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brian gartside workshop petoskey

updated sat 18 jun 05


bonnie staffel on fri 17 jun 05

Hi Clayarters,

Just got home from our workshop by Brian Gartside. I can't say enough for
the wonder of this beautiful man, so sharing of his philosophy and
innovative ideas to free us from the norms of learning about glazes. I
second Angela Davis' comments on the workshop. We were full, shoulder to
shoulder, but everyone was so congenial, working together, taking turns at
the chemical tables. Fired the first tests to Cone 04 Wednesday night and
eagerly studied what happened. Some tests asking for further testing were
put in the second firing Thursday night. New tests as Angela described,
changing ratios and then put in the kiln looking for a Cone 4 firing.
However, something happened overnight in the Controller so the kiln was
still on in the morning but just to Cone 04. Brian then showed more slides,
talked about paper clay, terra sig and many other clay subjects where we
asked questions. Many of us brought textures from home so he made slides of
those, just to get us thinking sideways. I was very impressed with his
computer paintings and how he interpreted them onto his work. He also
talked in depth about making plaster molds and their value in our work.
Couldn't open the kiln until about 3:00 so we went to get a bite to eat or
check out other galleries to take time for the kiln to cool enough. Got
back and finally were able to look at these new tests. So the participants
eagerly took their tests home, perhaps to fire them to the higher cone to
complete the workshop details.

Meg McClorey, resident potter at our art center, worked tirelessly to
prepare for the incoming group, supplied Brian with his needs as he
discussed various aspects of his work, loaded and unloaded the kilns with
the help of some of the students, as well as chauffeured him from and to the
airport in Traverse City.

One of the students came from Muskegon, a 4+ hour trip who camped at the
local campground, another from Northport where they had to come down all the
way around Traverse Bay and up to Petoskey. Another potter came from
Kalamazoo and the rest were from the area. What a ball they had. I want to
extend thanks to the Crooked Tree Art Center for agreeing to sponsor Brian
from New Zealand to do this workshop. On top of the Art Center's
advertising, I emailed and personally called many of my potter friends to
come and not miss this workshop. If anyone wants to bring him back to the
states next year, better get on his schedule as you will be rewarded by the
teachings of this fine potter/presenter. It was indeed a most successful

What will be fun for him is when he boards the plane from Traverse City
Sunday morning, he will be arriving at Ouray, Colorado, and spend some
quality time with our own Bonnie Hellman who will offer him some R&R from
his intense workshops in Atlanta and Traverse City. Bonnie met Brian at
two workshops a year ago in her area of the US.

Enthusiastic regards,

Bonnie Staffel
Charter Member Potters Council

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 14:29:57 -0400

From: Angela Davis

Subject: Gartside Workshop at Mudfire, photos.

Martha Ann and I just got home late yesterday from Brian Gartside's amazing
workshop in Atlanta. We are=20road weary but still very excited about our
experience with the glaze wizard. We mixed 50/50 and 1/3 combinations first
part of Sat morning, 28 of us with cups and spoons choosing ingredients and
coloring agents and trying to get it written down before we forgot. The
afternoon and Sun morning was spent on paperclay and design elements. The
Raku was on Monday. Erik and Luba loaded our tests into the kiln and fired
them overnight.

After lunch on the second day we returned to find them laid out in wonderful
variation on the tables. There were hundreds of them and we were amazed at
the results. A very excited group exchanged notes on ingredient
combinations, some even tried to buy others test tiles ! We came home with a
box full of exciting tiles that will provide a head start on new decorating
and texture glazes.

Brian is a delight and his workshop has given us all new vision, a whole new
way of thinking (and working) was presented. I feel so lucky to have had
this eye opening experience. Brian is now headed to his Petoskey Michigan
workshop if there are any openings try to get in there. I cannot say enough
nice things about Mudfire Studio, a wonderful space run by lovely people.
Erik and Luba worked very hard to make the workshop come together smoothly.
They did an amazing job of organizing the oversized, hands on event. Feeding
us, providing glaze chemicals and equipment for our hundreds of tests and
then doing the firing, both electric and raku. A real "Southern Hospitality"

I have posted my photos if anyone would like to have a look and get a taste
of what you missed. You will see some closeups of interesting tests, I can't
tell you anything about them other than I took the photos for the beauty of
the tile. These were our simple mixes with oxides and Mason stains as
colorants, there are no recipes just experiments to see what the chemicals
do when combined.

Hope this gives you an idea of our weekend.

Angela Davis