Friday, November 20, 2009

Heat up the griddle and break out the bacon!

I know this has nothing to do with pottery, but I have decided that I can still put it on here...I won't get in trouble.
So anyway, my chickens (all two of them I have left) have finally started laying eggs! Well, at least one of them is. I was getting pretty frustrated with their progress thus far, what with them being over six months old and not having laid a single egg yet. Last weekend, though, I was gone for a couple days and came home to two eggs; and right in the nest box where they belong! So what did I do with my new bountiful harvest? Why I dropped and broke both of them, of course. Not to worry, though. I got another (unbroken) egg on Wednesday and one more today. They are still rather small, but so are the chickens. The shells seem a little brittle too, but that can easily be fixed with a little extra calcium in their diet.
So yahoo for for eggs.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The studio, that is. Everything that wasn't nailed down has been moved, shifted, re-shifted and so forth. This is bad because it is preventing me from getting much needed throwing done. I have a little show at a winery the weekend after Thanksgiving and not a ton of work.
What could possibly make this situation good?
How about the fact that my studio is in shambles so I can hook up my new kiln! That's right, I have a brand spanking new kiln with which to fire my wares. (On a side note, what does spanking have to do with being new? Isn't spanking generally considered a bad thing and new a good thing?) If you have read my blog before you know that my previous kiln decided to quit working at the most opportune time possible. While I probably could have fixed it (or, more likely, pay someone to fix it...I'm not extremely handy), it gave me a good excuse to get the new kiln I have been wanting for a while. So now I have a handsome L&L electric kiln with digital controls sitting in my garage. Now all I have to do is talk my wife's cousin (a licensed electrician) into rewiring for me. I will take a few shots after everything is hooked up and the studio is back in order. Until then I will do my best to bore you with inane chatter.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mug analysis

I was reading through the blogs I follow the other day and this post by Brandon Phillips piqued my curiosity. Obviously, I immediately began mulling over the mugs I have been making, thinking about the weight, capacity, heat retention, etc. "Exactly how much do my mugs weigh/hold?" I wondered. "Sure they function, but do they function as well as they could?"
Now, I had always been taught that thinner is better, thus my stuff tends to be pretty thin and rather tightly controlled. But I have always admired work that, although a bit hefty, has a very fluid, natural feel; a loose, gestural quality. One of my favorite video clips (that's right, just a clip off of Ceramic Arts Daily. I am too cheap to buy the video) is of Matt Long throwing a mug and explaining his philosophy behind it.

So I set out to throw some more substantial mugs. I started with a full pound of clay instead of the 1/2 to 3/4 that I normally use. Here are the results, freshly trimmed and awaiting handles.

It was obviously not very comfortable for me throwing that much clay just to make a mug. And as I was getting ready to trim them, feeling the weight, I had my doubts. Afterwards, though, I must say that I am rather pleased. I have a couple new forms I will be playing around with, and while I am still not entirely comfortable with them, it is pushing me to move in a bit of a different direction. Now lets hope I don't screw everything up with the handles...

Oh, and as far as my previous work goes...I picked four mugs that looked like they represented a pretty good cross section of my work (I like to experiment with form & size)to measure and such. The weights ranged from 5.5 oz to 10 oz. The capacities ranged from 8 to 12+ oz. They all have pretty thin walls and smaller handles. I'm not saying you would burn yourself on them or anything, but they get pretty warm with fresh coffee in them.

I will measure and weigh this next batch when they are finished. That might not be for a few weeks, though, as I am preparing for a new addition to the studio. More on that it is time for bed.