Posts that have been sitting in the back of my mind

Part 1

My father sent me an article a week or so ago from the NY Times on the death of Tatsuzo Shimaoka. Tatsuzo work was characterized as "mingei", which is a term that means "craft of the people". Potters such as Randy Johnson and Ruggles/Rankin make pots of this nature as well. Tatsuzo studied under Hamada who is the grand-daddy of all of this...I believe ( I'm sure if I'm wrong in my phrasing of this Ron Philbeck will correct me!) ....( Ron too makes pots similar to the mingei traditions).
Anyhow, I wanted to write about this because although I don't make pots in the mingei tradition I have really come to love the pots made this way. When I first started out at Cedar Creek gallery and we carried pots made by Wil and Douglas and others who made similar work, I always found the pots to be chunky and ruff. After I went to school and studied up at Penland I slowly grew to love these pots. They are as they are intended to be; honest, functional and subtle. Believe it or not, I have tried to make pots like this, and here is where I believe you create what comes from within. What I mean by that is your personality, experiences in life and everything that influenced you growing up comes out in creativity. I'm sure you can be taught to mimic something but if it the creativity that you are striving for, you will come up with something that is created from within. I hope that makes sense. Its just my own take on that......
Part 2
I had a good trip down memory lane at my home show. My friend Scott and Debi Smith showed up with a "mystery" gift for me. They told me the story of going into the Hospice good-will store in Rock Hill and eyeing a bowl that seemed very familiar to them. As they told the story with a grin on their faces, I had no idea that somehow from Greenville NC to Rock Hill SC one of my soup bowls from my thesis show in 1999 ended up here! When they took the paper off, it was like seeing an old friend. As they both said when they saw it that it had to be one of mine because it was organic in nature and had similar imagery on it that I do now. What was great about seeing this bowl was that it came out of the salt kiln I used for 5 years at East Carolina and it had this wonderful buttery glaze on it that I formulated years ago. The part of the bowl that took on the salt was a blue slip that I had drawn through with a small loop tool. The bowl had a small crack in it and Scott said that when he took it home and unwrapped it the bowl jumped out of his hand and crashed. When he told me that I had to grin to myself and think of how my funny mind views my pots as little creatures. That little bowl had to make its journey back to see me one more time to remind me of things to come with my new kiln!


Photo's from christmas

We had a great Christmas. Joey and I agreed that it was one of the best Christmas's we had. Not a lot of stress. Lots of family time, good gifts and everyone had fun. We went ice skating ( well the kids and I did while Joey watched. What an experience trying to teach 3 kids how to skate at once!) Joey cooked up a storm this Christmas. We had crab soup, lamb, ricotta pie and a host of other goodies. I got to play lots of games with the kids and just relax and I was showered with all sorts of great gifts! Joey even painted our bedroom which was my only request this Christmas. Here are some high lights from our day!

Here is a T-shirt my friend Scott made. Joey got one too! ( He just can't get away from being pulled into the world of pottery no matter how much he tries!)

Here's our tree. Look at all the loot under it!

This is Quaid with his "Christmas cat". I know Paws did not care for this bow but as my mom always says, cats need to earn their keep. The day after Christmas Clayton brought me a big juicy mouse as a gift. She loves me.....

Here are the girls using their new little ironing board I got them. I think the table this day was being used as a vet table for sick animals. As you can see you always have to work in your dance attire.


Happy Holidays from Me!

I just wanted to send everyone who reads my blog a "e-card" from me.

I really appreciate all the comments you guys leave for me. I even like that fact that I can look on my map of the world and be amazed at how many hits I get from all over. I know not everyone reads my mis- spelled/grammatical errors and thoughts, but it still very neat to see those red dots.

A very Happy Holiday to all. I wish for everyone a peaceful Christmas, a kinder world in the New Year, the hopes of better leadership to come for our nation and for us here in the South...more rain.

All my thoughts and good wishes.

Peace, Jennifer


Holiday Day

Today was a great day. The girls got to go to a cookie decorating party and that meant Quaid got me all to himself. We had a fun day of going to the pet store, toy shopping( well looking and saying what Santa was and was not going to bring) and a cheap lunch at Target. When I was little my big thing was to go to a place called Woolworth's and get a grilled cheese at the lunch counter with my mom. I was remembering how much I loved this while Quaid ate his chicken nuggets.

Later in the day and in the evening we made cookies. Here's my cake plate with some frosted up treats. Joey and I also made granola for our neighbors instead of cookies this year. I hope they eat stuff like that!!

The favorite part of my day was picking out a special mug for my mid-day coffee break. We have lots of 2nd's that we use as everyday mugs in our house. With kids you've got to sort of use things you won't cry over if they get broken. All my "fancy" mugs are on a shelf for all to see. Today I pulled down one of those. This mug is by Gay Smith and I wanted to show that we keep our coffee in a nice covered jar I made and the Splendar in a cup by Mark Peters. Boy that cup of coffee was soooooooooo good.

Here is my center piece for the dinning room table. My folks and my grandmother will be with us for Christmas this year. I can not wait to set my Christmas table!



I was starting to take the last of my pots in from my show the other night and thought I'd take a few photo's to post on the blog. I still have a great selection of pots for two galleries that I'm taking work too in January and February. This hardly ever happens and is never that case in my line of work! I also have some great pots for some new photo's to be taken. This is also a treat because usually making the pots for the slides I need. I guess maybe I am finally getting a head of myself with inventory which is a good feeling I just concluded!
Here are some candle sticks. They look like a small army to me!
These are my "rock cups". I call them that because I have a friend who bought a bunch of them to be used for mixed cocktails...which I thought was a good idea. Why use glass when you can drink out of pottery at a party. At least if you drop it, it may not break!
These vases are my twins. I try to make the arms and sides so they can fuse together nicely in the kiln. I just stack them next to each other and they fuse together nicely when they the lean towards one another.

Here are two pitchers. I enjoy the lines that I've draw on these because I think they make the piece look taller. I think I need to work on some reasoning and thought on where I put the sprigs.


Thinking, resting, searching

Its Sunday evening. All is quiet here. Today I got such the feeling of being an ordinary family. I'm sure this sounds a bit odd but it hit me around 11am after we had slept in and the kids where jumping on our bed, I got to watch Sunday Morning with a cup of coffee and the paper while the kids played. I then just picked up the house and planned a day of shopping and seeing a movie with my girls. No running to my studio in the back of my mind. This to me is probably what normal families do. There are many times I feel "un-ordinary" and weather this is good thing or not I'm lost in that thought a lot. When I really sit down and contemplate what I mean by this its my own insecurities of being a good mother, wife and friend while trying to satisfy this need for my own ambitions. Time and time again I can hear Linda Christensen say to me that she worked soooo hard to receive a very prestigious grant that when she finally got the money she just felt remorse". At the time I didn't really understand what she was trying to tell me but this year especially I think I finally do understand.
I think with rest does come some deep thoughts. I know I'm not the only one running through life so fast that I forgot to sit back and contemplate things. I am going to do that in the next few weeks. I feel good about somethings I accomplished this year but always fall back on weather I'm being more of a business person or creative person. Is selling more important or making more important? Do I make things for customers or for my peers? I'm at a real turning point with the building of this new kiln. Lots of new things to really think about. On my Christmas list this year I told my sister-in-law to get me a new sketch book. Mine is very beat up and I have a need for some clean crisp pages for ideas. I use my sketch book for very quick ideas and notes from workshops. My resolution this year is to carry it with me more places so I am forced to jot down all my thoughts while I sit in car pool lines and such.
I am excited for a new year in my studio. We may even try and get a home improvement loan so we can build and garage-studio for me! I need time away from producing. More time for the kids,games, thoughts, my husband and me. I like the using the word " decompressing" and "searching" because those are feeling that kept poking me in the back of my head today.

Holiday Show

I first have to apologize for totally forgetting my camera yesterday during my show. Putting everything together on Friday and having Mary Anna here with me and customers in and out, I totally forgot to document the days events. (I guess I haven't been the best blogger lately! )

With that out of the way..... the day was cold and rainy which did not seem to deter the York folks from coming out and supporting us. I had a lot of neighbors stop by and some folks from my children school. I of course enjoy visiting with my neighbors and fellow "York-y-ins" but having some of the Gastonia crowd come by really made me feel good. I don't think any of these people read my blog but I will say thanks to them for coming by. I never seem to get any kind of students or traffic from Charlotte which kind of gets me down sometimes but I guess I can understand the drive. There is no longer a shop here in town where I can sell my work so I think I just need to focus on the positive fact that I do my home shows for the folks I know here in town.

All day Friday Joey and I worked on getting the house cleaned up and decorated for the event. I'm happy to report that I had NO kiln cooling on Saturday morning to unload. I did however on Saturday morning feel the need to sleep in longer than I should have and we all where running around until the time we opened like chickens with our heads cut off. ( This is never a good role model for the children and I have proven time and time again that when we are stressed the kids act up). Quaid elected to hang out at the house with Mary Anna and myself all day and I think he really enjoyed seeing some adults he knew. The girls went Christmas shopping with their Dad and I was amazed he was able to keep them out for the entire day!

Here is a photo of just one of the items Mary Anna makes. They are bird houses with various found objects and pottery shards attached to them. They are pretty funky but lots of fun. Some of them even have my old pots attached to them!



The glaze kiln is cooling and I'm getting ready to head out and finish putting black stain on my next load of work. I made these really neat pillow ornaments that I'm excited to see when they are finally done. The girls sat outside with me yesterday and went crazy playing with clay while I put my "pillows" together. They where stamping leaves and rocks in my porcelain. Normally I would not want to spare any of it but the day was nice and since its before Christmas I want them to have some good memories and not any of mom just working constantly and they being inside on there own to fend with their toys. This weekend it all will come to an end and I'll take a break to enjoy time with them and the holidays.

Last night I had book club and enjoyed a topic that caused a heated debate among the group of ladies I meet with. This group is made up of friends of mine that I met when Quaid was a baby and I joined a "Mothers Morning Out" group at a near by church. Normally I would not have anything in common with most of these people but through out the years we have bounded with all the ups and downs of motherhood. With that being said there are about 10 ladies who are very Conservative in the group and only 5 of us who are on the other side of the fence. The book we read was by Michaiel Creichton on global warmer called State of Fear. Our next book was one I choose called Fast Food Nation. This is the second year I've participated in the group and although I don't always get the books read I do enjoy the chance to kind of step out of my comfort zone and hear other peoples view of things.

Thursday update: Just got back from going on a field trip with Quaid, my glaze out came out great and another bisque is cooling. Tomorrow will be the set up and people are already calling about needing to come a day early! Hopefully this is a good sign.

Two days ago I came in from my studio to find a little chip monk hopping around the kitchen. I was alone with the kids so you could just image when I called Quaid, my 7 year old for help, what it was like for the chip monk trying to be captured by a 7 year old boy and two screaming 4 year old girls. We never caught him but Quaid did try to make all sorts of cardboard box traps that night. Joey's answer was to let the cats get it. Of course I knew that the reason we had the chipmonk in the house was BECAUSE of the cats. Well one in particular. Anyways two days later, here I was sitting at my desk while the house was quiet and he came out again. This time I opened the front door and with in an hour I saw him find his way out.
This evening I was running back into the house to take a break from glazing and found a poor dead squirrel by my potters wheel and one smiling cat beside it!!!! I guess Clayton is trying to give me my Christmas gifts early.



Today the weather is back up in the 70's so my Christmas cheer is a little wishy-washy. Here is a flower that I noticed today that is also confused about what is going on. It makes me smile to see that it popped up from under all these leaves in one of my flower beds that looks all brown and asleep for the winter.

I"m doing my usual last minute rush to get ready for my home show. Really I"m not in a "panic" as I normally am, but I am finishing up stuff today and will start the kilns tomorrow...one after another. The big work is the state of my house. Keeping things pick-up is about all I have time for;cleaning isn't always a priority around here. Joey and I laugh about all the paint that is chipped on the molding and the dust that seems to be everywhere in the house. I think old houses come with invisible dust monkeys that drop more than normal houses because no matter how much you dust...there is always more. And did I mention that we live in a house that is over 100 years old! Thursday I am "borrowing" my parents cleaning lady and boy is she in for a shock! As for the studio and glaze barn, that will be my job and even though I do clean up after each big round of work, I REALLY need to do a bang up job just incase people want to see where I work and check out the new kiln. I haven't done a home show in 2 years!

On the family front, we had a busy weekend of running around to various Christmas parties, birthday parties and music concerts....very busy weekend for us! The kids only have a week and half left of school and Christmas will be here! The older they get the more I realise how much I love doing all the Christmas traditional stuff so they have great memories growing up.

I'll try to post some pottery photo's soon!


Doing it all

I get a treat today because Joey took a half day off so he's running the car pool and I've spent all morning paying bills and I'm about to go out and work. The temp. here is 35 so to me it is starting to feel like christmas. I grew up in Upstate NewYork so for a long time I got a little down about christmas here in the South without any snow. Since I've lived here now for over 20 years alittle bit of cold is all I need these days. ( I do hate christmas day if it is in the 60's!) But of course cold weather means a cold studio so I just turned my heater and I thought I'd take some time to post.

So far this week its been all about trying to decorate the house, shop and work all at the same time. Of course I am also still doing the norm that goes on around here - cleaning, homework ect. I always get a huge burst of energy around the holidays so in January I usually just lay low and
re coop. I love to go toy searching for the kids and of course get the best deals so I've been all over the place checking different things out before I spend any money. I like taking the girls with me so I can see what they really want. This year pretty much they want IT ALL. Quaid on the other hand has been bringing his lego catalog everywhere with him and only wants two things. Quaid got to hang out with me last weekend at the Clayworks show. He was very excited to finally get to go to a show that I was in. He did pretty good and entertained those folks who where working as well. ( Thank Elaine for talking to him about your work!)

In the studio I've been enjoying making cups, bowls, small dipping dishing and just basically not to much the requires a lot of assembly. I feel like I did most of that before the CDC so I'm enjoying just doing simple things. I am getting excited about my Holiday home show. It will be next Saturday , December 15th from 10 t0 5. This year my friend Mary Anna is going to bring some things that she's been working on. She makes there really cool bird houses out of found objects along with some wall pieces and other smaller items. I love hanging out with Mary Anna because she likes to laugh. It is always nice having someone to do a show with and keep you company just in case the crowd does not show up!

I think my studio should be warm by now. Hope your enjoying getting ready for the holiday!



Ok, so I just re-read what I wrote the other night. I just got around to editing whatever run-ons I had....which where a lot.

Maybe one day they will be able to put some sort of chip in people's heads that have learning issues. Today I noticed that Aydan has been writing her name backwards. I use to be able to write my name upside down and backwards. When I saw this I asked her if she does this a lot in school. She answered yes, but her teacher makes her change it. I do watch very closely how the children are doing with their learning because I just know my learning disability gene had to get passed down to one of them. It is still early to make a verdict about the girls but I see more signs with them then I ever did with Quaid and he has ADD. Anyways........if you've ever wondered how I got through grad school, I can recall many times Joey proof read everything I wrote including my thesis.


Bottled Water

I was listening to Fresh Air last week with Terry Gross on NPR and for two days in a row she had topics on that dealt with bottled water. One day a guy was talking about how bad the plastic was for humans to drink out of because they omitted toxic particles into your body. The next day another man said that making bottled water wasted a lot of water. As I was listening I was drinking my bottled water I had bought at the gas station. Boy did I feel guilty and sick feeling all at the same time. Of course I than for the next few days got hooked on thinking about how great it would be if I could make some sort of little flask with a cork in it so people could have bottled water in a clay bottle. Of course it would be kind of heavy but as for the cup holder thing, I do make tumblers that fit in my cup holders so it could be done.
This is just one of those thoughts that I'm sure I will never act on. I just keep rehashing it over and over in my head. I know one thing, I'm staying away from bottled water for awhile. The bad thing is I'm sure I'll go back to my diet coke!


Catawba Care Coalition

Today I packed up some pots that I'm donating and selling for this organization in Lancaster South Carolina. You can read more about the event and the fundraiser for World AIDS day. This evant is being held at Bob Doster's BackStreet Gallery in Lancaster SC. Here is a posting they sent to me last week.......

December 1st, from 7 until 10pm our gallery will be the host location for World AIDS Day: A Celebration of Art. Vignettes by Main Street Theater, Fashion Show by Luis Machicao, live music by a variety of regional musicians, and a hair design show by Varji & Varji’s Jeremy will entertain you as you sample wines & culinary delights from a multitude of local chefs! An incredible selection of artwork by artists from around the southeast will be on sale: paintings, pottery, fashion accessories, sculpture, drawings, photography, and more! A Bob Doster sculpture & gift basket chock full of gift certificates will be up for grabs, too! Tickets are only $25 in advance & $30 at the door. Proceeds benefit Catawba Care Coalition, which serves those living with HIV/AIDS in Lancaster, York, & Chester Counties. Check the website at http://www.catawbacare.org/.

Last night I enjoyed making some mugs, pie plates and starting on some large bowl orders. Tonight I my last class at Clayworks for the session. We are finishing up with trying some Majolica on bowls we are making for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Charlotte. I always have fun doing some other sort of decoration than my own with my class. Its kind of like my own mini play time in clay!


Christmas is officially here for Me

Tonight I got to watch "The Grinch", so I know that Christmas is here for me. When I was little my sister and I could pretty much re sight the whole cartoon. We use to tell my father that, " Maybe his socks where not on quit right or that maybe his head wasn't screwed on quit right!", whenever he was in a bad mood around this time of the year.
Its so good to be home and doing the things I always do after a show. I've cleaned my studio, re-packed my display, pugged clay and started throwing mugs. Things that are routine to us are comforting I've concluded.
I did get my letter in the mail today saying I got into the
Carolina Designer Craftsmen guild. Yah!!!!!!! Its nice when hard work really does pay off. I guess I can forgive myself for vitrifying all those pots a few weeks ago.
This Friday and Saturday I will be showing my work with my fellow potters/clay artists at Clayworks in Charlotte. There is always new stuff to see from all the great creative minds we have working there and renting space. Community studio's are so good for people who are just getting started in this business because you always have someone to bounce idea's off of and ask questions about the million things that can go right or wrong with the process or clay. Stop by if your around Charlotte this weekend!


Carolina Designer Craftmen show

Yesterday I returned from my "big show", as I like to call it. It turned out to be such a great experience for me and I was so happy I got a chance to do it! I had such a great time, a pretty good show for the first time and I just really liked doing this type of indoor venue that went on for more than one day. After all was said and done and I finally calmed down after the first opening day I had such a great time with all the other craftspeople I known through out the years. I had so many friends come to cheer me on and support me - thanks everyone it was so nice to see so many familiar faces !! I also met a lot of great new people who bought my work or just gave such great comments about it. When I was in my 20's I use to work in retail and I can't say I was the greatest at talking to people I didn't know. Now I can see that with age comes a sense of not caring whom you start up a conversation with and this has been one of the things I like the most about selling my work face to face! I also have to give so much credit to my family. My sister and her family, my parents,my mother-in-law and of course my right hand business manager/computer whiz/ handy-man and an entire list of other things.............my husband. Between babysitting the kids, getting me packed, set-up and broken back down , I could not have done it with out all of them. I have a great support group behind me and I'm so lucky!

Here are some shots of my booth and some of my fellow craft friends who where doing the show for the first time also. My booth shot is not so great because I think my lighting was so intense ( sorry), but you get the idea. Next week I find out if I got into the show via a letter.
All the new craftspeople ( and there where 19 of us) got judged on our booth and the work so I'm crossing my fingers for a shot at next year!
Here is Kelly O'Briant's booth. That is her and Ronan Peterson chatting on Sunday. Kelly did a Circle of Eight sale with us last spring! Her work is so nice!Here is Ronan Peterson's booth. Ronan's work is very fun. I own 2 of his bowls now and my kids love to eat out of them. Ronan also was in a show with the Circle of Eight gang this summer.Here is my friend Betty McKim and her husband George. I've known Betty since I first came to Raleigh and worked at Cedar Creek Gallery. I own many of her pieces and we have a such a funny friendship. I love doing shows with Betty because we just have a great time together.

I'll post some more about our Thanksgiving and what I'm up to now that I'm back. I need to get going on finishing my final report for my grant/kiln report. ( My poor kiln just sits out there waiting to get the final finish on it....got to run!)

( I just had a mental image if me in a super hero cape dashing off...maybe I need my mother-in-law to make me a costume like all the ones my kids own....or maybe I should just barrow one of there's. )


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
We are all here in Raleigh for about 4 days staying with my sister Pam and her family. Today she cooked a good feast for the 12 of us and we celebrated Quaid's 7th birthday! ( I have no idea how he got to that age so fast!)
We got here on Wednesday and Joey , my brother-in-law and I headed over the show to start setting up. My brother-in-law is a whiz at everything so I knew he could help me figure out how my lights show go in my booth. It was so exciting seeing my black curtains all up and getting my booth display up also. Joey and Dave ended up going to Lowes and getting me these awesome high tec lights for my booth which just made it look so put together. Tomorrow I'm heading over there in the morning to finish setting up by myself and than at 6pm the shows opens! Very Exciting! There are lots of familiar faces for me doing this show since I once lived here in Raleigh, which is nice.

Up top is a postcard for my open house Dec. 15th from 10 to 5pm. I've been working so hard and plan on getting right back to work once I get home to make more stuff so I have a good selection for my home show. I haven't done a holiday show in 3 years and I kind of missed that. Its fun having all the decorations up in my house and my pots on display in the living room. It also gives me an excuse to have a day of eating nothing but appetizers and sweets!!

Give a big round of applause once again for my husband who did the postcards for me along with a thousand other things to help me get ready for this show.


Kiln Out

I unloaded my first glaze and was thrilled! This photo may not look like much because its in my shed with lots of junk around the pots but to me I was so excited because I had only one glaze run in the whole lot and for me , this is super. ( My glaze makes for a lot of grinding some days). I'm still plugging along. My kids have a big program for grandparents day tomorrow and today I spent the morning with Quaid in his class because we celebrated his 7th birthday. He was a Thanksgiving baby! This may be my last post before I"m off to Raleigh, but who knows, I may post while I"m away...keep checking in!

Have a great Turkey Day!


On Track

Quick update...here's my calendar and I'm up to date!( So far so good.) Isn't it a mess? I've had a bunch of school functions and more next week. The kids have been really great about letting me work in the afternoon after school. They have been playing play dough, out in the leaves and watching some movies so it has worked out pretty good. Today I start to glaze-3 loads to get in! Wish me luck!

Here are a bunch of flower blocks!


Movin' Along

Nine more days until my big show. I'm so excited to see how this all comes together and if I can pull this off! The booth, all the pots, keeping things organized ect.- its a lot but I think I am up for the challenge. Slow and steady wins the race, Quaid reminded me of this saying the other day so I'm taking it to heart every day. Its not just all that I need to remember for the show; we will all be in Raleigh for 4 days and that means getting all the kids packed and organized as well.We will be at my sister house for 4 days and she has not had us all there before and I think she is bit worried and out of practise when it comes to entertaining little kids. We are lucky in that we get two days to set up for the show so I feel like I can really make my booth look very good and get super organized rather than throwing it up 2 hours before a show. For the most part I'm back on track with making and fireings this week. I still have to get my lighting worked out for the show and purchase a rug for my booth display. I found this really cool one at Lowes that is black with white swirls in it that I think will be perfact with my booth set up and work. My friend Brain made me a new desk/check out stand along with some very nice risers so it is all coming along slowly. Tomarrow is another full day in the studio!


So..it can be done

I got my kiln unloaded today with the pots I vitrified and yes, believe it or not I did manage to glaze them and have them come out. What a miracle! (I truly pulled that one right out of thin air.)
So...I thought what a better technical piece of advice that I should post on my blog than how to glaze something that is vitrified! Most people post about how to do something right and yes....here I am about to post about how to fix a very big flub up if it ever happens to you.

Here's what I did~ I put my bottom two elements on Md. and set the pots in the kiln and heated them up for about 1/2 hour with the lid cracked about 4 inches. Then I put on gloves, got my tongs and started dipping them as fast as I could. You have to keep the pots upside down so all the glaze runs towards the top in stead of the bottom of the pots( where it wants to go...off the pot). What you want is for the heat to dry the glaze on there as fast as it can since the clay has lost all its porous qualities. I would dip about 4 pieces and then go back and do another coat while the piece was still warm. Layer upon layer is the key along with the heat. Then I took a little dish of glaze, put it in the kiln and let some of the water evaporate. This was for the inside of pieces. I would set the glaze piece back in the kiln, warm it up again and then pull it out to brush pretty thick glaze on the inside. Now, I was just doing cups, mugs and small pitchers so this all worked pretty well. I'm sure vitrifying a teapot and trying to salvage that would be very hard because the tongs are the key to not burning your hands. It was all a very long, messy and tedious mistake but I needed the pots for an order and I figured the amount of time it took fooling with them was worth saving the pots.
I know one thing about all this, I'm going really start paying attention the next time I stick a cone in my sitter!


Letting stuff drop

I had a student last night tell me a story about her sister who is a single mom of two girls and how she had called her crying about how hard it is for her to be responsible for everything. My student is not married nor has any kids so she was telling me how she had told her sister she was in such awe of her for all she did. Whenever I hear about a single mom I am always in awe and have so much empathy for them. I have a lot of help and I still wake up in the morning and feel like I am on a race the rest of the day until I get in bed at night. Some mornings I feel like I actually shake from all the adrenalin that I've produced on the way back from dropping the kids off at school and thinking about all that I need to accomplish while they are there. (Of course maybe coffee has something to do with this as well). Going to the gym has helped get rid of some of the thought induced energy which is good but some days I am still buzzing by 3pm.
I'm telling this story because often I describe my life as trying to keep all the ball that I'm juggling up in the air and not letting any of them drop.Of course no human can do it all and pretty much weather its what is going on with one of my kids, the house, my husband, my studio work or I guess just myself, ultimately something drops. This week it was putting the wrong cone in my bisque kiln and vitrifying a load of pots. Doesn't that just make your stomach sink!!!!
Well like most of these times I go through those thoughts of kicking myself for about a day or so and then I convince myself that I can fix it some how, which for the most part I did. I did of course something that I always tell my students you can't do- glaze vitrified work. I put those suckers in my kiln, heated them up until I could hardly touch them and dipped away...heating, dipping, heating, dipping. It was a mess. For the most part they came out but I do have some bare spots I need to re fire again and of course they are not my best looking pots beacuse the glaze is thin. I'm laughing about it now but I still feel like a lame brain. I keep thinking that some of the great potters I'm sure do these same lame brain things and if they don't...well maybe that is why they are great.
To top my week off, this morning while racing the clock to get the kids out of the door we saw one of our cats race through the house and Quaid yell "there's a bird in the house"!! Sure enough Clayton had pulled a cardinal in through the cat door and the bird was catching its breath way up high in the kitchen on a pot. Joey did manage somehow to get the bird out of the house while I shut two screaming girls and the cat in the front of the house and continued my quest to get them to school on time. I swept up little feathers this morning before going out to work. Never a dull moment here......



Today is Tuesday but I'm still thinking the weekend. I had made a big calendar Friday that I hung on my studio door telling me all I needed to do each day. Well, I'm still working on some of the things today that I had posted for Sunday, hence my time warp issue.

I forgot to mention that Saturday I took Joey on a little excursion for his birthday. He wrote more about it on his blog Smakeapple but it was one of those few weekend days in a long time I did not do any work. We went up to a winery about 2 hours away from here called Childress Vineyards. I really wanted to do something as special for him on his birthday as he had done for me but I just didn't have the funds or the time since it is fall and I'm feeling slammed with getting as much stuff made and sold as I can. We had a nice day together just the two of us, and that evening some friends of ours came over with there children to just hang out. Very low key and for the most part, that is what Joey is all about so I think he enjoyed the day. ( Hopefully maybe when we are older I can surprise him with some far away destination!)

Today I made glazes and finished up some boxes. Boxes take so long to make/finish. I think each box took me at least an hour to clean up, put feet on, make flanges for the lids and "dress" so to say. I finally admitted to myself that I really hate making glazes. I wonder if anyone really likes doing that?? Tonight I have to glaze and get a kiln loaded for two orders that need to go out. I'm really stressing about getting everything done for Thanksgiving weekend. I decided not to do the Carolina Pottery festival this weekend. I could of shared a booth with someone but I just do not have the work or time to spare.

Here are my butter dishes. I thought they kind of looked like little chickens roosting!


Quick post

Daylight saving time is something I always look forward to but today it has kind of thrown me off a bit. That and the fact I have a cold so my head is a bit foggy today and I'm walking around in a fog. I'm just taking a quick lunch break to check my email. This morning Joey and I worked on getting my plastic up on my studio-porch. I was freezing last week and when that happens I'll find every excuse not to work late.
Friday I went and got more bricks for my chimney. We also attempted to finish up my chimney stack but found that the bricks where not exactly the same size as my other bricks so we are going to have to do some cutting. Joey felt like we needed to wait until right before the guy comes to weld the whole thing together because he has fears of the chimney getting to high and it tumbling down. I guess anything is possible so I agreed with him. I really hope the guy who's helping me with the welding can come next weekend because I need for this project to be done soon!
Today I'm firing a bisque and working on boxes plus packing up pots for our Circle of Eight show next weekend at the WoodenStone Gallery in Davidson. I'm waiting to hear weather I'm going to do the Carolina Pottery Festival next weekend or not...I was on the waiting list and it may be a blessing in disguise considering I'm feeling a bit behind in my potting.
Hope you had a good weekend!


Some good info.

There has been a lot of talk back and forth between people about weather or not to cancel your pottery magazine subscription or not. I'm a bit ashamed to say I still get mine but my reasoning behind this is so I can enter national show and get my work out there some more. Most of the time I look at CM just once when I get it, comment to myself about what I DON"T like in there ( or do ) and go straight to the back for the show info and enjoy finding out of who is where and doing what. I do read Clay Times because the people who write the articles in there are pretty funny and easy to understand.
Today I got my CM in the mail and in the front there had there Buyers Guide section. I have to admit it had some great useful information in there that I think I will post on my walls in my studio for reference or copy for my students. Here is some of the information I thought was useful just in case you don't get Ceramics Monthly but just want to buy this one issue.
* How Glazes Melt
* Primary Function of Common ceramic materials
*The many faces of Iron
*Brushes for China Painting
*Making perfect Plaster
* Repair your elements in a electric kiln
( Something I did not know much about in Grad school since I only used gas/salt kilns)
*How low voltage effects firing time
( Again, electric firing sometimes is not as simple as everyone thinks it is and you need help in understanding things like this)
*Kiln fireing chart( great for students)
*Temp. equivalents for ortan cones
*Glossary of common terms
( Great for teaching when you need to find the def. for a term that is not is those thousands of books you have on your personal ceramic book shelf!)

I hope everyone had a good Halloween! We had a great time but the photo's did not come out that great. Just for the record we had a Wonder Women, Spider-Girl and Ninja at our house. They had more fun handing out candy when they came home than going to get candy I think. I had a nice visit on my porch with my friend MaryAnna - pizza and wine while Joey took the kids around. We got tons of trick-or-treaters here so its always a good night to be out of the studio.


Cups and such

(Santa really needs to bring me a new digital camera this christmas)
Here are some large mugs and the pitchers I've been working on. I'm not sure how I like the designs on the cups but we will see once they come out of the kiln. I do like always making different sorts of mugs just so people can collect different ones from me. I had a special order for big mugs and since I had a good response from the mugs I did for Cedar Creek with the drawing on them, I thought I'd try some drawings on these. We'll see......

I am happy with these pitchers! I can't wait to see how these come out. I'm always working on my spouts and this time I added a bit of clay to the tip after I pulled them. It give the spout a little more room for the liquid to flow out of it I think.

Today I'm working on Halloween costumes and I visited a new gallery that wants to carry some of my work. The owner is a painter, so she was easy to work with. I find that when a gallery is owned by a former artist, they seem to be more easy going.

I'm hoping tonight after dinner we can get the plastic up in my studio. It was freezing out there last night even if the temp. was just 30 ( or something like that). I'm getting to be a wimp about the cold the older I get. I did start working on my butter dishes so hopefully I will be able to push on from there with my sets.( I'm dieing to make more dinner dishes to draw on but I'm going to try and stick to my plan!)

Check back for some Halloween Photo's!


Its already Oct,27th

I can't believe I have not posted since the beginning of the week! I had a lot of emails to return in the evening and found myself napping off when I got on the computer to post my thoughts. So..its Saturday and here I am.

I had kind of a slow work week after I had planned to do so much. Here on the ( southern)east coast we did get the much needed rain we had been hoping for months to get. It was a nice light rain which made me happy and Joey too since I didn't get all bent out of shape about my neighbor and the on going water issue. I'm sure someday soon we'll have another monsoon rain and I'll be out there up in arms about the arch I'm going to have to build for my kids and two cats. ( Where was I with this.....oh yes...pots, work ect.) My pots due to the moisture took forever to dry. I didn't even get to my sets this week. At the last minute the urge to throw lots of pitchers and small mugs came to me. I love making pitchers almost as much as mugs and each time I try to make them better than the last. The last bunch I made had one really great one in the batch and its at the show at Gaston College. If I get it back I'm going to save it for a slide.

Still no bricks to finish the chimney. I tried to get some in Gastonia last week but was unsuccessful. This week coming up I'm going to have to go the opposite direction in search of the last 60 I need.

I also got a little side tracked by going to a new YMCA in a little town on my way back from taking the kids in the morning. This has been a big issue with me since I've had kids. Getting my weight back to normal and getting back in an exercise routine has been the hardest thing for me to accomplish. I use to go to the gym and walk religiously before the kids came. After that and we moved here to York it has been a struggle to enjoy the YMCA we have here. Its old, dirty and the nursery is horrible. Every time I took the kids I spent the entire workout feeling guilty that they where in a dirty environment. I just could not do that to the kids so I just would not go or just go for a super short work-out. Well not only do I not have to worry about the kids, but this YMCA is super clean and I was thrilled to stop there on my way home and get in a work out. Hopefully I am on the right track again to feel good about myself and get healthy again.

This is a big week for the kids. HALLOWEEN! Friday we did the fall carnival at school and this evening we made carmel apples. Tomarrow we cave our pumkins and than it is off and running for the school week and lots of party stuff I"m sure. ( You know I'll have lots of photo of that!)
Here's a little lady bug painting McKenna brought home for me this week. Children's art is just the best!


William Morris

As I said, Monday I spent my studio morning at the Pumpkin Patch with the girls and of course they had a blast. Since the kids go to school 30minutes away from where we live and the girls get done with school at 12:30, I ended up having some time I had to kill after the field trip. I've learned in the last two years that spreading the Christmas/Santa shopping out over the course of three months is the best thing for our budget so I was off the my favorite discount haunts to find some treasures. This trip turned out to be not very successful for the kids but I was thrilled to find a wonderful book on the Arts and Crafts movement that was dirt cheap for me! I use a lot of furniture and fabric books when I get stuck on something to make or a new pattern to inspire me. I have always loved anything made during this movement especially the patterns that William Morris created. There is something about the flow and detail of his sketches, fabrics and wallpaper that I can view and find new things for hours. They are almost like looking at old stain glass windows. Your eye gets lost in the color and endless pattern that goes on. If you ever get a chance to go the Virgina Museum of Art in Richmond Virginia, it has one of the best Arts and Crafts display that I have seen in any museum.

Here are the girls!



Its Sunday, late in the afternoon and all is quiet in the house so I thought I would try and sit down and write.

Yesterday and today where very nice days to work in the studio. The weather is just right, not to hot and not to cold to enjoy my screened in porch. Joey had made a new disc of Ryan Adams and Wiskey Town so I was in heaven singing along and throwing pots. As I said, so far I have been all about a lot of production pieces. Cups, bowls ect. I have to admit, some days I do like the repetitive work of making a lot of one thing. I guess its one of those times "getting in the zone" and enjoying just the feel of the clay and how your brain after so many years of throwing can just tell you hand what to do. My plan is to split all these huge amount of items up into various boxes and store things away for my big show in Raleigh and other smaller ones I have in November. I have to keep on telling myself that the more I make now the less stressed I will be about my inventory come Thanksgiving. I do have a few small orders that keep certain items at the for-front this month but pretty much it up to me to decide what I want to make for the CDC show.

We had a nice family weekend also. Friday we had movie/pancake night. This year I have started a tradition that the kids like where we have breakfast for dinner every Friday and this Friday we got the movie Flushed Away and we all sat in the living room and enjoyed that. On Saturday we took the kids to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This is the 3rd times I've been and this experience of watching all sorts of people dress up never ceases to amuse and intrigue me. Joey and I really get a kick out of trying to understand what types of people dress as which characters ( ie. peasant girls, royalty, fairies ect.) along with the performers that travel around doing these festivals for a living. Of course the girls dressed up in one of there many princess dresses and all Quaid was transfixed on was being able to go into the dungeon display. ( Here's Quaid and McKenna in the photo.)

Today was spent having my grandmother over while my parents where away on a trip. She sat outside and entertained them by making newspaper hats and telling stories while I listened and thought how lucky they are to have 98 year old to spend time with.

Tomorrow I have a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch with the girls so I will lose some studio time that hopefully Tuesday I can make up. This week on my list of things to make are butter dishes and small sets of things.

Have a good one and check back for some photo's.



This week went by to quick. It seemed like the weekend had just been here and its Friday again..not that I'm complaining. Going to Gaston College this week really broke up my usual routine so I got more of a taste of what my life would be like if I was teaching more during the week. I had only three mornings in my studio and it just wasn't enough for the peace of mind I've gotten use to since September. As far as getting back to work I stuck to my routine of making simple forms before I dive back into the more tedious pieces. Lots of bowls and tumblers out in my shelves.

Today the girls and I enjoyed an afternoon outside. I racked leaves and the girls jumped in the small pile I had gotten together for them. I love to rack leaves because it feels like such an accomplishment when I get a good number of piles all over the yard. I also figure its some form of exercise and since these days for me that is few and far between I try to do whatever I can when I have the kids in toe. Pretty much all of our neighbors own leaf blowers and although I'm sure they are very handy to use, once again the noise just bothers me. Some nights I hear people using them pretty late and I always think "why "? As I was racking leaves and the girls where having so much fun in them I was thinking back on the first year we moved to this house. Quaid was only 6 months old and I would put his little sweater on, lock the gates and rack the yard while he just crawled everywhere around the yard. There was so much for him to explore we would stay out there for an hour together and he was as happy as a clam. Now he's into riding his bike everywhere out there!

Another reason I like racking leaves is because our house is in the center of an old Pecan grove. Every other year we get a huge amount of nuts and I want to make sure this year I don't one nut. The frost that came late here in our area really did a job on all the plants we can tell that the pecan crop is not going to be great his year. I have sort of a love hate relationship with these trees because although I do like getting the free pecans, the trees are so brittle that we lose lots of limbs during storms and I'm so afraid of one going through our roof some day. I would love to know how old these trees are or when they where planted.
Bed time!



I took time away from throwing yesterday morning and decided to finish as much as I could with the bricks I had for the chimney. Its at the point where its to high for me to put anymore bricks up there myself. The next step is to figure out how many more bricks I will need before I can add the stack on the top. I need Joey's help to measure and get up on the roof of the kiln shed. I have a lot of reservations about how high my shed is still but it is too late now to worry about that. Here are some photo's of yesterdays accomplishments!

Today was my demo at Gaston College which I think went pretty well. There where a lot of students that came and went with the change of classes and one pottery class that hung around the entire demo. My friend Vicki Gil showed up, which was nice...thanks Vicki for the support! So, we'll see if I inspired any students to sign up for the class in the spring. Tonight I'm excited to throw. Last night I did make some just simple bowls and some things for my demo today.


Photo's from show

Here are some photo's from the Barn Sale/ClayMatters Guild show in Charlotte. I had a good show and the weather was wonderful.

This is Amy Sanders, who I talk a lot about in my blog and my tent next to hers. Her husband made my set and as you can see, its just like Amy's only black. I love my shelves!

I opened my kiln at 5am on Saturday ( yes it was all cool) and found my flowers blocks had come out perfect! I was so happy and finally felt like the pottery gods finally gave me an A for effort. I've worked on these forever to get all the kinks out and finally I feel like I got it. I did sell 3 of these yesterday and got great feed back on them.

On the other side of me was Ron Philbeck. In fact, all of the Circle of Eight where together on the same row. I think we all find this fun because we tend to congregate behind our tents and visit.....probably more than we should. I should of taken a photo behind our tents because mine looked like a bomb went off behind it yesterday. I had to do the show on my own and boy did I miss Joey.

Here is one of my square flower blocks. I'm not sold on this shape and the glaze didn't do what I wanted it to, but all in all it came out.
Here I am with two of my students towards the end of the day. I was so tired yesterday. By 2 I was feeling so loopy! I think I'm standing here half listening and half feeling like I'm going to fall over! I got to see a lot of my students which is always great. Its taken me a while to feel comfortable at shows. It helps being around lots of friends and familiar faces.

I'm going to actually go and sit down and watch some TV this evening. Its my vacation day after a show. I always need a day off although I did work on the chimney of my kiln today. Monday I'll be unpacking from the show and pugging clay for throwing Tuesday. The kids are off from school tomorrow for a teachers work day so I'll come up with something fun to do in the morning and maybe in the afternoon I can sneak away to the studio.



The day before a show I've learned to calm everything down and not rush around at the last minute. Joey took the day off and has the total job of kid duty today. ( He's been running car pool duty and making lunches ect. so I could get some much need extra sleep...what a guy). I have my last kiln cooling , which I will unload this evening. My kiln two days ago had some more pin holing issues that I'm still not sure how to totally resolve. I've soaked, I've rubbed down my glaze surface before putting my pots in the kiln, I've changed my bisque temp., there is never one factor that determines why sometimes they come out great and other times I just have to re fire like made. My salt work can not come soon enough in my eyes even though I know I will have knew issues.

I wanted to let everyone know that I calmed down from the last post about my neighbor. Lots of times I just like the drama of my day even though it was true, the noise did get to me. All I could think about was how during the gulf war they used music to try and smoke out the enemy. I can see how this would work! There is a great line from a song by the group Del Ametri that goes " I sometimes think to much but say nothing at all". When I can't turn my mind off about something that I know I'm not going to act on, I hum this to myself. Maybe one day I can catch my neighbor off guard and in a comical way I can get my point across about the music. ( Or so I'd like to think.....)

Wish me luck on Saturday. Have a good weekend- enjoy October where ever you are in the world! I'm heading outdoors with my cat Paws to wait for the kids to come home from school. I'm looking forward to seeing my pots come out of the kiln all shiny. I am really liking what I'm doing with leaving some white on the edges of my pieces. Its nice to get to a place you like and then go from there. It feels like an accomplishment that you didn't see coming but just showed up one day.


Senses on high alert

Is there a full moon happening this week?
The reason I ask is because I've been bouncing off the walls this week and my sense of sound, smell and intuition ( which I know is not really a sense but I like to add it in) are all on super overload. I guess getting ready for the Barn Sale has been the top of my to do list but I've had a lot of other very important pressing issues that have also come up this week. Some times when everything falls together I just put one in the back of my " to do" list but this week I've had a huge burst of energy with an urgency to do it all. One of the twins is having some uneasy feelings at school and intuition came into play because I could sense all week even before Aydan had a huge melt down in front of school that something was going on with her.
As for smell, I think I've had a burst of energy because the outside just smells of fall and I can feel that cool air is around the corner. October has always been my favorite month. I think I should of been born in this month. My first date with Joey was in October so naturally we had to get married in October. I always feel so happy in October and know that the holidays are here. Everything smells like leaves and pumpkin pie to me even if they are no where to be found. You know how a cat sort of sniffs the breeze and grins when it goes outside in the crisp air? Well, I've felt this way all week.
Last but not least...sound. I hate to say it, but I'm back to my neighbor. My peaceful world in my studio has been interrupted again by the noise next door.I think all potters need that zone to work. I get into my space, my quietness, my thoughts and I know the other me, the mom, the wife, ect. goes away. I like to hear the birds, they make me think. I like the sounds of the fire trucks downtown when they are racing to a fire. All these noises I'm use to and they part of my work cycle. This time the new noise next door that is upsetting my world is not going away I know its not going away. This makes me anxious and antsy. I have trouble enjoying throwing, thinking, working and I have no solution for it, just like the water problem. The four set of speakers on the back and side of my neighbors house point towards my studio. Each day and most nights I am forced to listen to new country, not something I enjoy. I don't know what to do about it. Today its been on since 9 AM and its still going at 10 even though no one is outside. Am I just really getting old or what ???? I think any music for 13 hours would wear a person down. I wonder what would happen if I blared Sesame Street for 13 hours his way. Even better yet since I know he is very conservative, I'll get out my old Grateful Dead tapes!!! Do you think I would get my point across??? I think I need to go back to doing Yoga to cleanse my thoughts and tell my inner voice that it would not be a good idea to sneak over and cut all the wires leading to the speakers THAT FACE MY STUDIO.
.....like I said, my senses are on high alert this week......time to go to bed.
Ok, I've cleansed....I feel better. Thanks for listening!


Proof I'm working

So much to report about but really nothing that is super news. Lots of thoughts, lots of kids stuff and just general things through out the day that I say to myself "I need to put that on my blog". Seems I forget half of them now that I am here. I'm very tired this evening because Joey is out of town and its been a long weekend. Tomorrow is our 8th wedding anniversary and as always we would of liked to have gotten each other spectacular gifts or something like that but not this year again. Instead we did go out to dinner this weekend with some of our York friends and the restaurant was not expensive and very good. So, that was our anniversary, hopefully Joey will be able to come back from his away business for our real anniversary tomorrow. I'm going to try and whip up a good meal for the occasion. So its Monday, my kids have been on fall break so I've lost a lot of studio time but I've tried to make the days fun since we did not go on a vacation. Most of the fun centered around Halloween, which by the way in my favorite holiday. I wish more adults around here would be into it because it is so fun to dress up. ( Now you know why my kids run around in dress up cloths all day!) Tomorrow everyone is back at school and I'm racing the clock once again for my show on Saturday. In the morning I plan on glazing and hopefully if that does not take to much time I'll be able to finish up some more pots for the next firing.

Here is proof that I have been working. More flower blocks( Ron, these have about 100 parts to them....inside joke) but a shape I only have tried one other time. I have some big vases, soup bowls and covered jars in the next shot. As always I'm anxious to see how everything comes out of the kiln when its all said and done. Always a nervous feeling picking up the lid.

Enjoy your Tuesday!


Favorite things

Every time I go over to Amy Sanders house I'm envious of these cool little niches her husband Brain built in their walls. These little boxes house all sorts of little "treasures" mostly made out of clay and they look great to someone who collects pots. It almost like having a framed painting on the wall!

I pretty much either use the pots I buy from people or they get put in this cabinet that has a glass door on it in our living room. No one can really see the pots unless they look really closely through the glass or pick them up for that matter. So about a year ago I was on a quest to find one of those little shelves that sort of mimicked what Amy had in her home. I found this one at Lowes and it has been sitting on the floor in our bedroom for about a year. Since we live in an old house and the wall are made of plaster, the perfect home for it was not do-able. Last weekend we got some new furniture from my grandmothers house and changed some things around so....Vo La! Here is my shelf with all my little favorite things on it. ( Well most of them). I still am sort of flinching every time my small herd of elephants come thundering through the house. For some reason little feet can make such a loud noise!
( For anyone who tryed to log on to some of those blogs I pointed out, I have fixed the proublem and it should work now.)


Bloggin' buddies

I have some buddies who have started to "blog". ( Sounds kind of like a dance........) Anyways, I wanted to put a little blurb about each one of them up on a post for other people to check out.

Amy Sanders is someone in my Circle of Eight group that I talk about a bit in my posts. Amy's work is so fun and creative and I think she's going to go a long way in the pottery lime light very soon. Amy is one of the nicest, genuine and goofy people ( in the best way!) and I hate that I don't get to spend more time with her because she makes me smile. Check out her pots, they'll make you smile also I'm sure.

Elaine Spallone is a student down at Clayworks where I teach. I have not had the pleasure of having Elaine in any of my classes but she is someone with an infectious smile always and has really found her own voice in clay. Go to her website because you will be truly inspired. As she puts it , she lives floating three inches above the ground because she sustained a spinal cord injury about 18 years ago. She had been working for I think the last year or so on these great skull head that celebrate the tradition of Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. They are very cool!

Scott Smith and his wife and kids are good friends of ours. Scott is also one of my students and has the pottery bug! His website is just called Random thoughts but he does talk a bit about pots and reminds me of how hooked I was from the start and couldn't get enough time in my days to just explore this new love I had found. Anyways, Scott's blog is well written and he has some funny just day to day stories about his family and really just "random thoughts". His last post was about a boating trip that went wrong and how he really just had in the back of his mind that he should of been out visiting a pottery and not on a river that weekend.

Win some loose some

I have a really good friend in Raleigh who is a jeweler and our lives kind of mimic each other a lot. Well more like my life mimics hers. She is older than me and has twin boys who have just graduated from college. I use to be her boss years ago at Cedar Creek and at the time her boys where young and she and her husband always drove old cars, lived in a small house and where always trying to just make ends meet. I think I always wondered why they where not further along in life when I was fresh out of college and knew it all. Well now that I'm 40 and Betty is over that hump, she gets a chuckles out of my life because I have basically what she had now that I am married with children. We have a great friendship because we can raze each other about anything and doing a craft shows together is always fun because she is such a hoot! Since Betty was a lot younger than I was when she had her boys she is just know apply to the same shows that I am apply for. We both applied to the ACC in Charlotte again this year and both got wait listed again. The funny part of the story is that Betty kept emailing me asking if I had heard anything and since I'm so caught up in everything else in my life it just had not even crossed my mind to check on the website. Today she called me frantic to find out if I had heard anything. Finally whe I found out that the information was up for me to see, there where phone calls and emails back and forth between the two of us today trying to pick the other one up about not totally getting in. Next year I'll try again and hopefully Betty and I will both get in.

I did get some good news today about another show for me that was a shot in the dark. I got three pieces in a traveling show for Sc artists. It seems that South Carolina has a old connection/history to Barbados, West Indies and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor put together a show with artists from Barbados and South Carolina. The title of the show is The Connection and will travel around the state and then end up in Barbados. The cool thing is if you win an award your plane ticket will be payed for to go and be at the opening! I was thrilled to get three pieces in the show and I'm curious to see the other art work that was selected. It was one of those application that someone just sent to me over the net and at the last minute I applied for. Sometimes the shows you don't think to much about are the ones you get into. Go figure! Like I said, you win some you loose some.


Spider Lillies

I always know Fall is here when the Spider Lillie's start popping up all over town and in my yard. I just love these flowers. When I first moved here and found them in my yard I could not figure out why anyone would plant a bulb of such a pretty flower in the middle of the yard. (Of course I soon realised that they grow everywhere around here.) The really funny thing about the flowers in my yard is that every fall when one comes up in a strange location, I dig it up and transplant it in one of my flower beds. Strangely enough the next year one pops up in another odd location and the one's in my flower bed only sprout maybe one flower. This batch came up in my front bed where I know I did not plant them last year. This weekend when I wasn't looking the girls picked a bunch of these flowers ( without asking I might add) so I gathered up a huge bunch after they where done playing "wedding" with them and put them in a vase inside. It gave me a chance to look at them more closely and I was thinking how they look like some of the imagery I've been doing lately on my pots. I tend to enjoy doing representations of flowers instead of real varieties. Since this flower is so unique, it almost looks sort of made up from some one's imagination.

Anyways, they are pretty cool and caused me to think more on my walk this morning about what I'm doing on the current pots I'm working on. Enjoy the photo!


New Week

I've always wondered why Monday's tend to be the busiest day of the week. Today I was running around everywhere and didn't get any time in the studio. I had parents conferences, shopping to do, phone calls to make..well you get the picture. I did get out to the studio about 8:30 and here I am at 11. Slumped some lids for more covered jars I'm making, threw some more big platters( the others one where a special order and wedding gift...one didn't make it through the glaze firing) and trimmed some big bowls. All day yesterday when I was driving around in the car I was trying to think of the best things to make for the up coming Barn Sale for the Charlotte Claymatters guild sale. I've only got another week to make stuff!

The Chimney * I started putting the chimney up on Sunday but we came to a stopping point because I really wanted all hard brick back in the flue and we realized we couldn't do that with the amount of bricks I had left. So..we stopped and I decided that I'd nose around for more bricks this week. If I can't drum up the bricks I may just go as far as I can and then start dipping the soft bricks totally in one of the recipe's I have for coating insulating fire bricks in a salt kiln. I will have to sit and think about this a bit more.
That's it for now!J


Shows and Friends

I'm in a few shows this October so I thought I'd put some links and thoughts about a few of them up this evening. Here a shot of my glass blowing friend and former boss Lisa Oakley. Cedar Creek is having their 40th Anniversary and on the link you can read a wonderful letter Lisa wrote about all the years it took for her father and mother to start this great gallery and the effect it had on the potters who had studio's there, the staff that worked in the gallery ( such as myself) and there family. Reading this note from her made me feel better about all the hard decisions and up and downs we go through with myself trying to make it as a potter so I can do what I love to do. Lisa, her Dad Sid and my good friend Brad Tucker always had great stories about the "early" days at Cedar Creek and I use to love to hear them laugh and talk about some of the wacky things they did to stay afloat. Here's the link if your interested - go to "A note from Lisa" to read what she has to say......Cedar Creek Gallery.

Another show that I'm in is a cup show at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts. I just got the card for it the other day and saw some great names on there like Gay Smith and Julia Galloway just to name a few. To have my stuff anywhere outside of NC/SC always thrills me to death. Its so cool to think someone way across the US has one of my pieces.

So far the weekend has been pretty good. The Circle of Eight group met Friday night for a meeting at Julie Wiggins house. Of course our dinners are always great, served on great pottery and we all have fun catching up with one another. Today I took the girls to a really good birthday party where the theme was "camping". The parents of this girl put tents and a boat out in the yard and had camping stuff for them to do. It was great not to have to go to another Barbie birthday and the 4 year olds had a blast.

Joey, Quaid and my father started to clean out the furniture from the 97 year old grandmothers house. She has moved in with my folks and in turn is giving away basically everything she has. It is great that my kids now there great grandmother and that she is not living alone anymore. Its comforting to know my parents are right there with her if anything happens and I enjoy getting to see her more since I'm at my folks a lot during the week.

Tomorrow will be another kiln day!



Its 2 pm and I just finished lunch. I typically eat my lunch while I check my emails and such. The girls have had there snack after a long ride home from school and they are playing princess and princess kitty. ( Aydan is down on all fours carrying her stuffed kitty's in her mouth while Mckenna is in a princess dress with a real baby doll.) I like these afternoons when the girls and I just come home after there time at school and we can relax. I think I'll blow off my house work and play with them a bit after I get done with this post
This morning I packed up pots for my show at Gaston College that I will set up tomorrow morning. I decided not to have a big reception at night because I wanted to entice students to sign up for my throwing class in the spring. I'm going to demo and than at lunch we'll have a little reception. As I've said in a few post Joey and I are squeaking on by to keep the kids in private school. I have to come to the realisation that next spring I need a lot of teaching gigs and a regular pay check to pay off debt and keep the kids in school. Last week we also took Quaid to the doctor for some ADD issues and have decided to put him on medication.
Yesterday I had a wonderful conference with Quaid's teacher who said that he is so bright and such a unique little boy with so much potential that hopefully this will help him sit still a bit more and focus so he can be to his full potential. This school is just the best environment for kids and I have found all the teachers to be so caring and put forth so much effort with teaching that my hearts just breaks to think we may have to give it up and put the kids in a very low rated public school here in York where over half the kids are on free lunch, the classes are huge and all the state is concerned with is over testing the kids so they can meet there score requirements. I think Sc schools are some of the lowest in the nation for scores. I attended Sc school when my family moved here in 1981 and I know from experience that the system was nothing like what I had in upstate NY. My parents even made me finish up my requirements the summer of the junior year and sent me off to college so I would not have to waste another year in high school there.
Its amazing how much you will sacrifice for your kids. I much rather have the kids be dressed well and look clean and polished than myself these days. ( I use to be a real cloths hound and really spend lots of time on myself). There is a new Suave shampoo commercial where the mom goes from dating to marriage to kids and you finally see her in a bunny costume with her hair all in tangles and of course the commercial talks about Mom's letter themselves go. I can totally relate to this. I never thought I'd be buying my cloths at Walmart but I do and they are mostly sweat pants!
Anyways....in the spring hopefully I will be able to really get some teaching gigs and that means I'll have to forgo all this wonderful time I've had this fall in my studio. I plan on making the best of it and enjoy the non-stress I've had so far. It has been wonderful but at this time it doesn't help much. We'll see how the up coming shows go and take it all one day at a time. I know the kids are happy where they are and that matters the most to me.
Well speaking of that, I'm off to play the "Queen" with the girls. Tonight I teach, which is always enjoyable.