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:

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!

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

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 :)

trying to get started

Every time we get ready to do a wood firing, there is a hesitation and resistance that engulfs us when faced with exactly how much work we need to do. Everyone always see's a potters job as working on the wheel, but in reality, that is probably only 10% of what we do. Drying, trimming, cleaning, bisque firing, cleaning again, signing, waxing, painting, glazing, cleaning again, stacking and then firing; all these things weigh heavily upon us like an insurmountable summit ahead of a weary climber. Of course, when you are motivated, when you are under the gun, go go go, and working without thinking about how much is left to do, then it's not so bad. But in the winter months, when business is slow, there aren't many shows, and really you just want to hibernate, well, that's when it's hardest to get started. Here are some pictures of my work in the process of being decorated and glazed, something I did today, although I should have done a lot more. 

In these photo's you can see some of the mess and chaos of the studio right before a firing. Work is piled up all over, glazes need to be remixed and passed through a sieve (this can be a real pain, especially when certain glazes, like copper red, settle and turn into mud/glue at the bottom of the buckets), all my brushwork is done by hand, and then dipped into the clear glaze, and each layer of glaze (outside/inside) needs to dry completely before the other one can be applied. All in all, it's exhausting, and we're worn out even before we've loaded the kiln. Although, we'd never admit to any of this of course because being an "artist" is all about expressing ourselves and 'living in the moment' :p Fun romantic ideas which are usually so far from the truth.