Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Colour of the Blues

 Blue is the colour of Da Blues. I’m having my last gas firing before shipping my pots to The Rochester Potter’s Invitational. Last year I had brown down and this year I got da blues. Jen won’t have da blues since I just peaked in the wood kiln and she has some beautiful rutile blue green glazes so I’m predicting ca-ching, ca-ching at 260 Fingers in Ottawa.
I have laid down my canvas of brown shino and now to add da blues. I put on my blue denims for the first time in months to celebrate the blues. I think I have put away the shorts for the year.
I don’t have any blue pots in my house- not a one! Why am I making these pots that I wouldn’t have in my own house?  I love blue! It is actually my favourite colour next to yeller. Actually blue and yeller together are killer. Why do I get the blues thinking about glazing my pots blue?  I have just recently stumbled on a couple of blues that I like. Not Cash Flow Blue, Ho Blue, Mother in Law Blue, Floating Blue or any garish blue that would swear at my furniture but one that I think suggests what I see in the spring breakup on Lake Erie. Titanium
 and tin have been my secret weapons.

I’m looking forward to being with the big dawgs in Rochester. There are so many good potters present it gives me hope for the craft and for fine craft shows in general. There is a lot to be said in the word “invitational”. It is not meant to close the door on those that want to be better. It is meant to suggest keep working hard for this is a bar worth reaching for. I was disappointed to see John Gill is not in the show this year. His cups at $350USD were about cups not really cups. They gave so much information for a potter that wants to make cups.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Papa-omm-mow- mow, papa-omm-mow-mow The funniest sound I ever heard. You can’t understand a single word. If you remember this song you just might have a chance of understanding how my brain works. It is full to the brim of useless information- song titles

, old pizza store phone numbers, jokes, trivia of all sorts.
If you think you can plan your life think again. Life is what goes on while you’re busy planning it. I was going to paint the exterior basement of my house today. It is pissing down rain. No big deal I made pots instead.  Life is not about waiting for the rain to stop but to learn to dance in it. I went for a walk in the rain and found this giant puff ball. No, it is not a loaf of bread, it’s a mushroom. I wasn’t planning mushroom, walnut. olive oil and basil linguini for supper but that is what fell into my lap. I was rewarded for celebrating what the day had to serve up to me.
Once I was asked by a banker to prepare a business plan. I answered “ That’s easy I plan to stay in the pottery business”. That was not the right answer and I didn’t get the line of credit I was after.
How does Bruce Dehnert’s brain work when he is making one of these ingots. He starts off with a plan sorta and then the pieces fall into place. Just like life. It all falls into place when you are busy living it. Sometimes it turns up mushrooms and sometimes it sucks like a lemon. When life serves you up lemons you make lemonade.
 I have one squeezed lemon everyday before my coffee. Mark Twain said “ Eat one live frog each morning and that will be the worst thing that will happen to you all day.”

Today I’m celebrating the rain, being tired post firing, the good food that nature has provided me and the preorder of John Prine’s latest album “For Better or Worse”. Whose gonna take your garbage out when I’m gone? I wish my mind was as clever as his.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The "Eh" Team

Here is the Team Canada Women’s Wood firing team moi, Chris de Takesy, Teresa Dunlop, Cassara Kennedy, Jen Drysdale and Energizer Bunny Anne Marie Rowe. We were minus Emma Smith so Cassara Kennedy stepped up as a closer. Duncan Aird normally shares the harem with me.

 I’m not sure how many firings we have done together in the last couple of years but we all know our roles. It is a bit like clock work now. We plan on 100degrees F an hour, hold at radiant heat for 4 hours, proceed at 100 degrees an hour and hold for about 6 hours between Cone 6 and Cone 11. It works out to be about a 30-32 hour firing. The door was our kiln Banksy Anne Marie Row.

It was the perfect Ontario weekend with beautiful blue skies and cool evenings. We had a good blend of wood so it was a bit like being a wine maker. A bit of light red pine o noir , a little blend of white ash Chardonnay and we had a nice supply of big red merlot walnut. We had a couple of hangovers once from an entire weekend binging on the big red merlot walnut so adding some lighter varieties allowed us to consume as much fuel with no hangovers. The surface area of the wood was really small so it meant stoking often. It was like firing with arms full of matches. Our pyrometer went cuckoo with a final reading of 1542C which I believe is about Cone Infinity.  We use the pyrometer to show the gain but “never” rely on it.  We had Cone 11 flat and 12 tipping throughout the kiln. This was firing #15 for that kiln. It is not what I would call an easy kiln to fire. A good kiln takes a lifetime to learn how to fire. This kiln never lets you forget  that if you put half the effort in you had better be ready to accept half the results.