So I have been doing quite a bit of thinking and visiting with folks about a particular subject. This subject is something I did not think I would ever have this kind of situation with, but alas, I do. I remember when I was taking classes to learn about ceramics with Barbara and admiring the grad students (because they are totally and completely the most perfect awesomest. Right?) when they would talk about somebody or other who had told them they would like a set of those or one of these but with more blue. That’s right. They were so popular and their work was so good people didn’t just buy it on a lark when they saw it. They thought about the pieces and what they might want that was different than what the maker had done the first time or twenty around. The customer/patron/friend/family member/random person actually wants something more. Do they want to influence the creative process? Do they think they are better than the maker? Do they see something the maker cannot or desires to ignore? Do they want something that fits their hand better? Or matches the plates they bought from someone else, somewhere else, sometime else?

I have been on both sides of this situation. I asked a very good friend of mine (he is actually one of the the two people who are responsible for my discovery of ceramics as a life) to make me a set of dishes. They are wonderful. I don’t have as many of them as I used to (I do still have as many kids as there were prior to each of the breakages) have but they are still used as much even though they have been joined by other pieces made by other folks (not on request).

So what is next? Let’s cover a range of items with this and also chase some bunnies for fun. I am thinking a bit about commission work, some about my process of creation and discovery, maybe a bit just about process, maybe a process about bits, a discovery of bit processing … that bunny got a bit ummmm …


I am not sure what to put on this. I have started this post at least four times. I going to see if I can post more regularly here and on Etsy – I am thinking once a day. Ambitious? When you are me you better believe it. I guess everyone will be able to see what happens from here … just don’t go back and look at how many times I have tried to start.


It has been about a month now so I think I can start fully processing my new facial state out loud. You probably guessed from the title that I am now without benefit of facial hair. It had been 7 years since I had shaved – by our best recollections.

In honor of the relatively new activity, I decided I should have some new gear. To this end I spent a good deal of time researching shaving and shaving accouterments. I finally settled on a really nice razor handle with closed comb by Edwin Jagger out of Sheffield, England. I will cover more of my research and also experiences with this new ‘art’ of shaving later.

The lead up to the grand finale of shaving was very involved and involved lots of money. My lovely young bride set out two jars at our church as a means to raise money for our Relay for Life team. One jar had a picture of me with the beard in all its glory and a short story about the importance of ‘saving’ the beard. The other jar had a picture of me from from a number of years back and a large question mark covering the lower half of my face with a nice story enticing people to be curious about what would be found under the large quantity of hair. For about a month folks placed money in the jars as they expressed their desire in the final outcome. On the final Sunday there was quite a bit of competition. As you have probably surmised, the ‘shavers’ won and I became an addition to the beardless hoard. We did raise over a thousand dollars – the ‘shavers’ won 2 to 1; the American Cancer Society also won.

The experience was really quite a bit of fun for everyone. The beard we cut off will go to Locks of Love. It helped our team raise over $6000 for the event. And now I look up to 20 years younger – I just hope I don’t have to live those years again because I have my sights set on new things!


It is that time of year again: the kids are getting out of school, the weather is starting to warm up, we are cleaning the studio …

June 15th – the Saturday before Father’s Day – is our fourth time to honor dads everywhere and celebrate hand made pottery. We will be unloading – and we need help! – Wonder Woman (our wood kiln) and Silver Surfer (our BIG electric kiln) at about 9am with the sale formally beginning about 10am. I hope we have a few creative type folks around near 6 in the evening so we can let things slow down for an informal chat about making … or art … or creativity … or Dr. Who … or – you get the idea.

Refreshments will be provided by our favorite catering company of Sonja and Others Incorporated. Lakewood Brewing Company will be well represented as well as Landon’s Winery. Come on out and say hey, have some fun, and enjoy the day!

If you cannot come by during the day of the sale then please do not hesitate to contact us – email, phone, text, snail mail, other messaging format – because we love visitors and will be happy to have you come by whenever we are here. The studio should stay pretty accessible and clean for at least a month – after that you still may get lucky.

By the way – I am the one WITHOUT the beard now. I may actually post about that tomorrow.


I’m baaaack …

John on August 22, 2012 in Life | No Comments »

This summer is what followed the spring. I say this by way of explaining the following rantless rant.

This spring was quite fruitless on the creating front. I was only able to spend a few days total in my studio. The summer we are almost through has not been terribly more productive. The air conditioner was put in place late (just in time for the studio sale) and our schedule was not conducive to working in earnest in the studio. In July we went as a family to Mo Ranch for the ART at MO conference which was perfect and extremely needed. We met some great people and had a great time at a great place. I also learned Kumihimo (Japanese braiding) which has changed quite a bit for me. We will definitely be back for this week of creativity next year.

I am not ready for the fall – or at least not as ready as I would really like to be. I have a cargo trailer now – with two new wheels and tires – which still needs electrical work so the lights will function and a bit of paint work on the rear before I can get the lettering done. The trailer will be great because I will be able to load for the fall show season and hook up before taking off followed by unhooking upon return with no frenzied loading/unloading of the truck in between.

Regardless of readiness fall is here. Show season is beginning – this very weekend with a new for me and a brand new show in Littleton, CO called the Affordable Arts Festival.

Up next: more about the Affordable Arts Festival and thoughts on its premise.


I just found out some very good news from the guy in Commerce where I get cabinet scrap wood. When we started getting wood from him a little over a year ago it made quite a bit of sense. He had been having his employees take the scraps in big trash cans out to a pair of dumpsters several times a week. This took their time, made them have to dump the heavy cans up high into a dumpster, and also filled the dumpster and landfill on the other end. I brought extra cans for them to fill and I also toted the filled cans out to load into my vehicle. The wood then went into Lynda to make beautiful pots which reduced how much cut tree wood we needed. We had a difficult time figuring out an efficient way to utilize the cabinet scraps but once we did I feel confident in saying our firings are actually more efficient than they would be without the cabinet wood.

Now, a year and change later, Danny told me it saves him $44 each month because he only needs one dumpster instead of two. It seems that we have also found an economic reason to add to the environmental, occupational, and common sensical motivations for this relationship to be so good. It really feels good to help other people out whenever you can. It feels great when the things we do because they are right spawn extremely positive unintended consequences.

I never thought I would be so happy to have time to work on the computer. I would really prefer to be in the studio but right now that isn’t an option so I have been spending time working to understand how my pots fit into the world wide web. It is a strange and wonderful place filled with all kinds of crazy stuff. And it is also really foreign to me even though I have spent most of my adult life plugged in. Maybe that is what the problem is … it has been my adult life instead of the all encompassing world of reality my kids have had since birth.

Anyway, I have been rediscovering how much fun (even though it takes me quite a bit of time) it is to use the many features available on the web. I remember when we used to have to go to the computer store to buy a piece of software in order to actually do something on the computer besides turn it on. Now everything is literally available at your fingertips – and a bunch of it is free. And instant. And actually good. And relatively easy – this means no 250 page users manual. Too cool.

Enough rambling … I have figured out/remembered how to do some things on this site as well as get some things ready to post here and on FB and Etsy. I am going to say the bit about putting up new pieces everyday sometime soon. And this time it is quite likely to happen. With the help of the interwebs.

Come on out and check out a bunch of new pots. Wood fires, electric, and some really awesome new soda fired pots. The sale starts at 10 am and will run until at least 6pm. Of course we will have some spectacular yummies from Sonja so your belly wont be empty and you can test drive your new mug with some hot chocolate or tea. You might even be able to find something for that perfect stein you have been searching for which suds when poured.

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since June. They say time flies when you are having fun. I must have been having a blast. We fired Wonder Woman twice in September and we are gearing up to load her again in about a week and a half. This is the time of year wood firing is greatest in Texas. The air just feels like the only way to make life better is to fire a wood kiln.

This pic is from one of the firings in September. The sculpture up front was one in the tree series made from Amador. As you can see it didn’t survive the process so we take this and learn from it. The clay body still loves the wood … I just need to learn how to handle it.

On the fuel front: Charley and I have collected almost all of the fuel we will need to get through next year. I will post pics and tell a couple stories. Stay tuned.


Greetings all!

We are gearing up and getting ready to welcome everyone to the Tree on the Hill Pottery Studio for our 2nd Annual Father’s Day Studio Sale and Kiln Opening. We should have another great time Saturday, June 18, from 10am until 6pm-ish. Charley will be here from Sea Bear Pots and there be be a couple other folks hanging about with great pots.

Everybody is welcome to bring their kids or come alone and check out the Pottery and the pots as we come yet even closer to completing the big projects and embark on new adventures. Refreshments by Sonja will be on hand as always.

We will have at least one kiln unloading with Wonder Woman being fired on Tuesday before the big event. She should be ready to unload by about 11am the morning of the the sale. If you haven’t been present for a kiln unloading before you really don’t want to miss out. If you have seen one before, we will see you there the morning of the 18th because I know you will want to share in the fun!

Just holler if you have any questions. We will be busy but never too busy to visit a bit.