What well known blogger made this mug, purchased the first time we met?
Last night we hosted a reception at LibertyTown to formally introduce my friend Eric as a candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney in the City of Fredericksburg. Eric and I have been good friends for more than 25 years. He is a stellar human being and a passionate advocate for justice. His 19 years as an assistant D.A. in Stafford County has prepared him well for the job. I don’t know if any Fredericksburgers read this, but if you want to learn more please feel free to contact me.
I often fill the bottom of the kiln with planters…it’s not been a very exciting part of the kiln so far, but these work just fine. Finished preparing wood with Beth and then I threw a bunch of 5lb. lidded jars. I’ll try to take photos tomorrow. I’m on a roll and it feels good.
I find myself spending a crazy amount of time testing both glazes and slips. It’s always been so and with a new kiln (4 firings) and two different chambers, I have lots to discover. I tried an idea today that has been a long time coming. Too many ideas roll around in my head, sometimes for years, before something clicks and all of a sudden I feel I have to get down to it.
Today’s fun was adding raw carbon directly into a shino glaze before dipping pots in it. I measured out about 30 ozs. of wet glaze and then added carbon granules in 1/4 teaspoon increments. I like carbon trapping in glazes, but I’m really not interested in firing a complete kiln on a schedule that encourages it. I was teaching a workshop at Penland while Malcolm Davis and Kent McLaughlin taught a carbon trap class. Their positive results were less than 30% ! I couldn’t cope with that. But what if carbon mixed right into a glaze gives a very localized reduction? Do I dare expect little black halos in a field of orange shino? I’m no chemist, but I do love sticking things in a 2400 degree fire to see what happens.
I have a 100lb. sack that I salvaged years ago from a defunct factory that heated carbon and mixed it with oxygen to create a major component of high tech carbon plastics (think Stealth Bomber). If it’s a genius idea, I have a lifetime supply. Otherwise….maybe I can sell it on Ebay!
A few months ago there was a bunch of blogs about pots and birds. It inspired me to make a press mold of these lead birds; one of the many ideas that sit around waiting for the right nudge to be brought to fruition. I intend to use them as a knob on some bigger lidded jars but for now I’m putting them on little tile pedestals to do more glaze and slip tests.
The lead birds have a great history. There used to be an amusement park on an island just below the route 3 bridge here on the Rappahanock River. It’s hard to believe it to see the island now, it is rough and overgrown. But it was once a lively social spot that included a shooting range. A couple of years ago someone found a trunk full of the targets from that range in a basement downtown.
I’m happy to direct you to my long-time pottery friend Hollis Engley’s new blog. Hollis was a good writer long before he made pots…blogging was made for him! We used to wood fire together and he helped me build my kiln. He makes pots on Cape Cod which is too far away but
a nice place to visit.
I needed to throw some simple things the other day, so I revisited these crock/spoon pots. I’ve made thousands of them over the years. The second photo shows some more challenging pots I’m working on and a ‘cider jar’ that I’m very pleased with. We have a big show opening this Friday at Libertytown, so I’m fighting to get out to the studio this week. It’s usually pretty buggy by the time I get out there and close to pitch dark before I head home.
Yesterday was the first day in a while that I was able to sit at my wheel. I moved all the flatware that I’d finished onto racking and then threw some 8lb. bottles. I plan to decorate them with all of the little sprig molds I’ve been carving and I intend to make a couple of large ones later this week that will include a tap at the bottom. Forms like this always intrigue me…where should the widest point of the belly fall? Long neck or stubby? Wide base or narrow? I like them all, but I also have my favorites…
I’ve been settling back into life at home after a stimulating trip to Maine and back, with many stops along the way. I first visited Hollis Engley and his wife Dee on Cape Cod. I met them when I was teaching at the Torpedo Factory years ago. Hollis and I spent a lot of time together working on the wood burning kiln we built with Bill Van Gilder
. Hollis moved to the Cape about 10 years ago and has run his Hatchville Pottery
We went kayaking in Buzzards’ Bay and up a beautiful creek past clam diggers and all kinds of boats. I really enjoyed spending time with all these folks whose lives are centered on the water; ferryboat captains, sailors, kayakers and fishermen add a different flavor to life. Some are proud of how long it’s been since they ‘crossed the bridge’ (left the Cape). Thank goodness that regional differences still exist.
I’m getting ready to start some serious throwing with the hope of doing two wood firings before the new year. Autumn is not far away…my favorite time to make pots.