World Records like pots, are made to be broken

From Your Maidstone News, Author/Photographer unknown

Billy sets a new world record for making most pots

Mark ‘Billy’ Byles smashed the previous record of 83 by crafting an impressive 150 pots in the 60 minutes.

A large crowd turned out at the The Friars' Aylesford Priory on Sunday to see the venue’s own contestant set the new world’s best.

Mr Byles, the co-founder of Aylesford Pottery set within the religious grounds, was delighted by his record-breaking effort.

He told Yourmaidstone: “I’m feeling really happy. It was fantastic and a really good atmosphere.

“I was quite surprised by the amount of people that turned up but you could feel the anxiety – I’m quite happy that feeling has gone away now.”

Although he was quietly confident of beating the record, Mr Byles, from Ashford, had hurt his hand while making big terracotta pots days before the event.

He braved the injury to get on with the competition, saying: “My hand was OK, I just kept going but I’m resting it now.”

Former record holder Mary Chapelhow did her best to defend her title but even though she made more than her previous record, she lost out to Mr Byles by 32 pots.

Speaking before the competition Ms Chapelhow said that The Friars’ potter was her toughest competitor and perhaps it was time for a new champion.

She said: “This is Billy’s thing because he works in production and is used to it, so he should be feeling pretty confident.

“I have been doing this for many years now so maybe it is time for a change and to let someone else be the world record holder.”

Mr Byles, 37, said: “Mary did really well, she was a bit gutted she lost her title but that is just because she is so competitive.”

Mr Byles and Ms Chapelhow were joined in the final by David Melville, from Rochester.

There was meant to be more contestants but Mr Byles believes they backed out because they knew they wouldn’t stand a chance.

The world record attempt ran throughout the annual Potters Market, at the Friars, which attracts pottery enthusiasts from across the country.

The distant future, The distant future...

These "Manga Ormolu" pieces were made by Canadian artist Brendan L.S. Tang. Combining blue and white with new robotic elements, he creates a parasitic evolution of the pot.

From his Artist statement.

"While Manga Ormolu offers multiple points of entry into sociocultural dialogue, manga, by
nature, doesn’t take itself too seriously. The futuristic ornamentation can be excessive, selfaggrandizing,
even ridiculous. This is a fitting reflection of our human need to envision and
translate fantastic ideas to reality; in fact, striving for transcendence is a unifying feature of
human cultural history. This characteristic is reflected in the unassuming, yet utterly
transformable material of clay. Manga Ormolu, through content, form and material, vividly
demonstrates the conflicting and complementary forces that shape our perceptions of Ourselves
and the Other."

Visit his website Here
via: Make

Porcelain for the People Reviewed

Jim over as Sophia's Dad's Pots was kind enough to post a review of Porcelain for the People.

Here is a snippet.

"...it seemed to not absorb water as much while throwing so it was unnecessary to continually add water. This could be a good thing, I suppose, but after I get to a certain point, the ribs come out and all surface water is “ribbed” off at that point. It seemed to be very responsive to the throwing actions (centering, opening, pulling up, and finishing and in my case, even chattering)."

Head over to his blog to ready the full review.

Here is a picture of one of the bowls he made. Quite nice If I do say so myself.



I hope everyone had a excellent weekend. Mrs. Rose and I had a nice relaxing time. Working around the house etc. Saturday we had our first showing of the year at our Outdoor Theater, The Dark Crystal. It was great. Plus this was the first time we got to use our Nintendo Wii at the theater. Sooo much fun. except for the part where our Friends Corey and Dan's almost 5 year old daughter Claire, beat the pants off me at boxing...Yes I do feel inadequate.

Here is a picture of the theater. It is tons of fun. It dosen't show well in the picture, but the screen is 20' wide! Learn more about Outdoor Theaters Here and Here.

Ok, Back to Clay.

I have been working on a project for a couple of days that some of you may have noticed. On the right side of the blog, you will now notice a long list, labeled Ceramic Blogs-Master List. I started this the other day when I realized that my own collection of bookmarked ceramic blogs was a mess. So I decided to start a list of EVERY ceramic blogs out there. So far the list is 310 (310!) blogs long (not including this very blog). I can't believe the size of the list, and it keeps growing. It goes to show, how big the ceramics community out there is. If you know one that I missed, let me know by posting a comment with this post. I made this list with the help of my friends on Twitter. On a side note, everyone should really head over to Twitter and start a profile. I didn't think too much of it at first. When I found the ceramics community, it became a whole new thing. You can find the community from my profile. It is a great group of people and ever growing.

Also I want to welcome a new member to the Slipcast community. We are going to have a guest Blogger in July, Avi Arenfeld. Avi is an old student of mine and a great potter. Avi Is from NYC and has his BFA from Alfred. he is currently in California, as last year he was a resident at the Mendocino Art Center.

On top of that, he is a web designer. He did the website for mattanddavesclays.com. If you are looking for a great web designer, contact Avi.

Avi is going to Japan in July for a couple of weeks and he is going to report on all thing ceramics going on in the land of the Rising Sun. Should be awesome!

Check out his newest pots here Aviarenfeld.com

The pots up top are Teacup Balconies, in Tokyo. Found on Flickr, by JMRocher.


Lem is a ceramics collective out of Finland, formed at a gas station on the way to Helsinki. I think that is the best way to put a group together. I heard that Bachman-Turner Overdrive came together the same way.

This series is called the Animal Series and tells stories in everyday ceramic tableware through animals, creating new life and meaning for everyday common tableware. It reminds me of the cereal bowls, my next door neighbors the Cooneys had when I was a kid. There were small figurines glazed to the bottom of the bowl that you discovered as you ate.


Casting a Wide Neti

I could not resist. Now I know these have been known in ceramic circles for a long time. In fact when I was an undergrad Invalid cups and Neti Pots were popular objects. I'm not making any medical claims about the value of this process. All I can say is that when I have a sore throat, Mrs. Rose makes me gargle with Salt water, and this seems to be the same process...in your nose.
The real reason I'm posting this is for a good Monday morning laugh. Watch the video, please. The facial expression of the woman in the demo is priceless. It seems like at sometime in her life she saw some things that she can't un-see. Enjoy


On Michael Jackson and Porcelain.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles-Made of Porcelain, by Jeff Koons


With the speed of the Internet, this is not news anymore. But I have been pondering what to do about this since I heard last night. Michael Jackson was a cultural icon, and he was an amazing entertainer. Even for a cynic like me, I always loved Michael as a musician. But the fact is, in this world, there is no such thing as a musician when you aim for mass popularity. You become something else. And Michael became something else.

Many people are using this time to revere the man. I respect that, but this is an art blog. I would like to look at that aspect of the man. Above is one of the most famous images by Jeff Koons, who may be my favorite contemporary artist. Koons is not a ceramicist, he is conceptual. In fact, the story is often told up here in Alfred, that in the mid 80's when this piece was made. Koons contacted the School, to see about having it made. They turned down the offer (We are a school, not a production facility) Eventually the piece was made in Italy.

It is a beautiful piece, well made and impactful. And Porcelain. That is what makes this piece so important. We have to remember that this piece came out in 1988, and was conceived of years before. If you are younger than me, then you only have the image of Jackson as a freak show. As this constantly morphing thing. Independent of physical identity. Trying to disguise race and personality. Koons caught on to that early. By making the man out of porcelain, he captured this idea of achieving whiteness. Of ones ability to make themselves into what they want and then of the lack of ability to change once fired, when that is all one works for. Trapped in history, trapped in yourself. Glorious, yet stagnant. It was a profound observation and piece of work 20 years ago, and today.

The title of this blog post is dervied form a long form essay titled On Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson. You can get it at Amazon or Listen to it from Audibe. It is amazing cultural study on Him and Us. How all of us got to this place, more than anything Michael Jackson was a reflection of all of us. And today we are missing part of our identity.

Flying Spagetti Monster

Kudos to the newbie. This piece was the second ceramic piece ever made by a student named Catherine. We need to support our up and coming Ceramic Artists.

And onto the real agenda. If you are not familiar with Flying Spagetti Monster then you are in for a treat, or not. FSM is a new(ish) Atheist mascot. Now, I do not mean to offend anyone. But the fact is that I am an Atheist. I was raised an Atheist, and that is just the way it is. Most people like to try to create a divide between those of faith and us atheists. The fact is, I don't care what you believe in. As long as it makes you happy, and you don't try to impose on me. Have fun.

So, the FSM is based on the Atheist notion, that if one is to believe that something such as God exists, then what is to say that the FSM doesn't exist.

Good Times

Via: Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster

Four and Twenty Blackbirds...Well Just One

This pie plate with blackbird steam vent is precious. I wish I liked pie more. I am a cake man, through the last few years I have learned that there is a divide in this country. Cake vs. Pie. Now Pie is just fine, but cake, Cake is where it is at. In fact this makes me think that I should do a post on cake plates. Of course, Mrs Rose and I are on a serious slimming project so we can't eat any of it. Soon, my sweet, soon.

I also had to post this because of the description from the site that I originally found it on.

Pie Plate with Bird that Vomits Steam Via: Nerd Approved. Awesome.

You can find the plate at Taylor Gifts

*Update, for some reason Taylor gifts does not like it when I link to their page, but you can get there through the Nerd approved link*


A Wedgwood Issue

I think that fine China is unfortunately maligned by the ceramic maker community. I have never understood why so many potters scoff at or ignore the refined stuff. I love it! Fine china is the most miraculous stuff ever, the refinement and attention to detail is astounding, and the design is so well considered.
Wedgwood, is the best of the best, in my opinion. In fact we had a family battle over the family set of Wedgwood. My Mother had promised me the set (hey, I'm in ceramics) when my sister found out, she was none to happy. It turned into quite a row, good think none of the china was thrown at anyone in anger.
Of course if you know anything about the history of Wedgwood, you know all about the connections to Darwin (he is a family member) and their connection to the Abolitionist movement. They are famous for this subversive broach, worn by supporters of the movement.

So it is great to hear that the brand new Wedgwood Museum has been awarded the Art Fund Prize for Museums in England. An amazing accomplishment for a museum that is just a few months old.

Read and article about the award Here


If you have ever walked into an Urban Outfitters and are over the age of 25 (or just of delicate sensitivities) you pretty much turned around and walked out. That said. I love this mug.
Via: Design Milk

She's Crafty!

Nice reuse for a tea cup. Seems like a good thing to do, with the last cup in a set or something you find at a second hand store.
See the whole process documented at Craftzine, by Jenny Ryan.


Heat-Pt 2-That's Hot...

Talking about heat, can be a controversial subject. First, this proves that ceramicists need new hobbies; second it is quite a ridiculous thing to be defensive over. I know that heat, it tied into one’s own ceramic identity. Now, some of you may say that I am exaggerating, but I have gotten in screaming matches over temperature.
Are you making Porcelain or Terra Cotta, Pit or Tunnel Kiln, Pristine Gloss or Raku, the temperature we work at defines our work almost more then the clay itself. I’m not here to say that this is not how it should be, temperature is important, temperature is imperative. But as with all things, temperature is not what we think it is.
What is heat? We talk about cones, we talk about temperature; we talk about Gas and Elements. I’m speaking of the Heat itself. Heat doesn’t care about its fuel or kilns that contain it. In fact, a kiln has nothing to do with firing the work; a kiln is a box meant to contain heat. Heat is the result of combination of fuel and oxygen combusted or electricity and resistance. That’s it. In fact, fire as we know it is just a byproduct of combustion, there’s no fire in an electric kiln is there? Why? No fuel.
So what is this heat then? Heat is the reflection of expended energy. The same way, when you work out, you expend energy. Your body consumes fuel and puts out performance. Heat is a byproduct. For us in ceramics, that byproduct is a very handy one.
When you took chemistry in High School, your best friend (or worst enemy) was the Bunsen Burner. This nasty little device (I had a fight with one once and still have a scar on my wrist to show for it) is responsible, for providing heat for the class. You see heat is imperative to the chemical process. Much like cooking, you really need to apply heat to get things moving. Admittedly there are some applications where you don’t need heat (Raw Sodium +H2O or Sushi). But for the most part, you need heat to get chemicals to do their little dance of love.
I bring up chemistry class very specifically. I have ranted before on this blog about chemistry, but let me state this again. When you are involved in ceramics you are committing acts of chemistry. End of Story. If you don’t like it, then you are more then welcome to take a long walk off a short pier. It is these acts of chemistry that allow us to do what we do. Chemistry makes clay and glazes.
Anyhoo, back to heat. So this all leads us to the notion of the temperature. Of course temperature is just the reflection of the volume of heat. But temperature is important to ceramics. The notion of progress is based in our ability to generate greater and greater temperatures. Starting at least18,000 years ago according to recent discoveries. Man put clay in a fire, that made the clay hard and (relatively) rugged, Ever since then, the study of ceramics has been “How do we make this more rugged?”
Well jump forward a bit. Eventually people figured out that you needed to get clay hotter then normal fire could produce, and the kiln was developed. This allowed for higher and higher temperatures to be generated, because as stated earlier, a kiln is just a box for containing heat. And the temperatures were getting higher and higher, and it was good.
Then they hit a wall…

Europeans prove that they are not all that smart, and China enters the game, Kicking Ass and Taking Names.
Join us, Same Clay time, Same Clay URL.



These bowl/banana hooks are designed by Benjamin Hubert.


Let there be light

I came across this portable photo studio and thought about all of the ceramicists out there. I know that getting good images of your work can be difficult to do. Cramped spaces, dirty studios and not wanting to spend a fortune on lights and a backdrop. This system was intend for eBay-ers but I thought it might be ok for all of us.

Via: Book of Joe
by: Thinkgeek


Syracuse China Archives Saved

Image by David Lassman/The Post Standard

This is a really sad story.
If you folks don't know, Syracuse China was shuttered at the end of April. I'm not going to go into the why, but of course the short answer is the economy. Of course it is sad to see such an institution go, with a long stories history, the company was a treasure.
I was one of the last people to visit the facility, and I was given a tour of archives. It is one hell of a collection. I was truly blown away by the quality and variety of the work and history documented there in. What was really tragic at the time was that they had not found anyone to take thier expansive collection.
Luckily the Onondaga Historical Association agreed to take and preserve the collection. Saving an important piece of ceramic history.

Story Link

Cuba Libre

Beyond the Embargo: Cuban and American Ceramics.

There is a a common belief that ceramics are a "Political" medium. Believing the that the use of this material is in itself a political act. Although that is true to a degree, it is a way of life for these Cuban Artists. We forget that making art is a privilege, I don't mean in the "I'm so lucky to be able to do this" way. That is the luxury of being free. What I mean, is that we have the means, ability, facilities, and way of life that enables us to do this.

Support the rising tide of freedom for Cubans; If you are in the Boston area visit the Fuller Craft Museum to see this show.

Fuller Craft Museum


Heat-Pt. 1-Cones

I have been pondering what I want to do about the topic of temperature for a while. At first I thought about talking about specific temperatures (Cone 6, Cone 3). Then I realized that there is an elephant in the room. That is the very notion of heat. We take the concept of heat for granted, we declare temperature (04, 6, 10) and then sort of leave it there. But heat is a very complex and difficult subject, it is defined by history, functionality and ceramics science. With that in mind, today I start an ongoing series on the subject of heat.

To really talk about heat we need to talk about history, unfortunately I know that is not a very sexy subject to start off. So I'm going to start in the middle (not to worry, we'll talk about history next). So, where I want to start is Cones. We treat cones as gospel, yet, can anyone tell me why Cone 10 is cone 10? Or why Cone 10 is 2381F/1305C? Or do you know why there is the Cone 01/1 divide? Does anyone know why we have all the problems with cones? It all seems a little random doesn't it?

Well, it all goes back to color, before pyrometers and cones, the only way we had to monitor temperature. It is a great method, in fact some of the more accurate temperature measurement devices today are optical, monitoring the color of the furnace. Reading temperature by color is a relative (and dangerous) pursuit. So alternatives were sought.

Enter Herman Seger. Seger is a really important person in the history of ceramics, we was a German Ceramic Scientist who lived from 1839-1893. He was a prolific thinker and inventor. and published 170 papers, so many he started his own journal.

In 1886 Seger published "Pyrometer and the measurement of high temperatures with standard cones". If you are in Europe, cones today are Seger Cones (opposed to Orton in the States). In this paper, Seger laid out the entire foundation for the modern ceramic temperature (Along with glazes, but that is a whole other subject). What Seger had discovered what that there is a relationship between Chemistry and Temperature. In that, when we apply heat to materials their reaction is based on the amount of heat used, and the composition of the material.

I'm going to do something now that is going to piss a lot of you off. But it literally has to be done, there is no way around it. I am going to talk about the Unity Molecular Formula (Or Seger Formula). If you don't know about the UMF, unfortunately I am not going to explain it here (Maybe later, but not now). The reason I have to talk UMF is that it is the basis for Seger's work and cones to this day.

What Seger realized is that by incrementally increasing Silica and Alumina level, there was a increase in representative temperature. So to say. A cone with a composition of 1.0 Silica and 0.1 Alumina (0.3 R2O:0.7 R0) would soften and bend at "Cone 1" And a cone with a composition 2.0 Silica and 0.2 Alumina (0.3 R2O:0.7 R0) would melt at a higher temperature (Cone 2, who would have guessed it?) This system is constant.

So on and so forth. That is why when we look at a cone chart, the temperatures seem random. They are reflections of the temperatures at which chemical reactions happen, and not an arbitrary round number.

Notice one thing, If you know your UMF you will notice that they look exactly like Cone 10 UMF Glaze numbers. That is exactly right. What cones are, is glaze, in dry cone form. Cones are just glazes have aren't fully melted yet. The bending and softening is the begging stages of glaze melt.
Also, notice that I started with Cone 1. The fact is that Cone 1 is Cone 1 is because it was the limit of the chemistry and the materials. To get lower temperatures, an entire new system on top of this one, had to be developed.

I think that is enough for today. I hope everyone found this informative, if you have questions please ask in the comments, and tell your Friends and spread the post around.

Art and Science for the Win!

I know that every ceramic artist out there is interested in the internal workings of the academic system, at a small Western New York university. That is why with great pride that I announce that Dr. Doreen Edwards, has been associate dean of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University. (The Ceramic Engineering School).
Dr. Edwards is a great supporter of Ceramic Arts and The Ceramic Arts program. This is a great development in the every growing relationship between Art and Science. It is the one thing that only Alfred has, the blending of Art and Science (it is the whole reason I'm here). With Dr. Edwards in the lead, we can do great things here at A.U.
Press Release

Dave Speaks!

Here is a video of Dave (of Matt and Dave's Clays) talking pottery. Dave sells pottery under the name Idaho Fire Pottery. Dave is great because he is a Ceramic Engineer who works as a potter. Whereas I am an Artist who works as a Ceramic Engineer (You got chocolate in my peanut Butter, No you got Peanut butter in my chocolate!).


Home again, home again, Jiggidy Jig

Hi all,
Mrs. Rose and I are back from vacation! We had a great time and it was
nice to relax for a few days. That is the good news. The bad news is
that there won't be any new posts for today. I returned to find my
office off limits for Asbestos abatement, which in the long run I am
greatful for. But in the short term it means I can't get to my
computer, and I am writing this from my phone.
There is one thing for you. Head over to www.mattanddavesclays.com and click on the "Science" section. There you will find a PDF going into detail (probably more then you want!) about the ceramic engineering behind our clay. Pretty cool if I do say so myself.


Porcelain for the People in the Wild

Pete Pinell sent me this link to a tea bowl that he made with Porcelain for the People. It is a beautiful piece that was fired in Chris Gustin's Anagama Kiln. A fantastic example of what can be done with Porcelain for the People, by Matt and Daves Clays. What's even better is that the bowl can be yours, as it is up for auction in the Watershed Fund Raising Auction. It is a great piece for a great cause.

Also, we are now shipping samples of Porcelain for the People for just the cost of shipping. We are shipping anywhere in the USA, so contact me to get yours.
Matt and Dave's Clays


100 Posts! Woo Hoo!

Hi All,
First off, this is my 100th post, and I am pretty happy about that. Thank everyone who has stopped by and hung around. I've been having a lot of fun on the blog, and I am excited for what's to come.
Just a heads up. Mrs Rose and I are taking off for a few days. She is headed to Florida to celebrate her sister Kyra's Birthday, with her other sisters. There are 4 of them! And their poor Brother, but he wasn't invited, much like us husbands. So, I am off to take the Hounds to see their grandparents. Subsequently I am going to take a few days off the blog. Don't worry, I'll be back Wednesday or Thursday. I know I promised some posts that I did not get to yet, but this week has been crazy, trying to get everything finished, before I take off. So, in the mean time, Cruise my 100 posts, and see some of the great stuff out there. My friend Garth Johnson at Extreme Craft, is over in Jingdezhen, China (The Home of Porcelain) and been making great posts on what he has seen. It is truly an amazing place and I can't wait to go back and take Mrs. Rose.

A few posts before I disappear.

Speaking of China, former Turner Prise Winner (A BIG deal in the Art world) Antony Gormley made a piece composed of 40,000 terra cotta people.
Read the Article Here


Porcelain covered wood stoves by Dick Van Hoff and Royal Tichelaar
Via: Freshome