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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beach

This is the beach I grew up on. I never miss it until I'm there breathing that sea air and walking barefoot in the sand. It was really weird down there this week. Foggy and warm every day with low visibility. Beautiful though.
Dang, this little girl is growing up. She got her hair cut last week and looks so much like me now. She passed a mirror in a store yesterday and thought it was me... funny. I'm starting to think about pottery again but I'm going to wait until after Jan 1. Going to spend some quality time with my family for a few more days.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas "MAC" Blues

Wesley got a new acoustic guitar for Christmas this year. Sounds beautiful. (sorry for the terrible photos, it was early). We also got her an ipod because her very old one died a few months ago. I got Gerry an itouch and so far neither of them have been able to put any music on them. We have three Mac books and the systems are old, 10.3 so they won't support the new ipods. Well, doesn't that just suck, WHO KNEW! WTF! What brilliant marketing, create a product that requires you to buy a new $2000 computer to go along with it. @#*@
Anyway, we have had a great day in spite of the technical difficulties. It will all work out.

Do you think Wes is going to want to share this with Gerry? She is in the background trying to download new OSX software. sigh.....Today, I created a small space in the wealth corner of my house(according to the feng shui map) and lit a candle, placed a little Buddha that I got in my stocking with it and wrote a prayer for the new year. 2008 has been a great year for us, so I hope that continues into this very uncertain year to come. I hope everyone has had a great Christmas Day! Going to the beach tomorrow to see my mom. Back soon.
By the way, check out www.japanpottery.blogspot.com There was a message on my last post from this blogger, it's a pretty cool site.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Celedon and Shino

Here are a few things I got out of the kiln this week. New cups for the cupboard. Choy Blue Celedon and Carbon Trap Shino.
This is the first teapot I have made on the wheel. I have hand built some but I think I like making them on the wheel. The glaze is Malcolm's Shino. The liner is Chun Clear and the spill over the edge is Chun with Malcolm on top. I like the way this looks. One small problem, my kettle has a short fat spout and it's hard to pour the water in. Solution: I need a new tea kettle for Christmas!

This is the first mug that I have made and been happy with. Handles make me crazy and they are usually too fat at the bottom. I really like this one. Malcolm Shino again. this cup feels good!
Merry Christmas everybody!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008

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!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Invader Zim

Does anyone out there besides me and Wesley love Invader Zim? Wes started watching this when she was a little girl. It was such a whacked out show and I had some misgivings at first about letting her watch it, but since she was obviously born to be a writer, I thought it would help her creativity. We had to go to the dreaded mall last week and as I hyperventilated and started on my mall migraine, Wesley picked up this cool hat. I have had some pottery epiphanies and may blog about it later, but I'm taking a little break this week to get some Christmas stuff done.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday Sale

Laura, Susan and I had a fun, fun sale on Saturday. We had a good crowd of folks come out. No one I invited made it out, which I found disturbing, but oh well, we had some sales and I had some moments of enlightenment about my work. Wesley and Gerry have been saying for a while that I need to do more Raku and sculpture and what do you think sold? My Raku and sculpture pieces. Not one of my yunomi sold, which I was surprised about. Susan said that I wasn't ready to give them up yet and that's why they didn't sell. She may have something there. I know that I really like them and have become attached to them because of the sentimentality of the wood firing they came from. So- good, I have a new set of cups. But, now I am so confused and I need to do some thinking about what I really want out of all of this and why I'm doing it in the first place. What I do know is that I have to great friends and we had a really good time doing this sale together. I think that this will become an annual event for us. Tim's friends came out and brought instruments, we had a bonfire, great food and I met some wonderful people.

This was our support team. These are four of the most interesting and amazing kids I have ever met.They cleaned, brought food and drink, wrapped, took money, wrote the receipts and were generally a lot of fun to be with. Benny on the left is a banjo player, Jonas and Jolene in the middle, Susan's kids, and Wesley on the end. Thanks guys!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

me too

I know everyone has been posting about their sales this week, so here I go. Susan, Laura and I are having a sale this weekend at Susan's studio, but not like many of you guys are having. We haven't planned, we haven't advertised much and half the stuff I wanted to have for the sale will not get fired in time. The rest of it is stuff I really like and will have a hard time parting with. We will have Tim and his friends there playing music and it's a potluck so there will be lots of food and if nothing else we will have a good party. If I sell some of the things piling up around here that will be good too. This is the Tracey Broome stress free way to be a potter haha! Pottery sales are hard for me, I just like making it. I should be someone's production potter. I only like messing with greenware. I do, however, want to make a living at this somehow. Hmm........
Here are some things out getting priced and cleaned and sorted out. I'll need to de-clutter my display a bit since there are two other potters. You've probably seen some of this before in previous blogs. Time for it to all go away, come on out to Susan's and have some fun Saturday 4 until we're tired of being there!




Monday, December 8, 2008

December 8, 1980

This is John the Bird. I'll tell you a little story about how he got his name. When we were in New York, Wesley wanted to go to Strawberry Fields in Central Park and see the Imagine medallion. We were sitting across from it on one of the benches watching all of the people that had come to gather there. Some had CD players playing John Lennon music, some were laying flowers down, some were doing strange things that only they knew about, and some younger kids just walked past paying this place no regard at all.We were just sitting quietly on the bench and Wes wanted us to respect the space and be quiet. As we sat there she commented about John's spirit and wondered if he might still be around. As soon as she made this comment, this little bird came over and jumped up on her hand. He stayed there for the longest time, just walking all over my daughter. Then he hopped over to me and then to Gerry. Keep in mind there were people all over the place, some even had food, but we were the quiet ones and this bird came and visited with us. Wesley decided that he was the reincarnation of John Lennon so we called him John the Bird. It was a magical moment. Rest in peace John..........

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just a few more

Here are a few more snaps I took at Mark's place this week. We went by today to say hello while out on the Chatham County Studio Tour and the shelves were nearly empty. Almost all of the apprentice work was gone and just some of Mark's larger very expensive pieces were left. We also went by Chicken Bridge Pottery and his shelves were nearly empty as well. Great to see pottery selling. Today was Wesley's day to visit painting studios because she isn't so much into the pottery. I hope there is pottery left for next weekend. I still want to get to Doug's place.
This is Mark's wife, Carol, doing some pricing with Joseph. All of this work was gone today.





Ok, that's it from last week. Next weekend, Laura, Susan and I are having a small sale at Susan's so I'll be getting ready for that this week. It will be a low key sale with music and a potluck. I don't have a lot because of my kiln situation, but there will be three of us, so there will be a good selection. I'm more interested in the party anyway! My goal for the new year is to see if I can pull my head out of the clouds and get serious. I have wandered about like a nomad lost in clay experimentation this year. Good news is that I have ruled out many of the things I thought I might like to do. It's been fun to try a little of this and a little of that, but my work looks like that of someone with a bipolar disorder. I keep coming back to shino, so shino it is. So what if half the population doesn't know what the hell it is. I'm a good sales person, so...
Wesley keeps pushing me to do more sculptural work, so maybe I should work on that too.
We'll see...........

Friday, December 5, 2008

Life is good when you get new pots!

I don't know what it is about bringing new pottery into my house, but it just makes me a little happier every time I do. I will leave my new pieces sitting out on my pine farm table for days, where they look really beautiful, and I will only use the new pieces until I know everything there is to know about them. That's how it is with this latest bunch I have brought home from Mark Hewitt's. I think these pieces represent the Hamada quote in my header quite nicely!
These are Mark's mugs. I picked out the one on the left and Wes picked the one on the right. This mug holds more tea than any other I have and I didn't have to make a second cup this morning. The handles get a little bit hot, but I really need to stop this bad habit of scorching my mouth in the mornings anyway.

These pieces are by Alex Matisse. I like this cup for tea in the afternoon because it is smaller and I drink less tea in the afternoon than in the morning. Dr. Pepper was also good in it. Don't know much about the pitcher yet, but it reflected the afternoon light beautifully today.

This vase is a "potter's pot". I didn't take a very good shot of it because I was getting cold outside, but the kiln gave it many wonderful markings and it has a story to tell. I love this piece. It was made by Joseph Sand.
This sweet little cup is also by Joseph, and I have already had a few glasses of wine with it. This is a perfect red wine cup and may now be the only one I use for that.
These bowls are our new cereal bowls. Wesley picked out the one above by Alex and the smaller blue one is mine, by Eryn.

And last a tumbler and a small commemorative cup marking the 75th firing of Mark's kiln. I know it looks like I got more of the apprentice work than work by Mark, but I like supporting the people that work for Mark and I can't really use many of the large pieces that Mark makes. Although I really love Mark's work and have a great appreciation for it, my house just won't hold decorative objects, I need functional pottery to nourish me, don't want more things to dust and polish. The Chatham County Studio Tour is this weekend and I really wanted to get around to a few more potters studios. Gerry is going to think I have lost my mind if I bring more pots in this house. The smart thing would have been for me to take cash for my work this week instead of pots, put it towards my gas kiln fund and made my own dang pottery. But how are you supposed to walk away with no pots when you have been so close to them for a week and you really like the people that made them. Hmmm, tell me, what is a girl to do!?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Friends

So, you guys, this has been a really strange week for me. Fun, but strange. Alex Matisse left a note on my blog to come out and help at Mark Hewitt's this week if I wanted to. This was my first week in a long time that I had nothing planned and I was going to stay home and throw pots all week. Well, that didn't happen. I went out to Mark's and had a big 'ol time sanding and washing fabulous pottery and helping Carol set up the barn. I brought Wesley out after school and put her to work as well.We had great weather until around 5pm then it got really cold really quick. Here are Alex and Zuma in front of the kiln. I am so happy to have met them both and I think Alex is on to great things with his life. I first met Alex through his blog entry "Midnight shift" and was deeply touched by his writing. After reading that entry, I thought that I would like to meet him one day and now this week we worked together at Mark's. I have been going to Mark's kiln openings since we moved here four years ago and never dreamed I would be out there helping set up for an opening. So odd how things happen sometimes. I brought home a bunch of pots that I will show you later. I may sneak out there one day and bring that dog home as well!
The other great thing about my week is that on Wednesday I finished up my residency at the Montessori School in Pittsboro with a barrel firing. Julie, the teacher there is a wonderful new friend and the school is so lucky to have her. The firing was a great success!
My youngest new friend, Mary. This kid melted my heart with her smile!Here are Mark and Alex doing a little sanding. What I liked about Mark is that he is doing the same things we are all doing and seems very happy to be doing so. I also liked the smile he would get on his face at seeing a particularly great pot. Even after 75 firings with this kiln, he is still obviously getting great pleasure from it. Also a very kind and humble person. It was a pleasure to spend the week at his place. Wesley and I felt so welcome and Mark and Carol were incredibly gracious to us.
Alex and Eryn helping Mark with pricing. yes it is cold!
It was also great spending time with Joseph Sand and Eryn Prospero. You can see more of them on Alex's blog. I have pots from both of them as well. Very talented potters! and really really nice people!
This is Mark's mailman whom we had a very odd conversation with and he just added to the surrealism of the week. He drives in the passenger seat with his left foot and left hand doing the driving. Interesting character to say the least.
Ok, this is a bit pitiful, but we were tired tonight and the best we could do for dinner was opening a can of Campbell's Bean and Bacon soup and some zesta saltine crackers. Also, a cup of two buck chuck cabernet from Trader Joes. It was, however served in the finest pottery to be had around here: left to right- soup bowl by Eryn P. , wine cup by Joseph S. , and soup bowl by Alex M. The best part of this week was working for cash or trade. Obviously, I went for the pots. I promised Carol I wouldn't post any photos of the new pots until after the opening, so I'll show you some pots later. I can't show you any pictures of Carol because she was always around the new pots, but she is a lovely woman. That's all for tonight, I'm tired. Alex, if you want to, send me your email address and we can plan a time after the opening for us to buy you a beer and some dinner. You and Gerry can compare fly fishing stories! Thanks for asking me out to Mark's. Wesley and I had a great time!!