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mugs, meaderings and musings

updated thu 28 jul 05


Spencer Wilson on wed 27 jul 05

Hello all,

I recently rejoined the clayart list after a break of two years. I am glad
to see that many of the regulars are still submitting. In the past I mostly
read but submitted little. >I find this list a great resource and
I have been making pottery for about twelve years as I was hooked while
attending Southern Utah University in Cedar City Utah, which has a great
undergraduate ceramics program and studio. I mostly made pottery as a hobby
but a few years ago I made a go at it full time opening a studio with 20
wheels, 4 electric kilns, gallery, equipment supplies and sales, classes and
studio space rental.
After a couple of years we had to close down the studio and I returned to
pottery as a hobby while working full time as a manufacturing plant manager
in Mexico. Where I am located now in central Mexico there is not a known
community of potters or clay artists. I am working and creating in a kind of
artistic vacuum. I do have alot of artistic influences in the architecture
and the excellent museums that are found in the area. Zacatecas has the
highest percentage per capita of Museum in Mexico second only to Mexico
city. I have always found that research is key. I have over 50+ books on the
subject of clay and have been subscribing to Ceramics Monthly, Clay Times
and Pottery making Illustrated for years. Knowledge is great. I have been
following several threads lately on the Clayart list that have been very
helpful. I love to experiment with glazes. I have Mastering Cone 6 Glazes
and the Glazemaster software. I also love to take commercial glazes and
modify them to my needs. I have come out with some great glaze combinations
using Laguna Clays family of Cone 6 Glazes.

About Mugs:

I have several mugs and vessels which I have purchased or created over the
years. I find that I am willing to pay $40+ for a mug that will move me and
inspire me (and I have!), but I also find that my likes are varied and I am
drawn to the feel of the vessel and its functionality. I have made mugs over
the years that vary in size from 6 ounces to 32 ounces in size with deep
scalloped exteriors. These I have sold from $10 to $20 dollars each. My most
popular have been the 20-32 ounce mugs. Something about getting your days
fix in a single mug is pleasing to many. My favorite mug of all those I own
is one of my own 32 ounce mugs. I don`t drink coffee, but I love a large
glass of ice cold milk, or hot mint tea, or large hot chocalate with
cinnamon served up in my mug.

About kilns:

I am in the process of creating and testing several different types of test
kilns. I have a great source of high temparature refractory hard brick.
About $0.80 cents per brick in about 15 different shapes. They also sell a
high temparature stoneware clay that they say will hold out up to cone 14.
Their refractory soft insulating brick runs about $2.00 a brick.
I will be creating Test kilns for wood firing, pit firing, raku, salt/soda,
sagger. I have a supplier of steel drums with removable lids with ring locks
($12.00) which I will be using barrel pit firing. I find that doing all
these test will be wonderful in gaining greater knowledge of techniques.
Experimentation will be the name of the game as I work with local clays and
materials to find what will work for me here. I will also have to adjust for
the altitude requirements. Fresnillo is at an altitude of about 7400 ft.

Area native potters;

I read about a community a couple of hours from here in the mountains that
produced blackware pottery. I will try to track them down and see about
their processes and materials. If the visit is interesting I will report
back to the list. This area of Mexico is a little of the tourist routes
which are more prevalent to the south. This area is known for its mining.
The town I live in has the largest producing below ground hard rock silver
mine in the world. It has been in operation for over 400 years and the
richest veins were not found until a few years ago.

If there are any Clayarters in the area please contact me.

Thank you,

Spencer R. Wilson
Carr. Fresnillo-Est. San Jose KM 7
Quinta Bonilla, 2da Casa Der.
Colonia Morfin Chavez
Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico CP 99150

Potters Council Charter Member

"Life is sweet, savor it"