Visiting my pots

I got to spend some time with my pots this morning. The girls go to school every Tuesday and Thursday morning so since I teach on Thursday morning, I really LOVE Tuesdays. Peace and quiet and my time!

I got started on my journey with my kiln project today. I went down and spoke with some people at the York Planning department. We live in an old southern small town and our house is in the historic district. In the past no one has really said anything to anyone about what they did with there homes mainly because families just past down the houses from generation to generation. I guess in the last 7 years of so, as those old houses have fallen into disrepair or worse, bought up by city slicker from the north, the historic committee has decide to approve everything that is done to the homes. So...........here I go with begging for this kiln to get built in my back yard. I am happy to report that one of the ladies on the board buys my work and knows me fairly well. My next step is to get some plans drawn up along with as much information as I can provide them and go before them at there annual meeting in March. Wish me luck.

In the studio I finished putting handles and my decorative sprigs on my casseroles so I just have trimming and lids to do on them this evening. I like to get one more day of throwing in before I start that firing process but I'm not sure that is going to happen this week. I have taxes to do and application for things to fill out. We'll see!


Productive weekend

Its Sunday so I'm reporting on my weekend of work. It was good!!! I managed to juggle family and work time well this weekend and it seemed to work well for everyone.

Friday night we enjoyed some High School basketball and the Homecoming Court. Quaid asked a very good question during the presentation of the homecoming girls which was " what did they do to get this?". You know, I had no idea how to answer that question without sounding caddy. The girls where all beautiful and of course super skinny and all there escorts looked very awkward, as most boys do at that age. I did finally come up with a good answer and told Quaid that they where all kids who got really good grades in school and where wonderful students and did a lot for other people. ( Ok, so I may have lied but it sounded good, something he could work towards and we can only hope, that is what brought them to the homecoming court.) Ok...so how many of you reading where homecoming Queens?

Saturday I took the kids to visit my 96 year old grandmother in the morning while Joey worked and in the afternoon I got silence in my studio for a few hours and got lots done. I had a wonderful time losing myself in "Cold Mountain", which was being read by the author. I had read that book a long time ago so hearing it and envisioning some of the movie stars from the motion picture are all equally fun to whirl around the brain. Saturday I finished staining pieces that where bone dry and kept loading the kiln. Its almost full and should be ready to fire on Tuesday.

Today I spent the morning with a fellow "studio mate". The girls went with there father to Charlotte to visit family and Quaid stayed with me. He was sooooooo excited to just have mom to himself and make pots with me. He did crank out a coil mug and several small sculptures while talking a blue streak to me. My solitude for working was a bit interrupted at times but I trudged on and when his Dad came home he was happy to give up clay to play baseball with his Dad and sisters. I managed after that to throw square casseroles and trim my clam boxes. This evening the wind is blowing so hard the door on my studio will not stay closed and the cold air only allowed me about 2 hours out there before I had to call it a night. Tomorrow is class so I won't be visiting my pots again until Tuesday. Until then~



I did got a lot done last night. Was able to stain somethings, load stuff in the bisque and trim somemore. Here are the cream and sugars I made. They are a special order for someone so they really aren't my kind of style totally. The tumblers are for experimental reasons to try some new surface stuff and new images. I've been back searching through some of my books-historic ones for some inspiration. I'm also doing a surface exercise with my intermediate students so I got a chance to thumb through some arts and crafts books I hadn't opened in a long time. I'm waiting on a book list from Julia that will be all books on historic pots. Can't wait to order some of those. I got so inspired by her slide lectures on historic pottery that I want to learn and read more about it.

On the family front, I decided to take the night and go to homecoming with Quaid and Joey. Quaids just having some issues in school and I feel like the more we can support him with any kind or parental guidance, the better he'll be. I decided I could work in my studio Saturday afternoon, evening and all day Sunday. We'll see how that goes and If I can stay on that track. I've got teapots, casseroles and clam jars on my list of things to make for this show. We'll see if that is truly what my hands want to make when I get out there to work! We are suppose to have a super cold weekend so I'm not looking forward to that but I've got a good book on tape to listen to!


The weeks get faster and faster

Do you think that by the time one hits 50 that a week will seem more like a day? Remember how when you where a kid and your mom said it would be 1/2 hour before you could have your friend come play and you thought it felt like a week?

Well, here it is Thursday and I have no idea where my week has gone. I did lose one whole day staying in bed with a sinus infection. God I love my folks because they came and got the girls so I could sleep the rest of the day. I lost the whole morning and night of studio work time but I had to get well. Nothing like a few big pills of antibiotics to help the head heal! So, as I said , here I am Thursday and I have managed this week to get only 10 tumblers made, two sets of cream and sugars done and some big bowls thrown and trimmed. PITIFUL!!! On top of that, Joey has had to work late all week and has to work Saturday morning so that time is out but we have worked out the afternoon for my "alone time" in the house so I can think. I also taught my two clay classes this week, which both went well but that is two slots also taken away from studio time. Friday is homecoming at Gaston Day and I thought it would be great for Jeoy and I to take Quaid to the basketball game. Those are things I know Joey could do on his own with Quaid but I also feel like he would really appreciate having both of us with him. He told me the other day that he doesn't want me to car-pool anymore because he doesn't spend enough time with me. Isn't that sad? This is my 6 year old. Of course I think he just wants me to pick him up from school more because I bring snacks and at this age, snacks in the car pretty much rule his little world. Face it, the best part of Kindergarten is lunch time!

So , back to pots/studio time......... in other words, I need to step up to plate this weekend and get on the ball. ( haven't I been saying that for weeks on this blog????) Someone needs to get on here and get on my case-whip me into to shape; fix my little red wagon, open a can of whop-___ on me! (Ok, I can most likely do this to myself quite well because I'm my biggest critic). I've got kiln stuff to buy, a tonsil operation to pay for and a host of other things coming up I'm sure!


The wheels are turning slowly.

We had a good weekend all in all. I got out and worked this weekend but pretty slowly. I've had a bit of a sinus issue so that always slows me down but I did get some needed quiet time to think. Joey managed to help me out and take the kids on a hike Saturday so all was quiet to think. Boy does this help the creative process in such a big way I've noticed. Of maybe it just me. To much going on just shuts me down.

Yesterday we had our annual Circle of Eight meeting. This is a group of eight potter friends of mine who get together to show, discuss and promote each others work. We have an upcoming show in NCECA this March so we had to get all the lose ends tied up for that and make some future plans as well. Its so important to have a community of potters around to bounce ideas off of and mostly get advise on stuff. This big undertaking with the building of my kiln will require a lot of back and forth with all my pottery buddies who have built one themselves so I am SOOOOOOO thankful I have this kind of network.

I got my heater up an cranking at 5 so my studio would be toasty warm by 7 and wouldn't you know we had one of those " family emergencies"that didn't allow me to get out there until about 9 ( which by that time my head was felling pretty heavy with sinus stuff again). To make a long story short McKenna slipped in the bathtub and cut her chin open so we were going back and forth on if she needed stiches or not. She is fine after a trip to the doctor this morning but I'm a bit warn out from staying up to late finishing up stuff on the porch.

Tonight I have my beginning class to teach. The first of six. I have a huge class this time and one person in there is a friend so it should be an interesting six weeks. j



No school today for anyone, not even my class( pretty much because I had my kids home today and the road's I guess where bad). We had school issues last night with Quaid that had to be resolved so I was so exhausted from thinking about how to handle some social issues( bullies, playground activities and such...boys stuff) he is having that I didn't feel like going out in the cold. Boy did I feel guilty but dealing with kids things is getting more complicated as the years go on. I also decided that I really need to be home at night and help out more just because of homework with Quaid and still spending some one on one time with him. I've been getting out to my studio later and later. I wonder how next year will go if we decide to send the girls to school every morning. I would love the chance to work in my studio everyday/morning. Ok... I'm not blogging I'm just thinking in type. My mom's-helper is here so I am going out to work.


Is Winter starting????

Here a bloom from one of my three Camilla trees. We where lucky to get a house with so many old great bushes and trees. I love these bushes because they bloom about 4 times a year so I can always count on some sort of cut flowers if I need some. But........It looks like we are getting that cold blast that has hit the country so all my blooms my be frozen off the trees! I'm so happy I did my double plastic walls in my studio! I was out there last night in my three layers of cloths and with the heater blowing on me it wasn't that bad. We'll see how it goes this evening. I was telling my husband last night that I'm starting to think I really get more done in the daytime hours these day. The night I use to finish up stuff or trim. I made some cream and sugar parts yesterday and trimmed more bowls. Once I get the sets made I'll take some photo's. I need to mix up some stains and glazes in the next few days and that thought of doing that in the cold is not sounding to appealing especially since I'm going to have to defrosts the hose to get some water. This is the time of the year that I have to be careful not to let my glaze buckets freeze out in my shed. I'm not sure if it really effects my glaze but I don't enjoy heating my buckets up in the kiln! Have a good one.


Break time for riding bikes

I worked in my studio today from about 12-3 while Joey took the girls on a hike and Quaid was with a friend. I really need the uninterrupted time to think and it is always productive on days I can have this. As soon as they got home I ran to the store and then spent time with girls outside on there bikes. Here's the contrast in personalities. McKenna just wanted to be a "model" on her bike and Aydan really rode hers up and down the driveway. Believe me the cars slowed down when they hit our house because who doesn't need a good laugh at the get-up McKenna put on. Believe it or not she usually wears a Tu-tu everyday with just underwear and a t-shirt around the house. The sights my mail lady sees.
I finished up this evening with all my bowl orders so I'm off to bed to read my book a little bit. I'm reading "Even Cowgirls get the Blues" for my bookclub, so far, so good. Good night~jen

Paws needs equal stardom

I now I introduced a photo of my "studio" cat Clayton, well this is her mom Paws. Today was a special day for her because Joey put in a catdoor for her so she can sleep with me at night. I'm such a cat person, I have to have one around and sleeping at the foot of my bed. Somethings in life you just get to use to. Anyways, for a female cat she has one of the best temperaments. She just showed up one day when Quaid was out playing and loved him from the get go. At the time we didn't know she had babies but soon she brought them here to the house when she decided we would be her new home. She was the best mama cat. They ended up living under the neighbors house which is very close to us and every day I would hear Paws call her babies when it was time to eat. Animals are great to watch! I can't say she really digs Clayton these days, infact, she's kind of mean to her and puts her in her place....but I guess most mom's do that every now and then, right?

Studio time

I wanted to take a photo of how clean my studio is. Of course I've just gotten back into it this week but I'm feeling pretty good about how it looks and have vowed to try and sweep a bit more this year.

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of thing. I've got a lot of ideas surface wise that I've been thinking about while I'm working on some special orders that need to get done and out of the way plus some bowls for various organizations that do charity soup bowl sales. The photo on the left are some bowls I did out of stoneware which was fun. I love to throw all kind of bowls because it is a very soothing and sort of easy thing to do for me. These are none like I usually make for my own line of work( did I really say LINE of work???) anyways, the more I throw sometimes I just like doing things the opposite of my own. I think this is one reason I like teaching at the clay center so much because everyone always asks me about different sort of pots and I like to challenge myself to see if I can make them. Some work, some fall but it is always fun. If only I had my soda kiln done to stick these babies in!!! I like the cut foot on these.

Tonight I'm going to keep trucking along on those special orders. Lots are bowls sets to do, cream and sugar, casseroles and milk/syrup containers. I'll keep you posted! jen


Julia cont. ......and other things.

Here is Julia looking over some work.

I've had to bring myself into MOM land since driving back with many pottery thoughts on Sunday.I'll get to that in a moment.....

Julia spent a good amount of time talking with me about my career and my work. As I think I said in the last entry I basically was there to talk to her "about the meaning of life", which translates into career talk in the pottery world. She did like my pots as far as craft, glaze and appearance but she said that she didn't know really what I was trying to say. I totally got that when she said this. After I explained to her my life, my schooling; she understood the tuff spot I was in. I don't have time to really sit down and contemplate my pots because I'm busy trying to make and sell. We agreed that my kiln building would force me to slow down and re-think my pots since I would be going in another direction and I told her how I had made a plan for myself this year to slow down and just work more on a few forms that needed "tweaking". While in the workshop, we looked at TONS of historic slides , which was fantastic. I felt so cheated in grad school that I did not get this kind of education. She knows so much about the history of historic pots I decided that if she ever taught a workshop on just that, I would try and take it. ( which she said she had seriously been thinking about!!) So...after all those slides, there are some new things I do want to try but most of them are in the same venue of some of my other work so the structural kinks are already worked out. I'll get back to that another day................

Motherhood this week..............getting the kids back to school and Quaid. Poor Quaid for the last year has suffered from horrible nose bleeds. Finally today I took him to a Ear, nose and eye doctor who said basically "Quaid needs a new head". The poor kid has to have his tonsils/anoids taken out plus he has significant hearing loss due to tons of fluid in his ears so he has get tubes put in. ( Joey and I just thought he was ecnoring us when we would have to ask him 3 times to clean something up!!) He also has to have his nose catorized to stop all the bleeding. All these things together, which we are going to do all at once will cost(even with insurance) I'm sure a good deal. Why even talk about this? Well, my pots help pay for all these extra's in our lives and now that I feel like I need to spend more time thinking and less making, where does this leave the bill for his surgery? Its always a balancing act when you have so many others depending on you. The artist part of me really struggles with this when I listening to those that don't have these sort of concerns.
The "others depending on you" is yet another topic for another day......jen

Birds falling from the sky?? What is going on here??

Ok, read down. I copied this from the news today because it truly freaked me out!! These are the things that in my mind I can come up with all sorts of theories that usually involve the government keeping stuff from us!!

Dead birds rain down on towns half a world apartLast updated at 22:00pm on 10th January 2007
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Dead birds: Several streets were closed in Austin, Texas, while police investigated

It could be the plot of a horror film, but in two towns on opposite sides of the world the mysterious phenomenon of thousands of dead birds dropping out of the sky is all too real.
Officials are baffled by the unexplained deaths which have affected Australia and the U.S.
Three weeks ago thousands of crows, pigeons, wattles and honeyeaters fell out of the sky in Esperance, Western Australia.
Then last week dozens of grackles, sparrows and pigeons dropped dead on two streets in Austin, Texas.
As birds continue to die in Esperance and the town's dawn chorus remains eerily silent, vets in both countries have been unable to establish a cause of death - despite carrying out a large number of autopsies on the birds.
Wildlife officials from Western Australia's Department of Environment and Conservation said they were baffled by the "catastrophic event" but emphasised the deaths had nothing to do with a severe storm which recently struck the area, as the birds had started dying before then. District nature conservation coordinator Mike Fitzgerald said: "It's very substantial.
"We estimate several thousand birds are dead, although we don't have a clear number because of the large areas of bushland."
Birds Australia, the country's largest bird conservation group, said it had not heard of a similar occurrence.
"You'd have to call it a most unusual event and one that we'd all have to be concerned about," said chief executive Graeme Hamilton.
Dr Fiona Sunderman, chief veterinary officer of the Department of Agriculture and Food, suspects the cause of death is some form of toxic poisoning.
Esperance resident Michelle Crisp, who normally sees hundreds of birds roosting in her garden, counted 80 dead ones in one day.
"It went to the point where we had nothing, not a single bird," she said. "It was like a moonscape - just horrible."
In Texas, officials are also working on the toxic poisoning theory. Adolfo Valadez, medical director for Austin and Travis County Health and Human Services, said it might be weeks before any conclusive results were known.
Such was the concern that the birds suffered deliberate toxic poisoning that several streets were closed in Austin while police and fire crews checked the area for any substance that might be of harm to humans.
"This was a precautionary measure. We certainly take these kinds of thing seriously, especially following 9/11," said Mr Valadez. "It may be a matter of time before we know what happened and why it happened. There is no threat to public health."
Federal officials in Washington said they were monitoring the situation, but a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said: "There is no credible intelligence to suggest an imminent threat to the homeland or Austin at this time."


The Workshop

( ok, as much as I try I can not get the photo to download on here......sorry)

Julia says she doesn't do many hands-on workshops so we all felt really special that she had agreed to this one. Also she said because now that she chairs the department at RIT, she was going to stop doing workshop. Once again, we were all lucky we signed up for this one.

I put a photo up of some of the thing she threw for us. She did a lot of her surface stuff as well but those photo's did not come out I hate to say. Anyways, she pretty much showed us how she makes everything except for her double walled pieces. She ( like myself) does not work with many tools. She is very intuitive, which I just loved. She tries all sorts of things as just a whim and if they work, they do, if they don't....Who cares! I loved this since I work the same way. She also is frantic in her working because she is so busy teaching. She brushes on ALL her glazes. She uses about 30 different ones for her effects. Some are cone 6, some are lower, some are higher. She tries stuff out and if it works,( even if it is not suppose to), she goes with it.

Those little carvings she does are done with an exzacto knife. She just draws in the clay body and puts heavy slip over the lines. She than takes a spung and whips it all off. Than she does a number of other things on top of that. Anything from dipping it again in a flashing slip, to slip trailing a pattern, wax relief, shalaking and whipping more away. It just crazy the way she works and it all comes together for her. I was in awe since I just struggle with putting all kind of marks together on a surface.

Of course everyone in the workshop did a lot of "Julia pieces". I did try some of her techniques so I could show my students when I got back to teaching but I spent most of my time thinking about my work. I can remember the days I would go to a workshop or week long class and just crank out as much as I could. This time I just made and crashed most of it. The stuff I did keep doesn't really make to much sense composition wise, which is fine with me. I got to play. I did get to talk to her a lot about my work and where I'm going in my career. She helped me a great deal with that.

So...the saga and story will continue...until my next entry~~~~


Making one's head explode

Where to begin, where to begin.
I'm just going to jot down something and then do some other entries to elaborate.
She is a genius. Totally in awe.
independent women all the way. Different than her pots in person, but all good.
I'm getting there but need to reach inside more.
What a great group of workshop people. Everyone was wonderful!
Amy and I are kin in our thoughts of goals and work.
I'm slowing down a lot but forging ahead.
Tv needs to go off on "thinking days".
How wonderful it is to create.
Look at this creativity. Sheer genius!!!


I"m Off for a few days

Happy New Year
I hope everyone had a good first day of 2007. For the last two years I have really looked forward to the month of January. I think I may be one of the few people that really like this month! I find it so relaxing and I'm able to get myself together for the coming year. I clean, organize, relax and think about the year to come. I don't even mind the rain that comes and goes or the cold. I just make alot of soup and enjoy tons of rented movies.

I'm off to Durham for my workshop tomarrow with Julia Galloway. Look at this photo, I'll be in heaven! Nothing but surface, surface, surface~~~~I can not wait and I'll be back on line next weekend to tell you all about it.

I did get back to throwing this evening. It took me a few bowls to feel back to normal since I have not touched clay in almost a month I think. I'm starting back on some special orders. I was working on some big pasta bowls this evening for a student of mine. I have a show the first of February so special orders are always good for filling up kilns and having extra things to go along with whatever I feel like making for the sale. I like doing this. I'm sure I'll be inspired after my workshop. Someone keep me on track of my years plan! Have a good week! Jen