Category Archives: about me

Welcome to the new blog!

Welcome to the new home of Brian Fields Pottery!

I’ve moved all my content from my old Blogger hosted platform to this shiny new WordPress site with my own domain name. The new platform should give me a lot more flexability and options for growing my blog/website this year and in to the future.

Take a look around, and let me know what you think!

Goodbye 2009!

In the spirit of New Years, new beginnings and all that, I’ll be making a fresh start here on the blog and in the studio.
After a particularly frustrating 2009, not being able to do what I WANTED to do, or felt I SHOULD be doing or COULD do, I’ll be focusing on what I CAN do. Until my recovery and PT and various other procedures are done with, I can still make work. I may not be as fast as I was, or be able to throw for hours and hours, but I can make work. Pain or not, working with clay helps me stay sane through it all.

What color green are you?

All of this glaze testing going on out in the pottery blogosphere got me thinking about color —


You Are Teal Green


You are a one of a kind, original person. There’s no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don’t scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

Crunch time

So Friday after work I came home and went back out to get gas for the lawnmower to do some yard work this weekend.

I’d usually have just went Saturday morning, but the gas stations all over the area were raising their prices to outrageous levels in a panic over what hurricane Ike might do to Houston.

But I went Friday night.

And I normally would have turned right to go to the closer independent gas station that’s usually cheaper than the one by the highway exit. But I’d just driven past that station and it had the highest price of ANY of the 8-10 places I drive past on the way home.

So I turned left.

Halfway there, a Ford pickup truck (F150 or bigger) in the oncoming lane swerved directly into my lane. Accounts vary as to whether he was swerving to avoid rear-ending someone in front of him, or simply passing in a no passing zone. Regardless, all witnesses put him clearly in the wrong. I swerved to the right to the side of the road/ditch, as they teach you way back in driver’s education, but so did he, and we hit head-on.

Looking at all the carnage, it’s amazing, but I’m mostly ok. After a trip to the hospital on the body board, cognative tests, blood tests, and a CT scan I ‘walked away’ from this.

I feel like I went 16 rounds with Mike Tyson, but no broken bones, no internal organ injuries. Just some major bruising and muscle aches that I’m sure I’m just beginning to experience. Actually found a big one last night on my left hip from the seat belt, to go with the big one on my left shoulder.

Moral of the story: Seat belts and airbags save lives. Plain and simple. Being a nice day, my driver’s window was down. The seatbelt kept me IN the car, and the airbags saved my life. The first responders were amazed I was in as good of shape as I was. These people deal with this every day, and it really shows on their faces when they can take someone out alive from something like this.

Couldn’t help putting this one in…. When my wife went to clean out the car, she found a bisque pot that I had in the trunk. Intact.


Those Toyota engineers really know what they’re doing.

Tagged…

So I was tagged last weekend by Judy Shreve.

My dilemma being, every other blogger I know has already been tagged at this point. Whoever started this thing should have more carefully examined the mathematical consequences of each tagger tagging 6 more taggees…. I’m just not comfortable guerrilla tagging bloggers I don’t really know.

In the spirit of playing along, here are my 6 random things:

1) I studied classical piano from age 4 – 18. I also played flute and trombone in school band.

2) I was briefly trilingual, after studying French 3 years in high school and German 2 years in college.

3) I am Reiki master, finishing my teacher certification.

4) My other love is landscape/nature photography, growing up the son of a wedding photographer.

5) I took my first, last and only roller coaster ride last year. It was not my idea of fun. Maybe if I had started as a kid…

6) I can hold my own in the kitchen.

What do you listen to?

Meagan Chaney’s recent technical difficulties got me thinking, I know what I like to listen to when I’m in the studio, I wonder what other people listen to? Do you need music?

For throwing and general working around in the studio, I prefer more instrumental stuff. Usually classical, but depending on my mood it could be anything from Alan Parsons to Kodo. Bach is an old standby, especially the Brandenburg Concertos.

What about podcasts? I find I can’t concentrate on them and do pottery at the same time, but outside the studio I have a few I like to listen to. The Firing Log is interesting to me, not being even remotely capable of building my own anagama kiln, just to hear how other people work. I like the people he finds to interview.
Robert Briggs at www.corvusmoon.com does the Pottery Pod, with short videos of different techniques. NCECA has also done a podcast series of the conference the last two years. None of these are very heavily updated, so it’s easy to keep up to date on them. For lighter non-pottery listening, NPR has most if not all of their regular shows available through podcast too. All of these podcasts can be found by searching the iTunes site. And you don’t have to have a Mac or an iPod to use iTunes. I have a MuVo TX from Creative Labs that I love. It’s tiny, holds plenty of music, can do double duty as a USB thumb drive, and has an FM tuner and voice recorder as well.

I have a feeling I’ll be listening to something a bit up-tempo as I clean, scrub, wax a buff my pots from the saggar fire yesterday. Stay tuned for pictures!

Beginnings

So how did I get started in all this?

When I was a kid, my mom took some ceramics classes at the local college and it just always looked like fun. The idea that you could make something out of mud and bake it and turn it into ceramic was just cool! I was too young to take a class, but she found a lady across the street from my piano teacher that made slipcast pieces you could paint and glaze and she would fire. I must have made a hundred various things.

Fast forward 25 years. I’ve been transplanted to North Carolina. My wife and I are visiting the NC Zoo in Asheboro, and exploring our new state, when we discover Seagrove, NC and the North Carolina Pottery Center. After looking at the exhibits in the main building, we went out to the education building where Linda Russell was giving a demo. We were the only ones there, and after about the 10th question I asked, she cleaned off her wheel, got up and said ‘Sit down. The only way to know it is to do it.’ I still have that small, squat pot I threw that day. I was hooked.

Months later, I discovered Raleigh Parks department’s Art program, and that I’d been driving past the Pullen Arts Center twice a day on my commute. I’ve been taking classes and using the studios ever since.

Who is this guy ??

Short answer:
a guy who got bit by the pottery bug years ago and just can’t stop being fascinated by the endless techniques, textures, forms and colors that are possible in clay.

Longer answer:
As long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to clay. From the soft, slick blue-grey clay on the shoreline of a Michigan lake, to running straight into a bright red Georgia ‘mud puddle’ (I was probably about 4) and getting stuck! My dad had to pull me right out of my shoes to get me out of that one. (thanks, Dad!)

And the fires…. cook-out fires, charcoal grills, brush piles… I just loved watching (and playing with) the flames.

Now that I’ve ‘grown up’, my expression of choice is wheel-thrown vessels. I’ve tried hand-building on several occasions, but it never seemed to click for me. Most of the hand-builders I know say the opposite, so to each his own!
I work in stoneware, mainly because that’s what the pottery center has available, but I also like it for it’s versatility. I like being able to low fire it, or do a more traditional glaze firing.

I’m experimenting with different low-fire processes, raku, saggar, horsehair, and naked raku. (no, it’s NOT what you’re thinking…. the -clay- is naked, the CLAY…) Don’t worry, I’ll have more stuff up here soon to show what these all look like. But mainly, I’m having fun exploring the texture of the unglazed clay surface.

For more on how I got started, look here.