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Janson Pottery Blog

~ Saturday, January 13, 2018

Exploring forms on the wheel

I decided to begin my new year by playing around with making new wheel thrown forms. There are so many things to consider when a potter approaches this process.

I am not a big fan of decorating but I have decided to step outside of my comfort zone and explore what can be done on the surface of the each piece individually in different ways in order to open my mind to new ideas and ways of going through the making process.
I threw these two forms and although they are very similar they are not familiar to me. I need to explore the shape and what can be done on the surface as well as modifications to the foot and what type of handle would be best suited to each one.

~ Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Workshop with Carol Epp

It has been a crazy busy year but not in the way that I would necessarily like it to be. I had knee surgery in the spring and was off for a lot longer than I had anticipated. I had heard that the recovery could be up to year and I had also heard that some people just bounce back right away. I happen to be one of the ones that hasn’t bounced back as I would have liked. Once school returned this autumn, I was able to get back into the swing of working again and overall things are going pretty well.
I had the opportunity to go to a Fusion workshop with Carol Epp this past February in Toronto. For those of you who don’t know Fusion, it is the Ontario Clay and Glass Organization. Carol’s workshop was great and she was very generous with information about her process. I brought a couple pieces with me to work on. I recently finished this piece from the workshop.

When I was in college studying clay, I never really used underglazes much because we had a gas kiln and I was captivated by the reduction process. I am not that great at drawing things but I thought I would try the process of using underglazes the way that Carol does and also try to improve my drawing skills at the same time. Here is my piece before I put underglazes on it.
She initially draws her image with a pencil on bone dry clay and then carves into it with a fine tip. She used a needle placed inside a plastic mechanical pencil. Once all of the dust has been cleaned off, she went over it with the black underglaze and waxed over top to clean up any of the excess so that a fine black line is left where the image is. Here are some of her pieces incomplete and complete.
There are always so many ways to explore every facet of life. Bottom line is never stop searching for new ways to enjoy every moment.

~ Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care

I love orchids. The Phalaenopsis is the most common orchid due to its ease of production and the availability of blooming plants year-round. They are easily grown in the home and stay in bloom for a very long time. A mature phalaenopsis will be in bloom much of the year with graceful inflorescences loaded with good-sized blooms. From pure whites to unusual spotted harlequins Phalaenopsis are sure to please. Unlike many other orchids, Phalaenopsis can be repotted anytime, though it is usually best to do so when not in bloom.

The culture of Phalaenopsis involves windowsill light and consistent moisture. They do very well as houseplants and will grow and flower in a moderately bright windowsill. Each year, it will grow one or two new leaves. Once the growth phase is complete, usually in the fall, a bloom spike will emerge from the stem beneath the second or third leaf from the top. Sometimes we have to help a Phalaenopsis that is grown in a consistently warm home to realize it is fall by allowing it to experience lower temperatures (60’s) for several nights in order to set a bloom spike. They typically bloom in the late winter through the spring.

In late June and July, our orchids finally lose their blooms, some will remain in bloom for awhile longer. The ideal time to repot orchids is when they go out of bloom. Once it has finished blooming the orchid will focus on growing new roots and leaves in preparation for new flower spikes.

Establishing good watering practices can be a bit tricky at first for a new orchid owner.  Phalaenopsis like to stay generally moist but not sopping wet and must always be kept in a pot with good drainage.

Late in the winter, I usually begin receiving requests for planters for these lovely plants. I have made quite a few and have sold them. I recently had knee surgery and I should be back to work in the next week. I have a few more of these planters to glaze, so if you are interested in one, please let me know and I can put your name on my list.

~ Sunday, August 24, 2014

Looking Inward

I like to live my slow from an inward perspective. I like to take things apart and look at what they really mean. This is the kind of parent that I am and also the kind of potter too. I see everyone rushing around these days and always checking their phones, texting and surfing the web. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet and love looking things up but I don’t have a phone that I can do that outside of home. I like to read thinking books and listen to thinking people. One of those people is Pema Chodron.

Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. Pema Chödrön taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. While in her mid-thirties, she traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, ultimately receiving her ordination as a Buddhist nun from his Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa.
Since her ordination in 1974, she has taught and conducted meditation retreats in North America, Europe, and Australia. She served as the director of Gampo Abbey, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns in North America. Pema Chodron is also a master teacher in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She currently teaches in the United States and Canada when she is not spending time in solitary retreat.
Pema Chodron sees sitting meditation practice as the basis for unconditional friendliness toward oneself and all beings. She has grounded her teachings about compassion in the Tibetan practice of “mind training,” whereby difficulties are transformed into insights. Under this way of looking at things, intimacy with fear and chaos is the beginning of wisdom..
In a relaxed teaching style, Chodron enables us to look at ourselves clearly, to touch the soft spot of our hearts, and to dissolve the barriers that separate us from others. Whether focusing on loving kindness, the art of peacemaking, or tonglen meditation practice, she enables us to develop a sense of sacredness and tenderness toward ourselves and the world in which we live.


~ Friday, March 21, 2014

Signs of Life

I have been missing writing here for some time. Behind the scenes, I have been busy working on new ideas and designing new pieces as well as working on a standard list of pieces that I have been producing.
We had a particularly long winter and I think it is suffice to say that it has been this way through most of not only Canada but North America. I have shuffled more than my share of snow this winter and although I love the exercise, I like many other people, have had enough. Sometimes we have this thought that if we just send Mother Nature a note, she will stop sending us snow! When I do venture out almost always on my snowshoes, I see signs of life everywhere and it makes me realize that we are not the only ones longing for spring.

I have been working on planters in the last little while as well as vases thinking that somehow if I fill my home with flowers, the snow will melt and spring will show itself sooner rather than later.

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