Thursday, January 23, 2014

Closed studio Fri Jan 24

Due to freezing temperatures, Charles has sent members of the studio classes emails that the open studio is canceled this Friday. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Barb's Gingko jar

The pressed real gingko leaves were highlighted a bit with a needle tool.  This was done at the suede stage of the clay.  I also added the little handle when it became leather hard.

I made a completely closed shape, then cut (with X-acto knife) the free form edge of the lid. 

Not trying to make the lid completely round, and making sure to have its cut at an angle, means it's going to be seated more easily after firing.  These pictures are taken just before glazing.  There's that tiny crack in the top inside of the lid that I hope glaze will fill.  As always with pottery, my fingers and toes are crossed.

And the final process, after waxing the edges of the lid, the bottom of the pot, and the gingko leaves, dunk the whole thing into shiny green glaze, then fire one last time.

Our Skutt kilns have computerized controls, so Charles will set it and come back in 24 hours to see what has happened.

No, these are not the jar...but the same technique used on mugs.

Come to the Black Mountain Center for the Arts Gallery to see the Clay Studio show where the Gingko Jar is on display.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Potters are social animals

Barb invited Bonnie to take part in a double selfie, demonstrating the technique which she had heard of but never experienced before.  I'll let you figure out what to call that.

We taught Pat how to do a "selfie."

And we had to take a regular photo of Gail (center) and her sister, Lois (right) and our friend and fellow potter, Lynda.

We all went back to the studio and made beautiful things after our enjoyable lunch.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bisque those pots

The crumbly dry clay is solidified enought that it will no longer fall apart, once it's bisque fired.

The stoneware clay has changed from a pale greyish pink into the light orange/pink color.  Things that are made of white clay become bright white.  Since there is no glaze that would stick these pieces to each other, they can be stacked.

That is the stage that allows the potter to put glazes on it, and/or decorate a pot in many different ways.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Patience of a potter

It takes several days for pots this big to get completely dry, in order to be fired in the bisque kiln.

Can you say watching paint dry?  Very similar.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mathilda demonstrated throwing on the hump

Mathilda Tanner demonstrates how you can make many tiny little cups on a big hump of clay.

After centering the hump on the wheel, she opens a tiny amount of clay right at the top

 Cutting the cup off the hump with a wire tool
And Mathilda carefully lifts the wet cup from the can be straightened and trimmed later

The freshly thrown cups lean every which way because their bottoms are still wet and just cut off the hump...they will be turned upside down soon and trimmed evenly.

Some cups waiting to be trimmed
Take a break, cover with plastic, come back the next day to trim the bottoms.

They aren't dry enough to trim, so she turned them over and let the bottoms get dry enough to trim.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chuck using a chuck

Charles (aka Chuck) finds this lid just a bit too big for the pan it was designed for...even after careful measuring.  But there's a fix he can do.

So he centers a large amount of clay, dry.
Using a wood tool, he opens the clay all the way to the wheel head,
And then opens it the top portion is at the correct angle.

for the lid which he will be inverting over it to trim.  Because the chuck is dry, he can place the lid right on it.

and with the wheel slowly turning, get it level..

And trim off that tiny bit of clay so it will fit perfectly.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Which time to work?

Open Studios are every day.  We are so fortunate to have volunteers and teachers, to monitor the needs of students who want to work in the studio during these times.  In a class time, there's the pull to look at and learn from the instructor, whether they are talking about what you are working on or another topic.  So in Open Studio, a student can practice without too much distraction.

We do have a friendly bunch of folks, so we talk about our lives, and we become "a place where everybody knows your name."

Molly working on the wheel in Wed evening open studio

There are some folks that prefer the evening or weekend times, and some who prefer the afternoon hours.  And some of us show up anytime the doors are open.  (We can't work when a class is being held other than our own, however.)

Charles Freeland, pitcher drying

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Adding lid handles

The pans with straight sides under plastic will have lids that will cover them.  Shallow bowl shapes turn over to become a lid.


The spray bottle and plastic sheeting are tools of pottery as well.  The working of clay at proper moisture content can be helped a bit by either adding water, retaining moisture, or blowing on the clay object with a heat gun or hair dryer.

Finished lids with their handles
Charles Freeman adding handle to lid form

Friday, January 10, 2014


Charles trims the outside edge of a large casserole shape.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Charles speaks

To all BMCA clay studio students from our Studio Manager...

Happy New Year!  Due to the cold we have had some closures and to postpone some class starts.  Geoff's class is unaffected by the weather and should resume 1-9-14.  Please keep up with your class time and re-up for another 6 weeks in a timely manner to continue the Geoff experience.  Mathilda's and my class resume the 13th and 14th.  Annie has cancelled her class until the next session.  Classes remain $185 for the new year and are for a six week period.  Independent study is now a monthly fee of $80.  If you missed the first week of our opening in the new year, a pro-rated fee of $60 will get you going for the remainder of Jan.  Please remember open studio times are open to all who are currently paid for the month of January as independent studies or as signed students in classes.

Pot luck/party/ meeting in 2011

Due to cold weather, (which closed the studio Mon and Tues this week) I'm dipping into archives for pictures of the Clay Studio. When it warms up, I'll have more current photos!


The North Carolina Clay Club was invited to hold their monthly pot luck meeting back in 2011 at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts Clay Studio.  Lots of good food, great demonstrations, making friends between students and potters.  We have had some other parties with them also, and hope to do it again!  Check out the blog HERE.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

learning from experts

Due to cold weather, (which closed the studio Mon and Tues this week) I'm dipping into archives for pictures of the Clay Studio. When it warms up, I'll have more current photos!

Sometimes there are guests giving workshops

Guest teacher for a workshop in 2011...Erin Campbell demonstrated how she forms her boxes...while James, Maureen, Pat and Marsha observe.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Studio closed due to cold

Sorry friends but at 9 am it is -4 MINUS four, in Black Mountain.  Schools in Buncombe County closed again.  Studio is closed again.

Drop in the bucket

Molly demonstrates dipping bisqued clay pieces in a bucket of glaze, and then fishing for the piece that got away.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Studio closed for cold

Buncombe County schools are closed.  So are we.  Keep warm and safe!

What is wedging?

Molly works the clay on a wedging board to get any bubbles out of it before creating anything.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Open Studio Saturday!

Yes we're going to be open today...come work on a project, or start a project.  Or drop by for the fun of it. 
Hours 12-3.

How do you get glaze on the clay?

Amelia paints some glaze on her pot.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Studio work

One of Charles Freeland's frequent jobs at the studio is to load the kilns.  Our 2 Skutt electric kilns are going frequently during our regular studio schedule.  Charles (Studio Manager) is fortunately on a break for the holidays, as well as our classes, but we'll all be back early in Jan,  starting a new year with new ideas.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014