Last week in January

Boy, I haven't posted in awhile! Where in the world have I been?
Well.......you know me, here, there and everywhere.

Always in January, besides doing something different with my clay, I like to volunteer by either making a bunch of things to donate or donating my time. Last year I decided to help the art teacher at school with a clay project for her students so once again, this last week in January I have been at my kids school. They have a fantastic art teacher and someone I really enjoy spending the day with so sacrificing my work time in the studio does not feel so bad! I've had a really nice time getting to know all the kids better and being able to see my own children happy and content in such a wonderful environment. My heart just sings when I see them so happy and safe. ( I'm sure I've said this a 1,000 times before..such are the thoughts of a mother!)

Next week with the start of February so comes the real push in my studio. I am trimming my last piece of stoneware this evening and soon it will all be cleaned up and put away.

Below are some different sort of flower blocks for me. They kind of look like jugs with openings but I think this design is going to take me somewhere else. This whole month of stoneware has really been a good thing to refresh me after feeling so warn out from the fall.

This week I'm taking a little trip to visit an old friend of mine, which is also great for re-energizing the soul.

Boy, with all this rejuvenation I should be cranking out master pieces next month!


Quick photo

I'm still slowly plugging along on stuff. Here is a flower block with slip and some drawing on it. The other items is a spoon jar. Boy I haven't made those in a long time!

I'm looking through a bunch of glaze recipes to hopefully find something that is quick to make and I have all the ingredients for. I'm going to start to load my bisque with all this stuff this evening. Just a few more things to finish up, clean my wheel and than onto some quick porcelain items to fill up my bisque load. ( I feel so guilty if I only fire half a kiln load).
My idea's are to use a black and an amber for the pots than I will down fire them with some accent glazes. This is my "Plan" but I have no idea what they will look like after they come out of the salt so all my "visions" could change. I have found that what you think something will look like, never truly does so I've learned to be opened minded with any sort of new results. We'll see!


Time line of Day

I'm back to the time line of most of my days.........which is as follows.

Get up
Art history
Art history

( repeat again in the morning)

( Joey does come in there somewhere but some days we are more like captains of a ship that we are trying to keep a float!)

Here is a little photo of a flower block in the stoneware clay. I'm getting down to the last of it. Its taken me longer than I thought it would....there was a day of cleaning the pug-mill and making some porcelain so that took time away from throwing.

This weekend Joey get to go spend sometime with his high school buddies so I'm on my own with our little troop. I hope he has a blast...he deserves it!


A Good Day For Snow

This is how we started the morning here at the Lawler household. I was in much need of some snow since we didn't get any last year and I always feel cheated in some way at Christmas time now that I live in the South. So, today was magical even though we just got a dusting.

It was also magical for all that I watched on TV today. I could not pull away from what was going on in Washington. What a historic day! I sat the kids down around 11:30 and made them watch so they could remember this day as well. I think whenever the Obama children came on the screen, I got a little choked up. I think we have learned so much as a nation and it all showed today on the faces of all those people that where on the mall in Washington.

My favorite part was when lItzhak Perlman and Yo Yo Ma played a version of a Shaker Hymn called "Simple Gifts". I remember singing this as a child in the choir and it has always stuck with me for some reason. The words are:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Mckenna learned a little something today from my past. Here was my favorite dessert as a child. Simple but good!
No pots today, just a day to get re-energized on so many levels.


I Have An Obsession

I have a bit an obsession with poka-dots I have to admit.

I want to put them on everything. When I see them in stores, I want to buy them, wear them, eat them and paint the town with poka-dots.

My favorite book as a child was "Put Me In The Zoo". I loved the part where his spots fly through the air and he also makes socks with them. That would be the coolest thing to make spots fly through the air!!
So, it is any wonder that I have to refrain from putting poka-dots on all my pieces? I have, for the most part in recant years but I couldn't resist on these pieces for the salt kiln. I fell off the wagon. In fact these pieces look a lot like what I was doing in grad school. I think I spent more time trying to work with the clay and the form and I didn't give the surface as much thoughts as I do my porcelain work.

Ah...poka-dots..they just make me smile!


Checking In With Other Bloggers

I was tyring to recall the other day off the top of my head how long I have been blogging. I know I can go look it up on google, but than I would get so taken away with all the graphs and maps, that it would be 2am. and I'd be regretting that in the morning.

I was thinking back about this because I wanted to say thanks to everyone who does check in with my blog to see what I'm up to. Its nice the days I go to teach and my students ask me about something I've posted. And sometimes when I'm at a show, a customer will come up and tell me that they have read my blog. I know that so many other bloggers have said thank you to their readers so I wanted to do the same.

I also wanted to confess how guilty I feel that I don't get the time to check out everyone else's blogs out there. I know so many people have wonderful sights and great things to say. I feel like I miss out on a lot of important info. about pottery and life in general. I do enjoy all the blogs that have the side bar with photo's you can check out. Those usually grab my attention or a title and I'll click to see what is going on. But, for the most part, it is a added treat when I have time to just sit down and read every one's thoughts.

So, I wanted to say that if you read my blog and I don't seem to get up with your as much, its not that I'm not interested its just that...well, you know the rest of the story if you do keep up with me.
Happy blogging and thank you! Jen


Thurseday check in

Today I got back in the studio for a little bit. If you read Ron's blog I spent a day taking photo's at his house with Amy and Julie and Tuesday was spent teaching. Today I was back to sort of a normal day except for some mom things that needed to be taken care of. Tomorrow will be a pretty full studio day with some Art History thrown in. It is suppose to be super cold here this evening so I'm a bit worried about my pots. I've only had them freeze one time so I think I've learned my lesson on that. I have some flannel sheets that I drape over my shelves when it gets this cold and I'm keeping the heater going all night in there. (Don't worry, its got a safety switch-off if it knocked over or something odd happens in the middle of night...which occasionally does on the back porch!)

Here are a few more shots of finished things. Some soy sauce containers, creamers, tea bowls and the soup bowls with Tile6 on them. I am enjoying the change of pace and I am sort of playing with the same sort of motif I normally do on these things.I think they will be a bit different since it is stoneware. I have to admit that I can't be as loose with my forms when it comes to this clay body. The clay is so stiff I don't have as many opportunities to make my forms as altered and free as I normally do. This is a bit hard for me to get use to but I think its also good. It puts up some boundaries for me to work with. I'm getting down to the last bit of this clay and then I'll have to get back to my porcelain. The time has come to "get back to work" and finish up my playing for a bit! Its going to be fun to see how these come out after they go into the salt kiln and then I have other plans for them after that. Stay tuned once again.


More Stoneware

Quick post, I'm off to pick up the kids. Here are some shots from this weekend.

Here are the tumblers and cups. They are dipped with Tile6. I've had this in a bucket since school..(oh good lord that was 9 years ago!) Guess we'll see if it works!
Next are Pitchers, teacups and bowls. As you see I'm doing that scalped rim like lots of folks these days. I have to admit, its fun to do and it almost looks like a crown sitting on top of my pitchers!

Here are somethings under plastic that I'm finishing up today. Its been a good working day!


Stoneware Cups

Here is some progress I made last week on getting back to making pots. I did have to re-pug a bunch of this clay but in the end it did turn out to be a lot easier to throw so I had an enjoyable day making things on Friday.

I thought I'd just post a few shots of some tumblers I made. I love how stoneware looks right after the rib has cleaned up the outside. Those slick water marks that go around the cup are great! Of course, a round cup to me is not something I can leave without touching it again..... Here is one side that I have started to alter with my rib.

These are the final cups squared off on all sides. ( Its funny how here the clay looks more brown than the other shots..go figure.)

These are the final cups with the edge I always cut; making the cup my own style. You can also see some mugs that started off my throwing adventures for January. I've finished some bowls and I'm working on putting some handles on a few large pitchers.

Today Joey and I cleaned ( really cleaned with rags, soap and water) my whole studio. I have someone coming this week to do a story about me for a local magazine so it is always good incentive to not look like a pack rat. She particularly asked to take photo's of my studio! HA! I of course laughed when she said this but a friend of mine pointed out that it was awesome for people to see that you can create in the most modest of circumstances. (Some days I feel like the poster child for this statement.)
As I said last year, I love January, its a time to get your head together, take care of yourself and your home, spend time together with out needing to go out someplace. This weekend are the football play-offs so Joey has the rest of his days planned out. The kids are playing "Restaurant" at the moment and I plan on working for a bit. Maybe when they all need a break from each other, I'll do a little art project with them.
Have a great weekend.


Back Track to New Year Eve

Amy Sanders put some great photo's up on the Circle of Eight blog from New Years eve. If you get a chance, click on the site and see what we did that night. Ron is even wearing his piggly-wiggly hat I gave him! It was so cold I didn't even notice it that night!

I am throwing the stoneware as promised. It was super hard and even though I pugged it, I'm still kind of wrestling with it. Tomorrow I think I run it threw again with some slip from my bucket and see if I can soften it up some more. I've made some mugs and tumblers that I like. We'll see if I can get some photo's up in a day or two. You'll have to keep bearing with me on my camera shots. Santa did not have the cash to get me a new camera so....there is always my birthday!


The tease....

So Monday we got back to the normal and I was surprised to find that I was Ok with that. I started my new Yoga routine in the morning, packed up some pots, got going on my online course and got the kids off to good start with evening routine. Tuesday I started a new class schedule at Clayworks - from 2 - 4:30 I teach an intermediate class and from 6:30 to 9:00 I have some advanced beginnings. I spent the few hours in between that working yet again on Art History stuff while I enjoyed my dinner. I have to also admit that I did miss not picking my kids up from school but i thought I'd give this new schedule a try this session and see if Joey, I and the kids to adjust to the change.

So....where does my clay come in and what is this talk about stoneware???I had many people asking me this at Clayworks who read my blog. Today, I plugged out some wonder white, cone 7-10. Ann Riggs whom I bought the salt kiln from was kind enough to give me lots of stoneware. Here is it in my glaze barn just gathering dust. For me January is all about getting back into the swing of things and doing something differant to jump start my hands and mind. Tonight I plan on cleaning all the porcelain off my wheel and throw some stoneware. Why.......??? Well, it all has to do with my salt kiln sitting in the backyard. I'm not sure yet if I'm ready to purge my feeling about what is going on with that as of yet. I started to talk to my friend Julie about it yesterday and I could feel the emotions well up. CRAZY...right? But these emotions, thoughts and a bit of a funk I might add that I've been dealing with over the Holidays shows me how personal what we create and do for a living really is to all of us.

My good friend Ron Philbeck is letting me put some pots in his salt kiln next month. I feel like I need to see my work once again in the salt. I haven't done salt work since grad school and at the time, that was all I lived and breathed. I need some clarity on what path I'm planning to take with my lonely salt kiln out in the backyard that calls to me ever time I'm loading my electric kiln. Like I said.....if I can dig deep one day maybe I'll purge my feelings about this a bit more. For now, I'll start by throwing a few mugs this evening.


D Day

Tomorrow is the start back to our normal world; if you can call it that. No more late mornings, lavish dinners ( well...maybe some) or several days of family togetherness. Its up at 6:15am and I'm off and running. Today the Circle folks met for an agenda meeting that was time well spent and I spent the rest of my day getting my calendar set for my new group of Art History students. Tomorrow I plan on making clay and making some mugs I hope. Here's a twist....I'm not going to be pugging porcelain this month but rather a bit or stoneware. Surprise! I'll talk more about that this week. Right now I need to get back to Art History and than off to bed. ( I think I may grease up my running shoes...)


Hello 2009

The Circle of Eight crew said goodbye to 2008 by making pots until about 10:30 in downtown Charlotte. On my ride home I thought about how as a potter, we all did what potters do most of the time, we braved the elements, pulled out our creative voices, laughed about the absurdity of it all, got the job done and went home to take care of our tired bodies. Pretty much doing a demo in the cold summed up all the hard work I encountered myself in 2008. Once again anther pile that I straightened out in my head.

Joey and I have had four days together with the children before we all start back in our normal routines for 2009. We have worked together on deep cleaning and organizing the house, which feels great. Had several family movie nights and friends who have come by for some laughter and play dates. The kids have had a great vacation and I've had time to get my head a bit settled for a start fresh.

So to sum up 2008 for myself professionally. These are things I can give myself a pat on the back for. Baby steps in the competitive world of clay in my eyes, but yet accomplishments for me that I can be proud of.

-Getting into Strictly Functional in 2008

-Getting my an image of my work in both CM and Claytimes

- Doing more shows this year than ever before. ( My body still is not sure if that is a good thing or not.)

-Teaching an Art History Class

-Being accepted into a International show

and Finally getting accepted in the ACC for next year.


- I put my family first and not my career this year. I tried to have a good balance with everything.

-Joey and I had a good year of working together as a team to keep our little crew on course. This has been 9 years in the making for us. When you get married late in life, its hard for two independent people to work as one. At least for us and its always a work in progress..but a good one.

-The kids have had a successful year in school...all three have escaped my learning issues, which makes me so happy and proud.

For 2009
- I'm going to take better care of myself health wise. I'm starting to feel the effects of what I do and I need to exercise more, eat right and rest more.
- Work on Content and Quality..not Quantity in my work.
- Figure out what to do with my salt kiln ( more on that to come..that is a HUGE pile in my head.... more like a basement than just a door I've shoved thoughts into!)
- Work on just having pieces for my wholesale accounts and pieces for juried shows and sale shows.
- Get back to having a set price list and narrow down the amount of pieces I make.

Finally, the best thing to clear my head, work through thoughts and purge my head of "stuff" is music. Joey made me all sorts of new CD's for my studio and digging up old tunes is one of the best things. Here is Steven Forbert singing "Romeo's Tune".
This song is a little quirky, but it puts a smile on my face.