The month of June at Mainely Pottery is a beautiful month. The gardens are full of iris, peonies, shirley poppies and lupine. In the shop the shelves are full of pottery from over 30 Maine potters. The selection is fabulous and the quality is very high. We are proud to represent so many talented Maine craftspeople. Jamie has done a few raku firings and is working hard to prepare for his first craftshow of the season. He will be exhibiting at Belfast Arts in the Park on July 10th and 11th. The shop is open daily 9:30-5:30. We welcome your visit.
Mainely Pottery will be opening for its 22nd season on Saturday, May 1st. We have been busy cleaning and reorganizing the shop to get ready to welcome three new potters to the shop, Tim Christensen, Susan Horowitz and Mary Kay Spencer. They are all established potters who are eager to display their work at our Route One location in Belfast, Maine. We will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
Jamie Oates, our resident potter, has been busy in the studio all winter making lots of pots. He likes to build up inventory in the winter in order to carry him through the busy summer months.
In the garden, daffodils are in full bloom, tulips are budding up and the forsythia is glowing in the corner. We have lots of perennials pushing up out of the cold soil. We look forward to showing you the garden and the shop on your next visit.
It is one of those beautiful summer days without rain. Sunday was more typical of the weather we’ve seen in June and July…gray with possible rain. Fortunately I was able to fire some pottery in my small raku kiln before the heavy rains started.
Raku is a technique which originated in 16th century Japan. Normally pottery fired in a kiln reaches temperature gradually and also cools gradually. The firing and cooling process might take 2o hours to a few days depending on the size of the kiln.
Raku involves firing a few pots fast to approximately 1900 degrees F. and lifting the molten pots from the kiln into metal containers lined with sawdust and paper. Sawdust catches fire and adds smoke to the atmosphere around the molten glaze. When the molten pottery is lifted from the 1900 degree F. kiln into the air, it experiences a thermal shock. The glaze will often shrink, cooling fast and crackle patterns will be blackened by the smoke. Glazes with copper turn green with enough oxygen. Where the smoke replaces the oxygen, the copper turns lustrous metallic colors and sometimes red. This unpredictable aspect of raku firing and the unusual glaze results make this process very exciting for the studio potter.
I’ll post more information about raku in future blogs. Right now I’m in the midst of packing my wares for the 35th annual juried Maine Craft Guild show at the high school in Bar Harbor, Maine. The show runs Friday, July 31st from 5 p.m to 9 p.m., Saturday, August 1st and Sunday, August 2nd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jamie Oates will be showing his pottery at the annual Arts in the Park craft show in Belfast Maine on the waterfront this Saturday July 11th 10-5 and Sunday, July 12th 10-4. There will be live music and food. Come on down and bring the sunshine.
Below is an example of Jamie’s raku fired nightlights.