Monday, December 29, 2014

Tracking the price of The Completer Guide to Mid-range Glazes


I don't know if you all know about

But it is a price tracking site for Amazon. You  just put in what you are interested in and it will show the price fluctuations. You can enter a price you are looking for and it will alert you when it happens.

It is amazing to me to see  how they use some algorithm to balance price, availability and demand to vary current prices daily. I have just been watching my two books and thought someone else would find this interesting or useful.

It is just like the airlines and ticket prices. Everyone on the plane gets a different priced ticket.

 I guess that it is like in the old days when you bargained for something with a vendor, only now it is being done by the seller and a computer.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Health and Safety - Talc

I thought I would post this about the safety of Talc containing slips. It is from :

But they may have gotten from ACTS FACTS a Monona Rossol's newsletter on Health and Safety:

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I heard this great TED talk on NPR on Friday:

It was about how the Libby Mine was forced to admit they were the cause of the towns asbestosis problem caused by a vermiculite mine.  Thought it was a great  final link which I never knew about.

The story on Will Full Blindness

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bonsai Potters of North America

Did you know that there was a listing of Bonsai Potters of North America?

not a very long list....might be a place to increase your business??

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rhonda Gouge and the Roan Mountain Rain FREE concert tonight

Here is a personal invitation to everyone  to come on out and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with Rhonda Gouge and Roan Mountain Rain tonight at Bowman Middle School Auditorium at 7:30.

It's FREE! It's FREE! We would be honored and happy to see you there!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review - The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes - Suzy Staubach

Suzy Staubach's Review and blog

Book Review 
Wednesday December 3, 2014

You might be tempted to read through the glaze recipes in John Britt’s new book, The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes: Glazing & Firing at Cones 4 – 7, and skip the text. Don’t do it. You might think that because you fire at higher or lower temperatures, the book would be of no use to you. Big mistake. The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes is packed with information and belongs on every potter’s bookshelf.

“Iron oxide, “ Britt tells us, “makes up about 7 percent of the top layer of the earth’s crust, and it’s the most common coloring oxide in ceramics. In fact, iron is everywhere on our planet. Technically speaking, all glazes contain some iron.” Elsewhere in the text he points out, “There are four major forms of iron oxide. These are red iron oxide, magnetic iron, black iron oxide, and yellow iron oxide.” He then goes on to explain the differences between them and how they react in the fire.

Writing of feldspar he tells us that “most feldspars melt at cone 9, the lowest melting feldspar is nepheline syenite, which melts at cone 6.” Each paragrapah is packed with nuggets like these.

Britt also gives an overview of each type of glaze along with its history. In the section on Temmoku he tells us, “During the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Japanese visited a monastery in a Chinese mountain called Tianmu Shan (Mount Eye of Heaven), where they collected some Jai (oil spot temmoku) tea bowls. The Japanese were inspired to imitate their look. They referred to their highly prized bowls as Tianmu or Temmoku (sometimes spelled Tenmoku.” Later he tells us “Tea dust is a low alumina temmoku glaze that contains magnesium oxide, which is responsible for the yellow-green pyroxene crystals that are of typical of this type.”

Added to this wealth of glaze and materials information, are charts, photos, advice on mixing and applying, and the recipes themselves. Stunning.

Britt devotes an entire chapter to making his argument for firing at cone 6, citing savings in time and money and the reduction of one’s carbon footprint. “For functional ware,” he writes, “cone 6 stoneware is an excellent choice because it’s very durable and vitrified…so it can withstand repeated trips into the dishwasher and microwave. Also, glazes can be made that are stable and don’t leach harmful chemicals.” He goes on to share his ideas on how best to move from cone 10 down to cone 6.

The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes is a must for every potter’s reference library. Thank you John Britt for your extensive research and in depth understanding and your ability to explain what you have learned so clearly.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Awesome fivesome returns to John Britt Pottery for the TRAC Studio Tour this weekend

We had such an awesome time doing the Toe River Arts Studio Tour together last year that we're doing it again this year. We being:

John Britt

Kristin Flournoy

Lisa Gluckin

Rodney Hopkins

and Amy Waller

The tour starts Friday at noon and runs through Sunday - get all the details here at the link below and come by John Britt Pottery to see us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wanted: meeting place for December Clay Club meeting

I am taking over the Clay Club organizing from John and my first order of business is to find out if anyone would like to host our December meeting next Wednesday, December 10. I know this is not a lot of notice, but if anyone is up for this, let me know by Friday so I can let everyone else know. You can respond in the comments here or send me an email at

If we do meet, we can do the annual mug/object exchange. Additional ideas (demos, discussion topics, etc.) for this and future meetings also wanted!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

STUDIO TOUR this weekend (Dec. 5-7, 2014)

Studio Tour in Spruce Pine this weekend! No Snow this year!

I am sharing my studio with Lisa Gluckin, Amy Waller, Ka Flournoy and Rodney Hopkins!

Come on buy !

 Here is more info:
Or click on this;

Join us in December for the Holiday Studio Tour Event!

The Holiday Studio Tour will be held December 5-7, 2014. Hours of the Tour are 12pm to 4pm on Friday, 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. We have information up about the participants, tour particulars, sponsors and have the Guide online (see below).

This is our 21st year and the December Tour is our biggest yet with 104 artists and 9 galleries. The Toe River Studio Tour is perhaps the largest and the longest running studio tour in the country; you will find craftspeople and artists in nearly every medium, many tops in their field and several new-to-the-tour participants.

The tour is a FREE, self-guided trip that will lead you to some unique places in our community that is situated between Mt. Mitchell and Roan Mountain. Visitors travel through valleys, past streams, across rivers, over hilltops, and experience breathtaking mountain vistas as they those many out-of-the-way studios. Meet the artists, see where they create and where they live. Our small towns also offer an array of galleries, studios, and other quaint businesses you won’t want to miss.

To take the tour all you need is this guide, and then follow the red, arrowed tour signs. Stop by either one of our TRAC Galleries to pick up your map and view the artwork on display. The TRAC Spruce Pine Gallery features an exhibit of tour participants well-ahead of the tour weekend and provides a great visual tool for planning your trip (November 22-December 31). Also, this year, TRAC’s Burnsville Gallery is showcasing some of the original TRAC Studio Tour participants who are still “in the business” and still opening their doors in an exhibit entitled, “Then and Now” (November 8-December 15).

Here’s the December guide and information.

The Studio Tour Guide is ready online and at venues around town and around the region.

And our Advertisers. For a listing of them with telephone numbers and web links, click Sponsors.

Click to see a list of artists and galleries participating in this year’s tour with links to their websites.

Then contact the Yancey Chamber of Commerce and the Mitchell Chamber for a list of places to stay during your visit. There are over 100 places–from quaint bed and breakfasts to cabins in the woods to mom and pop motels–to hang your head in our area.

For questions, contact Toe River Arts Council at 828.682.7215 or 828.765.0520.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Need a new Clay Club organizer.

Yo clubbers,

Just wanted to let you know I am stepping down as the Clay Club organizer. Just getting tired. (6 years in the latest incarnation).

I don't have anything planned for Dec or 2015 so seems like a good time.

If anyone wants to keep the ball rolling ....I can pass on the email list. Let me know if you want to do it.

I will continue to do the blog until I get tired of that...

Good Grief JB

I sent John Britt a link to a brilliant post on our place in a limitless universe or never ending universes. The post in my view doesn't imply we, our earth, are just a speck in the scheme of things, an insignificant tiny bit of shit, but what exciting adventures of exploration lie ahead for us.  When eighteenth century philosophers claimed the world is more like a mechanical watch with more or less predictable outcomes than a moral drama between the Christian righteous and satan (the medieval view), the ordinary folk were not happy or were the big wigs of Christianity.  I hope y'all be open minded and have a look at the video; it's mind expanding, even for us old folk.  And it seems to me to make our earth more precious and in need of our extreme care.  It's our garden, so to speak, a la Voltaire (just pulling our those big names).  So Newton onward! Sorry if I've implied we're all just poop.  And to set the record straight, we're out in CA because Mary's mom was failing and we hoped to be of some help to her; she needed a lot of care.  We sold our beautiful home in A'ville (well, Madison Co.) for peanuts so we could get out here pdq.  We're still here, in the small town of Benicia, enjoying CA only because we have family here.  We'd of course rather be in A'ville, among friends (?).  Though I'm getting so old I don't know if I can get across the country anymore.  Just an old turkey. When the seas calm again, I'd like to post some basic throwing videos we made at a coop studio in So Cal.  They're meant for fledgling potters struggling with centering, etc.  Very beginning stuff.  Very best to y'all.  hp

You 're a very small piece of shit (According to Henry)

Henry Pope who has be exiled to California for obvious reasons....wanted me to post this Buzzfeed column on how small and insignificant you are.

He is getting old and just sits around trying to depress everyone on holidays:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Now Enrolling Clay Classes At Odyssey ClayWorks

The winter session begins January 12. From pinch pots to glazing to independent study, we’ve got something for everyone.  Take a class to suit your personal artistic goals, or just come and have fun creating with clay.  Plus, we are featuring a Saturday morning class for kids and a plaster mold making workshop with Nick Moen. 

Glaze resource

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Loved the new Book! (The Complete Guide to Mid-Rang Glazes)

Got the book - it's great! 

I have lots of glaze books; this is among the top (Robin Hopper and Hans Coper level). 

Though I fire cone 6 electric, I enjoy reading about reduction as it gives a better general understanding of glazes. There are plenty of cone 6 neutral/electric glazes in the book (there are 400), along with giving a good basis of how to create my own and judge others. 

I've recommended it to several others already. Anyone expecting a glaze book tailored to only their needs should realize every glaze book is an aid to creating their own notebook. (One should also consider that cost may not be the sole factor in lower cone firing, less impact on the environment may be the consideration.) 

Everybody - buy the book! (Hope we do meet one day.) - naomi

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Book: "The Complete Guide to Mid-range Glazes" John Britt

Trouble with Wonder White Clay??

I am wondering is anyone is having problems with Wonder White Clay from Highwater.  I know of someone who is having problems and wanted to see if anyone else is so we can isolate the cause.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cone 6 Ceramic Glaze Weekend Talk/Discussion

Cone 6 Ceramic Glaze Weekend Talk/Workshop
January 16-17, 2015

8290 N Dixie Dr, Dayton, OH 45414

(937) 454-0357

This workshop will be a general overview of ceramic glazes, focusing on but not limited to cone 6 glazes. It is designed for beginner to intermediate potters. We will discuss cones, kilns, firing dynamics and principles as well as applying those principles to various firing cycles. This will lead us into some basic classifications of glazes, like ash, celadon, temmoku, etc. We will discuss how and why each type of glaze works and how you can achieve them, how to adjust your glazes and how to find new ones. We will discuss glazes from my new book: “The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes: Glazing and Firing at cone 4 – 7”, but will go into more detail than the book allowed.

There will be a slide show on Friday night and John will bring tiles samples from his book as well as pots.

Friday 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Meet and greet

Saturday 9:00 – 4:00 p.m. Glaze Discussion, including tile samples and firing, cone, kilns, safety, etc. It is basically a question and answer format that leads us in the direction of the class interest but will be focusing on cone 6 and the book.

Sunday 10:00 – 3:00 p.m. Glaze Discussion

Cost $175.00

Registration and payment by Dec. 15, 2014

Potters looking for Residency Opportunity check out the Bascom in Highland NC

Great Opportunity ---

-In exchange for materials, the Resident must teach 6-8 hours a week of basic level classes.

-Studio asst for all studio barn clay workshops for 2015

- Pay is $12 an hour for 40 hour week- teaching and managing the studio. Clay, glaze and firings included. (See Application for more details.)

-Resident will provide own housing. (We can help find places or names for them top make contact with.)

For an application go to : "The Bascom Dave Drake Studio Barn Resident Artist Application for 2015" :

Contact Frank Vickery for more information:

Any artists looking for an assistant?

Chris DeLange is an experienced artist assistant who did a great job assisting me in my studio for the last six months. 

 I am now out of town for the winter and he is looking for other work. 

 He is a great worker, learns new tasks quickly and works for very reasonable wages. He has my full recommendation. 
 He can be contacted at or 503 307 1575

Also feel free to contact me with questions. 828 337 2558 (Eric Knoche)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monster mugs by Caroline Smith

Ceramic Studio Space needed in Yancy County NC (Burnsville/Celo)

To those those you in or connected to Yancey County, I am looking for studio/gallery space up there. 

An opportunity for me in Asheville fell through and I think I am ready to make the move toward the "Northern Territories". 

If anyone knows of a 200-300 sf space in or around Burnsville, please let me know.

Contact Nelle

Sunday, November 16, 2014

TRAC has display spaces available

Good Morning,
A few weeks ago, I met with Dick Baker, the new director of Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Foundation. They have recently moved “off campus” to an almost finished being renovated building on Broad Street (about a block passed the hospital and in about ½ block). They are sharing the space with several other outreach community services. They have plans to offer non-profits the use of the conference room for meetings, the “backyard” for outings (it will eventually have a fire pit and seating). And because they are not on hospital grounds, they are able to have alcohol on premises.
There are a couple of rooms, kitchenesque type walk through rooms complete with cabinetry. Flanking the ceiling in these rooms are small, glass doored display areas.
These are:

width #
Kitchen (illuminated)
19½" 1
13½" 2
15” 2
11 or 22” 1 or 2 (double doors)
16” 1
6½” 1
10½” 1
15 or 30” 1 or 2 (double doors)

Break/Catering Area (illuminated)
14½” 1
10 1
15 or 30” 1 or 2 (double doors)
11 or 22” 1 or 2 (double doors)

Hallway (not illuminated)
16 or 22” 1 or 2 (double doors)

Cabinets are 13” high…width was measured but the normal depth of a kitchen cabinet.

What he is offering is space. They don’t have the funds to purchase art to fill the cubbies, but could display. He said that he would put up a nice sign with the artist name and title (if there is one). If anyone were interested they would contact TRAC.

I know you’ve all read the back page of the Tour Guide and know all about the “branding” agenda we are following. TRAC, in collaboration with 18 other partners have been in the planning stages for over 2 years. This year we received grants (read plural…yippee) that will allow us to hire a project coordinator, consultants and begin the strategizing in earnest. We will need more $$ to complete the wayfinding signage, and this is going to take a few more years, but all the along the way, we are doing are best to make Mitchell/Yancey Counties a destination, not merely a place between hither and yon. All that said, the more folks see art in non-artistic venues, the more a recognition that “this is a place where everything is about the artistic nature of the community.” Kinda like the Chocolate Factory with no calories.

These pieces can be seconds if the “whoops” is on the back. They won’t show. And they should be big enough to fill the area. I may have to put a block underneath if the bottom is covered by the door framing, but there is a foot or so of height.

If you get the pieces to me, I’ll get them to Dick Baker and put them in place. I can swap them out every 6 months or so. I used the studio tour list, but if you know someone who might be interested, pass this along. The more we get the “names” out, the more we’ll get known. Destinations are not just for out-of-towners. There are folks who don’t even know about the Tour except for seeing the signs twice a year. There are those who don’t know where TRAC is. They know Peoples Furniture and see the gallery when they walk out the front door, but…and there are those who don’t equate arts with the every “man or woman”.

FYI, there is also space under a large vitrine in the lobby entrance of the Burnsville Town Hall. There are a few pieces there now that I would like to swap out. It is against the wall, but also plexi all around. A second would be fine as long as it won’t show. You can stop by the Town Hall and see the size. One would be surprised at the number of folks who pay their water bill in person and walk past it each time.

This is an exciting time to be in this area; to be able to watch it grow. Let me know. Call me at 682.7215 or email

Thanks for your support.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cone 6 Ceramic Glaze Weekend Talk/Workshop

Cone 6 Ceramic Glaze Weekend Talk/Workshop
January 16-17, 2015

8290 N Dixie Dr, Dayton, OH 45414

(937) 454-0357

This workshop will be a general overview of ceramic glazes, focusing on but not limited to cone 6 glazes. It is designed for beginner to intermediate potters. We will discuss cones, kilns, firing dynamics and principles as well as applying those principles to various firing cycles. This will lead us into some basic classifications of glazes, like ash, celadon, temmoku, etc. We will discuss how and why each type of glaze works and how you can achieve them, how to adjust your glazes and how to find new ones. We will discuss glazes from my new book: “The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes: Glazing and Firing at cone 4 – 7”, but will go into more detail than the book allowed.

There will be a slide show on Friday night and John will bring tiles samples from his book as well as pots.

Friday 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Meet and greet

Saturday 9:00 – 4:00 p.m. Glaze discussion

Sunday 10:00 – 3:00 p.m. Glaze Discussion

Cost $175.00

Registration and payment by Dec. 15, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Feldspar and Highwater Clay in Asheville NC

Flippin Feldspar 

By: Jennifer Hoolihan

So, the feldspar industry has been in a bit of a flux (ha!) over the past few years. Feldspar is an important melting agent, kinda like a natural frit, which promotes fusion and vitrification within a glaze and clay body.

I've sung the praises of feldspar before (Feldspar Rocks!), so I won't go into all the technical aspects here. This is more of a mineral update. Some time ago we all learned that G200 was no longer being produced, although G200HP, which made up about 70% of G200, would still be available in its place. Now production of G200HP has ceased and the mine is closed. That was at the end of last year. At that time Custer Feldspar was the only commercially available potash feldspar. In anticipation, we squirreled away a lot of G200HP and tried to let folks know that our stocks would soon be depleted. Well that time has come. By the time you read this, porcelain production will have used up every last full bag of G200HP.

Custer has been mined in South Dakota for about 80 years and long-term supply looks good. It's pretty similar in composition to G200 though it does have a higher iron content. The  differences in potassium and sodium levels are within a percent or two, according to the chemical analyses provided by Pacer.

New on the North American market is a potash feldspar from Spain, G200EU. It is very similar to the original G200 feldspar. Of course, due to shipping costs it is more expensive than any other feldspar we use. We will stock this feldspar for retail sale and it's also available for custom recipes on request. However, we are hesitant to depend on it for clay production due to location and cost. G200EU comes in 44# bags and smaller weighed out quantities. 

In order to understand the difference in the feldspars beyond their chemical analysis sheet we ran melt tests at cones 6 and 10 oxidation with G200, G200HP, G200EU, and Custer feldspars.

Testing at cone 6 oxidation

Testing at cone 10 oxidation

Custer and original G200 appeared most similar in terms of color, while G200EU and original G200 are the most similar in terms of melt, and should substitute out for one another without problems. However, anytime raw material changes occur it becomes extremely important to test. Sometimes potters are working right on the edge without knowing it, and these slight differences in oxide levels can cause unpredictable results or failure. Please contact us if you have any questions about feldspar futures!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Team Centering (Gabriel Kline and Anja Bartels)

Thanks Odyssey

Team throwing by Gab and Anja

Wanted to thank Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts for hosting the Clay Club last night. He had Demopalooza and a great pot luck!

Thanks to Jillian Wolf for orchestrating everything and Gabriel Kline and his Residents for doing demos. It was great fun to see everyone too!

I will be posting videos as they upload so those who missed the event can see some of the stuff we did.

Thanks again!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Glaze Thickness or Specific Gravity

Artist run amok (Response Carter Gilles)

I agree that some folks use the description 'artist' as a measure of prestige, but that usually has more to do with an art economy that thrives on the distinction between ordinary creativity and the 'special stuff' that apparently only 'real' artists produce. The notion of art as something prestigious is often a wedge used to divide the things this particular marketplace deems worthy from those that it doesn't, as if those things were categorically different rather than simply the historically contingent and often arbitrary choices of gatekeepers. And if you notice, the stuff these gatekeepers talk about as 'the real art' is only the stuff they can make the most money with. Why would we ever trust their self serving definitions?

It ends up being a means of oppression when its the difference between who gets to eat and who doesn't, where they get to sit at the table or even if they get to sit. Discriminating like this is just one more empowered establishment telling the undesirables to sit at the back of the bus. And maybe most potters have gotten so used to coming out on the losing end of the craft v art debate that they won't try to dispute the exclusionary interpretation of art, but that doesn't change that its a poor use of the word that doesn't include pots. If Duchamp made it possible that anything could be art how is it that pots have simply slipped through the crack? Isn't that an inconsistency worth noting?

I know what you are suggesting by pointing out the loss of meaning when it is said that "everyone is an artist", but do we lose meaning in the same way when we say that everyone speaks a language? "Everyone is a language user"? If you understand art as a capacity then it is exercised only occasionally, just as we only occasionally use language. But we know the difference between using it and not using it. Understanding what we do with language is an important tool for how we navigate the world. So I wouldn't say that the broad use of 'art' and 'artist' is either meaningless or unimportant. Perhaps it even helps define why humans are different from other species. Are cats artists? If aliens exist, would they have art? Could an artificial intelligence ever create art? If those are meaningful questions then the idea of humans being artists surely must mean something, even in its broadest interpretation.

Personally, I would say that perhaps not everyone is an artist, since obviously newborn babies, sleepers, and coma patients at least are not practicing art. And even if every normal conscious adult somehow were practicing artists they would not be making art full time every waking moment. So some things would still have to count as art and others as not art. Its a good question what makes things art, and we don't need the criteria to simply map out in a consistent way. Sometimes there will only be a family resemblance that makes two diverse things art. Sometimes no connection at all other than that they are the creative expression of two different human beings. Music and painting are as different as it gets, but they are both art, it seems..... Are pots less related to ceramic sculpture than painting is to music?

I don't think the 'rinse and repeat' idea of craft negates craft as an exploration of art. If repetition invalidated something as art then photography and printmaking might be in trouble as well. What about images of actual work? If we look at a book of Monet paintings are we looking at art? The reproduction is not the same thing as the original, but is it no longer art when it gets published? Wouldn't it be strange to say that you are only looking at art if you are face to face with the original? How would we ever know that Monet was an artists if we never saw one of his paintings in real life? So it seems that 'art' has to mean something different. And it obviously includes the idea that there can be more than one example and even an infinite generation of replicas.

It seems to me that sometimes art is the object, but at other times it can be looked at as the process, and the object itself is irrelevant. 'Art' can also be a verb. At other times the idea is what is important and not the product or the process by which it gets made. I think you have to understand the variability of ways that creativity gets manifest to appreciate that art is not one thing specifically but many. If the pots themselves are not specifically art, can we say that the process behind it was art, or the ideas that gave rise to it? That seems to require an answer.

Potters are a special branch of artist, just like musicians, sculptors, dancers, painters, etc are each different types of artists. Its a field specific designation for the kind of artist we are. And even within the broad field of pottery not everyone is doing the same thing. If not every piece is functional have we stopped being potters? Does wheel thrown or handbuilt make a difference? Does surface decoration or unvarnished form divide pots from non-pots? Wood fired or electric? Greenware or bisqued?

In the end it seems there is nothing simple about pottery and there is nothing simple about art. The more we understand their diversity the less we may be bullied by the chauvinists who use these words to punish the people making work they don't like, appreciate, or perhaps even understand adequately. If Duchamp was right in that anything can be art its up to us to learn to see different things that way. Its not just a lesson in making, but a lesson in curating. Its a lesson in how we look at the world and how we group the things we find.... What kind of gatekeeper are you willing to be? Generous or miserly? And why? What is being served by calling things one sort of thing or another? How do our biases and prejudices play out in that?

If I see a small kid drawing with crayons and finger paints I want to say that "art is happening there". If I see a kid making volcanoes with playdough I want to say that "art is happening there". Sure its not van Gogh or Voulkos, but the verb of 'arting' is definitely there. Why would I ever say that an adult sitting at the potter's wheel is not an artist? The lineage of creativity seems quite obvious, to me, at least....

Carter Gillies

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Notes on Creativity

Our conscious thoughts, wishes and fears are largely based upon what should have been; it seems to be the way we are conditioned. As a result we are mainly involved in a problem-solving cycle. Creativity in its core is not a problem solving driven attitude. Creativity is based on embracing opportunities that are beyond the projected outcome. This distinguishes creation from production.

Creativity is driven by the notion of not knowing and based on the understanding that the process
between an idea and projected outcome is not just a bothersome phase to achieve results.
It is based upon the understanding that the process of making, thinking, researching bears meaning. Understanding that ‘mistakes’ can be valuable sources as they clearly reflect our assumptions. Our thoughts, wishes and fears are driven by assumptions. By allowing a dialogue (as opposed to discussion or monologue!) with what surrounds us and what is in us, our thoughts, wishes and fears can serve as a mirror to detect our assumptions. Creation thrives if we are willing to be in dialogue
with what surrounds us and what is in us.

The production of man-made things makes consumption possible. But before a thing can be produced it has to be created. Creation is therefore a vital entity in society. A society that focuses only on production and consumption is decadent and will become insignificant in time.

Anton Reijnders
-Transcribed on 10-6-2009 from

Artists run amok

Have recently had web discussions on Art, artists and craft. I don't have time to really spend on this but is seems like an important topic that constantly goes astray.

I always find that people want to call themselves "Artists". This is strange to me. Why isn't it enough to be a potter? or a painter or a sculptor? No ...people want to be called Artists.

I can only assume that this is to add validity or prestige to their activity. It isn't just pottery it is Art. I am an Artist - meaning they participate in the grand social structure of Art. They are creating and thus participate in a similar activity as the great Creator!

But then you get to asking what "Art"is or what an "Artist" is and it is a confounding mix of  denial and hostility. Things like "I hate the Art vs craft " debate or an "Artist is anyone who makes Art". This definition seems strange to me because it is so broad as to include everyone. And yet the entire purpose of being called an "Artist" is adding prestige. So if everyone is an artist, it isn't that special. If Artist is an all -inclusive term then it is a useless word indicating nothing.

Another attempt was: "Anyone who designs and makes an object". Well it seems to me that would include an engineer. They design and  make objects. So do cooks, they design and make many objects that you eat. Or a cake maker at Wal-mart. They design and make cakes, sort of like slip trailing with sugar. Or birds like the Bower bird, they design and make beautiful nests that vary. What about bees? So you see, if a cook, engineer, birds and bees are all in the definition of Artist then what good is the definition?

What if I asked "what is a writer"? Many people want to be writers and to participate in the mystique of being a writer, novelist, etc. But if the definition of writer is, anyone who writes how prestigious is that? Everyone is a writer. Even a two year old can write "Mommy"? So there has to be a better definition of the term "writer" or "artist" for it to have any real meaning.

Then we come to crafts. What is wrong with being a craftperson?  Seems like a fine occupation to me.

But evidently being an Artist must be better. Craftsmen make repeats of the same or similar objects over and over. Ever look at a potter's life work? It is not life of "creating" but rather of making objects. Most potters create a line and then reproduce it. Occasionally there is variation but generally you are producing a line of work to sell. Just look at the life time products of most potters....rinse and repeat (with slight tweeks). Just because you use a different glaze on a cup doesn't make it Art. Variations on a form aren't that profound. Nothing wrong with them but color variations don't make it Art.

Nothing wrong with that! I am a potter. I have been rinsing and repeating for a long time. Sure I make some new stuff but Art?  I don' think so.

How many cups are "created' or how many are "made". There is no ambiguity in the end will be a cup. It is never going to end up being an installation of "the cupness" of a cup.  ....Those don't fit in the kiln! It isn't Art it is craft.

So I know that this isn't a philosophical treatise on Art or Craft but it seems to me someone has to address the absurdity of all these Artists running amok.

I return to the initial question - Why isn't it enough to be a potter? or a painter or a sculptor?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Clay Club October 8, 2014 at Odyssey in Asheville NC

The October Clay Club is going to be at Odyssey in Asheville NC on October 8 from 6- 8:30 p.m. and we are having about 8 demonstrators. Right now we have :

Joey Sheehan,
Terry Gess,
Gabriel Kline,
Anja Bartels,
Nick Moen,
Genevieve Van Zandt,
Travis Winters,
Lee Wolfe

We will probably start the demos very close to 6 p.m. because some people have to leave early. 

The pot luck is Harvest Theme so whatever that means to you.

See you there!  Should be fun!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dirty Girls are the Best!

I just wanted to say.....and I don't represent these folks....because who would recommend a "Dirty Girl"?.....

But these are the BEST WIRES out there!

I love them and they are now in small sizes too ...which I love!

Here is the link :

Residency Opportunity at the Bascom in Highland NC

Great Opportunity ---

-In exchange for materials, the Resident must teach 6-8 hours a week of basic level classes.

-Studio asst for all studio barn clay workshops for 2015

- Pay is $12 an hour for 40 hour week- teaching and managing the studio. Clay, glaze and firings included. (See Application for more details.)

-Resident will provide own housing. (We can help find places or names for them top make contact with.)

For an application go to : "The Bascom Dave Drake Studio Barn Resident Artist Application for 2015" :

Contact Frank Vickery for more information:

Richland Balsam Overlook BRP 2014

Finally got the selfie. 

Leaves are turning...after the freeze this weekend will happen quick!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


There is a very nice !!!field of sunflowers on Highway 26 just outside of Asheville - think it is exit 17. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Series

The Glass Plate Series: 4 x 4,  John Britt, chalk and glass plate, 3" x 5", 2014

New series

Got some new work coming:

The Glass Plate Series: Broken Dreams, John Britt, glaze drips and glass plate, 4" x 5", 2014

Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour and Sale October 18 - 19, 2014

I am going to be in a great show coming up in Ohio.  The old stomping grounds - Yellow Springs Ohio.

It is the Yellow Springs Artist and Studio Tour October 18 -19 , 2014 (from 10 - 6 Saturday and Sunday.)

There are a bunch of excellent artists participating- check it out:

See you there if you are in the area!!


John opening kiln, August 29, 2014

A big thanks to everyone donating their time, energy and bowls for The Dig In! Yancey Community Garden 4th Annual Empty Bowls event. As John Britt has indicated, it was a huge success. The guests were thrilled with the bowls and everyone had a great time. There were about 15 soups, donated by local restaurants and individuals, great bread and sweets, and a wonderful atmosphere.

Dig In! is in its fifth season and has now donated over 18,000 pounds of produce to five different organizations in Yancey County that provide food and meals to the our neighbors in need of food assistance. Please come and visit the garden. You can see hundreds of photographs and learn more at It is located next to Linda McFarling's pottery and showroom in Burnsville so you can see both the beautiful garden and some of Linda's great pots at one place. You will be about half an hour from Penland so there is a lot to see nearby. Contact me to set up a tour.

Again, many thanks. Your continuing efforts make a huge difference in our region.

And just in case you have not heard yet, Manna raised $50,000 at their recent Empty Bowls events on September 15th. That will provide 150,000 meals to western North Carolina residents. Those bowls really do great things.

Bumper crop of taters, July 31, 2014

Victoria and David, July 31, 2014

Peter and Valerie, July 31, 2014

Dig In Garden Raises $8,000

Yo Clubbers,

Thanks to all your efforts the Empty Bowl event for Dig In Garden raised over $8,000. I want to thank everyone who participated to make this possible - from the dozens of people who came out for our 1,000 bowl challenge in May, to the people who helped glaze and fire the bowls, to the ones who sent in finished bowls this past week.

 I can't list all the names but here are the ones I know who helped this past week and responded to our request  for finished bowls:

Joy Tanner,
Gay Smith,
Ruth Fischer Rutkowsky,
Sue Grier,
Paul Frye,
Michael Rutkowsky ,
Susan Feagan,
Nelle Pingree,
Cynthia Bringle,
Claudia Dunaway,
Robbie Bell,
David Ross,
Marian Parkes,
Diane Puckett,
Helen Purdum,
Lisa Gluckin,
Joey Sheehan,
Patty Robertson

(If I missed anyone please let me know.)

Marian Parkes and Kristen Flournoy helped glaze a load of bowls each.  


It will make the garden happen again next year!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Toe River Arts Council – Projects Coordinator- SPRUCE PINE NC

The Toe River Arts Council (TRAC) is offering an exciting opportunity as the Projects Coordinator (PC) for the Toe River Arts; encompassing Mitchell and Yancey counties in western North Carolina. The Projects Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the establishment of the Toe River Arts District and developing resources available through the TRAC Arts Resource Center (ARC). The PC, reporting to the Executive Director of the Toe River Arts Council, will be a key member of the leadership team – planning, managing, and implementing the overall branding, marketing, and wayfinding campaigns and coordinating arts resource services.

The Project :
Toe River Arts Project

This project will brand, unify and market the rural, mountainous Toe River Arts area as a single cultural arts district and will establish an arts-driven wayfinding system that facilitates easy access to studios and cultural art sites. Professional designers and a wayfinding consulting team will work with the innovative talent of local artists to create, place, and install unique geographic indicators, public art signage, gateways, a central website, maps, kiosks, and mobile phone tours to engage local residents and visitors. Mayland Community College and Altec, Inc. will collaborate with artists to design and fabricate many of the signs. The PC will provide support to consultants hired to establish a brand and create a logo, website, and a marketing plan for the district and will coordinate cooperative marketing efforts for area arts groups, cultural events and/or artists. The Projects Coordinator will work with consultant(s) to develop and implement wayfinding strategies for the Mitchell/Yancey region.
Arts Resource Center Project.

This project will expand the resources available to artists and the community-at-large. The PC will organize, manage and schedule workshops for the public and artists, lectures, performances and other events at the ARC and will oversee any volunteers, prepare monthly reports and annual ARC operating and program budgets. Coordinator will be a consultant to the arts community and continually identify new sources of artist related suppliers, exhibition opportunities, and various other art related opportunities.

History and Mission of the Toe River Arts Council:
The Toe River Arts Council (TRAC) has served the rural counties of Mitchell and Yancey, North Carolina since 1976. TRAC is a nonprofit arts agency that promotes the arts through educational and community-wide programs and services. Our mission is to engage in any phase of the creative or performing arts; to assist in the establishment of new cultural, educational activities in fields where none now exist; to sponsor cooperative planning, research, fund raising and public educational awareness. TRAC is committed to creating a work environment which is free from discrimination and sexual harassment.

The ideal candidate will:
Work with multiple constituencies with intelligence and tact
Work independently and with team members.
Exhibit exceptional organizational skills and meet critical deadlines
Prepare, monitor and administer program budgets and contracts
Engage individuals and groups to accomplish goals
Speak articulately and write clearly and succinctly
Organize workload and pay attention to detail.
Manage all phases of the design, fabrication and installation of signage.
Establish and maintain cooperative relationships with those contacted in the course of work
Be knowledgeable about community development through the arts.

Work Location

Office in the Artist Resource Center of TRAC, 269 Oak Avenue, Spruce Pine, NC 28777.

Work Time Frame

The position will be full-time starting ASAP (Dec 2014/Jan 2015) through August, 2016 with the potential for longer-term employment. Annual compensation range is $35, 000-40,000. Benefits limited to sick/vacation time.

Minimum qualification: Bachelor’s Degree
Preferred qualifications:
Major course work in any of the following areas a plus: Arts, Arts Administration, Business Administration, Marketing, Nonprofit Management.
Three years professional experience in arts programming, branding, or community development.

To Apply

Send letter of interest and resume and to or

Denise Cook, Executive Director
Toe River Arts Council
PO Box 882
Burnsville, NC 28714

Electronic submissions preferred. Applicant screening begins October 15, 2014.

For information about the Toe River Arts Council, please visit the website,

Friday, September 26, 2014

Need holiday help in your studio?

Hey Friends,
Everyone is getting ready for holiday sales so if you need any extra help around your studio, give a call to or e-mail Becky Derby. She is a stained glass artist in Bakersville, NC and has a lot of pottery production experience as well. Becky can pack pots for shipping, load and unload kilns, glaze stuff, and do all kinds of general schlepping and book keeping. Here is her contact information: 828-385-2272, Thanks y'all!