Heading Out In the Morning

McKenna and I are almost all packed for our weekend show/trip to Raleigh. The kiln is cooling, Joey has my displayed strapped to the roof of the truck and I'm looking forward to spending time with some wonderful old friends and family members. I spent the week grading exams, answering many, many emails from concerned students and also playing nurse to a very sick little girl. My pots I have to admit played second fiddle to all of this. The steady income that has been coming in from my art history classes has been a nice contribution to our household in this economy. The one unfortunate thing about this is by taking on this responsibility, I have had to give up another.

Last week I gave my notice at Clayworks which is a studio that I teach two classes for once a week. I have been teaching there for about 8 years and have loved the students I have met and taught. My decision to stop teaching has been a hard one but one that was needed to focus on other responsibilities and loves in my life. Our home in York SC is an hour away from the studio and each year the drive back from Charlotte has concerned me more and more. Since I get up at about 6:30 every morning and don't usually get to bed until 12am every night, driving home at 10 has become a issue for me.

My other reason was my children. I really do enjoy being a mom and the best thing I always think that I can do for them is to just be here. I enjoy taking them and bringing them home from school and helping them learn how to organize there little lives from day to day. This week I had to put my five year old child, who had a temp. of 104 in the car and drive her 1/2 hour to my parents so I could teach. I thought about this through out the course of my classes and just wanted to be home. Both these situations have made me stop to think about my priorities and the fact that I need to slow down a bit. My family always comes first, doing what I love comes second and filling in our financial gaps the best way I can comes third. Time is so precious to me because I seem to have so little and would like more.

I hope I can continue my relationship with the folks at Clayworks. I hope all the great students I have had will continue to challenge their instructors, ask for new things to be taught, give lots of feedback and ideas and strive to make it the best it can be when it comes to educating people about ceramics.

I'll miss you guys come next fall. I guess your just going to have to come out to little Old York for a visit!


Tuesday April 28th

I had a few minutes today to check in on all your bloggers out there in cyper space. Seems lately that I've been reading what everyone else has been up to more than posting what I'm doing.

This week my art history classes are working on there on line exams so I'm sort of anxious to see how my students are doing.

This weekend I worked on and off on tiles, plates, and bowls plus lots of family stuff. I'll be in Raleigh this weekend as I wrote about in my last post. Mckenna will be coming with me on this trip to keep me company, spend some one on one time with mommy and visit with some of her cousins.

In the studio, I've been thinking hard about trying to incorporate all the things I want to say and do with my pots. I still have not been able to make tests but I am thinking more about where I put my springs and how this will work with my drawings ( and glazes). I thought I'd start by making some different plates. If you can see on the first photo I didn't care for the placement of the spigs on the side of this plate so I started ripping them off.I couldn't figure out how to break up the space with lines and glaze. In the last photo you'll see that I turned the springs to the side and I think this will work better. Today I'm going to trim some feet before heading off to Charlotte to teach.

We are on round two of being sick in the house. Aydan has been ill with a fever, cough and dizziness. ( Her doctor says its another virus)Thank goodness we have not been to Mexico or really anywhere else for that matter. I'm wondering how this whole flu thing will play out. Cross your fingers I'll get through the week without germ free myself.


Carolina Designer Craftmen Studio Tour

Next weekend I will be joining a lot of talented folks for the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Five points Studio Tour. Here are just a sample of some of the craftsmen I will be showing with. Please go here http://www.carolinadesignercraftsmen.com/the_guild.php
for more information.

Today I am working. Inventory is low and I need some good pots! I'll be mixing up some colored clay and throwing some soup bowls and covered jars with feet. Yesterday was spent on small bottles. ( I'm in a small garden show at our church this weekend....wow!!) Off to work...


Bali potters...and Cleaning

Yesterday was such a beautiful day and I just loved being here and getting all sorts of things done in the house and my studio.
I spent my morning mopping and cleaning out my glaze shed. I even cleaned out the shop-vac.He Ha..what a dusty mess. I than moved onto clay. Today I will begin to throw again.

Those broken pots on the floor got tossed. That felt great and my next project is to take all my bags of raw materials and put them in some cheap plastic containers. Those bags take up so much space and Joey and I have talked about putting up some more shelves in here and in my studio. ( As he reads this, which he does he is saying to himself that he has asked me for week to get that ready for him and I haven't....so I better get on that with taking stuff off the walls or I may loose my free-labor!)
I was catching up with friends last night on Facebook and found that someone over in Italy invited me to view there ceramic studio page. Its a group that calls themselves GAYA. I haven't heard of them but some of you may have. Anyways, I was curious and got on there site and found this great UTube of Bali potters. Its pretty cool plus that music is so great that they put on here.


The Hogde-Podge Of It All

"Life is a journey, not a destination"

I get this magazine that I love to look at called "Signals". Its pretty much just neat gifts but it also has a lot of jewelry that has various quotes and sayings. I have been eyeing an bracelet in there for some time which has this quote stamped on it. I really can relate to this saying because when I think of my work over the years and how much I go back and forth with what I'm trying to accomplish and say, I relies that I am always learning. I'm always changing, questioning decisions and learning from mistakes. I think for some people they can easily solve what they are trying to work through in their art. For some of us, it does not come so quickly and that's OK. I figure that everyone does move at their own pace and what may seem easy for me when it comes to some other life lesson is harder for others.

I was viewing my set-up the other day at our Circle show and wondering why I felt a bit uneasy with the group of pots I had. Last night when I started to up-pack the work and put it up on the shelf I had an "ah ha moment". ( If anyone indulges in Oprah, you'll know this term.) I

t finally hit me that I have a Hodge-podge of designs. I have three glazes..that have been worked out. I have my surface treatment that I'm always "tweaking" but the designs constantly change. I have some good ones that directly hit me as well thought out and other that seem so-so.

So, next order of business for me in the next batch of pots is to do some series. Keep the good patterns and leave the old. My head feels so much clearer after the light bulb finally turned on.

Hey...does anyone own this rat and how did it find my cup?


Sunny Fun Day!

Good Morning everyone! I am so excited to be able to sit down and post something on my site today you just don't know!( Here is Kent with Kim, a studio assistant from Clayworks)
We had a great day yesterday at the Circle Sale. Its was a sunny day, good crowds and lots of good company. It was a such a honor to have Suze Lindsey and Kent McLaughlin with us yesterday and I think everyone who came to buy pots enjoyed having them with us. I really enjoy having visiting artists at our sale. I feel like it really keeps out clay community connected and educated. I also wanted to say thank you to all the students from Clayworks that come out and support us to see what we have all been up to in our studio's. Its always so nice to see familiar faces.
( You can see Suze behind her booth talking to customers)
I did managed to fill my display after a frantic of week. I really was worried about tyring to get enough work to fill my tables. Last week I had to send some pots to a new gallery and I exchanged some pots as well so when it was time to fire my new kiln I was having a little bit of an anxiety attack. When the kiln was finally cool on Friday and I opened it up once again I found that my glaze that tends to be very temperamental had some pin-hole issues. So, I took a deep breath, told myself I could only do so much and that it was ok with what I had and I'd try to see if I could turn the kiln back and on a re-fire that pots. In the end, they did make it to the sale, they all looked much better and it worked out in the end.

( My sea of aqua pots)
I always learn so much from seeing my body of work when its finally all up on display and not sitting on my dusty shelving unit in my studio. I noticed yesterday that I sort of had a sea of aqua yesterday and this got the wheels turning in my head for some "neutral" release with some of my glaze colors. I also brought some of my re-fire salt pieces but I can't say they really where wonderful at all. I did sell a few of them but I think most of them will end up in shards in the trash. No worries though, I enjoyed throwing those pieces, seeing the salt surface again and I'm ready to try some other "salt adventures" to finally get me to a point where I feel like it will be money well spent to hook up my kiln finally.
( Here's Ron Philbeck and Chris, a student from Clayworks)
Here are some shots from the sale. Once again...kind of fuzzy one's but something to view all the same.

( Here is Amy Sanders work)


Show this weekend

This Saturday is the spring Circle of Eight sale. The weather looks like it will be great for pots, friends and no tents! As you can see Suze Lindsey and Kent McLaughlin will be our guests. This is also very exciting for the group.
I don't think it ever fails that I say I just have not been blogging due to all that I've been up to. Yesterday was a "home day". That means I had no where to go and I could just focus on my pots and my family. These are my favorite days and more and more I understand that my personality or the joy I get out of life needs this. I think I have realised that something needs to go on my list of obligations here, there and everywhere. More on that in the future.
My camera does have images of work in progress over that last week or so...but, once again, the camera is missing. I also am very excited and nervous about opening my kiln this today because in it our my salt pots re-fried with some low-fire glaze application. It could be great or really bad...guess we'll see. I did do a test or two but you never know on a big pot what it will look like and with that said, weather you will like it or not.
Hopefully by Saturday my camera will show up so I can get some shots at the show. If I don't, I'm sure Ron will be snapping away!
Happy Spring everyone!


Cicle of Eight Observer Article

The article about Circle of Eight in Sunday's Charlotte Observer can be viewed here.


Bunny Post!

It is yet another night when everyone is in bed and I am up "being" the Easter Bunny. Making baskets is just so fun and I like many mom's go over board with the whole thing.
In the studio lately, since I was under the weather this week work has been slow. I did get a lot accomplished on Friday evening and today. I've been working on some smaller versions of my flower blocks and once again, the compote has been "re-built". The last set tended to lean a bit in the firing so I got some advise from my pottery friends and did a bit of a revision on the pedestal part. Next Saturday is the Circle of Eight Spring Sale so I am gearing up for that. I also ordered a few low fire glazes to see if I can finish off the salt-pots that I fired in Ron's kiln. I have no idea how these will turn out but I'm sort of eager to see what they will look like being fired again with some low glazes on top of the salt. I have done with before years ago but this time I'm trying to work a bit more with the texture of the surface and how that relates or doesn't to the glazes I choose.
Happy Easter everyone!


Finished stuff

I clicked these quick shots a few days ago...maybe it was last weekend in fact! These salt shakers below where a sort of re-do. The cradle needed some occupants so I made a different set of shakers to go in there and low and behold, they worked. Here are the jam jars. The little spoons did turn out and you can see the handles sort of poking out the side. Well, now that I think of it, only the aqua jars came out, the green ran really bad and are sitting in my shed waiting to be chipped off. ( Boy I hate when that happens). I'm planning on making a little dish for these guys to sit on. Something about just the jars alone with the spoons doesn't sit right with me.
I finally got myself to the store to buy some clean plastic containers for mixing glazes. I also went through all my glaze recipe's to see what I could find to test. I'm looking for a new base glaze because I've come to the point where I don't have time to deal with all the run-off my glaze enjoys doing from time to time. Its is a beautiful glaze body but I think I may be able to come up with some equally as nice and vary the pallet a bit more.
I've had some very busy weeks and days lately. I'm really looking forward to the summer and just hanging out with my kids. Today McKenna and I are home"sick" with something. Hopefully by this weekend we'll be set for the Easter bunny.


My Quick Picks

I just saved a few of the cups I liked from a Akar show. I think its funny how most of them have drawing of some sort on them. I think it is so fun to see what images come from one's head down to the hand. Everyone mark is so different. Go and check out the show when you get a chance.
OK...so I just liked this guys profile photo!


Weekend Update

( Isn't that the name of the skit on Saturday Night live??)

It is Saturday evening, the kids have finally been tucked in, Joey has a movie and some brownies he is enjoying in the living room and I am just doing mindless fun on the computer. It has been go, go, go for the last two days and although I was going to play in my studio and throw a few Easter eggs for my kids and friends, I decided to sit right here and catch up.

I participated in two events this weekend and although I was somewhat happy with the pots I displayed at both events it was clearly obvious at both sales that things are slowing down for "speciality items". I actually did fairly well at the high dollar event at my children school. The reason I think I did well is that the majority to art was top dollar and Joey and I witnessed little or no red dots on art work that was priced $1000 or more. The other event was at Clayworks, the studio where I teach classes and I'm not sure about the rest of the folks but my sales where pretty few.

Surprisingly enough, this did not upset me or surprise me. I am happy to have the selection that I took come home and know that it will join the rest of inventory for our Circle of Eight sale that is taking place in April 18th. Suze Lindsey and Kent McLaughlin are our guests and I'm looking forward to a day with my pottery buddies. I am also very curious to see how the sales goes this spring! Last week I was sort of grumpy about all the time I am spending these days on the computer trying to keep track of my 45+ art history students but after this weekend I decided to be extremely thankful for this job and the opportunity to teach and supplement my pottery income. I have to look on the bright side and think that maybe if I'm not selling a whole lot of pots in the next coming year or so maybe I can spend the time refining my work and taking more time on each piece. I have to tell myself to think this way because I think we just don't know what is before all of us in the coming year or so.
Wow...some serious stuff to blog about!
Time to check out all the cool pots on the AKAR website.....



I'm making some little spoons for the my jam jars. I saw some really great ones awhile back in a book and they just seem like such a neat added thing to have with a pot. I made some years ago and I'm still not sure about the best way to make the end part along with the handle. These may even warp in the kiln. Guess I'll find out this week!