Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finally took some photos...

Spent the last couple of days getting another part of the studio set up - the business side. Yesterday waded through the aisles of Staples and got myself a printer (its wireless but am using the USB - makes me feel safer). Then, today, went to Newtonville Camera and purchased a tripod and lighting setup. Trying to get my act together to submit to a couple of shows. Cup show and another raku show. Figuring out lighting is no easy task...

I'm going to put some of these on the website...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Old Guys Getting Old...

Is it just me or do most guys getting older tend to identify with the aging athletes on their favorite teams? Here we are at Celia's first Celtics game (mom had season tickets back in the glory days and Liam and I have gone once a year for the last couple of years). While the kids were all about Rajon Rondo, I was empathizing with Kevin Garnett, who is a decade younger than me! And I wasn't really identifying with him as much as I was identifying with his knees...

I just wanted Kevin to get through the game without getting hurt after missing the last (10?) games with an injury to those pivotal joints. Winning was secondary to me.
Touching the shamrock for good luck works - Celtics end a three game losing streak and Kevin survives to play another night!
Celia thoroughly enjoyed herself - less for the game than she made it up onto the Jumbotron twice for her crazy dancing! Here we are trying to catch a glimpse...

Speaking of old guys, is anyone else exhausted about trying to figure out whether Brett Favre could make it back for another season? The league is better with him in it, but the beating he took yesterday and the prospect of another whole season of games with no guarantee of making it to the Super Bowl would make me cry into my soup - to contemplate coming back for that at age 41 would make me hesitate until October too...

As to ceramics, I put together a Facebook page for John Dorsey Ceramics - I have no idea what I'm doing. I just know that a former student of mine has 1895 friends...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Raku Preview

Helped to unbox work that was coming in for the Raku show. The work is great!

Here's a list of who is participating:


Bill Abright

Daniel Achermann

Amber Aguirre

Nathan Anderson

Tim Andrews

Ruth Apter

Wally Asselberghs

Rick Berman

Edge Barnes

Colette Beardall

Doris Boschund-Johner

Steven Branfman

Jim Connell

Daphne Corregan

Patrick Crabb

Andrew M. Denney

John H. Dorsey

Nesrin During

Mark Einhorn

Rick Foris

Bob Green

Domi Gruszecka

Richard Hirsch

Michael Hough

Kate and Will Jacobson

David Jones

Eduardo Lazo

Ronda M. Liskey

Mark Lusardi

Karen Mahoney

John Mathieson

Kevin Nierman

Geoffrey Pagen

Irene Poulton

Linda and Charles Riggs

Jim Romberg

Harvey Sadow

Lou Smedts

Marvin Sweet

Kathi Tighe

Leo Van derheyden

Paul Andrew Wandless

Debbie Winnick

Patty Wouters

Friday, January 22, 2010

Celia and Playdough

The other day, Liam brought home a recipe for homemade playdough. He is working on a project in school for geography: a topographical map of the United States. It was a really easy recipe and we enjoyed making it. Celia, of course, saw the two of us working on it and wanted in on the action so she and I had our own playdough making session, which I was able to document:

Pretty simple ingredients (listed below) that just get mixed together and slowly heated over low heat. It doesn't usually glow nuclear with an other-worldly light...
With patience and constant stirring, it takes about 5-7 minutes for it to turn from goo into playdough.
We subdivided into four so we could add food coloring.
Have to be careful with the food coloring...
Pretty easily wedged - we just formed a little pinch pot and put a couple of drops of the coloring in. Celia was determined t that we make "seafoam" and not "green". I am also a big fan of orange, hence we went with two primaries, two secondaries.

2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
3 tsp of cream of tartar
2 Tbsp of vegetable oil
2 cups of water

Mix - should be kinda soupy. Low heat and stir until sticky and clingy. Keep in airtight container. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Teapots - Rough Stage

Big day in Massachusetts - election day! Scott Brown v. Martha Coakley...huge! So important for the future of the Senate. Both sides want this one pretty bad.

Tough call, having taught Ayla Brown, even gave her the ceramics award when she graduated 4 years ago. Nice family and all. But what I really want to know is: Will Democrats ever be fiscally responsible or will Republicans ever respect individual's liberties? I don't see either happening anytime soon. Ultimately, I leaned left and went with Martha. I hope she has a voice that can be trusted.

Here are some teapots that make me a little happy:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Raku Pieces

Images from the raku firing on Friday.

Also got to see the Randy Johnston's show at Pucker before it closed. Will write about it tomorrow...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lights and Fire

Back home

after a whirlwind day. Glazed pots this morning for raku firing tomorrow. Stopped by Nobles to drop off library books, see friends, pick up mail. Went to Foster Gallery to see the latest iteration: Awesome!
Tony Kudner's
installation was so cool. A black box was created inside the gallery. The space changed over the course of many minutes. Grids, columns, walls
were created out of light and mist. I loved it!
Then I went
to Portland Pottery to pick up supplies and decided to hop over to Thayer Academy to see my friend Steven Branfman and the show he had going on at their gallery: John Baymore.

Really beautiful wood-fired pots. Lovely proportions, luscious glazes, pretty true to Japanese traditional work. John studied for some time in Japan and has built his own naborigama in New Hampshire. He will be doing a workshop at Thayer next Thursday, so I'll get a chance to meet him! So cool!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Music as Pots?

Today was a day for organization. Boxed last year's paperwork. Created new folders for the coming year. All at home (Wednesday is Home For The Morning Day) Then, headed to the studio. Made lids, spouts for the teapot bodies that I threw on Monday. What really dominated the studio was the music today: Flight of the Conchords, KD Lang, JJ Cale. Most of music made me a little nostalgic for college days (obviously not the Conchords, being in my 40's and all but still...) A phone call from Digler didn't help either.

So I'm trying to figure out how to make my pots like the Conchords: fun, rhythmic (or atleast not rhythmically challenged), unpredictable. I played KD Lang right afterwards (Ingenue) - beautiful, haunting. A lot of the pots I have been looking at recently (Jennifer Allen, Julia Galloway, Kristen Kieffer and yeah, you, Jim, have similiar qualities - intricate details, gorgeous colors, luscious surfaces. I don't think I can get my work there, but I love studying it...

...and then I listen to the Conchords and I'm ok with where I'm at. (also listen to the Dirtminers - equally crazy and fun and irreverant). Somewhere between raw (think Japanese pots chiseled from local clay) and chunky/funky (maybe, Christa Assad or Tim Rowan?)

Tomorrow, I glaze a dozen pots for a raku firing on friday...

BTW - the image of JJ Cale comes from

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dinner Tonight

One of the things that the sabbatical allows me to do is cook a bit more. More time to research, more time to prepare. While I get into the studio a whole bunch more, I still have to get the kids after their school is done. 6 hours in the studio. A couple of hours supervising the kids doing homework and cleaning their rooms. Time to cook.

I was recently asked, I think by Celia, what I would have done if I hadn't become an artist. I immediately thought about cooking. I have some experience in the kitchen of a restaurant (The Chart Room, Parchman Farm - although, I worked at Parchman Farm when it was a jazz club and not "the only Japanese-Italian restaurant" in Portland.) When Trish and I were talking about how I could use my sabbatical, we talked about me asking Michael Leviton (behind us at Wesleyan by a year) whether I could intern with him at Lumiere, Michael's exquisite restaurant in West Newton. Ultimately, I decided that I needed to stay in the studio as I much I could. So I will cook for my family.

Tonight's recipe: for pasta - I used a tomato-spinach fusilli
4 slices bacon, cooked - broken up
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, rough chopped
6 button mushrooms, quartered
2 tomatoes, roughly choppped
herbs de provence
ground pepper
Parmigiana Reggiano

Cook bacon. Drain and crumble. Pour off excess bacon grease and saute garlic and onion until soft. Add mushrooms until cooked down, then tomatoes. A bunch of herbs (provence, pepper, salt). Top the pasta, then put on the parm. Looks like hell, tastes so good!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Ok, I promise to lay off the exclamation points in the title to these posts...
Goals for this week: Three more teapots, raku fire the vases, a visit to the orchid garden center to do some research on well-designed pots for orchids, a trip to Pucker Gallery to see the Randy Johnston show...

Friday, January 8, 2010

No Handles!

Assessment of the week so far: Tried some teapot forms (haven't made them in a while) - still need to add handles today. Worked on new mug forms (handles, again, need to be added). Made about a dozen vases that I plan to raku fire for the show Mastering Raku. They need to be trimmed today. Best part was having the kids in the studio this week - Celia making cups, Liam doing homework and experimenting with slabs. So cool!

BTW, this camera phone takes terrible images...I need an update...
...couldn't be the photographer...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Celia At The Wheel!

After school yesterday, Celia visited the studio and was able to try out her new Whisper LT, which Santa brought. She did really well for her first time on the wheel! This is her breakfast set. This should become a regular Tuesday afternoon date!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The First Day Back In The Studio

After a weeks vacation in Vermont, I was able to get back into the studio and actually start the work part of my sabbatical. I spent the early part of morning cleaning up and organizing, getting Celia's wheel in order (yeah, Santa!) before starting in earnest on making some cups.

The messy space before:

Organized, with Celia's station next to mine:

This week, I plan on getting back to writing about Warren MacKenzie and Garth Clark - while away, I spent time working on an article that at some point I will think about publishing. I'll post the sloppy copies here in the meantime.

One last item for today: while in Vermont, I happened upon Nicholas Seidner's work at a gallery in Woodstock: Collective. The work was beautiful and he and his wife just built a wood-fired kiln about the same time we built GreenFire! Check out their work: