Sunday, December 27, 2015

Compass Rose

 Start with the end and begin with the beginning...

 This was another collaborative project with ceramic artist, Jessica Fong.

 The spark for this short series was a Japanese quilter, Yoko Saito. My son found one of her books at a garage sale and brought it home to share. I dove in, totally blown away by what I saw. After our trip back home to Iowa in August, I've been wanting to use quilting design sensibilities as a touch stone.  


Trying to keep it simple. 
    Letting the clay and the slips peek through the glaze. (Cone 5 Laguna speckled buff, tile 6 slip, and a White BP Liner)  

  Now it's time to find my direction again.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Shadows in the Sky

Bare Bodies are what's going to be happen'n tomorrow.

Touch me Sweetly!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Playing With My Rooster and the FireFlies

I've been holding out more than usual this year on sharing what's happening.
It's been a busy year.
A very busy year.
 I've been learning to live a life outside the isolated world of my studio.
It's been a year of learning to cook, (I mean really getting into it.) Going out on dates. (Yep) Learning to laugh at funny things even if they aren't appropriate. Enjoying treasure hunting for nice cloths. Finding and listening to new music. Having great sex. (Very, very important.) And most importantly... Allowing myself to fall in love with the world around me.

 But I have to stand still and think about it to see how busy it's actually been. It's been a wonderful blurr. When the diary is kept up to date, the activity is up front and visible. When it's not kept up, so much disappears into the fog.
That's one of the reasons I was keeping this diary. There are times I need to see what's happened.

This post is starting mid-way to where it was meant to be going.

 The rooster project has been a "someday" project for a few years. The original intent was to explore using larger numbers of different paper stencils to build up a narrative. What I intended to illustrate was a "cock-fight", using it as a vehicle for a metaphor. (That one can be explained later.)

 Instead, a metaphor of a rooster chasing lightning bugs was what was developed. 
Admittedly, it's autobiographical.
Love is as elusive as a firefly. 
And to make it even more interesting... 


This fall, my firefly has been playing with me. 
It's a game. A collaboration game and we worked through two series together.
 Jess threw all the forms for this falls joint yunomi projects. Her hand cut foot rings just knock me out.
(Frigg'n gorgeous! Spoiled me absolutely rotten!). 
I drafted a new vocabulary of paper stencils and got busy learning how to make them work for the story I wanted to tell. 


Squeezed in a few canisters too once the layout of the design got worked out. 

 The first test went good. 
Pretty strait forward. An Aardvark cone 5 Texas White clay with a tile slip used with the stencils and a black 50/50 wash applied to the bisque. The new PB White Liner recipe was used for a glaze.
The result was "meh..."

The second test was to just let the slip and clay body do their thing unaided under the PB Liner glaze.. 
This I liked!

There was more testing done using different clay bodies and different slips. Some didn't work and some worked very well. 
(The results are separately posted.) 

But the reason that put this project in motion was getting work ready to head out to Scott Parady's new salt kiln in February.
Bare clay and salt... Mmmmmmmm!
So this thread ain't nearly done yet.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

PB (Plastic Bitrox) Liner for Cone 5 Cassius Clay

This little gem of a liner glaze is an absolutely amazing find for and anyone that's banging their head against the trials and tribulations of getting a handle on dealing with Aardvark Clay's Cassius Basaltic Cone 5 Clay.
It's no small feat.
The learning curve on just dealing with the clay body was a nightmare, but once that was figured out(ish), finding a glaze that would play well with this clay was even worse. Aardvark was up front and honest when I asked them about glazes that would work. They flatly stated that the blistering and pitting problems are a plague with this body. They did have a few in-house glazes that they could recommend, but other than that, they were receptive to any findings.


Personally, I like this lead.
It's from an archived post from 2011 by Aaron Britton.

All I can say up front is that it really works.
This glaze is different. It runs cone 4 to allegedly cone 14.

I'm going to let Aaron do the speaking on this one and have him give you the recipe.

"The liner glaze is a PB (Plastic Bitrox) Liner. This glaze works very well with this clay because the PB Liner is able to be fired with a range of cone 4 to cone 14. So if the cassius Basaltic clay still has gasses to be released, even after a longer bisque period, the PB Liner stays in a liquid / molten state for a longer time, giving the gasses from the clay time to escape without creating cratering in the glazing.

The PB Liner recipe with Percentage by Weight:
Colemanite (Gerstley Borate) 50%
Plastic Bitrox 50%
Zircopax 10%

To fill a 5 gallon bucket only 3 quarters full you would use
Colemanite (Gerstley Borate) 3000 grams
Plastic Bitrox 3000 grams
Zircopax 600 grams"

Trust me... this one is gold.

I did substitute Gerstley Borate for the Colemanite as a matter of convenience.

Thank You Aaron.
I owe you a round.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror for a self-indulgent crit...

"Things are rarely the opposite of what they aren't... and simply implying the something has meaning, doesn't make it so.
Acknowledging that something is what it is and moving on is the preferred course of action rather than finding justification in an event spun out of control."

Monday, June 29, 2015

From Idea to Finished Form

Another missed opportunity to share what's going through the studio this summer. 
I wanted to apply to a Ceramics Monthly general call for submission titled "From Idea to Finished Form", but I failed to read the directions (once again) and couldn't check off all the boxes in time to congratulate my self.

None the less, it was a fun quick project to pounce on.
In the end it was just an afternoon daydream of sawn stencils, x-acto cut stencils, scissor cut stencils, slip, and spriggs.

 A short descriptive blurb...

"I'm a big believer of making use of sketchbooks (and scrap paper) to work out concepts quickly. Being bi-vocational, I have just a handful of hours every week to get work ready for the kilns so I prefer to invest those few hours into playing with and developing ideas for small series of functional ceramics. I mainly work with vocabularies of cut paper stencils and sprigs to creating vocabularies for swarming surfaces to build up compositions in slip. The result is a distinctive body of work that's anchored in tradition, but plays freely with the novelty of new ideas."

My rational is that deadlines seem to be for other artists.
On that note, other artists probably find success by underlining the fact that they can hit targets without making excuses.
(An equitable assumption...)
Luckily, I still prefer to play.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

High Five

Its really happening!

And it just kept getting better... 

See all those dots on Jess's work?

Mine had em too!
All of our work was sold in the first few opening hours of the show!

Happy Dance!

R & R

A what?
A vacation day trip to San Francisco?

Let me put the finishing touch on a work heading into the wet box and off we go!

 Take the train over the bridge and pop out of the station at the Asian Art Museum.

 This place is amazing!

 Another dream day with my studio partner... Art, Adventure, great food, good laughs (thanks Marc Maron), and oh those eyes...


Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015


Each evening over the past year, your hand has found mine as we stroll away from home.
I can feel your hand in mine as I write this.
You've filled my year as you have filled my heart...
with laughs, woofs and giggles.
Joy, hunger, contentment, compassion, and release...
You've help me come to better understand myself by accepting me for who I am and not for what others (including myself) choose to expect me to be.
And for reasons I still can not really understand, you allow me to Love you.
My cup overflows...
Thank you for our yesterdays.

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Blizzard" Test Tiles

I ended up pushing through the small electric kiln a batch of cups used to test the stability of a new base clear glaze. Its been selected to be used in combination with the studio Crackle and Crawl glaze.

This particular batch is tests using the clear under the Crawl glaze and the effects on varying the thickness of the crawl glaze.

The first example is a medium/heavy thickness application of the base clear glaze under the Crawl glaze. 

Clear base glaze (blue hares fur without oxides)
rim and foot dipped in clear
Interior glazed
body dipped rim down in clear
dried over night
body dipped in crawl

The second example is a much lighter application of the base clear.

Both worked very well and stabilized the crawl glaze beautifully, but the readability of the cobalt design became more subdued. The results are very nice either way. I need to up the cobalt carbonate and see how brightening up the blue affects the over all design.

Verdict... thumbs up