• Just Getting it done – Life of a Potter

    Do you ever really know how your day is going to play out? I try so hard to make a list at the end of each day for the next day’s tasks. Wake up, check the list, and get to work on checking the items off.

    C2Ceramics porcelain houses

    Last night, my list had these items on it:

    Fire Gas Kiln, while doing this, do these things:

    Clean studio.

    Call a couple of artists

    Payroll

    Newsletter for Designers

    Newsletter for Loyalty customers

    Empty electric glaze firing

    Work out

    Make yogurt

    A fairly reasonable list. Instead, the day has run like this:

    Kiln stopped firing 5 times last night. Had to re-light it, of course.

    Did payroll.

    Completed Social Media posts

    REALLY Cleaned the studio. That means wiping down every surface. Moving every bucket.

    Emptied Electric Kiln.

    Read a couple of emails.

    Gas Kiln now has a fire coming out of a location it shouldn’t have flames. Yikes!

    Call Jim Bailey at Bailey Pottery Company.

    Inside of bailey gas kiln

    He was wonderful. Patient with me. He gave me a vocabulary lesson in kiln parts, looked at the pictures I sent him, and calmly reassured me that we would get this fixed. No, I was not going to have a serious problem. Read between the lines here.

    Gas burner for bailey gas kiln

    With the kiln firing on one burner and at 1793 degrees, I put on my Kevlar gloves so that I don’t burn myself, a pair of pliers, I listen to Jim tell me what to do. I won’t go into the details but we did get the problem corrected so that I can finish the firing. Yes, I am checking this baby every half hour or more, just to make sure. Learning to fire a gas kiln teaches you respect for fire and you do lose your fear of fire. Not sure how this is possible. Plus, if you are a potter, you can see that the paint has burned off the blower. I learned from Jim, that I haven’t had the correct balance between air and gas. Another lesson. It’s been an interesting day. Thank you Jim, for your help.

    Finished cleaning the studio.

    Huge Chinese Wok used for glazing dinner plates

    Made yogurt.

    Yes, life goes on. How has your day been going? If nothing else, I hope you have done something creative. Take care, C2

    Porcelain houses by Cyndi Casemier

  • Stephen Kostystyn ceramic basket vessels It’s a Wrap! First Friday Art Hop Fun with Stephen Kostyshyn, ceramic-basket vessel maker. Plus Stephen answers our “Ten Questions to the Artist”

    Ceramic artist Stephen Kostyshyn holding a ceramic basket bottle

    Stephen drove down from the Grand Traverse area of Michigan to spend the evening with us in the gallery. He shared how he creates these vessels. Personally, I think he is a closet engineer.
    First Friday Art Hop July 2018
    Did you know clay shrinks two times during the making process? During the drying stages and the first kiln firing (bisque) and then again during the glaze kiln firing. Steve needs to drill precise holes in the top and bottom clay sections. He keeps his fingers crossed that the holes do not become distorted during firings. If all goes well, then, he is able to select his reeds for creating his gorgeous baskets. I had wondered where he got his idea for making these types of vessels. Several years ago, A maker told him that there were baskets being made on the East Coast that start with a piece of wood for the base. It dawned on Stephen that he could create a base by throwing it on the potter’s wheel. He started trying different methods and slowly figured out how to create his own unique artwork.
    Stephen Kostyshyn holding his ceramic basket vase with SUSAN picking, singer songwriter

    One thing that I enjoy doing, is asking the same ten questions of our artists.  We learn just a little bit more about him or her as a person.

    Ten Questions to the Artist

    Stephen Kostyshyn making a ceramic basketWhat turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

    Music. But, I have always has been excited by vessels, love ceramics.

    Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?

    No. I let the materials guide me.

    What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Archeology

    What profession would you not like to do?

    Be a doctor, Really, no blood.

    Who are your favorite artists?

    Monet, all impressionists.

    What is your favorite tool used to create your work?

    Scribe tool from Home Depot. It has a little hook that I use to complete a basket.

    What is your favorite word?

    Cool

    What is your least favorite word?

    Awesome because what will you say when you look at the Grand Canyon what word would you use.

    Who is your favorite musician?

    Colin Hay (men at work), Drew Nelson.

    How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft.

    BFA  in ceramics, plus a minor in painting.

    Thank you, Stephen, for taking the time to answer our questions.  We appreciate it.

    Stephen Kostyshyn's ceramic baskets
    Kostyshyn’s forms are one of a kind. I have not seen anything like his artwork. Stop into the gallery or get ahold of us to send you pictures of our current inventory. We can ship one to you.