Sunday, April 10, 2011

New pots, throwing, and a helper in the studio.

So I got a picture of the hot hot kiln posted up here in the middle of the week as a teaser.  Cause I'm cruel like that.  But seriously, I did do a glaze firing this (last?) week.  
I had quite the pile of bisqued pots stacking up and I figured I'd done about as many test firings as I was going to effectively do with regard to all the mountain vases I'd been waiting on.  So I did it.
My glazing helper.
Our good friend John X. was hanging out with us this week (isn't it great to have friends in transitional periods of life?) so he helped me out with this mess.  Mostly keeping me preoccupied so I'd not dwell on how much I hate glazing.  I have no idea what that expression is that he's making, but he's a cool cat.  He also tried his hand at waxing a couple of pot-feet, which certainly was interesting.  I didn't do too well at that either.  So we loaded up and fired the kiln on Wednesday night.  Medium-speed ^6 firing, took 8h36 to fire to completion.  We unloaded Thursday night after dinner.
Is that really a kiln-load?
Another kiln with moderatley mixed results, kind of.  I stuck with what's been working - which is rather uniform across the board.  The brown slips on my mountain vases still aren't providing a whole lot of contrast under these glazes, but boy are those blues spectacular!  Definitely some good stuff in there, at least. 

 Yesterday (Saturday, for those keeping score at home) John decided he wanted to learn how to pot, so I gave a couple demonstrations and let him take a crack at it.
Sure looks like a natural.
He did pretty well, for day one, with no experience.  Let's just say that if he continued to grow as a potter at the rate he demonstrated during the two hours we spent in the studio, and threw every day, he'd probably surpass me within a week or so.  Sadly, I don't think that's quite how it works.  But he certainly did very well for a first time in the clay.  I threw him a couple of demonstration pieces - first a bowl, then a vase - working through the process, and then coached him through the steps. He took to it like a duck to peanut butter.  Which is to say that ducks, I would imagine, really enjoy eating peanut butter, but probably aren't meant to try swimming in it.  It's actually a pretty horrible simile, but I liked the sound of it when it first hit "the page."
My demonstration.
John's pots.  Not bad!
So that went pretty well.  John took off this afternoon and I went back into the studio with a fresh breath of inspiration and ambition.  And so I threw some big jars.
#2 (left) and #1
I'm not sure whether these will get a sgraffito treatment or if I'll just leave them to be glazed for color.  I might mix it up, but these will probably get slipped up and carved to pieces.  I think I favor the B-clay for glaze-only pieces. 

Keeping me company in the studio this afternoon was a little new music, followed by something older.  My studio selections, in play order and, coincidentally (or not?) also alphabetical order!
The King Of Limbs
King of Limbs, Radiohead - good studio background music.  The more I listen, the more I realize that this one starts out really promising and peters out after only five or six tracks.  Since there are only really eight tracks, I guess that's a pretty good percentage of the album that stays solid, but then, on the other hand, there are only eight tracks.  But overall it's really enjoyable.  Not sure that it really stacks up anywhere near the top of their canon, but worth listening to.

Love Liberty Disco
Love, Liberty, Disco, Newsboys - this is my favorite from CCM's golden boys from the Gold Coast. Mellow with nods to classic funk/soul/disco, I think it's one of the most interesting albums from them musically (the guitar work on this album is phenomenal - quick licks, bluesy leads, and soul the whole way - and the rhythm sec) and also mature lyrically.  Call it nostalgia, but I think this offering from 2001 is pretty near the peak of their output and is undeniably one of my "Desert Island Discs."
Much Afraid
Much Afraid, Jars of Clay - their sophomore release, and possibly my favorite.  The album starts off a little unsteady as "Overjoyed" tries to find the tone for the record, but is solid from track 2 onward.  By the time you hit Track 5 "Frail" (beautiful guitarwork, haunting lyrics) it's onward and upward as the boys wrestle some heavy stuff.  Lead singer Dan Haseltine has recently started writing about where some of this music comes from - not in an attempt to say what the songs should mean, but what the music has meant and, specifically, trying to address the places and times in life that the lyrics came from, which is really fascinating for a fan like me.  One of the things that I (and Krystal, too) have most appreciated about Jars, and Haseltine as main lyricist especially, is that they are willing to write music that deals with life in the hard places in a genre/market ("Christian" music) that so often seems to shun music that doesn't deal in glossy answers.  Haseltine's lyrics come from places real and raw, and it's powerful to read, in his own words, the story of the songs and where they came out of his life and the life of his bandmates.  The result is music that is true in a way that has too often been in short supply.  All that to say, if your interested in post-grunge, alt-folk this is a very solid album, reglardless your religious orientaions.  If you're interested in reading more about the stories behind the songs, you can find them at  As of this posting, he's most recently unpacked "Portrait of an Apology" which is definitely a standout track on this album.  

All that to say, I threw some pots and listened to some music that I really really like.  And I hope you'll check it out because you might really like it too.  Happy Sunday, and please try not to let Monday get the best of you.


Unknown said...

Luke! Your pots are BEAUTIFUL!!! How do I buy some and how can we get them to me in Denver?!

Luke said...

Sondra - thank you! Please shoot me an e-mail (lukelangholz (at) msn (dot) com) with the details of what sort of pots you're interested in!

I'm in the process of trying (TRYING!) to get an Etsy sales account up and going again (for the first time), but that may still be a little bit, so e-mailing me is the best way. I'll do my best to get right back to you with what I have available, pictures, and pricing. And I will gladly ship them to you in Denver!

As you may know if you've read any deeper in this blog, I last lived in Fort Collins for a few years - certainly miss the Front Range this time of year! Please say hello to the mountains for me!