Friday, April 24, 2009

Stoking at the Tel

With my last ounce [/25grams] of energy I posted this video of young Andrew [with Netzer handing wood and Tuvia on the door] running the next-to-last stoke this morning. I filmed the last stoke as well,but it was much sloppier,so I spared you. Click on the title.

While My Camera Gently Melts

Just back - slightly singed and totally exhausted - from the night shift at the Tel Hai anagama: we finished the firing around eight in the morning,having used up all the wood available [there's quite a pottery tradition of chopping up the furniture when the wood runs out,but cone 11 was down in most of the kiln,and the test rings looked unusually good,so we refrained: most of the furniture is plastic and metal,anyway]. A good time was had by all [as usual,there were a couple of enthusiastic converts to the strenuous joys of wood-firing among the first year students] and I'm off for a few hours' sleep.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Casson Rediscovered

O Joy! I just did a quick search and found this extract of the late great Mick Casson throwing [from the film I mentioned]- and,synchronously,he's throwing a bowl [though not so low and wide].Give yourself a treat,make a cup of tea,sit down and enjoy! Note traditional British wheel tray swimming in water. Clicking on title above required.



Sydney and I have completed our study of Leach's "A Potter's Book",including the glossary,and are now embarking on the natural 3rd in the trilogy [first,you will recall,was Cardew's "Pioneer Pottery"]- Mick Casson's "The Craft of the Potter" - the book of the BBC film from the 70's. I remember seeing most of the series back then,and would love to see it again - anyone got a copy? It used to be in the British Council film library,but that doesn't exist any longer. Photo is mirror image,thanks to Apple PhotoBooth.

Throwing a Shallow Bowl

Clicking something here should get you to the youtube video I uploaded just now. People seem to find these shapes difficult - I think that the steel kidneys help a lot. Please note use of 2 cameras [and a few superfluous transition effects I couldn't resist trying out]- does it help?

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Teapot Weather

Rainy and cool - a good opportunity to make a few teapots before the Summer's heat sets in and assembling parts of pots becomes a race against time [not that I don't do it]. While in the mood,I also made some rectangular baking dishes for the salt kiln and a bunch of natlot [washing cups] which seem to disappear from the shelves as quickly as I can make them.
Note spare lid and spare spout - the teapot handles were spares I made for the washing cups.
Ricardo called from Jerusalem to announce the birth of his new kiln [catenary arch,cross-draught,wood fired] which he has been building over the last month or so,helped by the indefatigable Pnina. Maiden firing due in mid-May -maybe I'll get some work together and participate. Richie fires more quickly than anagama firings -a day or so,if I remember correctly- in the English fashion,making functional ware glazed inside and flashed from the fire outside,with maybe a chamber for salt in the back. Mazal tov! A new wood-fired kiln in Israel is a rare and noteworthy event. Which reminds mne that the Tel Hai anagama firing is set for next week;traditionally I take the Thursday night /Friday morning stoking shift,although there are usually so many enthusiastic and energetic students around that there's not much to do.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Pots from the Anagama

This year's survivors [not too many of those cut-and-stuck pieces].Top photo of pots that came out well,bottom less so. I'll try to photograph some individually.I forgot to include the biggest [and best] piece - a large jar/vase from the batch I threw last year. There are still a couple of unfired pieces from that group of 6 or so - I hope one will make it into the Tel Hai anagama firing,due after Pesach.

Log Splitter

Meir acquired this endearing tool for this year's firing: it survived [leaking a little oil] and split a mountain of stubborn twisted olive wood.