Testing Plainsman Clays

Recently I arranged for my wife and myself and a fellow potter and colleague to sit for Japanese tea ceremony at the local tea master’s home, here in Lafayette Colorado. Hiroko Akima’s tea bowls are all from Japan, and turning them over and examining the feet is part of the ceremony, something that potters everywhere […]

Teaching Workshops

Isn’t it amazing how the best insights are gained after the most stressful of situations? I liken the recent workshop that I have just presented to a glaze firing, where results of extended and difficult effort give sudden presence of insight into the way forward. Why is the point of exhaustion the place where the […]

Pricing and Vision

Of all the problems and technical difficulties I have faced in 30 years as a potter, none compares with the intransigence of my audience for valuing what I’ve created. I’ve gained mastery of my craft, but cannot value my experience in terms of price because my audience knows little and cares less about what I […]

Reduction Firing

I have long used the discoveries of Pete Pinnel to facilitate my reduction firings, and although my results speak for themselves, I rarely talk about my process. When I give a workshop I only talk about reduction firing when asked, and even then I see blank or angry stares from the crowd. It is truly […]

Color of the Flame

Until I’m able to build a shed around my gas-fired reduction kiln, I must wait for evening to arrive, when the breeze dies down and I’m able to see the flame from the venturi burners which power my kiln. It is a very beautiful thing, this gas and air mixture that combine to produce flame, […]

American Masters

Of all the American Masters series on PBS, the film I keep thinking about is Alice Miller, creator of the top notch Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkley CA. There’s a time near the end of the film where the question is being answered “where to now?”, (thirty years on), when Alice enters a neighbors vegetable […]

Expanding the Circle

In the business and participation of the artist in porcelain pottery making, inspiration enters from many angles. Most often it appears as part of the endless circular process from preparation of clay to greeting customers on opening night. The pots are formed and slowly dried to a leather hard state, then trimmed, decorated, dryed, signed, […]