Posts Tagged ‘Making pottery’

July 13, 1984

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

I made this dish a long time ago. I was in grad school and had taken a couple of workshops taught by Bernard Leach apprentices Jeff Oestreich and Byron Temple. The piece shows the influence of both potters and their mentor. It was a transitional time for me. I had walked away from pottery making in 1983 and went back to school thinking I would get an MFA and teach at some college or university. For the first year of grad school I made only non vessel work. During the summer of 1984 I took these two workshops and started making pots again from a point almost 180 degrees from where I had left off. I had a lot of resistance from my graduate faculty which was good as it forced me to really examine what I was doing and articulate what in meant to me. I still thank all of them for that.
The dish is still in regular rotation in our kitchen and reminds me of that time.

The day after election day.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Well, the sun came up and the world apparently will go on. This is the view from the intersection where the pottery shop sits looking away from the shop. It is a nice quiet spot considering it is on the main street of the town that calls itself a city. When Spring City was incorporated in 1870 or so, the population was large enough to warrant that title. It could not qualify today. I like it small but Spring City does have a nice ring to it.

Yesterday I voted and made pots. Both privileges that I don’t take lightly. I love the feel of wet clay moving in my hands about as much as anything. Rowing a boat and spading up good soil are other things that come to mind. I’ll throw in there the feel of her hand in mine just for good measure.








Sweet smoke makes the pottery shop a nice place to work.

The Potter’s Meal and platters

Friday, October 26th, 2012


The day began fairly normal with me making 15 pound lumps of clay like this into platters that I will stamp mottos and slogans into later.

Steve Olpin our long time film making friend showed up last night so he could spend the day shooting Lee in her studio. Here is Adah star of Steve’s 1993 classic “The Potter’s Meal” hanging out on the set. Steve is making a various short films to post on his YouTube chanel.

Lee and Steve checking out what he shot while waiting for lunch at Das Cafe on Main Street in Spring City.

Carrot Cake to die for.

After lunch an impromptu shoot in from of the cafe.

Autumn Woman 2





The pots I have been making.

Monday, April 18th, 2011

In addition to lerning the eclesiastical clerking gig I have been pruning and dunging our orchard. Lee got back from a month abroad last week and helped me finish it up.
I donated a small tea pot like this one to an online auction to benefit victims of the triple disasters in Northern japan. Since the one I gave them was my last I made a couple more boards full for the next firing.
You can never have too many mugs for a firing. Ed Palmer said “Mugs are money.”
Big mugs too.




A tasty run of tea bowls to boot.
A few little honey jars.

A run of spoon holders.

Several sizes of covered baking bowls.


Jugs graduating from 1 qt to 1 gallon.
More later…..

Making dishes.

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

January is usually a slow time at the pot shop. I make a lot of pots for the holiday sales, much more than I can sell. It is always good for people to come to the sale and see so much ware. Most year I don’t even think about throwing until February. January is a time to go snowshoeing and prepare taxes. Right about the end of December I got a rather large dinnerware order (30 place settings). I have been working my way through the dishes, not in too great a hurry but plugging along. It is nice to be indoors with the Utah weather so cold and snowy the past while.
I do get out some to “work” with the new tractor Mrs Santa brought me.
I start with dinnerware by throwing a “pancake” of clay to stick a bat to my wheelhead.
img_3410.JPG img_3411.JPG img_3412.JPG
img_3416.JPG img_3417.JPG
When the pancake is thrown to the width of the bats and smooth I cut groves in it, first with a point of a wooden rib and then with a serrated rib. This creates a surface that the wooden bats will adhere to easily.
These are bats that I have been using since I made them thirty years ago. I cut them out on a table saw (another blog sometime) and gave them three coats of urethane. They have held up very well.
img_3418.JPG img_3420.JPG img_3421.JPG
You’ve got to love throwing on a treadle wheel. It is just fun. Carpe Argillam! I’ll not say too much about these throwing photos because they really speak for themselves.
img_3423.JPG img_3426.JPGimg_3428.JPG
I will say that is is critical to compress the clay on the bottom and at the rim to avoid cracking.
img_3430.JPG img_3431.JPG
I’m checking the width and depth. I want the width 12.5″ so there is a ways to go. It is good to have the current width in mind as I go to the next stage of throwing the plate. The depth is where it should be at about a half inch.
img_3433.JPG img_3436.JPG img_3437.JPG
I am now forming the rim of the plate, compressing the rim and the bottom.
rogers2.jpg rogers1.jpg
Phil Rogers illustrates the technique of forming the rim thus. Hid picture explains it better and faster than I can.
img_3438.JPGimg_3441.JPG img_3443.JPG img_3444.JPG
Once again I am measuring both height and width. The rim height is 1.5″ and the width is 12.5″ as it should be. With that done I set a pointer so I can throw the rest of the plates to that mark.
img_3467.JPG img_3469.JPG
The next day after the plates are leather hard it remove the bat I left on the pan cake and trim the edge of it to a sloping shape so I can use it to trim the plates.
img_3470.JPG img_3471.JPG img_3499.JPGimg_3476.JPG img_3482.JPG img_3500.JPG
I am placing a leather hard plate on this trimming chuck made from the pan cake which is also now a soft leather hard and will grip the clay nicely to keep it in place. With the plate centered on the chuck I press down gently with a small round disk of wood to hold the plate in place as I trim the foot. I am measuring the foot so I can get them consistent.
The last move is to mark the plate.
Over the next few days I made a smaller plate and a soup bowl as per the clients wishes. The dinner plate is made from 5 lbs of clay, the salad plate also known as lunch plate is made from 3 lbs as is the soup bowl on top.
While I was making the dinnerware Shonpa Yeshi was in the studio with me. He is a student at Wasatch Academy, a nearby boarding school. He is Tibetan and is from Dharamsala, India where there is a resettlement community. He stayed with us for three weeks while the school was out for the holidays. He took most of the photos for this blog and made some fun little clay objects. I was amazed at his ability to sit quietly and watch me throw.

The last August Pots

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

I have been back from the Salmon a week and am just finishing the throwing for my September firing. I’ll be trimming tomorrow and loading and firing the wood kiln next week. The sale is on September 11.
img_0181.JPG img_0193.JPG img_0182.JPG
The scene of the crime and my muse.
I made a couple of dozen small jars like this for honey pots. People have been bugging me about them all summer.
img_0172.JPG img_0173.JPG
Tumblers make good fillers.
img_0174.JPG img_0175.JPG img_0176.JPG
Ed Palmer once said that mugs are money. I sure run out of them quickly.
Large serving bowls, think potatoes, salad, etc.
Detail of bowl decoration featuring a cord wrapped roller.
img_0185.JPG img_0187.JPG
Large and small bowls with spouts, gravy, sauces, batter etc.
Faceted bowls.
My standard soup bowl.
The footed diamond dish lives.
My version of the butter pot.

August pots

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

I’ll be heading for the Salmon River next Wednesday fro a week long trip. I’m making what I can when I can to get ready for the September 11 studio tour. I’ll be firing right before the tour about September 8 or 9.
I’m working on an order fro 13 of these cookie jars. Because I need 13 keepers I’ll throw 18-20 of them and let the client pick. If I made 13 only Murphy’s Law of pottery would kick in and I’d be short. Rather than throw the lid and add the knob after trimming it I throw the lid in place. It works OH on small lids like these. If I am making a large lid like for a big casserole dish. I’ll add the knob after trimming the lid.

library-20474.jpg library-20475.jpg library-20476.jpg
These platters are thrown with 15 lbs of clay. They are about 16-17 inches in diameter.

img_9198.JPG img_9201.JPG
1.5 lb faceted tea bowls for filling in around the platters.

img_9202.JPG img_9216.JPG img_9212.JPG
Jugs for the top of the bag wall.
The kids come by every day for a bit of clay to mess with. I remember how fun that was when I was little. It seemed like magic material.
Tennessee came by with a load of curious tourists.

Stone Jugs and the like.

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Thursday’s Convocation at Snow College featured Escalante writer Jana Richman. She stopped by the shop with her husband Steve Defa and our own local farmer/proffesor Steve Peterson. The visit was pleasant but way too short…..some other time.
Making some pottery this week has been a nice change form the post surgery honeydoo’s and assorted fall chores I have been consumed by lately. I have been working my way through some jugs, mugs, jars and bowls.
jugs.jpg lg-mugs.jpg
mug-detail.jpg jug-detail.jpg
In hand thrown pottery I can’t find any surface I like as much as the freshly thrown or turned clay. All of my firing and glazing it to the end of finding something that aproximates that freshness.
batter-bowls.jpg bowls-1.jpg
bowls-2.jpg bowls-3.jpg
covered-bowls.jpg sq-bowls.jpg
batter-bowl-closeup.jpg bowl-1-detail.jpg bowls-2-detail.jpg
detail-bowls-3.jpg covered-bowl-detail.jpg sq-bowl-close.jpg
My holiday sales are on November 27,28 and December 5 this year. I’ll be working like a Beaver for the next few weeks to get the ware out on time. I love this.

What I am making.

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Louisa came out from NYC last week for some first aid classes she aand I took to keep our guide certification current for guiding in the Grand Canyon. She left to go back on Tuesday. I spent Wednesday with more guide training in Sandy. I finally got back to the studio Yesterday and today. Here is what I am making.
Several dozen mugs for a Salt Lake based community radio station I listen to.
Three sizes of oval vases.
My old standaed venturi vases.