Sunday, December 7, 2014

Holiday Fair

Saturday was the big day for the Cincinnati Clay Alliance's annual Holiday Fair. I hadn't done it for a couple of years and the format was changed from a "table show" to a 6x8 booth so I really didn't know what to expect. We had 30 artists so the total budget was $3000. Not a lot of money for rental, promotion, and hospitality.Most of the advertising was social media along with postcards and posters. We didn't draw a huge crowd but it was steady and the people that came bought well.

 I had made a flat mug display pegboard for the back of my small space and it worked perfectly. The back of the booth had the mug rack, my chair and a 42" table that ran along the side of the booth. I used my 4 ft two sided rack in the front and that left just enough space for people to walk into the booth and shop. Some of them needed an invitation to come in but most of them did.

My day started with one of the best clay artists in town coming over to say nice things about my work and buy a mug. That bit of recognition got me through the first half hour of the show as we got off to a fairly slow start. People started coming, they kept coming.They started talking about how much they use the stuff that they bought from me last year.They bought more. Not just onesies but twosies and foursies. They brought their friends and talked loudly about the quality of  my work. They bought oval baking dishes. They bought cereal bowls. They kept picking the mugs off that new rack and I kept pulling the box under the table out and filling it up again. They bought big bowls.They bought that fabulous big black and red jar that I have been taking to so many shows to help her find a good home. They came into the booth and gave me hugs. I had brought 12 boxes of pots 4 were empty, some were light.

About 11AM, an older couple came into the booth. Mom said she was looking for a soup mug so I showed her one of the new shino glazed footed ones that I had gotten out of my buddy Mike's kiln earlier in the week.We got them all down and even though they were a little pricey she settled on two. Pop said he wanted a couple of the tall coffee mugs too. Nice folks, nice sale. About 3:30 Mom came back to the show. She said that they had gone home and made soup for lunch and it was so luscious (her words) to eat it out of her new soup mugs that she had to come back and buy the other four. It doesn't get any better than that folks.That is why I make pottery. That is why even with all the hard work I do shows instead of galleries.

The show was very good to me It helped my wallet and it stroked my ego. It is always good to show with friends and this was no exception. We had to load in and pack out through a small slow elevator and all of us working together and helping each other made it quicker than expected.The show closed at 5, I was all packed and knocked down by 6:00 and on the road at 6:30. It made me glad that I don't make crap.It made me glad that I don't made gimmick pots or cute little baubles.It made me glad that I don't chase trends or make the pot of the week that everyone else is making.It made me glad that I make solid useful ware that people use everyday and that I have developed a brand and a body of work that is my own. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 5, 2014


A couple of weeks ago, Tina and I took the camper and headed down the road to Savannah for some R&R. OK, she took the camper on Wednesday, I taught on Thursday and drove down Friday. We had a lovely, fairly private campsite on Skidaway Island not too far from town where we nestled in between the live oaks, palmetto trees and Spanish moss. It sure didn't look like Ohio! We spent Saturday morning driving out to Tybee Island and seeing some big waves and the lighthouse. On the way back, we visited the Confederate Fort Pulaski and learned first hand how loud a 30 pound cannon can be ( The ball is 30 lbs, the cannon weighs a ton) The afternoon was spent on the scenic tour trolley and we got some interesting information about the history of Savannah. Down on the riverfront, we had dinner at Fiddlers and I had the best fried oysters of my life. Sunday was a quick trip north to Beaufort to visit Hunters Island Campground. It was not as convenient to Savannah but they have some excellent sites that are just a sand dune away from the beach. The town of Beaufort has the most classic old south district you will see anywhere. Big mansions and lots of Spanish moss. There are potters out that way that I would like to visit some day but there just wasn't time to squeeze it all in. Monday we were back hiking around Savannah and eating seafood. A guy could get used to it. We were blessed with an abundance of rain so I need to apologize for not taking more pictures These are enough to prove we weren't in Ohio.

Tuesday, we packed up and headed to a campground near Columbia S.C. It was really just a stop over for the night and Wednesday we were on our way to our final stop to have Thanksgiving dinner with our daughter Kate, her husband and 20 or so members of his family. Of course we loved seeing her but dinner went off without a hitch too. It was all good. Another day of visiting and eating got us to Saturday and the trip home so Tina could go to work and I could get ready for Holiday Fair tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Couples Therapy

This is one guys approach to couples therapy

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanks for the Help

Hey everyone. Just a quick update and some observations on social media. When I asked for blog comments "Please Help" I received responses from over 20 readers letting me know their locations. Last week I mentioned on the CLAY BUDDIES forum that I was about to teach my first adult wheel class and add the word 'Tips ?' I received over a hundred responses in just a few hours. People in the clay community seem to be extraordinarily responsive to requests for assistance. Thank you all very much for your help and words of support.

Speaking of Wheel class, it is going very well. On the first night, I had 6 of my 7 students. I brought in some very soft reclaim for them to use and everyone was able to center. A few small pots rose off the wheelheads as well. Last night they switched to regular clay and were still able to center and pull. We are having fun and everyone is very supportive of each other. My beginner who missed the first session showed up and she is a natural. Centering and pulling three little pots on her first night. She must have one heck of a teacher !

Other than that, I have been working on a slightly different cereal bowl that is a bit taller and not as wide. The lower profile ones I've been selling are very functional but I think a taller bowl will show off the form and glazes better. I'll let you see after I get some glazed.

I'm still in a puzzle about what to tale to Holiday Fair on the 6th of December. The booths are 8x6 and it has thrown me for a bit of a loop that I am actually going to have to leave stuff at home and put up a different display. I'm thinking mugs, slab platters, bakeware , and a few big vases. I'll get it worked out but just don't expect me to make a bunch of holiday themed trinkets and glittery objects. Be well. Be happy and thanks for stopping by. Have a happy Thanksgiving if we don't chat before then.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Show in the Snow

Thanks so much for your input on my survey last time. I would have responded to all the comments when they came in but for some reason, that usually makes people think we are all done with a topic and they don't join in. I had 400 or so people check in. I think when you ask for help on a potters forum you get a lot of responses. 20 people commented from Denmark, England Australia Japan Scotland Canada and none of the Russian, Ukrainian or Chinese readers had anything to say.

Thursday was a day I always look forward to every year. I take the camper south for a weekend of fun. I drive to Raccoon Valley Tn. and stop at the Escapees campground for their Thursday night Jam session. Mostly Bluegrass and older stuff that I like . I also like that at a mere 64 years old I'm one of the youngest pickers there. Man can those guys play ! When the clock hits 7, it's sit down and hang on. Everyone takes a turn leading a couple of songs and when it's your turn you stand up and sing. No fooling around scratching your head and trying to decide what to do. Just be ready and go ! In the 2 hrs we played there was probably not a one minute break in the music even though a couple of guys needed help getting to the microphone. Traditional music in its pure form. Can't get better. There was a good crowd too probably 30 audience and 15 to 20 pickers. Guitar, fiddle, upright bass, mandolin, banjo, dobro, and slide. And that was just Thursday.

Friday morning, I drive across route 40 to Waynesville, NC and take 74 west to Dillsboro, NC. This is the home of the best pottery show in the country every first Saturday of November and I go to wrap and schlep for my friends Mike and Karen Baum. Friday afternoon is fun and games to entertain and add to everyone's enjoyment of the weekend. Clay Olympics ran from one to two With Alysha Baier winning the overall title. I think it was the wonder woman crown that put her over the top.

Next up, as the weather turned colder, John Bauman, Roxie Clark, Laurie Faye Long and I played some music for the folks. John and Roxie brought the talent, Laurie Faye brought the youth and good looks, and I brought the nerve. Some people stayed, some went to get warm. We had a good time and got to know each other a little better. We could not set up until after 7:30 and rain had started. We got the tent up, the shelves set up, and the boxes stacked by 9:00pm without getting too wet or frostbitten but the weather was turning. I tuned in the one station I could get on TV and saw the forecast.The banner on the screen actually said DON'T GO OUTSIDE !!! Not just don't drive or be careful . Tennessee, North and South Carolina and Georgia were all in panic mode. 10 or 12 inches in the mountains, get your bread and milk and pull the covers over your head!

6:15 Saturday morning we were breaking ice off the boxes and stocking the shelves as a light wet snow fell on us. The forecast was calling for 50 mph wind gusts in the afternoon. By the 10 AM opening, the snow had pretty well stopped. The ground was warm enough that we had no accumulation although you could see it up on the mountains. By about 10:30, people started coming. They said stuff like " Honey, I wouldn't miss this for nuthin' !" We got cold but we sold better than we expected. Was it as good as the last few years? No, but it was better than most any other one day show in good weather. We had people from Ohio, from Atlanta, from Virginia. come to see potters from Minnesota, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York etc etc. If you ever get the chance you need to come see how a clay show is supposed to be. Sunday I left real early and hit a little snow from Waynesville NC into Tn. on I 40 but it was not stuck to the road and only lasted for 40 miles or so then again on Pine mountain South of Jellico before I went into Ky. That's enough words, here are some pictures. Thanks for stopping by.

Laurie Faye Long as Willie Nelson

Wonder Woman

Brant Barnes and Sarah Wells Roland

Doug Dacey watches Joe Frank Mc Kee watch Sarah Rowland

Travis Berning

Alysha Baier

Laurie Faye Long

Snow in the high country

John Bauman

John Bauman

Home Sweet Home

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Please Help

Below is a listing of where my readers came from over the last week. It is really hard for me to believe that I have had 58 legitimate visits from China this week. France? Maybe a couple but not 42. 37 from Ukraine? You have to be kidding ! I wouldn't be surprised to find the NSA, FBI, and CIA. I can accept Canada and I know I have at least one reader each from Brazil and Australia but I really suspect that a lot of these are just hackers trying to get past the firewall of word verification and drop some spam or worse. Since I added the verification on comments, NO ONE ! has gotten through to spam me. I know it is inconvenient but it works. Just for fun, If you are from outside the US let me know where you are. Even if you are from the US drop your state in the comments. I know this is not real interesting to you but I am really curious. Thanks for helping out. Speaking of helping out, Next week I spend Friday and Saturday at the Western North Carolina Pottery Festival In Dillsboro NC. It's off 74 about an hour west of Asheville. Friday is fun and games. Some of us may even make some music after the throwing contests. Saturday is the show. 40 of the best potters in the country and a huge crowd of anxious buyers. I'll be in the Baum Pottery booth wrapping pots. Stop by if you can.
United States











Monday, October 13, 2014

Been a While....

Hey everybody. It's been a while since we chatted. It's not that I have been that busy. My last fall show was the 13th of Sept. and since then, I made a couple of dozen mugs for a stoneware firing and a few piggy banks for a Christmas show. Some how, I can't get in the Holiday spirit yet and when and if I do, it will be too late to make stuff. I guess it doesn't matter anyway. I just can't get into making cute little Santa ornaments, dishes with Christmas trees on them, chip and dip sets, and all the other crap that seems to attract people with a $5 bill to a booth at an art show. I'm sorry, it's just me and it's not my style. If anyone needs nice mugs, casseroles, baking dishes, plates or serving platters I'll be around.

I guess I haven't been totally useless, I've done some work on the house and put up a shed for Tina to have exclusively for her camping and kayaking equipment. I've packed and delivered several cases of pots for our Empty Bowls Project.  I've been mowing and mulching a lot of leaves and Oh yeah, I had a final bridge put in to replace a tooth I broke in July. The whole process of extraction, temporary bridge, healing , fittings, and final permanent installation takes a couple of months and I am really glad it is over.

I have been spending the weekends visiting other shows around the area. I need a good late Sept / early Oct. show and I think I am still looking. I revisited one I did last year and even with nice weather, no one was really making any money. A couple of others were better but had issues. One I went to this weekend was crowded but more of a fair/flea market/antique/ Amish fest. It was 1 1/2 hours away and primarily in a pasture that was very muddy. There were a few artists mixed into the crowd but mostly people were walking in the mud eating popcorn and fried food then trying to get their cars out of the field. The good news of all these visits is that I got to see a bunch of friends everywhere I went and I didn't have to set up a booth to do it.

Lastly, I've been seeing a lot of pottery questions over and over. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and know that we all started somewhere but NO there is no surefire guarantee on anything. Can I fix this crack? Probably not. What if I buy Super Duper Sticky Ooze at the Clay Store? Probably not, try it if you are feeling lucky but don't ever pick it up by the handle that you repaired. Suzy said I can fix it. If you believed her, you wouldn't be asking me.You can make another quicker than you can glue or spackle a bad one.

 I'm looking for a clear glaze that never gets cloudy no matter how I apply it or fire it. So is everyone else.

 I've been doing clay for 6 months now and my Mom says I should start selling some of the stuff in the living room. How much can I charge for a mug?  It took me 3 hours to make and 6 hours to decorate. Is $75 too much? Not enough? I know it's a little heavy and the handle that I cut from the slab is a bit wonky. Does this really matter?  The market place doesn't really care how long it took you to make something. Taking my time, I can throw, trim and handle a mug in about 10 minutes. My buddy Mike can do it in 5. Are mine worth twice as much as his? It's the other way around. And No amount of glaze, carving, slip trailing, or applied fanciful characters can save a pot that has bad form or handles. Spend your time on fundamentals until you can produce nice naked pots, then worry about enhancing them.

I've been making these beautiful mugs. ( picture proves they really are) How much can I charge for them ? No one knows. Where and how are you trying to sell them? Do you have a following?  What prices do you see on similar work at the shows you do? Buyers that come into your booth determine price, pure and simple. All your cost calculations and time studies tell you what price you can afford to sell at. If that number is higher than what people will pay, don't make that item. I don't make teapots unless I just feel like it because I know they take me more time than they are worth.

One more last item. The first of November is the Western North Carolina Pottery Festival in Dillsboro. I'm going down to help my friends Mike and Karen Baum. Stop buy ( not a typo) and say hello if you are there. Also on Oct 31 (Fri.) Clay Olympics start about noon and afterwards, some of us are planning an acoustic jam session. If you play anything, feel free to join in. Takes more nerve than talent. Thanks so much for reading.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Shows

The aches and pains that follow a show are easing up after a great Saturday in Bellevue Ky. This is a really nice little show to do. The site is right on the Ohio with a lovely view of the Cincinnati skyline. Lots of old friends peddling their wares. Lots of regular customers coming back to get more stuff. Beautiful weather and wonderful organizers and volunteers. I did very well and so did my friends.

Bellevue was a wonderful finish to my outdoor show season. Last summer, I did six shows. This summer I dropped two of them and ended up making just as much money. I wouldn't have minded having a couple more good shows but there is no point in putting in a very hard 14 hour day and ending up with less than  $500 in sales. I have struggled with taking too much stuff to shows but I like my line of tableware and baking dishes.I refuse to make yarn bowls, berry strainers, sponge holders, or incense burners. When people ask, I tell them I don't chase the pot of the week trying to make a fast buck.I make solid timeless country pottery that will last a lifetime.. That's my brand and I'm stickin to it. Slow steady and dependable. If I make all those gimmick pots people can get them anywhere at any pricepoint. If I stay in my brand, people know they can only get it from me.  On the other hand, if you take that dinnerware times 8 of each piece times 4 glazes and add a few vases and jars, you have a lot of stuff. I carry a pottery store, not a gallery display. I have coped by making my shelves lightweight, flat folding, and fast to set up. I carry a lot of mugs and bowls. Most of these have dedicated boxes with cardboard sleeves that I can quickly drop stuff into at the end of the day. Other items have designated boxes and wrappings that never leave the box. It is efficient but it still takes up to 2 hours to pack up after a show and there are lots of heavy boxes. I have gotten rid of all cardboard boxes and paper wrapping. Everything is in good plastic boxes with lids. No worries about sitting boxes on wet grass or getting them rained on.

All four shows this year had great weather. Not to hot, not too cold, no rain. People came out in good numbers. I particularly had a lot of returning customers this season. My buddy and mentor Mike always advises people to make plates. Most of them don't listen or don't stick with it. It takes a while but once people start buying plates, you've got a good customer. They come back for more and they come back for bowls, mugs, and serving pieces. I've been doing shows for 5 years and this year really paid off. Every show had return customers coming back for more. When they come back, they don't just buy a mug either. Life is a lot easier when you don't have to make your money $20 at a time.

I did something different at the last 2 shows. I cleaned some odds and ends of little cups and such off the studio shelves and made little grab bags that I offered to $50 customers or people who saw me on the internet. I'm not sure that it boosted any sales to a higher pricepoint but people loved it. Customer appreciation always comes back around. Hey I even made 2 women happy at the same time. Not many guys can say that!

Next up is packing stuff up for Empty Bowls and making a few more things for Holiday Fair. Thanks again to everyone who came out to a show this summer and especially all those return customers.I just love talking to you and hearing all the kind things you have to say.

Friday, September 5, 2014


I was cleaning off my desk this morning and I discovered that the show I thought was the 14th is this Sunday Sept. 7 !  I did glaze this week and have a kiln about ready to unload so I'll be fine but it was a good save at about the last minute. Hope to see you. 11 to 5 Nisbit Park,  Loveland, Ohio.  Here's what I've been working on instead of the Pottery. The pottery pays very little and this pays a whole lot less.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Quick Trip

Hey everyone. Friday morning, I left home about 6:30 AM without even unloading a bisque kiln that had cooled 24 hours. I picked up my brother Norris and headed South to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, follow the path of Daniel Boone, visit with a couple of my favorite potters, and get to know some new ones.

 We drove down I-75 until we got to Corbin,Ky then we made a hard left turn into history and headed down 25E and the Cumberland Gap. In 1769, Daniel Boone blazed the Wilderness Road the main migration trail from North Carolina, Virginia, and points North and East.It followed trails of the Native Americans and the Buffalo.  It led to the Cumberland Gap that allows north/south passage through the mountains into Kentucky. About 1800 my 3rd great grandfather Joseph Allen walked that path to the Cumberland Gap, turned left down the Powell Valley and established our family in Tennessee. After the Civil War, my maternal grandfather James Stone ( whom I got my first name from) walked the same route from Virginia but turned right into the Cumberland Gap and settled in Kentucky. 25E is a great road with the exception of slowing down for small towns, it is scenic and uncrowded.  4 lanes of 60 mph (maybe a little better) and a slightly shorter way to get into N.C.

At Pineville, Ky. we stopped at THE NARROWS of the Cumberland river where Daniel Boone had survived an Indian ambush. It is what is known as a water gap, a spot where a river flows through a mountain and wears away the earth to make a flatter more passable route. (Harper's Ferry another water gap) It is a beautiful spot to visit if you don't have arrows raining down on you. A short hike and we headed on down the road to Cumberland Gap National Park.

Dam at the Narrows

 Just before you get to the park, you go through a tunnel that is 4000 ft long that actually runs under the gap. There is a nice visitor center with very friendly rangers and a Southern Highland Craft Guild gift shop. We saw some gorgeous work including a nice display of pots by Sarah Wells Rowland of Village Potters in Asheville. A couple of tips from the ranger and we were off to climb the trail to the saddle of the gap where you stand on the very spot that made migration possible. As we got out of the car we saw rhree big wild turkey foraging on the hillside.Always a nice way to start a hike.

 Even for an old guy carrying too much weight, it is less than a mile each way and only has a couple of hundred feet of climbing. ( the whole point of being in a gap) It was a nice trail and it felt good to get out of the car and get a good stretch. We were glad to be going up the trail before it got too hot It is also approximately where the three states of Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky meet. You look back down the Wilderness Road into Virginia, downhill to the north is Ky. and downhill to the south is Tn. We were standing in the actual footsteps of our ancestors, Daniel Boone, and Dr, Thomas Walker.

Monument at the Saddle of the Gap
One of the Locals
A short drive to the Pinnacle overlook on top of the mountain and you can see where the Union gun emplacements were located during the civil war. There were 9000 Union troops there who retreated from The Confederate General Zollicrofter, blowing up their munitions behind them as they left. 
From the Pinnacle


After a very nice visit at the park, we headed down the road toward Morristown Tn. and I-81. We did find that this is not the route to take if you expect fine country dining. About 2pm we gave up on a good lunch and got some chicken strips from the hot case at the Marathon station. They were just as yummy as you would expect. On the upside, there are nice views of the river and of Douglas Lake. Just not a lot of food choices. You might want to keep your tank full too.

By 4pm we were ensconced in the Motel 6 in Johnson City Tn. It was a Motel 6 but it was clean, the room was big enough for two beds and a couple of comfortable chairs, and the folks were nice. No free breakfast but all the coffee you want and a comfortable place to sit. Quiet but surrounded by choices of places to eat or pick up needed items. I got to bed early and woke up too early but that;s life on the road. We watched the AM news drank coffee and went to breakfast. We took our time packing then headed down I-26 toward North Carolina. Make a left at Unicoi, stay on 107 when it crossed the state line it becomes 227. Keep going and you go up and down mountains, past streams and pine trees. Past sawmills and machines that could move mountains. It was a beautiful trip on a good road with light traffic.

 Our destination was the SODA CHICKS AND CHET pottery sale. Several years ago I spent a week in a Gay Smith workshop. I was awed by her skills and the beauty of her pottery.Every year she, Kent McLaughlin, Suze Lindsey and a couple of guests have a Labor Day sale.Every year she sends me a postcard and every year I promise myself I will go. Then I get busy and don't make it.This year, Dan Finnegan from Fredricksburg, Va. was one of the guest potters. I met Dan about 3 years ago when he hosted the British Slipware Potters Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew tour. He is a very nice, very fun guy with mad crazy potter skills that he learned apprenticing with Ray Finch in England. No better pedigree anywhere. Between the two of them, I decided this was the year to go. I'm so glad we went. We got there about 10 for the opening and I had some time to catch up with Gay and Dan before the crowds got there.The last thing you want to do at a show is suck up the artists time when they need to be greeting other customers so I made a couple of purchases and we were on our way before long.

Dan Finnegan

Gay Smith

This Kent (Chet) McLaughlin bowl followed me home.

New mug from Dan


We made our way to Kingsport Tn. and on into Lee County Va. picking up the route of the Wilderness Rd as we went. It was another beautiful drive with pretty light traffic and good roads.There were a few more towns and lunch choices on this route.

Where Blondie has wanted to be since I got home.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23

Hi everyone. I've been putting in some time in the studio to get ready for shows in three weeks. I've been catching up on plates, medium baking dishes. mugs, individual utility dishes, and soup mugs. I have a good kiln load if it ever gets dry. It's been taking 3 days to get stiff enough to trim! The other project of the week was setting up scaffolding and trying to repair a pesky leak in the roof. I think I've got it but I'm going to let the tar settle and recheck before I take the scaffolding down.That's about it for now except for to share a song I've been working on. It was short so I added a couple of verses. let me know if I should leave them or pitch them. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Ok, here's what I know after the show last week. I blame the Doppler effect. The one where local TV stations all have Doppler radar anymore and justify it by screaming about rain, lightening  storms and eternal damnation whenever there is the chance of a shower. We had beautiful dry weather but a small crowd. I don't think I did $100 after 2pm. The total for the day was ok but getting there was odd. I had a couple of folks who bought over $100 each that helped a lot. One of them also wants about $250 more of the items she bought. There were a lot of people who labored over whether or not they could spend $18 for a mug. One poor guy had to go ask his wife if he could spend $20!!! He's got bigger problems than not enough mugs. In all, I had 7 square sales, 5 checks, and less than $100 in cash. That tells me that the people who did come mostly did not come prepared to buy. I usually see a couple of $50's and maybe a $100 but the biggest bill I saw that day was a $20. I understand that times are still tough and appreciate all my customers but it was just an odd mix.

You were right about the rectangular slab platter with the fish on it. It found a new home before noon and it was the fish that sold it. People seemed to like the others but money talks louder. Soup mugs sold well too. I'm going to have to make more. I had several local and online clay buddies and supporters show up. That always makes for a better day. Sometimes what you really need the most is to run to the porta-pot. So a fair income, a good order, saw lots of friends, and stayed dry. I took my time packing up and was still out by 7:10 for a short drive home. Big thanks to those who came out.

In other news, this year we will find the answer to those questions " will she still need me, will she still feed me" Yup, I turned 64 yesterday. Thanks to those who sent greetings and good wishes. As for the rest of you, how were you to know? I also share the day of my birth ( not year) with Doug Fitch and John Bauman. John claims there are at least 4 other potters on the list too but he could not remember them. I never expected to be on any list with guys this talented ( and nice) but if it takes an accident of birth, I gladly accept the honor (honour in Doug's case)

That's about it for now. We'll talk again soon.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Finished Work

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by. I've been getting ready for ART ON THE LAWN in Yellow Springs, Ohio next Saturday. It's a great little town and the last bastion of liberal thought in southwest Ohio. I've done the show 4 or 5 times and always do pretty well so I'm looking forward to going. Here are a few pots I fired this week including the slab dishes I promised to show you. I'm happy with them and hope to fire about 10 more later this week.The pictures are quick and dirty but you should at least get an idea of what I'm bringing. If you are in the area, stop by the show and say hello. Who knows, I might even let you booth sit for a few minutes. All the joy of being a vendor without the heavy lifting!

Just one additional thought. A friend has been having a rough week and probably has many more ahead. We all get there sometimes. It's hard to know what to say but the best words I can think of are " When life send you down a long dark tunnel and you can't see the other end, don't forget there is a light inside you, let it shine" When I was teaching, I would wake up at 5;30 put my feet on the floor and say" It's going to be a great day"  I would repeat it as many times as needed until I believed it. Later when the kids came into the classroom, I would give them each a big smile and a cheerful greeting. It didn't fix everything but it did make it better. Have a great week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

July Update

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since we chatted and I guess it is time to catch up a little. I am still making the slab dishes on the wooden molds. I sprayed them heavily with WD40 and the dishes are just falling away from the molds when I turn them over. Nothing is fired yet but I will show you as soon as they are. Several things have slowed down the pottery around here. Last week I had to have a tooth pulled and some bridgework started. A couple of weeks earlier, I had broken off a tooth that was mostly filling just about all the way to the root and there was not enough left to cap. The dentist also felt it was a bad spot for an implant so here we are. I have a temporary bridge while my gum heals and will have it about 8 weeks before the final permanent bridge is installed. It has been a bit uncomfortable and I have been uninspired. We also spent a day driving to Louisville to pick up our granddog so Tina could show her with our Audrey this weekend. Yesterday was pretty well consumed with clearing a site and building a platform for a small storage shed for Tina's camping toys. It's level and sturdy enough for me to dance on so it should be ok. Thanks to Mike Baum for helping out. I did fire a glaze load last week that had some big cups ( 24 oz) or vases ???? I like them but don't know which way to sell them. Customers always like suggested uses. Help me decide.


Oh yea, it's been muggy outside

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Life Gets Tedious

The sun comes up, the sun goes down
Hands on the clock go round and round
I just get up and it's time to lay down
                                                            Life gets teejus. don't it?
                                                                                                    Carson Robison
Seems like I'm not getting anything done. Of course when you start about 10, quit about 3, and take a generous lunch break I guess that's bound to happen. In the mean time I've got to send in my Ohio Sales Tax, pay some bills, get my booth fee in for a Christmas show, mix glazes. glaze several loads, warm up my coffee, scratch Blondie's ears etc. It's always something, especially if you tend to let them pile up. With all this on my plate, I'm going to address it by going to a noon jam session for a couple of hours before I go to the evening jam session. And you thought I didn't have a plan.
In the studio, I have been heading off in a different direction. If you have ever seen my work, you know it is 99.99% wheel thrown. This week I got the wild hair to make some slab serving dishes and do some glaze trailing in them. I had some very old sugar pine from an old house I helped demolish 30 years ago. It cut like butter and after sawing the angles, a few strokes with a sharp plane made them ready to go . I also had a few blocks of hard Styrofoam. It cut very easily and I did not try any smoothing as it would just crumble. A finer grain foam would be better I think. This left some texture which might be nice on some pots but I smoothed it out with a rib on the one I did this week. I'll post some after firing pictures if they make it that far.
Roll a slab, rough size it, drape it, smooth it down, final trim. Next morning, off the mold, clean up edges with a peeler. Set aside to dry. Here are the results, molds and tools.
results from 3 molds

Styrofoam and wood molds

Handy tools

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stranger Than Fiction

They say you are never too old to learn something new. I've learned a few things from reading the internet this week.

1. Michele Bachman announced she thinks the president should be impeached for his crimes. What ever they are. Rep. Bachman could have written up a bill of impeachment and given it to Speaker Boehner for further action but she preferred using a microphone to using the constitution.

2. If you complain about fireworks ( mostly illegal) scaring the shit out of your dog you are unpatriotic and not much fun.Shortly after starting this post I also read a Blog from a disabled vet who was a combat medic in Iraq. All the fireworks were rough on her too.

3. If you sigh a rental agreement that says you cannot hang things on your balcony you should be given an exemption if you hang an American Flag there.

4. We need to return to being one nation under God. You know, like Iran.I guess religious theocracies are only bad if they are not of the Evangelical Christian variety.

5. Corporations are people too and even if they invest in pharmaceutical companies that make billions off birth control drugs and devices they can make the choice of which of these methods if any their employees use. The slippery slope is when employers of other denominations decide they will only cover prayer and laying on of hands.Well, I guess in the case of birth control prayer usually follows the laying on of hands etc.

6. By offering a $1000 reward for proof of voter fraud in Mississippi, Chris McDaniel is admitting that he has no proof of wrong doing by Cochran's campaign. Of course that doesn't stop him from making unfounded accusations even though there is no proof that Cochran broke any rules. This from the Constitution waving Tea Party. Rules are great until they give an outcome you don't like.

7. My buddy said he was going to call a gastroenterologist. I asked what he thought was wrong. He said it was just a gut feeling he had..

8. Plants can hear themselves being eaten. They don't like it!!

9. God has written a coded message in our DNA that is a recurring patten similar to ancient Aramaic . Translators at BOB JONES UNIVERSITY have determined that the recurring patterns spell out the first verse of Genesis. If I were looking for impartial unbiased code breakers I'm not sure BOB JONES U> would be my first choice.

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10. Students in a freshman biology class in Atlanta’s Grady High School were shown a PowerPoint presentation that linked evolution to Satan, abortion, divorce, racism, and homosexuality.
The Grady High student newspaper, the Southerner, reported that Anquinette Jones used the PowerPoint presentation to teach the theory of evolution to her students during a freshman biology class last spring.
One slide in the 52-slide presentation included an illustration that shows creationism and evolution as two sides in a war between good and evil. Creationism is shown to be from Christ, while evolution is from Satan. The illustration suggests evolution is the driving force behind euthanasia, homosexuality, pornography, abortion, divorce, and racism — social ills that are all defeated by creationism and Christianity.

Yes folks truth is stranger than fiction and all of these except #7 happened this week.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Week that Was

This week has been more pickin' than potting. I made that ridiculously large coffee cup that I posted last time, a crock, and some small bottles but really just fooled around finishing up some stuff. Things are stalled a bit while waiting for clay to dry. We have had storms almost every day this month and it is so humid a cup takes a week to dry. The studio is shaded and has a lot of insulation so it is not really hot in there but I'm going to have to get the AC in the window and running just to dry things out..

Tina was getting ready to take the new bus on a shakedown trip so there was a lot of time spent getting ready for that. We had to take the bus and the car across town to get the brake system that links the bus and the car when she is towing checked out. Then there was the tire pressure monitoring system, a blown fuse to trace down and assorted odds and ends to secure.She reports all is well and everything is working as it should.

I know I posted a song just a couple of weeks ago but if this blog is a record of what I've been doing, I should include the one I have been working on this week.I cut the size of the file so it should load quicker. Let me know if you have problems viewing. Or you can leave now. You've been warned.

If anyone is interested, it is AIN'T NO ASH WILL BURN by W. Aldridge. The chords are pretty simple if you want to play along.  I  Capo II

                                                     C           F           G    
                                                     C           F           G
                                                     Am        Em      
                                                     F            G            C
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Just One Cup

Hi kids, I'll keep this one short. The doctor says I should only have one cup of coffee a day sooooo...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

One for Tony

Last week, Tony Clennell posted about how much he liked Guy Clark's music. Here's a sweet little song that Guy wrote but you never hear. If you go to YOUTUBE, you can hear Jerry Jeff Walker do it better than I can. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

This Little Piggie

Well, I did it again. I applied for a Christmas show this year. Sometime between now and Dec.6, I need to make some items that will fly off the shelves in 6 hours or less. I make a few piggy banks every year so I went to work on those first. Everybody had a piggy bank. Nearly all potters make some of them but mine don't need to look like yours and vice versa. The last thing I would want to do is infringe on someone's design. I went through a period of making a lot of jugs and my pigs reflect many of my jugs. Narrow at the foot, fat at the shoulders, and quickly necking in for the spout. Not an easy form to get right. The ears have a little attitude to them and the bulbous cartoonish eyes are always a little crossed. You will see two notches on the right ear. When my grandfather raised hogs down on the mountain, they let their hogs free range in the woods. Fences were more to keep animals out of the crops than to enclose the animals..In late fall they would take the dog into the woods and he would find a hog a drag it to the ground. The notches were a code that told them if it was their hog or not. So a pig from Whistle Creek should have notches. Thanks for all your comments.