Diane Puckett

I love mud, be it in the studio or the garden. My first foray into ceramics was in the 1970s. I took a long time off for things like raising children and having a career in the Washington, DC area.

I got back into ceramics in 2000, taking classes from Fran Newquist at Manassas Clay where I eventually had a studio and sold my work.

Since moving to Asheville, North Carolina in 2009, I have established my own studio where I fire oxidation work and raku ware. I have had the privilege of taking classes and workshops from some amazing local potters.

Living in the Southern Appalachians is about as good as it gets. On the best days, the studio windows are wide open, good music is playing with the birds singing along, and I am up to my elbows in mud.

Diane Puckett

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dust Control

This weekend was the annual cleaning of the studio in preparation for winter when the windows are closed and water is an issue. I have no plumbing in my studio so I must schlep in water. Summer is not a problem, as I can just run a hose to the building, and anything really messy gets hosed off outside. Soon the outside faucets will be shut off, and I will resort to carrying in gallon bottles of warm water.

Studio cleaning began with resieving all my glazes. This was a big, messy job but needed to be done. Some of the glazes had what appeared to be small stones which had formed since the glazes were last sieved, another mystery to be solved. I am sure John Britt knows the answer.

I threw out terra sigillata I had made in various colors. It was all made from XX Sagger clay and, when fired, crackled on every piece. Today I made terra sig using OM4, which tends to better fit the clays I use. Word to the wise - terra sig needs to be tested just like glazes.

I also threw out some half-made pieces with which I was not happy, and there will be more to follow those into the trash can. I have decided finishing something I don't like is a waste of time and keeps me from creating something else.

I installed a 12-foot shelf running the length of one wall over the windows, and I plan to install another on the other side. This provides a lot more storage space, and it is a great place for small things which tend to create a lot of clutter and collect dust. Shelves above windows do not block any sunlight and use otherwise idle space. It also forces me to stand and stretch way up to reach those things, something I need to do when I am working hunched over the wheel or work table.

I also wedged a lot of clay which needed to be reclaimed. I detest wedging clay. I am hoping some enterprising person will buy a pug mill, put it on a trailer, and take it around to various potters' studios to pug clay. In the Asheville area, someone could probably do that full-time and have a waiting list of customers.

After cleaning out junk and reorganizing, I even scrubbed the floor and washed the windows. The piliated woodpecker sat outside laughing in a tree, but at least now I can see him.

I want to make a serious effort to keep my studio reasonably clean. This will mean making a concious effort to not create dust inside and to clean any wet mess before it dries. I think it will save time in the long run, but we will see how that goes. It will certainly make the studio a safer place to work.

The kiln is nearly full for the next bisque firing. I have room for something very short on the top shelf, maybe a platter. Later today I am going to Wildacres for an all-week class with Cynthia Bringle, so the platter will have to wait. I am looking forward to a couple days of being off the grid and in the mud.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for gently reminding me to keep cleaning my studio! I have no water in it either, and it's worked well so far and mine's in my garage! lucky you going to a class with Cynthia Bringle. Jealous!