ron philbeck

Two Firsts

I baked homemade buttermilk biscuits from scratch this morning.  My first time.  They came out okay I think.  Maybe could have been a bit more fluffy, but they tasted good.

When I was in Seagrove for the Osmosis show I stayed with Anne and Adam.  Adam got up one morning and made biscuits.  I secretly watched him from the dining room and made a note that I'd try it when I got a chance.  I liked that Adam cut his biscuits into squares so I went that route this morning.

I also made sausage gravy to go on the biscuits.  I didn't take a pic, sausage gravy isn't very photogenic.

Another first is this Butterfly dish.  I've put a Butterfly on a tray along with a Bird and Flowers but this is the first pot with a solo Butterfly.

It went up in my Online Shop this morning.

Unloading the kiln later. Stay tuned for more images.

Video: Throwing a Foot on a Bowl

I recently purchased a Stan Anderson cup with a thrown foot ring.  I tried my hand at this and was happy with the resulting cups.

I like the tall foot and the unique statement it gives to the pots.  It's a different feeling from a cut foot ring: having a softer feeling to it.  I like also that it has the opportunity to carry some throwing marks and carry on the feeling of the rim of the pot if you choose.

So I moved on to some bowls.  Here's a clip showing how it's done.


The bowls drying:

And a slipped bowl ready to be decorated.

I've decided to slip the outside of these leaving the rim and foot ring bare to show the red clay.  The interior will get some deco as well as the exterior.

Happy Friday Everyone

Yay Friday!!  Where did this week go?  Well who cares, I've got a good weekend planned and I'm ready to get on with it.

I'm heading up to Penland School to visit with Ronan Peterson's class and do a couple demos for them.  It will be nice to have some time there in that environment full of energy and creativity!

Here's a paper cut that I've been working on this morning.

I am doing okay getting the outlines done, I have to work on getting the little detail cuts inside now.  This is approx. 7" x 4" or so I think.

I broke a pot yesterday and Sarah just broke one this morning! Not good.  Thankfully they were both ones that I had made.  I broke a nice cereal bowl with an Owl and Sarah broke her favorite coffee mug, an Obamaware pot that I made back in 2008.

Thanks to everyone who viewed the videos.  More to come.

Cuttin' Up

I was going to title this post "I'm a Cutter" but I didn't want my therapist getting a bunch of calls.

I got my scalpel, blades and cutting mat today!!  So I dove right in and did a few cuts.

Oh, I haven't mentioned this have I?  Right, well I got a bit interested in paper cutting when Hannah was here.  We were at a shop in Charlotte called the Paper Skyscraper and Hannah pointed out a Rob Ryan mug.  She told me how popular he was in England and said I should look him up.  So I did and I totally love what he does.

And it looked not too different than what I was doing with the deco on my pots!  So I ordered a scalpel and some blades and a cool cutting mat.  "Why a scalpel?"you ask.  Why not just use an Exacto knife?  Well, first off because R.R. uses a scalpel AND totally because it's much more cool than an Exacto!!  "What kind of tool do you use Ron?"  "I use a scalpel."  "Wow! You're totally rad!"  Okay so that's just in my head right.

I did this first.

Which I glued to the wall on top of my favorite Tommy Kane print.

Here are my new toys.

And a few more cuts I did.

So I'm just fiddling along, I have no books on this or anything, but it seems pretty straight forward so far. I want to make some bigger ones and some circular ones too.  We'll see.


Pulling a Fitch

After watching Doug make several jugs while he was here it's only fitting that I felt the need to have a go at a few.  Doug makes it all look easy and it's really fun to watch him make a big jug all in one go by using the weedburner to speed things along.

I made these two today and they seem okay for the most part.  They are about 11" tall and rounder than most pitchers I usually make.  I used the burner and got them this far.

I'm going to let them rest over night before coating them in slip.

I haven't really felt like blogging too much to tell you the truth.  After having Doug and Hannah here for so long it's not very fulfilling to be here in the virtual world. " There's nothing like the real thing baby."

I'm sure I'll get back in the swing of it as time goes on.  I'm struggling with being a bit down and I feel like one of the best things I can do is practice being in the present moment.  Maybe I can blog about that.  Well, we'll see.  For now it's back outside for some time w. Karma and then off to the Gallery Crawl in town.

Cheers everyone!

Good Stuff

Loads of new stuff arrived today.  Below is a photo and video.



Pretty cool eh?

I first saw Scott Garrett's work on my pal Matt Grimmitt's blog.  Scott did an illustration that had one of Matt's jugs included in it.

Later on I found my way to Scott's website and then his blog.  Scott is in the first stages of learning to make pots.  I love his illustration style and his sense of humor.  That mustache is pretty cool too.  Scott has an affection for folk pots from the American south. It's pretty cool seeing how someone in England is taken with US pottery much like I am with pots from their country.

Thanks for the prints Scott. I love them and they are going to get framed and put up in the house.

I'm pretty excited about my little self published picture book.  It will be a good asset in the studio.  I'll probably order one for my mom too.  She'd like that.

I'll talk more about the Michael Simon book later on. I've looked through it once and read a bit of it.  It really slowed my mind down today, just thinking about Michael, his pots, the way he works etc.  I met him several times, saw him make pots, went to his and Ron Meyers' pottery sales and even visited him at his home once.  Special memories.

Well, Sarah and I are headed over to Ni Fen for some wine and tapas.  It's been a sunny, beautiful day after a long damp week.  I hope you all have a great weekend.

Working on the Jar Ideas

Below are a couple of videos of me showing some work in progress and talking about moving these pots forward.

It's good to be in this place of not knowing exactly what to do, or setting up some problems to be solved.  I feel like most of this sort of thing gets worked out in the 'doing' as opposed to the 'thinking about it'.  Both ways are valuable, but for me I have to see it in clay to really know what works best.  You'll see I did some sketching in the first video.  That's an okay jumping off point, but honestly I don't sketch pots too much.  If I do it's just to remind me of some idea that I had so that I remember to make it later.  This leads me to more thoughts but I'm saving that for the next blog post.  It will be about risk and ruining pots and so on.

For now here are the videos.




Video Tour

Here's a tour of one of our cupboards.  I had fun doing this and I'll do another one soon.


Sorry I used the word 'nice' so much.  I didn't even notice I was doing it until I got finished and watched the video.

I didn't realize the camera timed out about 2 minutes before I finished. So I just faded out at the end.  You only missed about 3 bowls, I'll get them in next time.

Thanks for watching.  That was fun.

Getting the Bisque In

I finally got enough pots decorated to load a full bisque.  Good grief I feel like it's taken me all week.  I have to say I haven't been putting in full days so I can't complain.  It will be nice to get this load fired, glazed and fired again.  Many of these pots are going to the Lillstreet Gallery in Chicago.

The last pot I worked on today was this 12.5 " shallow dish.  I got the design penciled in yesterday.  I timed how long it took me to do the 'scratching'.  Any guesses??

Time for a bit of Tai Chi practice (I started a 6 week course last week) and then homemade pizza for supper!!

Saturday's work

This is where I left things for today. Some finished some half finished.  I am having a slow time working in the designs that I want.  It's just a learning curve.  I'm glad I have the pencil to use otherwise I'd seriously be ruining some pots.

Six Seven of the twelve  Year of the Rabbit pots have sold including the two most detailed dishes.  I'm so happy with that!  When I set this project for myself I wasn't sure what the pots would look like.  As I worked on the designs I found some new ideas and I was very excited to see them on the pots.  I am speaking mostly of the more detailed and complex images.  Working on these and seeing them finished pushed me to do more decorating in that way.  So it moved things forward.  Good eh? Yep.

I wonder where this is going, and I'm not trying to judge it or worry about it at all.  I think the past 2 or 3 years have taught me to go with what I enjoy and what I like.  It's been challenging at times to let some of my past ideas about what I should be doing go.  It's very freeing.

Well that's all for now.  Thanks for stopping in.

Technical Page

I often get emails asking me questions about my slip or glaze or how I do something or another.  I don't mind these emails but to make things a bit easier on myself I have added a Technical Page to the blog. (The link is over in the right sidebar).

For many years after I started making pots I got so much help from other potters who were willing to share their slip and glaze recipes with me.  I would often write them a letter or sometimes just call out of the blue to ask for a recipe or help of some sort.  I remember Suze Lindsey sending me some recipes once.  I still have a small square of yellow paper that she wrote me the information on in my glaze recipe file.

I also called Scott Schafer up out of the blue one day.   He had had some pots published in CM in a Goldart ad.  They were these beautiful salt glazed pots.  I called him to ask for his clay body recipe.  He answered the phone and I asked, "Is this Scott?".  He replied in an irritated voice, "Yes, and I don't have time to talk right now! What do you want?"   I was taken aback but said that I was a potter from NC and I wondered if he'd talk to me about his clay.  His tone changed and he told me he thought I was a telemarketer.  He said he was busy with a customer but to call back in a half hour and he'd happy to help me.  I called him back and he was very nice and gave me the recipe for his clay body.  I have it written down on the Goldart ad where his pots were featured.

I am happy to share what I know.  I only ask that if you use any of my information that at some point you help someone too.  Tom Gray told me this same thing many years ago.  Tom has helped me more than anyone else and he told me, Someday it will be your turn to help someone or pass along information and encouragement.

A few years ago I emailed a potter who I barely knew asking for some information on a certain technique.  I got a very nice reply from the potter telling me that she couldn't tell me exactly what she did.  She had been ripped off more than once and was guarded now in what she shared.  I understood and did not push.  I respected her decision and the reason behind it.  It did put me on my guard a bit.  It was the first time I'd been told 'no'.  Now days I feel like some folks are a bit more reluctant to give out info. and that has made me a little skiddish to ask.

I like to put forth some efforts before I just go out and ask someone for something.  I want them to know I've at least tried.  I hate mixing and testing glazes but I try to find out what's working and what's not before I just up and ask for help.  In the past I had folks give me some sure fire recipes that got me off the ground.  I'm grateful for that, I did spend a lot of time and money at one point trying to come up with some cone 3 single fire glazes.  They were all pretty bad and I moved on to cone 8.

Well that's a bit of a long-ish post.  Check out my Tech. Page over there.  I have included some info on my photo set up as well as what I like to listen to in the studio and which teas I prefer when working.

Making Just a Few

I got back on the wheel yesterday for the first time in a couple weeks.  I have an order for some cups and tankards so I decided to knock those out.  It was quiet and relaxing in the studio and I think my mind was relaxed knowing that all the rush for the year is over.

I also made a jar just for the fun of it.  It's a bit of a Janet Mansfield shape.  I love Janet's woodfired, saltglazed pots.  I especially like the ones that have really got salted and look as though the surface has melted a bit in the kiln.

To continue my Love of  Socks theme I posted this mug in my online shop this morning.

In the Middle

Here it is, the middle of the day, in the middle of the week.  I haven't felt very much like blogging, I've barely done much of anything this week really.  I did make a nice run of pots on Monday and they are all finished up now.  Sarah has been out of town so my days have seemed  long and lonely.

I did decide that I need to get with the program on my Etsy site.  I've re listed some expired things and shot photos today of pots that I'll be listing over the next few days.  I'd like to build my inventory back up.  Hopefully in time for folks to do some shopping for the Holidays.

Speaking of the impending Holiday Season, I'll be sending 20 pots or so to Lillstreet Art Center for their 35th Anniversary Holiday Show.  I'm very happy to have been asked to show at Lillstreet during this time.

I'll soon be starting a project for a historical house in Shelby.  I'll be making a number of tiles for the kitchen area.  I'll keep you posted on that.