Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bisque and News

Today's weather really threw me for a loop. Cool lovely morning, hot mid day, and then humid but cool night. I have some large tiles that have been drying for days in the studio and the humidity is keeping them quite damp still depsite my best efforts. I would really like them to dry so that I can glaze them and try to slip them (yes unbisqued, my god right?!) into Friday's firing. Last week saw a bisque fire come and go smoothly and without any casualties. I've spent the week glazing like a mad man attempting to get everything ready in time because there's big news on the horizon (but for now it must remain a secret)!

 All tantalizing secrets aside I find that glazing is still a part of my creative process that is most in need of refining. I don't fully understand the techniques needed to smoothly blend two glazes, or even to get the same effect reliably every time. It is truley a new and fantastic experience almost every time I open the kiln. Sometimes my glazes behave exactly as I have hoped and expected them to, sometimes I'm surprised in the best of ways, and sometimes I'm greated by pots that look as though they were glazed with as much attention to detail as sand blowing in the wind. I've been quite active in the studio this week beyond just my glazing. Every day I have been working to teach myself how to reliably throw (though I should, perhaps, just say center) larger amounts of clay. I find it really challenging to maintain that perfect centered position on the wheel and my work (with one exception) has turned out good enough for the reclaim bucket every day this week. It leaves my wrists and fingers soar, but in reality I find that soarness refreshing!

I know you've seen these guys already, but I just fin this image far more pleasing than the other
and simply had to share it. 

My favorite mug from last weeks firing. 

Go create something TODAY! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fired, Blues, and News

About two weeks ago I opened up the kiln of an incredibly rainy Monday. The weather was terrible, and I had the day off from school to dedicate time to cleaning my house and relaxation. What I saw with this firing was really quite surprising. many more muted colors than I am used to, and lots and lots of drips. Now I7m really quite partial to runny yellow glazes, and that metalic blue that fades to slighly crystalized copper burns when exposed to my long back fire firing cycle makes for some pots with a lot of character, but this time the glazes left me feeling like they were a bit . . . rushed.
I'm very happy with this tea bowl.

I love the forms, but I really want the glaze to uniformly fade. Granted the kilns "kiss" and treatment of each individual pot is part of what makes pottery so endlessly entertaining.

I'm not the happiest with these two mugs.

Love this carved mug.  
I am still working on coffee mugs and demitause cups. I am amassing so many peices that I really need to do a bisque firing, but the communication barrier at school with my new ceramics instructor, Yamatogi Sensei, hasn't been 100% broken down as of yet. There are some deadlines for compititions at the end of this month that I would really like to apply to. . . so , we'll just have to do some sweet talking and creative gesturing convince him otherwize.

I wrote a few posts ago about my trip to Bizen and how I was equaly in awe and more than a little jealous of all the clay culture that surrounded me while I was there. Sometimes I think young artists, or just young people in general get a restlessness that builds within them. It's the desire to have the life you know you want. I often think that I want a life in pottery. I'm not sure where or how that happenes but 9 out of 10 days I want it more than just about anything I can dream of. So, when I see an artist with a studio in ceramics monthly it's hard to not think, "man they have it all!". The truth is that they are working, and have been working - along their own paths - for YEARS to get to that article. It's the same in any job, for any twenty something. We're hungry for our dreams to come to a point where we feel we're living them not living for the hope of dreaming them. All of that to say that I just got the June Ceramics Monthly and its pages are a wash with artists and pots that make me hungerier than and more excited than a 5 year old at an all you can eat cake and icecream buffet, but I opened it up to a quote on the very subject I've been ranting on by a Potrland, Oregon potter named Brian R. Jones:

"My advice to others interested in a career in pottery: You have to dig your well deep. invest in youself and others will invest in you. Things happen when they happen and that's not something you have control over. Don't get too concerned or resentful with someone else's success. They are not being successful at you. It's just their time. Use your energy to make better work."

So it's off to make better work I go!