Friday, January 30, 2009

Lost generation - from

I saw this on PixSylated.

From the PixSylated blog: ‘The Lost Generation’ was created by Jonathan Reed (a twenty-something film studies major at Georgia State University). It won second place in the AARP U@50 video competition last year – in which filmmakers under 30 were to describe their life at 50 (the age when you’re eligable for membership in AARP).

I usually follow PixSylated for their cutting edge look at photography and media. Lots of wondefully cool and off-beat stuff on their site.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


This has been a long cold wintery week. I love winter, but lately my time has been spent in the studio instead of out in the snow, playing. The upshot of this is that I am staring at a mountain of bisqueware. I LOVE seeing a pile of pots waiting for glaze. I feel rich. I feel proud. I feel energized!

From this last bisque I managed to get a couple sweet oval pitchers through this week's glaze firing. Here are a few pictures. More coming next week. Also putting more pitchers on Etsy this weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hockey hockey and more hockey

This weekend was all about hockey. Two games over two days. I know, for some folks, that's nothing. For us... whew. It was all I could do to make sure we made it to both games remembering all the gear, jerseys and hot chocolate. Sunday's game had us playing Binghamton again, at the Arena. Our girls played so hard last month when we played there, that I figured this time I would join them on the bench and take some pictures of all the action. WHAT A HOOT! It was amazing being right there next to them. So much movement and excitement!

Here are a few pictures of Aurora from last weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Putting more pots on Etsy

I am about halfway through processing images for Etsy. It always takes a while to get everything organized, measured, photoshopped, etc. Finally close to being done. Today I put up some images of a really sweet carved pitcher (black and white image went up on the blog earlier this week!) and some oval trays.

More to come.

Teabowls: what are they and who cares?

The teabowls we make are based loosely on the Japanese "chawan" form. Rather than try to delve in my meager knowledge of tea ceremony and the making/using of chawan, I will defer to a source of greater authority.

From wikipedia:
A chawan is a bowl used for preparing and drinking matcha (powdered green tea) in Japanese tea ceremonies. In Japan, "chawan" also is the standard term for bowls for rice. If it is necessary to distinguish between them, bowls for rice are called gohan chawan (usually pronounced gohan-jawan), while the ones for use in chanoyu are called matcha chawan (matcha-jawan). The handle-less cups used for drinking regular course steeped tea are generally referred to as yunomi (lit., cups for hot water), while the small porcelain cups used for fine-quality steeped green tea are often distinguished as senchawan. When the word chawan stands alone, it is normally prefixed with the honorific o-.

There are many types of chawan used in the tea ceremony, and the choice of their use depends upon many considerations.

In tea ceremony, chawan are classified according to their place of origin or manufacture, colour, shape, materials and other characteristics. More than one classification may apply to a given bowl.

Most chawan are bowl-shaped, but shapes vary widely. There are names for each general shape, within which there may be many variations. Common shapes include cylindrical, flat and round. Cylindrical bowls are called tsutsu-jawan, while shallow bowls are called hira-jawan.

Chawan are also classified according to the type of tea that will be served in them: bowls for "thin tea" are referred to as usuchawan, and those for and "thick tea", koichawan.
Miwa Kyuwa (Kyusetsu X) 1895-1981

Kei Fujiwara 1899-1983

Matsuzaki Ken 1950-

Hamada Shinsaku 1929-

Considering the formalities and tradition of Japanese tea ceremony, it is nearly impossible for a westerner to fully appreciate the making of chawan/teabowls. Alas, when I started making pots, and saw my first teabowls in Ceramics Monthly, I was hooked. Most of the potters I have worked with or worked for, made teabowls. None of them would be mistaken for Japanese chawan, but they also would not be mistaken for a soup bowl or a mug. The irony is that in America, people use them for EVERYTHING.... soup, tea, hot chocolate, coffee.... you name it.

So, the teabowls we make can only loosely be defined as influenced by Japanese chawan. I try to make them with the intent that they will be held, carried, sipped from....all in hand. Suffice to say, when you pick one up, it sits in just such a way in your hands that it begs to be sipped from.

Those are my thoughts today on teabowls. Probably have a slightly different take on another day.

For some more ideas about chawan/teabowls and more images:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More photos of pots from the past week

I am finally done shooting images for the week. (I hope maybe longer.)
Now I can focus on throwing and trimming to my heart's content. I am looking forward to mixing up some new glaze tests this weekend... in hopes of snaring that elusive new espresso glaze!

In the meantime, I shall suffice myself with some espresso-colored images.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New pots this weekend

We had some great stuff come out of the kiln this weekend. Still shooting images, so bear with me. I am hoping to add a bunch of new stuff to our Etsy page sometime this week. So, here is a brief preview of pots to come.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Surprise in the Mail

I love being surprised. Well, I like it when it's a good surprise.

Today's mail had a frozen box waiting for me on the steps. Inside was this awesome tumbler!
Joy Tanner makes some of the coolest pots coming out of a soda kiln. The more I hold this cup, the happier I am.

Tomorrow... ideas on color development in the soda kiln.


I have been in a mood for teabowls lately. Considering how few I make each year, this is sort of odd. Each one seems to have more rippling and folding or twisting than the one before it. The decorating is mostly slip trailing and facetting. The facetting is usually done with a spring on a cheese cutter, but this week I am finding my plain old wire to be more interesting. Here are a few images.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trading a gem

I got an email this morning from Joy Tanner accepting an offer for a trade. Her choice: this teabowl. Okay, we make non-Japanese teabowls... what else can one call them? They sure arent cups, or bowls... in any event... this glaze had given us fits just prior to Christmas. It was coming out wicked thin regardless of how long I let it stand in the bucket. Weird. So did some thinking and decided to add some flocculant in the form of calcium chloride. Some folks like epsom salts, but I found in grad school that the magnesia can really mess up some colors that are super sensitive to MgO. Which means CaCl2 is my deflocculator of choice. Plus on mornings like yesterday where we had over an inch of ice to walk on.... it is the BEST ice melter out there!!

Adding a teaspoon full of CaCl2 to a small (1/4cup) amount of glaze, and made it gel. Then I slowly added the gel to the batch and watched as it thickened before my eyes. I love this stuff!

Fired up the batch of Forest Green and got nothing but gems from that firing.

Fast forward a few weeks and I caught myself reading a posting from someone (probably John Hesselberth) on Clayart talking about how solubles from Neph Sy and some frits, mess with the state of flocculation in a glaze over time. Result, glazes can thin quite a bit MONTHS after mixing up. Wow. I knew it empirically but seeing someone else confirm this gave me a different look at this ongoing problem. I think I may need to keep track of how long this takes based on the glaze batch size. Wild fun stuff! Combine this with my new grasp of rheology thanks to John Tilton's blog... and I am in for a fun Spring as we play with new glazes!!!!

Thank you Joy! Now it feels like Christmas. Pottery in the mail! Is there anything better?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pitchers are up on Etsy

I love how easy it is to use Etsy.
Easy to put things up, easy to edit and hopefully easy to sell!

Nancy and I have been talking about what we need to learn in order to put a shopping cart on our website. Lo and behold, the very same day, on Clayart, we had a discussion about the same exact thing. Sounds like it takes virtually nothing to create BUY NOW buttons through PayPal.... so that's what I will be working on in my copious spare time over the next few weeks.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Suffice it to say, January is here. Mornings have been wicked cold. Today it wasn't quite 8F. Ugh.

Once I was out in the studio, where the kiln had just fired off, everything was MUCH warmer. I think the studio this morning was just shy of 80F. Not too shabby.

Here are a few shots of the falling light yesterday afternoon. One of those days where you just can't stop watching the sun as it sets.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What's with everyone looking for Kool-Aid to drink?

Over the past few months I have watched with incredulity as more and more folks have signed up to drink whatever flavor of Kool-Aid was offered that week. With no disrespect to those unfortunate souls who followed Jim Jones in 1978 (to their ends I hasten to add)... but what the heck is with the insanity in this country? What gives with the insane push to dumb down America? I know that we lost a great deal by having King George II, for the last eight years, but this devaluation of education has just rubbed me raw for years. It would seem that we are collectively killing off the English language, devestating our educational system and making intelligent discourse a crime! This may sound like harsh criticism from someone who ususally writes about the nuances of mud or playing in the snow... but I am not sure I can take it any more.

For folks who subscribe to the H.E.R.B. principle..... (not sure what HERB is... go check out their website!)

I guess the idea of seeing an end to theocracies is too much to ask for.... but I'm still asking!