Catawba Care Coalition

Today I packed up some pots that I'm donating and selling for this organization in Lancaster South Carolina. You can read more about the event and the fundraiser for World AIDS day. This evant is being held at Bob Doster's BackStreet Gallery in Lancaster SC. Here is a posting they sent to me last week.......

December 1st, from 7 until 10pm our gallery will be the host location for World AIDS Day: A Celebration of Art. Vignettes by Main Street Theater, Fashion Show by Luis Machicao, live music by a variety of regional musicians, and a hair design show by Varji & Varji’s Jeremy will entertain you as you sample wines & culinary delights from a multitude of local chefs! An incredible selection of artwork by artists from around the southeast will be on sale: paintings, pottery, fashion accessories, sculpture, drawings, photography, and more! A Bob Doster sculpture & gift basket chock full of gift certificates will be up for grabs, too! Tickets are only $25 in advance & $30 at the door. Proceeds benefit Catawba Care Coalition, which serves those living with HIV/AIDS in Lancaster, York, & Chester Counties. Check the website at http://www.catawbacare.org/.

Last night I enjoyed making some mugs, pie plates and starting on some large bowl orders. Tonight I my last class at Clayworks for the session. We are finishing up with trying some Majolica on bowls we are making for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Charlotte. I always have fun doing some other sort of decoration than my own with my class. Its kind of like my own mini play time in clay!


Christmas is officially here for Me

Tonight I got to watch "The Grinch", so I know that Christmas is here for me. When I was little my sister and I could pretty much re sight the whole cartoon. We use to tell my father that, " Maybe his socks where not on quit right or that maybe his head wasn't screwed on quit right!", whenever he was in a bad mood around this time of the year.
Its so good to be home and doing the things I always do after a show. I've cleaned my studio, re-packed my display, pugged clay and started throwing mugs. Things that are routine to us are comforting I've concluded.
I did get my letter in the mail today saying I got into the
Carolina Designer Craftsmen guild. Yah!!!!!!! Its nice when hard work really does pay off. I guess I can forgive myself for vitrifying all those pots a few weeks ago.
This Friday and Saturday I will be showing my work with my fellow potters/clay artists at Clayworks in Charlotte. There is always new stuff to see from all the great creative minds we have working there and renting space. Community studio's are so good for people who are just getting started in this business because you always have someone to bounce idea's off of and ask questions about the million things that can go right or wrong with the process or clay. Stop by if your around Charlotte this weekend!


Carolina Designer Craftmen show

Yesterday I returned from my "big show", as I like to call it. It turned out to be such a great experience for me and I was so happy I got a chance to do it! I had such a great time, a pretty good show for the first time and I just really liked doing this type of indoor venue that went on for more than one day. After all was said and done and I finally calmed down after the first opening day I had such a great time with all the other craftspeople I known through out the years. I had so many friends come to cheer me on and support me - thanks everyone it was so nice to see so many familiar faces !! I also met a lot of great new people who bought my work or just gave such great comments about it. When I was in my 20's I use to work in retail and I can't say I was the greatest at talking to people I didn't know. Now I can see that with age comes a sense of not caring whom you start up a conversation with and this has been one of the things I like the most about selling my work face to face! I also have to give so much credit to my family. My sister and her family, my parents,my mother-in-law and of course my right hand business manager/computer whiz/ handy-man and an entire list of other things.............my husband. Between babysitting the kids, getting me packed, set-up and broken back down , I could not have done it with out all of them. I have a great support group behind me and I'm so lucky!

Here are some shots of my booth and some of my fellow craft friends who where doing the show for the first time also. My booth shot is not so great because I think my lighting was so intense ( sorry), but you get the idea. Next week I find out if I got into the show via a letter.
All the new craftspeople ( and there where 19 of us) got judged on our booth and the work so I'm crossing my fingers for a shot at next year!
Here is Kelly O'Briant's booth. That is her and Ronan Peterson chatting on Sunday. Kelly did a Circle of Eight sale with us last spring! Her work is so nice!Here is Ronan Peterson's booth. Ronan's work is very fun. I own 2 of his bowls now and my kids love to eat out of them. Ronan also was in a show with the Circle of Eight gang this summer.Here is my friend Betty McKim and her husband George. I've known Betty since I first came to Raleigh and worked at Cedar Creek Gallery. I own many of her pieces and we have a such a funny friendship. I love doing shows with Betty because we just have a great time together.

I'll post some more about our Thanksgiving and what I'm up to now that I'm back. I need to get going on finishing my final report for my grant/kiln report. ( My poor kiln just sits out there waiting to get the final finish on it....got to run!)

( I just had a mental image if me in a super hero cape dashing off...maybe I need my mother-in-law to make me a costume like all the ones my kids own....or maybe I should just barrow one of there's. )


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
We are all here in Raleigh for about 4 days staying with my sister Pam and her family. Today she cooked a good feast for the 12 of us and we celebrated Quaid's 7th birthday! ( I have no idea how he got to that age so fast!)
We got here on Wednesday and Joey , my brother-in-law and I headed over the show to start setting up. My brother-in-law is a whiz at everything so I knew he could help me figure out how my lights show go in my booth. It was so exciting seeing my black curtains all up and getting my booth display up also. Joey and Dave ended up going to Lowes and getting me these awesome high tec lights for my booth which just made it look so put together. Tomorrow I'm heading over there in the morning to finish setting up by myself and than at 6pm the shows opens! Very Exciting! There are lots of familiar faces for me doing this show since I once lived here in Raleigh, which is nice.

Up top is a postcard for my open house Dec. 15th from 10 to 5pm. I've been working so hard and plan on getting right back to work once I get home to make more stuff so I have a good selection for my home show. I haven't done a holiday show in 3 years and I kind of missed that. Its fun having all the decorations up in my house and my pots on display in the living room. It also gives me an excuse to have a day of eating nothing but appetizers and sweets!!

Give a big round of applause once again for my husband who did the postcards for me along with a thousand other things to help me get ready for this show.


Kiln Out

I unloaded my first glaze and was thrilled! This photo may not look like much because its in my shed with lots of junk around the pots but to me I was so excited because I had only one glaze run in the whole lot and for me , this is super. ( My glaze makes for a lot of grinding some days). I'm still plugging along. My kids have a big program for grandparents day tomorrow and today I spent the morning with Quaid in his class because we celebrated his 7th birthday. He was a Thanksgiving baby! This may be my last post before I"m off to Raleigh, but who knows, I may post while I"m away...keep checking in!

Have a great Turkey Day!


On Track

Quick update...here's my calendar and I'm up to date!( So far so good.) Isn't it a mess? I've had a bunch of school functions and more next week. The kids have been really great about letting me work in the afternoon after school. They have been playing play dough, out in the leaves and watching some movies so it has worked out pretty good. Today I start to glaze-3 loads to get in! Wish me luck!

Here are a bunch of flower blocks!


Movin' Along

Nine more days until my big show. I'm so excited to see how this all comes together and if I can pull this off! The booth, all the pots, keeping things organized ect.- its a lot but I think I am up for the challenge. Slow and steady wins the race, Quaid reminded me of this saying the other day so I'm taking it to heart every day. Its not just all that I need to remember for the show; we will all be in Raleigh for 4 days and that means getting all the kids packed and organized as well.We will be at my sister house for 4 days and she has not had us all there before and I think she is bit worried and out of practise when it comes to entertaining little kids. We are lucky in that we get two days to set up for the show so I feel like I can really make my booth look very good and get super organized rather than throwing it up 2 hours before a show. For the most part I'm back on track with making and fireings this week. I still have to get my lighting worked out for the show and purchase a rug for my booth display. I found this really cool one at Lowes that is black with white swirls in it that I think will be perfact with my booth set up and work. My friend Brain made me a new desk/check out stand along with some very nice risers so it is all coming along slowly. Tomarrow is another full day in the studio!


So..it can be done

I got my kiln unloaded today with the pots I vitrified and yes, believe it or not I did manage to glaze them and have them come out. What a miracle! (I truly pulled that one right out of thin air.)
So...I thought what a better technical piece of advice that I should post on my blog than how to glaze something that is vitrified! Most people post about how to do something right and yes....here I am about to post about how to fix a very big flub up if it ever happens to you.

Here's what I did~ I put my bottom two elements on Md. and set the pots in the kiln and heated them up for about 1/2 hour with the lid cracked about 4 inches. Then I put on gloves, got my tongs and started dipping them as fast as I could. You have to keep the pots upside down so all the glaze runs towards the top in stead of the bottom of the pots( where it wants to go...off the pot). What you want is for the heat to dry the glaze on there as fast as it can since the clay has lost all its porous qualities. I would dip about 4 pieces and then go back and do another coat while the piece was still warm. Layer upon layer is the key along with the heat. Then I took a little dish of glaze, put it in the kiln and let some of the water evaporate. This was for the inside of pieces. I would set the glaze piece back in the kiln, warm it up again and then pull it out to brush pretty thick glaze on the inside. Now, I was just doing cups, mugs and small pitchers so this all worked pretty well. I'm sure vitrifying a teapot and trying to salvage that would be very hard because the tongs are the key to not burning your hands. It was all a very long, messy and tedious mistake but I needed the pots for an order and I figured the amount of time it took fooling with them was worth saving the pots.
I know one thing about all this, I'm going really start paying attention the next time I stick a cone in my sitter!


Letting stuff drop

I had a student last night tell me a story about her sister who is a single mom of two girls and how she had called her crying about how hard it is for her to be responsible for everything. My student is not married nor has any kids so she was telling me how she had told her sister she was in such awe of her for all she did. Whenever I hear about a single mom I am always in awe and have so much empathy for them. I have a lot of help and I still wake up in the morning and feel like I am on a race the rest of the day until I get in bed at night. Some mornings I feel like I actually shake from all the adrenalin that I've produced on the way back from dropping the kids off at school and thinking about all that I need to accomplish while they are there. (Of course maybe coffee has something to do with this as well). Going to the gym has helped get rid of some of the thought induced energy which is good but some days I am still buzzing by 3pm.
I'm telling this story because often I describe my life as trying to keep all the ball that I'm juggling up in the air and not letting any of them drop.Of course no human can do it all and pretty much weather its what is going on with one of my kids, the house, my husband, my studio work or I guess just myself, ultimately something drops. This week it was putting the wrong cone in my bisque kiln and vitrifying a load of pots. Doesn't that just make your stomach sink!!!!
Well like most of these times I go through those thoughts of kicking myself for about a day or so and then I convince myself that I can fix it some how, which for the most part I did. I did of course something that I always tell my students you can't do- glaze vitrified work. I put those suckers in my kiln, heated them up until I could hardly touch them and dipped away...heating, dipping, heating, dipping. It was a mess. For the most part they came out but I do have some bare spots I need to re fire again and of course they are not my best looking pots beacuse the glaze is thin. I'm laughing about it now but I still feel like a lame brain. I keep thinking that some of the great potters I'm sure do these same lame brain things and if they don't...well maybe that is why they are great.
To top my week off, this morning while racing the clock to get the kids out of the door we saw one of our cats race through the house and Quaid yell "there's a bird in the house"!! Sure enough Clayton had pulled a cardinal in through the cat door and the bird was catching its breath way up high in the kitchen on a pot. Joey did manage somehow to get the bird out of the house while I shut two screaming girls and the cat in the front of the house and continued my quest to get them to school on time. I swept up little feathers this morning before going out to work. Never a dull moment here......



Today is Tuesday but I'm still thinking the weekend. I had made a big calendar Friday that I hung on my studio door telling me all I needed to do each day. Well, I'm still working on some of the things today that I had posted for Sunday, hence my time warp issue.

I forgot to mention that Saturday I took Joey on a little excursion for his birthday. He wrote more about it on his blog Smakeapple but it was one of those few weekend days in a long time I did not do any work. We went up to a winery about 2 hours away from here called Childress Vineyards. I really wanted to do something as special for him on his birthday as he had done for me but I just didn't have the funds or the time since it is fall and I'm feeling slammed with getting as much stuff made and sold as I can. We had a nice day together just the two of us, and that evening some friends of ours came over with there children to just hang out. Very low key and for the most part, that is what Joey is all about so I think he enjoyed the day. ( Hopefully maybe when we are older I can surprise him with some far away destination!)

Today I made glazes and finished up some boxes. Boxes take so long to make/finish. I think each box took me at least an hour to clean up, put feet on, make flanges for the lids and "dress" so to say. I finally admitted to myself that I really hate making glazes. I wonder if anyone really likes doing that?? Tonight I have to glaze and get a kiln loaded for two orders that need to go out. I'm really stressing about getting everything done for Thanksgiving weekend. I decided not to do the Carolina Pottery festival this weekend. I could of shared a booth with someone but I just do not have the work or time to spare.

Here are my butter dishes. I thought they kind of looked like little chickens roosting!


Quick post

Daylight saving time is something I always look forward to but today it has kind of thrown me off a bit. That and the fact I have a cold so my head is a bit foggy today and I'm walking around in a fog. I'm just taking a quick lunch break to check my email. This morning Joey and I worked on getting my plastic up on my studio-porch. I was freezing last week and when that happens I'll find every excuse not to work late.
Friday I went and got more bricks for my chimney. We also attempted to finish up my chimney stack but found that the bricks where not exactly the same size as my other bricks so we are going to have to do some cutting. Joey felt like we needed to wait until right before the guy comes to weld the whole thing together because he has fears of the chimney getting to high and it tumbling down. I guess anything is possible so I agreed with him. I really hope the guy who's helping me with the welding can come next weekend because I need for this project to be done soon!
Today I'm firing a bisque and working on boxes plus packing up pots for our Circle of Eight show next weekend at the WoodenStone Gallery in Davidson. I'm waiting to hear weather I'm going to do the Carolina Pottery Festival next weekend or not...I was on the waiting list and it may be a blessing in disguise considering I'm feeling a bit behind in my potting.
Hope you had a good weekend!


Some good info.

There has been a lot of talk back and forth between people about weather or not to cancel your pottery magazine subscription or not. I'm a bit ashamed to say I still get mine but my reasoning behind this is so I can enter national show and get my work out there some more. Most of the time I look at CM just once when I get it, comment to myself about what I DON"T like in there ( or do ) and go straight to the back for the show info and enjoy finding out of who is where and doing what. I do read Clay Times because the people who write the articles in there are pretty funny and easy to understand.
Today I got my CM in the mail and in the front there had there Buyers Guide section. I have to admit it had some great useful information in there that I think I will post on my walls in my studio for reference or copy for my students. Here is some of the information I thought was useful just in case you don't get Ceramics Monthly but just want to buy this one issue.
* How Glazes Melt
* Primary Function of Common ceramic materials
*The many faces of Iron
*Brushes for China Painting
*Making perfect Plaster
* Repair your elements in a electric kiln
( Something I did not know much about in Grad school since I only used gas/salt kilns)
*How low voltage effects firing time
( Again, electric firing sometimes is not as simple as everyone thinks it is and you need help in understanding things like this)
*Kiln fireing chart( great for students)
*Temp. equivalents for ortan cones
*Glossary of common terms
( Great for teaching when you need to find the def. for a term that is not is those thousands of books you have on your personal ceramic book shelf!)

I hope everyone had a good Halloween! We had a great time but the photo's did not come out that great. Just for the record we had a Wonder Women, Spider-Girl and Ninja at our house. They had more fun handing out candy when they came home than going to get candy I think. I had a nice visit on my porch with my friend MaryAnna - pizza and wine while Joey took the kids around. We got tons of trick-or-treaters here so its always a good night to be out of the studio.