Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Not surprisingly its been a long time since I've updated my blog. People probably think that I'm still on a plane over the ocean....this is not true.

I've been very busy making...making...making...

 A wee 2 jug for some refreshments. 

Some bowls, made these the first day of classes. 

pie plates....not one of these came out of the kiln looking even remotely nice, lessons learned in firing. 

If I look like death in this photo it may be because I'm a "little" tired, I was cleaning some clay I found on my farm in London. 

some tests to make a bubble gum pink slip for decorating. 

experimenting with slip decoration, the one looks like a seagull pooped on it. 

And always firing Kilns (bisque firing, these were glaze fired a few weeks later, this is work by the class)

and sometimes you don't always get the firing schedule right when your on a time frame

some mugs, I had a lot of fun making these

this guy was my favourite....theres no attached sureal

heres that local clay of mine at ^o4, ^6 and ^10....its a tea-dust

I don't know if this casserole will fit in an oven, but oh well it'll hold popcorn at a party. 

tiny little shooters, I put a lot of these into the wood firing we did last week. They fit Everywhere

The unloading of our wood kiln

A cup with two stories, fired on its side on shells. 

The department head said this was a little over done, but then she said that thats OK because its just who I am. 

Sorry I haven't been updating in the last while, I've gone a little "nuts" with school, gallery openings, and everything else. I'll update again in a couple of days after critiques. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Its been one hell of a trip. I've learnt a lot of lessons that can only come with experience. "be more dramatic with your lines" "make the foot make a statement" "the rim of the pot should finish it off"

While here I've been making my own work (though it hasn't been fired yet) it'll bee nice to see how my pots come out of the kiln...though its a few months away.

I wouldn't of been able to get here without the help of my friends at the London Potters Guild, I won't name any names because I'll probably forget someone and I just know that I would never live it down.

Tomorrow I begin my long journey home, My plain leaves at 6am from Cardiff on the 23rd so tomorrow I'll be staying in a Hotel. Now is the hardest part of the trip...Limbo..

My tools are clean. 

My bags are packed

And the last bisque is loaded. 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A week in the sun.

I've been here at the Leach pottery in St. Ives a week now and I think that all those things that Phil has been telling me are starting to settle in. Theres almost an attitude about being a potter. A lot of the people here have this very relaxed attitude about pots. 

This is not a beautiful bowl, but Bill Marshall made it in the 60's. You can tell that it wasn't in a good spot in the kiln, its kinda rough and not well decorated.  I picked it up and didn't question its function. I felt the wall thickness and its perfect. Its substantial but light, and when you look at it it almost looks like its floating. I love it. 

I love St. Ives

We fired the soda kiln, more than 300 pots in the soda kiln. This is the standard ware for the pottery. The pottery is in a transition into a new range, before the pots were beautiful but didn't function very well and took too long to make. The idea now is to design a standard ware range that can be made in larger quantities that function better.  

Friday, 12 July 2013

One thing after another

      Phil organized for me to go to the Leach pottery for 12 days. in exchange for a room I'll be working in the studio...because I'm so hard done by... I get on the train at 10am and arrive at 8pm. So it will be a very long day, so perhaps I should bring some reading material. The day I got on the plane to come here Mum and I went to a used book store we found this, I've read it a number of times since I've been here, I'm having trouble understanding some of the things that Bernard is talking about. But the more time I spend with Phil and the more I learn about making work and making a living and integrity, the more this book makes sense to me. Some things can't be learnt in school, being here is teaching me more important lessons in being a potter than I ever could have learnt if I hadn't of come here. 

Phil has yet again given me so much, one day I hope I can repay everything that he's done for me. 

I can't express enough how much this means to me. 

Thank you. 

A few cups, 

I made this bottle form out of an iron loaded clay. It firers to about cone 8, with the white slip on it the decoration will appear layered. usually we look for glazes to bond together, but with this technique, the clay, slip and glaze all appear as separate entities. 

I was not happy with this decoration, I feel like it doesn't work with this pot, so I scratched it off. I think the mark is much better than what it does for the form. 

I've been looking a lot at slipware pottery from about the 1700's and this wavy decoration is derived from what is know as "the river". I practised this motion hundreds of times before I applied it to the pot. the idea of slipware is that today you decorate 100pots and tomorrow you decorate 100 more of the same pots, by the time you've finished. The marks become spontaneous. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Been a while

This morning I woke up and thought to myself...why haven't you been updating your blog Jordan? Now that my camera has arrived from Canada (It had to be shipped because I'd forgotten it at home), I'll be taking a lot more photographs and updating it more frequently.

Paddy the new puppy, He's always keeping us busy. 

I've been making some cups, with all the English Slipware in the house, I thought I should put some decoration on some cups.

Chawans, I've been making quite a few pots using coils in the last couple of weeks. Theres a lot of discussion about making honest pots. I've been finding myself curious about making pots using different techniques. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Going with a Giant to meet a Giant.

Phil took me to the Ken Matsuzaki opening at the Goldmark Gallery. Phil is so generious with his time and his knowledge, as we were looking at the work he would come up to me and talk to me about the pots and how I should pay a lot of attention to them because every time we go to opening we are provided with another perspective. Phil's been talking to me about finding my own way, I shouldn't copy anything that I see. Only take aspects and small details that could be incorporated into my own work.

Everyone has a voice and when I find mine, I'll know it. 

Every single pot had a presence and an elegance about it. It was like looking at something that just seemed to work on all levels, every detail from the foot to the rim, what was in the clay and on the glaze was carefully considered. 

I was very fortunate to meet Ken, he was very nice and open about explaining his work. 

The part I love most about Potters, is that there never not willing to share their knowledge.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Getting those pesky corners right.

Once the wood was stacked for the firing which is coming up in a couple of months I began press moulding. At first I thought it would be easy but once I began, I quickly realized that that would not be the case. 

I use a wire tied between two sticks which I pull through a large lump of squared off clay which I have sized for each mould. The slabs are ribbed and then pressed into the moulds and then the 3 pieces are assembled. Every detail has to be perfect. I'm learning a lot about details, nothing can be over looked. Later the edges will be cleaned and then Phil finish them. 

I am very humbled by this experience. I thought I new about what it means to be a potter. And once again in my life, the more I see, the less I know.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Holy shit I survived the planes, Trains, and Automobiles...

I've begun probably one of the most important summers that I've ever experienced. Phil Rogers, the noted potter and his wife Hajeong Lee another noted Ceramicist have taken me into there home. 

I'll be spending my time learning the day to day workings of running a profit making workshop, while I help Phil maintain his workshop. 

I thought I should post this picture to begin the blog, the dam in the back ground was built more than one hundred years ago by Welsh stone masons. This is important to me because my family were Stonemasons from Wales, but it also represents craftsmanship, and how doing something right will last longer than doing something quickly.

Remembering what came before us is imperative to understanding the present. 

The more I see, the more I begin to realize, that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Orange Peels and Hand Prints

I've started photographing some of my better work from last semester as it comes out of the glaze.

The only one of these that isn't glazed in the spray booth is the white one which has what looks like a hand print...because it is. I think that making good pots is about making good choices at every stage of the work. The hand print is where I held onto the little guy as I dunked it into the glaze bucket.

I've been thinking that its important to show craftsmanship in a clean well made pots where the makers marks are almost non existent... But if your making something where the makers marks are left behind. For example, where you would normally find small finger marks around the foot where the potter held onto the foot while they were glazing it. Shouldn't you really go out of your way to show that its made a certain way. Instead of just saying "well thats ok, it shows its been made in a certain way" and leaving those small finger marks. You should intend to show that you made it in a certain way and show that you made that choice.

The trick is making those marks without it looking like crap.

The others are clean and attention is payed to show as few marks as possible. The decoration on these pots comes from the kiln and the layering of the glaze from the sprayer.

I'll probably change my mind a few more times before I'm finished school.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

What did you do for your break week Jordan? "played in the mud"

Just before the break week...which means it was exam week. 

We had the privilege of hosting Phil Rogers in our studio. Watching him work and talk about pots was very inspiring. I've always been moved by that kind of "production" pottery. In school my education has been very focused on learning about contemporary work theory, I began to remember why it is that I fell in love with pots in the first place. 

I couldn't help myself after watching Phil work, I went home for the holidays and made some pots on friday and finished them on sunday. All that needs to happen is for them to be bisque fired at the London Clay Arts Centre (my home guild) and then I have to find a way of getting them to the College to be glazed...fingers crossed they make it.