Monday, November 30, 2009

A punch in the face

So I finally got to meet with the director of the studio near my new house where I was hoping to become a member. And like the title says it was a punch in the face.

I walked into the studio and was met by one of the resident artists. A real nice guy. We chatted for about 10 minutes waiting for the director to show up. The friendly guy mentioned they like to run the studio with 20 resident artists. I mentioned I am not really an artist but a hobbyist. The friendly guy said not to worry there were no professional artists at the studio. It is too small to accommodate real working potters. They're all hobbyists I was assured.

The director showed up and quickly escorted me to an office. He asked if I had brought samples of my work. The director and I had emailed back and forth and he never mentioned that I should bring any work. I told him no I hadn't brought any. He asked if I had brought pictures. No, he hadn't mentioned those either - he had said to come by for a visit. I told him I had some pictures posted on my blog - I guided him to this blog. He quickly scanned the blog and I mean scanned, he just scrolled through so fast I couldn't describe any pots before they were off screen and he certainly wasn't reading anything. He turned to me and announced I would be required to take several classes offered by the studio prior to being made a member. My work needed more work. And I guess this douchebag could tell by his nano second scan of my blog.

He then started to lecture me about not bringing a CD of my portfolio of work. The CD he never mentioned in his emails. I quickly stopped him and told him I am not a professional potter. I am a hobbyist. I am not creating a body of work. I am having fun. He grew even more condescending. Clearly I didn't understand what it took to work in a group environment - forget that I have been doing so for years and my current studio is doing things like cutting my dues to $0 in an attempt to keep me there - I would be expected to contribute to the studio. Something the director had in his literally less than 5 minute interview of me he had decided I was not capable of doing. He had decided I had nothing to contribute without having asked me a single question, other than if I had brought samples of my work or a CD. He needed to let me know my perceived deficiencies.

I gave the condescending prick an opportunity to atone for his rude treatment of me - "Any questions?" I asked. Nope, his lecture of me was enough to stoke his ego. No questions about about me at all. As I got up to leave he mentioned that they currently have 15 resident artists - 5 short of what the friendly guy said is their preferred run rate.

Your studio is not a gallery. You're not curating SAM, you're not making admissions decisions at an MFA program, you're running a pottery studio. Stop being so arrogant. Freeze out hobbyists at your own peril. In a down economy turning your back on those of us who can afford a fairly expensive hobby is one sure fire way to run short of money. Don't be rude and abusive to customers - and yes, I was a customer you moron. I was going to pay you money every month. Now I will find somewhere else to pay for my pottery fix. The loss is yours.

Before I got home I had an email from the director. His tone tells me he knows he fucked up. I have not been treated with such utter disdain and lack of respect by anyone in the arts since I got back into pottery. Not once. Not even remotely close to the level of naked contempt this guy had for me. How dare a hobbyist think he can share studio space with the likes of you.

Oh, and your iron reds and copper reds suck. But hey what do I know? ;)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Step by step salt and pepper shakers

So I saw these little beauties on someone else's blog. I wish I recall where I saw them so I could give proper attribution. These aren't my idea. I just don't recall where I read about them.

I don't give a lot of space to pottery except for glazing. So I thought I would take this opportunity and concentrate on throwing technique.

Step one: Center a small ball of clay, then open all the way to the bat face.

Step two: Using one finger form the start of the inside wall.

Step three: Carefully pull up the inner wall and form it into a cone. Be sure to leave a small opening. I use the blunt end of my needle tool as a guide.

Step four: Start pulling up the outer wall.

Step five: Pull up the outer wall.

Step six: Collar off the top.

Step seven: Clean up the form with a wooden rib.

Stepeight: Using a wire cut the shaker off the bat. I hand trim these.

Step nine: I use tooth picks to make hole for shaking out the spices.

The most important step... glaze!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Latest results

My favorite from the latest batch.

SCM / Obsidian 3 (modified)

I used a smallish spray gun to apply three swathes of SCM followed by an overcoat of obsidian. There are nice little gold tea dust crystals in the glaze. I like this platter.

This mug has a palette I have been using for awhile.

SCM / lorio ash (modified) / seiji nuka (modified) / bailey's red

This mug has the new combination I was trying;

SCM / Lorio ash (modified) / Seiji Nuka (modified) / Cornell Iron Saturate

I love the colors but the application was wonky and parts came out very stony and rough. I will try this again but with a thicker coat and/or a coat of clear over it.

So this is what happens when you lean your bat over to check out the profile of a pot you just got done throwing. Oops.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Possible changes on the way

So as I have mentioned I moved from Everett to Seattle. With it comes a re-evaluation of my studio situation. I visited a potential new studio this afternoon.

A big beautiful and busy studio. There were half a dozen people there on a Tuesday afternoon. Still a lot of space to work.

There was a nice glaze room with a full assortment of chemicals. A great board showing all the house glazes over a variety of clay bodies. Lots of nice traditional glazes. No evidence of a spray booth or equipment though.

I went into the two kiln rooms. One had maybe 6 electric kilns. All digital. Then I went into the gas kiln room. The large gas kiln was firing. The thing is a monster. It's taller than me by a few feet (I am 5'10") and it's square. So this is a HUGE kiln. The four burners are about 6 inches in diameter. The other kiln was a little bit smaller but not by much.

I really hope I get accepted to this studio. It looks like a great place to take my game to the next level. I saw the electric kilns with the digital controllers and immediately thought oil spots. The gas kilns had me drooling because I have never gotten to fire in reduction. Shinos, copper reds, celedons, oh my.

I am hoping to know next week if I get in. In the mean time I have a week off from work. I will be spending a lot of time in the current studio - which still rocks because of the uber cool peeps there - this week. I am planning on spending 8 - 10 hours there tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get some decent pics to post.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A pleasant surprise

I finally got back to the studio today. I got spend about 3 hours there. I spent most of it glazing some bisque ware that had stacked up. Among the pots I glazed today were 5 mugs. I tried to make some mugs with handles made in a style that I love but have had problems with the handles.

I started with eight mugs but dropped one while trimming. Down to seven. While drying two of the mugs had the handles pull off the mug. Down to five. They got bisque fired. All made it through the bisque firing.

I glazed two with clear inside the mug, strontium crystal magic (modified), lorio ash (modified), cornell iron saturate, and seiji nuka (modified). I am not real sure how these will come out as I haven't used the cornell iron saturate outside two test tiles that I didn't really like. I did the other three with the same layers of glazes except I used bailey's red instead of the cornell iron saturate. I have used that combination with success several times. I also used the clear/SCM/lorio ash/bailey's/nuka on a large bowl.

I glazed two platters. One platter was really nice, one sucked. Both got SCM with Obsidian 3 (modified) over the top. I have high hopes for these. Well, for the one that doesn't suck. I have used this combination many times and it's probably my favorite. It gives a wonderful deep floating blue type glaze... but deeper blue than a normal floating blue.

Lastly I tried a new combination on a vase. I put a fairly thick layer of modified lori ash, this batch had 3% copper carbonate added. It yields a deep forrest green ash. Under the ash is a layer of SCM. The bottom half of the vase has a layer of obsidian. I am pretty eager to see how this combination works.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Whew, move complete

Well, it took a couple weeks but the move is complete. That means I will be back in the studio. It looks like I will be spending Saturday finishing up a set of 7 (was 8 until an unfortunate trimming accident) coffee mugs.

I can't wait. My head is full of ideas. I need to get my hands muddy again.