Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Acrylic Paintings coming soon . . .

I did a little painting, a diversion from pottery this weekend. I'll post a few pics after they dry up. Thanks for stopping by, take a look early this week and let me know what you think of my acrylic painting.

Regarding pottery news, I'm still waiting for that pug mill part which has put my clay mixing on the back burner. Over the winter, my plan is to produce less pieces but of higher value to me. This may include terra sig work which I've had my eye on for awhile.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rubber Spider for Walker Pug Mill - Still Waiting

First, a picture, then some administrative stuff:
Supposedly the rubber coupling I need is discontinued, but I was resourceful enough after several phone calls and emails later, a part is on the way! If anyone ever reads this and owns a Walker Pug Mill, there probably isn't a part available anymore for the rubber spider as G-coupled Jaws are being phased out by a company called TB Woods and Lovejoy. If this rubber spider fails on me, I'll probably have to replace the whole jaw coupling. Should get the part by the weekend, or first thing next week. Then, to mix up some clay.

In other pottery news, I stopped by the Grand Hand Gallery on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, where fine potters such as my first pottery mentor, Steve Lloyd, and others including Robert Briscoe, Sequoia Miller, and other fine potters, I came across some pottery by Lisa Buck here in Afton, MN. I really like here work, especially that she uses a similar earthenware clay. Lovely gold and black colors decorated in an oval baker (drool . . . $110, I'd like to have it). I'd like to visit her pottery studio in Afton. On the little notecard in the gallery, it said she apprenticed with Warren and Linda.
Thanks for reading the blog again, Matt! I like the # sign on the lateral fins of those fish!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Walker Pugmill

I have a really old pugmill, which is really like a clay mixer, it's called a Walker-Jamar. It is a single-auger machine driven by a low-speed AC motor (3/4HP). Made here in the USA, Duluth to be exact. I love this thing. It doesn't de-air or anything spectactular, but it lets me toss in some goodies like bentonite (plasticizer) and grog, to make the clay my own. Currently, I buy clay by the box from a local supplier; which is a lot easier than making it myself regarding cleanliness of the studio and the fact that I ran some numbers the other day even considering 30% of the clay I buy by the pound, it turns out to be a 4 cent "savings" of mixing it myself and that's if I don't pay myself for the labor that goes into it. I did not calculate the cost for purchasing the materials (air-floated things like Redart) separately; my calculations were based on purchasing already mixed, dry clay, where I just add water, and throw it into the hopper. I use the Walker to recycle the clay scraps that don't turn into a pot immediately, with the hope that this clay will make a pot.

Here's a picture of the rubber gear coupling that I extracted between the motor and the auger shaft. Hope to have the new part by the end of the week. It's nice to have Grainger's nearby.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hand Parched Wild Rice in Duluth and Barb Crowe Pottery

Hiking this weekend on the trails of Gooseberry, Duluth (MN). Portrait taken on the lower falls. Growing out a beard. I'll re-post if it keeps.

Hand parching some wild rice with Chris at Barb Crowe's Pottery.
Have a good week everybody.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ron Meyers Lecture

I attended a lecture by Regis Master Ron Meyers tonight at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It was well attended. This is the first of what I hope many lectures and exhibitions I'll attend in the future, and it was a real treat for this to be my first one. I sat right in the middle with Warren MacKenzie and Randy Johnston ahead of me. I really didn't recognize anyone else, although I'm sure there was some other famous potters. I was likely the youngest one there, which made me feel a bit out of place, but felt well-connected to Ron Meyers lecture. I was surprised to hear that he uses red earthenware for his lovely clay creations. He has been recently experimenting with his pots in a wood kiln, and has had some previous success in firing his earthenware creations in a salt kiln at earthenware temperatures, Cone 02-03. Ron provided a thorough retrospective of his life in clay, right from the beginning when he was in high school and then in college at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology). How he had been declined to Alfred University, and used his first wheel when he was in Graduate School, which was then only 1 year. Ron commented on how he was a 'C' student and his professor commented that he made 'C' - work relative to those undergrads, graduate students, and even the entire history of ceramics. Everybody laughed. Ron went on and discussed his time with Michael Simon, and how originally it was a very relaxing setting selling pots as they did on the weekends, but over time, it was crazy how they sold all the pots in less than 5 minutes, and people didn't care about the pots, look at them or anything, just bought and ran. This was frustrating for him. Ron said that this was the first time he's been able to tell his whole story about his Ceramics history, and that it was really nice because in workshops conversations are usually abbreviated and only spurred by audience questions. A slide show was presented towards the end, and he discussed how the pieces were made and the progression of 'cute' rabbits to toothy, scary rabbits and other creatures. One of his pots had the whole Family of animals which I really liked plus the Femme Fatales - sexy women, which gave the audience a nice 'hmm-hmm' chuckle. During questions, Warren asked Ron why Ron had sent him a pot with no drawings on it, and Warren commented on how he liked it. Ron said that he makes very few pots with no decorations on it, and usually saves them for his personal collection. Ron would like to make more pots without decoration, as that appeals to him right now.

All-in-all, a good lecture for me to listen to. Not necessarily inspiring, but useful information on another potters journey to success.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

American Pottery Festival this weekend

Located 5 miles away at Northern Clay Center. Should be a good time; I will be missing some of the events because I'll be up North relaxing on the North Shore in Duluth, MN. However, I'm planning to attend the Minneapolis Institute of Arts opening reception with Ron Meyers headlining tomorrow night.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Online Store, and RNC News

I've started a new online store, http://SaintPaulPottery.etsy.com. Please click on the banner to the right to see what I have to offer. I will be posting 1 new work every day for the next 1 month in the store. My old store, http://mochaware.etsy.com will be closed in the coming weeks. There's still a few great items in the old store.

Due to Hurricane Gustav, the RNC here in Saint Paul was cut a bit short, but tonight McCain and perhaps President Bush will be in the Excel Energy Center. I have yet to wander downtown, but may tonight permitting the thunderstorms subside long enough. It's about a 15 minute walk downtown from the studio.

I will be posting pictures of my brief pottery sale this past weekend, so check back later for an update, thanks.