First pots emerging from new Gainesville studio

Two plus years after returning to Gainesville’s Duckpond neighborhood, pots are finally emerging from my new home studio.

The studio was work-ready as far back as August of last year, but for reasons I didn’t understand, I couldn’t get myself on the wheel.  Initially, I blamed it on the space’s lack of windows, beyond the new mini-blind French doors. Eventually, I realized it was all about not wanting to christen the new studio with old forms.

Looking for inspiration, I spent a few weeks perusing some old books, including several of the the 500 pots series, and Kevin Hluch’s The Art of Contemporary Ameircan Pottery, which I still think is the best multi-form, well-illustrated pottery book around. But, no spark.

Then, somewhat magically, at Thanksgiving dinner at a good friend’s house, I spotted a very old pot of mine that I had gifted him some two decades earlier. It represented a lazy, almost comical attempt on my part to reproduce a faceted jar that I had seen demoed in a workshop, in the very early 2000s. Ding!!!!! I was on my wheel the next day, with clay on the wheel and a modified wire cheese slicer in hand. After a ton of failed attempts, some  keepers finally emerged.

I’m still struggling with the lids for these jars, which I want to echo the rhythms of the bodies, and I still haven’t solved how to get excess clay out of the bases of similarly faceted mugs. But, those are fun challenges that didn’t prevent me from having a satisfying number of both faceted jars and mugs in a bisque fire last week, the first in my Gainesville studio, and the first anywhere in 3 years.

These pots, and more, are destined for a couple of glaze fires in the Dinkelmeyer family gas kiln in Alexandria, VA this summer.

All told, it’s satisfying having this facet of my Gainesville life now percolating nicely.

Silver Spring studio up and running

Eighteen months after throwing for the last time, and 15 months after moving to Silver Spring, Md, I’m on the wheel again. In my new home studio.

The studio is in a 22′ x 11′ converted sun-room, with spectacular, natural light.

The features I’m most proud of are a long, narrow work/wedging table, which I built into a window frame for rigid support…

a taller, rolling work table for — among other things — rolling out coils and handles…

a 40-gallon, garden-hose supplied, water tank that takes 10 minutes to fill and gives me a week’s worth of water…

a spiffy new Skutt 1027 electric kiln — which is actually in my basement — that zipped effortlessly through three loads of mugs, bowls and pitchers last week…

and a new Denon D-M40 mini hi-fi system, with a PSB subwoofer, captured in a couple of shots above.

Now, to Florida, for my first glaze firing in about two years!


four_sandra_platesA set of dinnerware is the most labor and materials intensive project I can take on. For instance, it takes seven to eight pounds of clay to make just one 12 inch dinner plate. By contrast, I can make seven mugs from that clay. The same plate also eats up a lot of kiln space.

But, dinnerware sets are also exceptionally gratifying. There’s little more enjoyable, in the potter’s world, than seeing a group of friends enjoying great food and wine out of a set of their dinnerware.

Though I’ve not made a full dinnerware set in several years, I am making a set of plates, on request, for a good friend in Tennessee. She already has a bunch of my pots, many of which she uses at a Christmas dinner her church has every year. She wanted four plates to complete what she already has. I’m obliging with four plates modeled after those in the first two sets in the Dinnerware section of my gallery.

If you have any interest in dinnerware, please get in touch and we can discuss it.