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mel the tool man

updated fri 9 jan 98


Clennell on wed 7 jan 98

>but when i make pots, any pots, tools become very important to me.
>in fact, i love my tools....just like an `old world`cabinet maker with his
>back saw, hammer, that have weathered with
>wheels, kilns, even the total studio, with the little hand made 45 sticks,
>cut off wires....nails in the ends of dowel from japan,
>brushes made from my old dogs hair....they have great importance.
Mel: I don't love my tools but I do love my clay. We use a sponge, a wire,
2 ribs, a pair of calipers and a kidney shaped trimming tool. None of them
have been clean since the day we got them.
One day several years back there was a storm and the hydro went out. I
just threw a couple of logs on the stove and kept kicking. There was light
coming in the window, I was warm and I was making my pots. I knew the wood
kiln was out there and could be fired. The tools that have supposed to
make things easier has made it harder.We came home last May from doing a
worskshop in Calgary and Sheila and I spent a full day answering,
e-mail,faxes, phone messages, letters etc etc.
This is why I don't like tools. i don't like to think that I need them. I
can't find that special tool, what'll I do? I like the KISS philosophy "
Keep it Simple, Stupid!" Maybe I'm just a romantic hippie that still once a
year goes and gets "Jeremiah Johnson" from the video store. I can't
imagine Robert Reford heading into the mountains looking for GRIZZ packing
his Griffin grip, North Star, Shimpo, Bailey, Dolans, Kempers and his 45
Watch your topknot- Watch yourn!
P.S If I get home in time tomorrow from Tuckers getting my clay I'll post
"clive the tool man" or "talkin the talk, walkin the walk".

Sheila and Tony Clennell
Gleason Brook Pottery
Box l0, RR#2,
Wiarton, Ontario

Phone # 1 (519) 534-2935
Fax # 1 (519) 534-0602

Sandra Dwiggins on thu 8 jan 98

IRecently, in a fit of New Year's organization frenzy, I looked at my
overflowing toolbox. I realized that I had many more tools than I ever
used. When I throw I use my fingers, a sponge, a chamois, a long flat
wood tool, and a rib of some sort, and occasionally a chopstick. So, I
pared my throwing tools down to what I really used. I did the same with
my trimming tools. AMAZING. As far as cleanliness--well- nothing I
own is clean--it usually has cat hair all over it.
However, I did notice that if I didn't clean my rib every now and again, the
pots don't quite have the shape I intend. So, I can't go along with the
dirty tools all the time bit--but, I do think it's better to rely on less than
more gadgets. One should learn a lesson from the Russian astronauts
on Mir--they seemed to find a way out of every major problem--the
Americans were always screaming--the system is down, what will we

The only things I can't seem to decrease in number are brushes. I love
my brushes--I have lots of them, and they are always clean and lovingly
kept. Could be that comes from starting my art life as a painter. Funny
thing, though--I don't do painted decorative pots...