Thursday, June 27, 2013

a woodworker does pottery

what you are going to see in this blog post is a smallish dan mosheim pottery show.  i have been fooling around with clay for about 10 years now, and have taken classes with nick seidner of rising meadow pottery, kate geotz of hartsboro pottery in wallingford, vermont and lauren silver, the pottery teacher at burr and burton academy in manchester.  i learned a little from all of them, but mostly from fooling around on my own over the years. 
 my new thing is a combination i dreamed up of slab pottery and wheel thrown pottery mixed together.  it's sort of how you might approach larger pieces if you were a woodworker and couldn't get it together to throw anything larger than about 6" in diameter and 4" tall ... i explain it all at the end of this post, but in the meantime, below are some of the highlights from the service for 12 i'm working on for our own house.  i'm about 2/3rds through ... i need just a few more soup bowls, about 8 bread and butter plates and a few larger serving pieces and platters.  click the photos to enlarge them ...

 a stack i picked up at the dorset chamber of commerce meeting tonight.  my friend janno gay, of flower  brook pottery fires my stuff for me. she recently finished 8 pieces and knew i would be at the meeting tonight.  it was a great, christmas like, surprise the way she had each one wrapped up separately.
 these two and the red and black one at the top of the post are 7" bread and butter plates

 some 9" soup bowls.. hot ones

and after about 10 items, i realized i was actually doing a version of jasper johns 'target' series.  after a little web searching i learned that the technical term is 'color field painting' and there were a bunch of those folks including johns, albers, helen frankenthaler, barnett newman, ellsworth kelly, ken noland, and others too numerous to mention.  there are a couple of examples of their paintings at the very end of the post.  it's always nice to be part of a 'movement'.
 and a 10.5" dinner plate
my collection of new and old stuff at open studio this year

ok, here's the secret.  i cheat.  i made a collection of mdf forms on my lathe that you can see in the picture below.  rough them out on the bandsaw and turn them close to the same, freehand, on my lathe.
then i roll out a .22" thick slab and drape it over the upside down form, trim it to the edge of the form and center it on the wheel using the pins and holes i drill in the bottom of the form.  next i compress it tight to the form by hand and throw a little rolled out 'snake' foot onto the bottom of the slab on the wheel.  you can see the end of that process below.
after they dry two or three days under plastic, i trim them very quickly and loosely on the wheel and color the bottoms with duncan cover coat.  love the colors they have.

my stack of plate forms

then, after struggling for a week or two, i turned the thing above with pin holes and i can center the plate or bowl right side up in the recess, and add the color to the top.  after they dry for a week or so, it's off to janno for a bisque fire, and then a clear glaze fire.  i'm looking for my own small kiln, so if anyone knows of one for sale, please let me know. 
fun, peaceful, quiet, not too expensive, functional, lovin it ...
 johns .. target with plaster casts
ken noland, a 'local guy', who taught at bennington college, 'beginning'

Friday, June 7, 2013

a claro walnut sideboard

final update 6/7 ... ready to go ... click the photos to enlarge them ..
 all in all done ... rolling to north carolina soon ... good job boys ... will on veneers, drawers and finishing, sam on base, and trevor on case work ..
another update 5 29 ... almost ready for finish .. lookin' good
update 5 22
 faces of the drawers  .. inside of the doors
will is working on the faces of the doors and they should be glued up sometime tomorrow.

we're working on a fun one.  we have accumulated a small pile of cutoffs from the 15 or twenty claro walnut tables we've made in the past couple of years and now we've got a use for them.  this client bought our table back in february and it is being used as a desk in a law office down south.  so, next is the credenza and coffee table.  i made the sketch above assuming we would cut the cutoffs up into veneers and use them for the faces of the doors and drawers.  we're just starting that part of the project now, and i hope to have it into some kind of viewable shape by the weekend, when it's vermont open studio again !!!
more on that later.  in the meantime, click the pictures to enlarge them....

case with square pieces of mdf to straighten it up; before we added the back.  there is no face frame, so case stability and the connection to the steel base is paramount. 

here, the assembled case is sitting on a timber strand base mockup to work out the sizes and kinks in that.
and for the top and ends, we got these three incredible 28-30" wide walnut boards from irion lumber.
one piece sides about 24" wide and a one piece top, about 25.25" wide
here, we're working out the mdf substrate sizes for the doors and drawer faces.  in the end, trevor cut them back and installed 5/8ths x 5/8ths solid claro edges, which you'll see when the doors and drawers are opened.  it's now on its custom steel base that sam finished last week.
will, slicing up the veneers with out new starrett band saw blades,  mighty sharp!
 a quick mockup of a few of the slices ...
inside of the first door ... figuring out the process
ready to glue on ... i think we'll do the last piece of veneer and some butterfly work on the cnc after gluing.
the coffee table is ready to go and patiently waiting ... more later ..

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

here we go

 well, here we go ... new metal shop.  it started about a year ago.  we thought we were all set to go last summer, but the appraisal underwriters declared our property 'mixed use commercial' because our shop was more than a certain percentage of the square footage of our house and that threw us out of the fannie mae/freddie mac underwriting guidelines.  so, 8 months later, we have subdivided our 10 acres, and refinanced and now we're underway on a new metal shop for sam.  the photo above was yesterday around 8:00 am.  the digging and site work will be done by dydo and company.  noel dydo helped us dig our first house foundation in 1974 and we've been friends since 1971, over 40 years. 
 some scraping and digging and we're ready to extend the culvert which will allow us to expand the parking area.
 end of the day yesterday ... a little deeper than we thought we would get.  a little ledge on the back side.  about a four foot wall on the front.  good to go ...
 today, tony genier, of concrete professionals, arrived to form up the footings. 
 and they really are professionals.  they showed up around 1:30 and were out the door around 4:00.  finish it up and pour the concrete in the morning ...
lots of steps, due to the ledge
we're hoping that sam will be welding in the new shop by labor day ... the old one is about 12 x 24 and cramped, cramped, cramped.  it consistently spills into my garage and moving it to a new spacious building in the same area as the wood shop will be a huge benefit to us all.  progress updates as they happen ...
here's the concept via photoshop ...
update 6 7 ... concrete professionals ,i guess.  tony and his crew showed up yesterday morning to  pour the footings they formed up wednesday afternoon.  then they came back after lunch, stripped the forms and poured the walls at 4:00 in the afternoon.  gone by 5:00.  today they stripped the forms off the walls and were gone by lunchtime.  total elapsed time, footings and walls, and gone ...44 hrs?  rain was predicted today, so he had the concrete folks add some 'accelerator' to the footing mix.
VERY professional
 waiting for a couple days with new rain in the forecast to pour the slab
from up on the hill, looking back to the shop