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Friday, July 31, 2009

Butterflies

I made a couple of banners today for my tent at the Farmer's Market. I noticed last week that I didn't have anything indicating who I was or what I did. I don't care for the way these look photographed. They look much better in person. They were really fun to make.

Same wood cut stamp made the butterfly tiles that I raku fire. This was a Christmas gift from Wes and Gerry last year and I have gotten so much use out of it. Wish I could find some more.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is this the book for me or what!!

Yet another Lark Book - Do you Raku?

500 Raku
Senior Editor: Ray Hemachandra
Entry deadline: Oct. 26, 2009

The centuries-old technique of raku is one of the most exciting and dynamic ceramic processes in use today. Lark Books seeks excellent digital photographs of outstanding current and recent raku ceramic work: creative, experimental, classic, beautiful pieces in all forms, including vessels, plates, sculptures, tiles, and more. The publication is scheduled for release in spring 2011. There is no entry fee, and early entries are encouraged. Download Entry Form here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Raconteurs

Two hours ago I was going to put some handles on some pots, but here I sit watching Raconteurs videos on Youtube. Hmmmmm..........

Monday, July 27, 2009

ETSY?

I'm curious and would like to get some feedback. Someone said to me the other day that I should sell on Etsy. I did a search on Etsy for pottery and there were 57,701 listings. I entered ceramics and there was 67,900 listings. How does anyone sit and go through that many listings to shop for pottery? Also, by the time you price your piece for the economy and the cost of shipping it, pay the Etsy fee, and the tax, take the time to pack and take it to the shipping place, not to mention maintaining the site, do you really make any money and is all that time worth it? I've been hesitant to sell on Etsy because of all of these things and also because I have seen a lot of crap on there. Although, now there are also fabulous potters with Etsy shops on their blogs, so I'm wondering if there are any success stories out there or any "Don't do it" stories. Feedback please............

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday in Saxapahaw

I set up a booth Saturday at the Saxapahaw Farmer's Market and Music Series Festival. What a great place: good music, homemade ice cream, lots of fun things for kids to do, and best of all fresh vegetables, homemade breads and jams, fresh eggs, local wine, and so much more. If you live in the area, you should definitely come out and enjoy some barbeque and music. I met so many nice vendors while setting up. Very friendly place!
It was my first Saturday and I had been forewarned that I might not sell too much on the first time, but I did ok, sold some flowerpots and tiles, met lots of very nice people and hopefully future customers. I packed up the cooler with food and Gerry and Wes came out and hung out with me for the evening. I'm looking forward to Saturday evenings at Saxapahaw through the rest of the summer.

Here are a few shots from my firing on Friday, lots of nice stuff came out, I was able to fire four cyles and tested some new glazes I mixed up with some mason stains. some good some bad. I mixed a red gloss that I don't understand at all, I think it needs really heavy reduction, it will take some experimenting.

This photo sucks but this piece is probably my most favorite thing I have ever made. It was sitting right on the burner and got fried on the back. The glaze actually turned red and it is soooo cool. You can't see it too well in the picture, but the flashing is spectacular! I met a very nice lady that wanted to buy it and I wouldn't sell it to her. Just can't part with it. I'm using it to put my business cards in. I did promise to make her another, so I'll make some more this week and send it on to her if she gets in touch with me.

These bowls were three pounds and very nice. And here is my first explosion. I was tired and rushing the last firing and put some tiles in freshly glazed. I only lost two tiles, but the sound of them exploding in the kiln was crazy. I had to turn the kiln off, cool it down, clean up the mess and start over. Patience grasshopper! So, that's my week, lots of work but ended the week in a great way at Saxapahaw.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our State

I'm sure many of you have probably seen this, but I've not been out to a store in a while so I'm a bit slow getting to it. Our State is a great publication and usually has some interesting articles about North Carolina and the area. This month they have featured the art of NC although in my opinion there is not enough depth there and it seems like they just breezed through the topic. I think the best article in there is the feature on Starworks, written and photographed by Jerry Rowe and photos by Jerry Wolford, both friends that Gerry worked with when we lived in Greensboro and he worked at the News and Record. The article on Seagrove was really lacking in substance and I think missed a lot of what makes Seagrove special. No offense meant to the people that were featured. What they did feature was nice, they just missed soooo much.
I love this photo of Sid Luck. What a dear sweet man. He is the first person to show me what clay could do on a potter's wheel and I will never forget it. We were living in Albemarle, NC in Gerry's brother's house while looking for a place in Charlotte. I didn't have a job and was looking for things to keep me occupied. The parks and rec there had a one day workshop with Sid and I took Wesley. It was really for kids but I asked if I could join. He told some great stories to a group of about ten girls and then gave each one of us a turn on the one wheel they had set up. He basically held our hands and threw a pot, making us believe that by magic, we had thrown that bowl. I was hooked. I went back a few weeks later to pick up my bowl and was so disappointed with it. It had been glazed in an ugly teal blue matt glaze that ran a bit and was not attractive at all. (This should have told me something right then!). I kept it forever, but I can't find it, I was going to post it. Must have packed it up somewhere.
Anyway, right after that, I signed up for a class at Clayworks in Charlotte, that was 2003, and I have been trying to get a decent piece since. Here is the first bowl I threw at Clayworks. I think this is weathered bronze over randy's red, ran like a mother! Sad little thing but it's fun to see how far I've come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

more raku

Here are a couple of flower pots that I really liked. I can just see a red amaryllis planted in one for the holidays, or a small poinsettia.

odd camera angle, but I like the inside of this pot. It's wider at the bottom than it appears
I made these baskets for the pendants and ornaments. Holes in the bottoms to get reduction. I'm not sure the handles will survive in a raku, but I made strong attachments reinforced with coils so we'll see. I'll just use wire for the handles if these break.
a basket that will get wire handles and a tile holder. The tile holders you can buy are very heavy. We have some at Claymakers and there is no way I could lift one filled with tiles with my tongs. I will attach wire on the ends so it can be lifted easily. If this works, I'll make more. Again I want to see if the construction is going to hold up. Raku is rough on hand built work and seams come undone sometimes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Raku photos

Here are some snaps from raku weekend. I'm pretty happy with everything, now I have to figure out what I can sell and what I can't part with. My pots are like my little kids and I have a hard time giving them up. I really like giving them to friends more than selling them. Not exactly the way to make a living as a potter though is it!?

Jen, here is your tile. I made it the day you posted the conundrum blog. I love that word! I need to get a ribbon for it and I will send it to you.
The plates came out more gray than I would have liked but I am getting used to them. They look like ancient relics. They also got the Wes approval, so that's good.


I like the way the copper ran into the white..............
This bowl also looks very old. It was sitting on top of a burner and got toasty. I like it.

I need to scrub the planters and I'll get some more (amateur) pics up. One day that photographer I live with is going to have a crap load of pots to shoot!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Raku #3

I had an amazing firing today. Bisque fired everything yesterday, glazed and fired three cycles in the raku kiln today. I will post some pics later Monday or Tuesday, have to work in the morning and right now I need a bath. What a dirty, stinking process, but the rewards are great visually! I only had two little trays that look nasty but they were test glazes. So much better than the reduction from a few weeks ago. Are the Raku Gods trying to tell me something?
Jen Mecca, I have a tile for you, email me you mailing address and I will send it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

NC School of the Arts

I can't believe we are already looking at colleges, but that we are. Today I took Wes to the NC School of the Arts in Winston Salem NC to tour the campus and check out the film school. She has pretty much decided she wants to go into film/screen writing. If your kid is into classical music, dance, acting, theater production or film making this is the school. I can't begin to say how impressed I was with this campus. Check it out at their very great website.
This is the row of class rooms for the film school. They have their own main street for filming, sound stages, sound and editing rooms that are unreal and the design and production depts. are phenomenal.
This is the very beautiful School of Music building.
Posters of the films made by the fourth year students which will be screened in LA. are the first thing you see as you enter the campus.
Wesley's very good friend Siobhan is in the high school dance program this summer and we were lucky to catch up with her between classes. This is a secret elevator the Visual Art students have "decorated". Notice that she has pried the door open between floors. How did this get figured out!? The graffiti goes all the way down the shaft.
I loved this poem..........
Here are Wes and Siobhan downtown on 4th St in front of the Steven Center for Performing Arts where Siobhan will dance next week.
Great dinner across the street from the Stevens Center at the Mellow Mushroom. What an amazing day! But my poor child's head is spinning and she still has to make it through two more years of high school. She is soooo ready for college. There is a summer program for high school students in the film program so I have to sell a bunch of pottery between now and then to pay for her new passion!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Clay & Lace

It's been so beautiful outside this week, I have been reluctant to stay in and work on my wheel. I have set up all of my hand building stuff on the back deck and have been outside all week working through some things I have been thinking about making but haven't gotten around to. Wesley is going back and forth speaking English and French and I have been inspired by her. It sort of began with the flowerpots I made and then moved on to more thoughts of garden things. I have made a bunch of tiles with French words, used lace to imprint bowls, trays, soap dishes, I even got started on some lace imprinted Christmas tree ornaments. I have enough made for a kiln load to bisque fire so I guess that's what I'll be doing this weekend. Tomorrow we go to the NC School of the Arts in Winston Salem to tour the film school, where Wes has decided she wants to go for college.
I love the lace impression on this hand built bowl. It looks like a chandelier to me. I made some small ones to match. I am thinking that all of this work will be in white crackle and Voila, a collection, tres jolie!
Of course, the obligatory pear, couldn't be hand building without a few pears tossed in! I sold a bunch of these last year during the holidays and had forgotten about them until the other day when I was biting into one.
A lace imprinted tray which is paper thin and will probably crack in the Raku. I only made one until I see how it survives.
Cute little soap dishes and Christmas trees. These come about from the scraps left over from cutting out the bowls and trays. Easier than wedging up the clay again. I also have some pendants cut out from the tiniest of the scraps. I am getting a head start on ornaments this year. I didn't make enough last year because I waited too late. I want to Raku them, but that's a lot of little things to have to take out of a raging hot kiln. Any ideas? I do have a basket, but what to do with tiles and ornaments?
I have French books all over the house from my showroom designing days. Full of lots of great pottery inspiration!
and here sits my lonely little wheel.............. I'll be back soon, promise!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Rain and Shine

A few weeks ago, I moved all of my hand building stuff out on the back deck so I could work outside. Then a deer died in the woods behind our house and it has been too stinky to work outside for days and days. It has finally decayed to the point of not smelling anymore so I worked outside this afternoon. We woke up to fierce thunderstorms this morning and I had to work at Claymakers, but the sun came out this afternoon and it was nice and cool on the deck so I got in a few hours of hand building with a bunch of scrap clay I have been collecting. I'll use it for Raku, so it doesn't matter that it is kinda ugly.

These bowls are paper thin, some with texture some not. I have some Raku glazes to test out and these will be great for that. I am thinking that I will make a bunch of these to take to Penland for the Raku workshop. We are supposed to bring bisque, but I don't want to make anything special that may or may not make it home in one piece. Maybe one piece, but a stack of these bowls that I can knock out quickly are great for testing glazes.
I'm also working out a ceramic book cover. I have been wanting to make books for garden journals for a long time, the slab I rolled out for the bowls was really thin so I used some of the left overs to make this quick one. Now I just have to take a book making class......
I also made a bunch of little trays, some chop stick holders and wasabi dishes, and some pendants, which I forgot to photograph. It's amazing how much stuff you can make out of scraps.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back home

I've been at the beach all week visiting my mom and her new husband. My mom is 78 and a newlywed. Her new husband is many things my dad was not, but he is very nice, handsome and charming just the same. The beach was soothing and wiped away all of the angst from last week's kiln tragedy. There was rain the first day, which I love at the beach, so Wes and I shopped for school clothes all day at some funky shops and the new Goodwill retail thrift store. I love the Goodwill stores. I got a new black leather jacket and a great pair of black boots, never worn, new tags still on. $25 for both. What a deal! My mom is embarrassed to shop in thrift stores, but I love them. You can find really cool stuff. Wesley and her band shop in them all the time for clothes to wear on stage. The first time we came home with our treasures my mom pulled me aside and said, "be sure Wesley's friends don't find out she is getting her clothes at thrift stores." You just have to laugh, that's all that can be done. I started running again while there and my shins are killing me. I used to run/walk about 5 miles everyday but have recently grown lazy and preoccupied with clay. Time to get back at it. The sun came out later in the week and I read on the beach for the rest of the time we were there. I didn't have a good book on the shelf at home so I plundered Wesley's shelf, which is like a literary treasure trove. Wes started reading the Harry Potter books on her own in 2nd grade, she reads way beyond the level of most her age (she is now reading The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda for the second time) and she is the one I go to when I need a good book referral. So I pulled Running with Scissors off of her shelf. She warned me that it was explicit, well it is! But hilarious and very well written, again, emphasis on explicit! I suppose I should have read it before she did, I know there are many parents out there that would not let their kid read a book like this, but I have never been one to edit what she reads, I let her make her own choices. She has introduced me to a lot of great books that I may have not read otherwise and now we are watching old Hitchcock movies that I have never seen because of her new interest in old films. Anyway, Augusten Burroughs makes my very crazy childhood seem tame and I'm having bizarre dreams, but what a great writer he is! I checked out his website which led me to Haven Kimmel's website, Haven is a great writer, and is married to a local potter, John Svara. Small world. I have been reading blogs all morning and watching the Tour de France. Back to work tomorrow. Lazy day today, making a pot of black bean soup and cornbread for later.......