Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dry clay mixing method from the Southwest

"I added about 10% grog, this method aids drying time of clay things made in the coil method. No aging or curing is necessary. You mix the amount of clay you need as you use it as it stiffens rapidly. Even wedging is unnecessary. It is not radically different from making clay in a clay mixer, except just one ingredient is used, and since this clay came from a bag, screening powderized clay as they do in the Southwest is unnecessary. Call me a control freak but I want to know exactly what is in my clay and glazes, and only buy off the shelf when I can't make my own."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Single ingredient dry mixing

"The previous post shows a clay which was made in a very simple wet mix process. This example shows a single ingredient from a bag of dry clay that was simply mixed with ample water using a brick mason's mud pan and a shovel. Clay like this is about one third water, which makes a too wet and sloppy mixture, but it will stiffen over night. It came out a bit too soft so it is now curing up. This too is cost-effective. I'll get about 75 pounds of clay for $12."

Local stoneware from Alexandria

"Earlier I posted the deep cut the bulldozer made to about 8 feet below the surface near here. I filled about half of a 55 gallon barrel with different grey stoneware clays. Here I cross sampled them all, crushed them and dried them in the oven, then blunged the mixture into 5 gallons of water. Then it was screened as a slip into yet another bucket where over 5-6 days most of the water settled out. Pouring that off, it's now out of the bucket and on to the bat for further airing and de-watering."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

ash glazed pot at the Freer

"okay, I posted this before, but just can't resist doing it again. I have actually replicated this glaze. I have to get back over to the Freer/Sackler to see what else I can do."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hut 3, Fako Mountain

"The kids made the summit, Christa and I were worn out and stayed here at hut 3." See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Cameroon

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Giving back, giving foward

"There are always requests for alumni gifts - I get them from 2 schools. One of those schools gave me a pretty hard time with securing studio space, energy, and materials, even though I was a full-time matriculated, and tuition paying student, Still I did my thing, and reorganized the clay mixing room, fired the Alpine bisque kiln every Friday, and donated mixed glazes by the bucket. Over the years I have gifted the Kansas City Art Institute (fund-raiser auction), University of Kansas (cash, clay, glazes), Lawrence (KS) Art Center (glaze materials and chemicals), and Lane (OR) Community College (wheel). One of the interesting gifts was the 1000 pounds of local native stoneware that I gave Chris Obert when he and Professor Joe Zeller were building an anagama at KU. They were making salt fired brick for the insulating layer. You can see the finished kiln (maybe not the bricks) at http://www.lawrenceartscenter.com/ scroll down to "Wood Firing Slideshow." Normally I try to give the kinds of gifts that stoke the clay spirit in us all, rather than a general support of the arts which society at large (especially real estate developers) seems to benefit from. This in spite of the the fact that my interests are in sculpture, photography, the graphic arts, and music as well as ceramics. This year my work is in the KCAI auction. A karmic reciprocation has four of my pieces exhibited at Alexandria's Creative Clay. But, I was reminded of the importance of giving when Bill Schran gave me a tour of NOVA at Alexandria yesterday, explaining how grants and gifts were a large part of the programs success. Pictured is Vanderslice Hall, Kansas City Art Institute. I visited here for the 2008 alumni event which became the event at which ceramic sculptor Jim Leedy announced his retirement."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Roof in Douala, Cameroon

"The lack of permanence in many of the living quarters doesn't seem to slow this city of 2,000,000 down."