Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Setting up the gallery space. just a quick snapshot of the beginning stages.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Something to be passionate about

Sacagawea Health Center is providing health care for children insured or not. Check out there website for more information on this wonderful organization. Our members have been donating art to there auction since the beginning. There will be more great donations this year also.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Speaking of Wood-fire

2009 OPA President Victoria Shaw finally had a chance to wood-fire with the crew at Soulgama in Brush Prairie, WA. It was great having Victoria's gentle spirit at the firing and she was giddy like a school girl during the whole thing, especially the unloading. The kiln gods were kind to all of us and Victoria got some wonderful wood-fire effects on her Stone Healers and Totem pieces. I look forward to seeing them all together at Ceramic Showcase.

Victoria will be featured in an article in the Portland Tribune next week. Keep your eyes open for that one, it's going to be a great article.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

getting ready for SHOWCASE

I'm sure I'm not the only person looking for wing nuts and pliers, gathering lights, extension cords and duct tape in preparation for set up next week. Happy gathering everyone. See you at the show. (And those little plastic ties-can't forget those.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Allure of the Woodfire

If you look around in the ceramic world today, chances are you’ll find a good amount of wood-fired work out there. The popularity of this firing method seems to become greater each year. I noticed this and asked myself, “Why are so many people making wood-fired pots? What’s the big deal?”. Wood-firing is not exactly a new method; in fact it is just the opposite, so that can’t be why so many people are excited about it. It’s not a short-cut or easy way out by any means. In fact, as far as I can tell it is probably one of the most labor-intensive methods of firing, so that’s probably not the reason for such excitement either.

It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to join in an anagama firing at the East Creek Anagama kiln that I fully understood why people love wood-firing so much. Sure, some enjoy getting the most textured, ash-covered pots possible; but others enjoy a very smooth surface, colored gently by the fire and ash. The results from wood-firing are as varied as the potters that choose to do them. I think the greatest reason for participating in wood-firing is just that--participating. Wood-firing is such an interesting and enjoyable experience. Getting together with a group of good friends and fellow artists around a wood-kiln is the perfect mix of artistic collaboration and shared work. Sure it takes a lot of work, but it also gives you that precious time in which so many great conversation occur; time that helps to form strong and lasting friendships.

The end results of the fired work are always exciting and surprising, and ultimately enjoyable. But the results of time spent and work done together is equally exciting as well. All This being said, I would love to know why you do wood-firings, or why you do not, or why you never would or always will. Feel free to respond to this blog with your take on the wood-firing phenomenon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sketchy Potters

This year at Ceramic Showcase we are raising money for Clay in Education by raffling off sketches from our potters. They are one dollar raffle tickets and there will be over 40 sketches to be won. This is a different avenue for us and shows another side of our creative process. Many potters and ceramic artists sketch out ideas for future pieces or maybe even to improve current work. I'm looking forward to seeing all these sketches and getting a glimpse into the creative methods of our members.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Glaze results - needs work but there is potential

The kiln cooled and the test cylinders emerged and for a ^6 oxidation firing, the results aren't bad. I learned which glazes worked well together and which were disastrous combinations. The glazes that I made up and used were Pete Pinnell's Tomato, Tom Coleman's Yellow Matte, Satin White w/Nutmeg & Sybil's Black Stain and Hesselberth/Roy's High Calcium Semimatte 2 w/6% rutile. The firing schedule was a slow cool set by Pete Pinnell for the Tomato glaze.
So now it's time to start playing with layering these glazes to achieve depth and movement. I'll be looking like a mad scientist very shortly and will hopefully have some more good results to share.
Are you working on glaze combinations? Have you had results that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear about what you are working on in your studio.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meet an OPA Member: Margaret Synan-Russell

Three things about Margaret that have nothing to do with clay.

1. I have built 2 cabins from scratch in the wilderness.

2. I have visited all of our National Parks and all of our Capitols.

3. I was raised in Amityville, NY

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

^6 Oxidation Test Firing

I'm in the process of running the first of probably many test firings. I'm experimenting with five matt to semi-matt glazes in several combinations and layers with a controlled cool to see if I can get more depth out of a ^6 oxidation glaze. The kiln is now got a brain/controller and this is the first computer run test program. The kiln is one it's way down right now and should be ready to unload Wednesday evening. Results and photos to come and if I've achieved success, I'll post the glazes, recipes and firing schedule. Keep your fingers crossed!