Friday, October 31, 2008

Carolina in the Fall

A few more autumnal shots. These are several of the reasons I think North Carolina is such a great place to live. I'll list a few:
  • Four Seasons
  • Moderate Climate (between 20 and 100 degrees farenheit, with most of it around 70)
  • Pottery Climate
  • People understand what I am saying
  • Sweet tea, fried okra and green tomatoes, fresh tomato sandwiches, hush puppies, carolina burgers with chili, slaw and cheese
  • Mountains, rolling hills and seaside all within 3 to 4 hours

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the details

This is one of the pieces I threw while at the Fair at the beginning of this month. It is a vase with four Koi fish carved in a water pattern. You are looking at the head and body of one of the lower ones. I use a brown glaze that is brushed on over the carved areas, then sponged off. Then a dip into a light blue glaze. That is followed by brushwork with an orange glaze over the fish bodies. You can see the iridescence that happens when the overlapped glazes pool. The blue glaze is fat and creamy, with tiny bubbles under the surface that reflect light. I think this is as close to a Chun glaze as I will be able to get with the way I am firing. One of the descriptions for a Chun glaze is "a milky, opaque finish where tiny bubbles are clearly present"
Well, sorry about the link. I have tried to get it to work about 4 times. Try this and see if it works for you. Otherwise, just google Chun glazes.

Odd Artist Jobs

Sometimes you are asked to do "odd" jobs because you have artistic tendencies. A lady contacted me back in the summer about "fixing" a crucifix for their church. I told her I would be happy to look at it and when she brought it, it was in a box that was 40"x48". It was a turn-of-the century statue that had been removed from it's cross for cleaning, gotten left outside and the arms and legs had broken off. They had already had it repaired and appendiges reattached, but wanted more color and detail added to the plaster work. I said I would try, did a bit of research on the internet and became terrified that I would mess up the restoration work if I "fiddled" with it. So it has sat, awaiting a return of courage.
On Monday I darkened the skin and added facial detail and toned down the hair and beard. Yesterday we moved the statue out of the studio and on the road back to the cross and display in the church.
It's funny sometimes the things you are asked to tackle, isn't it? No, it's not functional pottery, but it is something that definitely has a function and purpose and now it is going back to it's "use".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall color in the Gallery

These are a few shots of the pierced flower vessels, more of the slip painted trays and some of the new combos of warm glazes all grouped together. Today I will be glazing work from the bisque kiln, which is more of the slip painted trays, using different slips, underglazes, etc. for more color.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Great Place for Books

We were in Asheville this past weekend and I had a chance to roam the aisles of Highwater Clay and visit some fun places. I got lost looking for Piedmont Paper, which is a distributor of packing materials and boxes, and turned around in the parking lot of The Screen Door, which was well off the beaten path. It was an enormous building divided up into vendor areas, so there were a lot of antiques, artist work, and some stuff that some people might term "junk". I got caught up looking at old wooden circles, blocks and spindles, wondering what I could use them for but was able to pry myself away to visit the large book area. Sorry there are no links for you, but I am very short on time this am.
I came away with a copy of Pioneer Pottery by Mick Cardew and a book by Richard Zakin that highlighted 36 potters, one of which was Bruce Cochrane. Of course, there was more--a book of beautiful watercolors of fish, an art deco decoration book and a book on making musical instruments out of gourds.
Even though the gourds, fish and art deco don't seem to have anything in common with pottery, there is actually a theme. I want to make some musical instruments EVENTUALLY out of clay and this book was a jumping off point. I also want to do more fish decor inside of some platters, so inspiration was needed, and I want to make stamps for texture and saw some good things in the art deco book.
And you just thought I had a book compulsion! Well, you're probably right, but it's important to justify your purchases.......Off to check the kiln!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall in the Mountains

These are a few shots of the area around Gatlinburg, TN about a week or so ago. I met my mom, sister and friends for a short visit and it was really beautiful up there. Fall color was just beginning to turn. It was a great little rest and calming experience. Of course I laughed until my sides hurt, just as I always do when my family gets together.

Thanks for coming out to the open house!

Just wanted to give a quick thanks to all the folks who came out to the open house. Jen's work was beautiful and got many compliments, as did Susan's hand knit pieces. I wanted to thank them also for their great work. Susan will have her work in the gallery where you can admire and purchase it if you missed the weekend event.
Jen will be at the Carolina Pottery Festival in Shelby on Nov. 8, sharing a booth with Ron Philbeck, and at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen event in Raleigh the weekend of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Postcard for Open House

Here's the post card for the Open House this weekend!
The studio is almost all cleaned.
New fall flowers are planted.
Empty space is awaiting the arrival of Jen's pots this evening.
Susan's scarves are here and look great.
Are you coming?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gurley-Girl Knitting at Open House!

Preview of the hand knitted scarves for gals and guys by Susan Gurley.
They range in price from $10 to $41, depending on the detail and thread used.
You can even get her to create a unique piece of wearable art in your own colors!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Guest Artist Jen Mecca

A couple of beautiful pots from Jen Mecca, who will be my guest artist on Oct. 18 and 19. The details in her work are incredible and I love the whimsy and joy with which her pottery is made.
I was up in the mountains last week and came home to beautiful weather for the Claymatters sale. Really enjoying this Indian summer. Today was a slip painting day and a tile painting day in order to fill the bisque kiln. Bamboo and pine trees are the themes I have been working on. Tomorrow I will have some pictures of Susan's scarves and more pottery. See you then!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Claymatters Sale

Hope you can make it out for the fall Claymatters Sale on Oct. 11, from 10am to 4pm, at the McAlpine Business Park on Monroe Rd. in Charlotte. It will be a great day! See you there.

Lanterns, pine trees and a new form

These are some of the new things I have been working on that will be at my open house on Oct. 18 and 19. I'll have Jen Mecca's pottery and some handmade scarves by Susan Gurley. Keep watching and I will have some photos of their work posted soon.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Glaze results

A few quick shots to show the glazed pieces I mentioned a few posts back. The blackbird slip is working pretty well. I need to mix up a new batch. I tried edging the rim with the slip and it flaked off and resisted the glaze in some areas. I like the look of the dark outline but have to figure out how to control the flaking. I may have waited longer than normal to paint in the slip design, so the underneath clay may have been drier that it should have. New problem solving required. I also had a blue bowl but I think the glaze is too dark for this design.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ah, the Fair!

I did pottery wheel throwing demos at the Fair in Cleveland Co. last week. These are a few shots of the midway and the wet pots in the back of my car. They all survived and I am in the midst of carving on them now. There is something magical about the lights, noise and nippy weather of a fair in the fall. It took me back to my own memories of the excitement of being about 8 years old and going to the state fair in Shreveport, La. with my family and my grandmother. I loved the bobbing ducks (Go Fish) game, where you were guaranteed to win something. I also remember being amazed at the animation of my grandmother, playing about 6 or 7 bingo cards at one time, and me trying to help her keep track of all those numbers.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Other new stuff

This trio is a continuation of a series based on Persian images. I had done about 20 pieces and fired them in my friend Bobbie's gas kiln and the glazes I used covered the slip so it came out very indistinct and blobby looking. I will give it a go in my kiln and hope my glazes do better with the design.

I got to demo at the Cleveland Co. Fairgrounds on Wed. night and will have some comments about driving around with wet pots and some views of the fair in the next post. Too many things to say... too many pots still to make... Have a great day!

A preview of New Work for Open House

This is one of the painted slip plates I will have for the Open House at the studio on Oct. 18 and 19. The cards are being mailed today. I will have more info on the blog later, but if you want news Right Now, leave me a comment! These are definitely a work in progress. I like the background grey color and the plum blossoms but want to work more on my blackbird slip. I have fooled around with adding iron oxide to it and so it has lost some of its darkness. Will go back to the original.

That's the amazing thing about making a large body of work. Change is constant for me. People buy things to use and they are getting ideas that are in varying stages of development. I would call this the green grass, full of potential stage. It's very fresh, and I have so many ideas about where I want to go with it.

Finished Friendship Plates

I think these turned out well.