Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Open House

I'm getting work ready for my Open House on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9. These little gingerbread guys will be available as holiday ornaments. I will also have these sterling earrings that are recent new creations and more variations. I thought I would multi-blog today in order to have some free time when we see our son for Thanksgiving. Hope yours is wonderful and full of turkey.

Views from the Festival

A few views from the Festival. Tall carved vessels are from the Kings, Puzzle Creek Pottery. June Miller stands beside her work. Carved vase and plate are by Alan Griffin.
It was a great show. If you missed it, hope you set aside the date for next year--Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008. And tell all your friends!

Squirreling away leaves

I had to take a little time to make a leaf run before they all fall. There is a place in my town that has a row of ginkgo trees that I supplement my leaves from. As you can see, they are starting to turn yellow and I could just scoop them up in a big bag and bring home to sort. I try and put a mix of sizes in smaller bags and so I have various types of Japanese maple and ginkgo leaves safely squirrelled away for winter.
Over the years I have tried various methods to save the leaves, but freezing has proven to be the best. I just thaw them out for a few minutes and then they are ready to be rolled into my trays.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Brie Bakers and Mugs

Yesterday was a great day in the studio, though I didn't get as much done as I thought I would. I had planned to make a crescent tray with a dragon--a custom order for holidays--mugs, brie bakers, put together 6 teapots--4 of which are custom orders-and do some slab work. Out of all of that, I got the teapots put together and ready for carving, threw the bakers, finished some covered jars and carved them, unloaded the bisque and glaze kiln and got the mugs ready for handles. So the list for today is longer to finish up yesterday's stuff. But I love doing the create part of the work. Freshly made pots up to the leatherhard stage is the most exciting for me. Maybe because they still have potential and haven't revealed what they will exactly look like. I do like unloading the kiln when it has been a good firing, though. That makes my day sing! Just the stuff in between is more like WORK. Glazing and making glazes are my least favorite. I would rather clean up the studio. I might even rather file papers.

Got some earrings finished and packaged up. I have been putting together these sterling silver/semi-precious stones earrings and wanted to have them for the holidays. Now, where to put them on display in the gallery?

Off to the studio. Lots to do..........

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sigh of release

I started to say relief, but that implies some regret. Release feels more right. I am talking about the Festival again. It went stunningly well from many accounts and the folks who attended were very impressed with the selection and quality of the work. We ran out of admission tickets, had a highest ever attendence and great reviews. Now all we have to do is do it again but better, next year!

I walked this morning and yesterday--one of the many things that fell by the wayside before the Festival. I think fall mornings in the Carolinas are some of the most beautiful in the world. The sky and clouds are amazing but very fleeting. You have to look up at just the right time to catch them. I also had a chance to admire the fall garden that Jim planted. We have lettuce, spinich and green onions coming up. His soil looks so loamy and rich. The trees are just about in full color now--so late in coming but so lovely.

I'll follow with some shots from the festival but just wanted to enjoy the day for a bit, and then jump on orders for teapots.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Only 2 days left

I'm excited. Just 2 days left to the Carolina Pottery Festival. I will choose work today, finish off the last firing and load the van to set up tomorrow. I am one of the original creators of the Festival (now in the 7th year) and I get a bit nostalgic about it at this time of year. That is when everything but the last little bits are wrapped up and we're waiting to see what the crowds will do.
To have been a part of creating something that has turned out so much larger than the original idea is quite thrilling and sobering at the same time. When we started we did projections for 35 potters and had a budget based on that. The response the first year was about twice what we expected. Every year it has been a search to widen the promotion and get it out as far and well known as possible. It has made me think twice before I criticize a show, now knowing what work it is to put on something of this nature. Our Board is great. There are 7 potters and we start planning early in the year for the next festival. The ideas for next year are already percolating in our brains but the breathtaking moment is to look out on the morning of the festival and see if there are excited crowds waiting to be let in.
The first year I peaked out, I was almost in tears of relief when I saw the line of folks waiting for the doors to open. In each year since then, I work like crazy to promote it, then still experience the awe that people are coming out and bringing their friends. Hope this year is bigger than the last!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fantastic Firing

My friend Bobbie had a fantastic firing in her gas kiln. I drove out to her sale on Saturday and picked up my pieces that were fillers and they are quite beautiful. Such different colors than my firings and I was experimenting with some glazes that we had used with Ben Owens, III, at Penland back in 2000. There was a liner glaze that I added some rutile to and got a lovely ambery gold, and altered a speckled trout recipe and got a very wild green with black specks. Pictures to follow. The teabowls and flower containers will be at my studio this week and the Carolina Pottery Festival - http://www.carolinapotteryfestival.org/ next Saturday. Hope to see you at one of the two places.

Lana Wilson Boxes

We finished the construction of our magic boxes in handbuilding class. This was a very ambitious project based on Lana Wilson's (California) work.

She did a workshop for the Carolina ClayMatters guild several years ago and I am the guardian of some of the smaller pieces that she made during the workshop. One of the pieces was this box, with a secret compartment and a pull out drawer.

My class fell in love with the idea of doing a complex box so we devoted 3 classes to the box construction. They did a great job.

This one is dedicated to a love of trees, by Chris and has an acorn hiding inside the drawer and a lizard in a viewing window at the back.

This one is based on a love of Egyptian things and has sprigs of hieroglyphs and beatles by Flavia.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Count down to the Festival

This week at the studio has been a whirlwind. On Monday I glazed at Bobbie's house for her gas kiln firing. She had her grandson out there with us and we were singing to keep him amused. I could not seem to remember anything past the first line, so there were a lot of "da-da-da" verses that he heard. I had two wheel throwing classes and threw with some old clay that I had rehydrated. Very luscious and extremely soft--my wrists and hands appreciate soft clay!
Tuesday was handbuilding class and we finished up the boxes we were working on. They look spectacular! I have photos to follow. Lana Wilson was our inspiration. After that I made some slab forms and trays.
Wednesday was a trip to Shelby for a Carolina Pottery Festival meeting and dropping off work at Buffalo Creek Gallery. Finances, quarterly reports and marketing ideas kept me at the computer all day and away from clay.
Today I finished placing the ads for the Carolina Pottery Festival and got some work glazed. Tomorrow promises to be be a long production day. Yeah!! I have a list of things I have to get made. So...pictures to follow and more about the Pottery Festival.