Last Pottery Post For a Bit

I am taking a little bit of a break from the work world for a week so most likely, I won't be posting anything. But, you never know.....
At any rate, I thought I'd put a few things on here before signing off.

Kiln issues : Well, I did get another element and the electrician and I have been playing phone tag along with "waiting on a part" tag for the last week so I still don't have my issues fixed which..is frustrating. Today he called to say he is still waiting for a part so who knows, I may have good news by dinner time.

Show news :Here's a great postcard of a show I'll have some work in. ( That my little snip-it on the bottom in green.) Its hosted by a nice little clay center in Durham NC called Claymakers and my friend Ronan Peterson invited myself and a host of other great potters to be in it. I'm hoping I may be able to get to the opening. We'll see! The dates of the show are August 21st to October 10th. Opening reception will be August 21 from 6-9 for anyone who lives around the triangle area. I'm going to pack up the pots for this show this evening.

In the studio : I put some terra sigg on some tiles last night and for the most part, I just got to finish up some bottles and mugs to add to my inventory for the next Blowing Rock show. Ron Philbeck and I are going to try and fire a low-salt in September and the two of us where talking on the phone the other day about using terra-sig on these pieces. I'm still trying to incorporate this surface into some of my work. I really need to devote more time to this but...time has gotten away from me these last few months.

The Family and I :Fall is slowly creeping up on me and to me, fall is like January with a new start for my kids, my career and everything going on in the world. I really don't know where my summer went, but it was busy and I do need a break even if I don't feel like I got a whole lot accomplished in my studio.

So, I'm off ! ( You must envision me pulling a cape over my face and flying away!)
I haven't taken a full weeks break from working since Joey and I got married and really I'll still be doing art history stuff on a lap-top so........ I know when I start back up I'll be ready to really get to work. Once school starts for the kids, I'll be able to get back to my schedule in my studio that I have greatly missed.

Happy beginning of August everyone!


Clay times

I got my Claytimes the other day and thought some pretty good articals where in this one and wanted to encourage those of you who don't get magezines on a monthly basis to perhapse go out and get this one!

The first artical I thought was really good was Considerations for Critiquing Claywork
I always enjoy what Lana Wilson has to say and I think this is great if your like me and work alone. I do have some pals I can ask about stuff but most of the time I'm working so fast that I have to make these decisions on my own. Most days, as you know from my posts, things don't register with me until I see them up "in lights" on the big screen.

There is an article about Mark Hewitt for those people who enjoy his work and want to know a little more history about him. He lives outside of Raleigh where I use to live and work and although I never did go to one of his opening, I did hear lots about what an event it was to try and get one of his pieces.

One of my favorite articles was about the Terracotta Warriors of Emperor Qin
You always see these "guys" in art history books and magazines but here, a guy talks about how he think they where made, which is really cool!

Last but not least was the NCECA Clay Biennial & Regional Student Juried Exhibition
Its nice to see what students are up to and I love the photo's of new work just like everyone else does.

I'm off to put some handles on some mugs this evening. I spent all day on this "Monster" making up a final for my art history folks. ( I screwed up the first one.........auahahahahahha) Vacation can not come soon enough!


Crusty pots

I just got in from throwing and I'm headed off for some sleep. Pretty good night of throwing. I'm working on bottles and mugs since I did sell alot of those last weekend at Blowing Rock.

Here are the photo's of some of the crusty pots from my kiln. Its kind of funny for me to look at these because I use to make all mat-glazed work years ago. To see it now, even though this glaze is just really under fired makes me wonder why I was attracted to matt glazes so long ago. I guess taste change...........
I have new elements ordered and we'll see that James, my electrician says on Thursday. I can't wait to just have my kiln up and going again!


Sunday tunes with Ryan

I'm getting ready to go out make some clay and throw some pots. I got back out there Friday night, got cleaned up and finished a few things that where under plastic. I also threw some stuff away that I just didn't feel like needed to be saved.

My kiln is still in limbo until the beginning of the week. Lets hope I can get it fixed this week! ( Fingers are crossed).
We've had a good weekend visiting with York friends and having a day trip up to Asheville to see family. I'm looking forward to making pots this week and no running around to camps or all the other places I've seem to be going lately. ( Well, I'm sure I'll run somewhere.....) Hope everyone out in cyber land is has had some good days also!

I've been enjoying some live music on the web while grading tests today. Most people know I love Ryan Adams. Enjoy!


Element issue

So the "element" guy left me a message on my machine saying he's never heard of this before in his 20 years of making elements. In other words, I've got to buy another element and figure it out on my end. So, I call my electrician back today and he thinks that maybe something has been "fried" somewhere. Boy..nothing like hearing the word "fried and kiln" all in the same sentence. He's going to come look around on Monday so in the mean time, I'm on my own to keep thinking about the whole thing. I may open up the box and see if anything is melted. ( And yes, I am sitting here making the noise Lurch does in every episode of the Adams Family)

Here it is Thursday and I still have not got out and touched a ounce of clay. Busy with mom stuff and house stuff and Art History stuff. Friday I have no plans to be anywhere but here. Tomorrow will be my day!

While I'm trying to come with some new work to post, my pal Brad Tucker has an opening in Durham next weekend so I thought I'd post the link up here for any interested in viewing some of his work in the show!http://www.cravenallengallery.com/


Quick post on kiln

Well I determined yesterday that the same element I had replaced, went out again. I have a call into "Stan", my element guy about this. I don't know if I posted about how when I put the element in it blew-out my entire electrical system in my shed. My electrician came and said that some elements can have too much current going through them and and if my shed isn't wired for more than a certain amount. This will happen. Of course, it never happened over the 9 years I've been here so I find that a bit strange.( The element blowing out my electrical system that is...I LOVE my electrician and trust him. ) So, we'll see what Stan says. Its not broken so I've ruled out that. I do have some photo's of the crusty pots, but who really wants to see them?
Tonight I think I'll do some cleaning and then hopefully back to making some pots. Arts in the Park comes up again for me in August and my Lark and Key show comes down so I should have a wonderful selection of pots to take up there. ( Cross my fingers!)


Story Behind Blowing Rock

So, as you know, if you have been following my last few posts, I was getting ready for Blowing Rock last week. I had a packed kiln full of tall vases, cups, bowls, platters and pretty much a lot of big stuff. One's mind would bring up that possibly I had so many big things in the kiln because I had many little things on my shelves and needed those "high ticket items" for sales. So...keep that thought in the back of your head while I change gears to another subject......

Do you think anyone out in TV land, besides potters would watch a sit come about a middle aged mother who is a potter and tends to have many mishaps with her equipment and life in general? Surely just my story about the 1,000 preying mantis that got loose in Quaid's bedroom last summer alone would bring some sort of ratings for the networks! As I've said before, I'm sort of the "I LOVE LUCY" of the pottery world.

Now...back to my kiln load. So I spend all week staying up late finishing up all this stuff. I hire my teenage helpers for the kids during the day. Mommy guilt usually gets me by lunch time so I spend at least the afternoon with the kids so by 4 o'clock in the afternoon they can watch a movie and I can do about 1 1/2 more of work before Joey gets home. My biggest goal for the weekend is to earn money for our family vacation next month and I am motivated! I stay on schedule all week long so I can fire my glaze kiln on Thursday and unload Friday. ( We always leave early Saturday morning so this works for me).

On Thursday the kiln gets loaded and turned on in the evening. By Friday morning when I go out to check my handy new Pyromoter, I notice that the kiln is not even to 1500 degrees. I of course think....hummmmm...how odd?!?!?! Was the kiln that packed that its taking that long? I think it over while drinking my morning coffee and come to the conclusion that maybe an element is slow and I'll just wait it out, surely the kiln will start to climb by 8 am. WRONG...by 3 in the afternoon, the kiln just barely gets to 2000 and I just say ....( well, I'm not going to write what I said) but I turned the kiln off and march inside my studio to survey my situation with knots in my stomach. What to do? What to do? Time for another cup of coffee and some deep breathing......

Long story short, I do manage to pack up what I have. I cut down my set-up ( booth) to almost half what it normally is and in the course of my day at show, manage to do pretty well with just selling mugs and bud vases.

All's well that ends well.
But...I haven't yet gone out to my shed because I know an entire kiln load of crusty pots are waiting for me. Tomorrow I'll pay them a visit......


Arts in the Park

We made it home safe and sounds from Blowing Rock this evening. I'll be off to bed soon after a full day of selling. Sales where pretty good and lots of familiar faces came by to say Hi today, which is always wonderful. We left here at 4am so, now that its pushing 9...I think I better catch up on some much needed sleep. More tomorrow!


Getting things done for Weekend.

I'm so careful with handling my new camera these days. I'm not getting as many photo's as I would like because I don't want to touch it when my hands have clay all over them or even leave it out in my studio. I also have some issues already with the cable hook-up to the computer. I think I may need to send the camera back to the company for a repair already....very frustrating but I so have a memory card so I've been using that. So many technical pit-falls we deal with when it comes to technology!

I finally bought a pyrometer this week.( Thanks OTTO!) Can you believe I've been doing this professionally for I guess almost 10 years now and I just bought one of these things?
I'm trying to incorporate more colored porcelain into my work. This is a square flower block in progress. The next stage was putting the holes in the top. We'll see how it comes out the kiln.These are bisque bowls and one small platter.Last are some yunomi's that I've been wanting to try. The next stage for these was to put the sprigs and flower imagery on the various sections.


Just a few shots

I'll be in Blowing Rock this weekend at Arts in the Park. I think July is one of the best months for great crafts people. Like I said, I think I may come a little short on having a full load for the show but I didn't want to give up on a show. Plus, I really enjoy this show because I meet some great people and usually get some special orders so...we'll be heading up there very early on Saturday morning.
Here are just a few shots of drying pots.
These are the smaller version of the vases I was working on when I got so frustrated with my clay. I guess all in all this isn't a bad thing. Not everyone wants a huge vase!
Here are the taller versions. They are about 2 feet high I think.This is a new flower block shape. Last night it got a top and I'm slowly working on the springing for it.
I've made a few cookie jars and here again, is a flower block. I tend to like the longer version that is up above so I'm not sure I'll keep this today. I have been "killing" more of my pieces lately. I meant to post something about the ice cream Sunday dishes never making it to the kiln. I wasn't in love with the final result when they where about to be bisque so I thought I might as well keep the clay and get rid of the form. I feel a lot better these days when I do stuff like that. I use to think more pots where better but now I think less pots that look better makes more sense. This has taken I guess longer for me to get than some other potters. We are all so different in our thought process and how we look at our career and the outcome. ( OHHHHHH...deep thought).

On that note, I'm off to doing some house work and then later today onto more pots!


Issues with Clay

Maybe someone out there can weigh in on some thoughts I've had on and off with Helios clay that I've used for years. At times I think I get batches that are....well just not mixed right?

The reason I think this is if I have two bad days of pulling up a tall cylinder I find it odd. I tend to be a pretty quick thrower and since I've worked with porcelain for so long if I open a new bag and can't seem to get a tork out of a 10inch cylinder I'm suspicious of the amount of ingredients that have gone into a specific batch. I've had this happen with other clay bodies as well. Particularly a clay body called Loafer's Glory. I use to use this when it first came out back in school but then, a few years after it started cracking like crazy. So I went back to porcelain.

I'm trying to make some tall bottles and vases this weekend but not having much luck. Yesterday I finally gave up and moved onto some flower blocks. Some clays like to be vertical and some horizontal. Knowing that I can pull a tall cylinder with Helios 90% of the time but not in the last, I'd say 3 days just has me wondering a little bit.

Who knows, it could just be a claygods playing with me. Maybe I need some Mozart going to calm me down.

Speaking of listening to things. Yesterday on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, Neko Case was on and she was hilarious!


Friday evening...come quickly!

I have been teaching a clay camp all week at the kids school. Boy..I had not done anything like this in a long time and I have to say, I had to keep up a frantic pace to stay on top of things. One good thing that came out of it was that I got all my children out of the house until about 1 everyday so the workers could finish our floor. I'm happy to say that today I came home and the floor was done, the refrig. was back in the kitchen and could use the stove and the sink. Wow...what a great feeling that was! So stage one is done in there and we'll move onto to stage two in a few weeks with cabinets and painting.
In the studio, which has not been as much as I would like it to have been, vases are slowly getting made. Next weekend is Blowing Rock and I really need one good stacked kiln load of pots to help fill in the gaps.
Mental note to self...don't sign up for anything two weeks before a show and one week after an opening. Why I do these things to myself sometimes, I will never know.
Joey out of town and will be home this Friday. Normally I like to keep the kids eating, sleeping and doing the normal stuff we do while he is home but this week I've just thrown in the towel to fast food, sleeping all over the house and staying up late. I've learned you just can't do everything all the time.
I can't wait for the weekend!


Terra Sig Image

Here is the covered pot I tested my terra sig on. I've also added a photo detail. I like the warmth of the terra sig but I don't like using it as an accent to my leaf motif. I'm thinking I need to see what it looks like all over with my glaze being the accent. Who knows?
Here are some bowls I threw this week. I'm working on pots for my next sale/show in Blowing Rock Nc in two weeks. I've got to get movin'!~

Kitchen matters.......

So as I said, we have been getting a new floor this week. Wow, what an undertaking. Our wall between the kitchen and dining room was sinking about 3 inches. Many jacks have been brought in which in turn means lots of cracks in the wall!
Living in limbo does not sit well for me. I'm one of those people who does not do well with change or having my little day to day life interrupted.
With that said though, I have been pretty laid back about getting our kitchen fixed. Today was a bit ruff because I couldn't get to any food at lunch time and the kids are I where hungry! Off to Sonic we went.
I also couldn't get out to my studio either. Good thing I've spent all my morning teaching a kids clay camp. I do have to admit after a morning of 13 kids and clay coming home to a clean, quiet house would be good. Just a few days and hopefully we'll be back to normal for awhile until we start phase two with all this!



Here are some photo's from the show last night. I took more than I usually do but still, I always get so wound up, that I forget half the show. At any rate, I did get some good ones!

Jen Swearington's quilts and my pots really went well together so it was a nice fit. The Aqua with red accents couldn't have been more perfect.We got to enjoy a wonderful meal after wards at a great Indian restaurant called Copper here in Charlotte with a few good friends. Its always a treat to have good food and fun conversation and since this is what fuels my love for what I do, what a better way to end the evening. Thanks to those of you who came out and supported me. I really appreciate it! Close up and cake stand and compote' with truffles.Cookie jars and my favorite cake stand.
Here we are,its so nice go get out for a night on the town!


Information gathered

I've been searching the web for some more inspiration for my surface decoration this week. I really love all the detail in Islamic art. The colors and the slightly altered shapes of the flowers just really pull me in.

Since I'm slowly adding accents to my work I'm trying to get a feel for adding layers of things together. On the rootbeer glasses that I made I have a colored porcelain sprig with a red accent dot on top. My next batch of pots, I'm going to take the terra sig that I mixed up and reverse the application making the overall pot terr sig and the flowers glaze. When I tested the opposite, having the flowers the terra sig there was to much running and the point of having the floral design on the piece just fell flat.

Like I said, I got alot of information from that last group of pots I made. I'm still extremely nervous about seeing the whole group this evening. Sometimes small changes you know are not always recognized by others. Also new forms always bring up questions in my mind after I see them displayed with group of my other work. We'll see what happens this evening. I'll take some photo's and get them up soon.

Final note, my USB cable for my new camera has a glitch in it, which is a bummer. Tomorrow we will be taking the whole crew to Charlotte for July 4th and I'm hoping to hop into the camera store to see what they can tell me.

Today in our 100+ year old house..lots of excitement is going on. We are getting our old, saggy kitchen floor taken out and a new one put in. Joey is extremely excited and wound up about this so between my opening and the new kitchen floor, we are quit an anxious crew.

Quaid and I are off for a bike ride because the day is gorgeous. This will surely do all of us some good! ( We'll atleast 2 of us, we'll see if we can get the other three out and to the pool for some relaxation.)