Saturday, April 30, 2011

Inman Park Festival

During the last full weekend in April each year, Inman Park proudly presents a neighborhood festival widely regarded as Atlanta’s most spirited and eclectic. Because the last full weekend in April, 2011 falls on Easter weekend, the 40th Annual Inman Park Spring Festival and Tour of Homes will take place on April 30 and May 1, 2011, with a Home Tour preview on Friday, April 29.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Horse Hair How To

I've been having some fun creating pots that are decorated with horse hair.  My customers are always seeing the pots and asking how I made them so I thought I'd share the process.
The first thing I do is create the pot...but you knew that.  Then when it's bone dry I brush on some Terra Sigillata and burnish it with a plastic bag.  You don't want to put the terra sig on very heavy or it may chip off.  Just a few light coats, burnished in between coats, will do.  White terra sig gives the highest sheen, adding colors via stains dulls the finish a little but you can still get a nice shine.  The pot is then fired to cone 04.
After the bisque firing I heat the pot in a raku kiln.  The pot can be fired to only 1100 degrees but since I normally fire with other people who are using raku glazes my pots tend to be heated to about 1800 degrees.  This makes the pot a little bit stronger but it also allows more possibility for thermal shock to break the pot.
I use Highwater's Phoenix clay to avoid thermal shock, Charlie Riggs likes Highwater's Moonwhite, and other people use raku clay.  Experiment to see what gives you the results you want.
Finally, here's a video of me laying the horse hair onto the hot pot to create the lines I desire.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, April 25, 2011

Get Moving

This morning NPR aired an article about how we need to move more at work.  It seems most people are spending too much time in front of the computer moving little but their fingers and they are getting soft and out of shape even if they work out regularly.  One of my favorite Atlanta radio stations plays a song the DJ calls "the cubical dance" every morning.  The idea is to get us up and active for a few minutes each morning.
The good new for potters is that we do move and stretch quite a lot while throwing.  It feels like wedging clay (yes, I still wedge) is good aerobic exercise and carrying 25 - 50 pound boxes of clay is good anaerobic exercise.  Still, I try to make certain that I interrupt my throwing by getting off the stool every so often to get more clay or move freshly made pieces onto the shelves.
What do you do to keep active while working?
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Friday, April 22, 2011

River of Fire

If you've been following this blog you know I've been involved in a woodfiring workshop.  If you've missed an articles they can be found here, here, and here.
The kiln was loaded on Monday and preheated with gas in order to save on wood, anagama kilns use quite a lot of wood.  Shorter University has lots of wood land so dead fall is easy to find but it still has to be cut, transported and split.  It's a lot of work so we tried not to waste any.
Ian built this door in the school's metal shop.  It hangs above the opening to the kiln so it moves easily and provides a shield from the heat while stoking the kiln.
Wood kiln door and shield

This kiln is built out of soft brick so it's actually very easy to fire.  We were hanging out, talking pottery and such then every 15 minutes or so someone would throw about 4-5 pieces of wood into the firebox.  This maintained a temperature between 1500 & 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
The kiln also has two side stoke ports.  One of the ports was blocked with pottery but we could get the kiln temperature up a few hundred degrees very quickly by throwing a few pieces of wood into the side port that was open.  This will also add some more ash to the pots near the back of the kiln.
Here's a view of the chimney with the flames coming out the top.  You can see why the fire department shows up for every wood firing.  It seems someone always notices this and calls 911 which is a good thing.  Wood fire potters know to notify the fire department and to make friends with them.
Ian adjusts the damper

Most of the flame path is created by the fire in the front of the kiln but it travels through the anagama and out the chimney caressing the pots it passes on it's way out.  This is what makes the clay start to melt and become sticky so the ash can stick to it and become glaze as it melts.
One thing I was surprised about was that it didn't smell smokey, apparently when wood gets this hot whatever creates that campfire smell is burned off.  The nice part is that you can still hear the fire as it breathes and rolls and flows through the dragon.
Inside the wood kiln

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Anagama Stoking Video

As promised in Tuesday's blog today's video is of stoking the wood kiln at Shorter University last night.
I'll have more pictures and a more detailed article in a day or two when I'm more fully awake (I was there until midnight and it's an hour and a half drive home). To see the start of this adventure click here
I must say, it was very fun and very interesting to see what was happening inside the anagama.
In this video we see Ian and then Micha loading from the front and James stoking through the side port.  One of the really smart design aspects of this kiln is that door.  It hangs in front of the opening so it can act as a shield and can be quickly replaced after each piece of wood is added to the fire.  This conserves heat very well.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Loading the Anagama Kiln

You may remember my blog post from a few weeks ago where I discussed the woodfire workshop Atlanta Clay is hosting.  Yesterday I went up to Shorter University to help load the wood kiln with Ian and James.
Pots for the anagama

I got there early but they had already started the arduous task of carrying the glazed pots to the anagama from the studio.  I gave mine some liner glaze very quickly and took them out to dry.  Ian advised not to put too much glaze on the outside but rather to let the ash do the work.  I think this was very good advice but I still couldn't help doing a little outside decorating with glaze.
Even more pots, and I missed a table

The kiln is pretty large, as many wood kilns are, which makes loading it a community event.  I ended up being in the middle of the kiln handing pots to James who placed them on the shelves.  After a few hours we had several people from the workshop come up to deliver pots and watch the loading.  Michelle Dziak, who has experience woodfiring helped with the loading also.  When Micha Cain, who helped build the kiln, came down from Asheville the loading time really sped up.
A.J. Argentina who works at the Roswell Clay Collective brought some of his beautiful pots to fire also.  I must admit to feeling a little bit of awe being in the company of these artists but potters tend to be really down to earth folk.  I guess crawling around inside a large brick cave together helps with that.

I had to leave around 4:30 while we were waiting for one other potter to bring his work.  The group was debating finishing loading on Monday or waiting until Tuesday.  Either way the kiln will warm up to about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit with gas then we will start burning the wood.  Right now we have enough wood split for about two days of firing while the rest of the wood is awaiting the splitter.
Wednesday night I will go back up there to take my shift stoking the kiln.  I'll take my video camera so Thursday's video of the week should be from this firing.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shoji Hamada

I think this is an appropriate time to think about the potters of Japan, as well as everyone else there.
Hamada studied ceramics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and then met Bernard Leach.  Hamanda went to England with Leach.  After a few years he returned to Japan and started his workshop in Mashiko.
The Japanese government designated him a living treasure.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Moving Up

I just set up a new display at The Mercantile. New Display
My pottery has been selling well so they moved it to the front of the store right near the entrance. Check it out, and while you're there grab some dinner and a bottle of wine. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Matt Kelleher and Shoko Teruyama at The Signature Shop Gallery

The Signature Shop & Gallery: Opening Friday
404-237-4426  |  Email: info@thesignatureshop.com

Opening Reception This Friday, April 15, 6 - 9pm



Kelleher/Teruyama. Small Bird. 7 x 16 x 7. $700

Matt Kelleher. Oval Trencher. 3 x 10 x 16. $150

Shoko Teruyama. Tulipiere. 10 x 9 x 9. $345

Kelleher/Teruyama. Teapot. 6 x 8 x 5. $135

3 Days, 60 Miles, 60 Chics!

Several years ago, my good friend Tori Nichols invited me to join her team, The 60 Chics, for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk. Thank you to the many of you who contributed to the cause. The 60 Chics are at it again this year. I won't be walking this time but I wanted to help out with the fund-raising effort. While you're admiring the work of Shoko and Matt, you can enjoy great food and drink,  and participate in a raffle to support the 2011 3-Day.

Hawk Jar. 19 x 19 x 9
Shoko Teruyama
Plate. 2.5 x 12
Shoko Teruyama
Plate. 2.5 x 12
Matt Kelleher
Pitcher. 11 x 5.5
Matt Kelleher
Small Bird, 7 x 7 x 16

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, April 8, 2011

Second Friday Castleberry Hill Art Stroll

2nd Friday Art Stroll

Friday, April 8th, 7pm – 10pm

There’s no question that no area in Atlanta is more alive with the arts than Castleberry Hill, Atlanta’s historic arts district. Come stroll through Castleberry Hill during the next installment of the 2nd Friday ArtStroll, the Best Art Stroll in Atlanta! Visit fascinating and diverse galleries and get a taste of what Atlanta has to offer. Neighborhood businesses and restaurants will be open and welcoming you to our little corner of Atlanta! Come have some dinner, buy some art and find your new loft or condo!
Visit the Castleberry Hill Neighborhood Association website to find out more about the neighborhood, local businesses, and events! Contact us if you would like to sponsor the Art Stroll!

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Clary Illian Video

Elisa Helland-Hansen shared Clary Illian's video with my class at Penland. In this segment she discusses Bernard Leach's influence on her work. It seems like a good follow up to the series I just posted on Bernard Leach.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I haven't spent much time in the kiln room since I returned from Statesboro. Today when I went in there I discovered a squatter had moved into an old casserole dish which never got glazed. I haven't seen the mother yet but the eggs are white with red speckles. I wonder what kind of birds they are.Nest BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Do You Haggle?

This weekend I ArtsFest 2011 at Georgia Southern University.  It's one of my favorite shows for several reasons one of them being the students.  Besides the fact that a huge number of students volunteer to help artist unload, set up and pack up but many of them also come by the booth and ask meaningful questions and then they listen to the answer.  Often the questions are about process but this weekend someone asked me if I was one of those merchants that haggles.  I asked him if he would haggle with his doctor.
I find it most interesting that people are fine with asking the local, small business person to lower the price of an item just because they wish to pay less money.  I wonder if they try to haggle at Wal-mart. 
Small Biz vs Bigmart Emergence Mug
In all honesty I have asked for a reduced price, and got it at Lowes because the package I wanted was open and it was the last one.  They were willing to give me a discount, they most likely assumed that anything that was missing would be replaced with another purchase in that store anyway - it's what I assumed.  But most people think that it's ok to haggle with the owner of a small business which is simply self defeating.  By shopping small local businesses and keeping the money in the area we are reaping the benefits.  Per the Small Business Chronicle, A study done in 2003 in Austin, Texas, by the American Independence Business Alliance found that out of every $100 spent at a nationwide chain store, only about $13 stayed in the local economy. However, out of every $100 spent at a locally owned and operated business, about $45 stayed in the local economy. This provides a huge boost to other local businesses, workers and families in the local area.
My policy is usually that I will only give a discount to a good customer, someone who buys multiple pots from me.  Often they will get this discount without even asking for it, I simply wish to show my appreciation.  What is your policy on haggling?  Do you haggle?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Saturday, April 2, 2011

ArtsFest 2011

I'm writing this from the arts festival at Georgia Southern University. It's a perfect day for the seeing fine art and entertainment.Ash glazed pot BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop