Warren Mackenzie Retrospective at the Fuller Craft Musuem

Today was an exciting field trip day for the Asparagus Valley Potter’s Guild.  We took a two-hour bus trip to the Fuller Museum in Brockton, Ma. to see the wonderful Warren Mackenzie Retrospective.  We also saw the up-lifting,  and inspiring,  “On the Line”, an installation, by one of our own guild members, Francine Ozereko, and her husband Frank Ozereko.  And last but not least, an exhibit about shoes… totally engaging!  I will report on the later two in the next few days.  For now, here are some Warren Mackenzie pots to inspire!

 

Ceramic Artist Interview with Erin

This wonderful, recently graduated from art school, young woman is doing an interesting thing on her blog.  Her blog is called Ceramic Erin.  Erin is interviewing ceramic artists every week or so.  Check out her most recent interview with me on Erin’s  blog.   As an older person I think what she is doing is a great way for young  potters to get information about other potters the best way they know how…  though social networking.  (Ah, I guess 45 is not that old, maybe I should say,  “as a person who did not grow up in the computer age”.)  Anyway the teacher in me just loves this idea of the interviews.  I know when I was younger I could never get enough of how artist/potters daily lives were set up, and how they made a living doing what they love.

DINNERWARE SET FOR TWELVE… How long does it take to make?

100_42025100_42035

Well if your a potter making it for your family…. about three or four years.  It’s like the carpenters house never getting done…  I finally started to make the dinnerware set the week before Christmas.  The week after New Years I made the lunch plates. 

After many conversations with my apprentice Pam about how long pottery takes to make, I have decided blog about a dinnerware set from start to finish.  This subject will be a series of explainations on the processes involved, and the time each process takes. Pam will hopefully add her two cents here and there… or anyone else who wants to comment is welcome.

PART ONE:

The setting… Dec. 22, kids home on holiday break… fit in whatever hours you can.  I send them outside to sled and snowboard, that will give me a couple of hours.  The snow is gorgeous… the studio is warm.  The music I’m listening to today is Jack Johnson, Annie Lenox, The Indigo Girls.  I’m going to make my dinner plates… fifteen to start, hopefully getting  twelve when all is said and done.

9:50 – 10:20 …wedge 15 pieces of clay weighing 4 lbs each.  Total – 1/2 hour, 60lbs… a good workout.

10:30 – 11:35… throw 15, 10 1/2 ” plates (which are actually 11 1/4 and will shrink during the firing).  Clean the wheel.

This is actually the quickest part of the whole process for me… I don’t find throwing the plates that difficult… it is the rest that wears on me… the  trimming, drying, and all the things that go wrong with plates…warping, cracking, glazing, etc.

11:40 just done on time… kids are in… cold… snow pants, gloves, hats and jackets, wet as can be.  Put the mac and cheese on…. be a MOM.

1:00 – 1:10 turn all the plates around 180 degrees so they don’t dry un-evenly from the pellet stove.

Be a Mom again… its vacation.

4:00 – 4:10 turn all plates again.

8:00 – 8:15 rotate plates from front of table to back, back to front.  Cover all plates lightly with plastic.

 

100_42053

Next :  Trimming plates!

Locally Grown, Garden of Mugs

Still working on the photo’s.  I must say it is so nice to photograph my own work whenever I please, and just play with it… delete it…try again. 

These are my latest mugs.  Mugs tend to be everyone’s favorite.  I have really decorated these… I love to draw and many people love to have color and imagery on the pottery they buy.  Some people don’t understand the extra work that goes into it and wonder why the price of these mugs are higher than my plain mugs.  As potters we should always remember the worth of our time.  Today I was saying to my apprentice Pam that my past students make the best customers because they understand how difficult and time consuming pottery is. Pam replied I think we should offer free wheel time every once in awhile to your customers just so they can get a little hint as to what goes into the process of making pots!

New Urn Photos/Fall Pottery Classes Posted

I have been busy filling orders, and in between trying to get some vacation days at the beach.  I promised to post some new urns that I gave you a sneak pick at last month,  so here are a couple.  The sizes of these are 18″h.

Check out my pages for an update on new classes that are posted and some up-coming events.

      

Thoughts on Pottery Workshops

 

I have been thinking about workshops, as I am preparing to teach workshops this summer.  Even though I have taught pottery for over twenty years I am just branching out to the workshop scene.  Workshops are a great way to get charged up… you walk away from an intensive couple of days, your mind filled with ideas…your just ready to make the most creative pots imaginable! 

I have been to many pottery workshops through out the years. The most recent was with Val Cushing. Val was one of my Alfred teachers… the man who taught me how to make good functional pottery.  When the Asparagus Valley Pottery Guild brought Val here for a workshop I couldn’t pass up the chance to sit with him again and soak in some of his wisdom and knowledge.  Well it ended up that I was his assistant for the weekend just like the old days at Alfred.  Back then I had a great work study job as Val’s glaze calculations lab tech.  

I have not seen Val in more than twenty years, never did I think I would be assisting him again. It was an blast from the past!  And so nice to be with this gentle, articulate and talented man again!

 

Summer Workshops are Here!

Many students have asked for summer workshops, rather than 10 week classes (I will still offer one 10 week class rather than three).  With vacations and great weather some people generally don’t want to commit to a weekly class.  So I think the idea of condensed time together in the workshop setting will be a great learning experience and fun too!  Check out my workshops and classes page!

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Preparing for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail . Last week I trimmed so many pots my pointer finger got jammed ( I trim using a lid to hold my pot down on foam).  This last week and the next week or so I am glazing and firing my kilns.

I’m making some new work… berry bowls, garlic jars, gravy boats, creamers, sugar jars, and of course more butter bells (my best seller, besides mugs).  I will have plenty of bowls, mugs, teapots, small trays, vases, eggcups, plates, etc. . The glazes on my work has changed slightly.  More drawing with glaze pencil and under glazes.  Glazes are over all somewhat brighter.  I still have my very quiet, subtle glazes too!

During the two days of the pottery trail you will see our studio’s and some of us will be giving demos. At my studio you will be seeing myself or my assistant or advanced students throwing.  So come on the tour support the great potter’s in the valley!