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