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ian currie in europe

updated sun 12 oct 03


Alisa Clausen on sat 11 oct 03

Ian Currie made his debut in Europe last month. As you all know, he is =
well known on the US workshop circuit.=20

To prove how powerful a resource Clayart is, Ian and I met on this list. =
We read each other's posts, etc because we have many common interests =
in the glaze sector. When Ian was planning his trip to Iceland, a =
personal stop in between European venues, he wrote to me about the =
posibililty of visiting me in Denmark. I was really thrilled at this =
chance to meet Ian and spend some time with him. I offered him a time to =
relax in our guest house out on the land as well as promised not to pick =
his brain to distraction while he was here. We talked back and forth =
through emails. He had his dates set and I was really very thrilled =
about his visit. In the time he was already traveling in the US, I =
sought a workhop venue for him here. Time was very short, as the summer =
vacation was just about to begin and Ian would be here in September.

The International Center for Ceramics could not accommodate Ian on such =
short notice. However, the only pottery school in Denmark, at =
S=F8nderborg, has an enthusiastic leader, Johan Grasberger (Austrian). =
Through positive and swift cooperation between Ian, myself and Johan, we =
got the workshop scheduled for the end of September. I was personally =
pleased that we were not only able to supply Ian with a rest and =
relaxation period during his busy schedule, but we also scheduled a well =
met workshop in Denmark. I was especially pleased that I would have the =
chance to learn Ian's grid method first hand and also that it would =
available to the ceramists who signed up for the workshop.

Johan is a master mold maker. He made 6 grid molds and got 80 tiles =
pressed in 2 hours. I did the rest in a dark body. Other than the =
practical things that are necessary for the planning of the workshop =
according to Ian's outline, I awaited Ian's phone call from the =
Copenhagen airport. =20

Ian arrived in Copenhagen with apparently such positive energy, that all =
of the power was lost on Zealand within a half hour of his landing.
(We now know that actually it was a power failure in Sweden).

As things were, Ian sat tight in a train for almost 7 hours before it =
departed for my part of the country. Should have been a 3 hour trip, =
but it stretched out to about 12 hours. Ian is incredibly good humored =
and could basically sit back and enjoy the non-ride. He met pleasant, =
stranded Danes and learned somethings about Denamrk while he waited for =
the lights to come back on.

2am and Ian calls from the local station. I got him home, cooked him a =
small salmon dinner/breakfast and the next day was a rest day.

Workshop took place over the weekend of Sept. 27-28. We got right to =
it, as the workshop has a packed curiculum. Most of the participants =
were good English speakers. But where their English failed, the numbers =
of the glaze ratios, analysis, etc. took over. Everyone came away with =
a a good foundation of the Grid system and a lot more. As it is usual =
during workshops, common interests and goals set a positive stage for a =
good atmosphere and contageous eagerness of attendees to be involved. =
It was a good two days. Additionally, Ian is wonderful cog in our =
international group of communicators and sharers. He promoted Mastering =
Cone 6 Glazes during the workshop.

I do not need to promote how intellegent and well spoken Ian is. He is =
patient as Job and gets the material across in an interesting and =
comfortable way. A lot of material is covered and I believe the most of =
it was grasped by everyone. Personally, I find the grid so interesting, =
because with a base glaze, I can test 35 alumina/silica ratios. I can =
make a family grid from a recipe I have, which is mostly how I will use =
the method at present. Since I am practical about testing, meaning I =
make the glaze and fire it and evaluate the visual results, I am =
particularly pleased that I can consolidate the test tiles to one grid. =
After looking at the grid, I can understand why a glaze resulted the way =
it did, depending on where it is in the grid. There are several =
constants and all the glazes can be evaluated according to the constants =
with Ian's methods. I will never say, "this is not a glaze" because =
they simply all are glazes. The work and knowledge needed is to =
evaluated what kind of glaze, stability, limits, etc. For that we are =
more than fortunate to have many contributors on the list.

The absolute perk of this workshop was having Ian as our house guest for =
just over a week. In the evenings, he was gentle but stern, that I get =
some homework done. In between all the things we covered - workshop, =
home life, a little sightseeing, a tradegy in our community and funeral, =
an animal rescue and several trips to the market, I would not hesitate =
to say that the week was gratituous for all of us, workshop attendees, =
myself and Ian. =20

I do not have a glaze calcuation program. I will try out the John and =
Ron program when I get the chance and Ababi has sent me a version of =
Matrix to try. However, with Ian here, I got a good start on Seger =
calculation. I like to do it by hand because, again being the practical =
type, I learn by doing. It takes me a long time to get through the =
examples in Ian's red book, but it is coming along. Ian is very =
positive. He says the understanding is there, I need, however, to get =
more secure in my math work. I enjoy it all and it a great challenge to =
be involved in.

So, thanks to Ian's visit and because he is the gentle person he is, I =
have a friend. I have learned heaps, not least, beginning Seger work.

I look forward to meeting Ian again, as he is booked for next year at =
the school and we will get him to the International Center, hopefully, =
during the same week.

regards from Alisa in Denmark.