Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bigger jars for the top shelf

The next firing is probably a week away, with a bunch of mugs (and other pots) yet to be thrown in the next few days. Should have a group of the collaborative pots Kim Medeiros and I have been working on, as well as some tall jars from my own wheel.
Kim and I have worked in the past couple of weeks on estuary-related pots for a summer 2013 show at the Falmouth Art Center. We were invited to participate together by Suzy Bergmann, the center director. These pots - a wide, shallow platter and a tall jar - will reflect the flow of the water in our Cape estuaries and the life that lives in that flow. We're both pretty excited about both the work and the invitation.
The top photo is of the drying jars in my own studio; next one down is Kim with the estuary platter this morning, after she's finished the decoration. More detailed photos to follow, once these pieces are fired.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Photos from the mill

Not long ago, I visited a small one-man sawmill on the mainland, about 45 minutes from this part of Cape Cod. These small mills are scattered across the country in rural and semi-rural areas, usually a part-time job for someone whose father or grandfather once milled logs for a living. Old country professions can hang on that way for a long time, as long as descendants want to honor the tradition, enjoy the work and can make a dollar from it. This one is clearly that way.
I was there with a friend to pick up some dimensional lumber for lining a raised-bed garden, milled, I think, from old telephone poles. Good wood, perfect for the job, not too much money.
What I loved about the mill was the light that flooded in onto the machinery from the open bay where the logs sat before cutting. Open sky light, not direct sunlight. It turned the worn wood and saw blades silvery. Here are the photos I made there.
We'll get back to pottery in the next post.

Friday, April 26, 2013

New pots from the kiln this morning

This business of making pots can kick you in the ass sometimes. That happened to me this morning, when I realized that something blew up some time during yesterday's glaze firing. I knew it as soon as I opened the kiln door and began to look closely at the pots on the upper shelves. Teeny tiny shards of clay shrapnel embedded in the glaze at the bottom of small cups were the giveaway. Shit.
Looking around the burner ports on the bottom, I could see larger shards of Temmoku-glazed clay that didn't belong there. As firing partner Kim Medeiros and I worked our way down through the stack, I knew something bad was waiting at the bottom. There were ten mugs down there, among other pots, mugs in a color combination that two weeks ago became very popular due to a random Facebook photo I posted. I had several people from the UK to Maryland waiting for one or more of those mugs. They'll have to wait longer. When we got to the bottom shelf, it was clear that every last mug had been hit by a shower of small bits of clay when a small vase blew up. These things happen, though rarely in the glaze firing. Shit ... again.
OK, enough about that. There were good pots in the kiln, in addition to the shrapneled mugs. (Did you know the word "shrapnel" came from the British General Henry Shrapnel, who invented a kind of fragmenting artillery shell in the early 19th century? I didn't ... ) I've been making cut-sided pinched cups lately and there were many of them that survived the clay artillery. And there were many good bowls and pitchers and vases and a couple of terrific pots from the ongoing collaboration between Kim and me. I'll attach a few photos for you, though none will be of the ill-fated mugs.
Here you go. Top: One of our collaborative pots, thrown by me at Kim's studio and then altered and decorated by Kim; a mug, pither and cut-sided cup glazed in Temmoku and then dipped in Michael Coffee's Nuka glaze; a group of small vases; a dozen of the 30 small pinched cups that were in this firing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I'm back ... with apologies

It's been a bit more than a month since my last blog post. My friend Kim reminded me of that the other day. So ... for those of you who pay attention the hatchvillepottery.blogspot.com, I apologize for my absence. What has happened - and I know this infuriates some of my readers, some of my favorite reader friends - is Facebook.
Tessa Morgan, a potter in nearby Woods Hole, urged me several months ago to get Hatchville Pottery on Facebook. She had discovered that increasing numbers of visitors - virtual and bodily - were finding her on Facebook. The point, she said, if you expect to sell what you make, is to get the eyes to see the pots. Which, of course, makes perfect sense.
So I created a Facebook business page for Hatchville Pottery. And people began to see the pots. That doesn't mean they were buying, necessarily, but it does mean that many more people seemed to see the work that was coming off my wheel and out of my kiln. Those people are here on Cape Cod, they're in California, North Carolina, England, Spain, Scotland, France, Japan, Australia ... all over. I used to love that about the blog, but (and this may be partly my fault for less frequent posting or perhaps less interesting posts) fewer and fewer people have been commenting. And, except for a not-very-specific visit-counter, the comments are the only way I know people are seeing the blog.
Some months ago I posted a couple of photos and a bit of a story about the collaborative work Kim and I have been doing. It got a single comment, and even that was unrelated to the post.
On the other hand, I get Facebook "likes" sometimes before I'm even finished fully posting an entry. And I get regular comments from acquaintances, friends, potters far away, collectors, buyers. It is a wide community of makers and enthusiastic consumers. In some ways, it is what I liked about the blogging community three or four years ago, when Meredith Heywood (Whynot Pottery, NC) and I wrote about it for Studio Potter.
Yes, Facebook has privacy problems and other complications. I choose to ignore most of that for the benefit of the exposure, the access to other potters and buyers around the world, the ease of posting. I put up at least one photo each day, usually a recent pot, and I often link it to other potters whose work is also on Facebook. People see my pots, and it doesn't take a lot of my time. With the summer season about to begin, we may find out how many summer visitors have seen Hatchville Pottery on Facebook.
I miss the camraderie we had a few years ago. Some of my old blogging friends I see now on Facebook. Many, of course, I don't. And I miss that connection. I haven't decided to abandon the blog, but Facebook seems to give me more exposure and, I hope, will result in selling more pots.
I'll continue to post to the blog. More often, I hope. I made a commitment to it when I added the address to a new brochure that our group of Upper Cape Cod potters are producing this spring. Please comment when you see something you like, or have something to say. And if you don't have a visceral hatred of Facebook, take a look at the Hatchville Pottery page. I fired today and will have photos of some of the pots on Facebook tomorrow, and also in here.
Below, the gallery in the back yard, after it was rearranged a couple of weeks ago. New pots coming tomorrow.