Monday, May 31, 2010

Working Away

I have been working away in the studio making a lot of pots. I have especially been making a lot of cups. Partially to fine tune what I want my cup/mug form to be, and also because I feel that they are a good pot to try new ideas with. Several ideas I have been experimenting with include, hakeme, backslipping, feet, clay body, size, and shape.

I have also been making some plates and large platters. For me plates are more about concepts and ideas because they are not all that hard to make. I had the idea for this plate form so I decided to make some and I really like the way they turned out.

I have found that when I am making a lot of pots and being productive I let my wheel get really dirty. I guess that is a good thing but it sometimes makes its harder to work.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

new pots

sectional vasesectional vaseside fired stoneware mugporcelainious stoneware mugside fired mugstoneware mugteapotfaceted bowl

faceted bowl

I just got a fresh load of pots out of Nils Lou's East Creek Anagama this past weekend. I was really happy with all of the pots I got out, but some favorites are the faceted bowls and the sectional bottles. All of these pots were made with my regular porcelainious stoneware or a rougher stoneware I have been trying out. I really like the look of the stoneware, however It is a little rough to the touch. I think that this is because of the large amount of grog in the clay but, since I do not mix my clay I do not really have any control over the recipe. Any ideas on getting a smoother (not glossy) surface? All of the pots have no glaze on the outside and a shino or oribe liner glaze. Let me know what you think?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tea Set

I finished up yet another teapot today. The main difference between this teapot and past ones is the lid. I made more of an inset lid on this one. My hope was that the lid would look more part of the pot; however, I don't know if I like it. I think that I might need to make the gallery deeper as to make the lid sit lower. This teapot is a little bit smaller than the ones I have been making (only 2lbs of clay) I like smaller teapots because I can actually see myself using them.

I have been focusing on making the strainers better on my teapots as well. I know that it is difficult to make a strainer that would actually strain loose leaf tea but I think that they should at least look good. For some reason it is difficult for me to make all of the holes aligned and symmetrical so I have to focus on this in order to make it the way I want (even though nobody will ever see this)

I also made the handle on this teapot a little bit taller. On the first series of these teapots I made the handles too short which made it difficult to remove the lid. On the second series I made the handles about the right size and I am thinking this time I made it too tall. I want to make some teapots with handles on the back as opposed to over the top. I also may try some Japanese style side handles(maybe). I am still very much working out all of the kinks with this form but I definitely like were it is going.

I have been thinking a lot about designing pots recently. By this I mean finding what you like to do to your pots, what original ideas you bring to make it 'your' pot. I have been thinking, specifically with this teapot rampage I have been on, what do you do after you have come up with a design that you are satisfied with? Do you just produce a bunch of the same form over and over again. I have seen people do this a lot, most of the more well known potters in America (not all).

This seems limiting to me because when I am making pots, even ones I have made lots of, I almost always find something new that I could do or change. I feel that if I had a standard form or design of say a teapot that I was known to make and had made lots of I would be expected to continue with this design. This may cause me to disregard a new idea that could make a better pot.

The whole idea behind the philosophy I follow of working in a series is to grow and better your pots throughout the series. It seems that maybe once you get the potential of a form maxed out then you come up with your interpretation of this form. This becomes your 'style'. But once you come up with this do you just become a machine and keep reproducing the same pots over and over again?

I think I will stop rambling now (this post is about teapots, right?)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Teapot

I finished up another series of teapots today. I made two but I am not to happy with the other one so you only get to see this one. On this teapot I tried a new idea with the lid. I made a sort of hallow nob on it as opposed to the domed surface that I have used in the past. I think that a nob is necessary on these teapots because the handle makes the lids somewhat hard to take off and put on. I also made the handle fatter. I think that fat handles add a sense of comfort and security to the pot. I recently had someone say that they were afraid that the handle would break off of one of my teapots had they picked it up. This was somewhat of an eye opener to me so I am trying to solve that fear. I also played around with the spout a little attaching it wetter and at a higher angle. This allows me to integrate in more with the pot as opposed to it looking like an afterthought. This pot need to be cleaned up a little but I will do that when it is bone dry with a green scrubby pad. I have found that I have the most control doing it this way and it looks the least "fussy".

Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Covered Jar Series

I have continued to increase the size of my covered jars. I started this series with small tea caddy's and have progressed towards bigger jars. This jar is the largest so far and it is about 11 by 11 inches. I used the rope texture pattern on this jar like I have throughout this series. I feel that adding any sort of texture creates a more interesting pot. This texture also makes the pot a little bit out of round, which also makes the pot more exciting to me. I like these "loose" textures over the very clear round form. This underlying clarity of form is one of the major factors I look for in a "good pot".