Clay Blog Review – June, 2011

Another new feature here at Pottery Making Info!  Clay Blog Review will be a monthly or bi-monthly recap of what is happening in the pottery making blogosphere.  Some of the spectacular posts or entries about making pottery will be highlighted.  This might include a potter “thinking out loud” about recent work, dropping some knowledge, or just sharing something thought provoking.  So let’s see what’s been going on during the past month of pottery blogging:

Regarding Recent Work

Jeanette Manchester Harris shares what “just happened” and what she learned while throwing an upside down trivet. Brandon Phillips shares his feelings on some recent big pots and plates. Linda Starr shows off a recent pinch bowl and explains how it was dried. Then she starts a ceramic maraca… and finishes it. Cinderelish tries some new mug shapes and handles. Round Rabbit provides a great guide to make big, handmade beads. Christine Smith posts a series of photos as she begins a new project.  And another later in the process. Gary Jackson shows photos of some mug cylinders before and after stamping. Sister Creek Potter describes how she makes test tiles and shows recent bowls with sprigs. Michael Mahan explains how he fires his electric kiln and how he got some outstanding results on recent pots. (Shameless self promotion). Tony Clennell displays and explains his split rims. Also, an hour glass vase that didn’t turn out like his sketches.

Technical, Technique, Tips

Lorri Watts shows how she uses toilet paper to keep lids from sticking and support handles as they dry. Kristen Kieffer takes us on a Color Odyssey as she does some glaze testing for cone 7 electric firing. DirtKicker Pottery walks us through cleaning out a Peter Pugger with some great images. Ann Tubbs gives a great pictorial tutorial about throwing two part pitchers – part 1, part 2, part 3. Cindy Biles found an article by Jennifer Hoolihan about ceramic stain. Ron Philbeck shares some photos and a video about throwing a foot ring on cups and bowls. FetishGhost shares a cone 9-10 glaze recipe – Carlton Ball Clear Chun. And a Black Engobe fit for cone 6 or 10. Dirty Girl Pottery gives a brief introduction to Raku as she gets ready for summer. Then she shows results from Raku Weekend and how she got them.  Emily Dyer shows how she organizes designsRae Dunn describes three clays that she used in France. Gary Jackson shows off his stamping technique with a superb oval casserole demo.

Thought Provoking

An interesting post by Karatsu Pots discusses working in a tradition and asks how closely should a tradition be followed.  Advantages and disadvantages are laid out and some traditions from Korea and Japan are addressed. Discussions like this are quite subjective but are important to consider.  Even though it’s hard to decide what is even part of a tradition or what isn’t, or who gets to decide here is a pretty good bottom line:

I think it is possible to strike a balance, to be inspired by the ideal, and make pots for today, maybe even produce something never before seen this tradition.  Validation, though, is what makes or breaks us. Whatever, however, or whenever we live, we have to make pots relevant to the times, or we may not remain potters for very long.

Bfree Pottery tells why he makes pots.

Whitney Smith applies recent reading on Buddhist practice to making pottery and realizes that there is no resolution:

Pottery is all about no resolution, which is why many ceramic artists are driven slowly crazy by the medium. It’s difficult to accept no resolution. For me, that means nothing I make is perfect, [stuff] is always falling apart, the work is never done, and there is always something more to learn.

Though I think the lack of resolution in pottery can at times be difficult to deal with I think it is also what makes it appealing to people.  What would drive you after you made the “perfect pot” or learned everything there is to know about pottery?

Jeanette Zeis shares her experience trying to find Easy Road by making some jewelry for a “quick buck.”

The Homefry Sketchbook explores the concept of sustainability as it relates to ceramics courses and personal work.

Jeff Campana writes about his personal journey as a nomadic potter.  He explains that traditionally, a new potter would create a local following and then expand toward a national audience. He says that he, along with other young potters that he’s met, have started with a national audience due their nomadic lifestyle and online sales. He also discusses the benefits of Etsy, his choice for ecommerce.


Gary Jackson shares what he’s learned about the “Square” (which allows you to accept credit cards with an iPhone) and has some “just for fun” pictures. DirtKicker Pottery gives a brief review of social media for potters.  Poetic potters: Mea Rhee shares a pugmill poem and Lorri Watts gives a rhythmic glimpse into her process. If you need something to read you can check out the Clay Club blog for some recommendations like “Ceramic Masterpieces” suggested by John Britt. Jeffrey Guin shares his plans to give his studio a make-over and shows off his Korean style kick wheel.

So there you have pottery blogs in a nutshell for the month of June. Surely there are some excellent posts that weren’t mentioned.  If you know one that deserves to be here paste the url into a comment or email me.

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  1. says

    Nice feature! There are now so many pottery blogs that an editorial filter like this is very useful — it’s hard to keep up, and nice to find out about things I’ve missed.

  2. says

    Hey Scott,
    Thanks for the comment. It is an ambitious project but I enjoy reading all the blogs. I’m sure there are some great things that I’ll miss… but I guess that’s what the comment section is for!

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