[Clayart] books etc/long

robert hackert ndiaman at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 23 23:33:20 UTC 2023

Hi Mel: Nice to read your comment re: kilns. At our local art center I converted and old electric kiln to gas fired, coated the interior with ITC 100,  fire salt/soda. No one interested, after the work requested done. Tony was right, technically. I think art centers are concerned by our  igneous society of today. No hands on kiln or controls. When I conduct our Raku firings, students make, and decorate, but I fire, remove and put in reduction container.
Do not hear much about Tony Clennell of late.

Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 23, 2023, at 1:56 PM, mel jacobson <melpots at mail.com> wrote:
> When I started working on the kiln book, Tony Clennell said to me...."I think you may
> be too late to write a kiln book, in a couple of years no one will be firing with
> gas or wood. It will be all electric."  And, of course he was correct.  Building
> a home gas kiln is out of fashion. And, only the young and hardy will even think "wood".
> And, the programmable gas kiln like Baillie's is fool proof. (and safe) And without doubt
> the programmable electric is a wonder.
> Ron and John's book changed the world of home firing kilns. They gave people a quality
> avenue to make pots. No longer was the "cowboy" potter firing with gas the way to go.
> And, as I have said often..."the best potter in America is a woman with an electric kiln
> in the garage, we have just not found her yet."  Although I think I know five of them.
> After years of running clayart I can make that list about 500 fine women potters, on their
> own, making damn fine work. They control the world of cone 6 with amazing understanding of
> mid range glaze. They don't need the community center any longer to fire with gas. In fact
> with the variety of potters around, how can anyone fire a kiln with gas to satisfy the crowd.
> It is the same problem confronting a book on porcelain. Is it outdated?  The number of people
> wanting cone 11 porcelain is shrinking. (I know, I know, not just cone 11.)
> I see a huge resurgence of raku and pit and outside firing. Our own haycreek gang is making memorable
> raku/horsehair etc. Ray Bogle is doing outstanding work. Bill Schran is doing wonders with crystals.
> These examples are just because they are all friends and I know their work.
> A mid-sized electric kiln could easily be a money machine for anyone wanting to be a potter.
> It has dignity in 2023.
> Gas prices are also a huge problem. The home potter cannot afford in any way, a programmable kiln
> like the Blaugh.
> Colleen who is running our pottery in Minnetonka, just got a call for 50 electric fired mugs
> with logo. And, with the electric kiln she can match anything she wants. These will be exactly
> the same as an order she filled three years ago. Mel6 clay, 5x20 black and white. It no longer
> is necessary to be a cone 10 reduction potter. And, without doubt, those coming from college
> may not have any skill in firing fuel kilns.
> We make all of our work for the electric kilns with dark brown clay. We have never been confronted
> with customers that want "white clay".  They do not care, or even desire white clay. I think that white
> clay has become the `go to` for schools. It is not dirty.
> I loved building the Kiln Book. It was so great to have many fine potters with great skill and knowledge
> contribute to the book. It is a great book because of that. It is not filled with pictures of "MY POTS",
> in fact no ego stuff at all. It is great information, and now it is free of charge. What I say is, "The book
> is there for whatever, whenever someone wants it. The information does not go away.
> I learned to be an author because of clayart. My fear left me. Win 95, MSWord, and a texas instrument calculator
> changed my life. I can even understand algebra.
> I tell everyone, you have a style, it is yours, like your pots, like painting, writing is just a style. If others
> do not like you. "screw them". You get an "iron butt, and a turtle shell." And, you can always find an editor to help
> you if you need it. I still think one of life's best thrills is seeing a book, with your name and title on the front.
> I remember when Bill Jones handed me a new copy of "Pottery, a Life, a Lifetime" while sitting in a bar with about
> 20 clayart friends around. The goosebumps had goosebumps.
> Robin Hopper had a copy and read it that night. He sat down at breakfast and said. "that is one of the best books I have
> ever read about clay. Mel, you are now in a new club forever, one that writes a worthwhile book." I was stunned. But I also
> remember that as he was dying I named the best pot I have ever made the "the Robin Hopper teabowl".  I was able to call
> him that last week and told him. He understood.
> I have completed the new book "Letters to Colleen" an autobiography of my life as a potter and how Colleen came to me
> a broken human being and turned into an amazing person. "THE CLAY DID IT." Skill, trust, understanding and life long
> friendship wins the struggle.  The book is dedicated to my one year old name sake. "Melvin Richards" so it will not be
> publicly solicited. If you want to read it, let me know by email only. I can download it. The very expensive thumb drive
> will be placed in a fire proof safe, and he can read it as an adult. Colleen's Mom is doing the same for her grandchildren.
> I hope many of you feel the spirit and do the same thing. It is critical that we write the story. Who cares what the style
> is, it is the story that counts. The future awaits your story.
> mel
> website: https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.melpots.com%2F&data=05%7C01%7C%7Ccb23894745bc450444c908db15cfaff8%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638127753986872152%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=sVkc2Eyc%2F4CQPqM4lTfq7o03nmiBZW6AYqtnqWY%2FViY%3D&reserved=0
> https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.melpots.com%2FCLAYART.HTML&data=05%7C01%7C%7Ccb23894745bc450444c908db15cfaff8%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C638127753986872152%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=LfN0PGmFukk6%2FjUOuvn%2BT6SCtcWGpRIyRLJciV3%2BlYQ%3D&reserved=0

More information about the Clayart mailing list