Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wicked Little Vase

When I picked up this little vase back in November, I knew it was coming home with me. Renata Wadsworth's pots are like that. You love them instantaneously. They fit right into your hands... and the last thing you want to do is put them down.

We went to her holiday sale with the intention of picking up a few small pots for family members. By the time we left, we owned 4 more new Renata mugs and quite a few other pots. Enough to need a box and then some. Here's the funny part: the only gifts we gave were two small ornaments. We kept all the pots for ourselves. Is that bad?

Renata is getting ready to explore some new directions in her work this winter. Hopefully I can convince her to write about it on her blog and on Facebook. I think it is going to be amazing! Of course, after the firing, I'll be showing off the pots I come home with, right here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Many Potters Does It Take To Make A Mug?

When Nancy and I began making pots together as Cold Springs Studio Pottery, the first order of business was to make mugs for our upcoming wedding. The plan was that we would make the mugs for the reception. We had washing stations so that as folks finished at the reception, they could wash their mugs, and take them with them as wedding gifts fro us.

We had a few glazes that we hoped would work at cone 6 and a kiln that wasn't happy getting that hot. While I could throw the mugs, it wasn't really a group effort... so we decided to handbuild the mugs for the wedding. Aurora was five years old and was trying to figure out her role in the studio. We decided on making soft-slab mugs with impressed/stamped decoration. Each of us designed stamps to decorate with, and chops to indicate who had made what pots. After a couple evenings of making mugs, Aurora went wild on this one, and used everyone's chops AS the decoration. From this angle you can see my AS chop, Nancy's bunny chop, and Aurora's killer whale chop. 

In addition to these handbuilt mugs, we made soupmugs and a few short thrown diner mugs. I think, for our 65 guests, we made a few more than 100 mugs. There were maybe 6 pots left after our wedding.Ten years later, there are only a few of these pots left in our collection. I think two soupmugs have survived the "pre-dishwasher" stage in our house. One of the last diner mugs from this time has a good sized chip in the lip. But this mug soldiers on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Joy Tanner's Wonderful Tumbler

One of the greatest things about reading blogs is getting to know people from different regions doing different styles of work. I met Joy Tanner through her blog about 4 years ago. I was immediately taken with her deft touch with her carving and her ability to mesh her design sensibilities with her love for atmospheric firings (wood, soda, and salt).

I think one of the things I love so much about this tumbler is the way the flashing from the firing combines
with the layers of sodium vapor glazing, to create layers of texture and color. The subtle greys and rich reds and browns really capture something that a flat, even coat of glaze could never easily accomplish. In the hand, those textures reveal perfect places to put your hands and lips. In short, it makes the use of the tumbler a very engaging experience!

This tumbler made itself at home in our kitchen immediately, though I have to admit, it is almost never in our cupboard. It winds up being constantly in use, so I mostly get to see it as it heads in and out of the dishwasher. My only regret was not buying at least three of them!

Check out Joy Tanner's blog and catch some of her pottery via her online Etsy shop!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Living With Pots

This soup mug was made by Ashley Kim. Not sure if you can make out the detail, but there is a line of red stitching around the waistline of this soup mug. Amazing feel in the hand. The recurved handle fits so incredibly well.  Ashley is having her holiday studio sale right now, so grab some pots before they are gone!

This next mug was made by Lynne Hobaica. My friend Sabra bought it for Aurora when she and I visited the Genessee Pottery in Rochester back at the end of Summer. Fantastic show! Just wish we had been there opening night so we could get more pots!

This last pot is one of my earliest bowls. Probably hadn't made two dozen bowls at this time. I thought of this as a BIG bowl when I made it. I had my daily lunch of ramen noodles in this through my second year of college. It travelled with me across the country so many times. It made the trip to WA state, to Florida, back to MA. Eventually out to UT for a long time. Finally it made it's home back here. The strangest thing about this bowl is its boring color. Honey Clear was a glaze I picked up from Vince Pitelka when I was at UMASS/amherst. It is a very VERY matte magnesium based glaze, but by adding 15% manganese dioxide to the glaze, it becomes a wonderful satin matte, with a gorgeous honey color. It feels almost like silk. Unfortunately the anemic color really killed sales. Nancy says it is quite possibly her least favorite glaze she has ever seen me use.

The other novel thing about this bowl is that is has red slate powder wedged into the claybody. A friend dug some up from the running track at Smith College... in hopes of making an oil spot glaze based on recipes from Nigel Wood. His glazes never worked out, but I used some of his red slate powder in my claybody. Shredded my fingers while trying to throw the stuff. Imagine glass in your claybody... slate is sharper! ouch.