Friday, December 31, 2010

Magic Words

Despite all of this years happy dances, I felt like this was a year spent getting used to falling just short...

Like a lot of us, I couldn't keep the momentum going needed to balance everything out, life just seems to keep getting off center.

 Dispite the effort... It's not always enough to stay as optimistic, sometimes it's a good time to find something else to keep busy with... My golden lining this year was the hundreds and hundreds of hours spent playing my violin. I'm not allowed to practice within earshot of the house, so I ended up obsessively practicing on local street corners and in the parks of our neighborhood. (I've since learned that someone enthusiastically playing, how-ever-badly, is someone that can make a good amount of people smile. It's the counter-productive effort that people relate to and that is a very good thing.)

  The other really big change lately has been creating a bit of breathing space by  pulling on my garden boots. Reluctantly it's time to knuckle under and invest the effort needed to make the changes that need to be made this new year to keep projects moving forward.

Woof... this is going to be a whole lot of work, most of which won't fit nicely into the "glory" category. Honestly I'm expecting another bumpy year. No problem though... this year is ending on a positive note...we've got a handle on hard wiring the loaner kiln!
The magic words for the new year are " High amperage screw-down connector block
See you in the New Year! 
Licks, Love, and Luck!

Bwahhh haahha ahahahahah! The new year is going to be so much fun!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dew Rag (by Galactic)

and for something a bit more mellow...

Doo Rag

Woof...During the 90's, Abbe and I used to find these 2 playing in a back alley venue once or twice a year in Phoenix.  This was the stuff man! They were a fantastic lead into an all night binge of Crash Worship.

Thanks for the link Tim!

Quick Thought...

It would nice to be noted for my work, but I would happily take easily referenced.

Staying Neutral

Ok... let's see...
the manual says there are 2 hots, a ground and a neutral... Huh?

Ground and neutral are ganged up on a pole. The manual says that isn't a winning combination (won't necessarily burn the house down, but 2 out of 4 coils won't be lighting up.)
Sure enough, a quick call to the trusting soul that let me borrow this little beauty confirmed that an electrical engineer had put a new male plug on to match their wall socket.
Now it's time to figure-out how to install a 4 prong outlet and plug and call in an electrician...
Hey! I cook for volunteers.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

UOP Soda Kiln Part 2

A week ago I posted my view through the fence of the soda kiln at UOP. Well I blinked and now it's gone. The hazmats came through, smashed the beast down to the frame and packaged everything up to be shipped off as hazardous waste.

My timing seems to be a bit off lately...

Dave Brubeck - Take Five - 1966

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Plan #9

This looks pretty sloppy, but it’s actually perfect for this experiment.

I’ve got 12 bowls that have been slip stenciled with a stiff basic slip made out of my standard Cone 6 clay body (Laguna B-Mix). The stencils in this case are cut from a plastic contact paper sheet. Unlike the newsprint that I usually use, these won’t lay flush against the clay and the slip seeps underneath when and where it can…  

What these plastic stencils do have is a bit of weight to them, so over most of the design, the thickness of the plastic gives a very distinct sharp transition between slip and the thrown clay body.


Now when the bowls are given their final coat of studio Crackle Glaze, the crazing that grows in the surface will incorporate the transitions into shear lines and reveal the design. After firing, the design should be a ghost in the crazing of the glaze… well that’s the jib…, that’s the plan anyway, but we’ll see … 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Bowling

Whew! I have a 10 day seasonal reprieve from my new job on the UOP grounds. High time to get a whole butt load of bowls into the pipe for this years Annual TideWater Souper Supper. As tradition has it... I'm using the opportunity to work a few ideas out to see what happens.


Monday, December 13, 2010

UOP Soda Kiln

Pulled another Wile E Coyote moment.
I worked so hard to get this close and they are knocking it down on the 28th of this month!

See'n Stuff Go

Sometimes it just seems not fair... so much of the good stuff just seems to disappear. I don't get to hold anything long enough...

Cheers Mate!

Love is an amazing thing...
Dude, I knew you are giving me horns.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Leaf-Herder in Training

Busy busy busy…

I’ve been overly occupied with tying-up old loose ends and setting up new pins…
A few weeks ago I was surprised with an request to apply for a local job opening. It was an opportunity to do something I’ve always dreamed of getting to do… work as a grounds keeper and gardener for an Ivy League campus, one of the most beautiful in North America to boot, the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.


Now it looks like I’ll be holding a very high powered leaf blower for the next few months while I get to know the campus and it's big o’l soda kiln. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge… Anyone see where this is going?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Onggi Kick Wheel Plans

Tacking this up on my to do list for this winter.
A big "Thanks" to San Diego State University for putting this plan out there for all of us MudHeads.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Pop-corn time!
If you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall for a Peter Voulkos workshop... here it is.
Voulkos is one of the more prominent peaks of American Ceramics during the past 50 years.
A whole bunch of us have pivoted on this particular peak. It's amazing when you sit down and watch the entire series. The resulting conversation is obviously much better handled in a bar.
This is vintage Voulkos posted by Ken Stevens... Here is a link to a full workshop! If you have the time, grab a bottle of gin, a pack of smokes, a six pack and kick back for a few hours of insight into American  Master.

Peter Voulkos part three from Ken Stevens.

Here is a bit of background and lead-up to this series originally posted by Ken on Clay Art in 2003.

"Hi All,
While attending the Kansas City Art Institute, I came across three large
video reels in the dumpster near the ceramics building. At the time, I was
dumpster diving for ceramic heads- the sophomore students had made clay portraits of themselves for a class assignment. I found a lot of great
heads that year to put in my yard. More importantly, however, I found these three reels.
At the time I thought they were movie reels, but soon with a
bit of research I found out that they were old reel-to-reel VTR (VCR type
tapes) from the 70s. The format and the giant machines for the reels were
out of date by some 20 years (I found the reels in 1995). The reels were
labeled =93Peter Voulkos 1976 demonstration=94 and together last about three hours long. They then sat in my basement for eight years, so now the reels are 27 years old. They may not have been seen for as long as 20 years now!

After the unfortunate death of Peter Volkous, I once again remembered the reels in my basement and decided for the sake of preserving this historic event I should try and find a way to restore them. I sent the reels to have them professionally saved to a DVD before they become unsalvageable.
To save these reels professionally it will cost me a large chunk of money,
but I think it will be worth it to see what Peter Voulkos was doing in his

Ken... I seriously owe you a beer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Five HandMade Minutes Slip-Up

A 5 minute point of view look at an afternoon slipping up cut paper stencil designs on thrown yunomi...

I'm hoping that more ceramic artists sign on to the premise of sharing 5 minute slices of doing what they do. I love watching someone perform well practiced labor. For me it's immensely insightful to watch other hands move.

Ai Weiwei: Sunflower seeds

Dreaming the "big dream"...

Just getting to see Ai's vision form is an incredible experience. It's the type of feat that feeds myth.
Big "A" Art...

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's not an original idea, but it's still fun to play...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Buckets Out

Well this years fall wet season began quite a bit sooner than the Farmers Almanac predicted...
 The up-side is that the gardener in me is happy a few beds got turned and planted while I was digging trenches and grading the new prairie grass meadow.
The down-side is that the potter in me goes into sandbag mode trying to deal with the holes in the roof 3 buckets at a time.
Seems easy enough, fix the roof, but that takes out a bit of the romance here and diminishes the point of working in an outdoor studio.

The point of an outdoor studio is that it's open only when it's open and it's open only when the gods let it do it's thing...
I'm covering up a lot of the studio this fall while a few things are sorted out.
I am getting the uneasy feeling that big changes are ahead so it's a good time to reminded myself that sometimes it's tactically wise to downsize expectations if I want to stay reasonably  happy. As it stands, I'll be more than happy just being able to push through 30 cups every 3 or 4 weeks if I could mortgage off the idea.

 I'm still in a cone 10 mode and I'm romancing the "Tile 6 slip". This week, the "Hundredth Monkey" effect seems to be bleeding though because I'm seeing that I'm part of a much larger crowd playing with this particular recipe.
 Sometimes it's good tobe part of the crowd.

Until then say "Hello" to my little friend.

Five HandMade Minutes Slip-a-Peel

Looks like this is going to be a running series of shorts. (Hmmm... there's a joke somewhere in that last line, it's going to be bugging me all day long now...)

The heavy breathing right next to the camera doesn't help, but it does make you feel like you are right there.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Half-Moon Twilight

I've been exploring  the textures of downtown Stockton over the past 6 weeks. Get to enjoying a spot of safari time before and after picking the kids up at their new school in the heart of the beast.

Stuff like this is gold for my soul.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MugShot 2010

There's a whole lot more crowsfeet on that mug since I last looked. Last week I got a chance to help local photographer
experiment with his new lens by sitting down and not picking my nose. Totally worth it.
The shallow depth of field really is nice...

Five HandMade Minutes

The premise is simple...
Share 5 minutes of studio time by pressing record on your camera while you get busy. Then post it up over on This is Handmade.
It's collection video shorts that give the curios a taste of what we all sit through for hours on end...

I Love my job...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Test Cups

Need a hundred and fifty cups put through the studio to test clay, slip and glaze interaction at cone 10. Making a bit of a detour to revisit a few design developments from this spring and summer to see what happens.
I love the sprigg'n used for this FireFly. It would be so much smarter to actually test the glazes being used in the kilns these will be in... but Eh? You can always hope to be Golden.
Nearly done with the cups and now I'm gearing up to start throwing a few crown pots to top off this load.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This is getting old...
3rd time in as many years.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Slow Drag on a Load of RedDot

 I've been lagging on getting this seasons load greenware ready for the kiln. This is a load of RedDot, (marked cone 10 ware). Overstretching myself enough to tripp me up a spot. Too much thinking and not enough work... too much gardening... too much violin... too much life...
So I'm enjoying a slow drag through a load of 150 yunomi and chawans made to explore a limited palette of glazes and slips. I'm trying stay put at 4 buckets of mixed studio glazes. I do have to admit that much of my satisfaction comes from knowing that I'm nefariously dipping more than 2 dozen cups in other neighboring studio potters glaze buckets just to see what pops up.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Huh? (2)

This post has nothing to do with clay. It does have everything to do with how I make a few ends meet. My part time day gig is running around like BatMan with a shovel and pruners. This is my alter ego as WaterBoy at the local community college test gardens.
The short job description is, "Capture and build beds, plant'em up, and water'em".
I thoroughly love my job.

The powers that be are building a cool new science building right next to the students' old greenhouse. (Very cool to watch go up.) Apparently that means that I get a stab at get laying in a new garden meadow across the street, (along with a few other very sizable "Capture" projects as well).
Most of Monday was spent trenching a field with a fun little "Tonka Toy" in prep for lots of new pipe. The glory of the day was spending a few hours upside-down in very muddy trench in said field. I had found an uncharted  water-pipe with my Tonka...
The chaos that ensued was absolute pure glory... the pipe was fixed and I got to enjoy getting really muddied up on a beautiful October day.

Man, I love my job...

Friday, October 1, 2010


It’s been just a bit over a week since I last pushed Publish, there are a whole weeks worth of stories that are getting skipped over…

Nico’s Missing Finger(ish)… Electric Teeth… ground breaking on a new garden meadow…a dead tree… the “Visions in Clay” is packed up…the sale of “Blue Dream”… Art Club… cone 10 revisited… hide and seek internet… yunomi (plural)… oxide infused waxes…flashing washes and slips… really loving the kids new school a whole lot… a new obsessive fix on “Gavotte” by J.B.Lully (this is an magnificent seasonal piece. Lots of fun to play with before bed), manifolds, manifolds, manifolds (it’s a garden feature)… a new “Lover’s Path” (it’s another garden feature)… a few new beds (more garden stuff)… tight, tight times, and Tonight is the big Opening for the “Clay ‘n Blogs” show! 

A Big Happy Dance on the last one!

Cheers to everyone that made it out to the exhibition. I would have loved to stood with my work and danced with a few of you...(I owe Meredith a special dance), but as it stands this blog this is the best I can do, and that’s pretty much why I do it.

Licks, Love, & Luck everyone.
I hate posts without Pictures… so here’s something without blood... (see top of post...)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Start of a New Cycle

 Point of view vertigo...
Looking in the damp box tonight.
It's good to feel the push of a new work cycle.

 This is working towards a build-up of a whole kilnload of the good stuff... this time it's going through cone 10 reduction. Armed with a newly cut swarm of stencils it's time to get busy.

Still a lot of question marks with this load... Much of the uncertainty is dealing with current firing logistics. I'm trying very earnestly, to be happy about crating up my greenware to take to another kiln. The best reason so far has been that the situation makes me more actively cull though what leaves the ware boards and ends up in the kiln.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Surface Interrupted

Like most potters, I live for the gems that come out of the kilns.

One of my major problems is that the surfaces that I enjoy exploring are surfaces that are...

well, a bit crunchy.

 These are 4 works that came out of the last kiln load underfired... The longer that I look at and handle these though, the more I absolutely love them as they sit. The unexpected edges engage the hands as they are handled and visually I enjoy the look of an object that looks like it's been stressed but now appears relaxed.
Personally, I can relate to that.

Knob'N'alls and AgateWare

I've taken a working week off to get projects moving forward up in the test garden at Delta Community College. I've had students tearing down fences and digging out Bermuda patches in prep for building new walking paths and beds.
Gardening is a sport...

Aside from all the exercise, I've spent a frustrating amount of time this week also trying to organize my inventories and get a few items posted on my Etsy.

You'll probably recognize a few...
There are knob'n'alls that Ron Philbeck had us all making this last Febuary...
Here in Northern California we are fortunate enough to be able to refer to them as "Stash Jars", but I still prefer "Knob'n'all".
And there are also a few AgateWare yunomi that went up too.

On that note, here's a video clip from the not-so-distant past.

My Little Wooden Bitch

Pardon the crassness, but I’m Dutch so I'm guessing it’s ok…  
 My relationship with this little darling has been an developing problem over the past 8 months. Since we met, I’m constantly finding myself looking for reasons to pull her out for a quick round about.

 Pop up out of bed in the morning… push the kids to the door at a generously early hour knowing that once they are dropped off at their new school (private happy dance) I get to explore the acoustics of downtown Stockton at 7:30 in the morning… (This might not be a good idea, but hey, a vibrant downtown thrives on character). If I skip playing downtown, then I find a reason for an 8:15 coffee break on the neighborhood street corner. I gotta get it in because it’s a good long wait until I get to spend another 15 minutes with the case open again. 

After just 2 weeks of picking the kids up from school, I’ve gotten into the habit of loitering just down the street down from their school for another quick round. Hey… the parking space is paid-up for 30 minutes so a once through will happily burn through another 15 minutes free and clear then it’s back to sitting on my hands until after homework is done for the kids and then it’s up to the park for a good solid stint of 30 to 90 munities of tackling new passages. Mmmmmmm…

Why am I feeling guilty about this?