Archive for December, 2009

Living Legend of Les Laurent

Thanksgiving weekend, a group of artists over in Cave Creek, Arizona open their studios to  the public.  Really too many artists to see in one day so we paced ourselves and limited it to mostly potters.  The weekend is cleverly titled Hidden in the Hills and it actually runs for two weekends every year, ending with Thanksgiving weekend.  It was on this tour we met Les Lawrence in his home.

Les Lawrence

Les Lawrence

When trying to remember a time in ceramics when I didn’t know who Les Lawrence was I kept coming up blank; that’s because he’s been a “bigcheese” potter forever.  Browsing through my very first ceramic textbook,  a 40 year-old book, and there he was.  Outside of the ceramic world he may not be a household name.  But within the realm of ceramic art he’s the master of image transfer, a legend in his own times.  He’s even made the jump to the technological age by figuring out how to transfer computer printer images to ceramics.  The neatest thing about the man is his willingness to share his knowledge  with all who ask.

It’s not surprising that Sandy made it acquisition or two for her extensive ceramic collection.  What shocked me is I found something I could afford and use.  Acquired a dipper I did;  a stoneware ladle that I put to immediate use at the Arizona Clay meeting on Saturday; it dipped up a gallon and a half of hot spiced cider and performed marvelously.  “Aren’t you afraid someone might break it?”  I was asked.  My response was that I’d rather it break, while being used then for me to break it, while dusting it when it had never been used; I’ve done that, I can assure you it’s much more painful.  For certain there is a lot more chili con carne and stew in my dipper’s future.

Plugging My Own Pinch Pots

majolica type glaze, pinch pot

majolica type glaze, pinch pot

This  pinch pots made from B-mix clay, a the white clay body that behaves almost like porcelain without the shortness, is glazed white.  Metal oxides were applied on a white glaze something like the technique of majolica.  This particular vessel is an electric firing, cone six.

raku fired pinch pot

raku fired pinch pot

Just playing with a bit of raku clay, the above pinch pot was pierced around the rim with a drinking straw in order to run a bit of raffia around the edge of the pot. Charms, coins, beads and other embellishments to hang from this pot maybe in the works; I’m just waiting for the pot to “speak” to me.   High fucntional, it can go in the dishwasher or the microwave.

pinch pot with added rim

pinch pot with added rim

This vessel was formed by pinching with a coil of clay to the rim.  The body of the pot was left unglazed; a clear crackle glaze was applied to the inside and the lip.  It was fired to 1800° Fahrenheit and post reduced with sawdust, this is sometimes called raku firing, but that’s not entirely accurate.  It is non-functional; it is strictly decorative for it is too porous for liquids.