Old pots, new pics

Every once in a while, nice pots — like the two below — get lost in the shuffle and only very belatedly make it to celluloid.

This small — 15″ X 15″ — platter with Gold Shino glaze and black slip designs dates to June 2015 at Alfred, New York, during the month-long workshop I attended at pottery-renowned Alfred University. It was one of several of my pots that were chosen for a student show at the end of the workshop.

I only recently shot the platter because I gave it to friends and only recently borrowed it back to photograph.

Given the foreign working environment, completely new glazes, and kilns fired by Alfred student volunteers, it’s a little amazing that I got the nice stuff out of the workshop that I did. Yet, the fact that several of the workshop pieces ended up being serendipitously wonderful, may speak to the advantages of minimal planning, minimal control and minimal expectations 🙂

This teapot dates even further back, to somewhere around 2006 or 2007, a period when I was firing about bi-annually at Baltimore Clayworks, in its wood-fueled kiln. I was also throwing almost exclusively white stoneware and experimenting extensively with Oribe glaze, both of which are featured here.

Somehow, this set got forgotten inside a large, oribe-glazed covered jar. I only recently pulled it out, added a cane handle, shot it, and placed it in a prominent spot in my living room.

Back to white

For the first time in years — 10? 12? — I’ve begun dabbling again with white clay, both stoneware and porcelain. In the 2000s, I worked with the combination of white stoneware and Oribe glaze while wood-firing at Baltimore Clayworks. Two resulting pieces have been inseparable from me ever since.

The inspiration to return to white clay came from some very nice test tiles I got out of a firing done by Joe Hicks as part of his carbon trap shino workshop last summer at the District Clay Center.

A subsequent firing of my own produced similar results, so I figured I’d try to reproduce them on actual pots, about three dozen of which are now bisqued and ready to glaze fire.

I hope to be posting some nice results here in the not distant future.

Vine mug sale set for Friday- Saturday, February 22-23

I’ll be at Vine Bakery and Cafe selling mugs Friday, February 22, 5-9 pm and Saturday, February 23, 10 am – 4 pm. I’ll be offering three mugs styles, pictured below. Prices will be $18 for students, $22 for non-students. For those flying in for the event, Vine is at 627 N Main, Gainesville, Fl. I look forward to seeing you @ Vine 🙂

Leach White glaze over Laguna Dark Brown clay; reduction-fired
Blue Black (out), Waxy White (in) glazes; reduction-fired
Shino and Woo Blue over Shino glazes; reduction fired

District Clay Center Spring Sale

I’ll be selling work at the District Clay Center Spring Sale, on Saturday, May 5, 11 am – 4 pm. The event will be at DCC 2414 Douglas St NE, in the District.

Almost 30 potters will be selling their work. I’ll be selling mugs and bowls of the varieties shown below. Please join us!

 

Mug sale @ Vine, Friday, Feb. 23 – Saturday, Feb. 24

For the first time in over three years, I’ll be selling my mugs at Vine Sourdough Bakery and cafe, on February 23 and 24.

The mugs will be drawn from several firings in December and January. These will include some Blue/Black and Leach White ones — pictured below — about which I’m particularly pleased.

The sale will run from 5 to 9 pm on Friday the 23rd — in conjunction with Art Walk — and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday the 24th.

I will accept credit cards and students will receive a discount on all pots.

Thanks to mosaic artist Lauren Reveri for allowing me to share the Artwalk crowd with her 🙂

Leach White glaze over Laguna Dark Brown clay; reduction-fired

Blue Black (out), Waxy White (in) glazes; reduction-fired

New batch of mugs delivered to Vine

Yesterday, I delivered several dozen new mugs to my home cafe away from home, Vine Sourdough Bakery and cafe, in Gainesville. Most of the mugs are from late 2017 and early 2018 firings, though a few were fired as far back as 2015. I’ll now sit back at Vine for a few weeks and enjoy being around others enjoying — hopefully — my mugs 🙂

Vine customers will be able to purchase some other mugs at Vine, on Friday and Saturday, February 23 & 24. Sale details will be provided in a subsequent post.

Successful DCC firing includes mugs destined for Vine Sourdough Bakery and cafe

Two late January glaze firings in the District Clay Center gas kiln were successful enough that I will be able to bring a slew of pretty nice new mugs with me to Florida in early February.

I’m still having issues with two key glazes — White Salt and Woo Blue — but I’ve successfully substituted Leach White for the former and have simply deemphasized the latter, for the time being. I’m also getting excellent results with Blue Black (essentially VC AA Blue Green, but with bentonite) on a particular mug shape that I informally call Thin Curvy. Examples of both Leach White and Blue Black glazed mugs are below.

The Florida-bound mugs will be distributed to friends and at Vine Sourdough Bakery, some for Vine to utilize for customers, some to sell on a yet to determined date in mid-February.

Just-opened DCC kiln, January 30, 2018

Blue Black (out), Waxy White (in) glazes; reduction-fired

Leach White glaze over Laguna Dark Brown clay; reduction-fired

 

 

District Clay Center kiln beginning to bear fruit, grudgingly

It can be a challenge to fire an unfamiliar kiln for the first, or even the fourth, time. The Bailey 34/22 at the District Clay Center has been no exception.

The DCC Bailey 34/22 kiln chamber

I’ve now fired the DCC kiln four times and am still a long way from understanding, not to mention mastering, it. Unlike all the other kilns I’ve fired — which were essentially slightly elongated (vertically) cubes —  the 34/22 is a decidedly tall column. I’m still trying to figure out how to manipulate, or at least coax, it with the ideal mix of gas and air.

The kiln has some cool spots, which I’m only beginning to identify. Also, it has a large and very efficient exhaust system, which does a terrific job of sparing the studio from firing fumes, but also obscures one of the key ways I’d grown used to “knowing” a kiln: through the smell of exhaust escaping from it.

As a result, glazes that I’d grown to fire with ease have been very fickle, resulting in about a 50% success rate. My refuse collectors are no doubt getting tired of the weight of my rejects-laden garbage can 🙁

Still, I’m starting to get some keepers out of the kiln, the most notable of which are as follows:

Woo Blue and Shino ramen bowls

Blue/Black and Waxy White

Woo Blue over Shino

Stay tuned.

 

McKenney Hills holiday pottery sale, Saturday, Dec. 9

Longtime pal and fellow potter Gwen Fitzgerald will be joining me for a holiday clay sale, Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. , in my new home, at 10205 Leslie St, Silver Spring, MD.

Gwen and I met at Glen Echo Pottery in the early 2000s, we’ve remained good friends since, and we’re now neighbors in the McKenney Hills neighborhood of Silver Spring.

Gwen still throws at GEP and fires her work in its soda kiln. Like the kilns I fire in, the GEP kiln is fueled by gas, but bicarbonate of soda is introduced into it, which produces remarkably enhanced glaze colors, which make me very jealous 🙂 Much of the work Gwen will be selling — including mugs, bowls and vases — is “soda-fired.”

I’ll be selling mostly work recently fired in the gas kiln at the District Clay Center, with which I’ve been involved, helping with the center’s gallery, since July of this year. I’ll be selling mugs, bowls, pitchers, platters and covered jars.

We will be accepting cash, checks or credit cards.

Ten percent of our sales will go to charity, Gwen’s to SPCA of Anne Arundel County mine to Casa de Maryland and Progressive Action Montgomery County.

Some of the work we will be selling is arrayed below.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

John’s setup

Gwen’s setup

John pitcher

Gwen mugs

John bowls

Gwen jar

John mugs

Gwen mini vases

John mugs

Gwen bowl

John platter

Gay Smith workshop at Truro Center for the Arts

A lovely workshop with Gay Smith at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill (TCA), on Cape Cod, ended today. The 5-day workshop, called Fresh Approaches to Functional Pots, was a hands-on affair, and while I attended Gay’s morning demonstrations, I spent the afternoons working on work from home that couldn’t wait. I also had time to enjoy uniformly spectacular early summer Cape weather — mid 70s, sailing breezes, remarkable light — and buzzing Provincetown, before the arrival of the full summer crowds.

The TCA has been offering workshops since 1971, but this is the first year it has been able to provide accomodations to workshop participants, thanks to the recent acquistion of 11 acres and several buildings about a mile from the main campus.

Gay’s inspired instruction, a wonderful living space, and an attentive  TCA staff, made for a terrific week on the Cape.

Gay Smith making a point at her June 2017 Truro Center for the Arts workshop

 

Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill

 

Part of the housing at Truro Center for the Arts