More containers

Container Experiment

This was originally posted in 2005 on my old site which is no longer public but given my recent posts on climbing, I thought I’d give a bit of context to how climbing leaked out into other parts of my life.

I made these containers 30 years ago during my undergrad days at the University of Oregon Art and Architecture school. They are salt-fired stoneware with a temoku (dark iron) glaze that interacted with the salt.

The experiment was mixing media. I was an art student but also a serious rock climber and loved climbing gear so tried to work my love of perlon rope, knots, and Japanese printed fabric into my pieces as well.

These two were two of hundreds of experiments I did mixing other media into my work and the result was both visually interesting and also functional and useful.

This photo was scanned by Kodak years ago from a slide I took even more years ago so it’s not the best, but it’s all I’ve got because of this pair, only the piece on the left remains.


This was originally posted in 2004 but given my recent posts on climbing, I thought I’d give a bit of context to how climbing leaked out into other parts of my life.

In the old days, a long time ago (1970-1980) I was a potter and made a living selling wares and teaching ceramics. Most of the photos of my work are in slide form and I have not gotten around to scanning them. Here are a few that I have.

Container, Cork, Perlon, side view

This is a small stoneware “jug” that had a “temoku” glaze on it and was then fired in a wood-fired kiln with salt tossed in (salt fired). At the time I was doing this work I was also getting seriously into rock climbing and I loved all the perlon rope and knots and such. So, I experimented with combining old and new.

Container, Cork, Perlon, top view

This is a top view of a similar piece, different way of securing the cork. The knot on the underside of the lug slides so that the loop on top loosens and tightens to hold the cork in.

Container, Gortex, Perlon

This piece is raku fired: quickly at low temperature. Being the outdoor type I was eating a lot of dried fruit at the time and had built a fruit dryer to make my own. This new material came out called Gortex and so, I bought a piece and put it on a pot, with some fruit inside, thinking that the way it dealt with water would allow the fruit to dry without spoiling (water vapor would go out, but no air would come in). It didn’t’ quite work that way but I liked the colors. This piece also uses a slider knot to tighten and loosen the perlon cord.

Primitive Technology: Simplified blower and furnace experiments

Building a crude furnace with a hand-powered blower. The furnace is not only good for firing clay (to higher temperature with the blower) but he’s starting to experiment with glazing with wood ash and iron.

He’s an expert at both coming up with great projects and breaking them down into steps but also video editing to show process without narration or dramatic music.

I’ve been a fan for years.

There are many more of these great videos at the Primitive Technology site and for those who prefer, he has a Primitive Technology YouTube Channel.

[via The Kid Should See This]

Primitive Technology: termite clay kiln & pottery

Digging clay out of a termite mound, using straw to reinforce it, and making a crude but very effective kiln to fire clay pieces to be used as roof tiles, a water jug, a blower and more. Brilliant.

There are many more of these great videos at the Primitive Technology site and for those who prefer, he has a Primitive Technology YouTube Channel.

[via The Kid Should See This]

Ueno San

My friend and neighbor Christine Owen apprenticed in Japan with this potter, Ueno San. This process especially the wood fire piece of the video, is what my neighbor Joy Brown does every year in her anagama kiln in Kent, the next town west of me. Both Christine and I not only put pieces in her fires (the kiln is huge), we help fire it. The kiln takes a week to load, a week to fire, and a week to cool.

This is a terrific process video on ceramics in general and what the Japanese tradition looks like in particular.

Luck Pot dinner

Maria's earring

Maria’s earring

Verbank, New York.

A group of women (artists, a poet, and a chef) get together for a special “luck pot” dinner every now and then. Five years ago they asked me to join them as “photographer” and I did, using my Canon 5D and some nice lenses. They loved the images and so, asked me again. I warned them that I now have smaller cameras but I’d give it a go.

I took close to 300 images with both my Ricoh GR and Sony RX100 III and whittled them down to 150 which I burnt on DVDs and sent them. I did very little processing, just a bit of noise reduction and bumped exposure a bit on the GR images which tended to be a bit under exposed in the low light of an evening dinner party.

It’s fun doing this sort of thing: being in the house of an artist who has all sorts of interesting things to photograph and watching these women present their various dishes in aesthetically beautiful ways.

No doubt I could have gotten better images with a Canon 5D III and 24-70mm f/2.8L lens but the small cameras were good enough and much less intrusive.

The Ricoh GR with its bigger sensor made more detailed images with deeper color, but they were consistently under exposed and the camera hunted for focus a lot. The Sony RX100 III nailed focus perfectly, the articulating LCD was very useful and while exposure was almost always perfect, the images lack the depth of the GR (sensor size matters). I was glad to have both cameras and I have a Fuji X100T on order which I’d have enjoyed using as well if it had arrived on time.

This was not a paying job; I know almost all of this group well and I’m happy to do this for them. I gave them the images to do as they like with as long as they cite me as the photographer, don’t alter them before sharing, and don’t sell them.

In the end, doing this kind of shooting helps make me a better photographer and I got a very nice meal with some nice people on top of it.



Coffee and shadows

Coffee and shadows



Bathroom wall

Bathroom wall







Kintsugi: The Art of Broken Pieces

Kintsugi: The Art of Broken Pieces from Greatcoat Films on Vimeo.

Japanese culture has a term for celebrating the beauty of imperfection: wabi-sabi.

Kintsugi (golden joinery) is all about not only fixing broken ceramics with lacquer, but celebrating the repair by painting over it with gold or silver leaf so that the repair (the fixed crack) is part of the “new” piece.

Many high end ceramic repairs are done in such a way that the repair is invisible. Kintsugi is a celebration of the art of the repair. Brilliant.

[via Colossal]