Category Archives: News Items

New Shows and New Studio Space

Fall 2017 Update

Events – Two Shows

The Sedona Open Studios tour (with a great variety of media) is right around the corner.  I will be sharing my studio for the tour with Sharron Porter.  Sharron does award-winning bas relief landscape paintings.  We are anticipating a good turnout.  The studio will be open from 10 am to 5 pm Friday, November 10 to Sunday, November 12.  Come by to shop or just to say hello.  This link will show a map and list of for all 65 participants (44 studios are on the tour).

Don Reitz discard
Don Reitz discard

I will also share a booth at the Annual Made In Clarkdale Showcase with Doug Hill, who explores a variety of media.  The show runs from Thursday, November 30 through Sunday, December 3 – great time for gift shopping.  I created the website for the show.  Visit the schedule page for times and special events.

Pottery News

Wood FIred Porcelain - near firebox
Wood Fired Porcelain – near firebox

I now have studio space at the Reitz Ranch which was the studio of the eminent ceramic artist, Don Reitz.  His creative energy and presence are very noticeable in the studio.  Being there gives me access to cone 10 firing, to atmospheric firing (i.e. salt and soda firing) and to wood firing.  Being a total newbie in regards to wood firing, I am very excited to get into this.  I continue to do saggar, raku, and cone 6 electric firing at my home studio.

Faux Kintsugi - 21 inches
Faux Kintsugi Saggar Piece -21 inches

I am continuing to explore thrown forms with a sculptural emphasis; although I am still doing functional pieces.  Much of my current work has been inspired by a recent visit to Antelope Canyon (see below).  Many of these pieces have been pit fired resulting in a finish reminiscent of the colors in Antelope Canyon.  I have also been working with assembled thrown pieces.  One of these, which is 21 inches tall and saggar fired, broke when I carelessly picked it up by its long thin neck.  After some consideration, I repaired it with a faux kintsugi method I developed.  I like the final result. 

Ceramic Arts Network published an online “Artist Q&A” on me:

https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/artist-qa-meet-luke-metz/

Personal News

Anniversary Trip – Antelope Canyon

My wife, Sue, and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by touring many of the natural wonders that are nearby.  After a relaxing day in Durango, Colorado, we spent a couple of days visiting native American ruins in Mesa Verde National Park and then headed to Monument Valley via Valley of the Gods and Gooseneck State Park.  It was then on to Page, Arizona to visit Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon.  We saw much spectacular scenery in six days without feeling unduly rushed.  A memorable vacation – if you are logged into Facebook you can see my Facebook post (Southwest Tour 2017).  Sue and I also did a five-day retreat in Sedona in October with Bentinho Massaro.

 

Photo Gallery

 

Sculptural Wheel Thrown Pottery

Early Summer 2017 Sculptural Exploration

Ceramic altered bottle by Luke Metz

The featured image above was thrown as a single piece and then sculptural modifications were added.  It is 16 inches in diameter and glazed with multiple layers of Shino glaze.  It was fired to cone 10 in reduction.

I just completed a summer class at Coconino Community College exploring adding sculptural modifications to wheel-thrown forms.  I have greatly enjoyed working there but I feel that perhaps my projects may be more than is appropriate for a community college.  So, this may be my last semester there – time will tell.Shino high-fire mug by Luke Metz in Sedona, Airzona

I was able to take on an advanced project of using sculptural alterations and marks to create movement and fluidity in my pieces.  I had become bored with traditional shapes.  I used the work of Chris Gustin to provide direction for this endeavor.  This was surprisingly challenging.  I had Sculptural Ceramic Vessel by Luke Metzone large sectional collapse because I was rushing it to be able to complete it within the month of the class.  A number of pieces cracked due to the added stresses of making sculptural alterations to thrown pieces (all of the pieces started on the wheel).  Also, during the learning process of developing this technique, I had a few pieces that were discarded because they were too heavy.  Despite these setbacks, I was able to produce a body of work of which I am proud.

Ginger Jar Urn by Luke Metz in Sedona, AZ

A variety of glazing techniques were employed including dipping, pouring, brushing, splattering and spraying.  The results that most pleased me were achieved with an initial dip into Shino glaze and then selective spraying using three different additional glazes.

Many of the pieces are medium sized and were done with 5 to 6 pounds of clay.  A few larger pieces were done with up to 25 pounds of clay.  The mugs, tall vase, and the flared vase with lugs shown in the gallery at the bottom are not altered.  I did a number of warm-up pieces without alteration and ended of liking some of them.

Small Shino Jar by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona

This was a very satisfying project for me and I feel that it has opened an area of exploration that is just beginning for me.  I intend to work on refining this sculptural style and to bring some new elements to it.  I want to use a clay body without grog to emphasize the surface convolutions, and also to explore the use of cone 6 oxidation glazes on these pieces.

I hope to update this at the end of the summer or in early fall.

Here are some additional pieces from the summer semester:

Further Explorations and Fun With Shino

Announcing a New Gallery Presence 

Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Photo Evidence – hiking

Let me begin by announcing that I now have a space to display my pottery at the Sedona Artist Market in West Sedona, Arizona beginning June 1st.  I hope this works out since it is only one mile from my home.  Below are my explorations with Shino Glaze.

We have had a wonderful spring here in Sedona and I have been able to do some hiking.  I have included a photo as evidence (this is not fake news).

Playing With Shino

The curse of putting Shino over other glazes
The Shino Curse

I continue to explore Shino glazes and I continue to be fascinated by them.  In my rush to get over 150 pieces glazed, I lost track of what I was doing and ignored the old saying, “Shino first or suffer the curse!”  Have you ever wondered why Shino first?  I have.  I have included here photo documentation of the result.  

While I am on the topic of glaze faults, I have found an appreciation of crawling with Shino glazes although I have not achieved much control of the crawling (perhaps an area for more experimentation).

Shino on porcelain
Coconino Community College 2nd Prize

I won second prize at the student art show at Coconino Community College this past spring.  I wanted to test out the Shino on porcelain – this pottery piece that won.  It has already sold but an image is included in the photo gallery at the bottom of this post.

I also had fun playing around with making mugs.  After working my way through 2 dinnerware sets and striving for conformity, I was glad to try different shapes and sizes (from 4 ounces to 16 ounces).  All the handles were pulled while attached to the mug (I have moved away from extruded handles and am appreciating the look of the pulled handles).  My exploration also yielded a comfort lip on the mugs that I love.  In fact, it was so much fun I intend to continue was exploring large mugs.  Here are a few mug shots (pun intended).  Some of these are available at the Sedona Artist Market.

Mug Shots

Rehydrating Dried Out Clay

Often people offer me bags of dried out clay.  In the past, I have turned down clay that is extremely dried out.  I didn’t mind slightly dried out clay which I would cover with wet rags and was able to restore to optimum consistency.  However, I could not turn down an offer for 100 pounds of dried out cone 5 porcelain (I love working with porcelain).  Previously, I had not been successful with re-constituting large hunks of dried out clay (frustrating experience).  I was not willing to break it into small pieces and then soaking it. 

I used a 12-inch masonry bit to drill four holes in the clay from the top.  It was a challenge to hold the block of clay in place while drilling with my monster half inch drill (it has so much torque it is a challenge to hold on to).  I had been told that 1 cup of water added to the clay in the holes and on top would be sufficient.  After two days of the clay with the water in a sealed bag sitting in a gallon bucket filled with water, there was minimal hydration of the clay.  I added another generous cup of water and waited another two days.  Voila!  Or as my British friends are prone to say, “Bob’s your uncle!”  My friends from Oz are probably saying, “Good onya, mate!”  I am excited to have a relatively easy manner of reclaiming dried out bags of clay.  Now I will accept offers of dried out clay (yes, bring it on).

 

Future Plans

Last summer I felt like it was time to explore new avenues with my art.  I am pleased with where it has taken me. It is time for some new experimentation and expansion.  I am not sure what this means yet, but I am excited to find out – stay tuned for a summer or early fall post.

Blessings

 

Shino Gallery

 

 

Upcoming Shows

The banner piece above is a raku piece titled “Linear Exploration”.   It won third prize at the Annual Members Exhibition.  See my awards page.

The 37th Annual Members Exhibition at the Sedona Arts Center runs from March 3rd to April 3rd from 10 -5 every day.  The three pieces I submitted were juried into the show.  The awards are announced at the gala opening on Friday, March 3rd from 5 – 8 pm – there will be food and drink. 

The Renegades show features art from 10 local artists.  I am one of the artists.  The show is in the lower gallery of the Sedona Arts Center and runs from Wednesday, March 22nd to April 4th.  The hours are 10 – 5 every day.

The Sedona Arts Center
15 Art Barn Road
Sedona, Arizona 86336
(928) 282-3865

 

Kicking Off 2017

The year has been busy so far.  I have been focusing on pit-fire and saggar firing with a little raku thrown in.  I am also working on a couple of four place dinner sets that will be reduction fired to cone 10 with a Shino glaze – I expect to post pictures in the Spring.  Here is a gallery of some of my work from the past month.  Stay tuned, I have a couple of shows in March and will do another post in about a week.

Wrapping Up 2016

Things have been hoppin’ at Pots By Luke

 

Hyper-Dimensional Polymorphic Exploration
Hyper-Dimensional Polymorphic Exploration

I have been making raku for both my Cosmic Series and for my Banded Series. Saggar firing has been an area of experimentation lately. On the functional side, I have been producing mugs, tea bowls, tumblers, pitchers, bowls, platters, and baskets. I have also finally started on experimenting with cone 6 glazes – much room for exploration. I will be creating some pit-fire pieces in February.  This is a particularly busy time of the year for sales, and I am glad that I have a healthy inventory.

"Stained Glass Image" by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Banded Series – Stained Glass Image

Hyper-Dimensional Polymorphic Exploration  (top image) is an out of the box exploration of form and texture.  I had a lot of fun with this piece and with pushing its limits.  The Stained Glass Image piece from my raku banded series is more exploration of banding on raku pieces.   Not shown are a number of raku banded series vessels as well as a couple of stunning raku wall platters in this series.  Happiness is a whimsical raku piece from my raku cosmic series that has four smiling faces (one on each side). It has a number of “halo” images. This piece makes me smile.  The Porcelain Vase has some interesting use of Tea Dust Tenmoku glaze. The Saggar piece was a fun exploration using many organic and inorganic components for the firing.  I am excited to explore using other materials.  Color Splash from my raku poly-tonal series represents more playing with color and masking.  The featured image (the banner of this post) is the lifeguard station at La Jolla Beach in California at sunset.

Upcoming Show

Raku piece by Luke Metz titled Happiness
Raku Cosmic Series – Happiness

The annual Made In Clarkdale show was only four days this year and the format of the show changed dramatically. Some attendees loved the changes and some did not. That being said, this was the financially most successful year for the show. My sales were very good and so I am happy with the show.

Family Time

My wife and I were able to get away from Sedona for a couple of long weekends. We enjoyed a lazy few days at the beach in La Jolla and visiting friends in the area. We also had a long weekend in Santa Fe staying with friends there. Of course, we spent an afternoon visiting numerous galleries on Canyon Rd and we also visited a glass studio (fascinating and beautiful).

Fall 2016 Art Shows

I couldn’t get myself to do a post without a photograph.  This teapot has a two cup capacity.   Sales have been good in October and I am looking forward to good sales in November.  In addition to loose and fluid forms, I have been playing with raku, making porcelain chawans (Japanese tea bowls) and I am planning to do some saggar firing.

Art Lessons show
The Verde Valley campus of Yavapai College juried nine student works from all their ceramic students into the student show.  One of my raku pieces is in the show.  The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  The show runs through November 10th.

YC Art Gallery
601 Black Hills Dr. F-105
Clarkdale, AZ 86324
928.649.5479

The 30th Annual Made In Clarkdale Artists’ Showcase
I have again been juried into the annual Made In Clarkdale show.  This year the show has a totally revised format and runs for four days.  This has traditionally been a very popular show – attendance at the gala opening (Friday, December 2 from 6 pm to 9 pm) has been close to a thousand.  The show runs from December 1st to December 4th  from 10 am to 7 pm except Sunday when the show closes at 4pm.  I will feature lots of new work.  If you can, I encourage you to visit the show.

The Clark Memorial Clubhouse Auditorium
19 North 9th Street
Clarkdale, AZ 86324
928-301-9798

Raku Explorations

A Visit to John  Dodero

I have been playing with raku again.  This is some of the work I fired during the last month.  I visited Oregon a couple of months ago and had an opportunity to visit the studio of John Dodero in Jacksonville (you can see his work online).   It is unusual to find a production potter who does exciting raku ceramic art.  He makes a piece on the wheel and then uses this piece to create a plaster mold.  Slip-casting allows him to do production raku work which he sells wholesale.  

I was fascinated to see his studio set-up, work process, and his work.  I purchased a beautiful and very unusual Shino piece from him – unfortunately, it did not survive the shipping.  The featured piece on this post was inspired by his work.  Two of the photos below show different views of the same piece…

New Directions for Raku

Now that I am back in Sedona, Arizona, I have been experimenting with both wax resist and tape masking on raku pieces.  with was resist it is difficult to remove all the glaze from the resist, and with the tape, it is a challenge to get fluid lines and the uniform thickness of the lines is less natural looking.  I continue to ponder this challenge. 

The incorporation of wood and rock into my raku work presents interesting possibilities.  I am considering incorporating semi-precious stones and/or crystals.  The use of desert dried wood or cactus skeletons also is of interest.  The featured piece uses manzanita from our yard.

I like the stable and colorful glazes of raku.  They allow me to effectively use the masking technique for glaze application demonstrated on some these pieces.   I continue to ponder the possibility to similar results with mid and high fire glazes.  This would result in functional and durable pieces.

 

Shino Glaze

An Exploration of Shino Glaze

Wax Resist on Shino GlazeShino glaze was first developed in Japan in the latter half of the sixteenth century.  A Shino can go white, cream, orange, brown and black (even on a single piece).  The use of this glaze is quite tricky.  Many factors in the formulation, application, and firing of this glaze affect the final result.  Shino glazes can produce very disappointing results and are prone to glaze faults such as crazing and crawling.  However, with careful control of numerous variables, stunning results are possible.  To further cloud the issue pieces treated in the same manner and fired at the same time in the same kiln can produce remarkably different results.

Mug with Shino Glaze by Luke Metz in Sedona, ArizoanAt Coconino Community College under the tutelage of Don Fethkenher, we did an in-depth exploration of Shino glazes.  We lived and breathed Shino for a month.  Five of us made hundreds of pieces and tested these with different glaze formulations and different treatments and methods of application.  We tried putting different Shino glazes over each other.  We tried applying various chemicals over the glaze.  We tried different methods of drying the ware once the glaze was applied.  The list is much more extensive than mentioned here.

Soup Tureen with Ladle and Base glazed with Shino Glaze by Luke Metz in Sedona, ArizoanHaving spent a semester studying this glaze, I feel I know Shino a lot better.  As an analogy: I no longer feel like I am in kindergarten but am far from being an expert.

All the photos in this post are glazed with Shino (other glazes may be overlapped) and were made in June of 2016 (summer semester).  As you can see, quite a variety of results are possible from Shino.  The pieces shown in this post were selected from about 70 pieces I personally made.

Shino Glaze tumbler with Wood AshLeopard Spot Shino (so called because of the dark spots) is particularly elusive and those who know its secret guard it carefully!  The large image at the beginning of this post illustrates this glase.  Carbon trapping (carbon is trapped in the glaze during firing) is essential for this particular result and is what causes the black areas.  I am pleased to show an example of Leopard Spot Shino (no, I will not kiss and tell).

In addition to carbon trapping, the Shino glaze can under the proper conditions take on an opalescence that can be quite stunning.  I have included a picture Luke_Metz_shino_opalescenceof this occurrence; unfortunately, the opalescence does not show well in the photograph.  The piece has a beautiful metallic sheen.

 

 

 

 

 

Spring 2016

This pit fire piece by Luke Metz is named "Ancient Dancer"
Ancient Dancer – pit fire

It’s past time for my quarterly blog post. A little bit of everything has been the name of the game. In addition to cone 10 oxidation and reduction firing, I have done raku, pit fire, and soda fire.

The spring semester at Yavapai College with Tom Schumacher involved a lot of exploration and experimentation. I worked with doing some assemblages of thrown pieces, texturing, and briefly tried shellac resist. I have become very interested in tea pots and Japanese tea bowls – I think I will be playing with these for a quite a while.

"The Line Up" by Luke Metz is a raku piece
The Line Up – Raku

Using both stoneware and porcelain I created a diverse body of work. Trying some new glaze combinations yielded some unexpected results and some of them are exciting.

 

This porcelain chawan by Luke Metz is soda fired.
Porcelain Chawan – soda fire

I love the subtle patinas of pit fire pieces and it is always a surprise to see the final result.  “Ancient Dancer” (shown above) is multiple thrown pieces and slabs assembled into a work that is about 22 inches tall.

Stoneware kyusu by Luke Metz
Kyusu

My friend and teacher Don Fethkenher allowed me to share in a soda firing in his kiln. This is my second soda firing and I am starting to get a better feel for the technique – it is substantially different than the more traditional oxidation and reduction firings I have been doing. I feel like I am just scratching the surface and look forward to more opportunities to explore this exciting technique. Speaking of Don, I will be studying with him in June at Coconino Community College.

Also coming up shortly is a workshop with Patrick Shia Crabb.

Two new galleries (for me) are showing my work. Zen Mountain Gallery in the intriguing town of Jerome, Arizona (an old mining

Vase With Attitude - Cone 10 Reduction
Vase With Attitude – Cone 10 Reduction

town that hangs off the side of Mingus Mountain) has a very tasteful selection of wonderful art and I feel privileged to be part of this gallery. I have just set up at the Prescott Art Market along the outdoor walk/drive way. This is in an attractive mall in Prescott, Arizona and hopefully will have good traffic (this is a brand new location for the gallery). I am continuing to be part of the Village Gallery of Local Artists in the Village of Oak Creek (Sedona) – I also maintain their website.

Textured Covered Vessel by Luke Metz
Textured Covered Vessel

Much of what I have been doing lately is pushing me out of my box and comfort zone. This includes my ideas for marketing my work. My work this year is growing, shifting and I think getting better. I am excited with some of the results and have many ideas for new directions of play. Although I still appreciate classic forms, I am very interested in playing with more fluid shapes, with altering forms, and with assembling thrown pieces as well as playing with making some hand built functional pieces. I have doing much of my work in college studios so that I can do cone 10 firing and to have more interaction with other artists. I anticipate doing more work this summer in my studio.

Raku Copper Weave by Luke Metz and Wendy Bialek
Collaborative Piece

The collaborative piece I created with Wendy Bialek is complete.  I made the porcelain raku fired base and she did the copper wire weaving.

I am thrilled to report that the variety of things to explore in ceramics has kept me inspired and I still love this medium. On a personal note my wife, Sue, and I have been hiking regularly with friends.

My next update will probably be in August or September. If you are in the area please come visit one of my galleries or contact me to visit my studio. Hope to see you this summer.