Sunday, 26 December 2010

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Christmas Firing!

We just finished burning a kiln load of pots at the Hewitt Pottery. We finished Friday evening and will unload and start cleaning pots on Friday of this week.
Here is a picture of the faithful firing crew minus Glen.
This is a shot of the inside of the front firebox when the kiln was around 1100 degrees or so. Pretty cold, but a sweet shot of some swirly flames!
During my first shift I felt inspired to speak for the kiln. Hopefully these messages were inspiring to some stokers other than myself.

I made a number of shots while the pots were at peak temperature and cooling, but only uploaded one because they all started to look the same to me.

After my second cycle at the Hewitt pottery I have been working here for six months. It has taken some serious adjustments, but I am starting to get the feel of this place. I am much more satisfied with my pieces from this cycle than the ones from the last, but still ended up trashing quite a few pieces before they could be loaded into the kiln.
Making work here is becoming more and more fun with time. I can tell I am becoming a much more skilled craftsman every day. Although I do feel more comfortable here I still continue to be humbled on a daily basis. I hope to see you all at the holiday kiln opening the first weekend in December! If you have any questions just ask! Thanks!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Lots of Pots!

I know it has been a while since I have posted on here, but it has been somewhat busy. I guess that is no excuse. All of the pots pictured are ones that I have made this cycle.
We are three weeks away from starting to load the salt kiln here at the Hewitt Pottery which means we are making work as fast as possible. The vases above were a first for me in this location and he does them differently than I did them so they were a good learning experience. I spent a week making vases of this style in different sizes.
This is the biggest sale of the year here and also the shortest cycle of the four that are done annually.
I went a little crazy doing these cups. They were a load of fun to decorate!

These are quart jars that are not this blurry in real life! haha!
The shelves are filling up fast here and hopefully in good time for loading. I am learning and enjoying this place more and more every day. I am looking forward to cranking out a whole lot of work in the next few weeks as well as doing whatever it takes to do my part in keeping the place in order.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

one more loading picture.

First apprenticeship kiln loading.

The big pots are behind all of these guys.
Here are some pictures from the loading of Mark's huge kiln. We are currently on day four and will finish on Monday. Getting the monster pots in was serious work and took serious planning, but I sure loved seeing them get to the right place in the kiln. It is a beautiful sight to see all of the pots in one closely tight space. All of the well planned curves and decoration tucked away nicely is a beautiful sight within the process of making hand made pottery.

This is my attempt at a sexy camera angle.
It feels very good the be loading this kiln. I have been here for two months now without an extremely great idea at how the pots I have been making every day will turn out. Without the knowledge of the particular places inside of the kiln I really have no clue what surfaces will appear on the work I have been making. Another reason it feels very good to be loading this kiln is because I have grown tremendously from the first pot of this kiln to the last. I am now aware of many faults within the way I was making and looking at work. This first cycle was more of an eye opener than anything. I have been admiring this grand style of work for a long time and am now aware of how seriously challenging and frustrating it can be. I was extremely humbled by the entire process and the number of pots that were made with great craftsmanship. Honestly, to look at my work from this cycle disgusts me a little bit. I see many flaws within my work and am in many ways not proud of it. There are a few monumental ones in the bunch though and I guess you never know until they are fired.
I think most people that work here feel like the first cycle is pretty rough. I am so ready for the next cycle to start so I can forget the rough beginning, but it is now time to fire up a serious load, and I do love doing that! Talk to yall soon!
I am going to Joseph Sand's pottery tomorrow to help him fire his fresh new kiln. I am quite excited bout seeing his first firing of pots. I will take some pictures and hopefully tell yall about it soon.

Friday, 25 June 2010

First Blog of at the Hewitt Pottery

Happy Friday everyone! I am sorry it has taken me four weeks to make this post, but none the less it is here now. I took this picture the first week I was here on a rainy afternoon. The rain dried up and I was walking up to shower. When I turned around I gasped and went to the cabin for my camera. It was much too big to fit the whole thing in one shot. It really was a blessing on that day too simply because I had just gotten there and was feeling a little lonely.
I have lots of different pots since I have been here. A much larger variation than I actually thought I would be making working as an apprentice. These are some vases I made yesterday. There is actually another board full as well. Mark made plates and bowls this week which meant alot of pugging and making balls for Seth and I. We also split wood for two days of this week. This week was a pretty hard one in terms of how much time we were able to spend at the wheel.
The days go much faster for me when I am making pots which is actually quite reassuring when I think about my job choice. Everything else seems to be just working up to the time you can spend working on throwing and decorating.
Mark made 100 plates, 150 bowls, and 50 side plates in two days and spent around 2 days trimming and decorating. It was pretty impressive and humbling. Seeing things like that make me wonder if I will ever get there..haha.
These are some of the trailing decorations I have been messing with. Loose swags with some wiping and combing. I have been doing a few other things as well and will post some pictures later. I am still trying to figure out all of the options here as far as decoration.
It has barely been a month, and it has been a real great start. So far I feel like a bit of a loser most days watching Mark work, and making dumb mistakes myself that he points out without hesitation.

Just to end this post with a little non pottery action I decided to post a hot item of conversation lately. The huge hornets nest that has formed outside the barn. I meant to get a video of Mark knocking it down with a stick and running for dear life, but there was no camera for that. My suggestion would not be to do that. Attack at night when they sleep. Guerilla war tactics are often a good strategy.
I hope yall enjoyed this first post. I am thinking of starting a new blog with just apprentice stuff. What do you think? Please comment and let me know.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Senior Show!!

Here is a video of my senior show. I just took it 3 weeks ago or so. Hope you enjoy it!!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

New filler pots (unfinished)

Around these big pots I have to have some straight tall fillers so I made a few last minute ones yesrterday.
I have gotten to where I use more finger wipes and carving away slips than trailing now. I am sure I will get back to it soon though. I have a load of new pots finished too and will be sure to post some new pics of them soon. The glazes turned out well, and I am pround of them.

Up side downers and siders

Here is one of the two mugs that I tried a side firing on some shells. I was extremely pleased with it and have lots more for the next load.
This is the opposite side of the mug shown above. I have probably drank around 25 cups of coffee out of it already and it was just fired a 2 weeks ago from this friday. It works very well, and I hope many more come out like it in the future.
Here is the inside of an upside down mug with a pretty nice shell mark on it, and some sweet glaze drips
Here is a picture of the outside. You can see where that glaze caught on the under side of the ridge in the middle instead of the top because it was fired up side down.
Here is one of the underside. I put a piece of blue glass inside of the foot and it got so reduced that it turned purple and red in some places.
An up side down bowl with a little bit of glaze drip on the rim.

Here is the wild underside..... hope you enjoy!

Big pots

So I have started firing and working hard on some big coil and throw pieces, and they are most definitely humbling. This planter has a few cracks in the top of the rim which was a huge bummer considering the awesome quality of the glaze. I guess my mom will love it. I am sure it will go nicely with all of the other pieces that she has received lately.
Here is a closeup of the sweet glaze drips from one of the handles. I was very pleased with the glaze.
Here is a jar that did not crack or screw up. I do think the lid warped during the firing and now it sits a little high which bugs me pretty bad. On the positive side the finger wipes on this pots turned out really nice. I looked at the pictures from my previous blog with the four pots in a row and realized that only one of those four made it to completion without cracking or busting. Apparently I need to do something different, and I think it is the clay body I am using.
Here is a sweet closeup of the finger wipe decoration on this large jar.

These are jars for the next firing which will hopefully be loaded on Wednesday. The taller one has cracked in the bottom and now I am trying to fix it, but I am pretty sure I am wasting my time. lol. These bigger pieces have really come with a whole noew set of problems to encounter, but I am learning.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Nomadic College Potter!

Over Christmas I moved my studio equipment back to the basement of my parents house so I have been a nomadic potter for the last while.  I moved back there because I was living over there over christmas break.  It was a much more predictable environment with the AC and all, but it required me to really jump on my horse because stuff was drying out so fast.  I honestly did not work that many days over break, but the days I did work I was able to do handling and all in the same day if I got in there early enough and it was nice to have that control.  
These are some of the pots I made over break.  Some big bowls and vases with fillers.  
I made and broke a number of big pots over break.  My favorite was the wide jar here, but the bottom busted on it so that was a bummer so I guess I will have to make another one.  The other jar has a lid too and looks much stronger with it on there.  To the right are a couple of planters or umbrella holders.  I am having a real blast making these large pots and have a pretty good clay body mixed for them so I am doing as many as I can.
Yesterday I called Ron Philbeck and he told me Michael Kline was in his studio hanging around so I made the way over there to talk pots and just general things as well.  It was a real load of fun and I wish I could have stayed longer if you want to know the truth.  As you can see these guys are avid bloggers and have their cameras ready to snap some shots.    

I figured I would put up a pic of me workin just because that is all have been itchin to do lately and every chance I get I run to the studio to make work.  Sadly we are having some serious issues with the kiln while I am sitting on a few loads of pots.  We should be able to get it resolved in the next week and I will be a firing machine for a while, but until then all I can do is sit around until the parts come in which is really driving me crazy since I have a show in Shelby next week.  AAAAAAAHHH!  I guess it is all good though considering my hands still work very well. haha.