This piece was fired in Scott and Debbie Williamson's three chambered wood kiln in Northern VA. They fire for a total of 7 days and get a serious variety of ash build up and colors. Luckily my piece got a lot of both!
I go through phases with the demonstrations I choose to do for my classes... With many of my students returning session after session, I sometimes struggle to keep my demos fresh and interesting. Other times I feel like I could demonstrate a technique or form for weeks on end. There are countless reasons I go either direction. Recently I decided to experiment with colored clay and sodium silicate. Basically, after throwing a thick cylinder, the colored clay and soda silicate are brushed on, heated, and stretched to create a crackle effect. This is by no means a new technique, and has probably been shown in most teaching studios across the country. Of course I had seen it before on finished pieces, but never thought it would complement my forms... I couldn't have been more wrong. The wider you stretch a piece (for me, usually in the belly) the wider and deeper the cracks stretch, and more solid where the walls are touched less. This creates a gradient effect to pieces, which for me make the wide belly look wider and the tight feet and neck look tighter, a tension I just cant get with the raw clay.
Best part about this demo? Every student, in all three of my classes, tried this out the same during the class I showed it! A first for me.
Be sure to stop by The Cooley Gallery to see our holiday cup show up through December. Over 30 local and national artists are taking part in this event. Cups of all shapes, sizes, colors and price ranges are available in the gallery and online. I have several mugs, tumblers, shot cups and tea bowls on display.
Porcelain Tumbler: wood fired ^10 with salt. $28.00
Get down to Leesburg to check out some of my new work along with tons of other great pottery, paintings, woodwork, jewelry, photographs and more.
While I was an undergraduate at Towson University, I really got hooked on firing with soda in a converted electric kiln. It is amazing to me how many of the things I learned on my parents padio 5 years that are still relevant to what I am doing with wood firing today. I probably fired a few more that 20 times in a 7 cubic foot gutted electric kiln shell made of soft brick. With only a few modifications you can fire one of these things with propane and wood to cone 10 in about 7 hours, and unload it the next day! This pot is from one of those firings on October 8th, 2008. At the time, I knew I liked the colors and surfaces, but I now know how important they are to me and my work. This piece was made from Standard's 306 body and had a thin layer of temmonku glaze sprayed around the top third. With help from the intense flame and soda vapors, the glaze ran and acted much like an ash glaze. I strive to get these effects on my current work. You can also see the orange peal effect of the soda that breaks up the raw brown clay body. While I wait for construction of my new, much bigger, and much more permanent kiln to start, I am thinking of revisiting this way of firing with some smaller loads....
Classes are filling up at The Little Pottery Shop on East St. in Downtown Frederick! The up coming session will be the last of 2012. I will be teaching Monday and Tuesday mornings from 9-12:00 pm and Wednesday nights from 6:30-9:30 pm. You can see the full schedule of class here
I was very excited to attend the opening for the 20th annual Strictly Functional show in Lancaster PA last Friday night. It quickly became a very special night... Soon after we arrived, I found out that my pitcher was awarded 1st Prize by juror Jack Troy. I am extremely honored to receive this award, as there were over 100 amazing artists from all over the county participating, and because Jack has been such an inspiration to my own work over the last 4 years. You can check out the whole show at their site, StrictlyFunctional.net or visit The Market House Craft Center in person.
I recently move back to Frederick after 6 years of both living and making pots in Baltimore. We hope to buy the house and property that we currently rent in the coming months. in the mean time, I have been looking for leads on inexpensive kiln materials in the hopes that I can keep my costs low when I do eventually build a kiln. The search had been slow going over the last year, getting a few things here and there, but back in July I got a call that put me way ahead of the brick scrounging game. I was asleep one morning when I got a call from Bill van Guilder, who knew I was in search of bricks, and who had actually just sold me 36 kiln shelves a few weeks before. He told me that there was a quarry in central Virginia that had gone out of business and were auctioning off their left over equipment. He also said that there were 17 pallets of fire brick on site. Of course that got my attention. I logged onto the live auction site that that Proxybid had set up and tried to find out as much as I could about the condition, size, temperature rating, and shape of the bricks before the auction began. By the time the bidding started, very little was clear and I didn't really know what I was bidding on. Apparently there wasn't any other potters participating in the auction because I was the only bidder! The next two lots were "refractory mortar," which I felt if I got them for cheap they might worth having too. Again, I was the only bidder and won what turned out to be two pallets (4800 lbs) of extremely high temp castible, which is essentially fire proof concert, a great (very expensive) kiln building material for $10... The other auction participants were fighting over enormous dump trucks and conveyer belt systems, and I was lucky enough to slip in under the radar. The bricks turned out to be 9"x6"x4"x3" superduty #2 arch bricks. When put thick side to thick side they make a barrel arch 5'6" in diameter, which is very close to the size and shape of kiln that I would have built anyway! I have already picked up half of the bricks and have them stacked behind what will eventually become my studio and gallery building. With just the bricks I have already trucked home, there is enough to build a arch 22' long and 5'6" wide. Needless to say I will be making some very big pots in the future. I will use the others I have (still in VA) to build the floors and stack. Thanks to Bill for keeping me in mind, and I encourage anyone out there that wants to build a kiln to keep their ears and eyes open, and leave your phone on!
I typically fire all of my work in the wood kiln, however, I am into anything that has to do with pots and fire. I fired a good bit of my work in the raku kiln at Towson while I was there, and I am still interested in the process. September 17th I am leading a raku workshop at The Little Pottery Shop on East Street in downtown Frederick. It will be a day long firing workshop, although we will also talk about making techniques, and I will show slides of my own and other potters work. Check it out!
Check in for regular updates about all things clay!