Saturday, April 30, 2011

In My Pockets

What do you find in your pockets? I am always picking up rocks, shells, rusty bits of metal and sticking them in my pockets. My daughter has grown up the same way. There is always a rock or a guitar pick or something in the washing machine that has fallen out of her pockets.This was the last piece I fired in my Raku kiln for this show. I was hesitant to fire it because there was a good chance it would not survive the thermal shock. But it did and it is wonderful and it may be my favorite piece so far!

Use this niche to tuck away the treasures you find or use it as a special alter.

This is where I want to go with my work. These pieces are becoming part of Wesley's leaving home, part of our growth apart and in some ways growing closer as I watch her become an adult.
The recent pieces I have made are about home and memories and family and that's what's important to me right now. I like using mixed media as well. The roof is some old wood I found, shells and rocks and a rusty piece of metal came out of bowls sitting around here that hold the things we collect on trips and walks.
The raku glaze was crazy again but sadly does not photograph all that well. In person, it's really spectacular. It looks like an old rusty metal box. This is the last of the preview pictures. I'm loading up all the work for NC Craft today, a funeral to go to and a meeting tonight.
A shout out goes to my friends over at the Clay Centre in Carrboro who are having a kiln opening today, if you are in the area stop by. I'm supposed to be there, but with Shakori last week and my show opening tomorrow, I had to cancel something. Hope they all sell lots of pots!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A few more

So far all of the Raku barns have survived the firings. I think I have the roof falling off thing worked out, at least for now. I love the way these have turned out, I'll be sad to see them go.
This larger barn turned out really nice. I took a lot of time with it, attention to detail makes all the difference.
I have a few flower pots, very pretty, must make more. I think a small rosemary plant would be so nice in these.

I have a couple of house tiles that are kind of fun
This wall tile is my favorite! I titled it Grandmother's niche. This glaze is crazy crazy. I have tried everything to get this lit well enough to show how great the glaze turned out, impossible. I'm going to be developing this niche thing more, I like where my thoughts are going with this. The face is from an old ceramic mold and looks eerily like my grandmother, the rusty key I found at Penland up in the metal shop junkyard.
This glaze has every color in the spectrum, I love it! Everything is finished and packed up,except one niche piece that I have been putting off firing in the Raku kiln, because I'm pretty sure it's going to fall apart. We'll see, nothing ventured nothing gained. If it comes out ok, I'll post it later.
I'm off to fire it up, stay tuned......

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Show preview

My show at the NC Craft Center in Carrboro opens on Sunday with a reception on May 13. Hope to see lots of you there on the 13th! It will be the Friday Artwalk so lots of galleries will have a party going on. Here is a preview of some of the things I have been making for the show. I have a good selection of barns
some Raku bowls that turned out nicely
some Raku barns
some little wall tiles in case your budget is tight, I want to have something for everyone to afford
and a couple of empty nest inspired pieces. This is a new direction I'm looking at so I hope to be exploring this more in the coming months. I'm very excited about this. I love my barns but I am feeling an itch to move forward, get bigger, more surface interest, more mixed media.
I love the work I am making right now, but I have made it, stained it, fired it, glazed it, fired it again, washed it, priced it, inventoried it and packed it. Sick of it now! Time for all of it to find new homes so come on out, the barns go quickly but I hope to be making more throughout the month to replenish the stock. If you want one and they all get sold, I can still make you one, just let me know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New tenant

Hey everyone, how are you on this yet again rainy morning. Has anyone built that ark yet? We're gonna need it soon....
A bird has built a beautiful nest in my studio. I haven't finished closing in the roof yet, had to make some pottery, and so this little bird has found it's way in. The nest is really a work of art, the leaves and sticks sort of cascade over my books. Guess I will have some babies soon, not such an empty nest after all! Meredith, it's going to be pretty weird if it's that blue bird that has hopped around here since Lee left!
When the over the pond visitors were here they came with gifts. Hollis sent this very pretty wall vase with Doug for my studio. I haven't decided yet what it will be used for, but I am liking my brushes in it right now. It may be for flowers, I could make a habit of bringing in fresh flowers to the studio, that would be nice. Hanna and Ang left me small gifts too, but I haven't photographed them yet, we'll save that for another post. I'm busy busy right now getting work priced and packed for the NC Craft gallery show that opens this coming Sunday. Wouldn't you know the reception will be Mother's Day weekend. I sent out a group email and got many many replies "I'll be out of town".
Maybe someone will come for the reception, it will be the Friday artwalk and hopefully people will be out for the wine and food. No worries, the show will be all month and I find it very hard to stand in front of my work and talk about it, so awkward. I do like meeting the folks that buy my work, but when they gush over it, I get skwirmy. It's very nice to hear and appreciated, but it's weird for me. Anyway, if you can make it to the reception, I would love to see you!
Well, I'm off to fire my kiln for a final load. How is it I have known about this show for a year and I am firing a kiln 4 days before the work is due? We all do this don't we?

Monday, April 25, 2011

It was good, but it wasn't good

Do you see all of the people in this photo with pockets brimming with spare dollars to buy massive amounts of art? NO you don't because, in fact, there were none of those people at this festival. Especially on Friday when I shot this photo, it was pouring rain and cold all day. No people to be seen, except the fools that were the vendors trading art with each other. I just spent countless hours in the past two months making work for this festival and spent four days selling it and I am am now making about $3 an hour in wages. I am home now from Shakori Hills Grassroots Music Festival with a mind full of thoughts, some good some not so good. I am also waking up this morning on the verge of tears because when Wesley comes downstairs this morning, she will be my eighteen year old daughter. OK, as I type this I have officially started crying about it. How is it possible that she turns 18 today?
This photo was shot on Saturday, when I actually made the kind of money you should make on a day at a festival, but that is the only day I sold anything, including one of my more expensive barns. Mostly people were doing what you see here, sitting, eating, drinking and listening to music. Also, I have come to learn that there are massive amounts of people that are now enjoying the trend of medical marijuana, and designating themselves as caregivers so they can grow their own plants. If only I could open up a coffee shop/medicinal herb shop.......
My neighbor shared her exotic scents with me all weekend as the breeze blew the scents into my tent, hmmmm..... and they had five kids with them, hmmmmm.... but they were good kids.....
I have to say, if I had come to the festival to see wonderful performances and art, listen to great bands and share time with friends and family it would have been the perfect weekend. But I was there to sell my work, and so it wasn't the perfect weekend, although I am trying to make the best of it, considering we had a really good time. Except for the rainy Friday which wasn't really that bad, and then Saturday night.......
Our dearest friend and Gerry's college roommate came to visit and he and Gerry "played " together all weekend. I have to say, they really needed some adult supervision, but I was so busy selling things, I couldn't be the one, so I just looked on as they got more and more ridiculous. We were taking turns sleeping in the tent behind my booth and Saturday night was my turn. And wouldn't you just know it was the night that the band from hell played at 12pm? They were sort of a celtic heavy metal fusion band with lots of bass and screaming electric guitar and strange Irish lyrics. Just the kind of thing you want to listen to after you have worked hard all day, barely sold anything, dried out all of your soaked work from the rain the day before... The band finished up after their ENCORE, if you can believe that! around 2am and then you could hear the sounds of the djembes in the drum circle and then the night just got better and better... at 5am on Sunday when I still had not fallen asleep because of the continuous tribal drums and war hooping, I started crying from exhaustion, put my clothes on and drove home. I got three hours of blissful sleep and a shower and I was ready to rock it on Sunday. The day turned out to be so beautiful, we had great bluegrass at our stage all day and I just sat back, drank a few Buds and chose to ignore the fact that no one was buying a damn thing. Oh I did had an offer for $1 for one of my beers, but I just gave it to the guy, being the nice girl that I am. I also had many requests for a raven flag like you see on my tent, the one that Cindy Shake sent to me from Alaska. Now, if I had those for sell, I would have many more dollars this morning. I gave her name to quite a few folks. All in all, when I think about it, I had my cute husband there helping me, my adorable daughter checking in, I met some really cool people, and all was good with the world, except that I am broke :)
This was how Gerry looked most of Sunday and how I felt
The highlight of the weekend was my crazy and wonderful neighbor Wendy. This girl is a trip and I can't even begin to explain the world she lives in but it was fun to visit it with her. She did a portrait of Wesley for her birthday and it is amazing. I forgot to photograph it, I'll try to post it later.
All in all, we had a great time. But I am sitting here this morning pondering how I am going to move forward. Do I continue to do festivals that I work very hard to get ready for and make little money, but have a great time, or do I just go to them as a participant and not a vendor. I was five dollared to death this weekend. I felt like my work was too pricey except there was a guy there selling handmade guitars from cigar boxes for $175 (I know go figure) and I saw lots of people with them (I know, go figure).
The other thing that happened this weekend was that Wesley (for lack of a better term here sorry) weaned herself from her mom and dad. She camped with her friends, hung out with her friends and we hardly saw her at all for four days and nights. It was good for all of us, Gerry and I have to learn how to be together again without a kid, Wesley has to learn how to be on her own, and this was a great start for all of us and a good, fairly safe place for her to explore doing this. I am quite melancholy this morning and wondering about many things, like should I just go slit my wrists now or after some espresso (just kidding, you know I am!).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Meredith's Magical Mystery Tour

The first stop on our tour in Seagrove was David Stuempfle. When I first got to Meredith's I asked where we were going and she said "I'm not telling. it's a surprise." So she drove her car and took the girls and I drove my car and took the boys and followed Meredith blindly all over Seagrove.
David met us at the gate and had coffee waiting for us. One common theme in Seagrove is "big". Big pieces of land, big kilns, big studios, big dogs, big pots. Have you noticed all of the blogging going on with these "big pots"? I could make some Freudian observations here but maybe I'll save that for another time. I don't see a lot of girls making these big pots, but the guys seem to have some sort of competition going on. Maybe I'll make a big barn.....
I have the attention span of a flea, and missed some of the tour because Meredith and I kept chatting and I kept walking around taking pictures, and there were all of these great places to plop down and enjoy the views, now I wish I had stayed still and listened to David, but maybe I'll go back when there aren't lots of distractions. Meredith had a brownie story that had me in tears laughing and my daughter is now writing about, get her to tell you, it's great!

This is where I really wanted to sit, Have you ever seen a more inviting porch? Seagrove folks are living the life. Potters may not be rich in dollar bills but their lives are rich beyond words. Their land and their homes are so warm and friendly and they just seem to wrap you up in comfort. Makes me long for the day when we can move out to our own farm and watch the grass grow....
I am heading out to Shakori Hills festival in a bit so you won't hear from me until Monday.
One quick shout out to the Hillsborough Arts Council. They are making arrangements for the artists that got rained out for the craft fair last weekend to have a free space at another upcoming barbeque festival later in May. I think that is beyond fair and so happy to not be out that booth fee after all and mid May will be a great time for another show. Thanks for that!
I'll have some photos from Shakori next week and continue on with the Seagrove tour, stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A day with funny talking people

Yesterday I spent the day doing the thing I love most in the world, talking with potters and visiting the potters of Seagrove. The weather was beautiful and the company was even better. First of all I have to say that this shot is for Dan up in Fredricksburg, Ron promised him he would make tea for the visitors and he did. Here we all are toasting Dan with tea at Meredith's.
So, unless you have been under a rock or don't read all of the blogs on my blog roll, you will know that there as been a British/Aussie invasion this month. I drove down to Seagrove yesterday to meet up with Ron Philbeck, Doug Fitch, Hannah McAndrew, Angela Wolford and Meredith Heywood at Whynot Pottery, and we began the grand tour of Seagrove that Meredith planned for us. I have lots and lots of photos, but I have to pack and leave for Shakori this afternoon, so here is the bunch of group shots we took at each pottery we visited and next week I will post a few a day so as not to give you potter overload!
Our first stop was with David Stuempfle, who had much needed coffee ready for us and gave us a great tour of his amazing pottery. If you haven't been to David's place it is well worth a visit. He is a charming host and his place is wonderful!
Next we stopped at Michael Mahan's, where we had a foot soak and massage (not really but we wondered why those foot soaking bowls weren't ready for us when we got there, haha). Michael's place is also beautiful, you can tell he has put a lot of love and hard work into his place.
It's the kind of place where you just want to plop down and stay awhile. In fact, I think that Meredith and I plopped in a chair everywhere we went. She is the kind of person I could just sit on the porch with and chat away the day.

By the time we got to Westmore Pottery, it was getting warmer and we were getting hungry and silly and sort of obscene. I think Ang had about enough of the shenanigans in this photo, don't you!
We had a great visit at Jugtown, which you have to visit if you go to Seagrove, it's a requirement. I have lots more pics from here, I'll post later.
Next group shot at Johnston and Genthesis with Fred and Carol, one of my favorite potteries in Seagrove. So much humor and creativity in their work, it's all eye candy. We also stopped at the NC Pottery Center behind Fred and Carol's place to see the teapot show, more pics of that later.
And our last stop of the day at Bruce and Samantha's at Bulldog Pottery. I don't have the group photo here because I was in it. Maybe Samantha will post it on her blog at Bulldog Pottery. We got the grand tour of their new house/studio space and I don't even know what to say about this. Mostly we all walked through the new building with our jaws sort of gaping open and saying WTF. This place is just an amazing feat that my house and studio would fit in. I think about what a pain it was building my tiny little studio/kit and then try to imagine what it took to build this place and my head wants to explode. Bruce and Samantha were lovely hosts as everyone was and we enjoyed their tour. Everyone bought amber tea bowls there and then we were done for the day, tired and in need of beers. There were so many potters we missed and so many things to talk about that we didn't. I envy the time Ron will have with everyone as they traveled up to his place in Shelby last night and will be there for the week for another workshop. Ron said that 35 had signed up for his workshop so that will be a great time.
We had lots of laughs and talked about a lot of things that I should probably just leave off of my blog, to keep it sort of family friendly :) Ron, Doug, Hannah and Ang are the kind of folks you instantly love. They are some of the very first people I started blogging with and we have become friends over the past few years through words only. I just can't tell you how wonderful it was to finally meet them and I will miss them. I hope to travel over to England sometime and visit them at their studios, they are just some of the best people you could know! At least I can get to Meredith's in a couple of hours, she too has become a great friend through blogging and I could spend hours sitting and talking with her.
Wish all of you could have been with us. One of our blogger friends Susan Meyers had emailed me this week to say that she was sorry she couldn't be with us but to say hello to everyone, and I did. We all know Susan through blogging although she is more of a lurker and just emails us and supports our work at shows. This blogging thing has become a truly great way to meet some of the best people and I am so glad that I stumbled on Doug Fitch's blog one day, read it, went and read Hannah's and then it just snowballed into this huge thing. Doug kept looking at me and saying "this is so wierd, I am sitting here talking to Tracey Broome". He gave me one of his band's CDs and I listened to the Love Daddies all the way home, thinking of my new friends, Fantastic! Safe travels to the funny talking people from across the pond :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simple beauty and thoughts on manners

This was just too pretty to pass up. Gerry gave me this bowl in 1999 and I use it almost every day. It was made by Danny Marley down in Seagrove at Hickory Hill Pottery. When Gerry worked for the Greensboro News and Record he did a story on Danny and he bought two mugs for me while he was there. I liked them so much that I started asking for pottery from Danny for birthdays and other gift giving holidays. This bowl had a sister, but Wes broke it when she was little and she cried and cried, knowing how much I loved them. This is a really simple bowl, it's just brown glaze with a hint of blue, thrown sort of thin, nothing fancy but it feels so great to hold and food looks beautiful in it. Just a simple country bowl that I love.
Another simple beauty there! This child wears no makeup, barely brushes her hair, loves clothes from the thrift store and hardly knows what a mirror is, but look at that face!
So anyway, my thought on manners. This has been happening more and more frequently and I have been thinking a lot about it today. I'll begin with this: my cousin had a friend named Sarah. She was beautiful and when you talked to her she absolutely listened to every word coming out of your mouth like it was important to her. And when you saw her the next time, she remembered your conversation and asked about you. She never talked about herself unless you asked her and she was so great to be around. I think about her every now and then, I don't think I have ever met another person like her. Which brings me to my point. Recently, I have noticed when I talk to people they seem to be multi tasking or looking at a computer screen, or texting on the phone, or if you are on a phone call with them, you can hear that they are preoccupied with something else, like walking around with the cordless phone and doing things while you talk, or I am walking around on the cordless phone doing things while I talk.
Now my mom is just waiting for me to finish my sentence so she can say what she wants to before she forgets what it was. Gerry wanders from room to room while I talk and I either have to shout at him or follow him around, both are annoying. So I am beginning to think that what I have to say has no value to anyone. And then I realized I do this too. Many times when I am checking email or blogging Wes comes in to say something and I mildly listen while I continue with the computer screen in my face. So today I apologized to her for doing that and I told her that from now on I will listen completely when she has something to say, no multi tasking. What she has to say has value and she deserves my attention. I'm going to try this with everyone else too and show them the respect they deserve when they are trying to express a thought to me. After all I do live in the South where we are supposed to have manners!
I'm heading down to Seagrove on Tuesday to meet Ron and the Brits, should be lots of fun, I'll bring back pictures so stay tuned!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hell and Back Again

Tonight was my daughter's senior prom and let me tell you what we did.... she is not a prom kinda girl, so her dad and I took her to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham to see one of the most remarkable films I have seen in a long while. Rather than tell you about it you can go to the website here: and see for yourself. If this film comes to a location near you GO see it, or if you can rent it in the future, do so. I love that I have a child that spent prom night watching a film about a marine in Afghanistan with her mom and dad. I will tell you that the AP has asked Gerry if he wants to do a six month tour in Iraq or Afghanistan and I'm afraid this film may have him thinking about going. It was filmed with a Canon 5D like Gerry has and it is a beautiful piece of film. Put a 5D in the hands of a photojournalist and you get an amazing combination. Photojournalism and film making, yes!
I would much rather see a real story than some mindless dribble about zombies or super heroes. More please!
The show I was supposed to do today was canceled and tornadoes tore through NC, but thankfully skirted around us. We had no damage, just lots of heavy rain. There was lots of damage around us though, our thoughts are with all of those who have lost their homes and businesses. Best wishes to those in Seagrove having the Spring kiln openings. Hope you have a great day on Sunday!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Can we talk?

I'm so bummed. I woke up this morning and watched the weather report because, like many of you around here, I have an outdoor show this weekend. Well, here's the report... Friday: Sunny 74f, beautiful, Saturday: Strong storms and wind between 12 to 6pm, of course the same time as the festival, and then Sunday 70f and beautiful again. WTF!!!! And then beautiful all week until Thursday when Shakori starts, and on Thursday and Friday a chance of thunderstorms again.
So, I'm not sure I am even going to get out of bed on Saturday, looks like a huge storm is going to move through and I'm not into trying to keep a 10x10 tent from blowing away.
This has me thinking about my future with outdoor shows and if it's worth it. I will lose the booth fee for this Saturday, just great! Shakori will be ok, because those folks carry on rain or shine. But my goal is to have a decent income from my work, and sketchy weather is not going to help grow my business. I am going to have to look for alternatives. I think I need to get busy and seek out some galleries, I have work that would suit some of the galleries around here. And then there is my Etsy shop, which is just sitting there doing nothing. Maybe I'll use rainy Saturday to shoot some pictures and add some things to my shop... it's just such a time suck and I get really bored typing all that shite. I would also like to do more indoor shows but the booth fees are insane for artists like me. Oh crap.... what to do. I'll probably head over to Hillsborough in the morning and just see how bad it's likely to be, worse case, there is a great coffee shop and book store there, I'll just get jacked up on caffeine and buy some books!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weeks work

Here is my first little house made in my new studio, fired and cleaned and getting it's picture. This one turned out great, funny how much better work can be when you have a proper place to work.
I set out this week to make a bunch of bowls and the goal was to have them all alike. I was doing good for awhile, then I got distracted and made a few different ones....
Then I got distracted again and quit making bowls..........
I made some new pendants, and a bunch of new houses.
What a beautiful beautiful day it was today. I have lots going on, lots of new things in my head and making some work I am very proud of for my show in May. I'm making some fun stuff for Shakori and the Hillsborough show this weekend and more serious work for the NC Craft Gallery. I don't know if I am going to have a lot for Shakori, but I'm mostly going there to play so it's all good. It's quite a conglomeration of stuff, but somehow it works....