Thursday, February 24, 2011

My new Workshop in Ireland

My new "Wellies"

Layout of building

Mary and I have purchased a 23-foot by 10-foot metal building for making pots in Ireland, and I had some great weather today and yesterday while setting up the foundation. I'm hoping for some good weather in the morning to finish spreading a couple of tons of rock. But tonight's planned traditional music session at Power's Pub might lead to more sleep tomorrow morning.

Sorry I haven't blogged more, but my access to the internet is limited.

More after we get home Sunday, unless I get a chance to post again from here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Woodfire Workshop in Ireland with Marcus O'Mahony and special guest Phil Rogers

Marcus O'Mahony and his three-chamber wood kiln

Want to come and experience the lush woods and crisp rivers and streams of the Knockmealdown Mountains while attending a two-week workshop on wood-firing in Ireland?

Marcus O'Mahony is hosting this workshop in June of this year. Cost is 1,250 euros (that's about $1,600) and includes accommodation and some food. His guest tutor for the two weeks is Phil Rogers of Wales who was a lecturer at the 2009 North Carolina Potter's Conference in Asheboro, NC. Rogers has taught and lectured throughout the world.

For more information, click here to visit Marcus O'Mahony's website.

"People who come here don't want to leave," Marcus said.

O'Mahony's stone workshop

Moss-covered trees on Knockmealdown Mountains

Lismore Castle, just down the road from the pottery

Accommodations on left, workshop and kiln shed

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day away from Limerick Leads to another Potter, and the Sea

So, Mary and I hit the road this morning and headed toward Doolin, a small port town in County Clare where you catch a ferry to the Aran Islands, and where you can also catch some great traditional music.

On our way, we stopped in Corofin to see if we could trace my Irish roots back further than 1729 when apparently Thomas Mahan (McMahon?) came over, but the lady behind the desk at the heritage center in Corofin said records weren't kept that far back.

So, we decided to stop in at a pottery shop directly across the street where Yvonne McEnnis (left) has been making functional pottery for the past 30 years.

Her modest workshop, inside an old thatched cottage she renovated, was filled with mugs, teapots, creamers and bowls simply glazed and decorated. She was getting ready to do some slip-casting of some larger pieces when we walked in.

When she heard I was from Seagrove, NC, she was excited. I asked her if I could throw a pot, and she decided she wanted me to throw a utensil jar. Perfect, I thought, as my son Levi and I had just finished throwing several hundred preserve jars for the Uwharrie Mountain Run before Mary and I came to Ireland.

So, here's pictures of the first pot I threw in Ireland, followed by some more Irish birds and a short film of breaking waves at the base of the cliffs around Doolin in the afternoon sun. It was a perfect day.

Cheers, and Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Wedging in front of the old fireplace

The clay was some very fine dark clay

I managed to throw the shape even though
her wheel was very different than I'm used to
and I didn't have my usual tools.

I don't know why I'm attracted to the black
birds of Ireland. I'm not sure of the name of these,
but they looked lovely against the blue sky. Maybe
it was the blue sky I was in love with.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some Snapshots from Ireland

Having no internet for a few days, I reverted to pencil
and paper and drew this elm tree behind Mary's mother's house.

A rook finds the top of a telephone pole an ideal spot to catch some early morning rays. Rooks are similar to crows but have a larger bill that has bare white skin at the base.

Some unfinished pots by Marcus O'Mahony, who we visited earlier in the week. O'Mahony lives at the base of the Knockmealdown Mountains and fires many of his pots in a three-chamber wood-fired kiln he built himself.

Moss blankets the limbs of trees at the base of
the Knockmealdown Mountains.

Eddie Lenihan, author and storyteller,
shares stories of Irish fairies, hungry grass, pisogs
and other t'ings
at Powers Pub

Neatly pruned apple trees at The Apple Farm in Cahir

Friday, February 4, 2011

Foot-soaking Bowls Again

Rounding over the edge of a 'foot bowl' with half a cd

Five down and 40 to go - foot-soaking bowls that is. Yes, I have another order for them, from the same client as before. So, as soon as we return from our annual trip to Ireland, Levi and I will get busy.

If you don't remember, or are new to my blog, click here for a refresher on making foot-soaking bowls. Last summer, we made 195 for a new hotel in New York City.

Levi and I made five this week to get a head start and to refresh our memories of making them.