Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Winter Beard

I've grown a modest beard this winter, but I'll shave it off as soon as spring is official. I decided I want to make this an annual endeavor, to put on facial hear when all the leaves have fallen and then clear the whiskers when the spring buds appear.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

mugs and flat bottles

I worked on some porcelain mugs this week. It's a new form for me so I had to play around with the handles a bit. They'll be part of a registry for some friends which I'm have a great time working on. With the plates and bowls they want uneven, organic, undulating shapes and bright color accents. So it's pushing me to try some things I've never really done, but have always wanted to. I'll keep posting updates.
Below are some slab bottles that I made in January up at Malcolm Wright's studio. I'm please with the way they turned out so far, they probably won't get fired until this summer so they're just hanging out for now. Three of them received white slip and will get some stencil decoration. The other one got some sprigs and will get the temoku dunk.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isaac Button reels

I noticed that more Isaac Button videos appeared on YouTube:

This movie of Isaac get my mind cranking. Here's a bit more about Isaac and his pottery, courtesy of Grit in the Gears. In watching this extremely efficient and practiced potter not only turn that many pots but load and fire that huge kiln (did you see those kiln shelves?!!) with such ease, I can't help but think how machine-like our bodies and actions can become. On the one hand I would love to get to that level of craftsmanship, to master the clay and glaze like it was nothing at all to throw twenty pound jugs in two minutes flat. But on the other hand, I think about his speed to make pots was out of necessity as they were cheap wares for the everyman. That I can take a little extra time to add to what my pots are is a privilege and I should consider that more. If I'm going to take the time to make a pot (let alone pots at all), it better be damn good by my standards.

The other thing that comes to mind while watching these videos of a man working in a very old fashioned and obsolete way are some of the Garth Clarke essays. I'm thinking of one from a Studio Potter in which he criticizes the followers of Leach as miring themselves in nostalgia and not moving ceramics as an art forward. It's hard to watch these videos and feel the urge to live that Isaac Button kind of life. Perhaps that's exactly what Clarke is criticizing, i.e. it's kinda backwards to want to live make pottery strictly in a way that has expired from our culture. I don't know, I still want to make pots all day long regardless of the cultural relevance.

On a less deep and introspective note, I love that the pipe never leaves Isaac's mouth. Also, it's time I started wearing some button-up shirts and ties to the studio.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

mud season preview

Quinn and I went for walk down by the West River on Rice Farm Road on Sunday and came to this distinct reminder that spring is coming! Well, after mud season, but it's coming sure enough.
It was also around 50 degrees, sunny and perfect for a stroll. We meandered a little on the Black Mountain trail and struck our best "old mountain man" poses.

"His name was Jeremiah Johnson, and they say he wanted to be a mountain man.
The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit, suited to the mountains. Nobody knows whereabouts he come from and don't seem to matter much.
He was a young man and ghosty stories about the tall hills didn't scare him none..."
Our walk took us past a formidable property with the requisite collection of camping vehicles, old school bus on blocks, cargo container turned house, half-burned old house, half-built old shed, pony, emus, carnival ride parts (maybe?), and a nice office desk chair in the middle of the yard. The"posted no tresspassing keep out" sign hangs above a "friends welcome" sign. Sorry for the poor photography, we tried to take the snap quick and subtle like to avoid raising any hackles.

God's Gift to Man: Cheese and Crackers

Vermont seriously sharp cheddar, stoned wheat thins, and irish breakfast tea. Tumbler by Walter Slowinski, a local doctor, jazz musician, potter, gardener, renaissance man. The plate is one that I threw upside down to get the wire cut off marking on the face.

Molly Hatch tumbler

I picked up this tumbler by potter Molly Hatch at the Clay Studio when I was in Philly for the Buyer's Market. I brought it home as a gift for Quinn since I was gone during Valentine's Day in hopes of mending the fence there. It's a really beautiful design. I love the slight bleeding of the inlaid stain under the clear glaze and how that lends a depth to the images. There's a level of restraint in form and decoration that just seems so "right on." Also, I love seeing the thought given to the foot where the design continues. I'm always impressed when I see that kind of thing, it's like an added bonus.