Tuesday, March 25, 2008

That's not Sugar

It's snow! Yeah, that's right, it snowed over night and was still there when I took this picture at breakfast. It was really pretty and pretty wierd since it was so nice on Sunday. Maya, Fletcher and I took bets on how long it would stay. I bet it would be gone from the open fields by 10:30 am, I was right.

The other awesome thing that happened today was that my first pottery teacher, Charlie Tefft came up from Greensboro for a visit. It was great to see him and catch up with him about his teaching, family and pottery. He demonstrated for our class one of his 'wren' pitcher forms. Charlie also brought up some clay that he dug in Greensboro. I'll run it through the tests that we've performed on other wild clays and see how it performs.
I guess I haven't really talked about the focus of this workshop other than the short blurb, but we've dug some local clay to test and the instructors, David Stuempfle and Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalglish also brought other North Carolina Clays for us to test and use. The first week of the workshop was really focused on figuring out which of the eleven clays we wanted to work with. This involved a series of making test tiles of each of those clay bodies, firing them, then analysing the tiles. Since some clays aren't that easy to use straight out of the ground, we then made blends of the different clays to utilize the different properties unique to each clay to give us a couple good bodies to work with. We want to be sure that the clays we'll use and fire in the wood kilns will be able to withstand high temperatures of the fire as well as be plastic, workable clays that take glazes well.
So, I've got to make some tests of this new clay that Charlie brought and see what it's like. Another material that I'm testing, is a Vermont local clay that came from a clay bed a couple miles from my apartment. I will keep y'all posted on that progress.
We're getting ready for our first wood-firing so that past couple days have been spent glazing. We're also getting ready to make some really big pots with a coiling/throwing technique.
Time for bed.


Maria said...

It's so great to hear about what you're doing, Rob! Turns out that Meg and I weren't far from you when we visited Guilford and Warren Wilson earlier this month; it was so nice to be in true-spring (even if you guys are still getting a little dusting of snow, now and again)! I hope you'll keep posting...I know that I'll keep reading!

Eleanor said...

hi toots. so glad you're keeping us all updated on what you're doing. good photos too.