09-16-2012, 07:31 AM
#1
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
User Info
This is the 12th interview in a series with the artists, authors, and vendors who make wet shaving great.
Today’s interview is with Julie Moore from Dirty Bird Pottery whom I consider to be one of the most talented artists the world over. Julie crafts each Dirty Bird Scuttle also known as the  DB by hand as well as countless other shaving pottery.  The Dirty Bird 1.0 just wasn’t enough for some folks, so she crafted what’s known as the DB1.5, which is slightly larger. Each scuttle is available with spiral or web-like lather ridges which aid tremendously in whipping up wonderful lather.  Julie has also added a Bill Bowl as well as Brush Scuttles, soap bowls, and shaving mugs to her already impressive shaving hardware catalog.  I’d like to thank Julie for taking a bit of time away from creating the 2012 Shave Nook Bill Bowls to answer a few questions.  


First of all Julie, thank you so much for the Shave Nook Bill Bowls, they look wonderful.  Where did the name “Bill Bowl” come from?
[Image: file.jpg]
[Image: file-4.jpg]

Nearly all of my shaving pieces have been developed from customer suggestions.  The Bill Bowl was a piece designed in conjunction with one such customer who asked, jokingly, if I'd name the piece after him.  I loved the idea.
dave note: That was our own TexBilly

How did you get started in pottery making?
As a child in suburban Chicago I had a neighbor who was an artist and had a clay studio in her basement.  Her daughter and I used to make small clay sculptures and pinch pots which would later be fired for us to keep.  Many years later I had a few more hours exposure in high school and college, but didn't really get to delve into pottery until my kids were teenagers.  At that time I took an 8 week course at a community center in the DC area, started buying used equipment and set up my first studio in the dingy, dark basement, became completely addicted to the clay and just never stopped from there.  Since the move to King George, VA I now have a beautiful, above ground studio that I was able to design specifically for the way I work and am enjoying it nearly every day.


What do you find to be the most difficult or challenging aspect of pottery creation?
Though I think I'm a pretty decent potter as far as design and the throwing of a pot, I'm really not at all an artist.  I find the decorating/glazing of the finished piece the most challenging and sometime frustrating part.  I think the thrown, leather-hard (half dry) form is the most beautiful, but, unfortunately, pieces can't be sold this way and so I glaze.


What made you decide to delve into shaving pottery?
Years ago I started making shaving mugs to accommodate a friend of mine who made shaving soaps.  One of the shaving forum members found me on the internet because of these mugs.  He called one day and asked if I made shaving scuttles and I answered, "I don't know what they are, but if you can describe them I can probably make them".  He worked with me to design the prototype which I shipped off to him for testing several weeks later.  Being very pleased with the way the piece performed he warned me to be ready and then started talking them on on his forum.  I expected a dozen orders or so, but 4 years later I'm still spending the majority of my studio time creating various shaving pieces.

Your work is fascinating, can you give us a basic rundown on how a Dirty Bird Scuttle goes from a mound of clay to the beautiful pieces you send out?
[Image: file-5.jpg]

I start out with a 25 lb. bag of pre-made clay which I run through a machine called a pugmill.  It's somewhat like the Play Dough Factory some of us had as children.  The clay is mixed by an auger inside the machine, any air bubbles are suctioned out through a vacuum chamber and it's then extruded as a 3" diameter cylinder (pug).  From there I press a board, which is notched to mark 1/2 pound increments of clay, into the pug.  I cut the pug into chunks the right size for the project at hand.  A piece of clay is thrown down on Masonite batt that's attached to the pottery wheel head.  It's centered, opened and the walls are pulled up and out into the desired shape.
). 
After throwing the basic shape a spout is formed while the clay is still wet.  Then the batt is pulled off the wheel head with the pot attached and the piece is set aside to dry to leather-hard (stiff, but still damp).  At that point the pot is pulled off the batt and any necessary trimming is done.  A rudimentary handle is formed from a separate chunk of clay.  It's attached snugly at the rim of the scuttle and then pulled and shaped with very wet hands until it's the desired contour and length.  It's then attached near the base and and I press my potter's mark into the area of attachment to help secure the join.  The pot is then left to dry slowly for several days.  Once it's "bone dry", it's loaded into a kiln and fired slowly to about 1800 degrees.  After cooling for 24+ hours the pieces are unloaded from the kiln, the bottoms are sanded smooth and then waxed in preparation for glazing.  I make all my glazes in the studio by mixing various raw materials according to specific recipes.  These liquid, suspended glazes are stirred well and the pots dipped according to the desired pattern and color.  This has to be done carefully as the color of the glaze in the bucket is often completely different than that of the final, fired product.  ( i.e. my red glaze is a beautiful mint green in the bucket)  The bottoms of each piece are carefully wiped clean of any glaze that's pooled over the waxed surface and then the pots are loaded back in the kiln for their final glaze firing at just above 2200 degrees.  This melts the glaze into a glass-like surface and chemically fuzes it to the clay particles.  When the kiln has cooled again and the pots can be handled with bare hands they are unloaded, the bottoms sanded once again and they're finally ready to be shipped off or packed away for sale at the studio or a craft show.



About how many Scuttles would you say that you’ve made over the years?

Since I started concentrating on shaving pieces in July of 2008 I've made over 2,000, half of them Original and 1.5 Scuttles and half various other shaving pots.

Are changes happening in the world of pottery? (New materials, colors, techniques) and what is coming up for Dirty Bird Pottery?

I often read about new techniques and materials in ceramic magazines and on websites, but I prefer to stick with the basics and make pots as simply and practically as the old southern folk potters of the early 1900's did.  Though I'm not a big fan of change, my husband and I are in the very early stages of looking into having an actual pottery shop in New England, probably Maine, that would be open only during the summer tourist months.  This fills two needs for me.  I've always wanted to have a storefront with walk-in customers and setting up a location in New England would let us get away from the heat and humidity of Virginia during the summers.  If and when this happens I'll be setting up a complete second studio space and will continue making and shipping the shaving pieces as well as creating other inventory for the shop.

I’m amazed at the beauty of your bird feeders (the Cat-Faced Bird Feeder and the beautiful Hummingbird Feeder).  Can you tell us a bit about your non shaving related Pottery Items?
[Image: file-1.jpg]
[Image: file-2.jpg]

I love to make functional pieces, pots that serve a purpose...pots that folks will use on a regular basis.  Much of my other work came about through a need in my own home or a suggestion from a customer.  The bird feeders are a natural extension of the fact that I've been an avid bird watcher for more than 20 years.  I've come up with several bird feeding designs over the years, some more 'unique' than others. 

Cancer Research is close to your heart (and mine as well since I’m a cancer survivor too)  Tell us what we can do to help stop blood cancers for good. 

I was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia, a chronic blood cancer, at the age of 31.  Being a single mother of two small boys at the time, this was quite a blow.  It caused me to completely reevaluate my priorities so, ironically, in some ways the diagnosis has definitely enhanced my life.  These blood cancers are very rare and drew little attention from the public or the medical and research world until the establishment of the Myeloproliferative Research Foundation several years ago.  Funds are now being raised in a cooperative effort and world renowned researchers are being brought together and are hard at work to find the causes and appropriate treatments for each of the four included neoplasms.  If you're interested in learning more or in reading my ET Story you can find it at  http://www.mpnresearchfoundation.org/

You can find Julie and her magic hands at Dirty Bird Pottery http://www.dirtybirdpottery.com  You can order the 2012 TSN LE Bill Bowl by following the instructions that Johnny put together in this thread.  I’d like to thank Julie for cleaning off her hands and taking a few minutes to answer some questions, as well as providing the shaving community with lovely pieces of art to keep our lather warm in the mornings.  Thank you so much Julie!!! I did ask Julie to make me a scuttle made of rubber since I'm accident prone. She said she'd get right on that hehe.

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 09-16-2012, 08:15 AM
#2
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
User Info
Dave, another great interview! Very happy to find out the real person behind a name, and you make it very interesting. Thanks!

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 09-16-2012, 08:20 AM
#3
User Info
A fine interview, and very interesting. Thanks to Dave and Julie.

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 09-16-2012, 08:25 AM
#4
  • Dave
  • Moderator Emeritus
User Info
I admire her work and would love to have a Bill Bowl and a Scuttle, but I'm so accident prone that I'd drop it and break it. I bought a DB off the BST here and used it once or twice and sold it. One of my cats jumped up on the sink next to it and I took that as a sign to sell it. If she made rubber scuttles and rubber bill bowls, I'd be all over that!!

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 09-16-2012, 08:37 AM
#5
  • beartrap
  • Resident Цирюльник
  • Southern California
User Info
(09-16-2012, 08:25 AM)Dave Wrote: I admire her work and would love to have a Bill Bowl and a Scuttle, but I'm so accident prone that I'd drop it and break it. I bought a DB off the BST here and used it once or twice and sold it. One of my cats jumped up on the sink next to it and I took that as a sign to sell it. If she made rubber scuttles and rubber bill bowls, I'd be all over that!!

This is not impossible, you know! Someone should have jumped on this idea a long time ago, pottery and wet hands are always asking for disaster. Wink

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 09-16-2012, 08:41 AM
#6
  • biggiej42
  • Looney for Rooney
  • Stony Point, NY
User Info
Great interview Dave. I really love DB pottery, I may just have to order another scuttle!

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 09-16-2012, 08:57 AM
#7
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
Dave, thanks for another excellent interview. And thanks to Julie for taking the time to answer these questions for us.

I am fortunate enough to own a DB 1.5 and two of her TSN 2012 LE Bill Bowls. Julie was a pure pleasure to work with when we discussed the LE Bill Bowl for the Shave Nook. She nailed it first time out.

Note to Dave: Cats are like little grandkids. The shaving goodies are off limits.

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 09-16-2012, 10:28 AM
#8
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
User Info
Dave and Julie, thank you both for a wonderfully informative interview.

Like Dave, I can be accident prone so was a bit leery about ordering the TSN Bill Bowl when it was announced. However, I did get one and think it is fantastic. Julie's work is beautiful and to have one of her pieces associated with The Shave Nook is a real plus.

(That bird feeder is hysterical. Laughing1 )

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 09-16-2012, 01:03 PM
#9
User Info
What an awesome interview! I had the pleasure of speaking with this very talented Lady last evening shortly after signing on to the Shave Nook for the Very First Time! Hello! I am Brand Spanking New to the Nook, and was so taken aback by the Dirty Bird Bill Bowl when I signed on, I had to have one! Up to now I hadn't found a good reason to swap out my Burma Shave mug, but when I saw this hand crafted piece of art, the reason came upon me like a weeper from a Feather blade!! I had to have one THESE before I went any further. But when I purchased it through PayPal the Worst scenerio happened, I didn't get an opportunity to add the Instructions of the TSN2012 Stamping!! I panicked! Left an email and tried to call the number available, and Lo and Behold This Dear Woman Julie answered! She Pulled up my just placed order and fixed me up! What a Dear Person! Then I get to see this Ineterview the very next day?! What a true Blessing! God's Blessings to Her & Hers' All You TSN-ers out thereas well!

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 09-16-2012, 01:59 PM
#10
User Info
Thanks Dave and Julie. Just a great read.

I remember my 1st DB back in early 2010. I asked her to personally date and sign it. I think she was a little surprised at the request and asked me how, but was happy to oblige. I simply explained that I had a feeling she was going to get popular in the shave world.

During the summer I pretty much 'cold shave', but with the weather starting to change around here and reading this piece, I had to jump and see where it was stored. Thumbsup

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 09-16-2012, 05:53 PM
#11
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
User Info
Dave, your interview pieces are dynamite! I like the way you incorporated the behind the scenes "how-to" and of course, you discovered a really nice person and cool craftsperson in Julie. Well done!

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 09-16-2012, 06:55 PM
#12
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
User Info
Dave, yet another finely conducted interview Thumbsup

Julie, thank you sharing some of your story with use here Thumbup

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 09-16-2012, 07:17 PM
#13
User Info
Dave & Julie, what a fabulous interview! Thanks to you both. You are doing some amazing work, my friend.

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 09-17-2012, 03:27 AM
#14
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
User Info
A great interview with a wonderful lady who happens to make fabulous pottery. I have experienced Julie's magic and can tell you there is none better.

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 09-17-2012, 06:11 AM
#15
User Info
Thanks, Dave, and thank you Julie! I'm fortunate to have one of Julie's Dirty Bird TSN LE Bill Bowls that I use to good effect most every morning! Biggrin

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 09-17-2012, 07:18 PM
#16
  • Shanman
  • Reserve Collection Squirrel Hair
  • NE Florida
User Info
Love DB products. Trying to talk the wife into getting one of the French Butter Dishes she makes. We want some multi-hole razor stands, like test tube stands but cooler!

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 09-18-2012, 03:24 AM
#17
User Info
Great interview! Julie as absolutely awesome. I am fighting the urge to order a TSN Bill Bowl since I already have another special one from her. Gahhh, I might have to give in to this urge though with a matching soap bowl or brush scuttle!

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 09-18-2012, 07:05 PM
#18
  • Triad
  • Triad Razor Handles
  • Texas
User Info
Good stuff as usual, Thanks Dave & Julie!!

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 09-18-2012, 09:36 PM
#19
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
User Info
Dave,another great interview!Thanks to you and Julie.
I do have a DB scuttle that I should use more often.

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 11-01-2012, 06:48 PM
#20
User Info
(09-16-2012, 07:31 AM)Dave Wrote: This is the 12th interview in a series with the artists, authors, and vendors who make wet shaving great.
Today’s interview is with Julie Moore from Dirty Bird Pottery whom I consider to be one of the most talented artists the world over. Julie crafts each Dirty Bird Scuttle also known as the  DB by hand as well as countless other shaving pottery.  The Dirty Bird 1.0 just wasn’t enough for some folks, so she crafted what’s known as the DB1.5, which is slightly larger. Each scuttle is available with spiral or web-like lather ridges which aid tremendously in whipping up wonderful lather.  Julie has also added a Bill Bowl as well as Brush Scuttles, soap bowls, and shaving mugs to her already impressive shaving hardware catalog.  I’d like to thank Julie for taking a bit of time away from creating the 2012 Shave Nook Bill Bowls to answer a few questions.  


First of all Julie, thank you so much for the Shave Nook Bill Bowls, they look wonderful.  Where did the name “Bill Bowl” come from?
[Image: file.jpg]
[Image: file-4.jpg]

Nearly all of my shaving pieces have been developed from customer suggestions.  The Bill Bowl was a piece designed in conjunction with one such customer who asked, jokingly, if I'd name the piece after him.  I loved the idea.
dave note: That was our own TexBilly

How did you get started in pottery making?
As a child in suburban Chicago I had a neighbor who was an artist and had a clay studio in her basement.  Her daughter and I used to make small clay sculptures and pinch pots which would later be fired for us to keep.  Many years later I had a few more hours exposure in high school and college, but didn't really get to delve into pottery until my kids were teenagers.  At that time I took an 8 week course at a community center in the DC area, started buying used equipment and set up my first studio in the dingy, dark basement, became completely addicted to the clay and just never stopped from there.  Since the move to King George, VA I now have a beautiful, above ground studio that I was able to design specifically for the way I work and am enjoying it nearly every day.


What do you find to be the most difficult or challenging aspect of pottery creation?
Though I think I'm a pretty decent potter as far as design and the throwing of a pot, I'm really not at all an artist.  I find the decorating/glazing of the finished piece the most challenging and sometime frustrating part.  I think the thrown, leather-hard (half dry) form is the most beautiful, but, unfortunately, pieces can't be sold this way and so I glaze.


What made you decide to delve into shaving pottery?
Years ago I started making shaving mugs to accommodate a friend of mine who made shaving soaps.  One of the shaving forum members found me on the internet because of these mugs.  He called one day and asked if I made shaving scuttles and I answered, "I don't know what they are, but if you can describe them I can probably make them".  He worked with me to design the prototype which I shipped off to him for testing several weeks later.  Being very pleased with the way the piece performed he warned me to be ready and then started talking them on on his forum.  I expected a dozen orders or so, but 4 years later I'm still spending the majority of my studio time creating various shaving pieces.

Your work is fascinating, can you give us a basic rundown on how a Dirty Bird Scuttle goes from a mound of clay to the beautiful pieces you send out?
[Image: file-5.jpg]

I start out with a 25 lb. bag of pre-made clay which I run through a machine called a pugmill.  It's somewhat like the Play Dough Factory some of us had as children.  The clay is mixed by an auger inside the machine, any air bubbles are suctioned out through a vacuum chamber and it's then extruded as a 3" diameter cylinder (pug).  From there I press a board, which is notched to mark 1/2 pound increments of clay, into the pug.  I cut the pug into chunks the right size for the project at hand.  A piece of clay is thrown down on Masonite batt that's attached to the pottery wheel head.  It's centered, opened and the walls are pulled up and out into the desired shape.
Shaving Scuttles: The Movie on YouTube). 
After throwing the basic shape a spout is formed while the clay is still wet.  Then the batt is pulled off the wheel head with the pot attached and the piece is set aside to dry to leather-hard (stiff, but still damp).  At that point the pot is pulled off the batt and any necessary trimming is done.  A rudimentary handle is formed from a separate chunk of clay.  It's attached snugly at the rim of the scuttle and then pulled and shaped with very wet hands until it's the desired contour and length.  It's then attached near the base and and I press my potter's mark into the area of attachment to help secure the join.  The pot is then left to dry slowly for several days.  Once it's "bone dry", it's loaded into a kiln and fired slowly to about 1800 degrees.  After cooling for 24+ hours the pieces are unloaded from the kiln, the bottoms are sanded smooth and then waxed in preparation for glazing.  I make all my glazes in the studio by mixing various raw materials according to specific recipes.  These liquid, suspended glazes are stirred well and the pots dipped according to the desired pattern and color.  This has to be done carefully as the color of the glaze in the bucket is often completely different than that of the final, fired product.  ( i.e. my red glaze is a beautiful mint green in the bucket)  The bottoms of each piece are carefully wiped clean of any glaze that's pooled over the waxed surface and then the pots are loaded back in the kiln for their final glaze firing at just above 2200 degrees.  This melts the glaze into a glass-like surface and chemically fuzes it to the clay particles.  When the kiln has cooled again and the pots can be handled with bare hands they are unloaded, the bottoms sanded once again and they're finally ready to be shipped off or packed away for sale at the studio or a craft show.



About how many Scuttles would you say that you’ve made over the years?

Since I started concentrating on shaving pieces in July of 2008 I've made over 2,000, half of them Original and 1.5 Scuttles and half various other shaving pots.

Are changes happening in the world of pottery? (New materials, colors, techniques) and what is coming up for Dirty Bird Pottery?

I often read about new techniques and materials in ceramic magazines and on websites, but I prefer to stick with the basics and make pots as simply and practically as the old southern folk potters of the early 1900's did.  Though I'm not a big fan of change, my husband and I are in the very early stages of looking into having an actual pottery shop in New England, probably Maine, that would be open only during the summer tourist months.  This fills two needs for me.  I've always wanted to have a storefront with walk-in customers and setting up a location in New England would let us get away from the heat and humidity of Virginia during the summers.  If and when this happens I'll be setting up a complete second studio space and will continue making and shipping the shaving pieces as well as creating other inventory for the shop.

I’m amazed at the beauty of your bird feeders (the Cat-Faced Bird Feeder and the beautiful Hummingbird Feeder).  Can you tell us a bit about your non shaving related Pottery Items?
[Image: file-1.jpg]
[Image: file-2.jpg]

I love to make functional pieces, pots that serve a purpose...pots that folks will use on a regular basis.  Much of my other work came about through a need in my own home or a suggestion from a customer.  The bird feeders are a natural extension of the fact that I've been an avid bird watcher for more than 20 years.  I've come up with several bird feeding designs over the years, some more 'unique' than others. 

Cancer Research is close to your heart (and mine as well since I’m a cancer survivor too)  Tell us what we can do to help stop blood cancers for good. 

I was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia, a chronic blood cancer, at the age of 31.  Being a single mother of two small boys at the time, this was quite a blow.  It caused me to completely reevaluate my priorities so, ironically, in some ways the diagnosis has definitely enhanced my life.  These blood cancers are very rare and drew little attention from the public or the medical and research world until the establishment of the Myeloproliferative Research Foundation several years ago.  Funds are now being raised in a cooperative effort and world renowned researchers are being brought together and are hard at work to find the causes and appropriate treatments for each of the four included neoplasms.  If you're interested in learning more or in reading my ET Story you can find it at  http://www.mpnresearchfoundation.org/

You can find Julie and her magic hands at Dirty Bird Pottery http://www.dirtybirdpottery.com  You can order the 2012 TSN LE Bill Bowl by following the instructions that Johnny put together in this thread.  I’d like to thank Julie for cleaning off her hands and taking a few minutes to answer some questions, as well as providing the shaving community with lovely pieces of art to keep our lather warm in the mornings.  Thank you so much Julie!!! I did ask Julie to make me a scuttle made of rubber since I'm accident prone. She said she'd get right on that hehe.

Nice Post. I have purchased items from Julie and she is a great person with alot of patience.

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