Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4th Annual Potters Market

Participating artists include:

Vases, vases, and jars.

As you can see, I've got a few vases going on at the moment. And there's a couple others that didn't make it into the pictures. It's been a good challenge for me, these vase forms. Pushing for something new, different, expanding skills (I think). Regardless, it's been good to have some motivation for getting in and cranking out some pieces that are interesting/engaging. Hopefully, after these next two sales, I'll be able to churn out some more bowls. But until I get some (many) sold, I need to stay away from the whole bowl scene.

The top picture had a few vases in it, and one that maybe needs a lid. It also maybe just needs to be recycled, but we'll have to wait and see what happens with it. In the meantime, they've been good practice and something different for a change.

Second picture down we see a small vase (probably 8 inches tall?), and a couple of pieces which will be donated to the June fundraiser.

Last we have a couple of larger "arizona" pieces - nice 10" diameters. I like these jar/bowl pieces, and they feel really good to hold.

It was a good evening in the studio for throwing, trimming, and working on "stuff." That's it, probably, for this week. The next couple of nights are going to be spent doing inventory and pricing in preparation for the Northern Colorado Potters Guild's 4th Annual Potters Market this Saturday. If you live along the Front Range and don't have anything better planned, come check it out!

I mean, seriously - what could possibly be better than a pottery sale on a beautiful weekend in Colorado?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Morning Studio Work

Five hours in the studio Saturday morning. In by 8, out by 1:30. Much productivity, including vase "practice" (read: flops, but learning experiences). I forgot to take pictures of any of the works in progress until after I'd already wrapped them up and started cleaning my space. So I took pictures of the things that are done and drying/waiting to be fired.

So, spent some time working on vases/jar shapes/bottle vases. Still not one hundred percent on just what they are. Threw some that turned out, and some that didn't. Also finished up the trimming, shaping, and decorating of the three pictured in the last post.

Threw a couple small bowls, and some larger pieces that are of a different shape. I call them "arizonas" because they remind me of Southwestern Native American pots. They're nice pieces and work well either decoratively or functionally.

Trimmed/footed/decorated the plates and cups for the Guild's June fundraiser. Pictures of the cups are below. I like them.

And did some glazing. Our Potters' Market is one week from today, so hopefully some of those will be done before then. In the meantime, glazing means an extra area of the studio to clean up, so I thought it best to do while I had time to do it.

Really, that's all I did. It doesn't look like a whole lot on paper, especially without pictures, but it took a while, and I took my time. It was a good morning. Good way to spend a cold, gray, drizzly, morning. That's my story.

Fundraiser Cups.

Yes, these are my vases. Different. We'll see.

And some bowls waiting for the bisque fire. These are the ones that were pictured upside down last week. Here's the interior decorations.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I got a lovely 3+ hours of solid work in the studio last night, which was well needed and overall quite pleasant. I did some necessary trimming and decorating of some larger bowls, wedged and kneaded some recycled clay, worked some on the fundraiser plates, and tackled throwing some vase forms.

The practice was needed, and I'm pretty pleased overall. I've been out of practice with throwing tall forms (other than those couple very large pieces, which don't really count, as they were thrown in multiple pieces) and I think a few hours to sit down and throw only cylinder forms was just the trick. I'm not saying that I'm back on the horse at a full gallop, but I feel like I'm definitely trotting, and maybe even approaching a lope. Please reflect momentarily on the unexpected equestrian reference.

My first throw of the evening was a flop - openned too wide, so there wasn't enough clay to go as tall as I wanted, and the neck wasn't right, and so the shape and the proportions were out of whack. I sacrificed that vase to science, dissecting it to examine how evenly I'd been throwing (I'll try to remember to take a picture of this the next time I slice a pot open). The autopsy revealed that, aside from simply staring out too wide at the bottom of the pot, the throwing was decent. Between 1/2" and 3/4" thick at the base, which is acceptable, allowing for some trimming, and then tapering to a pretty uniform thickness from about midway up all the way to the top. That stretch stayed pretty close to 1/4", maybe 3/8". So, pretty decent thickness there.

So I scrapped that pot, which was not too much of an inconvenience - the clay was still soft, not too aquasaturated (it's a new word I just made up), so it was throwable after a little wedging and sitting out for a few minutes. The resulting two pots/jars/bottle-necked vases are below, along with one from this weekend.

This one I threw on Saturday. It's a little bottom-heavy, but not unreasonably so.

Bottle Vase #1: I'm not yet satisfied with the shape of this one, but there's a decent amount of clay yet to be trimmed off around the foot. I like the lip on it, though. We'll see how I feel when I get back to it this weekend. If I toss it, it was still good practice and well worth my time.

Bottle Vase #2: I was much more pleased with the shape of this one. I'll be able to trim the foot to shape, but it won't require much. My favorite feature is the whole neck/lip portion. Really hits on the shape and feel I'd like to be getting with my vases. I'm excited to take on more of these.

That's the summary of the evening. I also enjoy my Tuesday evening's in the studio because friend and fellow potter Hide Igaki teaches a beginner's pottery class. First of all, it's fun to watch other people developing a passion and interest in pottery in the early stages. It's a good time.

More though, Hide is a skilled potter, and a terrific teacher, and it's good for me, even as someone who's been throwing for a number of years, to go back and be reminded of the basics, or to watch Hide demonstrate a way of doing things different from how I was taught. It's always good to go back to the beginning, pick up a few things you missed along the way, or ponder a different way of doing things.

I don't think this is an idea exclusive to pottery.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bowls & Plates - the [tardy] weekend post

Finally, some studio photos. Got a few hours in on Saturday, which was nice. Time to tackle some projects, and also get to work on some pieces for the upcoming Guild fundraiser. I'll be heading into the studio tonight for another longer stretch that should be good and productive. I'm running out of time to realistically try to produce any more work for the upcoming Potters' Market (on May 2nd, at the Guild), but some of these pieces may sneak through the kilns in time for the Artists at the Gardens at the Ute Trail Greenhouse in Lyons, CO, the following weekend.

Also, please note the addition of a links section to the right side of my blog. It's not particularly expansive, and I encourage you to check out each of them. For the time being, these links will lead to people and places that have significantly impacted the way I approach my work. In the future I'd like to expand (or add a second section) to include those artists who are doing work that I'm drawn to or find interesting, regardless the direct impact they have had on my pottery. We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, we have six privileged links. That's enough about that for today.

In any event, here's the photo update of what happened (mostly) in the studio on Saturday. The clay was mostly cooperative, and I actually was able to throw and decorate some things. There was As usual, I welcome any questions and comments about my process or the work, and hopefully I'll be able to provide a nice update after this evening's studio session as well.

Small bowls. Because I don't have enough of these...

These bowls have just been trimmed, and are sitting on (I believe) 14-inch bats. They are beautifully decorated with slips and sgraffito on the inside. Hopefully they will fire beautifully as well.

A large bowl, waiting for some decoration - 15-16" across.

These smallish plates are for the Guild's June fundraiser. Every attendee will get a plate/cup set from which to enjoy the appetizers and wine tasting. They will also get an art piece valued at $50+ to take with them. I'd be happy to send more information to anyone interested in the event.

And a couple of these pieces. I don't stock too many of them, because they don't stack very nicely, but I like them, and they seem to be pretty popular.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday Night Update

It was a more successful night than before, though abbreviated. Some throwing, some trimming. Didn't have to throw anything out. That reads as a success in my book. Still no time to get any photos snapped.

I have been trying to put more focused energy into vase/jar forms. They're more challenging for me technically, and I seem to have a lot of trouble coaxing the shape I want from the clay, but it's getting better. Every bit of practice helps.

Having clay that's not ubersoft or full of air bubbles also helps...

I'll get the chance for a longer session in the studio this weekend. Throw some pots, snap some pictures. We'll have a throw-a-thon Saturday afternoon in preparation for the Guild's June fundraiser. We'll be throwing small plate and mug/tumbler sets. The evening should be a fun event - appetizers, wine tasting, and every guest gets to leave with their appetizer plate and tumbler, as well as a piece of artwork (or set) valued at $50+. So it should be a good time. Keep an eye on the Guild's site for more information, or sign up for their mailing list here.

Also, just to announce a couple of upcoming events I'll be at:

The first is the Northern Colorado Potters Guild's annual Potter's Market on Saturday, May 2nd. It's a much less formal affair than our fall sale is, but should be fun - outdoor pottery sale. We'll be up and running from 10am - 4pm on Saturday. Hopefully the weather is cooperative and doesn't go all blizzardy on us...

Second, I'll be appearing at the Ute Trail Greenhouse's first Artists at the Gardens, May 9th & 10th, in Lyons, CO. Click here for more information about this event.

That's all for now. Someday pictures. Until then, here's a drawing of a pot. It's almost the same thing.

I think blue clay would be sweet!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Studio photo fail... again.

Still no time to take pictures of works in progress in studio tonight... so, I am apparently either a failure or just a big slacker when it comes to that. Or it's been a while since I've had a substantial, uninterrupted chunk of time to work in the studio.

It was a frustrating evening - issues with clay, bats, wheels, tools, you name it. 2 hours in the studio, 25+ pounds of clay, and I have a cereal bowl to show for it. Ok, so it wasn't as bad as that, but it was just a little frustrating. Oh well. By the time I remember to take pictures of the works in progress, they'll be finished pieces. I guess that's just the way it goes sometimes.

In the meantime, here's some finished pots that came out several weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm back... mostly...

Well, I'm not sick anymore. Or, at least, not as sick.

I've been back in the studio a few times, but have failed to be very photographic about the work I'm doing - so, sorry about that. I'll try to be better.

Very basic work mostly. No massive pots or anything like that. I'm stocking up on some smaller to mid-range pieces for a couple of sales in May, mostly bowls, but a few smaller vases.

And on a dorky, but happy, note, I found my elephant ear sponge. It was brand new and in good condition and it disappeared after only a few weeks of service. Until I found it tonight in the bottom of my bucket of red clay slop! So, I'm very excited to have my sponge back. In celebration, here are some pictures of elephants, ears, and sponges, that have nothing to do with pottery. I'll even draw them myself.

Pretty elephant, possibly angry.

This fellow has a particularly small nose, mouth, and eyes compared to his chin, ear, and cranium. But then, all I promised was a picture of an ear. I can't be held responsible for the entire profile...

Before you critize, let me just ask: have you ever drawn a picture of a sea sponge? Yeah, I didn't think so.