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Saturday, July 31, 2010

New cups

We have added two new cups to our ever growing collection. Got these from my good friend Laura Farrow, who had a very successful show last night at the Hillsborough Artwalk. People were standing in line to buy these cups and one got snatched right out of my hand. Actually, the lady was in the process of paying for it and I had picked it up not knowing it already had a new owner! Almost all of the cups in the show found new homes. They are so fun, pinch pots and painterly glazes, what's not to love about them?
My friend Kristen and I went to the Artwalk together, there was so much music, so much art, and soooo many people. The streets were packed. My other friend Susan had her wood fired sculptures in another gallery, absolutely beautiful! but did I get any photos of them? Heck no, there was wine, food and friends to talk with and I completely forgot to get out the camera.
Congrats to both of my friends for having shows with their wonderful art.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lonely boy

I had this weird thing happen yesterday as I was working on this sculpture. I got a book at the library on Mexican Santos carvings and after seeing all the Jesus art yesterday, I had this idea to put Jesus in one of my barns. I had a photo of a sitting Santos that I was sort of using as a model, but the more I worked on it the more it became this lonely boy in an abandoned house. Then I cut the windows out and as the afternoon light came in through the windows, strange light and shadow starting happening on this thing. I got really emotional thinking about this lonely abandoned child, and had to walk away, I came in the house with tears in my eyes and told Wes about it. She said, "that is so cool, that your work is doing that to you". I wish the camera didn't change what I see, this house looks much better in person, the camera seems to distort angles a bit.
I'm not that great at human sculpture, I get the proportions all wrong. I'm just sort of winging it here, but this little guy is really interesting to me. While I'm working on these houses I have a lot of thoughts about the past, more than you would ever need to know, and it gets very emotional. Much as I would love to make functional bowls and mugs, this is where I am being drawn so this is the path I am trying to stay on right now to see where it leads. My wheel is sitting clean and unused, hopefully one day I'll get back to it, but for some reason, this is where I feel compelled to be right now, so I'm going with it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rant du jour

How's the heat out there for everyone?(except for those of you on the other side of the globe) I personally think having 100 degree days just sucks, but then I was complaining about the 20 degree days not to very long ago. I'm less than motivated with the heat like it is, economy in the toilet and the rich just getting richer. Brandon's post today just pisses me off. He is such a great potter as many of you are out there, and like many of you, is struggling with sales. Those that can afford to buy art are just not supporting it. It seems to me that artists are mostly supporting each other. We will buy a pot or a painting or another piece of art when we barely have grocery money. Come on people, SUPPORT YOUR ARTISTS!! Do you want to live in a gray world with no beauty?!?!? I think I might have woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Last night we watched the last of the Lord of the Rings trilogy again and I knew I would be like this when I woke up. It is such a social commentary on the times we are living in and I just get so annoyed with it all! Here's a little flash back to colder days to get us all through August. Can't you just feel that cold air! Let's all put a smile on our faces and get some great art made, if for no other reason than some great blog posts, haha! Happy Monday all!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Farmers Market Saturday

I went to the Farmers Market early this morning before the temperatures hit 100 degrees. I got all of this plus some fresh mozzarella, organic pork sausage for Gerry, potatoes not in the photo, already shelled peas, and three fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast for, are you ready? $80. I even got some figs! I love figs. Pretty much the same amount I would have spent at the grocery store, which I have not been to in weeks. With dried beans, pasta,rice,and the herbs I grow, I can make this food go a long way. I have heard people say that the farmers market is expensive, but it's just not true. I took a notebook with me and compared prices with the grocery store and it's just a few pennies difference, which I am willing to pay to keep from putting products controlled by corporations like Monsanto in my body. I know I could save a bunch of money if we could grow this food ourselves but a lot of trees would have to come down around here, and that's not going to happen, so I'll just support the folks that can grow it for me. One day.......
Plus, I really like the pretty blue eggs I get.
Wesley gets so excited when I bring food home from the market. She made this beautiful sandwich for lunch, wasa crackers, fresh cucumber, tomato, basil, spinach, and mozzarella...so pretty.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Published twice!

I got an email from Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh that the first edition of Artsee magazine published the NC Landscape show that I was in and one of my barns is featured in their first issue! You can check out an online version here:
Our first issue is online now!

and I'm sure many of you know that Hollis Engley has an article that he wrote in Studio Potter posted on his blog. Hollis kindly mentioned me in his article and they used a picture of one of my Raku pears. Wow, published in two magazines in one month! Read the article Hollis wrote here or better yet, email Studio Potter for a copy! This is a strange feeling for me. The first of my work to be published, but I'm not selling anything. Of course I'm not really putting it out there right now. I have been doing a lot of work on these barns trying to get them the way I want them and working out the cracking and terra sig issues. And I have been in a bit of a stall for the past couple of weeks, going to the beach and then being attacked by the yard pests. Guess I should get in touch with some galleries and get it out there. There aren't many shows going on right now although I have applied for a couple, another process I do not like. I really just want to make the stuff, selling it is not my favorite thing. I know there are a lot of us out there that feel this way. There should be someone out there to come and save all of us from this chore! Like a pottery broker or an agent or something!
I have been less than motivated to make anything since these bites came along. I feel like I have been poisoned, and I guess I have in a way, with all that nasty venom inside me. Then yesterday another not pleasant dental visit, so I feel pretty beat up and it's over 100 degrees here, all my stuff is outside, whine whine..... I think it's a studio cleaning day, my wheel has red clay all over it and I am feeling an itch to throw some vases for Raku, so I need my white Raku clay. I also made a little test bowl with some clay I found in my yard. I mixed half raku clay and half the clay from my yard which was a very similar color oddly enough. I'm going to test this and see how it goes. If I could use half clay from my yard and half Raku clay I could really stretch the amount of clay I have. Plus I like the craggy feel of the clay from my yard. Thanks everyone for your comments about Wes, I passed them on to her and she said "awwwww....." :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rain Fell No More



Wesley played the song she wrote for the first time last night at the Local 506. The quality is awful, it was dark and crowded. It was much better live and I'm really proud of her!Thanks to everyone that was there! It's a week for proud moms, check out the video of June Perry's daughter singing Janis Joplin over at her blog. Boy we all have some great kids don't we!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mamas

Wesley taught my 80 year old mom some songs on the guitar when we were at the beach last week. I wish I had a video but she wouldn't let me because she "didn't have her hair fixed" pleeez, did she not notice that I barley get mine brushed? So, I shot a pic of her hand, it was pretty cool watching her and her grand daughter playing together. I'm heading out to the Local 506 in Chapel Hill in a minute to see Wesley's band. I am hoping she is singing the song she wrote that is amazing. If so, I'll get it up on the blog here for tomorrow.
Shot a pic of this mama and her babies on the way to Susan's kiln firing Saturday. Such little babies......
Thanks all for the chigger bite suggestions and thoughts, still itching but nothing a cold one won't help in a minute :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kick ass girls

Wesley and I went out and about today in Hillsborough to visit Susan Wells and the girls firing her wood kiln and Laura Farrow who was painting and getting ready for an upcoming show, lots going on even though it was pouring rain, just sheets of it coming down. Wes is there in front of some of the paintings Laura will be showing for the Hillsborough art walk at the end of the month, July 30 I think.
but these girls were out there in it firing Susan's wood kiln. Susan is offering wood firing workshops at her studio now and she gives way above and beyond for the folks who participate.
I realized as I looked at the photos I shot that my friends are some bad ass women! No rain gonna stop them, although they did work in shifts for lunch and breaks.
My friend Kristen taking a food break.
Here is a sneak peak at the cups Laura will have for sale. Her show will be at Cuppa Joe in Hillsborough and the cups are all one of a kind and so so great. I'll show you the one I got later, forgot to photograph it when I was there. Laura and Bob are two of my most favorite people and Bob is so supportive of Laura's work. I'm always so inspired when I leave them.
So the rain is pouring down, getting ready to go soak in oatmeal, somehow I managed to get in a nest of chiggers yesterday and there is barely a place on my entire body without a bite on it. I am absolutuely about to pull myself apart with this itching. These are the most Godforesaken pests that were ever put upon this Earth and I dread every summer outdoors because they find me and chew me up.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

sofa blob

Gerry just walked out on the deck in the late afternoon light and shot these pics of my prayer flag. Nice, huh? I can't do that!
We have been absolute blobs today, watched the Tour de France all morning- poor 'ol Lance Armstrong" as Phil Liggett would say! and congrats to Spain, although I thought the game was a bit boring for a final world cup game. I'll be away from the blog for a few days, have a great week everyone.

Historic Stagville

A beautiful day out at Historic Stagville yesterday. The Jubilee Music Festival was at Horton Grove, where the old slave quarters are located, and the barns and houses were such a nice setting for a music and arts festival. There was a bluegrass band, a jazz ensemble, an 82 year old blues man, and an African drumming group.My neighbors were soap makers and brick oven bread makers and they were the only ones there selling anything. I just love to watch people spend $10 on food and shove it in as fast as possible, then it's gone, but they declare they don't have any cash to buy a lovely piece of art that will last a lifetime. FARK! But isn't my tent in a great place!

There is Syd Luck from down in Seagrove doing pottery demos and selling a few pots, I bought a great salt fired crock from him. It's still packed up or I would show it to you.
The view was nice. I heard these comments: Oh, your work is wonderful, the barns are beautiful, these are really works of art, I wish I had some cash (oh wait, I just spent it all on food I shoved in my mouth), I love your work, do you have a card? I'm just looking, do you make pins? Is this clay? Oh, lord, I have got to find some other way to sell this stuff!!!!
This was the bluegrass family, and that little tiny girl was a pro! Amazing
Loved the shape of this house, check out the "feet", looks familiar
and here is my very good friend Braima, who was with the African drumming group. Braima survived the wars in Sierra Leone and is now starting a coffee company there to help rebuild his village. Check out the link. Braima and I have done several camps together. One year my kids made an African village and learned about the atrocities in Sierra Leone as Braima was the story teller. We dedicated the village to the people of Sierra Leone and it was a powerful learning experience for our kids.
So Braima and I talked about my pottery and the possibilities of taking me to his village to help the women there bring back the traditional pottery making that was lost during the war. Many of the potters were killed and the rebels cut off many limbs of the villagers. I have been reading a lot since I got home and the UN has designated Sierra Leone as the poorest country in the world. Braima and others are doing their best to help rebuild the communities and teach new skills to the people so that they can be a sustainable village.
We are going to get together next week and put together a grant through the International Labor Organization (ILO) and talk about putting together a workshop for about 36 women to get them started with the skills they would need to bring back pottery to the village. This seems so huge, and I don't know how,as one little person, I can do anything, but I truly feel called to do this.When I think about it seriously, I can't really breathe, and I don't know if I can really do it, but I'm thinking about the possibility... I would have to help them dig their clay and prepare it, I don't really know how to do this, teach them coil building techniques, I can do that, and then we would have to fire the pots using traditional pit fire techniques, I can do that. Ironically, I had checked out some books at the library a couple of weeks ago about African pottery making, and have been reading a lot about traditional methods. I'm going to try and make some work as close as possible to how it is done in primitive cultures and see how that goes. I don't know if I will really do this, but it could be an amazing opportunity. Would love to hear some opinions and get a reality check. What do you think?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Barns and a deer

These look so much nicer after I wipe some stains on them. I really like these two. The roofs are a mother to photograph though, where is that professional that I know....because the pro didn't shoot these, you can't tell, but they both have about four different layers of terra sig and stains and are in the kiln now for their third firing. These things are eating up a lot of time. I have to roll out the slabs one day, cut out the templates and build them the next, wait for drying so I can apply the sig, then I sand the layers with steel wool, fire, apply stains, fire again, think that they need more stains, fire again, clean them, apply wax, polish.....then try to sell them somewhere!
I am starting to get a bit of an itch to get some canvas and paints and do some paintings of them. It has been forever since I painted and I know they would be crap, but I think it would be fun to try. What I really need to do is take a class. What I really need is another project haha!

This sweet little girl came and ate breakfast in my yard and then laid down for a bit. I have never seen one do this in the day time. She is likely the one that ate my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash too. Our dog found a place in the back of our property that had quite a smell, he laid down there and rolled around forever then came to me and we had to go right in for a bath. What a smell. I think they are bedding down there at night. I think I heard that the town of Chapel Hill had a meeting to discuss hiring professional bow hunters to come and kill all of the deer in town because the precious flowers were being eaten. Did I dream that? Do I really live in a place where such people think such stupid thoughts? Kill a living creature because it ate your farking flowers. Yeah, that'll show 'em! (notice I chose my better word?!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Biloya Pottery

Today my pottery group, well most of us anyway, two were missing, had our first field trip to visit Noah Riedel at Biloya Pottery. Noah makes beautiful pieces with wonderful surface treatments and an architectural feel and he was kind enough to let us come out and bombard him with questions. He is digging his own clay on his property for terra sig, and guess who is going to be out by the creek this afternoon with a shovel and a bucket? I never even thought about making sig from the clay I have here. I know I don't want to be processing clay for construction purposes, but sig I can do! Our main purpose in visiting Noah was to see his efficient use of a very small space for his studio. It's great, well thought out and quite workable for such a small building.
Here are some of his cups, these are beautiful finished, Kristen bought one at the sale he had with Ronan Peterson, and it's just lovely.
Kristen and Noah chatting about frits and electric firing. He is getting some amazing results with an electric kiln.
Charlotte, Kristen and I have sort of formed this support group(artist guild like thing) with two other girls, Amy and Ronnie. We have decided to meet on the first Wednesday of the month, take field trips, have coffee, discuss pottery, and try to have a show at least once a year. So far, it's working out great, but we need a name......
Here's Noah with a board full of other great cups, behind him is Lake Ellen, very pretty spot for a studio, and below we got a little demo of the kickwheel he designed for standing up. You just can't believe how much he has in this small space and yet there is still lots of room to work. has me thinking of where I am going to come up with the $$ to get a small building :)
Thanks a bunch to Noah for having us over and sharing so much information. I just love how giving potters are with their knowledge, don't you? It's like, hey I know something, let me tell you all about it, see how it works for you! I just love that! Check out Noah's website, I think you will like it!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Slab and Coil

"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about."
— John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
for the folks in Toronto!



A busy 8-5 day today. Here are my tools all cleaned up at the end of the day. I am trying to stick with the end of day cleaning so I am more motivated to work the next day. I finished putting terra sig on some barns that I made last week, and worked on three coil bowls. I have to work on them in stages so the coils set up enough that they don't slump. Last week Wes and I went to the UNC campus library. OMG! If you live nearby and haven't been there. I highly suggest it. They had sooooo many ceramics books: English, German, Korean, Chinese, Japanese. Canadian, Early American, folk pottery, slipware, redware, and on and on. And in many different languages too. And that was just the Davis library. Apparently all of the art books are in the art library at the Ackland Museum. Anyway, my point is, I checked out some books on Nigerian, New Guinea, and Camaroon pottery and got an itch to make some coil pots. I really have to be in the right mood, they take so much time. But I put on the ipod and went at it.

This one on the shimpo got a bit out of hand. I made it upside down and it just kept growing. It's really heavy, I need to weigh it and see how much clay it is.
One was dry enough at the end of the day to put terra sig on.
So, thanks to everyone for your comments on the artist statement. I agree that it stands well on the last two paragraphs, thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate everyone being honest. When I was in school we were asked to go around the room during our project presentations and critique the person giving the presentation. There could be a total pile of shit being presented and no one would say anything negative. It drove me crazy! I of course said what I thought (a surprise to you I know!) and then no one would speak to me for the rest of the day. You can give constructive critisism without being hurtful and I much prefer that, so thanks!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Brave and stupid

I had breakfast with my pottery friends Charlotte and Kristen today to touch base on pottery chat, kids and stuff and I told them I would do this so here goes. I am sitting on the porch with my Sam Adams so I am brave and stupid and ready to put it out there!
Yesterday I read a letter to the editor in Ceramics Monthly June/July/August issue(don't like to work in the summer, people?) regarding the artist statements of their selected emerging artists and I just have to say Thank You to the person that wrote this! I am too lazy to get up right now and go get the magazine and scan it or copy the letter so find yourself the letter and read it if you want to know what I am talking about.... basically this person is saying what I think every time I read an artist statement. What are you talking about, is usually my first response. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, I was a straight A student, I can use proper grammar when forced to and I can have a pretty good conversation with you on occasion. But I can't for the life of me read most of the artist statements that get written by people mostly out of grad school with an MFA. I read the first sentence, lose interest and move on.
A while back I sent a draft of an artist statement to Alex Matisse, who I consider to be an excellent writer, in fact if he decides to not be a potter, he should be a writer. Anyway, I knew that I would get an honest critique from him. Problem was, it was a bunch of horse shit, and made no sense at all. I was writing as if I had been influenced by all those other statements I had read, which in fact, I was. I re read it recently and am basically mortified that I could write something so ridiculous! I think the problem was, I had nothing to say. I wasn't feeling anything for the work I was making. I am now, I know where it's coming from and I sat down and wrote another one because, these applications sometimes require one. I would prefer to just say, I like clay, I fire clay, I sell pottery and be done with it.
So here is the brave and stupid part. I told my friends that I would post my newly written statement on my blog, so here it is. Let me know what you think, feel free to edit and suggest changes.

Tracey Broome Artist Statement

I was born in a small town in North Carolina near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but moved to the coast of South Carolina as a small child and grew up in a town visited every summer by tourists from all over. I always thought that I would be a painter, but pursued a career in interior design instead and spent over twenty-five years designing furniture showrooms, retail stores and theater sets and props. I saw a wheel throwing demonstration at the North Carolina State Fair when I was forty years old, and signed up for a class the next week. That was the beginning of changing careers from full time designer to full time potter.

Although the sand and the ocean are important memories of my childhood, I find that I am influenced most by the rides through rural North Carolina and the visits to Seagrove potters, journeys my grandparents took me on in the summers when I visited them. I loved the barns, the fields, the abandoned houses, the rusty tractors and the colors of the country. Blue and white were the colors at home but in the country there was rust, barn wood, and green trees. I loved it.

I now create work that expresses the serenity and simplicity of those colors in the country, the influences of the barns and houses and sometimes a hint of turquoise from the ocean sneaks in. Most of my work is hand built using either slabs or coils. It is then fired in a gas kiln at low temperatures. My palette includes stains, oxides, and glazes as well as dry clay and, on occasion, acrylic paints. I also include mixed media in some of my work. I use templates that I have designed using drafting skills from my days as a designer, but I never know exactly how the piece will turn out until it has been fired at least once. I love the surprises I get with each piece.

I have a deep respect for the history of what has already been created and try to add to that lineage of creativity with my own personal vision. Art is a companion, and it is my intent that the objects I create originate through my own personal growth. My work changes constantly, but the influences of my past on my art are ever present.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Colorful flower pots for Summer

Here are some of the flower pots out of the ^6 yesterday. These are spectrum glazes and very reliable. My friend Laura Farrow let me come out and play with her studio glazes a while back and these are a few that I really liked. I doubt I'll do a lot with this but they were fun to play with and the flower pots came out nice. I had some little bowls in there too, but my camera batteries died just as I was shooting them, so no pics, sorry. These were supposed to be for the Spring farmer's market but I never got around to glazing them since I kinda got side tracked with the barns and terra sig. I have a show next weekend, so I'll have them for that along with some barns and little houses. It is one of the North Carolina Cultural Arts events, so I think the barns will be nice. I spent the morning completing show applications and gallery applications. Do any artists ever have input into the format of these applications? I think they would be less time consuming if so, who has the hours to devote to all of this paper work and labeling? Makes me not even want to apply to anything.