Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Busy Week

We had a great weekend in Asheville. I took off some time from the studio to go with Jim to a veterinary conference and managed to see some other folks' work while there. Also stocked up at Highwater clay and Earthguild for cane, reed and dyes for my handles. I enjoyed walking around downtown and seeing the sites.
Now it's back to reality. I had a couple of good firings and my elements, which I have been stressing over, continue to work. They are close to their last legs and I keep hoping to nurse them through the next few weeks until after the holiday rush.
My mom and sister are coming this weekend and the ACC show is in Charlotte, so we will have a good time hanging around and seeing craft. My sister has a new clay project she wants to try but it is all in her head, no photos or pictures. Should be interesting. Gotta run...class starts in a short bit!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


What a beautiful day Saturday was! I still haven't unpacked the van from the Burlon Craig Festival because I had to go in and make some pieces today. Timing is everything, and if I didn't get them done, then they wouldn't have enough time to dry. I was already stressing out because I had to force dry some pieces in the microwave before I could fire them.
Yes, I did say microwave. No, I don't heat food in it. It is strictly for clay. This was a trick I picked up at the NC Potters Conference when Pete Pinnell was one of the presenters. We'll see if I stressed the clay so much that it cracks on me.
I am making work to fire in a friend's kiln because she wants one more kiln load and doesn't have enough time to make more work. It's great because she has a gas kiln, so I will have a different look, but a bit stressful because I don't have the extra time myself and I have to choose a more simple style without my usual texture because of my unfamiliarity with her glazes. Nothing like creating more problems for yourself.
However, what I really wanted to write about was Lilesisms. These are unique family sayings from my dad's side of the tree. When my son was in school he had a project about collecting quotes which were special to him. I had this great idea of putting the sayings in clay and making a box for them. His teacher would only allow the students to use "famous" quotes. Spence probably breathed a heavy sigh of relief that I wouldn't be "helping" him with the project. He knew it would turn into a major ordeal, and he was not into putting more time into projects or homework than was absolutely necessary.

Growing up I heard these things all the time. I thought everyone knew them. It was a real education when I learned that they were probably unique to east Texas (where my dad's family is from) and possibly known only to our immediate family. My husband certainly had never come across many of these sayings until he spent time with our family.

Here's a partial list of Lilesisms:

"If I tell you a goose dips snuff, you just look under his left wing and you'll find a little box of Copenhagen." Translation: Believe what I say!...Copenhagen is snuff or chewing tobacco.
"He/she had a hard row to hoe." Translation: That person was experiencing a great deal of difficulty.
"Don't worry about the mule, you just load the wagon." Translation: You do your own job and mind your own business, and I'll take care of my end of the deal and then we'll get along fine."
"That's gooder 'n snuff, and better 'n taters." Translation: I enjoyed that quite a lot.
"Et tu, Brute'? Naw, man, I ain't et nothin'." Translation: I'm hungry, let's go get something to eat.

I'm sending those lovely sayings that I hold so affectionately across cyberspace and time to my grandmother and grandfather, somewhere in the great beyond. Miss you both.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I had a treat yesterday. Jen Mecca was doing a demo at Gaston College, so I buzzed on over to watch. It was fun to see how she created her boxes, and threw slab bottoms on the wheel. Every potter has their own techniques and I always learn from them. Sometimes it gets filed away and the technique will come in handy to solve a problem or offer a different solution to the way I am working.
It was a fun trip to get me out of the studio.

I took some shots of the pots in the gallery. These are some egg cups (I'm pretty sure) and a flower box. Very beautiful.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Claymatters Sale

The Claymatters sale went well. The weather was so wonderful and I always love being outside for this event.

Alex Miller was kind enough to send some photos of my booth, so here are images from the show.

The next event for me is the Burlon Craig show, another outside venue. Looks like great weather and good music for it is in the future.

In the studio we will be working on a treasure box, similar to one that Lana Wilson made during a demonstration for the clay group. Should be challenging!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Great Open House

The open house was fun! We had lots of folks out to see all the artwork. It was nice to meet some of my fellow art guild members, who I knew the names but hadn't connected the faces with. And the ladies from Covenent Village were a great crowd. There were two winners of the gift certificates which were sponsored by Deb Lowery, of BedMe and BreakfastMe Travel. She is an independent travel assistant, affliated with AAA, whose purpose is to help plan your trip and save you time. What a great concept!

I took a few shots of work-one of the chicken pitchers we worked on in handbuilding. The other is the openings between the rooms that act as additional shelving. I repainted 2 areas and used a color similar to green tea. So this is one of the rooms looking out into the front gallery. Mostly functional work is now located here.

The next show will be this weekend at McAlpine Business Park on Monroe Rd. in Charlotte. This is always a great show with wonderful work and a big turnout. The weather is usually zen-like, with a small breeze and a calming waft of leaves in the air. They gently drift down from the towering trees, ending in the field, or near the old barn and silos. I'm sure there is a haiku there waiting to happen.

Thanks to those who said they checked in on the blog. I sometimes get the idea that I am writing just to myself, which is fine, but several of you mentioned you looked here to see what was happening in the studio.

Meet Dragon Gorthen, a design made by Courtney. She did a great job, including the dragon symbol in Chinese. We used a technique that I recently learned from Amy Saunders, of Carolina ClayMatters guild. You take a cone of clay and run a dowel all the way through it to hollow and thin it.
I like this method better than using a sheet of clay and connecting it to make a cone or cylinder because the clay is more manageable and the clay maintains it's strength as you manipulate it. It works great for the body of this piece as well as the legs and head.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fairs-past and present

Last night I demonstrated throwing on the potter's wheel at the Cleveland Co. Fair. Every year the Board of Directors of the Carolina Pottery Festival each take a night to promote the Festival and throw pots at the fair. I always enjoy it because I love what people have to say. I really love watching them watch me make magic with clay.

I usually don't get back to enjoy the fair itself, but get a fine view of the 240lb pumpkins, the 150lb watermelons and all the cakes and jams and jellies on display, as I lug my clay and tools to the demo booth. If I were in charge of the cakes, I'm afraid I would have to sample a bit.

When I was young and we were still living in Bossier City, Louisiana, we would go to the state fair. My grandmother would go with us and I have these great memories of bits of sounds, lights and color. I always loved the duck game, where you would pick up a floating duck and look underneath to see what prize you won. My grandmothher loved to play bingo--she was a three carder, minimum, and I would help her look for the numbers as they were called. Cotton candy and the smells of roasting hot dogs, and the cool, crisp air of the fall, the lights and thrill of being out late at night (for an eight or nine year old), those are all my great memories of fairs.

I got a glimpse of the past as I walked out to the car last night, carrying the last of the thrown pots. The ferris wheel and rides were bright against the night sky and there was a slight cool breeze and rain drops beginning to fall. Lovely.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Open House

I'm having an Open House on Saturday, Oct. 6, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday, Oct. 7, 1 to 4 pm at Bluegill Pottery, 4522 W. Wilkinson Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28056.

This is the first open house where I have had other artists come in. Guest artists for this event are Gilda Coughlin, who makes handmade jewelry, and Renee Matthews, who is a clay artist and also paints. So there will be pottery, sculpture, paintings and drawings and handmade jewelry.

I'm finishing up firing the two kilns, full of brie bakers and mugs, and some funky work that I did with my handbuilding class. I love that class because it pushes me out beyond my boundaries and into funky-land! So you will see some chicken pitchers, a sculptural candleholder and an oval bowl with lots of waves and texture. That is, if everything makes it through the firing!

Hope to see you there. If not, I'll be in Charlotte next weekend, and in Vale the weekend after that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I went to LA and got to see several museums. Lots of old pots. These are shots of a Palissy platter, 1500's, and a detail from a middle eastern plate, not sure of date. The fish are in a friend's Koi pond. They are my favorite fish, and I have used them as imagery on my pottery often.
Unfortunately, I could not use a flash at the museums, so photos are not crisp with details, and the fish kept swimming so fast that they were already out of the frame by the time I could click.
I'm getting ready for the open house at the gallery this weekend. It should be really great weather and sounds like lots of folks will turn out. All the renovations are complete and I am really happy with the results.