Saturday, April 29, 2006

We appear to be in Japan

Blogging from Kyoto,for a change.After a long wait- 29 years- I am completing my trip to Japan with Sydney.Japanese breakfast has been the only sticking point so far,but we have not yet given up on miso soup/thin rice gruel/pickles at 8 in the morning.We bow incessantly,and hope that the locals regard us as amiable,if ignorant, foreigners.With tears of emotion in our eyes,we visited Shigaraki [yes,it is full of ceramic racoons in every imaginable size].Tomorrow,Kawai`s museum.will try to post pictures,but no promises.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Guests in the studio

Some people wanted to see how the blog works...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


In the end,the students couldn't wait until next Monday to open the kiln- a commendable attitude- so they unloaded yesterday.I didn't get to see all the pots- I was on my way to Tel Hai when Gunn called and told me it was all over.She seems happy with results- as usual,I have reservations:the 2 bowls got a good dose of ash,but the bottle vases are only just starting to take on ash and flash.The saki cups from the back of the kiln got nicely salmon-pink-flashed,as I had hoped,with some tasteful ash drips and runs.All the bottles and one of the bowls have cacks,which,even allowing for the notoriously loose aesthetic of wood-firing,is not what we look for; but this is merely [my] inadequate technique,spurring one on to geater care in the making next time.Meir mentioned the possibility of firing his anagama in Oct/Nov.
Meanwhile,there have been a lot of visitors over the holiday,and the shelves are not quite as jammed as they were a week ago.As usual,the crystal glazes and kabbalah mugs have been the main sellers,followed by medium-sized serving bowls in all glazes- but I managed to sell a few nice anagama pots from previous firings as well,and some stuff from the salt.
How the average Israeli manages to gain 2kilos in weight over the holiday season beats me; I invariably shed a kilo or so [much needed] and feel like I'm fasting most of the time. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 07, 2006


My old Lois jeans that carried me to Israel.I later found out that they were made in Rosh Pina. Posted by Picasa

Scenes from a studio

The stairs at the back of the studio,supposedly leading to an exclusive ceramic gallery upstairs,but for years expropriated by various offspring who live up there. Posted by Picasa


Feeling slightly delicate this afternoon after a night tending the Tel Hai anagama with Gunn,Dotan [who built the kiln 3 years ago as his 3rd year project,and always shows up for firings] and a bunch of dedicated students.The 36hr firing was shorter than expected- the kiln reached 1300-plus after only 24hrs,then seemed quite happy to remain in the region with some attentive stoking.All cones were down,all rings glazed,and the silicon carbide shelves at the front were frothing away just like in Meir's kiln.Loading wood was an incredibly hot experience,and we called it a day at 5 in the morning.Drier,less massive wood was thought to be the reason for the fast firing.Opening after Pesach- stay tuned. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Hi Vicky! Here are the dishes.There are about six of each: are you interested? Posted by Picasa

The Apprentice- They're Fired!

Hi Goldie- your pots are ready. Posted by Picasa

Twisted Vases

Planed by Yonah,who likes seeing her name in print. Posted by Picasa

Drop Mold

The continuing quest for the Olive Dish.A slab of clay draped over a wooden mold,flung to the ground from a great height amid loud clatter and clouds of dust. Posted by Picasa


Another Attempt

at the triple dish.Technically complex,ergonomically awkward,visually interesting.Needs more work. Posted by Picasa

Chocolate box

An idea for a dish or tray to hold a box of rather good hand-made chocolates from Netanya Posted by Picasa


From firing #5- the elusive copper red didn't come out as well as #6- a couple of bowls even had the chutzpah to fire colourless and run.The shape of the bowls in the bottom two frames is based on a bowl I used to make for Robin Welch on the jigger and jolley- it's a tricky shape to throw,having no foot, and I haven't quite got it yet. Posted by Picasa

Seder Plate

One of this year's seder plates,inspired [as have been a few shapes recently] by Julain Stair's work. Posted by Picasa

Drinking vessels

Two cups-and-saucers from the last salt,new low-slung cups from the gas,a lustred alef-bet mug from the electric.Variey,the mother of spice. Posted by Picasa

A Kilnsworth?

 As it turned out,four bowls too many...the next picture is the bottom of a porcelain cup,demonstrating the Coleman Porcelain's translucency. Posted by Picasa

Anagama update

Recent report from Tel Hai: cone 9 going down in the front/hottest part [1260],wood running out.Chop up the furniture!
Yesterday's gas firing turned out rather well:the cold weather started affecting gas pressure as cone 7 [1220]went down,so I made quite a few trips out to the gas tank with buckets of hot water to raise pressure- a slower procedure now that the tank is protected by a sand sleeve.The final 40 degrees took a while,but I kept up what looked like decent reduction despite low gas,and the pots look happier as a result.While the kiln was firing,I lustred another batch of pots and fired the electric kiln as well- it's proving quite handy,and switching the controller from bisc to crystal to lustre is simplicity itself.The final glaze kiln is loaded [four bowls left over for next firing] and I ordered gas this morning.Probably fire on Sunday.This afternoon I'll try to post pictures while slowly sorting out the studio.I'm on night shift at the anagama,so a spot of sleep is called for.
I notice from my sitemeter [at the very bottom of the blog page] a sudden flurry of hits from eileen's site welcome,welcome,and thanks again,Eileen. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mother Earth Pottery

Big up for Eileen,her pottery,newsletter and new website,featuring at the bottom of the "links" list somewhere down there on the left-go look.
Still aching gently from a few hour's slicing wood yesterday at Tel Hai as students loaded the anagama in preparation for today's firing,planned to finish Friday afternoon [opening after Pesach].I think young Ricardo fired his big kiln in Even Sapir the other day- I wonder how that came out.
Glaze kiln # 5 is off and running this morning,with #6 glazed and ready on the shelves.On my way back from T.H. I stopped off at Yesod,Sydney being in Tel Aviv,to open the salt kiln we fired on Monday.The firing went well,and results were good,given the rather severe restrictions of our abilities.There has also been an exploratory decal-and-lustre firing in the new electric kiln,which produced no surprises [this is desirable in a decal firing,where any surprise is likely to be bad news,as opposed to the salt/anagama end if the firing spectrum,where the unexpected is welcome].Many different kilns and firings these days,which keeps one on one's toes- the path of excess leads to the road of wisdom,as Nanny used to say.Off to de-gunk the chainsaw,which might be required again during the anagama firing,then I might get around to posting some recent pots.It's cold-ish outside,and pouring with rain,a nice day to fire an indoor kiln- I wonder how wet the students are getting at Tel Hai...