anagama shift.

my last night at the clay company was spent doing the 8-midnight shift with j.  at midnight matt said we might have as little as 45 minutes left so i decided to stay until the end.  approximately 5 hours later we shut the anagama down.  it made for a pretty delirious day at work, but it was worth it!  here are a couple of pics i snapped between side stokes.

"i'm hot to burn this sonovabitch" (paulina, what up!)


super hot and bright.

basically freezing except when stoking.

i found it really amazing to watch matt and don work.  they seemed to know what was happening inside the kiln at every moment.  or they would open up a peep hole and glean a ton of information.  when i fire the little soda, i’m never FULLY confident that i know what is happening.  in the anagama with multiple stoke points and all kinds of dynamics going on inside i was totally blown away by their extreme knowledge, confidence and control.  amazing!

first work of 2010

am i turning over a new leaf?  no, not really, but i did delve into the new year making some functional work.  the residents at st. pete clay (and a few others) are doing a shot glass exchange.  i’m running around with a chicken with my head cut off with moving preparation and working as much as possible but i took a few hours on jan. 3rd to make some shot glasses.  you can’t really tell from the images but they are just a little bigger than a large shot glass.  i had to bring my operation inside to the kitchen counter because it was absolutely TOO cold to work outside.

the cups are currently roasting away in the annual anagama firing at the clay company.  visiting artists don reitz, matt long and john ballisteri are captaining the firing.  i was disappointed to have to be so much less involved than last year, but thems the breaks.  i signed up for a stoking shift on saturday with some of my favorite girls (wilson, marlena) and we were kicking it old skool around the anagama.  i have no idea what the p10 porcelain will look like wood fired, but hopfully it will be nice.  i even lined them with shop clear.  i felt like a real potter!

actually the kiln won’t be opened until after my departure for philadlephia, but i’ll happily await my first mail in philadlephia: a package of shot glasses from every resident 🙂

i have another shift coming up tuesday night which promises to busy and HOT and side-stoke-tastic.

it’s a bit of a bummer to be on the periphery of this exciting event, but what a nice way to say good bye!

getting amped.

tomorrow is j’s closing reception.  the show has been open all week.  if you haven’t seen it yet i would definitely recommend coming out tomorrow.

monday the show will come down and i’ll get down to the business of installing.  can’t say much at this point except that i am very appreciative of everyone who is helping everything along.  i am highly stressed!  but so much awesomeness is happening simultaneously.  i got a very exciting invitation to show in march as part of a four person show.

my brain is getting ready to explode, but in a good way, often.  just need to get through this week.

ok, here is a little preview from the kiln i just opened…

wall peice peeking out.

wall peice peeking out.

wall piece...

wall piece...

this one will hang...

this one will hang...

get to work!


gallery BEFORE

tomorrow is jamie and sarah’s show, can’t wait.  i’m sad to see them go but very happy to see how much they’ve accomplished in their time here.  jamie and i will do one more personal firing before she leaves, so need to get to cracking on more work for that.  then fill the kiln at least once in august.  maybe a second time in september? this summer has been so crazy and busy and it won’t settle down for at least awhile longer.  in a couple of weeks the three of us will head out for bowling green.  i’m looking forward to a couple of days of FREEDOM!

all the fireworks in the air must of put the good stuff in.

soda fire 2 004

soda fire 2 012

soda fire 2 013

soda fire 2 017

soda fire 2 023

soda fire 2 026

this little guy was refired.

this little guy was refired.



i had some cracks come up along the coil lines.  don’t know why since they aren’t going all the way through and i smoosh on both sides of my coils.  i don’t mind because they only come out after an atmospheric firing and i feel they are in line with the anphibian like skin.  the stress of the enviroment causing crackles and ruptures.  and they aren’t structural, i don’t think.  i’m going to experiment with bisquing a little higher and see if that helps.  one of the chicken butts had a long crack across it.  again it didn’t go through, but i didn’t like how wide it got.  too distracting.  the same peice had a big ol’ dry spot on the whole back side, so i refired it this week, again getting lots of juicy soda and carbon trapping and filling in that crack a little so it looks like a healing froggy scar.

it’s so fun firing this kiln up.  we’ve gotten the results we were after but it’s all a total learning experience and experiment to an extent.  were we firing this for the members we would have to back way off on the carbon trapping and the body reduction and also do a proper glaze reduction.  and though i was happy with the results from this load i found areas of the kiln i particularly loved so i’m going to have to work on refining the technique we’ve been using.

again, chistmas mentality took over (and the fact that j- is heading out in a few weeks) and we started scheming how we could fire it again before she leaves.  having someone to share the kiln with is good, make a little work, fire, fire, fire.  once she leaves i’ll have to put my nose to the grindstone to fill it.

j- is moving up to bowling green, ohio for grad school, which is were s- just got her bfa from, so in early august the three of us are going to head out on a short roadtrip to move j- up.  i have no connection to the area, just an extreme urge to TRAVEL.   we’re going to stop in on my friend k- in atlanta and mudfire.  from there we’ll stop in asheville, nc in hopes of checking out the highwater factory, odyssy center and maybe some local artists.

soda firing with fireworks.

friday.  my day was made complex by the fact that the minivan had a minor melt down on thursday.  conking out on 22nd st. literally in front of a automotive shop which burned down about three months ago was funny, having n- from the clay co behind me at the light was lucky. she was kind enough to lend me her aaa service and found a car shop.  s- came by and helped us move the car out of traffic.  we had some fun mosquito infested converstaion while we waited by the  burned out auto shop for the tow truck to arrive.  i had to commute the next day to sarasota so my parents came and got me and i so i could drive their car to work the next day.  my luck seemed to continue because the problem was minimal, fixed on friday and i was able to get out of work early to go and pick it up.  definitely best case scenario.  with a little help from friends and family what could have been a real mess was made bearable.

friday night loading with j- ended up taking a little longer than originally planned.  when we finished up at 2:30 am we decided NOT to start at 6 am.  first turn up was at 9 am.  s- and r-sensei were firing rudy inside.  they had started at  6.  we had taken good notes during the last firing and this time everything seemed to stay on a similiar schedule.  around 6 pm s- and r- headed out.  it started to get dark.  i knew that we were looking at an estimated soda time of 1 am and though i was looking forward to the fireworks we would see after the sun went down i was starting to feel a little clausterphobic.  i’ve never been a big fan of dusk.  day is great, night is awesome.  dusk is clasuterphobic.  but once the sun fell i started to get my second wind.

once the fireworks started going we climbed out a second story window to the roof where i could see fireworks going off for 360 degrees.  the best show in my line of sight was coming from down town st. petersburg.  seeing fireworks definitely makes me nostalgic for tokyo.  there’s no fourth there of course, fireworks are a summer long thing with different areas hosting shows.  most are free, some you can pay a fee for good seating (ash and debris falling on your head good) and some you have to brave psychotic crowds to see.  in the event listings each event has a number next to it, so and so thousand for example.  knowing that the sumida river event was the biggest of the year i incorrectly thought that the number was the amount of folks in attendence.  i felt very silly when i finally realized the number was the amount of fireworks being fired off.  sumida river, the last time i went boasted 20,000 fireworks.  crazy.  regardless of the numbers thoug there is something about all that sparkly light in the night sky.  it’s breath taking.  j- said she’d considered becoming a pyrotechnician.  that would have been awesome.  just like judy chicago.

around 12:30 am we got everything ready to soda.  shot in some soda/sawdust chalupas, sprayed and then added some wood for good measure, let it burn and then shut her down.  i finally made it home around 2.

just as the exhaustion threatens to settle in, it’s time to soda and just as you think you’re going to drop from the heat, and dehydration you’re done and it’s time to start wondering what’s going to come out.

christmas or halloween??


can you see the cones?  rough, since it was taken with my cell phone.

can you see the cones? rough, since it was taken with my cell phone.

sayaku. the complete and total worst.

one of the bushes burst.  yup that’s right.  the 3 bushes are not out of the kilns yet but i peeked in on the medium bush (which had become one of my favorites) and the top had fallen in.  i was soaking it for a long time so that the water wouldn’t make it explode, but at the end of the day it was stupid short cut taken in construction that caused the damage.  i’m not sure if it will be repairable, but i went ahead and fired it hoping it will be.  given the time crunch, i ended up with two parts of the bush with very different amounts of dryness.  the bush was a sweet leather hard, and if there had been more time for it to dry with support it might have been ok, but popping that leather hard bush into the kiln with a heavy, built up area that was still a lot softer and speed drying it just didn’t work.  it collapsed.

rough, but that’s the way it goes.  the kilns fired off, and tomorrow they will be cool enough to unload.  tuesday morning in nice light i will spray them with glaze and fire them one last time. other than that i am in full mixed media mode, trying to prepare for installation friday.

tired and inspired.

i’m super tired.  i loaded 3 bushes into bisque kilns today.  bisque fires with 2 long ass 24 hour holds.  i have this schedule i’m working with and i’m being superstitious with it now.  like it worked the first time so i’m sticking to it.  i need to do more inquiring and refine it to make it my own.

i did the math yesterday and i made all five bushes in 22 days.  while working THAT fast isn’t really my ideal, it feels good to have had a goal and worked my tail off to make it happen.  barring any complications, i think my installation at 10 x 10 will be a success.

for me not getting intimidated is a big problem.  i’m easily discouraged.  i’m trying to take my work horse kind of nature and turn it in a more positive direction.  i think i am always kind of searching for somewhere to stop.  somewhere to settle in and do something for the rest of eternity.  finish, rewind, repeat.  of course then i get massively bored and try something else, always lurching off in some kind of awesome direction, but not really being able to pull it together at the end of the day.  i don’t know where i picked up that habit, but i’m working on getting rid of it.  a is really good at moving forward (maybe too good at times, girl).  i’m always amazed at her ability to intuitively know how to move toward her next better goal and really do amazing shit.  she is on her way to being an art star, mark my words.

right now feels really right.  for the last few years, in the back of my mind, i have been thinking “i wish i was doing this…” and now i am doing it.  i am trying to keep options on the horizon so that what i do today makes a bridge to what i want to do next year, or in five years.  i suspect this is the way to live life.

anyway, my studio mates have been enormously generous this week, helping with heavy lifting, kiln firing, spray gun lending, and ass loads of other shit (like the pillow case-tea towel-raw glaze-lashing strap maneuver into kiln no. 8).  i don’t know this studio very well yet, my shit is majorly heavy and as previously discussed i get discouraged easily, so i could not have done it with out them.  seriously.


i am so sad about my clay shortage because i could have really cranked out work today.  but i did unload the big bush.  no cracks!  tall bush is firing away.  i emailed orton about the timer question and got a reply back today.  the kiln has to be programmed in minutes, so what i thought was h.mmm is just m.mmm or mmmm.  mystery solved.  thanks jim at orton!

i finished one small bush and added some coils to the medium (?) bush.  going to be standing by until tuesday when highwater opens.

j moved into his studio today, so the a.i.r. space is full. j and j were cleaning his space up and (lacking clay) inspired me to tidy up my space.  in the last few weeks the floor of my studio has grown a layer of dust and scraps about an inch thick.  looking quite good now, yeah!  also got a impromptu handle lesson from s.  kind of walked into that by mistake but love the teaching atmosphere that was going on.

i’ve forgotten to take pics again but coming soon.