Tag Archives: Mesa Arts Center


Woof = wood fire pots

I’m so clever.

Yesterday we unloaded the wood firing kiln at Mesa Arts Center.  So that’s good.  However, I got there several hours early so that I could work in the studio before class, only to find out that the studio was closed until the 27th of March, so that was bad.  To make lemon water out of lemons, I grabbed the book I had with me and wandered around downtown Mesa for a few hours.  I went to a place called Gotham City Comics and looked at a cool 700 dollar Jurassic Park velociraptor.  If you ever want to feel like less of a geek, go to a comic book store.  Then I went to a non-comic book store, I forget the name.  I didn’t buy anything, because bookstores are like Pandora’s Box, assuming Pandora’s Box is full of neat books.  I read a quote by one Sir Henry Maximilian “Max” Beerbohm
“I have known no man of genius who had not to pay, in some affliction or defect either physical or spiritual, for what the gods had given him.”
I found a neat book by R. Buckminster Fuller (which I think I just found for free on the internet, BAM), and a novelization of Independence Day.  Then I went to a flower shop,  Zuzu’s Petals, to look at flowers.  The two ladies I met were very nice, one gave me a few fuzzy leaves (I think Dusty Miller leaves), but I think they were a bit suspicious that a greasy weirdo just wanted to look at flowers for “ceramics”.  Finally, I went to a local coffee shop, got some coffe, and sat down and read for a few hours.  You know who I saw?  Nobody.  It was great.

Back at Mesa Arts Center, class started and we unloaded the wood kiln.  Now, I usually feel like there’s too many cooks in the kitchen, and I think I help best by staying out of the way.  Unfortunately, I don’t learn best by staying out of the way.  The small areas around the kiln aren’t inviting, what with my difficulty hearing and dislike of incredibly hot things, but I did my best.  I got some nice pieces out of it though, with only one loss.


This one is the worst.  It was one of the first ones threw (003, apparently), and it is strict bush league.  As you can see from the picture, it warped like bananas.  That is not from being purposefully loose, it is from warping during firing caused by inconsistant thicknesses.  The very bottom is crazy thick, it feels like half an inch or so.  Then there is a section of quite thin clay where I trimmed it too much, then it gets thicker again towards the rim.  I wrote down that it’s a tenmocu glaze, but I am going to go ahead and say I wrote it down wrong, because it looks like celadon to me.  Anyway, sorry you guys had to see that.


This one is pretty cool.  I wrote down Woo Blue glaze, but it doesn’t look very Wooy to me.  It is 004, which means I don’t know where the photo of it pre-fire is, unfortunately, since I can’t remember what surface treatment I gave it.  The glase is a neat warm brown, is nice and shiny inside, and has beautiful warm streaks for some reason.  It breaks a dark brown, and the form wasn’t as good as I can probably do now, but we may have to try this glaze again.  Here’s a detail:


Maybe there’s some of the porcelain slip I made up, I can’t remember.


This one’s a beaut.  I wrote down Kurt’s Ice Blue for the glaze (Sorry no Google image, Kurt Weiser is a local potter who lives a few blocks from my house, actually.  I went to high school with his son!), and there’s some porcelain slip, you can see the bands around the outside of it and the dark iron spots.  I’m not sure what the blush is from, perhaps a nearby pot or something?  That would be my guess.  This is a bit more recently thrown, and the form is pretty nice.  The inside is nice and smooth, pretty inviting for a fork or spoon.  I think I’ll make some coconut rice for it tonight.


This one is pretty cool, like 007.  I made it 007 because I liked the form a lot.  It has the slip I made from iron filings and WSO.  Unfortunately, I put it on too thick and it ran like nuts.  You can see it on the bottom there, it bubbled up and got all over the kiln shelf.  He survived (Because he’s 007), but his brother was permanently attached to the kiln shelf (Because he was 008, and 008 blows).  I used a Reitz Green glaze on the inside, which turned out a nice satin finish, but I was a bit disappointed that it was so dull.  I’ve used it before (on porcelain, that makes a huge difference) and it was a nice “mood ring green”.  Oh well, the iron purple is lovely.  The bottom is quite sharp though, maybe I should invest in a grinder.


This guy (009) turned out real nice.  Real nice.  He’s ridiculously photogenic.



He had some porcelain slip put on the outside, but it’s hard to see unless you know it’s there.  I don’t remember putting anything on the inside, however, I used the free reclaimed clay to throw him, and one of the fun things about that clay (other than the free part, which is super fun) is that you never know exactly what’s in there.  Kids put their grubby hands in it, and it winds up having a mysterious, possibly deleterious collection of various gobbledygook.



Here you can see a white thing of some sort that was in the clay and melted out into the glaze.  It was completely unintentional, but it made a lovely white waterfall texture in the Copper Red glaze.  I can’t say that I didn’t know it was there, because I remember feeling something when I was throwing him, I just chose to ignore it.  I’m kind of pretty glad I did.  The form itself is nice and loose.  When I threw it, there felt like there was way too much clay at the bottom, and I didn’t want him to have the same fate as 003 up there, so I waited until he dried a bit, then stretched him a bit with my hands.  So he doesn’t have a foot-ring, but I feel the bumpy form fits well in my hands, kind of like a lot of natural forms.  Like a coconut half, or whatever.



I was severely disappointed with this guy.  I noticed the base was very thick, so instead of trimming it away uniformly, I tried to trim channels for the flames to go.  I didn’t put any glaze on this guy because I didn’t want to smother what the flames did, which it turns out is nothing.  So, it’s a nice toasty color I suppose, like a yummy loaf of bread, but that’s all really.  The inside is this stuff I saw called Iridescent Slip, which is apparently a code for boring.



Look at that!  Look how crazy boring it is.  I also when it was wet I put a hair dryer to it, so that it had little waves in it, and you can see the wrinkles, but it’s still pretty dang forgettable.  10/10 would not try again.

Aside from the bowls, which were all thrown with the free reclaimed kids clay, I threw some things with actual clay I actually bought with actual money.  Some of those turned out ok, and some of those turned out fan-freakin-tastic.



This guy has no glaze and no bottom, I was just seeing what would happen if I slopped a bunch of junk on the side of a pot, and this is what happens when you slop a bunch of junk on the side of a pot.  I forget the clay body though.  Eesh.



This one also has no bottom and is pretty standard.  I think there’s some iron on it, I don’t know.  I was thinking it is a nice size for a flower maybe.



This was supposed to be a jar that holds jewelry or whatever, I was going to give it to Alanis Morrisette because it’s so ironic, but the lid and the base fused, and now it’s a sculpture!  It has some nice pearlescent color to it though, huh?



This fellow was thrown at the same time as the jar, I put iron on it, fluted it, and put some glaze on it.  Celadon, perhaps?  Anyway, I adore some of the textures in it, it strikes me as very melony.  The iron ran at the base, but I will take that into account next time I make something like this, because there will be a next time.  Oh yes.



This was one of the last things I threw at ASU, and it isn’t the best, but I really like the tribal vibe it’s giving me.  It’s approaching Predator pottery.



This little guy is on Reitz Green glaze on porcelain.  I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I like it.  I remember when I dipped it I had to put my fingers on the side, since it is much to small to hold any other way.  That bare spot there is one of my fingerprints.  So that explains that.  The rest of it, I don’t know, magic?


This one is porcelain, with some iron filing slip on the inside.  You can see those little black dots, those are the iron, I imagine.  The glaze is kind of runny and doesn’t get thick enough to turn red on the outside.  I thought the iron might help, and it seems to have helped.



This is the same Copper Red glaze, it could have used some iron filings on it’s shoulder there, next time, I guess.  It is so shiny and awesome, I really like it even though it’s kind of bland in the picture.  The bottom is rough though.  I should get a Dremmel.

So, that was the wood unpacking of Spring ’13.  Not bad.




Last Thursday, I stopped posting for a while.  I had stopped feeling grateful.  By Sunday, I was once again trying to take a little extra time every day to feel grateful about something, but I was embarrassed and a little surprised that I couldn’t complete this challenge.

I figure I should keep posting anyway.  I was hoping this wouldn’t be a 90 day challenge, but a new way to approach things from now on.  Every so often I meet someone who has been reading these blogs.  They ask me if I’m on a health kick.  I don’t think I am.  You can only think of it that way once you’ve stopped being healthy, and I don’t want to do that.  Except when I’m dead, I suppose.  I probably won’t care too much about health when I’m dead.  Well, I will be fasting all the time though.

Today has been an eventful day though.  I went down to Mesa Arts Center and registered to take a ceramics class, one that focuses on wood firing and soda firing techniques.  I expect I’ll have to take plenty of extra studio time to actually throw some pots and mix up a glaze or two, but that’s definitely fine.  I’m not doing anything anyway.

During the summer, it has gotten quite hot in my apartment.  Here is that painting I posted not long before graduating in December:


The linseed oil I used as a medium liquefied and ran down in drips.  It doesn’t ruin the painting, and I may even like it more this way, so if anyone asks, I did it on purpose.