Thursday, November 19, 2009

Field Trip!!!

Tomorrow a group of us from our potter's guild is going to visit the Freer Gallery, part of the Smithsonian Institution. A guild member has arranged for us to go into the stacks that house their ceramics collection. We will get to observe and handle many incredible pots that are not on display to the public. I was able to do this once in the distant past, when I was fairly new to clay. I think that I will definitely get more out of this trip.

I am not sure about the photo policy, but if I can take pictures I will be sure to share. By the way, if you are going to be in the D.C. area, I believe it is very simple to set up one of these tours. I can get you information about it, if you are interested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When one door closes...

another one opens, right? Let's hope so!

Our guild just got official notice that our tenancy for our gallery space will come to an end on December 28. While we knew that it would be happening sooner or later, it is still unfortunate news. At least we were able to have this wonderful space through the holiday season. The building's owners have been very generous to us during our residency at the gallery and we are very thankful of the time that we have been there.

So what does this mean for the future? It means that people local to the Frederick, MD area only have a few more weeks to come into the gallery to purchase lots of wonderful pots! Please help support our guild and local artists by coming in buying some functional or decorative ceramics. We have such a wide variety of pieces, from mugs to wall sculptures to vases, that I am sure you will find some pots that need to go home with you. Get some gift shopping done! Our new holiday hours are listed on our web page.

It also means that we are searching for a new retail space. We have been so lucky being right across the street from Volt and hope to find another fantastic location. If anyone knows of space in downtown Frederick that may be available, please let me know. We are looking at all of our options at this point and hope to find another suitable space as quickly as possible.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pots for the People

I had a chance this past Sunday to clean up most of my pots from the woodfiring (save the 2 or 3 that have a date with the grinder in the basement) and snap some quick pictures of them. As I have mentioned in previous posts, all of these (except for the vase with the two strap handles) are Porcelain for the People from Matt & Dave's Clays and were fired in the manabigama at Monocacy Pottery. I am continually impressed with the surfaces that this kiln provides in 8 or 9 hour firings. I am quite pleased with this clay, from the ease of throwing and trimming to the final products.

Rather than upload a gazillion pictures, I whipped up some collages that feature a lot of my pots from this most recent firing. Now I just need to finish cleaning up the last of the pots, price them and get them to our guild's gallery.

With the exception of two cups which were glazed on the outside, all of the surfaces are raw clay flashed by the fire. A number of liner glazes were used, including shino, blue ash, amber and celadon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fresh from the kiln...

Just general pictures for now, no pics of just my pots. I'll try to get those up soon. It was once again a great firing. The Porcelain for the People gave nice gentle flashing and glossed up very nicely.

Nice 360 degree pots from the entire kiln. There were one or two spots in the middle of the kiln that were heavily ashed. I had not really seen that before. There was also heavy reduction in the back bottom corners, which we have seen before. Some strong carbon trapping on a couple of pots back there.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back at it!

How did three whole months go by since my last post?!

The summer was busy and fall has been, too. I guess that is how. We had a great trip to the Outer Banks in September and other than that we have gotten much done on our house and our rental next door. We've seen some concerts and some movies, not that I can remember any specifics at the moment. And I was busy keeping up with all of the other pottery blogs that are out there, the ones with authors that are good about posting!

In my ceramics life, I had a bit of a slump for a while during which I was not very motivated. At least once I did not even touch clay during an entire Tuesday night class. But then a while back I was reminded that I had a woodfiring coming up in early November. Yikes!!! Time to make some pots.

I had heard such good things about the porcelains from Matt and Dave's Clays that I knew I wanted to try them. I had gotten a sample size of their cone 6 porcelain, The Coup, and I liked it. They had mixed their test batch a bit on the moist side (as they had given me the heads-up about...their customer service is the bomb) and I found it a bit tricky to throw while trimming was a dream. For the woodfire I ordered 60 pounds of Porcelain for the People, their cone 12 clay. This clay was heaven to throw and trim.

I had plenty of pots ready in time for the loading on November 7. Once again I was part of a group firing at Monocacy Pottery and it was fun as it always is. We loaded the kiln with only one minor glitch. A post on the bottom of the final stack shifted at some point. Upon finishing, the final stack was less than optimal.

Wonky stack.

We had to pull the whole stack and re-load it, but it looked so much better once we had done so. We then bricked and papered the door and we were ready for firing on Sunday.

We decorated the kiln with signs of the season.

The firing went very smoothly. We built up the ash bed from about 6am until 8am. Proper stoking then continued until 2:45pm and we shut it down at 3:15. It was a great group of potters and we had a blast. A number of us will be there tomorrow to unload the pots, warm from the kiln. I should have pictures of the results up later this week.

Some of the kiln gods watching over our firing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Protect local farmers!!!

No new pottery news yet, but I thought this deserved its own post. I recently learned about a new bill that was introduced earlier this year, HR 875 - the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. You can read about it here. Once you have, I hope that you will contact your local representative like I did. Please tell them that you are opposed to this bill.

Buying local makes sense for so many reasons, it will be horrible if this bill passes and crushes small farms, farmers' markets and community supported agriculture. Please contact your reps, re-blog the link, post it on Facebook...anything to build opposition against HR 875.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pots at the gallery

I worked a shift at the gallery this past weekend and switched out some of my inventory while I was there. Here is a short clip showing some of the pots that are now at the gallery. If you are in the Frederick area, feel free to visit them. I'm sure they would love to go home with you.


After I made the movie, I realized that the cup whose interior is shown is not for sale. There was a small S-crack on the bottom. Lucky for me, because it is now on our shelf at home. But there are some other cups with that blue ash glaze at the gallery. And here are a couple of the pics from the video in clickable format:

We are off to FloydFest this weekend. It is an incredibly fun music festival that we have gone to for a few years. I highly recommend it. Super music, very family friendly, yummy food & drink, great friends and tons of fun. It is located in southwestern Virginia, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the town of Floyd. Some of the bands that I am looking forward to are Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Railroad Earth, Toubab Krewe, Yard Dogs Road Show, Groupo Fantasma, The Dynamites feat. Charles Walker, The Duhks, EOTO, Forro in the Dark, Lee Boys, The Sadies, Boulder Acoustic Society, Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun, Barcelona Institute of Gospel, American Dumpster, The Bittersweets, Soulhound and many more!!