Monday, March 11, 2013

Bowls part 3

I have known Shawn Ireland for a long time and I love his concentration on Italian folk forms.  I had initially been drawn to him by his paintings, his skills are disciplined and it reflects in several media, but I want to share his love of clay.

These bowls are what I call kinfolk, they exhibit the qualities that I find rich in design, character and function.  The forms are balanced in weight and size, with the foot giving just the right amount of lift.  The walls taper outwardly, with just slight definition to the trim cut above the foot.  The lip is defined by the wall shape (the body) and is given a gentile presence by a triangular alteration.  The foot looks to have been cut using a rounded cutting tool, which indicates a thoughtfulness to every area of this bowl.

I got two of the bowls from Shawn, and we use them for my salsa and chips, perfect for olives, and oatmeal.  These bowls are not just bowls....they are part of my relation with the potter.

MARIA.......where's my socks?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bowls part Two

This is a Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin bowl that I fell in love with the moment I came across it.  The areas of the bowl are well defined, the foot is cut with a slight bevel, giving the bowl lift with the trimmed area above the foot gently defined.  The wall tapers outwardly, but you can notice in the top photo there is a slight taper inward with the lip, giving a certain feel to its placement.  The inside exhibits a thoughtfully large finger marking that spirals upward towards the lip.  The weight to size ratio is balanced and gives it the warmth of something genuine and unique.

Will told me that he felt the feel of the bowl was due more to the equipment he used, a Japanese kick wheel and a fairly soft clay,  it made you throw a certain way, it slows the process down.  The rib he used is a very fat kidney shaped rib, so the shapes are consistently produced, so I started using the rib and I slowed down my throwing and I enjoy making a form that is satisfactory for me.

Maria.....where is my oatmeal?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


A few years into making pots I had been talking trash one day to a friend, I was concerned about the cost of something I wanted and how I could possibly afford it.  My friend stated that he looked at my problem in terms of bowls I could make to be able to have it (30 bowls @ $5.00 each equals the price of the object I desired).  The object I wanted became history, but my fascination with the bowl has consumed my pottery life.
Big, little, square, round, tall, flat, altered and just plan strange have all been drawn through my fingers.  I stay preoccupied with bowls, good ones (you might be thinking that "Here we go again with the judgemental crap"or "what the hell does he know" frame of mind ).  I am looking at the form follows function ideal, focusing on a shape that feels very comfortable in my hand, the curve of the wall, the weight in relation to the size, the lip, the foot and inside of the bowl.
Bowls were the first shapes that I worked on as a beginning potter, and many influences have directed the avenues I went down over the years and it occupies a place in my work day.  The bowl is my warm up piece I throw to get me into "a throwing frame of mind."  By lunch I have warmed a bowl of ramen noodles or heated up a  bowl of hot tea to get the chill out of my hands and a warmth in my belly and by supper or late night I will have had something in a comfortable bowl I enjoy.  A friends bowls, my own, or some one I knew back when.  A functioning creation made with love, skill, patience and thoughtfulness.

Like a Navajo rug, I have never reached for the "perfect" bowl.  There is always a small area that I never tidy up, maybe some of those bad spirits need to have a way out.  I have never collected bowls,  so my collection is small, but they are used daily and satisfy my soul.

This bowl is one that I had done a very early reduction on and I kept the piece more so for the glaze than any other reason.  These shapes I have made for years, the shape allow the soup to stay warmer a little longer and comfort my cold hands.  The bowl is as it came out of the kiln, the glaze was not inked, nor is this raku.  It is cone 12 reduction on a white shino glaze.

The rim is straight up with a slight bulge to the outside at the lip.  I feel the foot is a bit out of proportion but gives a nice lift to the form.  The weight is balanced and the insides are smooth with just a hint of finger marks

Now, where is that pack of Ramen noodles?  Maria........