Friday, October 31, 2008


So, I am really excited about the wood firing. I picked up my stuff today and I don't want to leave the house, I just want to stay here and look at my pots. But alas, there are Halloween parties to go to. I'll get some photos up later.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

1st kiln

I put about 10 cups in Deb Harris' gas kiln to test these shinos on Craggy Crunch. These are the only ones I liked. Left to right: Choy Blue Celedon, Georgia Clear, Mamo(thin) and chun clear.The mamo looks wood fired. The glazes at Claymakers got thinned down way too much due to beginner students glazing too thick(remember the shelves I was grinding a few weeks ago?) So the mamo and a couple of the other shinos were dry and really ugly. I'm not going to post them because we just shouldn't have to look at ugly pottery. I like this palette ok but it's not worth the bloody fingers from the craggy, I think I will stick with Aurora for cone 9. I am still liking the Lyman's Red for Earthenware but got an old batch and the yunomi and bowls I made last week came out of the kiln with pop outs. Has anyone else had this problem? I talked with Ronan Peterson and Meredith Brickell about it and they have had the same problem. Apparently Highwater has addressed this but since my batch was old, I'm not sure if the problem is solved, I hope so because I really like throwing it.
I think this is a nice fall color palette
And then there is Deb's perfect porcelain with Carbon trap Shino and Celedon. This is a really bad photo but I had to use a flash because it was getting dark. Check out her website for more beautiful images of her work. She really does make exquisite pottery. She just got back from China, Japan and Korea and had some great slides to show us yesterday. She is also just back from John Britt's glaze workshop.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'm sitting here watching Obama address the crowd in Raleigh and I literally had a chill go over me when he said hello. Boy, that has not happened in a long time and really not even with this election until this moment. Gerry had to leave at 6am to get to Raleigh and preset on the press platform this morning. We are eating, breathing, sleeping politics in our house since Gerry is having to cover all of the candidates and they are fiercely pursuing NC. And today Wesley is playing the role of Ralph Nader in a school mock debate. Otherwise I would have taken her to Raleigh to see the next president of the USA. Did you vote yet? I went yesterday, walked right in, got my ballot, voted and was out of there in less than 10 minutes. Last election when Al Gore won, I stood in line in Charlotte at the library downtown for 5 hours. We couldn't even get into the early voting places then. This was so much better, glad I early voted!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

That's my Girl part 2

Saturday was all about me, Sunday was all about Wesley. Roll Credits won at the Battle of the Bands, check her out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

kiln firing #2 a little video

Kiln Firing #2

Susan Wells and I fired the kiln on Saturday and it could not have been more perfect, if there is such a thing. This kiln is a Ruggles and Rankin design and it fired beautifully. The very first post I did on this blog was from our first firing and we didn't have a clue what we were doing. This time we had good notes and knew what the kiln did and didn't want, and we learned to listen to it. It climbed steadily from 8:30 am until 11:30pm and we held it for an hour at cone 9. This time it didn't stall at cone 6 as this kiln is prone to do, we went right on through with just a little more wood than we had been adding and got on to cone 7 easily. It drizzled on and off throughout the day, but no downpour as had been predicted. I hope the pots faired as well as we did! Just a quick note to say that Wesley's band won the Battle of the Bands tonight at a rock band competition!!!!!!!! I'll get a post on that as soon as I remember how to get the video from camera to computer. They have a new bass player that thinks he is playing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, he is great. Joined the band thirty minutes before they were to go on without a bass player! You gotta love 15 year olds!
Here are some ways to pass the time while you get through a 14 hour day with a kiln. Play with a turtle, this one is Safari, she is a rescue from the road with a little leg she drags behind her.
Play with the chickens Susan's daughter Jolene raises
Roast sweet potatoes in the ash pit(these were great by the way. We also roasted pears)
The kids went with Tim to the pumkin patch in the afternoon and got us all a pumpkin, that's Jolene and Wes with their new heads. I have video of Jolene with her real head, later post.
Wesley and Jonas, no not brother and sister, just born a day apart in a parallel universe!
Tim taught Wes how to play the banjo
Then he taught her how to play the mandolin
Cone 9
What can I say, I love this couple!!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

High Point Furniture Market

This postcard was on the furniture heritage blog featured on Micheal Kline's blog roll. The day I graduated from college I went to work for a furniture company that had a showroom in this building on the fifth floor. If you count up 5 rows of windows from the ground up on the left side of the photo, that was where I worked for about ten years. My dad was a furniture maker and when I was a little girl we would go to the market in High Point. All I ever wanted to do was be a showroom designer for the market and was very lucky to work with wonderful people doing just that. I also designed retail stores around the country for them and have worked in all of the lower 48 states setting up retail galleries. If we had not moved to Charlotte for Gerry's job, I would still be in this building. Some days I really miss this place and wish I was still there. It was an absolute dream job! Lots of long hours and serious manual labor, but so rewarding. It was an amazing opportunity for someone right out of design school and I am probably the person I am today because of many of the things I learned in that very building.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Busy week

This is a crazy week. Got back from the beach on Monday, glazed earthenware on Tuesday, today Susan and I started loading the wood kiln, came home and made flags for Mother Courage, on my way to the theater now to drop off props, tomorrow will help Deb Harris load some of my stuff in her gas kiln and Friday the rest of my stuff gets fired in the gas kiln at Claymakers. Hopefully next week the earthenware will get fired at Claymakers as well. Does it sound like I need my own kiln or what! I think I have the funds gathered now to start my construction process so I am hopefully going to get started next week on the foundation and start calling for brick prices. I have a lot of things roaming around in my head that I am needing to sort out, riding in a car for 5 hours will do that to you and also going back to the place you grew up with all those ghosts floating around will get you as well. I am in a really strange frame of mind right now, hopefully stoking a kiln on Saturday will help sort it all out. Wesley has a gig with her band on Sunday, so that should help as well. I'll get some pics posted later....................

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pots and props

Today I made four mugs, 2 bowls, one plate, one dead body for Mother Courage and cut the head off of a rubber chicken. Seems perfectly normal to me, but I'm sure this isn't what my parents had in mind when they sent me off to design school. I have tech at the theater all next week and the show opens next Friday, so I doubt I'll have much more time to make stuff this next week. I'll be sewing a tent for the set tomorrow. Heading to the beach to visit my mom for the weekend. Everybody have a great weekend!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Conditions for creativity are:

to be puzzled;
to concentrate;
to accept conflict and tension;
to be born everyday;
to feel a sense of self.--Erich Fromm

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Slip on Sunday

Lesson learned, slipped these guys slowly, waited on the endless stages of leather hard and all is good. I have had a strange thing happen with the bowls and cups this week. I like all of them! This never happens, I trash nearly everything I make. This stuff is all for our December sale so I'm glad I'm liking it. I have a good load of stuff waiting in line for the gas kiln at Claymakers, stuff in my studio waiting on the wood firing at Susan's in two weeks, and this earthenware to go to Claymakers for a test run with new 04 glazes. This all sounded good until I typed it out, now I sound a bit disfunctional. How many paths can one person stroll down at one time anyway? that would be me in the window reflection, ha!
So, for any of you that may check out this blog that are beginning potters, here is some great hope for when you are stressing over making a cylinder. For the longest time I would not make cups on the wheel, I only hand built them like the ones below. I could not pull a cylinder without it getting so off center it made me crazy or it instantly became a bowl. The cups below were made last year. I finally sucked it up and decided it was time I made a decent cup on the wheel, so this year I have made bunches of them and then recycled the clay. This is the first group of cups that I have made and wanted to keep all of. I didn't trash one cup I made this weekend. So let's hope the 04 glazes look good. ps: the drummer in the photo above is Gerry playing at a gig in Charlotte last year. I'm a sucker for a drummer!
I have been working all weekend on bowls and cups, slowed down on the slipping and all is well, PEACE.............

Friday, October 10, 2008

some that didn't melt

I am really happy with this batch of bowls, except the ones that melted. They are thick and chunky and I like them that way. Gone are the days of trying to make perfect paper thin bowls, they break. These are going to get transparent blue green gloss, transparent amber yellow and clear glazes and hopefully they will make me smile. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to slip the others, no more rushing, I don't have that much time to waste.

I am trying out this little squished bowl as a test for chopsticks. I'm not sure I like it, but I like the idea.


I had a good day making bowls this week, trimmed them yesterday, loved them all. I was in a rush to get some slip on them this morning before I left for the theater and, oh yeah, here is a reminder once again why you can't rush pottery. I watched these f'-ing bowls fall apart right before my very eyes. So out of the twenty, I trimmed holes through two of them and melted four, do the math, I am down a few now. Good news is I have the whole weekend with nothing to do, so I will be making more...........................

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Days End

I got twenty bowls made this morning, and as you can see no two are alike. This is my new plan. I really like making random bowls. The clay is Lyman Red earthenware, I'll get some slips and brush work on them after I get them trimmed tomorrow.

On a lighter note

Did anyone else count that fool John McCain say "my friends" 21 times? And why couldn't he be still? I swear I will move to another country if he gets elected.(of course I said this four years ago, and here I am). I'm getting nothing done this week. It seems like every time I do a residency it takes me a week to turn my head around and start on something else. I did get by Surplus Sids yesterday and pick up a rocket launcher for Mother Courage along with some military jackets and a stretcher. Yep, a play about a war, Mother Courage was a war profiter during the Thirty Years War and the show has lots of war props. Thought I would post a photo on a lighter note, Wes and I amused ourselves in Macy's while Gerry picked up some new Calvins. Now how is this for good parental guidance? Well, I'm off to my studio to try and throw some earthenware bowls today.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What a phoney baloney life I have! Reading over my last blog sounds so trivial with things like they are right now. Talk about escaping reality. My stars just didn't line up when they formed the line for saving the world, I just lined up to make it a nicer place to live in, ha! Well, here's a cheery photo from the Metropolitan Museum to match my mood!


I think I am in some sort of funk, haven't had much to say on the blog for the past few days. I seem to be coming out of my cave and noticing the state of the world, and what a sorry state it is. Working with kids at an art center and doing theater sort of keeps you out of touch with reality sometimes. I am catching my breath after my two week residency at the ArtsCenter, and God knows what is wrong with me, but I am doing another show, this time for UNC, Mother Courage. Actually, the director and technical director are really great people and I have missed working with them. They are the kind of folks that seem sincerely interested in what you are saying and are so appreciative of your efforts. It is a great cast, full of energy and I feel very positive vibes at rehearsal. Nice place to be. I worked at Claymakers today, grinding kiln shelves where someone used Mamo over some other glaze and made THE biggest mess. Took me thirty minutes to grind two shelves. Also getting ready for a December sale with Susan Wells and Laura Farrow, so I'm trying to think of what I want to have ready for that. So, yep, the multiple personality plan continues, theater, pottery and the Montessori residency coming up in November. Looks like I'll do anything to avoid corporate America, right? Oh yeah, I'm going over to Susan Filley's this week to look at her kiln for possible purchase. I get my grant check tomorrow night, yay!

Friday, October 3, 2008


I have been trying to process all of the things my brain absorbed at Arrowmont during the Clay Conference and thinking about the demos and the generous information all of the presenters shared. I think many of us walk that fine line of seeing something another artist has done and seeing how some element of that work could fit in our work, without just blatantly duplicating it. I thought it would be a fun exercise to take elements from some of the demos I liked and see what would happen. The first plate was made a la Kari Radasch's demo on hand building a plate, trimmed a la Michael Kline and slips were added a la Victoria Christen (on my new shimpo banding wheel!). This was really fun to make and I made several other pieces in the same vein including a hand built casserole and some square dishes. This is quite a departure from the shinos I love, but it was fun to try something new. We have been studying abstract expressionism in my class this week and I told my kids about doing this exercise yesterday. I told them about the artist Joaquin Torres Garcia and how he combined pre-columbian images with Mondrian's style in his work and how Jacob Lawrence borrowed the bright color style of Matisse, but their work was their own in the end. As Pete Pinnell said at the conference "It isn't copying, it's learning". Another great quote from Pete- "Change comes in times of turmoil." How appropriate for the times right now although he was talking about the change in art along the Silk Road many years ago. Have a good weekend everyone, I'm heading to Charlotte for Gerry's brother's third wedding. Ha! There's a story..................

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mud Cakes in Haiti

How is it that in the 21st century people are reduced to eating mud!? I cannot get my head around this. The thing that struck me so hard is that as I watched this on the news , they showed the women making these cakes and they were like little works of art. They took such time and care spreading out the mud and forming the cakes. They were really quite beautiful. Can you imagine this as your life? There will be no complaining from me today, I can tell you that much!n Cité Soleil, one of Port-au-Prince's worst slums, making the clay-based food is a major income earner. Mud cakes are the only inflation-proof food available to Haiti's poor. Photograph: David Levene