Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Barns on Etsy

My goal is to get these on Etsy tomorrow. It was 97f degrees here today and I was less than motivated to work after spending a few days swimming in my mom's pool. I'm going to spend the day writing all that ridiculous text for Etsy and waiting on photos to load. I have also been messing around with my blog. I am bored with the black and reverse type, thought I would give a new template a try. Wesley wrote the new haiku for me, thanks Wes, I like it!

Monday, May 30, 2011

body parts

South Carolina is a curious place. Wesley and I went down to Myrtle Beach for a few days to see my mom and on the way saw a place where you can get wholesale body parts :)
Memorial Day in Myrtle Beach is Black Biker week, 350,000 bikers attend this rally and we heard bikes going up and down the highway all day and night. I would put up some photos but my blog would become x rated, lots of booty on the back of those bikes.... mercy! Anyway, it was the last school break Wesley gets before she graduates, so it was the only weekend we had for a mom visit, but it was crazy crowded. We just stayed at mom's and let her feed us while we read books, nice and relaxing visit. Back in the studio tomorrow to do something with all that clay I got last week.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Clay pick up

First of all, if you haven't read the comments on the last post, read the comment from Erin, what a wonderful thing! It just makes me believe in mankind! Erin, I was very touched by the love you had for your dog!!!
My good pal Susan and I went down to Seagrove today to pick up some clay from Takuro at Starworks. When we left, there was sun in the sky, but on the way home it poured buckets of rain. We had a tarp with us, but did we cover the clay? Noooooo..... I unloaded my clay in the pouring rain with lightening and thunder and soaked cardboard boxes. So much fun!
Look at all the clay in that bad ass pick up truck! After we left Starworks, we stopped in for lunch at the Seagrove Family Restaurant. People, if you want some amazing fried flounder, this is the place for lunch on Friday. I can't remember when I have had a better plate of fish! So good, so fresh, yum. Susan lost her good friend Alice Moffett to ALS recently, and Alice donated her pottery books to the Seagrove library. We stopped in to see the collection and the very kind librarian gave Susan some of the books that she didn't feel were in good enough condition for the shelves. What a nice gesture! If you haven't seen this collection, it's worth a trip over to the library, lots of good books there.
In the mail today, I received a package from Cindy Shake, some moose hair from Alaska! It's not every day a girl gets some moose hair in the mail :) I'm looking forward to figuring out what to do with it. I learned how to make my own brushes a while back, I could do that, or maybe some weaving for the coil pots I made..... so many possibilities, Thanks Cindy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Here's to you!

Here's to you my friends and blogger buddies, who have been so cool, patiently reading and commenting through all of my craziness. I really appreciate all of your comments and I learn so much from all of you. It's been a really odd week, roller coaster kind of week, emotional highs and lows, that's for sure. I got a very lovely email from a gallery that I sent a package to and I am looking forward to working with them sometime in the near future and then I got a bit of a frosty reception from another shop I visited personally and so never mind that. Sarah, at the NC Crafts Gallery sets the bar pretty high for me, she is exactly how I think all gallery owners should be and sadly I am learning they are not all like her. I also got a very warm reception at the Visual Art Exchange today when I dropped off a barn for the upcoming show there, and that was nice. So here are some pretty flowers for those of you whose mamas raised you with manners and taught you how to always treat others the way you would like to be treated!!!

Empty nest #2

I met my good friend Barbara McKenzie at the Crafts Gallery yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see that this tile had sold. I titled it Empty Nest and how ironic that it sold at the same time my baby birds left their nests!
On a sad note, after I left Barbara, I had a traumatic experience. I was close to the road that I live on when the truck in front of me hit a beautiful chocolate doberman puppy that ran out in front of him. The owner, a young girl was standing at the mailbox, just in shock. I stopped my car, ran out to the dog and it was still alive. I had a mat in my car so we scooted the dog onto the mat and I rushed off to the vet which was just a few blocks away. Sadly by the time I got there the dog had died. I waited in the parking lot for the girl to get there and the vet tech and I had to tell her that the dog didn't make it. She just crumbled and I sat there in the parking lot holding this poor girl while she cried and cried. My heart just broke for her. I didn't get her name, the nice people at Cole Park Vet hospital took her in and tried to console her and I left. She has my card and number, I hope she will call and let me know how she is. I just can't get her and her poor dog out of my head. I came home to my sweet dog, and let me tell you, he got a whole bunch of attention for the rest of the day!
On a happier note, I'm taking this piece over to the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh today for the NC Landscape show, so nice to have been selected again this year. This barn is a really nice one. It will be there through June....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First Empty Nest

A few weeks ago I came in to my studio and a wren had built a beautiful nest on my shelves and left six eggs there. She has been my constant companion in the studio since the eggs hatched, coming in to feed her babies every thirty minutes while the dad sat outside my window and chirped at her. This evening after dinner, I went down to finish up a coil pot, and there were little baby birds chirping all over the place. They were learning to fly in my studio! Gerry and I opened the door, mom and dad called to them, and off they went. Such good parents, they flew around showing the babies what to do and watching them very closely. It was such a fun thing to watch. Later I heard the parents outside screehing and a black snake was laying at my studio door, the daddy bird attacking him. Gerry encouraged the snake to leave and mom and dad settled down. It was crazy. So far this week, we have killed two copper heads, and have seen, not killed, four black snakes, all around my studio. I'm not looking forward to battling with these snakes all summer, I really hope they find another place to hang out. Between the cicadas, baby birds and snakes my studio is the happening place right now!
I've started working on some large coil pots that I'm pretty happy with. I have lots of orders for houses, but I have no clay and can't get down to get any until Friday, so I'm using some recycled Phoenix to make some coil pots, gotta make something....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hog Wash

Well, Hog Days was a big waste of time. I was afraid it would be, but the weather promised to be beautiful so I figured why not give it a try. I made about $40, which seems so absurd to me as I type those words, how is that possible? I was there at 6am for set up, stayed until 6pm and made $40? I made the booth fee back that I had paid for the arts festival I was supposed to do, the one that got busted by the tornadoes that swept through here, so I guess I sort of broke even. And if you can live on compliments, I 'm rich. "your work is beautiful", "I love your pieces" , "I'll be back with my wallet", blah blah. I ran out of cards. What is up with that? People took my card, loved my work, but it seemed that they thought I was one of the festival attractions, just to look at, not to buy. I did talk to some nice folks and enjoyed meeting the girl that was selling beautiful gourds in the booth next to me, so it was a pleasant enough day, just a poor sales day.
Many brought with them the most obnoxious children I have ever seen at a festival. One kid stood and bashed his little body against one of my tables while my pieces quaked and his mom looked around, oblivious to the fact that she was about to be the owner of 4 barns, all over $100 and all about to be pottery shards in a shopping bag for her. It seemed that many of the kids thought my tables were set up for them to put their lemonade cups on and their turkey legs. Grrr..... There was a 1% group that actually knew what art was and appreciated my work, and interestingly, those people had really cool kids with them. I did have the pleasure of meeting one really cool kid. Laura Avery and her son Judson stopped by to say hello, and this child is one you want to talk to for hours, he is a really amazing child. It was nice to finally meet Laura after blogging with her for a while. My beautiful niece Autsin came to see me, my pal Susan also stopped by and my friend Deb Harris was set up with her pottery next to my tent so at least I had someone to share the misery with. The company was certainly far better than the sales!
This show was pretty much an affirmation for me that I have to stop doing these festivals. My neighbor with the gourds made a good point, she said "you are selling art and this is not the crowd that buys art".
I have been thinking about why a certain part of our society doesn't buy art. Just because you aren't in the 1% of the wealth category doesn't mean you can't buy art. My prices are very reasonable at these festivals, I try to have prices so even a kid with allowance money could buy something nice. I remember an artist at a craft council show in Charlotte years ago. She had a basket of little soy dishes that were priced at $3 and Wesley bought one with her own money. She was so proud that she was able to purchase what she considered a piece of art from a very good artist that was in a very good crafts show. Good for that artist for having that little basket of dishes. Wes still has that dish and she keeps her guitar picks in it. I try to do the same thing now, and I love it when a kid comes in my booth and buys a little dish. But my daughter has had a really good arts education. Most kids for a very long time now have not received an arts education, because our school system doesn't find art and music valuable enough to teach it anymore. Just look at the American Idol contest. The musicians that were really talented are not in the top two now. The top two got there on a popularity contest that had nothing to do with musical talent. Sure they can sing well, but their personalities for a certain segment of society is what got them there.
Anyway, this was the last of my outdoor shows scheduled until fall, I will apply for Festifall which is a great arts festival, and people come there to buy art. I always do well there. I will not be applying to anymore outdoor festivals unless it is a specific festival for art. It is a total waste of my time. And I will be spending the summer trying to build up inventory for the fall sales and the studio tour I will now be doing. Lesson learned.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pre rapture throwdown

Alright, moving on, it's all good. Thanks to all of you for your supportive words today!!! Isn't it interesting how many artists have screwed up parents? Well, I guess we ought to thank them for making us who we are because we all kick some ass!!
So does my daughter. She took me out tonight to see a band at the City Tap in Pittsboro and we had a pre rapture throw down with the band. We danced, we laughed and we had a blast. Her band mates were there and their parents, and it was just such a great time. Slow dancing with my daughter has got to be one of the highlights of my life! I wallowed in self pity all day then washed it down with a couple of beers on tap and some dancing, so I am ready for the rapture tomorrow should it come and I have a show tomorrow. Apparently we have until 6pm so everyone rock it out until the big event! I'm feeling pretty much back to normal but I danced all night in cowboy boots so I may not be able to walk tomorrow :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

hold on, we are going for a spin

People who grow up in alcoholic families have common symptoms and behaviors as a result of their common experience. It is these shared symptoms and behaviors that set adult children of alcoholics (ACoAs) apart from other people. ACoAs are different from people who were raised in other types of family systems. They view the world in a way that is unique. The common symptoms that characterize this group of people is the adult children of alcoholics syndrome.

Nothing is the way it's supposed to be in an alcoholic family. Dates are canceled, lies are told and relationship connections alternate from being close and warm to cold and distant.Children vacillate between having no power at all and way too much as the adults in their lives fall in and out of normal functioning.

That's because growing up with addiction is traumatizing and the symptoms of trauma can emerge much later when we create our own families. This is what PTSD is all about, it's a reaction to trauma that occurs long after the fact.

Small things trigger PTSD and I never know what it will be, I had therapy years ago when being an adult child of an alcoholic got way out of hand for me. Having a birthday party for Wesley when she was around 5 triggered it the first time and as she had normal childhood experiences, my past experiences took their toll. I have managed pretty well and unlike most people, I have to live with intent every day to keep from annoying those around me with my “issues”. In March, working around an alcoholic building my studio was a huge trigger and I had a pretty rough month. I think I’m still working through that, I was doing pretty good and then yesterday someone accused me of being perfect and righteous, and not in a nice way, and it has triggered a huge PTSD episode. I am almost paralyzed with it and I have to deal with it, or it’s going to get out of hand. So here I am at 1 am writing about my feelings like a good recovering ACOA should. Right now I am having an onslaught of symptoms, stomach cramps, feeling out of control, adreneline, but mostly I feel the numbing coming on and I hate that the most.

ACoA's have suffered profound losses. There has been the loss of parents to rely on, the loss of family members to addiction and possibly death, the loss of a feeling of safety, the loss of the secure family unit, the loss of trust, the loss of a stable and smooth early development. There are the losses of the comfortable family events, rituals and holidays, and as children the loss of normalcy and the security of knowing that their parents are in the position to parent them and meet their changing needs. ACoAs often need to mourn not only what happened, but what never got a chance to happen. People who have felt traumatized may have a tendency to isolate and withdraw into themselves when they are feeling vulnerable. They have learned to recoil into a personless world and take refuge in avoiding connection.

So this is mainly why I am writing this. I feel this recoiling coming on. I am wanting to withdraw, feeling like I don’t want to blog, I don’t want to make anything, just want to drop out for a while and disappear, but this isn’t what I will want when this passes. I haven’t tried blogging about this before so I thought, why not, I usually wait for it to pass, like the flu or something….

People who are consistently being wounded emotionally and are not able to address it openly and honestly may develop rigid psychological defenses to manage their fear and pain. The numbing response along with the emotional constriction that is part of the trauma response may lead to a loss of ability to take in caring and support from others. Additionally, as mistrust takes hold, our willingness to accept love and support may lessen. We're perhaps afraid that if we let our guard down, if we let connection feel too good, we'll only set ourselves up for more pain when the inevitable happens and we're disappointed again and again. So we protect ourselves as best as we know how imagining that by avoiding meaningful connection we will also avoid hurt.

I think that this is why blogging has been so good for me. I am able to make a connection without having the physical element to it. It is very difficult for me to make physical connections, although since moving to Chapel Hill it has gotten better, I have some really good friends here. Many of you that I blog with have helped with this as well and you didn’t even know it. A lot of people ask me why I blog and how I can be so honest. It’s my therapy. I lived with lies and secrets and not being able to be who I really was for so long, that blogging helped tremendously, just putting whatever I wanted to out there was so liberating for someone that kept so many secrets for so long.

Anyway, this should help, might not be what you expected to read, and I’m really not writing this for the entertainment value. It’s sort of like when you have eaten something that doesn’t agree with you, or you have had too much to drink, you vomit, and feel better. Well, this is my vomiting (sorry, I know that’s a bit gross, but that’s the only way I can think of to explain it.) I know this isn’t the pottery blog way, but it’s my blog and if you don’t like it you can certainly choose not to read it. I’m not doing it for you, I’m doing it for me.

Just so you know, if you read things here from time to time that seem to contradict themselves, that’s just normal for an ACOA and I do it all the time. When I was young I was also a compulsive liar, but I hated that and now I am the opposite, sometimes brutally honest. I also want everything around me to be perfect and I can’t tolerate chaos, although I seem to create it and nothing about me is perfect, far from it. I used to try and control every aspect of poor Gerry’s life, but I work on that consciously every single day just so I don’t drive him mad. Do you go through your days making a conscious effort to do things in a way that will be normal for everyone else? Let me tell you it gets tiring and right now, I’m ready to give that a rest, but I can’t, so this blog seemed like a good outlet and it’s now 1:30am, I still feel sick but this will pass.

So, now those of you that thought you knew me are sitting there saying WTF I suppose,

Well, you didn’t come here for a boring blog post now did you :)

There are lots of articles on ACOA and it’s interesting reading. Adult children of alcoholics are strong survivors and we work through it, but man it just wears you out. I do know that the best thing about it, is that it has made me one kick ass parent! So that's the good of it at least. Ok, enough of this wallowing in self pity, I’m off to bed now after this nice long purge!! I know I’m going to regret this in the morning, but there have been worse posts than this, and I survived……..

Hog Days

Again I have to say this is a most unfortunate name for a festival! Like a festival where you will see Miss Corn crowned or something... I will be there though, since it is the substitute show for the Hillsborough Arts Festival I was supposed to do before the heavens opened and it decided to rain for forty days and forty nights. In honor of the pigs that have been killed so their flesh can be seared and devoured by the multitudes, I have made these little pig ornaments, which, I have to say are pretty cute and they are cheap, for the pig lovers out there. Come on out to Hillsborough Saturday if you have nothing going on, get some fine NC barbeque and buy a pig! I will have other things too, and the weather is going to be nice, surprise surprise! I'll be back blogging next week unless something happens that I absolutely have to talk about or if someone else pisses me off this week! Happy weekend, come get some pig!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Carpe Diem

Gerry and I have been down on the farm visiting with one of our good friends from college. A few weeks ago he called to say that his mom had been coming back to her farm in Siler City from a trip into Chapel Hill and someone crossed the center line, hit her head on and killed her. Just like that. One day she is a vital woman running a 300 acre farm with cows and horses and the next day some careless driver takes her life from her. I just can't seem to get my head around this.
So now her son has inherited a farm with cows and horses and cats and dogs and acres and acres of land...... and there is so much to deal with. We went to see if we could help this week but it's too soon. There are books, and photographs, and family antiques and furniture, dishes, letters, farm stuff, so much stuff, I just don't know where you begin to sort something like this out. It has me in such a funk, I can't think about art, or much of anything else, just how quickly your life can be taken away and how much stuff there is to deal with when you leave this Earth. Why do we have all this stuff??? My very wise daughter gave me some advise tonight as I sat in my funk, and I looked at her in wonder and tried to figure out where she came from. Here is her advise that I gladly pass on to you:
Mom, Transcend the Bullshit.............

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ce n'est pas un nichoir

Last night I was reading an article by Jack Troy in Ceramics Art and Perception. He asks the question to an art critic "when you look at a pot can you tell if it is just a pot or a work of art?" and then this passage that I really liked:

"If you, like me, have ever tried reading complicated philosophical disquisitions about ceramics and felt you were walking on your knees for a hundred miles in a desert of parched words, you might agree that the world's illiterate potters had it right: their wordless statements in clay mock attempts at intellectual accountability about ceramics. The intellect is an inadequate translator of the power sometimes radiating from articulate clay objects that beckon to us in their own visual tactile language." Jack Troy

Happy Sunday, I'm having a little rest day

Friday, May 13, 2011


I'm home from a fantastic night! The reception for my show was really fun and I want to thank all of you that came and said hello and thanks to all of you that have bought a piece. There were red dots and pieces that have already gone home with new owners and it's so cool that people are liking the work that I have busted my ass making and poured a good deal of my soul into!
I spent the day with a tiny sense of dread, what if no one comes, what if no one gets what I'm doing, what if I throw up.... you know the usual artist angst. But the door kept opening and smiling faces that I knew kept coming in and all was good in the world. I couldn't talk to everyone as much as I wanted because so many people were there, but if you guys are reading my blog, please know how much I appreciate you coming to the show. It was so nice to see your smiling faces, everyone looked so pretty and so handsome, it was a festive time! Thanks to my raku students that came, Bridgett with her husband and Claudia with her beautiful family, The Durlands all the way from Saxapahaw, thanks to those that didn't come that bought something earlier, Maureen, one of my raku workshop participants and clay pal got one of my raku houses and I am thrilled that it will live with her, my neighbor Crissy, thanks for coming, thanks to my best buddies Bob and Laura, thanks for the kick ass cowboy boots!, my friend and Tarot card reader, Carolyn who drove from quite far away to be there, my clay buddies Lisa Brown and Ronnie and Nancy, and my family, my niece Austin and her dad Danny, and mostly thanks to Gerry and Wes for cheering me on! If I missed you, blog and tell me, I sort of lost track of who all I did talk to! I have received emails from lots of folks that couldn't make it tonight but have been by to see the show and I really want to thank all of you for your support as well.
A year ago I couldn't even imagine doing this and tonight with the help of lots of friends, it happened and I didn't throw up after all!! Thanks mostly to Sara Gress for opening her gallery to my work and giving me a space to sell it. In 2005, I sold my first piece of pottery at the Artscenter a few blocks away from the NC Crafts Gallery during the Friday artwalk and came home so excited that I actually sold something. It was a Mother's day gift that a teenage girl bought for her mom and I was thrilled. I came home and went in to Wesley's room to tell her I sold something. Her comment to me was, "now you are bonafide" a line from our favorite movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou. Well, tonight, bonafide or not, I had a great time, thanks to all of you that came by. Seriously, it meant so much to have you all there! Whew..... thanks Sara!

Are you serious?

This theme of being too serious with your work has popped up on a couple of blogs that I have read this past week and it has me asking what’s wrong with being serious about your work? Whitney Smith had a good post about being too serious, too perfect, and I have gone back and re read some of Scott Cooper's posts and found one from back in March about being too serious. I don’t understand, why is this considered a bad thing? If you look at the work these two people create, it is because they are serious about what they do that their work is so exquisite. Adrian Arleo is one of my favorite artists, her work is beyond great and she is not playing. She is very serious and she works slowly and methodically and everything is exactly right, and look at the work she produces.

Over the past years, I have taken numerous classes and workshops, talked with potters I admire, worked with them, asked many questions, read everything I could find, just to learn to work with clay. I rushed through many things, sometimes knowing that I was just working something out and it probably wouldn’t survive my scrutiny anyway. I have also rushed through wheel work, just to get the muscle memory, just to practice. I have thrown away so many things, so many bags of clay, much of it recycled clay that I got for free. It was all practice, time needed to learn and to grow and to develop. I am finding now that my work is really slowing down. I pay close attention to detail, hearing the voice of my college professor telling me that this is important, even though I have been out of college for over 20 years.

When I look at the artists I admire, the one thing that links these people is that they are very serious about what they do, they approach their work in a professional manner, they have a strong work ethic and they work all the time, and usually at a relatively slower pace. They are meticulous about their work and it shows. This is what I am striving for and I am very serious about what I am doing right now, although I have no where near reached the excellence of artists like Arleo, and probably never will, she is in a league of her own. I do see my work getting better and better, I am getting into more shows, approaching galleries that I would have never thought of contacting, and my sales are growing. These shows and these galleries are not looking at mediocre work from artists that are not serious about what they do. Their reputation for quality work would not allow this. I have worked in several community studios and loaded so many kilns full of student work, all of it so similar, and this makes me push myself to get better and better, I have learned so much from all of those imperfect pots.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about wabi sabi and having fun. I leave imperfection in my work, I want to see the marks, but it takes mindfulness to know which marks speak to the work and which marks need to be tended to. I also have a lot of fun and don't work all that hard, but I want to get more disciplined.

I’m not that serious as a person, I’m pretty immature, which is possibly why I don’t look my age, I can be really silly, I laugh a lot, which can drive my family crazy and I’m pretty lazy. But when I walk through the door of my studio, I’m serious. I’m not putting work out there that embarrasses me and that takes some work. I am doing the best work I know how to make right now, it still isn’t what I want it to be, it is still growing, but I like it and I know it will only get better if I work hard to make it better.

In other news, I found out yesterday that one of my pieces was chosen for the NC Landscape show at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh. I was in this show last year and my piece sold. It’s a really fun show and I’m happy to have been chosen to participate once again. I also sent off some applications for fall shows this week, fingers crossed on those!

Tonight is Friday Artwalk and the reception for my show, looks like rain, of course, what else! Come on by if you are in town, would love to see you!! The bowls in the above photo may still be there, not sure if they have sold yet.....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Barns are Selling

I had an email from Sara at the NC Crafts Gallery today that my work is selling, including several barns. I was happy to hear that the barn with the pear niche sold, I really liked that one. I am working on some more niche pieces. My dad used to run a furniture plant and in the evenings he made furniture on the side in a little old barn out on a farm in Conway SC. I have been thinking about that barn and him a lot this week, I spent a lot of time playing in that barn at night while he worked. This barn is sort of a tribute to him, a little niche with a chair in it. What a pain in the arse these little chairs are! But I really like them.
I have also been working on a new barn shape. I used to go to this plantation near where we used to live and wander around in the old slave houses like the one above. I really like the shape of this one and am working out the shape in clay.
The roof is a little too pitchy but I like it....
These are all spoken for, but there are some more in Carrboro and if you come by Friday night I will be there!
My friend Laura gave me an owl cookie cutter to go with the cow and pig, so I made a few owl ornaments from the scraps after cutting out the barns. cute. I also like to have these little stars for kids that only have a couple of bucks to spend at the farmer's market, they look good with a raku glaze and are fun to give away to extra nice little folk. I have been putting in full days in the studio this week but the barns are taking so long, I work with pretty stiff slabs and I'm drying them slower, but the wet weather is not cooperating, so things are moving at a snail's pace. I read an article last week that said if you are selling work faster than you can produce it, it's time to raise the prices. I have raised the price on my little barns to $85 because everyone kept telling me that they were too cheap, I feel like that is a fair price, but raising prices in a down turned economy may not be the brightest plan...... Oh well, if you want one, there are still a few at the gallery. If you can't make it, I hope to get some on Etsy one of these days......

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh NO, he didn't just say that!

ps: don't forget to come see me at the NC Craft Gallery in Carrboro Friday night during the Artwalk, I will be there uncomfortably standing around explaining why I make barns:)
So, anyway, Saturday at the Haw River Festival, this young smart ass punk kid comes into my tent with a few friends, checking out my work and comments on how nice it is. Then he says " yeah, I like going around checking out other potter's work and then I steal all their ideas". And he is very lucky my daughter was there, the girl that holds me back when my face turns red and smoke spews from my nostrils (she started calling it my dragon rage one day when she played softball in first grade and one of her teammates pushed her down for no good reason, this story is for another day.) Anyway, I proceeded to tell that little focker how much what he just said to me sucked and continued to voice my opinion as he quickly backed out of my tent. The nerve! There were also the usual festival comments, I love your work, wish I had some money, I'll be back, my wallet is in the car, do you make this all yourself, do you have any angels, do you have this in another color, I just left my husband because he was cheating on me, my mom will get mad if I spend all my money, do you have anything that costs one dollar, blah blah.... I am putting some packets together today to send out to some galleries before there is a mass riot at the next festival I do, possibly caused by me!
Don't forget Friday!!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wake up it's Monday!

This barn has a new glaze I'm trying out, it's a stoney surface and it also raku fires nicely. I really like the texture of it.
I sat up late last night waiting on Gerry to get home from shooting a golf tournament out of town and we caught up after a week of him being gone. I had a hard time waking up this morning.Just a few more weeks and I never have to get a child up for school and pack a lunch again early in the morning. What will I do!
I moved my photo set up down to my studio so now everything is in one place and everything is finally out of my house. I get great natural light through the windows, and this cube folds flat for easy storage and then I can just switch light bulbs and use the lights for my studio.
I made some new test tile boards last week, cleaned my studio from the weeks of making for all the shows I had, and made a few barns. Also had lunch with a couple of friends and spent a lot of time with Wes, whose schedule is a mess right now because of exams. Lots of down time from the studio, so I need to ramp it up a bit this week and get some work made. I also spent some time working out some marketing and contacting a few galleries. The goal is more galleries, less craft fairs for the future. I also looked around at a few folks that have open Facebooks and I am still not convinced to jump in. The pages are boring, unattractive and irritating to me. The like thing and the way too many one word comments seems like such a waste of time to sift through.
Yeah, cool, like, way to go, go for it, blah blah, really? Do we need this in our lives? I know I don't, I seem to be really happy without a tweet or a face and I love my blog. When people comment on my blog, it is generally a thoughtful and interesting conversation, not just a quick Facebook response. Sorry, you guys can have it, still not interested :)
Saturday was the Haw River Festival that kicks off the beginning of the Farmers Market and the Saturday Music Series. This is one of the festivals I'm not complaining about. The people that I meet here are great, the music is great, the farmers are great, the food not so great, but the ice cream is homemade. My tent is set up beside ice cream man, and while there are some days I sit there and sell nothing while he sales cone after cone, I do like him a lot and his ice cream is the best! This is the one non craft vendor I don't mind being set up next to. And the hamburger guy is in the truck across from me. So the deal is, while people wait in line for their burgers and ice cream they do wander into my tent and chat and often come back to buy something. Lots more burgers and ice cream were sold than crafts, really makes you think about getting one of those food trucks. My sales were way off from last year, but then so was my inventory since most of my work ended up at the NC Crafts gallery and Shakori. You just have to go to this market with the mind set that you are there for a good time, and you might just make some money too. I pack a picnic, bring the family and we make a day of it. This year Wesley got an extra bonus for coming along. The woman that is in charge of the market is also responsible for the new Haw River ballroom, which will be the latest venue for local and regional bands. It's a great space in the converted cotton mill. She came by my tent on Saturday and after we told her that Wes had been accepted to film school, she asked Wes if she had her video camera and asked her to film the opening night at the ballroom for their website. Wesley's first film gig! She was very excited and handled herself very professionally. It was really cool to see my child all over the stage and around the band filming with her new camera she got for her birthday. I can see her future and it looks bright!
We had a great, very chill Mother's Day. We went out to breakfast, came home and watched some movies and then went into Carrboro for beer (me) and pizza. It was just Wesley and me since Gerry was in Charlotte, and it was a really nice mother daughter day. I hope all of you moms out there had a great day!
Time to get to work, just one more cup of tea.......

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

My mom, 1942
and 1945. Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! Hope you have a wonderful day with your family!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

13 year cicada invasion

My studio has been invaded by this big orange eyed bug. They are everywhere. This is the 13 year cicada and apparently numbered brood VI according to wikipedia. They come out of the ground once every 13 years and right now my yard is full of holes, my studio full of orange eyed bugs.
The outside of my studio looks like a cicada catacomb, they have left their exoskeletons all over the outside walls. They are gentle, don't bite and are really kinda pretty, so I let them crawl around until they just lay there and die. Their life is sort of pitiful, live under ground for 13 years, suck on tree sap, come out of a tunnel you dug in the ground, shed your skin and die. Hmmm... no thanks!
Last night Wes and I went with my good friend Laura to the Artwalk in Greensboro. Quite the happening little town on a Friday night. Lots of good restaurants, bars and cute shops. There was an exhibit at the Greenhill Gallery that was really interesting and Ronan Peterson was there for meet the artist. He has some beautiful work in their gallery shop, if you are around G'boro, check it out.
I had a bit of a revelation while we were there. First of all there was an installation piece in the Greenhill with a rebel flag draped on a cross that had nails in it. I really dig the rebel flag, sorry, but I do. I think it is an attractive design, and I hate that it has come to symbolize something bad. I have wanted to put a rebel flag on one of the roofs of my barns, but it may cause marital strife, so I hesitate. This installation gave me food for thought though. I want to work on a collection that relates to the south, since I am about as southern as it gets. I started one piece yesterday, much potential here.
The other thing I came to realize on our "artwalk" is that I do not want to sit in a tent at a craft fair much longer. I don't mind festivals like Festifall or Shakori, but I don't want to sit next to the homemade cookie girl or the wooden birdhouse maker. Not that there is anything wrong with these crafters, it's just that I can't do it anymore. I was on the other side last night as a shopper, listening to their pitches about their products, and I wanted to scream. Then there was one poor potter girl that was sitting in her chair, huddled in the way back corner of her tent, trembling under her sweater and barely speaking. Jeez, do you really want to sell something? Get up, say hello! As I say all of this, I have to go pack my car for the Haw River Festival today. It won't be so bad, because there is lots of music and good food, and if I don't sell anything I will have still had a good time. Plus it's the kickoff of the Farmer's Market so I can buy groceries for the week, and Wesley is going with me so I will have good company. If you are out in Saxapahaw stop by and say hello. I will have some jewelry and a few raku pieces, but most of my stock is tied up right now at the NC Craft Gallery. Must make more work and find galleries to sell it for me! Let's all post pictures of our moms tomorrow!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hog Days Festival

I'm sure all of you sat and watched the Led Zepplin video I posted late last night, right? Have you ever really listened to the words of that song? They confuse and amaze me. I had a youtube marathon due to massive amounts of caffeine consumed while dealing with a fallen tree and a smashed car. The local body shop estimates $8000-$10,000 damage, yes indeedy, and two or three weeks in the shop, while Gerry drives a very odd looking rental car. I did manage to get a couple of barns made, I have got to catch up on inventory, people want barns, I have none to give. I love the way the light comes into my studio in the afternoon. I am having many wonderful afternoons working in my new space and I feel so content there. It's a wonder I ever come in to the house. But there are those two I live with that like to have a meal with me from time to time:)
I know we had a discussion here a while back about what to call my buildings. Well, I have decided to refer to them as barns. They are mostly barns, I love barns and they were influenced by barns so barns they will be. And since I am making barns I thought some animals would be fitting so I am making some cows and pigs. I found these cookie cutters and so these are my new ornaments. Cute. And I betcha if I look around someone else is making cows and pigs and I will be accused of ripping someone off, but I'm not. I just saw these cookie cutters and thought they fit with what I make. If it's a problem for someone, I'll not make them, just let me know :) don't want to be the kettle that called the pot black. Is that how that saying goes?
The Hillsborough Arts Council came up with a fair and generous offer to all of us that were tornadoed out of the festival a few weeks ago. They are allowing us space at the Hog Days Festival. I know, it's unfortunate name for a festival, right? It's a barbeque feasting, lots of seared animal flesh and mass consumption of pig, so I thought the pig ornaments were appropriate. We'll see how soon I get tired of making these little guys. Which reminds me, I really should get started on those cursed stars that sell so well at Christmas. grrrr.....
Ok, off to the studio for barn making, peace ya'll, thanks for being my blogger friends!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Don't be alarmed if there's a bustle in your hedgerow

I gotta get some work done, too much blogging, back soon.....
can you believe my daughter knows all the words to this song, she said the whole song at the dinner table the other night, it was really strange....

The bigger picture

Just when I get a bit wound up about some trivial nonsense, God gives me a little tap on the shoulder and says, hey wake up, look around, there is suffering in the world, get over yourself. Here was the little tap I got this morning when yet another storm rolled through. Gerry's brand new Subaru is bashed under the tree that came down across our driveway. This has brought to mind all of the people in Japan without homes, the people in the South that have had enough of the storms already and now the midwest. So my thoughts are with all those folks this morning that have lost way more than I have. I am blessed to have what I have. We are lucky, this tree could have headed straight for our bedroom window as we slept. We have become money sieves, it goes out faster than it comes in, like water running through a sieve, but we are healthy and happy and well fed. That should be enough. So peace everyone, thanks for your support. I know I got defensive about my work yesterday, but it is work that I am proud of and I felt like defending it. Moving on to deal with the car now. Back later..... gotta find a chain saw to cut up fire wood for next year.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Owning it

Owning it. Indeed, I think you are owning what you do. It's easy to fall into the lure of wanting to make other people's pots.... Brandon Phillips

Brandon has a thought provoking post on his blog this morning that has gone ahead and opened up a can of worms that I have been stewing on for weeks. I AM owning my work right now. I don't look at other people's work for inspiration, I don't take elements of their work and use the lame excuse that "I made it my own", which is bullshit (except for the feet on my barns, which Judith Duff helped me with in a workshop I did with her, they are very much like the feet she puts on her baskets, but she taught me how to make them so is that fair? or should I change the feet to keep this post real?) anyway I 'm getting off track here.
These barns came from dreams I have, they came from my soul, they came from my grandparents, they did not come from a blog I read or someone's website or google images, and then got inspiration from. They are barns that potters hold and admire, which makes my heart soar, they are pieces that I give to galleries and they sell and I have a proud moment, they are barns I watch people buy because they connect with them, they invoke a memory or represent a cherished place in their heart. So you are damn right, I am proud of them and I would prefer to not look on the internet and see elements of them in other people's work, which is now starting to happen and this is causing me to not want to make them anymore. However, it is also causing me to want them to get better, different, more complicated so they are mine and they can only be mine because they came from my soul and not from a photograph of someone else's work that I was "inspired" by.
Functional pottery is different. There is the tradition of pots that apprentices follow and there is a clear understanding, here is how you make this cup, now go make hundreds of them.... or you follow in the tradition of the greats from the past, carrying on the lineage of greatness, nothing wrong with that and it has to be that way, so that we will have these beautiful things to use in our home, we can't use museum pieces in our home, but we can use things of similar looks. It is the thought of the maker not the thought of who inspired that maker that comes to mind when you use a piece by a particular potter.
But the work I do is personal, it comes from somewhere deep inside me and when I see very similar work of mine on someone else's sculptures, it makes me crazy and I want to say mean things on my blog, but then I don't because I hate that feeling of cringing just before I click on my comments link and then have to read responses to things I probably should have just kept to myself or shared with a trusted friend. But I have stewed long enough and like I said Brandon's blog opened this up so here it is.
People.....don't look at other people's work and long to make it, go make your own work! Look at the work of people that are dead, look out the window of your car, look at other mediums, go to the damn museum, look inside yourself, but don't look at the websites of artists that pour their hearts into their work and then add so much of their work to yours that it isn't really yours.
I bought one of Brandon's little jars that I love and use everyday. One day I sat down at the wheel with it in front of me and tried to make one. My thought was that I would raku fire it and it would look nothing like Brandon's work, I just loved the shape. It was ridiculous, it looked very much like the jar in front of me, but it wasn't mine and it felt so out of place with all of my other work, so that's the last time I longed to make work like other potters. Now I just long to OWN all of the work I love, after all that's one of the reasons I love the work, because of the person that made it. We all make interesting things because of who WE are, not because of whose work we copied or were "inspired" by. I'm not directing this to any one person reading my blog and don't intend to offend anyone, I'm just having to let off some steam before I explode!
So look inside yourself, make work you are proud to own, and know that it is YOURS!!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gallery photos

I set up my work today at the NC Crafts gallery with Sarah, the owner, and I have to say, when we finished and we stepped back to look at it all together, I was very proud of it. As a friend of mine said in an email to me last week, "I've come a long way baby"! She was remembering my first show and sadly I remember it too, although I wish I didn't! But as Sarah reminded me today, we all have to start somewhere. A big shout out to Sarah Gress, who is one of the best gallery owners around here. Her shop is warm and friendly and she makes a great effort to support new artists as well as those that have been at it for ages. She has certainly been supportive and encouraging of my work and I am very grateful for the space she has given me this month to present this work and head off in a new direction. It was this time last year that I brought a barn in to her shop and asked what she thought of them and told her I had this idea for a show with lots of different barns and houses and she got out her calendar and put me down for a show. So here I am one year later with work that I truly love and she was very instrumental in pushing me to do this. Thanks Sarah!!!
I have 60 pieces in the show, and somehow they manage to look like a cohesive body of work, even though I have been heading in several different directions all at once. My prices range from $8 to $300 so there is something for everyone's budget.

Lots of great things here for graduation gifts, wedding gifts, how about a house for that couple starting their life together? And don't forget mom!!!! I have already dropped some hints for things I would like at the gallery for my Mother's Day :) and no I don't want a piece of my own pottery, I have enough thanks. But there are these adorable pillows there that are way too cute!

Show Opening

Here's a little shameless self promotion to start the day! My show opens at the NC Craft Gallery in Carrboro today, I won't be there today, but I will be there for the reception during the Artwalk on May 13, come see me then, but go see the show anytime in May! I'm off to load it in this morning, very excited to see all of this work in a different location, it has been around here for a couple of months now, time to move it out! I would love to see everyone at the reception!!