Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day of Reckoning

Well, I reckon I'll have to make another big bowl. The 25lb bowl made it through bisque but got a rim crack in the glaze firing.Other than that it looks fine and I learned a lot about handling and glazing large ware.I'm not the first guy this has happened to so I might as well blame the clay like everyone else does! No cracking would have been a lot better but I am really not heartbroken about this. It was a learning experience.

On the other hand, the blue, the green , and the ketchup glazes are working great.I got good coverage and nice color on everything else in the kiln and with minor tapping, all the lids are unstuck.Actually, this part of the load is a lot more marketable than a huge bowl and a lot easier to carry. If any of you are in Northern Ky Saturday, stop by Augusta for Art in the Garden. It's supposed to be a beautiful day. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Death in the Afternoon

My friends Josh and Marie are excellent potters, brewers, and slayers of evil doers.They celebrate all this with an annual Memorial Day picnic. There is not a lot to say other than I'm glad they invited me and enjoy the pictures. Oh yeah, if you are free next Saturday, I'll be at the prettiest art show around. ART IN THE GARDEN in Augusta Ky. From Ohio, you can go east on the AA highway on the Ky side or go out route 52 in Ohio and take the ferry. Hope to see some of you.

Monday, May 21, 2012


That telltale plunking sound I heard when I was loading the big bowl must have just been my heart skipping a beat. The big guy came out fine. However (here comes a cautionary tale) I did have a 12 lb pot blow sky high. I knew it was not dry but I gave everything an extra long preheat that should have dried out a wet mule BUT I put a teapot inside it. I think the tea pot kept a portion of the big pot from drying completely. From the looks of the damage, the bottom of the pot exploded, lifted the tea pot until it crashed against the shelf above it.The teapot  broke to smithereens then fell back to where it came from.. All damage was contained inside the big pot and there was no kiln damage. You live, you learn, you adjust. Unless you are a man then you just keep doing the same stupid things and hoping for better results. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I don't know if it is from nurture or nature or a combination of the above but many of my gender seem to have a problem asking for help when needed. We will hurt ourselves moving things that are too large or break things that are two awkward before admitting defeat. Since we last talked I have tried things both ways.

Putting a 22 inch bowl in a 24 inch kiln seems simple until you try to get your hands out and by then it's too late. I should have called a friend and used a sling to put the big bowl in the kiln. The last move of sliding my hands up and around was tighter than I expected. I may have heard that telltale plunk of breaking greenware but I can't find a fracture so I'm firing today. Wish me luck.
Project number two has been something I wanted to do since I built the barn. The building sits on fill with a a bank dropping off behind it. I have been wanting to build a retaining wall, fill behind it, and put more usable space behind the barn. Last week fortune smiled.
I talked to a crew that replaces utility poles and ended up with 11 of them in my front yard on the condition that I move them out of the right of way immediately.Usually workers around here just cut poles down and the cut them in 2 or 3 pieces. That's what I was expecting anyway. I found out these guys had a crane that would pull a 26 ft pole straight out of the ground. These suckers were BIG.  I started the tractor, checked the chainsaw and called my brother. This was HE MAN work. Most of the poles we cut in half but some we skidded whole. The little tractor did an amazing job and thanks to lots of help from Norris, we had everything moved in about 3 hours. I even managed to stack some of them with the loader bucket! here is a shot of about half of them.

Next week my friends Josh and Marie have their annual Memorial Day picnic. The extra fun parts- Josh brews beer and they are both medieval reinactors. Armor, clubs and swords all around. It's a spectacle. I'll try to have pictures for you. Have a good week and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 11, 2012


This week I have been suffering from a relapse of big pot fever. A friend had asked if I could duplicate a planter that had been in the family for many years and I agreed. It wasn't that great a pot but it weighed about 40 pounds. After checking it our, I thought I could do it with 25 pounds. Now, I could have done it in sections but it was 15 inches wide and it just seemed simpler to throw it in one piece. I had never thrown a 25 pound ball of clay before but nothing ventured nothing gained, fools rush in ...etc. Actually, once I stopped trying to muscle it into submission, it was not as hard to center as I expected. I opened it up and started pulling up the walls. Just as I was going for that last inch, I lost control and the top of the pot started to flare too much to choke back in, What to do, What to do? This clay obviously wanted to be a bowl instead and so it became one. At 22" it is just small enough to fit in the kiln. Trimming was another issue. To keep weight off the rim, I used a foam bat with a big chunk of mattress foam on it so the bowl was supported from the inside and it worked great. I did get the planter thrown on my next try. No pictures of it yet but I will try to get one after it is fired.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring Fair in Review

Yesterday was Spring Fair. It is Clay Alliance's big kick off for summer and we always have 50 or more potters in attendance. The day dawned, well a little of the dark went away, with drizzle and overcast skies. Not the best news for an outdoor show. Set up was uneventful other than me cursing myself for 3 hours for bringing so much stuff. Usually, when the show opens at 11am, we have a big crowd hit the streets. This year, it was still grey and drizzly so the crowd swelled more slowly. In the afternoon the brighter skies helped me sell a big jug and a set of plates to help move things along but I still ended up about 15% off of last year's total. Still, it was a pretty good show for me and it is always a fun event. Even so, these days always make me think of all the artists who depend on week to week sales to pay the bills and how fragile that can be. One of the highlights was a sale of a mug to a woman who heads the ceramics dept at a local college. She said she was going to take it to school to show her students what a good mug looked like ! Yes Meredith, it was one of the red clay w/ green glaze mugs. I wasn't able to get around the show and take a lot of pictures, but here are some booth shots showing the new shelves in action. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I unloaded the cone 6 firing yesterday and was very happy with the new line of pet bowls.There is a food bowl and a water bowl that is designed so long eared dogs can drink and keep their ears dry.I don't know if they will pop as much on your screen as they do in person but these are really hot. I also had a big pot and a nice casserole make it through the firing. Ok , I'm off to finish packing and loading the van for Spring Fair. Why oh why do I always take so much stuff??