Friday, December 16, 2011


Happy Birthday Ludwig von Beethoven.

(And a special thanks to Jim and Kathy Strey.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Days of Reckoning

The "quality control" sledge hammer has been busy singing its song . . . yielding nine buckets of shards for the dumpster. These were unsellable/ungivable pots (S-cracks, cracks in rims, platters that warped, glaze defects, cups with elephant ear handles, etc). The collection had been accumulating over the past two or so years. The first time I did this, it was very difficult. Somehow, you wanted to keep everything. But deciding to sell my pottery made me raise my standards and expectations for finished pieces -- they all have my name on them. So, I see this now as a necessary part of the craft, one that is part of moving forward. I've also become better at intercepting "bad" pots at an earlier stage where the clay can be reclaimed, rather than firing items I know will not meet my standards for sale.

Besides, now that the shelves are almost bare, I can make more pots. Watch for future posts.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Trio of Coiled-built Vases

Here is the collection of vases made during my handbuilding class with Alfredo Ratinoff at the Smithsonian Institution. All construction is by coils. Decoration is by engobes. Once fired to cone 04. The blue/white vase is made from Little Loafers stoneware from Highwater Clays; the other two are made from Standard 104 earthenware clay w/grog.

Not having done much (any) serious coil-building before, I am pretty satisfied with the results. I particularly like the texture and feel of the fired surfaces. I am undecided about whether or not to put a wax or other finish to the outsides. Until I decide, I'll enjoy them as they are.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Coils Coils Coils

I'm currently taking a handbuilding course from Alfredo Ratinoff at the Smithsonian Institution. The focus of the course is coils. No slabs or extruder -- the staples of most of my handbuilt work. Just coils. Coils was not one of my strong points (or interest points, for that matter) before the course, but it seems to have connected. Coil building is a relatively slow process -- something I've found I like.

Here is the first piece I've made. A coil-constructed vase made from low fire terra cotta clay and decorated with Alfredo's engobes. I am leaving the surface plain; no wax or other finish. The feel of engobes reminds me of old pottery and that seems to fit the form and the decoration.

I've got a couple more being fired this week and will post pictures when they are done.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hoff the Harmonica Case Man

You meet the most interesting people at craft fairs. Yesterday, while slogging through the morning rain and cold at Art on the Avenue, I met Hoff the Harmonica Case Man -- wearing several custom made harmonic cases (including harmonicas)and carrying a duffle bag with several others (including an awesome functional case made from Legos). Hoff commissions artists to make custom harmonica cases for his collection. His video explains it all -- click on the title to link to the video. Anyhow, the challenge seemed to good to pass up and I accepted the harmonica. Cases to follow.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New leaves

One of my favorite items is made from hosta leaves growing in our yard. Usually, I just glaze the leaves -- celadon, clear, amber tyler, and goldenrod. These represent a change in approach -- using colored slips and underglazes to add more interest (I hope) and color. Because these are made using real leaves as the pattern/texture, they are quite seasonal -- so I make a large group at a sitting. Okay, for this week, a large group was about 100. Lots of fairs and events coming up and one needs to be prepared. These are in drying stage; then on to bisque firing and glazing. Then, to a local craft fair near you!

Small Trays Out of Kiln

Just finished unloading a kilnful of small trays. Very pleased with the glaze results -- especially the combination of Bill Vangilder Teal and Robert Busch Nutmeg and the combination of Nutmeg and Bill Vangilder Rust. Some of these will be headed to the Bluemont Fair this weekend -- a terrific family fair with lots to do and see for kids of all ages. More -- including a larger tray -- are waxed and awaiting glaze and firing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pottery now on sale at A Show of Hands, Alexandria, VA

You can now find a selection of pottery for sale at A Show of Hands in the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria, VA. Drop in and take a look at all of the wonderful locally hand-made craft and art items they offer for sale.

Upcoming Craft Fairs

I've updated the list of Craft Fairs and Shows where I'll be selling pottery. A couple of new locations this year -- the Lovettsville, VA, Oktoberfest (in September, of course), and Art on the Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA. Check out the events -- several are family fairs with lots to do and see for kids of all ages.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pottery Available in Old Town Alexandria

Next time you are strolling through Old Town Alexandria, take a few minutes to stop by Elder Crafters where I now have a selection of pottery for sale. And, while you are at it, check out the rag dolls from Dolls by Mary. Isn't it grand being an elder -- your own special place to display your hand-made crafts for sale.