A few photo's

Here are some shots of things..........
Here are some boxes. I would really like to have a bunch of these and then be able to hold back 3 of the best ones for a good photo...that's what I'm working towards. I love making boxes.

I decided to get right back to my handles for serving dishes. These are the one's I use to make for all my casserole dishes. I like them and I like the way they look but this porcelain body has changed since my years using it in grad school and I have problems with it splitting sometimes right where they handle folds over. It never did this before but now........very frustrating. So that is why for the last few years I've tried other handles. Maybe I just need to pull it another way..........hummmmm

New mugs. Always new shapes, ideas, and sometimes surface. I use my mugs for experiments sometimes.

Last but not least, Emily asked me if I was going to show anymore of my "kids plates". I found some more photo's I had taken on my camera so I thought I'd put these two up. These are both in the first stages of all I did to the plates. I like this stage the best and wished they had come out looking like this! I also wanted to say that each plate had a saying on the back as to what I could remember the girls had said about each drawing they did. They where trilled when I brought in two of the plates the other night for dinner ( they where 2nds of course). Each of them remembered the drawings that where on the plates and wanted to see more. Regrettably many of the plates did not make it through the multiple firing for various reason. Many of them I just did not like how they looked. I do have to say it is an idea and surface application that maybe I'll come back to another time.

New Blog

Last night I was "cleaning house" on my blog and deleted Brad Tuckers blog site because I couldn't get it to come up. Knowing what a joker Brad is I thought he was just pulling my leg about his blog so I deleted it. Well, I'm happy to say he DOES have a real blog and you should check it out and encourage him. Knowing Brad and how humorous the emails are that I get from him, hopefully his blog will be as interesting and hilarious as he is.


Weekend recap

Its Sunday evening and I just got in from finishing up some boxes and throwing platters.
My workshop went great yesterday. I had a good turn out and some great questions. I think everyone was interested in what I threw and how I finished things. I think the big draw was that everyone was curious to see how I inlay stain into the surface of my pieces. ( I could understand this since I wondered for so long as well!) I did take note that the next workshop I teach in the fall, I need to get some more interesting slides of some other pots and influences. I always wonder where everyone gets all those great slides when I go a demo. If anyone has some suggestions please let me know. The few that I have where taken out of different books and magazines and I seem to remember that you had to have a special lens to do this. At any rate, its on my list of things to do. I also managed to sell a good amount a pots which was an added bonus to the day!

Today was a great day of just staying at home and not running around at all. I got to spend time with my family, play with the kids, clean a bit, take a much needed walk with a good friend and work in my studio. This week will be pretty low-key. No camps for the kids, just good old home spun activities. Thursday morning I start a new class and I can't wait to see what everyone wants to tackle this summer!
I'm going to try to get some images up of pots tomorrow...stay tuned!



Tomorrow I'm off to Columbia to do a workshop for the Midland Clay Art Society. I'm pretty thrilled to have been ask to spend a day with them.

I spent today watching final summer camp "presentations". Quaid was in the theater camp this week and they put on a play today, which was very funny and entertaining. Quaid is quit the ham and enjoys the spotlight so this was perfact for him! The girls where in a dance camp and they also had a little show. Their teacher did a great modern piece with them where they pretended that they were seeds that grew up to be flowers. It was very good and cute of course.
After that I ran to Rock Hill to take on another new adventure for me - teaching an online Art Appreciation course through York Technical College. I'm excited and a bit overwhelmed with the process but ready to take it on. Wish me luck, we all know how great I am at the "written word".( No comment from the Philbeck peanut gallery!) Good thing I enjoyed Art History and can recall a lot of artist information so maybe that will save me from myself.
Tomorrow night its back to business in the studio if I'm not beat from my travels.......
Have a good one. If your in the area go out to Ron Philbeck summer sale, he's got some great work!


Song Catcher Show

I had a fun project I was working on the last few weeks for this show at
Lark and Key Gallery in Charlotte. Some of you may remember that I was trying to put some of my daughters drawings on some of my pots but was not happy with the result. This show came along and I finally had a venue for this "idea" so I went with it. You can read down about the show.....

JULY 4th - AUGUST 31st (opening reception Friday July 11th, 6-9pm)

Thirty (plus) artists from around the country will be offering art, pottery, jewelry - or whatever medium strikes a chord - celebrating the diversity of music and its creative influence on their work. The show also aims to expose viewers to a world of music they may not be aware of. Various bands and djs will be playing during the opening and at the gallery crawls while the exhibition is up.
In an effort to give back to the community Lark & Key will also donate a portion of sales to the Belmont Community Center YWCA Afterschool Program. We will be working with the program director to provide funds for art and music related education for the children in order to encourage their creative spirit.
Participating Artists: Their styles and mediums are as diverse as their musical influences!
Adorn, Katherine Blackwell, Flora Bowley, Michelle Caplan, Sandra Dawson, Diana Fayt, Matt Flint, Charlotte Foust, Renee Garner, Lisa Gastelum, Tim Gates, Jessica Gonacha, Duy Huynh, I’m Smitten, Carl Linstrum, Laura McCarthy, Jen McCleary, Nicole McConville, Myron Macklin, Cara Ober, Angie Renfro, Kate Phillips, Jessica Pisano, Ron Philbeck, Osiris Rain, TJ Reddy, Amy Sanders, Christy Smith, Melissa Tyson, Julie Wiggins

To the left are the inspirations for my pieces

Here's my statement and the song I choose.

"You remind me who I am"

By Steve Poltz

Having to split my time between being a full time mom and a full time studio potter, I tend to get lost in both worlds. The clay does not like to wait for me when I have a sick child and my children do not like to wait while I'm finishing up something during my work cycles. Of course the kids are more vocal and more important than my studio work when one thinks about the importance of life.
My daughters remind me of this when I'm out in my studio working and they so desperately want to be with me. They send out little drawings through the cat door explaining what they want since they can not write or spell yet. I post these drawings on my door so I can be reminded what is really the most important thing in my life.

As an artist, you can get very lost in yourself and the creative process that drives you.

This is one of four plates I did for the show.


Checking In

I'm getting to bed far to late these last few nights and its not because of doing to much work I have to honestly say. I'm back to surfing the computer much more than I should. Last night a found a great site where I can listen to all Ryan Adams concerts live. I just sat here and enjoyed the tunes for about a hour last night when I really should of been getting my beauty sleep.
I've been spending my week getting ready for the workshop I'm giving this Saturday in Columbia. I've been going through slides and trying to get a plan on the types of pots I'll be demonstrating. In the studio I've been sort of playing with some new mugs forms and trying to get my springs to be a bit more unified with the pots they sit on. (What that really means is just trying to figure out a better application for them on the piece.)

Exciting news for anyone who reads Amy Sanders Blog - she did have her baby yesterday and it was a boy ( which I predicted...hahummm). He was 9lbs and 1 oz and they named him Guthrie...Gus for short. I spoke with Amy today and she was like any new mom, proud, tired, emotional and in "Babyland". ( That a world that only new mom's understand........sorry folks, hard to describe but I heard it in her voice.) I can't wait to see the little guy. Speaking to her today naturally brought me back to Quaid and how different my life as a potter was when he came along. I learned how to work in 1/2 stints and give up my own ambitions for awhile to care for him and then his sisters. Now that everyone is growing fast, I know I would not chance any of it.

Everyone give a little happy thought out to Amy and Gus and their new adventures together into the world of motherhood and clay.


New tool

I stopped by my local clay supply store last week and picked up a new little Mud tool that I had not seen before. I really don't buy a whole lot of tools because I find that most of the times when I do get something new I just go back to my old stand-bys that I learned on about 15 years ago - needle tool, metal rib, sponge, one double sided ribbon tool for trimming and a sharp edge wooden tool that I have no idea what the name of it is.
Anyways, this little sponge/rib intrigued me so I got one. The first day I used it last week when it was new and dry was pretty cool but then when I added water..wow , it was like one of those sea-monkeys you can get in the dollar store that can go from a small spounge into a life size creature.( Of course I like the drama of just saying that........you get the picture.) Once this rib ballooned up, it allowed me to do some other cool things. I have purchased a few of Micheal Sherill's ribs and do use them every once in a while. All the Mud tools looks really cool and I love the bright colors. I try to encourage my students to buy some when they feel the need for more tools. ( Some of them have AMAZING tool collections!) I think Emily Murphy has a recent post about Mug tools as well. She has a great blog so check it out if you get a chance.
Note : If you have'nt seen Micheal Sherill's work in awhile check out the link for the Ferrin Gallery. His work is so wonderful and I regret I missed a workshop with him a few years ago. I would love to see some of these pieces upclose one day.


Matt Long

Last night was my last intermediate class for the spring. I'm slowly buying DVD's and tapes for my library to use as teaching tools so I purchased a video about Matt Long. Matt is a potter living in Oxford, Mississippi and got his MFA at Ohio University in 1997. He's really known for his whiskey bottles which he shows on this tape. I really enjoyed it and I think my students learned some good altering tricks from it as well.

HUMMMMMM........ next session may be all about some whiskey and Bourbon bottles done "the girly way".

Great weather

We have gone from 100degree heat here in SC to mid 80's so I am in heaven. It feels like my summers as a kid in Upstate New York and that puts me in a great mood. I've been working on lots of plates and small dipping/sauce dishes and of course...mugs.

Here is a mug by Katherine Finnerty that my pals Julie and Ron brought back from their Minnesota trip a few weeks ago. I couldn't wait to have coffee in it this morning and as I was drinking out of it I was thinking how some mugs are for special occasions and some are just a good old friend that you see every day. On mornings that I need a pick me up or I'm feeling really good I get down one of my special, fancy, expensive mugs. On a morning that I have lots on my mind, I reach for my old friends. These are mugs that feel good, aren't super fancy and coffee tastes great out of. It also occurred to me that everyday I think about pots in various ways and I wonder if other people with various professions do the same about their occupation.

Katherine mug just got washed and went up on my special mug shelf to look at and pull down when I'm in the mood for a little something special.



My son is really into bugs and science so most holidays he gets some sort of science related kit in which hatching or growing something is involved. Last year was Sea Monkeys or Tripods as they are called and we were successful with that adventure. I have to admit they where pretty cool to watch grow but naturally they did not live to long.

This year for Christmas one of his Aunts gave him a Preying Mantis kit. All it consists of is a big plastic block/container with a zipper on the top and some instructions for sending away for the little guys who live inside this thing. I ordered a pack a few weeks ago and the other day it came in the mail with a big sign that said " Live animals". When we opened it up there was this cool cocoon looking thing and the instructions said that it would hatch in 4 to 10 days so we have been waiting!

Today when we got home from camp Quaid announced that the mantis babies had hatched but not only in there plastic-bubble-Mantis-habitat but also all over his room! As the frenzy to catch all these mantis babies unfolded a little 5 year old voice spoke up and said she had opened the bubble " alittle bit" to touch the shell. Needless to say we spent the afternoon catching 100's of Mantis babies and I'm sure we will be growing a whole colony in our home in the next few weeks. Boy the cats are going to love this!


Going back a post of Two

A few posts back I spoke of "birds on a stick" and some handles that just did not work plus some BIG mishaps. I thought I'd share them even though some really hurt of show. I figure we all have goofs ( some days I think I have more than most) and its nice to share and see others people's flub-ups so...here we go.
Here's an example of the garden birds I made. They where a lot of fun. A few cracked in the bisque kiln so here is one with out glaze. My girls are claiming them as their own and I've found them moved all around the gardens and put in little nests.
Here are the baker that REALLY did not come out. First the glaze got contaminated and then the new handles I tried cracked where they attached to the piece. I've been changing the handles on my bakers for many years to find that perfect fit. I guess I still have not found what I'm looking for. ( Where is U2 when I need some music....)
Finally these are So painful to post. The glaze is to thin here because I rushed when applying my amber glaze. The crocus martis in the glaze really wants to be mixed every time and I was very tired that night. I guess I can only learn from this.

The glaze/kiln room is in great need of a clean-up so that is what is on my list for tomorrow plus teaching a kids camp in the morning. Aydan and Mckenna got a slip-slide for their 5th birthday so I may take a break mid-day! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE



While cooking today I came up with all sorts of things we could use to make our kitchen more user friendly. Bowls, bowls and more bowls of all shapes and sizes. Some that poured, some that had handles and some just small ones for spices and such. Here are just a few that I used while cooking. The green on with the celery in it is my friend Julie Wiggins, the other two are my seconds. This blue one with the rim is perfect for grating cheese because you can just lay the grater on the rim and slice away!

This was the menu:
Sausage-Stuffed rack of Pork with Sage
Piselli con Asparagi E Basilico ( Asparagus, peas and basil)
Dama Bianca (Fennel and celcery salad)
Sicilian - Style Potato Gratin
For dessert - Oven Crespella with Nutella sauce and Strawberries
Joey did help pick out the menu a bit. It had a Italian theme which was good because my parents came and my dad is 100% Italian. I really wanted to make sauce for him but Joey had grander idea's, which did come out in the end.

Here we are! I think it was a successful adventure but I'm ready to get back to my pots and leave the gourmet cooking to my husband.

Happy Fathers Day

A very happy fathers day to all of you out there. Dads are so different these days; they do so much more to help out mom and raise kids. Joey is very hands-on with our three and I know we are very equal is raising our gang ( even though I DO butt in sometimes.......I got to be honest about that weather its good thing or not...once your a mom ALWAYS a mom). Our kids will have a great relationship with both of us as they become adults. No studio for me today, Joey has asked for what may be an impossible task for me to do for him - cook a meal totally from one of his fancy cooking magazines. We'll see if I can pull this off! It may be like an I LOVE LUCY show since I hardly cook anything challenging anymore these days.
Have a great day and I'll be back with pottery talk soon.


Slowly working up to....work

I'm teaching a kid's pottery camp next week so yesterday I spent time getting ready for that and all my book-keeping for the last few months.

The kids have had fun enjoying their summer break so far with other friends, the pool and yesterday all the free library activities started so we went to see a show yesturday. Today I'm reclaiming and pugging clay than off to the movies with some of my mom friends. I was not able to celebrate my birthday with them and have a drink since I was swamped with work and mom stuff. Wow....playing catch-up is what summer time is all about for me. I have lots of projects planned. We'll see if I can finish them. And yes....the kiln is one of them but time is not really the issue with that, its more the financial priorities that have slowed that down. With gas prices so high, that eats into our extra funds and the first to go is pottery projects. I was so consumed with gas prices this last weekend I was looking at every gas sign I passed while driving. When I was going through the Seagrove NC area I noticed an old gas station that had gone out of business and still had its sign up that said $1.17 for gas. WOW...how long ago was that.
Well..off to pug!~


Starting from scatch

Here is what my studio looks like today. What a mess! If I'm gone for two days, the kids manage to take it over in some way..you'll see their blow-up swim toys over to the side in this shot. All the empty shelves, boxes that need to be unpacked and cleaning get me excited about starting a new batch of work. I can't wait to start on some mugs! I was lucky to sell out on what I had which always brings a grin to my face since I love to make them. I had planned to take photo's of the yard birds that I made for the show but they sold out in the first few minutes of the show. People love to come right at 10am and buy up all the garden art. All my partners in crime this weekend had a good time ribbing me about putting anything on a "stick" so it would fly out the door. I have to admit that I was glad I made lots of planters and the birds. I loved the birds because they where something differant for me and these days at times I feel like I need something new other than pots. ( I can't believe I just had that thought!) I plan on making more for the Blowing Rock show I will be doing in July and August.
I had a huge flub-up in the last kiln I fired right before my show. Somehow my clear glaze got contaminated and it came out this milky color on the pots I put it on. Good thing I was in such a hurry to get out of town and not sit around thinking about it. I still have not opened the door to my shed yet to study those pieces. This evening I'm cleaning, organizing and opening the door to the shed. My heart will sink when I see all those nice baking dishes I made last week with the new handles I wanted to try. Such is life of a potter!


More show photo's

Here are a lot of random photo's of the Larkspur show. At most shows I'm so excited about what is going on I either forget to take my camera out or all my snap-shots are pretty quickly done. Of course this was no different. When I had a lull on Sunday I quickly went around and just shot some photo's of my friends and some of their work. Here is Laura Avery. She and her husband Blaine own a shop in the Seagrove area. Blaine is a potter and Laura is a tile maker and a mom. Blaine had his first studio at Cedar Creek the same time I was working in the gallery. Below is Ronan Peterson who is on his second year at the show and a great addition at that. Below are some pots by Tim Turner and Brad Tucker.

Here is Lisa Oakley and Betty McKim. Lisa is a glass blower and her Dad and Mom started Cedar Creek over 40 years ago. Lisa hired me to be the manager of the Creedmoor gallery while she directed that store and another site in downtown Raleigh. I think we both find it funny that here we both are on the other end of the stick trying to sell our own work these days and not everyone elses. I learned a lot of great information about selling my work from that experience. Betty McKim is a wonderful jeweler who worked with me in the gallery and is also a parent of identical twins. I was 23 when we met and I use to laugh at how crazy her life was than. When I told her I was having twins 5 years ago she just laughed none stop at me on the phone.....karma!Here are a few other shots of some gardens and another craftsmen at the show. There where other sculptures, potters and jewelers but like I said, I only went around quickly and took photo's. Each year Frances invited differant people. I'm always excited to see new faces and differant work. This is Betty's husband George Mckim who is a painter and made
these crazy bird houses this year!
Last but not least, here's a shot of Brad and Tim deciding where the slip and slide should go next year!



McKenna and I got home from our Raleigh excursion today around noon and pretty much the rest of the day was spent lounging around with all three kids enjoying the air conditioning and some good books and games. All of the craftspeople that did the show this weekend where troopers in the 100 degree heat for two days straight. I think I've only done one other show in weather like this before and I had forgotten how silly heat can make you. Or it may of just been the company I was around for two days. There was lots of talk about bringing a slip-and-slid next year along with a Margaretta machine. At one point we all just sat under a big tree for shade while customers meandered in and out of our booths. Brad Tucker thought it would be a good idea for us to just get walkie-talkies so we could still say Hello but not have to move.
Along with the heat and the lack of customers either due to the weather or the economy, we all had a great time hanging out together. Whenever I do this show I realize how important being part of a group or community really is.

Here is a photo of Frances Alverino and her daughter Holly. Frannie started this show 13 years ago as a show for sculptures in the triangle area since she was considered a sculpture with her the garden ladies that she started making at the time. As time went on, being the generous person she is, she invited many of her friends from Cedar Creek to come and be in the show as well. I think by the 4th year most of the sculptures faded out and it became more of a garden/craft show.
This was the first show I even did. I didn't have a set-up or even that many pots because I was still in school. That year Frances made sure all her friends and family who came to the show went over to my booth and at least looked around. I think I may have sold about $100 worth of pots and I was thrilled. I was thinking back on this moment as I was driving to the show this weekend and how sharing shows, information, customers and support is what our community is all about. Many of my craft friends at this show have helped me a lot along the way weather it was getting me started, encouraging me, giving me information about a show or letting me work for them when I was just starting out. Its all about helping one another, not taking yourself to seriously and being a true friend that understands where you are in life and how you can help.
.......Of course being able to pick and make fun of each other through the years is also quite fun and I think I lost 5 pounds alone from all the laughing I did!


My Trusty Assistant

Mckenna will be assisting me on my trip/show this weekend. She is so excited she told me she couldn't sleep tonight! Of all the kids she is the one most interested in what I do and wants to be out in my studio with me as much as she can. This week I let her "help" me more than usual because this is a little adventure for her even though she won't be with me the whole time at the show. ( Thank goodness for Aunts and Grandmothers who live in the area!) I need to figure out how to do movies and audio on my blog because the none stop questions and over all comments about my pots and what I do are endless coming from her little four year old head. She even made up a song today while I was packing. She kind of sings like Aunt Bee and my grandmother.......
She has the makings of a great eccentric artist!
Off we go!

A few photo's

Here are some images that I've been meaning to post...just a few things in the dry stage before staining them. Since Larkspur is a garden show I made there birds to go on Angle Iron. The based on some glass birds that I fell in love with a few years ago at the Murano Glass exhibit at the Mint Craft and Design museum. We'll see how they come out..they where really fun to make.
Here is Joey holding one of the raven pots that came out of the kiln a few days ago.
These are pretty big containers based on pickle jars. They too have a raven on the top and also drawn on the pot.
These are relish servers. I like the cut feet.
Some pots drying. I tried some new handles on those bakers. Not sure if I pulled them right, we'll see how they come out!

I'll be packing up today and then off to Raleigh.


Larkspur Party

The 13th annual Larkspur Party is next weekend. I know I've talked about how this is my favorite show to do every year because all my old friends from Cedar Creek and Raleigh are there with me. I am kind of the baby of the bunch and I always learn so much from everyone there and we have such a good time. Not to mention the art at the sale is great! If your interested in coming to show you can click on the word Larkspur and it will take you to the site so you can get directions.
Its 12:22 and I just finished loading my first glaze kiln for the show...wish me luck!


Family weekend

The kids finished up school Thursday and we had a great school year with lots of accomplishments. It was also a busy one for all of us and a good weekend together was needed to get back on track with organization, being a family and re-establishing how important we all are together and how to fix communication skills that have gone by the wayside with all our busy lives. I could write for hours on this subject, but that is for another blog, or book! Joey and I were both in need of a good respit from "work" and time to pull us all together, so we have been "breathing" this weekend and having fun. There are so many good songs with lyrics about "breathing" and most of them focus on not the actual act of doing but taking time to slow down. Like I said, yet another huge topic to talk about when five lives, no matter how big or small are interacting with each other.

Now that I wrote about that, the matter of still working for my show next weekend took a little bit of a back seat but was still in our lives as it always is. I have been filling in the gaps with my usual items but as always made a few new things. Here are some photo's of small covered serving dishes with the raven on the top again. I plan on using the same black glaze I used for the teapot below and I may even glaze the bottom part of these pots totally black. I had some people at this show last year ask for a two person casserole dish so the request popped into my mind the other day when I was out thinking about how I was going to load the kiln and what to make.

Today I will be making glazes and staining various things while Joey and the kids are enjoying themselves at the local pool. I have a few more new things to take photo's of to post. Stay tuned!