Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Workshop and Soda pots

The last weekend was a whirl of fun. Dan came through town to give a two day Train Kiln workshop. There was about 7 or more of us that have at one time or another, been taught by Dan at Utah State. It could have been the most fun I've had at this type of workshop ever. Lots of laughing and lots of drinking! At some point during the loading I had to stop and massage my cheeks because I haven't laughed and giggled so much in a long time. It does feel good to laugh.

I made a decision to fire the soda kiln first, instead of the Cat. One reason was because I've been pretty curious lately to see what my style of pots would look like compared to a salt or a wood/salt. I'm happy to say I'm really diggin the results.

The pots came out real perdy and as Lynn Munns said, "Very lovely". Although these pots are lookin good, I'm looking forward to making the pots specifically for the Cat.

I'm still not totally convinced on the best style of firing for the sgraffito pots..but at least I'm happy to say that I was super excited to pull a few of these pots out, and after 4 days I'm still feeling really good.

So far, so Fun in Redlodge. Tomorrow I'll start making more pots and getting geared up for the Cat firing around the 20th of March.

Friday, February 24, 2012


That's Perry Haas, Robin DuPont, Me and Dan Murphy while we were in Korea.

Today, at some point, me ole instructor, Dan J Murphy will be gracing the tiny town of Redloge with his wood-fire expertise. Starting tomorrow morning Dan is going to give a workshop about firing the Train kiln, a kiln that is... so Utah State. We'll be loading the kiln Saturday morning and on Sunday, while the fire starts to roar, Dan will be in the studio making pots. It should be super fun and a lot of folks that I went to school with are coming, and also lots of people in Montana. It's free! You have any work? bring it on and learn something...get it fired. And even ( I think).. I, and the other residents will be giving a short slide talk about our work.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Country Boy

Finally loaded my bisque kiln.. it only took 22 days to do it..jeez. Sometimes I think that I should only concentrate on form and do one simple glaze.. that way I'd make so many more pots. But I'm not too worried that making my pots takes a good amount of time.. it doesn't matter if something takes you a long time.

Sometimes I feel like the more time it takes.. the better it will be- not so in all cases..but I'm really curious to see what can happen to my work when I spend more and more time on the sgraffito and layers on layers... That's the direction I want to go.. more time spent on the decoration. Larger pieces that could take days to weeks to finish.

Anyhoo. Today was awesome. Yesterday I learned, to my surprise, that all tributaries to the Yellowstone river are open to anglers all year. I've been here for 22 days and... it was always there ready for me to go to. I just figured, like the west-side, that all small streams were closed this time of year. Ooops!

Thanks, David for setting me straight.

Beautiful... Beautiful..


Once the bisque kiln was loaded and firing.. I grabbed the ole fishing pole and took a hike down to Rock Creek, which is basically a stone's throw away from the studio. What a pretty area and lots of nice little holes here and there to flip my lure into. If these sweet Browns are tasty enough.. I think I just figured out how to save some cash on food while I'm here. Man. Thank god I'm a country boy!

If you're coming for the Dan Murphy workshop... bring your fishin pole!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Richard Notkin moldmaking Institute

Did you know Notkin is a resident of Helena, Montana? He's got a great gig going here during the summer offering a super intensive workshop that will teach you anything you want or could ever imagine about mold making and slip casting. Last summer filled up fast and I heard some really great things about it..

It's going to sell out..and if you've ever been curious about the City that shelters some of the best ceramic artists in the world, along with the Archie Bray Foundation, during the most beautiful time of the year... you gotta do it!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Plasticity", a show from Redlodge

A week ago I took a field trip to Powell, Wyoming. It was for the opening of a ceramic show that the long-term residents and trio of directors had work in. I thought I should share it. The show is called, “Plasticity”.

The space was quaint, but very nice and professionally set up. Not in the least did the show seem crowded with work. Everything was spaced well and worked together nicely. There was quite the range of work too, from firing styles, concepts and scale.

David Hiltner

Jill Futte-Hutton

Markus Urbanik

Katie Coughlin (the piece on the wall, not Andrew)

Andy Moon

Undine Brod (Katie's piece is on the wall in the background)

Andrew Gilliat

The diversity of work being shown reflects the mentality of most Clay Centers, and artist residencies in general. This format follows closely to the Universities that offer degrees of higher learning, such as a Masters. Diversity of ideas and making practices will naturally generate an environment in which the artists can easily exchange new ideas and working processes. Sometimes seeing something from outside the box can spark something new and amazing to whomever is in it. I’ve already learned so much since I’ve been here.

So the show is a reflection of the ceramic artists in Redlodge; a gambit of ideas and ceramic objects. It’s pretty cool to be working so closely to these high-caliber folks. Not to mention, they’re pretty fun to hang with.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Redlodge. Update

I'm workin on the 11th day of my residency.. only 49 days left and still lots to do. Since my last entry I've been bangin away in the studio. One of my main goals while here was to develop some new forms while continuing to refine some older ones. It's so fun making new forms! It really feels like i'm playing all day.

The kiln that I'm planning to fire.. a nice little cat. The stacking space of this wood/salt kiln is 36x24 and the vertical space is about 70 inches. So..I can sort of relate that to the little cat of ours back home, which is 30x30 (we have some custom cut shelves from kohler) at the floor and about the same vertical.. now that I think about it, the space is almost exactly the same!... huh..funny. Anyhoo, I figure on about 120 pieces and I'm 3/4s of the way there with the plan to fire up before Dan Murphy shows up on the 24th. Can I do it? I hope. I have a short week left before a bisque firing...

Everybody here is super cool and totally accommodating. They don't even expect me to shovel my own walk after it snows! I think for my first residency..I might be getting totally spoiled. Oh well. I love getting spoiled..spoiled-stinky, gooey-gross, slap-happy rotten..

Sunday, February 5, 2012

a Helena break... Beyond the Brickyard, 2012.

I've been at Redlodge for a week.. I've had the good time of getting to know the residents and the three power house people that run it: David Hiltner, Jill Foote-Hutton, and Markus Urbanik (who's a fellow USU alum) The wood I need for the firing is split and covered..and I've cranked out a good amount of work. Yesterday I came back to Helena to support my special lady friend and her piece that's in the ever coveted and very competitive show, "Beyond the Brick Yard" at the Bray.

the above image is a piece made by Crista Ames, titled, "Chain Fourteen".

Here are those artists who had work in the show that could make the opening. Plus my big sister, Emily Free Wilson, the gallery director, and Steve Lee... Director of the Bray.

It was a good show and a fun evening. It was nice to see familiar faces again..especially this guy, Danny Crump. Danny told me he wouldn't make it..but I immediately picked him out of the crowd..since the shirt he was wearing I remember him buying while we were both in China back in 07.

I brought Danny's piece from Missoula the last time the Anagama was fired with Perry... remember that? So here it is..all set up. When I took the piece, Danny told me this... "If it doesn't sell, I've added a clause to my contract that you get it. Cool right?" I figured it wouldn't sell because it's a big blob of wood-fired sticks... but actually one of the nicest pieces in the show and wouldn't you know? it sold to a collector in Idaho. Damn it! Haha.. I guess I wont get to grace my walls with Danny's sculpture..

It was a good show..lots of funky, whacky ceramics,(the show was currated by the recent, Volkous fellow, Richard Shaw). It turned into a great evening... shootin pool at the bar, me being too drunk and making an idiot out of myself... and then...long into the early hours of the morning at my house. Even ole, Tim Stepp closed us down into the early 4 am hours... Danny played the piano while I accompanied him with a harmonica, and then the trumpet. we had a great old time....drinking, smoking, music.. and conversation about art and the world as we see it... good times. i'll be headed back to Redlodge tomorrow to keep bangin away.