Archive for November, 2009
The first time I fired my wood burner I had a little experience with other kilns and firing. I had participated in firing wood burning kilns in Crescent City CA, Flagstaff AZ, Salt Lake City UT, Witichita KS and Himeji City Japan. I had a couple of friends with me for that firing. We thought we had it dialed. After 20 hours at it I crawled off to catch some sleep leaving my two friends with instructions to keep the kiln slowly climbing in temperature. When I returned to the firing a few hours later I found, to my alarm, that the kiln had lose several hundred degrees temperature and we were fast running out of wood. About that time Lee came by to check on us and bring some breakfast. We were all brain dead and unable to come to any sense of how to deal with the situation. She sized things up and sent me scrambling to the sawmill seven miles away for more wood. The other two firemen went to bed and Lee took over stoking duties.
As I started driving back toward Spring City with my load of fuel I could see a column of smoke of biblical proportions rising above Spring City across the valley. When I pulled into the kiln yard Lee set me to butchering wood and she continued firing. The kiln had regained the lost temperature and continued to sail forward under her care. The firing was finished by early afternoon and I went back to bed. To that point Lee had never fired a wood burning kiln. She just had a natural intuitive sense of how it should be done. I have heard that in Korea women are not allowed near the kiln during the early stages of the firing. Their energy is too hot and a steep temperature rise early in the firing can be disastrous. Later when that danger is past the women come in and help get the fire over the hump to completion. I am a believer.
Now when I fire I start the kiln early in the morning and sit with it through the critical stage. Lee comes at mid day and spells me so I can grab a sandwich and a nap. I never worry about whether the kiln is in good hands. She is the only one I totally trust to care for the fire for me.
Our Holiday Sale dates this year are November 27, 28 and December 5 from 10 am to 4 pm. We are teaming up with Spring City Arts and the other art oriented businesses on Main Street. Included in the event will be:
Sanpete Spur and Silver, 735 S. Main
Horseshoe Mtn. Pottery, 278 S. Main
Crystal Fiddle, 45 W. 200 S.
Jock Jones Windsor Chairs, 125 S. Main
Michael Workman Studio, 80 S. Main
Spring City Arts Gallery, 79 S. Main
Gallacher Studio, Center St. and Main
Spring City Fine Arts, 113 N. Main
Olson Galleries, 398 N. Main
Osral Allred Studio, 488 N. Main
Walker’s Custom Boots, 1325 N. HWY 117 (Main)
This will be a lot of fun. Come early and enjoy the day.
Here are scans of the piece of mine published in The Log Book.
One of my standard production items is an oval platter made with a rolled out slab on a plaster hump mold. I have made them for a lot of years but only this last year started making them with textured slabs like this.
I have never gotten around to getting a proper slab roller. I still roll them out by hand with out any sort of gage to get the thickness consistent. I like that aspect of them.
The mold is one I made years ago while still a student. I borrowed a wooden bowl and poured plaster into it to get this negative of the shape I want to make the piece. The slab is laid on the mold and the gross clay is trimmed away with a needle tool. After patting the clay a little I trim the clay to fit the mold and pat it a bit more. The clay sets up for a day or so and I remove it from the mold and round the rim with a rib tool.
The roulette used here was made by winding a piece of cord around a cylinder of soft clay.
This roulette was impressed with the thin edge of a wooden rib.
This slab was textured with a wooden roller that has cord glued to its surface.
Here I used a narrow wooden roller with fine cord glued to it.
HORSESHOE MTN. POTTERY
THESE POTTERY WARES ARE MADE BY HAND ON A LEACH STYLE TREADLE WHEEL BY JOSEPH BENNION.
THE FIRING IS ACCOMPLISHED OVER A THREE DAY PERIOD IN A TWO CHAMBERED WOOD BURNING KILN.
THE FUEL FOR THE FIRINGS IS ALL RECYCLED WOOD FROM BEETLE KILLED SAWMILL WASTE.
NO LIVE TREES WERE FELLED FOR THE PRODUCTION OF THIS POTTERY.
THIS POTTERY IS COMPLETELY SAFE FOR KITCHEN AND TABLE USE WITH ALL TYPES OF WHOLESOME FOOD. NO TOXIC MATERIALS ARE USED AS INGREDIENTS IN OUR CLAY OR GLAZES.
IF YOU BUY THIS POTTERY YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK IN FIVE TO SIX WORKING DAYS AND MY KIDS WILL GET FED.
I’m just two weeks away from the last day I will be throwing pottery this year. By then I’ll have enough ware to fire two to three times. My holiday sale days are November 27, 28 and December 5 then its off to Flagstaff with Sterling Van Wagenen to talk about a possible Grand Canyon film. When I return to Utah I’ll be scheduled for some hernia repair surgery that will put me out of commission for the rest of the year. I’ll likely start throwing again as soon as my doc says OK. Lee and I are gunning for a April or May Grand Canyon river trip that will be just the two of us. I’ll need to have a lot of inventory stacked up so I can take the time off and still be ready for my Memorial Day sale.
Here are some of the things I have cranked out the past week.
I have been making some roulettes out of bisqued clay and impressing them into bowls. I am also using the rope and cord rollers I made a while back.Here are some examples of what I have so far including close-ups of detail.
From time to time I make a few of these large chargers with slogans on the rim.
Two different people came in the shop this week asking me if I make a pot they are looking for. I dissapointed both of them. They are pottery types I either disagree with or am plain not interested in making.
Here are two images off of the web illustrating the “chip and dip platter” one lady wanted. I told her I don’t make them because I find them annoying. If you want to serve chips or veggies on a platter with dip then just get a platter and a bowl that is compatible and serve the stuff. If the bowl breaks, which the ones attached to the platter as in these images always do, you can just throw away the bowl and get another one. As I explained this to her she said,”Yes, that is what has happened to the last two I have had.” Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Here are a couple of “French Butter Keepers” I pulled off Google Images. Nice cute little pots that are almost as much conversation piece as utilitarian wares. The problem is I work in stoneware and in order for these to work properly you need earthenware clay. The way they work is you make the outer or lower pot with out glaze and put water in it. The water seeps into the porous clay and evaporates making the pot and water stay cool even in warm weather. The upper pot is glazed on the inside so the butter won’t seep into the porous clay and stink when you can’t clean it properly between uses. I am amused when I see people in this country using these made with non-porous stoneware or porcelain but keeping the pot in the refrigerator so the butter will be cool. Doh!
My butter pot is a small lidded bowl that I recommend the customer fill with a blend of butter and olive oil and keep in a cool place. You can adjust the mixture of oils to the degree of spreadability you like.