Saturday, October 8, 2011


It has been awhile so I felt an update was needed!  The Indie Craft Parade is over and I must say that it was a great show.  I met a lot of people and my work was well received. The hours were long and very tiring but altogether worth every moment. I hope to do it again next year. As for now I am preparing for a fall kiln opening / holiday sale the dates will be sent out later. This pic is from the booth that I had at ICP this year. 
I had some time to kill today so I decided to go to the Spruce Pine Potters Market in North Carolina.
The potters mart always intrigues me. There are just so many different potters working in various styles in the region. I came away from the show today with three nice cups. The one on the left is from Bandana Pottery. What can I say yellow crackle slip (i think) on a teabowl!  The one in the middle is from Michael Kline from Kline Pottery, I love the layered slips on this piece and the blush from the flame on the slip. The last is from Joy Tanner. The soda and flame markings are really nice on this piece as well. I think though I like the form most of all.  Slightly spherical, cylindrical, and geometric all working together.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spinning my wheels!

Lately I have been throwing these large platters. I don't quite know yet what my fascination is with these. They have a large surface area just begging for some form of brushwork or carving etc...  but like a lot of things, I am a bit apprehensive to do so. Got to work on that. I think I might leave a few just as they are and let the kiln work some magic on them by stacking some smaller pots on top.  These guys are fairly large for me. At 22" in diameter they can be a beast to throw sometimes. Soft clay is a must here. I actually wedge up my scraps to throw these guys. I take and spread the scraps out on plaster and let it dry then wedge it up. I don't use a traditional method of centering/throwing on these I use a punch and throw method and have been quite pleased with the lack of "s" cracking.

I have also been preparing for Indie Craft Parade in September.  I don't exactly know how much work I am going to need, so I am making as much as I can as it is a three day event, don't want to get caught without enough goods. I don't plan on selling out though that would be great!  The booth sizes are small about 8ft across and according to the memos sent out we cant do a "walk in" booth unless we have a corner booth. That is going to be interesting to say the least. A three foot by eight foot table is not a lot of room to put stuff!  I will manage though. I will have to put those creative juices on the task of coming up with a booth design that will still be functional/practical and attractive. Well  a storm is rolling in and I must get some things done before it starts to pour. So another day and another time.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Lately I have been doing some glaze testing and have been getting some surprising results. The cup above has some qualities to it that you might only find in a gas/soda kiln or wood kiln although this came from my electric kiln. I know, I know I am a wood fire guy. You are asking yourself electric kiln what? At school we fire electric kilns and students are always asking about glazes and certain colors etc... but some colors and tones are difficult to get from electric kilns. So I put the nose to the grindstone (literally fighting it tooth and nail)  and started a series of tests to expand the color palette that my students would have to choose from.  I must say that I am quite pleased with some of the results........

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Here lately I have been struggling with certain aspects about my work.  I dearly love wood firing, but find that many people dislike the "non-uniform" aspect about it. Which is ok by me but frustrating none the less.  They have comments like "you should make bright happy cheerful pots" and my all time favorite "eww brown"! My question is this, Why do brightly colored pots with no real sense of design sell so well? 
Has pottery become like most every other thing on this planet, it has to knock us over the head with wild decoration and bright colors for us to look at it and pay attention to it?  What has happened to people appreciating subtlety, nuance, and gracefulness?  Maybe people are so used to the cgi this, 3d that, 4g faster, on-slaught that they have turned off their senses and have lost the ability to think for themselves.  
In a world of perpetual entertainment and connectivity, I find it a blessing to be able to slow down, contemplate and enjoy the hidden, the minuscule  and ephemeral things in life. For all of you with comments like those above, This is why I make the pots I do!  

Monday, June 20, 2011


First summer session is now over and I have some free time! I have the next two months off and they are really a good time for me to buckle down and get some work done without any distractions. I do find though that I tend to procrastinate without a "schedule". It seems I do better with deadlines and what not. Too much free time and I get lazy. I guess thats how my students feel sometimes they think oh I can do it another day and then they get to the end and go oh crap! 
 I applied to a local crafts fair that will be held in September I should know if I will be included later this week. Its a juried craft show in its infancy ( this is the second year) called Indie Craft Parade. It had a large turn out last year, about 4000 people came through in three days. 
This will be the first craft show that I have done. Most of my work usually gets sold through word of mouth, which is a blessing if you ask me. 
In thinking about my procrastinatory habits I have gotten a jump on making some work. I got in the studio over the weekend and made ten baking dishes, twelve mugs, and eight yunomi cups. I am also doing some clay/ glaze testing, trying to narrow down some problems that I have been having with cracking in the kiln. Also over the weekend I got to spend some time with my dad on fathers day, which was a nice break from all the mental overload from this last summer session of classes.  
Its late and I have to get a jump on things in the morning, or else fall victim to nasty habits of sleeping in! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011


The thought of brush work on pottery has always intrigued me. Though I have never had the time to try it on some of my work.  The layered, three dimensional quality, of the brush strokes has a lot of potential. I found an old brush today while cleaning out the studio and thought I might try my hand at some rough painting. After seeing these first attempts I think I might just try putting some on my work. Though I must admit these still look rough.  Anybody got any suggestions as to recipes usage tips etc....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As asked for.... more from the first firing!

This firing consisted of experiments with surfaces, forms etc...  to see what qualities this kiln imparts to the ware.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Some new work.

Pot from the first firing of my wood kiln.
I really enjoy the laborious nature of firing with wood, it keeps me focused.
Insane I know.

Something New!

Well I am new to the whole blog thing, thought I might try it out.

I guess I should introduce myself at least! You will be reading about the exciting yet often ordinary, particularly hectic and measurably insane life of me,   Blake Smith.  First and foremost you will often see posts about me and the pottery work that I do. But like most artists you will also see what drives me and inspires me in my life and work. I will be posting randomly, but hopefully often.  So here's to a new adventure, I know I am really looking forward to the ride.