Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mark's Motley Crew

I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun these people are to work with. We have worked really hard this week helping Mark get ready for his opening but we have had some great laughs. All very talented: Chad Brown, James Ward, Alex Matisse, Mark Hewitt, Jessica, and Martin Simpson. Where was Joseph?! Sadly he missed the photo of the straw hat club.
That would be me with Mark's fingers sticking out of my head!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I'm working out at Mark Hewitt's this week helping to get ready for his spring kiln opening. Mark's place is so great and the people working with him are even better. You know, in the 90's I fought the good fight, worked hard, made pretty good money, had some good friends, and had more stress than anyone should ever have to have. I wore nice clothes, shopped all the time, traveled all the time, bought furniture, art, toys. It all ended badly, very long story. Now, I have on dirty clothes 80% of the time, I never shop, don't really want to buy anything but other people's pottery and some equipment now and then, and I'm incredibly happy. I get to go to work at places like this instead spending time in airports and convention centers. We have what we need and all is well. I'm very lucky!
Lara O'Keefe came by today, talking with Martin Simpson, Joseph Sand and Alex Matisse. Check out Alex's blog for more photos.
Joseph and Mark's gardens, really nice.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First Firing!

Well, I finally got around to firing my kiln yesterday for the first time. April 25, significant, because it was also Wesley's 16th birthday. I didn't have a lot to fire, but I used some vases that I didn't like, to experiment with and I had some bowls that I wanted to try out. The bowls came out insanely wonderful. I'm really excited and ready to get back in the studio and make hundreds of them!
The firing was so much fun because it was a rare weekend that Gerry was off on a Saturday and he was here to help out. It was pretty funny in the yard, caterpillars were dropping all over us and the pollen was literally coating our skin. Maybe April isn't the best time to work outside.
I have never fired this kind of kiln before and just sort of went on instinct. It's amazing how strong your kiln instincts get. The kiln climbed steadily to 1900 degrees without any problems and all in all it was a great firing. This was the first time Gerry has seen a Raku firing and I think he is hooked now. It is so addictive.

Earlier in the week, I had the great pleasure to invite my friend Charlotte's high school son, John, in to talk to my class about his sculptures. He did a couple of demos on techniques he uses and then the kids tried out the techniques with their own work.
Ian is one of those kids that you just know will do great things in life. He pays attention, works hard and is meticulous with his work. he worked for an hour in class the first day, went home and worked until 9pm then came back to class the next day and worked for 2 more hours on his sculpture. It turned out so great, I loaded it in the kiln this morning.

Also my child turned 16 this weekend and we got her a Yamaha keyboard. The band has been wanting to add one and she just has a natural inclination to playing keyboards. It's been a really busy week and today, I went in to the ArtsCenter very early before anyone got there and unloaded a kid's kiln, loaded another. Then I glazed all of their cupcake boxes with a white base, I am going to get some china paints and let them decorate with paints. I also glazed the plaques some of them made for Mother's Day. The studio I use for the kids doesn't have access to the glazes and it is just easier for me to do it. Did I say easier? Right! And last, I mixed up five Raku glazes to try out for the Raku class I am going to teach at The ArtsCenter. They are hydrating now as I blog, I need to go out and sieve, so I better get to it. I'll be going out to work at Mark Hewitt's next week. His May sale is coming up very soon. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Silent Auction

Wesley's school is having a silent auction and art show in May to raise money for the art department, I am on the auction committee and I asked some of my favorite local potters if they would contribute something. Here are the very generous donations I got. Aren't potters the best! The serving bowl above is by Deborah Harris.
The cup and saucer are from Doug Dotson and the serving platter below is by Rusty Sieck. I have a pitcher that matches this plate. The photos really don't show these pieces for what they truly are. I was in a hurry to get them delivered for catalog photography and snapped them quick on my deck.
Mark Hewitt gave me a mug like the one on the right that he fired for the Catawba show in his new kiln. I have the other two mugs for myself. Thanks, all of you for your generosity!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

email from NC Arts Council

NC artists, did you get this?

Thursday 23rd April 2009

Dear Artists, Arts Workers, and other Arts Leaders,
In the many years I've been at the State Arts Council, we've lived through several economic ups and downs, but certainly never a down period quite like the one we're in now. And yet there are also great opportunities for the arts today as we become better known as part of the solution that will rebuild North Carolina's economy.
On the first afternoon of ARTS North Carolina's ARTS Day events (May 5-6), two of Governor Perdue's Cabinet Secretaries will give us their views on the Creative Economy. Don't miss hearing and meeting Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle and Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. The conversation will surely be stimulating as they talk about the overlap and convergence of the work of their two departments.
On the second day, you'll have the chance to talk with your legislators about the rich contributions you are making to the life of their communities and our state. No one can do that quite like you.
It would be great to see all of you here for the ARTS Day events. In times like these, we need to gather as colleagues to reinforce one another and the very valuable work that all of us are doing. Here's a link for more details:

All the best,

Mary B. Regan, Executive Director
North Carolina Arts Council

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tacos and cupcakes

I am doing a two week arts immersion with the after school kids at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro. The theme is food, yum! Monday the kids just made their favorite foods, we had tacos, hot dogs, pot stickers, fruit, bacon, eggs, and my favorite, Tofu Man, from Morgan, he is going to be a genius adult one day, his imagination is crazy! Tuesday we made cupcake boxes that were soooo cool. Today we made Mother's Day presents, and there are going to be some moms crying on that day. Some really beautiful projects and sentiments today. It was one of those days that you say "oh yeah this is why I bust my ass for no money and lots of hard work"! the kids were amazing today. Some of them I have been teaching since 2005 and boy do they grow fast. Tomorrow a friend of mine is bringing her high school son with his ceramics class sculpture of "spaghetti man" the head is a meatballl and the body is all coils of spaghetti clay. I'll try to remember to shoot some pictures. It is all I can do to keep my head above water, I have about 35 kids, hence the reason for the sucky pictures I have posted. Am I making anything to fire in my kiln that is actually my own work and not a demo for a class? H.E.L.L No! Maybe in August, and I do have two days next week blocked out also for time to make some stuff to Raku on the 17th. I have really got to do something about this, but I love my kids!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Liberty Arts

Liberty Arts is a sculpture studio and a bronze and aluminum casting studio in downtown Durham with a really cool outdoor space. Durham Arts Council has asked me to teach a raku class and the kiln will be located in this very cool gazebo near the casting area. I am so excited about this class and the location. It has me thinking about taking a casting class there. Oh the possibilities with raku and aluminum casting. I need to get through the summer with all of the kids camps and classes I have already booked and do some serious thinking about where I'm going. There was a great article by Diane Fyat at yesterday where she was talking about making the change to a full time potter and giving up all of the things pulling her in so many directions. I think I am about to reach the same place and need to make some decisions. Gotta run, more thoughts later..................

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Life is Good

I spent last week at the beach with Wesley visiting my mom and then Gerry and I took Wesley and her band to Shakori Hills Grassroots Music Festival this weekend. Here are a few snaps I managed to get before I started stumbling around with the rest of the crowd, enjoying the great weather, the fantastic musicians, artists, and a nice buzz from the cooler of Pale Moon Beer. Life is truly good. This is such a great festival and everyone was having their own little kind of fun. We managed to have four sixteen year olds with us and had no incident of drugs, alcohol or physical harm amongst them. They were great to be with, went their own merry way most of the time, but came and hung out with us some too, which was very nice. I feel like all of these kids are my own, and I love them to death!

I love this little oven, I guess used for pizza, maybe bread? I want one
Wesley, my Shakori chick
This van was so cool inside but to dark to shoot any good pictures and I couldn't read the ISO on my camera, focusing problems :) Someone told me it had gone to Burning Man, wouldn't surprise me. It was a work of art.
the hood of the van

Jeff Martin's booth was very busy and so was he, lots of people gathered around him as he painted and I wasn't sure I could form intelligent sentences, so Hi Jeff! Sorry I didn't stop and chat. Hope it was a good show for you, I would like to do this show I think.....
Is this the Avery Tileworks booth?
Here was the last picture I managed to shoot before I just gave up and had a bunch of fun. If you haven't been to Shakori before, you really must check it out in the fall!! Ahh....... Monday I'm back to work with another residency that I am not looking forward to since I haven't been paid yet for the last two I did. I'm sure I'll be paid eventually but really, people, I need the money. This is doing little for my motivation to teach kid's classes. It's a lot of work for very little pay, just warm and fuzzy rewards, which are nice, but warm and fuzzy isn't going to get Wes to college. I have been thinking this week that if I spent as much time on my own pottery as I do on rolling slabs and loading kilns and glazing kid's stuff, I could produce enough work to probably make up the income that I can't even get anyway. I have got to figure something out after I get through this summer. I'll be way burnt out anyway so that will help with my decision making I'm sure......

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I'll be away this week for Spring Break. If you were a child of the 60's like I was, you might get this. If not, you will think I'm nuts! There was no one that loved Ultraman more than me, I'm sure. I had to see this every day no matter what. enjoy...........

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

We had such an awesome weekend. We went to our favorite restaurant, Top of the Hill on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill and got our favorite beer, their own brew, Old Well. Love this beer!! In the summer, when Wes is out at a party or a concert, Gerry and I go to the Hill for dinner and beer outside on the terrace and just chill. The sky was Carolina Blue and the sun was so warm and golden, just a perfect day to be out in Chapel Hill.
My child is just getting prettier and prettier. She turns sixteen April 25, can't believe it! Love this kid!

We walked around UNC campus and shot a bunch of pictures. The pink dogwoods on campus are amazing.

We also walked through the Coker Arboretum, where they have the most unusual selection of trees I have ever seen. Lots of flowers there are already in bloom but there are so many more to come.
What a cool place to live. I just love Franklin St. Hope everyone had a great Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009


The pollen is killing me!!! Itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, can't breathe, whine whine whine! I went to the ArtsCenter at 8am to unload my kid's bisque, dunk the slip painted flowerpots and birdhouses in clear glaze and load two cone 5 kilns. Then I had the rest of the day to spend in my studio. Nobody needed anything from me, I had a pot of chicken soup on the stove for anyone that wanted it, Gerry was gone on a long bike ride, Wes was in her room writing music and playing her guitar, the rain was falling, all signs were good for throwing a bunch of stuff for a Raku firing I have planned for May 3. One small problem- Claritan. Don't the commercials say Claritan "Clear"? Bullshit, try Claritan fuzzy and mindless. I ended up throwing two bowls not on the wheel but across the room and against the wall. This pisses me off so bad. A perfectly good day to throw just wasted from this frigging allergy. So, next best thing a Pale Moon with a slice of orange and blog reading. there ya go........

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


For lack of anything to blog about because I am worn out from Spring Break camp this week, I'll just put this song up. Does anyone remember this Judy Collins song? I used to play this album every night before I went to bed when I was in high school and I have had this stuck in my head all day for some reason. It's weird, I still know the lyrics and yet haven't heard it in years. But I can't remember half the kid's names from camp today. What's that all about?!?

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.

Monday, April 6, 2009

NCAA Champs!!!!!!!

Chapel Hill is crazy tonight. Congratulations to the UNC Tarheels, the 2009 NCAA champs!
My husband is down on Franklin Street shooting pictures in that crowd right there, holy crap! I just saw his photo up on USAToday's page. Wes and I went down in that crowd a few years ago and it was pretty scary. We're just sitting home tonight watching it on TV. We went down around 8pm and it was just a sea of Carolina Blue. What a great town to live in. So much fun! GO HEELS!!!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Living in Chapel Hill is pretty fun this time of year. Tomorrow is going to be crazy around here with the Tarheels being at the NCAA Final Four last game. So I just have to say, GO HEELS!
This photo was shot last year when I was working for Gerry at the tournament. I have a spring break camp all week, so I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be doing. I do have gas for my kiln now so I have to get busy soon!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

will I ever fire this sucker?

Mike Duke, the nicest man in the world, came out yesterday and put in my gas line for my kiln. We went to light it up and found a crimp in the thermocouple wire. Of course we did, why would this get any easier? Called Olympic, very nice people and they are shipping a new one right out. I was hoping to fire this weekend, but that won't be happening I guess........patience, grasshopper!
I am being asked to teach more kid's classes this summer than I can keep up with and today a friend asked if I would teach a class at a retirement center in Hillsborough. I am booked up all the way through November and it's just now April. Good to have the work I guess, but I'm tired just thinking about it!