Words on pots

"Eddies got one crazy eye that turns him into a cartoon when a pretty girl goes by"......Ricky Lee Jones

I've always loved Ricky Lee Jones songs and I have no idea why I will listen to them over and over again. I was thinking yesterday morning when I was on the treadmill listening to her song how that is such a great line. You can see in your head the expression she is talking about on his face.

So, here are a few of the tiles and a clam box with some words/quotes on the pieces. The images do not show up that well at this stage because the clay is leather hard and the stain smears. After it gets out of the bisque kiln you can see them better. Plus my camera is pretty low grade so I apologize. I look at these and wonder if it is to much , which I am notorious for doing to my pots. I should go take a workshop with someone like John Glick who also has tons of stuff going on with his surface but does it well.

Today I picked up images of my work that I had shot last week. They look great but for once I really saw things about my pots ( not surface for once) but form that I want to work on. It occurred to me that I never noticed this so clearly before with my work when I saw it up on a screen. Maybe my eye has finally learned how to critically look at my work. God.....how many years have I been doing this and it just clicked with me??? Of course it is so much easier to see on someone elses work!

I'm on my own this evening with the kids. We are having what I like to call a "hic-cup" with Quaid this month. Raising three kids is like a continuous door of someone that is having issues; it is always revolving. And an issue is usually hard for a parent to deal with. Raising kids I do admit stresses me out because I tend to worry a lot. I want everyone to be happy.These are things that one never thinks is truly that hard when your child is a baby and you dream of what life is going to be like with this little wonder. It did occur to me that getting my thoughts and fustrations about all this would be great to do on my work, but would I really want to share that much with the public? For the most part the quotes I put on my pots can't be truly read because I don't write that neatly. So...just things going on in my head with this new exploration of text.



I've been drawn to images or objects lately with famous quotes and sayings on them. I don't own any jewelry with inspirational messages on them but I admire lots of them and wish I did have something I could look at everyday that reminds me of something I feel is a good thoughts to keep me going.
With this said, I printed out a bunch of quotes and sayings buy famous people and thought I'd use them somehow in my work. I started off yesterday by putting some on my tiles and today I added them to a few of my clam boxes. I'm not so sure I'm really sold on this idea. Something about it seems to be a form of "selling out" to me. Or maybe its the fact I can not yet find a subtle way to add this into my imagery without it being contrite. Here are just a few of the quotes I really like. Some are serious and some are funny.
*In my long and colorful career, one thing stands out: I have been misunderstood- Mea West
*Old age is like flying through a storm. Once you're aboard there is nothing you can do. - Golda Meir
*Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next. - Jonas Salk
* Having kids is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain - Martin Mull
*The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning - Jiddu Krishnamund
* I was a vegetarian until I started leaning towards sunlight - Rita Rudner


Studio Fashion

The other morning I got to chat with my friend Brad Tucker. He's one of my favorite pottery pals to laugh with because he's got such a great sense of humor. As we where talking I was lamenting that at that moment on the phone I was trying to get my studio up to temp. so I could go out and work. I was laughing at how some nights its a miracle I can throw anything with all the layers I wear to keep warm. Some nights I feel like I have so much on that I might as well buy a snowsuit like I had as a child. Then I get a visual image of how I would look as an adult in a big pink snowsuit with fur around my face and get a good inside laugh.
Anyways, Brad thought I should put a photo up of how I do look in the winter when I work. ( I think he wanted a good laugh!)Last night wasn't so bad when Joey took this photo. I only had one pair of sweat pants on under my pregnancy overalls that have come in handy since I had the twins. Under this heavy purple sweater my mother-in-law made for me I have two long sleeve shirts. Just add a coat and I'm all set to load a wood kiln out in Minnesota somewhere!
There was a time in the 20's when I was to vain to put such a photo up for everyone to see. ( I look a bit "haggard" in this photo..which is the norm on a school night.) These days I'm amazed at what kind of get-ups I'll go out in. (I am keeping my New Years resolution about not going out in sweatpants as much.)
To keep my pots from freezing I drape flannel sheets over them and on really cold night I keep on heater going on low so my clay won't freeze. When my glazes freeze out in the shed, I stick them in my kiln and turn it on low for a bit.Those are my tips for anyone who thinks a none-heated space can not be used for a studio!

I'm working on clam boxes and tiles at the moment. Slowly I'm loading up the bisque kiln. Tonight I will be teaching so I better go out and get working.

Quaid is at home this morning with a stomach ache. I think he just wanted to be with mommy and make paper airplanes. Some days I think we all need a break so I'm letting him "re-group".


Set backs

Last night I went out to my studio to begin putting my slip on pieces I had finished and found many cracks and handles that had popped off. Winter and Summer is always the worse time for clay in my studio. The change of air flow always wrecks havoc on my pieces and it always takes an event like this to remind me of that. The cats have been clawing at the plastic on my walls and doors and this causes drafts that of course cause strange drying patterns in my shop. So...back to the drawing board. I have also run out of clay and I'm waiting for some checks to come in to buy some fresh boxes of Helios. In the mean time I'm recycling a lot a small batches in my pug-mill which takes up a lot of time. I'm off to recycle now~


Spaghetti dinners

Last night my sister and niece came for a weekend visit and we got to enjoy a family tradition. Sauce! Here in the Charlotte area we once again had a snowy mix of rain and such outside but of course my northern family braved the elements and came for dinner. ( Mom, Dad , Grandma, Pam and Ellie). My father spent the day at my parents house preparing the sauce, which is something he has only done since I've been an adult and Joey and I took care of the pasta, salad and such. When I was little pretty much every other weekend we would drive from Ithaca New York to Syracuse for sauce at my grandparents house. Its one of my favorite family memories growing up and whenever my sister comes to town we get together for the same sort of family meal, only my grandmother does not cook these days.

Our dinner table is the exact one that I ate from as a girl. Pretty much all the furniture in our house we inherited from my grandparents so every time my grandmother comes to visit she likes to look around and "visit" and examine everything. Here it is set with my Brad Tucker dinnerware and I have a Ken Sedberry pitcher for a center piece.

I spent yesterday trimming up some things and packing some pots that need to be shipped out Tuesday.

Today I will throw some more...hopefully I'll get in the Zone without to many interruption and get a lot made.


Week review

Sorry I've been absent. Truthfully this week was so chuck full of other stuff and surprises that once again put pottery making on hold. I'm really hoping that this will not be the case in the coming weeks because I REALLY need to make some pots!
Monday and Tuesday where spent at the kids school all day in the art room demoing the talking. I had kids from 3yrs up to 5th graders so the mood was constantly changing. Both nights by the time I got the kids home, I did not want to be out in my studio. I just wanted to go to bed.

Wednesday I get back to work but had one of those days that I crashed a lot of pots that I made. I'm trying to be really picky about what I save these days since Porcelain is so expensive.
Thursday we got snow and ice. We were all very excited about that. My kids where up at 5am...(yes 5 am) wanting to go outside in the wet, cold rain and snow. We managed to keep them in until about 6:30 am and I got to enjoy a cup of coffee and look at all the school closing for about an hour while they got sock-and-wet. So..my morning of studio time was gone and the afternoon was spent taking a bunch of finished work to be photographed. I really like the guy that does this for me. He's a friend of my pal Ron Philbeck and this time we spent a lot of time chit-chatting about music and movies so while my babysitter could of been watching the kids while I worked a bit more in the studio, I choose to enjoy some good conversation and take my time getting photo's made. The night was spent teaching the first of 10 classes to an intermediate group of students.

Here it is Friday. Once again there was no school today due to a teacher workday and this evening I finally got back to my nightly "stint" in the shop and made some pitchers. WoW...what a week!

Our area is calling for another snow and rain/ice storm this weekend so once again, the kiln has been put on hold. I enjoy having the winter weather. I tend not to complain so much about the cold out in my studio when it seems like there is a reason for it. ( Cold with no snow does not make sense to someone who grew up in central New York).
We'll see if by Monday I'll have some images to put up for all to see.


Monday Monday...la la...la la la la...

So today I spent the day at my children's school doing none other than....pottery demo's. I had approached the art teacher of the lower school last year about coming in and doing this and we just now got it together to bring me in.
The school is equipped with 6 very nice Brent wheels and a kiln room,but no one uses any of it that much. So... as always me, trying to think business wise I thought that if I did a demo maybe a summer camp job could come out of the whole thing and the equipment would get some use. ( We'll see! )
As for the day, it was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast seeing me throw and then I allowed them to each try centering. The art teacher was equally as great in letting me do whatever I wanted and I think in the spring I'll come back and actually do some sort of project with one of the grades. Today I had the 4 yr. olds ( complete with my two pistols), the 4th grades and my sons 1st grade class. My kids where in heaven having mommy around for the day and showing her off! I'll be back there tomorrow doing the same thing for the kindergartners and 5th grade students. I have to say after a day a teaching I didn't go near my studio tonight. I"m whipped! I have no idea how mom's work 9 - 5 jobs and have the energy to spend time with there kids plus do house stuff. I am truly amazed at anyone who does this.

Drinking vessels

( Yes, I'm here!)
I got back to work the end of last week. My focus was drinking vessels to start back in the swing of things. I hadn't made any tea bowls in a long time so I threw some good size squared off ones with a cut square foot at the base. You can't see it but it is trimmed round on the inside and I cut the square for the outside. Its one of those nice happenings that you don't expect when turning over a piece. I think I'm going to try and do this a bit more this year..surprise is good!
This is a new mug for me; shape wise and handle wise. I've always been intrigued by upside down handles as well as this organic ending where it connects. (I've seen a lot of these on pots lately). I've often thought about trying this when I'm demoing handles for my class but I wasn't totally sure how to make one. Well, now I know so I think this next session coming up, we'll try some upside down handles.
Here are a set of soup bowls that I have saucers ready to be trimmed. When I think of cold, I think of coffee, tea and soup so this is where my head has been. I think the last time I made soup bowls was back in undergrad. Who knows if anyone will be interested in buying these but they where kind of fun to make, sort of like my egg cups.


Ceramics Monthly this month

So, this months issue of CM was pretty enjoyable for me. I found two good articles that I could relate too and pick some info. up from. One was on a Gallery called The Dolphin Song that its owned and run by the Meisinger family. Danny Meisinger is the potter and he wrote a good personal article about being a potter who was very content selling his work to his surrounding community. This gallery sounds like such an interesting place full of all sorts of natural hand made items and very environmentally conscience in nature. He writes about being in his 20's and hearing a slide presentation by Clary Ilain about selling pots to her local boy scout troop. He than goes onto to hit all the points of doing shows, selling to galleries and how nice it is to own your own shop and not be pigeon-holed into doing just certain items. I would love to be doing what he is doing! He did point out that the old building they are in always needs lots of renovations and upkeep so he did paint a realistic view of running your own gallery. All in all the whole take on giving back to his community and being such a visible force in his downtown really sounded great!

I think this piece hit home for me because every year around this time I donate my time and resources to our youth at the Episcopal church where we attend. Our church supports our local homeless shelter along with a orphanage right down the street from our home. Our youth do a lot of fundraising for both these organizations and since my time is to limited volunteer either place I help out by making a huge number of soup bowls for a chili fundraiser around Super Bowl time. This year I'm excited to do a "mug-a-thon" for Valentines day in which the youth will sell my mugs along with some organically grown coffee from a monastery. Pretty cool huh! I always like doing this "project" each year because it give me more time to play with my work and I feel good about my donation to our community. And hey...would I want to give up a chance to make some mugs?

The second article that I liked in CM this month was on a potter by the name of Meg Oliver and her quest to set up a studio after grad school. I liked this article because I don't think that CM does enough to promote young potters in the magazine unless they have won a lot of mass appeal. Meg Oliver COULD be one of these but I can't say I've seen her pots everywhere so I enjoyed reading the events that have lead her to set-up shop in Woodstock NY.

I made clay last night and spent the morning messing around trying to get some images downloaded and getting my tax stuff together. ( My tec guy is out of town so I was on my own. That also meant I was lone parent tonight with homework, feeding, bath and such so I couldn't make it out to my studio at a decant time.) So tonight after I get off the web I plan on sitting down with a huge three ring binder that has I'm sure a thousand of glaze recipes in it and see what I can find. I"m still planning ahead for my salt work so there will be some glaze tests in my next kiln. More on that later!


Back at it!

The morning has been spent in the studio..cleaning and such. Here's my door leading out to my wonderland!

In all honesty I haven't spent the whole morning there. I went for a run this morning( well a run walk..I haven't ran in ages and was never REALLY good at it but I'm giving it another try). I also have spent the morning leafing through my CM for shows. I'll have to say this month didn't upset me as much as other months have. There were some nice articles in there. I'll talk about that in another post!

Look at my clean wheel!

Do you think I have enough clean towels?
Of course I said we would start on my stack last weekend but we only got as far as buying the saw to cut the bricks.

I'm going to make some nice fresh clay tonight and I think on Friday I'll hitch up the wagon and set off to Charlotte to pick up some clay and other needed supplies.

I've had my new Ipod on all morning and I am just loving being immersed in my music no matter where I've gone. ( The cats keep looking at me funny).Jeff Buckley's tune "Last Goodbye" inspired me to start running today. Joey also got me Serious Radio for my car this Christmas. I've discovered some new people I would really like to check out more - David Grey and Abra Moore. At the moment I'm singing to Ryan!( Adams that is...can't get enough).

Keep back soon for some food for thought with C Monthly.


Old pots..what to do

I've been spending most of my days cleaning, painting, throwing things away and re-organizing our house. Every year while I'm busy running around with my business and the kids I pretty much let a bunch of things go around here. There are days when I have to just shove stuff in a closet and say to myself I'll get it come January and don't worry about it today. I do sit and "stew" about it when I'm out in my studio and just say that its not a priority today.
So..here it is January and I'm playing catch up on all that stuff. We have a big list on the frig of all things that need to be done and I love to mark them off. ( I'm not sure Joey's so thrilled with the list but......). Yesterday as I finally got all the Christmas stuff put away and pulled out pots that I had taken down I realised how many ugly old pots of mine I have been saving. Why do I hold onto these things and worst of all, display them! I guess truthfully I have some connection to these few pieces because they have a story behind them as opposed to one's I got rid of a long time ago. I guess I also keep them around the house because I don't have a true studio to display them in. I love to go to other potters studio's who save old work. If they are like me, they do this to remind them of something they want to come back to or never go to again!

Here is a pot that in undergrad was the biggest covered jar I could make at the time. Look at those handles!! I guess I was trying to be creative and make handles like no one else. You can see here, at an early "age" I was into some form of surface design. I also made a dinnerware set that went with this jar. I gave it Joey the first year we were dating. It was collecting dust in my studio space at school and he needed plates and bowls. When we moved out of his apartment, we left the whole set with the apartment and new tenant.

At the moment we keep our pennies it. I made this in 1996.

The 3 larger vases on these shelves came out of a wood kiln I helped fire at Dan Finch's pottery in Bailey NC down near East Carolina where I went to school. If you've ever fired a huge wood kiln for days, your so happy with anything that comes out of it!! I used these vases to display flowers at our wedding. The smaller vases are from the first year I started potting. First pots are such good reminders of how hard it is to throw a pot when you first start out. My beginning students get a kick out of seeing these pieces.

So..that's what it going on here this weekend. If I get my painting done, maybe I can get out to clean my studio tonight.


Sketch Book

The kids did go back to school today and I stayed true to my resolution and sat in the car-pool line and worked in my sketch book. I figured I am going to jot down some new ideas I have along with a list of things I need to make..and why. I guess I feel like I need to give myself some feedback on why I think I need certain things for my inventory so I don't get off track. That may seem weird to some folks ( you should just do it) but for those of us that have a hard time staying focused..it is needed. A few post ago Vicki Gil had made a comment to me about how I join my "twin vases" together and what a good idea that was for other things. I got an idea right off the top of my head that night for a piece I had struggled with in the past; conjoined relish dishes. Back in grad school I made a bunch of these and would spend hours cutting and "conjoining" two sides together. Today I sat and sketched how I could make the piece "spoon" each other and then attach via the glaze as I do my twins. We'll see what happens. Thanks Vicki for turning on a light bulb in my head!

Still not out in my studio yet. I have Christmas stuff to put away and I have to finish painting some trim around the house I swore I would do over break. I have done some much needed paper work for shows and such. I think this weekend will be a good time for cleaning and making clay. ( I'm hoping the temp. goes up from 30 degrees to maybe 60's). I think my clay is frozen since I haven't had the heater going out there...yikes.


Bringing in the New Year

We had a great New Years...hope you did also. Neither Joey nor myself have been big on New Years celebrations but this year we got invited to go spend the evening with some of our "local" friends and bring the kids along. It was a very laid back fun evening with the all our kids running around and the adults hanging out munching on stuff and having some wine. Its nice to get together with folks our same age because we tend to laugh about silly things from our youth.

Today Joey made a big pot of black eyed peas, corn bread and spinach. Believe it or not this was the first time I've eaten black eyed peas! Its is a southern tradition I think to eat these along with collard greens ( I couldn't take the smell of those cooking so we got rid of them and agreed on the spinach instead).

Tomorrow is the kids last day of vacation so I will make it mine as well. I'm going to treat them to a trip to the movie theater to see "The Water Horse". Thursday I will clean my studio and get some clay ready to throw. Yesterday I did some paper work and packed up pots to go here and there - some for gallies, some for photo's. After I did that I realized that my stock is back to the bare bones so I guess I need to get going sooner than I had thought. I have TONS of ideas I'd like to try but I first need to make a bunch of mugs for a benefit I do every year at our church. This weekend coming up we plan on finishing the chimney on the kiln. We needed to buy a certain type of saw to cut the bricks so we needed to wait for Christmas gift cards and such before we could this.

Its been a great Christmas break for me. I think looking back on 2007 I got a lot of baby steps accomplished with my work and I feel good about how the year went. I can't wait to see what 2008 holds for my potting adventures.

Resolutions and hopes for 2008 - some serious...some nutty

I resolve too.......

*Take my sketch book with me everywhere so I can jot down all that pops into my head
* To have more patience with my kids
* Go to the gym more
* Stop using the word "at" at the end of a sentence and "Oh god!" ( basically because my kids say both of these all the time!)
* Try to push my students a bit more....in a good way
* Stop wearing my sweat pants out in public as much...time for big girl pants!
* Get the kids outside to play more
* Spend more one on one time with my grandmother
* Drink more water
* Give Clayton my cat as much attention as I give Paws
* Have more dates with my husband
Hopes for the New Year.....
* I hope my salt kiln works!!!!!!!
* I hope I can have a smooth transition from cone7 electric to salt!! ( Stay tuned to see how I'm going to pull that one off!)
* I wish Britney Spears would go away in 2008....
* I hope someone good gets elected to run this country!
* I hope in 2008 that the killing of young men and women over seas stops
* I hope my butt gets smaller
* I hope my kids learn how to be more quiet
* I wish at Easter this year everyone had to dress up in a "Peep" costume and go to work ( wouldn't that just put a smile on every one's face all over the world for one day!)
* I hope my sales keep increasing
* I hope we can keep the kids at the school they attend

And my final hope for 2008 is that I CAN MAKE some good killer pots!

Happy 2008 Everyone!