Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chewed, slathered upon, and spat. Out.

This has been one of those days, and I've searched for the right words to express why this lump is in my throat and why my eyes have filled with tears constantly through this day. My daughter will be leaving me soon for college, my dad left me 17 years ago in October and I miss him every day, my mom will be 80 soon, my work is becoming more real to me, but according to Chuck Close, because I look for inspiration I am still an amateur..... but here is the clincher, the thing that turned this day totally in to a shit pile: I had a meet and greet at the Artscenter where I teach for a Raku workshop I will be offering, and my shelf, the shelf that I have had for almost six years, had been cleaned off, all my stuff boxed up and put in the storage room. There is a reason, and it isn't personal, I don't think, but it was a hurtful feeling since all the other assistants and teachers still have their shelves and it has been the final straw to put me in a pity party. Tomorrow will be a great day with the bloggers at our show, and the lights will switch back to bright, but this has sure been a dimly lit day. I found this poem on the blog 37 days, great blog, thought it fit for a lot of us, enjoy.......

Because you are a lover and an artist,
you will have occasion (many, actually)
to open your chest... pull out a ruby...
offer it to The World (or someone in The World)...
and it will be received with as much enthusiasm
as a piece of gum. Chewed, slathered upon, and spat.
This happens to ruby-hearted people who are responsible
for bringing through every shade of r.e.d. in the spectrum
from the gentlest pink to the baddest-assed bordeaux.
This is no small role to play -- carrying around rubies
in your heart -- and offering the spectrum of r.e.d.,
the tastes of strawberries and mesquite, the squealing sounds
of pain and delight, the heat of hugs and blazes.
We, heart-bearers of r.e.d. rubies love and create
like no one's business because, for us, it ain't business.
It's beingness.
And on those days when your beingness feels
chewed, slathered upon, and spat.
KNOW-know-know that nothing is wasted.
Everything is useful for the deepening of your pigment
the deliciousizing of your flavor, the longevity of your flames.
It's all good. Eventually. Assuredly. Good. All of it.

Erika Harris

As You Like It

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool"
from As You Like It

I was a chaperone today with Wesley's class. We went to Playmakers at UNC to see Shakespeare's As You Like It. Boy, I miss the theatre! The set was great, props were great, some of the actors were great, some rushed the words, and you can't rush Shakespeare, the words must come out slowly and surely, they are to be savored. For some reason the costumes were an odd mix of tweeds, hunting attire and a sort of fifties look, didn't quite get that and it was a bit distracting. But all in all, I enjoyed it. What's not to enjoy, sitting in a theater watching a play? Heaven!
I did realize as I was leaving the theater that it was quite possibly the last field trip I will go on as Wesley's mom. Sort of a bittersweet day........

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Carolina Arts Unleashed

There is a very nice article today on the Carolina Arts Unleashed blog about the Clay and Blogs show. Check it out here if you haven't seen it:
There is also a nice ad in their magazine and how cool! they used one of my barns!! That barn is at The Bascom right now waiting on a happy home.
There is so much excitement right now about the show in Southern Pines. Hollis is in NC from Cape Cod, visiting along the coast here, I have had emails from him, Judi Tavill is on her way, Peter tried to make it, but his ears attacked him in flight while still in New Zealand, and I am just so sad that his trip has been ruined by this health issue, but hope he gets home safely without incident, Linda Starr has her RV down at Whynot Pottery, who else is in town, have I missed something?!
See ya'll Friday night!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Clay and Blogs show

I dropped my work off at the Campbell House in Southern Pines today. It poured rain on the drive down, but I'm not complaining, we need the rain. The Campbell House is beautiful, the epitome of southern charm and the ladies were bustling around setting up the show. There was work everywhere and they kindly let me plunder through everything, even though it was just all sitting out on tables. I saw a few red sold tags already, nice sign, and more beautiful work than should be allowed in one place!! This is going to be such an exciting show and the people working there today were so nice and seemed really excited as well. Very good energy in the place for sure. I am so looking forward to the opening on Friday night, hope all of you readers will have a chance to get to the show, it's going to be a great one! I am really honored to be included, thank you Meredith for inviting me to participate!!!!!!!!!
This is a crazy weekend for me. I have work in a show opening in Southern Pines Friday night, a show opening on Saturday in Highlands at The Bascom and Festifall on Sunday. My odds are pretty good for selling something don't you think! See all of you Friday night.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Being an artist

I saw this on someone else's blog, but can't remember where. It pretty much fits where my head goes many days. I think that I overdosed on art this week, I have been in a bit of a funk today, and then Wesley had Eraserhead for us to watch tonight. Have you seen this movie? I may never be the same.

Friday, September 24, 2010

First of all, I want to say thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes. I had a great birthday! No big party, just a trip through Asheville, Brevard and on to Highlands to deliver my work at The Bascom. This covered bridge is the entrance to the gallery and it just gets better. The place is stunning!
By the time I got to the front door with my work, I was just about to hyperventilate. I can't wait to see my barns in this barn! There is an opening gala this coming weekend and for just $2500 you get invited to the Friday night dinner (cocktail attire please) and the Saturday bluegrass, barbeque, tickets for four and a table that will seat 8-10 of your cloesest friends. Surely these folks will want to buy a BARN!!!
We had dinner in Highlands, OMG, the food!! The town is heavily laden with meat eaters apparently and we had a hard time finding a restaurant, but finally decided on Wolfgang's. Our server suggested letting the chef prepare a vegetarian entree for us and it was just unreal. I never knew vegetables could have those flavors! We visited galleries in Brevard and Asheville, and quite honestly my head is just about to explode with art! We also stopped by and toured the college campus of Warren Wilson in Asheville, they have a MFA in Creative Writing and this school is one of Wesley's finalists. Really beautiful school. Thanks to Gerry and Wesley for a perfect birthday. What could be better, fresh mountian air, mountain streams, eating amazing food for two days, and just having a great time together! thanks family!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Well, folks, tonight is the last blog of my 40's. Tomorrow will be the beginning of a new half century for me, as weird as that sounds. I feel like I'm about 12 years old :)
Gerry came home with a little surprise for me. He stopped by the NC Craft Gallery and picked up a painting by my very favorite artist Shannon Beuker. Check out her website, she is soooo great and she has a show right now at the gallery. I love the rooster, since I listen to the two crazy roosters that live next door all day long, it's quite appropriate. Sarah recognized Gerry and sent him home with a check for me, what a nice treat! She bought almost all of the ornaments I left her, so far the second half is looking pretty great. See ya'll on the other side............
ps: the cake is a Doug Fitch original, I swiped it of his blog long ago to send to someone for a birthday wish, hope that's ok Doug!

The Bascom

Tomorrow I'll be taking three of my pieces up to The Bascom in Highlands. NC for the American Craft Today show. I am so proud to be included in this show and it seems fitting since the gallery is a barn, how cool is that!!! Judy Shreve emailed to tell me that it was a really beautiful space and I would love it. Planning to get myself a little 50th birthday gift while I'm there!
My mom called last week from there, she was on vacation with new hubby, and they stopped by to see the gallery. She basically said she sure hoped that I had my act together because it was a pretty incredible place. Well, I'm taking the best pieces I have made so far, so I hope that's good enough. There are some incredible artists included in this exhibition, can't wait to see it. Check out their website, pretty nice slide show of the gallery on there.
Oh well, here's to my last day of being in my 40's.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Where does the time go?

Well, there I am, the first year of my life, topless on the back of a pick up truck! Boy, is it any wonder I am the way I am! And look at those old gas cans! I believe the trees in the background are the pear trees that were in our backyard, but I'm not positive about that.
And here I am on lead at Stone Mountain, NC. back in the day
and this was Christmas Eve, my first lead ever, it was raining and I was in about the best shape I have ever been in. See the dark part above the orange rock? That's a "roof" and I went right over that sucker! This route is at Saurtown Mt. Gerry and I had the first ascent on it, so we got to name it, and it's in the NC climbing guide and known as Clean Sweep.
So, I turn 50 on Thursday....... I have been looking at old baby pictures today and the thing I have noticed is that they are all black and white and they are fading and they all have really old cars in them. My mom either dressed me up like a doll, or I had no clothes on. There are no pictures with just a normal outfit. It's either gloves, hat, little purse, frilly dress, or a diaper. WTF? Also, I noticed that my parents were really skinny and very young and spent a lot of time on the beach!
On my birthday this year, I probably won't be topless on the back of a truck, but I will be delivering my work to one of the nicest galleries in NC and I'm pretty proud of that! And I will be delivering work for a show with some of the finest potters out there internationally and I am VERY proud of that too. So far 50 is looking like a good year! I just wish I could climb like that again. I'm doing good to go up and down two flights of stairs with boards of pottery!
So, here's to the second half of my life, should be interesting............

Gone Fishin

Gerry survived Igor in Bermuda, got this pic from him today. Guess he will be home soon now that the storm has blown away. I got a kiln loaded today and I'm trying to get organized a bit. Boy I wish this 90 degree weather would ease up, it is so hot working outside right now, I get as much done as I can early in the mornings and then I am just way too hot by the afternoon. I have to get my stuff up to Highlands for The Bascom show and get everything down to Southern Pines for the Clay and Blogs show and finish up what I want to have for Festifall. Lots to wrap up here in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Attention to detail

Those of you that live in the Asheboro area may know the name Lenton Slack. He was my professor in college and an amazing artist. I frequently hear his voice in my head while I'm working on these barns, as well as my other professor, Charles Johnson. These men were great teachers but their constant phrase pay attention to detail has stayed with me and is such an important thing to remember with hand crafted items. I am adding more and more detail work to these buildings as I figure them out and the difference really shows. Yesterday I added some little ladders, such a pain but such a nice detail. FetishGhost had a post a few days ago with some faceted jars that were beautiful. That inspired me to get my trimming tool and facet the slabs for the roofs of these barns. What a difference and just the added detail I have been looking for. I have been getting up close to barn roofs to see what I have been missing because mine have seemed a bit flat. This was just the added element I needed to get more of the look I am wanting.
How do you hang? (sorry just couldn't resist haha!)
Linda Starr had a post the other day about how she hangs her tiles and the way Meredith at Whynot hangs hers. Well, I had not thought of hanging tiles either of those ways and wondered how many ways can you hang a tile. Here is what I do. I take the stick in the photo, a stick that I cannot live without! and I press it in the wet clay making a hole for wire to pass through. I can't take credit for this idea, it came from a suggestion by Sarah Gress at the NC Craft Center. She likes this method for hanging tiles in her shop and showed me an example. By the way, isn't that wash cool on the back of this tile? Total accident. It was a chrome terra sig but the front was iron oxide and a little dull after firing, so I put a cobalt wash on and fired again, got this really great blue green. I love those happy accidents.
I used to glue on these hooks with epoxy, but sometimes I can't find them and the cost starts to add up, so it's cheaper to just put a hole in the clay and add some string or wire. Anyone else have any other ways of hanging?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Room with a view

I got up this morning and had an email from Gerry with a picture of his view in Bermuda. At least if you have to suffer through hurricane coverage for the AP they give you a nice place to view it from! Gerry worked really hard to get where he is today, and this is the pay off. Not bad!
We met in college and even then he was about the only photographer in the program that wasn't playing. He was serious about what he was doing then and remains so today. His work ethic is amazing and quite the opposite of mine. He is steady and consistent, I am manic, either working like crazy for hours or doing nothing. Hopefully I'll get a bunch done while he is gone, but yesterday I battled a raku headache all day and getting up at 4am didn't help. Better today, so off I go. Thanks to everyone for their comments yesterday, what a nice way to start my morning, reading all of your comments!
Oh, by the way,
Propay: a couple of you mentioned this. I signed up yesterday for it and I can now take credit cards at festivals, which I have needed to do for about a year. I did a lot of research online for merchant services and the monthly fee in most cases seemed a bit high to me. I checked with my bank which was $55 per month, 4% on each transaction and .25 for some other fee I can't remember and a THREE year contract. Too much $$$ for me right now and who knows what I will be doing in three years. With Propay, it was a flat annual fee of $50 then a transaction percentage fee and there is a fee to transfer funds. These fees still seemed like less than the bank. I haven't used it yet, so I may be saying something different in a few months, but of all the services I talked to this one seemed the best. There is also a feature you can purchase (Judy) for $40 a year to have a shopping cart and buttons on your website, I will probably set that up eventually. So, I'll put it to the test in a couple of weeks and let you know.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nothing Day

I had to take this cute boy to the airport at 5am this morning, on his way to meet Igor the Hurricane in Bermuda. Getting up at 4:30 in the morning makes for a pretty useless day. I came home and fell asleep on the sofa and pretty much stayed there a good bit of the day. Talked to him several times from the airport, the 7am flight didn't leave until 1pm, wouldn't you think for all the money you pay, the airlines could do a little better than that!
I did manage to get set up with Propay, thanks to the suggestions on taking credit cards in a previous post, I can now accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover, thank you very much! The bank rates and three year contracts were not very inviting, Propay is a once a year $50 charge and no contract. Pretty similar transaction rates, we'll see, I'll let you know.
Speaking of money, Gerry was talking about how much time I spend on my surfaces and not getting back my time in the cost of the piece. Do you ever? I am spending more and more time trying to get these layers, I want these surfaces to look like paintings and I don't know how to do that quickly. I like depth, what can I say. I also am incapable of dipping a pot in a glaze and having it turn out nicely!
I haven't warmed up to this barn yet, but it seems nice. I'm just more used to the white smooth terra sig and this is taking a little getting used to. Gery said it looked like it had mildewed, charming....
I found the middle can in the trash and for some reason thought it would be fun to make some. Well, I was wrong, it wasn't fun, mostly an aggrevation and a distraction, but they turned out nice. Probably the only two you will see unless I get a little crazy one day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Now I know why..........

I remember now why the green pear that is getting so much press is one of a kind. The person that has it got a great deal and they have a piece that will not be duplicated, at least not any time soon! I fired up the Raku kiln this morning while it was still cool outside, but it was a crazy firing. The three pears in the top photo are nothing like they were supposed to be, but I like them. The next photo is crazy. Exact same glaze as the famous chartreuse pear, fired to the same temperature, but look at it!!!!
Now here is why you read my blog, you learn from my mistakes, you don't do the same stupid shit I do because you read it here first! I thought I was being brilliant, I made these little clay circles to set the pears on so that a very small amount of the pear was unglazed. The stilts I was using were breaking. I glued the circle to the bottom of this one, thinking I was even smarter for thinking of that. Only thing is I didn't wait for the glue to dry and just as the kiln was heating up, I heard a huge explosion in the kiln, yep, blew the bottom right out of this pear! So I am sort of over the pear thing, they are way too much trouble for what I sell them for. Maybe I should just raise the price but I don't know if they will sell for $5000.00 (haha)
This is just sweeeeeet! I got lots more to show ya, but I have to go help Gerry get ready to go and visit Igor in Bermuda so I'll get some more pics up tomorrow or the next day. I still have a lot to do before Festifall and my head is starting to spin around! And I turn 50 in five days! Can that be possible? I need to think about that....................................................................................

Monday, September 13, 2010

Some days are just so damn nice!

Look around and choose your own ground.
Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.
............Breathe, Pink Floyd

Gerry and I went to the Open Eye this morning for a coffee and then stopped by the NC Craft Gallery for a quick check in. Now, I have to be careful here, because the big smack down will come for sure, but TWO of my barns sold this weekend while Frank was having their big invitational potters TO DO down the road in Chapel Hill!!!!!! That feels pretty great, but check back in later in the week, you know just because I said this something's coming to give me a little dose of potter's reality! Maybe not, we'll see......... anyway I love working with Sarah at NC Craft, there's just not anyone nicer and more willing to help you succeed. Oh, I almost forgot, the barns in the above photo...... do you remember the white crackle slip recipe and examples on mudstuffings blog? Well, I mixed up a bit and put them on the larger barn as a test to see how that will work. I'm trying to get more interesting surfaces or "skins" as Z calls them. Should be out of the kiln later in the week so stay tuned.....
Talk about a dose of reality, Gerry had to go to High Point a few weeks ago, and was near my grandmother's old house. She basically lived in the ghetto, but it was a nice ghetto. I used to go to the store in the photo above with my uncle when I was a little girl and get an RC Cola, now my southern is showing, right?! Anyway, Ger shot a picture of the store for me, jeez.......I hate to say it, but it hasn't changed a bit, I guess I didn't realize as a little girl what a crap hole it was, I was just digging the oldness of it, like everything else I like. Now you know where these barns are coming from. I just love places like this. Screw the Ritz Carlton, give me an RC Cola from the Red Dot Superette any day :) My grandmother would send me up here after she called in her meat, cheese and egg order and I would go pick up the groceries for her. I can't believe this place is still in operation, I am going to have to go over there. Want to meet me there Meredith haha!
sigh..............beautiful day today

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gifts of friendship

Another great surprise in the post this week! I came home Friday to a package on my porch and noticed it was from Amazon. I couldn't remember ordering anything but that's not unusual, so I opened it up to see what I had ordered. No, I didn't order this, it was from Gay Judson at Sister Creek Pottery! Gay, you are supposed to be getting something from me, not the other way around!! So, I am catching my breath on this beautiful Sunday, I have nothing to do but sit here with my cup of blueberry tea in my beautiful Meredith mug and read about slips. Thank you sooo much for the book, Gay!!!!!!!
You, my blogger friends are the very best. I have a wall pillow that I look at every day that Jen Mecca sent me, I drink out of Hollis' tea bowls almost daily, as well as Mark and Meredith's mugs, cute little houses are in my studio from Barbara Chadwick Bland, I am learning to use my brush that Brandon sent, and last winter our hands stayed cozy warm in the gloves from Canada that Trish sent. Then there are the gifts from my potter friends, a tool caddy that my pal Charlotte gave me that I use all day long, beautiful necklaces that my pals Susan and Kristen made, cups and books and stamps from my friend Laura, a beautiful journal from my student Amber, one from a long ago student, Nancy, a bracelet that former student Doreen made me that I wear every day. And then there are the great pots that Joseph Sand let me pick out from his first firing, I'm using those all day long! All these things bring me such great joy and were all given with love and friendship. I use these things everyday and think of the person that made them or gave them and I am amazed at my good fortune to know you. I need to get busy giving a little back!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you and if I missed anyone, I'll remember after I post this and will get back to you, but thank you too! (let me know, will you? I'm almost 50, memory fails sometimes)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eat Your Colors

I was out the door bright and early this morning and heading for the Farmer's Market. Chill in the air, colored leaves on the ground, here it comes.... FALL! This little butterfly was on the path from my front door to my car and I got one quick snap before he headed back for the butterfly bush, his own little farmer's market. The colors today at the market were amazing and lots of new things like bok choy, lemon grass, pea shoots, radishes, turnips, sweet potatoes, lettuces, good yummy fall crops that make wonderful soups and salads.
Purple and Cartreuse

All these veggies make for a great Asian noodle dish with some steamed edamame, YUM! I love foods like this with my collection of Fiesta ware plates.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Some days.....

I had lunch with my pal Laura today and then we went by Frank in Chapel Hill to check out the show there. Lots of lovely pots but Bulldog Pottery wins in my book for glazing and Noah Reidel is making the most kick ass sculptural pieces I have ever seen! When I think of the pieces I saw today those are the two potteries that stand out in my mind.
This preacher in Florida thing is really pissing me off, I am a simple Southern girl and I despise getting packaged all together in the "death to Americans" plan. What the hell did I ever do to anybody?!
Some days you just got to open up a cold Bud and put on an old Lynyrd Skynyrd album!
Peace everybody, let's hope for an uneventful day on 9/11, my prayers are with all of you that lost someone on that day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم)
Peace Be Upon You
Wesley is taking an online Arabic class this year and she has been going around the house saying this phrase, and then she says something in French. It's all so confusing!
I think it's a very appropriate phrase considering what's going on with this fool in Florida. Let's pray for a peaceful 9/11 this year, Gerry will be on a plane!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oh my stars....and pears

First of all, a shout out to Festifall of Chapel Hill for featuring me on their Facebook page today, you can check out what's going on for Festifall here. Thanks for featuring that dang pear! It's getting so much press, I took Kari's advise in the previous post and made more of them today.
The funny thing is the stars and the pears sell really well, but I sell them cheap (that might change now that the pear is famous! ) and for what I go through to make them it isn't worth it, but the end product doesn't really look that difficult, well looks are deceiving, they are a pain in the ass to make, but they are so pretty, I fall in love with them when they are done.
I got these little wall tiles out of the kiln today, they came about randomly from a mistake but they are kinda nice.
This barn is nice, didn't get a shot of it in focus and I gotta go start dinner because I haven't found that "wife" yet, so I'll show you the whole barn later. Things are coming together here. I have my pieces ready for the Clay and Blogs show, pieces ready to go to the American Craft Today show at The Bascom and lots of good stuff for Festifall. Whew.......

Saturday, September 4, 2010

That dang pear!

Remember the pear that was published in Studio Potter last month? I got a very nice letter in the mail today from Lark Books. It was chosen for the 500 Raku that will be out in Spring 2011. I wish I knew who owned that thing! It was sold through the NC Craft Gallery. This pear is sure getting a lot of time in the spotlight, kinda wish I still had it. The metal stand that it's on is from the scrap yard at the metal shop at Penland. I collected it when I took the Raku workshop there and it's really a great piece of metal. I still have that. Guess I need to make more pears!!! Thanks to Steven Forbes deSoule for this great glaze!

Great Studio Music

Mumford and Sons Wes turned me on to this band this week, really nice music for the studio! Happy Weekend

Friday, September 3, 2010

If it's old I love it!

OK, enough with the hair video, thanks for letting me be silly for a minute. HUGE fluff post!
Like many of you,I'm sure, I love old, rusty things. I went to my favorite antique place yesterday looking for some things for my booth set up and found some treasure. I picked up a couple of old ammunition boxes and I really love the old lunch pail and gas can in the upper left hand corner. I know there are a couple of folks out there recreating this look in clay, but I'm going to join them. Plus it will get me back on the wheel. I can just see these with some terra sig and I am very inspired by their rusty surfaces. I also have a plan for the rusty saw blade.....I didn't buy that by the way, it was in our yard?!

These soda crates are perfect for displaying the smaller barns. They are starting to get pricey but I found these two for $10, not bad, some I saw were $20, not paying that for a crate!
Gerry has been at the Outer Banks all week covering Hurricane Earl, survived fine and is heading back. Hope those of you along the coast farther north stay safe and the storm blows through quickly. Hunker down Hollis!! Aren't you glad the Chatham show is past you haha!!
I seriously cleaned my work space yesterday, all set for a good start next week. I have a lot to get done before the first week in October!
PS: I checked in with Tig this morning at FuturePrimitive to see if she received a package from me. I drew names for the generosity chain gift giving and hers was the first name. She did get it, I was worried, hate shipping breakable objects! Next one will be shipping soooooon......