Friday, December 31, 2010

Jar Part 2- Click Me

Trimming the lid,throwing the knob.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I gave Sydney one of the cane handles I made a while ago- this is the teapot he made to go with it.


Repairing and plastering the salt kiln at Tel Hai
Loading the gas kiln for a glaze firing
The huge trolley-hearth kiln,used for bisc firings
Sometimes,said Freud,a cigar is just a cigar- but a kiln is never just a kiln [I said that]. Kilns represent our hopes and fears,our dreams and challenges,our male [fire] and female [container] aspects, concealment and revelation, the end of one process and the beginning of another,the necessity of technique and the acknowledgement of our ultimate lack of control: they are one of the timepieces by which we measure our lives as potters.

Rebbetsin Carlebach at 100

We made a rare excursion to Jerusalem this week in honour of Mrs. Carlebach's 100th birthday; she and Rabbi Alexander Carlebach z"l were an important part of our spiritual life when we lived in Jerusalem- Rabbi Carlebach officiated at our wedding. Mazel Tov!

Click for Video

This started as a request from students Batya and Tami to work on larger lidded forms; I made one with them,then decided that the resultant cookie jar might be a useful addition to my production line,so made a few more and filmed the process. Parts 2 & 3 will follow when I've done some editing...


Monday, December 13, 2010


#6 & 7- a bit of black iron,then a bit more- nothing of immediate interest,but I got 2 hopeful results from this round of tests for not very much effort.

All of the Above

#1-4 combined;as expected,more or less back to the original glaze.


Base glaze with more quartz- it's obviously overloaded with quartz with not enough fluxes to melt it.


Also nice- some blues showing up,more like Hamada's Nuka glaze; I'll try this again.

Rice Ash

#2: base glaze with some Japanese rice ash- I bought some in Japan-not a lot- and haven't found a use for it yet. It's quite refractory,having a high silica content,but here it gave a nice rich textured white- worth investigating.

More Ash

The first variation,with more olive wood ash...nothing spectacular

Glaze Testing the Quick Way

I loaded the second and last kiln in the current series last week and had a bit of time before starting the firing,so I thought I'd have a look at some of the parameters of my simple ash glaze [1/3 each feldspar,quartz and ash]. I didn't have any prepared test pieces,so broke bits off an unpromising bisced dish [no problem sliding them into the packed kiln]. For each test,I poured a small puddle of the base glaze into a bowl,then added a very approximate spoonful of the test material [aiming to increase it by10-20%],stirred[not sieved] and dabbed on the test tile with a brush.marking the back with black iron oxide. The idea was to see if any promising directions showed up,to be tested more thoroughly next time; the whole batch of tests took me about 20 minutes...

Rapt and Packed- Tel Hai Pottery Symposium 2010

Watching a Demonstration in the Auditorium
Halima Cassell
We were fortunate to miss the stormy weather that started Friday evening; three interesting guests working for three days,masses of information,techniques and ideas to digest,and our wonderful students working hard to keep everyone happy and supplied with sandwiches,soup and juice- not to mention chocolate fondu.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

As If All This Were Not Enough

Which it probably is,but if I haven't wasted enough of your precious time already,you can click on the title and be transported to Youtubeland,there to watch a system I use to avoid inside and outside glazes running into each other. Some people claim to like this effect: I suspect it's more often a result of a lack of an alternative technique [it took me a while to work it out].

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Sir Ken

Also,if you haven't yet heard Sir Ken Robinson speak about education,do yourself a favour and check this out [click on title..]

Chanukah Bonus!

Click on post title,then click on "stories" at the top left of the page that opens,then "porcelain" from the menu...enjoy...

What's Going On

I've been making a series of blue-and-white porcelain agateware bowls for a special order; here they are after their bisc firing,looking rather astronomical.

Sydney has been helping his friend Nevo get this year's olives ready for the press...

Helen has been baking...

My friend Mike Leaf has been painting...

I made a promising batch of 30-odd bottles of wine from our venerable vine,and am awaiting a visit from the vine doctor to see what the red and black spots on the leaves are...Meanwhile,according to local tradition,Winter hasn't started- there are still leaves on the vine...

For the last month or so we have been living in a dust-storm with intermittent water stoppages while our street was excavated [repeatedly] and water and sewage pipes replaced..

...and I've been having fun refiring some of Meir Moheban's pots from the last Anagama that got covered in ash but didn't reach a high enough temperature to melt it- cone 9 seems to do the job - the before/after pictures here aren't [obviously] the same pots,but give a good idea of the change after refiring...

The road finally got resurfaced...

...and my most recent exploit,fired yesterday- some experiments with gold lustre and wax resist; for the inquisitive- I waxed the design onto bisced porcelain,then glazed with a clear glaze and fired,then painted lustre over the design,giving a matte design on a shiny background [after lustre fire to 750 degrees]. I'm not sure where this is going [the 100 shekel cup?] or even if I like the effect,but the idea was interesting...

Happy Chanukah!

Our yearly Symposium starts tomorrowat Tel Hai- this year's guests are
Halima Cassel-

Sue Paraskeva

and Brian Ransom

Click on their names to see their sites.

After a couple of months' break from blogging,I thought it might be smart to post a couple of entries to forestall comments during the symposium....