Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Link love


I noticed on my blogroll today that we are getting a few referrals to "Green Ceramics" from other blogs because of Nancy's talk.  While I have your attention, I'm going to point you to some pertinent information about green ceramics on the internet.  This post is also an enormous "thank you" to those of you who have laid down the foundations of this discussion;  go look at these blogs, leave a comment, and spread the love.  Here's the list:

One Black Bird's guest post by Laura Zindel on the topic of green ceramics is an essential starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about greening their practice.  What starts out as a question from a gallery owner about marketing pottery as "environmentally friendly, socially responsible" art turns into a reason for Zindel to get to the very bottom of what it means to be green.   It is also worth reading through the comment thread in the post, since many of the comments are also very informative.  

Also check out Emily Murphy's  and Webb Pottery Blog's Blog Action Day posts from October 2007.  Both have some more concrete, practical suggestions on nurturing a greener practice.  Their suggestions are also generally accessible on a tighter budget (some suggestions take the approach of saving energy by using timers, for instance, or by eliminating waste by reusing packaging materials).  Small changes like these add up, though, and it is worth identifying even the smallest places where one might be wasteful.  These two blogs do a great job of identifying where and when these changes can be made.

Mary Anne Davis of davistudio has a post on going carbon neutral by buying carbon offsets.  This is a good option for those of you who must fire using electric kilns or who are worried about your electricity consumption in other parts of your studio.  When I linked to Davis before from my personal blog, she was kind enough to drop me a comment with a URL identifying her own studio's manifesto for going green.  

Soderstrom Pottery Blog also has a post on going carbon neutral by buying wind energy offsets.  While Windsource is a Minnesota-specific program, you may be able to buy carbon offsets from your local energy company.  My husband and I are able to offset our car's energy consumption by buying offsets here in Colorado, so ask around and see what's out there in terms of offset options.  

Also take a look at a University ceramics department's foray into "green kiln" technology.  The Blaauw kiln is pretty sophisticated, and the cost of such a kiln would likely be prohibitively expensive, but I think it is worth knowing that it is out there.  

The pottery department at Saint John's University, run by Richard Bresnahan, is known for being very progressive in terms of ecological sustainability.  The pottery provides an incredibly ambitious model for a teaching facility trying to make its way into greener practices.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that literally every stage of pottery making has been reworked to be as ecologically mindful as possible at St. John's.  I'm planning to discuss St. John's in more depth in a later post, but it is worth poking around the website to see what they are up to (and I see that they were recently featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education).  The practices at this pottery may be out of reach for most, but Bresnahan's work there is no less inspiring.

This should keep you busy for a little while.  Hope all is well!

Saturday, March 14, 2009



Welcome to the Green Ceramics Blog.  This website is the result of the combined efforts of Nancy Utterback, a professional studio potter and Director of the Boulder Pottery Lab in Boulder, Colorado, and Melissa Oliveira, a freelance writer, researcher, and Pottery Lab student.  This blog seeks to open up to the wider community a conversation about the relationship between environmental sustainability and studio ceramics. This conversation has been going on informally in the ceramics community for quite some time, but in our research we’ve found that there is no single site that is serving as a depository of information on the subject.  Therefore, we hope that this website will in time become a solid source for information on “greening” the practices of both studio potters and pottery teaching facilities. We also hope that a community of sorts will develop around this site which will offer other voices, opinions, and information about the process of making ceramic art while being mindful of sustainable practices.

So much for introductions!  If you stop by Green Ceramics, be sure to drop us a line in the comments section.  We'd love to know who you are, why you are interested in the topic of green ceramics, and if there are some specific areas you'd like to see covered in the coming weeks.  And, for those of you who are already registered at the 22nd North Carolina Potters Conference in Asheboro, be sure to see Nancy speak on the topic of ceramics and environmental sustainability on March 15!