Category Archives: pottery

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:

Ceramic Art and Raku Pottery by Luke Metz

Raku Pottery and Other Alternative Firings

Alien Pod is raku pottery by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Alien Pod

The ceramic art and raku pottery of Luke Metz are created in the area of Sedona, Arizona.  He loves raku firing and also does other alternative firings such as saggar firing, pit firing, and soda firing.  These are all atmospheric firings (chemicals in the atmosphere of the firing effect the final result) and produce exciting and unique results.  These alternative firing techniques are known for their unpredictability and this is part of why Luke Metz finds them exciting.

Soda Fired pottery by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Soda Fired Vessel

Except for soda firing, these pottery pieces are not functional  They are not intended for food or water.  A removable label on the bottom of these pieces indicates this restriction.  The Care Instructions page under the Alternative Fire menu option explains the special care suggested for these types of ceramic art.

See the Artist section of this site for Luke Metz for more information on the artist and his history, awards, and shows.  This section also gives some information about Sedona, Arizona.  

High-Fire Pottery

Infolding High fire sculptural ceramic art by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizonais a ceramic high_fire piece by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Hyper-Dimensional Polymorphic Exploration

Luke Metz also does medium and high-fire pottery.  The high-fire is often done in reduction.  Reduction means that there is a reduced amount of oxygen available in the kiln during certain stages of the firing.  Reduction firing is essential to produce the dramatic effects that are possible with Shino glazes.  There are glazes that are called Shino glazes that mimic the look of reduction fired Shino glazes but the difference is quite noticeable.   Reduction firing could be considered an atmospheric firing since the high carbon atmosphere is affecting the final result.

Most of the high fire and medium fire pottery that Luke Metz produces is food and water safe.  It is usually safe in the dishwasher as well as the microwave oven.   Various galleries in the Sedona area offer the ceramic art of Luke Metz.

Use this Form to Contact Luke Metz

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Luke Metz is glad to be in contact with pottery lovers, collectors, and fellow artists.  See below for information on Sedona, Arizona.  The photo is the view of Midgley Bridge in Oak Creek Canyon.

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Information on Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona is an incredible place to visit.  If you have not been to Sedona, you might want to explore it on the internet.  The red rocks are incredibly beautiful.  There are many spectacular hiking trails and mountain bike trails.  Restrictions on development have kept this tourist area from becoming overly commercial in appearance.

For a town with a population of a little over 10,000 (permanent residents), Sedona, Arizona is remarkably cosmopolitan.  It has been ranked as a top travel destination as well as a great (if somewhat expensive) place to retire.  There is a thriving artist community with some nationally renowned artists living here.  In addition to numerous galleries, there is a performing art center, nightclubs, a six-plex movie theater and a movie theater that specializes in independent films.  Many fine restaurants can add fun to your visit.   A number of spiritual teachers reside here and many teachers travel here to put on retreats, workshops, and seminars.  The natural beauty of the area is stellar.  Many visitors are astounded by their first view of Sedona.

There are a number of annual events such as the annual Sedona International Film Festival that draw many visitors.

Easy Trips from Sedona

Sedona, Arizona is within an hour of Flagstaff and it is a two-hour drive from Phoenix.  Historic Jerome hangs off a mountainside west of Sedona (it is about a 40-minute drive) and has lots of fun shops and restaurants to visit.  The beautiful Willow and Watson lakes in Prescott are about an hour and a half drive and provide wonderful photographic opportunities.

The Grand Canyon is about a two-hour drive from Sedona.  Monument Valley and Antelope canyon are easily reachable.  The incredible national park system in Utah is accessible by car for a more extended venture.

Yes, it even snows occasionally in the winter (emphasis on occasionally).

My point is that Sedona is a great place to visit.  If you do visit, come see my work in one of the galleries carrying my pottery and/or visit my studio.

Ceramic High-Fire Pottery

What I Love in Ceramics

Since moving to Sedona, Arizona, my ceramic work is ever evolving.  What I made a year ago is probably substantially different that what I may be making currently.  This variety and growth make it a challenge to present a good representational gallery of my work.  This page addresses both high fire (cone 8-12) and medium fire (cone 5-6) ceramic work.

I love trying new things and combining techniques.  Sometimes I like to be structured and linear in my art whereas sometimes I love to be more fluid and unpredictable.  Whimsy and the unexpected are qualities I enjoy in my work.  Often my palette is as varied as the forms I explore.  

What I Do in Ceramics

Pitcher Imperfect is a high_fire piece by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Pitcher Imperfect

I produce both decorative and functional high-fire pottery.  Sometimes a piece can be both.  Sometimes an apparent functional piece is more intended for decoration. The hefty 12-inch pitcher, “Pitcher Imperfect”, is a good example of this.

I have made dinnerware sets, but I quickly tire of making the same piece over and over.  I much prefer to make a dozen mugs and make each one distinctly different.   Taking this approach encourages me to reach out of the box – often resulting in exciting discoveries.  I find it interesting the endless possibilities that arise in a simple form such as a mug or tea bowl.  What I learn in these explorations is naturally transferred to other forms that I make.

Shino Dinnerware Set Conical Shino is a high_fire set by Luke Metz in Sedona, Arizona
Shino Dinnerware Set

I enjoy making altered ceramic forms and cutting up forms and joining them in new ways.  Most of my work is done initially on the wheel.   Having done stone sculpture, I enjoy bringing sculptural qualities to wheel-thrown pottery.  Throwing sectional pieces (multiple wheel-thrown pieces are joined and the joined pieces can then be worked on the wheel) is another passion of mine.

I seek to bring a high-level of craftsmanship to my ceramic art.   My continued exploration of simple and altered forms such as mugs results in continuing refinement and craftsmanship of the final product.

Ceramic Glazing

I have not talked much about glazes.   If I have access to cone 10 reduction firing, I am particularly enamored of Shino and Shino combinations.  The transparency of Shino lends itself to slip decorating – this is an area that I am continually seeking improvement.  My explorations with cone 5-6 oxidation firing have mainly been with layering glazes.   I love working with reds and oranges reminiscent of Sedona, Arizona.  With saggar, pit-fire, and raku I use a different palette – please see the related pages on this website.

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

 

 

Raku and Other Pottery Created by Luke Metz

Pottery by Luke Metz

Luke Metz, an award-winning ceramic artist, is passionate about pottery and especially raku.  He grew up and attended college in New York City where he had a fascination with the art scene. While at college Luke learned stone sculpture. He majored in psychology, took numerous art appreciation courses and graduated from Columbia University.

Luke Metz pursued graduate work at the University of Denver in both computer science and education. His business endeavors covered a broad spectrum including electronic repair, computer systems analysis, real estate, and teaching.  In addition to ceramics, his interests also included rock climbing, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, motorcycling, scuba diving, and whitewater kayaking.  While living in Denver, Luke spent about 5 years creating pottery as a hobby in the 1970s.

My wife Sue Metz
My wife – Sue Metz

Although Luke Metz always loved ceramic art and dabbled in it, he did not see pottery as a viable career and did not commit to pottery until he “retired”. 

Luke has been living in Sedona, AZ  for 8 years now and has spent 7 of those years fully immersed with ceramics. In that time he has won a number of awards, has been in numerous shows and galleries.  Currently, his pottery is on display at Village Gallery of Local Artists in Village of Oak Creek,  The Sedona Artist Market in Sedona, and The Hart of AZ in old town Cottonwood.

Being a “late bloomer” seems to be in his genes.  Luke’s father retired in his sixties from being a partner in a Wall Street firm and took up sculpture. He put on a one-person show in New York City.

Artistic Vision

Roshi shows off his now defunct teeth
Our ferocious companion

Ceramics/pottery for Luke Metz is a wonderful and exciting medium. The possibilities seem to be endless and he loves exploring new techniques and combining them. The excitement and inspiration of this exploration keep Luke immersed in the medium. The organic and malleable qualities of clay fascinate him, and he often emphasizes this in his ceramic art.   Whimsy and the unexpected are also qualities he strives to bring to his pottery.  Although traditional forms are part of his repertoire, he loves to explore new forms (especially asymmetric) and to combine seemingly disparate elements.  Color and texture is his playground.  The spontaneity and pyrotechnics or raku are particularly enticing for Luke.  

Luke Metz works out his studio, Pots By Luke, in Sedona. AZ.

Luke Metz displays pottery at Three Amigos Ceramic Exhibition
Luke Metz is on the left

Learning is a passion for Luke Metz; the list of potters that he has studied with includes Jim Romberg, Patrick Shia Crabb, Sandra Blain and Wally Asselberghs – they are well known ceramic artists.  He continues his learning experience by studying with Don Fethkenher at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Luke is dedicated to continuing to evolve and improve his ceramic art.

Direct and intimate contact with the fire makes raku particularly exciting for Luke.   For this reason, he has dedicated this site to raku and other alternative firing techniques. His passion for exploration results in the non-traditional ceramic art and particularly raku ceramic art.

Luke Metz hopes you enjoy his pottery and would love for you to have it in your home.  Below is a video showing a raku firing.  Your feedback is welcome.