Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rockin Raku

Last week for the Art and Music Festival I demonstrated firing a portable raku kiln and made several nice wave bowls. Here are a few from the demo. Now every time you perform a demo in public, be prepared for the unexpected. The wind was blowing strong enough that a back draft started near the burner and I believe my gas and oxygen ratio was compromised, thus causing a stall on the kiln. I quickly changed out the burners and the kiln reached temp in just a few minutes. While the kiln was stalled I decided to entertain the croud of 70 by blowing bubbles...everyone loves bubbles.

Then, it was time for the real show. I pulled my burbon bottles first and then the large wave bowls. I explained what the pinging sounds were as I blew on the crackle glaze. I burbed the can twice for excitability. The crown returned for the next firing as well. A film crew shot the whole experience and I hope to get some of the raw footage and stills for my portfolio.

This link is to a short made by my friend Dave Malone from a previous night rakuing in the shop.

Today, I plan to made some sinks in the shop. My a/c unit in North Carolina went out and my wife noticed a demo crew demolishing a house two doors down. She went over to talk to the forman and asked if she could have their a/c unit. He quickly abbliged and Shand had it installed. It totally works and now Shand is enjoying hanging out in the house. Shand is making the installer a stud earing with a black diamond and I will make him a table top sink for the install. Talk about bardering! I will post some pics of the sink when I get them finished.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Art and Music Fest in Paducah

The Lowertown Art ad Music Fest was a huge success today! Shand Stamper sent some fabulous jewelry and I had some nice pots for sale at Freda Fairchild's gallery, Studio Miska.

Early this morning I conducted a potter's wheel demo and made several pots. I made a large "dog" bowl for the city and hope it turns out sweet! I also made a teapot, several bowls, and some of my signature wave bowls. I had a few raku wave bowls for sale and sold half of the lot by noon.

Karson and I conducted a raku firing demo later that evening and had a crown of 70 or more folks . The kiln was a bit slow in reaching temp, so we began to blow bubbles for the spectators and everyone loves bubbles. The pots turned out great and the crackle glaze was a hit.

Also, a film crew took several stills of us working and shot some video for a movie about Paducah. Hope we make the cut, pun intended...

Overall, it was a good first day of the fest and I hope more folks come out tomorrow to enjoy the fest and purchase some more of our talented wares or attend the brush making workshop. Seems like 5 and 10 dollar items were the best for the fest, but brushes are $10.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

art and music fest 2009

Shand and I are getting ready for the Art and Music Fest next weekend in Paducah, Ky. Shand has been working up a storm in her studio casting silver knots and assembling jewelry while I have been glazing bowls and sake cups for the high fire.

Today, I plan to deliver some work to Bebe's Artisan Market in downtown Paducah. I unloaded the kiln after lunch and saw consistency that I thought I'd never get from my shino and ash glazes. Not a lot of drippy drips from the ash glaze but overall good looking pots.

Also, I have been raku fining all this week with a friend, Karson Kelley. He is a local beautician interested in clay and has been taking ceramic classes from the Paducah School of Art. We tested some old raku glazes and they are working out pretty well. We were able to get five firings out of a five gallon propane tank and we fired over fourty pieces. We fired my wash tub kiln and pedestrians were drawn in by the flames. I even invited our artisit in residence, Dave Malone, to come by and film the process. He said he got some really good shots and left with a huge smile on his face.

I will have my ceramic work dispayed in several places during the festival: Bebe's Artisan Market, Studio Miska, Etcetera Coffee Shop, The Canvas Room, and The Yeiser Art Center. I hope by spreading the work out that more people will see it and ultimately buy it.

The last thing that I pln to do this weekend is work on my displays. I will make some shadow boxes, "show boxes"- which hold smaller works in a 9x9 display shadow format box, and a folding screen for other works. Lots to do and not much time, so until next Saturday...keep turning and burning.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hand Made Brushes

Today I had my brush making workshop at Studio Miska in Lowertown and had a few participants. Here are the brushes made during the workshop.

Nikki and Deb loved the moose mane hair the most, maybe because of its length or texture... I love it too. Deb brought cat whiskers that she had been collecting from her cat for the brush on the right. The handle was made from a river tumbled piece of slate from the cold cold streams near Gatlinburg, TN. The other handles are found sticks and one is red earthen ware clay.

Lots of fun and always a good time to share your knowledge with others.

I will offering this workshop again during the Music and Art Festival later this month. I plan to advertise this event more and Nikki has offered to write a blurb on the Paducah iList. Hope you enjoyed the pics.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Making Handmade Brushes

Today I am preparing for a workshop on how to make your own brushes. I have been making some clay handles, which are easy and fun to make as well as some "ready-mades."

I took a trip down to the Tennessee River and scoured the banks for gnarly drift wood that would make attractive brush handles. I found several cool pieces that should make good brushes with.

The brush making workshop is a one day workshop where participants will learn how to make their own rushes for the low low price of just $10 per brush. I am supplying all of the necessary materials and have collected a wide variety of natural hair to make the bristles from. While I was in Greenville, NC, there was an Outdoor Provision store that catered to fly fishermen. I noticed all of the cool fur and bought a few interesting swatches to begin making brushes with. I ended up purchasing elk, deer, squirrel, moose, bear, and skunk. Believe it or not this was just a few of the selections, but I thought it would be a good starting point. I found that combinations of a few various hairs made the best brush.

This workshop has lead me to an idea for a show here in Lowertown. What if I proposed a show where all of the artist make their interpretation of a brush? Afterwards, have a gallery display the brushes as a group. My hypothesis is that each artist would make an interesting brush, from ordinary traditional to alternative and even conceptual. Seems like it has the potential to be an interesting show and would be exciting to see what the artists in Lowertown would make.