Sometimes living a full life can mean enjoying the little luxuries you afford yourself. For me, it can be as simple as a cup of good, strong coffee in one of my favorite mugs. If you are a coffee or tea drinker, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. To feel the hot liquid in your hands, which wrap perfectly around the mug. It feels so good to hold it up and take in the aroma before tasting your beverage. That’s my moment of mini meditation where, for just a moment, I can shut out the endless lists I make in my head.
Every piece of pottery at Cone Five Gallery was handmade by owner and artist, Greg Link, in the back of his Hertel Avenue shop. There’s a beauty, symmetry, and unique energy to each item that invites the owner to hold them. One of my favorite new mugs from Greg is a heavier clay mug, it flares slightly at the bottom, almost like a woman’s waist. The texture goes from silky smooth to unglazed and earthy. It’s a masterpiece to hold, and his shelves are lined with them. On his craft, Greg said:
My interest in ceramics began in the mid nineties, when I began collecting local pottery. I enrolled in an 8 week workshop and realized by the end that I had a true passion for creating with clay. After 20 years, my work has evolved. I’m now working mostly in pure porcelain clay with clean modern designs finished in earthy soothing colors and different textures. Through experimentation, time, dedication and lots of smashed work I have reached a happy place with my work. I will always continue to evolve and experiment- that is what feeds my passion in this medium. I put a lot of thought into the design and function of all my work.
Greg also adds that, all items are microwave, dishwasher, and oven safe. From porcelain light pendants that would be the envy of every home, to vases, large bowls, mugs, tea pots, platters, and more, Greg creates 100% hand made, unique pieces. With options for both bright and muted colors, there is something special here for everyone. Sets can be mixed and matched, so buy a few pieces every year, for a table that’s truly a work of art. You can also create wedding and gift registries at Cone Five.
It can easily take more than 100 hours to create one piece, which includes heating the clay to over 2,200 degrees over several hours, and it takes just as long for the item to cool. One ancient technique that Greg uses to decorate some of his work is called “Chattering.” This look is achieved by holding a tool against the hard clay and allowing it to “jump” to create impressions in the surface as the potter’s wheel spins. The pattern changes depending on the speed of the wheel, the way you hold your tool, and the tool you use. To create his Chattering series, Greg says:
I start with thrown porcelain clay, then wait one or two days after creating it on the potter’s wheel before I can trim and add the chatter design. Chatter occurs when my clay is just past leather hard. The speed and angle of the trim tools much be just right to create the chatter I desire. After another three to four days drying I load them into the kiln for the first (bisque) firing. Next, color is applied. Which involves the first layer, a layer of wax, then 2-3 layers of glaze, depending on the finished look. Due to the chatter design, each piece is one of a kind and can never be recreated.
The meticulous detail that goes into every piece extends to the colored glazes. Approximately each year, Greg creates a new “color” which can take months to get just right. He tests these colors on small bowls. All of which will be discarded until the color is just they way he wants it. There are also a variety of different patterns, one called “birch” that looks like the bark of a birch tree, and one he refers to as a bubble glaze, (shown above) which creates a lovely pattern, almost like ink dropped in water.
The Cone Five Gallery, which opened more than 21 years ago, features contemporary fine crafts made by Greg, as well as more that 100 American fine craft artists from all over the U.S. and Canada, with mediums ranging from blown glass, wood, jewelry, candles and more. Every item sold is guaranteed to be 100% Handmade, even their organic line of soaps and lotions.
Cone Five Gallery
1508 Hertel Ave | Buffalo, NY| | Facebook
Open: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Wednesday, Friday, & Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sunday’s from April through December, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Monday, Closed.
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