room.

One of the best lessons I've learned as a potter is to keep working. Make pots. Doing nothing, or thinking about it too much gets me nowhere. Making lots of pots has been my best teacher. I think now I have to apply that to my drawing and be willing to try some new things, new materials, new subject matter, new surroundings whatever. I think using the dip pen on large paper will help me loosen up a good deal. Getting out and drawing my surroundings or things in the house will help too. (Today I drew a garden rake and a set of salt and pepper shakers on a cup. Why? I don't know. They were things that I had seen recently and who cares if they relate anyhow.)

Well that's a pretty long post for today. More tomorrow maybe.

Hey, I mixed clay today too!!!!

Monday Morning

Off to work.
Have a good day.
More later.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pizza Night

Sarah's out with a girl friend tonight so Remy and I made pizza at home. Thumbs up. Watched Snatch again, now time for bed. Have a good weekend everyone.

All American. Obamaware Total

Yesterday I went to the best burger joint in town. If you've been reading this blog long you know I like a good cheeseburger now and then. The Taste-T Drive In has the best burgers in my opinion. You just order at the window or call in. They have a covered outdoor picnic area but I usually eat in the truck and listen to NPR. Juicy!
After having my all American lunch I headed over to the Board of Elections to vote. I had to wait in line about 20 minutes and then it took about 5 to vote. I was number 5731 to vote. If you can vote early you should, it will help out on Election Day.

Here's the final total on the Obamaware fundraiser.

It's totally amazing what people can do when they come together and work as one.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The Obamaware auction has ended and it looks like we raised a good amount of money for the Obama/Biden Campaign. I don't have the exact figure yet and don't want to be misleading so I'll wait on getting that out.

Thanks to everyone who bought pots and helped spread the word.

Thanks also to my readers who may not be for Obama. I appreciate you all for being patient with my posts. I tried not to voice my opinions about the election, and since this was a pottery related event I felt like it did belong here on my blog.

Steven Colby

Back in the 90's I took a class at Arrowmont school in Gatlinburg, TN. It was the first time I'd been to Arrowmont and I was really excited to be there. The energy was great, the clay studio was too. I've been back a few times since then to take classes or attend a conference.

During that first time at Arrowmont there was an event held in the library, maybe an auction, and I saw some work by Steven Colby. The piece I remember most was a small earthenware cup on a plinth. The cup was covered loosely in white slip. As I stood there I overheard Steven talking to someone and he was describing his work. I remember him saying, It's fired to cone 1 and it leaks some, which I like. (maybe that's not it verbadium, but it's what stuck with me).

At the time I thought, How wonderful! Cone 1! What a concept. I hadn't been exposed to clay long at that point and most of it was high fire, I'd often heard wood fired potters bragging about melting cone 13 in a burly, manly voice. Here was someone saying they fired to cone 1, how cool is that? (well a good bit cooler than 13)

Over the years I thought to myself that it would be nice to be doing something other than high fire stoneware and I'd think of Steven saying "I fire to cone 1". Maybe there was something about the number 1. Like the Beatles song. I don't know, but it stuck with me and now here I am making earthenware pots, fired to a low temp., cone 03. And hey, my first earthenware pots leaked like sieves, so I felt a real kinship to the statements I'd heard Steven say. I'd made it!

Well I've reconnected with Steven in a way. He's in Colorado now, still making earthenware pots. He has a website and a blog and I hope you'll check it out. I got his number a few months ago from potter Peg Malloy with the intention of calling him up. Until then, hopefully, we'll be connecting here in cyberspace.

Thanks Steven, you totally made an impact on my pottery life with out knowing it. I've been wanting to tell this story ever since I started in earthenware this year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Boy, today was a wash.

I did hear an interview with this band which I am liking. ....crazy, jump around, flailing arms, spinning about.

I've got to get some work done tomorrow. Yes.

I did drink a lot of tea out of my new rat cup.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Jar


Just unloaded the kiln this morning. Pretty good results all around considering I was working with some new materials and techniques. First up, some cups. You can tell a big difference between the slip that I brushed on and the poured slip. I rather like the thick/thin quality of the brushed slip. Sometimes it's too thin though, maybe, not sure, I'll have to live with it for a few more days. I do think it's got potential. All 7 of these cups have a new clear glaze and guess what? crawling, no crazing !!!!!!! So far, it could craze later, let's hope not.

I got a little carried away with the green on that middle cup.

This bowl has the brushed slip, see I think it could have been a little thicker. Keep trying...
Thank goodness all these came out. This finishes up a commission of dinnerware for a good customer. This is my old glaze that tends to crawl unexpectedly. No crawling!!!!! Yea! Boy, I must be living right.
Now this....this is not what I want. The new glaze made my copper slip turn this really (to me) terrible color of turquoise (?). So that's out. Lesson learned not to put the new glaze over the green slip. Yikes.
Gotta go.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not too much...

Not much to report from today. Finished off a bunch of pots that have been under plastic all weekend. So it was handles and feet and slipping. Tomorrow decoration and kiln unloading. New pots! Yea. Until then....

Obamaware Auction

Click here to go to the Obamaware Auction.

Monday Morning

There's a pretty good frost out this morning. The kiln has about another 2 hrs to go before being finished. New pots out tomorrow, so check back for those.

Last night an ambulance went up the highway with it's siren on and set off a group of coyotes howling just up the creek from my house. It was the first time I'd heard them. Neighbors have told me they have heard them recently. It was a great sound. It sounded like 6 or more of them. Maybe some young. I know most people don't like coyotes, including most of my neighbors and they may end up shot (the coyotes, not the neighbors). I hope not.

Coyotes are new around here. I saw a couple a few years back. I guess they are increasing in numbers. Being pushed here from somewhere else.

Week before last a deer walked into a shop in downtown Shelby. Right off the street in the middle of the day. It did some damage and lost an antler before the shop clerk got the back door open for it to get out.

I'm sure the coyotes are doing their part on keeping the rabbit and small rodent population under control, I've not heard of any livestock being killed. I did hear of one person who said his dog was attacked, but I don't know if it was a coyote who did the damage or just another dog. It was a Jack Russell and probably ran down the wrong hole. Who knows.

Okay gotta go have breakfast and then off to the workshop.

Check back later.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Rainy day today. I took it pretty easy in the studio, it is Friday after all. Made these few pots and finished up some 8 lb bowls. The bisque is all loaded and will fire off tomorrow.

I am having a good time coming up with some new deco. I need to get into my drawing journal a little more seriously each day. Well not really seriously,but you know do some drawing.

I've liked brushing the slip on pots versus pouring or dipping the pot in the slip. I can get this nice 'dry brush' thing happening and can get thick and thin areas of slip on the surface. I can also impart a sense of movement.

Brushing perpendicular to any previously incised line will leave the line exposed.

None of these pots have been glazed and fired yet so I'm excited to see what they will look like finished. My plan has been to try and create a more layered look on the surface; more depth. Of course I can work with that during the glazing process too.
Hopefully I'll have a load of finished pots by Tuesday.

New Cup Deco.

Had fun decorating these cups and a few more today just before they all got loaded into the bisque kiln.

Acoustic Syndicate

Acoustic Syndicate will be playing tonight at the farmers market building in downtown Shelby. $15 gets you in. Should be a great time. Show starts at 8pm. All ages.
Acoustic Syndicate Website
Acoustic Syndicate MySpace.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obamaware Update

Here is the email that I got from Ayumi this morning. Please help spread the word.

Hi Ron,
Here is the latest, and hopefully the final word, on the sale.

Obamaware will now be up for auction on Ebay starting:
Sunday night, October 19th, at 8 pm EST and will be up for 3 days

I recommend getting an account early so you'll be ready to bid. Each piece will have a Buy It Now option, which is 200% of the retail price, so first come, first serve. The entire auction, though, will be up for 3 days. The bright spot in all this is that we hope to raise even more money for our favorite candidate this way.

Nothing is up yet on Ebay, the Preview continues on my site (crossing my fingers for no crashes) until it goes live on ebay Sunday night. Since the last time I emailed, I've added almost 30 new pots from Elizabeth Robinson, Kirk Mangus, and Ron Philbeck.

Read more about the Obamaware artists

Again, my apologies for slow loading and crashing sites- who knew this would get so huge? The blogosphere has picked up this event with lots of passion and support. Thank you for all your patience and support and good luck bidding!!

Please help spread the word about the rescheduling!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Loosening Up

I drew on these after I had finished that basket. The slip was still a bit damp. I like this line quality with the clay at this state. The main problem is that it creates a lot of burrs and they have to be removed at the bone dry state.
I think I'll be making some more bowls tomorrow. This was fun. These are all around 12 inches in diameter (30 cm).

New Ideas

Following the "Plan" from the other day I brushed slip on the pots today instead of pouring it. Well I did pour it on some cups, but anyhow. This basket is sort of a new idea. It needs a bit of work and since I didn't feel very attached to it I decided to immediately draw on it after I applied the slip. Being in that adventurous mood i thought why not try some things off the top of my head. So came the fork and spoon, knife and box grater, pot and pan, and some carrots. Hey that was I moved on to some bowls...(next post).

Coolest Pour Ever

I've been pouring slips over pots for a long time, both to coat them and as a decorative effect. This is by far the coolest pour I've ever made. It was done in one continuous pour from a measuring cup full of slip, while holding the mug upside down over the bucket. I moved the measuring cup up and down while pouring and rotating the mug. I've never made that pattern before.

Now....can I do that again?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Change of Plans

If you are interested in what's happening with the Obamaware show you can read this email that I received from Ayumi today.

Click Here.

My pots did make it and will be included in the sale/auction.

Blogger Hates Me

I can't stand it when Blogger posts my pics sideways. AGGGGGGGGHHHH.....
I try to adjust it, but no go.
So anyhow, this is another shino pot, this one had wood ash sprinkled on it before it went in the kiln.

Crisis Averted

My pots made it to NY. They will posted with all the others now. Yea!!!!

If you are interested in buying Obamaware it would be a good idea to go online and set up your account in advance.

Shinos for Andrew

Andrew, these first three pots I made and have the Gustin shino on them. When that glaze is thick it's white when thin it's toasty. The clay does need some body reduction for it to look decent. You can see the thick and thin areas on these pots. Jazzing up the surfaces helps too, texture on the pot. Or like you are doing and like I did on the jar, wiping through the glaze to thin it out. The plate has a matt black trailed across it. I think shinos, unless they are the carbon trap variety, need something else going on on the pot. A pot covered in shino is sometimes boring. Try texture, paddling, roping, incising, whatever, things that will let the glaze go thick and thin. I have some pots with shino and ash on them somewhere here, and a cup that's this same glaze but thicker and really white. I'll try and find them.

This cup was made by Randy Johnston and has some kind of shino on it. It would be pretty boring if it didn't have that little band there in the middle.Try getting a high iron clay too. That will change the whole thing.
Looking good. Keep up the good work.

Nic Collins

Nic Collins will be holding an on-line exhibition/sale of the 20 best pots, chosen by him from the winter firing of the groundhog kiln. The exhibition/sale will take place at 6 pm on Friday 5th of December and will continue until 6pm Friday 12th December.

I was introduced to Nic's pots by Doug Fitch. Doug has helped Nic fire over the years and has been influenced in many ways by Nic and his work.

It will great to see the progression of the work as it makes it way from the wheel to the kiln and on to the exhibition. Check in often.

Obamaware Preview

Hey! The Obamaware Preview is up!! So many visitors yesterday that the site went down for a while. Sadly, my pots are still missing in action somewhere in the postal system. (which totally sucks and is making me sick).

However there are some killer pieces on there and they all go on sale tomorrow at noon. So get ready and be there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday. Back to Work

Okay here is the Plan:

I learned a good lesson last week when I made some pots that had hardly any surface variety, and then no glaze depth. BORING! Flat. Lifeless. Yuck. So I'm making sure now to jazz things up a bit. When I was firing salt I had to do very little to the surface because the kiln atmosphere did it all. I'm learning by trial and error with this slipware, and from paying attention.

Made some cups and bowls today.

Decorated these and a couple more boards from last week.
If you've been looking at the Obamaware site and wondering where my pots are, well, I had some bad news on Friday. My package got mis-routed. I think I screwed up the zip code. Hopefully they will get there before the show goes live on Wednesday.
Frustrating, but out of my hands for now.


Here are some examples of what I heard on Saturday.

"Wow this is new!"
"This doesn't look like your work Ron."
"Hey is this your work? I like it."
"Are you still firing your salt kiln?"
"We walked right by here and didn't know this was you"
"I love that amber glaze."
"These drawings are great. I love the piranha."

I visited some other potters in their booths and they asked, "Are you here? Where are your pots?" I'd tell them and they'd say, "Wow that's new, it doesn't look like your work at all Ron, I really like it, are you still firing your salt kiln? Is this earthenware?!"

Ha! Anyhow it was fun to introduce my slipware to folks who haven't seen it before. It was well received and I think it even surprised some folks that I could do something different. Maybe too it was a reminder that we don't have to do the same thing forever.

I took this photo yesterday. Sarah is rooting a plant on the window sill, with the curtain pulled over, it gave nice silhouette.

Off to the workshop. Have a good Monday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

ClayMatters Fall Pottery Sale

It was a beautiful day for the ClayMatters Pottery Sale yesterday. This event is held at the McAlpine Business Park amid the old dairy barn and silos. Its a great venue.

I didn't bother to put up a tent and brought my minimalist display to set up. I was flanked on either side by Vicki Gill and Jen Mecca, good neighbors for the day. I had pretty good sales considering all the hubbub going on with the banking market in Charlotte and all the other national economic stuff. I did notice a considerable drop from last year though. I was happy to sell my first harvest jug! I also took a few orders for plates.

Below are pics of Vicki Gill's booth and Jen Mecca's.

Vicki and Jen will be showing next weekend at Vicki's Studio in Gastonia. Check Vicki's blog this week for info.
Well that's it for now. Check in later for now.