Japanesque Exhibit

The Overland Gallery in downtown Kinston is presenting a juried exhibit called “Japanesque”.  In this exhibit, artists were challenged to create a piece of artwork with a Japanese influence.

Free to the public on OCTOBER 15 from 4 – 7:30 PM
Music provided by violinist Emily McLawhorn

A very impressive body of work by regional artists in a wide range of media.  The artwork will be exhibit and for sale until the end of November 30th

There are three Barley Hollow pieces in this show. In preparation for the show, I read “The Unknown Craftsman” by Soetsu Yanagi, studied several other sources of images of Japanese historical pottery, and modern ceramic trends.

31e75d99-bd99-4cf9-909a-7df2a924b76cOver the years, I’ve found I like making a three-piece outdoor lantern, similar to Japanese snow lanterns. Mine tend to be smaller, and feature a solar light, but the proportions intrigue me. So, I worked on a design to meet the historical norm half way – sort of snow lantern meets NC pottery.

I also entered a pair of cups, “meoto yunomi”, or at least my take on the married pair concept. The two share a glaze pattern, and form, but the sizes are different.

The third piece isn’t pottery, but rather a piece of stone that acts as a base for one of my block prints. The image is of a yunomi, so it’s related.

I’ve seen some of the other works in this show and I’m really impressed with the scope of subjects, range of media and amazing quality of the work. If you’re able to visit, I think it will be well worth your time. Cynthia Dunn has done a remarkable job pulling this all together, and deserves big kudos.

See you at the reception!

Glazing done

This afternoon turned into this evening while I worked on glazing the last bisque load. This is a quick turnaround batch. About 3/4 of the bisque made it into the firing.
This firing is getting a 4 hour preheat to make sure the pieces are nice and dry before ramping up the heat I don’t usually run much if any preheat, but one of the glades was taking a very long time to dry. Il eft most out that felt damp but no sense taking chances.
In this load there’s a test of a new black gloss glaze. There are 8 big mugs for an upcoming event with friends, and odd animal face that I’ve decided will be my new kiln minder. And there are lots of bowls.
The kiln software projected a 16 hour firing, so it should finish late tomorrow morning., giving me plenty of time to get back before it gets really hot. And if all goes well, I should be able to post pictures Monday after work.
It was fun having the time to work through the whole process all in one session. Normally, I only get a couple hours at a time so it takes a few days.
Now to draw on my vast reserves of patience.


Bisque Load Cooling on the Last Day of Summer

Summer is finally coming to an end in my hemisphere. As of 10:29pm local time this evening, summer will officially come to an end and autumn will have it’s go at things for 3 months. I really like autumn. It’s cooler, it’s time to clean things up and relax a bit. But not too much since winter is on the way next.

It also means lots of opportunities to sell pottery. I’m excited to have a few shows lined up and hopefully to get some time at the Farmers’ Market. Holiday purchases are always welcomed, and I haven’t had nearly enough time to make stuff for the season.

There is a bisque load in the final stages of cooling down in the studio this morning. It was at 185°F when I arrived. I’m looking forward to unloading this one and getting the glaze process going. I have a set of 8 mugs for an event with friends, a set of 8 plates for a request from another friend, and a bunch of other pieces that are the result of working on some new throwing skills. And a handful of pieces I made when family visited last month. So it’s a mix. Initial inspection of the kiln was promising in that the witness cones are nearly when they should be, and I didn’t see an shards on the top shelf or on the kiln floor. I’ll get to unload this afternoon.

For the glazing process, I’m going with fairly standard colors, nothing too experimental. I think there’s enough in this load for two glaze firings, so the second might be a first attempt at a controlled, slow cool-down. I’ve been reading a lot about controlling the cool-down to promote more dramatic cool through crystal maturation. Stephen Hill has several interesting articles out there about cool-down control, as well as single firing. I’m going to start with his recommendations for the cool-down programming. Single firing looks very interesting, but I’m not there yet.

Upcoming events around here include the “Japanesque Show” at The Overland Gallery. I have three entries for which I’m awaiting the ruling of the jurist. Fingers crossed. I’m looking forward to the show in any case since some of the initial submissions I’ve seen have been amazing. All media are included in this show. Check it out if you’re in the area.

UPDATE: 9/26/2014 – I received notice today that all three of my submissions were accepted into the Japanesque Show. It was an exciting day in the studio for me. I’ll post the photos soon, and notes on the upcoming glaze firing. 

The cost conundrums, pricing pickles, and value variables of selling your art


This is a really interesting discussion on pricing. Including the linked post from Carole Epp that got it rolling, it’s a fairly thorough consideration of what goes into pricing. It’s my least favorite part of the process, and it looks as if I’m not alone.

Originally posted on CARTER GILLIES POTTERY:

My friend and fellow blogger Carole Epp just vented a good rant on the difficulties of pricing pots. She kicks some butt and takes few prisoners. She has a beef or two for very good reasons: Its not always easy and its not always fair. I like what she has to say. You can read her post here:


This morning I wrote her an email response intended to be confidential between us, but somewhere along the way it turned into another bloated blog post. I sent it to her anyway, but will reprint it here (with minor additions). There are a few references to specific things she said in her rant, but you can probably get the gist if you just read what I’ve got to say. I still encourage folks to click the above link if you haven’t already seen the essay and read what she has to…

View original 1,785 more words

Finally, about to load a glaze firing

Unbelievable. I am finally about to run a glaze load or two. It’s been nearly a month since I did the bisque firing. Where did the time go?

VPM-9 Guts Getting Cleaned

VPM-9 Guts Getting Cleaned

Well, there was Pug Day. I had some friends over to run their scraps through the pug mill. We started about 9:30am, and I closed the studio door about 8:30pm. We estimated that we milled between 400-500lbs during the day. I had to take apart and clean the pug mill three times total. Once the day before, once when we switched from ∆6 stoneware to ∆04-06 clay, and finally when we finished. I now feel completely comfortable taking apart and cleaning a Peter Pugger VPM-9. Not sure I could do it blindfolded, but I did learn some tricks. And I have to add, the Peter Pugger worked solid, all day and turned out a lot of very nicely pugged clay. Should have photos from some of the participants soon. Initial reports on the clay have been very positive.

That took a big chunk out of the month. I finally got back in to the studio to glaze yesterday and again this evening. I forgot I had to finish mixing a nice “Mary’s Blue” glaze. I had started the mix back in June, and never got around to running through a sieve or hydrating it to the right specific gravity. So, first I screened it, using a nice 60 mesh sieve. Then I adjusted the water until I had about 1.47 specific gravity. In the past, I used a homemade float hygrometer, which was basically a plastic bottle with a 3 oz. fishing weight in it, and Sharpie markings for “working great” mixes of my favorites. That was ok for a while, then I started using a beaker and weighed 100ml of glaze. That was a mess and took some time to get the 100ml just right. It’s very accurate if the volume is correct, but it’s not quick. The most recent approach is a 100ml syringe. I found the 100g mark for water, then drew the same amount of glaze and weighed it. I found I had 147.6g of glaze. So, I checked with my hygrometer and beaker methods and was very pleased to find it confirmed. While I wouldn’t say I have a very scientific approach, I think it is close enough to make functional mixing decisions and adjustments. I found the syringe on Amazon for about $5.00 – I think it was a good buy. We’ll see how long it holds up.

In this batch of pottery are a few pieces I’m planning to submit for the “Japanesque” show at the Overland Gallery, and a few candidates for a submission to the NC Pottery Center’s annual auction. It’s fun having work in the process for which a destination is already in mind. There are a few requests in this batch, too, including a set of bowls for some disc golf friends.

And I’ve done a couple more block prints at home in my spare time. I think I also worked out a couple approaches to try printing on clay. More on that later.

So, that’s about it for July. I hope you’re having a good summer and have lots of great pottery to show for it. Cheers