Sunday, November 30, 2008

name that mug

University Mall will have a festival of trees this year and the trees will be auctioned to raise money for the ARC of Orange County. Chapel Hill Magazine will donate a tree and has asked local artists to contribute an ornament. Susan, Laura and I got together yesterday at Laura's studio to make ornaments for the tree, drink tea, and just have some fun on a rainy cold day after Thanksgiving. Can you name that mug Susan is drinking from?
We had a great time, sorry the ornament photos were too dark to post. Visit the mall during the festival to see all of the artist's work! It's another cold and rainy day today, so I am thinking I might clean up my studio and go see the new movie Australia later in the day. Happy weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2008

DId you have a good turkey day?

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had much much fun with the family yesterday. After lunch,Gerry and I took Wes and my adorable nephew Jackson skateboarding in the neighborhood. Notice the very nice wood fired cup full of wine in my hand as a I skate. Pretty stupid, but I had a great time. The weather was perfect here in Chapel Hill, we were able to eat outside and since my house is so small is was nice to get outdoors and enjoy some space. Lovely day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I know that I have been whining all week, but head colds do that to me. I am not good when I 'm sick. Truly, I have so much to be thankful for. This beautiful child is my daughter and I have been lucky enough to be married to the hot guy below for 23 years.
We had an amazing vacation in New York this year
I get to take my daughter to work
I have the very best girlfriends
My work has introduced me to these fierce people that are recovering from unfortunate events in their lives and they have showed me how to be stronger

I get to work with kids like this who also make me stronger, just seeing how happy they are in spite of some adverse circumstances in many of their lives. They made this totem and gave it to the kid's center in Siler City that takes such good care of them
and I have work that brings all kinds of amazing people into my life, such as my friend and storyteller Braima Mowai, who has worked with me on several occasions with the kids
and these crazy people who helped and inspired me this year at Arrowmont to make my pottery better
I got some great pieces out of the wood firing
and this is the view from my bedroom. Who could ask for more. I am truly blessed. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. I am cooking for 15 and still have no heat and a head full of snot, so I probably won't be posting any blogs until all is under control here. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Much Better

Alrighty, enough of that!
Feeling much better today, I think this is going to be a quick and dirty head cold. I said goodbye today to my little germs at the Montessori. Man,they have smiles that absolutely light up the room! And the tiniest little hands! This was a fun week, no productivity as far as my pottery, but great joy in my heart, so that's a good trade.
I would like to post some pictures from the week, but a lot of the parents wouldn't consent to photos, so I didn't try to sort out who was who with that. Day twelve with no heat, getting kinda used to it now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I can't believe this!

Gerry and Wesley have gone to get me some tortilla soup from Torreros, the one thing that makes me happy when I am sick. Yes, I am sick, again! I can't believe this. I was just thinking earlier in the week that I was finally starting to feel better from the Bronchitis from Hell that I have had since August and now I have a stinkin' head cold.
I have been working at the Montessori school in Pittsboro all week, and precious as they are, the little germy things have given this to me I'm sure. There wasn't a one in the bunch that didn't have a runny nose and all week I have been saying "oh Lord, I'm gonna get this". Well I did. I hate TV right now and I am having to stay upstairs because we haven't had heat downstairs in two weeks thanks to a broken circuit board on the gas pack and a sorry home warranty company that doesn't care that it snowed here two days ago and shipped the parts by slow ground!"Parts oughta be there in a week or so..." was their reply when I called. So, after I got home this morning I hit the bed and sat with my computer all afternoon watching Jack White videos on You Tube and blogging about. Is this not pitiful?! Well, I caught up with all of you and your great new studios and your pottery making for shows and I am envious but happy that there are so many busy potters being optimistic and moving forward with their craft. It gives me great hope, truly. So, I ponder..... why is it that I really love working with kids, but I get sick when I am around them? I really love making pottery, but I have to go about it in the absolutely most difficult way possible, I love the theater, but the last show I did, they didn't have the funds to pay me(oh yeah!) and I would like to be a rock star but I have no musical talent and I am tone deaf(I'm not real serious about this one, but wouldn't it be fun to rock out with Jack White? I know it would be for me!) Also, I would like to paint, but I want instant gratification, I can't wait for the process of painting, I want the picture NOW! My uncle was a painter and everyone was always saying to me "oh you have your Uncle Charlie's talent" Talent, yes, patience no. (I'm adding this one because I got a whiff of some oil paints recently and it sent me back to some great memories of art classes I had in Pawley's Island when I was a teenager.) Once upon a time, I had a real job making good money, but I hated it.... I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. I will say, I have a great life, a great family, but I swear, there are days that really try me. This ramble is brought to you by fever and lack of heat for two weeks and a lack of energy to do anything else but babble on my blog! According to my daughter's latest reading on Quantum Mechanics(I know!?), if you are not at home and things are happening in your house with no one there to perceive it, the house is in a parallel universe. That's kinda how I feel right now. So there you have it, no photos of pots or creative juices flowing, just the ramblings of a sick girl sick of being sick!!!! PS: I love all of the music videos this week, especially Devo! Be well, everyone, there is a busy month ahead!

Sick in bed, watching Jack White on You Tube

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Time

I loved the post Michael Kline had yesterday about the support he gets from Stacey. I thought I would mention how I get to do so much crazy stuff with my pathetic income. Gerry is one of the lucky few that has a job doing something he loves and with all of the turmoil in journalism right now, we are really lucky he has a job with the AP, which is staying strong so far. With his support, I am able to experiment with my pottery without having to seriously worry about an income from it, yet anyway. I want my pottery to be right before I sell it, and with all of the experiments I do, it is often not right enough for me. Gerry shot the photo above while traveling in a convoy in Iraq. This photo ran in the Charlotte Observer and got tremendous response from people wanting to help the kids over there. Gerry's work changes lives and I am very proud of the work he does. Also very thankful that he tolerates my insane art brain! I'm also incredibly grateful that my daughter gets to spend time with her dad watching how he works and not standing in the middle of a convoy of military supply trucks. Where is this child's mom and dad, I wonder?!
Here he is on the right in a bunker in Iraq
Wesley and I work with Gerry at the ACC and NCAA tournaments every year, about the only time we see him during basketball season, which is now here. That's me in the back working as a photo runner, Gerry in the middle
Basketball season is a crazy time in N.C. and Gerry covers UNC, Duke, and NC State, both men's and women's games. Then the playoffs, not to mention all of the Hurricanes hockey games, it's chaos this time of year. Last night, he got in around 11pm and then got a call at 6am this morning and headed back out the door to cover the tornadoes that hit eastern NC last night. He will be back this afternoon to shoot the Carolina game and then goes to Hamlet tomorrow for the mobilization of the National Guard unit there. He will be deployed with them to Iraq in the spring.
Wesley with her dad in the media room. She has been exposed to so much so far and is a pretty good photographer and writer herself.
Wesley and I went with Gerry to Montreal for the World Swimming Championships. There are some nice perks being an AP photographer. He has had some great opportunities.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I just got the 27th Annual Seagrove Pottery Festival Special Commemorative Issue booklet in the mail. Looks a lot like the Sanford Pottery Festival booklet I get. I have to say I am a bit annoyed with what's going on with the pottery festival. no offense intended to the potters involved. This sale will be at the same time as the Celebration of Seagrove Potters. I have gone to the pottery festival every year that I can remember and we always look forward to it. If I go this year, it will cost me and my family $15 to get into the Celebration sale and then if we go after 12pm it will cost $18 for us to go to the sale at the school. If we get there before noon, it will be $36. So, just to get in will be anywhere from $33- $51. That means the money I would spend on pottery will be spent on admission, I don't have an extra $50 to get into a pottery sale. So I have decided this year that I will not go to Seagrove, but wait another couple of weeks for the Chatham County Studio Tour and support the potters here, Mark Hewitt, Alex Matisse, Doug Dotson, Rusty Sieck, and all the others that will be doing the tour. I really feel bad for the potters in Seagrove having to deal with the politics going on down there and have read a lot from both sides of the story. I hope they will all have good sales this year with such crazy economic times and I am sad that I will miss it this year. Best wishes to everyone in Seagrove for a good sale!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm really just not into the blog thing right now. I've been spending a lot of time with Wesley and her band, transporting, feeding and general moral support. The guys spent the night here on Saturday night and we had a great time with them. I have had some conflict with getting paid, long boring story, conflict in my mind about what I really want from my pottery, another long boring story. I hate all of the Earthenware I have made, love the clay and the shapes but the glazes were piss awful bad. Very disappointing because I was loving to throw it. I didn't really love it enough to keep trying out glazes, no patience for that at all right now. All of the craggy crunch clay turned out great in the wood kiln, sucked in the gas kiln. So, I have had multiple highs and lows and my emotions need a break. Tonight, I sat in my studio and touched every one of the pots that came out of the wood kiln. There are no two pieces that are alike, and I was reminded of all the kids I teach. I love every single pot, just like every single kid, each for a different reason. Each pot has some unique quality that makes it special to me and I'm not ready to part with any of them yet. I want to study them and learn from them and see where they take me. I finally realized tonight that I am ok with not making matching sets of anything and I like that my pots are never the same and they are sort of a one of a kind thing. My attention is just way too short, and I'm ok with that now too. So, I want to get enough stuff made for the wood firing Susan and I are doing the day after Thanksgiving, I 'm taking Susan Filley's glaze chemistry class at Claymakers, I'm going to get to work on my kiln and then take a break from making pots for a little while to sort all of this out. Oh yeah, and I am the Chatham County artist in residence next week for the Pittsboro Montessori school, so that will be way fun! We are going to do a sawdust firing at the end of the residency.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pots from the heart

"I so much want to be a good potter, a potter who makes pots from the heart
a potter that inspires other potters, and then I think, well I've only been doing this full time this time around for 3 months don't be to hard on yourself, the longest journey starts with a few steps."

Paul Jessop

I can't name the number of times these thoughts have run through my head. I read this last night after having a couple of Blue Moon beers and sitting on our newly covered deck listening to Wesley's band play inside and I nearly cried. Thanks Paul for an inspirational blog last night!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Youth Vote

This morning as I drove up to Wesley's school, there was a large group of kids outside with their Obama shirts on giving high fives and hugging everyone and shouting out "Obama". There was so much joy at the entrance, as soon as Wes got out of the car they ran up to her. What a way to be greeted in the morning! The school election yesterday voted overwhelmingly for Obama. This is a K-12 charter school and full of kids that are going to make the world a better place. We are so lucky to have this school in our area because the public schools in Chatham County are in a pretty sad state politically and intellectually from the "every child left behind plan" of the Bush administration. I may not get anything done today, but I did manage to make a teapot yesterday, dated on the day Obama won. I should probably keep this one, although I wanted to fire it in the wood kiln and have it for our December sale. We'll see.............

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Voting!

I'm sitting here watching the coverage of Obama voting this morning and I got very emotional, tears in my eyes, not expected at all. His daughters are about the age I was when I went to an all white school. In 4th grade, Mary Canty, a very pretty black girl walked into our class, was introduced to us and took a seat. I remember thinking how scared she must be but also how brave she was. Mary was very successful in our high school, very smart, served on student council, was in the homecoming court, and is probably a very successful woman today. We also had a maid named Clara Belle when I was little, (lord knows why, I was an only child and my mom didn't work, but that's a whole other story! ) When my mom went to pick her up she would sit in the back seat. I always felt that was wrong in so many ways. I am so glad those days are gone. Being a Libra, injustice makes me crazy and upsets my world. On our way to school this morning I was talking to Wes about how historical this election is and how in her lifetime she will see an African American elected as President, when I have lived through the days of segregation. Things still aren't perfect, but better by far, in many ways. Wesley's school is having a mock election today hosted by Wesley's grade and Wes will be an election officer. She is so excited. She has an amazing history teacher that is coordinating this. Go Ms. Gerber! Poor Gerry is out in this miserable rain photographing polling locations and will be with Kay Hagen later today covering the NC Senate race. What an interesting day. If John McCain gets elected I am not getting out of bed tomorrow! Go VOTE if you haven't yet!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Claymakers Gallery

Claymakers has just undergone a major remodel and I saw it today for the first time. WOW!!!!
It is so wonderful. Well done Catherine and Ana. There is a reception this coming Saturday if you are in the area.Check out the website for more details. This is one of my friend Laura's newest pieces and I think one of her best. There are a lot of really great pieces. Here are a few snaps I shot this morning.
Remember the cup I bought from Doug Dotson? Well, I think I need this tea pot to go with it
Ronan has some great new pieces in the gallery, and some new looks I think. Come check them out
Here are before and after shots, quite a difference don't ya think!? I am so glad to see those salmon colored laminated cubes out of here! I just can't tell you how really awful they were.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

kiln #2

OK, got my stuff out of Deb's kiln last week, just a few good things, got my wood fired pieces this weekend, much better. I was happy with every piece, a rare treat for me. The pot above has so much going on, I have no idea where the little red dots came from, but I love them. I can't believe the success we have had with a kiln we have only fired twice. Susan's pieces looked great but she took them all straight to a gallery that was waiting on them, so no photos. I'll pick up more from Claymakers tomorrow and I think it will all be gathered up. By the way, for those of you thinking it, yes I do live with a professional photographer and my photos should be better but he was covering Obama, McCain, Biden and Palin last week on their rampage through N.C. , so as you can imagine I didn't really think I should be asking for my pots to get the pro treatment. Thus the very non pro shots on my ware boards. I'll get better ones after the election!
This is my favorite piece of all. Some people I have showed it to really don't understand why I say this, but it just shows so many things that the fire did to it. I guess it's a pot only a potter could love. I'm keeping this one for myself.
Yes, I ripped off the thumb print dimple in the sake cups, but I don't think I'm the first. It's just that these little cups cry out for an indentation so they don't slip away.
I love the craggy crunch and the shino combination. It feels good to like something for a change. Last week, when I picked up my gas fired bowls I had a big 'ol pity party and went through that "what the hell am I doing this for" thing. I read that Saturn and Uranus are in exact opposite positions on election day, first time in forty years. They are opposing planets and this alignment is predicted to bring on all sorts of highs and lows and opposing happenings. Well, my firings are certainly proof that something is going on! If you like the White Stripes, check out the video below, I love Jack White's voice doing Jolene. Can you believe how much music comes from those two people? I have the original album by Dolly Parton singing Jolene and she does a better job, but Jack is still pretty awesome.Did anyone see him sing with Mick Jagger in the Rolling Stones film Shine the Light? Soooo great! But I digress, sorry...........

A little Jack White

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Broken Tusk Studio

Wesley and I got out today for the Orange County Studio Tour. We were pretty tired from last night's Halloween adventures and only made it to a couple of studios. Luckily there is tomorrow and next weekend. We always look forward to the tour. Many of the studios are out in the county down winding dirt roads, the leaves are turning and so far we always have had these perfect fall days. Carolina blue sky and great temperatures. Today we went to my friend Laura Farrow's studio. I remember the first time we went there, we didn't know Laura, but she was our favorite artist on the tour and we are still so inspired every time we leave there. Wesley had to stop on the way home and get some more canvases for painting. I got one of Laura's paintings, a pendant, and a wall tile for Wes. Hard to leave without buying something!
This studio has the greatest energy and there is something in every little nook to look at. They were serving great iced chai today. I brought one of my favorite cups from the wood firing to show Laura and the chai tasted extra good in my new cup!
Laura's studio was packed the whole time we were there, and look at this potters, there was a line of shoppers! She was very smart and had her pieces priced really well, so even my poor self could buy something. I did miss her cups and hope she does some more next year. I didn't get one last year and have regretted it.
This is Laura with a happy smile on her face. 3 hours into the first day and sales were brisk!
The girl is a master at painting on tiles. Check out the recent Lark book, 500 Tiles, to see more of her work.