Friday, December 31, 2010

Re: Double-walled vessel - Mellie Lonnemann -2010

Here is a short clip of Mellie showing how she makes a double walled vessel. You can see her work at

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Re: Slip casting with multi-piece mold - Bailey Arend -2010

Here is a short video of Bailey Arend showing how he works with slip in a multi-piece mold to make a cup.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Basic press mold Erin Paradis -2010

Here is a short clip of Erin Paradis using a plaster press mold.  She is a resident at Odyssey Center in Asheville.

Various Textures - Micah Cain -2010

Here is another short video that I recorded at the December Clay Club Meeting that we had at Odyssey.

Micah is a resident at the Energy Xchange and lives in Bakersville NC.


John Britt

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bringle Workshop .. Jekyll Island

Demo workshop Jan .21-22... Fri.-Sat. cost $100 .. Contact Dave .....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Throwing a hollow handle -Sue Grier 2010

Here is another video from our December Clay Club Meeting at Odyssey Dec. 2010.  Sue show how quick it is to throw a hollow handle.

John Britt

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ceramics Monthly December 2010


Congratulations to Kyle Carpenter, Courtney Martin Steve and Becky Lloyd, Keith Phillips and Cynthia Bringle on pots in the new CM! It was for Kyle's annual show at MudFire in Atlanta. "Asheville in Atlanta" always a beauty but last year was the best of all time!

John Britt

No Drip - No Trim Pitcher - Video by Gabriel Kline

Here is a nice short video of Gabriel Kline showing how he makes a No Drip/No Trim Pitcher.  We videoed this and a few others at one of our Clay Club meetings. Thanks to Gabriel for volunteering!!

You can check him out at

John Britt

Sunday, December 12, 2010

John suggested I post some pictures form the outgoing resident's final show from Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts. Here they are in descending order. Alex Irvine, Beth Bond and Patty Bilbro

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sisyphus ( or every man - Mitchell County)

Here is an image of what happens when you forget to get your snow tires installed. Reminds me of Sisyphus.

John Britt

Sandra Wright Ceramic

Here is a fun piece of Sandra Wright's that was in a show at Odyssey in Asheville.

John Britt

Kyle Carpenter Show at Crimson Laurel

Great show of Kyle's Work at Crimson Laurel Gallery.  You can buy on-line too!

Tzadi Turrou also has a fantastic concurrent show there!

John Britt

Pottery Stuff For Sale

Here are some items I am selling.

A 30 cubic ft. stacking space gas car kiln for $3500 . .  this includes the burners, all bricks although some will be in pieces when the arch collapses but many will be fine and all the metal infrastructure. Also a digital pyrometer is included.  
The 12 x 24 silicon carbide shelves are separately priced at $600 for the 30.  I also have 11x18 silicon carbide shelves at $20 ea.
A Venco 4 inch nozzle de-airing pugmill at $1500.
Trina Buff clay at .20 a pound.  50 lb. bags of Gerstley Borate at $40 each.
I have a wedging table which is free for the taking but it's heavy.  Also I have 5 gallon buckets of cone 10 glazes which I hate to just dump so they are free.  Also a 4 x 8 work table that is available before I cut it up for kindling :)
Contact Jody at and my phone is 828.696.8121. My address is 270 Never Blue Rd. Flat Rock, NC  28731 in case someone wants to mapblast search the location. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Before Desert

Panne all'Olive (Olive Bread)

Reprinted from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Knead, No-Work Method by Jim Lahey. Copyright © 2009 Published by W.W. Norton & Co.

When I first opened Sullivan Street, with Roman baking in mind, this slightly pungent olive loaf immediately became my signature bread. As a result of the brine the olives release during baking, this recipe calls for no salt.

  • 3 cups bread flour (400 grams)
  • About 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pitted olives (200 grams, see note)
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast (3 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups cool (55 to 65 degrees F) water (300 grams)
  • wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dustingb

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, olives, and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2 - to 5 1/2 -quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use cautionóthe pot will be very hot; see photos, page 55.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

NOTE: For this loaf, any pitted olive will yield something worth eating. (You don't want to go to the trouble of pitting them yourself, because it is tedious and the results will not be as neat.) But what I turn to most often are pitted kalamata olives soaked in a pure salt brineónothing else, just salt. A commonly available kalamata that I'm very fond of is made by Divina and can be found at many supermarkets and gourmet stores. You might think that because they're black they will change the color of the bread, but they won't, unless you carelessly dump some of the brine into the dough. Green Sicilian colossals, sometimes called "giant" olives, packed in pure salt brine, are another good option; they're often available at Italian food stores.

December Clay Club 2010

Had another great clay club this month at Odyssey Center for Ceramics Arts in Asheville! Great crowd...about 40 or so.

 First I want to thank Marian, Jan and Tisha who helped get everything organized, set up and cleaned up.  

And then I want to thank all the demonstrators, Sue Grier, Alex Matisse, Micah Cain, Erin Paradis, Bailey Arend, Mellie Lonneman and Gabriel Kline, who all donated their time to give us some really fine demos. It is great to see a bit of how everyone works and to see all the new talent coming up in the ceramic world. I will get some of the videos out asap.

Then I want to thank Emily for not demonstrating!  (Emily is the one who rigged the dessert voting to screw me out of my rightful title of "best dessert".  She had all her students vote for her lemon bars! ) 

Just kidding, there were some great desserts and we also had a fantastic cup exchange.  

We are looking for topics and venues for next year and will discuss these at the January meeting. (Probably should skip the desserts and go with beer next time!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Clay Club Dessert Wars- part deux

Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake Gourmet | March 2000
by Mary Laulis
Bridge Street Bakery, Waitsfield, VT

The chef uses Valrhona cocoa powder in her cake, but other Dutch-process cocoa powders work equally well. The filling is made from sweetened condensed milk that is cooked in a water bath in the oven until it caramelizes. While the milk is baking, you can prepare your glaze.
Yield: Makes 12 servings.
Active Time: 1 1/2 hours
Total Time: 4 1/4 hours

For cake layers
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup boiling-hot water

For filling
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
4 ounces coarsely chopped pecans (1 cup)
14-ounces can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

For glaze
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
10 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Special equipment: 3 (9-inch) round cake pans
Make cake layers:

Preheat oven to 350°F and oil cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together whole milk, butter, whole egg, yolk, vanilla, and almond extract in another large bowl until just combined. Beat egg mixture into flour mixture with an electric mixer on low speed, then beat on high speed 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat in water until just combined (batter will be thin). Divide batter among cake pans (about 1 1/2 cups per pan) and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans and rotating them 180 degrees halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes total.
Cool layers in pans on racks 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove parchment or wax paper and cool layers completely.

Make filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Spread coconut in a large shallow baking pan and pecans in another. Bake pecans in upper third of oven and coconut in lower third, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 18 minutes. Remove pans from oven.
Increase oven temperature to 425°F.
Pour condensed milk into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and cover tightly with foil. Bake milk in a water bath in middle of oven 45 minutes. Refill baking pan with water to reach halfway up pie plate and bake milk until thick and brown, about 45 minutes more. Remove pie plate from water bath.
Stir in coconut, pecans, and vanilla and keep warm, covered with foil.

Make glaze while milk is baking:
Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate and corn syrup, whisking until chocolate is melted. Transfer 1 cup glaze to a bowl, reserving remaining glaze at room temperature in pan. Chill glaze in bowl, stirring occasionally, until thickened and spreadable, about 1 hour.

Assemble cake:
Put 1 cake layer on a rack set over a baking pan (to catch excess glaze). Drop half of coconut filling by spoonfuls evenly over layer and gently spread with a wet spatula. Top with another cake layer and spread with remaining filling in same manner. Top with remaining cake layer and spread chilled glaze evenly over top and side of cake. Heat reserved glaze in pan over low heat, stirring, until glossy and pourable, about 1 minute. Pour glaze evenly over top of cake, making sure it coats sides. Shake rack gently to smooth glaze.
Chill cake until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer cake to a plate.

Cooks' notes:
•Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
•For easier handling when assembling cake, place bottom layer on a cardboard round or the removable bottom of a tart or cake pan.

John Britt

Clay Club Dessert Wars

(From “Seven Deadly Sins of Chocolate” by  Laurent Schott)

Choux Pastry
½ cup water
½ cup milk
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all- purpose flour
4 large eggs

Bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and add all of the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon over low heat for about 1 minute until the dough forms a smooth, thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the eggs, one at a time, making sure you stir each one in well before adding the next.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. cover a baking sheet with baking parchment. Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2” tip, pipe 6 small balls (about he size of a walnut) for the tops, and 6 large balls (about 2-2 ½” in diameter) for the “bodies of the religieuses. Discard the remaining dough or pipe and bake more balls to freeze for another use.
Bake for about 25 -30 minutes (the large ones will take longer), until they are golden brown and crisp.
Cool completely.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
3 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ¼ cups pastry cream  (see recipe below)
¼ cup heavy cream
Stir the chocolate into the warm pastry cream. Let stand until the chocolate melts. Add the heavy cream and whisk until smooth.
Transfer the pastry cream to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8 inch tip. Pierce a small hole in the base of each ball, and fill with the cream.

Pastry Cream
Makes about 1 ¼ cups
1 cup milk
¼ cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split open
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Bring the milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla bean to a boil in a saucepan.
Whisk the yolks, flour and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl until the mixture is pale yellow. Gradually whisk in the hot milk (after removing and scraping the vanilla bean).
Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the cram is very smooth, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Use immediately. The recipe can be doubled if needed.

Chocolate Icing
Makes about 1 ½ cups
1 ½ teaspoons powdered gelatin
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
¾ cup Dutch-processed coca powder
¾ cup heavy cream
Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 tablespoon of water in a custard cup and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring the sugar, cocoa, heavy cream and remaining ¼ cup water to a boil in a sauce pan, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until slightly evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the soaked gelatin and stir well to dissolve the gelatin.
Pour into a bowl and let stand until the icing is tepid but still fluid. The recipe can be doubled, if needed.

To Assemble the Religieuses
(silver drageés, for decoration)
Warm the icing in the microwave (or a very low oven) until tepid and liquid. Dip the top half of each choux into the icing, turn the right way up and cool slightly.
Place the small choux (heads) on the larger ones (bodies) and top each with a drageé while the icing is till soft.

John Britt

How to VIDEO

Well, I was supposed to do a short demonstration at tonight's Clay Club. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. My firing had to be pushed back a day. I'm firing today. So, here's a short video I recently made Maybe it'll make up for my lack of attendance tonight.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Boo Boo in the Snow (by popular demand)

Snowing in Mitchell County NC

We are getting our first snow up here in Mitchell County NC.  Sure sign that we having a TRAC Tour Sale!

Don't know if it will be anything like last year but it is beautiful.

It is amazing how high the snow will stack on a little weed!

John Britt

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Clay Club

Yo Clubbers,

We are planning the December Clay Club for Wednesday December 8th, 2010 from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. at Odyssey Center in Asheville.   It should be another great one.

We are planning to have a pot luck with emphasis on dessert. Everyone will vote on the best dessert and the winner will get a prize. (probably something shitty but that is all we can afford in these economic times. Besides potter's know that what really matters is gaining the satisfaction of doing what you love, so share the love, pass the dessert!)

We will also have a voluntary cup/mug/object exchange. So bring an extra mug/cup/ object.

And for the Main Program we will have demonstrators present a 5 minute demo on something they do, for your viewing pleasure.  These are going to be 5 minutes max. so we can video them and post them on the blog. (Demonstrators will include: Kyle Carpenter, Sue Grier, Micah Cain, Alex Matisee, Erin Paradis and many more!)

Don't miss this one with some lame ass excuse that you don't have time to visit your clay friends. Get off your ass, make some dessert and get your priorities straight! :)

I will post the whole line up on Sunday night, or so.

If you need directions let us know (or Google Odyssey Center).

Last Clay Club of the year!

John Britt

Friday, December 3, 2010

TRAC Sale Today and the rest of the weekend

TRAC Sale is this weekend in Mitchell County North Carolina. Artists studio's are open and pots are flying out the door.

I have a special deal on seconds from $5.00 - $25.00 while they last! Great simple handmade Christmas gifts!!

John Britt Pottery
154 Sparks Road
Bakersville, NC 28705

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Ceramics Monthly 2010

Check out this months Ceramics Monthly.  Lindsey Elsey has a Comment. (Which is her first of many published articles!) Susie Lindsey has an article. Gay Smith has an article. Emily Reason has an article. And Kenyon Hansen has an article and is on the cover.  He worked with Matt and Shoko.

Anyway PROPS to all!!

Rock on Western NC!!

John Britt