How did this Happen? And I Learned Something New.

Why in the world did I decide to make this giant dish of baked pasta on a hot, steaming, Sunday evening?

Well, I'm going to blame it on Hannah.  We were chatting this afternoon about her bike ride, (well done Hannah), when she mentioned that after the ride she had cheese and onion pie, with chips.  Cheese and onion pie sounded yummy and my brain must have started firing off those neurons or whatever they are that are triggered by things and very soon I realized how hungry I was and that I wanted something savory and baked.  From cheese and onion pie I went to the idea of making a steak and Guinness pie.  Or maybe a shepherds pie.  Well, no meat in the freezer for either of those, but I did find some Italian sausages!  Oh, how about a baked spaghetti with sausages?, oh, how about baked ziti with sausage?  Yes, okay I have almost everything in the house to make that with.  So in less than 90 minutes we have this big ole dish of pasta out of the oven.  Looks like there will plenty left over for lunches this coming week.  It was yummy.

Hannah also mentioned to me that she had a 99 cone after her ride. (I think I'd like going riding w. Hannah, the rewards for it seem really nice).  I didn't know what a 99 cone was so of course I headed to Google to find out.  Basically it's a soft serve ice cream cone with a bit of a chocolate stick stuck in it.

Another search let me to this article in The Guardian.  Seems that it is also known as a 99 Flake.  Why hasn't this been done in America?  I'd love to have a chocolate stick stuck in my soft serve.  I'm surprised DQ hasn't done this at some point.

Well, so that's that.  I don't have any ice cream in the freezer and I don't suppose I can talk Sarah in heading to town right now either.  I think I'll enjoy the last of the watermelon that's in the fridge.  Wonder if I can find some sort of candy to stick in my slice?

More Animal Fun

I made a few more Animal pots/sculptures today.   I am having fun with these,maybe too much fun in the case of that Turtle.  Still, it's good to try something new and I'm not taking these or myself very seriously at the moment.  That can only be a good thing I think.


Hopefully I can pull off some sort of terra sig finish on these.  We'll see.  For now I just have to make sure I don't knock anyone's ear or leg off!

Finished pots

Here is a video of pots from yesterdays unloading.  Many of these pots you have seen getting made and/or decorated over the past week or so.


I'm disappointed that the amber glaze had problems.  Most of the bubbles are on the backs of the dishes.  I'll mark them down and sell them as seconds.  Still nice pots.  I'm going to run some tests with a different recipe over the next few firings and also try applying it by brushing.  These low fire glazes are so finicky.   I'd be happy moving up a few cones if the glazes would behave and provided I didn't loose too much of the redness of the clay body.

I'm looking forward to getting back to making next week.  I'll be throwing more bowls with tall feet and I'd like to get back to experimenting with some box shapes.  The boxes are challenging in both the making and getting the deco on them.  I have also been drawing some vase shapes that I'll try.

All for now, thanks for checking in.

2 Earth and Fire Shows

The Earth and Fire Pottery Show opens tomorrow in Kings Mountain, NC.  The reception is from 7-9 pm at the Kings Mountain Art Center in the old train depot.  The show features the works of over 20 potters.

I'm showing along with my pals from the Thrown Together group.

Another show called Earth and Fire is happening but it's way over on the other side of the pond.  My friends Hannah and Doug and Paul are all there along with many other UK potters.  So if you're near Nottinghamshire be sure to go out for a visit.

What was your dinner served on tonight?

I am always taken off guard whenever we go to someone's house for a meal and we get boring dishes that came from a department store or that they picked up second hand somewhere. (Or even worse, paper plates and plastic cups!)  I guess I'm so used to eating and drinking from handmade wares that I often take it for granted.

I'm in the process of packing up some pots that we have had around for several years and I'm going to gift them to some folks who I know will love to use them in their home.  I am also going to give some things to people who may not even be aware that having handmade crockery is an option.  It will be a good opportunity to educate some folks and to pass on the joy of pottery.

Tonight I made tortellini with a homemade tomato sauce.  I sauteed zucchini and yellow squash to go on top.  Delicious, and even better eaten out of some of our favorite dishes.

On the left a shallow bowl by Michael Kline, on the right a dish made by Marcia Tani Paul. In the back cups by Stanley Anderson (left) and Bulldog Pottery (right).

We have so many pots in our home that we use constantly.  It's really does make a difference to use a pot that works so well for it's intended purpose.  Just this morning I mixed up biscuit dough in a large stoneware bowl that I made years ago.  It was neat remembering back to when I'd made it and it held the contents of my ingredients just perfectly.  Pots that we have bought from other potters usually carry a story, from meeting the potter, to visiting them at their studio or at a show, that memory comes back each time I take a pot out to use.

In a world where most objects are bland, poorly made, and carry no connection to other human beings its great to have handmade pots in our home to use and enjoy.  I know it may sound cheesy, but they make life better.

Looking forward to tomorrow morning when I'll pick a favorite mug to have my tea in.  Wonder which one it will be?....

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.

More From the Penland Weekend

Here are a few more pics from my trip up to Penland.

Above: Looking at pots in Micheal Kline's yard.  MK had put the pots out for his studio sale a few weeks ago. Since then the grass has grown so it was a bit like searching for four leaf clovers.

Soda fired porcelain at Gay Smith's pottery.

A tall vase at Stan Anderson's studio.

Michael Hunt (in red) talking to students in front of the showroom.

Recent pots from the Hunt/Dalgish kiln.


Pots from Shawn Ireland's latest wood firing.

More of Shawn's pottery.  Shawn will be having a Home Sale this Friday, Sat, and Sun during the Trac Studio tour.

Stanley Mace Anderson

Ronan took his class out to visit several potter's studios in the Penland area while I was there.  I was excited to hear that they were going out to Stanley Mace Anderson's pottery, so I decided to go along too.

Stan is an icon in the majolica world.  He's been producing his unique style of majolica pottery since the late 70's. (See article HERE).

Stan was very generous and talked to us all about his pots and process.  I love Stan's brushwork and the expressive quality of his forms and decoration.  He had shelves of work waiting to be decorated.

He had been working here at his wheel on some trays when we arrived.

This next image is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in a workshop. Stan's pots of colored stains.  I imagine these have been 'growing' here as they have been used over the past 2+ decades.

There were also shelves full of finished works.  Cups, yunomi, bowls of various sizes, many, many plates, platters, and other tableware.  All useful, all beautiful and rich in color.  I had to have a yunomi.

Stan shared that he has been brushing some white slip onto the work at the leather hard stage. This is not normally done in majolica.  The slip is loosely brushed over certain areas and sometimes he will scratch through it.  The slip gives some sense of movement under the majolica glaze and the marks give some texture.  I thought this was really brilliant.

I totally fell in love with the separately thrown and added foot on the yunomi.

I'll be trying this soon.  Stan also does this on some tall footed bowls and tureens, as well as ewers and tall teapot forms.

This is the first majolica pot I have ever bought!!  I am happy that it's one of Stan's and I'm pretty sure next time I go back I'll be getting a plate.


Penland Weekend

Good day from Penland School!  I came up yesterday to be a visiting artist for Ronan Peterson who is teaching a class here this session.  It was so nice for Ronan to ask me to come up for a couple of days and it's really been fun for me to share some of what I know with his class.

A few early birds in the studio on Sunday morning.

Collaboration in progress between Ronan and me. (Thanks to Mark Errol for suggesting that I do the Rabbit motif and placement on right hand jar)

A few of Ronan's finished pots.

Some of the pots Ronan is working on.

Today we are going out to visit some potter's studios in the area.  I'm looking forward to that, but first Brunch!!  The food here at Penland is always delicious.

More later.

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.

A View from the Wheel

I've had two days of good productive work.  That's beside the fact that I'm not sleeping very well at night and not getting much of an early start.

Anyhow, I'm getting stocked up for the Thrown Together show which is April 30th in Charlotte.  I really hope we have a great sale.  Our guests this spring are Gay Smith and Matt Jones.

So here's a bit of video from my seat up on my treadle wheel.


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.

Burger Heaven

Sarah and I went into Charlotte yesterday so that I could see the Grainer Collection at the Mint one more time.  Mr. and Mrs. Grainer were actually in the gallery but I didn't go up and start handing them my business card or anything.  I got to drool over the Maltby pots again and look really close at Grayson Perry's large urns with all their insane glaze treatment, gold luster, and decals.

For lunch we went to Big Daddy's Burger Bar on East Blvd.  It was hopping! I have been wanting to go for about a year now.

I ordered the Sam I Am burger which is topped with American cheese, rosemary ham, a fried egg and pesto.  Oh my, it was heaven.  I'd had a turkey burger w. a fried egg at the Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis a few years back and loved it, so it was good to have another. (really good...yuuummmm)

Sarah had the black bean burger with green chilies, Monterey jack cheese, avocado, and chipotle ranch.  It was really good too (even though there weren't two meats and an egg on it!!!)

Later that night, after coming back home for a bit we went out to the new Ni Fen Wine and Tapas bar in Shelby.  Jeanette Sun has been missed for some time here in this town.  It's great to have her back in this new setting.  We had some drinks and I was treated to a wonderful piece of Jeanette's tiramisu.  If you live in Shelby, or nearby, please check out Ni Fen, you'll be glad you did.

It was an awesome birthday, spent with my favorite person, my sweet wife.  I got lots of warm wishes on my FB page that really made me feel great.   Well, here's to another year in the making.

(Today: Eat my veggies)

New Pot in Use

You may remember that I won Marcia Tani Paul's giveaway on her Blog not long ago.

One of the prizes was this great bowl made by Marcia.  It's my new favorite pot and has been in use regularly since it arrived.

This is pretty much a weekly meal, teriyaki salmon, short grain brown rice and edamame.

Marcia has sent me a new salmon recipe that I'll be trying soon as well as a recipe for roast duck.  For more great food and pots be sure to visit Marcia's blog and her recipe page.