Monday, November 30, 2009

Dueling NC Wood Kilns

Michael Kline and Courtney Martin fired off their wood kilns today. Cold, rainy, windy day up there on Snow Creek Rd. They were texting each other to see who had the hotter cones falling. Classic. I showed up just to chat and shoot pictures. Looks like these two kiln loads will just make the upcoming TRAC tour deadline. Hopefully the snow will wait for next week to fall.

Best stop on the TRAC TOUR


Anyone headed out on the TRAC TOUR this weekend be sure to stop by the BEST STUDIO ever!

John Britt's Studio will have :

Joy Tanner;

Will Baker;

Susan Feagan _ no explaination necessary!

and Rodney Hopkins;

We will have home made chocolate truffles, cider and other assorted goodies as well as throwing demos and more!

Don't waste your time going to other studios! Hit the best first and if you have time...well......maybe check out some other Penland Potters:
John Britt

Throwing to a Pointer

Throw plates to a pointer to ensure consistent height and diameter. This promotes proper stacking in your kitchen cabinet. A pointer tool can be as simple as sticking a chop stick through a lump of clay, or a bad-ass fully adjustable pointer can be made with scrap wood, a drill, dowel and a few bolts with wing nuts. I'm taking orders, $40 each ;)

Cotton Fields

On our drive to the Outer Banks, we passed a lot of these cotton fields and so stopped to have a look.

I have never really seen a cotton field in person...but this plant is really amazing.

John Britt

Marbled Godwit

We were out on the Outer Banks this past week and saw some new birds (for us) including a small flock of Least Sandpipers and about 5 Marbled Godwits. Got this photo, which was about as good as it gets with my camera.
John Britt

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eggs from Happy Hens

First, Big Congratulations to Emily!!!

OK, onto food...
For those of us who eat eggs:
You can buy a dozen for $2.50 from a local farmer just outside of Bakersville
at 68 Dale Hill Road.
Call Paula for Paula's Farm Fresh Products, 688-4577.
She says she likes to keep her hens happy, and she has plenty of eggs.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wheel Throwing

Has everyone seen the latest ceramics book?!

It is by our own, EMILY REASON!!!

Looks like a great book Emily and you should be really proud of your achievement!

John Britt

Blown to Pieces

We have had an ongoing question, Why does a refired pot (or multi-refired pot), occasionally, explode in the kiln sending shards over the entire kiln and thus ruining all the other pots around it?

(Now, I am not talking about a bisque explosion which occurs around 200 - 400 F and is prevented by a long warm up which drives out the water.)

The possibilities are that the pot has absorbed some water during reglazing or just from a highly humid environment and since most stoneware pottery has at least a 1 -3 % absorption, the trapped water heating up causes the explosion.

Another possibility, the pot has been fired several times and going through quartz inversion around 1063F, too fast will cause the pot to explode. This can be with pots that have thick walls, or uneven walls. Or even including the possibility that during multiple refirings, cristobalite is created (above 2100F), and that is part of the cause, as it goes through cristobalite inversion around 500 F.
To test this I took two multifired stoneware cups and dunked one in water and just stuck the other one in front of the burner and heated it to red heat (1500 F). I then tried the same thing with the wet stoneware cup. Neither exploded.
So I tried a multifired porcelain cup and a wet multifired porcelain cup and heated them to red heat in about 10 minutes. Neither explode but the porcelain did crack into multiple fractures after cooled.

The conclusion is inconclusive.

The problem with this phenomenon is that it is intermittent. It happens once in a while and not every time. The exasperating thing is that when it happens it can ruin a whole kiln load.

Does anyone have a better design to test this? I would like to be able to make it happen to prove one way or another.

John Britt

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mudfire Holiday Studio Sale

November 27- December 21 @ Mudfire in Decatur, GA.

Holiday Clay Club

It's time to celebrate the Holidays, Clay Club style. We'll be gettin' down at the Club House, John Ferlazzo's, in Bakersville Wednesday December 9th from 6-8pm. Food will be potluck. We'll also CUP EXCHANGE and TOOL SWAP.
C'mon! Everyone do it! I left last year's party sad that I hand't brought a cup to exchange. Also, bring an old tool you never use to swap out!
See you soon!

William Baker Online Sale

Stop by the ETSY SHOP to view about 30 pieces I’ve held onto for your online purchasing pleasure.

Buy Handmade

The Etsy Shop is a convenient way to purchase these items safely online, you can even make a little wish list and pass it on to those who need to know what you really want for the holidays.

If you’re in the Western North Carolina area in the coming weeks, check here for a list of other events where you can find me and my work.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Is anyone firing a Cone 10 reduction kiln next week, with a few empty shelves???

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Craft Show in Western NC, possibly, the world!

Marshall Handmade Market was a HUGE success yesterday. Thanks to all those who came out to the Island, shoppers and craftspeople alike. We had a blast!
Photos soon to come...

Best Craft Gallery in Western NC

I went to an opening at The Crimson Laurel Gallery last night and was once again amazed at what a great gallery John and David have created!

It is really amazing.

Now they have a new webpage too!

Check it out:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Peach Bloom Opening

Headed out to the Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville NC for the ASU Summer Clay show.

Lindsey Elsie and I did a series of Peach Bloom Studies and will have some there.

Peace / Out

John Britt

The Mother Load!

If you are interested in ceramics technology/raw materials:

It is the Raw Materials Course from Alfred.

Also look at :

With recipes and project descriptions!



If you want your mind blown?

Watch this!

John Britt

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pottery Paparazzi

I got a new toy in the mail today. It's a Canon XS Rebel SLR. It's an entry level SLR and pretty affordable for how kick ass it is. I'm still learning how to use it. Luckily, I had a Canon Elph before this, so there are some common features. I also got a 16 GB SDHC memory card for it for only $34. It can hold 6000+ images at 10MP each. Can I get a "whoop-whoop?" This is considered a christmas bonus from my boss........ME. More pics to come. The ones below need some work, but hey, the camera's been out of the box for only 3 hours.

How different RIO affects glaze

These 2 glazes are the same recipe, same firing and same shelf in the kiln, however the one on the left was glazed after I made a new batch with a bag of RIO that was noticeably lighter in color than the previous bag. The recipe uses only 3% RIO. I happen to like the new glaze better, but I'm curious how this will affect my other glazes. I tested Chris Wolff Plum and was hoping to make a full batch for my next firing. It uses 11.5% RIO. Any thoughts?

Looking for a cone 6 reduction White

This is a cone 10 MgO White that I love, but I'd like to find a cone 6 white that might give me similar results. This is the cone 10 recipe:

MgO White Satin

F4 40
Whiting 8
Talc 16
Dolomite 14
EPK 22
Silica 5
Tin Oxide 4
Zircopax 8
Bentonite 2

I've tested this in cone 6 and it doesn't work. Is it worth trying to change this to a cone 6 (Val Cushing's handbook has a small section on this), or does anyone have a nice cone 6 White for reduction?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

lighting assemblage

I have been wiring my hand-built lamp bases. Using parts bought on-line thru lamp part suppliers. Sometimes I think of connecting to someone who might do this work for me.
Does anyone know of someone in the NW North Carolina mountains who might be a connect on this? Many thanks. Gluckin

Monday, November 16, 2009

Glaze and Materials Weekend

I am offering a special Glaze Talk weekend at my studio Decemeber 12 - 13 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

I will cover as much as possible on clays, glaze, glaze faults, materials, firing, kilns, etc.

It will be a loose, question based format and will cater to the participants.

If you are interested email me at:

First come first served and I will limit the enrollement.

The cost is $150

It may be just what you are looking for, after all the sales are over.

John Britt

Free Insulation

Yo Clubbers,

Jim Sockwell has some free 15" insulation rated at R-19.

Call if you want it:

John Britt

Marshall Handmade Market- This Saturday!

Been working on these porcelain and earthenware ornaments for the Marshall Handmade Market. Come check it out!

Saturday November 21 10am-5pm, Over 50 exhibitors

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Joy Tanner Online Sale Today

Come see 75 newly listed pots online at my Etsy pottery shop,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cone 6 Claybody

White Stoneware cone 6

20 Grolleg
10 Tile #6
20 XX Saggar
20 Kentucky Stoneware
10 Hawthorne Bond
14 Kona F-4
6 Talc

John Britt

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Akira Satake at Crimson Laurel Gallery

This November, Crimson Laurel Gallery presents: Yakishime – Kohiki – Yuuyaku – New work by Akira Satake and also New Work by guest potter Lindsay Rogers.

Akira will feature three distinct styles of pottery. Yakishime refers to pottery that is fired without any applied glaze. Natural ash glaze builds up on the pottery during wood firing and creates a number of wood-fired pottery effects. Kohiki is modeled after Korean Yi Dynasty ceramics and typically refers to an iron-rich clay body with white slip and then finished with a translucent glaze. Yuuyaku refers to glazed ceramic pieces and Akria uses Kakl, a persimmon or red iron glaze, Shino, a feldspar glaze originally developed in Japan and Celadon, a glaze which is white with hints of green and blue originally developed in China. Akira was born in Osaka, Japan has been living in the U.S. since 1983 In 2003 he relocated to Swannanoa, North Carolina, where he built a Japanese Kyushu-style oil kiln and a wood-fired kiln. For Akira the act of creation is a collaboration between himself, the clay and the fire. Akira has been influenced by natural events such as undulations in sand that has been moved by wind and rock formations as well as the crackle and patina of the weathered walls of ancient structures.

Lindsay Rogers was influenced by the antique pottery that surrounded her in her youth and the many hands and stories that those antique pieces had experienced. She is excited at the prospect that her work possesses this potential and her hope is that each piece she creates will stand alone as a ceramic representation of of how she interacts with the world. Lindsay began her work in ceramics in 2001 in New Haven Connecticut and was offered a residency in Natchez, Mississippi in 2005 where she worked with potter Conner Burns. She is currently working as a resident artist at the EnergyXchange in western North Carolina.

The exhibit opened on November 7th and an artist reception will take place on November 21st at 6pm. The exhibit will remain at Crimson Laurel Gallery through the end of the year. You can also see the exhibit online at

John Lara
Crimson Laurel Gallery
(828) 688 3599

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Executive Director Vacancy

EnergyXchange is accepting applications for the Executive Director position. This is a salaried position and the job description can be found at:

*** Only electronic submittals will be reviewed! ***

Application Process:
1. Send all information to:
2. Documents required: Letter of interest, 3 Professional references, Resume
3. First round applications must be received by December 4, 2009.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Clay Club Meeting OFFICIALLY Cancelled

Sorry dawgs, it's just been one of those months and unfortunatly it's the Clay Club meeting that's got to give.

Never fear! Ideas are a brewin' for a Clay Club Holiday Blowout. So make your list and check it twice. At a to be determined location we'll have a party to include eating (duh!), a cup exchange and tool swap. So make a cup, hold on to those unused tools and bring them next month to Clay club.

Anyone wishing to host Clay Club or contribute ideas for further holiday festivities, speak up!

November Clay Club

Yo Clubbers,

I am thinking of canceling the Clay Club unless someone else has a better idea!?

I just got back from visiting my mom and am wiped out.

Another thought would be to have it at the Pizzart in Spruce Pine and just all get pizzas and yap?

Let me know what you think,

John Britt

Christmas Cactus

Got home and found the Christmas Cactus blooming. Maybe a bit early?! But still nice to see,
John Britt

Friday, November 6, 2009

Clay Club November 11, 2009

Yo Clubbers,

Yes we will have a meeting Nov. 11, 2009. I had talked to Crimson Laurel about a slide show on Korea but have to confirm it.

If not, I will think of something,.... unless anyone else has any idesa?


Shows & Clay Club

Looks like Clay Clubbers are representing at some fancy shows, go us!

Sooooo, is Clay Club happening next week? Bueller?.......Bueller?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"It's all in the Details"

Annie Singletary and I are having a duo pottery exhibit opening this month at Pottery 101 Gallery in Salisbury, NC. Salisbury is just outside of Charlotte, NC. The opening reception is Friday night, 6-9 on November 20th and the show continues through December 18.

Cheryl Goins, the owner and potter of Pottery 101 renovated a historic building in downtown Salisbury where she set up a clay studio for classes and created a beautiful gallery for pottery. You can see more about the details of the renovation at her blog here.

Baltimore Clayworks Winterfest 2009

click on image to read details....

Baltimore Clayworks is gearing up for their 15th Annual Winterfest Exhibition and some of our fellow NC potters were invited to participate. Emily Reason, Joy Tanner, and Ben Carter (all past Resident Artists of the Odyssey Center, might I add), are some of those invited to be in this great show. Each potter was asked to send a nice collection of pots for the show...the opening reception is November 14. The show will be posted online very soon, and runs through December 30. Until then, you can check out the show's details on their website here.

WNC Pottery Festival

Will Baker and I (Joy Tanner) will be exhibiting our pots at the WNC Pottery Festival this Saturday November 7 in Dillsboro, NC. Come check it out! Here's the link to the festival site.

Marshall Handmade Market

It's going to be a full house at the Mrshall Handmade Market with over 50 exhibitors, a live preformance by the Butter Holler String Band & yummy food
all in a cozy holiday atmosphere. Check it out the website . Buy local craft!

Kyle's next few weeks...

November 11. 30 X 5. Iowa City, Iowa.
AKAR Gallery. 30 potters showing 5 pieces each. I'll be one of those potters showing some great pots at this incredible gallery. AKAR is known for their amazing online gallery and shopping experience.

November 14-15
. Studio Stroll. Asheville, NC.
Clayspace Co-op Studio & Gallery.
Twice a year, every second weekend in June and November, Asheville’s River Arts District opens to the public for two days of festivities known as the STUDIO STROLL. This year more than 110 artists are participating!

November 20
. Two Fine Folk. Seneca, SC.
Blue Ridge Arts Center. Two person exhibition with woodcut printmaker, Kent Ambler.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I have a piece in each of these exhibitions.

Blessings & Innovations
Dennis & Helene Dennis Museum
Beth Tzedec Synagogue
1700 Bathurst Street
Toronto, Ontari0
Canada M5P 3K3

September 18, 2009 through December 31, 2009

Objects of Virtue
Bedford Gallery
Lesher Center for the Arts
1601 Civic Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

December 1, 2009 through January 31, 2010
Opening Reception
December 2, 2009
6pm to 8pm


Anyone got any shows coming up that they want to announce??

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

UPS S*@#KS !!!

If I may interrupt the John Britt Soliloquy Blog to vent my frustrations with UPS.
Every other package I send via UPS arrives to it's destination with some form of damage. I refuse to take responsibility. Part of my job description after all, is "professional packager." I spend a great deal of time and money to abide by packing guidelines.
My other qualm is, where the hell can I ship things? Oh Spruce Pine Batch, how I miss thee.... UPS store? Paalease! My packages can't even fit through the door (that's what he said)! I can drive out to the UPS "hub," but make sure you don't show up there during their 4 HOUR lunch break. Yeah, they close from 11:30-3:30. My only remaining option is to pay $4 per package to have the UPS man pick up the package. What's another $4 on a $50 box to ship? It's my lunch from down the street damn it! (rather, across the river). I may be cheap, but I feel a little better now. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Platters

Gotta love the platters!

John Britt

Joyce Kilmer

If you ever get a chance...go for a visit to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest:

It has some of the only remaining old growth trees in NC.
John Britt

Sewing Machine- For Sale

I have a sewing machine for sale: Husqvarna Viking - Prelude 350 . It has 15 decorative stiches, extra feet, including a walking foot.

Paid $440, asking $250, excellent condition (like new).

John Britt


Nice day for hiking on the Roan,
John Britt

Pizzart in Spruce Pine

Hey Everyone in the Mitchell County area.....

Jen and Chad have purchased the Pizzart -Beer and Pizza store in Spruce Pine. So please go there and buy pizza and beer. Let's help them make this a go!

if you are a craftsperson in the area, then you know Katey Schultz, who is one of the most prolific crafts writer on earth and I am sure that you have read her articles in Ceramics Monthly, Art and Perception, etc.

She had written an article on about every craftsperson in the area guys should go to the Pizzart and buy pizza and then give Katey a huge tip a she is leaving for a residency soon and she will need cash !

This is no joke!

Go give Katey a big tip!!!

John Britt

Great Place to Eat

Finally made it to Papa's and Beer, at the suggestion of Marian Parkes.

What a great place! Great food, the selection is unbelievable and the service it outstanding.

Everyone dresses in costumes too!
If you are in Asheville on Tunnel Road next to the Ingles (the old Walmart) check it out.
John Britt