I was very thankful for today and knowing that the weekend was here and I will be able to relax a bit, focus on work and enjoy my family with my husband. I haven't had a chance to exercise that much this week so tonight I really just needed to get outside and move, listen to the hum of the lawnmower and enjoy cutting the grass. The air was very heavy this evening but the herb garden smelled great along with the smell of fresh cut grass. I love cutting grass, just going in all different direction to complete the task at hand is so satifying.
Today I finally got my order in and set for my slab to get poured. Wish me luck that it will be a go next week and I can start the wheels in motion on this kiln project.
This evening I finished some surface stuff on bowls and my covered jars. I can never decide when I do a new series of things if they should all be decorated the same or different. Most times I always have one that stands out from the rest because I guess my hand gets board with making the same marks. Of course this is never true with mugs and bowls, I love the repetition of everything that goes a long with making those sorts of pieces.

I started a new class this week that went really well. I sat down with each of my intermediate people and just watched them throw to see how there hands where, there body position. We just made really tall cylinders and cut through them all to see how consistent they where. The class thought this was great so I was please that I had chosen this for our focus. Of course it has had me thinking of bottles and why I never make things like that. I guess I don't see the market for a bottle, even though I know that doesn't really matter. We'll see if I get inspired to make some for the next show coming up.
(The saws are going full blast next door and its 11:30 at night. I'm surprised that some of my older neighbors have not complained yet about all the noise next door. We live these days in such a inconsiderate society.)


I'm not sure I'm really on summer vacation

A teacher from Quaid's school emailed me today about something and talked about how much she was enjoying tutoring this summer and just laying around and will be ready to get back in the swing of things come August. After reading this I thought about how the last two weeks I've felt more worn out than when school was going on. I guess trying to keep all the kids happy and active this summer is really more work than running everyone around during the school year.

Every night this week I have barley made it out to work before 8:30, some night at 9 and I'm so tired I have just been able to do a few things and than I've got to get myself to bed. I've also had a lot of my mind with my kiln , which as you know stress can really wear you out. This week my slab was suppose to get poured but the contractor next door kept confusing me about what I needed for my kiln to sit on,not to mention what was going on in my back yard with the water, soil and location. I'm stressed because I just really need to get going on this things and I don't like having to wait when I'm ready to get started on something.

I finally made the decision also to buy the soft brick kiln from my friend Ann and try to convert it to salt the best way I can. She is selling it for such a deal and when I considered the amount for new bricks and iron work, I just decided I needed to make this kiln work for me the best way I can. We have more important financial issues and spending money we don't have on a kiln, is not high on the list. Its all about my business making money, not losing or spending more money. As for coating the soft bricks, well that is still up in the air. I've spoken to a few people about it and next week I'll make more calls. I want to make sure I get all the information I can before making a decision on that part as well. I know it can be done, I've just got to find the best way to do it. See....lots of thinking and decision making can really tax the body so between summer fun, kiln thoughts, pottery making and everything else, this week has worn me out! I"ll be happy for the weekend and a fresh start next week!

As always, Joey has been right there helping out as much as he can. I even got him to watch a video on building a kiln this week and I think he's finally on board for getting this done with me. ( Really he just likes to makes comments about how all male potters like to wear funny hats and wear sandals). I came home tonight from the grocery store and like every night he was getting the girls to bed. Those two can really charm the pants off there Dad. Doesn't he looked thrilled dressed up for a tea-party? I swear those two little inmates run this insane asylum.


Beginning of the Another week

Tonight I worked on some simple, squared off but rounded jars. I haven't thrown any covered jars in ages and have had an hankerin' to make some. I use to own this really nice salt fired small lidded jar by a potter we use to carry at Cedar Creek. For the life of me I can not remember his name but I loved this pot. It was just a very nicely thrown round jar, about 6' high. It was porcelain with large sweeping brushes strokes of two different blues. The knob on the top had a little pattern stamped on top and the salting was very heavy. I had a room-mate in college who came home one night and knocked into it so it was toast. I never saw this person's work anywhere again. It could be they just changed there style but I started thinking about the pot the other day and got inspired.
We did take donuts over the my grandmother today and she was thrilled to us and the kids where thrilled with the donuts. I think its so important for little children to understand the importance of just visiting people even if its not the most exciting thing to do. Quaid was very sweet today because my grandmother asked him to clear the table for her and unlike the reaction I would get from him ( which would be a sigh or a whine) he hoped right up and helped her. I hope he'll have some good memories of having a great grandmother some day.


Rafting center

If your ever in Charlotte and looking for something fun to do outdoors, the new rafting center is the place to be. We took the kids on Saturday just to see what it was all about and it was cooler than we thoughts. It was so well visited by young and old and so much fun just being a viewer that I can only imagine what its like being on a raft going down the man-made river. Speaking of that, the grounds are very nicely done and the building that houses the rental station also has a very nice restaurant and equipment shop. It costs nothing of course just go and walk around. The kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks and around the grounds and Joey and I got a kick out of seeing the different groups going down the rapid. You had everything from ladies who had never done anything like this before to people who looked like pro's.
I kept going on my pots this weekend. Joey and I enjoyed watching a documentary on a band we like called "Wilco". ( I of course worked while he sat and kept me company in a lawn-chair enjoying his glass of wine and some pop corn...oh the simple things in life!) Today we both tackled my electric kiln replacing the elements and did some other odds and ends.
Tomorrow the kids are I are going to go visit my 97 yr. old grandmother who lives about a 1/2 away. She likes it when we bring her either donuts or a fish fillet from McDonald's. Just goes to show you, its all in the gene's.



Early last spring we had a little excited that started on our street and has yet to be over...but close. The house that had been sitting empty for months and in need of repair was bought and sold. Of course this was of real interest to us because we live so close to this other home and the people who use to live in it, we miss dearly. I may have said before that living in a small town, news travels fast and we finally found out that a young contractor bought the house and was going to totally redo it and live in it. ( This guy I think is only 26, which Joey and I find amazing because he has sunk a load of money into this house that is so beyond what we could do and we are 40.) Anyways, I have been dealing with construction guys blocking our driveway, garbage in our yard and my biggest pet peeve, LOTS OF NOISE now for months. I've kind of had it!

For the most part I've been able to shut out most of the noise. It started with a lot of ripping down of old stuff in the house, than moved to lots of loud Hispanic music. Of course most all of this is during the day when we are in the house so unless we are outside, I could basically ignore it. Well now that we are in the final stages of this house getting finished my nerves are shot with what I think is the final noise pollution I will have to deal with. An enormous bulldozer! For days, they are been clearing the heavily over ground backyard of this place so it has been nothing but diesel and dirt smell out of any of my doors. For the first few days the kids and I watched all the excitement of what was going on but today, while I was trying to work and concentrate on my pots, the birds singing and my music I really thought I was going to lose it. I crashed most of what I was trying to throw because the noise just got to me so much. All I could think about was how much I appreciated where I lived and quietness that surrounds our little town and street.

I came to a conclusion about a year of so ago when this book on Highly Sensitive People came out, that I was one of them. What basically it talks about is some people have very sensitive nervous systems and can't handle a lot of noise, activity or anything that over the top with one's senses. I am the kind of person who cringes when I motorcycle goes by or if there is to much to take in sensory wise, like amusement parks. I think I'm always the first to identify a strange smell or pick up on people's feeling real quickly.

I think the bulldozer is finished from what I can tell and all the sawing from inside the house , that was still going on at 12 last night, is hopefully coming to an end. I really didn't want to complain or act like all that has been going on has been sort of a pain for us because our new neighbor offered to pour my kiln slab for free, and I can't argue with that! Hopefully with just he and his new bride living in that huge house by themselves, they will be quiet neighbors. Or... now that I think of it, I'm sure the noise level of my kids in the backyard will be pay back for the bulldozer!


Robin Hopper

Thursday was my last class for the spring session and I choose to show a little video. I had ordered one but it didn't come in time so I borrowed one from my friend Adrienne. It was a three part surface technique video by Robin Hopper. I have heard stories about him in workshops and at NCECA we even ran into him at the vender's tables. ( Oddly enough he was with some student and they where both wearing these huge, flat sponges on there heads and trying to be amusing while doing it) Anyways, I had no idea what the mans pots looked like or really what he was known for besides writing a few books and being a glaze guru. Well the video was a hit with my students especially the ones who really like tradition pottery and simple forms. Robin is kind of the Martha Stewart of decoration. He had all sorts of easy ways to put a surface on the pot and I have to admit I'm going try some of them with my students since they are so far away from what I like to do. My next session I vowed just to work on skills. I have been secretly picking up and looking at some of my students work when it comes out the kiln and decided it would be a good idea to go way back to the basics and take it easy on all the fancy stuff they want to see. I even enjoy doing stuff like this because like I said before , it forces me to make pots I normally do not and from that usually I always get some good ideas to bring back home.So thanks to Robin I just may get out my faceting knife and see where it takes me!


I looked at what I had accomplished this week ( because its Friday I always have to assess what I've done and what I can get done in the weekend) and I have to say....I didn't make as much stuff as I thought I had. As I said this was my trial week to see what life will be like come fall and all my mornings free. I guess as of today I came to a conclusion that I'll have to slowly ease the rest of my family into a new schedule of how we do things around here because I'm going to have to change my routine. The main issue was my routine of doing all the housework in the morning along with errands and such. I had such a hard time putting on blinders and working in my studio as opposed to going to the grocery store, doing laundry and cleaning up after everyone. The house just explodes at night and I guess we will have to pick up before we go to bed so I can concentrate on work in the morning. I did get out there every morning, but it was only for an hour or so. I also worked every night this week but most nights I didn't get started until 9, which is way to late for me to really think and be productive.

Here an example of some of the boxes I was working on this week. I plan on leaving the finials ruff with no glaze, just a black stain on the porcelain. As I've said before I'm trying to find a way of leaving a bit of the clay body coming through so my pots won't be such a shock when they come out of the salt kiln. I never could get that orange slip to do what I wanted it to do in the electric kiln and I really haven't had time to make up a bunch of Terra Sig to try that. Maybe at some point...who knows.

I'm planning on working in the studio tomorrow for the morning and on Sunday. We have a little outing planned for the kids so I'll be reporting back on that.


This week thus far

So here is a photo of my pug mill. Ok, so its not the most thrilling thing to view, but I still think its pretty neat. You can tell that I really do work with hardly any kind of cool gadgets because I am so thankful and thrilled to have this. For 7 years now I've been taking my scrap clay, putting it on bats, than after it dries for a few days I've been transferring it to a towel, which sits on an open rack, wait a few more days and then ball it up and wedge for minutes on end. This of course is horrible on my hands and I'm starting to feel it with a bit a tingling in my wrists.

As far as pots go this week I've been working steadily making mugs, bowls, pitcher's and boxes. ( Boxes take a lot of time....). I have enjoyed working in the morning while the kids have been at camp but I have to admit I need to learn to turn the phone off so I don't feel I need to get every call that comes in while I'm working. ( I also need to put on blinders when I come through the house and head straight out to my studio.) All things I'll work out and get in the swing of things once fall starts.

The kids are enjoying there summer with camps and playing a lot. Here's Aydan in one of her many costumes. This one I love because she feels like a great big cat and being a cat person I find it very cute.

New Blog

My husband has been working on a new blog for the group of potters that I'm in , Circle Of Eight. Its not totally done but so far looks pretty good. In a few days I'll post the site so you can go check it out. We are hoping to put information on upcoming shows that we all are involved with as well as comments and posts from all of us talking about what is going in the world of pottery here around the Charlotte area or I guess just our studio's.

I also wanted to mention another pottery friend of mine named Vicki Gill or Blue Gill Pottery who had started a blog and has a nice website. Vicki has the coolest stamp collection and makes really nice trays with all sorts of texture on them. She has a great studio right outside of Gastonia and teaches workshops there. If your in or around this area, you should go by and visit!


Monday morning update

( sorry I've been away, we had trouble logging' on this weekend!)

We had a good weekend. I pretty much played with my pugger whenever I got a chance to sneak out to my shed. I really should of thrown more but figuring out equipment is also important right? ( Well, I just really enjoyed playing with my play-dough machine to tell you the truth). I got handles on mugs this weekend and started some more boxes. I promised the man who takes my slides that I would make him a certain box so I wanted to get that done for him. The kids started camp today at Gaston Day. Poor Quaid was signed up for Science camp, his favorite thing in the whole wide world and I got the dates mixed up so he had to hang out in a camp with his sisters ( and other kids his age) that was a zoo camp. He was not to happy with me this morning and I felt just horrible about it. I thought this afternoon I would make it up to him by doing a project with all of them that I've been wanting to do in the back yard. I'm going to take all my broken pots and make some stepping stones from one side of my shed to the other. Sort of a yellow brick road to my kiln! I'll keep you posted.
Fathers day was low key but I hope good for Joey. I tried to let him do what he wanted to Sunday. He's pretty easy going so it didn't require a whole lot to make him content. Just watch his morning news shows, have a good dinner and not have to deal with the kids at bed time.
On Saturday The Circle of Eight folks came here for a meeting. I think we got a lot accomplished with forging a head on getting some shows set up and giving everyone a task for the next time we meet. We are a good group of folks when we get together and I hope we can continue our relationships through out the years when we are old and crabby craft people. I love to see all those folks at NCECA who have known each other for years and years still get together and tell stories.
I'll try to get some photo's up today of my pug mill and mugs! Lord knows I love a good mug!

Added note* Joey signed me up on this free site called MY ART PROFILE.Com. It is mostly for artists in the U.K., but it is kind of neat to see all sorts of things on the site. You can go look at it. I think I'm listed under RATPACK and you can read the comments people have left.


Friday update

The kids and I had a good day today. I was able to pack up and get rid of stuff around the house for a church yard sale. I managed also to drop off all of it with the kids, look around and come home with nothing. That is a feat with three kids in toe. We picked out books at the Library, ran and errands and got a slushy at Sonic ( which was the trill of the day) so all was well on that front.
On the kiln front, I got another estimate on my Propane tank and decided I get it set up next week. It seems like such a big commitment to have them deliver it. Not that I'm going to re-nig on my grant for the kiln but something in me goes "gee, this is really going to happen!" I also got on the phone trying to get a hold of some folks who have soft brick soda kilns just to talk to them about what to coat the inside with and general questions. I can't seem to get any calls backs which is a little disheartening but maybe they are just out of town ( I have to think positively and not go the route of wondering if they are thinking" who is the chic calling me?")Last but not least the contractor who is redoing the house next door to us told me today that when he pours his concrete for his garage, he'll pour a slab for my kiln free of charge. Come to find out his soon to be wife has made pots in the past and is thrilled to have me next door. So, that was a nice twist of fate!
I managed to pug out some clay this evening. I put some harder clay in the hopper and my little blue bird spit out some really nice lugs that I used for handles this evening. I can see why people do make there own clay because it does feel so nice as compared to the stuff that comes out of a bag.
Tomorrow I am hosting The Circle of Eight meeting so it will be nice to see all my Charlotte pottery buddies for the afternoon. Maybe I'll post some photo's of us deep in pottery talk.
Ps. An update on George and or his friend. I think one of them met its doom a few days ago because I discoverd a smooshed black snake down the street a ways. Maybe its safe now to go into my shed!


Pug Mill

I had a busy Thursday with teaching, dropping off kids and picking them up, doctors appointments, grocery store and the usual world wind sweep around my tornado of a house. This evening I decide to take on my Pug Mill. I now in all the boxes my friend Ann gave me that she sent instructions also but I kind of had a fear of going into my other shed at night this evening. It was about 8 o'clock when I decide to start my pug mill adventure but since the other shed has no lights in it all my mind could think about was my snake friend George lurking in there someplace with his friends. So needless to say I just shut the door and decide to wing it. It was exciting seeing the clay come out the other end of my huge play dough machine but I think my clay was to wet for it to work really well so it took a long time. Tomorrow I'm going to try something different and I guess it would be a good idea to find the instructions also. Hopefully in the day light I can scan the shed a bit more closely for anything that is black and curled up in a corner.



Today my mind was racing with all sorts of pottery thoughts - I could not quiet the voices! Most of this was because I woke up this morning telling myself I needed to finish the business stuff I had started last night which meant phone calls, emails and important decisions about my kiln. I feel like I got a lot of stuff accomplished but the as always the drawings or images in my mind of my pots was there with me all day. I couldn't wait to get outside, unpack boxes, clean and just throw easy things to get back into the grove. I decided today that since I'll be in limbo with my kiln for a few more weeks that I just needed to start stock piling pots away for this fall. With the CDC show on top of all the other ones I normal do in the fall this is going to be the year I plan on not taking my summer vacation time lightly and I'm going to work as much as I can. I'm going to stick to the items I've been working on and my tried and true so I don't get stuck messing around with new things . ( I say this a lot don't I? ). I haven't forgotten about my promise to put some quotes on here from that great interview with Nick Joerling. I've currently misplaced the magazine in my house mess but I did remember something he said that has really stuck in my brain. He talked about always having idea's and how he use to introduce a new form before every show he did and finally found that this wasn't such a good idea. He came to this conclusion because he said after a show he would go back and re-work the design and finally told himself that he needed to get all the kinks worked out totally until he knew he could not change the piece anymore to make it better. I thought this was a very wise piece of advise and I took it to heart since I too always have a thousand ideas that I'm trying out before a show. Its a good thing I really haven't done to much with my galleries this year because my price list and all that I make would just overwhelm the people ordering from me. I plan on getting back on the gallery bandwagon of actively looking for new galleries next winter when hopefully my kiln will be done and that project will be behind me.
Today was a low-key day with the kids. Quaid is already complaining of boredom and he's only been out of school for two weeks. We did run some errands and I took them to this little nature center with hopes of hiking some trails, but the rain came and we all had to head home. Once again a afternoon in front of the boob-tube. Tomorrow they will spend the day with a friend of mine while I teach and next week its camp. What a thrill for all involved!


I'm Back!

Had a great time in Raleigh and now I'm back at point zero to start a new. The show was good even though the weather was really hot and muggy. I can't remember the last time I drank so much water! As always I had tons of fun with my Raleigh craft friends that I haven't seen in awhile. We spend so much time laughing at and with each other that it just adds so much more to doing a show. The thing I love so much about the group of people that do this show with is that I'm one of babies and everyone else is so much more seasoned than I am. They certainly do bring me down to reality when I sit and talk to them. I have lots of fun with my younger craft friends also when we sit and talk business,the only difference is that since this crew has been doing it for so much longer its nice to know that they still talk about all the struggles and pit falls of the business and it brings me back down to reality that it may not getting any easier the longer I do this. Once again I think there is a certain type of person that likes to constantly have a challenge and struggle in there career because being a craft person certainly does pose many obstacles that need to be addressed constantly. All my pals from Cedar Creek ( a gallery I worked at about 15 years ago) all taught me so much even before I was in this business. I still rely on there knowledge and sometimes cynical thoughts about the business. Here are some photo's of my good pay Brad Tucker, who makes the nicest pots I know, Betty McKim my jeweler friend and her husband George the painter. I also threw in a photo of my new tiles which where a hit! I can not wait to do more of these and do them a bit better than the first batch.

Tonight I'm catching up on all my paper work for the business and tomorrow I'll start the big clean up in my studio.

The girls turned 4 yesterday so we've been celebrating there little lives the last two days. Life is good!


Last Group in Kiln

I'm ahead of where I usually am at this stage before a show. Most shows I would be glazing that last load on Thursday morning and then unloading everything on Friday before I left. My kiln yesterday fired very slowly. I know an element is out so I decided to go ahead and bisque what I could last night and glaze today just in case the kiln took forever to get to temperature. I guess next week I will be ordering elements and doing some kiln repair ( have I said how much I hate doing kiln repair?) I got some nice bowls out of yesterdays kiln and a nice platter. I'm not so sure about my pillow tiles I made. I took some photo's of them but.....I still wasn't sure I wanted to post them. I had some friends over this morning for coffee and chit-chat. One has an art back ground and the two others I trust there judgement. Well, they all seemed to like them a lot. My worst critic that I live with did not so we'll see what the rest of the general public thinks this weekend. Maybe against a black board they will look 10 times better then in my dusty studio. I don't know if I'll get back on my blog before I leave. Tomorrow I have a ton of things to do and I'm going out with some friends to a movie as kind of late birthday deal so........I'll check in when I get back!



I've been working all week while the kids have been in camp in the morning and then at night at my usually routine before this show. The only difference this year is the snake population. Everyday so far this black snake, which I have named George and sometimes a friend of his takes a little stroll across our yard in the same place twice a day. I'm pretty much like most people, I really hate snakes but I have to say since I keep finding this snake crossing my path on the way to my shed everyday I'm starting to get use to them. He certainly does not mind the kids and I getting close to him to look at him and now I'm very curious as to why twice a day he takes a walk from one side of our yard to the other. And also if his mate likes to go on walks with him. I never seen two snakes fallowing the same path one right behind each other before. I think they are out because we have had no rain and I guess they are looking for some. Also the house beside us is clearing out the lot so I knew we would have visitors from there. Lets hope only the black snakes are around and nothing else! I told Joey last night that I think the cats have spotted George on his little walks because last night while I was glazing, Paws and Clayton where perched right by the fence where he likes to step out of. If I was a cartoon artist I could come up with some good drawings and talk bubbles on that scene last night.


The Map

A few months ago my friend Ron introduced me to the coolest thing for my blog site that I'm addicted to. Its this map that pops up at the bottom of my blog and tells me where all my viewers are coming from. He use to get so excited about hits from various countries and now that my tec guy hooked me up to one as well, I check it a lot to see who's been on my blog. Most of the time when I get a hit from England or Asia I assume they have gone to Ron's blog and then since he has my blog posted on his site they check mine out. Recently we just added another feature to the map where you can break down how long someone is on the site, what city they are viewing from and how many new viewers and returning people there are. I kind of have to laugh to myself because I have something like 86% of "bouncing" to my site, which means people are finding it through some catch word and then quickly going off it. It has also said that in the last week or so people are only viewing my site for less than a minutes. So....I may not be the most interesting read out there but I always enjoying posting what's going on here in York and if I get a few customers come up to me at the show and say they like reading my blog, it makes me happy.


End of School

It has been a busy mom week. Quaid finished kindergarten and I was at school watching him do stuff about every day. There was field day, end of the year parties and his final day of "graduation" and getting his certificate of completion. I thought he was so happy to not have to do any more school work and then this morning I woke up to him beside me in bed doing a workbook his teacher sent home just to review stuff mid-summer for 1st grade. ( I know I never did stuff like this!) He was very excited to be able to stay up late last night and catch firefly's. On Friday after his graduation myself and another friend of mine took all the kids to a park with this little creek so they could catch crayfish and then let them go. Simple fun, but the kids all loved it.

So on that note, things have been a bit slow on the work front. Here are some of the tiles I finished for bisque. I can see I am really going to like playing with these. I like the thought of building up the surface and doing some very ruff children's drawings on them. I like the way the pillow shape has a lot of volume to it and I hope it works for hanging on the wall. I left a lot of the black stain on it because I plan on just putting glaze in minimal spaces. I'd like to try also using multiple layers of stains and whipping it back to see what kind of end result I get.

Today was a hugely successful work day. Once again I got the whole day to myself and spent it making glazes, cleaning my glaze shed, decorating and throwing. Tomorrow I plan on doing my first glaze firing and continue to make things for next weekends show. I have every morning free next week while the kids are at camp, so I figure I can really get a lot of things made and dried fast for another bisque on Wednesday.

I'm looking forward to this summer with the kids. I can't wait for them to have fun at camp and take them on different day trips to keep the summer fun for them.