Tuesday, April 27, 2010


These are some small yunomis for my tea drinking friends. They have told me they like small ones too. I was making coffee mug size teabowls because I didn't know any better.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nice Ash

I am very pleased with the new changes I made to my firing this time. I got new color on my oribe pieces and more pronouced ash deposits on my shinos a little farther in. The new wood mix for finishing the kiln left a nice blend on the turquoise, adding a lavender to the mix and creating a little more "abstractness" to the pieces, more for the imagination. Also on the shinos deeper in the kiln, there are some strong ash patterns with the distinct color edges that I like. The glazes are more fluxed by the ash whereas the shinos, with their higher clay content, make the ash sit on top of the surface more if you don't get too hot. Still struggling with my oxblood. I think I would need to firing a diiferent pattern to make them work. I'll settle for the occasional gem when it comes.

I took a little more time with the placements, elevating some pieces so they would get hit with enough ash. I will take more pictures to share. These two show some of what I'm talking about.
And then there is my first clumsy attempt at a "tumble stack" of sorts...with a sawdust clay mix. I like the texture so far, a definate need for more experiments. I want to eventually get into more sculptural pieces, my minor in college. That one throwing class I took got me hooked though.

You can see the sawdust clay mix on the base of this tall bottle and the effects of the ash on the tuquoise and orange-ish shino.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

First Peek...looking good!

I like what I see... I tried a "new" wood, actually I tried it a long time ago and have been wanting to try it again, and it gave the pieces closer to the top the light blue-lavender highlights I wanted. Goes nice with the blue/turquoise. I will definately find more now. My ash book by Phil Rogers has a wealth of information in it as does Jack Troy's Wood-fired Stoneware and Porcelain book. I read a lot. Can't wait to take down the door and start unloading. Mary Ann wants to go out to eat, so when we get back it will be cool enough. It's gone past that huge 3% "crystalobite shrink" at 500F.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I'm tired but I wanted to share some pictures from the firing. I can't wait 'till Sunday. I got a soft 12 in front and 10 almost flat in the back. Only about a cone difference front to back, gettin' better. Top to bottom is even. I'ma likin' this kiln...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Loaded and Ready

I have some of my new brushwork shown on these pieces. I experimented on pieces last firing and can't wait to see how they come out.

I now have the kiln ready and I'll fire tomorrow. I thought I was going to fire earlier in the week but I took my time and did it at an enjoyable speed. I'll post some pictures when the firing is done.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thanks Scot...

I had the good fortune of having Scot, a new member of our Syracuse Ceramic Guild, come down to help with the prep for a wood firing workshop scheduled for May 15 and 16. Dave also helped but I forgot to get the camera again when he came. Sorry Dave. The picture above shows him finishing the beech up, a nice finishing wood as its heat value is very high at 89-91 and it is plentiful here. He proved to be a quick study and had the art of splitting down in no time. You may not think it's that hard, but there are some woods that are challenging. The grain is wavy in some woods such as apple. You can see some of it in the lower right corner of the picture. I am trying apple wood this firing. I have an old apple orchard on the property with parts of the trees coming down at times. It does have some very nice coaling qualities like beech does. I also have some large hophornbeam that I girdled two years ago and are now standing seasoned wood waiting to be cut. It has the highest heat value in my woods. It will be interesting to see how it looks in some line blends. I usually start at 60% ash, 40% feldspar with 10% china clay added.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New site: Wikiclay.com

Hey everyone,
I just joined a new ceramic information site by Michael Kline called Wiki Clay. Check it out for information on artists, techniques, all kinds of useful information. I'm on a list of ceramic artists who blog.


Friday, April 16, 2010

...and the winner is...

Congratulations to Fallen Leaf from the Netherlands, Europe! She is the winner of the mug. Thanks to all that entered! I'm going to do this again soon. I'm firing around the 20th of April. I'll give away something from that load.
Falling Leaf, please get ahold of me at williperri@aol.com so we can work out the details.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cup Giveaway Drawing This Friday, 4/16... Get Your Entry In.

Just a quick note... I'll be pulling a name for the cup/mug giveaway this Friday. Just follow and leave a comment... It's that easy. Check out the April 3rd post for details. Good Luck.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thomas Chollar, local potter in the1840's

I've copied a portion of an email that Jack Troy sent me in November of last year...

"Have you read about the potters who lived and worked in the Homer area in the 1820s and 30s? Thomas Chollar worked "on Albany St at the northwest shore of the Tiooghnioga," according to William Ketchum, Jr. whose book, Potters and Potteries of New York State, 1650-1900 is one of my favorite reads. (Sadly, it's out of print and Amazon lists a used copy for $225!) Earthenware was made there around 1820, so there might be some good local clays. Maybe you've prospected some. If you can find some red clay, you can sometimes make a nice slip glaze with it combining it about 50-50 with wood ash. Always a treat to keep things local with our work."

This is the small town that I live near. I have stopped at the house where Chollar's pottery was a few times, trying to see if I could look for any remains of the old kiln site. Worth a try... Today I was greeted by an ederly gentleman that welcomed me and joined me in a look about the yard. After a few near misses with the ducks there, and I didn't even get that close to them...testy little buggers... I had checked around and found nothing of note, a bottle cap, early 1990's maybe, and then there it was. A shiney little piece of white poking up through the dirt. I didn't have a camera with me, but dug it up and as you can see, it's a piece of 1840's pottery from Chollar!! Not as nice as finding an almost whole one but nice little piece of local history in hand. The back hoe is showing up tomorrow.... I probably should tell the owner... ;-) He did say I could come back with a shovel anytime! I'm bringing him a real nice tumbler, as he drinks a lot of soda and lemonade.

This is an example of Thomas Chollar's water coolers he made back in the 1840's.

"Wonderful large bulbous four gallon pedestal ovoid cooler with attached handles, 16"H. decorated with a large incised floral design filled with cobalt. The handles are highly unusual with screw heads at the terminals highlighted in cobalt as is the spigot hole near the base The cooler is attributed to the Thomas D. Chollar, Cortland, New York, ca.1844. A identical piece in form and similar floral design marked Thomas D. Chollar/Cortland was sold at auction in 2004 for $25,000. Pedestal cooler were always turned in two separate pieces and jointed prior to the firing process."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This Beautiful Free Mug Can Be Yours!!!

Got your attention??? Now that I have it, how would you like to own this? It is made out of stoneware and it holds 11 oz. comfortably. I made this using my two favorite glazes...one, the turquoise, is actually called an Oribe (pronounced oar-ih-bay). I fired it to 2350* in my wood-fire kiln.
I am going to randomly pick a name from all of the people that become followers of this blog and leave me a comment on this post! CONTEST RULES....1) You must be a pottery lover or at least a coffee drinker 2) Only positive comments 3) Sign up as a follower of this blog. 4) You must be okay with me posting your name as the winner!! 5) Be willing to accept this beautiful mug free of charge!! I'll be picking a name in about two weeks. As you sign in and leave a comment, I will write your name on a small piece of paper, fold it up tight and put them in the mug so I can draw a name out when it's time.
Good Luck!
P.S. If you are interested in the matching cup to this, it is available on my etsy site, as Tuson.

Friday, April 2, 2010

On your mark, get set, almost ready to go...

I'm back... I've been really busy with getting a lot ready for April and May's events. April includes my first firing of the year. I have hundreds and hundreds of pieces ready to go into the kiln. The weather has been really nice, today was 87! I have been cutting a lot of firewood and splitting it and you can see the stacks in the picture above. I cut, split and load the trailer right in the woods. Leaving all the "mess" right there to return to the Earth.

I do bring small amounts of logs to the "landing" we call it, instead of moving everything to the logs. If I have a big pile, then of course I'll move to it.

I'll put it in the loader on the tractor and park it right next to the splitter, split and throw it right back in. Then drive the splits back to the kiln area or where ever I'm piling it. I like to have two firings worth split ahead of time, so it will be dry by the time I get to it.

I had to stop and replace the "spider" it's called. It's a hard rubber piece that goes between the engine shaft and the hydrolics-box shaft. By the time I went to the store, put it in and got back in business, I had lost a few hours. (Hard to keep your momentum going with all that going on!). You can see the splitter tipped up on end to get at it.
I thought this would be good to show how much work goes into wood-firing, on top of the making of the pieces themselves. Don't get me wrong, I do like playing in my woods and exercising in the fresh air and all.
May includes giving a wood-fire workshop here at the house, mostly to the guild members of the Syracuse Ceramic Guild that I belong to. There are some friends from Ithaca, New York that wanted to come too. I'll have everyone bring their own bisqued cone 10 clay and we will cover ash friendly glazing, wadding, loading and bricking up the door on Saturday. Then I'll get up early Sunday morning and candle the kiln for a few hours until they come around 10. Then I will guide the firing of the kiln, explaining about ember management, the stoking cycle - the different atmospheres, wood types and their effects, temperature management... all that stuff. I'm the only wood-firing potter in my guild so it will be cool for them. I'll have them come back the following Saturday to pick up their pieces. I have a wedding to go to in the afternoon. My step-son Ben and his girl friend Tiffany are tying the knot.
I'll have lots of blog postings soon with my April firing and May workshop with details and in color.

Not High-Def, 3-D though... sorry. I'm old school.