[Clayart] report from the farm

mel jacobson melpots at mail.com
Mon Jul 5 21:31:38 UTC 2021

hello to all,  We served supper to 20 people for two weeks at the hay creek farm.
I cooked breakfast for about 8 men each day.  eggs, sausage etc.  (our camp is split
to north half men, south end women.  Men do not go to the south end until at least
10 a.m., but of course often some of the women trot down to get ham and eggs at 7 a.m.
it makes us all laugh.

We had a great group of potters and artists.  folks showed up healthy and left healthy.
Intelligent adults, working in a group.  It works you know.

All the systems at the farm worked to perfection.

we added a new roof to my small stoneware kiln.  (daphne and john did the hands on.) it is not
verbal here, we learn by doing. The top is back to spec.  We used four cases of new k-26 brick. We have
a nice mess of bricks left to make all the door bricks on three kilns almost new.

we had about 6 wheels going night and day. hundreds of pots made.  on the thursday, we fired all of
our kilns at the same time.  Salt, big stoneware, small stoneware, raku, pit and electric.
the horse hair pots were "racers"

we have made some changes in the stoneware kilns. (And the new top helped.)  we fired the small stoneware
6 days in a row. fired to cone 11 in four hours and 15 minutes.  The big stoneware now fires to the "sweet spot"
in 5 hours and twenty minutes to cone 11. All the kilns produced great pots, nice reduction and good glaze color.
folks were thrilled. Everyone got in on the firing, loading and stories of technique. We do not speed fire, we let
the kiln find what it wants to do best and away they go.  When the gas pressure is right, the damper is right
and the back pressure at the peep is about four inches, the kiln takes off.  We do turn down the pressure and open
the damper a bit at cone 9. 10 and 11 drop in just a half hour.

Bob Anderson and Mel spent our 43rd year together for summer camp. Six campers have died during that time. We have
ashes of most of them buried at the farm.  Our folks leave politics and personal stories at home. The camp is about
the joy of working with clay, helping each other and total love for what we do. It is always total cooperation, or
else a car leaves camp in a hurry. All women are respected and treated as equals. They also do the hard work too.
We have no `issues`.  Both of our gay men are our brothers. We love them too.

It looks like we will be "over thirty guests next year".  I charge $350 for two weeks. Board and room, kilns, glazes
and wheels and class room. Many silk scarves were dyed this year. And the jewelry studio was busy all the time.
Like clayart, we not seek a big prophet, we want to break even.  Pay our bills and keep the camp open. That we do.

If we need to build or repair, everyone pitches in, helps with the bill.  They all take ownership in the camp.
The weekend workshops around the country are hitting a thousand bucks now. no thank you.

I know it is rather utopian, but with careful planning, selecting folks that will work and help
and don't expect a hershey bar on their pillow we continue with the program with ease and joy.
(we had four campers fly in, but with early tickets, the price was very doable.)

website: www.melpots.com

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