Smile and say Clay.

Steve Irvine uses his clay to make pinhole cameras. 
Pretty fun. 
We did a lot of pinhole Camera work in Freshman Foundations and had a lot of fun with them. 




Sweet 'Stache

As a Mustachioed Gentlemen myself, I am often asked.
"How can I become more awesome, like yourself?"
Of course my answer is always, "Become Mustachioed!"
Unfortunately, half of you are unable to grow a wonderful mustache as I can... and the rest of you are ladies...

These mustache mugs  will get you half way there. 




NCECA Pre-Conference: You know you want to.

Hola, Katz and Kittenz

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We had a fantastic time with Mr. Chris who unfortunately is on his way back to Vacationland as I type. My favorite quote from the weekend was "I didn't realize that Alfred was so...small..."

Anyhoo, today's news is important for all of you, but especially those of you who are trying to make a go of ceramics as a lifestyle. Friends of Slipcast. Michael Connelly and Alleghany Meadows are putting together a Pre-Confernece Meeting with a very important subject. 

"Making Through Living—Living Through Making:
Studio Pottery in 2010


The even is taking place on March 29 and 30, at Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA. The conferece has a who's who of awesome ceramicits who are working thier buns off to make a living at making pots. Including include Mary Barringer, Christa Assad, Andy Brayman, Ron Meyers, Ellen Shankin, Ayumi Horie, Julia Galloway, Alleghany Meadows, Steven Lee and Michael Connelly.

It is an exceptionally tough life out there and these people have a lot of knowledge to share on the subject.

 I have known Connelly and Ghany for a long time and they are smart and talented people and have a lot to contribute to the community and the discussion. So sign up now, You won't be disappointed. 

Web Site





 I stumbled across this item and though, " Yep, It's Friday" 

I'm excited because my oldest friend Mr. Chris is coming to visit.  We have literally known each other since the age of 4 when we met in Pre-School. That means we have know each other for 12 whole years (don't you dare question me on my math!) 

I'm feeling insecure as someone, in a round about way, called me old the other day...


Don't everyone have too much fun tonight. But everyone make sure to Wang Chung tonight.

Damn... I am old


 From the maker's site


This whimsical pouring vessel is a comical take on the western slang “Sake Bomb”.  The inspiration is a juxtaposition of the Fugu Fish (Blowfish), the most opulent of sashimi cuts and a WW II sea mine. The small drinking cups perch neatly on the spines making it a compact entertaining tool.

The Sake Bomb was designed by Alexander Purcell founder of APRRO an interdisciplinary design studio based in Los Angeles.



Ok, now you are just mocking us...

Hey, I love Bacon too...but this is ridiculous. Deliciously ridiculous. 

mmmmm, Bacon.



Beth Cavener Stichter- On Tender Hooks

Well dear readers, what to do, what to do...

As I mentioned on Friday, Mrs. Rose and I went on a secret mission over the weekend. Our mission was to get down to the city (NYC) to see the new Beth Cavener Stichter Show-"On Tender Hooks" at the Claire Oliver Gallery. 

We did make it down, and had some adventures and some great food. If anyone is looking for real Chinese Pulled noodles and Dumplings I have a recommendation for you. But the auspices for our trip was to see the show.

I've been debating how I want to talk about this show,  I could write formal review, but that is not my style, or the style of the blog. I think that the personal response (rather than the objective) must be disclosed for a review to be honest. The fact is that there is no way to look at something without confronting ones own experience. So I think I am going to just write and see what comes out, format be damned. So, I have consumed the lovely latte that Mrs. Rose made me, I have put on some Fugazi and cranked it up. I'm itching to go.

Why would I write this review? There is something personal that I don't talk about much on the blog. That is that although I live the clay life style and I am obsessed with ceramics. I'm not actually interested in talking about it. Maybe I am just old and sour, but I am much more interested in the discussions that surround ceramics. Clay is easy, life is hard.

That is why Cavener Stichter's work appeals to me. I had mentioned before that I came across her work at NCECA a few years back. When I first saw the work the only thing that ran through my mind that was clay related was "Holy Shit, she made those out of clay" that's about it. There was no deeper consideration to the meaning of clay behind her work. it was just sculpture. The medium was irrelevant. Much in the same way that we don't consider that most Bronzes were at one time clay sculptures. There is no reason to consider the medium it is just that. it is the medium, not the message.

Why it was important to go see this show was for that very reason. Cavener Stichter's work is being displayed in the Claire Oliver Gallery. This is a big deal. This is a gallery in Chelsea, Chelsea is THE art neighborhood. Because of that ceramics are almost never seen there. So it left me to wonder, why is Cavener Stichter breaking through this glass ceiling? Why is this show all but sold out? Why, when discussing the show with my friend Sam Harvey who owns the Harvery/Meadows gallery (a well respected ceramic gallery in Aspen). He expressed frustration that they could not even get Cavener Stichter work in their space?

I have an answer.

Cavener Stichter may be the best ceramic artist working today. 

I say this with much trepidation, I am not one to fall head over heals for an artist. I have seen enough good and bad work in my day to be cynical about everything. Yet, I feel no impulse to do so with this work.  Not that the attempt was not made by Mrs. Rose. Who while discussing the show said that she liked the work but she thought it was relying to much on poking people. That shock value had more place then metaphor in the work.  While I could not disagree with her on the approach I had to challenge her on the intent. 

The reason I have to comes down to is the eyes. 

It drives me crazy to state things so simply. As a persons who always argues content over technique, it is the eyes that convinced me. 

I have seen a lot of figurative sculpture and what always leaves me cold is that there never seems to be a way to portray the eyes. Painting looks fake and carved look dead. Yet, Cavener Stichter creates eyes that stare right back at you. With the look of an dying animal, questioning your intentions, accepting their fate. She creates work that imparts responsibility for your responses on you. It sounds like a simple thing to execute...but I rarely see it done right. Cavener Stichter executes this perfectly.

I could talk more about technique, but all that needs to be said is that her methods are impeccable. the combination of almost impressionist bodies and yet, hyper realistic details like faces and (human) genitals. She is smart enough to includes historical references to things like the Meissen animals, but it really comes across as a smart nod and not a "I'm so clever" wink

They are exquisite, but my only complaint about the show is that the published statement relied too heavily on clay talk. If we as ceramicists are to move forward, we need to stop this conversation from going public. It is fine if it occurs within our circle, but the public does not care about it. To the degree that I believe it turns them off. If the work is strong as this is, the method is irrelevant, even as technically stunning in detail and scale as is Cavener Stichter's work.

I could attempt to dissect the imparted content, but I don't believe that there is really a point. Cavener Stichter is smart enough to craft work that although pointed, is mature enough to leave it the viewer to construct interpretation. It is not as simplistic as "We are all animals" the animals function simply as the medium. Cavener Stichter history with biology and animals, seem to give her a solid, sympathetic, yet pragmatic relationship with her subjects. Imparting both sympathy and apathy about her subjects. Whether Goat, Rat or Capybara the animal is portrayed as victim and conspirator in the work. Very much like the cat in the tree "Well, now I'm here, how the hell do I get down?" 

As I say to students, great work only leaves you with more questions, if you are providing the answers through your work, you fail.

I think I am going to leave it there. I'm not sure if I want to go farther. I say this because as I stated before the response to art is definitely subjective. Cavener Stichter my just be my favorite ceramic artist working today. 

But I can't say... too many questions. 

 The show is only up until December 5th, so if you can get to the city I can not recommend highly enough that you get there. Maybe you will disagree with me, but  what would be the fun if we all got along.

Claire Oliver 513 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001 / Tel: 212.929.5949 


Stuck on You!

Hey All,

First, Yes I have pushed back my promised piece, because life is getting in the way. But I did want to put up two reviews that have come up recently. Both of these reviews focus on putting Stuck Up- The Amazing Attaching Slip to the test.  I don't talk about Stuck Up, very much and I really should. 

This stuff is amazing, it can be used to attach parts without scoring. it can be used to attach clays of two different moisture contents together. It can attach virtually bone dry pieces together. It can be used for drawing and decorating surfaces. It can even be used to build with. It is revolutionary stuff.   

Stuck Up came out of industry, where this stuff was discovered for attaching handles. In a factory they don't have the time to slip and score. So they came up with this stuff that they could dob on the ends of the handle and stick it to the pot and voila! It is stuck on. Amazing! 

Of course, we are artists so we said, "What else can this stuff do?" and the answer is everything. There are new uses being made for it every day. The limit is your imagination. 

Give Stuck Up  a try, you won't be disappointed.

The first review is from Atlanta Clay

   ...Also available are the Cast Away Slip and the Stuck Up Slip – an amazing attaching slip that eliminates the need for scoring, matches the body perfectly, is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of moisture states. It’s an industry secret and man does it work! We put it through the gauntlet here at Atlanta Clay – check out our results below.  Daphne threw with the clay and attached handles and appliques and Deanna handbuilt with it in her traditional, torturous way – no cracks so far!!

porcelain for the people 065
porcelain for the people 067
porcelain for the people 073
” I was a jacka** trying out this clay. I attached handles at a nearly bone dry state to cups that were leatherhard… days later I decided to attach the appliques, which were wet, to the cups (bone dry by that time). I’m used to working with porcelain and expected everything to crack off…. it didn’t. Out of seven teacups I didn’t lose a single attachement.  And that’s crazy.” – Daphne


Awesome, Right? 

Our second review is from Beth over at About.com:Pottery


The Bottom Line

Bottom line, this is a porcelain slip that truly is wonderful for attaching components such as handles, spouts, feet, and more. It is useful with a wide variety of clay bodies, including those with lower maturation temperatures.


  • Excellent attaching slip that works with a wide range of clay bodies.
  • Used successfully on damp, leather-hard, and bone-dry greenware.
  • Can also be an interesting thick trailing slip.


  • Dries nearly instantaneously. Know exactly what you are going to do before opening the bottle.
  • White color may provide unwanted contrast when used with other colored clay bodies.


  • Porcelain attaching slip made from mother clay body, Porcelain for the People. Matures cone 7-12.
  • Works well with other clays besides mother clay body. Used to attach components or mend breaks in greenware.
  • Comes in a conveniently-sized plastic bottle with nozzle-tip cap.


Guide Review - Review of "Stuck Up Attaching Slip"

You have to love the name of this slip, and it fits the product perfectly. Not only does it work fantastic with its mother clay body, Porcelain for the People, but it also performed with stellar results when I used it with other clays, including mid-range stoneware, white low-fire, and red earthenware clay bodies. One of the real trials by fire was when I broke a limb off a white low-fire tree as I was loading it to be bisqued. I used Stuck Up Slip on the bone-dry greenware, then held it for a scant moment. Not only did the slip weld the limb back on right then, but it also held beautifully through the firing.
Attaching slips and menders have been used by industry for quite a long time. Many potters use them, too. Stuck Up Attaching Slip is one of the best I've tried. Not only does it eliminate the need for scoring, it creates a very solid attachment even when the pieces are bone dry. It, of course, also works just as well for damp and leather-hard greenware as well. (As an added bonus, I also found it to be an interesting slip for trailing raised designs.) 


Sweet, Don't you think?

So give Stuck Up a try. You can get your bottle a the Matt and Dave's Clays Store or at fine retailers like Atlanta Clay


Shimmy Shimmy Shake

This doubled ended salt and pepper shaker is designed by Ross McBride, an American who lives and works in Tokyo. It's ok, kind of interesting, funky, you know...

But I can't shake the feeling that it is some how...exceptionally inappropriate.... Seriously, don't click that link if you have ever been offended by anything...ever...seriously...

... I can't believe Wikipedia has a page on that...

Store Site


Top Secret

Hi all,

Sorry to say that I am super busy today because Mrs. Rose and I are trying to get work done so that we can go on a secret mission the weekend. The good news is that the mission is an attempt to do something new for the blog. So I should have something cool to post next week.

So have a good and safe weekend and I will see y'all on the other side.


We made it back alive, but the post is going to have to wait till tomorrow. I want to do it some justice.


A Teapot in The Matrix

Yesterday's post on the "rendered" teapot, took me down a little rabbit hole. In the article there was a reference to the Martin Newell and the digitization of a Melitta Teapot in 1975. I was interested, so I dug a little deeper and what I found it is a cool little story about how a teapot played a role in the development of computer graphics. 

The University of Utah was a hot bed of computer graphics in the 70's (Don't believe me? Ed Catmull who is one of the founders of Pixar is an alum). While working on a new rendering project Martin Newell was wondering what to attempt to render. He brought this up to his wife while they were sitting to to tea. She recommended the teapot they were using and computer history was made. 

The teapot provided the right level of visual complexity while providing a neutral surface that would render well. He sketched it out and then went into the lab and created the image you see at the top. History was made

The teapot became a famous object with computer scientists and a standard test for the quality of software. In fact it had  become an inside joke with computer scientists, and you can find this teapot in movies like Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and The Simpsons (Homer in the 3rd Dimensions, Tree House of Horrors episode). You'll have to look for it.

The Teapot now resides in Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California if you want to see this historical objct. Bringing Teapots into the Future. 


You can get more information at Wikipedia


Rendering (Plant)

3D Rendering and printing is super cool. It is much like making pots for all of those "I don't want to get dirty" types (just kidding) but it is a fascinating way of building and thinking about space. I am always a big advocate of knowing exactly what you are going to make before going into the studio. I know a lot of people like to go in and play, but for me I like to have every object and step in the process laid out. I think it makes a better final product. 3D rendering is the same thing, Plan things out, consider things carefully then execute. 
Here at Alfred, Carlo Sammarco has been teaching a series of very popular 3D rendering classes and is producing a lot of interesting things. 

This is borrowed from Yanko Design. Talking about the Martinus Teapot by famous designer Art Lebedev.

If you are the sort of person that’s got their fingers in the 3D rendering world, you might know about computer graphics researcher Martin Newell. In 1975 he took it upon himself to digitize his own Melitta teapot. Since then the teapot has become a common symbol, a basic project for every 3D object worker and designer. What Art Lebedev studio’s done here is to take that concept, that teapot, and push it back into the real. Red, green, blue, and alpha.
Below you’ll see a bunch of little rectangles showing their search for the correct number of polygons, then take a peek at the final product. Or look at the pics in any order you want, too, I suppose.
Lemme tell you how much I want this pot: I don’t drink coffee. I want this pot. I want this pot so much. It’s just lovely.

Artistic Director: Artemy Lebedev
Art Director: Timur Burbayev
Designer: Yevgeny Kazantsev
Industrial Designer: Lin Tao
Modeler: Alexander Pozdeyev
Visualizator: Dmitry Dolgikh


It's a Gas

When I look at this Gas Mask Shower Head by Chris Domino. I can't not help but think of home and the wonderfully terrifying nightmares there in. And that warm and fuzzy feeling that no matter how hard you scrub, you can never feel clean again...



You Like Us! You Really Like Us!

I know that a lot of people say they never read their reviews, I call shenanigans. Maybe it is just me but I think that we all care about what people think about what we do. Especially when we get praise. It is exceptionally Pavlovian to seek out those good reviews. The great thing about Porcelain for the People is that the good reviews are easy to find because we have yet to have anything less than a glowing review.  Today we have a great one from Beth over a About.Com:Pottery.

Review of "Porcelain for the People" Clay


4 1/2 Stars


The Bottom Line

Bottom line, this is a great high-fire porcelain clay body. It is easy to work with on the wheel and handbuilding. The color is a beautiful pure, warm white. It has an incredible firing range (cone 7 - 12, although the manufacturer says it is best at cone 10).


  • Extremely responsive clay body; elastic without losing strength or becoming sticky.
  • Beautiful bright white color, just ever so slightly on the warm side.



  • I wish they had a mid-range version. This clay is high-fire, cone 7 to 12.



  • True porcelain clay body, not white stoneware. Fires a lovely, just slightly warm white in oxidation.
  • Workability is incredible. Elastic, strong, and responsive. Not stiff or sticky like most porcelain bodies.
  • Firing range is from cone 7 to cone 12, with cone 10 being optimum.
  • Packaged in 30 pound "sausages." A smaller sample package is also available.

Matt and Dave's Clays has a definite winner here. This porcelain is the most responsive and elastic porcelain clay body I've used in years, if not ever. True porcelain bodies (as opposed to white stoneware and low-fire clay bodies) has an extremely strong tendency to be stiff and rather unresponsive on the wheel. Porcelain for the People feels and throws like butter...a truly sensuous experience, especially for someone who is used to other porcelain clays. This clay body didn't happen by accident, either. Matt Katz, Dave Finkelnburg, and Bill Carty are the ceramic engineers (who love pottery and clay art) who comprise Matt and Dave's Clays LLC. In their own words, "Utilizing ceramic engineering we can create bodies that are more rugged, yet responsive to the maker." 

 Cool, Thanks Beth! BTW we do have a Mid Temperature Body (The Coup!)...that is coming soon, I promise.

I also wanted to talk about a few things. There was a discussion that came to my attention over the weekend that presented some questions about our clay. The big question presented was about Filter pressing and Formula. Someone asked as to why we don't disclose our formula? They had asked that if the filter pressing made our body so great then why don't we provide the formula?

We have prided ourselves in providing every single piece of information and analysis that we have generated about our body. In that we have gone above and beyond what any other clay maker has to document the performance and science behind our body. We have done that to give you, the user everything you need to make the most out of our body in your studio. We have created a premium body that performs with flying colors in a wide variety of applications that has never been seen in a Porcelain. That is why we call it the Porcelain that works like a Stoneware. It is the science behind it that makes it so durable and versatile.

Our body is great for two reasons 1) The Filter Press and 2) The Formula. We worked for over 3 years to get the formula to it's amazing state. The science behind it cost us a lot of time and a lot of money. Because of that we are unable to share it. 

Much like the fact that you as a consumer don't have the formula to Coke, Oreo's, or KFC, it not because the company does not want you to try to make it at home. It is because they are a business and they can't allow their competitors to copy them and make money off of their hard work. 

It is true that no one else is producing clay in the filter press, but if they had our formula there is nothing we could do to stop them. They are so big and we are so small that they would put us right out of business. 

I do honestly wonder, and please feel free to respond in the comment section, what information that people believe they would gain if they had the formula? Honestly, as a ceramicist I can not think of anything I would gain if I had the formula for a boxed clay I was using. Glaze fit? That  can not be predicted based on the formula, and we have published our thermal expansion data. Something else?

If there is something that we have forgotten to document, please tell us and we will do what we can to share that information. We have prided ourselves in being as open and honest as possible and we hope that our efforts are valuable to you. As a company, there is one big line that we can't cross, but we want as much as possible to be on the table.

We are proud of what we have created. we believe that it is the best Porcelain that you have ever used. If you aren't a porcelain user, you should give us a try because this is unlike any clay you have ever used. 

We think that the reviews speak for themselves

Emily Schroeder

Kathy King

Jim Gottuso

Ginny Gromer and Heidi Fahrenbacher

Atlanta Clay

Give the Clay a try and we think you will find that our clays are the best you have ever used.


1-2-3-4 I declare a Ware War

Ok, This has now gone much too far. First it was the baked Cup Lid. Which was cute and functional and we all had a good laugh. Then the was the Cookie Cup, which was treading on our toes a little to heavily. Now it has come to this.

Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin) have created an entire line of baked dinnerware for Dutch Design Week. I am just aghast. My blood is boiling so viciously that I can not form coherent thought. 

All these bakers think they are sooooooo witty. That because they know food, that that gives them the right to know dinner ware. BACK OFF! Why don't you head back to your kitchens and proof some yeast. Sheesh! Who do these people think they are?

 What is the worst offense? They are using our own tools against us! Check this out!

A slipcast mold! OMG.

Bastards (Battards!)

Oh yeah, "Bread can do anything" "Laddy Da, Laddy Da" Yeah well you know what bread can't do? Dinnerware....

...or shoes. Definitely not shoes....




Talk Amongst Yourselves

Hi All,

So, you all know that I am not one to hold my tongue. So this may piss you off, but at the end of the day I really don't care. Like me, or hate me. I'll sleep tonight. So here goes. You all suck at communicating.

Now I am not specifically talking about this blog, y'all are pretty good with the feedback. What I am talking about is communicating with each other in a greater sense. So to say that I have been shocked at the lack of a good ceramics message boards. I don't know about you, but I love the message board format. It is a great way to trade information and experience and to great a real community. I use them for every other interest of mine, except ceramics, because I have never found a decent one.

So now I am going to piss of some of you a whole lot.

I know that there is one forum on the internet, not to be named , that sucks beyond belief! It is a horrible board. The format is out dated and it  is impossible to search, our use. In fact This board is so out of date I remember a story from a few years ago that the hosts wanted to convert it to a message board format and the users protested and kept it in their poor format. You know what. If people like that, good for them. I can't stand it.

Which brings us to a new option. Pottery Chat. Pottery chat is a brand new ceramics message board that was founded but Jason Fasi. and it provides the more accessible message board format.

Now, the board is brand new, so it dosen't have a lot of members, but as a message board. It is up to us in the community to make something of it. So if everyone stops by and registers, me may be able to start a new dialog, Wouldn't that be nice?

But the catch is, you can't stop by just today. You need to go tomorrow and next week and again and again. And post questions, post responses. Start a dialog.

Y'all are not just Islands, you are an Archipelago.  

So I demand that you go and chat.

Pottery Chat


Cut (it) Out

As we have discussed, shelves are important part of the ceramic relationship. No matter how much we love our pots and art, the fact is that they sit on the shelf 99.99% of the time. In fact, Mrs. Rose and I are currently dealing with this problem. As all of our art that has been in storage for many years is now emerging, we have discovered that we still don't have enough shelf space. Even though the house is filled with built-ins, it is not enough to give all the work it's due. So we are contemplating what kind of shelving we really want to show off the work. It is quite a quandary.

These particular shelves are made by Susan Bradley are pretty cute. But my question is, "If you have the pots, do you really need the shelves?"

But she does have some neat other designs, and I really like the outdoor wallpaper. 

Of course with many things I am just stretching the definition of Ceramics in the blog. So that I can post these other cut out fire screens that Mrs. Rose dug up. They are too fun and wicked. 


I Banish Thee Spammers to the Pits of Hell

Hi All,

Just a heads up. I'm turning off anonymous commenting. The blog has been hit with spam and I have no patience for that
Sorry, blame the losers for not playing nice.

Since everyone is going to have to register now. This would be a great time for you to become a follower of this blog. The Link is just off to the right. I only need 5 more to reach 100 followers, so it would be great if you would do that for me.


The Official Teapot of the Art Stream Gallery

We have got to get Allegahny and Andy one of these!

If you don't know the Artstream Nomadic Gallery.You have got to see it.




Get your research on!

The V & A in London is so awesome, Not only did they just open their new ceramics gallery, but they have just posted an online gallery with over a million pieces from their collection. All beautifully displayed and easily accessible. 

Awesome! So freaking awesome!

Thanks to Mrs. Rose for the Heads Up.