Sunday, June 30, 2013


Herein we will discuss pottery happenings brief as they are and the impending demise of our faithful friend Bertha of the Basement. Wednesday was a day for fun. At the Augusta show a few weeks ago some friends mentioned they had problems with their plate making. By insisting that I had no such problems I set myself up to visit them for a mini workshop at the Ohio River Valley Art Guild in Washington Ky. above Maysville. I showed up about 9:30 and showed my procedures and some custom tools that I developed to help with consistency. I had a very nice time and even got a free Barbecue lunch out of it. My friend Pam put some pictures up on facebook that I can't seem to copy but they are on my timeline there if you want to see them. I have been making bowls for the last few days and waiting waiting waiting for them to dry. Gotta get the AC in the shop window and dry that place out.

Part two. Our house is as old as I am and we are both falling apart. The house started with a coal fired furnace that worked on gravity. No blower hot air rises, cold air falls, you stoke it several times a day after which the house gets hot then progressively cools off until you stoke it again.Sometime ( we guess about 1965) the coal system was taken out and a new, clean, economical hydronic ( hot water) oil fired system was installed.We bought the house in 91 and at that time the boiler looked like she was on her last legs. We asked a heating guy if we should put her out of her misery then. He insisted NO ! It may last forever. Well over 20 years later she is still ticking but getting a little cranky and oil is nearly $4.00 a gallon. It's time. A couple of years ago, Duke ran natural gas out our road. Given how much cheaper gas is compared to oil it's a no brainer. Every year, the odds of old Bertha having a major breakdown in the middle of a January night looms closer and closer. Better to change her out in the summer. The other consideration is that the old baseboard heaters are not getting any prettier and central air would be soooo nice. The solution is that July 8 we will start getting a new forced air gas furnace with a heat pump and central air conditioning. This will be very welcome but will also be a lot of work. My heating guy and his daughters (yup daughters, they're good) will do the install, but getting the old baseboard units out, repainting, installing baseboards, etc is my job. There may be some plumbing and electric to reroute as well.  There won't be much pottery making in July.Here are a couple of "before" pictures. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Things I Know

When people ask for your opinion, what they really want is your support. There is only one correct answer to " How do you like my new hair   cut....color...or piece?"

Incredibly, some people don't appreciate the sound of a motorcycle or a banjo.

Soulless mugs from Walmart are cheap and hold coffee to warm your belly. A handmade mug tells you its own story and warms you all over. There are people who will never understand the difference.

If it won't move with the little hammer, use the medium next. The big hammer is seldom the solution.

There is a 5 am. It is not nearly as pretty or appreciated as 5 pm.

A degree (or two ) doesn't make you smart.

Nearly all vegan dishes can be improved with a little bacon.

If you fish with dynamite be sure to throw it far away from the boat.

Let go. Move on. Forget about it.

Never beat a dead horse but give a rattlesnake a couple of extra whacks.

I'll be really glad when CBS quits promoting " Under the Dome" every 10 minutes. I'm sick of hearing about it. Hopefully it will be cancelled by next week.

Thanks for stopping.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


This post is mainly for the other Bloggers out there. Just a quick update on the spam issue.Since I tightened up the comment controls I have not had one spam comment show up. I hope it has not been too hard to comment 'cause you know I love comments and conversations. When I check my traffic sources the old spammers are gone. When I find an odd URL on my traffic sources, I go to Tools-blogger help-report abuse and turn them in. They don't show up again. The more of us who do this, the less of a problem we will all have. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Two weeks ago I couldn't spell Klopfenstein now I can just look at the flywheel of my new treadle wheel! I heard through the grapevine that a friend of a friend was wanting to get rid of an old treadle wheel. I made the phone call and met the donor a few days later. This wheel had seen better days and looked like it had been outside for a while. The pan and wheelhead were both pretty rusty but I have a sandblaster and I found a couple of cans of Hammerite paint in the garage.Voila, it looks a lot better. Two of the feet were shortened for some reason. Maybe they just got tired and quit. I've seen four of these wheels and two of those had been shortened. Go figure.I managed to lift the 120lb flywheel into place without hurting myself and here a tweak, there a tweak she's up and running. The splash pan is huge so these make good trimming wheels. It may also be a good idea to throw standing up at least part of the time so I wear out my body evenly instead of one joint at a time. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks to JeanAnn for the tip and to Mike for the wheel.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How Big is Yours?

Yesterday, Brenda Hornsby Heindel from Liberty Stoneware posed an interesting question on Facebook. "What size mugs do you make?" " What size is your personal mug?" The ones I  make are mostly 16oz.some 12, a few espresso size. I said that I personally used 20's most of the time. Today, I pulled my go to mugs out of the cabinets and dishwasher and every one actually measured 24oz or a little more. I also pulled out several of the mugs I love but don't generally use. I use the soda fired coffee bucket quite a bit, especially when I want a slow start to the day. It weighs less than most 12 oz mugs.  The yellow one is not the prettiest mug I ever made, nor is it the most stylish but it is very light and holds a lot. I keep reaching for it and that is the answer to the question. All are big, light, and have comfortable handles.

Mine, Naysan from Miami Valley, Mine, Sarah Culbreth

The ones in the next picture I really like. A couple are mine, the others are not and all hold less than a coffee hound like me drinks in one sitting. As nice as they are some mean more to me as mementos of workshops or friendships than as mugs . There are plenty of others that could have been in both pictures. It is interesting to me that although I'm proud of my own standard dinnerware mugs, they did not make either group.

Mine, Mine, Gay Smith, Whynot, Lori Theriault, Hannah McAndrews

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Thanks again to all who added to the last post. It is nice when everyone shares. As of right now, I do not have another show until AUGUST!!!! Don't get me wrong, I actually like doing most shows but it will be nice to catch up on some other things without being rushed to make more pots." Bertha of the basement". our oil fired boiler is about 40 years old and still works hard but it is time for her to retire. I prefer to let her go out with dignity instead of throwing her out on a cold winter night. Our choice is to replace her with a natural gas fired boiler or retrofit the place for forced air gas with a heat pump. This will add thousands to the tab but it will also add central air and add value to the house. Duke ran a Natural gas line past the house a couple of years ago and given the cost/btu comparisons, it is the only fuel choice that is viable. The job is being bid now. I'll keep you updated.

Good news on the pottery front is a new little project. I was given an old Klopfenstein treadle wheel. It is rusty and needs sandblasted and painted but I think it will be a nice addition.The fact that I have a sandblaster is a big plus.

Finally, the Sunday night pickin' has moved outdoors for the summer. 6pm, Sharon Woods Park, near the Reading road entrance. Bring something to play and maybe a drink or snack everyone welcome. You really don't need talent, just nerve. To prove that, here is a song from last week. Here is the url in case the arrow in the box doesn't get you there.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Maybe I'm Just Grumpy

Maybe it's just me but there are a couple of things bothering me today. Number one is spammers. Not the canned meat product kind but the other one. ( If you grill the heck out of it, I can eat the canned version)  I have been getting several Spam comments a day on this blog. Usually, Blogger catches them and sends them to a spam folder where I deal with them. Last week, I went to my blogger tools section and found a way to report an offending site. It worked for a couple of days then they started getting in through other urls instead. The short of it is, at least for a while I am restricting comments to registered users, you will get a pop up box or the like the first time you comment. I love all my readers ( except that asshole in the Balkans who keeps spamming me) and I really enjoy every comment so this bothers me .If I find a better solution besides the dreaded word verification, I'll happily try it.

Bother number two. I just received a "Call for Artists" from a local gallery for their summer exhibition. All I need to do to be considered to be included is send them up to 3 images  in their designated format and a check for $30. I should also include materials, process, price and an Artist's Statement. That was about the entire content. It covered pretty well what I could do for them but it said not a damned thing about what they would do for me! Since they asked for pricing I assume the work will be for sale. They don't say. Will there be a commission charged above the $30 I gave them to look at three pictures? They didn't say. Will there be judging for cash awards? Didn't say.  Will there be national press coverage? Didn't say. Will there be a gala opening? They didn't say. How will the show be promoted? You guessed it. They didn't say. All I can say is Vanity, Vanity, all the world is Vanity. If I just want to tell my friends I'm an artist and I'm in a show maybe it's worth it for that. Would it ever put any Ducats in my pocket? I really doubt it. There are a lot of people out there who need to realize that this is a business.

That about does it for now. I'll try to do better next time.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

As the Wheel Turns

As promised, here is a review of my day in Kentucky Saturday. I was up before 5 and on the road by 5:30. The only good thing I can say about it is that I saw the sun rising over the Ohio as I crossed into Kentucky and headed east for Augusta. The weather forecast had called for scattered showers but they were scattered somewhere else. It looked like a good start. I got to Augusta just before 7 and had three hours to unload and set up. That worked out well too. I like to hustle to get the tent up and the furniture set up then slow down when I start setting out the pots.It also gives me time to look for my smile in case I left it in the van. I had a great site right next to my friend Ken Swinson and in front of the ferry that runs from Ohio and back.. Other friends were scattered throughout the show and I was able to find time to say hello to most of them before we started selling. 10am came and went. The crowd was light. I blame the doppler effect. You know, the one where local tv stations spend a fortune on high tech weather radar then feel they have to sound the alarm every time there might be a sprinkle.The weather stayed nice but even most of the corn doggers ( thanks to Tracey Broome for this term) stayed home.

I was right on the river so I probably should have brought a fishing pole. Actually, it was a lot like fishing. Some nibbles, a few small ones, and one big one. Over all, it was pretty tough fishing and I didn't have any dynamite to throw in the water. I probably knew 10 of the other vendors and it was great to see them all but I think the sales were generally mediocre. If I had been at a local farmers market or the little show right up the road I would have been satisfied but it was a 150 mile round trip ( 10 gallons of gas ) and a 15 hour day by the time I got home. The most beautiful show site ever might be a good reason to visit a show but I'm going to have to think hard about doing this show next year. Here are a few pictures.The big yellow jar on the back table was the " big fish " of the day thanks  to my friends Pam and Keith.