Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Going to the Dark Side

There comes a time  in every man's life when things change, sometimes for the better ,sometimes for the worse.. While we try to look to the light sometimes all we see is darkness as it creeps like a fog through our lives. That feeling of dread has been haunting me for weeks and it has finally come into the studio. Everywhere I look, it stains my view and I doubt I will ever be totally free of it. I'm talking about red clay of course. I had been throwing Aurora all winter with it's easy clean up and unstained fingers but I sell a lot of red clay pots fired to cone 6 with a gorgeous green glaze and the shows are coming. Most potters throw one clay but some of us are cursed with a love of both. The red clay gets all over everything and is much harder to clean up so it looks like a couple of months of everything being red before a late spring scrubbing and a return to cleanliness.

On a totally different track, I'm waiting by the mailbox for my Dan Finnegan movie to arrive. They are only $ 12.50 and are sure to be up for Oscars next year. You can find out more if you go to his blog  ( in my list at the right)  and go back a couple of posts. Thanks for stopping by but next time bring coffee.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Pictures

There has not been a lot going on in the studio this week. I had 2 new kids classes start at Middletown this week so I have been spending time over there and not getting much done here. I did manage to get some of the big jugs and a bunch of pitchers through the bisque and tried to take some new pictures for applications.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Winter Returns

Winter has come back to Ohio bringing temps in the teens at night and a little bit of the dreaded white death but we are managing. I am saying it's great to have a well insulated studio. I've been running a small electric heater for freeze prevention then adding a 30k BTU propane heater when I want to heat the place up to work. It has been working out well. Tina is saying it's great to have a pack of dogs when you need them.

The most common response I get to the Blog is something like"What a Crock!" Well, I thought the big pot bug had passed but I had to make another one this morning .It's about 10 lbs and is still waiting for lugs (handles) which will come tomorrow. I'm thinking about white glaze with a cobalt rooster. That way I can just fire it cone 6 at home and not have to pay a large firing fee elsewhere. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Research Results

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that I have been researching the deeds to the property that my brothers and I own in Tennessee. We have one deed in Scott County and three in adjoining Campbell County. I thought I would give you an update on how that is going. This is not going to be simple to follow but I've tried to make it as clear as I can. As I have told you before, the deeds are all metes and bounds property descriptions and the property has never been officially mapped. Neither has much else up on the mountain.Some of the surrounding land was bought up years ago and combined into a deed that covers 20,000 acres. That deed claims a block of land about 10 miles by 10 miles then lists "exceptions" that it does not own but there is no way to sort through 200 pages of exceptions that are just listings of metes and bounds with nothing else to reference by. Sound like a mess? It is. I can't understand how the state allowed that deed to be assembled in that manner but they did. This process left a hole in the map near the county line that was attributed to our Scott County deed as parcel 2. Our deed was never mapped, it was assumed that the surrounding maps were correct and we were what was left. Believe it or not this created some problems. The state  map  of parcel 2 shows an elongated 11 sided figure. Our deed calls for a four sided figure. The other issue is no one involved knew exactly where the county line was. I was researching the family history last year and saw that my great Grandfather Calvin Allen had a private act of the legislature done that "moved" his property (our other 3 deeds) to Campbell County. No one ever redrew the county line on the state map. This means that our Campbell County property show up on the official map as if it is in Scott County. But Scott County never noticed that and added another parcel map below ours thinking that that land might belong to someone else. Taxation hates a void on the map so they just assume that a void belongs to a neighboring landowner and tax him accordingly. Well. the owner of a neighboring property with a vague description bought 2 acres of land 10 years ago somehow parcel 4 on the map was thought to be part of his land. He wrote us a while back wanting to come to a boundary agreement.Bear with me folks and remember this is the simplified version!

After several trips to the Scott and Campbell County Court Houses, an historic USGS Topo map of the area as it was in 1953 before it was strip mined, finding original deeds that were more accurate than our current versions that had some errors, and help from the mapping supervisor for the State of Tennessee, I am making sense of where our property is and how it fits together. Boundaries are closing up when I draw them out and survey points (calls) are lining up with the topographic descriptions. I think we will need to have a survey done to get anything changed on the books and hopefully we can get together on that. It is a relief that I can at least see where things are going and have confidence that our deeds that have been in the family over 100 years should stand up.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Big Pot Mania

I must admit to a slight case of Big Pot Mania this week. It usually hits after I see Doug Fitch post pictures of recent work or after I have made a few dozen bowls or plates. It also is a good project for mixed reclaim clay because these don't need to match anything else. These are done with thick wet stacked cylinders then rethrown. They are about 12 to 15 lbs each. As a final step, I have been inflating them with a small shop vac set on blow. Works like a charm but don't over do it or the jugs can burst. I showed you the first one in my last post but here are a couple of more. The last one is my favorite but all 3 suit me pretty well.I also included a  bisque load of stoneware that I fired this week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

One by One

This is a blogger inspired post. Doug Fitch was talking about needing to make big pots the other day.Linda Starr was talking about going tall this morning. Michael Kline has his 12 by 12 challenge. I combined all these into my 1by 1 challenge for myself. Yes, that's one pot by one o'clock. Remember, I'm actually retired.