New work from this Summer

Here are a few highlights from the last two firings. I've posted process pics on the blog in the past few months so these might look familiar. The full set is on my Facebook fan page. (Click here to see the entire collection.)

Finishing a large batch makes me step back and see where I want to go next. My next group is geared towards a Chinese audience. Practically this means I make everything much, much, much smaller. I'm making teapots that my fingers can barely fit in and they are still large compared to pots used for green tea. This might be the only time that I want something to shrink in the kiln. I'm making two cups and a tray for each teapot. It's a nice challenge to work on small objects for sets.


  1. These are all very beautiful. I like how you use the white space and the grace and elegance of the vines.

  2. These are truly wonderful - love the combination of textural elements and the painted elements and your use of white space. Very lovely!

  3. Wow Ben! Impressed!

    I have been following your blog for sometime now, and as much as I enjoy reading your insights into the creative process and the your journey through it, I have never really felt much like your work spoke to me, it never struck me and made me stop and say "wow, I love that!"

    This time is different! The way you have combined the simplicity and elegance of the white/beige backgrounds, with the subtle mascilinity of the greens, for me, your work has reached a whole new level. Matured! I particularly like the round fat cookie jars, when I look at them, my heart beats a little faster!

    The only pieces I would continue to question are the tall skinny mugs. What are they? What are they used for? Who would you imagine holding them? The skinny narrowness somehow seems more like they should be holding toothbrushes than a beverage.

    Coincidentally, I am glad you commented that you are going to start working on smaller objects, as that is what I would suggest for the mugs, try your hand at small dainty tea cups instead and see how they go.

    Well done!

  4. Thanks for the comments. I appreciate the feed back. This last batch feels like its pointing in a good direction so I'm glad to hear its well received.

    The tall cups are tumblers. I usually pair them with a pitcher for iced tea service. I think tall drinking glasses are good for cold liquids. I have gotten feedback that they look like vases so I'll think about how to change the form to make it more obvious.

    Happy Potting everyone.

  5. I too really like your work and the new direction. I'm pretty new to your blog and so yesterday I spent the day reading back through a lot of it to see if you described your process. Did not find what I wanted. I see that you slip the work. But then what? Do you paint on the bisqued slip and put a clear glaze over it? Or is it more like a Majolica process--glaze on bisqued ware, painted and perhaps an wash over that? I've been trying to find my way to something like you are doing but can't quite figure it out. Thanks.

  6. Hello Sister Creek,
    Thanks for following the blog. I use a sgrafitto method for my surface decoration. First I dip leather hard pots in a thin layer of porcelain slip. After they return to leather hard I paint the colored patterns with under glaze or slip. I then carve around the patterns to reveal the dark clay underneath.The pieces are then bisque fired and covered with translucent or semi matte glazes.

    I find this method allows me to control the mark making when the clay is still at a soft state. Drawing on soft clay is much more fluid than on bisque. I try to avoid bisque drawing because it feels like nails on a chalk board.

    I hope this answers your questions. If you would like to read an in depth explanation check out the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated. I wrote an article, "Elevating Earthenware" about my process. Let me know how your work turns out if you decide to try the process.

  7. Thanks, Ben. Very generous. I probably did read your article but was not yet at the point to apply it and then forgot it was there. I'll get it out now! I've been trying to paint on bisque--and yes it is so very hard. I'm eager to try frollowing your guide. Thanks again. Gay

  8. PS I have an acquaintance who may be doing a recidancy with you, Jenn Datchuk, from San Antonio. She is writing a 'travel blog' about her time in Jingdezhen. I may be mistaken about her being with you but it sounded like she was in workshop you've described. Gay

  9. PPS I did find your article and it is very helpful--though your description above was also. I had not read it as I was not using earthenware at that time so overlooked the article unfortunately! Now to see what I can do with your generous help. Thanks.
    PPPS I was mistaken in thinking you are in Jingdezhen. Gay

  10. Hello Gay,
    Your friend Jenn is at our residency center in Jingdezhen. I checked out her website and I like her work. I run the Pottery Workshop studio in Shanghai but I try to make it out to Jingdezhen a few times a year.
    I checked out your blog. The pedestal bowls are great. I like the way the sprigs unify the interior and exterior by merging the split rim. Keep up the good work.

  11. Your pots are so exquisite! I don't think I've seen anything I've loved so much as I keep coming back to admire them. There is such a feminine touch to the design and when I first saw them I assumed they were created by a woman so was pleasantly surprised and even more impressed they were created by a man! (Please don't take offence.) I would love to try this technique as it fits into my latest decoration assignment. I am only a recent foreign subscriber of PMI so I do not have access to your article of the Sep/Oct issue and am looking at how I can get hold of that article. Excellent blog, keep it up!

  12. I've mentioned last years PMI article a few times in this post's comments. If you can't get a hard copy I would be glad to send you one. Contact me through my website and leave me a message with your email. http://www.carterpottery.com/contact/contact.aspx

    Happy Potting and enjoy the warm weather.

  13. Thank you so much, Ben! Your generosity is much appreciated! Jocelyn