Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Fair Preview

The one side trip from last week's trip that I didn't write about yet was a stop at Man Asses Virginia but I think that will take too much explaining to include today..This is crunch time for local potters getting ready for our May 7 Spring Pottery Fair. Everyone is firing pots like crazy and wondering why they got themselves into this. Oh yeah, it was fame and fortune. Well that part never works out but we do love making pots and showing them off. Here are some of the pots that I fired this week.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Winner!

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 100th post drawing is Cincinnati potter Nancy Chestnut. Nancy can pick her prize up at Spring Fair or I can drop it at Core Clay if I am down there sooner than that. Here is a picture of her prize. A wood and soda fired bottle.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hey, I'm 100 ! Let's Celebrate.

This posting will be about Harper's Ferry WVa.eventually.We'll get there and there will be lots of pictures. First, I noticed yesterday that I had made 99 blog posts so this make 100 even. To celebrate, I would like to thank everyone for reading and being so supportive. I am also giving away a mystery pot. To be eligible, just make a comment. I will draw a name, announce the winner and show the prize Monday. Deadline is 8AM Monday.

Back to last week's road trip. Last Thursday I drove to Martinsburg W.Va.on my way to Fredericksburg. A short drive down the road was Harper's Ferry. Most of the town is a National Park so it is really nice to just drive up to the big parking lot at the visitor's center and ride the shuttle down to town where there is very limited parking.It runs every 15 minutes and the drivers and rangers are very helpful.

Harper's Ferry is very strategically located. It is at the confluence ( see, I did go to school once) of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. Both rivers are very wild there and come through deep valleys but once joined, they cut a gap through the Blue Ridge Mountains. This meant that if you.were leading troops up the open rolling Shenandoah Valley toward Washington, you pretty much had to go through there. There was plenty of water power to run the machinery to manufacture goods, especially weapons for the U.S. Government. It was on the C and O canal that ran down to Washington. There was a railroad that ran down to Washington.It is the corner of Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.There were 15,000 rifles stored there. Imagine all this in a valley that is only a couple of hundred yards wide.

That's why John Brown chose to try to start his slave revolt here. That's why the town changed hands numerous times during the Civil War.It is also why Thomas Jefferson looked out from a rock above the town and declared it the most beautiful place on earth.

Well, I don't want to turn this into a big history lesson but Maryland Heights was yielded to the Confederates early in the first battle. Imagine cannon up there raining fire on the town.If you want to know more, you have Google.Visit if you get a chance. Jefferson may have been right. As always, thanks for reading, leave a comment to enter the drawing and stop back next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More British Slipware Photos

Here are a few more pictures from the workshop in Fredericksburg.If you didn't see the others, just scroll down to yesterday's post. Harper's Ferry and Manassas report later this week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Virtual World Meets Reality ! Really !

Over the weekend I went to Fredricksburg Virginia for a workshop with Hannah McAndrew and Doug Fitch on making slipware pottery.Dan Finnegan who organized the event at his wonderful Libertytown Arts Center had met them a couple of years ago. Many of us had become acquainted with them in the Blogosphere and it was great to turn virtual friends into actual friends.Doug makes very traditional pots in forms that have been around for hundreds of years.He likes to work on a little larger scale and says 8 lb jugs(pitchers) are his favorite.He then torches the pots with a weed burner and covers them with slip.Final decoration may be a quick finger swipe or a more elaborate scraffito design.He is in North Devon and bases his designs on local traditions.The earthenware pots are clear glazed over the slip and woodfired to cone 03.

Hannah is working in rural Scotland but is highly regarded throughout the U.K. (and now the U.S.) She makes red earthenware pots that she slips and then covers with slip trailed designs.She says it's all squiggles and dots but she combines them in wonderful ways. Where Doug uses the big torch, Hannah generally uses a pet dragon to warm up the pots and stiffen them a little before slipping.( Some mix-up with inoculations and Homeland Security prevented the dragon from coming along.) Her Wee Little People ( WLP'S) seem to keep the dragon happy with offerings of fruit and pie.

I really have so much information that I can't process it all at once. I spent a little time at Harper's Ferry and Manassas Battlefield on the way to Fredricksburg and have lots to share about that part of the trip as well but that will have to be in upcoming posts.Before I turn this over to the pictures, I must add that Dan is planning future workshops at Libertytown and he does an excellent job of putting it all together and showing that southern hospitality to everyone.It wasn't just informative, it was fun. Isn't that just what you want from a workshop?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easy, Easy, Recipe

Thanks to everyone who stopped in for the studio tour on last week's post. I've been hanging out in the employee lounge and getting ready for a bisque firing. The kiln is full of plates and mugs and ready to fire up. There isn't really much to see and a blog entry has to have pictures so I thought I would include a very tasty super simple recipe.

Melt a tablespoon of margarine in a small skillet over medium high heat.. Stuff it full of fresh dry spinach. Cover tightly.The moisture in the spinach and the margarine is enough to steam everything. After a minute or so the spinach will start to wilt.Toss it around and put the cover back on for 30 seconds or so. Break a couple of eggs on top of the spinach and replace cover. When the whites of the eggs are opaque turn the heat off and (you know this) replace the cover.When the yolks are to your liking, slide it into a bowl and top with some shaved parm.

The spinach is great because there is no added water to dilute the flavor.Basically everything steams in it's own juices. One pan , less than 5 minutes, super tasty. 

The British Slipware Potters Workshop is this coming weekend in Fredricksburg and I'm getting excited and anxious to hit the road. Look for a full account in about 10 days or so. Have a good week and thanks for stopping by.