Happy Father’s Day

ready to bisque

ready to bisque


First off, Happy Father’s Day and much gratitude to my Dad  for the support he has given me and my pottery life.  Thanks Dad, you’re the best.

It’s been awhile since I’ve made any pots and I am missing the heat and glow of the kiln, the processes leading up to a firing, and the sound of glaze dripping off a pot.  The mystery of the fire with all it’s magic and power supports the alchemy of transforming clay into ceramic and glaze into glass.  The wet clay in my hands as it spins on the kick wheel is one of the most calming and centering feelings ever.  The clay is not the only one being transformed.

I’d like throwing pots to be even more of a daily practice to recharge my batteries and bring me to center.  I’m a much nicer person to be around when I make pots.  I have more patience when I make pots.  I am more present and a better listener when I make pots.  I feel so much more connected to myself and others when I spend time making pots.  I love the process.  For me, the love is in the doing, the making, the glazing, the firing, etc. much more so than the results at the end of a firing.  I love seeing the results too, but by then I am already making the next load full of pots.

I usually make about 80-100 pots at a time because that is about a full bisque kiln worth depending on the size and shape.  As it turns out after glazing, this same number usually fills my favorite gas kiln for the cone 10 glaze firing.  Glazing more than this number of pots becomes a chore unless the design is simple and repeated.  Space in a small shop is limited and with new pots being made all the time, about 100 to 150 pots waiting for the kiln is about all I can handle. The finished pots are cleaned up and displayed on shelves for me to study and learn from and the rest are kept in boxes ready to sell.  I’m about due to build another display shelf so I can unpack a couple more boxes.

It’s father’s day today and I’m going to be throwing some pots outside in the warm northern California sun.  I’ll post some pics next time.

Thanks for reading my blog,



Up all night with my new favorite tool

Sawzall blade tool

My new favorite tool - the used sawzall blade

Scratches made with sawzall blade

Scratches made with the sawzall blade

I found this journal entry from a while ago in February when I stayed up all night playing with clay…

I did a lot last night from 9 pm until dawn when I heard our neighbor’s rooster crow.  I pulled handles for jugs and mugs.  I made a 2 pound bowl.  I kneaded loads and loads of clay.  I trimmed 6 cups and 3 made it 3 did not.  I think my tools were dull so I must sharpen them before trimming next time.  I had 6 balls at 1.75 pounds of some really stinky clay which I threw into shapes that did not make it.  It did not hold up very well during throwing. The other clay I got from John at the Clay Studio seems denser and better to work with, plus it does not smell like a sewer or cow dung.   It’s good practice finding out how hard to push and how far I could go and especially how far is too far.  It’s also good practice letting go and not being tied to the outcome.

I trimmed the lid I made the other day but it was too soft and did not make it.  So, I made a new lid in a different style which will be easier to trim when the time comes and a real improvement in form over the last one.

I used my sawz-all blades to decorate some texture into the 2 jugs and the mugs. I found a way to make a mark by dragging it 90 degrees and sliding it a little left or right at the same time which makes a progressively longer mark.  The sawzall blade is my new favorite tool.  I love the result of the mark left when I just go for it without any hesitation, nice and fluid.  Confident.

Finally I put a bold and thick handle on the jugs.  One of the jugs was still soft at the belly but not the rim.  The rim provided good attachment but the belly caved in a little which made the join look sloppy and contrived.  I tried to save it but it kept getting worse and worse so I let it go. I will make more.  The jugs were 3.5 pounds of clay and could have been a little bigger and less thick in the base.  I was unhappy with the shape of the big bowl I made the other day so I let that go as well by cutting off the rim and creating a whole new design.  I like what it has become as a result.  I figure it is like learning guitar.  Slowly and correct will be the better path in the long run.

My hands and wrists are sore today and my lower back is aching.  I imagine I will get stronger as I practice and it will help heal my wrists.  As long as I am mindful of how far I am pushing myself it will be ok.  I do believe it is about technique and skill and not about physical strength.  Centering large amounts of clay can be physical but it can also teach me patience.

I’ve been resting for hours and I really want to go out there and check my clay.  I think throwing more often for less time is better than one marathon session.  However, during this middle of the night adventure time drifted away from my awareness.  I was doing my thing totally immersed in the task at hand, learning and loving it with passion and momentum, when all of a sudden I heard the rooster crow, and thought, it must be time for a nice little cuppa.

I cleaned up, made some earl grey tea, and greeted the sunrise with delight and gratitude.


First 3 teapots ever

C# first 3 teapots

Cameron Sharp Pottery first 3 teapots

I just uploaded a photo of my first three teapots.  I have been wanting to make some for a while so this is awesome for me.  All three are different.  The first has a deep lid that fits in a gallery with lugs for a cane or wood handle, the second has the lid fitting over a lip with a pulled handle, and the third was inspired by one that Simon Leach made in one of his videos.  It’s for green tea and has no lid with a handle on the side.  I’ll be doing some videos where I talk about the process of making and critiquing my work, so look for those in the future on my YouTube channel at Cameron Sharp Pottery.  I think it is important to be able to do that and decide what worked and what did not or what I like or don’t like to learn what can be done next time.  For example the 3rd teapot has a spout and handle that are too long for practical use.  I think a shorter handle would give more leverage lifting a pot full of tea and the spout could be made to the same length as the handle for balance both physically and aesthetically.  And it would take up much less space on the counter or in the cupboard.

Thanks for visiting.