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march 16 2017

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.

More later-Tom

mise en place

I have wanted to make some funky, wonky bowls for a few weeks now, pieces to be used for mise en place. These should come in pretty handy on your counter top, near your cutting board/chopping block, while preparing meals. The glazes will be different from my usual fare as well. Stay tuned!

older pots, courtesy of Vicki

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.

the always welcome guest

Ron Philbeck, my good friend of around 20 years, stayed a couple of days with us while giving a lecture and demo at Montgomery Community College's Heritage Crafts Program. Here is a montage of images from his visit.

 

starworks exhibit-ibrahim said

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.

southern spring home and garden show

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.

These pots and more are heading to the 57th. annual Southern Spring Home and Garden Show.

2-10-17 wip

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.

2-2-17 first firing

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.

recipes

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.

first pots for new year

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

 

01-01-2017

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.

be, be, be prepared

I picked up clay from Starworks Ceramics today, and unloaded firing no. 15 for the year. I have lots of small, gift type items on hand; spoon rests, cruets, 2 sizes of mugs, salt pigs, trays, and more. I will be open (with the usual disclaimer: barring any unforeseen circumstances) Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. I will also be open the week between Christmas and New Year's, but call or email first just to make sure. Merry Christmas to all!!!

no 15

Just days away from Christmas I am firing kiln load no 15 for 2016. My hope is to fire one more kiln load of glazed ware before the year ends, in hopes of being somewhat ready for whatever 2017 brings.

It has been a busy year here at TGP with new opportunities and avenues, for which we are very grateful. I can't say I am continually testing new designs, glazes, and shapes, but I do try to stretch my boundaries from time to time, even if that stretch means going back and rediscovering old ideas. Every now and then I stop, ponder, and scratch my head, "why did I stop making those?" 2017 might be a good year to do some revisiting.

The picture is of one of my bread bowls. I made a few of these much more sturdy than usual for those that make bread the old fashioned way, by hand, no stand mixer, no food processor, no bread machine. They make great salad bowls too. Thanks Dick and Susan! Enjoy!

wrapping up 2016

I am planning on 2 more glaze firings over the next couple of week. And as they say, or used to say, in the movie biz, "it's a wrap."

Trimming foot rings

trimmingpots111616.jpg

I am enjoying the heck out of my Giffin Grip Jumbo Platter Extender! I will be firing more XL bowls before Christmas, and also plan to fire more mugs, soup mugs, brie bakers, olive oil cruets, fish trays, teabowls, pasta bowls and more, and hopefully all by mid-December. Whew! My Thanksgiving break is over!!!

firing no 14 for 2016

Mixing bowls, square trays, dip bowls, serving bowls, large kinda square trays, fish trays, communion ware, olive oil cruets, mugs and more were fired last Friday. We hope to have another firing mid December. Come and see us!!!

old home week

In the last few months several old friends from back in the late 70's and 80's have gotten in touch, all people who had a positive impact on my life in one way or another. Tommy and Mary Clark, who made all my road and shop signs back in Littleton, NC, shared pics of these 3 pieces from their collection of my work, and are indicative of my style prior to 1988, when I built my first gas kiln. Tommy and Mary, you are great friends!