For two summers in a row I have been challenged with health problems. The first was rather prolonged, going from early June 2016 until late February 2017, the second from mid June 2017 until now (mid July 2017).
These issues have meant that my studio time has been quite restricted for the past year, and also, especially after this last illness my appreciation of the importance in my life of the my participation in, and contributions to, my local ceramic and pottery community.
At this year's New Art Festival I had a brief conversation with Chandler Swain about her (non-ceramic) printmaking work and her interest in applying it to her ceramic work using decals. She suggested that I expand my work with decal making to the use of colour laser printing and that I share the resulting ability to make custom coloured decals with local ceramic artists and potters.
During my stay in the hospital with my second illness I decided to act on this suggestion and immediately began researching the means to put together a coloured laser printer decal system in my studio.
I quickly found a company in Colorado with the North American rights to the technology developed in Germany which in 2002 first gave access to this process to ceramic workers. They, as I later learned, do as many other companies in Europe and the Americas who have come on the scene in the last 15 years, sell "Turnkey Systems". This means for between $USD10,000 and $USD30,000 anyone can get a state of the art system, training on how to use it and technical support to keep it running.
This, I realized, would not work: Instead of having a system for my personal and for supplying my community with custom coloured ceramic decals using their artwork I would have a system that was so expensive that I would have to start a business supplying eastern Canada with plates and plaques decorated with logos and photos of children.
After much work and worries I am now close to knowing how to put together a ceramic coloured laser printing system that will produce quality decals.
To achieve this I have to come up with some more funds than I already have saved for such adventures and have decided to sell the Shimpo Aspire table top potters wheel that I purchased last summer and have used for less than 5 hours since.
This wheel comes with a foot pedal, two (original Shimpo) plastic bats, and four water-resistant fibre board bats (three have actually had clay on them).
New this costs $900.
If you are interested, I will sell you my wheel, pedal and bats for $700.
In mid March the Ottawa Guild of Potters announced a new partnership to provide an opportunity for Guild members to show our contemporary ceramic pieces on a monthly basis at Galerie Côté Créations.
Starting with a Vernissage on April 6, 2017 the Galerie Côté Créations gallery space will be dedicated to exhibiting the work of members of the Ottawa Guild of Potters.
I made the following submission and one of my pieces, titled Emergence, was selected.
Below, for the record, is the submission and the photos of all the pieces I included in the submission:
Submission from Art Petch
Art Petch has been working with clay for the last 18 years. He began by working as a studio potter at the Nepean Visual Arts Centre. After joining The Ottawa Guild of Potters Arthur became a founding member of the Gladstone Clayworks Cooperative, but subsequently build his own studio, Alpine Clayworks in Ottawa’s west end.
While constructing his studio he worked as a volunteer technician at the Nepean Visual Arts Centre Pottery Studio and began the web site OttawaPottery.com to help support the ceramics community it Ottawa. In addition, he now also sends out a periodical newsletter from the website that lists upcoming events and some news items. He maintains a sister site, Ottawa Pottery ALIVE, on Facebook (https://facebook.com/ottawapottery/).
My work has emphasized the use of hand building techniques and most especially the use of an extruder which forces clay through a die, usually made of plywood. While the spinning wheel and hand pressure of traditional wheel throwing emphasizes rounded shapes the compressive force that forces clay throw the openings in a die produces objects that are more linear but also reminiscent of the way water and wind produce waves that crest and spill out into sensual forms that reflect a new way clay can capture the energy applied to. Many of my sculptural pieces explore the possibilities produced by the dies I produce in my studio.
While working with the extruder has led me into non-utilitarian ceramics such as sculptures, I do maintain an interest in making objects that have a practical use. These include bowls that reflect the forms of nature, such as shells and cylindrically shaped birdfeeders made from extruded cylinders, and most recently, tables made with an extruded, coffee table style base and a non-extruded top.
When responding to the forms that I extrude for sculptures I try to minimize the altering of the initial shapes that I decide to work with and be accepting of the glaze firing results that I get. In doing this I am mindful of the concept of “organic perfection” as defined by Ottawa chant master, Barclay McMillan of Voice Emergent. The idea behind “organic perfection” suggests for example, that while an apple may be one’s idea of the perfect form, the apple flower bud should also be seen as being “organically perfect”.
In March I finally completed some projects that were initially conceived when I was visiting my sister in Vancouver about 4 years ago.
The red bottomed table was fired multiple times the last two times were to fuse the bottom to the top and the last time to get a better finish on the top. Unfortunately this last firing resulted in a cracking of the top. I filled the cracks with gold coloured epoxy after the practice in Japan of repairing favoured cracked cups.
The top and bottom of green table were joined together with a glass tile adhesive that I had used when installing backspash tiles in our main bathroom. This approach seems to be equally good as the fuse firing approach.
I found this on the internet at lakesidepottery.com and don't want to loose the information.
Estimating electric kiln firing costs we, at lakeside pottery ceramic school and studio, have been operating electric kilns for years several times each month. Many potters and clay facilities have asked us or used our consulting services to determine what is the actual cost per firing operating an electric kiln. The electric cost is perceived to be their highest concern, yet through our collective experiences, it is the least of our concerns as demonstrated below.
Step 1: kiln power consumption
look at your kiln manual or at label on the kiln’s controller and find the watts value.
It may be indicated in kilowatts or kw. If all you see is amps and voltage, multiply the number of amps by the voltage to get the watts value. Then, divide the watts by 1,000 to get the kilo watts value (e.g., 48 amps x 240 volts = 11,520 watts / 1,000 = 11.52kw). * for the example below, let’s say that the kiln power consumption is 11.52 kw.
Step 2: firing duration
clock the duration of firing. With computerized kilns, measure the candling or preheating time prior to bisquing (remove moisture) separately. * for the example, let’s say that the kiln was preheating at 180 degrees f for 7 hours and bisqued fired for 9 hours.
Step 3: duty cycle
the kiln's elements are not engaged for the full duration of firing and are powered only sometimes as needed to maintain the proper firing curves. The terminology for this is duty cycle. For example, if the elements are powered constantly, duty cycle is 100%. If they are powered half of the time, duty cycle is therefore 50%. 1. Duty cycle for low firing or bisque firing (cone 04 or 06) is about 50%
2. Duty cycle for glaze firing (cone 6) is about 65%
3. Duty cycle preheating (180 degree f) is about 15% note that duty cycle is also effected by:
1. Kiln’s load mass (number of pots, number of shelves, shelves thickness).
2. Firing target temperature and hold up time.
3. Kiln’s brick thickness (3” inches is more efficient than 2” brick).
4. Kiln element’s age (the older they are, the longer they have to be on to reach temperature).
5. Kiln room temperature.
6. Whether or not envirovent is used (when used, some efficiency is lost). * for the example, the duty cycle is 15% for 7 hours (preheating), 50% for 9 hours (bisquing) and 65% for 10 hours (glaze firing).
Step 4: your electric cost per kwh
electric bills can be confusing with all the different charges (generation, supplier and delivery charges). The easiest way to estimate the final cost per kwatt / hour (kwh) that includes all charges, take your total monthly charge and divide by the total kwh used to get the cost per kwh. * for the example, the total monthly bill cost due is $275 and the total kwh used is 1,527 kwh. Therefore, the cost per kwh is 275/1527 = .18 (18 cents per kwh). Note that in the summer, cost per kwh can almost double.
Step 5: calculation of firing electricity cost
kiln kwatt x firing hours x duty cycle x cost per kwh
- preheating: 11.52 x 7 x 0.15 x 0.18 = $2.18
- bisquing: 11.52 x 9 x 0.5 x 0.18 = $12.35
- glazing: 11.52 x 10 x 0.65 x 0.18 = $13.48
- total cost for candling, bisque (cone 06) and glaze firing (cone 6): 2.18+12.35+13.48 = $28.00
step 6: other firing costs
- fans: use the same calculation as above to figure out operating fans costs (about $1.00 for 24 for two fans)
- kiln cost: let’s assume that your kiln purchase cost is $2500 and lasted 400 firings. Cost per firing will therefore be $6.25
- kiln maintenance: kiln shelves, elements, relays and thermocouple require replacement approximately every 100 firings (150 firings if used for low fire only). If you are able to use your own labor to replace parts, the cost for the above parts is about $375 (add $250 for labor). Cost per firing is therefore $3.75 or $5.75 (w/labor) per firing.
- space used: if you rent space, monthly rental cost for the kiln room will add to “per firing cost”. Let’s say your kiln room is 9x6’ = 54 sq ft. For example, if your rent is $2 a sq ft per month, the kiln room cost is $108 per month. If you fire 5 times a month, cost per firing is $21.60
- insurance: insurance cost for a house or a facility can double in some cases due to having a kiln. In our case (lakeside pottery), insurance cost increased by $1,200 a year. At a 5 times a month firing rate, the cost per firing will be $20.00
- misc other costs: kiln shelves maintenance (labor, parts and material), kiln wash, witness cones. For this example, let’s assume $2.00 per firing
if all variables are added up using the information above with a real situation example, cost per firing is way more than just the electric cost. For example, electric cost per glaze firing is $13.48. But, the total cost taking in all variables, adds up to $70 per firing ($13.48 + 1 + 6.25 + 5.75 + 21.6 + 20 + 2
10 WRITERS + 10 WILD SPACES + 10 NEW PERSPECTIVES
August 21st at 3 PM.
2501 Old Brooke Rd. (The barn across the road from Fieldwork). Map
Tickets: $20 Advance only from the Ottawa International Writers Festival website
Fieldwork is excited to be hosting its second edition of Framework: Words on the Land - readings from new work created over the course of a weekend on the land at Fieldwork.
It will be held on Sunday, August 21st at 3pm. Featuring:
Natale Ghent, Katherine Graham, John K. Grande, Helen Humphreys, Jonathan Kaplansky, Andrew Kaufman, Monty Reid, Sandra Ridley, John Steffler and Alissa York.
As most of you know, a collection of three dimensional artwork has been growing at Fieldwork for the past 9 years. Last August we initiated Framework: Words on the Land - an experiment in how land works on the imaginations of writers. It was a hit and we've decided to do it once again.
For a brief 2 day period this August, ten diverse writers will be positioned in front of portals that frame vantage points around the land at Fieldwork. From these vantage points, stories, poems and other literary experiments will be developed.
We expect that Framework will illuminate, for writers and listeners alike, our nuanced and varied experiences with nature. Whatever emerges from this weekend will be, at minimum, imaginative, surprising and full of spontaneity.
We welcome you to join us Sunday afternoon, August 21 at 3pm for readings and discussion with the writers in the wonderful space of our barn loft - located across the road from Fieldwork (15 minutes west of Perth, ON) .
For simplicity's sake, tickets will be sold only online through the Ottawa International Writers Festival website. Space in our barn loft is limited so purchase tickets early to avoid disappointment. Only if there are some remaining tickets on the day of the event will we sell at the door (cash only).
Despite a the trials of medical complication of typical male aging, that required two visits to the Emergency Unit of the local hospital, a last minute rush to catch the train, and enduring the discomforts associated with a Foley Catheter I had a most wonderful and inspiring two day hands-on conference organised by the Ontario Clay and Glass Association. The Conference ran from June 3 to 5.
Actually I missed the gathering at the Gardiner Museum where the visiting 5 Korean pottery Masters had fabulous pots on display for sale in the Gardiner Shop. I saw these on Monday, June 6, however when I was able to visit the Gardiner Shop and Museum.
The workshops in which we watched one master demonstrate a particular vessel decorating technique, most of which involved the use of coloured slip(s) and carving. I haven't finished one of the projects yet and have yet to fire any but here are three of the pieces I produced based on the workshops.
One of the most amazing things about the conference was that each one of the 350-odd participants received a too kit that contained two stamps and a full set of metal carving tools all of which were made by the 5 masters!
Finally, on Sunday, the second day of the conference, bought the demonstration Shimpo Aspire throwing wheel from Tuckers.
Now I have a wheel in my studio AND it takes up only a small space on a shelf that already existed and wasn't being well used.
In the book "Designa: Technical Secrets of the Traditional Visual Arts" Adam Tetlow writes about the 'Paleolithic Meander', and in particular about a mammoth ivory tusk bracelet dated 20,000 BC that was found in Mezin, Ukraine.
Tetlow suggests that the creator of the design "embedded the secrets of its construction for us to decipher". He was referring to the blank lines that divide the pattern into thirds, and are the basis for explaining the construction of the "meander" pattern of rectangles. (Drawings of this bracelet and other information is available at http://www.monsangelorum.net/?p=18955)
I simply liked the pattern and wanted to make it continuous so I could use it on mugs or make my own ceramic bracelets. I imagined the person had simply not been able to keep track of the diagonal grid that the pattern is based on and I wanted to fill in the blanks.
To do this I used my Corel Draw program to manually trace the lines of the pattern and printed out many copies at different scales for me to work with, and ultimately to make adjustments and draw new lines that would fill in the blank to make the zigzag pattern blend into the spiral patterns and back again into the zigzags.
It took days of trial and error to come up with a solution that actually worked. Part of the effort was to colour in the pattern so I could keep track of which spirals were matching lines with other spirals. I also analyzed the diagonal grid that is embedded in the pattern, and the points where the Paleolithic artist seemed to loose track of this imaginary grid and presumably lost control of the procedure that would allow him/her to convert the spiral back to zigzag.
Here are the results:
According to Paul Gaugin, ‘pottery is a central art’, and pottery means pots. And as remarked by Edmond de Waal, "pots are some of the very earliest artefacts created, made to celebrate rituals of birth, marriage and death.*
In keeping with this tradition, my Memory Boxes are vessels that hold memories: artefacts that record aspects of contemporary life which we share and hold dear.
This Memory Box, Quietly reading by Pinecrest Creek, depicts the ritual of a neighbour who, every morning, rain or shine, parks his bike against the same tree, sits on the same rock by the creek and reads his newspaper.
One morning last fall, while he sat there, framed by two birch trees, I took photos of him and his bicycle, as I walked by on the path. Later, I returned with my camera and went to the exact spot where he sits to see what he sees.
This is a record of his ritual.
* from The Pot Book by Emund De Wall
for more photos see Geraldine Petit-Gras' blog.