Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hillbilly Hotbox

Spring has retreated and winter has reared it's ugly head again.I can heat the studio a couple of times a week when I am working out there but I can't afford to keep it warm 24/7 with $4.00 a gallon kerosene.This creates a problem of freshly thrown ware freezing overnight. Not a good thing.What's a poor boy to do? Improvise! I insulated one of the shelves in the studio and installed a lamp for heat.Close it up with foam from Lowes and it keeps the ware from freezing and keeps a day's supply of fresh clay warm at the same time.If it gets too warm I can pull back a corner to vent it a little or put the lamp on a timer.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Colors

Anyone who knows me knows I would fire all my pots in a wood/soda kiln and fill the booth with orange pots if I could.Well, the community wood kiln has not been fired for a year and given the work, risk, and distance, I probably would not join in if it were fired again. My gas kiln is still not set up (no one to blame but me and the weather). That leaves the little old electric kiln to fill the shelves. Actually. the electric fired red clay table ware is a pretty good mover so it's time to get rolling with some production.

I've made a few dozen bowls and am currently throwing plates and mugs. I'm also trying out some new glazes to add a little variety to the color palette. I mixed up a bucket of zirconium white using the old Hansen 20-20-20-20-20 recipe and like it very well. I also tried it with 2% cobalt added and I like it too when it contrasts with the red clay. The brown pots in the picture are glazed with a recipe for Ketchup Red from the new ceramics monthly. It's browner than any ketchup I've ever had but it is growing on me. The little cups on the edge of the kiln are for a promotional give away we are trying for our Spring Pottery Fair this year.It's not too early to mark those calendars for May 7 in Cincinnati. 60 potters, great pots, nice people.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ask a Stupid Question

 Anyone who has ever done a show has heard this a hundred times."What do you use that for?"  Now I'll admit that some pots may be a little ambiguous but last week I was making 16 ounce utility (G.P. for the Brits) bowls and a woman came through the studio and asked the dreaded question.I thought I would offer some suggestions today. It's probably best to use a lot of pictures and a few simple words in the captions. If you have other ideas, that's why we have a comment button.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Blog Envy

All the bloggers that I follow must have made a New Year's resolution to pot more often and blog more often about it.Everyone has been posting 2 or 3 times a week.John Baumann has been posting videos that show both his guitar and potting skills(not at the same time but he does whistle and throw a pot at the same time) Tracey Broome has been re-inspired and is cranking out new little buildings. June Perry has been solving Soda firing problems for everyone and Dan Finnegan has made more of his wonderful birds. Me? I've been sitting in my chair with the dog in my lap and the cat on top of both of us.It's called Butt Stuck in Chair Syndrome and it has spread across the Midwest.We'll make some pots when it warms up or at least when the ice melts.

My friend Mike Baum did invite me to put some pots in his firing this week and I never pass up a firing so I did blast myself out of here a couple of times.The brown pot is Ohio Slip sprayed thinly on leatherhard clay then carved before firing. When heavier, it can look just like the old brown Albany slip.Mike's Temmoku glaze works well on my clay and breaks to a beautiful brown in the edges. That's about it for now. Tune in next week.