Archive for category New Frontiers

Practical Pinch Pots


front view of pinch pot canning funnel

pinch pot greenware

bottom side of funnel

greenware-- pinch pot

Turning our attention to functional ware, the most immediate need right now is for a small canning funnel.  Winter is citrus season here in Phoenix area, and therefore we’ve been making marmalade from the harvest of our tangerine tree.  We recycle most of the smaller food jars we used around here; however, the commercial canning funnels are only made for the standard manufactured canning jars; they are too large for most smaller jars.  So, we pinched out a smaller funnel that will work with these small jars.  There is something very satisfying about making your own utensils with your own hands, can’t wait to use it.

Our pinched funnel is merely a bowl with a hole in the bottom of it.  A collar is pinched from the bottom of this bowl form so that it will rest easy when seated on top of the small jars. A handle is needed to facilitate placing hot liquids into this funnel; a coil of clay is rolled out and pinched into the pot forming the handle.

It doesn’t look like much in the photo here. In truth the raw clay looks rather crude.  It will look way more impressive with the coat of glaze on it.  It will be fired to cone six, because it is the mid-range stoneware clay this is made from. Hopefully we’ll have it glaze before the New Frontiers workshop February 10.

Hello world!

Always knew I’d have a blog someday even before there was such a thing as a blog.   Owning personal newsletter where I could tell the universe, what was happening in my archaic sector of the galaxy was the idea.  Indeed, many exciting things came and left without me writing a single word about it to you.   For Instance:

  • there is getting my work into a major motion picture, a number years ago.
  • placing sculptures in some rather prominent collections.
  • having my studio profiled on Modern Masters on HDTV.
  • translating my clay work into bronze.

Well, there will be more on this later.  You see when rather exciting things are happening around here it is just too difficult to stop and write about it.  Then when the event is completed, and I have some down time to write, it is yesterday’s news.  However, you can bet your last buck I will write more about these events later, if heaven is willing to grant me the time.  For now, let’s talk about the mundane task of today!

Just a few weeks ago at the Empty Bowls event here at Red Mountain Community College, I got to flapping my lips about when the first Empty Bowl Project was held in Mesa.  All those years ago, that had to of been in 1991 right after Arizona hosted their first NCECA conference.  One potter, Doug Stevens by name, took the empty bowl project seriously enough to get a few of us potters together to make and to donate their bowls.  We got the whole thing together in just a few short weeks. Doug was working for a restaurant called House of Tricks who donated the soup and Mesa Arts Center donated the space to host the event.  We charged five dollars donation a bowl and raised close to $5000 that day, world food Day, I think it was, October 17.   We were ecstatic!  The following year Arizona CLAY, the Clay Guild/club, got involved and adopted it as part of their charter.  However, as the event grew so did the egos, the squabbling came to an apex breaking off into several splinter groups.  There are quite a few Empty Bowl Events around the Valley of the Sun now; I wonder if any of them are affiliated with the national anymore.  While I still attend the affairs from time to time I’ve backed off doing as much work as before.  It has become a few major charities raising some $50,000 a year each, but the thrill is gone!

I digress, what I’d was trying to convey here is that I met Sheila from New Frontiers at the Empty Bowls Luncheon while lamenting the voluntarism I used to do with the schools on empty Bowls project; the opportunity presented itself to teach workshops for the New Frontiers.  This is appealing to me because

  1. I love to teach,
  2. I can do it from my own home studio,
  3. I may converse to a captive audience about one of my favorite subjects, clay,
  4. we’ll be meeting a lot of really nice folks,
  5. it will force me to keep the gallery and studio in a presentable state of organization,
  6. I’m volunteering to do something worthwhile
  7. and lastly,  I have something to blog about.

The subject of my first post is… drumroll please… pinch pots!  That’s right, pinch pots.  Those little humble things we did back in kindergarten, if we were lucky.  My workshop coming up in February of 2010, with the new frontiers group titled ” Clay: QuickStart“.   My  spouse and I worked half the day putting together a tutorial on pinch pots for this workshop.  So, without further fanfare here is a video for you, world, on how to pinch out of clay a rather frumpy looking mug.