Good Week

Its been a good full first week of school for all of us. I can't believe how less stressed and more organized I seem to be now that I have my mornings free. It has been really good for me and I think the kids are adjusting well to school for the most part as well. ( Of course the one I was most worried about is doing the best, but I won't go into to kids stuff in this entry).

I did get most of my floor laid for the kiln this week. I sort of stopped because I ran into a rather large mouse issue in one of the boxes of soft bricks and went screaming out of my shed. ( I hate mice). But this weekend I'm sure Joey will come to my rescue, escort the mice away and we can keep building. Check back for lots of photo's of that I hope.

My week*

So, every morning I get home at about 8:30, go for a quick walk, do the dishes and make beds really quick and than I've been getting down to business in my studio about 9:30. I work until 12 and then I'm off again to pick up the girls. We have managed to stay on track with the evening events IE. to much homework for a 1st grader, reading books, making lunches, picking up rooms and taking baths by 8 o'clock and then I'm back in the studio until about 10 or 11. So far so good!

Here is photo of a finished flower block. I sort of fooled with the color so you could see the details a bit better than just white on white. I'm moving right along!



I had every intention to throw this morning but after looking at the short supply of clay I have left in boxes, I thought I better spend the time pugging some clay. I enjoy throwing the pugged clay so much more anyways and the last shipment of boxed clay I got was kind of hard anyways and I didn't feel like manhandling it this morning for some reason.

Friday night I made a little boy very happy when 8 pm came around and his sisters where busy hearing books from there dad. I told Quaid to quietly put on his shoes and meet me in my kiln shed. He had been asking me for weeks if he could help me pug clay and after putting him off a few times I felt like I needed to keep my promise and let him help. He was just beaming on his little stool over looking my pug mill! I made him promise that he would never ever touch the pug mill with out me and if he did he would not be able to help me for a long time. He agreed and off we were putting clay in the hopper and he was busy pulling down the lever. Most of the commentary back and forth between the two of us was like sailors on a boat because I'd ask him " How's she doing"? And he'd answer "She's working but she needs more fuel". Little boys have great imaginations.

Tomorrow my bricks are arriving so I'll be pretty busy. This evening I got these tumblers sprigged and started on some flower blocks. Last time I stayed up way to late checking out pots on different websites. Sometimes I just need to tell myself to not even look because I see so many cool pots out there that it makes me question what I'm doing. Sometimes you just have to be in the right frame of mind to be accepting of those feelings. Tonight I'm off to bed.

Cut Feet

My inventory is in great need of large bowls after this weekend. I have been making a type of wavy edge large salad bowls for many years that does very well for me. About a year ago I decided I needed another type of style of bowl so I was making what I call a rolled rim bowl for awhile. I enjoy this bowl in a smaller version and demonstrate its bigger version to my classes a lot but for some reason I just can't seem to fall in love with it among my inventory. So back to the thoughts of the soda kiln and work for that I decided to make some straight forward square off bowls with good rims and cut feet. I love to cut feet and had stopped doing it on my electric work for awhile. I guess the organic forms I was making really didn't call for this type of foot for I stopped. If you look closely at the bowls I've stamped the rim and incised some minimal imagery in the middle.


Sunday update

As of 2:30, I'm flying solo for a few days. Joey's off to Raleigh for a conference. I have a lot planned for the next few days. My bricks did get ordered and should be here the first part of the week. ( My Dad is being a trooper and taking his truck to go pick them up.) I settled on some hard bricks with 46% alumina in them and then I got more K26's bricks for the door. I was able to locate the K28's , which Gay Smith said was the new thing to get for salt kilns( or so she heard) but they where very expensive and I figured since it was just for the door, I needed to be frugal. Now to price the ITC in a few weeks! On Tuesday I plan on paying for the girls to stay for an after school program and that way I can devote the whole day to laying bricks and making pots. I need to put down the first two rows of bricks, one hard than a soft and than when the alumina bricks come in, I will be all ready to start building the actual kiln. I'm anxious to see REALLY how my week will go with everyone being gone and hopefully no interruptions this week. At least I can be assured that I won't be sick this week! I was able to get large bowls thrown this weekend, tumbler and platters. Here are some of the mugs that need to get shipped out to Cedar Creek this week. I liked the way they came out. I was thinking of putting a low fire color accent on them ( maybe a cone 04 glaze) just on some little details in the sketch part, but I think I decided to just leave them be. Here is a good example of working my pots towards having more raw clay showing with the soda kiln. Anyways, I hope the mugs are a hit!

The heat and no water has really turned our back yard into a dessert, which makes me very sad every time I go back there. I have watered a little bit but figure why even try to keep that up since we are low on water, I should conserve it anyways. Most towns around us are on water restrictions. My poor plants are just a sad droopy mess. I think I decided that I better start planting earlier next year so I have more time to enjoy my flowers. I feel for all the people who just have fans in there homes around here. I can not even get my kids to go outside lately unless we are going to the pool. I wonder what the south did years ago before air conditioning? Thank goodness September is right around the corner.


Down for the count

I just got my mug kiln loaded way behind schedule. I haven't even thrown anything and its Thursday. Tomorrow morning I will get back to making. We have had some week here. The virus that Joey had spread from Quaid to myself. I am now just feeling a bit better. It was truly awful. So now that I think about it with kids being sick and myself as well, I really only got one morning in my studio to work. It was very productive morning- so I'm sure next week will be great. Joey and I have been really good at working together to get homework done, kids feed, bathed and to bed by 8 so I've been able to sneak out for 2 more hours at night and try to get myself in bed by 10 and not 12 every night. My body hasn't totally adjusted to this yet but I know it will. I have this weekend and a week really to make stuff for our Circle of Eight show. Not a whole lot of time and I'm still nervous about that. I was suppose to teach a class this fall at Gaston College to help bring in some much needed added income for us to send the girls to school. The class did not make unfortunately so I'm stressing about all my shows and being able to make it this year with them in private school. Wish me luck! They have had a good week and we are so lucky that they can go to such a good school I would hate to have to pull them out. But, like everything else I think that some how it will all work out for the best and I just need to take it one day at a time and think upbeat about earning money for them.
Time to go give the kiln a turn up~


Back to Work

Last night I sat in the living room and watched a great movie called Perfume did some altering to some of the girls cloths they will need for school. So, no work yesterday. Sunday was a catch up on the house day and plus Joey got sick from something so he was down for the count all day....just me and kids knocking around the house.
Today I got back to the norm. The kids had orientation at school and tomorrow is the big day back. This evening I got back in the studio and made a huge amount of much needed glazes and cleaned up my mess. I'm going to be firing another kiln tomorrow night with all the mugs I made for Cedar Creek plus the stuff that did not get in the last kiln load. I did have yet another funny thing happen with my kiln on Friday. I hate to speculate but I think I burned out an element on the bottom row of the kiln. Even though the kiln fired off in a short amount of time the bottom row of pots where all very under fired. So....tomorrow I'll have to investigate the issue. This evening just seemed to hot in my kiln shed to turn the kiln on and wait for it to heat up while I made glazes. I'm so ready for fall!
I can't wait to get back to making stuff on Wednesday, my first real day of having free morning studio time!


Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock was great. One of my best shows, I sold a lot of stuff. Or as Joey kept saying with a grin " I really moved my product". ( Just a joke between the two of us). Anyways, now I really need to get back to major pottery making. It makes me pretty nervous knowing I have a show again in three weeks and one of those weekends when I would be working, we will be at the beach on a much needed family vacation. At least school does start this week so I will have that extra time. I may have to put my new schedule of not working at night on hold just to get things made for this show. Is it really wishful thinking on my part to think I won't be trying to make stuff in the morning and at night???? I may be fooling myself but I know I need a balance for me and the family so we'll see how it goes.
We had a good day together and it wasn't that bad getting up so early I guess. Joey ended up running into an old room mate from his ECU days so that was nice for him. I remembered a lot of faces whom had bought my stuff at other Blowing Rock shows and those people really appreciated my good memory. The best part of the day was that Joey and I where a machine when it came to braking down my set-up. This time we got it down in a record 40 minutes and we were out the gate for home. My poor parents really had a time with the twins this go around. On our arrival home Quaid came running out the door screaming that Aydan was stuck in the legs of the coffee table and my parents could not get her out. Sure enough I walked in the door and there she was screaming with her leg caught and my poor parents trying to get her out with both there hair standing on end. We did get her out and she was fine. I'm sure I'm not going to be hearing from my mom and dad for a few days while they recover. Such are the stories of life that you can tell when kids get older. Here are a few photo's of my booth and my tiles.


Packing up

I'm sitting here still waiting for my kiln to cool off. I really need to get in bed soon because we are getting up so early and I'm really not very alert before the hour of 7, which is when we will be in Blowing Rock setting up. AHHHH.
I got everything in the kiln last night about 11:00. Joey got home early yesterday so that helped me a lot get out to my shed and start glazing at 6 or so. I took my time and tried to get everything in the kiln but was unsuccessful. I only got two of my big jars in , which was a bummer and the biggest one has a crack in the lid I could see when I peaked in the top of the kiln. Bummer! So, I'm thinking for the most part I'm going to this show with a lot of smaller items, which could be good as well as super big ones. Lots of things in the $30/40 range. Good things those items can add up quick on the sales sheet!
The kids where dropped off at my folks and promised many exciting adventures of there own tomorrow.( My parents are the best!) Joey and I got to eat out at a Italian restaurant in Gastonia. Not fancy but the food was fresh and good. Its nice to sit across from your spouse and just enjoy and relaxing meal with no one else to take care of. I'm looking forward to our day together even though it is work and Joey most likely would rather be doing something else then sitting in the sun selling pots. I have to say he does enjoy the people watching and making random observation about all the craftspeople and who's booth looks good and how to improve mine.
I'll try to take lots of photo's of our day!


Thursday - down to the wire

Once again I am down to the wire with my glaze kiln. Tonight I will be most likely glazing until 12pm and then hope for the best when I open the kiln tomorrow night. We will be leaving at 5am on Saturday because this go around we just didn't think we should spend the money on a motel room. (It only takes 1 1/2 to get to Blowing from here so....) I'm sure I'll be beat but you do what you have to do. Hopefully Friday afternoon we can get most all of the car packed up and possibly enjoy a dinner out and a movie after we drop the kids off at my folks.
I realise that once I start doing soda again in the big kiln I can not work this way. I guess that is the one draw back to not doing electric anymore. I was thinking how I need to end my cycle of working a week before I usually do so I have some days of breathing room before a show. I remember that fooling with gas kilns and having pilots go out on you can really play havoc with getting pots out on time. Of course with electric firing, not much really goes wrong with equipment. I did have something weird happen the other night when I was doing a bisque. I noticed that the breaker out near my kiln flips off. I'm not sure what that was all about but the bisque I did last night turned off just fine so I'm just hoping this is not an omen to something going a rye this evening with my glaze kiln. If all fails I do have pots for the show I can spread out on my shelves but lord knows I don't want to to that!!!!!
Wish me some good vibes.....


Up coming shows

I will be at Arts in Park this weekend in Blowing Rock NC. Joey and I like going up to this show because the crowds are really good and it is such a pretty town.

Our Circle of Eight group is also having our fall sale in a few weeks. It will be at Amy Sanders house once again from 10-4 on Saturday the 15th. Mark Peters is our quest potter. Mark does altered wood fired functional work. I've known Mark since I worked at Cedar Creek. We both arrived there on the same week and that was back in 1991. At that time I had no idea what being a potter was. Mark was there to be a new resident potter and I was the new gallery manager. I'm looking forward to having Mark show with us.


Playing with Quaid

My son is 6 and will be entering 1st grade. Quaid is a very smart little boy( I know all mothers say that, but as far as verbal language goes, he can give anyone a run for there money). This talent he has for the gift of gab is also a curse for all involved. From the time he was talking, Quaid was debating and arguing anything he was told to do. Many days of toddler hood I was at my wits end with him. Even the two girls now together when they gang up on me have never been like how it was dealing with him at there age. So, he still wants to always win a verbal argument with anyone who challenges him. He needs to get the last word in and he debates everything.
I'm telling this bit of history about him because today, once again he took on the powers that be and lost his privilege to go the pool with is father and his two sisters ( while I worked in my studio). At first he was of course very upset but after about 10 minutes of crying he realised that he had me and my studio all to himself and everything turned around to his favor. So, I made the best of the situation and let him "help" me today. I was making candle sticks, which I make in three parts, and every time I went to center a new piece of clay I let him get on my wheel and try to center. I've never let him do this before and it was pretty amazing to me to see how much strength he really had. I also throw standing up so there was my little boy just hovering over my wheel head trying to man handle about 3 pounds of clay. In the process of the whole experience I got a chance to talk to him more about how he should and should not talk to his father and myself. I can only hope as a parent that the more I drum something in his little head, hopefully it will stick at some point. It all turned out ok in the end. Tomarrow night the candle sticks will be joined together....hopefully with just me doing it!
( I'm not even going to edit that last entry)!

Its Sunday....already????

Boy, I've been a little out of the loop with keeping up with my blog. I did have a great week with the kids in camp and my trial run of working in the morning ( but I did sneak out to my studio most nights as well). We still didn't totally get the routine of cleaning up in the night so I wasn't bombarded with tons of chores in the house once I got back from taking the kids. I did manage to get everyone to make there beds in the morning before we left so hopefully small steps will turn into big ones to make my life a bit more easy during the day.
Joey put the tar paper up on my shed yesterday so now we need the roofers to come back and put shingles up there. Once that is done we will start building the kids. I'm going to go ahead and order my bricks on Monday. After several back and forth calls with a rep from a brick company, I decided on a hard alumina brick called a 23's. I guess they come in different ranges of resistance so the salt won't penetrate the surface. The one's I really wanted where a brand name called "clippers" but they where about $4.95 a brick, the ones I'm getting are only $2.30 a brick so cost wise..I need to get the 23's.
As for making pots, in my eyes I didn't get as much stuff made as I would of liked for my show next weekend. When Thursday came around I kind of got side tracked with getting the kids cloths together for a big consignment sale I always do. Last night we had some friends or ours over and today I'm running on slow mode. I blame everything on the heat. Friday the temp. was 104. Today it is cooler but I feel worn out. I'm getting ready to go back out to the studio and make some more things. We'll see how long I can last.


New Images

Here are some bigger jars I've been working on. I got into some old books of mine the other day and took a fat magic marker to some plain paper and just starting drawing some new imagery that I saw and appealed to me. I do have a sketch book but its so small and old I just wanted to get sheets upon sheets of paper and hang them all over my studio so when I was grasping for some new things to put on my surfaces I could just look around my studio. I'm excited to see how these will come out. I'm mixing some sprigs, inlay stain and maybe some resist on these. I plan on leaving some of the images white or use my orange stain in places. Like I've said before, I'm just trying to slowly ease over to the salt surface.
On the kiln front, I spoke with my friend Mark Peters the other about the brick I'm looking for. I think there is a place in Charlotte I may be able to get them from- I'll have to check that out tomorrow. I've had some nice morning just working in the studio and odd jobs around the house while the kids have enjoyed a week of camp. I think when school starts we can all get into a good new routine. I'm looking forward to spending more evenings inside than out on the porch.



I got my test bricks back from Ron the other day. He really gave them a beating in his kiln ( IE. the fire box) . The recipe that I got from Gail Nicholas book did Ok, the other one did not...too flaky. Ron had two also on the bag wall and up in the stack so I suppose more test with the malachite recipe could be done. I think I said before that the bricks I have for this kiln are K-23's and K-26's. The difference, for anyone who does not know is that the higher the number, the harder the brick - naturally the k-26 looked better.
Today I finally got on the phone with Gay Smith who has a soft brick soda kiln and she was wonderful to talk to. I was kind of feeling a bit like I would only have this kiln for a very short time since it is soft brick but she was very encouraging that this was not always the case. She had her last soft brick kiln for 12 years. Granted Gay does not bombard her kiln with soda. She does not throw it in so it does not settles in the fire box/bag wall and she doesn't put a whole lot of soda on her pieces because she uses a lot of glazes. This was so true to what I did as well in grad school and also I might add that I got a lot of flack from the male grad students in my program . They seemed to think that if you put a pot in a salt/soda kiln you needed to always have the orange peel on it. I used this wonderful Strontium base glaze that got these really cool crystals on it and gray patches. The salt, which I did more had one effect and the soda , that I only did a few times had another effect. It was nice to hear someone else who enjoyed the effects salt/soda can have on a glaze and not just the clay body.( Although I do love orange peel on pots)~ At any rate, Gay and I talked about getting a new kind of brick called a K-28 and she did say that her kiln was coated with ITC and she did not have trouble with it as so many other people have. So.. it was very encouraging. I'm going to make more phone calls here and there this week and hopefully order some bricks this week. Hopefully I'll come to some conclusion also about the coating of the bricks also.
This evening I started the throw all the mugs for the special anniversary "project/order" I got for the Cedar Creek 40th anniversary and I'm excited to see what I came up with for that.
This week the kids are going to camp from 9 to 2:30 so once again, I kind of have a trial run of how life will be once school starts the end of this month. ( Of course if one of the girls does not like camp, this trial run could end quickly as it did in the beginning of the summer when I tried the same thing. Luckily when school start, that will be something that they will have to stick out. I'm now at the point of motherhood where I know I can not save them from all there fears.) Oh life.

( Disclaimer)

Ok I had to say that the last post had tons of errors in it because i wrote it while kids where running around talking to me, Joey was fixing dinner and talking to me and I was just trying to update my blog in all the madness of my house. Hopefully I caught all the errors.


Much excitement yesterday. First Joey and I laid out the base of my kiln with cinder blocks. We than moved it over to the side so the chimney would not go up through the peak of the roof. Than a bunch of builders showed up at the house around 2 o'clock yesterday and along with Joey knocked out this shed by 7 o'clock. It was quite an event. Lots of beer, back and forth banter and wood flying. I really tried to just stay inside and stay out of the way. I didn't dare look a gift horse in the mouth. I do plan on putting sides on it at some point to give me a bit of privacy.Our backyard is so opened up to all the other houses back yards that I really don't think they would enjoy seeing a bunch of bricks, pots and gloves laying around. Plus any type of flames blaring out of a port hole I think would make any neighbor nervous. Things I need to think about since we live in a close knit neighborhood. So...now its onto the bricks.


Friday night

I'm getting ready to head out and work. When I think back on my week I can't really say it felt like it was an easy going summer week. I can't even remember what went on from Monday through wed. but I know it was a busy week with the kids. Today I drove half way between Charlotte and Raleigh so my son could spend the weekend with my sister's family.

The water stress in my back yard hung around more this week as well. It seemed to bother me more and more as the week went on and I'd find streams of water flow running through the yard on days when my neighbor was just watering his lawn. I'm really driving my husband nuts with all this neighbor stuff but my fiery Italian personality can just not leave it alone. I'm very territorial I guess and feel like someone is invading my little country. On a positive note, I've been trying to tell myself we will get it all taken care of and it will be fine. Plus...here in this photo is the wood for the roof of my kiln shed that Joey and my neighbor are putting up tomorrow. So you say....." Gee, what in the world is she complaining about"...well......beats me with a stick.

Proof I've been working

I just snapped some quick items in my studio. (some are works in progress )I've thrown about 5 of these bigger covered jars because I liked the way my little one's came out...for the most part. I plan on making the imagery on these a bit bigger. I've still been thinking hard about my "connection" to working. I pulled out some historic table ware books these other night - lots of Art Nouvou( I know, its spelled wrong...) and Art Deco stuff and got a lot of inspiration from them. I really need to investigate looking at more items from that era. I was starting to focus on that when I was finishing up my master degree but didn't dive all the way into it with both feet. I do have a connection to both those types of styles because they have a lot of female quality to them and I think I really relate to that and what I tend to make always heads in that direction. As always, we'll see.