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Kiln Firing – 15 January 2021

I just opened the kiln, and have some new porcelain pots. Most exciting to me are the new plates. I don’t sell pots online. I try to take the best photos I can, but a pot needs to be picked up and held to really ‘know’ if it’s the right one for you. You can see them on my front porch in Old Washington. Cups are $40 Plates $80. First come, first served.

Click the arrows below to see all the pots from the firing.

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Happy New Year 2021

Happy New Year! When I work in clay, i sign the bottom of each pot with my name, location and year created. For my FINAL pot of 2020, I made a plate to celebrate the little village where i live, OLD WASHINGTON. If I HAD to be stuck in one place for the year 2020, I’m grateful it was here!

porcelain plate with sgraffito design of Old Washington, Kentucky. Log Cabin, Federal Brick buildind and white church house.

When I was young, i was led to believe that an artist has to live in a big metro area to ‘make it’.

Now that i’m older and have more experience in the world, I know that a small town is a great place to an artist! I’m so grateful to have been welcomed and a part of this small rural town.

This pot is a work in progress. It still needs to go through the kiln.

Happy New Year!

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Thanksgiving Pottery Teaser

Hope Everyone is having a happy and healthy this Thanksgiving holiday. The pandemic is going strong here in Kentucky, so things are a lot different from normal.

I have some new porcelain pottery that I can’t wait to show off (and sell) to you all. I believe that pottery should be experienced in person. You need to pick it up to TRULY know whether or not it is the right pot for you. I’m going to wait until things are a little safer before i invite you to visit my front porch, but you can follow THIS LINK for a sneak peek at the latest pottery:

Pottery / Pottery 11/25/2020 | Ken Swinson

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Carving porcelain – cardinals

Hi Everybody! I have been carving my first batch of porcelain cups; using RED colored slip. To honor Kentucky’s state bird, the cardinal. This video shows how the process works.

Stay tuned to see how they look after going through the kiln. Thanks for everyone for watching, your encouragement and support! I’m so happy to be back in the clay studio!

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Porcelain Test Tiles

I spent much of the summer throwing pots, and learning how to work in porcelain-a beautiful, translucent clay, that requires a little bit of extra care and a lot of patience.

triple beam scale for weighing ceramic material

I had to take a break for a few months, so that I could do some glaze testing…and here are the results!!!:

finished test tiles for ceramic porcelain glaze

I FINALLY think I have a recipe for BLUE!!!  The blues I was used to with stoneware were too fluid on porcelain…the colors had a tendency to slide around. 

mason jars with colorful ceramic glaze

I also have a decent RED, ORANGE and PURPLE!

The YELLOW I was hoping for was a little less vibrant that what I wanted, but it’s a nice toned color that will pair nice with some others. I’m still working on a GREEN…I have learned that a glaze recipe that doesn’t include zinc helps it stay a little bit brighter.

raw materials for ceramic glaze

I’ve put these tiles through a stress test: freezing them, then dropping them into boiling water ( a few times)

unfired test tiles for porcelain glaze

The glazes all fit, so I’M BACK IN THE CLAY STUDIO!!! Hope to have new pots soon!

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Throwing pots on a Rainy Day

An exciting thing about live video is that you never know what will happen, and there’s no way to edit out the warts and bloopers that are part of real life.

I haven’t been in my pottery studio for a while, and thought it would be fun to broadcast live while throwing pots and listening to cincinnati’s classical music station, WGUC. After listening to a beautiful piece by composer, Robert Schumann, DJ Elaine Diehl talked about how the composer struggled with mental health, and how music was an important part of his life. Reminding US that during this pandemic, we can think about Schuman and his struggles and music, when we have OUR mood swings and challenges.

After a few minutes, while still broadcasting, facebook sent me an alert, threatening to stop my broadcast because I was playing copyrighted music. Almost as if on cue, my mood went from happy to rage, and I almost said a few cuss words, while ranting about facebook’s lack of a social conscious.

I took the video down, because that vibe is not the kind of thing I want to spread among my friends (or to anyone), but I think the story is worth sharing, because, like everyone, I am dealing with maintaining mental health during the uncertainty of the pandemic….lately, art (and listening to WGUC public radio) have been a saving grace, just like music was for Robert Schuman. I hope you are finding and embracing the thing that keeps you healthy and happy right now.

Another moral to the story, you never know what you are going to get when you watch those live videos, lol! My apologies to anyone who saw me acting like that.

And here’s a sped up and muted version of what you missed…the pots actually came out pretty good!