OPPS! What the devil happened?!

A few weeks ago Amy Sanders and Ron Philbeck came by for a little "pottery chat" and we enjoyed some pizza, beer and Amy's world famous chocolate chip cookie's!

Ron was the one who had been wanting to talk about our pots for awhile because whenever we meet we are always talking about our THROWN TOGETHER business or doing other things. It was a great idea because really now that we are all just studio potters working on our own, there isn't really anyone who can help look at those little things in your work that you tend to overlook We each brought out three pots and talked about what sort of new stuff we were thinking about doing or changing about a our work.
The photo above is a close up of the pot below and if you notice the pot below.......well, my glaze looks different and NO this was not a new glaze I was trying out!
Before I moved I made up huge amounts of my three glazes because I wasn't sure where or when I'd be able to make glazes. I knew I had a few Fall shows and thank goodness I made it through to this February with out having to make any glazes. Well, the last kiln load I noticed that I had no yellow and I needed some for a few requests. For some reason in that glaze load, I only put yellow on a few small pieces and decided this big, new flower topiary needed the yellow. To my surprise when I opened that kiln,this is what I found. A muted out ash lookin glaze!
Sighhhhh.....and than a head scratch. What the ---- happened here?
Looking back on moving and cleaning out my old studio; which we did in a matter of two days. I seem to recall a few bags ripping and some labels falling off bins. I can only conclude that something go mixed up somewhere and this was my result. Oy-vey!
Guess its time to do some investigating and testing before the Spring rush hits!
Just a final note. I enjoyed last months Ceramic Monthly in which an article was written about Linda Christensen and her graceful pottery and kind, hospitable manner when visited by some fresh faced potters several years ago. I don't have the article in front of me so I don't recall who the potter was that wrote about her. It made me smile because I just really enjoy Linda every time I have the opportunity to listen to her talk about pots. This month, Stephen Hill wrote a good article about electric firing that I also really enjoyed reading this. Its so nice to see all these great potters deciding to kick the gas kiln habit and switch over the electric to see what it can do for them. I still have my dream of firing my salt kiln and getting back into that type of firing but since I've been firing electric since I've been out of grad school...I guess I'll stick with it as long as we live in a neighborhood!


Thought about Openings - (chime in if you have a view on the subject.)

Yep, I had an opening last Thursday night.......
( awkward silence)
I've been trying to wrap my head around how I feel about Openings and really what to say about them. My children use to have this book in which you could change the events in the book depending on which way you held the book ( upside down, right side up). I sort of thought that I could approach my blog post about this opening that way. You know the upbeat side to the evening and the real feelings I have about these types of events.

So here I am, ready to post my thoughts on last Thursday evening along with really how I feel about these types of evenings I've attended over the last few years.....
Are you ready? This could get ugly......

(Jenni Brant tea bowls below, above photo is the hall wall in which some pieces were nicely displayed in glass blocks and on shelves. Here is Joey enjoying a free beer.)
I don't look forward to my own openings. I look forward to the making of my work, seeing it displayed and selling it but....I don't like attending places with folks I don't know and being expected to mingle. I was thinking last week that this same feeling would come up at High School dances. I'd go and than think ...why did I go? If I wasn't able to be like glue to one friend, I'd go hide for a few minutes in the bathroom so I didn't have to socialize. Its sort of comical in a way that I've had jobs in which I do have to talk to people - selling work, being a gallery manager, teaching. My husband and I are like two peas in a pod at an Opening. We are excited to have an adult night on our own but basically we are two introverts who freeze up once we are forced into a crowd of people.

I'm sure there are so many of you out there that will say how important it is to talk to people at these events and how much you love to go to them. Oh...if only I could relate.
( There are new Flower-balls. Basically vases with various openings to display a few flowers)
I'm also someone who would like for my friends to attend but I don't expect them to. I figure they have their own stuff to do and if they want to buy my work , they basically can just call me or come to a sale. I don't really expect other potters to come to my openings either. Being that I'm always so busy I barely have time to attend others folks openings so why should it be reciprocated. I do like going to other people openings because the pressure is off and you don't get that sinking feeling if crowds of folks are not talking to you about your work. I'm sure once our kids are grown and gone, we'll be sipping wine and enjoying these evenings like most artists do.
For me, being at a opening really doesn't give me the opportunity to push my work. Are people really there to buy or just look? When I'm at a show, standing in my booth, that is when I try and say "Hello, I'm Jen, if I can tell you about my work, just let me know". At an opening there is no way I'm walking up to a stranger to say " Hey! That's my work...want to know about it?!" I didn't even get a name tag Thursday evening so I was basically just another person off the street viewing art and sipping wine.
(flower vases by Jenni Brant)
To compound last Thursdays stressful feelings of being an introvert, we had a child who was sick. We also have one child who suffers from separation anxiety and it was a school night so those factors always play into any outside social event we plan. Sometimes it just easier to stay at home!! But...I had to go because it was my show and the other potter was from the Nebraska plus the gallery showing my work is heavily linked to the University I teach for. We had planned to have a fun-loving High School girl come watch the kids for us which everyone was excited about but instead with a sick child we recruited my Dad to help us out. What does this mean you ask? Well, it means we had to bath, feed, get homework done and find a GOOD movie for everyone to watch before Grandpa showed up. An exhausting effort! It also meant we needed to drive 40 minutes both ways , only stay 30 minutes to get back and put everyone to bed. OK folks..does this sound worth the effort to you? ( I kept upbeat during these obligation so my handsome date wouldn't bug out on me...)
I have to say we cleaned up pretty nice, dashed out the door and showed up to a pretty good crowd of folks and once again the two of us felt like deer in headlights. I went over and told the gallery owner I was there and just basically stood around, drank a beer, saw a few stickers and headed out the door with one final sentence for my husband......
(below...butter dish with new knobs on the top and a large pitcher)
" Sometimes you just got to do what you got to do"


Monkeys, demo's and shows

So...I'm sure everyone is wondering why I have an image of a monkey above.
Well, once again I have felt the push and pull of either falling behind the pack or moving myself forward in the cyber age. Last week I attempted to put up my own email/newsletter mail out through a site called " Mail Chimp". Sadly I must report that I gave up! After thinking I could do it and than being interrupted to many times during the process or just not having the patience to really read the directions and figure it out....I gave up!
I even begged and pleaded with my husband to help me only to be lectured on why I should know how to do this sort of stuff by now OR why didn't I learn basis computer 101 back in college.
( Of course this lecture was followed by many eye rolls.)
But during the entire conversation of trying to defend my right brain mentality, I started to realize how much of a bias I have towards left brain people. ( Like my husband for example.....) Now I "say" this half joking so I hope no one sends me bitter responses about the ventures of being left brain. I just want to cleanse my thoughts and admit my prejudices towards this group of folks! When you are right brained, folks tend to put you in the category as " disorganized, flighty, ditsy, scattered brain.....ect." You know you've heard these before and I venture to go further and say that some of you have even USED these terms from time to time. Yep...I know you left brainers are out there reading this!
WELL can I just state for the record that those of us who hate overly organized people, are no good at math and rather have been in the art studio creating rather than sitting in a computer lab learning how to design a website have terms that describe you all as well! I just don't think we ever get a chance to use these terms because we are so busy trying to defend ourselves or change who we are by reading books on "how to be more organized" or " basic computer 101". Blah, Blah, Blah..and the list goes on. You never hear and real creative person criticize someone who's not as unique by saying" You need creativity 101" or " Why don't you take a class in relaxing and enjoying life instead of organizing stuff all the time!" Yep, I'm here as the spokes person for this group. Don't get me wrong, I spend a lot of time trying to keep my family on a schedule and my kids from not losing everything that comes home. But when I run into, lets just say Math teachers how expect everyone to color coat all assignments, dot every number and turn in everything on time,well...naturally I want to dump a can paint on them!
But enough about that, hopefully this month I'll either bribe my husband into getting my account up or I'll just put it off a bit more and continue to just create in my studio.
Peter Beasecker was our visiting artist at Winthrop this week. He was great! He is now the head of the ceramic department at Syracuse and I'm sure the program is going to take off. What a nice day I had listening to him and watching him make pots.
Just look at these great porcelain cups below!!
I have my opening with Jenni Brant this week. Sadly the gallery that I'm showing my work for is closing after this show. They have been open for 7 years and I guess the town they are in just can not support this type of gallery. All in all I'm honored to have a show there and hope some folks will come out to see my new work. I have worked on a few new forms but as you read below....still have not been able to photograph them correctly. Maybe next month I'll jump on that horse again as well.