Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another Exciting Glaze Workshop

Understanding the Magic of Glazes and Firing  (with a Cone 6 Reduction Firing)
John Britt, Author of "The Complete Guide to High-fire Glazes"

October 1 – 3, 2010
Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus
3001 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311-5097

For more information contact:
or call 703-615-7872




Bill Schran teaches at Northern VA Community College.  His website is as follows:

Exciting Upcoming Glaze Workshops!

  • John Britt Glaze Workshop   (with a Cone 6 Reduction Firing)

October 8 – 10, 2010

University of North Carolina Wilmington, Cultural Arts Building

Ceramic Studio 1004 and  Lecture room 2005

This workshop will be a general overview of ceramic glazes and glaze materials as well as different firing methods. The workshop includes a cone 6 reduction firing as well as a cone 6 oxidation firing of participants’ work using glazes developed by John for this workshop. The glazes include Shino, Temmoku, copper red and others. This is a fairly new process that has been getting a lot of attention because it is less expensive and more environmentally friendly. John will discuss cones, kilns, firing dynamics and properties of ceramic materials. It will be done in a fun and relaxed atmosphere of question and answer as well as some more structured lecture periods. The content of the talk will be directed by the participants’ interest. For more information see John Britt’s article in Ceramics Monthly October 2008 issue and visit his website
www. johnbrittpottery.com

Fee: members $90.00 non-members: $100.00

To register contact: Vicky Smith at vickysmithart@gmail.com


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saxonburg Ceramics Invitational Article

Christy Culp at the Wheel

Article in the Sunday Tribune Review.

Saxonburg ceramics show sets the table for art

Sunday, August 29, 2010

 Saxonburg Area Artist Co-Op: "Setting the Table: Contemporary Ceramics Dines In," opening Sept. 4 with a meet-the-artist wine-and-cheese reception, and continuing through Oct. 2.

In an era when we are more attached to electronic devices than people, muses Christy Culp, a timeless art form like ceramics can provide "a human connection."

Having beautiful, useful objects created by another human being can bring happiness, says the North Buffalo artist and Deer Lakes High School art teacher. It certainly provides that connection for her, she says, "because I value what another person has made."

There will be much to value, she believes, in the exhibit she has organized at Saxonburg Area Artist Co-Op: "Setting the Table: Contemporary Ceramics Dines In," opening Sept. 4 with a meet-the-artist wine-and-cheese reception, and continuing through Oct. 2.

The exhibit, which will bring together the work of about 20 potters from the Alle-Kiski Valley and throughout Western Pennsylvania, will feature a fully appointed dinner table, reminiscent of a Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey, on which each artist was asked to design a place setting of dinnerware or accompanying serving piece, such as a pasta bowl, butter dish, serving platter, drinking vessels, candlestick and teapots.
Culp says it showcases the rich and diverse techniques of the potters -- from salt-fired pieces, colorful majolica ware to wood-fired work. She first saw the concept presented at the National Council for the Education of the Ceramics Arts. "I was impacted greatly by its simplicity and diversity," she says.
"Every single artist has a different technique, material, style and approach to clay and their ideas of what a plate, bowl and cup look like." The "incredibly different" interpretations are what can make such a show memorable, she says. 

"I hope the public is awe-struck by what a little bit of clay can be made into," says Culp, who graduated in 1978 from Ford City High School and in 1991 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A Manor Township native, she has taught at Kittanning Middle School, West Hills Elementary and St. Joseph High School.
It is possible to make an argument that ceramics is the most accessible art form in the world, she says. Outside of jewelry, a ceramic piece is interacted with in more ways that any other art form, she adds. "You can mediate on a painting for days, but you can't commune with it," she says. "Feeding yourself from a handmade plate is a ritual; it is part of an interaction that sustains you on a daily basis." 

Another impetus for this show, she says, is the trend in cooking and using organic and local food.
"The potters I know are notorious chefs," she says. A few years ago, she was part of a potters group that met regularly to plan a tour event. "We planned the meals before the agenda, and we ate before we conducted business," she recalls.

Everything was served on dishes the artist created or purchased from another potter. "The meals were worthy of the cover of Gourmet magazine, not only because they were delicious but because they were beautifully presented," Culp says. "It doesn't make sense to me to put what I create from vegetables and meat and bread into something made from a machine. If I am going to show up at your home for dinner, I am going to honor the meal by putting my contribution in a dish that was handcrafted."

Nancy Smeltzer of Smicksburg can relate. In addition to working in clay for 19 years, she has been involved in food and dining for almost 40, since her early years as an apprentice chef in New Orleans. "Making my work has always been with thoughts of its use for the everyday ritual of eating and drinking," says Smeltzer, who is entering a teapot and a tumbler or flower vase. "Making tea in a teapot and serving to friends or family elevates this everyday activity to an almost spiritual one," she adds. "When someone buys my work and says, 'We make tea in your teapot everyday,' or 'I make the best pie using your pie plate,' then I am energized to continue my work with clay."

Like the other exhibitors, Bellefonte resident Jake Johnson has seen customers reluctant to use a functional piece they have purchased because they say "it is too beautiful," and they fear they will break it. "You may not use a teapot every day that you bought from an artist, but maybe you bring it out at certain times, and it helps to mark that occasion as something special," he says.

Johnson, who is exhibiting a salt-and-pepper set on a tray and a vinegar-and-oil ewer set he made, appreciates that this show is an appropriate way to present "functional ceramics." "By having table and place settings, the work is presented in a way it might be in real life, not in galleries or museums," he says.
Ceramics has a lot of traditions, he says, "and I like to try and take those traditions some place new."
Fawn resident Ron Korczynski has a long career forging his traditions of putting his identity into his work -- as an artist and retired Highlands School District art teacher. 

"Ceramics chose me," he says. "In approaching as many different mediums as we did in school, I was drawn to the feel of the clay in my hands and the beauty."

He will have in the show a five-piece stoneware place setting on which he used a brown glaze that he feels enhances the appearance of the food. Korczynski, whose efforts can be found in about a dozen galleries throughout the United States, also will have two serving pieces; one is a goldfish platter modeled after a fish in his aquarium.

"I feel each of my works can be viewed not only as a functional object, but as a painting, as well," he says. He spends time trying to achieve what he refers to as a "painterly" approach to his work.
"Many people view my work as strictly art and do not use it."

Becky Keck of Greensboro, Greene County, has a perspective on that. "The highest compliment you can pay to a functional potter is to use what you have bought," she says. She is entering a hand-built tableware series she calls "Earth and Sky."

"Working in clay is like breathing. I can't imagine doing anything differently. I am inspired by nature and music and the sights and sounds in my world," she says. "I don't know if I could say that I was drawn to ceramics. It was more like I was awakened by the clay."

Amanda Wolf of McCandles, a recipient of the Three Rivers Arts Festival's emerging artist award, who has taught at Carnegie Museum and now at Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, says she loves ceramics because it is tactile. "You can make anything out of a lump of nothing. It's magical," she says.

She is represented in the Co-Op show with a variety of items, including a butter dish and a set of candelabra. "Most people who make functional pottery want people to buy a piece and use it," Wolf says. "I find that each piece has a story or memory attached to it, and I enjoy bringing that energy into my home. I also want to bring happy, positive energy to people. I hope my work does that."

So does Plum artist Karen McKee, who is entering several pieces of cookware. "I hope I convey how much I enjoy making each piece, and I hope I can make people smile," she says. "I also hope they feel the connection between each piece I've left my prints on."

It is important to realize that something can be beautiful as well as functional, she adds. "I encourage people to use whatever they buy: Use it until it breaks, and then glue it together and sit it on a shelf," McKee says.
She says she likes this show's concept.

"I like seeing the table set with so many different styles. It's such a great opportunity for artists to come together to showcase their work," she says. "You may think an exhibit like this wouldn't look good, but, wow, when you get all those different pieces on a table it's powerful." 

When:Saturday-Oct. 2; 1-9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays. Extended hours (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) during Saxonburg Arts Festival, Sept. 11-12.
Where: Saxonburg Area Artists Cooperative, 215 Main St., Saxonburg
Admission: Free
Details: 724-422-0851;  christylculp@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Future Potters Made Here

Deer Lakes School District unveils the new Ceramics Studio. With so much talk about Arts Programs being cut, eliminated or ignored, it is refreshing to know there are communities that value the arts. The new facility consists of a handbuilding classroom with a Brent Slabroller, a dedicated wheel room with 16 Brent wheels, and a kiln room with two Amaco kilns.

An open house for the public will be hosted in September, as well, the annual Empty Bowls Soup Sale in May.
The Art Department welcomes visiting artists of all media. Have you ever given thought to how your art might impact a young artist? Contact Christy - christylculp@yahoo.com

SPLENDID SURFACES Workshop Indianapolis, IN Sept. 19-21


The SPLENDID SURFACES conference will bring together an accomplished group of presenters to demonstrate, share ideas and answer any questions you have. Discover how each presenter uses the clay as their canvas, creating lush surfaces so inspiring you will rush home to your studio with fresh ideas. If you’re looking to add to your repertoire of surface techniques, then this is the conference for you. 


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kiln building resources

I thought some of you kiln builders might be able to use this.  Mark Peters of Pine Root Pottery in NC scanned an old AP Greene book with relevant information about kiln building, calculating arches, ect.  They are provided as pdf files.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drawing on Clay - article in 8/16/10 Ceramics Monthly by Robin Hopper

An excerpt from Ceramics Monthly free download, the Underglaze Users Guide: How to Use Underglazes, Slip Trailers, Ceramic Pens, and Underglaze Pencils. 

In the article, Robin Hopper talks about the different underglaze options available, the user comments provide sources of supplies, and Robin explains how to make underglaze pencils, pens, crayons and watercolors from scratch.

Link:  http://ceramicartsdaily.org/ceramic-supplies/underglaze-ceramic-supplies-2/drawn-to-surface-how-to-make-and-use-underglaze-pencils-crayons-pens-and-trailers/?floater=99

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nature Art Show and Sale

McKeever 8th Annual Nature Art Show and Sale, September 24-26, 2010

Fran Bires is looking for potters with nature inspired work to display and sell. Artists may display and sell their work in aroom they can recreate to feel like a gallery space. $200 space fee. Hours Fri- 6-9, Sat. 10-6, Sun 12-4

Contact Fran at fran@mckeever.org

Sandy Lake, Pa

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Water Filter Project

As mentioned in the Braddock Carnegie Arts Program post, Jeff Schwarz has been working with the Water Filter Project.  The Project primary mission is to assist people in being able to convert ground water to safe drinking water.

5,000 children die each day from water borne diseases.
Eventually water will be more valuable than oil.

Old Tech/Low Tech

In 1998 Ron Rivera developed the ceramic water filter.
The ceramic water filter has been proven 99.9% effective in removing water borne bacteria.
More information about Ron:

More filter information:


The Filter
The ceramic filter is a combination of clay and sawdust
The filter is fired to a low temperature to maintain porosity
The fired filter is treated with colloidal silver

Screening the sawdust

Pushing sawdust through the seive

Making the clay/sawdust mix
At the Braddock studios they use a Soldner Professional mixer to do the mixing work.
Weighing the mix

 Preparing the mix for the press
The press
Pressing a filter
Raising the press arm
Freshly pressed
After firing to about 1800 degrees, the inside of the filter is coated with a silver compound.  The combination of the small pore size and the silver serve to kill the bacteria present in most ground water and renders the water in the receptacle safe for drinking.  
The ceramic filter is sized to fit into a 5 gallon bucket with a spigot.  The actual ceramic filter is reddish brown. Every filter and receptacle is ready to filter water. Each filter has a flow rate of 2.5 L -3.5 L per hour.  Every filter/receptacle includes directions in the language of the user. 

 Jeff and his team are working on a method to incorporate the silver into the mix to see if it improves the process.  It has worked well in thousands of cases, but they are engaged in research to try to constantly improve.

It is impractical to ship the filters to the countries where it is needed from the United States, so Jeff's team's role is primarily research.  Production facilities have been set up in locations close to the need and so small factories around the world are utilized and provide income for each local business.  

Each year many lives are saved and improved because of this low tech solution and the people dedicated to making it happen.  For more information, contact Jeff Schwarz at jeff@jeffschwarz.comSlide 29

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jet Blue Travel Deal

Summer selling season winding down?  Need a vacation?  

Jet Blue has announced a deal starting August 23 where you can buy a "pass" to travel to all 60 cities to which they fly for $499 (can't travel Fridays or Sundays) or for $699 to travel anytime.  They fly to Aruba, a number of the islands, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Florida, San Diego, LA, San Fran, Portland, Seattle, Denver, ect.  Since they fly from Pittsburgh it sounds like a good deal to me.  

Go to their website:  www.jetblue.com

Click on Where From to see the cities.  Travel starts on September 7th and continues until October 6, 2010.  And no, I don't make a commission.  Just looking out for your well being.  Terry

Orton Programmable Kiln Controller through Vulcan Kilns

Many of us have kilns that currently do not possess a programmable controller.  The kilns are perfectly good but lacking in this feature.  I have two 10 cu ft Cone 10 Crusaders and a 7 cu ft cone 10 Crusader all without programmable controllers.  Vulcan Kilns in Ohio can provide you with a controller at a reasonable cost that does not involve major rewiring of your kiln.

Vulcan kilns is offering  Orton's latest model Autofire3000 kiln controller wall box at an approximate $200 savings off list.  Assembled by Vulcan Kilns and sold directly without retailer markup you will not find a better price anywhere.  This standalone “plug and play” controller is a great addition to any electric kiln.  This single zone controller allows the user to program and save 9 separate firing schedules with 10 or more user defined heating and cooling rates, target temperatures and hold times.  Whether the application is ceramic or pottery firings, glass fusing, enameling, or heat treating the Autofire3000 will provide consistent quality firings.

    The wall mount enclosure is designed to mount near the kiln.  It comes with a variety of power cords and receptacles.  The components, plug and receptacle are assembled to your kiln’s requirements so it can usually be used on a single kiln only and not moved from one kiln to another.

 Listed price is for up to a 30 Amp kiln.
Up to 30 amps the controller is priced at $449.

*  30+ amps up to 60 Amps is an additional $30.00
*  Up to 100 Amps direct wire is an additional $100 from the listed price.

 You choose the receptacle to fit your kiln from the graphic in the ad on the eBay site(see link below).    Additional plugs such as twist lock are available but will be an additional $30.00  

This controller offers the user the choice of user programs (you enter custom programs) or conefire method option.    Maximum program time is 99 hours, however additional firing time can be added "on the fly" for those needing this application.

Features include: set point control, skip segment, delay start, threshold alarm, temp units(Celsius, Fahrenheit), kiln test, add time, power failure recovery, indicating power LEDs, cone or thermocouple offsets, edit active firing schedules, and adjustable preheat and hold times.

    The Autofire3000 comes complete and fully assembled with 6 feet of power cord,  type K thermocouple with 8ft of wire from to controller to the thermocouple, operation manual and 2 year manufacturer controller warranty.

 Shipping costs are calculated, please use the shipping calculator.  Ships via UPS ground to the USA.  Typical costs are $20-$25These are in-stock partially assembled and are finished to your specifications this takes 3 days to 1 week.  Transit time for UPS ground is 1-6 days in the USA depending on location.  Additional handling time may apply for special orders.   

I have talked to Jeff, and he seems very knowledgeable and helpful.  I am saving my pennies for one or two of these.  Buying through Vulcan will save you approximately $200 or more vs other places.  Additional information on the controller from Orton's site:

You can contact them direct at Vulcan Kilns, 7623 Clyo Road, Centerville, OH 45459  Attn:  Jeffrey Williams, President.  Phone:  937 433-1833 or email: vulcankilns@sbcglobal.net


Preview of coming attractions.

I am going to be doing a documentation of the wood kiln firing at Clarion University that Greeny is doing.  Also will do a piece on the Ceramic Water Filter project that Jeff Schwarz is participating in (Finished).  Also planned are profiles of Karen Howell and Jeff Schwarz.  Any suggestions, please post in the comments section.  Terry

Masked King by Jeff Schwarz 

 Cat by Karen Howell

Monday, August 16, 2010

Braddock Carnegie Art Program - Braddock Carnegie Library

A profile of the Braddock Carnegie Art and Pottery Program with Jeff Schwarz

The Braddock Library was funded by Andrew Carnegie in the 1889 for the workers at the Edgar Thomson Steel Works as a place for the workers and their families to have an easier and more enjoyable life than their work environment.  The Music Hall, Pool, and Gymnasium were added in 1893. At a time when few homes had indoor plumbing and a bath was a rarity, this was the place where employees could come to shower or bathe, take a swim, enjoy a book, play billiards, and get a haircut. Credit to Wikimapia and more information about this at:

A few years ago, Dick Wukich, a potter and professor at Slippery Rock University, became involved in promoting a project to bring the arts to the residents of the Braddock area.  Funds were secured and Jeff Schwarz, Jason Pascuzzi, Tom Gaudi, and Richard Miller, also potters, became involved, and with the support of the library management and later Vicki Vargo, the Director of the Braddock Library, converted the former baths and furnace room in the basement into a pottery.  Many other people helped and if you know who they are, you can give credit to them in the comments area which follows this post.

There are 10 potters wheels in this room which is used by both children and adults in both organized classes and open studio.  Fees for adults are very modest and children can receive materials and instruction for free.  Jeff supervises the studio and does not receive a salary for doing so.  He is assisted by Denny, Justin, Bob, and KT in keeping the place humming and the work moving through its cycles.

The studio contains a Soldner Professional mixer.

A Vanho de-airing pugmill that Jeff likes very much.

There is a glaze mixing area with a well organized set of chemical bins.  Denny is mixing glaze for the studio with a power mixer.  Justin was also there weighing out the chemicals.

The is the glaze test area and a ware cart of bisque pots.

A well organized glaze board gives their students the advantage of seeing the glaze results which are fired to Cone 10 reduction.

 Wet pieces going through the drying stage.

Not sure who this piece belongs to but it sure was a whimsical creature!

They have an L&L programmable kiln which is used primarily for bisque firings.

The glaze kiln is a 20+ cu ft gas kiln designed and built by Gerry Wagner.  It is a downdraft with venturi burners firing up through the floor and is fiber lined.  Thanks to Gerry's industrial background, this kiln employs some pretty hefty steel in its construction.  Jeff reports that it is easy to fire, sensitive to adjustment, and very conservative in gas consumption.

This shows the back of the stack with the damper.  The lined metal stack flows into a 60 foot tall brick chimney that was already in place because of the original boilers that had occupied this space.  I was surprised to hear that the stack draws well with aspirator burners and such a tall, cold stack, but Gerry knows what he is doing and it functions well as both Jeff and the results verify.  Of course, it comes with all of the necessary safety devices.

For those who are kiln curious, this is the view with the door closed.

This is some of the bisque ware awaiting glaze.  

Picture of a fired kiln load.  I did not see many glazed pieces laying around because those are removed quickly after the glaze firing.  Due to the support of the Library and all those involved, it seems that they have created a great asset for the Braddock area residents and the programs are well attended.  From these kinds of programs and dedicated people come our future potters.
You can get more information by clicking on the below link:

At some point in the future I will do a profile of Jeff Schwarz, who is a talented and interesting potter.  Jeff is also involved in the International Ceramic Water Filter project and I will do a post on this process of bringing clean drinking water to areas of the world in need of it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wood firing at Clarion Univ. starting August 20.

Another Up Date.  
I am driving up Friday morning from Pgh. returning in the evening.  Purpose is to document the kiln, loading ect.  Not putting work in the kiln.  So if anyone wants a ride, let me know.  You can take work along as long as you clear it with Greeny.  Leaving Pgh. around 7:30-8:00 AM.  Terry 

Up Date! 

Summer firing is on!
Fri Aug. 20 - Sun Aug. 22.
Have a dozen + participants.
Loading begins 10:00am Fri.
Call or  txt me with your e.t.a. to confirm.
(greeny)  814 715-4552

There will be a wood firing of the kiln at Clarion with loading starting on Friday, August 20 and finishing that evening.  Greeny informs me that there is space available and potters who will like to participate should call him at 814 715-4552.  You should call ahead to time to determine that there is space available and to work out the details with Greeny.  The kiln is located at the back end of the parking lot for Clarion U's stadium off of Route 322.  Greeny's email is ggreenberg@clarion.edu .

Juried National Show at Red Lodge Clay Center

Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, Montana is offering its first Bi-annual exhibit; JURIED NATIONAL-CRAFTSMANSHIP:CONCEPT:INNOVATION juried by Brad Schwieger.  For more information visit http://www.redlodgeclaycenter.com/exhibit-info.php?id=112.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reduction/oxidation patterns by Michael Coffee

Michael Coffee:  I thought I would post this image showing the obvious effects of Reduction and Oxidation on a glaze and to show how oxidation zones can exist in a reduction firing. The round hole in the bottom of the image is a burner port. The darkened area on the left is the reduction effect on the floor of the kiln and the lighter area to the right is an oxidation effect. If you follow the line between the two effects up to the bottle it lines up with the change in the glaze. The oxidation effect seems to be 1" above the floor only. All the light areas on the walls are due to oxidation.
Michael is a Colorado potter and his website is:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ceramic Invitational

Ceramic Invitational:

“Setting the Table, Contemporary Ceramics Dines In”

New!!!  Article in Trib Review

If you need an incentive to go!

The Saxonburg Area Artists Co-operative is inviting you to participate in our first Ceramic Exhibition. This exhibit is open to all ceramic artists in the Western Pennsylvania area. Work must have been completed within the past 18 months. All submitted work must represent tableware, either functional or sculptural. Work must consist primarily of ceramic clay.

The SAAC is a group whose mission is to provide an environment for the community to view, learn about, and participate in the Arts. The Ceramic Exhibition will run in conjunction with the Saxonburg Arts Festival, September 11 and 12. The duration of the show is September 4- October 2. 2010.

The exhibition will feature hand‐made items that might be found on a dinner table. Each artist’s submission must include an entry from one of two fixed categories:

Place Setting - A place setting should consist of 3 pieces – Dinner Plate, Salad Plate, and Bowl. Coordinating serving pieces may also be included. This might include teapots, chargers, bowls, tureens, ladles, utensils, drinking vessels, etc.

 Decorative Tableware –could include candleholders, centerpieces, vases, or other decorative vessels. The final show installation will consist of several fully appointed dining tables.

Entry and Fees

Each artist may submit to one or both categories. Please fill out the entry forms and submit via email or U.S. Postal by August 23, 2010.

There is no fee for this exhibit.

Insurance:  SAAC will take great care in handling all work. The artist is responsible for insuring work.

Sales:  All pieces accepted in the show must be for sale. The Gallery commission is 15%.

Delivery of Work:  Work may be dropped off at the SAAC Gallery August 27,1-9pm,28, 10-2:30,and 29,12-2. Please contact Christy Hedman Culp if you have scheduling difficulties, arrangements can be made. The Gallery is located at 215 Main Street, (rear) Saxonburg, 16056

Rules:  All works must remain for the duration of the show.  SAAC reserves the right to photograph work for publicity purposes.

Opening: An Opening Reception will be held Saturday, September 4, 2010 from 6‐9PM. Please plan on attending!

Information:  Please feel free to contact SAAC representatives Christy Hedman Culp 724-422-0851, christylculp@yahoo.com  or Ed Zembruski – 724-295-4319, mazedz@salsgiver.com with any questions.

Entry Form:





Piece One: Title_______________________________________________________________________


Sale Price________________

Piece Two:



Sale Price________________

Please mail forms to:

Christy Hedman Culp  720 Cadogan Slate Lick Road, Kittanning PA 16201

Or email them to:  culp.christy@yahoo.com

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bowl with a scalloped rim.

One of our new members posted this on their Youtube site which is a video by potter Mark Peters of  Pine Root Pottery (www.pinerootpottery.com ).  The link to the video: 
Mark is a NC potter in Bakersville, NC.
  Small fruit bowl with scalloped rim.