Sunday, November 15, 2009

40 Plates and Bowls!

You can finally get to see the scope of my latest project. Some 2 months in the works. Glazing today with a bone colored interior glaze. These are all handbuilt, earthenware. The largest plates measures approx. 9.5" square with the smallest plates about 5.5" square. They will be fired in my electric Kiln to Cone 6 probably Monday.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I'm sorry that I haven't posted very many images lately. I have been trying to get some bisque fired and I have been in the middle of a small production run of of three sizes of square plates. 6", 8" and 12".

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Finish Possibilites

I continue to research and work on new glaze finishes. These three are results from recent work and out of my last kiln fire. PLEASE tell me what you think of these. Which one is your favorite? Green, Tan, Red. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Japanese Style Tea Cups!

These are series of small Japanese Tea Cups. I produced 10 and glazed them in unique pairs. These are being shipped to Japan as a thank you gift for my Japanese makers stamp.


I seem to have been vary focused on simple color for a long time. Maybe two colors alternating from inside and out. Over the past weeks I have experimented with a using multiple glazes in combination and found an exciting combintion of 5 different glazes!

The square bowl above is glazed on the interior with this mix of glazes and my new blue green glaze on the exterior. This bowl is handbuilt with a stamped brocade texture on the outside. The square foot ring is also a new development at Northstar Pottery. The piece is porcelian and fired to Cone 6. 8" x 8" x 1.75"

The plate above is done in the same fashion as the bowl. 8.25" x 1", wheel thrown. Fired to Cone 6.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Plates Squared

I worked on improving my square plates this weekend from overall shape to the foot ring. I started by making several new wooden molds for a 10", 8" and 6" plate. The pictures here are of the 8" (plate with texture) and a bottom view of the 12". I have not worried too much about a foot ring on this shape of plate in the past, mostly because I had no experience building this detail. This weekend however, was focused on how to add a square foot ring on to these handbuilt plates. Not only to built the ring but to be able to repeat it with some consistancy. The material for the ring was extruded through a square die. I also made a square woodend die to sit atop the newly built plate while it was drying on the mold. With the foot ring die in place I wrapped the extruded length of square clay around the die. Once wrapped and trimmed to length I worked on securing it and filling edges to the surface of the plate with a very light slip that was brushed on. It's fun experimenting with what works and what doesn't work too well. I just want to see a little more of the what works well part more often. :-)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Handbuilt Greenware Textured Dishes

Worked on producing multiple handbuilt square plates today in the studio. These are made with white porcilen clay and a rolled rope texture. The first time I've tried using rope and I found it easy and delievered a nice subtle overall texture. I'm still devloping my makers mark and as you can see from the bottom of these dishes I can't make up my mind. My current thought is to keep the Japanese stamp of course and the n*s or perhaps just the *. I am also thinking of using a 3rd symbol that would change month to month or year to year. Too much?

Brocade Retro

A set of four small square dishes from my last firing were another study on how to use a stamped texture. I thought by only stamping roughly half the dish that the piece would go modern in design. As it turned out, I think I got more a retro result. What are your thoughts?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Mark

I worked with using porcelain yesterday for the first time in a few years. It was fun to work with again. Such a creamy smooth texture verses the stiffer earthenware. My first pieces were 9 small Japanese inspired tea cups with an embossed "Chrysanthemum". Of note also is the detail added to the bottom of the cup. My "NEW" makers mark. It is the Japanese characters for my name, "Mark". So cool.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Glaze Experiments

I've been trying to produce a nice bright white on a buff earthenware body for sometime. I think I finally have something. Above are two that both turned out extremely well. They both appear very similar, except the upper most left test tile is much more glossy than the test tile bottom right.

Out of my recent firing I also achieved good results with a tan, blue and green. The matt blue test tile bottom middle is not food safe.

Do you have a favorite?

What A Pretty Pitcher

More pieces from my recent firing. These small pitcher and lidded jar sets were all made from a red earthenware clay body and fired to Cone 6.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Brocade Mugs "Water Lily's"

I was please at how these new brocade mugs turned out. The flowing of the green and blue glaze swirling down over the brocade texture reminds me so much of a Monet painting. The water lily's. The are handbuilt, 4.25"T x 3" in Diameter, Cone 6, earthenware with stamped brocade texture. August 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Work At Last!

I was excited to open the kiln tonight! It's been too long since I've had the thrill. I was please and I took a few quick pictures kiln side of a few highlights. I will be posting more pictures over the weekend. The really new concept in this firing is the fusing of real silver to pendants. The silver can be seen above as it pooled in little points over the the face. The dark blue/black color on third pendant is fused glass.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Time To Make The Glaze

In preparation for glazing my last load of bisque ware I need to replenish my glazes. The process of mixing glazes uses raw minerals in powder form. Each color will require on average about 6-8 different minerals that need to be dry mixed and then an equal amount of water by weight is added. The now wet glaze is poured through a #80 sieve making it ready to use.
This part of the ceramic process is very time consuming and one that most people don't think about or are aware of. These raw materials like silica are very dangerous to injest so I must wear a resperator durning this process.
I spent the most part of the day today just "making the glaze".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My New Japanese Clay Stamp

How cool is this? Some friends of mine in Japan gave me this stamp on my recent visit to Tokyo. It came in a very nice presentation box.

It is metal, and the Kanji represents my name "Mark" in Japanese. I plan on using this on all my new work in addition to my current North"Star" stamp.

Thank You, Thank you, Thank You!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I have been reading a book called "The Book Of The Five Rings" which is a Japanese book writen by a Samurai. I came upon this sentence I wanted to share.

"Water conforms to the shape of the vessel, square or round, it can be a drop, and it can be an ocean."

Some how I just think about making pots and how what goes inside them conforms to the shapes I create.

Japanese Inspiration

I'm just back from China and Japan and you can not help but be inspired to create after returning from such a trip. I had the amaizing chance to walk on the Great Wall and to visit a Japanese Ceramic Museum (Toguri Museum of Art). I also just yesterday visited the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco were I saw a symbol very similar to the one above.

It is called, Ensō (円相) a Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an "expression of the moment" it is often considered a form of minimalist expression. In the caption at the Asian Art Museum they also said something like that it can mean "everything and yet nothing" which I found so interesting.

I want to use this symbol of Enso on some new work. I can wait to get started.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bear Gulch Montana

My wife and I just returned from Vacation to Montana and Idaho. We had the chance to visit an amazing "Pre History" site called Bear Gulch. This is a gorge on a private ranch near Lewistown, Montana that has the largest concentration of Petroglyphs and Pictogrpahs in the US. There is also a huge fossil site. The color of the rock with this ancient art work (3,000-10,000 years old) was awe inspiring. I keep thinking about how I might capture some of this feel in some new work.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jars! Jars! Jars!

I started loading the kiln this morning for a bisque fire and I wanted to make sure I captured for you these jars I made to be companions for the small pitchers. I created several slightly different forms and lid treatments as some what of a study. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chinese Character Vases

I picked up some very small Chinese wood type blocks on an EBay auction and I have been looking for away to use them. They are so small (1/8 x 1/8) that when used as a clay stamp they become nearly impossible to read. Since I don't know Chinese and they are so small I decided to use them only as a decorative texture. Here are my results from yesterdays work in the studio.