Total Pageviews

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beautiful Pots

I had all these beautiful pots come out of the kiln this morning.

only to find they're all ruined. Too much glaze..

As if I could afford mistakes. If I wanted to lose money it would be more fun to burn a pack of $20 bills.

Beautiful Pots

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

24 hours later..I'm fine!

This is one of those intense weeks where I have gotten myself into a pickle with production. I have been so proud to be ahead most of the year, but I have slipped a little. I am going to blame this on taking on an extra show I wasn't prepared for and trying to sneak in an extra production run of mugs. Now I am down to the wire to leave for a show this Friday, I have another glaze kiln or two to load and I spent the last 24 hours sick and Ro is going to spend the next 24 hours sick. She's feeling it come on now..went to bed early so she could sleep blissfully through the worst of it. After this stuff comes out production should normalize again. A few weeks of regular throwing and everything will be fine, on track and maybe even ahead again.

Here's what is on my upcoming throwing agenda

100 mug special order
12 mug special order
a multitude of goblets and butter keepers. How many? I am not really sure.A lot. at least 20 of each, maybe 40.
I need 50 mugs and 50 tankards for our own stock.
We also need wee bowls.
The list goes on. I am confident I could throw 2X as many mugs as I do and I would still would run out,

I'm excited to have a regular shows starting again, there were a few weeks there without any. Thankfully online sales carried us through. This weekend we will be at War of the Roses, my stock will be at a show in MA. and next weekend the KY Fair starts again.

note to self: 3 weekends of no extra sales hurts DO NOT DO IT AGAIN.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Done with this round...

Today's Pictures..40 mugs I just trimmed and put handles on. Then 5 slightly larger mugs thrown for a special order, 10 XL round mugs thrown and 3 XL travel mugs thrown.

The last month has been a whirlwind of a lot of forces acting on us here at Hughes Pottery. Everything from running out of glaze materials to our kids upcoming graduation from High School to the most recent problem, Rowan's Blazer died, leaving me mostly stranded this weekend while she teaches a workshop in Erie..Bad news is it's likely to be a $600 repair, but heck..what's that to a guy who makes a living from $25 mugs.

On the pottery front, luckily I have a lot of orders to fill and I'm just now finishing everything I have going now. An order of mugs for a new Cafe that will be opening this summer and I anticipate starting on a round of mugs for Webster's soon.

Next weekend is War of the Roses in New York State. We'll be heading there on Friday. I expect this week will be mostly glazing and starting some new projects and starting to try to get ahead on production for the summer shows.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Today was a long tiring day. I just finished glazing a kiln load. I had plans to perhaps load a bisc today too, but the green ware was still too wet.Since there was a vacant kiln, Ro loaded the other kiln and it is now firing with some pendants and tiles.

The glaze kiln is cooking along nicely and tomorrow I expect to be able to load another bisc tomorrow, trim the big bowls as well as finally throw some more mugs. Whew.

Time for bed.

Right after Buffy is over.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Tankards, Handles and Bowls

As I sit here and 12:30AM contemplating what to write down in today's pottery blog I am finding it difficult to remember when the day started and what I accomplished. It's been a long day and this time I dragged Rowan into the middle of it. She's laying beside me in bed right now trying to read her latest Bitch Magazine, but I am guessing she will pass out before she gets too far.

She got up early this morning and washed all the biscware in hopes that we'd be able to glaze by tonight, but the weather outside is wet and our basement studio is almost always wet.It will have to wait for tomorrow.

I rolled out of bed about 9:30 and feeling guilty for sleeping in jumped right into packing all the orders and getting the customs paperwork ready for our Canadian order and our military base order. We got everything sent off and decided we'd treat ourselves to a little Olive Garden lunch. Soup, Salad and Bread sticks. Such a good deal, and not absolutely awful for you. Olive Garden Minestrone is actually quite tasty. After a nice lunch I jumped right into production. I trimmed tankard and added handles while Ro caught a snooze. She joined me later and added Oak Leaves and Acorns to 8 plates and 2 tankards. I mixed a glaze and put together a materials order. A quick break for another indulgence..a pizza from Brother's. I don't know what got into us today..2 meals out..we've been so good about cooking at home, but I think today we needed someone else to take care of us.
After dinner we got back to work. We finished up at midnight. I had made 6 big bowls and she had just finished the decoration. Quite a long day.

On the agenda for tomorrow; glaze pottery, unload and wash more biscware. Load a glaze kiln, load a bisc kiln and somewhere in there I want to wedge and throw 60 more round mugs. I think I will run out of day before I run out of agenda :)

BTW it's 15 minutes later now and She is still awake. Apparently it's a really good issue.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Soup Mugs

I love making soup mugs. They're like an extension of a cereal bowl, which I also love making. Center, enter, open, finger sweep once, twice, compress the rim, set the edge, hit it with the corner of the metal rib , make sure the profile is correct, wet trim, wire under and move with one pot-lifter and my hand onto the waiting board. They are a pleasure to make and I could do it most of the day.

It took me a long time to settle on the form for these. I made deep bowls, short bowls, bowls with defined rims, bowls without defined rims. Flat wide rims, delicate tapered rims. These are the end result of about 18 years of fiddling with the details. Adding the handle to make them a soup mug was another adventure entirely. The form of the bowl lends itself to proper handle placement. The trouble with deep bowls is that in cross section the bowls are often a softened V shape, with the bottom of the handle being placed so far in that to attach any handle, an awkward and easily broken long handle must be used to be able to hold the thing properly. The design of this bowl creates a space for a perfect shorter handle that is still easily grasped and creates a nice tight profile. I love them.

I now feel like I have a great round mug, a great tankard, a great soup mug and cereal bowl. Next I want to bring together the perfect pitcher. At least one that suits me. It seems the perfection of my craft will take a lifetime. Don't get me wrong, I think the pieces I am making now are good, people tell me they love them and they are beautiful, but I think in another 20 years the depth of beauty inherent in these mud pies will be better yet. It's fulfilling for me to know that after nearly 2 decades of clay work I continue to learn and grow and develop my ideas. At the same time I know that my work is really simple compared to the full scope of the possibilities of the craft.

So all that was me saying I had a good day in the studio. I finished these 6 soup mugs and threw 18 more bowls to trim and handle tomorrow.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Friday, the end of the work week. Or not.

Today was a very nicely focused day of throwing. I started out by finishing the mugs and handles from the day before. Ro cleaned the greenware and loaded a kiln and a half. The other one isn't quite full yet. When I started throwing I started with some shallow trays someone who stopped by the house was interested in having me make, the I made a bunch of plates to receive Oak Leaves and Acorns, AND a couple of plates for War of the Roses.
I started on some more bowls to make into soup mugs, but then got hungry, came upstairs..ate a little and fell asleep, the woke up and fell asleep again..then I woke up and ate some more and gave up for the night. The bowls will wait until tomorrow.

Today's entertainment was again a Ken Burns Documentary, I went through the Civil War a couple days ago and today I watched part of his National Parks documentary. Interesting story and some beautiful imagery. I am so glad for streaming Netflix.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pile up

The work is piling up! I'm having some pretty good days selling on Etsy, which means I am facing some product availability issues :) Wednesday was a great day. 6 packages mailed out and 2 more for the morning (so far) I'm making more, but the weather is slowing us down a bit. The 68 mugs I threw 2 days ago are still too wet to trim, but I am worried about them drying out too much if I leave them totally uncovered for a long time. I'm working through them a few at a time and leaving them uncovered while I can keep an eye on them. So far..8 trimmed and handled and I managed to do the sugar jars with the help of a fan..

In the meantime I started on some butter keepers and some cereal bowls and soup mugs.I'm pretty sure everything I need to trim and handle will be ready precisely when I will not be available to take care of them tomorrow afternoon when Ro and I are teaching the homeschool association kids.

I'm planning on starting the trimming in the morning and probably finishing the handling sometime late in the evening :)

Next on the list are a dozen plates, then more things with handles. Tankards and more mugs, then more mugs and more mugs and more mugs.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My work isn't worth it

I got angry at a visitor to our sale yesterday.

She came in, immediately said "this is really pricey" then and asked a few questions about the work, said I had obviously gone to school, then said "$50 for that pitcher? It's not worth that much! Is there any wiggle room in the price?"

When I responded "no" she again said "it's not worth that much" then added "I'm a collector, I know"

I responded with "This is what I get for my pitchers, they're handmade, I make the glazes"

"Oh, I know that... it's obvious, it's just not worth $50"

I respond with "I'm not lowering the price because I know someone will pay full price, if not today then soon. "

I found her to be condescending and rude. And I didn't want her to have my pitcher anyway.

Was I wrong?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sale Weekend

This is our 3rd annual Pottery Sale over Mother's Day and despite all our good intentions, we're still up at midnight tidying and getting ready. Looking around the room now, I think we'll be up pretty early to finish what we started. It's become our tradition to make a nice spread of food for our visiting guests and customers and while we intentionally scaled back this year, we still have a pretty nice offering.

On the menu for the weekend is, homemade orange cake, baklava, iced chocolate almond coffee, regular coffee, hot and black and as the day progresses we'll fire up the grill and offer up two versions of grilled chicken, one in a garlic-ginger Teriyaki marinade, the other a sweet and spicy dry rub BBQ. There will be homemade potato salad to go with it as well as some lemonade :)

Here are a few shots of our pottery offerings as well as some of the food yumminess.

Also included here are the tankards I finished up tonight and the berry bowls with drain plates. I made the bowls a few days ago and the plates yesterday.. they're still not ready to trim.

Tomorrow night after we close down I need to get onto some mugs I need for next week.

Whew. I still need an assistant.