Tiger in a Jar and Olive us

July 16th, 2012

I got an e-mail Friday asking me is I would allow a film crew into my shop on Monday (today) to make a short piece about a visit to a pottery shop by a family. Short notice, I thought. I looked at their website and thought, But they are quite good at this and was intrigued enough to say yes to them. So Matt and Julie Walker showed up around 10:30 this morning with their Cannon 7D and 5D in tow and began setting up.
They were meeting a family driving from St George. They are Ben and Gabrielle Blair who are here in the states visiting from their home in Normandy, France where both parents work online. They have hired Tiger in a Jar (Matt and Julie) to make a series of films for kids about kids. The film series is called Olive Us and features their kids doing all kinds of normal kid things here and there. We had a lot of fun making pots and generally hanging out. I’m glad I didn’t miss this day. The Blairs are an amazing family. You can follow Gabrielle’s excellent blog here.
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img_5953.jpgJune helping Oscar on with his apron for the pottery making part.

Matt getting Olive with her apron.



The pots I made for the kids.

Matt consults his notes.
June burned out.

July 3, 1989

July 3rd, 2012

On this day 23 years ago I was in a small fishing village in the Soviet Republic of Estonia. It was actually an ethnographic park as they called it, a living museum of sorts. I was on the last full day of a three week ceramic artist’s tour of Moscow, Leningrad and the Baltic republics. I was traveling with a group of self funded “citizen diplomats” visiting these cities to exchange ideas and show our art work to gatherings of our Soviet peers. It was during the time that the old USSR was softening and sliding toward its eventual dissolution in 1991. Estonia and the other Baltic republics were at the hight of what has come to be called “The Singing Revolution“. On this morning Jack Troy, Marta Davies, Ulla Riasallu and I had left the group to visit this little village/cultural park.
As we entered the mostly deserted village we were met by a small man who first ran into his house to get a shirt on. His name was Guido and he was the park caretaker. When he learned that we were Americans he became quite excited and went back into his house to retrieve and very old United States flag. The flag was one his family had obtained during WWII and had kept as a reminder of the US troops they had met. He told us that he had been preparing the village flagpole to fly those colors the next day on Independence Day. He explained that for them July 4 is an international day that belongs to all nations that believe in the dream of freedom and liberty. While we watched he raised our colors a day early. The Singing Revolution notwithstanding he was committing an act that could land him in the gulag. It was a moving experience for all of us.
This flag does not belong to America alone and more especially to any one faction of our political spectrum. It belongs to the world as a symbol of the movement started here in 1776 that is still sweeping the globe. It is not American style “democracy” but an idea that people everywhere deserve the right of self determination. It represents the best ideals of our revolution employed to make all peoples free.

More Bisque and New Clay Slaves

May 21st, 2012


More glazing going down. The De Groff boys, Thomas and Henry came over and spent the day wading pots for me. We got a lot done and they were very glad for the work. Child labor anyone? I’ll finish up the glazing and load the kiln tomorrow. The TV guys will be on hand so I’ll have to look sharp.

Gazing at Roundness.

May 21st, 2012

Annular Eclipse, Cedar City, Utah


We busted down to Cedar City on Sunday to watch the annular eclipse of the sun with my niece who lives there with her husband and three kids.

The view after the cool eclipse….classic basin and range stuff.

The TV guys.

May 20th, 2012


The local TV station is working on a human interest piece about “The Bennions”. It will air as part of a series this fall. They shot some tape of us in our studios this week. They will be back to shoot my next firing and the Heritage Day sale next week. When they heard that Lee was fixing to cook up some Mom’s Stuff they came right over to shoot the event.





Bisque Ware

May 20th, 2012

The bisque kiln has been busy lately. I have unloaded two 40 cubic foot firings and have a third in today. I’m waxing and glazing as fast as I dare. I had though I would glaze and fire my pots raw but after losing a couple of firings to bloating early on I just gave it up. Besides, my favorite tenmoku will only fit on bisque ware.
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Catherine and Joss Vawter are here for the weekend so I put them to work stacking wood and wading pots for the firing. I have known these kids since before thy were born. I was with their parents when they foirst met. Their father Art helped me build the wood kiln. Catherine and Joss were just tiny kids then. As you may be able to tell these are really good kids. These apples didn’t fall far from the tree.

My clay slaves worked up a bit of an appetite which we satisfied at Das Cafe..

The last pots of early summer.

May 18th, 2012

Down to the final stretch throwing mostly small fillers. The glaze firing stats next week with the first one coming off just ahead of Heritage Day.



Don’t forget to drop by and stock up on Mom’s Stuff for the summer.

More round objects

May 14th, 2012

I Spent the day turning out round vases with handles in several different sizes. I’ve had worse days.




The Poppies Are Back

May 14th, 2012

The poppies in front of the pottery shop are beginning to open. They are about two weeks early this year. Last year they were about two weeks late. That is the difference between a wet late spring and a dry early spring. I’m hopping they are still out in two weeks when our Heritage Day sale is held.
The movie guys came again last week. This time it was a crew from the local TV station channel 10. They are producing a piece about me and Lee for some future broadcast.
One must always have pie dishes. Not having them would make for some pretty disappointed patrons.
London brought her parents in for a look see and mother’s Day shopping for grandma.

Pots and visitors May 7-8

May 8th, 2012

I’m throwing pretty steady now to get a couple of firings off before the Memorial Day Sale in a couple of weeks.
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Lots of people coming by. I don’t mind too much and the sales are good.
The Barker girls with friends.
Zina’s hiking class out walking Ernie
Bill and Tara with their girls from Humbolt County, CA.