Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Sorry for the tiny picture, for some reason, it's all blogger would allow. The email photo was just fine though and I could see the big smile on her face, just what I needed after a bumpy week! Thanks Bonnie :)
My lack of blogging this week is due to a lot of things, Gerry has been sick, Wesley has decided to major in drama (figuratively speaking), and I am now an ipad and an Xbox addict. I have to say, who needs facebook when there is Xbox?! I stayed up all by myself until 1am playing Call of Duty and you will be happy to know that I am about to save the president and his daughter!
How many of you are liking the new blogger layout? not me! I can't see any of the gray parts, grrr.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I got some very wonderful Christmas gifts from Gerry and Wesley, including an ipad, which is really fun and sucking up a lot of my time, a new teapot, from dare I say it, John Elder (please will the person that emailed me about him just keep those thoughts to yourself, I'm sorry, but I like his work, I can't help how the man chooses to live his life...)
I also got a new glaze book that was being suggested on some of your blogs, and yes it is worth it, a really great book! More on this book later as I get into it.
Gerry and Wesley are the best shoppers and always pick up little things for my stocking that are fun surprises. The little cup below is made from the black clay in Normandy and it's for drinking brandy. It's so tiny, but really cute.
I have been loading apps on the ipad and playing around with lots of the photo apps, so you may get sick of seeing strange pictures for awhile until I get it out of my system! We got Wes some Bose headphones and this is all I have seen of her since she got them! I got Gerry an XBox 360 and we are now pathetic, me with my nose in my ipad, Gerry killing everything that moves and Wes with her headphones transported to her space Odyssey. We are three of the most non material people that I know, and just look at us! Oh well, you gotta escape reality sometimes, and my reality has been intense these past few months! I'll be back to clay blogging soon, still taking a bit of a break.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Today Wesley and I took a ride out in the country and ended up down at Seagrove at Meredith's place. I needed a couple of mugs for my mom, and there is a great thai place nearby, so we had lunch there and we went to visit the Pisgah Covered bridge that I used to play in when I was a kid. It was a day for contemplation while riding, a gray day, not too cold, just perfect for a long ride on country roads. We talked a lot, were quiet a lot and just had time to get all the clutter out of our minds.
A few years ago I did the props for a play called The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen. Wesley was in 8th or 9th grade at the time, read the script and then read some of his plays. One that we both remember quite well is A Doll's House. A very strange and disturbing play. I've been sitting here reading it again and I'm thinking about a series of houses with dolls and calling the complete body of work A Doll's House. I have so much to get started on, let's get this holiday over with already!!!
Isn't she amazing?!
I had so many dolls when I was little, and lived in a fantasy land with them. My mom kept them for a long time and then they were all given away when she remarried and moved. Now, I seem to be making a connection once again with dolls. I am interested in exploring how this will all fit together with the barns. My work just continues to move forward, so excited about this!
Monday, December 19, 2011
I'm going to take a little break from the blogosphere this week to spend time with family and friends and reflect on what this season is really supposed to be about. We should be celebrating the life of a man that was kind and compassionate to everyone he met. Instead people are getting attacked with pepper spray at Walmart and we are all rushing around in a mad frenzy trying to buy things for people we rarely see and spending money we really need for ourselves. I'm going to give some serious thought to how we approach the holidays in this family next year. We are losing touch with the true meaning of Christmas. I woke up this morning thinking about when Wesley was the angel in the Christmas play at our church, and the evenings we went to hear the Christmas music played by candlelight, and the treat bags that were handed out at my grandmother's church the Sunday before Christmas. Did anyone get these? Everyone got a brown paper bag with apples and oranges and some candy and nuts. I can still smell those bags on Sunday morning as I sat with my grandparents in their pew. I was also thinking about how magical Christmas is for children, waiting with so much anticipation for Santa, how exciting it is for parents, when their kids are small, watching their excitement. I had a little Christmas tree in my room when I was a kid, and I would lay there for hours looking at the lights in the darkness of my room, trying to figure out how Santa really got down our chimney! I finally decided he turned himself into fairy dust to get into the house.
I don't really go to church anymore, and I went into a christian bookstore and was sort of creeped out by the cult feeling I got, but I do want to remember that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, a man that was crucified for trying to make the world a better place for all of us. Christmas should be a time for family and friends and doing nice things for people. Last night we put up a tree, got out all of our ornaments that all have special memories. We made hot chocolate and popcorn and watched a Charlie Brown Christmas with just the tree and candles lit. Life slowed to a nicer pace and I finally felt calm and peaceful. Life is good!
I spent the last few months selling my work like crazy, spent time with some very special friends this week and now it's time for my family.
Have a wonderful holiday everyone, I'll check in a bit but there are cookies to bake and a nice dinner for Christmas Eve, family to visit, presents to wrap, so I'll be busy with some fun stuff for awhile!!!
ps: photo by Laura Farrow from her ipad!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
I had such a nice morning. First stop was at the Clay Centre to pick up a few last minute gifts. My pal Charlotte had some great stuff and I came home with a few things from her and a beautiful knit scarf from Carolyn Doyle. Then I stopped by the NC Crafts Gallery, where you could barely walk through the store! YAY! for those folks out buying local art today!!!
Thanks to Sara Gress at the gallery for working so hard for all of her artists, she has been a huge supporter of my work and today she was wrapping up beautiful gifts as fast as she could!
There are a few barns there and some ornaments of mine. If you don't need a barn, although I can't imagine that, she has lots of other wonderful work too. I bought a cute little stocking ornament for fabric inspiration more than anything else, but it did call out to me, there under the tree. tracey, tracey, please take me home and put me on your treeeeeee!
I am trying really hard this year to buy local, support artists, and crafts people, if I can't buy their art because it is out of my budget, I at least can give them a brunch or tell others about their amazing work! (These are my friends I'm talking about!) Thanks to all of you that read this blog and support your local businesses whether they be farmers, artists, craftsmen, or small business owners. We have to do this!!!!
BUY LOCAL!!!!! or buy HANDMADE!!! if you can't get out to shop, go to Etsy and google pottery!
There are no excuses, if you have a budget to shop. I don't even have that, and I found some very affordable things today :)
Friday, December 16, 2011
Today I had a few of my artist friends over to celebrate surviving another season of selling our art! I wanted us to get together because we have all been tucked away in our studios making our work, and then setting up at shows and selling and I thought we needed to celebrate getting through it all in one piece!
These are some hard working, talented, beautiful women and it was fun having them here to share stories of our families, our backgrounds and most important our art. I have a least one piece of art from each of these women. I invited them because they inspire me, they support me, they cheer me on, they teach me, help me, make me laugh, make me cry, give me a reality check when I need one. I can count on their honesty and I am richer for having known each one of them. Some are new friends and some I have known since I first moved here seven years ago. They didn't all know each other although I get together with each of them on a regular basis. It was fun to bring them all together under one roof. Everyone brought great food and drink and gifts,we ate and talked and laughed, and shared a little of ourselves.
The power that was in my house today! Lord Have Mercy! Rock on girls!!! Can't wait to see what all of you do in 2012 :)
Thursday, December 15, 2011
There are a lot of you out there sewing and it has me thinking. I used to sew all the time. I made a lot of my clothes in high school, designed them, sewed them. My dad taught me to sew, he ran a furniture plant and made furniture on the side at night in this old run down tobacco barn. I sewed cushions and I sewed yards and yards of welt, just what any teenage girl wants to be doing with her summers off! God, it was so hot! or it was so cold! Never comfortable and there was always cotton and fabric fibers floating around in the air, tickling my nose. There was also the interesting smell of cows and the sound of their mooing. This barn was on a tobacco farm, but they had cows too. There is another barn imprint in my memory I guess.
Anyway..... I have been wanting to sew again. I'm thinking about somehow incorporating fabric with my work. Maybe a tiny quilt hanging on the side of a barn, or something, I don't know yet. After Christmas, I'm going to take the room upstairs that used to be my clay room and turn it into a sewing/jewelry room and see what I can come up with. Maybe nothing, but I'll never try if I don't set up the sewing machine and give it a try..... any ideas?
I have orders for barns and sheep and stars for January, three commissions, and several galleries waiting on work. I should be out in my studio working this week and next, but I decided that I was taking a break as soon as my last show was over and I'm sticking to it. Instead of working, I have been to dinner and a movie with my pal Laura, shopped for Christmas gifts, cleaned the layers of dust in my house (I haven't cleaned this house since before Thanksgiving!) and put out some Christmas decorations. Most days, I would just as soon have this holiday pass without my knowing about it, but I am determined to have fun this year and enjoy it! Wesley will be home Friday and I am planning to enjoy her company for a few weeks!
Laura and I went to see Melancholia, a suggestion from Wesley, who can find the most intense and bizarre movies out there, and this is a good one. Be warned, it is verrrrry slow, but the story is interesting, cinematography exceptional. I usually have to see a movie like this twice, the first time I'm just looking at sets and costumes and forget to pay attention to the film itself. And Kirsten Dunst's cleavage is just a tad distracting, jeez... that dress! and I spent a lot of time wondering why the horse wouldn't cross the bridge.... I get caught up in details, what can I say.
It will be here for another week, so Wes and I will go see it again. Gerry would have been asleep in the first thirty minutes, but I really liked it!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Gerry heads out the door almost every night this time of year to shoot a basketball game or a hockey game, since our society seems to be obsessed with sports. He had a couple of really funny shots last week from Duke basketball. I can't post them
on my blog but here is a link:
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
This cup is by a potter named John Elder. I don't know him, can anybody tell me more about him? I really like his work. I picked up this cup and it seemed to be just a perfect fit in my hand and I knew it would be a great cup to drink out of.
I remember the Pete Pinnell video that was going around a while back about cups. I love the story he tells of Linda Christianson when someone commented that they didn't like her handle and she said, well it's just not the right cup for you. It's so true, and most of the cups I have are the right cup for me. I have to hold them for awhile before I buy them. Usually the decision is based on the handle. The best handled cups I have are from Whynot Pottery, Dean and Martin(their handles are amazing), and one little cup by Doug Dotson's wife. These are the cups I reach for a lot because of the handle. Others I reach for because of the art on it, or the glaze or just because of who made it. Gerry picks the ones that keep his coffee the warmest, usually the one he has from Hollis Engley and one I bought from Michael Rutkowsky.
Cups are a funny thing, the bread and butter of the functional potter. Not my bread and butter because I can't make a good cup to save my life! I have three that I made, fired at ^10 and they are pretty good cups. Made just after Brandon sent me my own personal video tutorials :) But they are not something I enjoy making. I am glad that there are those potters out there that do enjoy making them, because I seem to enjoy buying them!
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Soooo, I am officially done with pottery making for the year, although I would like to get to work in my studio in the morning. If it weren't for this busy holiday that I have to do things for, I could get back to work. Sorry for the folks that are emailing wanting stars, I have no more, I can send you some in January, but this last batch is all gone. I feel bad that I didn't make enough.
Thanks so much to all of you that came to my shows and to my studio to visit and to shop, I appreciate it so much and I am honored that you wanted to buy my work to give as gifts or to own for yourself. Thank you, thankyou, thank you!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I am so humbled by all of this, I had people this week also saying that they had read the article in the N&O and were stopping by to see my work because of the article. I talked to several people today about how hard I have worked to get here. I was telling Bonnie about the days when I made work in my second floor bedroom, a 10X12 space, carried my ware boards down two flights of stairs, loaded everything in my car, drove an hour to Durham, waited for my stuff to get fired at Claymakers, packed it back up, brought it home, repacked it, sat at the Farmers Market on those hot summer nights, lucky if I made $100, one Saturday night I was the top craft seller, and I made $5! I was the only one that sold something that night. Then I moved out onto my deck and fought the cold weather and the rain and the leaves and the mildew..... I have discovered that I have tenacity! As I think back on having to depend on community studio equipment, then trying to work in a cramped bedroom, then outside on the deck, I can't imagine why I stuck with this. It was hard, miserable, frustrating, and I don't understand what made me keep working under such ridiculous circumstances. I think I remember crying a lot and throwing things frequently, definitely cursed a lot.
As I look back on what I have done these past seven years, I realize that success absolutely comes from hard work. It doesn't come easy, it doesn't come overnight (except I suppose for a lucky few). It comes from working every day at your craft and progressing, not standing still and not doing what is easy and familiar, but pushing yourself, challenging yourself to do more than you are capable of doing, and being excited about what you are doing, loving what you complete and taking pride in what you sell to others for them to enjoy. I noticed that every piece I sold today, I sort of said goodbye to it. I held it, looked it over, enjoyed something about the piece that maybe I had not noticed and then sent it off with a happy new owner. How does it possibly get any better than that!
Okay, so, Gerry and I had to go to the mall Thursday, it happens, sometimes there is something that can only be found at the mall. I may go to the mall six times a year. Well, as we walked around the mall in Durham (we went to Durham for lunch at a place Gerry has been wanting to try) I noticed this feeling of mediocrity. Everything seemed to have been done in such a half ass way. There was this train ride thing for kids that was the saddest thing I have ever seen. Poorly set up, this pathetic tree there and a sad little man operating it. Really this was a bleak scene. I just stood there staring at all of it, writing a blog post about the mediocrity of our society in my head, wishing I had my camera to illustrate. Anyway, we went in one of those Hallmark stores to see the collectible ornaments. In the 80's I collected these beautiful tin trains they had. They are little works of art. But the ornaments they have now are, again, the word pathetic comes to mind. Plastic garbage. Football player ornaments, really? Is that what it has come to? Football rich guys hanging on our Christmas trees?! fuck!
I'm going way off topic here, and I could go on for another hour about sports, and plastic store crap. One thing I did think of.... the trains I had were from the 80's, didn't N.A.F.T.A. get a hold on our country about that time, and didn't China soon after that take possession of this country? Just sayin' there could be a connection..... Plastic=China=crap merchandise. Okay, let me get to the point....
Every day that I have gone out shopping this week, I tried to think about the sales person and how they have been dealing with the buying public since bleak Friday and they must be tired, so I made it a point to compliment each person that took my money, smile at them, look them in the eyes and recognize that they are humans, just happy to have a job. I am determined to stay in a good mood through this nasty holiday that I don't particularly care for, think about little baby Jesus and the donkeys in the manger story, and have a good experience this year. On that note, here is the reason for the photos:
After the mall ick, I woke up on Friday with this odd feeling that I had to get to an antique store and reconnect with a time when things were well crafted, look at lovely things from my past and touch metal, glass and wood instead of plastic. So I took myself to a local antique mall, got there at 10am, and, people, you will now decide I am crazy, but I left that mall at 5pm! I went into every stall and looked at everything in each booth. Karen Carpenter was singing Christmas carols and for a while someone found the booth with the antique violins and there was live music playing from an old out of tune violin. This was heaven to me, soothing and healing for the soul. What that other mall did to me!
I honestly think that I have been so enveloped in art lately, looking at all of the beautiful work you bloggers are presenting on your blogs. seeing the work at fine craft shows that I am now a part of, and even being around my own work, that when I went into the mall it was a shock to my system.
NOW! the first photo is a box marked made in Germany, and the accordian folder has different glass lenses in each pocket. This will be included in a 2012 barn in some way. Maybe little notes will be put in the pockets, maybe there will be something behind the lenses, I don't know yet, but I am inspired!
And the little tiny perfume bottles. The barn that is photographed in my header is going to be a great piece for these little bottles, I can just see that Chanel #5 with this barn, maybe with two doors that open to reveal the bottle? I can't wait to make some pieces for all this treasure!!!
And the last exciting things: I have a commission for a barn with the glass door knob I posted a while back. Also, a very nice customer came back to confirm a project we discussed last week. Her grandmother's farm in Illinois is being torn down and the family is collecting salvage materials from her place. She brought a tiny finial and some other things today for me to see. We are going to design barns for the family members and incorporate some of the salvage items. I hope to blog about this more as it unfolds, but this project holds so much promise I am tingling, I can't wait to clear out the studio and get to work!!!!
My sweet daughter showed up this afternoon to go see a band in Chapel Hill tonight. Luckily we live in one of the greatest places in the country to see good music on any given night, so I am guaranteed to see her frequently!
I think that catches me up with all I have been wanting to tell you. It has been such a week, my hard work; blood, sweat and tears, so to speak, has paid off. I have had a very successful month, I have two amazing commissions to work on, lots of new treasures like doll parts and perfume bottles and german camera lenses to inspire me, and I will have work in five galleries so far for 2012. I hope the Mayans weren't right about the end of the earth coming in 2012 because I am just getting started!!!!!!
Sunday is the last day to buy work here and then it's going over to see what Sara would like to have at the NC Craft Gallery.
Peace ya'll xoxo
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Everybody in my house has a crush on Beyonce. I love it when I 'm working in my studio and this song comes on my ipod. When the photographer for the N&O came over, Gin and Juice, Les Claypool's version came on, probably inappropriate...... oh well.... you get what you get when you're around me :)
Hoping that I will be busy this weekend. I took a few pieces over to the Saxapahaw Gallery. There's a holiday event at the Haw River Ballroom this weekend, check out the gallery if you are over there, it's looking good.
The one above is $250. I actually think that's cheap and it's one of my favorites. Not sure why it didn't sell. My small ones sell for $125, lucky you if you got one when I didn't have a clue how to price my work! and I only have two of those left. I tried to keep a good record of my sales and overall, I sold 42 barns this month between the two shows I did. I was hoping to get a break in January but I now have five galleries waiting on work, so there will be no January break! I will take off after this weekend, Wesley comes home next week and goes back to school Jan. 9, so that will be my break time. Then it's time to get creative!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sonia Robinson is a painter in Key West and her husband bought her one of my barns at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show, for their anniversary. She came by the next day to tell me she loved it and we talked and talked and had sooo much in common. She was telling me about an auction bid she had just received for porcelain doll parts. They were unearthed from a 150 year old doll factory in Germany and she said, "I'll send you some." I thought this was amazingly generous and hoped that she would, but you know how things go, sometimes you forget what you say, and best intentions get put aside, whatever.
Well, yesterday I got a package with the most exquisite doll parts from Sonia! I literally gasped when I unwrapped each one.
I feel like I am in a giant whirlwind that blew through here around October and I am inside of it, on a really fun ride. and it feels like the party just got started, so hang on! and there is that bourbon thing I just found out about when I was at Laura's studio :)
Monday, December 5, 2011
I received another package today, but I'll wait and tell you about that one on my next post.
This is the thing that interests me about these two packages. They are both incredibly meaningful gifts. They were thoughtful gifts and I was thrilled and amazed to get them. They were from strangers, people I have no relationship with at all, except through my art. I'm not going to slam the family here, but I'm just sayin'.......
Anyway, you mysterious gift giver! THANK YOU sooooo much. I was really tired and confused and sort of freaked out from the weekend with the newspaper article about me and the crowd that showed up at my studio. I was doing a quick raku firing when the mail came, and this just made everything ok.
What a special thing to do!!!!
I'll tell you what else came today later. Check back!
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Thanks to my friends that came by and those who were too busy with their own shows and work, but emailed good wishes. Thanks to my neighbors who stopped by that I have never met.
Thanks to Mark Heywood for this mug that kept my hot chocolate warm all day! And I should thank another Mark. I sent an email to Mark and Carol Hewitt to tell them I was thinking about them this weekend. A few years ago I would go and help out washing and sanding and whatever else they needed to get ready for this tour and other kiln openings. There are so many tiny details that Mark and Carol pay close attention to that you wouldn't really think about, and I learned from them, and it helped make my weekend all the more successful. And Mark sent me back a very sweet note wishing me great success, as busy as I know he was this weekend, he took the time to send me good wishes, and I appreciate that!
And last, certainly not least, thanks to you bloggers and readers that have sent me so many great notes on the blog and so many nice emails. Especially the last two days, it was so great to come in tired and confused and read your wise words. They lift me up, bring me joy, make me think, kick me in the ass when I need it, and I am very grateful to you. I also support you in your artistic efforts and I am cheering each one of you on as well as all of us work so hard on our craft this holiday season to bring lovers of handmade work a piece of art that we made with love.
Peace, you rocking bloggers!
Saturday, December 3, 2011
I don't even know how many barns I sold today, I haven't had time to sit and take it all in. I am so overwhelmed by all of the smiles and hugs and laughter, the new and old friends that came by, the wonderful conversations I had with people. If my life was like this every day, I would explode from joy overload :) I kept finding myself shaking my head in disbelief at it all. I just can't thank each one of you enough for coming today and buying my work, and saying all of the very kind things you said.
I spend my time alone in my studio, with my family and with my other artist friends. I sort of live in a bubble. Today was the first time people that I don't really know have come into my very personal space, a space that was well guarded at one point in my life, and it was so interesting.
The barn in the photo went home with a very sweet lady, first thing this morning, the mule barn has a new home, all of those Maine shacks that so many of you liked? One couple bought all of them for Christmas gifts. It was so fun to see them leave with those packages.
I'm still wrapping my head around this and Wesley came home this morning, so it's been a crazy day.
One other cool thing happened today. Duane Hall, a photojournalist that now lives in Siler City came by. Many of you may know him. Duane worked in Chicago and then at the Greensboro News and Record when Gerry started there as a young photographer. He became Gerry's mentor in many ways. Duane was one of the best there was back in the day when newspapers and magazines were the real deal. Anyway, he saw my name in the tour brochure and came by to see us. We haven't seen him in over 20 years. What a great surprise to see him after all these years.
And last, there are so many people I could mention but I just have to send out a special hug to my pals Charlotte and Maureen for being my cheerleaders. You have seen me at my craziest, you were students that put up with my crazy spastic teaching, and risked your skin and clothing to raku with me here, and you show up at so many things I do with your bright smiles, and I just want to tell you how much I deeply appreciate your support. When there are strangers coming by all day and I'm meeting all of these new people, your faces are a warm ray of sunshine, so thanks for coming by and supporting my art. xoxoxo
Thanks to all of you, I hope you enjoy your pieces and I can't wait to get back in the studio and make new work that you have all inspired!!!!!!
Happy Holidays, peace ya'll !
Thanks to Bulldog Pottery for sending me a link to the story in the Raleigh News and Observer. I would have never seen it, and I live with a journalist!
Come on over, you can just sit and chat if you forgot your wallet :)
377 Booth Road
Chapel Hill NC 27516
Friday, December 2, 2011
Gerry helped me pull a huge vine out of a tree and I wound it around the rafters and added white Christmas lights and it looks enchanted. I'm going to keep these up, it makes the studio so cozy and warm. My mom sent me the sweetest email, I thought I would share it, I don't think she would mind:
All I need is a little snow to make this a perfect setting, and maybe a wood stove in the studio. My studio is tiny, and sometimes I envy the artists that have large studios, but it suits me well. It feels so warm and welcoming when I go down in the mornings and I look forward to walking through the door. I have worked so hard for the past two years to get here, and every step was worth it!heart chakra yantras announcing her show, so I put mine in the studio for good energy. I think it's working already:) If you can't get to Chatham for the tour, Hillsborough has the artwalk tonight and Susan will be at the Starlight Gallery. So much going on from now until Christmas, I'll never make it around to see all of the artists that are having shows.
Come on over to Chatham County tomorrow and see me, you don't have to buy, just come by and say hello!!!!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
We had a nice Thanksgiving break with Wesley and now she is back at school and time for me to get back to the studio. I worked really hard yesterday getting everything ready for the tour. The floor has a fresh coat of paint, and everything is clean and sparkling, well almost everything. I even cleaned my wheel!
I won't have the buffet that some people put out, but I will have teas and hot chocolate and some snacks. I remember the years that Wes and I went on the tour, there were folks that put out quite a spread, but it didn't really make me want to buy anything. I either wanted their work or I didn't. And I seem to remember lots of hummus and carrots. I also remember that some people didn't really know how to make cider and everyone had cider. Well, I'm not a cook, don't want to be a cook, and I don't really like cider, so eat before you come if you are hungry :) Hope to see you this weekend or next. The tour is December 3-4 and 10-11 and studios are open from 10am-5pm. Come on out, it's a great time and you meet some wonderful artists!!