Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Paperwhites in Jade Footed Bowl

I have actually been waiting eight weeks for this post. Dave had made several footed bowls as a test prototype. I planted paperwhite bulbs in the pots before Thanksgiving. I actually was hoping they would be a centerpiece at Thanksgiving but they were not ready.

NOTE: I did not actually take pictures at the time so I borrowed this.

I also wanted to post a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum. I made these at Thanksgiving. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them, perhaps for a holiday party...

1 stick butter
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar

Blend all ingredients well. Roll into balls of 1 teaspoon. Freeze. Put ball in cup, add jiggers of rum. Fill with hot water. Add lemon slice. Balls can be kept in a Tupperware bowl in the freezer all winter. ENJOY!~

Dave is having surgery on Monday. We will keep you posted.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Things are moving slowwwwww....

Well still living with the hernia. In fact I ended up at the hospital last night. Nothing exciting happened. What brought me to the hospital is that the doctor that diagnosed me advised me to go right to the hospital if there is any change in the discomfort, pain and or size and shape of the "hernia". Three big check-marks there. And I waited a few days instead of going right to the hospital. The pain finally got me to go in. I learned if I am not careful I will have to have emergency surgery right away and then it is a whole new ball game.

So I am not going to push it anymore.

It is such a drag though. Not only am I not sure when I am going to go back to work I am not able to sit at my potters wheel. I gave it a dry run. I just sat on the stool, that alone sucked, and went through the motions without even having any clay on the wheel. I could tell right off the bat that it was not a good idea. Even though I am not lifting anything the physics involved just seemed to center around the hernia of course.

There is so much I want to do right now. I need to start doing much more surface decoration. My inventory is way way way to low. I do not have enough to commit to anything, be it online sales or a craft/art show. I have at least two more fires I can do. I have to fire the cups and a few bowls but I currently do not have enough glaze to do it.

Oh well. I have hit the sketch book and have some new forms I am really exited about doing. They are really solid. Good design visual interest and strong function. Going to get into some stoneware containers and finally start throwing these tumbles that have been in the back of my mind. They will share the same design.

Also this does give me some time to do some research. As some of you know I have been trying to figure out how to fire my pots in reduction. At this stage of my work I believe firing with gas is the best choice and for the fact I have propane in my studio already. The problem is I am not sure what type of kiln I should shoot for. I would like to build my own but all the information I have is for kiln larger than I can afford right now. I would like to build something smaller and when it becomes needed dismantle the kiln and build it bigger. I just do not have the know-how to size down the kiln plans I have. I am getting long winded here. On top of the lack of know-how each time Allison and I think we have the financial clout to pull off the kiln without going hungry another expense rears its ugly head. This time it is this hernia.

So as a result of that I decided I am going to research vitreous cone 6 slips. This will give me a mat surface and a whole new texture to work with. Slip is more clay than glaze. It can be as simple as the clay body I am working with that has had water added to it making it more of a liquid than a solid. A vitreous slip means that the slip is totally vitrified. It shares qualities with glass meaning it is totally solid. It will not absorb. This makes for a good surface application. Will give an effect of something more like a colored clay. Allison and I are really looking forward to this new Idea.

And finally here are a few pictures of my empty unorganized studio and the work I have left. There are pictures from my last glaze fire. The small triangular bowls came out nice.

Some of the newer glazes.

Burnished forms.

Commissioned platter and bowl.

The new triangular small bowls.

Some unfinished work.

And the messy table. Kind of the dumping ground till I get my displays set up and organized.

Lastly some more burnished and carved pieces.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Weekend Activities

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I can't believe it is almost over!

We had our first real snowstorm in Vermont on Saturday. There was only about an inch of accumulation. I also learned how to load a kiln today. Dave is out of commission for a while so he taught me how to set up the kiln. Hopefully everything came out. We will post pictures when the kiln is cool.

Today we did some holiday decorating. I decided not to purchase a real Christmas tree this year since Dave cannot lift over 5 pounds. I was not sure if I could do the lifting, setting up, etc by myself. I have two small artificial trees that I will set up.

I love the look of accomplishment on Archimedes.

And decorating exhaustion has occurred! Archimedes and Chiffon are indoor cats and truly appreciate any changes to their daily grind.

I also bought a swag made from real evergreen boughs for the pine smell. Archimedes took the liberty of posing for a picture.

We will keep you posted on firings and surgery results.


Friday, December 04, 2009

New pots, glazes and a hernia. Ouch.

Well Seems I have a hernia. I will not go into details because it gives me the willies. It is a pretty good one, or bad one (however you want to put it) so I am out of commission for a while. I have to go in for surgery next Wednesday IF I AM LUCKY because the doctor said there is a good chance I may end up in the ER before then.

Fun Stuff!!

Anyway lets get back on track with the work.

I got two bisque and two glaze fires done. I am using two glazes I recently made. One being Oatmeal the other Field-Mouse Green. They are real solid glaze chemistry from the book Mastering Cone Six Glazes. I used then before but on a clay body that was way to dark with iron. Anyway here are the results.

I find them very very subtle. I love the green but the oatmeal seems so boring to me. I think it will make an amazing liner (that being a glaze for the inside of mugs for example) and maybe with some surface decoration it will become a bit more interesting. Allison liked it and said she thought it would sell well. They really did come out well though. In the book the author uses a clay body, I believe, that has a slightly higher iron content than mine did so it has a warmer rusty quality.

Oh and during Turkey day weekend I finished the carved vase. Here is a before and after.



So not sure where I am going to be at the next week(s). I have not yet heard how long my recovery will be. It sounded like it was figured on a case by case basis. God knows when I am going to be back to full strength. I have been a professional mule most of my life, lifting a carrying heavy things for employers. Hopefully i can get some small simple work done in the studio. Not sure how much wheel work I am going to try at least before the surgery. I do have to glaze and fire my triangular bowls so that gives me something to get done. Plus a bisque fire and glaze fire for the blue cups. This hernia is such a drag but really its not that big a deal. Could have been so much worse.

Later, ~DS.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Moving Right Along...

We hope everyone had a nice holiday! We enjoyed spending Thanksgiving in Vermont with family. We were so busy with the preparations, we forgot to stop and take pictures. I did manage to take a picture of the flower arrangement the following day. As you can see, it is in my favorite vase!

And moving right along with holiday decorating. They are coming so fast! On Friday I quickly set up the winter village to show off to family (we spend Christmas with family in Massachusetts so we don't really have an opportunity to display our decorating around the holidays).

This year the village expanded. The cats love to sit in the cotton batting so we made some sitting room behind the houses.

Dave has been busy with pottery. He is firing today. He will follow up with pictures when the pots cool.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Busy as Usual

Well over the flu. Time to get back to stressing about time. Turkey Day coming up during a super busy week at work. This weekend I was able to squeeze out two bisque fires and some work on the house.

Also here is that pot I am currently carving. I am not sure how far along I am going to get with it this month so its currently mummified with water and painters plastic.

When Finished it will get a bisque and then a paint job with iron oxide. I will look similar to these guys below.

Well if you don not here from us, "happy Turkey day" i am off to work. Hopefully I will get some glaze work done this weekend (although I am working Saturday) so I will have some of the new stoneware to post. If anyone is going to Portland Pottery South let me know I NEED SUPPLIES!. Later.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Carved Vase

Dave was very sick this week so we neglected the blog. The Swine Flu rapidly infected many at Dave's work.

While Dave was re-cooperating, he decided to work on carving a vase. He was experiencing pottery withdrawal even though he had very little energy to expend.

This is the vase before Dave started carving.

This is Dave carving the pot. He did not move for hours.

Dave will follow up with pictures.

We are a little behind in getting ready for Thanksgiving. We finished all the shopping and Dave was even able to do some small projects around the house this weekend.

Have a Nice Holiday!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Farmers Market

We were able to get most of the vegetables for Thanksgiving. The farmers market was really fun.

And for our impulse purchase...

This wasn't a total impulse. We had been looking for some seating for the studio in front of the fireplace. We weren't really sure what we were looking for. A couch seemed too formal for the space.

Besides really liking the piece, we are very happy to be able to support a local artisan. It is nice to know where the piece came from and who made it.

Of course, Chiffon and Archimedes were also excited!


Saturday, November 14, 2009


This weekend we are starting to prepare to host our second Thanksgiving in Vermont. Tomorrow we are going to the Dorset Farmers Market for some Thanksgiving provisions. We try to buy almost everything from Vermont. We ordered a fresh turkey from a local farm and will try to buy all local vegetables and herbs. We are ordering dessert from A Dozen Eggs Bakery (the beautiful cookie in the picture was a gift from our friends at A Dozen Eggs).

We are also trying to finish projects in the house. The ceiling that was half painted last Thanksgiving is still half painted. We are hoping to pretend we did not go the entire year without finishing the painting.


Friday, November 13, 2009

To fast!!

This week has gone to fast! I thought I would get so much more done and did not. I know that is always the way it works. One big project is I have the old studio space almost completely cleaned up. That was a beast of a clean up. We have also been getting a new wood furnace installed so we need the space for wood.

I have started throwing in red clay again. First picture (above) is a few pieces thrown for my thousand crane firing. These are thrown, trimmed and drying. Soon I will start burnishing them. They will be fired in the style that I had done this bowl below.

I also started whipping out my small cups.

They will end up looking like these (below). They are such a simple little cup but the sell like crazy.

I did break down and use my calipers this time to make them a little more uniform. I love them all being a little unique though.

Lastly, being that it is Friday the 13th here is the little black cat Chiffon inspecting some clay I picked up in a pinch today.

Making sure its not to dusty.

Enjoy your weekend. Happy Friday the 13th!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Living in Vermont

We moved to Vermont from Scituate Massachusetts two years ago. We bought our first house. We fell in love with the location, size of the house (including the extra room for pottery) and the property.

This is a picture of the hill (we think) behind our house. It is on the other side of the Mill River. The foliage is beautiful in the fall.

We also love the Mill River and Freeman Brook on our property. It is very soothing to fall asleep to a flowing river.

Although we LOVE our house, we weren't really prepared for how much work and money it would require. We have done a lot of work inside and out and have a LOT of work still left. We have truly enjoyed the trials and tribulations of being homeowners!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bisque fire soon

Well I will be doing a few bisque fires soon. I have had a lot of requests for my "triangular" bowls. A few unfired pieces are pictured above. Problem is I have made a mess of these, I do really like them, but I have not yet run glaze tests of the new clay body yet. Hopefully during my up coming vacation I will be able to do some tests and glaze chemistry. Hoping to get a lot done in the studio but I have a lot of chores, least of which finishing up the wood furnace, on my list.

Next post I will start talking about these.

I hope I soon will be able to finally complete this firing project. These is the type of ceramic art I love to do.


Friday, October 30, 2009

The grind.

Well I still have not put together my "making of the Potter Stone" posts. My hours at work have been off the wall busy and erratic.

Here is an example of current balance of work and art.

Crazy huh? Its a picture from work. I came in to start making some cheese and I found these lids (for 40 pound molds) stacked on top of longhorns (which get sliced up to make mini wheels of cheese) stacked on top of more lids on top of a milk jug. No idea how they did not topple. This is how life has felt with balancing life, work, and the art.

OK. it was just an excuse for posting this cool picture, but I thought it was a good metaphor. Anyway some big changes have happened in the cheese world. At first I thought I would be loosing my job due to changes between the two locations that my employer makes cheese. They make cheese in Grafton (where I am a cheese maker) and Brattleboro VT. Bratt (as we call it at work) is way to far. I already travel an hour each way. Bratt, my co-workers have told me, would be an hour 40 minutes each way. That is just crazy. I thought they would let me go since they are moving almost all operations to bratt but they kept me on to make the cave aged cheese (which I was already involved in) and specialty/ contact cheese.

This was great for 2 reasons:

1. I do love making cheese

2. I still bring home the benefits.

Got to do what you got to do.

I am not ready to try full time or quasi full time pottery. So much research and decisions yet to happen. So I will continue making cheese and pottery when it allows. It looks like when my employer makes the move though I will get some more time in the studio. I hope I make the best of it. It is where I want to be.

Talk to you later.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Story...

The Story…


After taking two adult education pottery classes, David developed his first pottery studio in Scituate Massachusetts. The studio initially consisted of one pottery wheel and small tools in a shed in the backyard of his childhood home. When faced with the limitations of firing the pottery without a kiln, he researched ancient methods of firing. After many exploding pots, David developed his technique in alternative firing.

This is David’s first studio. It consisted of one small window and no heat. He also shared this space with lawn equipment, snow blower, chainsaw and other various tools.

When we moved to our house in Vermont in August 2007, David was ecstatic to finally have a bigger space in an actual heated building. David painted the basement and set up shop. However, as you can see, this “studio” quickly became cluttered, small and MESSY.

In July 2009 David moved into his latest (AND LAST!) studio. This studio is a 520 square foot converted garage attached to our house. Since the room was carpeted with plywood underneath, we had a concrete floor poured and sealed. It was important to choose a floor that could withstand dust, water and be easily cleaned. David bought several shelving units to display his work.

We haven’t told our cat Archimedes that this isn’t his playroom yet. He loves the big open space to run around in and the cool floors in the summer.

David now enjoys throwing in a spacious studio. He has three wheels, a large drafting table, and shelving. David also made a chalkboard to draft his creations.

Finally, my favorite part of the room…

We are very lucky this propane fireplace was already in this room. We are planning on setting up a sitting area to relax.

We could not end our first post in 3 years without thanking our friends and neighbors (we use neighbors loosely in Vermont, they are four miles away) at a Dozen Eggs Bake Shoppe for their help, encouragement and inspiration with our blog, (along with the delicious cupcakes and cookies!)

Dave will be right along to post He is making cheese right now.

~ A.S.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Finally going to really work on this blog. Even better it is going to include my better half and beautiful wife Allison. We will post a minimum of twice a week (One post each),and we hope to share our experiences, from both of our points of views, about the trials and tribulations of becoming a professional full time ceramic artist. This is our goal in life. Hopefully we can share it with you.

PS. It will now be known as "Being the Potters Stone".