Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New -REVISED- Bat System

Back when I was working for Ceramics Canada, the Alberta Potters Guild held a workshop in the warehouse with a fantastic potter by the name of Ryan Cameron of Velvet Antler Pottery in Field, BC. Now, the town of Field is just a short drive West of Lake Louise. The town itself is actually located within Yoho National Park and to live there you actually have to be an employee of the Park system. Ryan is a potter through the winter and a forest ranger during the summer. And if you could see where he lives you, as I do, would think he has the best life in the world! Actually, I'm going to see if I have any pictures....

Ryan, as you can see in the picture above, throws alot of his pots on bisqued tiles which are set into a bat. So after that workshop, Ceramics Canada had a fellow routered out bats like Ryan’s and sold them, and of course, I HAD TO BUY ONE. So I've had mine for about six years and must admit it has done considerably well. But now the water has finally got in and only allows me about half a day of throwing before it starts to expand. So onto Version 2.0.

Now, you can buy systems like this like the Versa-Bat System but they make the inserts a specific size that only fit their system, and I already have all these tiles. So the new experiment is instead of wood, using plastic. At Greenbarn, Vancouver's clay supplier, they sell PLASTI-BATS. And it turns out that a tile is the same thickness as a plasti-bat. So remembering some elementary school mathematics I was able to find the centre of a circle and then centre the tile. After that a little cutting and sanding.... I think I've done it!!!

The big test will be tomorrow morning when tile and clay catapult themselves across the studio. Or, it just might work.

Here's some construction pics.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A piece of History... Only a potter could love!

So during the xmas break my Daughter and I were out walking Jack when on a path, surrounded by forest, we came across a pottery jackpot! Well, maybe an historical, industrial, pottery jackpot.

We found Sewer Pipe!

Now, I realize that most people would find that terribly disgusting, as my daughter did. But I had little resistance when I told her we had to dig it up. So why is this important you ask? Because it's pottery history!

Before steel pipes, and now plastic pipes, sewer piping was made from clay. But not just clay, stoneware, and it was salt fired stoneware. And all of this came from the home of clay products, Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Taken from the Historic Clay District's web site (http://www.medalta.org/companies/acp.html) Alberta Clay Products ( notice the 'MEDICINE HAT A. C. P. Co.' stamp on my pipe) began in 1910 and continued to supply sewer pipe to Western Canada through the '40's and '50's.

For many years A. C. P. was the only manufacturer of sewer pipe in western Canada. It continued to expand and make money even through the height of the great depression; so much so that the Yuills set up two separate stoneware pottery companies: Medicine Hat Potteries Ltd. in 1937, and Alberta Potteries Ltd. in 1941.

And the large bee hive kilns on site, now the Museum were the original kilns used to fire all this pipe. And it just so happens that while I was at ACAD we were able to tour the museum. So here are some pics.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What to do today...

Big events this sunday in my neighbourhood. First, potter Fredi Rahn is having her open house today starting at 11am. But I must say, as beautiful as her pottery is I am hoping that she will be serving some of the bread she bakes in these special clay pots. A Bread Cloche. She also has artisan bread workshops as well. You can check it all out here.
Second, Capilano University has their annual pottery sale on this weekend just up the hill from me. It's a great show some very talented new potters as well as some established ones in the continuing ed. program.
And if you don't already know, Jim Gottuso (Sofia's Dad's Pots) has a great taste is hand crafted beers and also makes beautiful beer glasses. It just might be time to check out his etsy store for my Christmas wish list?!?!?!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sometimes all it takes is a Change of Scenery

I received an invitation I just couldn't refuse. An old friend invited us out to visit her and her family out in Cultus Lake. Being that Mackenzie was in town and Carol, my friend, has a son the same age, I thought, what an great opportunity. Did I mention 'waterpark' was the topic of conversation....
So it began. An hour drive in Jennifer's new car, Mac's ipod plugged in listening to the likes of Miley Cyrus, Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, and even some song about a 'poker face', and kissing a girl and liking it...
We finally arrived and like out of a dream Carol took charge. We went and got gas for the boat and were on the lake wake boarding, jumping off cliffs, playing in the lake.... it was if I was transformed to another planet. The kids had hot dogs and then 'BAM!' we were at the waterpark watching them run between water features and giant slides. I may have even tried a few myself. It was fantastic!!!
The day ended with a evening boat ride as the sun fell between the mountains.
I write this not because I ran home and made ten pots or had time to do any pottery. I think I am writing this to remind myself of the importance to get away. To leave the rat race and take time to see what else is out there. At the least, I came back a little more rejuvenated.
Thank-you Carol, Jerret, Eric, for a great day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To a Great Woman

I had the opportunity of make something for a great woman, a principal of a school in a neighboring district. It was to be related to the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. You can read more about the book at http://www.threecupsoftea.com/ but the basic concept I was given was this:

The first time you share a cup of tea with a Balti, you are a stranger.
The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest.
The third time you share a cup of tea, you are family.

So what they wanted was a teapot with three cups. But being that I don't generally make small teapots, nor did I think that the style I make suited the proverb or person, I was a little nervous. So I made three sets. The first was very wimsical... and died. The second and third made it. The liked the black but thought the red suited her better. Thank-you for the opportunity to be a part of celebrating a great person and best of luck, Georgia, at your new school.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rain = Mac & Cheese

Ran a bisque today and will try and unload it tomorrow. Though it might end up being a bit of a crazy work week this week. So we will just have to see.
The only reason I'm posting is to show off 'mac and cheese.' We had a crazy down pour and to me when it's pouring rain that is the best time for some comfort food. I know, I went a little heavy on the cheese. Mmmm... was it good!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Being it's St. Patrick’s Day and all, My brother ‘Patrick’ and I headed down to Taylor’s Crossing in North Van for a pint of Dave Varga’s Stout . Dave’s stout is absolutely fantastic. So we quickly toasted to the day and got out just as what seems to have been a bus load of green people arrived.
Before we left though I snapped these pics of the brewery. If I were ever going to make a themed set of pots they would mimic a brewery. I love all the round containers. So here are some pics of those as well.
And to add to the green theme here are some green ware I’ve been assembling. To me these are starting to look live a family of stick people…