Comments Off on The fragility of the ceramic process

Big ideas in clay leads to lots of trial and error, learning, and loss. Trying to figure out how to make something you have never made, something new, seems to push your abilities, forcing one to learn something. Learning not to get attached to a clay project, at any stage of the process, becomes a necessary lesson. After the planning stage for my thesis artwork, the making began. Starting an idea I had not attempted before, I dove in and tried some different approaches and techniques. I made many different “versions” of the same thing with the certain knowledge of imminent failure of some pieces. This worked well with the smaller and medium scale pieces. When I started to make the 2 tall pieces I had planned, I was just hoping for the best. I didn’t have enough time to make 6 so I could possibly end up with two good,usable, ones out of the bunch. Nevertheless I made the two forms, and I certainly was proud of them. Long story short, they did not survive the bisque firing. I’m not sure if it was the kiln malfunction that did them in, or the time constraints I was faced with, but they both cracked very badly. The moral: even if your pieces fail, try look at what you learned as opposed to dwelling on what could have been.


Resting on the shoulder


Staring into the abyss

Trying to get updated…..

Posted: 5th June 2013 by matt in Artist's Thoughts
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A lot of time has past since I updated this website. Busy with the family and trying to get my graduate work done left little time for posting. I am in the process of trying bring this up to date. Now that I am through with school and focusing on my next phase(teaching hopefully) I will be putting more things here. Maybe I can even sell some work.

The Family Bethany, Me, Linus, and Gus

The Family
Bethany, Me, Linus, and Gus

Soda Kiln

Posted: 4th June 2013 by matt in Kilns and Glazes, Projects
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This is a stop motion video I made while building my soda kiln at Indiana State University. I built this as part of my thesis research and wanted to document the process. It is a 60 cubic foot cross-draft kiln with four mr-100 venturi burners. The kiln is made entirely of super duty hard firebrick I salvaged from the kiln yard. The burners are from

Some pictures of the finished kiln and burners:

Kiln During Firing

Kiln During Firing

Finished Kiln Burners Installed

Finished Kiln Burners Installed

Burners Installed

Burners Installed

Burners Firing

Burners Firing

New Work

Posted: 21st December 2010 by matt in Uncategorized

I’ve been  busy. Making work…firing kilns. Not much time for posting, but I thought maybe someone would be interested in seeing some of my new work. So here it is…

1st Annual ISU Ceramics Guild ChiliFest

Posted: 3rd November 2010 by matt in Projects
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Today we are at Moggers restaraunt selling chili bowls. Moggers is supplying free chili to anyone purchasing a bowl. The bowls were made by ceramics students at ISU. Hoping we sell out early. The money from this sale will enable us to rent the log splitter and other things associated with our upcoming wood firing.

Wood Kiln Firing

Posted: 23rd October 2010 by matt in Firing Ceramics
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Preparation for the wood firing has begun. I figured I would take a little time while waiting for people to come back with gas for the chainsaw to try blogging from my android phone. I am in the woods chopping logs and gathering the wood for our wood kiln firing. THIS IS WORK. People may not know the amount of work involved in firing a wood kiln. Of which the hardest is probably the acquiring of the wood. We will need to have about six cords. I will document this process the best I can.

This is the wood we cut and gathered ready for the log splitter.

Wood kiln that Deb and Ray designed and built. This is the kiln we will be firing.

Soda Kiln Build

Posted: 21st October 2010 by matt in Projects
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Well..Bricks are being counted and plans drawn up. I am in the process of building a soda kiln. I am going to document this process from start to finish. It is going to be a long process but hopefully I can get it done soon.

This is a basic design adapted from Vince Pitelka’s soda kiln design at the Appalachian Center for Crafts.

This is the site where I will build the kiln and a pile of bricks that I  got from tearing down the kiln that sat here previously.

A Lot Going On…

Posted: 11th October 2010 by matt in Artist's Thoughts

Well in the four months since my last post I have found myself with what seems like an overwhelming amount of work to do. I am working in the studio as much as I can. Balancing everything is an undertaking that keeps me very busy. I feel very optimistic about the work that I am starting to create. The important thing to me is that I’m making work again.

My work is changing though. After I got my skill level back I decided that I knew how to make some pretty elegant and traditional style forms. So I thought, “Where can I take this?” Something inside me was telling me to alter my forms. How was the question. After experimenting with throwing and assembling different pieces to achieve new or more interesting form I decided to take the altering even further. I ended up cutting a thrown form into pieces and reassembling them in a different configuration. This is what I came up with.

The altered form seemed to have what is was I was looking for in a form. Movement. The form has changed from the traditional symmetric pot to a more interesting contemporary vessel. I think this direction deserves further exploration. I tried a few more, here is one.

No projects at this time.

Posted: 24th June 2010 by matt in Projects

My project is to find some projects.