Blog

A little healing and enjoying the end of summer

As some of you may know, I underwent a surgical operation at the beginning of the month to remove a tumor in my neck. Luckily it turned out to be benign, and my healing has been coming along nicely. A week and a half of doing absolutely nothing can work wonders :) Today was the first day back in the studio and actually threw some bowls, just in the nick of time since our fall studio tour is right around the corner! (September 27 and 28!) 

post op

starting to heal

and with the stitches out

I was also visited by some old friends, Josh, Martin and his girlfriend Emily, hailing all the way from Australia! I don't know how impressed she was by the slow, small town feel of Simcoe, but we did have some great food, they tried "spinning some clay" and we even took the time to have a nice long walk. I think it was just what I needed to get me over that last hump, and I feel ready for work again. Here are some pics from our walk :)

Beautiful colours

A little chilly, but I love that near autumn weather

Followed this little stream next to a sheep field for quite some time

Some new friends :)

Confirmation that Martin is taller than almost every other mammal

Starting a burr war

Josh taking some shots and firing back

Casualty of war

Cabbagetown Art and Craft Festival!

Hello everyone, while I'm at home relaxing and recuperating from my surgery, my father is busy setting up and getting ready downtown for the Cabbagetown Art and Craft Festival today! The show is at the Riverdale Park, so if you're in Toronto, please stop by and see some of our work from the newest firing! This is actually the area where my father lived when he first moved to Canada, thousands of years ago, so he's really excited to be a part of the show for the first time. I hope some of you can stop by and say hello :)

http://www.cabbagetownartandcrafts.org/

~Peter

 

Just a few pictures

A wonderful, long time customer of my father's dropped in on her vacation all the way from Vancouver, and even brought some of my old pieces she bought throughout the years. The first bowl is one of my father's I decorated, probably around when I was 5 or 6 I think. There's also a picture of Ayano's flowers and kitty waiting to be bisqued, me throwing some vases, and my father and I cleaning our work and getting ready to glaze. I start the firing in an hour or so, so this is my last break before another marathon 16 hours :s

~Peter

Well, we are still alive :)

It's been quite a while since I've updated anything, or to be honest, done anything at all. With Ayano visiting from Japan, my mind has been blissfully far far away from pottery and work for quite some time. With some wonderful trips to Niagara Falls, Montreal and even a glorious week of camping at Grundy Lake, we finally felt ready to return to the grindstone and get back to work. And just in time as well, as my father will be doing the Cabbagetown Art Show next weekend, and after that in September, we have the Norfolk County Studio Tour, probably our biggest event of the year!!

 

As I write this, we are getting ready for a firing tomorrow, and we've just gone through a marathon few days of glazing and preparing. A few things stand out, such as little surprises left in old glaze buckets left unattended, like poor mice who have fallen in and unfortunately can't get out. Not the freshest smell, and it required a lot of sifting to get some of the 'residue' out, but my father assures me the glaze will be fine, if not even better! So there's one secret from the world of potters you probably didn't expect (or more likely, didn't want to know).

May MIckey rest in peace.

On a happier note, we've got some glaze tests and new ideas ready for this firing, as well as some pieces Ayano made on my small bowls, which if they turn out well, will look amazing :) I can't say I'm thrilled that summer is almost over, but it has been nice getting back to work and producing again. More updates to follow soon!

Ayano's flowers :) Only her second attempt at making them!


We've survived!! Two days at least . . .

And so, after the weeks of working, trimming, bisquing, waxing, glazing, firing, cleaning, pricing, packing, driving and setting up, we've survived 2 days of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, and are in the home stretch. We've had a wonderful time meeting new customers and seeing some familiar faces, some customers who have been buying my fathers work since he first did the show, back in the 80's!!! Knowing that there are people who still cherish and love my fathers work really makes him proud and this whole ordeal worthwhile.

Here are some pictures of my work being set up and displayed, you'll notice the scapes, berries and strawberries from the garden in case I get hungry :)

 

If you have time, come on by tomorrow on our final day, we're at booths H13 and H15. A lot of our prized work has sold, my fathers large teapots are almost gone, and I even found a wonderful home for my beach elephant bowl (the one with the blue water), but we do have a lot of other work we are proud of, and would just love to catch up :) The end is in sight, I can't wait to sleep in and catch up on all the rest I've been missing :) Hoping everyone who saw the show had a wonderful time, thank you

 

~Peter

One firing and one week away from the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

So, in one week's time, my father Joseph, my girlfriend Ayano and I, will all be at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, at Nathan Phillip's Square, July 4th, 5th and 6th. We are busy rushing to have one more firing this Sunday, just in the nick of time before the show, so please come by if you're downtown, stop in for a chat and see our latest work :) We will be at booths H13 and H15, side by side. To see all the other amazing artists at the show, check out http://www.torontooutdoorart.org/ 

 

And if you are in the Simcoe/Norfolk area, I am also participating in the "40 below" exhibition at the Norfolk Arts Center, which showcases 40 young artists from the Norfolk area. The exhibit opens on July 12th, and the opening gala is on the 18th. http://www.norfolkartscentre.ca/events.php

 

and now, back to work :s

`Peter

Two summer shows down, one big one to go!

In the past few weeks we've done both the Guelph Potter's Market and the Windsor Art in the Park shows, and loved both. Now it's really crunch time as we prepare for the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, July 4th, 5th and 6th downtown at Nathan Phillip's Square! Here are a few pictures from the last shows and what we've been up to. We will be having 2 wood firings this month, so I will post new work as soon as they come out of the kiln :) Hope everyone is enjoying the amazing summer weather!  ~Peter

My work on display at the Guelph Potter's Market :)

These are my newest pieces, I'm mostly using the local black farm glaze and a natural wood ash glaze, they give the pieces a light, crisp feeling and I'm enjoying the results :)

Bella was an absolutely gorgeous little doggie that stole my heart at the Guelph show, and I think she liked me too!! She always got excited around my booth! (well, my grilled salmon lunch might have had something to do with that :p )

A little update

The studio looking clean as always

So it's been a while since I've posted anything. After finishing 3 spring pottery guild sales, Hamilton, Brantford and Simcoe, we've been a little exhausted. But now that the weather has finally turned, the flowers are out, and we have more shows coming soon, we're back in the studio trying to catch up :)

 

 

 

This month we will both be at the Guelph Potter's Market, May 24th and 25th, at the Goldie Mill in Guelph. http://www.thepottersmarket.ca/ 

Then on June 7th and 8th, my father will be doing the Art in the Park festival in Windsor, http://www.artintheparkwindsor.com/

And then finally in July, we will both be showing our work at the Toronto City Hall at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, July 4th, 5th and 6th. This will be our biggest show of the season and we're frantically getting our work done :) It's a lot to be excited about, and also a lot of stress, but the sun and the wonderful spring weather helps. Here are some photo's the mess we've been making.

Some new designs I've been thinking about

Trying to make some of those ideas a reality (not my best effort lol)

My dad's favourite spring time hobby, picking wild asparagus

The tulips are out in all their glory :)

Spring Sales

So we've been quite busy, participating in two spring Guild sales last weekend at both the Norfolk Potter's Guild sale and the Brantford Potter's Guild sale, and here are two nice articles, one with a photo of me, showing those events.

Norfolk Sale: http://www.norfolknews.ca/news-story/4493137-glazed-expressionism/

Brantford Sale: http://www.brantnews.com/news-story/4485866-pottery-sale-to-help-fund-studio/

 

This coming weekend we have the pleasure of being a part of the Hamilton Potter's Guild Spring Sale, which is the largest one we know of. Melissa Schooley, another local potter in the Norfolk area is the featured artist and her work is truly spectacular. Here are all the details: http://www.hamiltonpotters.ca/hamilton/sales/spring-sale/

 

Hope to see you there,

 

Peter

A lazy dog and Canadian Spring weather

So it was wonderful enjoying a breathe of spring for a few days, right until Old man winter decided to smash down our front door and dump a load of snow on everyone. It is beautiful though, just a little ill timed. While I view my friends gorgeous photo's of sakura flowers blooming in Japan and Korea, we get winter round 3, or 4, or whatever round of cold weather we're in now. 

And here are some photo's of our dog Kiba, working hard as usual.

Sleeping Camouflaged

"Eh . . . what's that . . . ?"

Aaaaand back to sleep

The Guelph Potter's Market, May 24th and 25th

My father and I will both be participating in our favourite show once again, the Guelph Potter's Market, on May 24th and 25th, 2014 at the Goldie Mill, 75 Cardigan Street, 10 am to 5 pm. This is a wonderful show that features exclusively pottery in a beautiful setting, an old gorgeous stone mill. I hope you'll come and see some of talented potters there :)

~Peter

Having some fun

So, with the addition of a new(ish) shimpo whisper wheel, and a little bit of free time, I sat down and decided to make some forms that were less practical, and more fun for me. I used recycled clay, which lacks a lot of the plasticity and strength of a new bag of clay, which means there are a lot of imperfections and even ripping in the pieces. But I wanted to make thinner, lighter and more appealing shapes, something to make me happy and enjoy a bit of throwing, not worrying about how practical or dependable they are. Here are some of the cups, ~Peter

Proud to be a part of the Hamilton Biennial Gallery Show

As I mentioned in our last post, my father and I submitted 6 pieces for the Hamilton Potter's guild Biennial Show at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas, Ontario. We're very proud to say that 3 of the pieces, a large jar and plate by Joseph, and my elephants at the beach piece were all selected. It's quite an honour since over 140 pieces were submitted by artists all over the Hamilton region, and only 50 were selected. What's really wonderful is seeing the wide range of talent and skill, with everything from gorgeous wall mounted pieces, sculptures and functional work displayed. I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Dundas Valley School of Arts award, and was even more pleased by how many people enjoyed my piece and found it fun and refreshing. If you have a chance, stop by the gallery and have a look at all the pieces on display. The Carnegie Gallery is one of the finest galleries in Ontario. Also, our close friends and fellow potters in the Norfolk area, Melissa Schooley and Anne Armstrong, also had work selected, and Melissa's beautiful large plate also won an award!

http://www.hamiltonpotters.ca/hamilton/events/biennial/

Melissa's work: http://www.ragingbowlpottery.com/

Anne's work: http://annearmstrongpottery.com/

The show runs until April 27th.

Two of my submissions to the Hamilton Potter's Guild Biennial Gallery Show

I've submitted 3 pieces, all featuring elephants on my bowls, and here are two of them, just fresh out of the kiln and already on the way to be juried. Hopefully some of them get selected :) Here is the website for the biennial information, http://www.hamiltonpotters.ca/hamilton/events/biennial/  it's held at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas from April 4th to 27th, 2014. There will be a lot of amazing work from potters in the Hamilton region :)

(oh, and I've added a 'pinit' button for all those people on pinterest, if you're into that kind of thing)

"A day at the beach" with some water colour paint put into the water :)

"Not another dinosaur! Where are all the pots?" Looking for some ancient pots in all the  wrong places.

working on some elephant pieces

I made some more unique bowl shapes recently (huuuge rims) because I wanted to put on some elephants and make a kind of tableau. Nothing crazy, just whatever I'm in the mood for or what strikes me. Here is a group of elephants relaxing at the beach. I also don't want to over crowd the piece or make it too busy, so I'll probably leave it like this. The second photo shows the shape of the bowl a little better.

How I make my faceted bowls

So these bowls are a labour of love for me. They're a little off, skewed and asymmetrical, but that's part of the joy and beauty in them. And they are a pleasure to make, since I surrender a lot of control and intention, and let the clay and the wheel take the lead. Sometimes if I cut too deep, they will rip and break, sometimes if I don't cut deep enough, they remain static and lifeless. But when I get it just right, the bowl has a very unique, dynamic flow and feel, and it just makes me happy. So, here in brief, is how I make them.

First, I start with a normal cylinder, as if I was making any other form, bowl, cup, etc. But I leave it thicker than normal, giving me room to cut off pieces with a piece of fishing line.


I'll continue cutting pieces off, not worrying too much if they're exactly the same, all around the piece. Having different thicknesses will cause the bowl to warp and 'move' later.


Now I begin to open the bowl gently with a metal rib. If I go too quickly or roughly, it will break the walls and ruin the piece. I want to push the clay outwards, forcing it to change. You can see how the lines warp and move because of this.


Now the bowl is fully opened. The hardest part is getting a nice smooth line on the inside. Because I have to make the cylinder so tall in the beginning, it's really pushing the clay far from the center, which can sometimes make a nice rounded bowl form difficult. This one wasn't too bad.


And finally, the finished form. Like I said, these aren't all that difficult technically, but I love them since they're something I discovered on my own, and they have a wonderful feel to them. I was reflecting on this while watching a video of Warren MacKenzie throwing, and he said that each pot should have something unique about it, so that every time you pick it up, you're learning something about it. So this is how I infuse a little of myself into my work, and make it fun for me to do. A good form, that's nice to use, and makes you smile when you use it, that's all a potter can ask for.

Fringe Benefits and Kimchi

by Joseph

Homemade kimchi, thank you Una!

Our friend Una Hill came by on Wednesday, along with her daughter Adriana, for a visit and to pick up some mugs for a fundraising drive.

Adriana is in the Hamilton Children's Choir and they are raising money to pay for a trip to Korea this summer. Being a potter, Una came up with the idea of asking her potter friends to donate mugs to help other kids that otherwise couldn't afford the trip. I was delighted to help out and donated some of my mugs. I encourage other potters to help if possible.

Una brought along some of her kimchi that she made as a gift. I love kimchi, especially in a peanut butter and kimchi sandwich! Yes it sounds awful, but try it one day, YUM YUM! Thank you Una and Adriana~