The Celebration of Spring in Seagrove was this past weekend. We had a great turnout! The images above were taken Friday night on the fly as we set up, and obviously, as we relaxed while setting up. If you would like to know what is going on ahead of time at Tom Gray Pottery, please follow my Facebook page or sign up for my Occasional Newsletter.
The older I become, the more I relish every season, especially Spring and Fall. This Spring appears to have accelerated; the crepe myrtles in our yard, usually budding in June, have already started showing off. Cardinals are building a nest right in front of one of our living room windows and the first lightning bugs appeared about 3 weeks ago.
Which brings me to: The Spring Kiln Opening, now known as the Celebration of Spring in Seagrove, is Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, from 10-5. We have invited my old college and surfing buddy Lanny Pelletier to join us, as well as Black Ankle's only potter, J. Britt Gardner. Most every pottery in Seagrove will have something special going on this weekend, and it will be a great time to visit the Pottery Capital of the United States.
On May 6 and 7, I will be attending the Sanford Arts and Vine Festival. This will be my 2nd year participating in this show and I will be in Booth#37, the same space as last year. If you live near Sanford, NC, it will be a great day trip for art, wine, good food, and good times. NO ADMISSION FEES! Also, there is a pretty good pizza joint in downtown Sanford, La Dolce Vita :-)
I have given handmadeinseagrove.com a facelift and continually post new images on my blog, add favorite recipes, and update the gallery page. You can also preview my new glaze pattern, TUSK, an updated version of the work I was making in Littleton in the late 80's.
If you prefer, you can see what is coming out of the kiln on facebook.com/tomgraypottery.
That's all for now. We hope to see you soon!
Tom Gray and Jane Muse
Every kitchen needs a clean, simple, and tasteful vase for flowers.
This why I make pots.
I am not sure what to call this -- this spare, minimalist look, but I like it.
My first bisque load this year, and teapots, one of which is headed to the Cedar Creek Invitational Teapot Show X. This is the 10th. Teapot Show they have held over the last 26 years, and is also part of Cedar Creek's 50th. anniversary. In the late 70's and early 80's I visited there often, as they had a great selection of work from US potters to inspire me. In 1980 the brother of an old friend began working there as well, Brad Tucker. Brad is one of the most gracious people I've ever known, and one of my all-time favorite potters.
I love when my customers share their pottery collections with me! This is a photo of an older glaze pattern I used for a while, temmoku and Reeve's green. We have some pieces in the house, like these, we use often.
We get so wrapped up in what we're doing here at home and in our studios, we sometimes don't take the time to see what else is going on around us. With a regional sculpture conference last year, and an international wood fire conference in the coming months, there is far more going on in and around Seagrove than ever before. Today we stopped in at Starworks to see an upcoming exhibit of works by Ibrahim Said, a ceramic artist in Greensboro. These are some impressive pots! When the show opens check out the School House Gallery while you're there.
I have been invited to display and sell my pots at the Southern Spring Home and Garden Show! My friend Dan Triece of Dirtworks Pottery here in Seagrove, has asked me to join him along with a few other friends. Dan is in space # S1 this year, right smack dab in the entrance of the show! The show dates are February 24 - 26 and March 3 - 5, held at The Park Expo and Conference Center, 800 Briar Creek Rd. Charlotte, NC.
I haven't thrown very many vases in several years, but became inspired to make a few this year after seeing images of the works of William Plumptre. Plumptre spent time in Japan with Tatsuzo Shimaoka, whose work I greatly admire. The images of Plumptre's work have stuck in my mind for a while now, and have made their way, so far, to my hands. I hope I can achieve similar effects as he does in their firing, but using my own glaze vocabulary. Thanks to my good friend Ron Philbeck for turning me on to William Plumptre's work. I look forward to the testing that I hope ends up with the pots I see in my mind's eye.
Click here for a nice gallery of Plumptre's work in the Castlegate House Gallery.
Here are some pics from the first firing for 2017. Quite a few of these pieces are heading to a new gallery in Blowing Rock, scheduled to open in March or April. One of them (Free Bird :-) was made as a gift for a special friend of ours. I really like this white glaze; slow cooling the kiln as I now do has made a big difference in the opacity and texture of this glaze. Also, there are some vases and a few bowls made from Starworks Clay's East Fork Red clay body. I have been really pleased with the clays that Takuro is blending at Starworks. Having access to local, primarily wild clays has been a game changer for me.
I'm firing my first kiln load for 2017 today, eating homemade pizza for supper (tomato w/3 cheese in case you wanted to know) and posting old recipes on my web site. It is an ongoing project, and for those of you from my neck of the woods, it will soon include Lee Ward's Brunswick stew recipe, courtesy of my mom, Florada Gray.
Heading in to a new year! These pics are certainly not of all the pots I have made since the ball dropped, just pics I had time and forethought to capture. Up above, my ubiquitous large mixing bowls; we have 4 of these in the kitchen. I love chef's salads, and this is what I pig out from. If you don't eat that much salad in one sitting, you can use them to serve from, or maybe scramble a dozen eggs (+) in.
With Spring in mind, I am working on a few vases too. These, and more, will be heading to a garden show in Charlotte the end of next month.
Bread bowls. These are sturdy, thick, heavy, substantial. Slighter bigger than the large mixing bowls, these are made from twice as much clay. You would think that making a thicker, sturdier pot would be easier than a regular pot. It's not. These make great mixing and serving bowls too, but are made for people who like to mix dough and anything else, by hand, in a bowl that won't be scooting around the counter top easily. These bowls have presence. As I typed "presence" I could hear (in my head) James Earl Jones say the word "presence."
All for now-Tom
I pulled the door this morning on the last firing of 2016, and am pleased with the results. I had a couple of small tests in the kiln, prompted by some accidents in previous firings. One of them is worth pursuing (see below) and reminds me of all the birch trees I see out back on my walks out back of my property. It seems like I have been doing nothing but glazing and firing of late, and I'm ready to switch gears and jump back on the wheel. But, as good tests have a tendency to do, I want to pursue this new pattern soon, not a whole kiln load by any means, but certainly some larger pieces. As I write this, I remember a work of art I saw at a show I was in back in '79 or '80. It was a batik of a birch forest. That memory has stuck with me, and maybe now will have an influence on future works.
Happy 2017 to all that might read this. Do what you can to make it better than you think it might be if you do nothing at all. I wish that peace, good health, and prosperity come your way.
Tomorrow I will be firing kiln load no 16 for 2016.