Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Eye Candy - Teapots

Collection of web images for teapot shapes:

Monday, June 15, 2015


In this blog, I have shown pitcher forms before, but have not gone into detail about how they are made or how the form has evolved during the making.

This is a very small free form hand pitcher made from a slab with impressed design using a swizzle stick, a sea shell, and a bit of styrofoam packing material.

To make the pitcher, I cut out a bottom freehand in an oval-ish shape, then curved the body of the pitcher slab around the edge of the bottom to fit. I used the clay worm method to seal the sides and bottom together, closing the form with one seam at the front where the spout will go.

I cut a V shape in the front to fit the small hand-formed spout. I left evidence of the cut. I liked that and made a note in my mind to repeat it.

The glaze is celadon and the body is porcelain.

This is a later version of a more distinct surface treatment. This time I added two new patterns; a combed effect. The checked texture is from a scrap of plastic that I picked up in a parking lot. Must have been a part of a tail light….

The basic construction is the same as the hand pitcher shown above, but the body shape was drawn out on a piece of paper before assembly.

There is only one seam in this pitcher also under the spout. This is the beginning of new thinking about spout shapes.

During assembly, I decided there was too much stress on the dip area between the spout section and the back section, so I added a reinforcement 'button' to keep it from splitting. It makes a nice transition element in the design.

The hand fits nicely around the back of this pitcher with the curve resting easily on the hand between the thumb and fingers.

The body is porcelain and the glaze is a semi transparent rutile.

This little guy is also small. It is one of my first tries at hand formed pitchers. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I sold it. But at least I did have the gumption to photograph it.

In this case, I made the seam down the side instead of under the spout and cut a hole for the spout.

The same technique of cutting out the base first, then forming the body from one slab piece was followed and the spout is also hand-formed.

I pooched out the bottom a bit to give it weight.

This piece served as a glaze test as well. I liked the texture of the slab roller matt showing under the glaze. I named this piece "Black Nose" in my mind.

Another look at an earlier slabbed approach. Basically taking the same form and making two vessels into a creamer and sugar.

The forms are a bit more free and I was playing around more with altering the body and adding feet made of rolled clay.

It is also a glaze experiment using a white body and drizzling a dark brown glaze over edges of the form.

This is a medium sized pitcher and a very early piece. My main experiment was working with the relationship of the handle and the spout.

I wanted them to be the same size and I used the same trusty texture-making tools here. But the difference is the weight and thickness of the glaze. So the pattern comes off a bit more muted.

And the handle is the beginning of thoughts about using rolled clay and the attachment process for a vessel.

This is a larger pitcher form, but here in the the watering can version. I am still experimenting with the spout and handle idea and also using texture on the exterior.

The thicker glaze mutes the surface more than I wanted, but the ideas of spout and handle are still being explored.

This piece is also in porcelain and the glaze is a version of weathered bronze.

The seam is still at the front of the piece and the spout is cut in and attached.

A new approach; using a thrown form and keeping the handle/spout forms only refining them. This time I'm cutting both the places where the handle attaches to the top rim as well as where the spout attaches.

I again used the reinforcing 'button' at the split for the top of the handle.  The spout is laid into the front split and blended into the body of the pitcher.

The new spout form is an imitation of a tropical leaf form; designed to shed water. It works very well.

I love the break in the glaze. It is Coyote Crocodile glaze fired at cone 5 OX. This is a slightly larger pitcher and it's a keeper.

The next pitcher is the same technique and form, but what a difference a glaze makes!

A slight modification to the form is the elevation of the base with the use of a bevel tool at the end of throwing. It improves the overall look of the piece, I think.

The clay is porcelain and the glaze is three different shinos.

This is one of my favorite pitchers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Become Master of the Pot--Advice to Artists

My Advice to Artists

Keep your best work.

Consider making two of each thing and keeping one. Keep the better of the two and sell the other.

If you hit a creative snag, get out of the studio, go do something else, visit a museum, look at other artist's websites, go back over your notes from firings, look at your photo archive. Visit galleries, look at art books.

Your mind may be digesting and assimilating your art. 
It may be a needed part of your creative process. 
Let it happen. When you are ready to create again, you will know it. 


Keep learning. Don’t rely on somebody else to teach everything you need to know. Teach yourself whenever you can, you’ll learn better that way.

Take notes.

Photograph everything you make.

Follow every impulse.

Even if it seems crazy, do it. 

Do it, even though it has not been done before by you or anyone else.

Learn your flaws and work to correct them.

Search out your own truth.

Avoid looking at ugly. 

It's okay to steal, but only an IDEA. Take it as a springboard and make it your own.

Listen to everybody. Ignore bad advice. Keep only what feeds you.

Set your standards high. I mean HIGH. So high you will always have to chase them. 

Keep returning to your own themes.

Find your market niche.  

Find your flock. Only other artists understand your life as an artist. 

Don't fool yourself by thinking, "I'll remember that next time." You might not and it will be lost to you.

If a piece doesn’t sell, pack it up and don’t look at it for a long time. Then unpack it and look at it again. Decide then if it should be kept, sold, or destroyed.

Don’t offer anything for sale you would be embarrassed to see again.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Antique Loom for Sale

This is an antique Rocker-Beater loom.  When it is all assembled and ready to work, it is a thing of beauty.

It dates from around 1850--maybe even earlier.

The wood is hand-hewn yellow pine and probably came from the southern areas of the east coast.

I found it in Missouri in the late 1960's. It had been in an old mill before that.

I wove many a rag rug on this beautiful thing. And made a few tapestries as well.

You can see why it is called a Rocker/Beater loom. The beater bar swings on this rocking chair type arm. The bottom is attached to the frame of the loom by way of a thin-cut flexible piece of wood which is attached to the frame on one end and to the rocker at the other end.

The dog is all hand-cut from wood and works well.

The only metal on this loom is a late-applied ring someone added at a later date to stabilize another dog.

All the heddles were hand-tied cotton string. There are small holes on the large side pieces where nail can be inserted as a guide to tiring new heddles. There are no heddles on the loom at the present, but they are easy to make and attach.

Also, the pegging on the warp beam has been removed in order to change the loom back to it's original design.

This loom is for sale. If you are interested in buying it, please contact me via the comments section of this blog.

For a detailed story of how I found the loom, go to the index at the side of the blog and select "Looms".

I live in western Washington state in the U.S. Shipping would have to be arranged and paid for by the buyer.

For more information about historic looms, go to http://www.ohio.edu/people/deanr/rockerbeater/loomalbum.html.

If you or any of your friends are interested in the loom, please contact me via the comments section.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Mystery Teapot

Some time ago, I published a photo of this pot on the blog.

Unfortunately at the time, I couldn't find the maker's identity.

I included it in the post anyway because it's such a great piece.

I like the lovely glaze variation. There's lots of planes and surfaces  to show it off.

Three oval loops - each an individual statement,  yet relating nicely in oval form to each other and giving a wholeness to the piece.

Round-y additions that pop the mass and give references to each other, moving the eye. The bold statement of the spout.

Design rule going on here is 3 oval elements; 3 rounds and one strong variation.

Today, the maker of the pot contacted me.  She is a potter who works in St. Louis and her name is Yael Shomnoni. You can see more of her work at http://www.yaelshomronipottery.com.

Nice to hear from you, Yael, Great Work!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Book: Art and Fear

I highly recommend this book to any artist!

Confidence builder, sympathetic sounding board,

No, you are Not crazy.

 Encouragement resource.

This book is all of this and more.

Any creative person can benefit from  this book.  Read it through or take snippets to ponder.

Dip into when something doesn't go right.

Artistic frustration can be as sharp as a knife.  If we didn't feel it; we wouldn't be artists in the first place.

When you are at a low ebb and all around you are crooking their eyebrows and looking at you sidewise, read it.

Available from Amazon and as a PDF version at http://www.libertyeyeschool.com/ap2d.cfm?subpage=1655939


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Great Teapots

Going through some old files on my computer, I ran across these teapots made by various artists.

I love to look at these and, fortunately, the creators' names were included in this resource.


Clary Illian


 Ester Ikeda

 Fong Choo
 Linda Bloomfield
 Lloyd Hamovit
 Margaret Patterson
 Matt Wilt
 Mathew Hansche

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thinking Without Words II

This is what it feels like sometimes when I really want to have some alone-time for thinking.

Everyday Stuff - Those things you have to do.

The bottom section represents interruptions, stuff that comes up, sidetracks, new problems that have to be attended to, you know…….

And sandwiched between it all is new ideas, old ideas you want to get back to, segways you want to take, continuing themes, etc.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thinking Without Words

It's a question I used to ask my classmates in grade school, "Can you think without using words?"

Usually I got a quizzical look and something like, "You're crazy." Pretty soon, I quit asking.

I forgot about this until recently when, while watching a program about the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I suddenly had a vision for a piece of jewelry using a new plaster mold I had made for something else.

The program had nothing to do with jewelry. But my mind was in what I call, "Open Mode" meaning Receptive, Soaking it All Up, Free-flowing. A great variety of images from the museum collection were being presented in my head.

I think lots of artists do this. And it's not recognized as a 'normal' or prized ability; it's usually linked with autism or other 'abnormal' brain functions. Thank heavens there is more research being done about how the brain works.

If you are familiar with either the Temple Grandin book or the movie about her early years, you will know what I mean by thinking in images or pictures.

I highly recommend reading The Autistic Brain; Thinking Across the Spectrum by her and Richard Panek. 

I'm not saying all artists are Autistic! There's even a test at the end of the book that you can take to see if you are. I just believe artists have functions of the brain that are different then others. And thank heavens for it.

Nobody really understands how artists think. I did talk about this subject with my art and Spanish students because I've always been very interested in how the mind works.

Sometimes, I would get some amazing answers from them. One girl visualized each month of the year in a different color as well as each day and number was a different color.  This would drive me raving mad, but it worked for her.

As a child, I had a lot of difficulty remembering which day of the week it was. Drove my mother crazy with my asking every day.  I finally came up with a visual I could remember:  I pictured the week as a ring. The ring was divided into halves. On the right hand side, were the 5 days of the week with Monday at the top, Friday at the bottom and Wednesday in the middle.  The other half of the ring was the weekend. Well, Saturday and Sunday were all my own; they were long days to me. Time traveled around and around the ring, so I always knew where I was and what day it was by visualizing myself on the ring.

The same technique worked for me when I rode the Seattle/Kingston ferry for work during the week a few years ago. I could leave my car on one of the two car decks, go up to the cabin and read or snack and return to my car without getting lost because I had pictured where it was in my mind. I had created a two-deck 'graphic' and a 'you are here' pin for where my car was that day.