Tuesday, June 29, 2010

He's back and we been busy!

Gerry's home from the protests safe and sound. Lots of unpacking and sorting of equipment inside so I worked outside. I had glazing to finish up, loaded up the kiln for a ^6 tomorrow, I have some funky experimental commercial glazes in bright colors that were supposed to be for spring flower pots, but I never got to it, so they are now summer bright colors. What a contrast to my rusty old barns, I should have been born a Gemini, wonder if the fact that my dad was a Gemini has any bearing on my multiple personalities?! I also recycled and wedged up a five gallon bucket of clay scraps, washed bunches of clothes, made some homemade bread, and cooked a farmer's market supper of corn on the cob, fried okra, and mashed potatoes. How southern is that?! Oh, and strawberry rhubarb jam for the bread, from the market also.Yum!
Here's Gerry repacking his gear. This is pretty much a daily occurrence around here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Barns and Bowls

Lots of little barns out of the kiln this morning. These may get more house hair as Ang called it or they may hang, haven't decided yet.
Like Ang, I opened the kiln to a small explosion. Don't you hate when that happens? We all know why it happens and yet we continue to put things that aren't quite dry in the kiln! Why, why, why!! It wasn't a major loss, just two stands that I had made, very thick slabs that obviously wanted to wait longer to get fired. The one in the background made it, one out of three, about like my Raku firings, ha!
Lots of staining and glazing to get done before it gets too hot. I'm working outside until noon and then it's just too much. Mosquitoes, heat, bees, whine whine...
I'm liking the little stand for the barn, too bad it's the only survivor
This was a coil bowl from the last firing. One of the coils separated and there is a large crack all around the interior, again I know how to avoid this but still it happens. Pretty bowl though...we were shucking corn yesterday and I tossed the husks in here, nice, they hide the crack.
When the mood to throw comes back around I am going to try some terra sig on my bowls and see what I can come up with. That mood may came soon, since my wheel is indoors where it is nice and cool!
I made this green box at Arrowmont while fooling around in Debra Fritt's workshop. I have had a sculpture on it, but I like it as a stand for the boxes. Lots to think about..... stands and new bowls, and new templates. I have got to get more made, I have a show in July and several others I'm applying for. These things take a while to make and they are time consuming to stain. I have got to get the production faster if I'm going to do these for a while.
How do you do this: you see a call for entries for a show. They ask for two photos. You have some pieces around the studio that you like and you photograph them but the show you apply for isn't for months and meanwhile you have made all sorts of other great things. Do you have to send the pieces you photographed months earlier or can you send a new and improved piece? and what if you sell that piece you photographed? or do you just make lots of the same thing? that lets me out you know, I don't do that too often :) and don't you think the deadlines are way to short? Do they not realize how long it takes to complete a piece whether it's a painting or ceramic or whatever. Do they think we just have all these pieces for the various themes just laying around waiting on the moment when that call for entries comes around? I find it all a bit frustrating. And the formats for photos, jeez, it drives me mad, they are all different. One application I have right now asks for 72 dpi, what the fark? (fark is my new word assigned by Wes because she doesn't like my other word that starts with F) !!
Happy week all, it's HOT, isn't it? On my way to the airport to pick up the AP man, see ya!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Barns and Anarchists

Firing the kiln in the morning to get some more barns finished. I had an idea while on vacation to put some little skull heads like this one on them.This barn was in the backyard of the house we rented. I made a pendant with a skull if you remember but I knocked it on a counter one day while wearing it and broke it so I haven't made any more. I think they may be too fragile.
Gerry called from Toronto a bit ago. He was assigned to cover the protests and he said it's pretty out of control. A group of self proclaimed anarchists have set fire to police cars and while I was talking to him he just said, uh oh, I gotta go, and that was it. You can see the pics he shot today from the riot here and here. It's interesting, I just watched CBS News and they barely mentioned it, mostly talked about Obama being there and the economy. Meanwhile angry people are burning police cars downtown. Glad he has a gas mask!
Gerry's shooting riots and I'll be canning tomatoes and making pottery. Ying and Yang :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farmer's Market

Soooo......... Astro, you left another post! And I have been to another Farmer's Market haha!!
First of all, I have to just clarify your comment about average people and the SUV, slab roller, nice vacation, etc etc............ We traded a Eurovan that was a money pit but it had great trade in value and got two cars for 2.9% financing at the dealer's invoice price or lower, so we actually cut our car payments almost in half and are paying less for two cars than we were paying for one. We used our tax refund for the down payment. The cabin was a steal and we had saved this money for almost a year. It was three hours from our house so we drove and the travel cost was just a tank of gas. We cooked our own meals there instead of eating at fancy restaurants. Average people have much more luxurious vacations I bet, but we got what we needed, rest. The slab roller was purchased with $$ that I have also saved for almost a year. We ARE an average family, we just don't have debt anymore and we have worked for 10 years to cut that out of our lives. I don't have a real income and my husband is a journalist, checked out what they get paid lately? Not to mention the dying off of Journalism in general. Every day one of our friends has been laid off or another newspaper has shut down. We live frugally and save, I shop at thrift stores and we don't buy a lot of things we don't need. We aren't really a very material family and I'm a potter, so I don't have to buy a new wardrobe every season like a lot of women. We have a small house and my kid hates the mall, so she is pretty low maintenance. Jsut give her books and music and she is a happy girl. We are fortunate to have health and dental and I honestly don't know how people get by without it, another very long blog there for sure!! So that's TMI about my income, but just wanted to say that we aren't rolling in $$$ as you seem to suggest. We just don't spend beyond our means like of a lot of folks that are finding themselves in credit card and mortgage hell right now.
Now, about the Farmer's Market, so sorry that you had a bad experience, I have lots of friends here that are CSA members and their stories are quite the opposite of yours. They get amazing produce every week. I went Tuesday, I didn't "stroll" but I did drive about five miles down the road, and yes I did meet some really nice farmers that live around here, they all smiled, thanked me kindly for my business (this is the South where we all have more manners than we know what to do with and we never meet a stranger) and I got this:
I spent $20 and we have had 6 meals from all of this with some rice or noodles added and some eggs that I got last week. So far, that adds up to about $1 per person per meal. I guess I could go grab a burger from the dollar menu at McDonalds, but look what we have been eating (and I have lost three pounds). Tomato sandwiches, I live for them, really light and fluffy frittatas, corn so sweet it didn't really need to be cooked. I CAN'T get this at the grocery store, the tomatoes are pink and mushy inside and have no flavor, I had to throw out the last corn I bought at the store it was so bitter, and the potatoes are growing in soil that has been treated with DDT that does not go away. The basket you see was full and it cost $20. When I fill that basket at the grocery store it is at least $75 if not more. Our grocery bill has gotten out of control, that is the main reason I have been looking for other options, and I'm tired of the government. I feel more removed from Big Brother when I'm at a Farmer's Market. That's all......
I will admit that as I read BK's book, I was thinking, "yeah but you have lots of best selling novels and lots of money, easy for you to say". I'm not trying to replicate what she says in this book, I'm too lazy for one thing and would never stick with it. I'm just trying to find food that tastes better. I LOVE to eat, and the grocery store isn't getting it for me. I was raised on my grandmother's garden and I know what a vegetable or a fruit is supposed to taste like and the produce at the grocery stores these days "ain't it"!
now.... I have some views on that assinine Nook, the electronic book, and the judge that over ruled Obama's decision to stop the drilling, the very same judge that is a stock holder in the oil companies that were ordered to stop. Never mind, don't get me started :)
Keep trying to buy fresh veggies, if for no other reason than they just taste better!!!!!!
Don't you just love it when a blog inspires opinions!! To include a pottery note here, I did get some barns made today before my hateful dentist appointment (yes another one, I'm really paying for putting off dental visits for --- years, I'm not saying how many, it's disgraceful!) and will be firing the kiln this weekend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blowing Rock NC

Many of you know the town of Blowing Rock NC in the mountains. Mark and Meredith Heywood and Jen Mecca are participating in Art in the Park there. We were staying nearby when we were on vacation, so we had dinner there one night. Unfortunately all of the stores were closed after 5pm on Friday night. What is up with that? Lots of tourists in town for dinner and a nice walk after their meal and no shops are opened. So, anyway, I took some photos of some of the shop windows. The majolica above in one of the antique shops reminded me of a combination of Jen's work and Ronan Peterson's, like if they did a collaboration or something. Hey, there's an idea for ya Jen!
These were cool. Wouldn't they be fun to Raku? I love these colors, so Tuscan.
And there is my sassy child with her dad. Wonder where she gets that attitude anyway?! Blowing Rock is really a beautiful town. We used to camp at Julian Price Park near there all the time when Wesley was little and Gerry was actually home once in awhile. We would come into Blowing Rock to get a nice meal and take Wesley for ice cream and let her play in the park there. I am hoping to get back there for one of the Art in the Park weekends before summer is over.
Gerry is in Toronto for the G8 and G20 summit this week, fingers crossed he doesn't get arrested or hurt in the protests which is what he is assigned to cover. He took a gas mask, very comforting dropping your husband off at the airport and knowing he has packed his gas mask. He called this evening and said some of the other guys had their helmets and bullet proof vests- riot gear. Oh boy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hello Goodbye

First of all just a quick side note to one of the comments on my last post. I welcome comments that may disagree with my point of view, but I will argue back, I would argue with a wall as my mom used to say! I may live in my own little "reality" and I like that just fine but I am not out of touch with Reality. I live with an Associated Press photojournalist and a teenager that is a comparative politics and current events junkie so reality smacks me in the face around here 24/7. The reality is that we are all taking it up the ass from Corporate America and getting screwed every way you look and I am just trying to make peace with that and buy some food from farmers that are working their asses off in 90 degree weather and selling me a bag full of squash for 70 cents that they should be able to charge a lot more for, but they have to know that none of us out there have a lot of money right now except for Assholes like those at BP that can take their F'ing day off to go sailing for God's sake! I'm really sick of the state of this country and this book I just read motivated me to go out and buy from those hard working people in my community that are growing good decent crops and what the Hell is wrong with that! NOW.......
I got a new slab roller! Thanks to my Raku students for taking my last class that allowed me to buy this!
Bye Bye to this pain in the butt way of rolling slabs!!!!!
and I have been making fun little pot holders with the loom my mom had as a kid. When we were in the Mts. I found a bag of loopers and thought it would be fun to make some. I'm using old Christmas ones that are burnt and sad because I just never go out with the thought of "hey, I'm going to buy pot holders today!" So I have some nice ones that I made with my own two hands, How's that for reality!!!! hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Animal Vegetable Miracle

.....if every family in this country ate just one meal per week consisting of locally raised meat and produce we would reduce our oil consumption by 1.1 million BARRELS per week.
Let's do it! I had my nose in this book during our entire vacation and came back completely motivated to change the way I shop and prepare meals at home. Barbara Kinsolver and her family vowed to eat only food that they grew and harvested or food that came from their local community and county for one year. No processed foods and basically ate what was in season, in the winter ate what they froze or preserved. I went to the local farmers market while we were on vacation, spent $15 on peaches, squash, zucchini, carrots, chard, tomatoes, cucumbers and we ate meals from those vegetables along with some salad greens and pasta all week. It tasted so great and felt so good to have supported the local farmers. Twenty years ago, we grew our own vegetables and then we started moving around and living on heavily wooded lots with absolutuely no place to have a garden. We like our privacy and we like our woods, but we would also like to have a garden again. I don't have one sunny spot in our yard to grow vegetables although I am able to grow herbs, but there are several local farmers markets on different days of the week here, so I can support my local farmers and the community. As a country we are going to have to stand up to these corporations like Monsanto and say no to High Fructose Corn Syrup and processed crap!!!! This is a great book to get you thinking about what you are feeding your families and how it can be soooo much better. Get out there and buy some summer produce!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I meant to wish all of you dads out there a Happy Father's Day a little earlier than this, but better late than never I guess. It has pretty much been a suck ass day for me. I have cried for most of it and now I just plain have a headache. I lost my dad 6 months after Wesley was born to lung cancer and there is not a day that goes by still that I don't miss him or need him for something. I was a daddy's girl and am very much like him in many ways, like I have his complete lack of business sense, up until a few years ago, I had his high metabolism and could eat anything and everything in sight without gaining a pound, I have his talent for working my ass off and never making any money, then giving away most of what I do make. My dad could look at a piece of furniture and go build it, he could charm just about anyone he met, I never saw him act unkindly towards one single person no matter what, and every single day that he walked through the door at our house he kissed my mom hello and then he kissed me. I knew for certain more than anything, he loved me. He suffered a lot in the Navy and he could go for very long times without speaking, but I still got a kiss. He was a good person, and had a really shitty time with the cancer that attacked him for the last year of his life. I had a hard time dealing with a new baby and a dying father and I have a lot of regrets for the way I acted, so if your dad is still alive, give him a hug and a kiss and cherish the time you have with him. It really sucks when they are gone.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Back from Vacation

We are just back from vacation, checking in on blogs and emails. How has everyone been this week? I, for one, have been in a mountain trance and have had my nose in a book since last Sunday. HEAVEN! Someone needs to send the wonderful owner of this cabin some pottery though. There were only TWO pieces of hand made pottery in this house, the cup is one of them. I didn't realize how unique it is to eat from hand made pottery until there wasn't any within my reach at any given time like at home. How do people stand it!!!
Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors and her book in the photo above, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle might possibly change my eating habits forever! I know my family got sick of hearing me read passages from this book, and you may get sick of reading about it here at my blog, but I have things to say about this book, so get ready!
I barely moved from this rocker all week except to:
Have picnics by beautiful mountain streams and
hike on beautiful mountain trails like this one. This is the Mountain to Sea trail near Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the prettiest places I have ever been. This day was 70 degrees, blue skies and magical. We had lunch here, hiked, napped, read..... does NOT get any better in my book!

except of course when you get home from vacation, check your email, and get one like this:

Hi Tracey,
Your clay work, Barn II, just sold. Congrats! You will receive a commission check next month.
Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks,
meredith burgess
exhibitions coordinator

PEOPLE!! My very large barn sold at the Visual Arts Exchange Gallery, and for a rather large sum!!!! This is such a validation for my barns and my first jurored gallery show sale!!!! What a nice surprise to come home to!!
I'll have lots of pictures this week for you, but right now I have mountains (sorry couldn't resist) of laundry to tend to and Gerry and Wesley want me to get off the computer to go eat at our favorite Mexican place. Definitely home for sure :) stay tuned.....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010


This time last year we were assholes and elbows deep in people in the heat of Bonnaroo and having big fun with our sixteen year old. Today we are listening to live feed on NPR online of the concerts from the comfort of our air conditioned living room. Check it out at NPR. Listening to The Gossip right now, you think I got a potty mouth, don't let your little ones listen to her on NPR :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Some new things

Some new pieces out of the kiln this morning. I'm pretty happy with these, the stains are coming out nicely. I lost two pieces to cracking, the large boxes with the roofs that come off are 50/50 for survival. I think I'll start attaching the roofs, much easier and they all survive.
I like this shape but I sort of wish I had left off the red stripe. Maybe I'm just tired of looking at it. I am starting to think that I want some functional pieces in these colors. Oh boy, more tests.....

I'll be away from the blog next week and with the family at Sleepy Creek Cabin. Today is Wesley's last day of school, YAY! Gerry leaves for the G8 summit in Toronto when we get back and then to New Orleans for the month of July to cover the oil spill, so we are all in need of a nice rest. I think we picked the perfect spot.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Nice day

Today was one of those really nice days. Perfect temperature, blue skies. I got up around 6:30, rolled out some slabs and put terra sig on the dry pieces from yesterday. Met my good pal Charlotte for Chai and pastries at the Bean and Barrel (wine and coffee shop), weird name but great place. Then came home, slabs had set up enough to build with and I made another barn like the one from yesterday and 4 small ones that will hang. Finished up some more terra sig application and called it a day.
Paul Jessop requested a photo of my test tile board so here you are Paul. It was just a scrap of board I had laying around, lined up the tiles and hammered in some nails. The rows are something like this : blue terra sig on red clay, on white clay, blue oxide wash on red clay on white clay, then same for the other colorants. This sits right on my work table, so I can look at the colors for inspiration while I am building a piece as well as while I am staining. Works great and I have found that since I did this I am actually thinking of how a piece will be colored as I am making it. I have never done that before. Amy Sanders said that she knows while she is making a piece what color would go where and I remember thinking that day in her workshop that I had never done that. Now I do.
Another helpful thing from a recent workshop was hearing Judith Duff say that she cleans her studio every night before she leaves so it is fresh for her the next morning. I have started doing that and am finding that to be a huge help. There have been days when I started to work on something and would have such a mess that I would spend half the day cleaning and then have no motivation to work. I have been in a good stride this week and seem to have a good work flow going. Hope it keeps up. the past couple of months have been crazy with little getting done. Firing a kiln Wednesday and then another round of staining and another firing. Then V.a.c.a.t.i.o.n.!!!! By the way, the flower vase is one of the first pieces of pottery Gerry ever bought me, from Danny Marley down in Seagrove. Gerry was down there when Danny was just a kid doing a story on him for the newspaper. It is so simple and yet so perfect. It has always been one of my favorite pieces.
PS: if you haven't checked it out, I have added Jessica Lobdell photo blog on my blog roll. If you want to see some really pretty photography of NC check her out. She is a local girl taking some very nice pics :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday work

My plan for Sunday was to go visit some of the potters at the Larkspur Garden Party. I couldn't go Saturday because I had things to do to get ready for the farmers market. Well, my child neglected to inform me until the last minute that she had a gig on Sunday way the hell out of town, had to get there on the interstate, which she is not ready to drive on yet and by the way it's over around 9pm also not allowed to drive after 9pm for 3 more months. So guess who had to take her and her keyboard, guitars, amps, stands.....never mind, I missed the Larkspur show again this year. So I spent the day making some bowls and I got terra sig on some new barns and loaded up the kiln while I waited on her rehearsal to be over and get her loaded up.They made $200 so I can't really complain and I got a set of bowls made, so I worked on Sunday instead of shopping for pottery. Probably better that way :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday Art in Raleigh

There was a huge crowd out last night for the Art Walk in Raleigh. The ampitheater had a free concert and all of the galleries and shops were open. Lots of street corner entertainers and musicians. Very festive! I don't particularly like Raleigh, full of yuppies and serious business and political folks, but we had fun last night walking around and seeing some great art. The NC Landscape Show was pretty much a two dimensional show and a couple of the prize winning pieces were photography.
Here is the first place winner. I didn't photograph the prize winning photographs, that seemed like an odd thing to do, but they were ok. I liked some of the things that did not win much better. That's the thing that bothers me about these shows that award prizes, it's just one or two people's opinions and who's to say. Everyone likes different things. There was some very nice work overall and I was very proud for my barns to be included in the show. They looked sort of alone in the gallery with all of the wall art, but they were fine.
This was one of the only other three dimensional works. It was one of my favoriate pieces, and look, photos of silos! So this was my first juried gallery event, judged by one of the curators at the Mint Museum, so I was honored to be selected. I did feel a bit anonymous, I never go to Raleigh and don't know anyone there and no one at the gallery ever spoke to me or knew who I was. I much prefer to go into the NC Craft Gallery where Sarah knows every artist and always mentions something about that artist when one of her customers makes a purchase. She makes it a much more personal experience. If anyone buys one of my barns and asks the gallery about me, the only comment they are going to be able to make is "I don't know". I was left feeling a bit cold about the whole thing, but still happy to see my barns in a lovely gallery. They did a nice job of displaying them and they had a good crowd, so that's all good. I'm taking a bunch of seconds to the Farmer's Market today, marking everything at $5 or below and clearing out. I had a big cleaning spell this week and need to get rid of this stuff to make room for more! But first I gotta go help wash the cars. Adios amigos!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Down on the farm

I'm sort of obsessing with these houses and barns right now. I have had my sketch book out and my colored pencils and I have so many ideas for these things. This one looks a bit forlorn, wish I had put feet on it. I think they look better with a little rise off of the ground. Maybe I can gather up some found objects for the feet. These are like little canvases that I can paint on and I am really loving where this is going!
Today I tried out some silos to go with the barns. Pain in the ass, but I like them. Don't look for too many of them though, unless it gets simpler! I'm trying to get a head start on the show I will have next May with these barns and houses. I want to try a bunch of things, and a year really isn't that long, when you think of how many times I have to fire these and there's the waiting on them to dry. I have a lot of colors I want to experiment with so best to do it now while there is no pressure!
Here's my output for the day. Not exactly a production potter here, but these things take a lot of time and have so many stops and starts waiting on the drying.
I had one bit of slab left over so I made a little bowl with one of my stamps. Now I need more slabs because I really like this bowl. It matches the cups from last week. Very noice.
Wrapping it up for the day, got to go grab a shower, with my new soaps from Tig of course! and then over to Raleigh for the NC Landscape reception at the Visual Arts Exchange. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone interpreted North Carolina. I know lots of folks are having weekend sales so best of luck to all of you out there! I'm hoping that I can get over to Larkspur on Sunday to see everyone there. We'll see how things go. Happy weekend all!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bates Motel

When we were in Raleigh last weekend we had the strangest day. First we got lost. You know how when you get lost, you always end up in the very worst part of town. Well we did. Check out this motel we passed on our way to finding our way. Can you imagine what these rooms must be like. Anyway, I had Wes take a picture as we passed by because I love the roof on the building in the background. Hopefully I will add that roof to one of my barns one of these days. It looks like it's the roof to the motel doesn't it?
There are actually people staying here, eewwwwww!
and if that wasn't enough, there was an Animae convention just up the street from this place. I tried to get Wes to shoot some pics of this too, but she was afraid someone would come after us. It was a festival of freaky folks, I loved it!! Not exactly how you imagine the capital city of your state now is it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Soap dish

First of all, thanks to all of you for your kind comments yesterday on our anniversary!! XOXO
I have been reading Tig's blog at FuturePrimitive for some time and have wanted to try her soaps. I make these little soap dishes and I would love to figure out how to sell Tig's soaps with them. I finally ordered some and they came yesterday just in time for my 25th anniversary. Thanks Tig for the little anniversary bonus surprise! Great timing :)
I ordered the potter's bar and a soap sampler. The sampler is so adorably packaged on a rope and almost too pretty to use. I even hated unwrapping the packaging is so wonderful. Little touches like this are what buying hand made is all about! Check out the description of the potter's bar:

Stylin' : layers of country charm. With wheat bran to exfoliate the hands of gardeners & potters alike.

Scentin' : airy eucalyptus, dreamy lavender, bitter sweet sicilian lemon all spiked with a smidge of spicy fennel.

Butterin' : organic un-refined cocoa butter to soften chapped or cracked skin.

Colourin' : muted tones of palest mint green & cool washed white.

Arrivin' : in our own branded wrap with a pretty soap card with full ingredients list.

I was out on the porch and came in to the most amazing fragrance in my house. Gerry had just showered with one of the soaps and you could smell it all over the house. Heaven! I can tell already that the amount of bath taking in this house is going to double just so we can smell this soap!
and here is a slightly older version of the couple you saw yesterday and a much more intoxicated version! We had a great dinner last night at our favorite place, Top of the Hill, had fresh blueberry beer and tempura grouper, yummy. We met our friends Laura and Bob for drinks earlier at Lantern Restaurant, they were celebrating their anniversary also. We have to go back to Lantern. Beautiful place, great cocktails, and a fantastic menu. I'm thinking I'll celebrate the big 50 with a party there this year. Check out the link to see their menu. I had a drink called the Late Blossom, pretty appropriate title for me don't you think? I should name my studio that!
OK, well, just back from a deep cleaning at the dentist and a lecture about my poor dental care, and I have 7 cavities so I have to go back and get more drilling done, and I am so excited about that I could just pee! The bill without insurance would have been $700 and we haven't always had dental insurance. How in the HELL are you supposed to take care of yourself with medical costs like that. $700 is more than 2 of our car payments. Don't even get me started! How can I buy more soaps if I have to pay for dental work. torture vs. pleasure which do you think would win here?! Have a great week everyone.......