Setting up a show in Asheboro

( KEEP VOTING FOLKS - We need our final count on a name by Wednesday the 1st of September! Post is below for voting or you can go to my Fanpage on Facebook!)
Julie Wiggins and I set out yesterday morning for a little trip to Asheboro NC. We spent the day setting up a group show called "From Within to the Surface". This show will take place at the Sara Smith Self Gallery and its being sponsored by the Randolph Arts Guild. Theses are the same folks who put on the NC Potters Conference.
Pretty big space to display pots and the folks where super nice to work with. The reception will be Tuesday evening the 7th of September. On September 28th from 12-1, Amy Sanders and Ron Philbeck will be giving a talk during a "Lunch and Learn" session. If your in the area, please stop by and view the show.
I took some REALLY quick shots yesterday with my Iphone so I apologize for some blurry images.
Ron's pieces up above and Julie's down below.
Down this row you can see Amy Sanders work and Adrienne Dellinger.

So, on to some sad truths..............
I spent part of my weekend fooling with this on off button you see below. I swear, does anyone else have more equipment issues than myself?
The button over time has been sticking and low and behold a few weeks ago the darn thing fired right through a bisque.

Yes, I am the proud owner of what seems like a 100 white pots!
I didn't feel like blogging about it a few weeks ago because I was just so darn aggravated! I know we all get that way at times. Best thing to do is just walk away and breath until you can deal with it.
As for the button, its seems to be bent and I can't get it right in the center of the hole so when I push it in, it doesn't lean to one side.
Solution?? Well, I guess I'll just check it every time I fire and keep my pyrometer in at all times to check the temperature.
If anyone has ever had this happen, let me know what you did to fix the issue and yes, I've taken the whole thing apart and re-assembled it.


What's In a Name

We are down to the final week with choosing a name for our up coming group sale. For those people who are just visiting my blog for the first time here's a little background information about the four of us and why we enjoying having shows together and why it is so important to us all to have a support system.

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you know that Amy, Ron, Julie and I enjoy what we do, enjoy the support and encouragement we give each other in are ceramic pursuits and are serious about being part of a clay community.

We would be so happy if you'd give us your vote on which of the following names you like and feel best represent us.

Clay Dept
Thrown Together
Kudzu and Kaolin
Kaolin and Klay
Kaolin Krew
Clay Crew
Dirt Merchants
Ring of Fire
Cups and Dishes

Back round about the four of us:
I think we are all going on about 10 years of being clay friends. Julie and I have alittle longer history together since we both attended East Carolina University. I was in grad school at the time and Julie was just getting started in clay as a sophomore.

All of us taught clay classes together at Clayworks in Charlotte North Carolina and though-out this time we enjoyed just talking about current trends, potters and our work together.

We all tend to be a bit silly at times and enjoys each others company as well as keeping track of what's going on in each other personal life. I've enjoyed having another mom to understand my time frame issues and Julie and Ron have always been great about having kids around in some form or another while we have meetings.

All of our work has changed in some way or the last 5 years. We all enjoy drawing or embellishing our surfaces in some form or another. We also all enjoy making functions vessels and forms the people can use and enjoy in their homes.

Please click on our various names above to view our personal profiles and images of our work.
Thanks for your helping in our quest to find the right name for our group. We are looking forward to our first Fall Sale together with quest potters Allison McGowen and Kyle Carpenter.
The sale will be in Charlotte on October 2nd.


Oh it is so fresh!

How many have you all listened to a demonstrator say " The clay looks the best right after it is thrown" or " I want to emulate how wet clay looks" or " The best part of being a potter is throwing". I think these comments use to go right over my head and I'd be anxious just to learn and watch every new trick I paid my money to learn about.

Well today, which I'm happy to report was a full, uninterrupted day of throwing........I finally got the "WET CLAY" thing. I threw a bunch of pitchers and I guess I must have been in the zone with my freshly pugged recycled clay because it was such a joy to throw and looked so awesome at this stage of ..wetness!

I was sort of chuckling to myself that if these phases have finally hit me, does this mean the next time I'm doing a demo for someone I'm going to be spurring off the same lingo? Will I be that old broad that some youngin' is going to be thinking..."yeah, yeah..I get it, she likes to throw. Now show me how you make those sprigs!"

Once again I'm just having a cartoon character "bubble" thought that I had to share.
Happy hump day everyone!


Back In The Saddle

( If only I did have a horse..how fun would that be!)

I'm back in the studio which feels great!

The kids have had sort of a bumpy start to the new school transition but hopefully that will get better and better. The twins are in the same class so we are keeping our fingers crossed that it works out!

I'm pretty excited about some juried shows that I have gotten into for the Fall line up! A few are up in Massachusetts, one is in Paughkeepsie, NY and of course my pots are on display at the moment in New Jersey. Not to mention all the stuff going on here in North Carolina. I have to admit, living in ( well near) a state that is so rich in ceramics really helps to keep my career moving along.

Today I meet a whole new group of ceramic students so I'm gearing up for that and my online art history classes are back under way. Things feel a bit back to normal for me. I enjoy a routine.

Hope everyone had a great start to the work week as well!


You all Rock!

It was great to read every one's comments about parenthood and pottery. Some great suggestions and ideas for those us who may need some new advice and also to those people just starting out on this double journey!

To sum it all up ( this came from Meredith Heywood from Why Not Pottery)

Parenting is like making pots,you build layers.

We started at our new school this week, which had some real bumpy roads each day to maneuver. I spent the entire week worrying about them and doing anything extra special for the kids just to soften the blow. Lots of tears, fears and anxiety for everyone and not much sleep. But we did get through it, and I managed to slowly get back to the studio and I got my online classes up and going. Next week will be better and each day the kids and I will be back to a set routine.

I did something else this week that professionally I have never done before, I declined two gallery orders. I politely called the galleries saying I just could not commit to any other accounts for awhile due to motherhood and over committing myself last year. Thank goodness both owners where wonderful and understood my situation and said they would be happy to have pots when I was ready. What a wonderful relief and a huge weight off my shoulder. As much as getting orders is great and having folks call wanting your work feels really good, I'm just have thought twice about the quality of life I would like to have.

Today I enjoyed some time with my son and his friend. ( I have found the nine year old boys are very funny to hang out with!) I also got out in my studio for a few hours and enjoyed a good book on tape. As soon as everyone is tucked into bed, I'll head out again to make some sprigs and perhaps watch alittle movie.

************FUN, FUN, FUN**************

My fellow partner in "blogging crime", Ron Philbeck has put a little contest on his blog. Our little group of pottery pals are looking for a good name for our group. Julie Wiggins, Amy Sanders, Ron and I will be doing some sales together and also some gallery shows. We have been trying to come up with an inventive name and thought we'd open it up for any and all suggestions! If your interested in winning some mugs from Ron ( and possible a little something from me as well...) you can click below to Ron's blog and add your own suggestions.


Howdy clay People! I've Got Some Questions for Ya'!

I checked in with my pottery pal Ron Philbeck the other day on his way back from doing a workshop. For all of you who follow the blogs I know people click back and forth between ours at times so I'm sure some of your read his post with apologies for some comments he made on Sawdust and Dirt.

I did not read Micheal Klines post that day so I had to ask Ron what that was all about! He explained to me that someone had commented about blogs and what people write about...weather those of us who purge our thoughts, feelings and day to day studio work was really what needed to be written about on a pottery blog. I have to admit and I know I've said a few times that I am amazed that folks enjoy some of my on going moans and groans about family life and studio time. I of course really appreciate all the parents that leave me messages about things I write about and I love reading stories of there on going pottery lives.

So, I thought I'd throw a few questions out for those folks that parent and also try to be productive and pro active with their career.

Please join in with comments about any of the following questions.

*Do you have a set time you work in your studio or do you enjoy having your kids play while you work along side them? Do you find you can get what you need to done?

* Do you feel that you miss out on important residency's and workshop/teaching opportunities because you have another full time job? How do you fill in these voids?

*Do you have a significant other who supports you financially so you don't have to rely on your income? If not, how stressful is it for you to parent and juggle all the rolls you have to take on being a potter. IE - photo's, paperwork, repairs, shipping and selling your work?

* If you have older children, have they ever resented the amount of hours you put into your studio work while they where younger? Do they appreciate the fact you where home with them but still worked?

Just a few thoughts I had that I thought would make for some good conversation. I've thought about these things or listened to other craftspeople talk about these struggles.

We all can use a little advise here and there so offer up yours!



I've been a big fan of saying for the last few years. I even tried putting some on my work but it just didn't take or I couldn't seem to work it out....

Yesterday I ran across a plaque in a magazine that said this below and I thought it was great!

Be bold be thankful
be quiet be original
Be spontaneous be
punctual be a
star be young be
loving be crazy
be loud be random
be aborable be
unique be daring
be obnoxious
be Yourself!

I thought it was pretty neat.

I'm still not able to get back in my studio yet. I may try tomarrow evening. More soon!


Getting off a Merry-go-Round

Its Sunday evening and if this had been the weekend that I had planned right at this moment Joey and I would be playing catch up today with chores, spending time with the kids and sleeping late.

If this had been the Saturday I had planned, we would have been coming back from Blowing Rock right after the show with about a 2 hour drive, grabbing a fast food meal, exhausted and feeling drained only to pick up our kids from my parents at about 9:00pm. My parents would be concerned that we were both to tired and did we make enough money to warrant all the effort. I'd re-assure them that it was a good day and that we are fine. The kids would be wired up and hard to get to sleep and even though all we would want to do is basically collapse into our bed, we'd still need to read to everyone, get them settled down and to bed later than usual. Sunday would be followed with a similar feeling one gets after drinking a tad to much. Ours brain are hazy, ( mine tends to be a bit worse then Joey since I worry a whole week before a show) and all we want to do is lay around all day and do nothing because our bodies sort of hurt from all the hauling of gear. Well at least mine always does. We'd be sort of grumpy with the kids and try our best to get everyone to bed early so we could crash early Sunday evening ourselves. Not a very restful weekend to say the least, but at least I would have once again sold some pots!

Well, this was not the way we spent our weekend. Joey and I slept in on Saturday morning, enjoyed the paper together and a good cup of coffee. We did some chores around the house, went to the gym and welcomed our kids back around mid-afternoon and spent the evening with friends cooking out and watching all our kids play together while enjoying some good conversation, laughter and a few good beers. The previous night we even got to enjoy just one on one time with dinner and a movie - something we only do an occasion. Today we did clean the house, Joey and the kids spent some time outdoors and got some ice cream at a local produce stand while I finished up the kids school shopping list.

The reason my weekend was different was because for the first time ever I called an canceled my spot at a show. I've never done this before ever and I have to admit, although it felt good the over-achiever in me and work horse ethic felt ashamed for bugging out.

On Thursday evening after a week of trying to do to many things at once I just gave up and said to myself that I just couldn't do it. I was to tired and needed a break from this merry-go-round I've been on for awhile. Truth be told I just felt like I didn't have enough work to make my booth fill up and I couldn't see one more day of running around. The thought of what I had to do Friday morning just loomed over my head thinking about trying to re-fire and salvage the few left over pots, packing up the truck that night, getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and all the energy it takes to set-up, sell your work and than break it all down again. On top of it all, I have the kids to consider and school starting next week. So....I just told Joey I didn't have it in me and he agreed and Friday morning after waking up with migraine I called and canceled. I than called my folks who in turn told me to bring the kids over anyways so we could have some free time and by 6 o'clock Friday evening my migraine was gone and I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulder.

Its really hard sometimes to say NO and realize you just can not do it all. I am finding this out slowly the hard way which is a hard lesson for me to learn. When your a working parent and you want to still be part of the crowd ( the pottery crowd that is) you just can not do it all. You can try but you have to be so wise about your work time and family time.

I learned some good lessons this summer about working and trying to make the summertime enjoyable for the kids. Guess I found I can't do both! Next summer I won't be doing so many shows. The Fall I won't be doing so many shows either. Sometimes you just need to look at the reality of things and except them.

Next week my priority is getting everyone settled into their new environment and than I'll get back to focusing on what I love to do and see, once again how to re-invent being a studio potter/teacher, parent and partner all at once.


The List- and Thank you!

Thanks to all the comments on my last post about weather or not I am STILL a blogger. I appreciate all the thought, nice words and comments so I guess...I'll keep trucking along whenever I can get a chance to post. Alittle time here and there...

This weekend I am heading back to Blowing Rock. Once again, I'm taking a small group of pots but I think my display will still look pretty good , I hope!

Below is my To-Do list when my new week starts minus kids since school will be under way next week. All those folks that have asked for pots, special orders and those shows I need to get stuff too are high on my list!! On top of Blowing Rock this weekend I've been getting toys and cloths together for the annual Twin consignment sale I do twice a year. Its so much work to save money sometimes!! Lots of ironing, tagging and convincing the kids that they need to get rid of some toys....

.....our house and the studio look like a bomb has gone off!!

What a mess.......!


Wondering if I'm still considered a blogger??

Some days when I'm on here all morning answering emails from students or grading...its sort of hard to sit down and really collect my thoughts to blog. I don't think I was teaching online classes when I started this blog and its seems to have really cut into my blogging thoughts and time I've noticed. Its been two days since I checked my messages from my last post! Of course all the excitement of the summer time and wanting to spend time with the kids has also made it sort of a lack-luster few months for blogging.

School starts next week for our children and I'm ready for the change and routine to start. Some folks hate routine and some of us, who have an mind that is easily distracted.....love routines.
I just took a few shots of some pots that are getting ready to go into the kiln for Blowing Rock this week. I hardly had a chance to even make a full batch for the kiln but I think I've squeaked out a pretty good amount to replenish what was sold at the last show. Once school starts and I can devote more time on my porch and more pots will be made. I have less drive time to the new school and we even have access to a bus this year! Yippee!


Jersey "show" ( of pots that is...)

I sent some pieces off last week for The Jersey Shore National 2010 show. One of my friends asked me if "Snookie" would be there......ha! I looked around M.T. Burton's facebook page for some images of other work in the show. I'm always interested to see who else I'm showing with. Below are a few pots that caught my eye. When I get more time this weekend, I'm going to go back and look at more of the work up on his Facebook Fan page.

Below is a nice shot of work by Ronan Peterson and myself at Lark and Key. Sandy is always so good at promoting artists in her show via the web and I'm since I haven't been down for a visit in a while, it was nice to see what inventory I still have left!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I'm busy trying to finish up some stuff for Blowing Rock again next weekend. I'm so excited because I'm dragging Joey along with me! Even though its not always fun for him because he has to do all the lugging....I LOVE having him along!


We all get together.

Its late on Wednesday evening and I've just come in from making some bottles and trimming some big bowls. I'm playing "single Mom" again this evening so I've learned from my own experience in this department over the summer that I need to make the day a full time event and not stress about the little things I usually do like giving the kids a good meal and making sure everyone is bathed..ect.
This morning started off with golf for Quaid ( in which I needed to be there for), having a playmate over for Quaid, laundry, grading all the finals for the courses I teach, ordering pizza for the gang, a trip to the pool to wear everyone out, dinner, book time with the kids, getting them to bed and finally...out to the studio.

While all this was going on today I was reflecting on an event yesterday with my clay pals - Ron, Amy and Julie. We had one of our monthly meetings and this time it was Amy's house. It use to be that when we met it was always for dinner and we would plan a late weekend afternoon or evening and it was always hard for me to find the time or a date I could squeeze it in because of the children. These days we are all so informal since Amy is in the same boat as myself trying to play full time Mother and pottery deva at the same time. Julie and Ron are good about accommodating our "kids" needs when we need to meet.

Below is a photo of the girls playing with Guthrie while Quaid reads on the couch. The kids where so good while we talked on and on about pottery related stuff. Our last meeting was here at my house and the same was true. I was thinking how nice it is to be casual and comfortable around friends and have my children surrounded by such creative adults.

( Ron and Julie looking at the calendar of events we have planned together.)
It takes alot of effort by us all to keep planning and coordinating shows and events together. Like everything else with promoting yourself, its all the leg work and paper trail you have to keep up with and also contribute to if you want to succeed and get ahead. Poor Ron has had to listen to a lot of "girl talk" since Guthrie and Sammy have arrived on the scene for Amy. But... mainly our topic of conversation is clay.

While we were hashing out some date Sammy crawled under the table to chew on my flip-flops a bit!

More to come from the four of us so stay tuned!

I'm going to call it a night and get ready for yet another day. The count down is on for the start of school!


I'm still on Sunday!

This Sunday we celebrated my Dad's 72'nd birthday.

For anyone who has parents over the age of 68 I think you'll agree that they have about everything they could want or need so buying gifts is just a challenge....at least MY dad is a challenge. If he wants a new book, he goes and gets it, good wine, he's right there paying for it, cloths, shoes, after-shave, tools....the list goes on and on.

So, what is near and dear to my Dad is traditional Italian meals that his Mom made for years so this birthday I had the whole family join in for an old fashion Mecca family meal! Of course it consisted of sauce, meatballs a great cake and homemade pasta. When I little my grandmother, as I have said before, would spend an entire day in her kitchen making pasta and this machine above was a huge part of that process. The funny thing about this piece of equipment, like most of the items I have from her is that besides the box looking old and worn, the machine looks brand new! If you can read the words on the inside sleeve of the box, you'll know why! I believe she got this machine when I was a baby and she had some cousins of hers bring it straight back from Italy so it was like her most prized toy.

Once my grandmother found out that my husband liked to cook and was really good at it, my name went on the box and that meant that when she finally passed away...the item was mine! As some of you know my grandmother passed away last year at the age of 98 and even at 97, she was in the kitchen one weekend running the show while Joey tried to make sauce and pasta for us. I can still see her with her walker barking orders at him while she stirred the sauce.

When we got it out this weekend Joey and had a good chuckle about the fact that even from the grave my grandmother is still running the show. Here is note she tucked into the box way back in the 70's/80's we think telling "who ever" got this machine....that they needed to take good care of it.

While I made the sauce, Joey was busy with the kids cranking out the pasta and meatballs. We even followed her recipes.
The final item was the cake, which I allowed the girls to decorate. What do you think? Could this make on "Cake Boss"?

We had a great time with my parents and the food was awesome. Of course the whole thing took all day to make and once again I had a greater appreciation for the women of my grandmothers generation who took such pride and care with food, house keeping and taking care of something for a lifetime.

And on that note...I was happy to see my cleaning lady today!


Interesting cups

I spent yesterday playing around with some photo's because I needed some better images than the last batch I took. I got some better lights and I think these are a bit better. I always enjoy receiving postcards from other potters with interesting shots of their work. Of course all the images in the various magazines catch my attention.
Of course the majority of images I took yesterday where pretty straight forward for entering shows and putting stuff up on my etsy site but the light bulb in my head turned on and I think that I needed some new interested images for postcards and my website.

There are unless things you can do with cups if they all stack well. I have a little "stage" under my back drop to raise up my images so I can only fit so many cups in a row on that. I keep telling myself that I really need to save up more pots and go visit the professional photographer so some higher quality photo's and cool close-ups.

Its good to spend a day just experimenting. I tend to do these things when really I have a ton of other pressing thing to do...like make pots for the next Blowing Rock show. Such is the mind of someone who tends to be all over the place some days and constantly has to remind myself to focus and priorities.
My art history students are ending the semester and school will be starting soon so even though having a vacation was nice, I sort of feel a tad bit behind myself. Next week I'm planning on getting some of my teenage helper to come over and play with my crew so hopefully I can knock a bunch of stuff out.
Today is my Dad's birthday so we are all pitching in to cook him a spectacular meal. Images to follow soon!