Why The Long Plate?

Maxime Ansiau created these long plates. Unfortunately I don't know much about the maker (European, Yes, Male/Female, No Idea). But they are beautiful, well made and an engaging concept.


Maxime's Site


Fire- The Bad Kind

Hey All,
I just wanted to let you know that I'm not going to put up any posts today. There was a fire in Alfred this morning, everyone is ok, but it hit us pretty close. It was the Alfred Sports Center that burned and that place was important to us. Mrs, Rose used to work there and our old place was rented from Phil and Len Curran  who own the Sports Center.

Also Ro's old co-workers Tara and Trina are now out of a job. If you are reading this in the Alfred Area and have work for them please let me know. They are great people who I will completely vouch for and this is a horrible thing to happen to them.

Alfred is a small town and something like this effects everyone.

Here are some pictures I took of the event.

Image of the Burn from the Wellsville Daily Reporter


Click and Clack

German Designer Lisa Grahner came up with these pristine modular pieces titled the Click Series. Yes they are cold and industrial, but they are also extremely sexy. I just hope those magnets are strong.

They were shown at Strijp-S Exhibition during Dutch Design Week.


Her Site


You know what? F#$& you too...

Ok I censored myself because I know that a lot of other blogs carry the headlines from my blog on their pages. But be warned. The rest of this post I'm going to be working blue.

Kenny Scharf, Fuck you. It is dickheads like you that keep ceramics from being taken seriously. When artists from outside the ceramics world step in an make ceramic objects that are A) Stupid, B) Ugly and C) Pointless, you drag us down with you. 

You see Mr. Scharf has just released a line of Bongs that he is selling in the Cerealart Gallery in Philadelphia.

Oh, look at me, I'm so clever. I'm so Urban. I'm so fucking Ironic...FUCK YOU!

You are a pompous, condescending and artistically illiterate douchebag, and your work is ugly and outdated.  The 80's called and they want the dis-effected irony back.

Now, to the ceramics people that are still reading. This does not mean that you are all off the hook for the lack of respect that ceramics gets in the art world. We dug our own hole and it is our job to get out of it ("Dig Up, Stupid!") And don't give me the "I don't want to be a member of that club" nonsense. This is about respect, and we need to garner respect for and of the art community. End of story. 

None the less, this is shit. 

I'm not going to post links. If you care, you can find it yourself.


Double Dribble

The rest of the world is finally confronting a problem that we have been dealing with for years. "How do you get a teapot not to dribble?"  A team of Fluid Dynamicists  from the University of Lyon have discovered a way to interrupt the hydro-capillary behavior of water that is the cause of the problem. Part of their solution is something that we have all know for years, like building a thinner lip with a sharp edge. But the second part of their solution is pretty cool. Of course it does lead to the common ceramics question. "Is that food safe?"

Here is the article from the M.I.T. Technology Review.

Teapot technology is largely ignored by mainstream media (some say unfairly). But today, scientists in France unveil a technique that should breath hi-tech life into a new generation of bespouted objects. 

The problem with teapots is their annoying habit of dribbling, particularly at low rates of flow. The phenomenon has achieved such notoriety that it has been imaginatively dubbed the "teapot effect". 

Previous studies have shown that dribbling is the result of flow separation where the layer of fluid closest to the boundary becomes detached from it. When that happens, the fluid flows smoothly over the lip. But as the flow rate decreases, the boundary layer re-attaches to the surface causing dribbling.

Previous studies have shown that a number of factors effect this process such as the radius of curvature of the teapot lip, the speed of the flow and the "wettability" of the teapot material. But a full understanding of what's going on has so far eluded scientists.

Now Cyril Duez at the University of Lyon in France and a few amis, have identified the single factor at the heart of the problem and shown how to tackle it. They say that the culprit is a "hydro-capillary" effect that keeps the liquid in contact with the material as it leaves the lip. The previously identified factors all determine the strength of this hydro-cappillary effect.

So how to overcome it? There are two ways say Duez and co. The first is to make the lip as thin as possible. That's why teapots with spouts made from thin metal are less likely to dribble.

The second is to coat the lip with the latest generation of superhydrophobic materials which strongly repel water. Duez and co show how this stops dribbling at a stroke. "Superhydrophobic surfaces fully avoid dripping, and thus beat the "teapot effect"," they say.

(Of course, there are one or two other potential applications in shaping the fluid flow in microfluidic machines but these pale into insignificance compared with the teapot revolution in hand.)

The really exciting news, however, is that in certain materials the hydro-capillary effect can be controlled electronically. That raises the possibility of a teapot design in which dribbling can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch--an object of desire on a par with the iPhone, USB catapaults and personal hovercrafts. (The iPot , perhaps?)

If this doesn't win these guys an IgNobel, I don't know what will.

Thanks to Darren P. for the heads up!



Everything in ceramcis has now been made, you can all go home now...

Sorry folks. I have now come across the most meta and unnecessary thing in Ceramics. I can't think of anything that ever needs to be made again. I guess we all wasted our time...

I present to you... the toilet mug.

Do I need to say anything else?

Have a good weekend.



This is Unacceptable.

Ok people, we need to stand up and fight. The bakers are now trying to step in on our territory. This aggression will not stand, specifically because it is going to soften and collapse.

This so called "Coffee Cup" was designed by Enrique Luis Sardi for Italian coffee company Lavazza. It is a cookie, not a cup. The cookie is lined with a sugar coating to hold liquid and keep the cup from dissolving. Bummer for them, real cups don't have that problem...

Now I'm sure some of you are saying, "But Matt, you've discussed cookie based pieces before?" Well that was an accessory. You don't see us cermicists trying to make clay based bread, do you?

Ok Bakers, keep to what your good at, let the professionals handle the dinnerware.



R.I.P. Ruth Duckworth

I'm sad to report that Ruth Duckworth has passed away at the age of 90.
... 2009 has been a tough year.
I am happy to say that Ruth lived a long life and had an invaluable contribution to the world of ceramics and for that we can be thankful.

Below is a wonderful profile from CBS Sunday Morning from just a few years ago. Apparently she was in the studio until just six weeks ago. We should all be so lucky.

Watch CBS News Videos Online



I usually don't like to post procedurals on the blog. I wanted to bake an exception for this one from the new Pottery Making Illustrated by my friend Molly Hatch. Molly is a very smart and exceptionally talented potter and a great writer to boot. You will find her published regularly in many ceramics magazines.

2-D to 3-D: Using Image Transfer and Mishima Techniques to Make Drawings on Pottery

by Molly Hatch

Mishima is a traditional Korean slip-inlay technique. The Korean pots you see with mishima decoration typically use several colors of slip in the same piece. I basically use the same black slip recipe for all of my mishima drawing. I always reference a pattern when I am drawing on my pots and sometimes I use a template to transfer a detail of the pattern.

In this case, I am using the template to transfer the bird in the pattern onto the cup surface. I make my templates by laminating my own drawing of a found pattern. This is helpful if you are trying to make multiples, but still requires a lot of drawing and interpretation because you are drawing on a three-dimensional surface.

A laminated paper template of your drawing can help maintain consistency in a design when transferring images to a set. All of my mishima is done when the pots are a dry-leather hard. Usually they are ready to draw on just after trimming is finished.

Gently wrap the laminated pattern around the cup and use a quill or dull-tipped pencil to trace the image, taking care to position the image exactly where you would like it to be on the cup.

To read the rest, pick up the November issue of Pottery Making Illustrated or check out Molly's Blog...
I know, I'm a tease....

Molly's Blog 


Porcelain for the Pinchers

Hi All, 

I was overjoyed to find these pictures in my inbox from Emily Schroeder. These are some images of Pots that she made with Porcelain for the People and I think that you will agree that they are quite lovely. 

In full disclosure, Emily is a friend of mine, but why I am really over the moon with these pots is because Miss Em, is mean to her porcelain. You see, she is a pinch potter, in fact she may be the greatest pinch potter in the world. And she is fearless about working in Cone 10 Porcelain and  pushing her clay. So when she tries a clay she puts it through it's paces. If someone can kill a clay body, Miss Em can.

Miss Em's review was short and sweet. 

"I LOVE LOVE LOVE your clay
and I MISS MISS MISS your clay :(

Matt and Dave's Porcelain for the People is one of the best porcelains i have ever handbuilt with.  It has a beautiful color and it is really plastic.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who uses porcelain. One of the best features of the clay is that when I hand-build with it, there isn't a funny plasticity to it when the clay changes from wet to leather hard to bone dry.  It continues to have a nice malleability. I think it's the best!"

Unfortunately she misses the clay because she is currently teaching in Canada, and the shipping rates to go over that imaginary line are pretty outrageous. I have had a lot of requests from our Canadian brethren, and All I can say is that I am working on it...  

Emily's Web Site

Also I wanted to give everyone a update on the T shirt front. Some of you may have seen my Facebook and Twitter that T shirts were ready...except that when I went down to the printers to pick them up. I found that they had really bungled the job. So we are still working on them... thanks for you patience. 




These mugs are designed to ease carrying more then two mugs at a time. The come in a pack of three. My question is if you buy more then one set  how many can you stack together at once?



Top Clay

We have discussed here before that I am a huge fan of Top Chef. It may be my favorite show on TV. Great cooking, food porn, cinematography, and drama. It is also well known that I am fascinated by the connection (or lack there of) between ceramics and food. I know that ceramics people love food, but as I have discussed before that there does not seem to be a lot of obsessive consideration of food and dinnerware. In fact I was thinking the other day that it is odd that I haven't come across more chefs with ceramic experience or vice versa.

So I was totally conflicted when I learned that current Top Chef Contestant Robin Leventhal has a Masters degree in Ceramics from The University of Michigan. While I should be overjoyed by this notion, I am extremely conflicted, because from the "Game Show" portion of the show I want her gone. I know this is all in the editing and how the show is structured, but the producers have done a great job of portraying her a the underdog/villain. I'm sure she is a lovey woman, and I would be interested to know how she thinks about clay and food, as she has expressed interest in designing dinner ware.

Robin is currently the executive chef at See Sound Lounge in Seattle.



Stuck in the middle with you.

Much like sitting in the middle of the backseat when you were a kid, there is always a familial equivalent of the worst seat in the house. Of course you could be banished to the kids table (it really does not help you self esteem when you are over 30). At family dinners that seat is the spot where the two table come together. Inevitably the tables are not the same height. This plate designed by Shira Nahon solves that problem, providing a split that levels the differnence. 

Good Work. 

Via: Badder Homes and Gardens


Keep those balls in the air.

I came across this video this morning and I had to post it. This is by a performer named Michael Moschen who is a master juggler. The reason I am posting this is because Wayne Higby showed this to us in Sophomore Wheel class. He was trying to teach us about being in control while on the wheel. How that as long as you are in charge, you can make the material do what you want. Look at the focus in his eyes, they look sort of absent, but he is trying to be subtle while controlling every action. He is fully aware of the consequences of every possible action and he uses that to his advantage. There is no "Magic" here, only mastery. Just like on the wheel. There are no surprises. It makes me a little peeved, when people try to pass off their failures as successes. If you are in control, there are no failures.

You also may know Mr. Moschen from his work in Labyrinth. I hate to bust everyone bubbles but it was not David Bowie doing the contact juggling.
I remember seeing Mr Moschen when I was a kid and being absolutely transfixed by it. Astounding control. 


I sense a disturbance in the force.

Yeah, I'm a nerd, What are you going to do about it?



Stay Glassy

Sometimes we need to acknowlage our glassy breathren, for that reason I present you this pitcher. 
I'm sure if would be a pain to clean, but it is pretty great anyway. 



I'll take one please

This may be the single most awesome thing I have ever seen. You know that feeling when when you meet your spouse for the first time? This is like that, but awesomer. I love this car. 

Chinese artist Lu Hao helped Ferrari customize this one-off Ferrari 599GTB with a Song Dynasty crazed celedon pattern. 

It is going to auctioned  off November 3, with proceeds from the car’s auction helping fund an education program for Chinese students interested in automotive engineering.

So if anyone is in the area, you can pick it up for me. You know I'm good for it. I'll pay you back. 




I swear this is the stuff that nightmares are made of. I know these are made to be cute, yet they just give me visions of the cactus people walking around, trying to be friends and give us all...hugs....AAAAGGGHHHHH!!!  (I'm really looking forward to Halloween this year : )

That said, they could make a nice addition to any desk.

Made in Italy of cast porcelain and individually blow glass bulbs. 





Hey All, 

I return! It has been a heck of a week, I've missed you all and I am glad to be back. Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes, I didn't have Swine Flu, just the normal, early school year plague. It set in Sunday, the day after the move. I could feel it creeping as Rose, Dan and I were working on the electrical. By Monday morning it kicked in full steam, and I made the mistake of going into work anyway. I did not treat my recovery properly and I paid the price. You see, we had a company come into town that we are doing research for. They scheduled to be here all week and it was my responsibility to work with them on the project. So after being sent home on Monday after a few hours, I returned on Tuesday, and proceeded to work very hard on this project for the next 4 days. Needless to say, the cold possibly got worse through the week. I made it out alive but I still can't shake some of the symptoms. The good news is that I was able to solve some problems that the company had been suffering from for months. 

The house is coming together well, We only have one room of stuff still in boxes. We still have lots of work, to do, but we got the wall paper stripped from two rooms, including the kitchen which was the worst offender. We still have a lot of spackle and paint to get to, all in good time. 

Also, I was asked to teach Freshman Foundations next semester. Oh Man! I am excited and having terrifying flashbacks all at the same time. I haven't been around foundations since my own horrifying experience. Any of those of you out there who went through Art School, will know what I am talking about. I have to keep telling myself, "You made it out alive." and "They are only kids, they can't hurt you..."

I am back to functional and doing everything I need to do to catch up, Like getting back to the blog. 

So quickly. 500. That's right. the list of ceramics blogs is now 500. Seriously. OMFG. You all out there love the clay!

The honor of the 500th blog goes to Niswander Ceramics. Congrats!

Niswander Blog is a newer blog started in September written by Laurie who is a potter and sculptor living in the Baltimore/DC area. So everyone stop by and give her some words of welcome.

Glad to be back!