Saturday, January 31, 2009

Boone kiln update

It's been awhile since I posted on Mark Murrey's kiln we are working on in Boone. It's been a slow process since we are building it through a Kiln Building class at ASU. Last semester we worked on it 1 day a week for 4 hours. It's almost done now. We only have the chimney, some more steel, bagwall, and door to go.

We are using 3 dampers for extra control of the temp and atmosphere. It also means they can be lower on the chimney and easier to reach.
Mark sent me a link to this amazing video. All you kiln builders out there should appreciate this guy's skill.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Maybe we could have a clay club meeting on taking photos ...

Pot Shots

I need to invest in some gear for taking photos. I've got the camera at least. It's been a long time since I took my photo classes and it was (mostly) predigital.
Could some of you show us your set ups? Backdrops, lights, soft boxes etc??

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Critical Thinking

There I am, alone in my studio, staring at these weird altered and cut rim bowl things that I'm not sure what you'd use them for, and it seems like they'd be better hand built than thrown, trying to decide, what was I thinking? Are they interesting? Are they crap? I work alone. I have no one else to give me an opinion. I dearly miss the camaraderie of studio mates. Those folks who you can joke with while you work, or ask for advice (by the way, I'm STILL looking for a studio mate.)
Here's my thought: March Clay Club we have critical discussions groups. We can break up into small, manageable size groups, perhaps lead by someone (an experienced and thoughtful potter/artist), and have critiques on a piece(s) we bring along. Is this a totally lame idea, or can I get a "hell yeah!"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Soda Craze-y?

We finished up the test soda firing last night and cracked it open the next day. The nice thing about the kiln size is that it cools fast!

I'm feeling crazy for crazing! I did a series of tests on the honey colored glaze below to try to get it from crazing so badly. I tried some varied tests by increasing the levels of silica, lithium, and spodumene. Only, the problem is, even though I did something different to each tile, they look all the same! They are all crazing now because of the soda hitting them. So does this mean I can't win?

I'll have to try further testing because this could work fine inside a bowl where it doesn't get hit with as much soda. I definitely like the color so when I did this test I kept that variable the same.

On with the craziness!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Clay Order??

Reposting, anyone up for it?

I need +/- 1000 lbs of clay (highwater) but don't have easy access to a truck. Anyone with a truck want to go in for the ton price? I'll pay for gas and then some.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teapots Galore

Check out this great slide show of the Baltimore Clayworks Teapots IV exhibit here.
Hands on workshop with Cynthia Bringle , Lynchburg , Va.---- Feb .....Contact .May Carter 434-528-3256      Limit  12......


Save the Date: Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 6:30-8pm, CLAY CLUB meets at the Penland Clay Studio for "Mug Mania," to help Susan make mugs for the annual fancy-schmansy Penland Auction. There's several ways to help: make mugs, handles (maybe decorating?) Bring tools.
Pizza will be provided. Clubbers are welcome to bring beverages, salad, desert, etc...
Anyone willing to come early and or stay afterwards to help set up/ clean up?
See y'all there!

WVU Ceramics in China

Just thought I'd pass this on. Fantastic opportunity fo students and non-students. Transferable college credits. Great for students as well as professionals, hobbyists, etc... I was fortunate to travel with WVU for the summer program, a profound experience.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Test Soda Kiln Building

I know various pictures have already been posted of the building of John's test soda kiln, so perhaps these are out of order. After we built the arch form out of the blue insulation foam, we packed castable around the arch, and here it is standing alone while we built the back wall.

The chimney and door are in place and two layers of fiber went over the arch, then chicken wire and later it was sealed off with mud.

This view is the back wall, with the lower port being the burner port, and above is opening for the damper.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Moved to:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thanks, John Britt!

Thanks John, for a great glaze workshop! It was amazing and overwhelming at the same time, with some John Britt flavored entertainment mixed in! I have been successfully converted into a glaze geek now and I just want to learn more! Bring it on, Grandpa! I'm excited about a second test run of the new cute soda kiln. I think I'm hearing soda kiln workshop?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm looking for a ticket

Hey y'all. Anyone in the Louisville, KY area should check out DinnerWorks. Many of us Clubbers are participants in this exhibiton of Dinner ware. Speaking of, anyone out there a participant who has the ability to get a free ticket to the cocktail party that won't be using it and willing to pass it on to me? Thanks !

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Hello everyone,

I am searching for honeycomb. More specifically i am searching for honeycomb i can take a plaster cast of. I don't necessarily need honey to accompany the comb, but i think anything would do. Any information is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


Monday, January 12, 2009

Cone 6 Oxidation to Reduction

Since settling into the Craven's old place, I'm eagerly making the return to the cone 10 reduction glazes of my college years. For the past 8 or so years, I've been firing electric to cone 6. I really like the cone 6 clay body I use for my garden pots, and their size limits me to one per glaze fire (they must be on the top shelf). Obviously I can fire many more at once in the gas kiln, and although I know I can still fire oxidation, I'm somewhat addicted to reduction firing. However, I'm in unchartered territory when it comes to reduction at cone 6. My base glaze is a Ca Mg B Val Cushing glaze, V.C. "72" which is pretty interesting in oxidation. I'm willing to take a chance, but I'd hate to screw up an entire load if this is something I should avoid. Any thoughts? Does anyone even do reduction at cone 6?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Experimental Soda Kiln Building

Joy Tanner and I have been working the last several days building this Experimental Soda Kiln for the Glaze Workshop that starts Monday, January 12, 2009. We are almost done.
Got the kiln set in place, with the help of Matt Aders and Keynon. We cast it inside because it was so cold and did not want it to freeze. So I have a heater inside it tonight, with blankets and hope all is well tomorrow.
Then the fiber, top coat, and chimney and we should be a go,
John Britt

wait, there's more

And as I was going to say, before I accidentally pressed the F12 key, we've got the stereo installed and the strobe lights left over from Brian Ransom's class are plugged in a ready to go all for winter rental. Important work here people!
OK, I have just now read this because some people like me have a job, and lot of work to do, and can't sit in front of the computer all day and post things!!! Sheeesh!! I've got a studio to run here people! I've just installed more party lights in upper clay. W'

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another carpool op

Susan is willing to drive some folks to Clay Club. I was hoping folks could ride the "short bus," a.k.a. Penland van, but that's a negative. Thanks for offereing to drive your own car Susan! Anywho, anyone who wants to meet up with Susan, chip in a couple bucks and do a save-the-world-one-car-at-a-time carpool. email her at

Thumbs up to Clay Club!

Clay Club is cool. Throwing with a "finger condom," is not. It just doesn't feel the same ;)

Remember Tacos, tools and 2009 this Wednesday in Marshall 6:30-8pm!
add a comment to this post to and sign up to bring.....
-flour tortillas
-corn tortillas-sour cream
-pico de gallo
-salsa (Green/ red)
-chopped onion
-chopped lettuce
-chopped tomato
-shredded cheese
-tortilla chips
anything else is welcome!I'll be making chicken for the tacos
Tool Swap: bring an old tool you never use and swap it out!
Directions are being emailed from John Britt, otherwise contact for directions.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

clay club caravan

hey all u clubbers in mitchell/yancy counties. i am going down to marshal so i can drive, ride whatever, my truck holds 3 adults comfortably or four not so comfortably, anyway. lets get a rideshare going, oh and i dont think there will be fireworks, justlookin thru old images cleanin up the laptop, liked this one

Basic Bread Recipe

Yo Hommies,

Potters do not live on pots alone. Try out this bread recipe from The Food Network. Alton Brown makes the most complicated bread but explains everything so well. Love it. Just like glazes you can eat! And if you are good you can have some water too. (Economic slowdown dinner)

Very Basic Bread Recipe (Food Network/ Alton Brown)

1 pound bread flour, plus extra for shaping
1 teaspoon instant rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons honey
10 ounces bottled or filtered water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 quarts hot water
Vegetable oil, for greasing the rising container
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Combine 5 ounces of the flour, 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast, all of the honey, and all of the bottled water in a straight-sided container; cover loosely and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
Place the remaining 11 ounces of flour, remaining yeast, and all the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the pre-ferment from the refrigerator. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the mixture on low for 2 to 3 minutes just until it comes together. Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, knead the dough on medium speed for 5 to 10 minutes or until you are able to gently pull the dough into a thin sheet that light will pass through. The dough will be sticky, but not so sticky that you can't handle it.
While the dough is kneading, pour half of the hot water into a shallow pan and place on the bottom rack of your oven.
Grease the inside of a large straight-sided container with the vegetable oil. Place the dough ball into the container and set on the rack above the pan of water. Allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 to 2 hours.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it onto a counter top, lightly dust your hands with flour, and press the dough out with your knuckles; then fold 1 side in towards the middle of the mass and then the other, as if you were making a tri-fold wallet. Repeat the folding a second time. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 10 minutes.
Flatten dough again with your knuckles and then fold the dough in onto itself, like you are shaping something that looks like a jellyfish. Turn the dough over and squeeze the bottom together so that the top surface of the dough is smooth. Place the dough back onto the counter and begin to roll gently between your hands. Do not grab the dough but allow it to move gently back and forth between your hands, moving in a circular motion. Move the dough ball to a pizza peel or the bottom of a sheet pan that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal. Cover with the kitchen towel and allow to bench proof for 1 hour, or until you poke the dough and it quickly fills back in where you poked it.
Place an unglazed terra cotta dish upside down into the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the 1/3 cup of water and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Uncover the dough and brush the surface with this mixture. Gently slash the top surface of the dough ball in several places, approximately 1/3 to 1/2-inch deep. Add more of the hot water to the shallow pan if it has evaporated. Slide the bread onto the terra cotta dish in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Once the bread has reached an internal temperature of 205 to 210 degrees F, remove to a cooling rack and allow to sit for 30 minutes before slicing.

John Britt


That almost balmy day yesterday (and another today) enabled me to comfortable clean all my kiln shelves and sweep out the bottom of the kiln. Next I have to remove the bag wall and clean out the firebox and rebuild the bag wall. That will probably be in a few days since today's time is spoken for. This week is filled with dog groomer and doctor appointments as a food shopping and an early dinner trip to the Tapas restaurant in Asheville so studio time is going to have to be squeezed in when possible.

I found another bowl of soda/salt test tiles so I'll have to finish that cataloging project today and maybe have time to throw some more test tiles. Once I get the new compressor working I'll have to make a die for the extruder for test tiles.

I got a new you tube video up last night. It's a quick, jerky tour of my little gallery space. Forgive my beginner film maker clumsiness! :-(. Actually, it looked better uploaded to my computer and something strange happened between the upload, making it into a video and then getting it uploaded to you tube. There are weird pauses in there that are not in the original clip. This was is part of my first try with the new Flip video cam. Now I have to learn to shoot slower since this camera makes what you're shooting go blurry if you scan too fast; but it is sure a handy little toy.

Here's the URL for the Gallery video:

Hit the "play in HD" link at the bottom right of the screen for best picture quality.

Till later,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Next Meeting

C'mon down the mountain for Clay Club in Marshall
next Wednesday January 7, 2009 6:30-8pm
Emily Reason's pottery studio.
Tacos, Tools and 2009!
Ifn' you'd like to bring food,
add a comment to this post to and sign up to bring.....
-flour tortillas
-corn tortillas
-sour cream
-pico de gallo
-salsa (Green/ red)
-chopped onion
-chopped lettuce
-chopped tomato
-shredded cheese
-tortilla chips
anything else is welcome!
I'll be making chicken for the tacos
Tool Swap
bring an old tool you never use and swap it out!
Directions are being emailed from John Britt, otherwise contact for directions.

Good Morning

Good Morning. Happy New Year.


John Britt