Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Specialty/Occasion Pots

Lidded Jar 10" X 22"
Over the years, I have been asked, or have had need to create special pots for people to celebrate an event or even say thank you. Often these pots are simple jar shapes with sculptural lids. Sometimes they will have a large foot that extends the size of the pot.
The first jar in this selection was created as a thank you for a dear friend. My grandfather had a violin that had become dirty and looked worn out. When my father asked me if I knew anyone that could do anything with it, my friend came to mind. She is a very gifted violinist, and a wonderful teacher that I had the honor of working with for many years. She took on the job of the violin, and brought it back to life beyond our wildest dreams. I created the pot you see here as a thank you for that effort. Her husband is also a great musician, and a band leader at the school where I taught, His instrument was the trumpet, hers the violin. That was the reason for the two instruments, the lettering on the lid banner, and the decoration like a music staff. This was actually the second attempt, as the first one did not survive the bisque fire.

Lidded Jar 8" X 16"
The second pot here is a wedding jar that I created for a nephews wedding.  It has an abstract dancing couple on the lid and is made of 3 sections, the base, body and lid. The couple is created using pulled clay twisted and sculpted. It also has their wedding date, and names on it.

Retirement Jar 16" X 10"
The last in this series is my retirement jar.  As I was really not certain I was ready to retire from teaching as I was having too much fun! The design of the pot was a little precarious in that the support ring could have collapsed in the construction, drying and firings. I took this as an omen thing and if the pot survived the entire process, then I would use it to hand in my retirement letter. It did, I did.

For those of you interested in this type of pot, the price would start at a $80 and run to $200 dependent on how much detail, time and effort the finished piece would take.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First day of a new Endeavor

Wheel Thrown lidded Jar  22" X 12"
The "Pic" in Pic Works, comes from a brain storming session with my wife and and old friend many years ago, Stands for Personalized Images in Clay.
I have always tried to make pottery to fit the user, and much of my work is functional. Often the interpretation of functional is my own with respect to the shape and placement of handles, design of lids, and accessories to the pottery.  I do throw some larger jars that become super functional, and make a few pots that are combined forms that are more sculptural in many respects than functional.

Slab and wheel thrown 8" X 30"
I started teaching in the Altoona Area High School after college and getting married in 1973. I was responsible for the Ceramics classes for 34 of those years. I retired in 2009 as the time had come, and after handing in my papers one month before retirement found that I had type 2 diabetes. Most of my focus for the last year or so has been on getting healthier. I have remained off of medication, and hope to continue to do so. However, my wife and I have traveled some, and hope to do much more. Our latest trips were to Italy, and Hawaii.

I work in a small unheated studio, a brick single car garage. Obviously, I will be more productive in the warmer seasons than in the Winter, as Pennsylvania does get pretty cold then. When working for the school district, I raised extra money for the school studio by teaching adults on Saturdays in the school.  This year, I am going to take the class myself to give me some time to work in the Winter on some orders I have to complete before the Spring.