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.
Posts Tagged ‘stoneware pottery’
I went to Coleville last week with Lee and got three tons of clay and dry materials. I also picked up this used slab roller. Actually it had not been used but had been previously owned by a fellow who fancied the idea of being a potter and got a whole studio full of new gear and then never did much with it. The canvas sheets that are used to roll the clay are completely clean and new. It will ge tused a lot here.
I have been making a few slab pots using an old baker’s rolling pin that Karma Distefano gave me thirty five years ago. I’ve had it in my head for a while to get a slab roller and make some new molds. With that order of dry materials is 200 lbs of potter’s plaster.
A few of my past slab pieces.
A year ago I tried making a couple of large lidded oval bakers. They turned out well and were sold as soon as they came out of the kiln. (Why does Dave Ericson a;ways show up to help unload?) I decided to try a longer run of the last week. Here is a simplified step by step of their making.
I started by throwing a series of low wide cylinders and reshaping them into a trefoil type oval.
The body of the pot is then placed on the bottom and “wiggled” around until I feel it start to stick. I then smooth down the edges with my finger inside and out and cut all the way around it with a wooden knife tool and then trim away the excess clay from the bottom with a fettling knife.
Using a triangular rib I scrape away excess clay from the base and undercut it a little. I like to leave the “deckle edges” where they occur.
With the oval baker still on the wheel I stick a couple of handles on and pull them in place.
Next I cover the bakers with light plastic and roll out a slab of clay a little bigger than the pot for each one and set them aside.
After the slab has had time to stiffen up some I use a hard rubber rib to press the slab into the rim of the baker carefully stretching it to give it an inverted dome shape.
After I have finished shaping the lid I trim around the edge of the baker with a needle tool and let the lids and bakers dry and stiffen together.
When the lid is stiff enough to handle but still pliable I turn it over and trim it along the line left in the clay from the rim of the baker using a needle tool on the outside and a fettling knife on the inside. I also smooth the rim of the lid with my fingers and a little water if needed.
With the lid trimmed and smoothed I pull a strap handle, bend it and attach it to the lid. I fit the lid to the baker by gently adjusting the shape of the baker to conform to the lid and by shaping the lid with a sureform. This is only going to work if the baker is still somewhat pliable. THe moisture content of the baker is critical and can be maintianed by wetting the baker and keeping it covered until the lid is ready.
These six bakers were made and put together over a three day period.
The launch date for our Grand Canyon trip is galloping toward us. I am making as much pottery as I can so I’ll be able to fire before we go. I have a client who wants dinnerware so I need to throw enough to make a firing. Hands on clay, mind in the ditch….a very big ditch.
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.
The firing went well. I unloaded the kiln Friday evening with the help of my friends Royden Card and his daughter Suri. I would have gotten it all done but the Plein Air painting reception was at 6 pm and I needed to be there. The reception was well attended and there was a lot of really good work.
Saturday I finished getting the new work out and priced just in time for the onslaught of tourists. The day went fast an furious. The tour started at 10 am and I was not able to sit down until 3 pm. By 5 pm people had left enough that I was able to get the pots all put away in time for I and lee to go to the artist’s BBQ at Anderson’s barn. It was pretty good after starving all day. They had a whole hog cooked very slowly in a smoker. Yum.
Early in the day someone stopped by the pot shop to let me know that the Plein Air competition had been judged and Lee took second place. I was so happy I about cried. Lee also sold the other piece she had done and one from her studio. That with the pile of pots I unloaded on my visitors made it a good day for the Bennion fund.
Here are some of the things I pulled out of the kiln.
These jugs are different that what I have been doing. We shall see.
This cycle of production was way long on mugs. I also made a fair amount of oval bakers, bread pans and assorted sized jugs.
I made these vases for my friends Werner Wiexler. He is an interior designer who runs a very nice shop in the avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City.
Little cups for whatever.
The usual component of bowls.
I am working my way through the 2+ tons of clay I had Jim Simmister get for me from Laguna earlier this year. It is a pleasure to see the clay slip through my hands on its way to relative permanence. I still am somewhat amazed that I or anyone for that matter can take amorphous clay and turn it into vessels with what feels like not much effort. I realize that the skills I rely on have been coming along for 38 years now. At this point I don’t think much about all those years at the wheel. I first picked up clay in 1971. I was enamored with my cousins, Scott, Mark and Anne Bennion’s pottery making next door to where I grew up. They had a wheel and a small gas kiln. I’d watch them and think “this has to be it”.
Here is a bit of what is coming off the wheel today. I had visitors from Bountiful and Salt Lake City. I am still a bit amazed at how my local customers are supporting me. No packing and shipping works for me.
Three lb serving bowls.
Oval baking dishes.