Monday, July 27, 2009

Recent Commission

Here is a new project I have been working on over the past week. I received a recent commission for 48 small planter pots of "any form and size". After throwing a few experimental/exploratory pots, I decided to make them from 1.5 pound balls of clay, and include an attached one piece drain tray. I ended up making 53 pots, planning for a few that don't turn out how I hope. All in all it took about 5-6 hours to throw and finish all the pieces.

This was a great project to play with different forms and ideas that have been floating around in my head. They are headed to the bisque firing later this week or early next week and pictures of the finished pots to come....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home from the Warren Mackenzie workshop!

Just got home from seeing the Warren MacKenzie Retrospective Exhibition at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco and spending time with Warren today for his workshop and exhibition at Trax Gallery in Berkeley. Here is a teaser....More pictures to come.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cameras, Lighting, and Backgrounds Continued

Today I finished setting up my soft box and hung the background. The soft box is installed with eye hooks in the top of the box and eye hooks in the ceiling connected with a loop of rope. This enables me to adjust the soft box easily and it position is held in place by the box's own weight and friction. The soft box has two baffles to disperse the light evenly, both baffles are installed with velcro so that they can be easily removed for light bulb replacement. Believe it or not, the baffles are pieces of a white vinyl shower curtain from Target. They work great! (The soft box is a little crooked which does not really matter, but something I intend to fix!)

Once I got everything set up, I did a quick test shot with my wife's "point and shoot" Canon SD400 Elph. The result is a low resolution, non white balanced photo, which turned out really nice! The piece in the photo is a wonderful tea pot I own, made by a great New Zealand potter, Chris Weaver.

A big thanks to Michigan potter, John Glick, for providing such great advise and helpfullness on how to build this soft box.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finished Pots

Here are some finished mugs, some of which were in the previous posting. There are three with a Tenmoku glaze that breaks to brown on the edges of the facets and flutes. Two of these were thrown with Laguna Dark Brown Stoneware and have a poured slip decoration under a clear glaze. One was faceted with the spiral wire I use to cut pots of the wheel head, leaving lines within each facet. This mugs was glazed with a transparent copper green glaze to highlight this detail. Lastly, there is a copper read tea pot that turned out especially nice. Still need to put a cane handle on it...Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Monday I threw about 20 mugs experimenting with some new mug forms. Tonight I fluted some of the mugs and pulled handles for all. I have not been real happy with my handles as of late, so I have been working on these some to make a handle more fitting of the form. These are just a few of the mugs I made, I am happy with the handles on these! I like the handles to be wide and comfortable in the hand. 3 fingers are best, 2 fingers work. The ridge in the middle is made with my thumb while pulling he handle and makes a perfect thumb rest for either a right or left hander.

For me, what completes the pot are the small details. For instance, using a coiled wire to cut the pieces off of the wheel head, leaving a wonderful wire pattern on the bottoms of the cups. Whether firing regular gas reduction or salt firing, this small detail makes all the difference in the finished product.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cameras, Lighting, & Backgrounds!

Along with a new blog I have been working on getting set up shoot better pictures of my pots.

I just received a "Varitone" background today in the mail, which fades from jet black to pure white in foreground, a perfect neutral background for pottery!
I did quite a bit of shopping around to find the best price on this quite expensive background paper* and found the best price at

* it is not actually paper, but a heavy gauge plastic with a gray scale printed on it. Others made it seem like a thin Mylar type material, but I found that it is much thicker and seems to be very durable. Definitely worth the money spent!

I have just about finished building a overhead softbox using John Glick's excellent blog on photographing pots - "Fresh Plums". He has designed a softbox using 1/2" foam core, silicone, lighting components, and ordinary hardware. I built my box using black foam core, with mitered corners to eliminate any light leaks and used spray advesive to glue reflective aluminum foil on the inside of the box. I found a great lighting fixture at Home Depot which is intened for use on the bottom of a ceiling fan, which already had three light sockets evenly spaced. All in all, I spent about $50-80 on materials for this box (including floresecent lightblubs), compared to purchasing one for $800 at a photographic supply company.

Pictures of the box to come, as well as some example shots taken with my new equipment!