The Class of 2011


There is a dragon boat race on Cuyahoga River in Cleveland in September.  For that event I make whistles influenced by the dragon boat heads.  This photograph shows the steps that go into thier creation.

First I make blanks. I make two pinch pots and join them trapping air inside making a clay balloon.  I can alter the shape by rolling it or sqeezing gently.  Then it needs to rest sometimes a day.  Working with them right away is a slow process.  I think of if as time for the clay to acept its new shape.  Clay is just processed mountains and is no fond of being rushed.

The whistle mouth piece and hole goes in when the clay is dryer but not leather hard.  At that time i add clay to form the basic features and let it rest at least a day.  I think of this as sketching the ruff shapes in a picture that will later be refined into a finished painting.

When the clay is almost leather hard I can carve a more definate shape out of the ruff draft. I put in curves and valleys always keeping in mind who the whistle is.  I strove toward personality and attitude.  Most of all I want to express joy and the excitement in life.  My creatures want to be out in the world exploring and I am ever trying to improve on that.

The forth dragon illustrates the underglaze phase and the final dragon is the finished product wit clear glsze and two fireings.

Each year I make a new group of dragons just for that race.  Sort of a class of 2011 thing where I am the student and the dragons are my teacher.






Odd Mall

Odd Mall is coming up next weekend.  Its worth going to even if I only break even.  Its just so much fun.  The pramoters have a great sence of humor and eye for the bezzar. (let me say here that I m deslexic and havent found spell check yet on the tablet version of wordpress.  Sorry) 

Google Odd Mall Hudson, oh its worth it just to look at the art work and read the quips.

So, to say the least I can hardly waite!  I will post pictures.

If you are in Ohio and can make this event look me up.

Gargoyle Dreams

I think gargoyles have been misunderstood; the frightening images that come alive in horror movies are only a minority of gargoyles.  They are downspouts, decorated with the open mouths of creatures, some real, some mythical.  They are perched on high far out of the reach and often out of the sight of the person on the ground looking up.  Who were they made to please, who’s agenda did they further? With clay in my hands, shaping a gargoyle I consider the people who have made these forms out of stone.  I imagine a sculptor making his living as a stone mason given the opportunity to show his art.  He sculpts from his thoughts and dreams and fancy.  He uses the creatures around him as inspiration and the stories he’s hear of the amazing things that live in far away countries he will never see.  He uses his education and wit to make comment on the people around him.  Does that pig look like the town banker?  That lion with the frown has eyes just like the mayors.

I enjoy making gargoyles into ocarinas.  I give them a voice to sing after so many centuries silent, watching over a changing landscape.  I sometimes decorate them with scenery. A night forest, a field under a bright sun, a quiet river; I call them gargoyle dreams.

A potters world

This morning I needed to clean my glasses in order to read the menu at Juji’s, one of my favorite breakfast places.  I had several clay smudges on them from last nights project.  It occured to me that much like left handers, the world is not made with potters in mind.

If we were considered in the designing of things there would be small wipers insalled in glasses to keep them clear while we work.  Watches would have a clay resistant surface and washers would have a clay reclaim cycle. ( think of all the gargoyles i could made with the clay I’ve lost in the wash cycle all these years!)  If I ruled the world tablets would be designed so in the throws of creativity I could look up the color of eagle feet or the shape of catfish eyes without mucking up mine up.  And phone buttons would not collect clay dust when I text a picture of my latest horse whistle becaues I can’t wait to show it off to my friends.

It wouldn’t take a Sherlock Holms to figure me a potter by looking at my stuff.  Not sure I really want to change that.

On a side note I sure wish I had a glaze that looked like the espresso in this cup.



Clay Whistles

Potters have been making whistles out of clay for centuries, taking the cold wet earth and forming a throat to give voice to the silent.  I am just one of thousands maybe millions that have found joy in hearing that first warm note coaxed from a new made form like a child’s first cry when brought into the world.  It never gets old.  Making clay whistles has become an obsession with me, everything I see I ask, can I make a whistle that shape?


The fifth stage of an art show is EXHAUSTION.  The setting up, long days on you feet smiling, bad food, long walks to the bathroom, all wears on you.  By the last day you loose track of what your saying right in the middle of a conversation.  And no amount of coffee will clear your brain.  Then comes the tear down and packing up.  The bed feels so good that night and you sleep right through the alarm the next morning.