Sunday, March 27, 2011

Making Pots

I think that every teenager in American should have to take pottery for at least one semester in Junior High or High School, like they have to have three semesters on French or Spanish.  The lessons learned from the highs and lows of the process will be immeasurably more valuable than being able to order a croissant at the local bakery or a Dos Equis in Tijuana during Spring Break.  It would also ensure that most customers would know the value of a pot that is hand thrown or built with loving care.

A previously posted list of the steps it takes to get just one pot made is in my blog list somewhere, but I only recall listing those steps that are taken when things go right.  It didn't talk about the thing that can go wrong, beginning with a customer wanting something for a holiday that is just 4 weeks away.  Can it be done? Well, yes, theoretically, if the potter is a production potter and makes 20-50 pots a day or more and can turn over multiple kiln loads in a short time, with assistants.  Most studio potters works on a much more spread out schedule, and depending on how they glaze fire, may only produce 4 very large kiln loads a year.

Then there is the possibility (read probability) that something happens to the kiln (like a burner going out), or in the kiln (like a pot with undetected air bubbles exploding leaving itself stuck in the glaze of all the other pots) or...????  The possibilities are staggering even in the best hands.

All I am saying is, be kind to your potter.  He/she loves the clay and the fire and the possibility that something he/she made will make you happy. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Almost There

I have, for the last several months, been preparing, planning, organizing and realizing the dream of having my own studio.  I gave up my studio a Odyssey Studios & Gallery at the end of January, took a shelf there for a month during transition and have, except for one more bisque kiln and the possibility of taking classes there in future, left Odyssey, altogether.  I take with me valuable training by talented teachers and some new good friends.

I have not had time to organize the actual workspace, but I am working on actual orders from customers I've met at the various Jewish Festivals at which I have shown my work.  The task seemed daunting, until I was referred a UNCA ceramics grad who would very much like studio space in exchange for being my assistant.  And, this weekend, I am having the back patio covered and my Skutt KM-1227-3 installed.  Additional shelving and storage will be built in the coming weeks, so that, by May, I think I'll be ready to have a Clay Club meeting here.

So, if the "creek don't rise", and today it seems like it might, Oy Clay!!! Pottery and My Wonky Pots Studio are almost there.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Well, I've gotten myself in trouble again.  Kari very graciously agreed to help me fire Cone 10 in her kiln on the 24th and with all the moving and rain and , well, all of the excuses I can muster, I'll only have 1/2 a kiln. Is there anyone with pots to fill the kiln or a kiln with room for my pots next week.  I am desperate, as this is a big order (big for me) for Passover that has to be shipped by the end of the month.  Any advise?

Out of Bondage

Freedom is an interesting concept.  At the time of this writing, it seems the whole world is fighting for their concept of freedom.  Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin, Ohio, etal.  We are also learning scary lessons about  responsibility in exercising the freedom we think we have to "forge [earth's] beauty into power".  

As I write, Passover is a month away.  The iconic story of the Jewish people's delivery from bondage and the manner by which they became a "nation".  Many different struggles for freedom have taken the biblical story of freedom as their own symbol for their struggle.  But so often the ultimate lesson of the Exodus is lost in the glorification of the miracles, miracles that were meant to get the attention of a people whose destiny it is to learn and teach the lessons of the journey from slavery to freedom.   It needed a technicolor extravaganza just to ask humans to receive the lessons.  I hope the kind of explosion that is possible in our present situation is not necessary for us to learn the lesson of the role responsibility plays in the exercise of real freedom.