The Story Thus Far...

It's been about three years since I last updated, in May. (At least that's how it seems.) Some things are the same, only more so. Others are progressing, if slowly.

Custom Orders

I'm taking custom orders again, for the next two weeks (through July 25). I've got enough demand to fill a kiln again, planning to load August 2. Contact me quick, if you need something unique. My next firing probably won't be until October.

Moar Movies

I've continued to play with video recording in the studio, audio editing and mixing on my laptop. You can see all of them at my blog, but here are the two newest ones, Flat Stuff (throwing plates to the Greg Brown song) and Spin (trimming toddler bowls, with a little help from Rachel Garlin.)


Old barns full of blue sky; backyards full of junk...


You're a human being, not a human doing...

Encore Pattern of the Month:

The Fisher King

Saw a kingfisher flash by overhead, my last visit to Delta Ponds.

My undergraduate pottery professor lived over the river and through the woods: Across the Mississippi River from La Crosse, and down through the winding back roads of Southeastern Minnesota, across a cattle guard, through a cornfield and finally back to his little place. He had a wood-fired salt kiln, fired with sawmill slab and a little #2 fuel oil to bump it over the last couple of cones.

When I started getting serious about pottery my senior year and afterwards, I started going down to help fire occasionally. It was a single-firing operation, no bisque fire, so he'd start the beast on big logs around midnight, slow warming the raw pots. Around 6 am it was time to start stoking regularly, and by the time I and the other students arrived in mid-afternoon he was ready to drop, so we took over. By suppertime we were stoking constantly, and had to rake coals out of the firebox, or else the temperature wouldn't climb. We used elm and oak coals to boil brats in beer, and once attempted to barbeque a turkey over them. (Unsuccessfully. His wife finally had to take the pallid thing back into the house and introduce it to a hot oven. Fortunately, it wasn't stuffed, so we got supper before midnight.)

But as much fun as the smoke, sweat and cameraderie were (not to mention six-foot flames shooting out of the chimney), some of my favorite memories come from the drive down to Brownsville. The road meandered over bluffs and through coulees, stream-cut valleys in the soft limestone plateau. There was one stretch where the road paralleled the stream, and nearly every time I passed by there was a kingfisher perched on the telephone line, watching the riffles in the stream. Once, I was lucky enough to see him spy something beneath. He pitched forward, wings folded back to the barest minimum, and dropped like a bomb, bill first into the sparkling water. A few moments later he rose again, wings trailing glittering spray, a shiner of some sort in his beak. It was a one-of-a-kind, truly magical moment.

My kingfisher pots are pretty one-of-a-kind, too. I paint him on pasta bowls, serving bowls, pie plates, dinner and dessert plate, tall mugs, and the occasional square baker. Where he's been known to make quite a splash...

See other patterns...