Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pottery Field Trip

One of the things Peggy does for the potters and students of Scarborough Fair Pottery is to arrange field trips. Saturday, five of us visited Jason Parsley at his studio/gallery, Parsley Pottery in Cincinnati.

Beyond the festive windows and through the door, your first view of Parsley Pottery is the small gallery packed with beautiful pottery on display (and for sale!)

But, for us, the magical part of the visit was the trip behind the scenes, to see the work area where Jason and his employees create these treasures.

This potter was mass-producing mugs, his skill and rhythm allowing him to recreate the same size and shape over and over. I'm so jealous!

Here is his morning's work, row after row of mugs resting on the drying rack. Here they wait until they reach the "leather hard stage," when they will be ready for the next step in the process.

Further back, a rack of plates are drying on forms used help retain their shape and symmetry, as well as to prevent them from warping.

Once they dry completely, these pieces will be bisque-fired in one of Jason's five electric kilns. Here are three of them, safely confined behind a heavy steel door in a concrete-block room. This decreases the risk of fire, and I imagine it helps keep heat down in the rest of the work space.

After the first firing, the pottery moves to the glazing area. This is where Jason's proprietary glazes and signature slip techniques are applied to achieve the unique look that says "Parsley Pottery."

Glazed pottery awaits its turn in the kilns.

Special pieces are fired in the gas reduction kiln that Jason hand-built in his studio.

In most small pottery studios, pots are fired using an oxidizing process. Reduction uses different glazes as well as a different type of kiln, giving the work this unusual look.

For more information on reduction versus oxidization, go back to your high school chemistry books!

All these resources and hard work creates this:

Parsley's Signature Glaze Trail line
seafoam green with flowers

lower: floating blue with flowers
above: sandstone matte

Standard line, Harvest Sage pattern

An award-winning display, with Jason's new red glaze
[click on any photo to enlarge and see the details]

And here is the man himself, Jason Parsley, behind the counter of his shop.

With such shapes, colors, and patterns, is it any wonder people love pottery so much? Peggy has asked Jason to do a workshop for us next spring. I can hardly wait to learn from such a talented potter!


NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful pottery. Great that you will have a spring class with this talented man. I can't believe how big his workshop is.

Susan Gets Native said...

That Harvest Sage looks delicious!

Lisa said...

OMG gorgeous. I'll have to look at the bottom of the pitcher I use for my tall kitchen tools for a Parsley Studios mark - I strongly suspect it's some of his/their work (has a band of clear-glazed clay with decoration added over it, plus that "pinched" spout.) Hey, see that display of red-glazed pottery (which itself is pretty OMG gorgeous)? Look over to the left, at the bottom. No, further over. See that vase with trees? You could get that for me, OK?

KatDoc said...

Lee: The blue one with the trees on the far left? OMG, you have to be kidding me. Do you have any clue how much a vase like that would cost? I wouldn't buy it for you if you were my sister. Oh, yeah - you are my sister. Hmmm, well ---

Happy Birthday! I got you (a picture of) the vase!


Lisa said...

Cost should not be an object when one wants to make one's family happy. You want me to be happy, don't you?