Jun 23 2013

Coffee anyone..?

Heading to the Coffee Loft, one of my favourite coffee shops, in Fairhope, AL tomorrow with a new batch of mugs in one of our newer glaze combos.   Here’s one that came out of the kiln this evening. It even fits in a car cup holder.  So ….ready for a cup?
Custom Stoneware mug for the Coffee Loft


Jun 18 2013

Elemental

Wouldn’t it be lovely if galleries would promote their artists and their work as beautifully as Goldmark Gallery in Great Britain does? Here is a trailer for the film ‘Elemental” featuring Ken Matsuzaki, a Japanese potter working in Mashiko, Japan.  (I believe there is a longer

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Jun 18 2013

Here today, gone tomorrow

Up late with the kiln tonight.

In an attempt to play catch up and whittle away at cleaning up my site after my long absence, I was going through my blogroll. Relieved, and in some ways, sad, to find that I was not alone in taking a hiatus.  Evidently many people have been away or not come back at all. It can be pretty tough keeping up with blogging, especially when you’re out of the habit or life takes you in a different direction.

The one thing about a blog or any other sort of journal, it needs to be relevant and serve a purpose.  For some its therapy,  some its habit, and for some its a way to generate more web site views, interest, and possibly sales.

I’ve noticed several people on my list, despite still having their web sites, have done away with their blogs completely.  Good or bad, I’m not really sure, but when I first started blogging, I was told by an art marketing expert and others, that even if you don’t have a web site yet, you need to come out of your comfort zone and blog. …blog blog blog! Get your name out there on the web, etc..  Since then, though, facebook, twitter, and umpteen other different social network sites have popped up and blossomed.

Well back to clay and then off to bed. G’nite.

 


Jun 17 2013

Hot enough to boil a monkey’s…

The weather here has finally changed.  Summer is officially here. The Heat index the other day was a grim 100 degrees F.

We redid my workspace this past year and one of the genius additions, besides windows and doors that actually close properly, is an air conditioner. I finally caved and put it on 2 days ago and, oh my goodness, its pure luxury.  Its so much easier to concentrate without sweat dripping down and stinging my eyes.  I truly love it and am thrilled at the fact that I will be able to work comfortably all summer. So here I sit in coolness sipping hot coffee!

Now the bad thing about a/c. Artificial cooling and heating plays havoc on the drying process of clay. I’m working on a custom mug order using a high fire white clay (somewhat more finicky than native clay) and, despite draping plastic over the pots at the usual stage, I  had handles and sprigs pulling off the pots. Oddly enough, the attachment was fine and strong, but where they didn’t dry evenly, and clay shrinkage was happening at different rates, cracks occurred in the area around the attachment, not the attachment itself.   This is pretty rare. While I do have some loss, its not usually because of this.

Upcycled Refrigerator used as Pottery Damp ClosetGenerally when I have pots with attachments I use an old delapidated refrigerator as a damp closet (turned off and unplugged, of course). I’ve mentioned this previously. Not only is it a great tool for keeping pots damp and for clay storage, its a great way to recycle an old fridge or freezer instead of sending it to the landfill.

So keeping pots damp isn’t too difficult. While some people put a small cup or container of water in the ‘fridge’, I usually just mist or spray the interior of its compartments to raise the humidity, then its ready to use. So when I am doing mugs, for example, I put them in the old fridge and keep them there for at least 24 hours or until the pot and attachments are all the same consistency, then I can take them out and let them dry.  Has worked great so far.  Maybe I need to inspect the door seals and see if they’re toast.  Another possible option I may have to consider doing to prevent this cracking is to work in smaller batches. Well we’ll see.

As you may be able to see in the picture, these old fridges make for a convenient dry erase board (I use it, for example, to keep track of how many pots I’ve made for orders on the go, and at what stage they are at, how much clay I currently have on hand, or a list of glaze ingredients that are out and/or need to order ).  I have these fridges in the same part of the workspace where we I glaze, mix glazes, store ingredients and clay, and keep the electric kilns. Since they’re right by the kilns, they’re also a handy place to keep a cone chart, quick reference info re how to program the kiln controller and a list of custom programs I use, as well as a firing record. While I’m fine with just using magnets or tape for this stuff, I suppose you could paint the door or sides with chalkboard paint. Lots of possibilities!

The workspace, fortunately, is large enough to accommodate these fridges under cover. I used to have to keep one outside just because it was too cramped inside. It still worked for what I needed it for, though.  Pots never froze if the temps dropped outside (it actually does get below freezing here in late December and January) and they never dried out even in the most sweltering heat, but it wasn’t the most pleasant thing having to add and remove pots from it  particularly when it was raining, or having to navigate stairs and a doorway in/out of the building. Not exactly ideal.

I know lots of people for whom an upcycled fridge damp closet just isn’t an option, for a number of reasons.  To get around that, they’ve been forced to be a little more creative, wrapping shelf units in plastic for makeshift damp closets. I’ve known other people who take Rubbermaid containers and set an inch or so of potters plaster or hydrocal in the bottom, dampen it and use that to keep pieces or attachments damp. I was recently at a workshop where the presenter used a plastic container as well, only instead of plaster (which he said was really heavy and harder to transport), he took a piece of canvas or towel, spritzed it with water to get the humidity up in the container, put his pots in and tightly closed the lid.  I tried this while there to keep pots in a working consistency, using a container I brought and it worked great. My only complaint is the dampened fabric developed a serious hum and over a period of just a few days, smelled pretty rank. The pots still smelled fine though 😉

 

 

 

 


Jun 10 2013

Finally Back in 2013

Well I’m back!  After a long <gulp> year and a half hiatus, I think I am ready to start blogging again.   Hooray!  So much has happened in that period, good and bad, its hard to know where to start.

For those of you who are new to this site, Welcome!  If you are a return visitor, I want to say thanks so much for coming back.   Really, thank you!

I will be making some long overdue revisions to the site, as you probably noticed, my photo galleries are not exactly accessible, thanks to a software conflict between the WordPress blogging platform (which is what I chose to use for my entire site) and the photo gallery platform I had used previously.

My big plan in the coming weeks is to get these photo gallery pages operational and more up to date so they reflect more current work.   If you have been following my personal profile or Webb Pottery Page on Facebook, you probably have a bit of an idea of what has been going on here at the studio lately.  There’s new work, new kilns, and generally, a bunch of change.

You may also follow me on Pinterest, and of course, Twitter.   (That’s a lot of online stuff!  No wonder I haven’t been blogging!)  Anyways, I have a lot of revisions and tweaking ahead of me, obviously :)

In the meantime, I will leave you with a photo of one of the raku tiles we did for this year’s Grandman Triathlon which took place last weekend.

 

Raku tiles made for awards for this year's Grandman Triathlon in Fairhope AL

Raku tiles made for awards for this year’s Grandman Triathlon in Fairhope AL