Saturday, December 18, 2010

upcoming issue from Studio Potter:


yunomi, Tubbs
yunomi by Ann Tubbs
from Earth's Body,
in the winter issue

Greetings of the Season

Winter Solstice is December 21, 6:38 pm ET in the northern hemisphere. Time to celebrate light! The full moon is also that day, and, to round out the energy, a total lunar eclipse will take place early in the morning, mid-eclipse at 3:17 am  ET in the northern hemisphere.
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Winter Issue:  Vol. 39, No. 1 SUSTENANCE
Look for your issue of The Studio Potter in your mailbox soon. It is now at the printer and will be mailed in early January.
Three broad categories of sustenance covered in the winter issue are:
      * What sustains us in the studio
      * Sustaining and being sustained by community
      * Teaching and the connection between clay and sustenance

Here are some excerpts from the forthcoming issue:
“I felt privileged to be able to handle the few remaining pieces in her booth (she was in the enviable situation of having almost sold out). Her work was beautifully designed. The surfaces and colors were rich; the patterns, complex. We talked briefly while I studied the work, my hands and eyes learning as much as I could from every piece of visual and tactile information.”                              
-from Support and Sustenance by Frank Ozereko

photo:  JJ McCracken
"The world he knew brimmed with endless discouragement. It was not that they hadn’t wanted to help those less fortunate, but cash-poor and incessantly worried about their own plight, they just couldn’t process the needs of others while barely meeting their own. The Hunger project allowed them to give in the only way they could—in a non-cash form."
          - from Teach Them to Fish by JJ McCracken
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Annual Appeal Letter
Our annual appeal letter went out recently and you should receive it soon. While membership fees underwrite much of the cost of publishing The Studio Potter, we appreciate any and all additional support. Contributions are tax-deductible. The Studio Potter thanks you!

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Your Thoughts
Mary Barringer, editor of The Studio Potter, is always interested in what our members think: about the latest issue, the newsletter, and the world of clay in general. Send your thoughts to

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who helped make the studio/house tour and sale so successful!  Both the holiday sale in the house, and, the following weekend,  the studio and gallery tour (part of Sylvania Arts Commission's brainstorm) went very well, and we missed the snowstorm!  which came along the day after the tour was over.  Indigo Fleming-Powers did the wonderful baked 'finger food' delicacies for our Holiday sale---here are some photos of her display, and of her parents helping with the last minute details of set-up.  (Her mom, Denise, used to help Marcia Derse and me set up for our holiday sales---and, believe me, I always need all the help I can get!  For some reason, I seem to think it's quite enough simply to make all the pots, and get them from the studio into the house -- after having cleaned everything out of the downstairs.....)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

after the sale is over

I can never believe how much time shoots by--in clumps, seemingly.  Max is waiting in the studio for me to finish the next glaze kiln load.  The sale is over, and went well, and Indigo's "Goodies" were wonderful.  More photos to come.  Meanwhile, I have orders to complete before the holidays are over. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

honey pots

I have an order for honey pots.  They are due by the middle of December, so I make double the amount needed, since the time is short; that way there will be enough of a choice---   Here they are drying, and then bisqued, waiting for me to unload the kiln, wax the bottoms and the lid area, and then glaze and decorate.  (yeah, yeah, I know, the top coil of the kiln needs rewiring.  I'm just hoping it fires another 4 firings; then I'll do it....)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Help in the Studio

Pat Ligibel, a long-time potter and friend from our days at the Toledo Potters' Guild came over, today, to help me work on some tiles for metal trays.  The trays - and baskets - had to be measured out, and then patterns made for the tiles that took into account the shrinkage of the clay.  It's a job I've been putting off for a while, but having a friend in the studio working with me is great motivation!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

burning the midnight oil

I have a big delivery for the Ann Arbor Clay Gallery on Sunday---so I've been working late the past few months...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One day it's there; the next, it's gone!

All summer we live with corn surrounding our 2 acres.  It grows, green and dark, and surrounds us in a green-walled outdoor room, providing both privacy and isolation.  In the fall, as the leaves yellow and dry, we anticipate the cutting.  We know that our now golden-walled room is soon to be opened up to reveal where we really are, and what has, all along, been around us.  Just before the corn was cut, Anna Gale came over to visit, on her brief trip back from Portland, OR, to visit her family.  We decorated some little hands  (like the ones on the banner of the blogsite), and talked for a while.  The wind rustled the corn leaves, and the sun lit them like golden shafts, and Anna said it was like a magic space.  But like all magic places, it soon disappeared. And now, I go back to work decorating the final glazed forms, and I must start planning what comes next:  tests of a new clay (more in the next blog) and re-organization of the studio space as Peter takes the shelving that I was borrowing and stores his belongings while he makes the move to Chicago.  I have work to prepare for an ongoing sale in Ann Arbor and the Clay Gallery. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Really Happened This Summer:

I know it looks like I haven't been working in the studio very much this summer. But the truth is, I have had a different schedule. I decided to eliminate several fairs, most of which took place in July. I did this because of the fact that my back and hip, by the end of a regular season, are compromised to the extent that, in October, after the fairs, I walk with a roll somewhat like a drunken sailor (my apologies to the sailing industry). I also added several gallery contracts. Providentially, this was also the year that Bruce retired and began tearing apart all of his work and storage studios for french horn repair. More importantly, our son, Peter, was free only on the weekends, and could help Bruce. The two of them work together very well, and it's always good to pass on information from one generation to the next! Together, they built the twin shedlet on the back of the shed, so that the shed itself would be more efficient for Bruce to work in during warmer weather.
Once I began to do fairs, again, in August, I found it much more difficult, because I had semi-unloaded things (tools, pots, chairs, etc) from the van, and I then had to find them again, and re-organize myself for the weekly run to another fair. Has anyone written about the artist on the fair circuit? It's grueling, with the punctuated reward, on the actual weekend, of getting to talk with your customers, and to talk about the work that you do, and how much you love doing it! As soon as I return home from a fair, however, either Sunday evening or Monday at noon or so, I begin working in the studio, again. There is the kiln to unload, pots to wax and wet and glaze, glaze to fix (prepare by eliminating pin holes and finger marks), a final thinner coat to be layered over the original, after having sponged the first efforts off. All must be timed according to the weather and humidity. Then each pot must be decorated. If the colorants are in need of reworking (sieving, replenishing), that must also be done. The kiln has to be reloaded by Wednesday at 2 pm in order for me to be able to fire it, and have it cool in time for unloading Friday morning as I pack for the next fair. Thursday is the day I do laundry, repack the suitcase, buy food for the next fair, clean the cat litters, do some cleaning, pick flowers for the next fair, and attempt to finish any other jobs before I leave for another fair. There's barely any time to think during this schedule. We're lucky to have had Pete close enough to take care of the cats while we are away. We also now have the Bieber family, who live just west of us, who can help---Sheri has been working with me several hours a week, and her three sons are also very good workers! I try to make enough work for another bisque during the middle of the summer, so I can then continue to do glaze kilns into the fall. This year, for the first time, I am completely out of clay, and have not had time to make more, so will purchase ready-made clay, and will try out several other brands, to see how they might work with my glaze at cone 2.
So---during July, I though I might actually enjoy the summer and get much needed exercise---thus you saw me out at Juliana's, swimming in her pool before she went to Russia. I also rode my bike, and walked more regularly---hard to do with the weekly work schedule I have when I am doing a fair every week. I know that my summers are not very different from all the other artists whom I see at the fairs; it's sort of like the life of a circus roustabout.
Oh, wait!  Did I mention????  I can't REALLY get a large Skutt kiln loaded in 2 and 1/2 days............but I do.  (though, clearly, I can't go filming dancing plush chickens any more, just to amuse my niece, Becca....)(see below, in case you missed it...)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Indigo's pepper jellies!

While my kiln is cooling, I can still keep hot with a bite of Indigo's pepper jellies--here on spreadable yoghurt and toast.  Bruce and I think that the red is hotter (at first),

 but that the green is hotter, later.....
See Indigo's veggie blog for recipes! :

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday, and the studio is really hot!

While the kiln is "cooling"  (it just shut off around 1 pm, so it seems to be hot as ever....), and the paint on the little tables is drying, I'll post some watercolors I've done, and which were used, this kiln decorating session, as inspiration.  Watercolor is closest to the process of decorating for maiolica as any type of painting;  I have heard maiolica decoration described as painting with watercolors on dusty blotter paper.  In addition, the colors are dustier and paler than they will be after the glaze firing, so it's sometimes difficult to know exactly how something is going to look (back at the beginning of the blog, 1 1/2 years ago, I posted some before and after pix of my intern student, Meghan's work---as an example).  Here are two of the watercolors:  daylillies, and the pool at Julliana's where I have been swimming this summer---

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's Saturday Night in the Provinces, (with an apology to Utah Phillips.....

where ever he might be--I loved his music and humor!)   I have loaded my kiln, and am working on tables which will be tiled,  eventually.  I have an oak one, which I stripped and am painting yellow  (prime coats by Sheri Bieber and her sons!), and some metal ones, which don't get stripped, but which have their durock panel glued into the center, and are being painted.  While the paint dries, I am inspired to get out the fuzzy chicken which we are going to send to our niece, Becca, now starting college in Sterling, Colorado.  She needed a little work ---the chicken, not Becca!  (new batteries), and some stitching maintenance--a well-loved gift from Bruce's students, now finding a new home!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm back from the Woodland Fair in Lexington, KY, and---

after a day of doing office work, am ready to start decorating more of the pottery that's ready for me out in the studio.  I have orders of pie plates, pasta bowls, mugs, and casseroles, most of which are waiting for the final stage:  decoration.  Last week the wild cherries outside my studio window were my inspiration---here are some early stages of the decoration process. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

yikes, it's August!

So------hmmm, time flies!  and It's been hot---and stray kitties are on the roam--Here's Fritzie, on the left, who is temporarily staying with us while we get him 'fixed' up, (with the help of Pete and Amy), and find a permanent home for him!  We're also a refuge to many little bugs; Bruce photographed one resting on the drying laundry.  (see sidebar on right, top)  Out in the studio, I'm working on another glaze kiln----with some new shapes to keep me happy.  I received a large oval wooden dish from Edith, and am using it for a footed pasta dish!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fair season begins for the Tubbs Studio

The Old West End Fair was this last weekend, with the art fair section taking a stand on the grassy grounds surrounding the TMA Glass Building.  Saturday night's weather was devastating for some  (rain and high winds, and several people killed on the east side of Toledo! and locally:  tents at the art fair destroyed), but we opened up the booths on Sunday, and straightened things out as best we could.  Here are Molly and Kelly Savino, and Edith Franklin, on Saturday, in my booth.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

thie fired version of the mask

Here is the fired mask, with maiolica additions.  Some of the images on the bottom right are from sketches I made in Italy several years ago.  The clay body is a high fire stoneware which I would have rakued, or cold smoked, but  decided to save for other possibilities. 
Tomorrow  I am off to set up at the Old West End Fair for this weekend; Sheri Bieber is helping me set up tomorrow, and I will be at the fair Saturday and Sunday.  It's the first fair of the season.  I think I would rather be in the studio decorating bowls for the next kiln firing......but I love being able to talk to people at the fair!  I have gotten all the pots into boxes, with Sheri's help, and now have the boxes loaded into the van.  (along with the tent, shelves, tool kit, tent weights and stakes, merchant services paperwork, newspaper and sacks for wrapping all those sales!. display aids. signage, etc., etc.   Meanwhile, I listen to the latest efforts of BP oil to cap or control the oil gushing in the Gulf.  My job is miniscule compared to that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

diversionary tactics

When I have a particularly problematic deadline, I sometimes procrastinate (for my helpful editors, no,I didn't really mean to type the word, prevaricate, instead---just a slip of the tongue, and thanks for reading the blog!  Let me know if there are any other slips!)  (you could say I was experimenting artistically, while putting various constraints on the production process).  Recently, while recovering from a procedure on my right leg, which was supposed to be kept elevated, I received an order for an award platter, due within a week.  I had also read the Ceramic Arts Daily email which showed a short, fairly explicit video of Kristina Bogdanov showing how to make a photo lithograph which could be transferred to a softer leatherhard surface.  Since my background was in printmaking, I was intrigued.  I took some drawings I'd done in pen and pencil to Kinko's,make Xeroxes, and mixed up the cmc gum, and the linseed oil and mason stain (peacock--I have a lot of it and don't use it very much).  I also mixed up vegetable oil and stain---pretty similar.  Then I gummed the Xerox, got out the brayer, and inked the print of the drawing.  I wanted to try it on a glazed surface as well as a leatherhard one, so I sprayed water on the surface of a mask I'd done, and tried doing a transfer of the bird drawings.  Here are photos of one of the birds, as well as of the transfer image onto the mask, with the bird on the left side of the photo.  It was harder to get the transfer to work on the glazed areas, since the glaze is pretty dry.  The final photo shows the drawing I did of trees on the hill above the Vatican in Rome, and the tile, covered with white slip, since my clay is dark, with the transfer of the image in the peacock stain.  When the mask is fired, I'll slip in an image of it, as well.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

spring sniffles, and little vases

For the next few weeks I'm going to be working on forms which I made a number of years ago, and, out of the series, kept the one I most liked  (either because it was one of the beginning forms, and has the energy of my trying to figure out what I could do with the shape, or because it came out of the firing with it's own sense of "being" (?), and which I thought might lead me into further exploration.  The first of these shapes is a little bud, or tulip vase, shown, here, with flowers, and with some of the first new variations, still at the leather hard, or drying stages.

Unfortunately, I've caught a spring cold, and am sniffling and blowing my nose incessantly, so my concentration is not the best.  Almost time to empty the sack of used tissues.....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

using clay to cut dies for the extruder

I've just been cutting more dies for my 4" Brent extruder barrel.  I roll out a fairly thick slab of clay, about 1/2" thick, and then cut a circle which is slightly larger that the 2-handled die holder, made of aluminum in the first picture.  After the clay circles have dried to leather-hard, and using brass hole cutters, I 'outline' the form which will be the hole through which the clay will pass, and then I 'connect the dots (holes)" to make the opening.  In the second photo, you can also see the back side, --the side which the clay hits first--, which has been opened up more with a bevelling cut around the hole, allowing the clay to pass across a more refined line as it exits the die/extruder.  I fire the dies to cone 2 (and am using Rovin's RO82m clay body).  The strength of the clay allows me to use the die over and over, and the ease of making a new die is so accessible that I can do one in relatively short time.   (the little 'D' shapped die in the first photo was made from some scrap clay I didn't want to throw away.  With the large metal washers I can block off the open area so that only the small opening is used for the extrusion.) 

Monday, April 12, 2010

cutting hardie backer board or durock for the tile base in a metal table

I have finished cutting and snipping the durock (cement board with woven fiberglass threads inside) for several small metal tables.  Here are some of the tools and a photo of the 'nipping' process which I use to remove little parts on the outer edge which need to be rounded off.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Hexagonal Tile Cutter's Production

Here are the tiles, hexagonal, with one little diamond one filling in the front edge space-----cut and drying on the old pieces of sheetrock (gypsum board), which had been duct-taped around the edges.  I stack the sheetrock and tiles up, ending with a final board covering the tiles, so they will dry flat.  Using the tile cutter also helps keep the tiles flat since I don't have to roll the tile up off of the cloth/table to release it.  If I am cutting more of a puzzle-style set of tiles, I can slip the set, still on the thin sheeting, off of the piece of granite I use for a flat rolling surface, and onto a piece of sheetrock, cover with another piece of dry-ish sheetrock, and let it get to leatherhard before I do the final puzzle cutting and pulling the clay off the sheeting.  (too many sheets,  sheesh!)  
I think I may tile the old Steelcase desk (that's Peter's, but is in my studio,) just to try out the effect.  And I may also try the beeswax/mineral oil finish, which I did on a square plate, recently, instead of a glaze.  (I've been looking at old French tiled floors.) I used to have the pugmill on the desk, but have moved it over to a workbench, next to the extruder, so there's not that much weight on the desk right now.  Except for Paulie, now and then.  Diet time for kitties.
Coming up, I'll show some images of the dies I make out of clay, for the 4" Brent extruder barrel.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

crop circles,+Twin+Falls,+Idaho+83301&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hl=en&cd=4&geocode=Fco_iAIdmB4t-Q&split=0&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=23.875,57.630033&hq=&hnear=Magic+Valley+Regional+Airport,+Twin+Falls,+Idaho+83301&t=h&ll=42.380865,-114.007187&spn=0.028214,0.053043&z=14&iwloc=A

comment from Randy---thanks!

thanks for your idea of doing a hexagonal table, Randy  (I haven't figured out how to post comments, yet, but will).  I, too, while having lunch out on the porch yesterday, had a brainstorm, since I have a table base which has a triangular top, onto which I was going to put a circle top, cut from the silica-based handyboard---3/4",  (not the durock cement board, 3/4 inch, with the fiberglass imbedded.  )  And, quite frankly, cutting a circle is a pain, ---I have to cut a lot of straight lines and then take a tile cutter or plier and nip off the uneven parts)  so--while chewing on whatever was my clean-out-the-fridge lunch, I thought,  hmmm, I could simply make a lot of hex tiles, filling in the spaces along the outer edges with the diamond shaped tiles, fire them all, take the measurements, and then make a hexagonal table, which would mean that I could cut and break straight edges for the hex table, and not have to try to cut a circle!  Thanks, again, to Randy,--I really believe that there are a LOT of really smart people out there, and that, together, we can figure out all sorts of things... (like health care?)
The next post will show the hex tiles, drying on old pieces of sheetrock (drywall), and then (ta da!) I will show the clay dies for my 4" Brent extruder, which I make from the same red clay I am using for the pots, fired to a cone 2, (pots and dies), out of which I can extrude edge tiles  (nose tiles).  I am pressed to keep on track, here, since Bruce is showing me youtube feeds on his computer that show how many potatoes can be taken out of an area (a whole truck load in three minutes),--go to Magic Valley, Idaho, and go to the 'airport', and then go to google maps, and then go to regional airport at Twin Falls.....He's doing a unit for his 5th-6th graders using Michael Pollen's  The Omnivore's Dilemna.   Aughhhhhhhhhhh  (OK, I digress:   the next post shown above will be the crop circles, for the irrigation of potatoes in Idaho)..........

Monday, April 5, 2010

tile cutters

I recently bought another tile cutter from Georgie's--a hexagonal one, and am cutting tiles for tables with it. Because the plunger plate is metal, I usually add a piece of luann plywood which I glue to the face plate, and which then makes the release of a wet clay tile easier.  The first tile cutter I had (4 inch square--from back in the '70's) did not plunge the tile out beyond the frame of the cutter, so, until I glued that thin piece of wood onto the plate, I could not get the clay off. [top photo, plunged all the way out.] These are photos I used to write a letter to the helpful hints section of Ceramic Monthly.  More photos of the hex cutter and drying tiles to follow.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First dinner outside, on the porch

The first dinner outside on the porch's tiled table, after winter's storms, and a clearing up of the yard day.....a quick and dirty fixing of Annie's organic pasta, with those funny, roundy carrots, steamed, --- and fresh snips of shallot greens.  Orange and yellow.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Glazed work is done; new work started.

It's almost the end of March, and I have finished decorating the bisqued ware from last year, and am starting on new work.  Some of the pieces will go to The American Gallery in  Sylvania, Ohio, some to the Collectors' Corner at the Toledo Museum of Art.   Here's the center section of a tiled table, along with some tile work on a three-shelved cart.  When it stops raining, I'll wheel the cart outside, and take a photo without all the pots on it.  

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010