[Clayart] report from the farm

paul gerhold gerholdclay at gmail.com
Mon Jul 5 22:21:03 UTC 2021

Potters heaven!


Sent from my iPad

> On Jul 5, 2021, at 5:34 PM, mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:
> 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.
> Mel
> (we had four campers fly in, but with early tickets, the price was very doable.)
> website: www.melpots.com
> www.melpots.com/CLAYART.HTML

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