Tuesday, October 30, 2012

LA and a Firing

I just got back from a pretty awesome weekend down in LA.  Highlight of all the art I saw?  I saw a good amount... and the one that takes the best prize... the Ken Price retrospective at the LACMA.  Wow.  Wow.

Before I left though, I fired off the salt kiln on Thursday night...and flew away Friday.  I just got back this morning and unloaded the kiln on my way home.  The Bay Area is pretty big.. I had to leave my car near a train station and take the public trans all the way to the airport.  It's good to get out..see new things... Traveling is so fun..and can become a serious addiction which one would never want a cure.

Long story short..  The kiln was super good.  Three times a charm, as the saying goes.  I almost made out like a bandit..as that other saying goes.  Mostly good this time, only a few bad ones.  Is that a saying too?  Huh..those are some strange sentences.  Lots of sayings.  Anyways..that's my car with pots.  There are pots in that box..and more pots hidden and balanced everywhere else.  As I drove the dishes to their firing.. I met a particularly angry man on one of the freeway interchanges who thought I was taking the corner too slow....  We had fun shortly after flipping eachother the bird and laughing hysterically.  I did laugh while it happened...and it looked like he was laughing too.  so strange..  people huh?  Not one pot was harmed during the making of that trip.

 Ohhhhh how I love moving pots this way. All you potters with kilns at your studio better thank your lucky stars, sweat and tears to have it so close.  It really is a life changer...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

set of 8

the last week i've been doing nothing but working..   long, early to late hours so I can squeeze in a firing before the Halloween weekend.  There was a bit of wet work done early on last Monday..coil building and some wall tiles from slabs.. but most of the time has been spent drawing all over my pots.

  This morning I finished this set of 8 plates...   It took about 5 hours to finish.  I'm planning to display them on the wall.. and i figure if anybody would buy something like this..they could either keep it for the wall or stick them in the cupboard.  They're nice little toast dishes i think.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sarah Brown

About a week ago I drove out to Napa to see a friend of mine, Sarah Brown.  Sarah... is pretty amazing.  How you ask?  She's a good potter.  She makes me food to eat.  She makes incredible food for me to eat.  I'm easily pleased and very excited about food.

Being in a new place to live... I'm happy to say that I've found, along with her husband, Owen (also a good potter), a home away from home.  Here's some pictures from the backyard of her childhood home during the Napa Valley open studio tour.  Nice pots, Sarah.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

salty dog

It's sort of good enough.  All the black glazes came out great..they did exactly what I expected.  Oh right..that's because I've used it a hundred times!  The other glaze?  My new and improved "Bobby's Sweet Ash" glaze..  eeehhhhh....  not so good.  For one, it came out a lime like, poopy green color.  For two, I applied it too thick causing it to run like mad!  Most of the ash glazed pots...were sort of failures.  I'm hoping that a refire in the gas kiln will brighten them up and settle out the glaze that seemed to boil a bit towards where it pooled..  It just did too much of what I was hoping for.  I went too far!  Hey kids, did you know that holding your kiln at a high temperature for a really long time will encourage your glazes to run even more!  Remember learning that?...because I sure do, but I didn't remember until it was too late!!  What was I thinking??  But not only that....  The glaze needs less ash and more clay to stiffen it back up.

I've written about this sort of thing before..where pots just don't come out the way I plan.  What the hell?  I thought I was good at this.  I mean, well, yah, I'm good.  But I keep doing super noob moves now and then..   like one of those killer jars at the top.. I forgot to wad the lid.   

I mean, look at that carnage.  what a load of salty dogs.  I'm not even sure grinding them is worth it.  But I will.  I'll try to save them...  too much time involved to let go.  I'll grind..then refire in the gas..  and if they're still super ugly..to the dumpster they go!

The big guys took the brunt and held up nicely.  One or two of these will definitely make the show in December... along with 3 or 4 of the jars at the top, and a group of bottles.  All in all.. at least it was better than my last firing.  Lets hope I only lose 25% from the next kiln load..and by the time I leave I'll have it down to 0%.  Jesus.. I haven't missed my little wood/salt kiln back home more then I did yesterday.  

Anyways.  Back to the drawing board, back to the wheel..... and back to the studio for the next round.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

slipped and ready with a pinch of Albany

hi all.  i'm feeling good about what's happening tomorrow... i'm loading the salt kiln again.  holy hell it feels nice to be prepared for a kiln.  the last kiln?  well, i took some short cuts.  i was rushed, it was a new kiln to fire... and i wasn't too excited about the results.  I ended up giving those pots a refire in the reduction kiln and they look good enough.  anyways, i learned my lesson and did it right this time...at least all these steps I've had to take before getting to the kiln...which happens tomorrow morning.  it's just not over until it's over, right?  

The above image is a pic of some cups after i got my slip on there.  everywhere that's black will be exposed to the kiln and the salt/soda (just the clay body and black stain) while the white area with the horizontal lines and the interior will be glazed. for the last couple of weeks i've been testing an ash glaze for these.  i'm excited about it.. it's a nice apple/lime color in the reduction, good movement but still a little stiff.  it's different then my last Ash variation of this..which was 45 Ash, 55 Clay (the porcelain I used back in MT).  i think that the salt/soda will bleach it out just a bit and give the glaze a bit more movement down the pots.  so the ingredients are cool too, i think.  it's like this:  55 pine ash, (burned in a friends wood stove, shipped from Helena, thanks Em!) 10 Boxcar (the porcelain body I'm using), and 35 Albany.  Yah, ALBANY.  I found a bag of it here in the studio.  I know it's not being mined anymore, i understand that, but... well, why not?  all those potters back in the day got to have all the fun.  i'm tired of reading about it in books, or seeing it as an ingredient in old glazes.. so I said, I want to know what all the hype was about.  fun huh?  the three ingredients i'm using in the glaze (appropriately named, "Bobby's Sweet Ash")  are all things I wont be able to reproduce again once the Albany or my Ash runs out or I move away and can't get this clay anymore.  how smart is that?  but it's been fun testing them...