Monday, December 31, 2007

Almost happy new year

Wow, it has been a whirlwind of activity here. I was able to get all the holiday orders done, with one exception and that was graciously allowed to be redone after Christmas. The studio will be closed for classes until February as I get geared up to make new work for Treasures of the Earth, a show I have done in Shelby, NC for many years. I have been working on some artwork and paintings over the holiday and will post pictures soon. They are for a place in Florida that my son is moving to, and we will be able to use for vacation. I've done some mosaics, some ceramic platters and some wall display boxes that use found objects and saved pottery shards, combined with copper foil embossed sheets. And there are two paintings of trees based on carved stone at Ankor Wat (ruins in Cambodia), embellished with Klimt (Gustav Klimt, painter who did very textural and decorative work and who I like a lot) like borders. I imagine all of it will translate into the new work I will be doing in January.

I will be in the studio but not on a regular basis in January, so if you need anything, contact me at my email or leave a non-urgent message at the studio and I will get back with you. I can set up an appointment to meet those folks who have a pottery emergency, so call me.

Otherwise, if you are driving by and the lights are on and the open sign in the door, drop in. I'll be in the back, making some clay magic.

The best of the New Year to you!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saturday in the Shop

I'll be in the gallery on Saturday, finishing up some last projects, so you can drop by and get away from the crowds. Some times there will be Christmas music, but I mix it up with Willie Nelson and James Taylor, because I can only listen to carols for so many hours, days on end. I will be there from 10am to 4pm.

Today I will be glazing and firing--I have several "cat" teapots and mugs that match, so I am anxious to see how they turn out. One set is for a commission, and the other is a back up piece, just in case. My other teapots had a 75 percent success rate, because 3 of the 4 came out. Have to figure out what to do about the fourth one, which stuck to the shelf and had glaze runs very badly. I have others in reserve, but not fired so it will not make it for Christmas.

Other work are mugs and bowls, great for last minute gifts. I'm doing a sketch of black bamboo on some curvy mugs, with handles placed at the "hip" joint. They were taller and smaller diameter than I normally do, and have an elegant look to them. They should be jumping out of the kiln on Saturday if all goes as planned!

Hope to see you during the count down to Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kids growing up

Today is my daughter Katie's birthday--24 years wise! This is a picture taken several years ago while visiting Spence, her younger "bro" at school. At the time I'm sure she was saying something like "and so when are you going to get a hair cut?" It's hard to maintain a serious conversation in a big sister fashion when your little brother towers over you by a good 8".

I feel like I have blinked sometimes and found twenty years have passed by in a whirl. We have been engaged in sending these bright shining beings from us like swiftly moving arrows finding their own paths, but as the bow quivers after the arrow is released, so moves my heart. Happy birth day "K"!

In the world of clay, today was wait. I have two cooling kilns and a load of commissioned teapots that I am hoping came through with all parts still attached. Tomorrow will be the unloading day and caning the handles to complete these orders. Then the last firing of the last holiday work promised and time to make the things that exist only in my head. For inspiration I have been looking at the pictures in a book I picked up at Sam's on Lost Civilizations. There are some stone carved trees from Persia that I want to try out, and some swirls and circular patterns I want to incorporate into some vase forms.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Today I get to dress up a bit and run over to Denver to have brunch with friends. Of course I will have to bring work clothes to change into, but a fun holiday thing! I did get all the work finished the other day, but it took 2 days, not one to handle, assemble, decorate all the pieces I threw in one day. Another reason to say "A long time" as the answer to the question!

The winner of the piece of pottery given away during my open house was JOY FLETCHER

I will be open this Saturday from 10am to 4pm if you need some quiet, relaxing space to find unique gifts for friends. Have fun at your holiday events.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How long did it take you to make this?

This is a question I get fairly often and it is always hard for me to answer. I read an article in one of the clay mags and it talked about how many times one had to either touch a piece or do prep work for a piece and it was an unbelievable amount of time. I heard Cynthia Bringle anwer that question with "Twenty years." Either way, it seems like you have to get into such a long discussion about all the parts of clay making or how important the years of experience have been in order to create the piece they are asking about. So I thought I would talk about it a bit here, then maybe just print out little slips of paper that had this blog site and title on it and give that out when asked.
This is the prep work for the pieces and all the other chores in order to have pots to offer:
Inventory supplies
Order/pick up clay and glaze supplies
Unload/store clay
Mix dry glaze materials
Sieve and screen wet glaze materials and label buckets
Clean up studio and kiln area and gallery
Create business cards, promo pieces, invoices, etc. on computer
Maintain mailing and database
Pay bills/reconcile finances
Create, print, label, stamp and mail promo pieces
Send out press releases for studio and sales
Look at books and mags for ideas for pots and classes
Create production list of needed pots
Sketch out new ideas to work on
Make pieces on wheel or handbuild
Carve or texture work
Trim/Finish pieces by handling bottoms, handles, parts etc.
Dry pieces
Load kiln for bisque firing
Fire kiln
Unload kiln
Clean/Sand bisque pieces
Sign flat pieces and wax bottoms
Decide how to glaze pieces
Glaze/layer multiple glazes on elaborate pieces
Clean bottoms of work
Load kiln for glaze firing
Fire kiln
Unload kiln
Examine work for flaws
Clean/smooth bottoms
Cane reed handles or add attachments for knobs
Price pieces
Display pieces in gallery or
Box for sale or
Pack to ship
Load van for show
Drive to show
Unload van
Set up booth space or tent
Unpack pots
Display pots
Sell pots
Pack pots
Pack van
Drive home
Unpack van
Unpack pots
Display pots
Put away boxes
Clean up gallery
Enter new names/addresses in database
Decide/enter future shows
Maintain kiln and kiln furniture
Make deposits
Handle sales tax reporting
Make glaze test samples
Teach classes
Answer phone and correspondence
Take out the trash
Start the production cycle again.
I'[m sure I have forgotten things...maybe you can add the one you think of.

And now that I have anwered that question with "A LONG TIME", I have to go to the studio to check my kiln, make a deposit, hand build trays, handles on 16 mugs, 5 brie bakers, 4 pitchers & trim 20 bowls, assemble two teapots and teach a class!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Jingle, Jingle, Jingle

I was driving home last night and admiring all the holiday lights on the houses. There is something about this season when darkness descends so early and lifts so late in the day that needs a little extra illumination. When I was very young we would pile in our car and drive around, looking at the decorations. And even when my daughter and I came home from the hospital on Christmas eve in 1983, we piled her in the car with my folks and drove through ChristmasTown in McAdenville. Hope your days and evenings are being illuminated!
We had a very nice visit with our son over Thanksgiving. He is in a band and we got to go to practice and listen. Such passion in music and musicians. It was great to watch him play and let everything go. Something about music that can release your soul. If I ever figure out how to add music here, I will post a clip of an instrumental that he just sent.
Off to the studio. Lots to clean and finish before the open house. Hope I see you there.