Pottery Poetry

ETSY 017While waiting for the next wave of admirers at the Terra Vista Studio show I composed a few haiku.  Here they are:

Pretty, painted pottery

all in a row waits.

Sun sets behind.


Boxes empty, tables

full. Look here come

Wind burned faces smiling.


Morning sun paints

Wolves, vases and spotted bowls.

New homes for all!


For the most part I think of my whistles as poems I make in clay.  But sometimes I just have to writ something.  Here’s something from a couple years ago:






Funnel up

guide down

add water


Humming spin

elbows braced


Thumbs plunge

pull a floor


Compress, stretch up

draw in, press out

fight the force



The Price of Art

At my last show I ran into one of those people (you get at least one at each show) who picked up one of my bigger pieces and looking at my price said “wow, why so much?”

Well, I’m ok with that question, its fare to ask about the price if you are considering buying a piece of art.  So I said I price my work based on the size, number of tones and if the glazing turned out.  I added that the piece in his hand took 6 hours of work before it ever hit the kiln.  With that, he lectured me that artists can’t expect to get paid for all the hours they put into their work.  There was more to it but that was the message.

Putting a price on one of my babies is not my favorite part of the process.  I, like all artists put a little bit of myself in each piece.  My fears, my joys, my hopes and doubts mix with the oils in my hands and clay to turn into the eyes, mouth, and fins I offered at the show.  I will never get enough money to equal the value that fish whistle.  I was all ready to agree with that guy when it hit me, why shouldn’t I expect to be paid for my time.  Is my time less valuable then the person who sells me french fries at a fast food restaurant?  Why are only a few artists time worth as much as a factory worker who makes plastic toys or rubber bands?

I don’t expect for my work to talk to everyone. I don’t always get what other artists are trying to say but I don’t discount their messages value.

How were values so screwed up that the unrenewable resource of the individual artists talent was belittled and brought in question?  What can we do about it?


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.