Sunday, November 29, 2009

While the kiln does it's thing......

I'm firing a bisque today, all manual, so I'm babysitting. It's a lazy Sunday, we're getting over the Thanksgiving coma, and trying to be productive. I have been looking around at some of the food bloggers out there for some new Christmas baking ideas and came across this recipe. All of my favorite things, except I think I will substitute Hershey bars for the snickers.
Have mercy!


Extreme Toasted Marshmallow Candy Bar Rice Crispy Treats

12 Cups toasted rice crispy cereal
2 10.5 oz bags mini marshmallows
6 Tablespoons butter

1 Cup chocolate chips
3 Cups mini marshmallows
10 mini Twix candy bars, chopped
10 mini Snicker candy bars, chopped

1. Prepare rice crispy treats according to directions on the cereal box, I doubled recipe. Press into a 9X13 inch baking dish. It will be filled close to the top.

2. Preheat oven’s broiler and position top rack in middle of oven not top (if rack is too close to the broiler, the marshmallows burn instead of slowly turning golden). Sprinkle chocolate chips over rice crispy treats. Sprinkle 3 Cups mini marshmallows over top. Broil in oven just until marshmallows start to puff and turn golden. Watch very carefully, it happens quick!

3. Remove from oven and press chopped candy bars over toasted marshmallows. Let cool for 1 hour before serving. Enjoy!!

Happy Sunday

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shopping with John Edwards

A few years ago my daughter and my nephew decided that it would be fun to go to the mall the day after Thanksgiving. I had never done this before, the mall gives me vertigo and I can't breathe well from all of the perfume. But we went, and we had a really fun time. So now every year Gerry and I take them. Yesterday we went and my nephew wanted to go into Gamestop, probably the most crowded shop in the mall. We went in, got in line to get him a game and standing behind us in line was John Edwards and his son Jack. This is probably the first time I have ever seen the man without a smile on his face. Guess he doesn't have too much to smile about these days. Poor man. In the south, whenever we are having unkind thoughts about someone, rather than be terribly rude, we will say the thing and end it with "Bless his heart". For instance: "This man that wanted to be our country's president turned out to be a real horse's ass, Bless his heart!" I did feel rather sorry for him, there he was the day after Thanksgiving, shopping with his son in Gamestop with the rest of us fools, not once did I see him with that famous smile on his face. His face was very tan though. He is a good looking man.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Brothers and sisters

I love the picture of Meredith with her brothers and sisters at the link on her blog here.
It's a great post. I am an only child and so is Wesley, but Gerry has a large family and they were all here today. Here are mine and Wesley's inherited brothers and sisters. We had such a great time today, my niece went to Starworks for a school field trip and the pottery bug has bit her good. She talked on and on about what a great time she had making a candle holder there. I got her on my wheel today and she made a cup and hand built two bowls. If anyone knows where she could take a class near Baden NC let me know. Gerry took the group shot, so here is one of him and Wesley. Hope everyone had a great day. I got to be with family and do a little pottery class. What could be better! Oh yeah and my two sister in laws bought pottery today. I made $50 on Thanksgiving day. Not bad :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CDC Show this weekend

I went over to Raleigh today to help Deb Harris set up the high school exhibit at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show. Wesley entered three of her photographs and they were selected so we have free tickets to the opening reception Friday night, which I will probably go to alone, Wes doesn't feel good still and Gerry is shooting a hockey game. While setting up today, I ran across Jen Mecca and her very nice husband Joey, are they not the cutest couple ever!!! I shot a bunch of other pictures, but my camera is messed up and I only got this one shot and had the setting on black and white (maybe I need a new camera for Christmas?!) But I think it is a nice shot of the two of them. Sorry, Jen, if I kept you from working today, but it was very nice to chat with you!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I never can seem to make more than two or three of a thing before I get distracted and move on to something else. So, this week I went ahead and got that out of the way and then focused on making bowls and mugs of similar shapes and sizes. Good thing I don't work as a production potter! The jars above are similar to ones that Po Wen Liu did a demo of in his workshop, I finally got around to trying them and I really like them.
I'm starting to like gargoyles, pots for Raku here, and below a try at slip trailing from a demo that Blaine Avery did. I just went ahead and copied the turtle he did until I can figure out the slip trailer, it's not a natural thing for me at this point, but I think I like using it, just need more practice and some idea of what to do with it.

obligatory votives for the holiday sale I have coming up
I have sold all of my baskets, but again, made three, got distracted..........

finished up the week with mugs and bowls. It took me forever to learn to trim a foot ring. I cut through more bowls than I care to think about. I really like my foot rings now, and it took me no time to trim these bowls, practice practice practice!!!!! I have enough pots for a bisque kiln, so I will fire Saturday and then a cone 10 and a Raku for next week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday morning

"Tea ceremony" is not the best translation of chado, which literally means "tea way" ("cha" means "tea"; "do" means "way"). Chado, also called cha no yu ("tea hot water") isn't a ceremony involving tea. It is just tea; just this moment, fully experienced and appreciated. Through meticulous attention to every detail of preparing and drinking tea, the participants enter into a shared, intimate experience of tea.
I cannot even begin to tell you what a nice tea bowl I have to drink from right now! Drinking from one of Hollis' cups is a whole experience in itself. I just wish everyone could understand the experience of drinking from one of these instead of buying a $4 mug at Walmart. How can we get everyone to understand this! and then pick up one of Michael Kline's little plates to go with it, heaven!! Wesley is sitting here playing her violin, Gerry is raking leaves, and I'm heading to my wheel to save a platter! Happy Sunday everyone :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hollis Engley Fan

If any of you ever read the comments on Hollis Engley's blog, you know I am a huge fan of his work. In fact, before I ever knew what blogging was, I had found his website and bookmarked it, looking at it often to envy the shino glazes on his pieces. This was a really nice week and to end it properly, I received this surprise in the mail today from Hollis! So unexpected, but one of the nicest surprises I could get. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, HOLLIS!!!!! I absolutely LOVE IT! and check out the card that came with it, suitable for framing. I look forward to taking it to my next class for my students to see. When they were here yesterday we had a quick review of all the cups in my cabinet, discussing what works well, glaze applications, etc.
Wesley had the best comment today when I opened the package. She said, "oh, you bloggers!"
Indeed! It's an interesting community isn't it? Sunday morning, I will be sitting here, reading everyone's blogs and drinking tea from my new H. cup, can't wait!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Raku class

Today my raku class came over to fire their work. We have postponed the firing for two weeks due to rain, and I'm so glad we waited. Today was one of those amazing days, the sun was golden, the weather was perfect and the kiln gods smiled on us! Everyone had a great firing and got some beautiful pieces! We also had a delicious quiche, wonderful veggie soup and greens that Kristen grew in her garden. You gotta love classes like this!
I let these guys do most of the work since it was a class and they are supposed to be learning about Raku. This is the first class I have done for the project grant from Orange County. Thanks again OCAC for giving me the grant so we can have great classes like this at the Artscenter!

Ronnie left the Artscenter last year to have this little guy, and she came back to take my class and today Josh learned to say "raku" and "crackle"!
This tray was made by Bridget who took my pottery sampler class last session and had never worked with clay before. She hand built this after only one class session! Pretty great.
I have had sooo much trouble with Piepenburg glaze that I almost didn't introduce it to my class. Glad I did, because the tray and this vase were glazed with piepenburg and they look spectacular!
And this is what it looked like all day, can't beat the South for some glorious fall days! Thanks to Charlotte, Kristen, Bridget and Ronnie for a fantastic class and being so inspiring! almost every piece came out great, with the exception of a couple of tiles, I think that was my fault though for letting the can be opened too soon. Today I was mostly patient and waited to open the cans more than I usually do. It paid off, I need to be more patient in the future.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Summer Vacation

I know, I know, it's a bit early to be planning summer vacation, but it looks like there might not be one for us in 2010. Not because of anything bad, quite the contrary! Wesley has been nominated for Governor's School!! Huge honor, she and one other kid at her school were chosen for nomination and only 800 from North Carolina get in. She is busy working on her essays and application, more work than I ever did for a job interview, honestly! But the bad news is, if she gets selected it will be for six weeks this summer. We were hoping to go back to Bonnaroo, but it's at the same time, so I doubt it's going to happen. I love this photo from Bonnaroo, buying beads from this sweet little lady from Japan.
I had big plans for this week, by now I should have boards of mugs and bowls ready to fire in a bisque by the weekend. Well, I sqeezed in 6 mugs, three bowls and one vase along with getting my tires rotated, oil changed, car inspection done, turn signal light replaced, grocery shopping, mixing glazes, picking up my student's work to fire on Thursday which is probably not going to happen because the rains are coming again, and many other things that the one in the family without a full time job (that would be me) gets to do. I wish I could have one full week to walk in to my studio, work for 5-6 hours without interruption and just see what happens. You know what I need? A WIFE! I added up my receipts from the Farmer's Market this summer, Festifall, and the things I sold to the NC Craft Gallery, and if I could have the time I need to really work, I could actually make this happen. I did ok without a huge amount of inventory and very few outlets and not a lot of effort. Time to get serious, I'm getting through the holidays and then I am getting a realistic plan together for 2010.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chick Flick

Sorry guys, this is for the girls. How many times have you seen Pride and Prejudice? Wes and I just watched for the _ time? I can't even remember how many times we have watched this movie. It has to be my all time favorite movie ever! The sets, the costumes, the dialogue, Matthew McFayden,need I say more!
I could watch the last scene over and over and over..................

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Unique marketing

Wesley and I spent the day at Barnes and Noble Bookstore helping promote the Artscenter in Carrboro today. It was rather unique. They asked several instructors to come in and talk about their classes and B & N gave a portion of sales today to the Artscenter. Great way to raise a bit of $$ and meet potential new students. There was a painter at the front entrance, theater and music performances by the youth conservatory in the children's section, a table for kids to come and work with clay and I got the best location of all, right by the magazine stand. Guess what I did with the down time?! Latte and magazines on a Sunday afternoon, heaven! I met a lot of lovely people that were interested in clay and several that are probably going to be taking one of my classes. As a bonus, Wesley got to spend some time researching for two essays she is working on. I can't say yet what they are for but she has been nominated for something pretty great and I will tell you more next week when I am allowed to!! Happy week everyone, I get to start off Monday with no where to go, first time in FOUR YEARS! Wow, I wonder if I will just auto pilot my way to Claymakers tomorrow:)

Friday, November 13, 2009

A day's work

I finished up the vase, took me all day. But I love, love, love it!! Now, please God, let it survive a Raku firing, doubtful, but I'm hopeful!! It probably weighs about 10 lbs. now with all the little heads on it.........
And the jug thing? Forget it! Not wasting the clay!

Big vases

I started working on some bigger vases today, started with 6 lb. then 8, then 10 just to warm up. I've been making mugs and bowls and the obligatory Christmas ornaments (that I swear I am not making again, I hate them!) The jug below was a screw up. I was making a tall vase, and the neck got wonky on me, so when necks get wonky I pull spouts! This is the first jug I have attempted and I rather liked making it. These are for the Raku kiln, so it should be interesting to see if they survive. The jug is about 7 lbs. and feels pretty light on the bottom, not bad for the weight, but the form definitely could use some work. It will be a nice test tile at least.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thanks class!!!

I thought the chest below looked like the temmoku glaze on my bowls! Hopefully I'll get some pics soon.

First of all a great big THANKS! to my class at the Artscenter today!! You guys are the best, thanks for the laughter and the constant chatter, the stories and photos of your kids, the brownies you made us and the oatmeal cookies (Charlotte send the recipe and I will post it on my blog!). Sorry we didn't get to fire today, but I have my fingers crossed for next week. Today just made me realize how great the community at the Artscenter really is and how happy everyone is in the pottery studio. It's so great to hear so many girls laughing out loud! Believe me I needed this after the week I have had. We are thinking about a field trip to Seagrove as a class, hope we can work that out in the next couple of weeks. Maybe all van down to the Celebration of Seagrove Potters. That would be fun!
This cup is my favorite piece from the firing. I shot it quick and dirty without setting up lights and stuff so it looks better in person than in the photo. Temmoku definitely needs Gerry's technical lighting skills and not mine, hopefully we can shoot some stuff soon. But he is in the middle of shooting ACC basketball right now.
PS: for Mike- the firing schedule I used was this: I warmed up the kiln from 7am -11am, then climbed 150c to 08 then started a heavy reduction for one hour. Then climbed 150c per hour to ^9 ( I probably went a little faster towards the end) and reduced heavy again then dampered in at 1305c and cut the gas back a bit, soaked at this temp for 30 minutes. The burner ports were closed to about 1/4" and the chimney ports were dampered a little over 1/2 way and I adjusted as needed. Just look for emerald green flame and you are rocking. Also, you will smell the reduction as soon as it starts. Hope this helps!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good news Bad news

First the bad news, obvious right?! One of my brand new shelves, fired in the kiln only one other time, cracked in half somewhere around cone 10. I know this because I could see the cones fine through cone 9 and then I started looking for them and they had disappeared. Now I know why.
Good news is, it only fell on pieces that I had put in to re fire from my first try at reduction and they were all bad anyway, I just thought I would see if I could still get the celadon to reduce, Well, it didn't. The strangest thing is that the nicest of the pieces survived, things fell and stuck together all around them, but they are ok. It was like kiln natural selecton or something! The other good news is all of my good bowls and mugs are BEAUTIFUL! The temmoku is realllllly pretty and I think the other tests are good too. I did have one amber celadon that doesn't look all that great and one tiny white bowl that is very cool but, I don't remember what I put on it and my notes just say little bowl, forgot to say what was on it. The firing was smooth, in spite of pretty hard rain at the end, I came in around 7:30 fairly soaked, but had a nice pot of lentil soup on the stove, smart to have made that earlier!
Unfortunately it is 7am and pouring rain outside, so I'm not quite in the mood to go out and dig through the rubble. Mike, I know you asked for the firing schedule and I will do a post on how I fired the kiln once I'm awake. Just one hint, don't rush about the night before a firing making cone packs. Have them ready in advance. I put the cones in backwards, quite a funny sight this morning. How many cone packs have I made for other people? But mine? Backwards, go figure!
I think the temmoku is going to look really nice with my turquoise raku, I'm excited about this combination. I'll get some better photos later, I know these are not so good. Of course, will people buy temmoku, that's the question. We'll see...........
More later, tea now!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The sweet smell of reduction

I got reduction ya'll! Thanks to Kent Harris for a great easy to understand firing schedule and thanks to Jo Lovorn for letting me come out and see her kiln in action, looks like I may have the bugs worked out of this MOFO. The flames look good and I smell pots a cooking. I may be singing a different tune tomorrow, but I think I deserve a good firing after this suck ass week!
See ya!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Me? Talk too much?!?!?

Well, all of my lovely blogger friends out comes a full on rant because right now I am sooooo pissed off and I can't hold it in. I was called in to the office at Claymakers today and asked to turn in my office key because some money was missing. I was also told that someone complained after one of the previous workshops that I had talked too much and I was disruptive to the class. So, first of all, let me apologize to PoWen Liu, Amy Sanders, and Blaine Avery if I was disruptive to your workshop by running my mouth, which by the way, I am the first to admit, I do talk a lot, I drink a lot of caffeine, and it just can't be helped. If you know me you know this, but some people love me anyway, they just ignore me if they get tired of listening and I accept that. (But, honestly, it's hurtful to hear that someone actually complained about me. I'm a very nice person). Now the thing that I cannot accept is having someone even remotely insinuate that I might have taken money from them. I never even went in to my mother's purse without first asking permission!!!!! Leonora Coleman trusted me enough to give me that key in the first place and I have never betrayed that trust. The woman is in heaven watching me for God's sake! So, in my rage, I have decided to quit working at CM after 4 pretty happy years of cleaning a nasty studio, mixing glazes, loading and unloading kilns, and recycling clay. Wait, WTF was wrong with me anyway, I can't even find time to do that for myself, what was I thinking?! Did I mention, I didn't get paid for any of this, I could take a class or workshop, and oh by the way, not allowed to talk while in there. The thing that pisses me off the most is that I am 49 years old and I felt like a kid being called in to the principal's office. I hate that F'ing feeling and I am too old to put up with s#@* like that from people any more! Done! On to the next chapter...............

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Raku weekend

I wanted to get out the to Orange County Studio tour this weekend but Wesley found out she has Mono on Friday and wasn't feeling up to it. We always go together and I didn't have the heart to go without her so I re fired some raku today from last week, and then sanded and washed bisque for a ^10 on Tuesday. Also mixed up and tested some raku glazes for my class on Thursday. The students in the class are coming out to my house for their first firing. Should be lots of fun. I'll get some pics up on Wednesday after the cone 10 hoepfully. These are really nice bowls and mugs so keep your fingers crossed that they survive!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cole Park Benefit Concert

Here is a Cole Park video from the concert for the Youth Performing Arts Conservatory fundraiser. It was on Halloween night, lots of fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Intuitive Presence

"The works with the most presence are created intuitively. They are made without crowded thought, so in essence the work is not crowded or overworked. Attaining a mindset that is proper for creating intuitive work is not easy. It is much like the type of trance I am referring to in the dance poem. When something is made by an artist that has presence it sets a higher standard, and the artist should then be on a quest to make more art with that type of presence. The work you can see emotion in. The ones you can feel when you walk into a room are the ones that have presence. It is something hard to pinpoint, but one knows when something is beautiful. Even when you can't explain it." .....Brad Lail

I read this a while back and went back to it tonight. This is very much the way I have been feeling about what I'm making. I just want my work to be simple, with good form, and be beautiful just for the form and the glaze. I appreciate all the potters out there that use imagery to decorate their work, I have especially enjoyed all of the work from the show on imagery at Claymakers, but it's just not me. Every time I try it I hate it. And the process of decoration has crowded in on me. So I am taking a break from all that influence, and just concentrating on making good pots and developing simple, good glazes. That's about all I can handle right now! On with the journey...... with wise words from Brad!

Monday, November 2, 2009

alrighty, then......

Got a bisque load of bowls and mugs for another attempt at a ^10 reduction firing. Also a bunch of Christmasy raku stuff for the holiday show in Durham. Should be an interesting couple of weeks coming up.................

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Franklin St.

Franklin St. in Chapel Hill is the craziest place ever to be on Halloween. Wesley's band played last night at the Artscenter for a fundraiser/Halloween party and then we went down to Franklin St. to see everyone's crazy costumes. There was lots of humor this year. One of our favorites was a guy wearing an Obama mask, black slacks, blue oxford shirt, tie. But the best part was the five or six "secret service" men he had with him. These guys were so great, playing the part so well, you would have thought they were really agents. And everyone was stopping to get their picture taken with him. It was hilarious! There was also a girl that had constructed a fortune telling booth, it was on wheels and her friends were rolling her around in this booth. She had the crystal ball and everything. Soooooo creative. Great time. but sort of sad. This was the first time in 16 years we didn't go trick or treating. It was fun to read about Blaine Avery taking his son Judson out. Boy, I remember those days so well. Oh well, on to different days........