Blog

Studio Tour this weekend!

In the past week my father and I have crammed in more work than we can ever remember! Two wood firings, back to back, over just 6 days, and we hope we're ready for this weekends Norfolk Studio Tour! We'll be open all weekend and welcome everyone to come see the fruits of our labor, enjoy some snacks and also visit the many other wonderful artists in the Norfolk area :) We have a lot of new work and we will be opening the second firing on Saturday :) You can find all the information for the studio tour here, as well as see the other artists participating: http://www.norfolkstudiotour.com/

Click on the map for a larger image, we're number 4 :)

To show just how much we've done, here are some pictures of our pieces as we prepared for the firings :) Hope to see some of you this Saturday and Sunday!

Fresh out of the electric kiln and ready to be glazed

My father's bowls glazed with oxides and copper red

All the work drying in the sun

Getting all the work ready to be loaded into the kiln

My father applying some cobalt oxide

These are the pots we put into the bottom front row every firing

and finally, the kiln all loaded and ready to go! We'll be able to open this one up on Saturday!



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

Work from our latest firing~

Getting started early this morning, we braved the elements and wonderful Canadian weather, and opened the wood kiln. With a lot of work hopefully destined for show applications, we were anxious to see how everything turned out. Much to our delight, the copper reds and oxides came out beautiful, without almost none of them oxidizing or washing out. To get these kinds of results, and keep them consistent, in a wood kiln is something of a nightmare. A lot of potters would wonder why even try to do gas firing-esq glazes in a wood kiln, but for us, it's a matter of necessity and love. We're simply not drawn to the heavier forms and glazes of a traditional wood firing and maybe we're too stubbornly routed in celadons and copper reds. It's a love hate relationship as the ash fluctuating in the kiln, the flashing, and the uneven temperatures that are bound to flare up, wreck havoc and ruin on some of our best pots. But sometimes, just maybe, the results can be magical. We've had some beautiful pieces in this firing, especially my fathers large jars and plates, which came out stunning. I wasn't over the moon with my brush work, but then again, I didn't have to throw half of it into the garbage either. And there were some fun pieces in there as well with some elephants for good measure. Here are some of the results :)

Bits and Pieces

by Joseph Panacci

Was it born, was it made, or was it more likely bits and pieces coming together slowly.

Yanagi talks very eloquently about the old Korean potters making everyday rice bowls without any thought to them. They were simply made to be used everyday, and sold very cheaply. They were not trying to be artists, but just trying to make a living.

My newest mug with our local farm glaze, chattering and new handle.

I wish I could go back to a simpler time, when you produced work that was natural to your surroundings, only using materials available locally. Today it is not possible to be a “Unknown Craftsman” for our minds are contaminated with too much information, and our world is now wide open. We have access to everything, skills and knowledge to learn any technique, raw materials from all over the world, etc. 

I believe we as artists/potters are more like bits and pieces of the past, trying to find our unique style in a wilderness without any direction. My mind is contaminated with images and information, too many historical references, examples of pottery from the Greeks, Romans, Chinese. Koreans, Japanese, English, African, etc. All very distinct and beautiful. So how can one potter today be original from the past? Not easy to be sure.

New mug with a darker clay body, with the same clear glaze inside and overlapping.

Within the last year I have developed a new mug form, handle, and texture. very different from my regular mugs of the past. The bits and pieces came together slowly, at first I liked the foot ring that my friend Robin puts on her mugs, and I did try something similar on my sanity mugs at first. Later my son Peter was working on faceted mugs, and needed some ideas on how to make a handle for them. I showed him one technique of using a coil of clay, squaring it, and then twisting it to reflect the faceted sides of his mugs. At the same time I was developing a new robust form for my mugs and wanted to use coil/slab build handles, and not pulled handles otherwise I would just repeat my regular handles.

Robin's Mug 

Peter's faceted mug

I slowly started by flattening a coil of clay and then twisting it and flattening it again. Then I tried to stretch it longer and get it thinner, my form for the new mug slowly became more robust, and I started adding deep chattering for texture on them. I have also taken into account how they are to be glazed and fired in the wood kiln. Now I'm using stoneware and porcelain clay, and leaving the outside of the stoneware mugs unglazed to let the flashing and heavy reduction do their magic during the firing, and the porcelain mugs glazed with the farm shino glaze. 

Freshly made handles, ready to be applied onto the cups.

Close up of the new handle, it's form and line, each one unique, is what makes them exciting for me.

Were these mugs “born or made.” I like to think they were more likely an evolution of bits and pieces from my experience and influences around me. All coming together slowly, as the distinct styles from region to region and country to country of the past.

"Naked" porcelain showing the flashing from our wood firing. 

"Naked" porcelain showing the flashing from our wood firing. 

I've also applied this new handle design, with some beautiful results, to my large pitchers. The copper red glazes flow beautifully along it's line, creating truly unique and stunning effects.

I've also applied this new handle design, with some beautiful results, to my large pitchers. The copper red glazes flow beautifully along it's line, creating truly unique and stunning effects.

This mug is just a mug

Something a lot of people may not know is that my father spends a great deal of time reading and writing poetry. I've been telling him to share some online, so here is the first of many to come :)

12197979043_cfb9bf9c47_k.jpg

This mug is just a mug

It is not a fashion statement or the latest trend
Or a political point of view from left or right
It is not a religious experience into the afterlife
Nor does it contain any philosophical insight

This mug is just a mug

It is not laced with gold or silver
Or made by a famous potter
It does not hold any age old wisdom
It is fragile if dropped, it will not last forever

This mug is just a mug

While never the same, it is one of many
Lovingly crafted on the potters wheel
It is meant to be enjoyed and used everyday
While you ponder life's unsolved mysteries.

 

by Joseph Panacci

Our First Christmas Open House!

Today marked the beginning of our first Christmas Open House as part of the annual Norfolk Country Christmas Tour! Joseph, Robin and I were all delighted to welcome everyone into our studio and we want to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped with our kiln opening! We hope you all enjoyed the excitement of first opening that kiln and seeing all the surprises (good and bad) waiting inside! We hope it brought you a little closer to our work and what makes us so passionate about wood fired pottery.

If you didn't have the chance to visit us today, we will be open tomorrow, November 17th as well, from 12-5pm, and we hope you'll drop by, have some apple cider and see what we've been up to. Please check out the other wonderful venues on the tour. This years Country Christmas Tour features amazing art work and local delicacies with 9 wonderful places to visit. You can find out more about them in the Events section.

 

~Peter