[Clayart] books etc/long

Antoinette Badenhorst porcelainbyantoinette at gmail.com
Sat Feb 25 05:46:56 UTC 2023

Great encouragement for potential writers Mel.  I have to say, if I ever
had opportunities  to work with other than electric kilns when I was
younger, I would have done it. Ironically there is a brand new small
Olympic gas kiln sitting in my garage. I would love to try out, but know it
will most probably not happen. Wood and even oil fueled kilns always
fascinated me, but somehow I started with electric kilns in the early 80’s
in South Africa, where other types of kilns were rare.
With the current electrical issues in SA, I will not be surprised if
potters are turning to alternatives. With power on for 4 hours at a time,
no kiln can run on electricity.

On Thu, Feb 23, 2023 at 12:57 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 Is it outdated?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: www.melpots.com
> www.melpots.com/CLAYART.HTML
> --

Best wishes,

Antoinette Badenhorst

*PorcelainByAntoinette   <https://www.porcelainbyantoinette.com/#/>*

*TeachinArt* <https://www.teachinart.com/antoinette-badenhorst.html>

*International Academy of Ceramics*

*Mississippi Arts Commission

*MSClayworks <https://www.msclayworks.com/#/>*
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