Max Adelman @maxadelmanpottery

Ceramics Instructor and Studio Potter at The Chicago Ceramic Center 🇱🇻| Uchicago Class of ‘21

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Max Adelman photos and videos


I’m going to be honest about something, I am not sure how helpful these videos actually are to rising members of the ceramics community. Rather than being nurturing for a developing skill set, I feel like all too often potters may regress because they do not know what they are really seeing. I fall prey to this often, even watching myself work. Frequently I will observe one of my movements when editing these videos and think (for lack of a better phrase ): “how the fuck did I do that?” If I cannot recall the specific finger positions and points of force on one of my own pieces, I can hardly expect the same of any of you to. Oftentimes, my students approach me saying something akin to: “I saw such and such on so and so’s youtube but I’ve been sitting at the wheel for an hour and have no idea why it isn’t working.” Pottery in video form is rather deceptive. The artist’s hands may be gliding over a particular area but that in no way means that they are necessarily applying any substantial degree of force with that appendage During the course of a throw, a huge amount is being done with the inside hand, which can never be visible in videos these clips. In fact, my non-dominant (left ) inside hand undoubtable does far more work and has a far greater impact on the overall piece than my dominant (right ) outside hand. Ceramics has made me beyond ambidextrous. In fact, I have far more dexterity, strength, and range of motion in my non-dominant side than most people do in their dominant. This is due, in large part, to my eastern influences I got a little off topic but my point is this: please do not read too much into these videos. They do not provide much useful information from a practical standpoint and can be to the detriment of your practices on the wheel. I have an extremely specific and personally tailored throwing style that you will not decipher by watching these videos. If you are actually interested in learning the way that I throw, I encourage you to take one of my workshops. In these classes, I preach what I practice. Please take these videos for what they are…an enjoyable and relaxing film of some beautiful art being made. I hope you all enjoy this one!

2 days ago

A medium-sized stoneware vase that I made recently, drying out on a plaster disk. Regardless of the method that I throw my pieces, I prefer to dry them on this surface, as it sucks moisture out from the bottom of the vessel where the walls are the thickest. The walls are noticeably thinner towards the top of the vessel—an unavoidable condition of throwing large forms—so if the piece were left to dry its own, the top would crisp up far more quickly than the bottom. If allowed to occur, this can offset the proportions of the form rather drastically from the original piece. At the very least the change would seem drastic to me, but I also have a really good eye for that sort of thing. In addition to the plaster drying surfaces (I may also use wood on occasion ), I have somewhat recently begun the practice of delicately wrapping my pieces in thin plastic sheeting. I only do this once the piece has dried enough such that plastic does not stick to the body of the piece. The plastic wrapping insulates the piece and forces some of the evaporated water from the thicker walls towards the base to be reabsorbed by the dryer areas towards the rim. The result is an evenly-dried vessel that maintains its proportions throughout the drying and firing process. I frequently will wrap the pieces once more after trimming to further slow their drying. I will not rush pieces anymore and both my works and myself are better off for it __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramicsculpture #ceramica #ceramicart #artistic #vase #clayart #even #symmetry #symmetrical #made #balanced #potteryart #pottery_lovers #creative #creativity #crafts #craftsman #wheel #craftsmanship

3 days ago

A large bottle that I threw the other day with about 15 pounds of an iron-rich stoneware clay body. You may notice the subtle rings that climb from the bottom of this vessel towards the neck. These rings are called throwing lines and are caused by my hands stretching the clay up and out throughout the course of a throw. These did not exist on my pieces as recently as even a few months ago. I used to rely heavily on ribs for shaping, which do not permit the existence of these lines, particularly on pieces at the scale that mine exist at. A little while back, I made the decision to transition towards using my hands over my tools. It is a decision I will make again if given the opportunity. These lines are the memory of my fingertips on the clay and are quite lovely on finished vessels as they create areas for glaze to pool upon firing __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused #creative #craft #handmadepottery #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery

2 weeks ago

Reassembling a large vase on the wheel. It takes a lot of practice to master this skill __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

2 weeks ago

I often feel that because I make such heavy and imposing vessels, people often think that I lack finesse when making my forms. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is with this skill above all others that I truly excel Finesse is essential when performing small or delicate movements. In ceramics, it often means taking an exceedingly gentle approach with to the clay, touching the clay so subtly that the memory of your fingertips on the piece is hardly visible at all This skill comes into play when removing vessels from the wheel, which I am pictured doing here. After throwing a piece directly on the wheel head rather than a bat, it must be removed with great care. After removing any excess clay from the bottom of the vessel and running a wire under the freshly-thrown piece, a delicate touch is all that is needed to lift the soft clay off of the wheel. This motion must be done without any error, as the clay is highly susceptible to deformation at this stage of the process. The slightest incorrect press of the fingertips would leave a permanent indentation in the clay. I am even more deliberate than usual when performing this motion, meticulously spreading the force of my fingertips across the surface of the clay to keep the trauma of the movement to a minimum You may be reading this and wondering why I made this piece right on the wheel rather than a bat (a device that creates a barrier between the wheel and the clay ) when I have to go to do much effort to remove the piece by hand. The answer is simple: there is no better way to throw than directly on the wheel head. This is true for several reasons, first and foremost being that the wheel is designed for clay to stick to it. Placing clay on the wheel head creates a strong seal and ensures that none of your efforts are wasted. The second reason lies in the fundamental failure of bats. Once you reach a certain skill level and clay quantity, they simply do not work anymore. No bat can create a tight enough seal around the bat pins such that your energy will be efficiently transferred to the clay. Anyways I hit the character limit so I’ll give more reasons next time around. Thanks for reading!

2 weeks ago

My latest form, thrown with the same dark brown clay body that I have been using for several months. I have customized this clay to achieve a high degree of plasticity and strength. It features a significant amount of rather coarse grog, allowing the clay to fight back a bit against my movements. I find that this creates a more active and mutual dialogue between myself and the medium. Having a clay body with some bite to it also strengthens one’s hands and makes throwing softer clays feel like a vacation This pot sits surrounded by a studio full of empty wheels. It is under these conditions that I make most of my pieces. I never noticed this until a number of you pointed it out recently. I frequently find myself alone at the studio, long after my peers have found their way out the door. I like working alone and always have, regardless of what I am doing. As a general rule, I find that the more people become involved in a project, the less work gets done. Reducing distractions allows me to be a bit more mindful and stay in the present. Too often is the mind drawn away from what we are presently doing, either reminiscing or regretting the past or anticipating or fearing the future. Good art necessitates presence in the present I feel as though each piece I have been making lately represents a culmination of the entirety of my studies at the wheel. It has been months since I have made something I disliked even slightly. Very few things equal the feeling of hitting a stride with my work __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused #creative #craft #handmadepottery #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery

2 weeks ago

“Bracing” is one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of ceramics. In truth, our fingers are simply too fragile and susceptible to degradation over time to function long term without this feature of throwing Bracing in ceramics involves the diffusion of force across multiple weaker joints or a transference to a stronger area of the body. When throwing wet clay, this frequently involves locking the arms and wrist, allowing the shoulder and trunk to bear the force that the the fingers and wrist could not. When trimming leather-hard clay, bracing usually means connecting different joints to create a looped circuit of force dispersal, such as can be seen in this clip Bracing does not only involve one’s own body, though. Potters must also brace against the piece they are working on as well to achieve maximum leverage You may notice in this shot how my left fingertips begin pressing gently down on the top of this vessel until my right hand goes far enough down the cup for my left thumb to continue its connection with the tool. At this point, the fingertips of my left hand fall down onto the body of the piece while continuing to maintain pressure and leverage. This movement, although apparently simple, takes thousands of hours of practice to perform as elegantly as this. Subtle motions like these are what define a Potter’s individual style __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #artistic #clay #craft #artist #pot #artstudio #handmadeceramics #handmade #potterystudio #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #handmadepottery #wheelthrownpottery #maker #creative #pottersofinstagram #makersmovement #creativity

2 weeks ago

I decided to throw together a clip on a process that I have neglected to write about for some time: trimming. “Trimming” (or “turning,” as my contemporaries in the east say ) a pot is the process of using a sharp tool to carve away excess clay on a vessel When throwing a pot on the wheel, the clay towards the base of the piece must thicker than the top sections in order to support the weight of the vessel and any curves that it may feature. However, after a short while drying, the pot reaches a point of hardness where it no longer needs that extra support to keep itself from collapsing and that excess clay can be removed. The result is a well-balanced piece with walls of even relatively even thickness throughout. The time that it takes for a pot to reach this stage of dryness, known to the ceramics community as “leather hard” varies greatly based on many factors including temperature, humidity, clay body, trimming tool, and personal preference among others. Leather hard is a range of acceptable levels of dryness rather than any one particular point in the drying cycle. When it comes to trimming tool choice, it is just that: a choice. Everyone has a preference and the only way to find that preference is through testing different tools and methods of trimming. Trimming tools range in shape from circular to straight and can be made from stainless steel, bamboo, and rubber among other materials. The tool featured in this clip, my undeniable favorite of the last eight months or so, is made with tungsten carbide. It is extremely strong, sharp, and durable, holding its edge like no other tool I have found myself in possession of. I still manage to slice my finger open with it every few weeks. It even manages to hold up to the gritty clay I have been using lately I encourage you to turn the sound up on this clip and really listen to what is happening. Without the visuals, this is not unlike a soundscape for a ceramics studio. When I approached making this clip, I had the intention making as accurate a representation of my workspace as possible. With that in mind, I decided to zen this out a bit, focusing on individual movements to show a more complete process. Enjoy!

3 weeks ago

Returning to the studio after a lengthy absence has a way of making me look at my works in a different light. I suppose that a bit of distance has a way of lending some fresh perspective. I find myself analyzing the contours and proportions of my vessels from a slightly more objective viewpoint, as if time away from my creations loosened my emotional attachment to them. The last few months brought with them a number of of exciting new ideas and I look forward to exploring them further in the next few. Hopefully more new ideas will wait their turn as I complete some old projects. I find myself becoming more and more comfortable allowing the clay to express itself, forgoing my heavy-handed approach that I used to take with my clay. This can be viewed on the bottom few inches of the vessel pictured here, where I have allowed coarse grog to rise to the surface of the vessel during trimming. Currently, I am diverging slightly from my focus of the last few years and experimenting with some long awaited tableware as well as putting the finishing touches on an even more long awaited website __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused

last month

Here is another clip displaying how I throw my large vases You may notice that I use a different technique than I have shown previously to open up the walls of this vessel, beginning from from a position of height rather than a position of width. This method is, as my old teacher used to refer to it, “Korea style.” Ceramics in Korea is built from a foundation of throwing off the hump and this extends to throwing exceedingly large forms The difficulties that arise when throwing with this style are numerous, flowing predominantly from the massive increase in torque that occurs as your hands move further up from the wheel. The narrow base removes any semblance of stability that the piece may have so they need to be thrown without error. The problem of sinking a hole that is over a foot tall presents its own set of problems The benefits of this challenging method of throwing, as far as I’m concerned, outweigh the difficulties. Beginning a piece from a position of height eliminates the need to spend excessive time and water pulling up the walls. This allows ceramicists to make pieces far faster with daringly thin walls. It takes a good amount of practice to do successfully and works better if your dominant hand is the one inside of the piece but I strongly encourage my fellow potters out there to try this method. Hope you all enjoy the video and the tunes by @djquads On another note, a number of you have remarked that I have been including a watermark on my videos lately. That is because I am frankly sick and tired of the rampant theft of my intellectual property that occurs on a daily basis on this platform. This is a rant for another time. For now, enjoy __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

last month

I have found myself being rather uncharacteristically unproductive in the studio for the last few weeks. I have been admittedly distracted with a massive wave of schoolwork among other things that have impeded my ability to make pieces. It is simply hard to find the time Time is such a precious resource. As far as I am concerned, it is really the only resource that matters. Everything that I, or you, decide to do in a day or a life necessitates a transaction, the currency for which is time. There is so much to do and only so many hours. It takes time to go to classes, it takes time to study, it takes time to keep myself healthy, it takes time make pots, teach my classes, write these posts, move between locations, eat, sleep ( etc, you get the picture ) I am forced to be extremely efficient with my time to compensate for the fact that I often spend upwards of 40 hours a week in the studio. Trying to make the most of one’s time and constantly moving quickly from one thing to the next is frankly exhausting. I am not allowed much in terms of downtime. I try to construct and control a balanced system that incorporates the essentials, which tends to work for a time, but boasts a propensity for failure. There are simply too many factors, many of which are unknown, that I cannot account for ahead of time which cause this system to breakdown Thankfully, I am blessed with a unique ability: I require very little sleep. This has been the case as far back as I can remember and allows me to simultaneously be a night-owl and an early bird. I tend to be awake and work at rather queer hours, during which I am lucky enough to be alone in the spaces I inhabit, both in the immediate vicinity and at large. It is during these moments of solitude that I am most productive. It is only when I start mildly hallucinating that I know it is time to get to bed. Everyone’s mind plays tricks on them in the dark Anyways, I guess I should probably talk about the piece in this image. I return to this form every so often, but more specifically when I step aware from the wheel for a time. I made hundreds of these “teardrops” in my early years. It is a perfectly simple large form

last month

This image captures the process by which I collar my pieces. Collaring refers to the inwards compression of the walls of a ceramic vessel The basic premise behind this movement is that the walls are squeezed inwards. This motions has three effects: the diameter of the cylinder shrinks, the thickness of the walls increases, and the cylinder grows in height. Collaring serves the purpose of strengthening the walls during the section on which the motion was done When I collar, I have 6 points of contact on the clay: the interior of my thumbs, the lowest knuckle on my index fingers, and the interior of my index fingers. These points apply even pressure on the clay as I move them upward, forcing the clay in towards the center of the wheel This motion is one that I use on all of my piece, particularly ones that have wide bellies that transition into thin necks. I need to have a lot of forethought when making pieces like this, as the diameter of the opening of my clay quickly becomes narrow to the point that my full hand will no longer fit inside. Thus, I need to complete the curve progressively as the opening becomes narrower I quite like this shot, as you can see the inside of my piece. This is a perspective that is usually hidden due to the thin necks of my pieces. The insides of my pots are shrouded in darkness, and with them, so too are my throwing lines. My “throwing lines” are the nearly-concentric rings you can see inside of this vessel. They were caused by the outward force of my fingertips on the inside of the walls as I raise and shape the clay You may notice that the top inch or two of the interior walls lack these throwing lines. That is due to the fastidious rim compression that I perform throughout the course of a throw to protect the clay around the rim __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused

last month

A large vase thrown with about 14 pounds of clay, made directly on the wheel head For larger pieces such as this, I have transitioned away from using throwing bats, opting instead to throw directly on the wheel. Bats are an introduced throwing surface made of plastic, wood, or plaster which are placed on top of the wheel head and allow a piece to be removed without distortion. However, plastic and wooden bats have an unwritten weight limit and become useless for my purposes long ago. I have transitioned away from plaster bats as well, as they are heavy and come with their own set of problems After throwing these pieces, I allow them to briefly stiffen up between throws before gently removing them from the wheel head with my finger tips and putting them on a new surface on which to dry Vessels such as these, with wide bellies and thin necks, are the most difficult shape for potters to throw. It is difficult to put into words just how must the clay does not want to do what I am making it do in this clip. These shapes present a myriad of issues and must be diligently cared for throughout the course of a throw to ensure their success These forms also happen to be those which I find most beautiful. This has always been the case, well before I was capable of making such shapes myself. I have been rather curious if my perception of beauty flows from sheer technical complexity. If true, this would definitely fall in line with propensity for making things difficult on myself It was clear that everyone enjoyed last week’s video so I am going to make these a regular thing. Hope you all enjoy this clip as well as the tunes by @djquads ___________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing #oddlysatisfying #satisfaction

last month

The process of raising clay up from the wheel is referred to by the ceramics community as “pulling.” This name is unfortunately rather deceptive and misled me for several years Throughout my studies, my understanding of this motion has transitioned to a stretching movement rather than a pulling one. During the throwing process, one’s hands begin at different distances in height from the wheel head due to the clay in the base of a piece. The stretching movement to bring the clay upwards capitalizes on this phenomenon and accentuates it When I raise the walls of my pieces, I intentionally increase the distance between my inside and outside hand, creating the “bump” that you can see in this shot. My inside hand pushes the clay outward about an inch above my outside hand, which gently encourages the clay back into place. My inside hand dramatically thins out the walls and my outside hand maintains the integrity of the cylinder Efficiency on the wheel is everything. Clay needs to thrown effortlessly, evenly, and (perhaps most importantly ) quickly. I structure my movements around these tenants, one of which is the stretching motion that I have described above. The longer that clay is worked, the more water infects the bonding points between the molecules and the less it is willing to give its maker ____________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade #pulling #stretching #potterylove #instapottery #stoneware #focus #focused

February 2019

Part of being an artist that physically works on a medium means taking certain precautions to ensure that my body remains healthy. I throw hundreds of pounds of clay during any given week, often in extremely awkward positions, and in a way that potentially poses a huge risk to the joints and muscles all over my body My wrists and fingers are at a particularly high level of risk, as they are involved in every single motion that I do with clay, both on and off the wheel. The use of my hands go well beyond wedging and throwing, extending itself moving pieces and supplies around the studio. I often have to position myself rather awkwardly to ensure the safety of my vessels that I transport between shelves or to and from the wheel These are things that I never considered for the first few years of my ceramic studies that I wish I had. Ceramicists tend to have huge health problems later in life from eye damage due to light emissions during kiln firings, to wrist and hand arthritis from improper throwing technique, to back problems due to uncorrected poor posture at the wheel. Repetitive motions breed health problems and if the avoidable motions are not avoided and the unavoidable motions are not corrected on the backend of the activity, these problems will arise I structure my own throwing technique as well as that of my wonderful students around these concerns. It is possible to maintain efficiency on the wheel while still protecting one’s physical health. A huge aspect of this is bracing. Bracing, in this contest, means using different body parts in unison to evenly distribute the force of one’s motions on the wheel. You can clearly see this technique in practice in this shot where my thumbs are braced against one another as I sink the hole of this mound of clay. This may seem subtle, but in the longterm, it causes a world of difference _______________________________________ #working #handmade #potterystudio #clay #stoneware #make #makers #makersgottamake #makersmovement #fingers #centered #potterylove #pottersofinstagram #instapottery #potterywheel

February 2019

Lately I have been getting requests for one thing: videos. I know that I have slacked off with posting clips of myself at work of late and it’s for no reason other than that the editing process is extremely time consuming. However, that is not a fair excuse so I am trying to rectify that. Here is the condensed version of the vessel from my debut to IGTV. I have been dialing in a clay body for the better part of a year now that is throwing like a dream. It has an excellent balance of elasticity and firmness and I am looking forward to playing around with it further. Hope you all enjoy this vessel and some soothing beats by @djquads __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase #potteryvideos #throwing #wheelthrownpottery #maker #makersgottamake #instapottery #instapotter #satisying #relaxing

February 2019

Some of you made the comment a few days ago that in the pictures of myself in the studio I am surrounded by empty stools. It has never occurred to me before but this serves as an excellent visual representation of my dedication to this craft. I work in the studio at all hours of the day, nearly every day of the week. I have missed concerts, events, classes, and more because I was so caught up in what I was doing. This is not to say that the decision to miss these things was unintentional. I was not so focused that I forgot about these things. Normally it was a conscious choice, fully aware that what I was doing in the studio was more important than what I could be doing outside of it That being said, I am often joined by others in my studio. I like working around other talented individuals, as it gives me something to gauge my work against and continue to improve my throwing. This vase is a shape that I have had stuck in the back of mind for a long time and my students were the witnesses to its creation. It can be so challenging to regurgitate the ideas in my head onto clay or paper. I notice this when I’m conceptualizing a pot or even trying to describe an idea to someone. People have a hard time understanding the language that my brain speaks so it can be rather difficult to express myself in a way that can be understand when it comes to ceramics. Even I have a hard time translating sometimes. I’ve been working a good bit lately on sketching my ideas, though, so I can better construe information for this thing that I have become so good at doing but bad at talking about I often think about what talent truly means and if there is such a way to quantify it. I have managed to boil it down to a formula: skill divided by time spent. Going by this calculation, I had zero natural talent for ceramics. Zero. I am the way that I am because I have spent the last four years of my life completely and holistically dedicated to this. Most of the other things in my life just seem like background noise sometimes. I am very much looking forward to some new projects ________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #center #balance #handmade

February 2019

My beautiful, blank canvas prepares to be worked I take a huge amount of time and care when it comes to preparing my medium. Preparation, for me, begins before I take my clay out of its bag. I custom mix all of my clay, diligently tailoring it to display certain characteristics. For the last six months of so, my goal has been to design a clay body with as much strength and elasticity as possible. Making vessels on the scale that I do, with the majority of my pieces hovering around 15 pounds, means that the standard materials are no longer sufficient. Standard bags of clay straight out of a bag will collapse at this weight and standard clay bats will fly off the wheel with the amount of force that I apply to my clay. I am forced to throw directly on the wheel head and gently pick up my pieces from the wheel after throwing them. I used to use plaster bats to throw, and I often still leave my pieces to dry on these, but there really is no replacement for throwing directly on the wheel. I have been slowly tinkering with this formula, altering water content, additives, and more. It is a time-consuming process because the clay needs to sit and ferment for some time after mixing. The particles that have been forced into the clay need time to acclimate to their new environment and bond to the surrounding material. After the mixing and fermentation process, I meticulously spiral-wedge my clay until I am satisfied with its consistency. I am frequently asked how to spiral-wedge clay and when the clay is sufficiently mixed on the wedging board. My answer is that I have no answer. Spiral-wedging is extraordinarily difficult, one could read dozens of descriptions or tutorials of how to do it and never manage to do so. I discovered this technique several years ago by accident, before I knew that it existed. I often say there is no “right” way to do this art form but when my hands naturally discover ancient techniques (an occurrence that has happened on a number of occasions ), I am forced to accept the reality that there very well may to one singular, perfect way to work clay that I have set to fully uncover. __ #clay #potter #ceramicist #artisan #handmade #art #focus

February 2019

Finishing off the lip of one of my favorite creations of the last few months. It is rare that I get a piece of this scale to look precisely the way I want it to, like I have managed to do here. As clay quantity increases, possibilities increase. One of these possibilities, though, is that of error. However, fear is error is one thing that I am fortunate enough not to possess. My aesthetic forces me to take bold risks without fear of consequence and occasionally I am rewarded for doing so __________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #center #vase

January 2019

This is a form that I threw several months back. Its shape, with a wide belly and thin neck, is what I refer to as a “classic” vase. This anatomy is one that I return to every so often and recalls fond memories of my early days on the wheel. These were the first shapes that I was able to make (after learning the cylinder ) because of their relative ease compared to the other forms I work on nowadays. The pieces that I have been throwing for the last year or so may not look significantly more challenging than this to the untrained observer but it is so. Bulging out the bellies of a cylinder wider than this introduces a litany of issues and makes the clay beg to fall back down to the wheel. Still deciding on how to glaze this vessel, among others. If anyone has a reliable high fire gas or electric glaze recipe that you think would pair nicely with this vessel, let me know! ______________________________________________ #handmade #handcrafted #pottery #ceramics #stoneware #makersmovement #contemporaryceramics #modern #claylife #clay #maker #designer #designermaker #artist #craft #craftsmanship #designer #functional #art #beauty #beautiful #artistic

January 2019

A clay vessel takes shape in its own time. My hands serve as a guide and make gentle suggestions but ultimately the clay is in control. Wheel-throwing is a conversation between an artist and their medium. I am in constant dialogue with my clay during a throw and over the years I have learned to speak its language. Aspects of this language are impossible to put into words or pass along to others but I try my best ______________________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #chicagoart #chicagoartist

January 2019

Compressing the base of 14 pounds worth of clay. I prefer to open the walls of my clay rather dramatically so I have ample surface area and room to work with when I go to compress. Ceramicists compress the bases of our vessels because they are susceptible to water damage. During the course of a throw, water tends to gather inside of a pot and permeate the clay molecules in the floor, causing cracking. Compressing the base packs the clay closer together and prevents this from happening. It’s rare that I capture an image of myself in the studio that is truly honest. It is exceedingly difficult to illustrate the movement and wetness of my work, but I think that I managed to do so with this shot ___________________________________________ #ceramic #leather #finish #finishing #shiny #damp #wet #clay #handmade #maker #artisan #fineart #makersmovement #makersgottamake #ceramica #keramik #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery #throwing #complete #art #beautiful #pretty #red

January 2019

Twenty-two identical blank canvases meticulously kneaded and prepared for the wheel. These pieces of clay bear the same weight, give or take a few grams. Using consistent pieces of clay is essential when attempting to make symmetrical forms _______________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel #ball #weigh #weight #artistic #symmetry #symmetrical

January 2019

Finishing the rim of a large vase with a strip of damp leather. This technique dates back thousands of years and has seen little little evolution since its genesis. There is truly no better method for compressing, smoothing, and drying the rims of clay vessels than with a strip of leather. I rarely, if ever, say that the way I work at the wheel is the best way or the only way to do so. However, when it comes to finishing the rim, as far as I’m concerned this is the only acceptable method. The day I learned this technique fundamentally changed my approach to ceramics. Hopefully this will do the same for some of you _______________________________________ #ceramic #leather #finish #finishing #shiny #damp #wet #clay #handmade #maker #artisan #fineart #makersmovement #makersgottamake #ceramica #keramik #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery #throwing #complete #art #beautiful #pretty #red

January 2019

I sat down at the wheel this evening with a clear head and was rewarded. This vase is one of my favorites that I have materialized in some time. It features an elegant curve that flows from the base of its belly to the top of its neck. The marks towards the bottom and of the piece are from where the clay graciously allowed my fingertips to gently release it from the wheel _______________________________________ #vase #fineart #contemporaryart #contemporaryceramics #ceramic #artist #ceramicist #artisan #maker #handmade #potterystudio #makersgottamake #shimpo #smooth #round

January 2019

Reflecting on a studio session. I spent a few hours playing around with some intriguing forms and getting back into the throwing groove. My methods are rather dependent on consistent and constant studio sessions. Therefore, when I return from breaks, everything comes to me slowly. I just have to be patient for the clay to get used to touching my fingers again _____________________________________ #pottery #ceramics #ceramic #clay #potterystudio #artist #pot #stoneware #calm #focus #concentration #potterywheel

December 2018

I’ll keep this pretty brief. Thanks to all of you for joining me on the last year of adventures. There have been ups and downs but I am happy with what we have achieved together and look forward to what we will achieve. My New Years resolution is nothing. I try to improve myself every day rather than at some arbitrary return point in our planet’s rotation around the sun. If you find yourself having to look or wait for opportunities to make yourself a better person then you are probably not going to be able to make yourself a better person. Take some initiative! I’m spending this New Year’s cruising around Queenstown with my mama. Where are you celebrating the start of 2019? _________________________________ #newzealand #queenstown #newzealandtrip #travel #explore #newyear #2019 #newyearseve #newyears #celebrate #sunny #waterfront

December 2018

Kayaking through New Zealand’s fjords in Milford Sound. The alienness of this place is indescribable. I’ve been to remote places across the planet but this place stands out as truly unique. Pictures do not do it justice but believe me when I say that this is a place that does not seem like it should exist by the laws that govern our planet. I half expected a dinosaur to rise up to the surface of the water in this ancient environment while I was kayaking _________________________________ #newzealand #travel #kayak #water #ocean #fjord #milfordsound #glacier #explore #exploration #waterfall #cascade

December 2018

A Romney sheep getting its annual haircut. The harsh climate on New Zealand’s north island means that sheep need to have a significant layer of wool in order to survive the colder months. Therefore, farmers tend to shear their sheep during the spring or summer _________________________________ #newzealand #traveling #travel #sheep #shear #shearing #trim #trimming #farm #farming #wool #newzealandtrip #photo

December 2018

Progress is slow but it’s happening ___________________________________ #newzealand #hiking #walking #trek #trekking #hike #walk #nature #trees #tree #foliage #travelling

December 2018

Nap time for a tired New Zealand fur seal _________________________________ #newzealand #newzealandfinds #travel #traveling #traveller #sleep #sleepy #nap #seal #nature #beach #seal #cute #ocean

December 2018

I think that I may have stumbled across doggie heaven... _________________________________ #newzealand #newzealandtrip #newzealandfinds #newzealandvacations #travelling #travel #adventure #adventurer #traveler #dog #dogsofinstagram #dogs #doggy #doggie #labrador #lab

December 2018

Inspiration is so important and it’s not something that I talk about enough. Art is not made in a bubble. My growth and development as a ceramicist has occurred in tandem with a number of other artists that I respect in the field. Who these artists are change over time as I develop new techniques and ideas. However, I still keep the old influences in the back of my mind as I work. As I write this, I find that I may be conflating “inspiration” with “influence.” I’m not sure if one can occur without the other even if we are not aware of this in our conscious headspace. Nothing ever really leaves our minds...those memories and ideas are deep down in there subtly impacting the way we behave. Something that we find good or beautiful never truly leaves us, it just gets added to the tangled web of memories dangling around in our subconscious. The ceramic artists who influence me have inspired me by their shapes, techniques, or mindset towards making. I have included my favorite ceramic artists below so hopefully some of you can get inspired by them as well @floriangadsby @siro___i @tom_kemp_ @matthornepottery @minettidesign @kwakkyungtae @lightwavepottery ________________________________ #clay #ceramic #pottery #wheelthrownpottery #pottersofinstagram #instapottery #potterylove #art #artisic #artsy #maker #makersmovement #makersgottamake #vase #handmade #handmadepottery #shiny #texture #influence #blackandwhite #black #white #kilnfired #stoneware #contemporaryceramics #modern

December 2018

One of my favorite vessels from my residency in South Korea. This piece has a shape inspired by the traditional Korean maebyeong vessel. The exterior technique is known as “fluting” and can take many hours to complete. This process also dramatically weakens pieces so they are more prone to cracking in the kiln, making all your hard work go to waste. I am considering making a series of works with this technique when I return to the wheel in January ________________________________ #pottery #ceramic #korea #koreanart #ceramic #modernceramics #contemporaryceramics #local #handmade #artisan #maker #makersmovement #makersgottamake #texture #smooth #wheelthrown #wheelthrownpottery #onggi #onggiclay

December 2018

The finished piece from my last post sitting on top of the kiln it was fired in. Firing work such a primal activity. Clay is forced to survive a trial by fire, literally. This vase stands out in my collection. This custom mix of black clay is covered partially in white slip and an outer layer of glass. The contour of this piece allowed the glass to slow down towards the end of the firing and freeze into gorgeous, dramatic droplets. They provide a wonderful texture and shine brilliantly in the light. Taking a bit of time off from the studio over the next few weeks. I suppose the same can be said of the last few weeks. I am burnt the fuck out from school. Being home for thanksgiving threw me off my rhythm and it has been hard to get into the studio ever since. Glad that I was recently able to finish this piece as well as a few others. This project, that I will explain further later, provided a nice catharsis at the end of the quarter. I am going to be going home for about a few days and am then off to New Zealand for a couple weeks. I expect that I will come back in January feeling refreshed. In the meantime though I have a solid backlog of work to post and will definitely share some pictures from my trip to what I have heard is one of the most beautiful countries on earth _________________________________ #pottery #clay #fired #handmade #local #localart #vase #glass #ceramic #pottersofinstagram #potterylove #potterystudio #stoneware #shiny #cool #unique #potterywheel #handmade #artisan #instapottery #craft #modernart #contemporaryceramics #smooth #texture

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