Weekend review

It has been a cold, windy and cloudy weekend. I think we are going to have rain all week here! We did manage to get outside a bit and air out our brains this weekend. Once again we had birthday parties to attend and our usual Saturday clean-up around the house. I managed to fire a kiln, work a bit more on large bowls and try my hand once more at my relish dishes. Yesterday I spent part of my time teaching a girl who babysits for me how to throw a pot. She wanted to trade babysitting for throwing so I took her up on it. She was quite the natural even with the porcelain. Her father is a painter and her mother a former print maker, so its in her gene's.

Here are the kids being entertained with these masks we made Saturday night. Nothing better for entertainment than construction paper, markers and string!


Pots bone dry

Here are the new cut-outs for the flower blocks. We'll see how they go over.

These are custard cups. Joey made this great poached egg dish for Easter brunch and he did not have any of these to use (I guess Southern Living showed this dish using these little guys). He asked me a few days before our big meal if I could make some for him. ( You would think after being around this process for 13 years he would of known better......) Needless to say we had to get some from Walmart but I did go out to make some. They are kind of fun and if they don't sell..well he'll have his custer cups for the next time!

Last is a huge bowl. I'm starting to venture back into big platters and using them as a canvas. I haven't done this since Grad School so I'm kind of looking forward to it.
I plan on putting some engobes on them. For right know I wanted to get use to throwing such a large form again and play with just may usual pallet. We'll see if it makes it through the firing.

First sign of spring

Today's weather was great. I spent the morning pugging clay and loading a kiln.

It is past 3:00 so the kids have been picked up from school along with there car pool buddies who are here playing until we all run off to soccer practice. They are enjoying playing outside with a snack while I enjoy some time on the computer. About 1/2hour ago this is an impression of me( by Quaid my son) when Mckenna came in to tell me the news.....

BROWN SNAKE! Of course I ran out yelling "Don't touch it!!!!!!"

One thing I hate about spring......


Middle of the week update

I can not believe it is already Wednesday. I have two more days of daytime quiet at home and then the weekend will be here. I do enjoy my quiet time but I also love when Joey is home and we can be a combined force with getting our little troops rallied in positive directions. Our house was so clean this weekend and as I look around at the destruction that is the norm on the weekdays, I once again ask myself how does anyone keep any order with kids and a job.
On to pots!
Here are some flower blocks and tops of butter dishes.
I changed the "sprouts" to my flower blocks a bit. Instead of cutting three sections out of the little vases I throw for the top, I decided on two cuts instead. ( Of course I saw that someone else did this and thought it was a good idea to try).
We'll see if I like it once I put some flowers in there. I've also started having some cut-outs in the tops as well. I'll take some photo's of those this evening so it will show the change. Always trying to improve on an idea!



Here's my roof on the kiln shed( taken on such a nice, crisp Easter morning). We had a great weekend filled with lots of family, food, candy, Easter egg hunts and blooming flowers. I can not wait to get out in my gardens again soon and start giving them a little attention.
One more day with the kids at home and than we will be back to the same old running around. I'm looking forward to a few free Thursday night away from teaching until my class resumes. This will give me extra hours in the studio plus I love Thursday night TV I have to confess.
I'll report back soon with some photo's of pots in progress.


Happy Easter

Happy Easter..enjoy this "Peep Show"!

....I think I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of clowns and the other day I saw this another old Montero that I was admiring. I laughed so hard!

I'm still plugging along on flower blocks and about to work on teapots. I got the singles up on my kiln shed yesterday and the chimney attached for next step in the angle iron. Movin' right along!


Pots I like...

I'm here...lots of running around this week and having teenagers come in to help with the children. I haven't been feeling to go either so I've kept my distance from blogging.
Any who.....Here are some pots that I kind of liked and found at Dwight Hollands house while I was in Seagrove a few weekends back. For those of you who do not know Dwight, he is huge collector of pottery ( and a potter himself) in Seagrove NC. He always hosts the NC Potters Conference and has a big BQ at his house on the second night. There are pots EVERYWHERE in his house so lots to look at,pick up and guess as to whom made what. My friend Ron Philbeck and I had a good time playing that game with some teapots. I have to admit I'm not the best at it but Gay Smith came by and helped Ron out a bit with some mystery pots.

On a side note to the that weekend, I learned once again that I'm not good at mingling with people whom I don't know.I feel very uncomfortable in a crowd.Teaching is different than mingling. As I was "holding up a corner" at Dwight's house I was wondering how many of the other creative people in the room felt the same as I did. When I was interviewed last week for the YC Magazine the reporter asked me if I liked selling my work and I told him that I'm getting better at talking with people when they come into my booth. This has taken a lot of time to do. It did finally occur to me that the work was not going to run off the shelf into people's hands so even though I do not push anyone into buying anything, I do try and speak up if I think they have a question about something they are looking at. I don't like being insancere about my work and selling it mainly because when the shoe has been on the other foot I can spot cow-poop a mile away ( and I don't want people leaving my booth with cow-poop on there shoes.)
I always kind of think of the dancing frog on Loony Tunes that only sang "hello my honey, hello my sweetheart ect....." and then he would get quiet if he was asked to perform. Pretty much everything in my head I see in "cartoon" language if that makes any sense.
Off to cut the grass!



Joey found the photo's from NC potters conference "hiding" on my camera. Once again I was clueless on how they disappeared and how he found them. I'm convinced there is a part of some people's brains who can get electronics and those of us who can not. Thank goodness I know my Mom and Dad both have issues with these things and my sister does not so.......its not just me!
Anyways, here is are the photo's I took of Mary Laws work that interested me.
I've always loved her House-Pots.Not only do I love the way she puts all the parts together but the whole concept of a "house" speaks to me. Plus I LOVE boxes as a means of containment.
I don't get super excited about a pottery jar, only few speak to me but if I see a box out of clay, I'm right there looking at it, picking it up and wanting it for my own collections.

If you have any questions as to what you are seeing in these photo's, drop me a note!


Spring Break

So far I'm enjoying not have to rush in at 10:30pm to make lunches, get everyones cloths out and make sure we have gotten all of Quaid's homework done.
Today the kids had friends over all day and for part of the day I had a teenager help watch over everyone so I could work and run errands. Tomorrow I plan on the same thing in the morning.

This weekend we took the kids to see Horton Hears A Who, which did not keep my attention as I would of liked it too. If I haven't said it before, the older I get the less I like noise so a movie theater packed with kids pretty much made my head spin. All that really mattered was that the kids had fun with their drinks, popcorn and movie experience. I always love seeing there little faces enjoying whatever it is they are immersed in at that moment.
On Sunday we took everyone to the NC Transportation Museum and got to ride the train with the Easter Bunny.
I really enjoyed the museum since I haven't been there in over 15 years.

Circle of Eight Spring Show

Please join us!


Plates and bowls

I've been busy loading a bisque kiln with plates and bowls. These bowls are new for me.
I kind of made them to go along with the dinner plates I plan on having at our Spring Circle of Eight sale April 12th.( I'll get an image up soon of the great card thatAmy Sanders did for all of us...)
Last night I worked on butter dishes and flower blocks while also brewing once about my water issue in the backyard.( Yet another post if I have anything positive to report on that subject).Friday morning I took down the work from the Treasures Of The Earth show that I do every year in Shelby NC. I think I may take a breather from that show next year because my sales seem to get smaller and smaller instead of bigger and bigger each year. ( Well really just the last few years.) I know everyone is so anxious about the economy and what it will do to pottery sales now that we are into the spring buying season of 2008. I'm still pretty optimistic because I think those people that buy my pots aren't really effected by the non-existing recession that we keep hearing about. April will prove the point to me either one way of the other since I have a lot of shows that month.
Did I mention Ron Philbeck, Amy Sanders, Julie Wiggins and myself got to hang out and have a great breakfast together that morning? I love eating with my friends, especially my pottery friends so we can talk "shop".
The kids are on Spring Break this week sooooooooo I'll either get a lot of stuff done or non at all..we'll see!



First let me say that it was exciting to see three women up on stage at the NC potters conference. More and more I am noticing all the females who are doing workshops and jurying shows all around in the pottery world. I think with in the last maybe 15 years of pottery women have really started popping up everywhere.
I have to say it was very impressive to see

Jane Hamlyn
up close after seeing her work in so many books. She was the funniest, honest and heart felt women I've heard speak in a long time. I truly enjoyed her, which I think most of the audience did as well. She was very funny and real. Since she is from the UK she had great sayings that I wrote down but of course have lost since my sketch book is weeping somewhere lost in Ashboro. The two that stuck and nerve with me spoke about all the decoration on her most recognized work. She told a story about a art critique saying that her pots looked like "she was trying to hard". When she said this, I got a huge moment of feeling embarrassed and flushed because I felt like that same is true about my work. She also called all the ornamentation on her work "twiddly-bits", which once again spoke to me. What a great description for all my sprigs, stamps and drawings...twiddly-bits. Incidentally she is making forms with absolutely nothing but slip on the surface and her forms are just straight up and down. I'm not sure how I felt about these vessels, although I did find them soothing to the eye. Maybe this should tell me something?

Mary Law
, whom I have seen before is also full of wisdom and great to watch work. She is always no nonsense, which I admire and will answer all questions about why she is making something either this way or that. She is also a women of great longevity in the clay world.
The last potter ( I think she considers herself more an artist) was

Robin Best
from Australia and she did all slip cast pieces. I had a hard time following what she was doing because it was slow and I felt like it would of been better suited as a hands-on workshop. She seemed very confidant in what she did and very successful as well.
So...finally with no photo's that was my wrap of last weekend.

To end the post, here is a mug by Silvie Granitelli. I got this back at Penland in 1998 when I was her studio assistant at a concentration. I love this amber celadon glaze and the way her "grapefruit slicer" has made these marks on the mug. The coffee at the potters conference was very weak so I was glad to get home to my own mugs and coffee selection.

( low and behold my images will not come up...I'll edit tomarrow) Jen


Queen of the knuckle heads..

...that's me.

Today I got all excited about down loading all my images from the conference and my last group of pots (that I decided I did not like and put them all in my recycle bucket). I have NO IDEA where all my photo's went or what botton I hit to delete them all. Some old photo's are still on there so I know the delete button did not get everything! I also lost my sketch book somewhere in Asheboro so I am batting 1000 when it comes to reporting on my trip. Tomorrow I think I can pull my thoughts together at least and give some insight on what I learned. Stay tuned!

Ok..photo's are working

Well I got one of my post from Monday up so its kind of a funny tale....you can read back a few post.
I'll post my others thought/photo's later today about the conferance and such.J


So this is no fun!

I've tried for two days to upload images for my posts and can't seem to do it. Boy is that NO fun!

I had a great time at the conference and of course would love to show you images of the work and will do so. If you want to know about the conferance Ron Philbeck has photo's and his thoughts on his blog. Ron even has photo's of the women who demonastrated and I could'nt do this since my camera is not that great. Enjoy what he has to say. For the most part, they are my thoughts as well!

I'm off to teach tonight at Clayworks. My studio has tons of plates and matching bowls waiting for me to trim. Tommarrow morning I will do that.Hopefully soon Blogger will let me upload my photo's!


What a sunny day!

Have I said before that I tend to be a person who looks at life as the glass half empty? For the last year and half I've been pretty good at working on that. Instead of voicing my thoughts I just keep them to myself if I have a negative one and try to put a good cover on and think happy thoughts. It does work but for the most part with my work/business, to myself I'm still for the most part a glass half empty.

I told you that so I could start my story! You must be wondering why I have a photo of Julie Andrews on here..well I'll get to that.

Today started off back in the swing of things with getting everyone out the door at 7:15 on the road and dropped off at school with happy faces ( for the most part). As I mentioned I had a visitor today. A reporter from YC Magazine here in York County came for the morning and hung out with me in my studio. I've never been interviewed before and of course I was not real keen on all the photo's. But we did have a good conversation and he was very informed about pots and potters so I was pretty comfortable and got alot thrown while we talked. I guess all the years of getting questions from my students about what I do helped a lot with thought provoking questions about why I do what I do. So I felt good! I then changed cloths like super-girl and went back into Mom mode to get the kids and do a bunch of errands. Here's where Julie Andrews comes into my story.

Upon driving up to the house I could see that the mail had come and sticking out was one of those manila envelopes that I send out every month here, there and everywhere to shows. I happened to notice on my calendar yesterday that some pretty big shows I had entered where suppose to contact people. Upon seeing the envelope sticking out of the mail box I set myself up for what I was sure to be yet another rejection in my head. It was like slow motion going to the mail with all the kids clamoring around me for snacks and such. I picked up the envelope and low and behold when I saw the "Good News" stamp on the outside of the letter I could not tear into it soon enough. As I read the congratulations all I could hear in my head where the lyrics "somewhere in my wicked childhood, I must have done something good". ( If you know by now that song also comes from the Sound of Music and I have NO idea why it always comes to mind when I finally get something I want!)If I could of super imposed my head onto Julie's, that is how I felt when I read that letter.
So,that was my dramatic way of saying I got into Strictly Functional after applying what seems to be 100 times! Oh....what I finally sigh of relief.


Back from conference

I got back from Ashborough today and am in the midst of taking off my "potters hat" and putting back on my "Mom, wife and house-cleaner" hat( I'm sure there is more titles there that I can come up when I really think about it.) As I've said before whenever I go away it seems that Joey does a better job than I do at cleaning and cooking upon my return so I am MORE than lucky in that department.

I do have photos to share from my trip and even images I took before I left. I'm not sure if I'll get any of those up this evening because I am nipping at the bit to get in my studio this evening. Workshop, of course, always give me a big kick in the backside to get going once again. Tomarrow morning I am being interviewed for a local magizine so I also need to clean up my studio (even though that is not really the way I live or work I guess). So..check back and I'll be full of news, thoughts, photo's and what little wisdom I have.


International small teapot show

A friend of mine emailed me this link/show. Teapots are always good to look at weather good of bad I think. In any large group shown, you can always pick out a few that are similar in some way to your style of doing pots. Here you can practice critiquing surface, functional and form all in the privacy of your own home! Here are some of my favorites and of course all are altered. Have fun looking!


We are doing teapots in my class this session. Teaching how to make a teapot is hard because I feel like I'm still always trying to make that unique, perfect teapot. As I've watched several of my student work on there own teapot, I think I've realised that trial and error of all those pieces are good for everyone, even if they don't work quite right. One tends to keep their teapots and over the years I've really studied some of mine.If they pour and there where no cracks I think its was a successful first attempt at something very hard.
On that final note, I'm in a teapot show this summer so I need to work once more on that perfect pot!


Quick Check in

I have kind of an out of the ordinary week going on so I'm not planning on getting a lot done in the studio..just a few things. Yesterday I had to doing shipping and found the mother load of free boxes back behind the Food Lion in town. That's always a plus so I don't have to spend money on boxes. I also worked on my vegetable dishes last night and threw more plates. Today I plan on keeping that project going. The next three days I'm going to splitting my time between my parents home and ours to help take care of my grandmother. On Saturday I'm off to the North Carolina Potters Conference in Ash borough Nc. Here is the list of who will be there.

Guest Potters:
Mary Law — Berkeley, California

Jane Hamlyn — Everton, England

Robin Best — Adelaide, Australia

I'm looking forward to seeing Mary Law demo again. She is one of those people that I don't necessarily makes pots like hers but I love her work and like to demo them for my classes. I'll keep checking in!


Written word

Here's Aydan sniffing my morning coffee. I need to research who made this cup because I have forgotten there names. Shame on me!

I got a message on my last post from my friend Vicki Gil. Here is what she asked~

"I really like the words and images on these new plates. I also thought the images of the engobe from your earlier post were very nice. I've thought about putting thoughts on some of my work, but it seems like you have to decide if you want to be ironic, journalistic, inspiritional or nonsensical. I haven't really decided which category I would fall into. What do you think or what inspires you to link your images to words?"

I thought that since I had a long response to this and many thoughts on the matter that have been in my head all weekend, I should give this its own post.
Here is the final result of those plates below.

Yesterday before I glazed them I was thinking to myself why do I have flowers mixed with a saying by Grandma Moses? The two don't connect. I drew an images that I normal put on my work and then added a text that had no relation. I did cut myself some slack by knowing I was just playing around with these plates but know it is time to think more about what I am doing. What I am saying visually? I do love the quotes but something about just putting a quote on a vessel doesn't feel personal enough to me. My thoughts,song verses I love and quotes that run through my head have more of a personal feel. Kind of like the finger marks in the bottom of a mug.
My next step, I guess is some sort of imagery that does have relevance to my thoughts. At this moment in my life, my job as a mother, wife and female artist are all things that pull me in all sorts of directions and I do have a lot to say about those things. Here is where I'm not sure how much of my inner thoughts I want for the whole world to read. My blog is one thing but my true thoughts, I keep for my own ears and eyes. Stay tune for more of this.



I'm turning in early this evening. I read this great article about how important sleep was the other day and even though I tend to push the envelope some weeks, I do believe that this is true that one needs sleep. I wish I could get 9 hours every night but this just does not work all the time. So, this weekend I told myself I would try to catch up on some much needed sleep.
I have a glaze kiln going this evening. I'm always nervous when I fire pieces that have to be somewhere. My fingers and toes are crossed! This evening I trimmed some bowls and watched such a great movie called Once. There have been some great sound tracks lately to films and this one was fantastic. I wish I had been born with the gift of making music because I think music is one of the top things that makes living so wonderful. I hope in a few years we can save up some money to buy the kids a piano so they can grow up having the chance to play and maybe I'll even take lessons again!
Last night the group from Circle of Eight met and as always it was good food, good talk and focus on moving forward. I brought these plates to share with my fellow potters. The words on my work are pretty new and I'm not sure where I'm going with this if anywhere at all. These plates are made out of my red slop clay with porcelain slip brushed on the top. I have brushed on a orange stain and added some red glaze to a few spots which is then waxed over. I then dipped them in my regular glaze colors and we'll see what comes out. I have a lot of ideas going around in my head for one of a kind platters. If these come out, I'll post the final result.