Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Murphy's Law Firing

My last firing was smooth sailing all the way - a high pressure day, a steady climb, body reduction by 7 am, all the pretty cones falling evenly. The universe demands balance! So this firing takes Murphy's Law as its inspiration. A cone pack explodes! A burner fluff out, twice so far! Ooops, I'm out of wood curls! Pelting rain last night right when I had to adjust the burners!

It's not promising. I'm tempted to turn it off & try again on Wednesday.

But that's silly! There's no reason this annoying firing can't produce beautiful pots. and firing on Wednesday would put a squeeze on an already-tight timeline for my upcoming fair, Belfast Art in the Park. So I'll just keep an eye on that f*cking burner, send Doug out for wood shavings, and hope for the best.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Week 1 Skill Challenge: Throw a 1-lb Cylinder 6 Inches High

I do these weekly challenges with my students. This session I am tying each one to the week number; week 1 we have a one-pound challenge, week 2 we'll have a 2-pound challenge, and so on.

They wouldn't be challenges if they were easy, but they are doable! You will need to get all the clay up into the wall for this to work - no extra thickness at the bottom! Some tips:
      • The centered hump of clay should be relatively tall & narrow, with a flat top, before you open it. About 3" at the bottom, 2" at the top.
      • Open with your thumbs bent & pointy. 
      • Establish a flat interior bottom before you begin pulling up 
      • Make sure you begin your pull with your outer fingertips right against the wheelhead. 
      • At the beginning of each pull, press in with your outside fingertips (for me that's my right hand) to make a little ridge of clay that you will bring up the wall. 
      • As soon as you begin pulling, move your outside fingertips so they are putting pressure a little bit higher than your fingertips inside the pot. This will prevent the wall from spreading outward. 
      • Pull as many times as you need 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Always a Silver Lining


I've been working like a mad potter for the last few weeks, toward a firing to provide work for the Belfast Arts in the Park , happening July 6 & 7, and immediately after that, Watershed's Salad Days, July 13th. Briefly coming up for air to check what happens after those events, I realized the answer is...nothing.

I mean, not nothing-nothing; I'll still have stores to supply and the online shop. But, since I didn't get into the Common Ground Fair, and was only wait-listed for the Portland Fine Crafts Show, I've got no big events coming up for the rest of the summer. That's not ideal, of course, and suggests that I should review my application images - hopefully I can do better! But a good show is always going to be in demand, and unless you are, idk, Bob Briscoe or someone, sometimes you are going to jury out. Even knowing this, I didn't make any "safety" applications, because honestly I'd rather do no show than price, pack, schlepp, unload, set up, stay all day, then do it all in reverse, for $250.

Well, I got my wish...sort of! My real wish would have been to get into the shows, of course, but failing that, I kinda...have the summer off! Or half of it. I mean, I'll still teach my classes & supply the aforementioned stores but I'll have no big deadlines pressing on my mind, or my time. OH THE PLACES I'LL GO

I have brains in my head
I have feet in my shoes

I can steer myself any direction I choose!*

*With apologies to Dr. Seuss




Sunday, June 2, 2019

Steins for the 'Shed

So, you know about Salad Days, right? If not, I've been remiss! Salad Days is a huge lawn party to benefit the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts. For $40, you get a handmade plate, designed specially for the event, all the salad you can eat, and a day of bluegrass music with all your potter and potter-supporting friends on Watershed's 30 rural acres. This year it's happening July 13th, a Saturday. (The "Days" part of the name is something of a misnomer, referencing the expression which means "the days when you could only afford to eat salad," itself somewhat odd, since - these days anyway - salad is kinda spendy! But I digress.) The event happens from 10-3.

In addition to the famous Salad Days plates, designed & created by a different artist every year, there's a Salad Days Stein Sale. Click the link, go on, I dare ya! WHOSE POTS ARE THOSE, RIGHT THERE AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE?? That's right, Yours So Very Truly! I was super excited to get the invite to make steins for the event. I got a start on them last week.

Like, whoa! Those look ginormous. I weighed out 2 1/4 pounds of clay, and they are about 7 1/2 inches high. which our old friend arithmetic tells me will shrink to 6 1/2, not at all an absurd size for  a stein.Trust the math, right? Math don't lie.

And anyway they look a little less silly-big with the handles on:

They've asked for 10-12; I made 15, for safety, but that means that (hopefully!) even if you can't make it to Salad Days, there will be a few Salad Days steins available. Actually, I'm enjoying them so much, I think I might make a few pilsner shapes as well.
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