Thursday, December 21, 2023

Bulldog Pottery is Open

Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

 Hi! Happy Holidays. We will be open for the rest of December 2023 with our regular hours. 🙂  We are open tomorrow through December 23rd and then we will open on December 26-31… from 10:00am- 5:00pm. Have a lovely Holiday and a very Happy New Year. 

We have has a wonderful year here at Bulldog Pottery studios. Looking forward to 2024!

Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Carbon trapping with help from a little friend


Shino Minnow Mug made by Bruce Gholson

Bruce writes, 
      "I’ve been talking recently with a friend and fellow potter Jared Zehmer, about the vagaries and elusiveness of consistent carbon trapping in shino glazes.

      During my last cone 9/10 reduction firing, I learned a serious lesson from a mouse about kiln control and carbon trapping in shinos. The firing got off to a good early start looking to be “on schedule“, going great through body reduction, and it was early enough to ensure carbon at right time, albeit feeling maybe a little richer than my normal firing. The problem seriously reared its head when I tried to get the kiln into a cruising mode -- post body reduction -- to fire on up to the final temperature.  I still desired a continuous reduction “lite”, and I judge this from the visual feedback of flame and pressure out of the bottom spy which is the opening in the kiln's door. The back pressure wouldn’t go away no matter how far out I pulled the damper!

     Normally slight damper adjustments meant strong pressure changes, but I was stuck with a jet of back pressure flame shooting out of the bottom spy hole, with the inevitable slowing of temperature rise. 

     After a bit of time, and soon well behind my preferred schedule of climbing temperature, I realized that pleading with the kiln wasn’t going to cut it. The remedy that ended up working was to partially open two upper spy holes, front and back, until the desired back pressure was achieved. The damper was open and out of play for the rest of the firing until closing time. Essentially the kiln had now become a hybrid, an updrafted downdraft kiln; lets call it sidewinder drafting.

     The firing results were beautiful, and there was very rich carbon trapping on many pieces. 
The problem wasn’t a choked bottom shelf stacked too tightly in front of the flue like I had feared. The culprit turned out to be a strategically inclined little rodent that had been collecting pieces of kaowool from the gasket of the chimney, and stashing them out of sight in the center back half of the flue. It was enough of a pile to drastically influence the draft as the firing progressed, but was great for strong carbon trapping effects captured during early body reduction in shinos.

Nest made by mouse out of kaolwool looking through bottom of kiln

Bulldog Pottery’s kiln firing log

Looking down to the bottom of the kiln from the top of the kiln's chimney

Grouping of carbon trapped shino mugs made by Bruce Gholson

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Loading our kiln for the 15th annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters

Samantha handing a covered jar over to Bruce

     We loaded our gas kiln this past Sunday in preparation for the upcoming Celebration of Seagrove Potters, November 19 and 20, annually the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year the Celebration has expanded to a studio tour along with the inside event at the Historic Luck's Cannery. Early bird begins at the Luck's Cannery at 9:00am and the main event opens at 10:00am. We will be participating in the studio tour part of the event. We are looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend at our pottery shop. We are taking precautions against the Sars-cov-2 virus as well as flu, so we are requesting everyone to wear masks in our pottery shop. We surely appreciate helping us keep everyone as healthy as possible. 

For more information about the upcoming event check out the Discover Seagrove website.

     There will be an information booth set up catty-corner from the General Wine and Brew in downtown Seagrove-- handing out maps and information about the weekend. There will be food trucks set up at the Wine and Brew and the Lucks Cannery.

     Our gas brick kiln has served us well the past 22 years. The bricks were recycled from two previous kilns all the way back into the early 1970's. If only these bricks could talk... lots of firings, memories, successes, occasional trauma.  

   We currently fire this kiln with a strong body reduction early on, and then a light reduction throughout. Over the years we have figured out a stacking that works well in the kiln. Though every once in awhile we do change something with the stacking because of the size and shape of what we made that particular cycle. For example putting plate stackers too close to the front brick door or the flue opening -- or not enough space at the top -- these stack configurations can clog up the heat work in the kiln and we can be stalled at the end of the firing. When the kiln stalls this can make the firing 4-5 hours longer then usual. From experiencing these lessons we include taller pieces for the bottom to mix with the plate stackers and even taller pots at the top to give room for the flame and heat to move around the kiln. Also we know not to put plate stackers too close to the brick door or the flu exit in the back. Lessons learned.

The back of the kiln is loaded with a variety of heights of pottery
The beginning of the first row of shelves in the kiln 

The front of the kiln is nearly finished

Bruce puts in the final kiln shelf at the top

Bruce is bricking up the door to our gas kiln

The brick door is just about finished, we are getting the cone packs lined up

Bruce and Samantha matching flannel selfie picture with the kiln 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Glazing in the Pottery Studio

Samantha is glazing one of her pattern medley mugs

     During the past 2 weeks we have steadily worked towards finishing our newest body of pottery. It is always exciting to reach the end of a studio cycle and have a body of work completed and ready to load into our kiln. This part of the process can be filled with some anxiety until we un-brick the kiln door and pull the pots out of the kiln. Even after years of firing experience things can happen to mess something up. Whether it has something to do with the actual firing or with something that we did while glazing. It is all part of the ceramic process and it is the variability that keeps our art practice interesting and stimulating. 

     The Celebration of Seagrove Potters is this weekend, November 19 and 20, 2022 in Seagrove, North Carolina. There will be 20 Seagrove Potters set up in the new space at the Historic Lucks Cannery and 29 Seagrove Potters participating in the Celebration Studio Tour. An information booth will be set up at the main Celebration Event location to answer questions and hand out maps. There will also be Food Trucks set up during the day here for everyone. To find out more information check out the Discover Seagrove website

Bruce is glazing a plate with one of his snake images using a latex technique
Bruce is glazing a plate with one of his snake images using a latex technique

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

You Can Call them Compotes or Footed Bowls


Samantha's potters' wheel showing the bottom of the compote on the wheel and the freshly trimmed bowl part of the footed dish
Samantha's potter's wheel, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

    This series of images are of the compotes that Samantha has been working on during the last bit of throwing in October, before we realized that we will be needing to get all of our worked bisque fired and glazed for the season. In the midst of all this beautiful fall color, we need to get some color on our pots as well. 
   We are in the middle of our glaze cycle right now preparing a body of work for the upcoming Celebration of Seagrove Potters. This annual Seagrove Pottery event takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving.   
      This year that date falls on November 19 and 20, 2022. There will be 20 Seagrove Potters set up inside at the Historic Luck's Cannery and around 30 potters that will be participating in the Celebration of Seagrove Potters studio tour. We will be participating in only the Pottery Tour and definitely looking forward to seeing all of you this year. Check out the Seagrove Potters website for more detailed information.
       The compotes that Samantha has been making are thrown in two pieces. The images show a bit of the process that Samantha took to complete this form. We use them for serving and creating a table display. It is fun to use them for dips or crackers. They give height to the table and also conserves room when it is needed especially during holidays and special occasions.  

    During the past couple of years we have focused on making our functional pottery fired in our gas brick kiln. Our focus has been on developing new glaze colors and textures that work with our Moka glaze designs. Bruce has had a good time expanding his shino glaze palette and Samantha has explored her pattern medley imagery more in depth. 

        We will have work a fresh body of shino and Moka glaze pottery for the upcoming Celebration of Seagrove Potters studio tour. See you soon!

A grouping of freshly trimmed and thrown on footed stems onto bowls
Some bowls with a thrown footed pedestal and some bowls without

All bowls are with thrown footed pedestal and are upside down on a table drying. These will remain this way for a day or so, until they are dry enough to turn right side up
Bowls with a thrown footed pedestal upside down on a table drying. These will remain this way for a day or so, until they are dry enough to turn right side up

Footed Bowl upside down on Samantha's potters wheel
Footed Bowl upside down on Samantha's potters wheel

The finished pedestal bowl on Samatha's potters wheel before decoration.
Footed Bowl right side up on Samantha's potters wheel

The pedestal bowls are decorated with dots patterns and set on newspaper to dry
The pedestal bowls are decorated with dots patterns and set on newspapers to dry

Another view of the pedestal bowls are decorated with dots patterns and set on newspapers to dry
The pedestal bowls are decorated with a variety of dots patterns and set on newspapers to dry

       The fall colors have been beautiful here in Seagrove and soon all the leaves will be on the ground. Another winter season is around the corner and before we know it, the New Year 2023 will begin.  
       It has been almost 2 years since we have worked with our crystalline glazes, and we will be looking forward to revisiting these surfaces for 2023. We are planning soon to switch over to making our crystalline pottery. Yeah! 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Thrown Together Pottery Show and Sale - June 17 and 18 - in Greensboro


We will join the “Thrown Together Potters” this June in Greensboro on June 17 and 18! Jen Mecca, Ron Philbeck and Charlie Tefft will be hosting us along with Phil Haralam and Miru Ranganathan at Charlie Tefft’s studios in Summerfield NC. Yeah!

This sale will be taking place- 
Friday June 17th from 7pm - 9pm 
 Saturday June 18th from 10am - 4 pm
4444 Hamburg Mill Road, Summerfield NC

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Throwing Ramen and Pho Bowls

Freshly thrown bowls by Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

We are making bowls for one of our favorite meals, Pho and Ramen. 

These bowls are larger than a regular soup bowl. Their shape needs to have enough room for a handful of noodles, vegetables, two ladles full of broth and our favorite addition -- the Ramen egg.  All of this yumminess needs to fit with room enough to spare so that it doesn't spill out when carrying the meal to the dinner table.

 The past couple of years we have settled on making a Shoyu Ramen we learned from Seonkyoung Longest, a Youtube cooking maven. It is a bone broth based on simmering pork necks for a few hours. (For vegetarians- broths made out of miso are very delicious).  

We love to add a Ramen egg to our soups. A Ramen egg is one that is softly boiled and marinated in a soysauce/mirin mixture for a day. We usually make the Ramen egg in the morning for our evening meal, but you may want to try different marinating times to your taste.

Pho and Ramen are different and are categorized depending on the type of broth and noodles used. This explanation on ChowHound  is an interesting read to learn more about the origins of these delectable soups. 

Samantha is trimming a foot on a bowl, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Freshly decorated bowls, Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

A bowl full of Shoyu Ramen

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

"Our Past Shapes Our Present" - Linda Cordell, Samantha Henneke, Kristen Kieffer, Aysha Peltz, Elizabeth Vorlicek, Adero Willard, and Blake Jamison Williams

Patterns of Being, Plate, Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

"Our Past Shapes Our Present" is an exhibition organized by Elizabeth Vorlicek and Blake Jamison Williams for NCECA (National Ceramics Education for the Ceramic Arts). Originally this show was to be on view during March 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. The Covid-19 pandemic cancelled the conference for 2020. This year March 2021, NCECA- Rivers, Reflections, Reinventions- will be online, the first virtual conference ever. 

Bruce and I attended the Kansas City and Portland NCECA conferences in 2016 and 2017. The NCECA Ceramic Conference is an amazing time to connect with old friends and make new ones. In recent years, an estimated 6,000 ceramic artists have attended the 4 day event -- it is definitely a time to remember.

This exhibition includes seven ceramics artists. What is our common bond? We attended Alfred University in Alfred, New York and graduated together in 1995. 

The invited artists for the show are Linda Cordell, Samantha Henneke, Kristen Kieffer, Aysha Peltz, Elizabeth Vorlicek, Adero Willard, and Blake Jamison Williams. We have joined together to display some of our recent work along with an artist statement, and a forward by Elizabeth Vorlicek. You can view the show here at "Our Past Shapes Our Present" ,

I am showing 6 plates decorated with figures and pattern medley designs. 

Patterns of Being, Plate, Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Samantha and Bruce did an artist residency in Paris a few years ago. We lived right in the middle of the city for two months, with people around everywhere, all the time. It fascinated me to walk among so many people, of all cultures, with historic architecture as the landscape. 

Connection was the place, not necessarily the people. It was mesmerizing to be in the flow of city streets, where everyone seems to move to where they need to be among one another in a fluidly symbiotic way.

Coming back to the seclusion of our lifestyle here, with memories of the people on the Paris city streets walking around engaging with one another at that moment in time, but likely never to be encountered again. To see some images of our time in Paris, go to #bulldogpotteryparisresidency2018

Now, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of being in crowds is of an obscure reality. The change for us personally hasn’t been as monumental compared to others because our daily rhythm is secluded at home with the trees. But I can imagine that in the city there is edginess now to this flow that we had experienced back in Paris.

Patterns of Being, Plate, Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Patterns of Being, Plate, Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Patterns of Being, Plate, Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina

Patterns of Being, Plate, Samantha Henneke, Bulldog Pottery, Seagrove, North Carolina


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Whirling through January and February 2021


It is wild that we are almost through the second month of 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic still is the reason why we keep our shop closed. We are waiting until we feel comfortable opening again -- when the public health scientists feel that it is as good as it will get, and everyone has had an opportunity to get the vaccine. 

Last year we took our sales online and were very pleased with the technology available to be able to keep selling the pottery we make. We focused posting our works on our social media pages, Bulldog Pottery Instagram and Bulldog Pottery Facebook. We want to write more and restart our blog. So we will see. We know a lot of people are not on social media, and also like to take a social-media-break every so often. The world changes, pottery business changes, and we must adapt too.

We miss seeing people, and the daily conversations in our Bulldog Pottery shop. Hopefully, sometime soon, in the near future, we will be opening up our doors again. 

Last year, in 2020, we focused our creative attention to making forms glazed with our crystalline surfaces. For 2021 we are changing our pottery studio process and will concentrate on making pottery with our Moka glaze and Bruce's shino glazed porcelain all fired in our gas kiln. We have an AKAR Gallery show scheduled for this coming October and we will be creating a body of work for this online Artist exhibit.

Stay tuned for more posts!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Collaboration - Working Together - Online Benefit for North Carolina Pottery Center


Bruce Gholson and Mark Hewitt pose behind a grouping of porcelain vases thrown by Mark for the upcoming North Carolina Pottery Center Online Auction. The "Working Together" Online Gala and Benefit Auction takes place on October 24, Saturday evening, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm. 

During the late months of summer Mark Hewitt dropped by a selection of tall porcelain vases for us to glaze with one of our crystalline glazes. 

One or two of these vases will be on the auction block come October 24, 2020......

Check out the North Carolina Pottery Center Gala for details and the complete list of potters participating.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Book and Bowl Giveaway on Cousins in Clay Instagram on May 29- June 1, 2020

Book and Bowl Giveaway on Cousins in Clay instagram on May 29- June 1, 2020

It is "Cousins in Clay" giveaway time! Join in and enter to win this lovely dotted bowl made by Samantha and the cookbook, "Kiln to Kitchen" by Jean Anderson.

Check out our  "Cousins in Clay" Instagram to enter into and hopefully win this Weekend Giveaway between May 29 - June 1, donated by Bulldog Pottery. You will need an Instagram account to be able to enter.

This Giveaway is in honor of this weekend's Seagrove "Cousins in Clay" pottery event that would have been taking place, this Saturday and Sunday (May 30 - 31, 2020). This intimate pottery event had to be postponed until next year due to the global pandemic.  We will miss seeing all of you!  The potters that would have been showing their awesome pottery work here at Bulldog Pottery : us (Bruce Gholson and Samantha Henneke), Michael Kline, Kyle Carpenter, Courtney Martin, along with our guest clay cousins Minsoo Yuh and Sunkoo Yuh from Athens, Georgia, and Ree Soojong from South Korea.

On Friday morning May 29, we will post and provide instructions on the Cousins in Clay instagram with instructions how to enter the Cousins in Clay Giveaway. It is pretty simple: Follow Cousins in Clay Instagram, like the post, and tag someone in the comments, and if you would like to share the post in your story that would be nice to help us get the word out about Cousins in Clay.

On Monday evening, June 1, we will announce the winner. This contest will be limited to the United States. The "Kiln to Kitchen" includes selected recipes from North Carolina Potters. Jean Anderson's "Kiln to Kitchen" cookbook deliciously brings together two of her lifelong passions—great food and North Carolina pottery.

In the "Kiln to Kitchen" book you will find the recipe for our Cousins Granola, a favorite breakfast that we serve during the Cousins in Clay weekend. Also included in the book is Mary Jane's (Bruce's sister) Greek Potato Salad recipe, developed specially for her husband Chronis, who likes food made without mayonnaise.