Saturday, May 31, 2008

Contemplations about Blogging

Why do I do it? I mean, writing entries here that not many people read? What if this Blogger got pissed at me one day, and decided to end my account? I wouldn't be too sad, as I don't think I've had many deep conversations on here - whether pottery-related or otherwise. I know there are different reasons why people blog, but it is all too peripheral for me. I admit, Blogging has got me to use my digital camera more frequently, and sit down and relax for a few minutes while listening to my new favorite iTunes download, but I feel the time has come to take my first steps at getting away from posting here, and so I'll be taking a break for a period of a few weeks - maybe more.

Did I see it coming? Yes, to be honest.

To those who do read my postings frequently: please feel free to email me at, and I'd be happy to update you occasionally with pictures and new work in progress.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Street Pottery

I took my pottery wheel outside on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul a few days ago (one of the busiest streets in the Twin Cities), setup a few tables displaying my work, and had at it. It was wonderful: a warm sunny sunset striking the wheel, a few motorists turning their heads in curiosity, and a few passersby that stopped to talk about how cool it is to see pottery made, plus I sold a few pieces. All-in-all, a great night. Plus, I made several pieces on the wheel that were 'keepers.' I'm heading back into my stoneware clay supply for a bit, as I'd like to try out some new cobalt recipes. One more load of redware clay to fire though, so stay tuned for pictures of that!

Sorry, no pictures of me in these photos, next time!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy at the Wheel

Often, it seems like a week since I've last sat down at the wheel making stuff. Glazing, loading the kiln, mixing chemicals for new glazes and slips, mixing clay, unloading the kiln, etc. So many things to do in making a pot, that often the fastest is actually making it! So, the above picture is of me, happy to be at the wheel this weekend. A lovely weekend overall, a nice BBQ at a nearby State Park, a few walks for ice cream and coffee, and hanging out with the Fam, good stuff.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A few pics from the recent kiln firing

Some lovely slipware pottery above came out quite nice in the recent kiln firing. I like the color I had chosen for the pieces, they seem to contrast attractively.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Christmas Morning

A friend of mine, Sue, a potter out in Farmington, Minnesota said to me one time that she plans her firings so that during the cool down cycle she is sleeping. Otherwise, she'll burn her fingers on a very hot kiln, because she can't wait to see the results. Sort of like Christmas morning she described it, rushing to the Christmas tree to see what was under it, Sue said that many times she has blistered her finger tips lifting the hot kiln lid and unloading the pots while they're still very hot.

I bring this up because my kiln is cooling right now, and I can't wait to reach inside it to see what has come out. Some planned pots that time and again give consistent results, but some pots that I've really pushed the envelope in glazing. A very loose glazing session this morning was hastened by the fact that I only had 45 minutes to glaze the pots and toss them in the kiln. I got it done, but it was hectic. I hope to get some pictures up tomorrow of how everything turned out.

If you're a Twin Citian, I will be having a Sale this weekend on the corner of Grand Avenue and Milton. Located across the street from Birkenstocks. 1 block West of Victoria (Bread & Chocolate, Cafe Latte, and other fine coffee shops). Should be a nice weekend to come and walk the Avenue . . . introduce yourself, and let me know you read my blog. Thanks.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mochaware Professionals

A few other modern time Mochaware artists around the world (note: not a complete list I'm sure, but I've found these deocrators have a deft touch with the mocha tea).

Don Carpentier - Woodbury Guild,
Nancy and Bob Samson - The Tobacco Shed Pottery,
Vanessa Waller -
Kate Scott -
East Knoll Pottery -
Ryan Forrey - The New Greenfield Village - (no mochaware pictures at this link though!)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Summer Plans in the Studio

Hey Everybody,

A lot on my mind these days in regards to the direction where I want to take my work next. So many options. Leading the pack include firing my redware in my electric kiln converted with a propane burner, dabbling more in cobalt blue glazes for my high-fire stoneware, and ramping up production and lowering prices. I think it would be an absolute stunner to offer up coffee mugs for $6-8, bowls for $10, and plates for $15 a piece. Nothing like it around here being done. Okay, okay - I'm not a Revolutionary in the pottery scene, I admit it - but a reformation plays out in my mind. Production runs of dinnerware sets, foodie related pots, and functional pottery. I think this is where I'm going. $400 for a functional pot for daily use? I think not, unless it's a Shoji Hamada! I think my customers will appreciate that pottery is not for those with a deep wallet, and they'll be able to purchase 4 or 5 mugs for their home - and abuse them (not like a 5 year old would), but revel in the fact that they have a set of beautiful handmade mugs that didn't cost them an arm and a leg.

I'm planning to setup an Empty Bowls here in Saint Paul. I was surprised not to find an event here in the City, so I've contacted the Empty Bowls administrators about how to go about it. I've heard of an Empty Bowls going on over in the Powderhorn neighborhood in Minneapolis, but it would be great to have the Capital City here do its part for fighting hunger. I have plenty of friends that I think would donate 5-10 bowls, which will help - I don't want to make a couple hundred of these by myself.

Back to the horizon on what's on tap for this summer: I'm planning to prepare my old electric kiln shell for firing again in a reduction atmosphere. Last summer this was tried for high-fire work, up to cone 10 and the glazes we used did flux, but the color was less than desirable. I'm going to try again to Cone 04, and give my friend Josh Grenier (Edina High School Art Teach) a call about firing it, since it was our idea to do it in the first place. We spike in soda ash and sodium bicarbonate (I think) in the peak of the reduction to flavor the pieces, get a little flash, or as Josh likes to say - it's a "brownification" process.

I have about 6lbs of Cobalt Carbonate in my studio, so I'm going to prepare some hopefully striking cobalt blue glazes soon. I have a few base recipes that I like, and chemicals to do it. I haven't been to my material supplier in about 3 months, so in the next month or so I'm going to put in a nice order. Mike over at Continental Clay is a blessing to work with. In fact, everybody over there really is top-notch. I've had a few bad experiences over at Minnesota Clay, plus there prices are about $5-6 higher per pound of chemical and they are an extra 45 minutes away - so Continental gets 100% of my business.

Peace for now, I hope to write more later!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Drop-rim Mochaware Bowl

This is an interesting one that came out of the kiln. I created it on my wheel by throwing a normal bowl with a thicker edge, and pushed the lip over until it collapsed. Then, I made an concave rim, and decorated it a la' Mochaware by dipping it into some wet slip (runny clay) and adding my special mocha tea. This glaze turned out a bit darker than the yellow saffron I'm used to - and I like it - so I might juice up the colorant I use OR do some more specific testings to get a more specific palette of yellow. I still have a few hundred dollars in cobalt that I got for free - so you might see a lot of cobalt blues from me in the future!

Fresh Pots from Kiln

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Glazing bisqued pots this morning

Short post here this morning, check back later for something more substantial. I'm glazing some bisqued pots for a glaze firing this morning, then heading out to a cool flower show at the local Art Institute, and then off to an 80's wedding (?) - that should be interesting! I was born in the 80's so don't remember much of that time period.