Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Rant and Rave: rave about "Earth, Form, Fire" exhibition

"The Rave"

In this blog I intend to review the many art shows I go to see. Using this as a vehicle to discuss the varied issues that come from, viewing, as well as producing art.

Tri-City Potters Group - Earth, Form, Fire

These are my peep’s. I am honoured to belong to the Tri-city potters group.

I have been preparing work for months to be considered for this juried exhibition. But, alas, at the last minute I pulled out.

There were practical reasons at the time. But could it have been a bit of the inferiority complex rising again? Maybe.

Working alongside these masters of clay I am reminded of why I call my practice, “Peri arts”. As my practice is literally peripatetic. In that my interests roam; I most often find inspiration while walking; and, like Aristotle, I learn from the masters while on the journey.

However, compared to these pillars of the clay community, I feel like I am “just claying.” So that is what I am embracing and encouraging my students to do as well. Because in the end we are all just playing with clay.

My takeaway from this show is to own it. Whoever you are as an artist at this time, be that. Because I firmly believe we are all artists in our own way. And we all struggle with knowing there are always those who are better than us. But it is important to not let that stop you from letting your inner artist shine.

Most of these masters teach in their own way. I would encourage you to find inspiration here at the Port Moody Art Gallery. Enjoy.

Here are the pots that I chose not to submit for this show if you are curious.

Artist Statement

I was noticing how heavy my bag was becoming. I carry this with me everywhere. I am Constantly trying to shed the weight by getting rid of things I don’t need, unsuccessfully. Then I began thinking of other kinds of baggage we carry. And I made these. I picture beautiful things growing in them.





Claying at home




Hello my friends, 

So this is day (whatever) of self isolation and I am finally getting around to doing some pottery. I thought I would share this with you in case you, like me, are missing our pottery classes (and all the cool equipment we have in the studio). 

I am feeling a bit cozy with all the rain we have been having and being required to stay home and self isolate, I have been looking to the "Hygge" culture for inspiration. So I thought I would do a tutorial on how to make a slab snuggle mug.  

  • See tutorial on YouTube

This brings me to the issue of mugs. 

As you can see, I have been experimenting with mugs for some time. I have a few I like. So, if you are interested, I will break down the pros and cons of what I know about mugs (with a nod to those of you who know more than I). 

The thrown mug vs. the slab mug.

Throwing a mug is, hands down, the favourite way to make a mug for both the maker and the user for some very tactile reasons. It is the easiest and fastest way to make the form. But there is a lot of set up and clean up involved. And if you don’t have a wheel then the slab mug is a good option as opposed to coil or pinch pots that have limitations (not that I am saying you can’t make perfectly good cup using either of these techniques). 

The next consideration is form. 

The pros and cons of the “S curve” mug. 

I love this form. Aesthetically I love how it looks. I love how it feels in my hand. And if it is thrown, I enjoy feeling the throwing lines where my fingers can slip in.  Practically, I like how it keeps the beverage warm longer. 

However, there are a few functional issues. One, there is a problem with the last sip. Because of the shape on the inside, it creates a well as you take a sip which isn’t a problem until it is the last sip and then you must put a bit more effort into getting to it. Some people don’t like this. I, personally, don’t mind it. As there always seems to be one more sip for me to en. Second, there is a problem with the lip. If it is done just right it will gently reach out to greet the users lip. But if it is too big if feels a bit like a tongue reaching out to lick you and functions more like a spout pouring too much out at once. 

This shape is fairly easy to create with both throwing and slab. With throwing you have to be very skillful in keeping a thine, even thickness with the perfect lip. With slab it is much easier. As the thickness is predetermined and you can test it as you are working. 


For these reasons I usually work with slab myself. And most of our class projects are also slab built. But if you are at home and don’t have access to the studio equipment and tools right now, I wanted to just walk you through working at home. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

COVID-19 - Isolation - Claying at home

COVID -19 - Isolation - Claying at Home


Hello, my clay enthusiasts.

This post is particularly for my students and clay participants at Bonsor Recreation Complex.

As it may be some time before we are able to reconvene for clay classes, I wanted to encourage you to keep using your clay skills at home. It can be done during our regular class time, since you have already carved that time out of your day.  It can involve as much or as little set up as you like. See my tutorials page for some tips (or many other YouTube videos).

We work with low fire clay at Bonsor.  This can be purchased locally at Greenbarn.

Not to overstate it, but as I mention in class, Please be mindful of the silica dust clay creates in your home. Good clean up is key :)

Although this is not our regular practice (for safety reasons) but given these extraordinary circumstances, if you make a project at home, you can bring it to our next class to be fired. But please bring the clay bag with you so I can verify the clay you used is compatible with our firing method. If you chose to purchase glazes at greenbarn as well, please also, bring the container to class.  Otherwise, you can wait to glaze in class.


Happy Claying!

Feel free to email questions to me at Babcock.smith@gmail.com

Just Claying

Hello, and good morning on day (I've lost count) of self isolation. So, like you, I am stuck at home. Going a little stir-crazy, i...