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'


Rob said...

Nice work, Dan.

Will Rees Fine Wood Working said...


Unknown said...

I really like the first plate but there all really nice Dan.

MDF Boards said...


Your combination of slab and mix pottery is really so interesting.You are created various type of pottery which are really good and elegant in look.

Thank you...