Sunday, December 4, 2011

Creative Thoughts

As a teacher you are often required to have a rhyme and reason for everything you do. All choices made must have an intention that is explainable and quantifiable. BLAH!

For an artist to have to give an account for every choice is like asking a rose why it is beautiful, smells beautiful, and why yet it has thorns. I feel like when you do that you compromise what IS. Focus on the beauty and enjoy it. For that is its higher purpose and it is your higher purpose to revere. To mentally massage such an idea is ignorant and futile. Objectivity will distance you into a never ending enigma of unsatisfaction.

Part of what makes me a creative person is that I am not mechanical, thought out, or limited by a formula. Half the time I cant even explain why or what I am doing with my art, I just do it. As if it is part of a subconscious process that cannot be understood but only seen. Like how your best ideas come to you when you are doing something "normal". Artists and creatives cannot by enslaved by anyone's self justified false logic. It must transcend beyond that to become what it IS so we can all focus on its beauty and enjoy. Let reverence be your guide. 

Friday, November 11, 2011


I cant tell you when I am ever feel more fulfilled that when I create work. Its like a sweet song prayed to the one who is. Thanks God for such days.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ornamental handles

It's amazing when you look at some porters work and they use simple decorative techniques to turn a plain form into an extraordinary work of art. It's is also a struggle not to over decorate or distract with anti-unifying elements. Here is a small study of work exploring this very thing.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Some slip carving

I played around with some slip to make this piece. It is more or less an exploration but I see some potential!

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Kiln

Over the last 6 months I have been working on a new kiln for my ceramics program at Tigard High School. I built a 40cu ft Minnesota Flat Top kiln designed by Nils Lou with minor alterations. It is amazing how hard you will work for something you are passionate about. After over a thousand hours of blood, sweat, and frustration (no tears yet) we are only a gas line away.

However, I have done one very cool thing and that is that I have created a brick by brick CAD model of the kiln with Google sketch-up. Here is a graphic of what I have:

If you are looking into building this kiln shoot me an email and I will get you the files I created.

They are not plans but would really help anyone out that is undertaking such a task!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Some bottles (and 1 bowl)

When I first started really getting into shaping my pottery. Bottles, for me, were the hardest thing I could think of to throw. I couldn't believe how guys like Tom Coleman and Dan Wheeler  could make such nice forms. Especially while making their pots so light and consistent! Not to say im  anywhere near guys like tom and Dan it is encouraging to be able to throw the forms that I once looked at as impossible.

If I were to offer tips for somebody who's  been throwing for a little while that wants to tackle quality bottles. It would probably help and to think very hard about their order of operations to reduce unnecessary clay movements. it's also just as important how they appropriate their clay before going from cylinder to a bottle. When trying such delicate forms reduce drag as much as possible as well as reduce water saturation. This is a difficult problem because the less water you have the more drag you get and with more water the less drag you have. So you have to work very fast and intentional. You also have wet only certain sections a certain times then rib the water off right away.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lidded jars

I finally got some coleman porcelain!

One of my huge pet peeves is when you are at an art show or gallery looking at lided pots and the lids are so loose they wobble all over. Cmon potters take the time to make a lid that's at least close to being snug! 

Here is a tip for super tight lids.... Throw your flanges and the lips if your pots thick with the lid being slightly too big. Then while you are trimming trim the lid to the perfect size. So easy and will make your pots that much more professional!

Valve grinding compound is also essential after glaze firing.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BiG PoTs

So I am out of coleman porcelain so I am having to scrap around for something to throw until my shipment comes in from clayart. I figure it I am using a white stoneware (b-mix copy) I might as well throw some bigger pots.

There are two thing I want to say about this:

First, Whenever you switch clay it seems like it takes some time to get your hands to work right. I have to pull much slower with this clay and I cannot stagger my hands during a pull as much as I do with the coleman. However, once I lined up my inside and outside hands I had much more success.

Second, water usage was a little different.  I have to pull slower meaning the water has more time on the clay making it weaker overall. I don't like this... I also found that English ribbing (double ribbing) works better on bmix than coleman. I stopped double ribbing on my porcelain but I now recall its advantages as well as with dry throwing.

Each pot took a lot of time but after many flops I am having a higher success rate.

*pots were stacked and scored together

Monday, July 18, 2011

Leaving for Maui tomorrow! I will keep an eye out for some Hawaiian pots!

Look at these glazes!

I tweaked the iron content, feldspar, and my firing cycle. The increased iron and g200 fluxed the glazes which will allow me to fire a cooler. I was having to hit ^11 which made my reds almost burn out in hot spots. Now I can barely drop ^10 and I can get the melt I was looking for. As with any discovery there is a cost. I lost about $500 in pots from running in this load.....Oh well. Such is ceramics!