I've been lucky to be able to spend this past year experimenting. I have tried earthenware, cone 10 gas reduction, wood firing, got a new wheel, built a gas kiln and a wood kiln and did several Raku firings with a great group of people, tried out some terra sig and slip work and took a glaze chemistry class with Susan Filley. I threw out a bunch of pots. I went to the Utilitarian Clay Conference and saw amazing potters that truly inspired me. I didn't focus on selling anything, just worked on the process and searched for a path of enlightenment(for lack of a better description). I did very little hand building or sculpture, except with my kids classes. I focused on getting better skills on the wheel. I learned A LOT! I keep running into road blocks with the kiln I wanted to build, the latest being lack of funds. The money I was saving up got spent pretty fast when gas prices were at $4 and groceries were crazy high as well. Now Christmas gifts are getting the rest of it. I have the grant money left and the matching funds but not enough to build a downdraft kiln. The sale at Susan's last week was interesting and I was surprised by how much Raku I sold and how much people liked it. I started thinking about how much I like Raku and how Wesley and Gerry have been pushing me to do more of it. Then all of a sudden, call it heightened awareness maybe, but Raku things keep popping up everywhere. My friend Barbara Mackenzie is offering a class this winter at Claymakers on Raku glazing that I want to take. The ArtsCenter wants me to do a Raku class. I saw some bowls in a gallery last night that I drooled over- Raku.
And then I came across this Olympic kiln and the cost of it is exactly the amount of cash I have left. Lights are flashing and arrows are pointing to this kiln in a big way. So I have been doing some serious thinking about what I want to do next year and I am going to get this kiln, offer some Raku classes through the ArtsCenter, and combine hand building with thrown pieces to Raku and also fire in reduction. My taste still leans heavily towards the Asian aesthetic and I love making bowls, so that will stay. I still love the look of a wood fired piece, I love soda fired pots and anything brown makes my heart skip a beat. But for some reason I am being pulled away from that path for myself. I'll just be happy to buy other potters work and find something of my very own that is unique to my personality. As much as I would like to be a functional ware potter, I don't see it happening. I can't make repetitive objects, my attention span is way to short on that, and I want to put an animal or an arm on everything I make. So, I'm going to give this a shot and see where it takes me. All this and people are getting laid off from real jobs everywhere right now. Still, this is what is in my heart and this is what I do. No more theater! I can't begin to say how hard it was to get paid for the work I did this year, not worth it at all. Teaching is still there and I'm good at it, so that will stay in my plans as well. I love my kids! And I have an adult class to teach for winter/spring at the ArtsCenter. The last thing I am going to do for 2008 is do a major space cleansing in our house. I want to paint and I checked out a bunch of books on Feng Shui history and theory and I am going to Feng Shui the hell out of this house. Get some new chi in here and light a candle in our wealth area for the AP to not lay off any photographers this year! I feel this strange energy all around me and I think 2009 is going to be an amazing year of exploration and discovery!!!