Friday, November 30, 2012

the last Jar

Here it is..the last jar.  I finally finished everything I want for my show next week.  in 4 or 5 days I'll have it all up and ready to go.

Now that it's getting close to the end.. everybody is talking about the End.  Inevitable, I know.  But to hear think it.. oh i feel so sad I'll have to leave.  I know I'm just bisque firing this guy....still another firing to go..  yet it's here, the end is here!!!!  but what a roller coaster of a ride, eh?  And you only 6th of what was really going on!!!  Jesus... if only you knew... but all that shit we always go through is what makes life so much fun to live right? 

My dad had some good advice for me a few days back.. he simply said, 

"Stay focused"

 Anyways..  here it is.  the last jar.  This weekend I'll set the show up..and the friends and family arrive in mid week a few days before the opening.  I'm so excited to be at this point.  

I'm going to the bar to spend too much money on a few well earned drinks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

tis the season...again!

Hi!  The Sonoma Community Center is having a Holiday Art Sale this Friday 11-5pm and Saturday 11-7pm.   I wonder how many of my readers are anywhere near the Bay Area... maybe not many.....but if you are you should come on by.  I'll be around....I'll have a few pots for sale and so will a lot of other folks.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Napa, CA wood-fired. Last salt fire..

I was late for the unloading this morning....  Who unloads a wood kiln at 8 am, anyways?  People that have real jobs, that's who!  But I did show up in time to snap a few shots of a few sweeties from the Napa crew's wood kiln.  The following dimensions of the pieces are approximate.  This was a 7 day firing in an Anagama with dimensions of 13' long, 52" to the top of the arch and 52" at the widest.  The firebox is usually measures about 28"x 42" over a grate.   Mostly fired with Oak.

Owen Nelson.  underside of a bowl.  4" tall.

Tri Tran.  17" tall.

Owen Nelson.  Plate.  12"x12"

Owen Nelson.  Big ole Jar!  40" tall.

Sarah Brown.  Bowl.  10" wide.

These guys are good, huh??!!

Bobby Free and a bright-ass green vase by Karl McDade.

This is my last salt firing.... unloaded today!!!! I got some good ones in this guy.... 

Friday, November 23, 2012

i saw something sweet

a few weeks back...there was an event here at the Center to fund the production of an independent film about bread.   please click the following link to check it out.  my buddy, Seth, who works here at the Center...put this event on and it was truly amazing.  There were lots of people, lots of art, amazing food...   but what's more important is that Seth is involved in spreading the word, epsecially locally here in Sonoma.  What's the word you might ask?  It's about locally grown food, it's about local artisan baked breads, it's about community involvement.  It sure was a great night..and there was some good money raised to support this good cause.  I mentioned it on my Facebook that I've never been in a place that is so concerned about local food..and what it means... is a book in itself....but to be around and involved in what I think is a true movement, even though it's's been happening..  it's going on.  People are responding...people are changing!

On top of that... I was very impressed with this mobile oven that cooked some of the best bread I've had in a long time.  So here's my pottery shtick.. this bread oven is bad ass huh???  check it out!!! the guy that made it was as killer as the oven.  He used sand as the mold and just went for it.  Innovation huh? lots of guts!!!  You can do it too!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Hi.  I'm making more things..for the last salt firing that's happening for me here in Sonoma.  I decided to cancel the super last one.. and just focus on......finishing up......  I'm so tired!.....  and  getting the show together.... and wouldn't you know it?... I'm going to do a cone 10 electric firing.  i figure it will add some needed variety to the pots I'll be displaying in just a few weeks.  

remember how my magic honda was hit?  this is the temporary replacement.  it's a Datsun.. Z 280 or something.....something wild.  It has a straight 6 cylinder..with too much power..  and before I knew it I was cruising towards East Bay 90 mph.  Thanks to Sarah's mom for loaning me this sweet ride while I'm here in Sonoma.  I love it..and it's such a life saver... ain't it just fantastic to know the right people?

Today I went to East Bay Clay to buy my last batch of Boxcar porcelain (porcelaneous stoneware) from Mike...  he really is an amazing guy with a fantastic story behind the scenes.  Thanks for the beautiful clay, Mike.

And one more awesome thing.. I got a pot today.  It's a sweet little Rat Meyers cup..which holds the wine so well.  And?... it sits nicely on top of this R. Cumb Art book...nestled near Napa wine, Soju, and Makguli.  I love the Koreans.  MMMmmmmmm...  and I love clay.  Oh and I love you.  Thanks for reading.  

isn't that fun? haha....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Is it in the water?

I came across this video on youtube a few minutes ago..totally unexpected.  I was looking for a vid of Josh DeWeese throwing a large jar  (which there are NONE..why????)...  Anyways.  the video is wonderful.  All these folks are incredible artists.  I know most of them..some of them are close friends....and miss them and Montana very much.  Please check it out!  share it!  look up the their work!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh I like that thing...

Ever go to a museum or an art show and see something you really like?  I wonder what it's like for we all experience the same thing?  Nah...No Way.  I'm guessing that the way people see, feel, or respond to what they see has got to be just as unique as they are, right?  But as unique as we all are, we share many, many similar traits and qualities.  We look and feel so much in the same way..... physically we have  two arms, legs, eyes (most of the time) and mentally?  love, hate, fear, joy... It's got to be similar right?  At least we hope so.

So when I'm out and looking..with the intent to just look... I see this or that thing and I respond and associate through past experience.  As a race that works day in and day out... that does something (even if it's nothing) every day..., like getting up, eating food, starting our days and working through them...we have to see certain things that get us going that get us motivated or stimulated, or completely turns us off.

I don't really know about the rest of the world when it comes to something they've seen at a museum..but when I see that one thing.. that thing...oh it just says..."hey you...  yah you!  I'm talking to you, you sonovabitch.  Uh huh...that's right- I got you! Now you have to make me, Bobby!!!!"  I do my best to try and take the Que and do something about it...and that's what I did.

When I was in LA about a month ago, I went to the Getty Museum and saw this wonderful pot.  I can't even tell you where it's from..but I do know, from the image, that it was made in the 1400s...  Middle Eastern I'm guessing.  a Water basin for washing... maybe, Who really knows?  My point is, is that it doesn't matter.  We see things, internalize, and then regurgitate.  How vast the history of Ceramics is...

Thank you really old, good pot.  You inspired me to make something new through your eyes.  I'll call this a Water Basin..but I doubt, very seriously..that anybody would ever use something like this to wash up with in the morning or whenever.  At the least, if anybody ever decides they must own this..  it will sit and stand up to the age of time.  How fun, huh?  I love thinking of my pots growing extremely old...outliving me by decades or millennia.

This lovely basin took all day to carve.  Oi...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Redlodge Gallery

I finally got some pots in the gallery at the Redlodge Clay Center.  Took long enough, huh?  The pots available are from my latest salt firings in Sonoma.  if you're into another sneak peak, or want to buy some of my work.. go check it out.  Tons of other pots to look at too.  click the following link:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What happens...

How quickly things can change, hmm?  I've heard it so many times;  "Shit happens.", "These things's just a matter of time.", "It's just how life is...  fluctuations, you know?"  "One time something like that happened to me.... ", "You're lucky nobody was killed."  "That street is so dangerous.. let me tell you about this time.....".  so on..and so on.

The last day has been quite the experience.  And just so you know, I'm extremely grateful that nobody was killed.

What does this have to do with Wood-fire..or pots at all?  I'm not exactly sure..but if life is life, then this does have something to do with it.  It's all part of it..these motions, these things that we so normally do.  Yes.. I'm helping with a kiln, yah..I made some pots for it.... mostly I did it just so I could be around this amazing group of people and uh huh, yeup, i split some wood, helped out.. I threw some wood into the kiln to burn.. and oh by the way... a motorcycle hit the back end of my car last night..and the guy was taken away to the hospital with minor injuries.

but are they the same?  can work, pots and every day motions... can they be compared?  I don't know how to answer that..but today I'm definitely feeling the effects of it.  I'm not injured at all.  Physically I feel fine.  Mentally.. I'm a shaken up.  I saw a man sprawled on the pavement, his bike in shattered pieces... stopped vehicles and their intact lights, waiting, beaming at us, investigating, illuminating the scene... and this person, this beautiful man, helpless... a person that I so immediately and intimately became involved with.  His name is Dolten and he's a handyman.  When we collided, he was on his way home after work, and I was on my way to a wood kiln.

No.  Pots and human beings are not the same.  We make pots to celebrate human life.  We make these things to celebrate and express our connection to our fellow man.

The guy and I were lucky.  Probably according to the insurance companies and the police, I'm at fault..because one always yields to oncoming traffic, even if you don't see them or a headlight that should be on isn't... at night.  Moments have speed.. slow or fast.  This one was fast.  I never saw him coming.

I woke up to a gorgeous Napa morning.  Now it's raining.  Sometimes..if you're up early enough to see the sun rise and taste the morning air..  perhaps you try to compare it to something else.  This morning was like the cold, spring mountain water of McDonald Pass near Helena, Montana...  I was grateful to be where I was.  I'm greatful to be where I am.

And oh how sweet that water is.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A peek at a piece


It's been a little over 4 months in Sonoma now.  My show is looming on the horizon..and as a result I've started to transition into leaving at some point.  It's all coming to a close eh?  It's far from over with still so much left to do.  I'm planning two more firings before the show opens on the 7th of December.  I know, 2, right?  I have a plan that involves a firing in about 2 weeks...and then the last at the end of the month. This next firing will have the last of things like..cups, bowls...along with pitchers and teapots.  I should have some good variety..with lots of different forms for the pedestals and healthy number of work for the wall, like... platters, tiles, and plates.  The last firing is going to have two big pots in it...big thrown pots, maybe..  3 or 4 feet tall.  Big pots are tough.... and I'll confess that I seriously suck at it.  Owen is a pro at it though..and told me he'd give me some help, along with a giant propane torch.   I feel like a nice big carved pot could really round the whole thing out...  and speaking of the show..

the above is one of the platters that will be displayed.  I'm keeping the show pieces hidden away to build the suspense up you know?  sounds silly.  but why not make it that way?  So here's a sneak peek!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Napa Anagama

Everybody knows of Napa, California for it's wine..  but until now, did you ever know there's some really amazing wood fire potters here?  Turns out.. I found them.  Well, I didn't find them..but I am lucky enough to be near them.

See the vineyards in the back??  Oh yah..quite possibly one of the best views I've seen coupled with an Anagama.

  The "technical assistant" here at the Sonoma Community Center,  an Alfred alum, accomplished carpenter, probably the best potter (as far as throwing skills goes) I"ve been around for a long time... along with a serious group of folks.. have built a super nice Anagama in Napa.   I've fired a few kilns in my short time  here with you all....but still have so much to learn.  These guys, as far as I've seen... load a little differently then the guys in Montana and Utah.  Maybe I'll go into that in more detail later once I can really wrap my head around it.  Don't get me wrong..its not that different..but just different.

What I wanted to talk about is.. is that wood fire folk... are a breed set apart.  I guess it's the reason I love to be around them.  I admire so much about their aesthetic... which is so simply the follwing:  their drive..   their love of food.. love of drink.. and love of life.  The pots are good too, sure, but..  hell, it's just clay.  What's more important than sitting with a group of people eating food, drinking wine and laughing?  I really believe that clay is just an excuse to get closer to other people.

As we sat down to dinner it was more important for us to figure out who was cooking what on what day, instead of working out who would be at the kiln at what times...  I get it.  These guys make the best food I've been around for a long time.  It's hard to describe..and  I'll do my best to document how this unique group of people operate.  It truly is magical...    For the next week the kiln will be firing.  I'll be back and forth from it.. while plugging away at another salt kiln coming up.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Small Business Grant Contest

My sister found something that has the potential to win her business up to $25,000 bucks.  If they get enough votes by the end of the could happen.  You need to vote through your facebook account.  And the cool thing is is that you can vote once a day.  So help Free Ceramics out!  Can you imagine what they could do with a $25,000 studio and apprentice program???  Wow.  Be logged into Facebook and click the link below to vote.  Please share this as much as you can!
Free Ceramics is a family run pottery in Helena, Montana where a team of ceramic artists work together to create whimsical pottery that will always bring a smile to your face. Handmade, functional, porcelain pottery is made with care, decorated individually, and painted by hand to give each piece a personality of it’s own. Our mission is to inspire through creativity. We strive to accomplish that through our functional porcelain pottery, ceramic art and by offering Clay Club classes to kids.
Free Ceramics should win a small business grant from Fed Ex because we are investing in people’s dreams, in a community, and in a way of life that people want to see thrive. We are making-actually MAKING-a product in the middle of Montana, USA. We are creating pottery that is something more than just mass produced. Free Ceramics pottery can help create that happy moment in a busy life. If we get the votes and win this grant, Free Ceramics can continue to grow and create functional pottery!
The $25,000 would be used to purchase health insurance we cannot afford. It would buy us a desperately needed spray booth to help increase efficiency and safety with our glazing. It would give us the resources to purchase wheels for our summer clay club classes (instead of borrowing from all the generous potters in the community). It would allow us to pay our first paid intern a living wage and give us the resources to offer another paid internship to a young artist just out of college.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

oh this one is deep

tonight I was thinking...

i was contemplating this blog and writing.  now and then i consider the following.. ..what it is i'm doing here?...who is reading this?....why Are they reading this?....what should or shouldn't I say?... what do i want to say?...  I've mostly kept my blog, which is over a couple years old now.... very Clay based.  I don't go too much into my personal life.  i don't complain about my problems or about every day shit that we all go through...  i have a facebook (bobby kenneth freedom) account too, and even there..i try to keep it more about clay.

here you see... pots and how a guy, who loves it...  living on a small part of our planet goes about making and thinking about pots.

I dream of clay.  I dream of firing mystical kilns with crazy people and crazy loads..  i dream of the most magical glazes and wildest firing styles.  I've had dreams where mass expanses of space and time are filled with kilns waiting for me to fire or mountains of clay waiting to be used..all I have to do is reach out and grab it.   I see the kilns, the clay, the fire, the finished pots.....and rush towards them without thought of consequence.

i've seen ancient kiln stacks, mystically smashed by the throwing of bricks while my clay heroes stand by and encourage the destruction... explain to me through encrypted language how a kiln needs a certain thing, which only a potter can know... secrets that will turn the entire kiln load into gold...   they extend their surreal knowledge to my unconscious mind.  And then in contrary of my nocturnal existence.. I have "normal" days...when I interact with people who look to me for answers about clay..or rely on me to fire their work.  During my waking hours I make those things I dream of..and make the things I think about.  The day is for making.

Here I am... crazy.. .. making pots.  And there you are, reading this.  Wow.  You know... if you've come this far.. I'm excited to have you here, because it's only going to get better.