Thursday, March 31, 2011

Frozen in Fire exhibition during NCECA

"Cranberry Gourd Vase" by Bruce Gholson (11" x 7.75")

This week, NCECA holds their yearly conference called "Tidal Forces the Next Wave", in Tampa Florida. NCECA stands for National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, and holds their annual conference once a year. We are pleased that we have a four of our crystalline vases on display at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. These vases are part of a juried exhibition called "Frozen in Fire". You can see images of this show at Avi Harriman's Picasa web album.

These vases are for sale at the exhibition. If you are interested you can contact the Dunedin Art Center for more information.

detail of molybdenum crystals on the "Cranberry Gourd Vase" by Bruce Gholson

"Blue Flame Mint Vase" (15" x 4.75") by Bruce Gholson

detail of "Blue Flame Mint Vase" by Bruce Gholson

"Iridescent Jesse Vase" (16" x 3.5") by Samantha Henneke
detail of the "Iridescent Jesse Vase" (16" x 3.5") by Samantha Henneke
"Midnight Blue Speckle Vase" by Samantha Henneke (15" x 3.5')

detail "Midnight Blue Speckle Vase" by Samantha Henneke (15" x 3.5')

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vases for Daffie Days

We have been moving right along.
Lots to do.
We are moving move it!
Tomorrow morning it is up early for us. We need to set up and decided to wait because of the wind. Looking forward to getting all of our vases out and displayed. We are really happy with the results. Lots to think about and to work off of for the next round of vases.
Gloria and Ed are in the kitchen baking.

Bruce has been polishing the bottoms of the vases the past few days while I glazed cups and bowls. That kiln will come out Saturday morning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bulldog Pottery Kiln Opening update

We loaded our final vase kiln two days ago and will be unloading later this morning. Lots more to do to these pieces to get them finished and ready to present for this weekend. While Bruce is grinding and polishing the vases, I will be glazing some bowls, cups, and small vases that will come out on Saturday. Nothing like pushing on through. This is a busy weekend for the Arts around here. Beside us having a kiln opening, Dan Triece will be celebrating his 25th anniversary with a kiln opening at Dirtworks around 8 minutes from us. The Catawba Pottery Festival is taking place this weekend with many potters participating. Also the Palustris Festival is taking place over in Southern Pines, a four day celebration of Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts. A few Seagrove Potters will be included in the Palustris festivities giving demonstrations and selling their pottery at the Campbell House (Southern Pines), and Ben Owen has an exhibition there as well.

We are happy that we live in North Carolina. A state that values the Arts and how it enriches our lives. Art (and we are talking about all kinds of Art - music, literary, visual, etc.) enhances our days, and brings beauty to our lives.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Steady Gets It

A selection of the vases that we pulled out of the kiln yesterday

Steady gets it here at Bulldog. Glazes to mix, bisque pottery to wash, rings to glue on, glazes to sieve. All part of what goes into our process of ceramics. We love glazes and the immense variety that one can get from constant testing. We always want something different. We wish we would be better record keepers, but it is one homework project that we just have not started properly. When using as many glazes as we do, we don't remember some of the glaze combinations that were once our favorite. There is an organic feeling about how we approach our studio work. Our work is a continuous cycle of what colors, textures, and forms that we are emotional drawn too. Reality sets in, and for some reason some glazes just want to misbehave and we can't (for reasons we don't understand) get the combination to work properly for us anymore. This can be frustrating to say the least, but we look at what is working for us and go from there.

Ed is helping us wash the recent bisque pots that we unloaded from the kiln. Are you wondering where Gloria is? She has been working out in the garden. And also coming up with a few goodies for the light refreshments that will be served next weekend.

Bruce is still at it, gluing on the rings to our vases.

He has finished quite a few and these await our brushes full of glaze.

Now Ed has gone to bed. Which leaves me to finish up the sieving process. Bruce and I think about the new glaze colors that we want to mix up, but there just is not enough time left in this glaze round to get into the lab. There are all of the other "known" glazes that we need to make to top off our containers.
Samantha getting another glaze sieved, she feels she hasn't enough to choose from.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rings and Wax and Listening to Stories

Today was a day of prep work for a marathon of glazing vases. We have a kiln cooling down so tomorrow we will be able to unload a group of vases. It always seems to take us a couple of kiln firings to get back into the swing of things. Being away from glazing for a couple months, we can forget just how thin or thick a glaze needs to be. Usually after the first kiln we have a good sense of the direction we are going to go in. Below I am waxing the bottom of a piece that will be dipped in glaze.

Bruce is lapping flat the rings and the vase bottoms so that they fit seamlessly when glued together. He has developed a particular way to apply the rings to the vases which helps the grinding stage go a little bit easier.

When we glaze we like to listen to podcasts. Our favorite is Mike Bennet and his book Underwood and Flinch. This is an ongoing Vampire story. We have finished the episode he has recently released where he tells us the story of Lord Underwood's beginnings. We highly recommend this particular podcast. Tomorrow we look forward to settling in and listening to the beginning of Book three of the Guild of the Cowry Catchers by Abigail Hilton.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A little Bit of This and That

We always say that we will throw our rings at the beginning of the cycle, but alas we have not. Bruce and I have been busy throwing rings yesterday for our vases. Our crystalline glazes are very fluid and these rings will be glued to the bottom of our vases. Bruce is showing me a new technique he has figured out to get the rings to snap apart cleanly without breaking.

Yesterday in the studio we did a little bit of this and a little bit of that. When we are at the end of a cycle of throwing and preparing for glazing, we find ourselves performing lots of little duties. Then we get to settle in and stay in one place for awhile to glaze.

Below Samantha is cleaning up one of her cups in preparation to load into the bisque kiln.

Ed is wiping off the dust from our vases. The vases need to be free of dust before the glaze is applied.

Bruce is vacuuming out the electric kiln. We do this before all firings in order to keep the elements clean from debris. They last longer this way. Elements can be expensive, and if something gets lodged in between the wires they will burn out and have to be replaced, which is also a tedious process.

Samantha has a group of small bowls drying waiting to be loaded into a kiln for a bisque firing. Maybe in a few days they will be dry enough.
Lots of potential pieces to put through the trial of glazing and firing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tumbling in February

Jason de Caires Taylor's underwater sculptures create a unique, absorbing and expansive visual seascape.

We have picked out a few of our favorites from our Bulldog Pottery's February tumblr archive to show today.

The top image is by Jason de Caired Taylor. This is a detail of La Evolucion Silenciosa (The Silent Evolution), 400 life-size figures sunk into the water off of Cancun/Isla Mujeres, Mexico. To see more if his work, watch videos, and read about other projects he has completed , visit his website.

The above painting is by Martin Wittfooth. A fantastical mixture of nature, decay, and industrial imagery. Visit his website gallery to see more.

Zebra longwing butterfly egg from National Geographic.
You really need to check these egg images out. They are pretty incredible. Like a friend said, "Great Eggs!"
"The orange hue of this zebra longwing butterfly egg may warn predators: "Eat me if you dare." The threat would not be idle. The egg contains cyanide and other toxins ingested by adults from the plants they eat."
Check out these egg images at the National Geographic website.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What is white?

They look white in this image, but actually these pieces are creamy colored. I am not sure if we have ever glazed a pot white. I know these pieces will not stay white, but as they are, it initiated a conversation about glazing pots with a clear or white, and the subsequent questions, thoughts, and responses. All imperfections are clearly visible when glazing with a clear or white glaze. One question presented to us was just how perfect does a pot need to be for this effect? These were made by hand in a studio that also uses red clay, stoneware, and color glazes which means flecks of this and that can easily find their way into the glaze or clay, which they did.

What is white?
If we were after a white we would test many porcelains with a variety of opaque white and clear glazes. Grolleg over tile-6 kaolin? Would we be after the creamier side of white or the blue side of white? When we dropped these pieces off yesterday we saw the porcelain works the Jingdezhen clay artists shipped over from China. Those pieces were glazed with a very pale ice blue transparent celadon glaze. The Chinese pieces were definitely sweet in color and smooth. High fired in a gas kiln makes a huge difference in a glaze. There is something about the melt between clay and glaze at over 2300 degrees F that just does not happen the same with mid-range electric firings. But there are qualities at mid range electric firings that you just can't get in high fire gas. Which is why we do both.
Our response?
Do we like white pots? Do we want to try to glaze some of our pots white? Probably not. But I do think we may pull out our bucket of ice blue celadon and try mixing up a few more celadon glazes in the future.

Bruce is glazing a platter in the image below. We transferred the glaze to the large metal container.

Where is Bruce going to go with the platter? All table tops are occupied.

He found a space

We let the pots dry over night and the next day Bruce brushed glaze over the places where his fingers held the pot