Thursday, February 26, 2009

I've started making coil pots again. I really like the process and the calmness of making coil pots. This time I threw a wide base on the wheel with around 5 lbs. of clay then started adding fat sort of flat coils. After each coil I scrape the inside and outside with a metal serrated rib then a metal smooth rib and finally a soft Sherrill rib. I used to just start adding coils and see where they took me, but this time I actually have a form in mind and I will be throwing some parts to add to it. If all goes well, I'll post some photos. Maybe even if all doesn't go so well...
So far this is about a 10 lb. bowl.

Wesley's band was at the house while I was coiling, making T shirts for a gig on Saturday. They are doing a benefit concert for a friend who is raising money to go to Mawali for a mission trip. The shirts are really great. Wes made some stencils and some lino cut stamps and they spray painted them until around 8pm. Then I fed them and sent them on their way. I love having boys in the house, but man, can they eat!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Real Thing

I've spent this last year messing around with Cone 10, Earthenware, and Raku. I've tried a variety of bowl and mug shapes and sizes, most are in the Chatham County landfill now. I keep coming back to this mug shape, simple, straight forward. The inspiration for this shape came from Brandon Phillips. Brandon's pieces are also simple, straight forward and very comforting to me. I like Brandon's work and the mug above is inspired by ones like below from his latest firing. His handles are of course way better and there is a movement to his work I haven't quite got yet. Trying for that treadle look on a slow electric wheel. Guess I owe you a $1.50 Brandon! The glaze on my mug is Malcolm's Shino with a Chun liner. This is the one Shino I keep coming back to.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


We had our low fire Raku firing yesterday and had some very good results. Once again, I forgot my camera. Here are some snaps of some of my favorite pieces. I'll try and persuade Gerry to take some professional shots later, these kinda suck. My first ever vases, not bad for a first effort, I really want to make more of them and get bigger and bigger....

Remember the wood craved butterfly I got for Christmas? This is going to make a great tile
Pinch pots I made last summer, finally fired them. This is a black Raku glaze and is sooo nice.
This looks a lot better in person, man these pieces were hard to shoot. Gerry is not going to like this.......

Thursday, February 19, 2009


After working for two days on throwing vases on the wheel I went back to my comfort zone and hand built one with slabs and coils. I put some holes all around the top and will hang shells, feathers, beads and some other found objects. I'm going to Raku this, keep the face black and add some copper carb glaze and some white. Should be pretty cool. I like the shape of the vase below that I threw but I can't figure out how to keep the shoulder from collapsing. I ended up adding a coil to the top to finish it off because the rim got so thin and sad. I like throwing vases so I'll just keep at it. Maybe someone will post a vase demo one day, hmmm.......

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


According to the teachings of Zoroaster, fire and earth are too sacred for the disposal of the dead. Instead, the bodies shall be placed in towers and picked apart by the most destructive element, wind. These towers are called the Towers of Silence, or Dakhmas.

I read this somewhere and liked it......................

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Well, there is my futile attempt at making vases today! That is a new 25 lb. of Raku clay. It was too soft, I could NOT wedge out the air bubbles, and it was all twisty at the bottom, even when I was sure it was centered. I was covered with clay by the end of the day with only one vase to show for my effort and lovely as it was, I cut the bottom out of it when I cut it off the wheel. It occurred to me that I am basically teaching myself to throw vases. I have taken a lot of classes, but mostly cup, bowl, plate demos. I have been making lots of bowls and cups, and hand building plates from slabs. No vases. Until now. I haven't really had anyone show me how to make a proper vase, so I'm just figuring it out. Maybe after I re wedge this clay it will be happier. Meanwhile, I finished up my coil bottle, and rather like it a lot. If the Raku goes well, I may donate this to the NC Pottery Center for the upcoming faces auction.
The face was made from a ceramic mold that I got on my trip to Asheboro with Barbara McKenzie, when we bought all of those 60's molds.
I'm thinking that I would like to make some bottles and jugs in the style of the old Seagrove jugs and Raku them. That could be very cool.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Photojournalist wrecks helicopter (not really)

Gerry's been in Mississippi all week with a National Guard unit that he is embedded with. They are training for deployment to Iraq, and Gerry will go over in July to follow up with them. This is a pretty cool story, two reporters are following a group of soldiers and their families and they will all be blogging and doing an online based story for the next year. Gerry is the photographer assigned because he covers Ft. Bragg and Camp LeJeune as well as any military goings on in NC. He was in Iraq in 2005 and it was not a bit fun for me. I'm not really excited about another trip, but this is what he does. The only clay related thing about this post is that last time he was in Iraq, we lived in Charlotte and I was on my way over to Clayworks and heard a report on NPR that two photojournalists had been killed that morning in southern Iraq, and that was where he was. I was a wreck all morning but all of the great people at Clayworks were reassuring me and offering support and I will always remember their kindness.
The only thing that kept my mind off of worrying was to get on the wheel and try to center some clay.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Roman Candle

I took Wesley and the guys in her band to see Roman Candle at the Cat's Cradle last night. What a great Chapel Hill band. Check them out!

Roman Candle "Eden Was A Garden" from Lake Fever Sessions on Vimeo.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hand Building

Wesley got a lino cut tool set for Christmas and she is making some really cool tiles. I used the skeleton for a clay stamp and put slip on it. She never makes anything in clay but she is a great artist.
I've been in the studio for the past few days working on some demo samples for my hand building class at the ArtsCenter. I have a great class, I love seeing what they create and how they interpret the basic techniques I show them. We are going to talk about pieces we like and use them for inspiration to make our own piece. My very, very favorite plate is below. I could never throw one like Michael Kline and certainly can't recreate his brush work, but I used this plate for an example of how to find inspiration from something that you really like. This one was a slab that I put on a hump mold and then added slip with a little scraffito. I'll keep this one for myself so it's not out there in the world as a blatant rip off of MK!

This was a slab and coil construction bowl. I like coil bowls, they have a really unique feel to them. I also like leaving some of the marks from my construction like below around the coiled foot.

As you can see, it is getting late and I have been working all day, so the bottle will be finished up tomorrow. This is a coil bottle and I have a mold of an old ladies head to attach. It's about 16 inches right now. This is going to be one of the first pieces for my Raku kiln. I haven't done any hand building in a while and when I do I get obsessed with it. I get so focused and nearly in a trance building up coils. I find hand building much less stressful than throwing. When I throw, I forget to breath and find myself in contorted positions and frustrated a good bit of the time. I think I may do more hand building and just use my wheel as a means to an end. Oh well, I 'm tired and I'm dirty, so it's off for a glass of wine, some dinner, bath and bed. Buenas Noches!

Monday, February 9, 2009

What's going on

It's been a busy day! I worked at Claymakers this morning, unloaded two kilns, loaded two kilns, hydrated and sieved glazes I mixed on Saturday, glazed twenty or so pieces for a Raku firing on Saturday, went by the rental place and picked up a pallet jack, drug my kiln through my yard, got it in place finally. Yesterday we built a glaze table out of some scrap lumber and a door I found on the roadside. How many of you out there can pass a dumpster or a pile of trash without taking a quick look to see what might be useful. Not me. I think it comes from years of theater budgets and building props with little to no money. I can find me some treasures in dumpsters! So all that's left is to call the gas comapny and get a hook up, wait for more $$ to come from somewhere to buy a pyrometer and some tongs, build a shed for cover, and I'm ready to rock and roll with this baby! Long time comin'

Pallet jacks are very cool! $15 dollar rental for 4 hours, not bad.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
___________Bob Dylan

peace, everybody

Saturday, February 7, 2009

We got our tickets today for Bonnaroo. The line up is amazing already and all the acts haven't even been listed. Tickets went on sale at noon today,we signed on at 12:05 and the first tier of tickets were already sold out. Next level $10 more. The $$ for the tickets? Christmas $$ from mom and $$ I was going to use to go to Penland. The term sacrificial mom comes to mind :) I guess going to a summer music festival with my kid is way more important than a raku workshop with Steven Forbes deSoule. It is... right? Oh well......sigh......... Wesley is still hyperventilating about going!

Secretary of the Arts Petition

Have you signed this yet?


I deactivated my Facebook accout. I forget to go there. I have enough to do responding to emails, posting blogs, and I just don't really like Facebook that much. It's kind of boring to me. So don't be offended if you have asked me to be your friend. I'll still be your friend, just not on Facebook!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Full Moon mania

6th - 7th February 2009

This sure seemed to be going on around me today, wish I had stayed home......

With just two or three days to go before the Full Moon tensions are running high with greatly increased nervous tension and anxiety. Under these circumstances there will be a highly strung, impatient, and at times intensely irritating mood atmosphere. Added to this all problems may appear magnified or thrown out of all proportion, and this will inevitably cloud judgement when it comes to finding solutions. As with any pre Full Moon environment there will also be increased apprehension and anxiety that could make this period prone to nervous episodes, needless worry or panic attacks in those vulnerable to such things. This present alert period also sees increased aggression or a confrontational attitude in which arguments and contentious situations are likely to arise on the merest pretext. Indeed where disagreements do occur these are likely to be of a highly volatile nature in which there will be little restraint in what is said or done. In fact this mood can store up considerable animosity and resentment and although not all of these feelings will be expressed or articulated there is still likely to be a simmering kind of anger that eventually will find an extremely vocal or violent element of expression.
It is worth noting that the next 24 hours may seem especially tension laden as this coincides with Lunar Perigee when the Moon is at its closest to the Earth in its monthly cycle. This will inevitably sharpen moods and feelings and make all of the above mentioned factors seem even more acute. It is likely that coming days will be filled with tense nervous restlessness, with acutely temperamental attitudes and inclinations. On the other hand this mood can inspire more zestful and enthusiastic activity with a galvanic energy that will be perfect for on going schemes and ventures. Conversely it may feel difficult to concentrate with a lowered sense of mental focus. This can arise if activities are not balanced between optimal physical and mental activity and it is worth noting that the intense energy of this period needs a a productive outlet or frustrations and anxieties will begin to take over. There is no doubt that this is a mood of intense feelings and emotions and one that needs especially careful handling. Despite that there are enough positive factors to make this a determinative period with the potential for plenty of worthwhile activity in what is a powerful and zestful mood atmosphere.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


This man was the sound track to my college days when Gerry and I first met. One of our first real "dates" was to the Springsteen concert in Columbia SC in 1980 (or 81 can't remember exactly). Anybody else a Bruce fan? Tickets go on sale Friday for Greensboro NC. We are debating whether we can spend the $$, they are a bit pricey. I love this photo!
Later.....never mind, the line up for Bonnaro is out and B.S. is the headliner band. Guess our vacation is going to be in Tenn. this year!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My men helping out

We laid all these pavers today. Holy crap why is EVERYTHING heavy! Tyler is here laying on the main reason I didn't build a kiln. It is a part of our ridiculous septic system. We have it due to very rocky ground and very sloping lot. Anyway it seems to have pipes running everywhere and we can't lay a permanent foundation, hence the pavers.
So thanks to Gerry for taking his one day off in eight straight days of working at the Super Bowl to help me lift ten bags of sand, ten bags of drainage rock and 24 pavers. Not to mention all the dirt we dug out to level this crazy lot. Now where are the big men that can lift even heavier stuff!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let the Fun Begin!

Well, it's finally here. There it is, all 565 pounds of it, sitting in my driveway because the freight guy couldn't take it " 'round back". I had to beg to get it this far. Gotta find me some strong young men tomorrow! Did I mention it is supposed to snow tonight. In fact little tiny flakes are falling as I write this. Lordy Lordy, as my grandma used to say. Anyway, I finally have my very own kiln! No more loading all my stuff up to take to four different places. Woooo, hoooo!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pucker Gallery

If you haven't yet found this website, like me, check it out Hollis Engley suggested it to me and it's fantastic. Lot's of beautiful pottery and a new exhibition of Phil Rogers. You can purchase a catalog of the exhibition from them for $15. Great looking catalog!