Pickles A’plenty

It is pickle-planting season! My wife Brenda and I are deep in discussion about what kinds we want most, and how many to plant. Are we doing Sweet Jalapenos this year?

Gardening is one of my hobbies; it helps keep me from being just a clay person. Having interests besides clay keeps me fresh for ceramics. It also gives me a serious-sounding justification to purchase and maintain old yard equipment – simple, well-built machines with a story older than I am.

The gleaming new machines at the local tractor supply are more glamorous to me than celebrities walking the red carpet. “I need a Power Take-Off (PTO) rebuild kit for a 1969 Cub cadet 106,” I say. “Is it for sale,” my friends behind the counter ask eagerly. The let me know where they saw a tractor being dismantled for parts, or another implement they know would jazz me up and we chew the fat.

Planting new trees, starting a whole new bed give me reasons to get out the rototiller and make a lot of noise!

Winter & Spring 2015

Having built my private home studio in 2014, I have a new space in which to create that is free from distractions. Not that there is anything wrong with distractions! I enjoy working in my studio at Clayscapes Pottery and interacting with my colleagues and students too! Having both is ideal for me.

In the spirit of always pushing forward I spent a large amount of time this winter exploring alternative ways of creating surface and form. The quiet home studio was conducive to drawing more in sketchbooks and thinking through where I wanted my work to go next. Some of the changes were simple, others were time-consuming and complex.

The focused attention I can give to a piece has meant big changes to everything I am doing. For instance, I made industrial-style functional pieces that not only look like they are composed of many separate pieces, but actually are composed of many pieces. I cut up pots and then reassembled them for a more authentic look and feel.

The spring wood firing will include a broader color palette, layered slips, tabbed faux separations and less refinement of pieces that really should be rough and crunchy. The changes enlivened the pourers. I interpreted the industrial-style in a new series of goblets. A character in The Buckethead Story, Bunny Foo Foo, quickly became infamous in startling ways.