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Jeffery Oestreich Workshop at The Craft Guild of Dallas

May 3, 2012

It is hard to believe that it is already May and my last post was in December. A big part of my lack of blogging was due to the fact that I finally got my first “big girl” job out of graduate school. I have been getting to do exactly what I spent all those years in school preparing to do. Even though I have not been blogging I have continued to make time to continue my development as a potter and I must say that I have really improved. This improvement must be credited to Jeffery Oestreich who came to the Craft Guild of Dallas for a workshop in January. Not only is Jeffery an engaging and charming person, but a masterful potter whose every movement of the clay was purposefully and thoughtfully done. I have been inspired by his careful attention to detail and beloved passion of solving problems he encounters while creating his work.


Part of Jeffery’s charm comes from his love of telling stories and sharing his own insights into the process of making good pieces. Jeffery reported how even his pencils are carefully chosen and researched to find the best. Once Jeffery finds pencils, glaze ingredients, or other favorite tools he reported that he promptly buys a “life time supply” to ensure that he never runs out of the best. One of his favorite glazes is a slip glaze which has one main glaze ingredient. He reported his dismay when hearing that the mine that he bought it from was closing, but that he was ok since he had gotten a “life time supply.”



For the first day of the workshop we were lucky enough to have Jeffery teach us some of his glazing secrets! We were able to do a soda firing during the workshop which you can see in the pictures above. Most of his secrets we promised to keep secrets, but I can say that many center on his love of solving problems. A tip I can share is about Jeffery’s lovely, clean geometric lines. He wondered how he would make the lines consistent and quickly. After some brain storming he created many stencils from different plastic sheets and used them to map out the designs on his work. A problem that Jeffery mentioned a few times was motivating himself to finish tasks that he did not enjoy. My favorite solution that he mentioned was that he did not like firing or making glaze tests so he built and decorated a crazy kiln to fire the tests. He knew if he made the task enjoyable somehow that he would be more likely to finish. After he build the glaze test kiln he even invited his friends over for a party while it fired. Watching him work encouraged me to take the time for the small details on my work which make it look polished.


These small details have been incorporated into my latest pieces. My new favorite is using a squared dowel rod to create ridges or ruffles on my pieces. I have almost obsessively incorporated them into my tea bowls, large bowls, and jars. The feet on my pieces have also improved thanks to his demonstrations showing how much the detail improves its sharpness.The tea bowls in the picture above show Jeffery’s use of a cheese cutter and dowel rod for decoration.

Observing the purposefulness and mastery of how Jeffery work has inspired me and changed the way I work. As I post my new work I hope you will see this change reflected in my work. The pieces below are actually mine!



From → Pottery Projects

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