Originally from Miami, FL, I developed an interest in pottery after writing a couple of stories on potters for The Enquirer Journal in Monroe, NC. I settled in the area in the 1980s, covering Seagrove for the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro. I stepped behind the potter's wheel full time in 1986, when I opened up WILD ROSE POTTERY in Whynot, just south of Seagrove. I now own and operate FROM THE GROUND UP, just south of Seagrove. I also play Irish flute.
We're packed and ready for the Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Show this Saturday at the The Hickory Metro Convention Center (Exit 125 off of I-40). Hope to see you there. Tickets to the show are $6 per person/ 12 and under $2.
We spent today coating our shelf system with a new layer of polyurethane, unloading pots from the Manabigama wood kiln and sanding, cleaning and packing the pots. It was a great firing. And a great day.
We're setting up for the show Friday, and then we'll attend the Friday night preview. The main show is Saturday. For more information, click here.
The sanding and cleaning station and shelves drying in the sun
It felt like a great firing today. We started at 6:30 a.m. and finished at 7 p.m., the shortest firing yet, reaching cone 9 in the back. Here's a few pictures from the day:
I can't wait to see what this jug looks like, glazed in shino and fired on the floor of the kiln right next to the firebox.Drips are natural ash.
Bark bags. We stuffed these bags full of bark and tossed them in every now and then. Bark has a lot of minerals and such that can produce some nice flashing on pots.
Amy Peseller from New Jersey helped us out firing the kiln today. She was a big help. She collects feathers, so I gave her a feather from "Red," our Old English rooster. Amy's taking off Friday to hike the Appalachian Trail from Tennessee to New Jersey.She's modeling our "moon gloves."
Duster seemed unimpressed with all the pots placed on their sides
This past week has stressed me out, finishing up the making of 45 foot-soaking bowls, throwing some small pots to fire with the foot-soaking bowls, re-making six more foot-soaking bowls to replace the ones that cracked during drying and then glazing and loading the wood kiln in preparation for the Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Show.
Levi is away this weekend, so Mary and I loaded the kiln today It's chock-full of soul pots that Levi made while Mary and I were away in Ireland last month.
The jar on the top shelf wouldn't quite fit at first, so I set it on wads, on its side, then I thought better of it, lowered the shelf below it a tiny bit and made it fit.
Every now and then an opportunity presents itself to examine the interior of a wall on one of my pots - like when a pot cracks, like the one above.
I'm currently finishing up a commission for 45 foot-soaking bowls for the Andaz Hotel on 5th Avenue in New York. Levi and I have been making them since I got back from Ireland the end of February.
We've been working on a tight schedule, trying to get them all thrown and assembled (they're two-piece pots), and still have enough time to load and fire our wood kiln for the upcoming Hickory show the last weekend of March. A few days ago, I decided to transfer 10 finished foot bowls from one workshop to another workshop where my electric kilns are located in order to make room for making 10 more.
Bad decision. Five bowls developed cracks during the drying.
In general, any pot undergoes a lot of stress from start to finish, and its my job to coax it along as best as I can to keep it from cracking. With deadlines, my job becomes more difficult as I weigh possible outcomes of cutting corners and pushing pots toward completion faster than I'd like to.
When I'm making decisions influenced by deadlines and such, I usually refer to a maxim I learned from a friend a long time ago: "When in doubt, don't." Some people say to "listen to that small, still voice" that is creating the doubt.
These latest cracks may not have developed had I not fired a bisque kiln overnight with the exhaust fan off, allowing my workshop to heat up too much. I'm thinking that was the straw that broke the pots' backs. But then, if I hadn't moved the pots into the workshop for another day....
Levi and I work side by side on top sections of foot bowls
After three weeks of being away from clay, I started back to work with my son as we began work on filling an order for another 45 foot-soaking bowls for a boutique hotel in New York City - deadline, April 8.
Mary and I got back from our trip to Ireland Sunday. Basically, I took Monday off to recuperate and started working on the bowls Tuesday. Now, Levi and I are attending the North Carolina Potters Conference in Asheboro this weekend, so we'll get back to the bowls Monday.
I'm planning on firing the wood kiln once more before the Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Festival in Hickory March 25 and 26. Historically, Catawba Valley is known for its alkaline (ash) glazes, so I'm thinking I'll glaze quite a few pieces with a glaze I formulated using rock dust, ashes and local clay.
The picture at right is glazed in my ash glaze.
Mary's mother always cooked a dessert for us. On our last night there, she cooked a rhubarb pie from rhubarb she had frozen after the last growing season. With a dollop of cream on top, and a cup of tea, it was delicious.