Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First finished collaborative pot

Kimberly Sheerin Medeiros and I have been collaborating on pots for the past few months. Kim is a master carver and decorator and I just throw and glaze pots. So I've been giving her leather-hard jars, large and small, and she's been working on them in her studio at The Barn Pottery in Pocasset. She fired yesterday and today the first finished pot of this joint effort came out of the kiln. That's my partner Kim with the pot in the top photo. It's a lovely vase with a combination of overlapped glazes on the uncarved parts and iron oxide wash on the carvings.
The first of many, we hope. And we're both particularly excited to see what will come of this collaboration when our wood kiln is built, with luck some time late this spring.
My role, by the way, aside from throwing the raw material for her decoration, is to take her carved and slipped cups and mugs and glaze them with overlapped Shino and other glazes. That's still to come, with luck in a bit more than two weeks. I have her pots here now, but we're headed off to palm trees and sunshine for about ten days. I'll get back to work in the second week of March.
The photos: Kim in her studio with our first pot; another carved jar, used this time to roll impressions into roughly square slab plates. Much more to come.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A lovely little Nic bowl today, via Royal Mail

British collector James Hazlewood and I have been trading e-mails and Facebook messages for some weeks now about the pots he has acquired and about my pots. He's said some nice things about my work, which is flattering coming from someone who is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about pottery.
Several weeks ago, he asked if I would like copies of pottery videos that he has. I said I would and offered to trade him a pot for the videos. The deal was struck.
Today, the profile of the young Queen Elizabeth II was on the corner of a box that arrived on our doorstep via Royal and U.S. mails. Inside, about a dozen (I haven't counted them yet) pottery DVDs and a sweet little Nic Collins woodfired bowl, a lovely thing. I've admired Nic's work for some time. Look him up if you don't know what he does. Wonderful, rough woodfired pots. He's a great friend of our friend Doug Fitch and Goldmark has a very good small film of him and his work on their website (
Many thanks, James. Something good will soon be coming your way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Goofy photo of a serious woodfirer

A few years ago, I drove down to Fredericksburg, Va., to help Dan Finnegan and his friend Toff Milway fire Dan's two-chamber wood kiln. It was a good firing, with many, many wonderful Finnegan pots, and much tea and many biscuits and help from Dan's good friends.
Dan's about to load his kiln now, probably the last firing for a few months. He'll be teaching at Penland in North Carolina, then in late spring he'll help my friend Kim Medeiros and me build our wood kiln.
Going through photos today, I found a fairly goofy photo of Dan brandishing a burning stick ... for something. Perhaps getting the firing going early in the morning.
Good luck with the firing, Dan.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snowstorm's gone, cold has come in ...

It gets icy at the shore of Vineyard Sound this time of year.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yet another snowstorm ...

Fat flakes are falling on Falmouth right now, just outside my studio. Predictions are that we will get from six to ten inches of snow between now and tomorrow afternoon. Oh, boy.
I'm working in the studio now, pointing toward the next firing. Just finished six small vases for Kim Medeiros to work on, as we continue the collaborative thing we've been doing. She's got cups that will come to me soon.
Meanwhile, here's a winter photo of Lawrence Island, seen from the "mainland" path that leads to the island. Lawrence is, in fact, a peninsula, connected to the rest of Cape Cod by a narrow beach. Its western shore is pounded in storms by Buzzards Bay, while its eastern side is lapped by Squeteague Harbor.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New bowls from the kiln; pots in a new book

I did a glaze firing Tuesday, delayed by a day because a cone pack exploded at the top and I - fortunately - spotted the clay grenade fragments relatively early on in the firing. So I shut it down, let it cool, then went in and cleaned out the debris. This was a clean-up firing, using up as many of my bisqued bowls as I could, along with bowls from friends Sue Wadoski, Sarah Caruso and a platter from Kim Medeiros.
It was a good firing, with more faceted and stretched Shino bowls from me, continuing my exploration of that process. The Sheffield T3 clay body reacts very well to the three or four Shinos in my studio. I am abandoning B-Mix, at least temporarily, to concentrate on the more reactive T3 for a white stoneware body. But now I have to get a shipment from Sheffield, or travel to western Mass. in the pickup to fetch a load.
In other news, British writer and potter Linda Bloomfield's new book, "Contemporary Tableware" (Bloomsbury and the American Ceramic Society), has been published, with some of my teabowls in it. She kindly sent me an email today telling me about the book and including a link to one of the first reviews. Here's the link.
The photos: Top, a two-page spread from "Contemporary Tableware"; hakeme small plate with Dan Finnegan's amber ash glaze; faceted Shino bowl; faceted Shino bowl; small faceted Shino bowl with blue glass runs.

Monday, February 11, 2013

After the blizzard ...

Many thanks for your concern over the weekend's big blow. Things began to heat up - snow-wise and windwise - Friday afternoon. The snow began falling in earnest here on Cape Cod at around sunset (not that we could see the sun setting ... ) and the winds picked up to howling through the night. We lost power about 9:30, in the midst of a rather bad movie called "The Perfect Family." Went to bed, dragged a couple of blankets over us and didn't get up until about 9 the next morning, the house still without power.
I got breakfast going on the gas stove, made pasta sauce with meatballs for that evening, then finished up glazing pots in the studio. It was 49 in the studio when I went out, but firing up the kiln's six gas burners quickly had it comfortable out there. I worked there through the day, Dee wrapped herself in a wool blanket and sat on the couch reading with our cat Cleo snuggled next to her.
Meanwhile, the snow kept falling and the winds blowing until late that afternoon. Dee and I dug out the pickup. We got an offer of a heated and electrified night at the home of our friends Bob and Jo Ann, so we packed up and spent the night there. It's amazing what heat and light do for your attitude.
When we returned to our house Sunday morning, the power was back on and Cleo was hungry. We went down-Cape for lunch with Dee's 88-year-old parents, whose apartment in a retirement complex was without heat. Took them out for a warm meal and returned them to their home. We hear this morning that their power came back throughout the complex last night.
Many, many people are still without power in our town. So we're lucky. In the end, we got about two feet of snow, with drifts of course much higher. Many trees down and roads blocked.
The kiln is firing now. Should have new pots tomorrow.
The photos: Top, my side studio door during the storm, a look back from the top of the driveway to the house, the truck and station wagon before digging began, the steps to our deck. Some regular readers of the blog have actually eaten lovely summer food on that very deck. Not today.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Awaiting the big blow ...

I'm busy glazing pots in the studio for the next firing. But the snow is falling a bit harder now, at almost 4 p.m. here on Cape Cod, than it did earlier today. And the wind is picking up. Predictions are for big snow and big wind later tonight, and for snow accumulations somewhere between one and two feet.
Hey, it's winter. It happens.
We're hoping to survive without any loss of power. We'll see. The snow is likely to be heavy and wet, not a good combination for power lines.
Meanwhile, we have a pot of baked beans cooking slowly in the oven. Should be ready by about 6 tonight. It's my mother's basic recipe, with onions, mollasses and mustard, though I also put in sausage to liven up the beans a bit. That pot should last us a couple of days, if necessary.
That's it from Blizzard Central. Stop by and have some beans if you're in the area.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Studio Potter issue is out

Editor Mary Barringer is working on her final few issues of Studio Potter; she'll soon be going back to full-time clay work. Her latest effort is just out, a collection of articles by clay people about the other thing in their lives that make them whole. There are 23 stories by the likes of Ellen Shankin, Edmund deWaal, Warren McKenzie, Kirk Mangus and Elenor Wilson.
One of them, "A Version of the Truth," is by me, a piece about my continuing work with a camera. I love it that Mary chose to lead my piece with a grainy self-portrait taken last winter with my iPhone 3GS's camera.
(Full disclosure: I was recently voted onto the board of directors of Studio Potter, though Mary and I discussed my story long before that happened.)
Below, the cover of Volume 41, No. 1 or Studio Potter, and the lead to my story. You can get your own copy as well as this year's second issue, if you're so inclined, by e-mailing