Monday, December 7, 2009

A Year of Bluegill Pottery Calendar Giveaway

Here's what February could look like on your wall in 2010. All you have to do to win this full color calendar of 12 months of Bluegill Pottery work is to register at my open house this coming weekend. I'll be open 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 1 to 4pm on Sunday, so come out, look around and register! Oh, and you can even buy things for yourself, friends and loved ones!!!

Crow Clock in the Bird Series.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bluegill Website Update

I finally was able to get my website updated last month. Many new photos in the gallery section and changes to gallery hours, class info, etc. Have a look at the new stuff, then it will stay the same for a while, since my blog is really where all the new work is featured and the website changes at a snail's pace.

I'm trying to decide on changing my email program from Constant Contact to Vertical Response. I set up a VR account for the Carolina Pottery Festival and it worked very well and was economical to send out show info. I think that I don't use my CC enough to warrant the expense. I will miss all the nice templates in CC, though. There is always a learning curve with a new program, and frankly my patience in learning curves is a bit worn thin.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

After/Before or What it takes to make it saleable

These are the pieces I dropped off this past Monday at the Cleveland County Arts Council for their Handmade for the Holidays show. I think it's a nice selection of work with new bird themed pieces, impressed fish trays and some sweet little plum blossom trays that I have coupled with a red bowl. The beehive shape is for knitters or crocheters to house their wayward thread skeins in.
Before it could become a saleable item, it had to go through a bit of post kiln magic. You're seeing many things in many different stages in this shot. It's funny that I took this photo on Monday and when reading Ron's blog today, I see he has his own bit of chaos going on. Is it something in the air, or just the time of year when creativity and clean collide? Creativity seems to win at my house, hands down.
In the cause of full disclosure, I have not been paid or recompensed by Panera Bread for drinking their tea and showing it on my blog. I also had a bagel with cream cheese and darn if I didn't have to pay for that, as well.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Will you be there?

Working on some great pieces for this holiday open house.
Come and bring your friends.
I'll have lovely pottery in all shapes, sizes and prices.
Even a few wonderful, but slightly flawed pieces with reduced prices (only a very few from the last firing)
Also some really beautiful new "donut" semi-precious stone necklaces on satin cording and co-ordinating earrings.
And "snowflake", gingerbread men and heart ornaments for the tree.
(The snowflakes and hearts are in a white/delft blue glaze with an impressed design-
very lovely, if I do say so myself!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Work at the studio

A berry in the mouth is worth two in the bush. Old Crow proverb.
Cedar Waxwing come to feast on my Bradford Pear. An early memory of Spring.

Big Bird Jar

Just a few quick images of more bird work.
I have been swamped with making/firing/finishing in order to get all obligations done in studio before the holidays. You can see some of this new work at my Holiday Open House at the studio, Dec. 12 (10am to 4pm)and Dec. 13 (1 to 4pm).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I found my picture in the post office

And, no, it was not on a most wanted poster or a dead beat parent notice. They have copies of Gaston Woman near the p.o. boxes, and I usually glance at it to see if I know who has been featured. "Surpise, Surprise" as Gomer would say. It was me. Had no idea that they would take info from the article in the Gaston Gazette and make a feature story for the magazine. Very nice indeed. Moments like these and when folks are making nice comments on your work do indeed balance the bad kiln firings and other negative stuff that goes along with putting your heart's work in the public eye.
Thanks Gazette!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bird Banks

Quick shots of the bird banks that came out of the kiln on the morning of the Festival. I actually toted (carried or took with one, for those not familiar with Southern slang) these to the show and home again when I couldn't figure out how to finish them. I put a hole in the bottoms, so the coins could be removed. I've found some cork plugs that work and am pondering other options. My pottery buddies, when asked for technical advice, said they used to remove their pennies by slipping a dinner knife in the slot and teasing the money out. Sure would make life easier to not have a hole, but would slow down the drying times.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What a great day!

Well, it's Sunday and I feel refreshed after a FULL NIGHT'S SLEEP! I feel like I have been on one of these mountain tops and the trail leads down the mountain at a soft, easy grade.
That should tell you that the Carolina Pottery Festival has now come and gone, only to return in 364 more days. The festival was great yesterday. Initial reports were that many folks were happy with the turnout and the sales and the public seemed happy, too. I saw lots of people carrying multiple bags around, so it looked like a lot of pottery found it's way into new homes, or soon will!

Thanks for all the great people who visited my booth and it was nice to see you again, or meet you for the first time. I hope your friends, family and yourselves enjoy all the nice pieces you took home with you yesterday.

It's off to a Carolina Claymatters guild meeting for me today, after I unload the van so I can reload 500 lbs. of clay to start on orders for the holidays or galleries. What a lovely, lovely day.

What a great state for potters and pottery lovers!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fresh Hot Pottery, Get your Fresh, Hot Pottery!

Just a very quick post, as I have been working like mad for the past two weeks and tomorrow is the Carolina Pottery Festival. I set up today and everything is really looking good. I was still working on changes to my display up until today. I have now have commissioned work cooling in the kiln for some folks coming out tomorrow and some awesome bird pieces that I have to figure out how to complete (how to put the bottom plugs in the bird banks). Anyway, hope you can come out. Pictures tomorrow or Sunday

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Let's get it right! Carolina Pottery Festival is Nov. 14th

Well, the very nice article that the Gaston Gazette published about the festival only had one thing wrong-WRONG DATE. I'm hoping that all these postcards and the signage, the blog, the website, the potters participating, the emails, etc--all that hard work that has been going on for months counterbalances the article's inaccuracy. I know one couple came into the shop today and told me about the article, which came out on Friday. I also had a phone call from someone who drove to Shelby for the Festival and all they found was a bunch of barbeque.
I need all the help I can get on this one, so if you read this blog and can send a shout out to your friends and lists, THE FESTIVAL IS ON NOV. 14TH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Carolina Pottery Festival, Nov. 14th

I'm getting ready for this. Hope to see you there.
You can sign up for the mailing list at, or contact me by email and I'll add you to the mailing or emailing list.
Kylix forms I am playing with. A kylix is a type of wine drinking cup with a broad relatively shallow body raised on a stem from a foot and usually with two horizontal handles disposed symmetrically. The word comes from the Greek kylix "cup," which is cognate with Latin calix, the source of the English word "chalice". Only moderate success, as I threw them in one piece like I do my goblets and I have had 3 of 4 with interior CRACKING issues.

I am still working on bird ideas. This covered vase is one I want to explore more. Working on sketches for bird clocks and money banks. I even thought it would be cool to do a bird chess set, but couldn't figure out which birds to use. Maybe you could give me your suggestions?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Love of Red and Green

My love is a red, red leaf that drifts to grass in fall.
A fleeting flag of color that soon will wilt and pall.
But oh the joy it gives to me, while gazing on the grass,
Emerald green and ruby shimmer in shades that will not last.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Up side of ups and downs

I have another kiln, so I can pop these underfired guys back in tomorrow morning and get going again. Yes, it is a pain in the rear. Yes, it was a waste of energy and I hate firing things over. But it could be much worse. What was that song? "I heat up, I cool down........"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The down side of ups and downs

I opened my kiln today, expecting versions like the first photo. Instead, I got these underfired pieces. My kiln go-to guy, David, thinks it is a relay. So, he'll be around on Monday to make all well, I hope.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy after Halloween, confessions of mom of grown children

Thought this was an appropriate image for the post halloween blues! It's from the Mint Museum's show of Contempory Ceramics that I visited last month. Hope none of you feel like this today from the overload of sweets. I do have to confess that I didn't even have candy last night for the treaters. I had to work late to finish glazing some orders, then it started to rain very hard, so I just turned off the lights and SKIPPED HALLOWEEN! Some neighbors told me they only had one trickster come to the door, so I was glad I don't have all that sweet loot at the house and have to eat it.
However, back when the kids were home, it was always fun to go through their candy (it was for their own good, of course) and sneak out a few of my favorites. I like chocolate and snickers, reeses, special dark chocolate, nestles crunch and those little peanut butter filled, candy coated stripy things were my favorites. I am old enough to remember when the stripes were actually on the candy and not just printed on the wrapper like they are now. Our oldest, Katie, would organize and COUNT all her candy, so it was very hard to get a little evening treat from her. Spence had his all jumbled up in a pumpkin and you could cull through it and take a little treasure pile for future snacks. Of course he would probably say he knew I was taking it, but he didn't have the list of inventory like Katie, so it was hard to prove! This morning while searching for tea bags I discovered the chocolate and windmill cookies I bought at the grocery several weeks ago. Oh happy day......Here's treats and tricks to you all.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Strange Deer Tales

It must be a night for deers. As I was driving home, I saw a movement in the median, then a small buck made his way across the opposite side of the road. How do you know it was a buck, you ask? By the small set of antlers on his head.
When I watched the evening news, I found out that a deer broke into the indoor pool of the old high school, which was converted into apartments. Apparently he/she jumped through the roof of the pool and landed in the pool, where a security camera caught it lapping the pool a couple of times.
Several years ago I was driving to my sister's home in rural Mississippi, very far back in the woods. She warned me that they had had a lot of deers on the roads and to be on the lookout. It was very late at night and I really didn't want to wreck my car by hitting or trying to avoid a deer, so the last few miles I drove slowly and would honk the horn every few seconds. She thought it was hysterical when I told her of my deer-evasion technique.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Low Down on the Festival

I've been working to get all my Carolina Pottery Festival tasks done. I handle the publicity and mailing. Every year the to-do list starts about a month after the Festival and extends for another 11 months. Right now I am finishing up the mailing of the cards to our public. We have tried to update our mailing list to take off old or unreachable addresses. We keep the list in an Excell spreadsheet. This year I conned my sister into helping by entering the new addresses. I had a stuffed grocery bag full of returned mail from last year to delete from the old master list. When we combined both lists and I culled the duplicates, it got down to about 5200 names. So I am on the last 1000 of those in attaching stamps. Next year, we'll go back to sending out by bulk mail, which is less expensive but doesn't return bad or changed addresses. You could call this housekeeping of a sort, I suppose. I know that before I got involved with the creation of this Festival, I had no idea of the amount of work that goes into it. It has made me appreciate every show I do, since I have the low down on what has to happen just to open the doors. We have a great group of Board of Directors that pitch in and the Cleveland Co. Arts Council sends tons of wonderful volunteers on the day of the Festival to help with admission, manning the doors, booth sitting, etc. I'm looking forward to this year, but somewhat concerned about how the economy and folks' perceptions about it will play out. When you feel personally responsible for how over 100 potters do at a show, it can make you a bit nervous.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some music I'm listening to

Well, just returned to NC from Florida. I wanted to see Spencer before he left on tour again. While there I got to hear some new music he's working on, for the next album and for background to the documentary that was filmed of Tides of Man. He and the band will be going out with Jonny Craig (from Emarosa, but who is doing a solo tour) as an opener and back up band in November, so they are all busy learning new music for that tour.
He told me about this group, Calexico and then we found out that we both really like Ray Lamontagne. You can check them out through the links. I had heard "Trouble" and "Let it be Me" by Lamontagne on the radio and tried to find out who the artist was. Finally managed to scribble his name down on a tiny piece of paper that promptly disappeared into my purse. Jim swears my purse has a 5th dimensional door that swallows matter like my cell phone, since I can never find it when he calls.
Tomorrow is a long day back in the studio, catching up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hot Glass

Jim just met this artist, Marlene Rose, down in Florida. She works in casting glass and I really think her work is beautiful. You can see some of the process she and her crew go through at this link. Be sure to check out the photos of her work. The cast forms are created in sand and molten glass is poured into the sand forms. Some day I would love to explore glass........and encaustic painting..........and forging (blacksmithing). So many desires and so little time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birds on the brain

When I was working on the Poe project, I got rather involved with birds. Specifically bird heads. Recently I've found myself making little heads whenever I have scrap clay. These start as pinch pots, which is pretty ironic, since I have always hated making pinch pots. But there is something very satisfying about making these little guys. They drew some attention at the Claymatters sale and the two crows found a new home with a professed Crow Lover. A nice little hawk went home with a little boy. They seem to be getting larger and larger. One even found it's way to the top of a covered jar.

I think it's funny how ideas stew around for a while before they manifest themselves in physical work. I know I got all excited about creating clay boxes (this was perhaps a year and a half ago, or more like 3 years ago, given my warped sense of passing time) and started frantically writing down lists of series of boxes to make. One of those line items on my list was "bird boxes"

I went to the Claymatters meeting this past weekend and watched Barbara Chadwick Bland do a demo of how she creates her little clay houses. All that bird/box/house stuff was swirling away and I thought........ bird house boxes. Not birdhouses. Bird house boxes. Hmmmm, I'll have to ruminate on that a bit.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Open House, Saturday, Oct. 17

Well, this piece won't be there. A happy lady took it home with her last weekend. But there will be some very fine other pieces. Come on out and see for yourself.

10am to 4pm, come rain or shine. No race track traffic to battle around my studio. Just calm music, beautiful pottery and nice people. See you!

This is how we do it...

Sure wish I had the Samantha "wiggle your nose" presto-change0 thing going on sometimes. Oh, heck most of the time. Especially when it comes to loading in and out. Somehow loading out pottery isn't as much fun as Jackson Browne had when the roadies came to take his piano. Had a little trip down memory lane when I went searching for this link. Jim and I saw him on the "Running on Empty" tour in Louisiana. Karla Bonoff opened for him, and it was like two great concerts for the price of one.
Speaking of load outs, Spence and Tides of Man are on their second tour and doing the load in and out every night. Now there's some dedication to your craft. He had a nice write up in the Gaston Gazette yesterday.

Last Saturday

An image of my new set up, using hollow core doors and a happy pottery lover, going home with a piece of magic from the last kiln firing. It was one of three pieces that just sung as it came out!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Carolina ClayMatters Pottery Sale, Oct. 10th

Hope to see you here. I have been working crazily firing new work for this show and for the open house at the studio next week. Hence, no blogging. A fresh kiln load emerging today. Bring dry weather with you when you come!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Feeding of the 'Roos

Feeding time at the OK Corral. Don't get between a kangaroo and it's trough. They have a mean back kick.
A joey in it's momma's pouch. That looks like a back breaker to me.

Jim is checking out the wildlife, seeing if it's friendly.
Later in the trip we visited the Hinterlands, which is the land back of the coast. There we saw kangaroos in the hills, jumping along. We figured they were similar to deer sitings in the mountains here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ravin' for Poe

Raven Box with Poe's Journal, Front and Rear Views
Detail of door, and nest with emerging baby crow

Two of the journal entries, watercolors with torn edged paper and clay covers for journal

Click to enlarge any of the images.

Raven Iced Tea Set, with tray, four tumblers and four spoons with crow decoration.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Changes in Event Dates

I've had a couple of changes in my event listings, so if you had your calendar marked, it's time for an update!
You can see some new pieces in Shelby during the month of October in the Ravin' for Poe Exhibit.
My Fall Open Studio will only be ONE DAY--Saturday, Oct. 16.
I'll be at the Hen House Sale on Dec. 4 and 5th as a guest. Thanks Jen!
My Holiday Open Studio is moved to Dec. 12 and 13th.
A new venture for me is sending work to Snow Farm's annual Fundraiser.
Lots going on.......I better get busy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carolina Clay Connection goes to the Mint

Here is a sampling of a show of contemporary Native American art at the Mint.
We enjoyed a great tour by docent Verna Witt, who is a member of our clay group.
You can click on the small images to enlarge them, but don't be surprised if they are a bit out of focus, since I was shooting without a flash or a tripod.