Category Archives: News Items

Sauerkraut and a Brand New Year (2018)

 

Hello, Red Rockers (that is fans of RedRockRaku.com).  I am excited about 2018 and have no idea where it will take me.  I plan to be making plenty of sauerkraut.

Upcoming Shows

The 38th Annual Juried Member Exhibition runs from March 2nd through March 25th.  Four of my pieces have been juried into the show.  It will be held at the
          Sedona Arts Center
          15 Art Barn Road
          Sedona, Arizona 86336
          (928) 282-3865 

The SVAC Open Studio Tour here in Sedona, Arizona will be April 27, 28 and 29 10am – 5pm.  When the brochure is available, I will add a link to this.

Here Is What I Am Up to with My Pottery

High-fire Antelope Canyon Series created by Luke Metz
Antelope Canyon Series – made with a porcelainlike clay that has been lightly coated with a special wash and left unglazed on the outside.
High-Fire "Earthquake" was made by Luke Metz in Sedona Arizona
“Earthquake” – Cone 10 reduction fired Soldate 60 clay
Wood-fired textured vase. There is no glaze on the outside of this piece. The wonderful variations of color are caused by the fire and ash.
Wood-fired Textured Vase – there is no glaze on the outside of this piece. The wonderful variations of color are caused by the fire and ash deposits. This was fired in the Reitzagama kiln to cone 12.

I have been continuing my interest in my Antelope Canyon series of pieces.  I love the fluidity of the shapes and the element of surprise as the piece is viewed from different angles.  I have explored this idea with different glazes and different types of firings.

I am feeling drawn to further explore functional ware.  My mugs continue to do well and I have ramped up production on these.  I made some bread bakers, which also serve as casseroles and covered serving bowls.  I am a fan of crispy hard crusts and this baker does it.  The featured image above for this page shows one the bakers with a loaf of bread that I baked in it.  These are selling. 

I am also interested in seeing how well sauerkraut fermentation crocks sell – I ferment my own sauerkraut.  These crocks are designed to prevent oxygen from getting back into your batch.  Sauerkraut, by the way, is an excellent natural source of probiotics various vitamins.  So these sauerkraut crocks are on my production list.

One of my to do’s is an exploration of Kurinuki.  This involves carving pieces from solid blocks of clay and then hollowing them out.  I am fascinated by tea bowls and look forward to trying this with them.  The downside is that this process is highly labor intensive.  One my interests that have been put on the backburner is carving thrown porcelain pieces.  So many things to explore and not enough time…

All that being said, I continue to explore the “art” side of ceramics with decorative pieces.  However, I have not done any alternative firing (such as raku) in the last few months but I am pursuing this with high-fire reduction pieces.  I am hoping the next few months bring more wood-firing and possibly a soda-firing.

John Britt and Luke Metz at one of John's glaze workshops
John Britt and Luke Metz – glazing workshop taught by John at the Reitz Ranch in Clarkdale, Arizona

I just completed a three-day intensive workshop with John Britt.  We explored mid-fire and high-fire glazes.  The workshop involved some hands-on and a lot (LOT) of theory.  Great stuff!  I feel like I have made a quantum leap in my understanding of glazes, and am still left with the feeling of being a beginner.  I think this area will require years of practical and experimental investigation on my part – I look forward to this.

Friends, thank you for reading my blog and stay tuned.

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.