Saturday, February 28, 2009

News Bulletin: Linda McFarling is Alive and Well.

The article also proves that Linda McFarling is alive and well and potting in Burnsville. Rumors of her demise were greatly exaggerated. She is planning a MONSTER STUDIO SALE in late summer. Mark your calendars!

Kiln Wash Rules!

Yo Clay Club Geeks,

Just wanted to let you know I got an article in this month's Ceramics Monthly on the most interesting topic in the WORLD..Kiln Wash.

Read it and GEEK.

John Britt
when one wesite isn't enough:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Clay Club is Coming!!

Get your pots ready for a monster critique with Cynthia Bringle, Linda McFarling and Michael Kline. (What a line-up!)
The second Wednesday in March, or March 11, 2009. It will be a Emily's Studio in Marshall.
I will send out a reminder next week.
John Britt

community day

Tomorrow Sat is  a wonderful event  at Penland School  . Sudios are open from 1-5  . Bring friends and family to try your hand at making something .. No charge for a good time ..

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Wow, we filled the Digital Photo Class and have 7 on the waiting list. We are trying to schedule a second date. Stay tuned!!!

John Butt Munch

Sharing ideas

Just like our subtitle says, right? I have a studio mate from college who lives in San Diego now and she checks our blog regularly. Having recently moved, she's taking a class until she can set up her home studio. Her instructor is lecturing on glazes. In fact, he tested John's oil spot with unsatisfactory results. She referred her instructor to our blog. The first post he saw was Mark's about adding a Clay Club facebook page. You remember, the one with Mark's profile picture of a man (not Mark I believe) with his head up his arse. I can't wait to hear the reaction to the lengthy "Ass Munch" discussion. John, didn't you ever watch Beavis and Butthead?
It's real.

Workshop in Tuscany with Gay Smith

Workshop in Tuscany, Italy
Making Lively Pots with Gay Smith
Luxuriating in Form and Surface
May 17-23 and/or May 24-30, 2009
choose to attend for one or two weeks

We will thoroughly enjoy ourselves in this gorgeous setting by making and firing pots in the beautiful studio and soda kiln, eating luscious meals, and reveling in the fabulous experiences offered at La Meridiana.
Accommodation, many gorgeous Italian meals, daily coffee & biscotti, tours of Florence and surrounding area, ground transportation, and tuition, materials and firing are included in the very reasonable cost of 900 euro/one week or 1600 euro/two weeks. This is very affordable, given what a trip to Italy would cost not even including a pottery workshop, especially with the best exchange rate in years.
Non-potting spouses, family and friends are welcome at 70% the cost.
To book or for more information contact: La Meridiana
See you in Italy!

Next Meeting?

Is the meeting next wednesday? And where? Anything on the agenda?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Basic Digital Craft Photography Workshop

Basic Digital Craft Photography Workshop
March 28, 2009
Joy Tanner and John Britt will conduct a one day, hands on class on how to take digital photographs of your three dimensional ceramics/crafts using a simple, low tech approach for the beginner.

Saturday March 28, 2009 - 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

$60.00 (includes digital photographs of 2 – 3 pieces)

The goal is to learn how to construct and set up a simple photographic display and learn the basics of photographing your own work. We will discuss various cameras, digital vs. film, back drops, how to create a handmade light box and adjust for appropriate diffused lighting, basic terminology and everything you need to document acceptable images of your work. With a few simple instructions, you can end your fear of documenting your own work with this easy and inexpensive way of doing it yourself. During this tough economic period, why pay someone $75.00 an hour to photograph your work when digital photography makes it accessible to everyone!

Bring 2 -3 pieces of your 3 dimensional ceramic work, no larger than 12” x 12” x 12” that you would like for us to photograph. (Optional: You can also bring your own camera with your manual if you need help in how to use it for this purpose.) Please call to discuss your choice of objects that you will be bringing. Also, bring a jump drive or a blank CD so you can take your beautiful new images home.

For the cost of photographing three pieces you can learn how to do it yourself!

A lunch, of soup and homemade bread is included.

Class size limited to 8 people.

Please send a check to reserve your space:

John Britt Pottery Studio
154 Sparks Road
Bakersville, NC 28705


John Britt

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recycle your foam!

I am a big fan of recycling and reusing things. I guess most potters are packrats. I love using this black foam that you find in cone boxes in the studio for putting my slab pieces on. It's a great thing to use that is soft and won't scratch up your form. So, if you're local, will you please save me your foam if you aren't using it yourself? I could use a lot!

Gerry Williams

John  Hardom  just let me know that Gerry's wife Julie passed away yesterday (Mon )I 'm sure most of you know that Gerry founded Studio Potter magazine and Julie was very much a part of it ...His address is 130 Stark Hwy South , Dunbarton , N.H. 03046

Word of the Day

Learned a new word today:

Butt Munch!

That says it all,

John (Butt Munch) Britt

The Bird

Speaking of completed, Claire Burdulis completed two years as Textiles/Drawing and Painting Coordinator and is headed back to Chicago.
We will miss her smiling face!
John Britt
Oh baby, Oh baby, Oh............... he completed me!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Luke Nealey's Bowl

Luke Nealey is the featured Artist of the Month.
It bowl is a combination of Persimmon 2 with Hamada Rust over it and fired in oxidation to cone 10.
Nice job Luke!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Plaster Workshop March 7, 2009

Plaster Mold Making Workshop
March 7, 2009
One day, hands on class on basic mold making.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
$60.00 (includes plaster)

Bring about 5 pounds of clay, your tools ( e.g. detailing tools, wire tool, loop tool, rib, etc.), leather gloves, a dust mask (if you have one) and 2 or 3 very simple objects, approximately 4” x 4” x 4” or the size of an apple. From those we will choose one object that we will make a small two piece press mold from. Also, bring an apple or a pear so that if your objects have too many undercuts and are too difficult to cast, we can just make a mold of the apple or the pear. The goal is to learn the mold making and press molding process so when you return home you can do it yourself!

A lunch, of soup and homemade bread is included.

Please send a check to reserve your space:

John Britt Pottery Studio
154 Sparks Road
Bakersville, NC 28705

Cold and Snowy Day in Mitchell County

We are having one of those cold snowy days that make you want to stay home by the fire and read a good book.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

One Piece Mold

Three Piece Mold

Two Piece Mold

Plaster Mold Class

Had a great plaster mold making class today. Hope everyone else felt that way.

We had :
White Bean and Chicken Chili (Linda McFalring's recipe)

3 (15 ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinced
6 cups chicken broth
2 medium chopped onions, divided use
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch dice
2 (4 oz) cans diced green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon crushed dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place beans, chicken broth and half the onions in large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, and when hot, but not smoking, add onions and sauté until tender. Stir in chicken and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked. Add green chiles, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes and stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to bean pot and season with salt and pepper. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until flavors are well blended. Add more water or stock, if needed.
3. Serve warm, garnish with sour cream, cilantro, shredded parmesan and salsa.

8 serving
We also had hot, fresh bread:
Alan’s Bread Recipe (New York Times Recipe)

3 cups of unbleached bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 5/8 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, and water in a large bowl. Stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let bowl rest at least 12 hours, preferably 18 hours, at room temperature (70°F).
After the 18 hour first rise, punch down with a wooden spoon. Place in a greased metal loaf pan. Let rise for 2 more hours keeping the pan covered with another loaf pan inverted onto the top of the bottom pan.
Bake bread for 30 minutes at 450° F with the lid on and then continue for another 15 minutes with the lid off.
And, Tisha brought wonderful cornbread and tea, Judith brought some hummus and bread, and Marian brought some yummy brownies, some other stuff I can't remember.

New Website!

Hey Clay Club! Check out the new EnergyXchange website! It just launched yesterday. We also created a fan page on face book... if you are so inclined, visit us there too. We are still trying to spread the word about our two open residency positions (one in clay, one in glass) and every little bit helps. The application for the residencies are due March 31st. There is a full month to get an application together... so, no excuses! Ha! Thanks again y'all.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Collaborations Show

Macon Art Gallery
April 3-25, 2009

Featuring collaborative ceramic works by Eileen Braun, Rick Berman,John Britt, Meg Campbell, Heather Davis, Susan Feagin, Kenneth Horvath, Roger Jamison, Diane Mead, Joy Raynor, Kate Tremel and Tom Zwerlein.

It is sort of like the "Exquisite Corpse" idea. I sent my bisque work to Diane Mead and she sent me hers. Then we glazed and decorated them the way we saw fit and then they, along with everyone else’s collaborative works, are all assembled into a show.

It should be very interesting!

John Britt

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crossing My Fingers for...

American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, MD 2/24- 3/1
& Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC April 22-26

Need an Electric Kiln

Yo Potters (in the 828 area code),

Jenny Lou Sherbourne, one of our most esteemed colleagues, and one of the only "real” potters actually on the Roan, is in need of an electric kiln. About 8 cu. ft. would be good. If you have any leads she would be very appreciative!

Hurry, her life is depending on Your action!!

John Britt

Upcoming Shows

Anyone want to list the upcoming shows that they are in?? It might be nice to know where everyone is going to be and what shows ya'll think are best.

John Britt

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


During these times of “economic slowdown” are you just going to sit around grunting, snorting, whining and complaining, waiting for everyone to start buying your stuff again? Or are you going to do something to make your work and your life better?! Take this precious “slow” time to invest in your own education!

I have two classes that will help you to understand firing, glazes and clay in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. They will help YOU to understand and figure out what is going right and wrong with your own work. You won’t have to wonder or “ask the experts.” You will be on your way to becoming the expert!

Don’t procrastinate any longer. You know that you feel inept, incompetent, ineffectual, hopeless, ineffective and incomplete when it comes to the technical aspects of clay, the process, the firing, etc. Let me complete you!

This is a real chance to improve your knowledge, creativity and thus your work. That way when things start selling you will be one step ahead of everyone.

Reduction Firing (Shinos, Celadons and Copper Reds) - February 27 – March 1, 2009.

Basic Glaze Chemistry and Raw Materials – March 9 – 13, 2009.

I have classes listed on my website:

But do something for yourself right now!

Hope to see you there. Contact me with any questions 828-467-5020.

John Britt

Read it and weep Michael Kline

Just got the new Pilot G-2 Mini .

John Britt

Monday, February 16, 2009


Gotta love this view. Here's a view looking down at the recessed firebox of my catenary arch, cross-draft, propane fueled salt kiln. Each firing gets 4lbs of table salt and is fired to cone 10. I've been firing this kiln since 2002. It's probably has been fired about 60 times. I lost the exact count early on and never thought about until now.

Kick Ass Bread Recipe

Moved to :

Sunday, February 15, 2009

hi everyone.... i was wondering if anybody knew of a slab roller for sale. i'm looking for one in a lower price range, at least 24" wide. if any of you hear of anything, please let me know. (the one that was already posted on here has been sold already.) thanks *courtney

Friday, February 13, 2009

JB missed out!

Thanks to everyone who came to Penland Wednesday night for the most amazing Clay Club meeting ever! I appreciate everyone coming out in that crazy, rainy, and windy weather to help make mugs for Penland's Annual Benefit Auction. It just goes to show that people will do anything for pizza. In two hours, people made 139 cylinders and attached 33 handles for a total of 172 mugs. (I would have posted these photos earlier, but I spent yesteday attaching 99 handles. Thank you to the person who left the bottle of wine of the porch.) Y'all are great! What's next?

The aftermath

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tom Mills

Sad news .. Tom Mills  a friend and photographer for many of us passed away yesterday . He was out bike riding and evidently had a heart attack ..

Monday, February 9, 2009


For those of you are coming to Wednesday night's Clay Club meeting who were thinking, "Oh, I don't throw in front of others," or "Thank God I don't look like Mark Peters," well, Cynthia Bringle was nice enough to make your mugs for you so you won't get all dirty and stuff. But we still need you to add the handle and the decoration! The Grammys are over and you need to get out of the house, people. See you this Wednesday at Penland!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Just recently did a glaze workshop with John Britt. It was great! John is such an amazing teacher. He has the ability to take something very complicated , glaze chemistry no less, and put it into understandable terms. Not only was the workshop great, but John is an all around fun person to be with. I recommend this to anyone interested in clay. Wish I had done this years ago!!!! Too bad I had to wander in the desert for 30 years.

Linda McFarling

demo and show in saluda

Saluda has a one day show May 16 . They are looking for someone to demo in exchange for a free booth . I also asked them about giving the artist some money for gas .. Call Susie Welsh 828/749-3900..Maybe 2 people could get together and share ...Cynthia

Saturday, February 7, 2009

lynchburg ($ avalible)

The 3 day hands on workshop still has space and they have just told me they have some scholarship money to help with the cost .. Pass the word . Limit 12 20-22... Thankyou ,  Cynthia Bringle

Friday, February 6, 2009

Slab Roller for Sale

For Sale
Bailey Slab Roller, dual, 30 inches wide, with long table. $395.00 Contact Valerie at:

Another Opportunity at Penland

Folks, if you've ever wanted to get dirty at Penland and still be able to drive home afterwards, now is your chance! Penland's annual Community Open House day is approaching and the clay studio is in need of volunteers. It's Saturday, February 28, from 11 to 6. For volunteering, you get a pizza lunch, a work apron designed by Penland resident Margaret Cogswell, and lots of respect and good kudos from the clay coordinator. And you'll look like a pro! Visitors arrive at the school at 1 and leave at 5. All the studios are open and people are invited to make stuff. I have two activities in the clay studio. Visitors can throw a pot on the wheel or sculpt/handbuild a pot or a mini-sculpture, all with the help of volunteers. If you're interested in helping, please let me know: (828) 765-2359, x.41, or I'm looking especially for people who like to throw and who would be willing to throw with kids. See y'all soon!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Photographing Your Own Work

I thought I'd show my photo booth display and explain a bit how I shoot the images of my own work. It's really not that hard if you just take a few steps in getting the right things. A lot of my setup seems pretty rigged up with homemade parts, but it gets the job done quite nicely. In the end you can save yourself a lot of money by doing it yourself.

It helps to set up your display in a room where you have a wide floor area to work in, preferably a dark room with no windows, or try to shoot at night. If this doesn't work, set up dark curtains or tape cardboard over your windows. The glare from the windows will show up on your pots! I am lucky in that I have an extra room where I can leave the majority of my photo display up even when I'm not using it so it's relatively easy shooting new images every now and then.

List of things I use:

1. Gradated Paper
(Photo Tech, Inc. St Paul, MN). I buy mine through this company for around $60 and got a gradated paper that is white to black, but the gray to black one is nice. Gradated is great because it helps you create a shadow in the back which gives that three dimensional feeling in your photograph of your pot without the piece looking like it's floating in the middle of nowhere. This company has a couple of sizes, I bought the biggest one they have, which is 42" x 62", but remember that size can be limiting if you have very tall pots or very wide pots. The majority of my work fits well on this size of backdrop except for my wide and tall basket and vase forms. Or you could buy a plain gray backdrop at a photography supply store, that might come bigger, and if you go this route, then just cut some black cloth in zig zag lines, hang it above your paper from the ceiling, and it will cast the appropriate shadow onto the background. This way might be cheaper and then you'd have a bigger backdrop for taller and wider pieces.

2. Hanger for wall: You'll need to make some sort of thing to hang this paper from the wall. I screwed a strip of wood to the wall. It has several nails on it so you can choose which height you want your paper.

3. Clamps: Then you need some clamps to clamp the top end of the paper to a dowel rod, or some other thin strip of wood. You can get heavy duty ones at Lowe's, they are metal with bright orange handles. Then you can rig up a string that comes from both ends of this paper hanger, and that will then hang onto the nails on the wall.

4. 3 Clamp Lights from Lowe's, these are the silver reflector light holders that later you will put your own bulbs in. They are not made for high temperature bulbs, so you have to turn off your lights often to be safe!

5. 3 Light Bulbs: Whatever you do, the light source has to match your camera...
If you are shooting film, with tungsten slide film, you have to use tungsten photo flood bulbs from a photo store, Iris in Asheville usually has them. Or you can use these bulbs with your digital camera and then set the white balance that is on your digital camera according to the tungsten lights.

I shoot digital now, so I don't use tungsten photo bulbs anymore. I just bought 3 utility bulbs 300 watts from Walmart. Then I still adjust the white balance on my camera to match the light source. This is the key thing you want to make sure you set right so the color is correct and you don't get blue or yellowish images. These bulbs get very hot in the light sockets, so be aware and always turn them off inbetween setting up your next image.

I use a gray card to adjust the white balance on my digital camera. I turn all my lights on and put the gray card on the table and take an actual picture of the gray card with the light illuminating of it. This setting is then recorded in my camera for the remainder of my shooting.

7. Foam Core and Cloth for Light Box and Diffusers:
I made the light box that hangs from the ceiling out of foam core from Michael's craft store. You'll need 6 pieces for it, it's sort of a trapezoid form?? This part doesn't matter it's just nice that it's lightweight, hangs from the ceiling, and it holds one of the clamp lights with one of the lightbulbs in it. The bottom of the lightbox has white cloth strapped over the bottom so that the light shines through can cut a window in the foam core to create a place to put this fabric. Hang the lightbox from the ceiling. Then use string or wire to connect the light box to these hooks and that way it is adjustable depending on how high you want your lightbox.

Diffusers for the side lighting: Foam core and fabric...make 2 or 4 for extra in case you really have a hot spot or glare you can't get rid of.

Fabric: you can use any thin white cloth to help diffuse the light. Mount it onto a foam core sheet with a window cut out of it that the cloth is stretched over.

8. Hairspray! Sometimes works to dull down hot spots or high glare areas on your glossy beautiful pots.

9. Tripod! an absolute must....I love photography, so I like shooting purely in a manual setting, using manual focus and adjusting the shutter speed down to a slow speed with a high aperture. This creates a good depth of field to help in getting a sharper detailed picture of your pot.

Good luck! If anyone ever has any questions and this LONG post didn't do enough for you, you can always email me!

Another place you can find all kinds of information is John Glick's blog Fresh Plums, which is a blog all about photography for potters!