New Pots. Video

As promised.

I'm going to start transitioning over to a new space this week.  So it may be a day before you get another post.  URL will remain the same.  The new site will go up and probably will not be 100% finished.

Wish me luck.  If things go bad and all this disappears you can find me on Facebook to see how I'm coping.

Skunked and Pinned

It's a rainy day here and I've decided to work some on my new website.  I have pots coming out of the kiln today so stay tuned for some pictures either later tonight or in the morning.

We had a skunk wandering around the yard and kiln shed yesterday and Karma made it her business to round it up.  She got sprayed but not a full blast which was lucky.  Sarah got a hold of Karma while I trapped the skunk under a 30 gallon trash can.

I'm pretty sure it was sick, it was acting peculiar and actually following me around the yard once it saw Karma was out of the picture.

I covered the can and took the skunk down the road about a mile and released it.

We saw a raccoon a few days ago walking drunkenly down the side of the road in the middle of the day.  I wonder if there are some rabid animals about.

Here's Karma after she got a good bath and skunk treatment wash.

In other news I've started 'Pinning'.  If you haven't heard, Pinterest is the hot new social media site right now.  I was asked to join a couple months ago but didn't really get into it until I watched this video by Megan Auman.

So any of you out there who are on Pinterest I'd appreciate you pinning any content from my blog here or even better, from my Etsy site.  If you'd like to be invited to join Pinterest just send me a note and I'll invite you.

Lastly, I'm glad you all liked my last little video.  That was fun and it received many comments on my FB page.

Well that's all for now. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.


WordPress has been a total pain since the beginning.  Once I got it set up I managed, but it has not been user friendly and the support sucks, sucks, sucks.

So over the next week I'll be building a new site, with new software and getting a new host.

Hopefully all my previous content will get moved over.

Off to the studio where I am in control.



Kline and Philbeck Workshop. Cape Cod.

I wanted to mention that Michael Kline and I are giving a two day workshop on Cape Cod, Mass. in March.  We are really looking forward to teaming up for this workshop.  We both have a great deal to offer and I think we are going to have a great time.  (Michael has suggested sawing me in half as the big finale but we haven't worked out the all important details on that yet) (Like making sure I get put back together).

For information you can visit the Cape Cod Potters site HERE or go directly to the Registration Form HERE.  The dates are March 17th and 18th, 2012.

We are also planning a stop and hopefully impromptu gathering at Liberty Town in  Fredericksburg, VA. on the way up to the Cape.  We have not finalized the date and time yet but will keep you posted.


We hope to see you in March.

Pots Galore. Video

I have pots overflowing in the studio right now.  It's almost time to start drawing on everything.  I think by the end of the day tomorrow that I'll have everything slipped and ready to deco.

Here's a video showing what I am juggling at the moment.

Dropped one of those tumblers right after I slipped it.  Oh, well, one less to deal with.

Thanks for stopping by and watching.

Rain and Tea Morning

It's pouring rain out this morning so I'm enjoying a little time at my desk before heading out to the studio.  I love hearing the rain on our tin roof.

Sarah and I were running out of tea so we placed an order last week and I was happy to see it arrive on Monday.

I am having a cup of Gen-mai Cha this morning.  I love this tea.  It's a green tea with toasted brown rice.  It is smooth and has a nutty taste and aroma.  I love it in the mornings.  It's like my cereal tea.

A shot from the sketch book where I'm thinking about different borders of clouds, grass, hedges.

Thanks for all the comments on the 'It's Not New and I Can't Draw' post.

I just added my final thoughts for now in the comments there so click over and read what everyone has said if you are so inclined.

Okay, time to put on my galoshes and head outdoors.

Saturday's Meetup with MK and KC

Well, I had a great time getting together with Michael and Kyle.  I really need more 'man time'.  I very seldom get to hang out with the guys and after Saturday I told Sarah how much I need to work on my social activities and need some male friends that I can see more often.

We talked a lot about Etsy and how we wanted to increase our exposure and sales this year.  We all brought our iPads so we geeked out and shared apps and Kyle schooled Michael and me on some tricks and shortcuts.  We discussed pricing, shipping, galleries, special events, tee shirts, photographing our work and I can't remember what else at the moment.  A good day for sure.  I know that I had more to say than we had time for plus the fact that I'm so socially isolated that I was bit giddy with just being around these guys.

This sausage and onion pizza plus a few beers kept us sustained though our discussions.

Kyle worked on few pots that needed attention.

The ever relaxed Michael Kline

It was really good to talk about some ideas that I have been knocking around and Michael and Kyle both had things they shared too.  So look for some exciting things from us soon. (Well maybe, or we may be so subtle and sly that you hardly even notice that something is happening). Ha.

Today I worked on a wholesale order and experimented on some jar shapes (which got trashed at the end of the day)  Here's most of the day's output.

I also got this Flower and Vine Platter listed in my Shop.


Weeks End

It's been a good week.  I made as many pots as I could with what remaining clay I had in the studio.  I sold some stuff on Etsy and the weather has been sunny and beautiful during the day.

I got invited to an exhibition in Chicago and a new gallery called in a wholesale order today!  Yay.

Tomorrow is the icing on the cake b/c I'm heading up to beautiful Asheville, NC to have a visit with my clay pals, Michael Kline and Kyle Carpenter.  We are going to discuss a strategy for setting up a super NC Clay Empire.  Ha. Well not really.  We are going to talk pots though, and have fun.  I'm also picking up 1000 lbs of clay while there.

KC close up

MK Detail

RP up close

Come back Sunday or Monday to see what goes on.


Check out these videos

Hey folks, Check out the 3 videos on the Everything is a Remix blog.

Link HERE.   They are all really interesting and relate to some of discussion in my last post.

(be sure to watch each one till the end, for some reason he likes to roll the credits and then add more info at the end of each video)

Thanks to Cynthia for turning me on to these.

It's Not New and I Can't Draw

Here are two statements that I'm tired of hearing:

1.  When people are talking to me about drawing and they say, "I can't even draw a straight line."

2.  And the statement, "It's all been done before."

Okay, 1. is easy.  Straight lines are BORING! If you can't draw a straight line then that is really, really good!!  Look in nature, do you see any straight lines out there?  No.  Maybe there are some, but I don't see them.   Draw some crooked lines, they are much more interesting and fun and full of energy.  The next time someone says this to me I'm going to tell them that. *

Here are some wonderful lines by Cy Twombly

Okay, 2. seems to be something I hear from artists over and over.  Is it really true that it's ALL been done before??  I'm just asking?  It seems to me that it all HASN'T been done before, I mean Twitter was a new thing right?  And this candle holder by Josh Redman is like no other I've ever seen.


There are loads of things that haven't been done.  We don't know what they are because they don't exist yet.

When I first read the statement "Nothing is Original" on Austin Kleon's blog yesterday it made me angry.  I thought he shouldn't be saying this, but he goes on to say that most new things are a mashup of other older/existing things.

I guess that's probably true.  As an artist I'd say all of what I make has elements of existing work in it.  But once it's out there, in whole, it's a new thing right? and it probably hasn't been done exactly like I did it.  So it's New.  No one has my hands, or kicks the wheel just like I do, or whatever, so it has to be original in that way.  Maybe? ?

The word original comes from the root origin. So to be original should there be only one origin?  I don't know, it seems like small potatoes to me.  New and Original aren't the same thing are they?

I think there are certainly original things out there.  Just as an example, if I pick up a ball of clay and go out and throw it at a tree and it sticks to the tree then the resulting piece of clay that eventually comes off will be something unique and original won't it?  I mean I won't be the first person to throw clay at a tree but the finished bit will be original.

I don't know, I'm just rambling on, I'm no logician or philosopher.  Here's my real point:

The following are some things that I think are the meanings behind statements 1. and 2.
(pick as many as you like)

I am afraid to draw.
I think my drawings are crap.
Someone once told me my drawings were crap and I believe them.
I'm too afraid to do any work.
I'm going to put my work down because then it makes me feel better.
I am comparing my work to someone else's and I feel like a total loser.
If I try something then someone will judge me and I'll die.
Saying it's been done before gets me off the hook.
Saying it's been done gives me permission to not try harder.

There are others. I know some of these by heart b/c I've said them in one form or another.

So I just wanted to get that down here.  I'm sure I could have polished this up a bit but I never do that.  So maybe we'll discuss this a little (or not).  I can always just put up some images of my cups.


*And please don't tell me you can only draw stick figures. Stick figures are really quite neat. (esp. when animated and fighting w. swords)

Slow Start on a Tuesday

I haven't gotten in a big hurry to get out into the studio this morning.  I did go out and flip all my dishes and turn the heat up.

Worked on some new scraping tools the other day.

The tips are made from saw blades.  I grind them down to the size and shape I need.  You can see one in the above photo below the double ended tool.

Here's a close up of  another.

Some of you may remember me talking about switching to a wax technique for my deco.  I'm not so sure that's going to happen anytime soon, or ever.  I like what I have going on right now, and I've been working outside when I do all the scraping so the dust is less of a problem.

While things are warming up I've been shooting a few pots for the Shop that I'll be adding today.

FetishGhost had this post up yesterday and I thought it was very good.  Click on through to see it and from there go to the original post on Austin Kleon's site.  Would be a good discussion topic.

All for now, I'd better get moving.


Back at it in 2012

My first day back at work was very good.

One problem...for all practical purposes I am out of clay.  I have about 3 lbs in a bag and one bucket of reclaim that is almost pug-able.

So that means a trip to the clay store very, very soon.

I usually feel really energized at the beginning of the year.  I certainly did today as I got back into the studio.  I felt very present and worked fairly slowly, kicking the treadle gently and imparting the clay with movement from my hands, the rib, and the momentum of the wheel.  It was good, I was 'there'.  I seem to lose a bit of that present moment-ness as the year goes on.  Deadlines, shows, whatever, get my mind crazy and I find myself speeding along with no thought or connection.  That happens in spurts so hopefully I can be aware of it and move away from it when necessary.

A thought I had today: Who holds you back?
Answer: Me.
How?: Playing it safe.  Doing the same things again and again. Not going big.  I don't mean big as in scale, I mean big as in 'blast off', 'pushing', 'rocking it', 'kicking ass'!, 'cutting loose'.

I didn't feel down as I thought of this.  It actually felt empowering.  Really there's nothing  holding me back but me, and that's something that I feel pretty good to know right now.  I don't know how much ass kicking I'll do from having this thought but it just felt good to have it and not go down into a spiral.

Right, okay, well maybe we'll talk more about all that another time.  For now, it's time for a beer and possibly a bit of  YouTube surfing (or trying to finish Pride and Prejudice which I started back before Christmas)


Hello 2012!! Bring it on baby!!

Having some very good coffee in my very favorite coffee cup this morning.

Sorry about that impromptu photo, I was too comfy to get up and get the camera so the web cam had to suffice.  That cup is by Michael Simon and is the most perfect cup we own. (IMO).

So anyhow, Sarah and I had a low key NYE.  We saw Sherlock Holmes and then went out for I-talian.  Yum.  Home in time to relax on the couch and watch a bit of telly and in bed just after midnight.

Here's to a great year ahead, be well and love one another.

Oh yes, there are some tshirts in the shop now. CLICK.

A Bit of This & That

I'm having a great day and it's just noon!  It didn't hurt that I got myself out of bed fairly early and got on with things.  I had some time to journal and have tea, and do a bit of drawing in my sketch book all before 9am.  I have gotten into a habit of sleeping in more than I want to.  I need to work on that, we'll see how it goes.

So anyhow, I listed a couple new pots in the shop.  Here's one of them:

And then this tumbler that I tried a bit of loose trailing on:

I got a very nice Christmas card from Paul Jessop yesterday and included in the envelope was this amazing little fold out that Paul has designed for his Pottery.

 It measures just over 4" square and folds out to this:

 Really, really nice isn't it?  Paul is setting a good example of how some of us could choose to market ourselves if we wish.  Visit Paul's blog HERE.

I just registered myself for the NC Potter's Conference which is taking place the first Fri-Sun. of March, 2012.  This years featured potters are Cynthia Bringle, Jack Troy and John Glick.  Each of those folks has invited another potter to present this year.  Ronan Peterson, Martha Grover, and Jake Johnson will each present also.  You can register online by following this LINK.  I've been to the NC Conference many, many times and I've got to say it's got to be one of the best clay events in the country.

Well that's it for now.  I'll leave you with a couple pages from the sketchbook.  Happy Friday all.

A Few More of my Older Pots

Here are a few more images of shino pots that are around our house.  You can see the W. Mackenzie influence in the finger wipes.

I think all of these have the Virgina Wirt Shino on them.  This bowl had some wood ash sprinkled on it just after it was glazed.  It's approx. 15" diameter.  It's gotten bumped at some point and has a crack in the rim.

This next jar is about 14" high.  Same glaze and wipe technique.  The bottom was thrown and slightly squared.  Then I added a coil at the shoulder and finished throwing the base. I like the change in direction I can get from that technique and from the line that forms there.

This next jar has some iron brushwork and Reeve's green dots. It's about 14" tall too.

These pots were all fired in my cone 10 propane kiln that I had for several years.  It was a car kiln and was so nice.  It was easy to load and fired like a dream.  I mostly used shinos, temmoku, and a couple matt glazes when I had that kiln.  I also experimented with copper red and had good results.  I'll see if I can dig up a few more pots to show here.

Here's a little sketch from my note book this morning.  Maybe these patterns will find their way onto some pots soon.

Thanks for checking in.


Older Ronware

Sarah and I spent the last few days at her parents visiting with the family.  While there I shot a few images of some of my older pots in the kitchen.  Sorry for the poor quality of some of these photos.

A set of 4 shino bowls with black lines and Reeve's green dots.  I really like these.
(That's a small salt glazed, sq. tray of mine holding the S&P too)

Temmoku glazed mugs over a dry shino.

Salt glazed swirlware.

Two small cups.  Wet faceted.  High silica clay, salt glazed with an iron glaze inside and part way down.

Honey pot.  Salt glazed w. not very successful ash glaze.

Small cup with trigger handle.  Stamped deco.  Crackle slip with shino glaze.

I also made biscuits for dinner for everyone last night.  Again, sorry for the poor photo.

Anyhow there are a lot more pots over there and next time I'll take a proper camera and get some better images.  I'd like to document some of my older work.  Sadly, I didn't keep many pots from my cone 10 reduction days and most of my salt glazed pots left here too.  I'm happy they are out in the world serving their purposes.

Just For Fun

I've been entertaining myself by watching these great little videos from Bird Box Studio.

Here's one favorite


Bird Box is based in London.  I love their misson statement

Creating short, funny animated films where a strong concept and a smart execution is key.

I think they are nailing it!


(If you can't get some of the videos to run on their website then click HERE to go to their YouTube page)