Thursday, May 29, 2008

My wheel came from Bailey today. I am HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY
HAPPY !!!!!!!!
This is the view I will have all summer. Thought I would warm up and check things out with (appropriately) throwing some small planters for the deck. I am going back out but just wanted to celebrate with the bloggers. Michael and Ron, I have some pics to download later for you of some friends pieces. Will have to wait until I calm down a bit!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My studio is trashed. I have been making some coil teabowls and tea boxes and all the trimming and scraping has left a huge mess. These are for my next Raku. Probably the last of my hand building for awhile. My wheel comes tomorrow, YAY! I have been hand building in my studio at home and working on the wheel at Claymakers. I can't throw in a community studio any more.
I am an only child and must be alone A LOT! I do like people in small doses, but can't throw with chatting and social activity going on around me. Just can't do it. I worked in my studio this morning with no music, no NPR, just the sound of the rain, and my dog snoring. I need the quiet with no chaos. And windows, which Claymakers does not have.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rock Climbing and Pottery

Have any of you ever been rock climbing? I learned to climb in the Tetons with the Exum School years ago.When we got home from that trip, we went climbing every week, two or three times a week, sometimes calling in sick to work so we could go climb, we would go to Hanging Rock, Saurtown Mt. and the New River Gorge mostly. We took one trip to Canada, where we could climb until midnight because it never seemed to get very dark. We climbed at Looking Glass when Wesley was eight weeks old. I built some rocks around her and laid her at my feet while I belayed Gerry. She happily ate the dirt while we happily climbed! Later, I bought a backpack that I could put her in, and she would pull my hair while I was belaying. I hit my head on a rock once and knocked myself out. I think that was on Christmas Eve. Wes was little and my mortality suddenly reared it's ugly head, what would she do without a mom? So I didn't climb very much after that.
Anyway, there is this feeling you get when you climb, your mind blocks out everything in your way and all you think about is what your hands and your feet are doing, and all you hear is your breathing. And there's this thing you do when you can't sleep. Your mind goes over the routes you climbed that week, and you see every hold on the rock, you think about every place you stepped up, and you smell the chalk on your hands even after you wash them. Your hands are always trashed from dirt or cuts and forget your nails. I'm thinking that pottery has become a lot like climbing for me. I am constantly thinking about the pulls I made on the wheel long after I leave the studio, when I am making something, everything else is blocked out, and the smell of clay has replaced my chalk bag. Hands are still trashed. I have rocks all over my studio from places I have climbed, my most recent is a pink chunk of granite from Veedawoo in Wyoming. I love to hold those rocks in my hand just like I love to sit with a ball of clay on the porch and make pinch pots.
I wonder why I always want to have a bit of Earth in my hands? I don't even like garden gloves, I just like sticking my hands in the ground. It's funny, because I grew up on the beach and all we had was sand. So, anyway, it's 2am and there is a crazy owl outside keeping me awake, so I thought I would ramble on a bit. It's Friday now and I am turning in my grant today to get funding for a gas kiln that I want to build. Keep your fingers crossed for me.........................
Sad news on Alex Matisse' blog

I read Alex's blog this morning about the pots that broke in the firing and I just felt so mournful for him. I know the effort that went into the firing from the first ball of clay placed on the wheel to unloading all of the pots. I was so sad for his news. It does seem trivial to mourn pottery when so many have died this month in war and natural disasters, but nonetheless, it is a labor of love to make pottery like his and hard to lose any pieces at all.
I do love this wonderful pot that survived and borrowed the photo to share.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My favorite drinking vessels right now

I reached in my cabinet this morning for a green tea vessel , and couldn't decide which to take. On these cold rainy mornings I have been drinking hot chocolate out of my favorite mugs, and have gotten very used to them. Green tea out of the Pond Branch mug didn't seem quite right so Doug Dotson's yunomi won. This is the perfect cup to drink from, it has sort of a thick rim and the body is thick enough to hold the heat in for the tea and doesn't burn my hands while holding it. I also have a wonderful teacup and saucer that my friend Susan Wells made, but the photo I took looked like crap, maybe I need to get the real photographer that lives here to shoot it for me..........Doug Dotson yunomi, Doug throws on a beautiful treadle wheel and has a kiln that I want to sneak out and load up in my van one night, along with his amazing studio. He has a very loose style and his pieces have a lot of life to them.
Doug's wife Maura made this mug and it is one of my very favorites. I believe she throws on a kick wheel. The handle is perfect and I love the decoration. I bought this on the Chatham County studio tour last fall.
Michael Rutkowsky is a genius with slips, this clay body is orange stone and it is a wonderful mug to drink from. I met him last year at the Sanford Pottery Festival.
I made this coil mug in Meredith Brickell's class last year and finally fired in the gas kiln this week. Shino with Oribe on top and then a little chun for good measure. The photo doesn't really show the depth of these glazes but they did nicely in the firing. Sadly, no more classes with Meredith, I fear, she is in popular demand and looks like she will be moving to Indiana to teach. Her website also had a Taiwan and Denmark lecture posted. Very happy for her! She is so talented and a wonderful teacher.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wesley's band is practicing here for the next two weeks getting ready for a concert on the 30th and I am writing a grant, when am I ever going to find time to make pottery!?!? I know my blog says a potter's life, well this is my life trying to be a potter with some interruptions, I guess! not to mention the AP is sending Gerry all over the country so we get to see him about two days a week at best. He was shooting NASCAR this past week, will be with George Bush at Ft. Bragg on Wednesday and Thursday, back to Charlotte for NASCAR again next weekend then to Dallas for a week of video training. What do people with 9-5 jobs do for fun?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Gentlemen
The guys in my Urban Ministries class are doing so great. We have talked about cylinders and bowls in our first two classes and here are some of the results.

I think these are really good pieces and will be so nice glazed and fired.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Saw this posted on best of Craigslist today from Colorado:)
three pink plastic lawn flamingos, the momma, the daddy and two
babies. in good shape except the momma has a bullet hole. will
trade for a good dog or weed eater, will also consider any kind
of alcohol as long as it ain't been opened up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I love these with my grandmother's old jug, Seagrove origins? Don't know.....
I like making these boxes. Very meditative and a great creative outlet. They have even given me new ideas for pottery.

These shards are from some very sad pottery I made at Clayworks in Charlotte in 2001.
I have been saving them to mosaic my ugly concrete well houses one day. Maybe tomorrow?
New Sake caddy!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The first pottery blog I ever read was by Ron Philbeck. I don't know Ron, but he works at the studio where I took my first pottery class, Clayworks in Charlotte NC. and has his own studio making some really nice pots. I had googled something and it lead me to Ron's blog and I have read it every day since. Great thoughts and information and other really good links as well. I sat down for my nightly blog readings and saw that Ron has added me to his blog links. What a great surprise! Thanks Ron, and I am linking up folks here in Chapel Hill to you as well.
I just have to say........ I love potters! Never met another group of people quite like those who love clay.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Here are some pieces from the Raku on Saturday. Thanks Gerry for spending your whole Sunday shooting these for me!

Pics from the firing, I'll have some pieces up later, Gerry is going to shoot them for me today.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A toast to
Laura, Tracey, and Susan

What I do know........

So, here is what I have learned this past week. I can say "I don't know" a lot! I can stay awake for almost 48 hours and form pretty clear sentences, I just call people different names (Jonas, I am so sorry I called you Josh for 2 days!) I know what positive and passive dampers are. I know how to keep a 200 degree fire going for 12 hours and keep the flame pretty darn even. I know that if you fire at night you need extra batteries for your flashlight.
Other things: Nikon Coolpix cameras eat batteries like I eat chocolate
you can toast bagels in a wood kiln
have lots of fruit and water, oranges are the best
strong coffee is needed around 6am
from cone 7 to cone 9 use long skinny boards, not 8 inch planks, the fire does not like to heat up like that
from cone 3 to cone 5 the kiln will lag, stoke the air holes and it will fire right back up
have pencils for the firing log, not pens that don't write
do this with people you really like and that don't mind if you snap a bit in the wee hours
if you have kids, involve them!
If you need ingenuity, call Ana Howard. She rocks.
If you want to have fun firing, do it with Susan and Laura!
Most of all, I know that my daughter Wesley is one of the most amazing people I know. Thanks Wes for your help and patience and wisdom!!!
Last, but not least, congratulations to my mom for figuring out how to find my blog, way to go mom!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Here is a peek, I'll get more pics up tomorrow.................

Yep, we are happy! It looks good in there
I do have pictures from the kiln opening. Just waiting on Wesley to get them off of her camera, onto a memory stick and on to my Mac............will post soon, we have some fun moments to share
look for pics soon

Monday, May 5, 2008

Laura on the midnight shift

our amazing crew: Jolene, Wesley, Jonas, and John

Susan and Tracey loading the kiln

Here are some pics from the first firing at Maidenhair Studio
Happy Cinco de Mayo
Wadd are you doing?
I am starting this blog the day after my first wood firing with Susan Wells. Susan had a dream eight years ago, after attending a wood fire workshop at Penland, to build a wood kiln and somehow she talked me into helping her this past year put that plan into action.
May 3rd, 2008- first firing at Maidenhair Studios in Hillsborough. The weather was perfect, mid 70's, a few clouds and then late in the evening just a very small sprinkle of rain for the veggies and flowers.
We started stoking the kiln at 8am on Saturday and held a steady low fire until 7pm, then we cranked it up. Food arrived, musicians arrived, friends arrived and the firing officially began.We reached cone 9 Sunday morning around 10am. We had exactly enough pots made to fit the kiln, we burned every stick of wood that was split and the cones all melted pretty much they way they were supposed to. Susan and I had 4 amazing kids as our support team, Jolene-Susan's daughter, Jonas-Susan's son, John- a friend and Wesley- my daughter. They chopped wood, mixed the soda, stoked the fire, made us coffee at 4am and just offered the very best moral support. Susan's husband, Tim, invited all of his musician friends with their fiddles, banjos, flutes, and guitars and other friends that brought food and wine, and it was a joyful event! Laura Farrow was also there stoking the fire for her amazing porcelain sculpture. Susan and I both have pop up VW vans and the kids set up camp in them near the garden. No sleeping, some mischief, possibly hallucinating at one point, not sure.............. :)
Wesley and I were talking on the way home about how we almost forgot about the pots in the kiln. It became more about feeding the fire and melting the cones, talking with great friends and marveling at the stars, then watching the sunrise in the pasture. Around 5am Sunday morning it was just me and Susan and the kiln that needed to reach cone 9. Ed brought strong coffee around 8am and that was just what was needed to keep a strong stoke for the fire. Tim brought us breakfast on silver trays, and we toasted bread and bagels by the air holes.(I am sure that is not the proper term but you get the idea.)
Wesley and I stopped at the Cook Out in Durham for banana shakes and onion rings as we headed for home around 1pm Sunday. Yum! I know that sounds unappealing but it was really good.
This firing was a monumental step in my long, long journey as a potter.
Now we wait to open up and see what happened. I will post pictures as soon as a get them downloaded on to the computer.