Saggar 1st fire





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Saggars and senior shows and slacking, oh my!

Here we are in the middle of my final undergrad semester. I started about 3.5 weeks behind. This happens when you move during the semester. Something I don’t recommend. Also moving when the windchill is minus 14 should be avoided at all costs.

I am catching up though. The goal for my independent study is coming together. The saggars are built and the lil kiln is being fired for the first time now. I will upload pics in my next blog post. So far the firing is going well. I have almost reached the temperature I am seeking. It has been eye opening time and a much needed boost to my desire to do research over this semester as I have been finding information on building and firing saggar kilns. I am hoping this goes well and I can interest other students in firing this way.

Now as far as “slacking”, mostly that was just funny to me. Been listening to a lot of grunge lately. Wearing lots o flannel and whatnot. As I close in on my senior show in have been collecting more and more found objects that will be displayed with pieces. My goal now is to test out this saggar stuff the next two weeks and then decide what method of firing I will use in my work for the show.

As far as work, I don’t have as much done as I’d like to right now but my forms and thickness and other who’s and whatsbofceramics have been improving exponentially this semester. I have started using the found objects I hhave in the process of throwing pieces. I am using them to recreate their form/silliuette into a 3d ceramic form. My goal with this is to use these objects in ways they were never meant to be used and through their use create forms an textures that have not been used in ceramics.

Will post again soon




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Really big sheeow

Looks like everything is as ready as its going to be. Most of what unfired did not come out as expected, but most of the setups still work. Should only have one issue to figure out in the setup.

Got a lot more stuff made than I expected but it could def improve. Each new piece comes out a little better. It was nice to work on some new not bottles stuff. Getting a bunch ready to fire in the wood kiln. Here’s hoping that happens soon.




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One more

One more bisque and one more cone ten before the show…unless I manage to squeeze in two. Doubtful, but maybe.

Looking forward to stopping with the bottle forms and getting back into mugs, planters, and other vessels for a while. Gotta make stuff for the wood kiln and for gifts for the stupid holidays.

Rethinking my idea for the final show as well. Going to draw up some plans for a series of different sit-ups and see what I come up with.

I have a ton of work todo this weekend and will probably gain a ton of weight from eating waaaaaaay too much food, but so be it.







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Well after a week if no studio time I have an unbelievable jones. The next weeks plan is to spend as much time as possible in the studio to bust out a bunch of work so that I have entirely too much for my show and can pick only the best.

At the end of my last work week I felt as though I had a great momentum. These forms are coming together more quickly and are improving from top to bottom with each new piece made. I have begun using shark teeth to create patterns on the bottles as well as using my tools to create texture or breaks in the form. Basically breaking up the simplicity of the vertical line of each piece.

I also created one piece which is a slice from a thrown cylinder laid out in the form of a bottle. It looks a little more like a vase than a bottle but it was the first experiment if its kind. I plan to create a few more of these to see where this idea goes.

So this week will be creating a mass of bottles and a few more saggars for the saggar kiln. I will be finishing the saggar kiln as soon as I can get the cinder blocks from the kiln and will be firing the saggar shortly after it is built.





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20 years

Is a surprisingly short time. 20 years ago, this is where I was. Seems like yesterday.


This last week was all about the space lab. I had been thinking of a lot of different ideas before settling on one. I knew no matter what I did that I wanted to incorporate unfired clay materials to leave a sign or shadow of some existence. The result was utilizing a single path to represent the memory of us and how long it lasts when we are no longer here. The passage of time after our deaths was represented by individuals walking through my path.

Test 1:




By utilizing a set of pictures I was able to coax the viewer into the space which causes them to walk through my path. The pictures were found objects taken from lost and founds, recycle bins, and trash cans. Each was itself a forgotten memory.



During the show all elements of the piece played their roles as planned. The photos drew in the viewers and my path faded.



The whole experience was filmed and is in the process of being edited.

Before I go, does anyone need a dog?


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Never late than better

Or something like that. Got my third cone 10 of the semester emptied. That’s about a third if what I’d planned to do by now. Catchup has been less hellish than I imagined. In fact it’s been quite nice. I have spent 4 to 12 hours in the studio every day for the last week and a half with only one day of the last three weeks not doing some time in the studio.

The bottle forms are coming along nicely. In the middle of last week I lost 5 large three to five part bottles during the trim phase. They represented about 18 hours worth of work. But it was an amazing eureka moment. It taught me to have a bit more patience, at what level of dryness I should trim the bottom, and which tools work best in the various stages of drying.

Each bottle I make is a bit thinner, a bit more shapely, and just overall a better/tighter form. It’s been awesome to try, fail, and try again and through the trial and error to see constant improvement.

As far as the saggar part if my semester, I have one successful saggar made and have begun taking the kiln apart that I will saggar fire. The current plan (subject to change) is to have the kiln ready by next weekend and more saggars made.

This one died in the trimming stage.




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Progress has been hard to come by in the past months. Since April I feel I have barely made any work. That said, what little work I have made has shown positive changes. Progress if you will. Where I have fallen behind is in making progress towards my semester goals and my assignments, and my show in December.

This has changed in the last week though. I have been able to get most of my ideas in some form of order. I came up with a plan for my space lab show. I will be mostly prepared for my critique. I am beginning to draw up some display ideas for my show in December, and am putting out feelers for advice and possible collaborative help with one of the ideas for the show.

In a sagger update, I made clay for the saggars and built three saggar parts which will be combined as two part saggars. My clay is still a bit wet and very VERY groggy and was hard to work with. I was planning to have more completed but learned a lot through the process.

I feel like I am finally on track after a 20 hour weekend in the studio and will continue the late nights and weekends for the coming weeks. Here’s mud in my eye!

Problem solving

Pre glaze

Group collaboration on the glaze wall

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Watching the ending was unpleasant. Seeing four ceramic vessels containing the remains was unnerving.

And inspiring.

The sad and maddening silver lining is that I have finally found time to work. Between this last week and the time of my critique at the end of this month I will have more than doubled my output in ceramics. This week I fired only my second bisque of the semester and will be firing only my second cone ten in the next week or so. Hopefully I will be firing lil Eddie at least once every two weeks until the end of the semester.

By next weekend I hope to have drafted a couple of ideas for a sagger kiln as well as built a few different sized ceramic saggers to place items in to fire. I will be crafting these saggers either out of a very groggy clay I have now or will be creating a new clay body out of a combination of a few sagger clay recepies.

The bottles are coming together faster, thinner, and better crafted with each new vessel made. There are still weak spots but I am quicker to notice them and once noticed, am becoming more skilled at making corrections.

Late night portrait of the artist in hallway

Burning inside.

Bfaicus collaborationis accidentus. (Miri phelps leftover bisque cone 10 glazed by me)

Two new halves waiting to leather harden.

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Still moving forward with bottle work. Did multi piece thrown bottles and a slab built since my last posting. Getting ready to do some extruded bottles.

My focus is a mix of learning to make traditional bottle forms while experimenting with ideas from drawings and non bottle shapes. What really is a bottle. Is it only function or shape or must it be some combination? Does it merely hold things or must it preserve them also or neither.

The semester will continue with exercises to answer these questions.

Three part thrown.

Quick rough slab and thrown prototype.

Latest trash plant rescue.

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