Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! And firing today ...

Happy 2012, everyone. I decided to do a New Year's Eve firing, which gives me time between gas turn-ups to prepare food for the party tonight at the home of friends. There's a shelf of teabowls and mugs in the kiln, but mostly it's small and medium-size serving bowls. Some with iron slip spattered over Shino, some with the slip under the glaze, some with wood ash. Building inventory, mostly, though there's a statewide competition with a Jan. 6 deadline that I'm hoping some of these pots will work for.
Tonight is a tapas party, so I'm preparing oyster mushrooms fried with tiny Chinese fish and hot red pepper; pimentones padrones, a fried green pepper with sea salt; and spicy shrimp with red chile, garlic and scallions.
Happy what's-left-of-the-holidays, everyone.
Photos: Top, the load before closing the door this morning; the studio, back to its pre-Open Studio mess.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays to All

The last of the holiday shoppers are coming to the gallery this morning in a very light flurry of snow. Just sent a guy off with five mugs for himself and his wife. Things are now busier for us than they've been before. I guess that's good.
We'll have Christmas Eve dinner tonight with friends in Monument Beach, carols at Church of the Messiah this afternoon, Christmas dinner with Dee's folks at their retirement village and then her sisters come in next week for a visit. Oh, and the Patriots play Miami this afternoon.
Happy Christmas, every one, from Dee and me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Onward ...

Planning and staging the annual holiday open studio can wear me out, so I often spend the next few days before Christmas relaxing and finishing up Christmas shopping. This year, with entries due in early January for the State of Clay show in Lexington, Mass., I wanted to fire one more time. So Tuesday I started throwing. Low pasta bowls, big serving bowls, teabowls ... I've got enough as of today to fill the kiln next week some time. Maybe just before New Year's Eve.
The teabowls can go pretty much anywhere in the kiln, and people always buy them. Funny thing, people now rummage through cups in the gallery or on the Coffee Obsession shelf, looking for "that thumb hole thing you do." Years ago, when I was a year or two into making pots, I pulled a temmoku teabowl from the kitchen cabinet at the home of Dennis Davis, my first clay teacher. (We did lots of raku workshops at Dennis's place.) It turned out to be a Warren McKenzie bowl, with a dimple pushed into the side. From then on, any time I needed a coffee or wine cup at Dennis's, I'd search out Warren's cup. And I stole the dimple idea from him, using it occasionally, always giving him credit when someone commented on it. Now, people think it's my own trademark. Funny how those things happen.
Tomorrow I need to finish Christmas shopping ...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And an even colder second day

We had very light snow flurries last night, then occasional flakes falling most of the day. And by the time we closed down Sunday at 4 p.m., the temperature outside was about 26 F. and in the studio about 40. And, of course, I was the one in the studio by the open door, greeting everyone who arrived.
It was a very good weekend. Sunday was, as usual, less frenetic than Saturday, but this was perhaps the busiest Sunday I can remember for this show. Lots more work went out the door, much more food was consumed and I think by the time we closed the doors everyone was happy with the weekend. And today we got to see three of the other local potters who also had one-day shows yesterday. Anne Halpin, Kim Medeiros and Sarah Caruso showed up this afternoon to have a chile dog and talk about their own shows.
Maybe we'll do it again next year.
Photos: Kim Medeiros braves the heavy winter snows to check out new pots; part of the in-studio display; Jeweler Kim Collins and friends Bob Skilton (center) and Jordan Race spent time in the kitchen, where there was heat and food.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A great (though very cold) open studio day

I was telling Sue and Fred Rose today that when we did our first kiln-opening and sale eight years ago, maybe five or six people were there to see the new, warm pots come out of the kiln. Sue and Fred were two of those people, because at the time I was firing with their daughter Angela. So they were there to support her, and my wife Dee was there to support me, and two or three people might have wandered in out of the cold.
For the past two years, so many people have come for the kiln-opening part of our Open Studio weekend that we have had to hire a police officer to keep the on-street parking from disturbing the neighbors. It was like that today, with a studio crowd of maybe 30 people, jammed in by the slabroller, around the kiln door, alongside the sinks and tables and looking on from the door into the house. No shortage of willing hands to pass the new pots on to the nearby table. My pot-loving friend Janet handled the kiln-shelf-and-loose-wads detail and took the pots from me as I worked my way down through the stack. It was a very good firing, I think. It's a bit difficult to hand pots out and have them claimed immediately, be wrapped and bagged and out the door. On the other hand, the money's a good thing, too.
Lots of pots left the property today, as did quite a bit of Mike Race's locally-roasted coffee beans, earrings and necklaces and notebooks and handblown and handworked glass. This open studio weekend has become a lot more to handle than it was in the beginning, but it's also become a community event. Most of the people who come here on this weekend are from Falmouth or one of the nearby towns, though our longtime friend Ethel came over from Martha's Vineyard and new friends Linda and Peter came down from Plymouth. It's not a Cape Cod summer event, but mostly friends and neighbors and other local folk eating and drinking and buying around the holidays. Once I get over the organizational jitters (not a pleasant problem to have, actually), this gets to be fun.
Tammy Race made kale soup, Lois Hirshberg made vegetarian chili, Ed Sholkovitz made extremely good scalloped potatoes, Donna Sutherland Steele brought frosted fruit cake, Bill McCarthy and Jim Sharpe brought pizzelles, Janet brought ... what was that, Janet? Some wonderful kind of chocolate ... thing. And I made red chile for the customary chile dogs.
And we'll do it all over again - though without the crowded kiln-opening - Sunday. And snow is expected tonight. Of course.
My thanks in particular to Barry and Terri Good, our neighbors from a few houses down Boxberry Hill Road, who came with an entourage and went away with pots, but particularly helped out by photographing the kiln-opening and putting pictures on their Facebook pages. I never took a shot and am grateful to them for supplying the illustration for this post.
Come tomorrow, everyone.
And a PS: The man who gave me this idea, Washington D.C. potter and Shino master Malcolm Davis, died last week. I didn't know Malcolm well, but when we lived in northern Virginia we used to go to his D.C. townhouse for his holiday open studio. He sold his pots there, but also opened his place to other local craftspeople and artists. That was the plan we followed years ago when we decided to do exactly the same thing. Thank you for the idea, Malcolm.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yet another reminder ...

I'm about three-quarters through the glazing of the 100 or thereabouts pots that will go into the kiln for Friday's firing and Saturday's opening. This post is for you folks who have forgotten in the past couple of days that Hatchville Pottery's annual holiday kiln-opening, craft show and chile dog fest is this weekend. I know, you read the last post and you already know about it. Well ... I thought I'd post this ad, anyway. It will go into Friday's Falmouth Enterprise and will be seen by literally dozens of people. Many of whom will come.
Plus, here are a few pots yet unglazed, soon to be dipped.
There will be oysters, by the way, as well as chile dogs. And kale soup. And cookies. And bagels and salmon cream cheese ...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Last pots thrown before firing

Greenware is scattered all over the studio right now, the last pots made for next weekend's kiln-opening and open studio. One more bisqueload to go, a couple of glazes to mix, a ridiculous amount of neatening to be done in the studio. I'll glaze Wednesday and Thursday, then fire Friday while I finish the cleaning-up of the studio and its conversion into a selling space. It happens every year, though I have no real idea how.
Postcards for the show arrived a few days ago, designed by our paper expert Ruth Bleakley. I'll attach the information side of the card to this post.
I threw a dozen faceted and stretched teabowls yesterday, the first pots I've made this week that felt like I made them only for myself. Everything else felt like an obligation for the weekend show. This weekend and next are filled with open studio shows around Falmouth and Bourne. Potter Denny Howard has one this weekend over in Sagamore; sculptor Sue Beardsley gathered a group of artists at her house this weekend; Tessa Morgan had a reception today at Flying Pig Pottery in Woods Hole; potter Anne Newbury has an open studio in Woods Hole tomorrow; potter Anne Halpin is open next weekend on the Woods Hole Road; Kim Medeiros is receiving guests and buyers at her place next weekend. It's a busy time. We hope everyone spreads their art dollars around.
The photos: Greenware and drying ware around and in the sun outside the studio.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

New pots for holiday inventory

I fired about 100 pots yesterday, turning on the gas at about 9 a.m. and cone 10 falling at the top around 2:30. I know, it was a fast firing. And pretty tightly packed, too, but since I bought new lighter-weight shelves the firings have often been about 6 hours. Even when I try to hold it back a little. But if pots and glazes work, so ...
Anyway, here's a look at some of the new pots, with apologies to those of you who are not in love with copper reds. This glaze works well in this kiln and my friend Kathy Hickey, owner of the Daily Brew coffee shop in nearby Cataumet, likes red. And because she pays me cash every time I deliver mugs to her, I fire a certain number of red pots. All of the mugs in the photo above will go to the Daily Brew tomorrow.
The photos: Three fairly rought vases, two of them squared; a selection of Daily Brew mugs; two roughly squared bottle vases; shallow bowls glazed in Harvard Studio carbon-trap and spattered with iron slip.