Friday, April 30, 2010

California Clay Conference for the Advancement of the Ceramic Arts 2010

The name on the card that's going to be buying the beer at next week's "Drunken Philosophers Club" meeting is Bruce Cadman. His slipcast, altered, and piece assembled work is quickly moving into the line-up in West Coast Ceramics. The piece above is the teapot that got into this years' main exhibition at the Artery. You can get a look at how Bruce creates his work at PortCityMud.

For the rest of us visiting Davis this week-end... This is a week-end of pop-up galleries that are hosting student shows from all over California. This is a great chance to see how things are moving along here in CA and get a line on new up and coming talent.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Change of Pace

Taking 2 of the proposed new hallmarks for spin...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Palimpsest and Skull Drudgery

Well I'm still waiting for replacement infinite switch to show-up... Doh!

In the mean time... a spot of show and tell from the last weeks load.

Luscious skull drudgery!
The above is a refire from this months load.
It's a bit of palimpsest... decals over a richly white glazed surface.
I'm starting to see how that might be fun point work with though...

With that in mind...
This was one of the pieces that went through last weeks kiln that had the best of my curiosity. Originally this chawan was from one of the 2008 fall kiln loads . It had been crated up after it was shown along with everything else that fall before getting set away on a rack.
After pawing through a corner of this particular crate, it was decided to see how a bit of the"Retro" and current R&D mix

I like it...
Like I said earlier.. Palimpsest

Rack'em Up

Finally put out this prototype tilt display in the coffee shop across the street. It's stable, but I need rock solid...

I'm curios how they'd scale-up for larger canisters.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Chops for the Local Market

A change of pace this morning... during this morning's installment of Math and Phonics at the local coffee shop, I had a very pleasant surprise.

I really haven't mentioned this much before, but my wife and I are home schoolers. I'm the principal Math and Phonics teacher for the youngest of the 2 kids and help run support for Language Arts. My wife carries the rest covering History, Language Arts, and Music ... Abbe is the Arts teacher too. She's really much better suited at covering the fundamentals of the arts... I just deal with philosophy and technique.

The big jump and down moment this morning was regauarding the fact that the youngest has finally gotten to the point where she can more or less read the instructions back to herself after a "once through" and then follow the directions.
This frees up a bit of my morning brain power. Good thing too... we really need to keep eating and brain time is becoming a commodity in my house hold.
Back to the main-point... I got to spend the morning carving "chops" for hallmarking our family's summer Farmer's Market project, while Nico read and worked though her lessons... "Yes!"
A lovely morning spent carving greenware plugs for bisque. These are the hallmarks that local buyers are going to identify us by this season so they need to be readable.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Just Can't Leave it Alone

I had it written plain and to the point on my note card...
"(15) yunomi, (8) 2.5lb canisters"
With a foot note underlined...
"Keep it simple!"
Easy in, easy out... no problem.
But I'm still waiting for my infinite switch to arrive, and I'm down to the last bag and a half of
unused clay before busting into processing the 6 buckets of foot clay... it smells like feet ya know?
So a shelf full of leather-hard ware and is just begg'n for some attention.
First it starts with just one, then a second... a third seems like a good idea, and the during the fourth I'm thinking about the fifth... by then I'm just coasting and enjoying the flow while going for broke.
I just can't leave it alone!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Throwing a Lid Off the Hump

An easy in and out this morning...
I had posted a video a few weeks back showing how I'm currently making my lids by throwing off the hump, but I never got around to showing how the lids were trimmed up.
Here's a full clip showing the whole process...

The background music is, "I'm Beginning to See the Light" by Jay McShann. Love his magic fingers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Morning Fog

With all of the rain over the past few months, a thick fog has been a common sight for anyone silly enough to be up at 3 am. (That would be me...) I've never been anywhere that had winter fog like this before. I hear it actually is even more intense just outside of town here in the ag belt of Northern California. I took pictures, but a white-out due to fog doesn't translate well to digital film. (I'll work on that.)

This has all been translating well into my studio work though. The Delta's morning fog and afternoon wind was the original inspiration for the spiral motif that I started to use 3 years ago... Over the past year I've been really enjoying where this motif has been going and now I look forward to each new opportunity to explore it's application.

This is a beautiful yunomi from the last load of work. (It can be found in my Etsy storefront.) It was thrown off center with heavy finger trails thrown into the surface, turned, stenciled, and slipped. The cobalt slip is saturated just to the point of beginning to form crystals, burning blue through the dipped and trailed white glaze in spots.
The glazed surface is buttery with a slight pitting that adds to the allure of the finished glaze.

Bets Are In

In last Saturday's post I asked if anyone thought that the slight reducing atmosphere inside a badly vented electric kiln might reduce the iron in laser jet decals. (Toner decals seem prone to turn brown-red in electric kilns.)
Dan Finnegan had the correct answer... it wouldn't make much difference...

The accidental extra long bisque firing did create a small number of craters in a few of the glazed surfaces. The surface had a few pinholes in the glaze already, but I planned for those, (I like these pinholes, they are buttery and soft. They add to the finished surface.) The craters though are sharp edged. (Not good) I've recently started sanding the craters and filling them in with a pre-made low fire glaze that is then refired. (Very good) So far I like the results, but this is still a new angle...

Monday, April 19, 2010

RunAway Kiln

I think I've accidentally pissed off the kiln gods again. This usually seems to happen when I attempt to moderate my limited vices. After a lifetime of trial and error, I've become convinced that the Gods made me to vicariously enjoy some of life's simple pleasures for them. They seem to get rather grumpy when the Temperance League steps in. Bad MoJo always seems to follow in spades. Go figure...

I posted this note on the Ceramic Arts Daily's forum this morning looking to get some input while I wait for the kiln to cool...

24 hours into this weekend's bisque firing I knew something was up. This usually takes only 12 hours tops, but I still hadn't hit cone 04 yet.
Thinking I might had blown and element, I checked... looking through the spy-holes, I could see a representative section from each bank of the elements glowing.
Quizzed, I turned off the kiln, but the bottom bank went right on going even though the switch was turned to the off position.
Run Away Kiln
While I wait for the kiln to cool I'm wondering if anyone who has had this problem before can zero me in on the problem?

This is an old Paragon kiln and I'm thinking it's a stuck relay. Hopefully replacing the infinity switch will solve the problem...
P.S. What the hell does "infinity switch" mean
and who names these things?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Joe Clay

Rubble Rubble

Seven 5 gallon buckets of this stuff... greenware chucks, mismatched lids, cracked forms, and assorted whatnot.

Put it in a old pant leg and mix well with a hand sledge...

Rubble rubble...
Man I need a pugger!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Any Bets?

Well, apparently I just can't help myself.
I liked how this yunomi came out of the kiln a few weeks ago, but what came out of the kiln was supposed to be just another step in the original design.

The slipped design is a backdrop for a handful of decals of floating eyes... (I don't know why... it just looks good in my mind's eye and I want to see how it plays out in reality.
This is how most of my work comes about nowadays.
Simple curiosity...)

The experiment this kiln load is "how will firing a few decals works with a full bisque load turn out?"
In oxidation my decals turn red... seems reasonable due to the iron content. With that thought in mind, I'm hoping the burning all of the organics out of my bisque ware will create a reducing atmosphere and blacken the decals up a bit...
Any bets?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


These are studio covers done this afternoon in humble homage to Matthew Metz. After seeing his contribution to this year's AKAR Yunomi Invitational, I had to play with the riff in celebration of Earth Day. It's a stretch, but I had fun.

The piece below is the piece that got me scratching this morning...

Anyone not familiar with Matthew Metz's work, check-out this image gallery of his work.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Alas fair weather... where art thou?


It started off windy and it soon got wet... really wet. But we got to meet a lot of new faces and we all had a ball listening to great music!

Jazz on the Mile: Brubeck Institute 10th Annivesary

This is usually a fantastic event that my neighborhood puts on every year. A side street is roped off and catered with local wine and great food from the neighborhood restaurants. A tented main stage hosts a daylong showcase of Jazz. I can already hear the trumpets and trombones warming up.

Man I love my neighborhood...

I've been a bit more excited about this event than usual this year.This time around they've asked the PortCityMud Demo Team to provide a bit of sideshow entertainment with a bit of public "Plain Air" throwing. We're packing in just 50 pounds of clay to play with over the course of the day so we'll be destroying and reusing everything after it reaches final form.

Unfortunately, the warm beautiful days of last week have been replaced by a windy morning that has the promise of rain.
So I've packed away my throwing kilt and put on the pinstripes and long underwear We'll see how wet we get...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

AKAR 2010 Yunomi Inventational

LOVE LOVE LOVE this show!
Ever year I look forward to opening of this event and, apparently, by looking at the brisk sales the first 3 days a lot of others have been waiting on pin and needles as well.
For anyone that isn't familiar with the online gallery AKAR or hasn't popped by to see the show yet... check it out here. You'll see a whole lot of familiar names and even more amazing new talents.

In the mean time... here's a few...

Susan Dewsnap

Sarah Heimann

Matthew Metz

Kirsten Bassion

Jim Gottuso

Going Big

Apparently is was "Canister Week" the past few days. I didn't get the official notice, but I was definitely pick'n up the vibe. Shown above are 2 nine pound canisters that were thrown Thursday night and trimmed and slipped up last night before bed. Trying to make that amount of clay stand tall and strait enough to cut a galley is tough. I like the form, and the balance is good in the hands... I think... I've never handled work this size made by a Master so I'm not really sure what I should expect.


Below are 4 five pounders from Monday and Tuesday waiting patently for their lids...

I'll be trimming these this afternoon if the rain stays away.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Second Annual National Juried Cup Exhibition

LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska

Second Annual National Juried Cup Exhibition

April 2 – May 29 Opening Reception: April 2, 5-7pm

Got into another exhibition!

The reception was Friday night... (if it makes anyone feel any better, I didn't get an invite either), but the online catalog is up already and I'm on the first page! (ok, ok, admittedly you have to actually select an alphabetical listing to make this happen, but when you do... I'M ON THE FIRST PAGE!)

If you want to see all of the fantastic work that was selected for the exhibition by this year's juror Linda Arbuckle, just click on the photo above.

As always, I'm just so thrilled to be seen next to all of this talent!

Happy Dance!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

3 Wishes

Man I wish I could make my glazes do this!
These 3 pieces came out of the kiln last month. A quick trip through a PhotoShop filter and now I'm fixated... I've got to figure out how to make these surfaces.

Throwing a 2 Sectioned Canister- Part 1

Here's a rough draft of a video sharing my approach to throwing larger canisters. Part 1 shows using 2 balls to throw a small 5 lb canister in sections to build up the form to 11 inches tall.

It's funny... it took an hour to shoot a 20 minute process, and then over 4 hours to edit down and compress everything into something that could be viewed in under 5 minutes.