Rambling On

Yesterday I had a long phone conversation with my friend Niel Hora. Niel and I met at Penland several years ago. We call each other from time to time to catch up and end up on the phone for at least an hour. We seem to always be on the same wavelength and are able to ask questions of one another freely and bounce ideas or problems back and forth. Or just grumble and complain about how much we still have to learn.

So yesterday we had a big talk about earthenware clay, which is Niel's medium, and how there are certain problems related to it such as porosity, and glaze crazing, and somewhat of a stigma here in the States that's it's kinda wimpy, ie not stoneware or porcelain. ( I have a story to tell on that front but it will wait for a while).

I have found, and Niel agreed, that these days most folks are into slick, no wear and tear, materials. Consumers that is. Kitchens are more and more stainless steel, pots and pans are bright orange, blue, and neon green. There are silicon muffin pans (not muffin TINS mine you). Americans want clean, pristine things. I had a lady return a couple plates she had for years. They were heavily used and she complained that the slip was wearing in some areas. Well that's what happens. I replaced them of course, but maybe I should have shared my believe than pots get better with age. Bakers take on a patina with years of use in the oven. Cups get chips and stains from mornings of use, being filled over and over again with tea and coffee. I have a wonderful teapot made by one of the nations finest potters, the slip on it has faded with use, it even has this 'moldy' quality about it. (Maybe I need to wash it) Ha. No, I love that pot, I love the timelessness of it, I know that I will use for years and one day it will break, and it will be irreplaceable. But I'll remember it and I'll have those years of memories with it.

Anyhow, Niel and I talked about all this kind of thing. We talked about how earthenware has had a vast history in other cultures and has been put to use all over the world. We got in this discussion after I expressed concerns about continuing working in earthenware clay. Obviously I had been taken in by the notion that it was inferior, or had problems. Niel assured me that he has had success in using and marketing his wares, as have many others.

So I mention some of this as I explore what I love to do, make pots for use, and as I get ready to make some more red pots and solve my seepage problem. Which by the way, I found was isolated to mostly a handful of the pots I fired. They were probably under fired a bit so I expect I'll have better luck with this next batch (keep your fingers crossed) if I fire a little higher and maybe soak at the end. I still have a lot to learn.

Okay thanks for listening to yet another ramble. Have fun today.