Well, Happy New Year to you all. We are both off to bed early. I've never been one to really enjoy New Years I have to admit. I'd rather watch a movie in bed while enjoying some twizzlers and popcorn.
I have been thinking a lot about what I'm going to do in the new year pottery wise. Of course my kiln project is the first on my mind but I've decided my plan this year is to revise and make better some items I made this past year that needed a bit of "tweaking". IE. My twins vases, flower blocks, candle holders and I'm always working on my cruets and trays. I'm also going to focus on those big vases I started doing last year. They seemed to be a hit, those that came out and I took to shows. I don't feel like I want to throw to much new into my mix so I can start to really establish a good body of MY WORK. Of course I say this now but I'm sure I'll get a itch to try something new or I'll get bored and off I'll go away from my plan. Maybe I'll write it out really big on a piece of paper and hang it in my studio to keep my on track. Someone remind me of this later down the line when I'm off talking about all the new things I'm trying!!!
Here is a photo of the fairy house I spoke of a few entries back. I've helped Quaid with them in the past-its such a good use of the imagination. We use to get little toy cars and stuff like that to put in them but then is friends Wils told him that only natural stuff needed to go into the houses or the fairy's wouldn't come. So to make a long story short, Quaid told me this time that I needed to let him do it because he knew what the fairy's liked!
Here's a photo of my studio cat Clayton. Yes she is named Clayton because she use to like to lick my recycled clay when she was a kitten( which of course kind of freaked me out). I still catch her some days getting a bit of water from my clay buckets( Yuck!!) I say this because she's my hunter so I'm never sure what may have touched her little tongue last. She really loves her home. She's the kind of cat that does not stray away to often so I guess as nutty as she is, she's ours and will always be a clay cat.
A very Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you had a wonderful day with the ones you love to be with! Our kids had a banner year. I had no idea of all they where going to get. There Aunt and Paternal grandmother made them a huge puppet theater along with about 12 puppets!!!( Joey's mom is a wiz when it comes to sewing...She is amazing). Anyways, they where all very, vary lucky little kids. As every generation says" we never got all this stuff!". I think every year I decide I've gotten to much for everyone but I enjoy giving gifts and wrapping them is the best part!
My studio is looking very lonely and I'm getting antsy to get out there and clean, organize and than throw some bowls. After Christmas for some reason I like to throw bowls to get back in the swing of things. Most of the time I'm making bowls for various organizations that do fund raising for the poor. I also donate bowls to our church for a fund raiser the youth do. This year I have a lot on plate already for the new year so I really need to get going. I have a show the first of February and I really only have about 10 pots worth selling out in my studio! That's something that has not happened in the past so I've got to get going. I think I'm going to buy some nice red low-fire clay and mess up my wheel a bit and have fun with these bowls this year. Nothing like a little something new to start off a new year!
I have been meaning to put some photo's up of cups that I really liked from the Charlie Cummings Cup show that I was in. I thought Pete Pinell (sp) did a really good job of finding some very interesting cups. I only posted my favorite on here and of course they where all functional but there where some that where not and I always really appreciate those as well because I always wonder how those ceramic artist make a living off of just sculptural things. ( Really the most likely make a lot more money than I do now that I think about!) Anyways, If you haven't gone on line to check the show out its still up until January 6th I believe. I also apologize for not putting the names of potters with the cups. I have dial up and just to go through all the cups took forever the other night and I got lazy.
Boy, now that this show I coming down soon I need to get on the ball and start applying to some more really soon!!
My kids are out making mud pies. Quaid, of course, is heading up the operation being the boss.( I have the busiest kids I think). The weather is getting colder which I'm happy about. It just gets me down to have Christmas when it is 70 degrees outside. ( I grew up in upstate NewYork so I really long for snow at Christmas time.) If I don't get on here before Monday, have a great Christmas. Jen
My bowls for my friend Scott came out really good. Joey loved them so I guess that means I should put them into my regular group of things to make. I've been having a lot of last minute shoppers this year, which I always welcome. My shelves are pretty empty so I know I got to get cracking right at the first of the year. I've all ready have a list of special orders to get going on plus a show in Feb.
The first of January I'm going to be doing a hands on workshop with Julia Galloway. She sent out an email to all of us today which seemed very promising. I'm doing the workshop with my friend Amy Sanders so I'm sure we'll have fun.
Quaid has had back to back doctors appointments this week plus I'm still shopping. Of course there are only a few more days till Christmas and I can't really say I'm getting done all those household things I planned on doing. This happens every year to me. Oh, well there are just so many hours in a day.
Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat................................Well you know the rest. We went and visited Santa Saturday. Joey and I like to take the kids to this nice hotel called "The Balentine" in Charlotte to see Santa. The mall Santa just seems not very believable to me. Here its a small room, the kids get to write out there list, put it in a mail box, decorate cookies, get a little stuffed animal and talk to elves( plus the photo opt....and yes, its not for free). The girls seemed to really love the elves this year. They kept wanting to talk to them. Santa, was not a huge hit with anyone really. Quid kept looking at him in a skeptical way and finally he told me that THAT Santa was just a helper. Already I'm trying to figure out what male friend of mine I can pay to put on a Santa suit and climb up on our house!! As for the girls, really there is nothing super appealing to any female about a large man with a face full of hair and a silly suit trying to get you to sit on his lap! Of course the allure of a free stuffed animal did work for about 2 minutes and we were back to the female elves. Quid just mostly stared at them.
Now Fairies on the other hand are very believable to my children. Infact, Quid has been working on a farie house in the back yard for a few days now. Friday I took some photo's of it and helped them build another one. He has another little friend who he learned all about fairies from and I of course keep this mystical lie alive as well.
I have a kiln going tonight. Just a last minute easy bowl order. I did a little decal test the other day. I got some decals for my class last session but we haven't gotten around to finishing them yet. I had some pots lying around that I wasn't to attached to and I just played around with some bee decals. It was kind of cool and maybe something to think of in the further. My studio and kiln shed are a total wreck and driving Joey crazy so I told myself this evening that around the 28th or so I'm going to do a total cleaning and re-organizing of my spaces. Once again the cats drug in part of a squirrel for me........ahhhh. I can not figure out how a cat can catch a squirrel because they are so mean! Knock on wood I've had no birds of late.Nothing worse than those little skinny bird legs sticking up towards the sky after being pull down out of it.
(Sorry for that end note) We all went to see Charlotte web today...go see it, you'll want a pet pig!
I had yet another great day of "goofing off" so to say. I took the girls to Clayworks and we had lunch with my clay gal friends Julie, Amy and Alyssa. I did a wonderful trade with Alyssa for some great water colors of far-out baby carriages. I'll have to take a photo of them and put them up for all to see. Trading is just soooooo great when your an artist and have no means for affording wonderful art( like the people who buy from you do...............hummmmmmmmm I feel a topic there).
Anyways, we had a great lunch and then I had to hit SouthPark mall to buy Joey's niece a gift at Urban Outfitters. I have to say I'm getting very prudish in my old age because they had books and stuff in there that made me go "oh my". ( Yet another topic......)
We than came home for a nap and some TV down time for me. I had to put a photo up of one of my favorite Christmas guys, Heat Miser. I have been taken with this guy since I was young and I know he has come up in many conversations I've had over the years. I just like the name I guess. It is hard to me to conceive that people don't know who he is!!!! Of course these cartoons where popular when I was little and now they run on cable so not every kid waits for Monday night to see " A year without a Santa Clause". Of course we have this video because I had to make sure my kids now Heatmiser along with the song. Do you?????
Back to my cards!
I had one of my best friends come visit this weekend and we had a blast. I meant to write awhile ago about my best friend from high school that came up to visit me as well( but of course, I lost that train of thought at the time). Boy, friends are just so important especially those that know you so well or that you have known for a long time. Both these gals have seen me through a lot and we have had some awesome laughs. Both are also childless so it is always interesting to see how they act around my kids. Of course I have to admit I enjoy the constant praise they give me for doing all that I do. My friend Laurel and I where having a good laugh this weekend about how we should go on the show "wife swap". Of course we came to the conclusion that I would basically have a vacation and she would run screaming back home.
We went out to eat at Joey's favorite restaurant called "Table" in the Balentine area and then went to see "Running with Scissors" at the fancy movie theater there. Boy was that a good film, sad and funny at the same time. Annette Benning should get a nomination for that role. The next day we enjoyed a very fun make over at South Park in a Swanky department store( I've never done this before) and then we saw Monty pythons Spamalot. It was wonderful. So needless to say, I had a fantastic weekend! I am enjoying my December this year so far and only two more weeks until Christmas...I can not believe it!! Its Joey's turn next for a little friend break, he also needs it and is much deserving of it after this weekend of nothing but kids and women cackling.
The annual York Christmas parade was today. I have taken the kids to this since Quaid was 1. I mostly go because I get a kick out of small town parade. Last year they most of the Walmart cashiers where in it pushing there carts all decked out in tinsel and stuff. I had to clap for them because I visit Walmart pretty much about 5 times a week. Its the only place in town to buy really anything so I have no choice. I have to say, for the most part all the check out people are really nice! There are always lots of Home coming Queens and stuff like that. This year there where lots of Town honors that the group I was with all thought to be interesting. Stuff like "Citizen of the town". I'm curious how one applies for that and who votes. Anyways, I'll get some photo's up here as soon as I can. Lots of good "Red Hat" ladies that posed for shots. The kids loved it and the rumpled Santa at the end of the parade didn't matter to my little girls. On the way home Aydan said he got into his red car and drove home after the parade.
One topic I wanted to hit on was brought up on my pal Ron Philbeck site a few days ago. He talked about those "bad voices" that come and invade your head when everyone else around you is selling work and you are not. Its is bad feeling and we all have been there. Its especially hard when all your friends work is selling and yours isn't. You want to be up beat and happy for them but in your head that voice is saying. "What's wrong with my stuff? It must suck." So you quietly look over your pots and second judge what you did to them. You think your prices are to high or you didn't make the right things. Its sometimes really hard to shut that voice up. Sometimes I found it helps to be totally tired believe it or not because your just so over the whole thing you say to your self in a sleepless stupor" ahhhh whatever". ( that was sapose to be funny).
Anyways, I have a theory on those of us who beat ourselves up and are potters. For one, we are use to failing. There are so many things that can go wrong with making pots that you get really use to flub-ups and its almost like the will you sometimes want over a child. You never know what your materials or equipment will throw at you ( like a kid) so when ever you start a new batch of pots you kind of say to yourself,"ok, lets go again". Or as I like to put it" let the games begin". And than, I'm off on a quest with my materials and equipment. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose and most times, I'm use to the losing. Also I think potters tend to be really hard workers with good work ethic. It takes a lot to get everything done! Potting is hard work. I never believed that when I first started out and would listen to all the potters at Cedar Creek, where I got my start talk about how hard making a living at potting really was.
So, that was my lost thought for the week. Please, comment if you have any other theories about this subject I may have forgot to mention!
Last night was my last show and boy today I am so glad. We our opening at Clayworks and I think it went really well. Lots of people, lots of sold pots. The student work on display also looked really good I thought so maybe we are pushing along with our pursuit to be the best place to do ceramics in Charlotte. I think our goal is to be like Baltimore Clayworks, which would be really cool. I would love to be associated with a clay center that had some great shows. Speaking of shows, Charlie Cummings Gallery has a cup show that is up for all to view. I have two teabowls in it and boy are there lots of great cups to purchase on line. I think also 3 more people in my Circle of 8 group are in the show as well! Our show at Wooden Stone is about to come down and I finally got some photo's of the display I'm going to post in the next few days.
Today we went and got our Christmas tree and tomorrow Joey and I are going Santa shopping. I'm really looking forward to spending some time just hanging out with my hubby and having some fun shopping for the kids. Today we had our annual Christmas photo taken( well, we have only done it the last 2 years). I use to hate to get posed shots of kids on Christmas cards but these days it seems to be a good idea, plus its fun, I have to admit to get my girls all decked out. We opted to get a family portrait made this year and didn't I go and mess with the color of my hair the night before. BIG mistake. I looked like "Heatmiser"( if you all know who that is, he's a character in a one of the 60's animated Christmas stories about Santa Clause) anyways, I had to wear a scarf around my head to hide my big mess-up............oh, the things I get myself into. Atleast I always have a good story.
On a side note, Joey and I are freaking out about building this kiln now that I have this grant money. We had a place all picked out in the backyard when we bought the house but know that we've lived here a while we relies it floods there! GREAT. Joey is worried that a big concrete slab that will be left when we do finally move will be an eye soar and make the property value go down. Oh, this baby is really going to test our marriage I can see!
Here are some new pots I was working on for Sandy's sale. One is a photo of the squared off spoon jar and the others are honey pots!
Lots has been keeping me very busy and its been hard to get on line so I'll update on what I've been up to.
Basically I've been throwing and finishing pots like crazy. I have a show this weekend in McConall's and than another one next weekend at Clayworks. I also have two gallery orders that are suppose to go out. I had to cancel one which really made me uneasy and upset because it was a new gallery but I just couldn't come up with the work in time. I hate that galleries always want work by thanksgiving. Of course it makes sense but I would just love to stretch it out some more. Since my candle holders did so well at the last show I made more for these two coming up and I also worked on honey jars, pasta dishes and some other things. I feel like I fell short of getting out to my studio as much as I should of. Last weekend my son brought home the class mascot, which was is stuffed bear and so I had to help my son entertain it so we could write a story about what we did with the bear. Believe it out not, that took up a lot of my weekend.....Yes, entertaining a stuffed bear. Go figure. This week all sort of things went on at Quaid's school. There where lunches to be at, concerts and yesterday Quaid turned 6 so we were at Chuck-E- Cheese for most of the day. When I look at how little has come out of this week of working, I kind of can see where all my time went. We'll see how next week goes.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I went to see quietus school yesterday to see his little thanksgiving program and realized how important a mom is to a little person. He just beamed when he saw me come out to take this photo of his class. Makes you really realize how important your mom is to you and how important it is to make a little heart feel happy about themselves. He had one of the first lines in his play and I could tell he was nervous but he stared right at me and did a great job. He even mouthed the words that the other children had to say which was pretty funny. Anyways, here he is. He's the only male pilgrim.
As for work. I finished up some honey pots( which I haven't made in years) and more cream and sugars. I not doing a very good job of matching up the heights of my creamer with the sugar bowls so I'm throwing a bunch to get matches. This weekend I need to finish up my throwing for a few days with candle sticks, trays, vases and maybe some clam boxes. We'll see if I can do all that. We have a pretty low key weekend. Quaid did get picked to bring home the class bear to " take care " of this weekend so we took a long hike this morning to Kings Mountain state park. I think the bear and all the children are pretty popped so Joey and I should have a pretty quiet day. We'll see.
As for home life. Joey and I are going to Charlotte tonight for a little date to see the guys from the show "Who's line is it anyways". I'm looking forward to a good laugh. My roommate all through college just happens to live in Charlotte and we are meeting her and husband. We use to be like twins going everywhere and now that we still live pretty close to each other, I hardly see her, so this will be fun.
I finally got out to buy my enormous turkey for next week. We'll see if it will feed 16 people. I also have to make two pies today for a thanksgiving feast at Quaid school. I'm looking forward to going there tomorrow because the kid are doing a play. Quaid was very upset that he didn't get to dress up like a turkey. He's one of the biggest kids in his class so he got stuck as a Pilgrim. I personally would of put them all in turkey suits......nothing could be more funny to see a bunch of 5 yr.olds as little birds.
I took some photo's of finished work I had put on the blogs weeks ago. I thought it would be good for all to see that yes they did come out and some where very successful in selling and some are just kind of sitting there , but I think make a good contribution to my overall body of work.
Last night I threw a ton of mugs...........I was just in the mood. And this morning I kind of just took it easy at home and only worked in my studio for about an hour or so. I did throw some pasta plates and experimented with a Christmas tree ornament for the sale I do in McConnalls Sc each year. It put on by my friend Sandy Singletary and for 5 year she has cleared out her whole house and invited different craftpeople to set up for a holiday sale. It really is a wonderful idea and people just eat it up. The down side is that it wears her out and I truly don't see how she's done it all these years because it just gets bigger and bigger. This year she is trying something new and moving it to the McConnalls rec center. I know it will still have a great turn out and I do the ornaments because there are so many fabulous handmade one's to choose from. Its the one time a year I can do something a little fun that I don't normally do. Drop me a email note if you'd like directions on how to get there. Its always on thanksgiving weekend.
Shelby was a nice show for me this year. My numbers where no different than in the past but I enjoyed the building I was in and the people I met. I had so many return customers from the show that asked where I had been along with some familiar faces that always stop by to see what I'm doing. I love to see people who enjoy my work.........who wouldn't! I also was behind a very cool gal who made the nicest raku work I've seen in a long time. I'm not a big raku fan and I think that is mainly because I'm a functional( for the most part) potter. My issue with raku is probably for the most part a little bit of envy because those potter make vases, that don't hold water, only fire for a small amount of time and they charge so much for there pieces. Of course, when I'm spending lots of hours on small little cream and sugar sets that I try to charge a fair price for and can be used..........I guess I get a bit envious. So anyways, back to this gal. She was very nice and funny and also was a years past collector of my work. She too has had a hard time getting into the Piedmont Craftmen guild so we had a lot in common. From what I saw, she did great at this show!
The opening in Davidson at The Wooden Stone was also very nice. It is a huge and very nice gallery with lots of good work. There was a pretty good turn out for the show and it was nice for our little group to get one show under our belts. The funny thing about the evening was this very intelligent and extremely verbal 12 years old that sought us all out and asked us what the Circle of Eight stood for. It was a very good question but before one of us could answer he started telling us how it sounded like a pagan cult and ....well you can imagine the rest of a conversation out of the mouth of a very smart and geeky 12 year old boy. He was great! Having a little boy just makes me appreciate them all the more.
I wanted to also say Thank you to Sybil for coming up and letting me know that there is someone else who reads my blog besides Ron and a few of my other pottery friends. Thanks!
Wish me luck Saturday!
yesterday was Joey's birthday. I tried to make his day a little special by making Brunswick Stew for him and an apple pie that said Happy Birthday on it. ( I figured we didn't need any cake and he's get one this weekend at his sisters house). The kids enjoyed having a little party for Daddy. Next week when all this blows over we are going out to dinner and to a show in Charlotte. I'm all about "Hanukkah birthdays"!
Onto a good thought, I got 2 cups into The Ultimate Cup ShowV at Charlie Cummings Gallery in Fort Wayne Indiana. I think the show is in December.......So that is pretty cool! I also have an opening with my Circle of Eight buddies at the gallery in Davidson NC called The Wood and Stone this Friday night. So, like I've said in previous posts, I'm super busy this month! ( And whenever I say this to someone they always say, "well, that's good....right"? I guess we'll see if can successfully make it through without stressing out the rest of the people who I live, love and breath with. Wish me luck.
Good family weekend. Joey worked on painting our kitchen and running errands with the kids. I took Quaid to a birthday party at a skating rink. Thank goodness he wasn't into skating on the actual rink( just the carpet) so I didn't have to get any skates on myself. ( Though I have to say I was quit the roller skater in my day!!!) Anyways, we had fun together.
I'll try to keep up my blog this week, but it may drop off at some point!
I took my class to Seagrove today on a field trip. Only 5 people came on the outing which was kind of disappointing but of course, we all have lives outside of clay. Anyways, we had a nice time looking around today. It was a crisp November-fall day which was good for pottery visiting. We got a great guided tour of the NC Pottery Museum and went out to see Ben Owen 111 huge "compound". I have to admit, it doesn't look like the residence of a potter and this....I hate to say kind of bothered me. (Maybe it just made me jealous.....................naw......it bothered me.) Of course if I was not in "my potters shoes" and looking at the whole set up from just a consumers view, it would look very impressive! More power to him.
Anyways, here are some photo's of the kilns at the pottery center. Boy would I love to get my hands on that climbing double chamber kiln! I love driving around Seagrove and just seeing all the chimney stacks from all the kilns at the different potteries. It is a whole different world out there. ( We have got to get out to the country and win the lottery so I can have my studio and kiln). Ron Philbeck...if your reading this you don't know how lucky you are!
I'm not quit super happy with my trays. They always seem to me to be a last minute idea not really thought out super well. Here are some new cruet sets where I tried yet another tray and I can say I really love it after looking at it finished. I had good intentions to try new feet and mimic the arms that are on the cruets but..................I think I need to go back to the drawing board. Who knows maybe after they get fired I'll like them better. ( but most likely not) I have to remember the 3 best crit questions to ask your self.
1. What is working
2. What is not working
3. How can I improve it
Maybe I'll answer these another day.jen
It occurred to me the other day that I've been putting to many photo's of my kids and myself on here and not enough of my pots. That is mainly because I didn't know how to upload the images and usually Joey takes the family photo's and puts them up on the computer . ( This way I have easy photo's to steal). Anyways, he did finally walk me through the steps so now I plan on using the camera a bit more to put images of what I'm working on up here. After all it IS the POTTERY BLOG right?
Anywho, here are the stack of dinner plates for that order I've been working on. Each plate has a different leaf pattern on it. I like this images because all these dinner plates make me feel like I accomplished something! (Plus the rest of the order is already packed.) I've learned a lesson from this order and that is to establish on set of dinnerware and stick to it and don't venture away from what you said you could do. I use to like to do this for people but I think it confuses the customer on what they are actually going to get.
Kiln number 2 loaded today, kiln one unloaded and dinnerware set number 2 complete and ready to be shipped. Onto to small gallery order and throwing like a mad women for show the weekend of the 11th!
This evening a rest to play and be a purple Witch~ Hope you all got to eat lots of pumkin seeds and candy bars....what combo could be better!
Yet another start to another week and its Halloween week, my favorite week of the year! I'm sure to have lots of photo's of my kids on here in the next few days. I love to see them dressed up and I love to dress them up. I only wish more adults around here would get into the act so I could be as goofy as I wanted to as well. Last year I dressed up like a purple devil and went to an annual kids party at a friends house. Needless to say I was about the only one dressed in full costume besides a handful of mom's with a few witches hats on. ( Lame) This year I bought a blinking purple spider to put on my head and I guess that is all I'm going to do. My mother in law came to visit today and she has gone all out for this kids with a witch costume. She is a great person and wonderful grandmother. Today Quaid was just loving all over her with no inhibitions whats so ever. He is such and effectionite boy, which he gets from his Dad I'm sure.
Yesturday I got my glaze kiln all loaded. I spent so much time cleaning my shelves, mixing up the glazes and waxing everything very carefully. This is the second dinnerware I'm doing for a customer so I have my fingers crossed it comes out. Tomarrow I'll crack and it and see in the morning. This evening I worked on some new trays and threw so more big bowls and olive dishes.
We managed to carve our pumkins yesturday and today the girls and I roasted the seeds. I'm about the only one who eats them but the girls enjoyed mixing them in butter, honey and seasoning salt. I managed today to figure out our movie camera and got the girls singing this funny Duck song on it. Aydan was coloring and singing "Quack, Quack, Quack" at the top of her lungs today. She and I have had some more hard days together. She is very hard for me to understand and when I can not understand what she wants she gets fustrated and acts out. I have a special little place for her in my heart because I fear she may have some of the same reading and learning issues that I had growing up. ( I have dyslexsia). Anyways, here is a photo of the her and I at the Ranch last weekend.
Anyways, I had a very relaxing and reflective day in my studio. I was by myself with no interuptions and I felt I really needed the peace to concentrate and just be with my thoughts. I was thinking while I was selecting my music for the day that I use to listen to classical music whenever I was writing a big paper. When I was working on my thesis in grad school I had a routine of putting on one of my favorite CD's called Immortal Beloved. It is the soundtrack to a movie about Ludwig Van Beethoven. (If you have'nt seen it, Gary Oldman in fantastic in it! )After listening to this today after many months of it gathering dust I fell in love with it again. It very funny to me that I find this music soothing, comforting and very effective when I need to really think. When I was little classical music was a big part of my life. My mother played it alot and my sister and I took piano lessons. I also pretty much HATED classical music as a child. My mother once told a funny story of riding in the car with myself and one of my young girl friends and me saying to my friend" you'll get use to the music after a while". In otherwords, I was lucky if my mom put a rock and roll station on for me for more than maybe 15 minutes on a long car ride. While I was taking piano lessons I did have to play alot of classical music and always snuck off to find "pop music" books. I think I must of played "Band on the Run" by Wings a million times when I was sapose to be practicing Bach or something like that.
In my reflective mind today while listening to "Fur Elise" I thought how important it is that one day Joey and I buy a used piano for the kids so they can take lessons. I think music is so important for the mind and soul. I pretty much have to have some sort of music going on through most of my day to keep me up beat. I guess I have to thank my parents and mostly my mother for all those times I was stuck listening to public radio.
I mentioned "mind struggles" in my heading. Sometimes I get bogged down with my career thoughts and today/this evening was one of those days. I go over and over in my mind all the things career wise I would like to have the opportunity to do but just at the moment can't. Those thoughts alway lead to the next one that.... I'm not getting any younger and so many younger potters have such great resumes these days that do and will surpass mine. When I wrote to Lana Wilson I sort of stated this point in my letter. I'm not trying to say"oh poor me, stuck home with kids" but what I am saying that I have a fear of getting behind the pack and not having a diverse enough resume' for jobs, grants and invitational shows. Also since I'm not one to "network" I also don't have the resources for things to , lets say " fall in my lap" so I guess I kind of feel on the outskirts of things going on sometimes. Anyways, these thoughts bogged me down this evening so I had to get them off my chest and just.....keep on pluggin' along. Ok.....enough with the deepness, time to go jump into bed and start another day.
Tomorrow I won't have time to work in my studio. I plan on doing housework, taking the girls to the library and shopping during the day. Than tomorrow evening Quaid's school in having a big Fall Festival that we are volunteering at so its a full day of being a mom.
Here a photo of my heater....and very messy studio
It been slow going in my studio due to the cold. I have been working but just not at the pace I'm use to. I have lots of things coming up and due so hopefully this weekend I'll get a burst of energy and gets tons of stuff done. I'm anxious to get some orders out of the way and concentrate on new stuff.
My friend Ron Philbeck sent me some website of a group of female potters from a variety of places. The two of us where trying to figure out a "tricks" that one of them used on her pieces. I guess we all have tricks that we don't want to share. Its hard to give people information when you have spent so long coming up with stuff yourself. Of course I'm one of the first ones there when I can find out how someone did something.....and of course I want to try it. Anyways, I'm going to post those website for all to look at. You can give your thoughts. I pretty much saw something in all of them I liked but I did have my favorites. I am intrigued at potters who just make a few things over and over again and that is all they sell. I get bored to easily to stay on that track and I guess some part of me( even though I suspect it is smart for selling your stuff and taking orders from) find this way of making pots a bit uncreative or stifling, but that is just me. I guess it really shows what an intuitive person I am with a bit of ADD thrown in.
(I'm having trouble keeping up with my blog this month!)
Re-cap of the weekend*
We took the kids Saturday to a place called the Lazy 5 ranch in Moorseville NC. Its this place that has all these animals like buffalo, pot-belly-pigs, zebra's, lamas ect. They take you around in a horse drawn wagon so you can feed the animals out of your hand. Its pretty cool and the animals are beautiful to look at. They all looked well cared for and happy or else I would not go. ( on a side note I'm not a big fan of the circus or "fair animals" because they just always look sad to me............plus I have a phobia against clowns. You can laugh now........maybe another time I'll talk about that) Anyways, Joey got some cool photo's I'll post on here and it was worth the money to go just to hear the kids squeal.
Studio Work *
My studio is freezing! Joey only got half of my plastic walls up this weekend because we ran out of plastic and staples. For some reason we are having a cold October and it is just killing me to be out there in the cold. I've grown into such a whimp!! Of course, I did make myself get out there and trim some things, finished up salt and pepper sets ect. Things are also drying slowly because of the moisture in the air. Last night one of the cats drug in a skin of a squirrel and left it for me under my wheel. What a treat! We have an 80 year old neighbor across the street that likes to shot squirrels and pretty much lets his gun go off all day long. Its crazy but that is what you get living in a small town. He told me one day (after one of my cat had drug a dead squirrel into my studio and I was to chicken to get it out and asked for his help) that after he shots them and finds them he gives them to some guy who lives behind us and he eats them! Isn't that great!!!!!! Anyways, I'm telling you all this because I guess someone had squirrel for dinner and my cats found the remains.
Well, so much about talking pots............sorry.
I just found some exciting news on my email account this evening. Seems the letter I wrote to Lana Wilson is going to be published in the next claytimes that comes out. WOW, I'm feeling pretty good and a little geeky I guess. I do love to read those little snip-its they put at the beginning of the magazine where everyone either complains or talks about how good an article was. In Ceramics Monthly sometime people can get down right nasty with letter. I guess that is what free speech is all about. Anyways, if you get the magazine search for my comment to the "Mud Mama's" section.
The weather is really slowing me down this week. Its been damp and rainy. I love days like this for the most part because it makes my gardens look nice, I love to listen to the rain and it gives me an excuse to be lazy and just roll around in bed with my kids and keep my PJ's on for the good part of the day. BUT...my pots won't dry. I have no bats, I can't trim anything or put anything together and my studio only has half the plastic up so I can't put on my heater without wasting the heat. Tomorrow night I have a meeting with my Circle of 8 folks so I won't be working in the studio. Lets hope things get dry in one day so Saturday I can be somewhat productive! As a potter you are always at the mercy of so many other factors then just you.
Today on the radio I heard this cool story about a new reality show on TLC. I guess it takes very cynical people or people who don't really enjoy other human contact and they make them live 40 days at a monastery. They interviewed one of the guys who had all these bad feelings toward religion and just trusting people period. It sounded very cool and it also talked about what monasteries in the country specialize in bread, wine or even the recycling of ink cartridges. Anyways, if I had cable in my studio, I'm sure I would be hooked on this show. Good thing I don't!
On the mom front Quaid has been sick this week with yet another chest and throat thing. He was born with a collapsed lung so I think he tends to get these things a lot worse than most folks. Anyways, he's been home with the rest of the crew and we've just been lying low. I've been trying to work on Aydan tantrums this week. Today was a bad day for her. Nothing was going her way and she ended up in time out I think like 6 times. By the end of the day I just needed a break from her crying and screaming a called Joey to come home from the gym early. I figured she also needed a break from me. I think at bed time she tied a good one on for him as well. This age ( 3) just can be so trying on one's nerves.
So, tomorrow I'm off to teach my class in Charlotte and Friday I meet with my circle of 8 friends. Than on Saturday we are planning to take the kids to this exotic animal ranch in Moorseville;hope the weather holds out because I know they will love it!
Joey was nice enough to unload the car for me today and I had every intension of getting out to my studio this evening for "the clean-up", but here I sit and my bath and bed are telling me that , that is where I need to be, not out in the cold. For anyone who is not firmilar with my studio set-up( maybe I've talked about this before) I'm on our Back porch which is just screened in so in the winter we have to put on the thickest plastic one can buy and staple it all around my shop. It keeps the wind from blowing in and once I get my space heater cranking out there, it stays....Well atleast somewhat warm to work. I was telling Joey today that the older I get the more I just hate when winter comes and the thought of going out to work in the cold. When it get super cold I usually buddle up like I'm going out into a snow storm with hats and long-johns; the whole nine yards. I get a bucket of hot water to throw with and the tips of my fingers sometimes crack in the winter due to the cold and hot that I expose them to out there. I also take my space heater and sit it up on a chair aimed right at my hips for warmth. That is how I get through the winter months. You can bet that if I do ever get a real studio it will have a biggest heater money can buy! Tomarrow night the plastic goes up!
I think I'll sign off and take a nice hot bath and get my book. Peace!
Here are the twins, it just so happens when this photo was taken they where back to being best friends and the fighting had stopped for a little while.
Today I feel pretty relaxed and peaceful. I have a kiln cooling and I'm ready for tomorrow. The stress is gone for a little while, I think Wednesday I was buzzing I was so wound up from all I felt like I had to get done. What a mess I make myself sometimes and wonder why I don't just get a regular job. But then I have a pretty good kiln come out and I'm back at peace with everything. Its sapose to be cool this weekend so I'm hoping that will make people think about Christmas gifts and my sales will be good. I'm not sure if I mentioned or not but our SUV( the Montero) started to die on us two weeks ago so we had to put a new engine in it because a car payment was out of the question at this time in our lives. So I'm in search of the big bucks to pay that off. My car is old but I really don't care as long as it runs. My priorities for things have totally changed and I know I don't need a new fancy car to make me happy, just one that doesn't smoke in the car pool line!
My parents are taking the kids for the night since we have to get up so early to set up the show. We are planning to go out to dinner and celebrate our anniversary that was on Monday. Both of us are looking forward to a bit or peace from the children. Have a good one!
We're having a movie filmed here in little old York and its on our street! A neighbor on the other side of the street a few houses down is getting paid $15,000 a day for filming in his home. The same director that did "Snakes On A Plane" is making a movie about an Asylum and I guess its a teen flick starring the kids that plays the creepy role in desperate Housewives( I have yet to see him around but I haven't been lurking outside that much). You wouldn't get over all the trailers and stuff they have to bring to film one little scene from the movie. They also used a house on another street down the way for more small scenes. I also heard that they used a lot of Winthrop University for it as well. So, like a said, a bit of excitement. The funny story to the whole thing is that we had a former neighbor who likes to do pranks on people call us up and say that he was from the film and wanted to use my pottery and backyard for part of the movie. Naturally I was thinking what horrible timing it is since I have a show but..................FREE MONEY! The next day we found out it was a prank and he got another neighbor of ours as well. ( I'm trying to think of something I could pull one him!) I'll have to post some photo's from our street.
Potter world~I have a show next weekend so I am racing the clock. We really need the money so I need to have a good show. Today I finished up throwing so I can start the process of finishing things up and mass firings. I'm getting really good a pacing myself with trying to do more involved pieces at the beginning of my throwing cycle and quick things like vases, bowls and cups towards the end. I can quick dry these things and it takes nothing for me to crank out a bunch in a day. I'm also getting pretty quick with my glazing. It usually takes me from 7pm to about 11 to glaze a kiln load, if I don't have to many tops and weird shapes So............These last two weeks I've been trying everything I can to do some nice new items and still have my tried and true sellers. We'll see how it goes. I'm prying I have no more issues with my kiln.
Home life~ Everyone is good ...For the most part. The girls are really starting to fight more, which is driving me crazy and I think I need to invest in some more twins books.We are having a lot of issues with Aydan lately. She's hitting a lot, saying the word" stupid" and running away and crying whenever one of her siblings looks at her cross eyed. Quiad and McKenna seem to get along really well together and leave Aydan out of playing sometimes. This brakes my heart because she is the sweetest of the three of them and I think these issues she is having with them is causing her I act out. Once again, I need a new twin book.
World matters~ Boy has the news/radio and Tv really gotten my down lately. Between all the Mark Foley thing and the recent school shooting that all involve some form of abusing a minor, it makes me want to lock my kids up. It horrible that pretty much everyone who comes in contact with my kids I have to wonder if there is something sinister about them lurking in there past. Then I was watching 60 minutes last week and they had this story on there about a video and trend called "Bum fight". It was a horrible story about how these teenage boys go out and find bums to beat up on. I felt sick after seeing the whole story. To end it all on the computer news I read how in some country they have this form of entertainment called "Kangaroo fighting". Literally humans put on boxing gloves along with the animal and get in a ring and fight. Once again I felt sick. I"m starting to understand why some people just want to drop out of society and live where no one else is around.
Joey and I~ Well tomorrow is our anniversary. We will have been married 7 years, which seems pretty fast. We have no big plans tomorrow but in a month we have tickets to go see something in Charlotte. ( Seems we never have money on our anniversary).Maybe one day we can actually get away somewhere together.
Anyways, I worked on some urns last night, trimmed and threw some platters, made some larger clam boxes( I've got big idea's for those), and threw some more bowls for the dinnerware set I'm re-doing. It turned out that my customer was not 100% sure about how the dish color came out; not what she envisioned so I'm re-doing the set. The good news is that someone called me the other day and said that she is interested in the set! So...Barbara, if your out there reading "the Pottery blog", I'll have the set at the barn sale!
I also can't wait to do another glaze firing to see if my kiln is still being temperamental. I think I need to start making some kiln gods,even though my kiln is just electric. I've underestimated all the things that can go wrong with an electric kiln ever since I started doing this kind of firing 6 years ago. In school it seemed that everyone stuck there noses up at the electric kiln. It was considered a kiln for "hobbyist and old ladies". I too was included in this group! Well I have since learned ( and the kiln gods have thoughts me a lesson) that electric firing isn't as "girlie" as I once thought. I have had a lot of ugly pots come out of the kiln that have proven to me that I don't know everything about ceramics!
I feel really humbled after going and being in the show at NC State this weekend now that I am back from the event. I didn't have a real grasp of what kind of event this would be so like I said, I was humbled. I thought for sure there would be a bunch of artists in this show. All in all I think there where only about 25 people in it. After I saw the names of who they asked to be in it, I felt really honored that I was in the show. I could count at least 5 more artists that I think Sid mentored or did a lot for that where not shown in the group. Anyways, it was very nice. The work was very good and they had a video/interview with Sid that I believe runs the whole time you are in the exhibit. I personally think they should of had more of Sid's work in the show but I guess they just choose pieces that meant a lot to him and the family. I can still see a huge cabinet in there living room that was filled with his crystal vases. Usually he would pick the best one out of the kiln and take it down to the house to give to Pat, his wife. The more I read about Sid in the brochure they gave out, the more I wished I had spent more time talking to him and not so wrapped up in my little world as a worker at the shop. He was very generous to people and several times he bailed me out of money issues or situation I was in. He really did do a lot to help crafts people keep going. I think he knew being a artists/potter was hard so he looked out for his own. I'm glad Michael Sherrill suggested they do a show for Sid there, he really did warrant the honor.
Anyways, we are going to Raleigh for a show that I'm in at NC State. I use to work at Cedar Creek gallery in Durham NC and the man who owned the gallery, Sid Oakley was also a potter. ( If you want to know more about that place get on line and read about how they started it from nothing......Good story.) Anyways, Sid passed away a few years ago and the gallery at NC State is doing a retrospective of his work. The name of the show is Sid Oakley, Artist, Mentor and Friend. Everyone who is in the show fits this description. In a way I sort of feel like I'm not as worthy as some of the other folks to be in this show but at the last minute Sid's daughter told me I needed to be in it. I was not potting at the time I knew Sid. I was just his employee at the shop. But Sid did take a lot of interest in my artistic back ground and gave me money and a reference letter to go to Penland one summer. Once I got hooked on throwing and decided to go back to school he did take an interest in how I was doing and would ask to see my pots. Finally at a show in Charleston Sc he did get a chance to look at my work and decided it was good enough to put in the shop. This was a huge deal to me since I use to help Sid and Lisa buy work for the gallery and I knew there high standards. So, I'm looking forward to going this weekend and seeing many people I use to work with that I feel very comfortable around and feel like I've known for years. It will also be wonderful for the kids to have a little vacation and see there grandmother and cousins. I'm sure by Sunday morning I'll be bugging Joey to get back home so I can get back to my studio.
Here I am at 12:00 re-counting last weeks events. First I have to say we had a great day here at the house. The girls and I painted a bookshelf for there room( I'm "distressing" it so it did not matter how the paint went on the shelf, which is a must when dealing with 3 year olds and a brush). Quaid got to go hang out with his buddy Wils and then they came back here and we built a campfire for the kids and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows. They had a blast. I also got some peace in my studio for a numbers of hours and this evening works some more while watching the movie "Elizabethtown"( which had a really good soundtrack) SO.....to the beginning of the week. Well, my dinnerware was due and my kiln was still messing up on me. Of course I was stressing out about getting it all my kiln before Monday and then my kiln, after I had fixed it, decided it still would not cut off on time. Thank goodness for pottery friends near by because I rushed a bunch of bisque ware to my friend Sandy's house for fireing. Long and short, it was not done by monday or even Tuesday because it would either shut off pre-maturally or not at all. I did manage to get most of the dinnerware out of the kiln but the large plates just bloated since they had been fired a bunch of times. Tomarrow i"m going to do a test run to see if I did finally fix the issue and then I will go from there. In the mean time I've been re-throwing the dinnerware just in case my customer does not like the set I have for her. I figure one way or the other all the pieces will get sold and I need to have this set come out the way she invisioned because I don't want her disappointed with it. That was my week! Here's one of the survivors of the kiln for you to see!
I had a customer awhile back open up one of my oval boxes and show me what a nice and interesting vase it would make so....I tried to make some. These are pretty big but I think I would have to charge a lot for smaller ones just because the time it takes to make them. Myself and some of my Circle of Eight buddies where discussing pricing the other day and I have to admit, I have a really hard time with it. Everyone tells me I price my stuff to cheap and this can make other potters a bit mad because they think your cutting them out of the market. I never do it to sell more, I just think when I get more published or do I dare say, a bit more famous in the pottery world, I can ask more for my work. Anyways, if something takes me a lot of time, I always ask more. If its something I can throw really quick like a mug or cup, I guess I ask less then I should. I know when I want to buy someone's work , I can only afford mugs for the most part so I guess I'm looking out for those folks that like my work but can't afford a big item. I'm sure one day when I have time to really sit down and figure up all my time that goes into doing what I do, my husband will be right in saying that we are making little money. Oh well I say, I love what I do and I don't want to do anything else but play with clay!~
I have had no time to get on my blog....so sorry but....I'm here now! I think I listed all the things that are coming up in my"pottery life",but there has been lots to do this last week as well.
One was a grant I was applying for. I really only did a 1/4 of the work on that, Joey wrote and organized the whole thing. I did have to get the budget together and make sure it got in on time so, it took up some of my time this last week. The second thing was The Circle of Eight show I just did today. This is a group of 7 other potters that I got together last summer. I got the idea from Linda Christenson, who is an amazing, funny, wonderful and down to earth potter that I met a few years ago at ECU. I was able to do a week workshop with her and picked her brain about being a mom and a potter and how does one get a head in this business without having to , well, kiss up to everyone basically. She had suggested I get together a group of my peers and get some shows going along with a support system. As soon as I got home I started calling potters I knew and had some connection to and the result now is Circle of Eight. We had a first group sale today and I was surprised at the turn out.....Pretty good! I'll get some photo's on the web soon from the show so you can see what a diverse crowd we are.
My last adventure this week is a dinnerware set I'm finishing up for a couple that now live in NewYork City. I'm getting down to the wire on this because my kiln was out of commission for a awhile. I'm pluggin along and hoping it turns out well so I can deliver it on Tuesday. Wish me luck! Wow, what a September so far.
Well anyways, I had a show last weekend , which was pretty good and I have another one this weekend- plus a dinnerware set due so I'm swamped. Of course not to mention my other life and all I have to do with that! In the fall, craftspeople just have to hit the ground running to sell, sell, sell so it will make up for those slow months after Christmas. I always kick myself come February when we are broke and I haven't felt like I saved up enough to hold us over. My goal this year is to that just that. So................Off I go to bed to re-energize for tomorrows work load!
This weekend( Sept. 9th) is ARTS IN THE PARK in Blowing Rock NC. I like this show, lots of great work and gives us a chance to get a way a bit and go eat somewhere good!
The weekend of the 16th of September myself and 7 more potters are doing a group show. I'll have to talk more about this little group of us but for now, just for the record we are called CIRCLE OF 8 and we are having the show in Charlotte. I'll put all the info on times and place the beginning of next week. Pretty cool postcard of our work I'll have to post.
SID OAKLEY, MENTOR, FRIEND AND ARTIST is at the north Carolina state art gallery and the closing reception is the 30th of sept. This should be a great show of various artists( lots of great potters) who knew Sid.....Including myself.
October 14th is the annual ClayMatters guild barn sale in Chalotte.
There is more, but for now, that is all I can think up to at the moment
Hi All. Hope your enjoying your labor day weekend. So far, we are having a nice, productive and not to stressful weekend.
Onto last week!
Here is a photo of a major pottery goof and a bit of lazyness on my part( I hate to admit). I have neglected to put visual cones in my kiln for, oh since Quiad was about one. In a gas kiln, its a must. In an electric kiln you get lazy and rely on the kiln setter. Well, I learned my lesson with this one. My kiln sitter slowly bent over the years and finally this week neglected to shut my kiln off at the temp. it was sapose too. Result......stuck pots. What a mess to clean up. I only managed to selvage about 9 things,some had to be smashed and the rest still have to be pryed off the shelves. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . Lesson learned.
These are Quaid's playmobile figures. He LOVES them! He calls them "his guys" and usually they kind of drive me crazy because there have a 1000 different parts and they are all over the house, not to mention his bedroom. Well the other morning I went into his room and glanced over at his toybox and noticed there where tons of guys laying around on it. After I took another glance I noticed that they seemed to have been set up like some battle. I remembered the night before I heard all this "Wham, Bam, Gotcha" and some screams coming from his room so I had to laugh when I saw that HIS guys where all placed in obviously a certain way. When I asked him what they where all doing he answered back "wrestling". Anyways, Joey and I thought this was funny.
On a side note, these toys are made so well and I have to admit I love buying them for him because they have so many cool things that come with them.
I'm off to turn up the kiln......later!~
Last week was Kindergarten and 6am wake-up call. I'm happy to report we made it through with flying colors. I think really the first few weeks of doing something new is pretty successful, its after awhile that you start slacking off and then it comes unraveled. I just have to remember to keep all my "balls" up in the air and not to let any drop or it can all go very wrong!!!! ( That's when I start driving Quaid to school in my PJ's!)
Joey went to visit his mom this weekend in Raleigh and took Aydan with him. It was hard to decide which girl should go. I even at one point was just going to go the safe and easy route and elect Quaid to go, but he always gets to go on trips. It was Aydan's turn this time and her Dad said she was great.
I went ahead and took McKenna and Quaid to the Charlotte rapter's center on Saturday. We had a great time. Owls are my favorite birds and we got to see lots of them. I was just remembering how the first time I got to work with Clay in highschool I made a pencil jar that was an owl. ( my mom still has it!)Strange how those things tend to connect in the unconscious. The birds up close are just so amazing to look at. The patterns that there feathers make are so wonderful I wished I could of gotten a close up photo of it to have in my files for patterns. It was a nice weekend.
I was out in my shed tonight working on glazing for my next kiln load. I'm finishing up a gallery order and experimenting with some glazes for a dinnerware set I'm making. I have a busy week. Lots of throwing to do with the dinnerware set and just filling up some space I have for my show in Blowing Rock. I also have to write a grant for some money I would like to receive to help me build a salt kiln. This project is so way off in my furture its seems I will never get back to doing this type of work. Slowly I'm stocking up on the equipment so I'll have it when the time is right. Wish me luck!
Here is a photo of the flower blocks I've been working on. I have one ready for bisque in my studio but something about makes me not really love it. Is it the feet? Of course it doesn't look just like this one but kind of similar. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? If so, I'd love the input!
I opened the paper this morning to see a little article about my home show. A friend of mine who works for the Charlotte Observer has started writing an article about "York county" events and chose my little show to be one of her first articles. Thanks Cheney! The publicity is always good for business.
Sooooooooo, the majority of my week was trying to get set for next week. Family, kids and organization. On top of that, we are trying to do major potty training with the twins girls. This is proving to be a task with the two of them. I think Mckenna's got it but Aydan is having accidents left and right. The pre-school we are sending them too has a policy that the 3 year old children have to be potty-trained. We have 2 1/2 weeks left for her to get this. It's so hard to have two kids, the same age and trying to do the same things all the time. No one knows what its like to have twins unless you DO have them.
My final big event last week was the annual winter "Twin Sale" in Charlotte. I belong to this huge (yes I said huge) group in the Charlotte area called "Mothers of Multipals" and they have two sales a year. Its a big deal for mom's like me. You have to get things ready to sell on Thursday night, Friday night you wait in this big lottery line to buy the things and on Saturday you go back to pick up your not sold items. This event pretty much consumes my week and weekend but it pays off. I get the kids so many cloths, books and such and also make money on there old stuff. Here in the sea of mom's I feel like they all know what it is like to deal with my day to day dealings with the girls. Some of these women have a lot more on there plates then I do with triplets and Quads. The number of women with multiples have grown in the last 5 -10 years because so many women wait to have kids so they can further there career. This results in a lot of fertility drugs being used or just the bodies nature progression of getting rid of eggs when your "biological clock" starts winding down. (I'm sure this was my case since I had the twins at age 36).
Next week we will be ( or I will be) trying to figure out how to work late and get up early for kindergarten car pool. I know some things will have to change around here, I'm just not sure in what order it will happen. I'll keep you posted.