2016 Highland Park Pottery Tour

Highland Park Pottery TourSave the date… December 10-11, 2016, 11 am – 5 pm.

It’s hard to believe this is our 6th year! I’m personally very excited because my guests are both good friends, great potters, and former coworkers: John Miyazawa and Dacey Dacey Haughwout. I’m also excited to be showing off my freshly remodeled home, as I’ve spent considerable time painting and redecorating. I hope you’ll visit and enjoy.

For more info, visit www.highlandparkpotterytour.com

2016 Mother of All Pottery Sales

Mother of All Pottery SalesCome celebrate clay at Pittsburgh’s largest annual ceramic event on April 17th from 10:00am – 5:00pm at Union Project! The Mother of All Pottery Sales features 40 local artists exhibiting and selling their work, a live demonstration by ceramic artist Kevin Snipes, and clay activities in our studio. Miss Meatball, GOODLife Juices, and Zeke’s coffee will be on hand to provide refreshments and keep you energized!

We’ve even added a Preview Party so you can get a sneak peek the night before MOAPS. This event was added to give visitors more time to spend with the artists, and experience ceramics in a uniquely personal way. Guests will have first access to artwork and a chance to enjoy refreshments while watching a live Raku firing demonstration. Pieces fired during the event will be available for purchase. The preview event will be held on Saturday, April 16th from 6:30pm – 9:00pm. Tickets are limited. Purchase one for $25 or two for $40 via www.unionproject.org.

Regarding Donations

A collection of pottery shards from a ceramic cup that spontaniously cracked.At risk of sounding like a jerk, I need to vent.

One of my pet peeves is being solicited for pottery donations. It’s often from friends of mine, though more often from complete strangers. I do give them the benefit of the doubt that they mean no disrespect. In fact, I think that many people would insinuate that it’s a compliment. But one thing is for certain, I’m almost never asked for a donation by another potter.

A fellow potter knows how much goes into every single piece. How much work goes into the preparation, the making, the firing, the transporting, the cleaning. How much time must be dedicated to the craft, and how much time must be sacrificed by way of declining social invitations, waking up early, staying up late, or simply going in to the studio when you could be relaxing.

A fellow potter knows the heartache of a bad firing, where an entire kiln load is wasted. Even the loss of a single piece can be disheartening, though it’s to be expected occasionally. But it’s not just the firing, in the pottery making process failure is always looming. You can make a catastrophic mistake at any point, or have your pottery fail by no fault of your own. You can be completely successful and have the finished piece slip out of your grasp while you inspect your work. Continue reading

2015 Highland Park Pottery Tour

2015 Highland Park Pottery TourOnce again, I’m one of the artists exhibiting work at this year’s Highland Park Pottery Tour. I hope you’ll come visit me on December 12th and 13th.

The Highland Park Pottery Tour takes buying local to the next level. You get invited to the homes and studios of four Highland Park potters and the Union Project Ceramics Co-op. Chat up the artists, enjoy refreshments, and buy local pottery for the holidays!

This year we’ve even added a private preview event on Friday, December 11 from 6-9 pm. Tickets are limited so we can keep this shindig small, purchase yours online – $15 each or $25 for two.


Packaging and Presentation

packagingIf you want to be a great writer, you have to read great books. If you want to be a good potter, you have to experience good pottery. So I believe that if you want to be successful at sales, you have to be an experienced customer.

I’m very grateful for what I’ve learned through purchasing things from other craftspeople, especially with regard to packaging. I’ve been especially inspired by Mitsuko Siegrist. Her use of craft paper, string, and other elements makes it seem like each order is actually a gift from a friend.

I’m also inspired by contemporary Japanese packaging, specifically the kind used for wagashi (Japanese sweets). In America, when you buy a snack cake, you’ll typically get a plastic wrapper with gaudy printing. In Japan you’re likely to peel a paper wrapper from a tastefully printed box, which in turn contains carefully wrapped confections. Opening the package is an experience. Whenever I can, I attempt to emulate that experience with my packaging.

I also try to impart a personal touch with each order by sending a short hand-written note. I genuinely appreciate hearing from my customers, so I imagine that they, too, enjoy the interaction.

Save The Date – 2015 Highland Park Pottery Tour

2015 Highland Park Pottery Tour December 12 & 13, 2015Saturday and Sunday, December 12 & 13, 2015.

Visit the homes and studios of local potters at the fifth annual Highland Park Pottery Tour. Meet the artists, enjoy refreshments, and buy local artwork for the holidays!

The Highland Park Pottery Tour is an intimate experience that welcomes guests right into the artists’ homes. Art lovers and artists mingle in studios and living rooms, discuss ceramics techniques together, and share snacks at kitchen counters.

You’ll experience Highland Park in a whole new way, as you walk from cozy stop to cozy stop.

The Highland Park Pottery Tour is hosted by Keith Hershberger, Joe Delphia, Jenna Vanden Brink, Jeff Guerrero, and the Union Project Ceramics Cooperative. Each stop will have guest artists, to be announced—stay tuned!


Recent Teapots

Teapot Teapot Teapot Teapot

Teapots are the most difficult form that I make on a regular basis. And one that I’ve certainly not mastered. Of these four, only the kyusu on the far left pours absolutely perfectly. But all of them are functional, comfortable to hold, and pleasing to the eye (in my humble opinion).

Guinomi (Sake Cup) Sale

Wood Fired Guinomi Wood Fired Guinomi Wood Fired Guinomi Wood Fired Guinomi

For those unfamiliar, a guinomi (which essentially means “one gulp cup” in Japanese) is a bit bigger than the sake cups you might be used to using at the sushi restaurant. They’re often collected as works of art.

Here in the US, they’re not as widely known, hence these have been in my Etsy store for some time. So, I’ve decided to have a little clearance sale in hopes that these might find a good home. All four of these were fired in a wood kiln, two were fired in a wood kiln in which salt was added.