Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

I'm off with Darth Vader, a Mermaid Princess and an 18 month old who I believe is a ballerina.

It's their first time really trick or treating around a neighborhood so it should be interesting.

The kiln was still pretty hot this morning...still glowing when I peeked through the top spy. There are a lot of shelves and a lot of pots in there so hopefully I'll be able to unload sometime late tomorrow.

First stop...the grandparent's house then off to a friends house to start looking for candy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Cones are down....nothing to do but wait...and make a few more pots tomorrow for another firing next week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Loading Pics

I had gotten the kiln about halfway loaded when I went inside to take a break and watch Obama's 30 minute ad.  I've heard it all before and have been a supporter for a while but sometimes when he speaks.....chills baby, chills.  That clip from the 2004 keynote speech at the DNC...still unbelievable.

Back to is the back half loaded.

Thank goodness for plate setters.  I got these a few years back when Michael McCarthy, Mark Shapiro and I split an order to cut down on freight costs.  I don't make plates too often but when I do these things are priceless.

Even more plate setters....and a gently raised lip of a pitcher is just about perfect for a sprung arch kiln...don't you think?   As much as I seem to dread loading...if I can get that first shelf done it becomes a pretty fun game.  Unfortunately...when loading the reduction kiln the pots just look so bland all covered with glaze. to catch the tail end of The Daily Show and wait to turn up the kiln a few more times tonight.


Pilots are on.  Time to wait for some turn-ups.

Photos of loading coming soon.


No pics yet.

Almost everything for this firing is glazed and I've started to load.  Should have the pilots burning in the not too distant future which means I'll be able to get this thing fired off tomorrow.

Big buckets of glaze are the best...the best!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Done for the Day

Glazing went pretty well today.  I got just about all of small work glazed up and everything else is waxed and ready to go.  

Tomorrow I have to mix up another batch of Celadon so I can glaze up some of the big bowls.  I think I'm going to mix up a big batch in a garbage can...enough of this 5 gallon bucket thing for a glaze that I'm using on about 85% of the work going in the kiln.  If I have time and the desire I'll mix up that clear glaze that Brandon left for me in the comments...thanks Brandon.

After glazing the big stuff I should have enough to load the kiln and light it up.  

Austin Wishlist 2

After spending the past 2 hours unloading and loading a bisque kiln and then waxing and cleaning up some bisqueware I thought of something else I may want in my studio in Austin.

An apprentice. 

I've had some interns over the summer a few years back but never quite figured out how to make that work well.  Right now though, I would love someone waxing the feet of bowls and getting some glazes prepped so when I get back from this little computer/coffee break I could get in there and glaze. floor might be a little cleaner.

Perhaps when I get to Austin I'll have figured things out well enough to have some help in the studio and not have it be the hindrance it has been in the past.  Maybe with 3 kids now my studio time could be more efficient with some help.  

Of course, the problem is that I can be a little bit of a control freak.  Just ask anyone who has tried to cook in my kitchen...right Abigail?


I have piles of bisque piling up and I've been writing about glazing for about a week...time to get to work.  

Carpool Music

I just got back from carpool where I did my best to convince three 4 year old girls that The Shins were perfect music to listen for driving.  It didn't work.  I was able to avoid listening to the "Barbie Girl" song.  That is a small consolation because I we had to..had to...had to listen to Hannah Montana.  They're 4!  Ale has never even seen Hannah Montana but apparently it's the best song in the world.  

Here's the last of the fresh work.  I'm trying to get everything dry so I can load a bisque today but these are still pretty damp and I'm not in Austin yet.  They'll probably just miss this glaze firing.  

Here's a large white-stoneware platter...about 20 inches. This picture makes me want to fire salt and soda again...right now.  I love how this looks at this moment.  The white clay will still look great with a celadon but it might be time to start testing some clear glazes.

Well...time to get the indie rock fired up in the studio and forget all about little Hannah Montana!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Morning

A lot less get's done over the weekend nowadays.  I had high-hopes of starting to glaze but that didn't start yet.  I did get another couple of bisques through and that means that I'm ready to start glaze prep today.  

I spent the morning finishing up some wet decoration on the last of the freshly thrown pots.  Time to get things drying and hopefully get another bisque through tomorrow.  CraftBoston is coming up pretty soon so I actually need to start getting some work finished so I can move on to the ritual of the pre-show booth tweaking.  

I'd like to get 2 firings through the reduction kiln and see what's left after the show.  I'll have about 10 days until the Trunk Show that we're doing at my folk's place in NY over thanksgiving weekend.  If I need another firing and close to having enough to fill the gas-kiln again I'll fire off again.  Otherwise, I might spend a few days getting back to that dirty red earthenware and get a quick electric kiln load through for Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I posted pictures of the first couple of pots earlier.  They aren't the same without the black slip. 

Here's a small oval vase that I went circle crazy on.  I think it should look nice under a celadon. My in-laws have these great paintings from El Salvador(I think) that I always think of when I start incising this decoration.  I'm assuming one day some color will emerge from within the circles but for now it's going to be incised black slip under a celadon.

I hope I have enough celadon mixed up for when I start glazing...I think that I'll be using a lot of it in my upcoming firing.

Oysters Again

Bruce stopped by this evening with a cooler full of oysters that he harvested the other day.  Luckily...we still had some horseradish and mignonette so it was another good combo.

In true "Mad Men" fashion I felt it was unacceptable to have oysters without a cocktail.  I grabbed this tumbler which I've always loved.  During my many trips to Dan Anderson's "Mounds" kiln I would always hope that Caroline would have some tumblers stowed away in the gallery somewhere.  One of the trips the planets were aligned and I brought 3 of them back with me.  This one is the largest...which obviously makes the it the best for an Old Fashioned.

Here's the cooler full of oysters waiting to be shucked.

I did alright shucking the other night but a lesson from the master...the very tall master...never hurts.  The dry clay on your arms and shirt are not necessary.

Finally...I guess this tray from one of my first soda-firings here at Kreeger Pottery has now officially become the "Oyster Tray".

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Wow...not only a post two days in a row but a second post of pots.  I'm still catching up on everything that was under plastic since last weekend.    

I love photographing mugs this way.  These are squared and are going to get slipped, waxed, scratched and slipped again tomorrow.

Here are a few of the boxes.  I really liked how the black and white mugs looked so I'm going to try it even though this is on stoneware....we'll see....we always do, right?

Here's the front...or the back side of the boxes.  I needed to figure out a way to tell people how to line everything back up.  My OCD-ness comes out when someone looks at a pot in the shop or booth and puts the lid back on incorrectly.  Drives me nuts!!!  I mean...I didn't spend all that time putting that pattern on that pot to not have it look good. 

And finally's one of the oval vases that I had made the other day.  I "wobbled" the rim a little bit and cut a foot and I like how it looks.  This one and the boxes still need their black slip for the lines.  They'll get that tomorrow.  I really want to make another batch of these vases tomorrow in various sizes for the next firing.  As always...we'll see what happens with that plan.

Tengo sueño...buenas noches.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


These pics are from Friday.  I should probably take tons of pics and save some so even when I have a long weekend with old friends I can pretend that I was also busy in the studio and sprinkle some pottery pics in between the food and exploring pics. are some B-Mix cups with black slip and some incised lines.  I'm curious to see how these will play with the stoneware cups with the black incised lines.

Here are a few covered pieces that I threw.  I usually just call them boxes even though that's not totally accurate.  I threw these as a closed form and let them set up.  Step 2 was to use a needle to cut through in the right spot to separate them.  I threw a coil to create the flange so the lid would fit nice and tightly.  Old form for method of making them.

Here are a few oval vases that I squeezed together right after I threw them.  I typically throw these without a base and then attach a slab.  These were done with the "Briscoe" technique of using a piece of wood to squeeze the base.  I felt like I had left too much clay down on the base so I ended up cutting feet away from them after they set up.  I'll try to get some pics up tonight.  I really love making oval vases.  They are so easy to arrange flowers in that even I can make them look nice, they are great to decorate because you have two sides to work with and lastly, they are so easy to find space for in the kiln...taking up what would have been wasted space.

I had planned on being done with wet work by today but I think I'm going to give it 2 solid days of throwing and then start prepping to glaze while I cycle through a couple more bisques.  If all goes as planned...I should be glazing by this weekend.  Now that it's in writing I guess we'll all see how that goes.

Feeding the Gulls

The kids needed an did Abigail and Steven's dogs.  Stale bread, a beach and some gulls seemed like a good idea.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ft. Hill 2

It was about 50º with 25 MPH gusts but we still decided to check out Ft. Hill. I hadn't been since spring.

Clarita's hair was all ready before we left.

Evangelina, Clarita, Abigail and Steven

The pigtails got a little crooked towards the end.


With fresh horseradish and some mignonette on the side.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weekend Guests

My friend Abigail is coming to visit.  Or so she says...I thought she would have gotten in by now. I guess a drive from Ann Arbor is tough to time.

Last time we saw her Javi was about 4 months old and just about as tough a little 4 month old as there is...a kid with colic isn't too fun.  Anyways...he'll be 6 in clearly, it's been a while.

I did get some more work done in the studio and was all set to upload some pictures that I took last night but I think Evangelina took the camera with her to the beach just now.  

I feel like I haven't been blogging enough...definitely not enough pottery-related blogging but that's just the way it is right now.  I'll definitely be doing some food blogging later today because I have quite the feast planned.  Littleneck clams steamed with white wine and garlic, oysters on the half-shell...maybe the quarter-shell...I've never shucked them at home before so hopefully it all works out, and finally some pasta with crabmeat.  Abigail and her husband Steven are coming in from Michigan so I thought I would go with as much New England seafood as I could find for night number one.

I finished up most everything in the studio this week but then made more and have a lot of "chasing" of plastic to do.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do in Austin...things are going to dry much faster than I'm used to.  This week I made a bunch of mugs and left them uncovered overnight to put handles on them in the morning.  They weren't ready in the morning so I left them out all day and overnight again....they still weren't ready until the following afternoon. when I get the camera back and probably some food blogging along the way tonight.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's a Start

I have a floor again. At least one that doesn't have a top-coating of silicosis waiting to happen. I have some newly acquired surface space which has been leased out temporarily to some pasta bowls to go along with those soup bowls and lunch plates for an order.

I still would like to make a few more mugs today so I might try and sit down at the wheel during the debate...or shortly afterwards while all of the blabbering happens on the cable channels.

Here are some of the pasta bowls..version 1. I'm going to make a different version of them tomorrow without the flared rim and see how I like them.  More importantly see how what the clients think. 

And, here are some of the mugs that are going to cost a little more.  I'm really pleased with how they're looking.  They are all squared and have white slip and some incised slip decorations.  I really like how they're sitting on top of each other and I'll at least photograph a few of them that way when they're done...perhaps even display some like that....a little pretentious probably but I like how the designs and form work together like that.  Perhaps I'll have to make some vases with these shapes.  

Once again...

It's time to get back to work.

We had a great time in NY. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to any of the pottery shows. I think there should still be some shows up when we get back to my folks for Thanksgiving. Between heading into NYC on Friday and spending the rest of the weekend watching our kids and all of their cousins run around time moved a little quicker than I had planned. We did get to go apple picking on the ride home as we passed through Guilford, CT.

I started to clean up the studio yesterday but it sort of became a settling back in at home and carpooling day. Luckily...or unluckily, I had the pleasure of driving three 4 year olds and one 17 month old home from pre-school yesterday while the "Barbie Girl" song was blasting from the radio.

So, back to the studio today...hopefully by mid-morning. It's morning playtime with Clarita and she'll head down for a nap around 10. I have some more cleaning to do....especially getting the studio floor vacuumed. At this point I'm not sure whether the floor or my lungs have more dust on them. Then it's time to make the pasta bowls for an order. If there's enough time left in the day I'll finish up some mugs and get a list done of the final pots made. I want to try a few more pots as this cycle winds down. CraftBoston is coming up in about a month. I'll need to have enough pots done for that as well as the Trunk Show down in Rye during Thanksgiving Weekend.

Well....back to Clarita and then it's back to the studio....or at least that's the plan as of now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obamaware on Ebay

Congrats everybody...seriously! All of the interest over at Ayumi's site was crashing her servers!

If you haven't already signed up for info about the Obamaware sale you might have missed the email I just got about the sale moving to ebay.

Here's the email.

Sign up on Ayumi's site to make sure you're alerted to the auction starting.

¡Viva Obama!

¡Si Se Puede!
Yes We Can!

Don't forget to check out Ayumi's sale tomorrow....and more importantly...don't forget to vote. And talk to as many people as you can about this election. I know we're reaching...or might be well past the point of overload but this election really matters.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Off to NY

We're taking off a little early for Columbus Day Weekend.  Javi's school has a teacher conference day tomorrow so we get a 4 day weekend out of the Monday holiday.

I had a whole punch-list of pots to get done before we leave but that isn't happening.  I did get everything I was working on finished up except for 1/2 dozen mugs which will sit under plastic until Monday.  When I get back next week I have some pasta bowls to make and then some odds and ends as I start bisque firing to lead up to loading the reduction kiln a couple of times.

Tomorrow we're going to the Bronx Zoo with our whole crew.  Then, Evangelina and I are heading into the city for a night on the town...rather than find a too-hip-for-us restaurant we're going to check at the NY Rangers game at the Garden.

There is "All Fired Up" going on all over Westchester County so hopefully we'll be able to check out a few things over the weekend.  Michael has some tiles at Clay Art Center in Port Chester where I used to rent studio space and Dan has some work at the Rye Arts Center which is literally down the road from my folks house.  

I'll try to post from NY but we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Don't forget to sign up on Ayumi's website.  The sale starts in a few days.  Get some Obama and an artist at the same time.   Sounds like a good thing to me.

If you're so can also donate directly to the Obama campaign fact...why don't you head on over and give him $25 now.  Give more if you can or want to but every bit helps.   If you're in a swing state...go ahead and figure out if there's anything you can do to help.

My friend Abigail lives in Michigan.  The McCain campaign just pulled their staff out of and basically conceded this one.  If you know Abigail, it's not too far of a stretch to say her super-powers of persuasion played a role in moving the state into the Obama column. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

National Debt Clock

My grandfather started worrying about the national debt before most people gave any thought to it. To let people know how big a problem it is for our country to carry such a large debt he put up the National Debt Clock in NYC way back when I was in middle school.

The clock has now become the visual for any news story discussing the economy. Unfortunately, the clock needs a little work.  The growing national debt has added a digit to the debt.  The clock wasn't quite ready for that.  

I was having a political discussion/argument last weekend with someone and we were discussing the bailout. My friend said the combo of the bailout and continuing to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq is okay because obviously we have the money. The thing that my grandfather understood and that I think most of the country now realizes is that we don't have the money. It's not sitting somewhere within the government waiting to be used. We're borrowing it....from other countries, from private foreign investors and from the next few generations.  Let's hope one day we'll get to see my grandfather's clock start counting backwards again.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I threw some mugs yesterday while I was waiting for bowls and plates to dry for trimming.  I've been putting handles on all morning.  It seems to take me forever to finish up mugs.  Perhaps I'm pricing them low for the amount of work that goes into them.

Is this a good time to raise prices?  Clearly...I'm a little worried about selling pots at my upcoming shows.  Has anyone else noticed a slight downturn in the economy?  Until about 10 days ago apparently the fundamentals had been strong.  I hope the sarcasm comes across in this blog post.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

One more fishing post's more of a link.  

Here's my friend Bruce's blog with a few more pics and words about the Tuesday's fishing trip.  And...I think the camera angle was really, really weird on that last picture because that Scup that I caught looked much, much bigger in person.


It's so rainy here that I think my plates gained water since I threw
them last night. Time to check on those bowls.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


The bowls weren't quite ready to trim so I sat down to make some lunch plates to go along with the order of bowls.  About half of the clay was nice and soft and perfect for plates.  The other half of clay is why I think my wrists seem to be hurting lately.   The bowls are probably ready but I think I'm ready for bed so they'll get finished up tomorrow.

I catch myself planning my new studio in Austin every once in a while.  I have no clue where it will be or what it will look like.  One of the few things I'm fairly certain of is that it won't be attached to our house like mine is now.  That's going to be a major change for me.  But, I'll adjust.  

The other thing that I am telling myself is that I will no longer be at the mercy of commercially mixed clay.  When I started here I was all set to get a clay mixer but I never got around to purchasing one.  And then, I just couldn't figure out where I would set it up.  Now, it's way too late in the game up here to figure out a clay mixing setup so it's boxes and bags of clay for another year.  

I also keep telling myself that my next studio will be neat and organized and I'll know where everything is kept, where all my tools are at the exact moment I need them and every glaze will be full when I go to glaze...or at least I'll have some copper when I need to mix one up. 

Maybe I'll start with a clay mixing area and move on from there.

I've got another big post coming with my new studio wish-list.  I'm not sure when that one is going to find its way here but maybe we'll make that post a nice big open thread with everyone's best setting up a studio suggestion...heck...let's start now...leave your ideas in the comments!

Night session

Kids are in their beds...hopefully going to sleep instead of playing.  I'm heading back into the studio to get some more work done.  I was only able to trim a dozen of the bowls earlier...nothing is drying in there.  Here are the teapots that are asking for some sort of handle.  I decorated them with the incised slip and they'll get a celadon on top.  

Some finished bowls drying...very, very slowly.

Off to hopefully trim the last couple of dozen bowls and throw a some plates.

Favorite pots

This one gets used often and while I wait for a few more bowls to dry
a little more it's coffee time. I'll do a mix of name the pot and
Michael's coffee break. good friend Michael McCarthy made this pot....can you name the
kiln it came from?

An Actual Pottery Post

I know it's been a lot of non-pottery blogging here lately.  For those who are disappointed, my apologies.  I do enjoy the somewhat diary aspect of this blog and yesterday was one of those days that I did something that I had never done before.  

My friend Bruce is an avid fisherman and I am not.  I usually go about 2-3 times a year.  Yesterday was my first time going for the albies.  They apparently are terrible eating..although, Bruce tried a piece sashimi style while on the boat.  I chose to abstain.  Even though they are no good to eat they are just about the most fun fish that I have ever caught.  They're not that big...the ones we landed were in the 10-12 range.  But, they are fast and they take out a lot of the line as they fight.  As they got close to the boat they circled around a few times so I was making trips around the boat with the rod trying not to lose either my balance or the fish.  They are tough to catch so our trip landing 4 was apparently pretty good.  Bruce landed his with a fly-rod which is even harder to do.  I think Bruce will be putting some pics on his flickr site and if he does I'll provide a link so that I don't annoy any pure potters out there on the intertubes. back to pottery.  Here is a little bit of the work I've gotten done in the past few days starting with a tableful of bowls waiting to be trimmed.  A dozen of these bowls are for an order and the rest will be ready for the fall shows.  

A few teapots that we're squared...something I rarely do.  I used the sherrill mud tools rasp to really refine the edges.  I also never....almost never use a handle made out of anything other than clay but for some reason the two teapots in the back were asking for something different.  I'm not sure how I'll finish I want to use a handle purchased from a clay supplier or do I want to figure out how to fabricate something myself?

This is the large platter which is ordered as a wedding gift for someone.  It's still about 23" across and it's pretty dry already.  I'm really pleased with the incised pattern on this one.

And here are a few cups with some incised patterns.  These lines do not have any black slip within...I'm curious as to how the glaze will play on them.

Off to trim some bowls and figure out what other pots I can fill other surfaces up with.  It might be time to start bisque firing so I can clear off some space in the studio.