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 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.

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.

Florida, kiln-firing vacation

Bisqued pots ready to be glazed and fired

According to this blog, I last fired my work a little less than two years ago — June 2015 — if you discount work that was fired for me at the Alfred University workshop in July 2015. Next week, I’ll be firing again, at the Morean Center for Clay, in St Petersburg, Fl. The firing will be part of a near three week trip that will include brief stops in South Carolina, two longer ones in Gainesville, Fl and about at week in St Pete.

If it seems strange that I have a studio in the Washington, DC area, but am driving close to 1000 miles to do a glaze firing, let me explain. Gas or wood-fired kilns, which I need for my glaze, as opposed to bisque*, firings, are a very rare commodity. They are found only in colleges or universities, private studios, or community studios. Non-students don’t have access to “academic” kilns; private studio potters pretty much never risk allowing others to use the equipment upon which their livelihood depends; and, community studios almost never allow non-members to fire their kilns. In fact, the only community studio in the US that I know of that rents out their kilns to experienced kiln firers is the Morean, toward which my car is pointed.

As my blog documents, I’ve fired a lot in the Morean’s lovely gas kiln. This firing will include 30 mugs, 4 pitchers and about 20 bowls. One of the bowls is very large, my largest ever, and I made it extra big using a throw and coil technique, whereby I throw an initial bowl and then enlarge it — out and up — by adding clay coils to the rim.

It will be great to smell gas again, knowing that finished pots are being birthed.

Boxes of bisqued-fired pots and glaze buckets ready for the trip to Florida

*bisque firings are the first of two pottery firings, and are done in an electric kiln. They typically heat to about 1800 degrees and partially harden the pots, which are still porous enough to accept glaze. The second, glaze-firing heats to about 2400 degrees and cures — if you will — the glazes.