Sunday, January 30, 2011

Paganini Caprice No. 24

There is no way I can hope to play this, but I'll enjoy the dream...

and here's Retaw making a go of Paganini's Caprice...

The shirt is apparently optional...

PS here's a link to "Fingered Octaves"

Whiffed Weekend...

Getting old is scary stuff, apparently not for the faint of heart.
My health took a spooky downturn Saturday and most of today... whew!

It made for a balked start on the glazing... and unfortunately I whiffed on everything else this weekend as well...

Sorry everyone.
Your understanding made dealing with being laid-up easier.

This afternoon, I did get to unload Friday nights' kiln load of experimental work and now I'm left looking at everything coming out with my eyes crossed trying to figure out how I feel about the results.
I seem to have gotten into the habit of challenging my own sense of aesthetics. It's hard to compare the forms and glazes I've grown used to seeing in print with the blisters, pits, and blue & brown forms that are coming out of the studio kiln.
The surfaces are fun to explore and the forms have grown on me, but I still can't help wondering what's coming next and whether I should even compare my apples with someone else's oranges... darn it, I like oranges.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ready set GO!

Glazing up 32 cubic feet of bisque this week-end while working double sure the cone 10 (red dot) and cone 6 don't get mixed-up.

Me thinks I should hold off on the celebratory beer until after the glazing is done this time...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Peter & Camille VandenBerge

Wow... This was an amazing surprise.
The University of the Pacific's clay club really pulled out another rabbit...   Peter and Camille VandenBerges 2 day studio visit was sooo nice.

Story telling is still defiantly an Art.

The difference between a good presenter and a great one are the storytellers.

Wow... If either of you two ever read this, "Thank you so much!" This was a great kick in the seat of the pants over scale...

Bach's Bourree Suite No3

It's good to have targets too shoot for... This is a fun one.
My neighbors can happily hum this tune now. Practice, practice, play.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cone Pack Myth Answer

Well, I had my guesses, but I was pretty surprised by the results none the less.
To recap the question... "In a pinch, can you with any reliability reuse cone packs that haven't fallen the first go through?"
I really thought there would be more of a difference in the dropping of the two packs, but Noooooope.
Orton exactly.
I'm not advocating running cheap. Fresh packs are peace of mind that comes pretty darn inexpensively.... but... if you like to have a running idea of the heat work being done all over your kiln, sticking in a few undropped used packs would be fine... more or less.
Out of all of the great answers that everyone took time to leave, Subblea passed on a link that explained it dead on.

Thanks everyone! Now we need to try and blow one of those little buggers up.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mental Note

If the lid's handle is still to hot to hold onto... the ware inside is still way to hot to look at.
I typically "Crash Cool" my cone 6 glaze pallet over a 12 hour period. This is more due to impatience than science, but it's been a process of natural selection has picked through dozens and dozens of tests. Unexpected results are looked for at this point.
During the firing, I aim to drop cone 5 with a bit of a soak, looking to get cone 6 starting to tip as well before shutting down the kiln. After that, the kiln temps drops as fast as it can with just the peeps out until it gets to around 250. By then I get inpatient enough to prop up the lid until I can actually hold the handle on the kiln lid.
Then it's time to unload...

It's looking to be a good crop of clay for this years TideWater event.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Much Needed Victory

I really needed this...
It's originally from this summer's gas firing, but was sadly underfired. Now all of it's bits got good and melty. 

Tonight is being spent burning another full load of bowls for the TideWater's Souper Supper  and I'm hoping to get those out and the kiln reloaded with the next full load of bowls by tomorrow night. There's even a few question marks loaded in tonight's load!

Cone Pack Myth Take 1

 To recapp the question... "In a pinch, can you with any reliability reuse cone packs that haven't fallen the first go through?"

I LOVED the response... I've gotta see what happens... Over the years I've seen a hefty amount of work thrown onto the point of this premise.
Check out the comments in Cone Pack Question to get the background on this.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I'm happy with the glaze, I like the iron brushwork, the form is what I like, but I love the Kiln Gods sense of humor.

A 7 bar in the kiln sitter dropped cone six in the center of the kiln (as seen above). The top and bottom of the kiln were at a good cone 5 and everything matured very nicely.

I can live with that... happy dance!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cone Pack Question

In a pinch, can you with any reliability reuse cone packs that haven't fallen the first go through?

Peep'n Different

This Paragon kiln has something I hadn't really seen before and hadn't really given much thought to.
The Peep hole starts out like a standard hole... about and 1 1/2"
but this tapers down to a bit over 1/2" and I can't see a cone pack well enough through the peep at  "white heat" to make diving by pyrometric cone even possible.

Test, adjust ,test, adjust... repeat

I've always taken for granted that I'd be able to check my cone packs to help me get a good look at where I'm at relative to the heatwork being done in the top and bottom of the kiln.

But with this kiln I can't... meh.

The up-side is that it cools amazingly s-l-o-w-l-y... wait, that might be a downside... Hmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Test adapt Test adapt Repeat

First glaze firing for the Paragon in months since making a few minor/major adjustments…  I had a checklist of hypothesis’s (guesses) of what to expect, but I had to start burning again so I could work through the list.

Aside from all of the other experiments that were in the kiln, it was realizing that kiln sitter needed adjustment that made the firing worth it.
I had set the kiln sitter for cone 5 and it did its job and it shut the kiln down when the bar bent …. but none of the cone packs dropped cone 5 (didn’t really even budge.) So the options are to pull the kiln sitter, readjust the nut and reinstall the sitter OR use a cone 7 bar in the sitter and a pyrometer to see how far off the sitter is.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Clay Porno

 Leave it to my partner in clay to work this into his line-up. 
This is a Bruce Cadman special.
The novel feature is how the 06 Black glaze reacted to the decals... they turned red!
Special note (The red dots happen to be decals of vintage porno, so if you blow this up to take a good look, don't say I didn't warn you!)

No Question of Worth

I saw this bowl made by Trent Burkett at a ceramics sale on the UOP campus last month. It was one of those rare joyous finds that instantly gets under your skin… Throughout the day I found reasons to wonder back through the event 3 times before heading home for the night. I woke up at 1:30 in the morning seriously deep in thought about the piece. I know it’s just a bowl… a very, very beautiful bowl, a potter’s pot… asymmetrically thrown on a kick wheel using a clay body with feldspar chips wedged in, rope textured, slipped and wiped, sprigged, a hand cut deep narrow foot, signed with an distinctive chop over the curve of the foot ring, soda fired, and finished with a subtle red enamel accent … like I said, a potter’s pot, but it had me hooked.

It is so many things that my work currently is not… I woke-up the next morning at 5am and stopped by the grocery on my way into work to pull out $25 in hopes of seeing it again… lucky enough it was still there and since then, it’s become a very familiar friend.  I’m even more taken by it than when I first saw it. I love the feeling of wonder I get every time I use it… 

It’s an excellent example of the evolution of the Minnesota Minge Movement.  A quiet object that is amazingly complex and subtle in its approach to surface and form while beautifully serving its function. Work at this level is made by very confident hands and it shows…
Totally worth every penny spent and I know I got a bargain.
Thank you Trent… I love it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Strange Places

LOVE this sound track...

Surface + Stencils

Jenny Mendes is somewhere out there on vacation... she has been finding all sorts of amazing Gorilla Art on her wonderings. Me thinks my fish bowl is much too small....

Cone 6 White Liner

G-200 Feldspar 20%
Ferrro Frit 3134 20%
Wollastonite 15%
EPK 20%
Talk 6%
Silica 19%
add Zarcopax 7%

This has been my standard white liner for a while now.  It's fairly dependable to be stable from a hot cone 5 to  a medium range cone 7. It's a good fit for Laguna Clays' cone 6 B-Mix and Cone 6 RedStone ware.

The big down side is that it's a bit hit and miss when refiring at lower temps when burning in decals. Lots of unpredictable pitting.

That can be a good thing... (bring in the enamels).

Studio 1-16-11

Mitch Smith

Mitch is a local ceramic artist that provided one of last years favorite surprises for the Tidewater's Souper Supper.

This is a really fantastic handbuilt form and I'm happy that he's kind enough to revisit this design for this years event. Popular demand will see to it that his work gone really, really fast, so show up early.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Paragon Model A-100B Manual

Bruce dropped these off for me to paw through... it's the original Paragon Manual and Catalog still mint condition from 1973!

The HalfPint I've been loaned to burn is the Paragon Model A-100B.

It's official... this is Vintage

Just Keep Bowling

It’s 47 degrees outside tonight and it’s still dropping. The 3rd bisque of the week is cooling and I’m pulling from a new library of bisque for a sacrificial test glaze firing. I’m heading back out for a few more hours to top off a few glaze buckets for tomorrow.
Here are samples of greenware accompanying the front-end  notes for this weekend’s Cone 6 glaze load of bowl, bowls ,and bowls.

Half a wareboard of Amber
Half a wareboard of NutMeg

A ware board of Blue Hares Fur & Crackle

A wareboard of Blue Hares Fur & Crackle over a test slipped pattern

A ware board of Sgraffito through wax over a White Liner
(the link to this recipe take you to a clear, but it explains adding tin or zarcopax as an opacifier to make a white.)
The highlight is a long put off experiment that tests how omitting the Cobalt from the BlueHares Fur will affect the stability of what I’m putting over it… habitually chasing question marks.

And a shelf of yunomi…

John Spencer Pink

I morn the loss of someone who has so greatly shaped who I am that I can very confidently say that I am a better person for getting to be his student.
Mr. Pink was our Art teacher at Washington High school in Cedar Rapids Iowa. It was Mr. Pink who set so many us children on a positive path and gave us the courage and belief in ourselves to do wonderful things.
Just goes to show... one Artist can make a monumental difference in the community and the world.
Thank you Mr. Pink... the sky is yours to dream in.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Just getting to bisque again is a huge relief, (Huge!), but this is what I've been working for...

 Bisque in 8 hours...

... reloaded and press burn.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Peter Vandenberg

Peter Vandenberg is a guest of Trent Burkett and the University of the Pacific's ceramics department January 25th and 26th from 10 to 4.
Both days are free and open to the public. The first day will also include a slide lecture by VandenBerge.

This is part of a series of artist workshops that are provided by UOP. These are great learning opportunities for students and art advocates alike.  Attendees have the opportunity to ask questions about the work while seeing demonstrations of the work being made. 

Board and Loving It

 GreenWare boards of work are finally moving down the steps and into the kiln.

Accumulation of greenware makes me increasingly nervous. I'm amazed that this stash has survived all of the roof leaks and tom cats that have taken up winter residence in the studio.
I'm still holding my breath, but just actually getting to start moving work through an on site kiln again is a huge shift.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Frankenstien Solution

When in doubt...
 Flip the switch... a 50 amp Frankenstein switch.
Seeing how I seem to be spending so much time under the hood replacing elements, switches, wiring and what-nots, might as well throw this on the wall next to the kiln.
The upside is that we can now easily hardwire in nearly any electric kiln that lands on the kiln pad.
The BIG upside is that we are test burning one right now!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

GoodDay Sacramento

The Sacramento Potters Group Seconds Sale was so much fun. The
Shepard Garden and Arts Center
was a fantastic venue for a post-seasonal seconds sale. (It's in an absolutely beautiful park.)The artists were all wonderful characters and when the doors opened... there were actually people happy to explore everyone's work... lots!
I thoroughly enjoyed  getting to meet so many new people!

 Steve pate and I were the only 2 vendors that were outside, but that worked out very well for us. When the doors opened, there were people waiting to get in out of the cold and wonder the tables. They were a very cheery bunch and best of all, they could talk about what they were looking at.  After they got done warming up inside, they came outside and it was a ball!
Thank you everyone!
Getting to put work in so many new hands at one time is still very heady for me.
I hope everyone enjoys what they found and will look for me this summer. 
This time I'll share a few Racers.

4th Tower of Inverness

I heard stories about the tower appearing in the early morning fog, but I had never seen it before... 
At 6 am the University grounds are very quite...
and finding this at 6am in the fog while walking to work just sets the tone for a good day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sacramento Potters Group 2nds Sale

Saturday I can be found me at this years Sacramento Potters Group Seconds Sale in Sacramento from 10 AM until 2 PM at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95816 (right next to McKinley Park in beautiful East Sacramento).

This year I'm using this event to pass on some fun stuff for a heavy discount.  I've never gotten to do this event before and just getting to do this is a bit of a last minute thing.
 (The supply store is just down the road and I'm hurt'n for raw glaze materials so it was a quick decision.)

This is going to be fun. It's just 4 hours and I'm really looking forward to lurking through all of the booths and meeting everyone.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Forrest Lesch-Middleton Workshop

It's a fresh new year and the ladies at Fourth and Clay in Berkeley are already at it!
A workshop with Forrest Lesch-Middleton at Fourth and Clay on the Feb, 12th.
GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! My timing must still be off...
There's a backstory.