Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Taking a little break

I've had to take a little break from the barns and houses, getting quite sick of them. I was also getting quite sick of the colors of the walls in our house so I have been painting, cleaning, and moving furniture around for the past three days. I haven't been outside or slept very much, but the house looks great. I took all the curtains and shades off the windows and the light is pouring in and I painted the downstairs all a charcoal gray, which makes the pottery I have look even better. I took three boxes of junk to the thrift store and organized all my cabinets. I can't believe how out of hand this house got while I have been working on this group of barns and testing glazes. That's almost all I did this summer and have done nothing to the house. Next I'm moving to the upstairs, it's even worse, because I just kept moving things up there to be out of sight until I figured out what to do with it all. And then..... the outside trim has to be painted. It just never ends, but it's like we have a new house now!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Black Slip

Anyone got a good recipe they would like to share for a ^04 black slip?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Goat or Who is Sylvia

Here I am in my most recent past life working with one of the greatest people I have ever worked with, director, Joseph Megel. This was the last set I designed, a tiny model of it is on the table. After this show, I made a commitment to try and work mostly full time on pottery and stop the design work. I'm feeling sort of melancholy tonight, can't sleep as usual, and I have been looking through some photos that Wesley found on one of her discs. These showed up. I have also been painting the inside of the house for fourth time since we have lived here. My friends used to tease me that our rooms lost square footage from the layers of paint on our walls. Thankfully Gerry doesn't seem to mind coming home to rooms of a different color every few months! Anyway, it's all got me missing my work as a designer, picking out paint, furniture, fabrics, ahhhhhhh. Theater just doesn't pay though for all the extremely hard work involved, oh wait I'm still doing that part!
Here is a before and after shot of the set for The Goat or Who is Sylvia. It's a pretty skanky play about beastiality and it's the only show I didn't allow Wesley on the set for. The floor above had been painted in a parquet pattern and the set I designed was for a NY loft of an architect, so I faux finished the floor to look like concrete. I have no idea how I did it now, but it looked fantastic. In fact the whole set did. Not only did I design and help build the set, I faux finished the walls, the floor, I managed all the props and I made pottery. The show called for five pieces of pottery to be crashed and broken. That was five pieces each night for a three week run of the show and a week of rehearsal. For rehearsal, I used kids work that was left over and never claimed from summer camp, that worked out great, except some of their pieces were so thick they wouldn't break, pretty funny to watch the actor try though.
I loved this set, I sat in the theater on opening night listening to all the comments about the set and felt really proud. I had that same feeling for the first show I ever did, Pump Boys and Dinettes, in Charlotte at the Booth Theatre. When the show opened I just sat there and cried, it was such a great set! I didn't design it but I did all the props and they were sooo great. I made fake pies, found an old gas pump at a junk yard, made musical instruments out of things like car radiators, so much fun! I think there are some photos somewhere in my blog if you search.
Anyway, I'm fried from painting all day, and I have at least one more day of it, so a little break from the pottery. Thanks for all the comments on the last post, I haven't had a chance to reply to all of them, but I'm reading. Have a really good week everbody! xoxo

Friday, August 27, 2010

Boy I'm Tired!

Man, I'm tired today, I have been busting it all week, I have 5 weeks until Festifall and not nearly enough stuff made. Fired the kiln yesterday, lots of good stuff, stained it all this morning and re loaded the kiln. I'm also testing colors again. I made these little dishes this morning and mixed up some slip with colorants, oxides and mason stains. If you read the previous post, Margaret Keelan had suggested using slips, so why not give it a try, right?
I'm adding more and more textures to the barns and this is my first attempt at applying slips then scraping and sanding them off. I can tell already I won't be doing this. Messy, time consuming and slip is fussy. I like my sig!
A happy accident! This is a wagon that had a crack on the side and was destined to fall apart. So, I put a clear glaze on it and re fired it. I got this amazing color! Only thing is I'll have to test because I have two red terra sig colors, don't know which one was on the wagon. I do know that this clear over red iron oxide is bad bad bad! Tried it, looks like baby poop :(
I think I see my Spring 2011 color palette, I love these colors together and I especially like it with my white Raku glaze.
This is Gail Kendall's clear. I know some of us have been swapping emails about 04 clear glazes but so far this one is a winner with me. No pinholes, no problems, I like it. If you need the recipe, you can google Gail Kendall and find it easily or let me know, I'll post it here. Too lazy right now to get up and go find it :)
I'm not sure how much longer my attention is going to last with this. I feel a slight twinge of wanting to make something new, uh oh! and fall is coming, time for RAKU!
I still want to channel Clive Bowen and Michael Cardew, and Hamada, and make beautiful functional pottery, but.....maybe later! Have a great weekend, everybody, I'm at the Farmer's Market in the morning, Wes has a concert tomorrow and who knows what we are doing Sunday, maybe sleeping all day!! Peace............

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Christmas ornaments

You might remember my star ornaments from last year, some of you even have one. They were really pretty, I loved them.....when they turned out right which was about 50% of the time. So if you have one you are lucky, because I'm not making them anymore! first of all they were Raku fired so they took forever and if they made it through the firing they were wonderful, until my glaze started messing up and I can't figure out why. Same two pieces could be glazed at the same time, same glaze batch, same firing, same can for reduction and one would be turquoise the other would be copper, and not a pretty copper. Too costly for what I had to sell them for so forget it! Now they are terra sig and match my barns, thanks to a suggestion from Sarah at the NC Craft Gallery. Thanks Sarah, why didn't I think of that!
I made a bunch of them for you today.
I'm a little behind on getting photos up (yes I know the hair photo, really by the time I get that up it will be grown out!) but here is a photo that brought on the pissy mood last week. Every time it rains this is what I deal with and we have been getting a lot of rain. I don't wish the rain away but I am wishing like h#ll for a new studio space. I could take all this upstairs, but it's just not fun hauling clay up and down three flights of stairs, and not safe, so I'm dealing with the deck while I look for funding for a building. If you got an old barn you want to be rid of, I can come and get it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


First of thanks to everyone that commented on my credit card poll. I really appreciate the input and it was most helpful! Another reason for blogging, instant help when I need it! If you haven't commented and have some useful info, go here and let me know what you do.
Boy, my house is quiet. Gerry is out of town today on an assignment and Wesley left for school this morning as a SENIOR! She is going to be a teacher's assistant for one of her most influential teachers ever this year, it's gonna be a good year!
Details: I am getting more and more surface texture on these structures and I am really liking what's happening. The more scritchy scratchy (a technical Ronan Peterson term) the clay gets the better it picks up the stains. I plan to wood fire a few of these and I want them pretty craggy. I am loving what is going on in these two photos!
I had noticed that my roof edges look a bit too sharp and clean and I couldn't quite figure out how to get them like I wanted them. While I was working in the Whynot studio last week, my slabs got too hard, so I thought I would just fold them up and recycle them when I got home. Voila, the folded edge was just what I needed for the roof edge, so now I let my slabs get really hard, fold them and I have a great looking roof. Plus they are much easier to apply to the structure when they are really hard.

This was an air bubble that I smoothed with a rib and it popped, LOVE it! I finished up a few barns yesterday and I have started on ..... are you ready.........Christmas ornaments, grrrr......
I'll post some pics of those later, Sarah at the NC Craft Gallery buys them and she gave me a great idea last week. Wait and see.............
a little of what I'm working on this week......

Monday, August 23, 2010

Credit Card Opinion Poll

Here is a piece I'm working on for the Clay and Blogs show, except "someone" broke the little guy in the back so he won't be there.
Meredith gave me some gentle prodding to step up my business practices when we saw her on Saturday so I have begun the process. I have been flying pretty low under the radar, but it's time to get my act together. Here's my question, I am missing sales at festivals because I don't accept credit cards. If you take credit cards how do you do it and what company do you use? I talked to Chase this morning about it, but I'm really confused about my options, so I thought I would ask the experts. Let me know what you think works best!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pottery Day

My good pal Kristen went with me to Seagrove and to Joseph Sand's kiln opening in Randleman today. It was a beautiful clear blue sky day, not too terribly hot and we had a great time seeing some beautiful pottery.
Joseph had a very successful sale, much of the pottery gone and we were there at 9:30 this morning. There are still lots of nice pieces but boy he sold A LOT! Congrats to him and Amanda, all that hard work was sure worth it!
I picked up this really great jar and the bowl below. I think the bowl is the beginning of a set for me.

We headed over to Seagrove and stopped in to visit Mark and Meredith for awhile at Whynot and Kristen got the shop and studio tour, then we stopped at Dean and Martin, wonderful pottery, and then stopped by to see Blaine Avery who also gave us the studio/home tour. OMG Blaine has the coolest place ever!!!! If you are ever by there, stop in, I have some serious studio envy after working in Whynot's space and Joseph's last week and seeing Blaine's place this week and I am determined to get a studio going here. I still have photos to show you of the mess from last week. Oh yeah and I will get hair pics up. Kristen took one today but the sun was in my face, eyes all squinty, not looking my best. Thanks to all of you today for your kind remarks about the hair, I'm getting used to it! And thanks all for making such beautiful pottery for me to enjoy, even if I can't buy every time I come to visit, I will eventually. Today was budgeted for Josephs' first kiln opening, but I'll be back! There were so many potteries we didn't get to because we got the tours today. A see a fall visit in my future!

Friday, August 20, 2010


If you saw this post earlier it said something different, but it didn't make the point I was trying to convey very well, and I'm a little bored with blogging this week, so I'm just cruising around youtube. I put in a solid day today, got a lot done and took some pictures for you so I can keep up the mediocre potters association blog here. I'm going to Randleman and Seagrove tomorrow to see some not mediocre pottery. Don't forget Joseph Sand's kiln opening if you are in the area. might see ya there!


could we move on please..............
someone is getting way too much air time, I may have to change the channel.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thanks bloggers!

THIS is why I blog!! I was awake at 2am, couldn't sleep and my blogger pal Meredith has similar nights so I emailed her to whine, and she sent out a prompt reply to cheer me up and had good reasons why I should. Hollis was blogging with me at 1am and then today bloggers Judy and Gay sent me an email to tell me that my pear was featured on Studio Potters online newsletter, which I don't get and I would have had no idea. I really don't want to read REALLY LONG blog posts, unless they are really meaningful to me, I read a LOT of blogs and I don't have time to read on and on blah blah blahs from those who are oh so much smarter than I am about the things I am supposed to know about pottery, who really gives a crap? I got stuff to DO. (with one exception, I will set aside Jim Gottuso's blog to read when I have time because he is funny and has that child I adore, but Jim, I passed on the latest one, sorry!)
I am in a piss about my working situation right now and I vow that by the first of the year I will have something better. I will get some photos up of the mess I had yesterday after torrential rains and you will see what I mean.
One last thing........I had FOURTEEN inches of my hair cut and I am freaking out. I also had it dyed red. So, I'm sort of a mess right now and think it's best to let all those with focused brains educate us on the academics of dirt. I'm just trying to figure out who that is looking back at me in the mirror right now. That's about all I can handle!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Toumani Diabate

We saw Toumani at Bonnaroo a couple of years ago. Put his music on in your studio one day and you will make beautiful things, can't be helped, it happens!
I'll be back when I have something intelligent to say. Might be awhile.........

Come Have Tea

My post yesterday was tragic and sad. I know many of you are dealing with loss in your families right now and my thoughts are truly with you. I thought I would lighten things up a bit with my treasures I brought home last weekend. Here is my very first teapot from Joseph Sand. I can't believe I have never picked up a teapot, but now I have one. Only this thing is a whopper, I need lots of friends to come over and share some tea.
Of course you can never have too many mugs, this is a nice one from Joseph
and two Potters for Peace mugs from Whynot, the tall one from Mark and the smaller one from Meredith. Thanks all of you for the great pottery, it has been put to use all week! My cupboards are overflowing with great pottery from many of you out there, but there is always room for more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

James Parker

Jen Mecca had a great post the other day about getting off the merry go round for a weekend to take time for her and her family. Here is a very good reminder why we all need to do that. It was a great post, if you missed it, check out her blog on my blog roll.

Gerry worked with James Parker at the News-Record in Greensboro years ago, both of them photographers there. If you have read the Greensboro paper for awhile you might recognize his name. Gerry had so much respect for James, he is one of the most decent people I have ever met, youth minister at his church, never used profanity, said his small prayer before each meal, strong in his faith and kind to every single person he met. James would buy a meal for a homeless person when he barely had enough for his own meal.We got a message yesterday that his daughter, who had just left for her freshman year in college had been killed in a car accident. The News-Record ran the story and it was a very hard article to read. Here is just an excerpt from it:

James Parker will never forget those awful moments Saturday morning after he looked out his front window to see two Highway Patrol officers conferring on the street.

He thought they were lost and seeking directions when they approached his door to deliver the message that is every parent’s most hideous nightmare.

“One trooper said, ‘Do you know Arielle Parker?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’m her father,’” he said, fighting back tears. “That’s when it hit me. That’s when I said, ‘Is anything wrong with my daughter?’ ”

I'm just writing this to remind everyone with kids that are driving to tell them to watch for those stop signs. The 18 year old driving the car Arielle was in ran a stop sign and was hit by a truck, killed instantly.

I'm also writing to say, it's ok to let the clay wait if your family needs you. Clay is demanding, it requires constant attention, it's addictive, but it is not your family, not your child, not your wife or husband. Say yes to your family before you say yes to pottery. The clay will wait, you never know how long you have with your loved ones. When we got this message Wesley was out in her car with a friend. Let me tell you, all I could think was how badly I wanted her home, so I could tell her to stop at stop signs and be hyper aware while driving. I just can't begin to imagine what this family is going through right now and they have been on my mind all day. Go give your kid a hug for me!! xoxo

If you knew James and would like to read the rest of the story it is here

Seagrove for the bloggers

Yesterday I received two emails, one was a note about getting accepted for the American Craft Today show at The Bascom, which I am thrilled to pieces about and the other was an acceptance for Festifall in Chapel Hill, a show I did very well at last year and am excited to be in again. But if you will notice over to the side where my show schedule is, I have the Clay and Blogs show on Oct 1, Bascom Oct 2 and Festifall Oct 3 YIKES!
My point is that I was planning to come down and help drive all the out of town bloggers around to the potteries on Saturday after the Clay and Blogs opening and now there is no way I can do this grrrrr..... So here is a little blog tour for all of you that are coming in for the show in October or for anyone that has not been to Seagrove before but has plans for a visit. I shot some pics for you last weekend. First of all, you will find most of the potteries by looking for signs on poles like this one above. There are also new blue state road signs for many of them, but I like the charm of the hand made ones better. There are also maps available that show all of the potteries around.

When you visit, you will see lots of pastoral landscapes, beautiful old barns, churches and quaint shops, lots of red dirt.
Shops for pottery, that's about it. There are no groceries, no bars, no alcohol, no coffee shops, just pottery, so come to see pottery, nothing else. There is one gas station.
Also come with a full stomach or a picnic unless you want to eat at the Jugtown Cafe where truckers are welcome. I have never eaten here but it's probably pretty good, most places like this are. We usually pack some food and have a nice picnic somewhere.
If you like hot dogs, burgers and ice cream the Dairy Breeze in town is really good. I used to stop here with my mom and dad when I was a little girl on the way home from my grandparents house. Haven't been in awhile, but it was good when I was little. There is one other restaurant out near Ben Owens place but I didn't get out that way this trip.
Point is, this is not Martha's Vineyard or Key West, charming as they are. It is a potter's village, hundreds of years old with 7th generation potters. It is very rural and charming in it's own way, but you don't head to the local pub after a hard day, heck you don't even get to go to the Quik Check and grab a six pack of Budweiser! and you don't get to stop in at the local coffee shop for a latte before you start your day. You work hard, sell your pots and help out your neighbor if they need you. It's a good life with no frills, but the end product sure is a nice one! This is sort of an outsider's tour, it would be fun for some of the Seagrove locals to chime in here with their own tour. It's so exciting that so many are coming in for this show in October, can't wait to see all of you!
PS: Hollis reminded me, if you are in town Oct. 3 there will be Festifall in downtown Chapel Hill, really worth the trip over, and like he said you can come see me! Great beer in CH!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Part II

are you ready for some eye candy..................

I have cleaned many a board of pots like this at Mark Hewitt's when Joseph was an apprentice there, but the boards I sanded this weekend were some of the finest I have seen! If you are anywhere close by, check out the opening this coming weekend. More about it here

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Warrior

If you want to read about the first part of my weekend it would be best to head over to Whynot blog and read it there, Meredith has a great post about it! She was kind enough to loan me her studio for the weekend in exchange for watching the shop (above photo) and what a great shop it is! Friday was very busy and I met lots of nice folks, very little studio work, but a fun day.
I got unloaded, look at the view I had, look at the studio I had, all to myself with an air conditioner!!! It is huge and strangely enough, I found myself very disoriented. After a few hours there I realized that I had worked myself into the very far corner of the studio and the warmest part of the space. I had been looking forward to getting away from my tiny, hot work space and there I was in pretty much the same space I have at home.
and I have a new respect for those of you that work in your shop and have to help customers while trying to make pottery. When do you get your WORK done!? It was nice to talk to people, but the interruptions are maddening. After the shop hours ended I thought finally I would get some work done, only to have a neighbor show up to see if I would help get the cows back in the fence...........
Before I forget, let me tell you this, because I am about to burst! I applied to the American Craft Today show at The Bascom and I had an email while I was in Seagrove that THREE of my houses/barns were accepted in the show!!!! WOOOOHOOOO. You can read about the show here. The curator for the show is Carol Sauvion,the executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated “Craft in America” PBS television series, as well as creator and director of Craft in America Inc., so needless to say, I am blown away that I was selected. Thank you thank you!!!
Saturday and Sunday I worked down at Joseph Sand's place and I have lots of photos to show you!!!! I'll post more tomorrow, right now I am dirty and stinky and need a bath very badly!!
Meanwhile hop on over to Joseph's blog, there are a bunch of great photos there of his firing, his pots are amazing and I have a few new pieces that I am loving from Mark, Meredith and Joseph.
New motto: will work for pots!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Let's hear it for MK

I feel like my blog beat up Michael Kline's guest writer pretty bad yesterday, so I wanted to give a little shout out to Michael for putting up with it all with grace and dignity! MK, your plate is still the best one in this house, I have used it nearly every day since I picked it up in your studio one foggy morning. Thanks also for offering up a forum for discussion even if it got a little out of hand, it was interesting to read everyone's reactions, I met some new bloggers, and I now know about some potters that I didn't know about before. Those rants usually go on at my blog, not yours so I hope I didn't send any of it your way! Maybe we could keep the rants here, I love them haha!! I do have to say that I agreed with Dan Finnegan that a pot should not require a thesis to enjoy it, I loved that comment! Anyway, no worries, we all love ya xoxo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another big smack down and Linda Christianson

This might take awhile, go grab some tea.............
Ok, I was feeling pretty good about my work, photos looked nice, you guys gave me rave reviews, thank you very much for that, and then...... I read the post by Don Pilcher here and now I find that I am in the "field that venerates folks that aren't that good." Well, sh@# fu*# (I want to interject an exclamation here but I will give you the first letters and you can fill in the blanks).The fact that I don't even know who Don Pilcher is and have never used the word venerate probably explains why I wll never be in the same category as Polseno and Spleth in the first place. ( I don't know who Polseno is either, I need to get out more). So, I'm back to feeling like the mediocre potter.
This post just took the wind right out of my sails and sent me into a rage all evening. I read a post not too long ago by Sequoia Miller questioning the quality of work of a potter in a SoHo gallery, for crying out loud! How could I possibly strive to be good enough for the pottery snobs when someone that was able to get work in a Soho gallery is questioned. So, I'm back to wondering, WTF?!
This got me to thinking this morning about my experience with Linda Christianson. I was lucky enough to find myself at the Utilitarian Clay Conference at Arrowmont a few years ago, where I met some of the most talented and humble potters I have ever had the pleasure to meet. No one there was questioning the validity of any potter there, everyone was just happy to be around so much clay talk. My favorites were Bruce Cochrane, Linda of course, Victoria Christen, Kari Radasch, Ron Meyers, and Michael Kline, all humble, articulate, and talented, great presenters and story tellers. Linda is just bigger than life, and one of the most remarkable people I will ever meet. If any of you have had the pleasure of meeting her you know what I'm saying. In my next life, I plan to come back as her. This is what makes her so great. She greeted me on the porch one morning, I was just sitting there in a rocker all alone, having some tea, and she just stopped, shook my hand and asked me how I was enjoying the day, who I was,etc, example: if I was a kid taking guitar lessons from my high school teacher, and Keith Richards stopped by to chat with me, that's what it was like. I attended her workshops and can almost remember every word she said, and that is saying a lot for me. Usually, I lose attention in about ten minutes and drift away, can't be helped, but anyway.... Linda had a smile for everyone, truly interested in what anyone had to say, and just plain had a joy for life, clay and those around her. Not judging anyone there, not pompous or arrogant, just quiet and peaceful, like her pots.
So, I am having a break from clay for a couple of days, rethink my existence, write a grant, and plan for a little potter's retreat this weekend. More about that later. If you are like me and are questioning your work as a potter, just stick your head in the kiln, haha! I'm just kidding, I like my work right now, so screw it! A couple of posts I have enjoyed reading this week are from Jeanette Manchester Harris and Dennis Allen. Not that I don't enjoy reading all of your blogs, these just had some good thoughts for the week! Another good read: The Emperor's New Clothes