Thursday, May 19, 2011

We Women Who Wood

are proud to present our second exhibition:

June 4 - July 10, 2011

at the

Colborne Art Gallery

It all began 2004 at Monica Johnston (potter) and Paulus Tsiang (glass blower)
Frantic Farms in Codrington, Ontario.

Monica asked a master kilnbuilder Mark Peters, from North Carolina, to come and give a kiln building workshop. We were part of that group. It was a week of long hours, sweat, tears, laughter, and hugs. Under the patient tutelage from Mark, and much help from Pauus, we did get a beautiful kiln built which we named the "Hog Barn Baby".

At the end of the workshop we fired the kiln with wood that we had split and ended up with some pretty nice wood-fired pots. We were hooked!

In 2006 Barbara Murphy from Waterloo Pottery, asked Mark up to her farm close to Waterloo, Ontario to come up and give another workshop...

so now there were two kilns that we could fire!

We are women of all ages, mostly well into our 50s, 60s and 70s. We come from different areas of Ontario, and have all been making vessels out of clay for many years. Though we fire together, we work separately, and our work consists of a wide variety of form and surface treatment. Our schedule is to stack the kiln during the day, then slowly begin the firing with small sticks of wood, gradually increasing the sie and amount of wood put into the kiln. We work in shifts and by dinnertime the next day, the firing is usually complete, reaching a temperature of between 2300 to 2400 F. In a few days the kiln is cool enough to open up and see the pots that we have fired.
We hae been addictiely firing two cross-draft kilns for the past 7 years.
This experience has led to close friendships and a sharing of knowledge, as well as growth in our work. The participants are:

Celia Brandao

Shirley Clifford

Heather Daymond

Kim Harcourt

Monica Johnston

Carol-Ann Michaelson

Zsuzsa Monostory

Barbara Murphy

Marie Paquette

Terry Osborne

Liz Willoughby

Right after the Studio Tour, I started throwing 'like crazy' for a wood-firing at Monica Johnston's Frantic Farms Clay & Glass near Codrington, Ontario

There were eleven of us firing together, an unusually large number,

just because.....

1. We are preparing for an exhibition opening June 4th at the Art Gallery Colbourne, Ontario

2. We are the original group who built this wonderful beautifully responsive kiln in 2004.

The firing was great, as usual, with lots of flashing, great texture from the build-up and melt of the ash from the firebox, and of course, some quiet pots which turn out to be gems.

This has been a busy month!

The Oxford County Studio Tour was a great success. Many out-of-county visitors came to see the talented studios. Here at my place, Heather MacIntosh with her beautiful watercolours, and Keith Lewis with his first large body of wonderful functional pottery, joined me in welcoming all who came in spite of the weather!

And the best news for last........

I had a room full of "seconds" and 100% of the proceeds from sales went to the Japanese Red Cross. "The money will be used to help replensih supplies... including iodine medicine, blankets, cots, food, equipment... for over 100,000 peopole who were left homeless when the tsunami washed away their
homes and belongings."

So a big thank you to all who were kind enough to support this cause!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My year has been inspired by Shane Norrie.
Thank God he started teaching again - starting with a workshop on very large platters.
After being stuck in the doldrums of lethargy and creative inertia,
something inside started bubbling and bubbling.
What a wonderful feeling,
for those of you who know it, I hope it brings back good memories,
and for those who don't, you have good stuff coming to you.
I wish you all the best of creativity and life for 2011!
I just have to show this one last pot -
it is my favourite.
So functional in the kitchen for baking, freezing,
serving up salads, reheating casseroles,
or good in the office for catching letters!
Whatever - it's all good!

This little jewel teapot is inspired by Fou Chong.
I saw his teapots years ago at an NCECA conference,
and have been pursuing them ever since.
Recently one of my students kick-started the chase yet again,
so together we began playing with form and technique.
This particular gem seguied into my pursuit of Copper Red Glazes.
The following pots are just the start.
I figured out that they like to sit in the middle of the shelf,
with protection from the force of the flame.
Anybody out there know what I'm talking about?

Basically I am a city-girl, born & bred in downtown Toronto.

But on mornings like this, living in the country looks pretty darn good!

Especially when the kiln gods smile down.

If you look real close, you can see the kiln inside.

This is from a December firiing.
The bowl gets a burgundy hue from the copper
in the glaze and the high-temp reduction firing
gives the burgundy its rich depth.