Thursday, September 30, 2010

Video: Kiln Day 4, "The Shed and first Bricks"

This video was pretty fun to make. It took several hours and lots of little tweaking...and I'm getting to know the iMovie app more and more. It's so much fun doing this.. I might have to add a digital camera to this year's Christmas Wish List. I've been a Beastie Boys fan since I was about 12 and felt that this track, "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun" was totally appropriate. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

p.s. we were all very sober during this project.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kiln Day 4, "The Shed and first Bricks"

Yet another Sunday has come to pass and I'm here with my little nephew catching Mooses in the house while his parents are at a dinner party. I don't know how many small mooses I had to catch but that kid really has a lot packed away in an imaginary freezer and oven. But an average Sunday these days hasn't only been about imaginary animals or make-believe.. it's been about the new Kiln we've been dreaming of for a couple of months. A dream that's quickly becoming a reality...

We met up at Scotts place again around 10 am and to my surprise there was already about 3 guys there working. Scott had been busy the entire week cutting the wood for the kiln shed..and he didn't cut any corners at all. This timber is from his property that have been killed by Pine Beetles. He's cleared a lot of trees and we're all super grateful to be able to use the trees in this way (and later on to fire with!!). And by the way what you're seeing here is only half of the shed. The rest is going to be finished after we build the stack. There's talk of a blacksmithing area and possibly a pizza oven that will be near the back area of the kiln.... we shall see!!!

Throughout the day there was a number of times that I stopped what I was doing to look up and see what everybody was up to... All together we had 10 people there and many times everybody was working on something... 20 hands working! It really makes me happy to be involved with all these super cool people.. Things just keep on rolling along and by the end of the day while a few of the guys were installing the rafters of the shed, Andrew, Crista and I started laying down the first layers of brick. It's going to be hard not getting up there this next week..but I think I will anyways and just get it ready for the Arch form and stacking the Arch... which will be next Sunday's Kiln Episode.

Check in later this week for the next video, of Kiln Day 4, "The Shed and first Bricks".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Video: Kiln Day 3, "Pouring the Pad"

Last night, my special lady-friend, had to work late.... so I did what any normal man would do in that situation.... I bought a small bottle of whiskey, recorded some music and mixed it with some videos on the computer. Please enjoy the latest installment, brought to you by the Bfriz production company.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kiln Day 3, "Pouring the Pad"

Waking up yesterday morning here in Helena, Montana, I was greeted with beautiful, clear-blue skies. I was happy, not only for the weather, but because it was the day to pour the kiln pad. We all made it to Emily and Matt’s place around 9:00 am, talked, drank some coffee… and made it up to Scott’s at about 9:45. We were ready to go! We had just the right amount of hands. Everybody was busy from the get-go. We were shoveling sand, gravel and road mix, measuring cement and water…running the cement mixer, and pouring the mix into the form.We measured with 5 gallon each load had 3 buckets of gravel, 2 buckets of sand, 1 bucket of Portland cement and ¾ bucket of water. Remember the ratio? 3, 2, 1 (gravel, sand, cement) Everything went real smooth like and we had the pad finished, clean and with a beveled edge by 1:30. By 2 pm we had things cleaned up and were out of there. I even had enough to time to make soccer practice (I recently joined a rec team..and it's so fun). It was really the perfect day to pour; sunny skies, warm breeze… the kind of weather that reminded us of summer.

The kiln day continued into the evening when my good ole friend from school, Robin DuPont, stopped in to hit the couch on his way back to Utah. It’s always good seeing him but even better this time because in the back of his car he had 4, brand new kiln shelves for me. 30” x 25.5”…and light for their size… possibly only 45 lbs. I’m going to have to cut one or two of them so we can fit them all in the kiln..but…wow.. it’s all coming together!!!

Now that the pad is poured, in three or four days it will be set… and next week we’re planning to get that fist layer of brick down and get it all squared away and level. We originally planned to have the whole kiln finished and firing by the end of November, but we could easily be firing by the middle of October… or sooner. Here’s to good hands, willing backs and a crew that knows what the hell needs to get done. Stay tuned for the next episode of, “Kiln Day”. It’s only going to get better…

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kiln Day 2, "The mix"

To be ready to pour the pad tomorrow morning we knew we had to have our mix ready to go before hand. We had agreed on the amount needed and found a place just outside of town that would fill up your truck bed for 10 bucks with sand or gravel. Not bad I thought. So for the first part of the morning, Matt drove with Clayton out to get the goods and picked me up to go help shovel it out. Little did we know that our good friend, Scott was so excited about us coming out with the gravel and sand that he went and bought 9 bags of portland cement. Just so you know it's a total rip off to buy premixed doing it yourself is always the money savin way to be. The ratio goes like this... 1 portland cement to 2 sand to 3 gravel. 1, 2, 3. This little pad is going to need about 9 bags of portland, just under a cubic yard of sand and just under two cubic yards of gravel. (but don't take my word for it though. i'm workin with professionals here..and maybe i mixed a number up. i'm learning a lot of this stuff as we're doing it- so check it out for yourself!!) It's so great working with people who are so excited about this project. Another great reason to be building at Scott's place is that he has just about every toy and useful piece of equipment we could need to make this experience smoothe. I said he was making this really easy on me and he replied.... "nah Bobby.. I'm just facilitating you... " Check out this sweet tracked hydraulic lift (Scott uses it to haul full logs to his one-man lumber mill) which sure comes in handy when you need to move a cement mixer a couple blocks down a dirt road to where a kiln is being built...

So far...the cost of the kiln is:

sand: $10
gravel: $10
portland cement: $108

total: $128

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kiln Day 1 "The Form"

God's Day has been officially designated "Kiln Day" for my crew and I. We all work our butts off during the week and can only seem to find the time to play on the weekends....which is so normal for us crazy Americans. Digging holes, pushing dirt, hauling bricks, building a wooden form for our kiln pad...some would consider working, but not when you love what it is. I'm stoked for this little kiln!! Now that we have the form built and ready to go, later this week we'll get a load of gravel, sand, and portland cement up there so we can mix and pour during "Kiln Day 2" this weekend. The pad is so little- look how cute it is! haha...and if you look close, we've tied in four boxes at each corner for the shed that's going to be built after the pad sets up. The kiln is being built near an old mining operation from the early 40s, which is all that junk and sagging walls behind it. It's a really cool area, which deserves it's own post for sure. I took another shot of the brick pile... that's a lot of brick!!!

My Crew:
Matt Wilson - Carpenter, Ceramic Artist, Civil Engineer specializing in Concrete
Scott Walter - Carpenter, Sculptor, Lumber Mill operator, quietly/moderately gregarious
Crista Ames - Sculptor, Cook, Strong, Norwegian
Emily Free Wilson - Ceramic Artist, Official watcher of Clayton, Top snack maker
Clayton Wilson - Best helper ever.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Next step

It's been a good week for making my work. I've been spending most of my free time carving away at these cups, bowls and plates I made the week before. I've made good and bad ones...I've taken the decoration way too far and havn't done enough. I guess it's called, "testing the boundaries".

They have this very nice arabic feel, or a modern style of graffiti... what I'm interested in is how I can use the blacks, greys and whites and manipulate those marks to enhance the form of the pots...

What I enjoy so much about starting a new project is seeing it progress and change. But is it really new? I don't think so... there are parts to this series that can easily be traced back a couple of years, or longer.... Isn't that what's so great about the making processes? The things that you think, see, or do today...can have such an impact on what's happening later on in the future.

I have no idea how long it will be before I have enough work to fire an entire kiln..but hopefully it will be by the middle of october...due to some deadlines coming up/shows I want to try and enter.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Work

This summer has been interesting and totally busy... It's been difficult to get back into the swing of making my own work again. It's been a good long break since May and it's time to turn on my own creative juices again. But you know?.... when you work all day making somebody else's pots, when you get's hard to not crack open a beer and watch a movie- even making dinner seems to be a challenge.

But to say the least I've pushed through those vegetative impulses and have been making some new work. These are being made for the salt kiln. The process not being any different then my last round but this time I've taken out the "faces". I just can't seem to keep making the faces for no reason (other then they look cool - lame) and figured I should concentrate more on form and how the sgraffito works with the over-all pot.

So where this line of work came from... I had a few episodes of ink paintings about a month back and some thoughts about infinity, space, and depth... and remembered how Escher was fascinated with the plane and sometimes just to see how deep marks could go... anyhoo, this is what I came up with: a process of marks, first being large and broad then from those marks continue to add others..and to just go as small as I could, while sections morphed into their own "things" or shapes... close to free association I thought.

These are the new pots... when I saw it, after i had already started it..i thought..holy hell... i can do like what i did with the ink...