Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Down Time

We are enjoying the snow and the holidays and a little down time for all of us. No pottery being made, although I really need to get at it soon, I have almost nothing left from all the holiday sales. I'm happy with the way the start of my Etsy shop went and need to get more made for that, several show applications need to be finished up and I have lots of ideas for some new things. I can feel that I have been away from making a bit too long now and I am itching to get back to work. I told myself that I would take off the week before and after Christmas and I am sticking to it. Hope all of you are enjoying your friends and family, looking forward to the blogging to come in 2011. Happy New Year, I'll be back next week........

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Morning After

I wasn't going to post anything until the new year, but I read Jim Gottuso's post about Sophia and the princess syndrome, and I thought some of the potters that read my blog could appreciate what I got for Christmas, so a post it is. I woke up really early this morning, the snow is still coming down, I don't even know how many inches we have but it's a lot! We drove to Charlotte yesterday for dinner with Gerry's family, and drove home last night in pouring snow. It was really beautiful to see all of the houses along the roads with their Christmas lights and the snow in the fields. All is quiet in my house this morning. Gerry was sick all day yesterday, runny nose, cold ick, Wesley started running a fever and by the time we got home she was pretty sick too. The both of them are still in bed and probably will be all day. What a way to spend your Christams day, but the two of them made the best of it, although I know they didn't really feel good. It looks as though our dog may have had a stroke while we were gone. He is walking crooked and looks a bit confused, but seems happy, tail is wagging and he is eating, he is just crooked. I can't get the car out to get him to a vet, but I don't think he is in any pain, he is just getting very old.
So about the Christmas presents. We had a big fun Christmas morning. I got an air compressor so that I can spray my glazes on for Raku and I got a triple beam scale so I can finally measure my own chemicals and stop going up to the Artscenter every time I need to make a glaze. I had thought about getting a digital scale, but the triple beam is so old school and I like that, plus I don't trust anything with electronics these days, everything is being made to break so you have to buy another one. I think the triple beam will last a life time. I also got a photo cube so I can get my pictures right for Etsy now. I had quite the pottery Christmas. The backpack is Wesley's. Not exactly the most girly gifts, but gifts that both of us will use for a very long time. This leads me to the previous mention of Jim's post. Wesley went through the princess phase too, but we got her to snap out of it pretty fast and this Christmas she got a backpack and tent. We plan to take her out west and backpack when she graduates high school this year. My mom wanted me to be a girly girl and tried her best, but I was always climbing trees and skateboarding. My poor mom didn't get it at all yesterday when I told her I got an air compressor and a scale. Poor woman. When Wes was born, she tried to make her a girly girl too, that didn't work either. It's funny because my mom is the most girly girl I know, and Wes and I are having no part of it.
Santa pitched the tent in our living room and Wesley stayed in there all day. Those of you that have been to my house know how tiny my living room is, so you know that this tent took up the entire floor space. It was crazy trying to get around in there but a lot of fun to have a tent sitting in the middle of the room.
I hope all of you had a great time with your families. Yesterday was a bit rough, having to leave in the afternoon and travel for 2 1/2 hours, eat, open more gifts, drive back home in the snow, all the while with two of us sick. Today will be more restful, can't get out, and we have plenty of food, so I'm going to lay around and watch movies all day with a pot of soup on the stove.
Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It's almost Christmas, are you ready? It's going to be crazy busy for us with family and possibly a snow storm coming, so I thought I would take time this morning while the house is still quite, all are nestled in their beds (I just love that phrase!) except me. I know a bunch of the moms out there do this, you get up way too early just so you can have that quiet time to yourself in the house before everyone is up and making noise and needing to be fed. You do, don't you?
This is the time of year when we all are pushed just about to our limits, financially and mentally. Yesterday was my day for baking cookies, which I do not do well, and they were not too pretty. Tasted great but looked very sad. It felt like trying to fire a new glaze, adjusting the oven temps, changing the way I put them in the pan, etc. clay and baking are so similar, don't you think? Well, we ate them and they were yummy, so all's well.
This is also the time of year when I start to think about the new year to come, what I hope to accomplish, try to set some goals, and look back over the past year. I had a really good year this year. I was published in a couple of magazines, including Studio Potter, I was published in 500 Raku, very exciting, I got into my first juried exhibitions and sold the work I had in them, I won second place at Festifall, I opened an Etsy shop and had sales my first week, I met lots of fellow bloggers at the Clay and Blogs show and I have been invited to have a solo show at two places already for Spring 2011. I feel great about these accomplishments and I am starting to think about where I want my work to go for the coming year. The first week in January, I am going to look for a building for a studio, no one wants to give me a grant, so I worked my ass off this month and saved enough money to at least make a dent in the cost. I have several show applications sitting on my desktop that I need to send off, I am going to take the room that has my wheel in it and set it up as a photo/Etsy/art space so that I can pack and ship for my shop, sketch, maybe paint, photograph my work and have an organized space to work. We will reclaim the deck for eating and grilling, and hopefully I will be able to produce a lot more work. I have been so limited with the amount I can produce this year because of space constraints. I want to do more mixed media and I think the barns want to have more surface treatment, so I am going to work on that. I also want to go back to throwing larger vases and platters for Raku, and I think I will leave the functional work to those that do it really well. I don't do it well, I have yet to come up with a form and a glaze I like for cups and bowls, and there are plenty that do it better.
Lots to think about for the new year, I want to have a successful Etsy shop, I want to have work in a few more galleries, and I am planning on applying for a few more shows and a studio tour.
So in closing, for 2010 I just wanted to say thanks to all of you that read my blog, thanks for your words of encouragement and support, thanks for your tolorance of my ranting, and thanks for sharing your triumphs and struggles, your families and your art with all of us. I wish each of you a very happy Christmas with your families and friends and best wishes for 2011. I may or may not be checking in next week, we have a lot going on, so we'll see if I find the time. If not, see you in the coming year!!!
ps: that is Wesley with the real true Santa in Greensboro, NC. Gerry did a story on him one time, he IS Santa.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life with a photojournalist

Gerry has had a pretty rough month of assignments. The young girl with ALS passed away and then he had to photograph Elizabeth Edwards funeral. He was there at 8am and stood in the cold and rain until the funeral at 1pm. These are not the days he enjoys. I have felt so sad for the Edwards family this month and find myself wondering what their poor children must be going through. Gerry hates this part of his work, the paparazzi element of it, he is a story teller, and if you saw his ALS pictures, you can see that. Anyway, this post really has no point, I just liked this picture of him and I like what he does for a living. Life is always interesting around here, it has been since the day I met him. Back in the day, when he worked for a newspaper and we didn't have Wesley, I would go hang out in the photo dept. watching him develop his film and make prints in the darkroom. I rode around with him in his car with a police scanner and a two way radio, and a 300 2.8 and Nikon F2's sharing my seat, and frequently ended up sitting in the car on the way to dinner and waiting while he hopped out to shoot a feature or a spot news shot. I have walked the golf course with him at the U.S. Open, sat on the basketball court behind him during the NCAA championships, ACC tournaments, sat with him to shoot a sunrise or sunset in freezing cold weather, held on to lenses while he changed cameras, help mount prints for contests, watched him take on idiots that were appointed as "security" and twice his size, cringed as he argued with police officers about his right to shoot a photo, and have seen his compassion for his subjects and the amazing way he tells their story. This has been an amazing year for him, he went to the Olympics, shot riots at the G8 Summit in Toronto, shot some great military packages and watched as a child the same age as his own, died from a horrible disease. Like I said, it's never dull! It's not always easy either. Lots of dinners have been put on hold, lots of plans changed, lots of events missed. Gerry is also very passionate about what he does so it's not always easy living with the intensity, but it's interesting and I wouldn't want it any other way. It also shows me that I have a lot of tolorance and patience, because I know a lot of wives that don't deal with this life style very well, too bad for them, it can be a lot of fun! So, all of this because Gerry emailed this photo to me yesterday and I liked it, see what pictures can say!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I get inspired and THEN I get to work.....that's just how I roll. I have so many things zooming through my mind right now, but I am waiting...... spending time gathering energy, sharing meals with friends and enjoying my family........soon.

A Time To Talk
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.
Robert Frost

Monday, December 20, 2010

As fast as I can make them

These tiles sell so fast! One like this just went on it's way to New Zealand and tomorrow this one will be off to New York to Kathy at Kings Creek Pottery. Kathy is a regular blogger here and in the Etsy circle. She emailed to say this is perfect for her since their barn is green, how cool is that! Here is a great description of her place from her Etsy shop:
My studio is located in our 1869 barn. It has a wonderful view of the vegetable garden and hay fields. Two of the barn rooms make up my studio space. Sounds wonderful doesn't it! Thanks Kathy, enjoy the wall tile!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Frost on the Pumpkin

My grandpa used to say there will be frost on the pumpkin tonight, when it was especially cold in the fall. Well, it has been a really cold and snowy December so far and there was definitely frost on this pumpkin when I got up this morning. Woke up to cloudy skies, really cold and later we had snow. But it didn't keep the shoppers away from the Clay Centre today. We had a great crowd and lots of shopping, I'm not sure anyone left without a package and I heard over and over that people were buying local and buying handmade, isn't that wonderful!!! We could start a movement, we should! Thanks so much to Barbara Higgins for opening her wonderful studio for all of us, I think everyone had a great day. It was fun to see some of the shoppers from last week in Saxapahaw, thanks to my new friend Lauren, for buying even more today! and thanks to all of you for coming out in the snow and the cold to support the local artists.
One of my blog readers bought this little house, my most favorite new piece and I got a bit emotional when she left with it, but she is a very kind lady and I know she will enjoy it and it will have a special home! I met so many interesting people today, so much fun!
Another one of my favorite houses found a good home today and several others. I get so attached to these things, it's really funny. Once I cut open the door and windows it's like they get a soul and become very personal to me. Today was great, I shared a room with my friends Amy, Kristen and Charlotte and treated myself to one each of their pieces. I'll photograph them when I unpack my car and show you what I brought home. I'm tired, need a bath and a beer right now, so I'll check back in on Monday! This is my last show of the year, everything else will move to my Etsy shop when I get a chance to put everything in there. Happy Sunday everyone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Saturday Sale

Join us for "A Clay Centre Christmas" Saturday, December 18, 10am-5pm
Local potters from the Clay Centre and the Artscenter will be selling their work and raising money for some wonderful causes. A portion of sales will go to the following groups: Doctors Without Borders, Afghan Sister School Partnership, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center and Wounded Warriors. Come and buy some beautiful handmade pottery and support our favorite charities. See you Saturday!
For directions go here http://claycentre.com/
This will be my last sale of the season, come see us!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow Day

Most of you know by now from my past whining that I mostly work outside on my deck, so do you think I'm getting any work done right now? Hell no! Wesley and I curled up on the sofa all day, she had a snow day from school, she is missing mid terms and I can't work with all the frozen stuff on the deck, so we built a fire, put a pot of soup on, had hot chocolate and watched movies all day. Gerry had to photograph the governor today, left the house in a tie and jacket, rare occasion for that, and then a winery tonight that makes mead. What an odd assignment day for him. I cruised around for awhile on Etsy and I take it all back, there is some really cool stuff out there. I could become one of those home shopper addicts very easily.
The photo is from a huge snow storm we had in Charlotte about six years ago. Did Wesley really grow that fast!? what a sweet child.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Christmas to myself

Every time Brandon Phillips has an Etsy sale I miss it because I don't have any extra cash and then I regret not getting something, but this time when his sale went up and I saw this little jar I had to have it. I have had a few good shows this month so I treated myself to an early Christmas present!

It now sits next to this McKenzie Smith jar that I use for kosher salt. This jar came from Leonora Coleman's collection. When she passed away her daughter invited some of us that worked at Claymakers to come over and select a piece and this is the one that I picked out. I think they look really great together. Haven't decided what the new jar will be used for, but it will get used, that's for sure!
I also have a new painting from the Saxapahaw gallery. I traded the artist for one of my barns this weekend. It looked so great in the room I was in and complimented my work very nicely. Look closely behind the boy in the yellow shirt and you will see a barn that looks very much like the ones I make!
The new gallery was a big hit in Saxapahaw this weekend and again I would like to thank everyone that came and bought work from all of us. Many of the artists had friends and family come out for the opening (not me) and I have lots of new fans of my barns, thanks to all of you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What a Day!

 I would like to say a huge THANK YOU! to everyone that came out to Saxapahaw yesterday!!! Six of my barns have new homes, and lots of my other work went home with happy shoppers as well. I had a great day, sold probably half of what I brought and day two is today, still lots of good things left though, like the little house above, it still needs a home and it's one of my favorites. We had a huge crowd, lots of food and wine and good music, plus many many really nice people came to see us.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Digging Etsy

I think I'm digging Etsy, had my first sale today and I got featured in a treasury here:
check it out! To celebrate I am offering FREE shipping through Christmas on ornaments and pendants.
And I got a package today from an Etsy purchase that I will show you later, so much to blog about, so little time!!!

Come see me this weekend in Saxapahaw!!

The new artist co-op gallery in Saxapahaw is coming along beautifully and we will have our first holiday sale this weekend!!! Come out and see the new gallery and meet the artists. I'm very proud to be a part of this group, really nice people and I am excited to have my work in this gallery.
Lots of work being done to get it ready for tomorrow's big opening. You should have seen how filthy this place was, I can't believe how far it's come in such a short time. I have been pretty dirty the past two days. Suzanne Connors deserves a big shout out for her level head, great ideas, and superb leadership on this project!!!

Some of Suzanne's beautiful scarves will be for sale
Lots of wall art
and several potters
I think there are also some sculptures coming and some fiber art, something for everyone for sure!
Doors open at noon on Saturday with the sale running through Sunday evening. We will have food, wine, music and most of all wonderful hand made art!!! I'll post some photos of the opening tomorrow evening. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saxapahaw Artists Sale

I'll be in Saxapahaw this weekend during the studio tour. The artists in Saxapahaw have been working hard getting the new gallery ready for the show this Saturday and Sunday. It is a new artist co-op and since Frank Gallery doesn't want me, I have more to put in the Saxapahaw gallery (more on that frank thing later, when I simmer down). Check out Saxapahaw.com for more info. Come on out and grab a bite at the General Store, and see the new gallery! I posted a few ornaments in the Etsy time suck machine today, baby steps.....
and, duh, changed the setting on my camera to resize the images until I can get my Photoshop back in action! Come out and see me this weekend if you aren't too busy :)
ps: that is not a photo of the gallery, I don't really know what that is, got it off their website... the gallery is in the old post office building.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I did it....

Well, I did it, said I wouldn't, but lots of blogging over the past few weeks convinced me to at least give it a try, so I spent the better part of my evening setting up an Etsy shop. It's pretty rough right now, still lots to figure out, so stick with me, it will get better, I hope! I only posted a few pendants that I really liked from the wood firing and one little wood fired house that I like. For some reason, my Photoshop has decided to not work anymore and the only way I can resize my photos for the Etsy format is to email them to myself, drag them on my desktop and then uplaod them to the shop. Pain in the ass, and I have to figure something better out. My poor old Mac just wasn't ready for the 21st century :(
So..... I'm sure you aren't impressed with what I have so far, but it's a start. I can already see what a time snatcher this is going to be. Maybe it will fill in those long lonely days while my child is in college!!

Memorable moments

I am sort of in the selling mode right now and not making anything much to speak of, plus Christmas stuff is starting to take over. I have been going through old photos, putting together ibooks for everyone in the family this year and have found a bunch of images I totally forgot about. Wesley took these photos a few years ago in Lander Wyoming. We were sitting at a gas station and this family pulled up in a pick up truck. Wes picked up her camera and made a couple of pictures before the moment ended. She won first place with the photo of the little boy in a photo contest the Artscenter sponsored and the director of the center bought it. He told her that he felt like she would be famous one day and he wanted to own one of her photos. She cried. I guess if you are the daughter of an AP photographer, you stand a pretty good chance of making a nice photo. I'll get back to posting some pottery related stuff eventually, just treading water right now trying to keep up....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crafty show

Here is a commission I just finished for a fellow artist for her baby Oliver's nursery. The egg inside the door was raku fired and can be taken out to make room for other treasures. The tree limb with bird is also removable in case something else is found later on. It is mounted on an old slab board and I love this thing! I will definitely be making more as soon as I find a source for some boards. This one came out of the wood pile from the wood firing I did a few weeks ago.
Now here is a little tale I have to tell you: The show I did Saturday was a bunch of fun and I shared a space with my friends Amy, Kristen and Charlotte. It's nice to share a space, makes a long day go so much faster and we were such an efficient team. Our sales were ok, not stellar but we made some money. Now here is the really irritating part. There was a little girl in the space next to us selling.... wait for it....
felt flower headbands. She sat there with her paper pattern and her glue gun and made them to order. And...... people were f'ing lining up to get them!!!!! This kid, maybe 6th or 7th grade made more money than I did that day and I worked my ass off for months on the work I had there. So, how in the WORLD can I have an attitude about the crap on Etsy when I was sitting next to the felt girl at a JURIED holiday show!?!?! Don't get me wrong, the child was precious and her head bands were adorable, but, are you kidding me!?!?!?!?! I really enjoyed the conversations a couple of weeks ago about Etsy and this show really made me think about my attitude about the crappy stuff you see on Etsy. There is really no difference in sitting next to felt headbands at a show and selling on a website with felt headband makers is there? At least on Etsy there are also fantastic atrtists selling quality and originality and I think as more good artists find Etsy to work for them the better it will get. I am leaning more and more towards opening a shop, I just have to get organized in the photo taking department. Meanwhile, I'm wondering how many felt headbands I can make before Christmas :) just kidding!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Little fish, Really big pond

I re shot these two vases because they looked like crap in the last photos I posted of them and I really like them. I should do more of this, but it's a tough sale, these craggy, smoky pots. My barns are so time consuming but sell really well so I focus more energy there, there's just never enough time for making all I want to make.
I had to go to the mall this afternoon, ick, ick, ick!!! What an overload that place is. I am totally anonymous at the mall, I never see anyone I know, and tonight as I walked around there, I felt sort of lonely. The larger department stores make my head swim, and I get this sort of aura, like you get right before a migraine, and then I sort of feel claustrophobic and then I have to go outside and get air. How many white dress shirts can one store stock, or navy ties, or gray sweaters..... I went in the bookstore, so many books, music store, so much music. It got me to thinking, there are probably more people trying to be writers and musicians than there are people trying to be potters, and everyone seems to be finding their niche. Recently, I have felt overwhelmed by all of the really good potters there are out there, especially those pulling those beautiful salt glazed pots out of those long fired wood kilns, and I feel like I am such a tiny fish in a great big river. But I have found a little eddy, and so I'll just hang out there and see what happens. I'll never be one of the potters Mark Hewitt keeps turning out, but I have my own little place that I am happy with. I also don't seem to fit in with the "in" crowd of potters here in Chapel Hill. I feel like I don't get invited to the party, if you know what I mean. Pretty much the story of my life. I hear such a different drummer and I keep going off by myself to take the difficult path. Oh well, someone has to go down that road, might as well be me.
On another note, I have made some people happy this week and so that's good. Remember the generosity chain that Barbara Chadwick Bland started? Well, I started with Tig and then I decided that everyone should get their prize for the holidays, so they are all en route to the winners. A couple already have theirs, and the last of them went out today. It has felt really good to do this and I hope the winners keep up the chain, it's a very cool thing to do!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Saturday Holiday Sale

I'll be at the Saint Thomas More Holiday Sale this Saturday if you need a holiday ornament. I have about a gazillion of them! I'll be taking mostly ornaments and pendants and small things, I have to save the larger barns for the Saxapahaw Gallery Show and the Clay Centre show, but I will have a few small ones. On your mark, get set, go.... shows every weekend from now until Christmas. Lord have mercy! Come see me if you are out and about on Saturday, should be a fun show!!