Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sounds of silence

I didn't turn the power on in my studio today. I worked without the radio, the ipod, the lights. No electricity. Just me and the rooster, the bees, the birds, the wind chimes, the sunlight pouring in and the caterpillars crawling all around. I didn't turn on the lights or the TV in the house today either. Gerry wasn't around and here I was with the sounds of silence. I found myself working with a different rhythm. I worked much slower, more methodical, more thoughtful. Today I had a physical and mental cleanse day. I took a long walk this morning, drank lots of water all day, which I always forget to do, ate no sugar, no salt, no alcohol, no processed food, and no artificial sounds. It was blissful. Why do we need all of these distractions in our life? Nature provides such a nice soundtrack and gives us all the food we need without artificial ingredients. I am seeking a simpler life......
Here's what my studio was like today
peace ya'll.....

Thanks Cindy!

 I got a great package in the mail yesterday from my blogger pal, Cindy Shake in Alaska. It was full of things to use for my houses like iron finials, sea glass, old photos and other fun stuff. Aren't bloggers just the very best?! Cindy and I have never met, but she sends me such thoughtful things, even with her crazy busy schedule she takes time to do something like this.
Much appreciated Cindy, I will put it all to good use!!!!! Thank you thank you!!!!!
Check out Cindy's blog at Artmaking in the North  to see what the artists in Alaska are up to!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crabby Baby

This is kind of how I have felt this past couple of weeks :)

Some more thoughts on the jury process:
If a juror offers to put their name on the rejection letter so the artist that was rejected can contact them and get constructive suggestions in a kind and considerate way because that juror that offered to help wished that they had someone give them some advise when they got those rejection letters,

A. Don't have a friend contact the juror and lobby for a re vote, and tell the juror that this was an unfair judging and it was political and why were some people that aren't as good voted in, and then continue to send emails all day so that the juror/artist can't even get out to their studio to work..... don't do this

B. Don't have your teacher call the juror and say that the vote was unfair and the vote was unprofessional and there were political reasons for why the student didn't get voted in and she was way too good to have not been voted in (not true), and continue to be sort of, kind of bitchy about it, and send emails so, again, the juror/artist can't get out to their studio to work

C. As the artist, DO NOT email the poor juror that just wanted to help you be better so you wouldn't get that suck ass rejection letter again next year, and tell them that the guild they are a member of is run by a bunch of flaky and unprofessional members (but wait, aren't you bitching because you didn't get in to that group of flaky unprofessional artists?) and also accuse the organization of other motives.

People, if you get rejected it is most likely because your photographs sucked, your work wasn't as great as you thought it was or you had sucky photos of sucky work. Period. There are no political agendas in an anonymous jury vote.

Don't humiliate yourself by insulting the organization you have just applied to be in, you look like a fool.
If 10 professional artists voted against your work, (by the way some of the artists are internationally known and very well respected in their field) then you probably are not as good as you think you are or as good as your teacher and or friend is telling you. If you want to be in a group of professional artists, be professional. Get some good photos, get someone to edit your application, your artist statement, resume, whatever, and for God's sake, if you get turned down, don't act so pissy. Just get better and apply again, or sulk and wallow in your misery alone and don't insult others, it really isn't their fault, it's yours!

The juror that so kindly offered to help the people that were rejected just wanted to help THE ARTIST, who they naively believed would be professional and accept an honest and kind critique. The juror did not expect to have to explain anything to the friend or the teacher, and the other flaky unprofessional jurors really don't have the time or the interest in a political agenda. They are BUSY in their studios making work to sell, because that is what they do. They are working ARTISTS, they do not run  guilds full time, they are not accountants, office assistants, web designers, mass mailing organizers. They are doing the best they can with the time they have to volunteer their time to this professional guild of artists, and I for one think they are pretty damn great.
Why do I feel like we never get out of high school!?!

No Spring Shows

In January, on one of those cold rainy days when I didn't want to go out to my studio, I sat at my desk all day and did paperwork. I added up all the costs associated with the shows I did last year, to see which ones made sense for me to apply to this year. Last year there was rain at every spring show I did, one was cancelled due to tornadoes, and the one that did have sunshine brought me the great profit of $30. The only good thing about that show was I met some future customers who did end up buying things for Christmas, so the exposure was at least worthwhile.
These shows were definitely not worth my time and expense. I lost a week with each show, considering the time spent packing, pricing, setting up, siting there talking to people that were clueless about art and why it costs what it does, having to defend my prices, explain my work. The mental exhaustion alone is not worth it. Then there is the day after, unpacking, resting up, and getting yourself mentally psyched to go do it again.  I just could not bring myself to apply to shows this year. So I am making work for galleries and I will gladly pay them to do all of that work for me. Since January, with more focus and less worry about the spring shows, I have already made more than I made at all of those shows last year, not including the CDCG and the studio tour.  I will do those two shows this year and I did apply for Festifall, because it is an easy and fun show and I usually make a profit there.
I know a lot of people have a hard time paying the commission to galleries, but the galleries do the marketing, the set up, the pricing, the selling, they buy the gift wrap, the shopping bags, they keep the shop open more days than a one day show, and it allows me time to work on more stuff. It's hard to not get all the money for the sale of a piece, but it's harder to sit at a show in the rain all day and not sell anything. I do sell my work better when I am with it, I think if I were selling the pieces at Mudfire myself, they would be gone by now, but I can't always be there and I can't be everywhere so, for me the trade off is worth it.
I still can't make myself become a fan of Etsy. I keep thinking I should open my shop back up, but I can't keep enough inventory, because I am a slow and lazy artist and don't make that many pieces. So for now, I have some very nice galleries that represent me and I need to get work to them for spring and summer and then I will start planning for the big fall shows. So you won't see me this year at Shakori, or the Hillsborough Arts festival, or Hog Days (thank God) or any of the other shows I did last year.
But if you want something just email me and I will make it for you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Gloves

 I keep forgetting to tell you guys about my wonderful new gloves. I know there are a few fiber artists out there that read my blog, so this one is for you!

 I met Mona on the beach trip I took with my art pals a few weeks ago. Mona basically sat in this chair by the window the entire cold and rainy weekend and made these amazing gloves. It took her all weekend to make them and as I watched her I wanted them more and more. There is just something so great about owning something beautiful that you watched someone make with their own hands. They were perfect too, since it was so cold. I just love them and only had that one weekend to wear them, because of course on the day we left it got warm and sunny. But I will have them for the coming winter and I will most likely wear them every day!
 They are made from wool sweaters that she recycles and they are fingerless. She also gave me a pair of recycled thin gloves for inserts to make them extra warm. I can't believe I am already looking forward to the cold days of winter, but I want to wear my gloves! They weren't exactly inexpensive, but worth every penny, because I know how much use and enjoyment I will get out of them. That's why spending money on art is so worthwhile!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Jury Process

Last week I was part of a jury for new artists for the Chatham Artists Guild. I volunteered to be a part of this jury because I wanted to sit on the other side and understand the process better, so that I could properly apply to shows that are juried. I have been applying to juried events for around four years now, I have gotten in to some great shows, I have been rejected for some shows. This might be a no brainer for some, but seeing how the jury process works and being a juror myself, gave me some new insight.
I already knew that you need to send in good photos. But now I know this is probably one of the most important parts of applying for a show. The photos can make a huge difference. And they need to be readable files. We had one entry that would not read on the PC that was hooked up to the projector so we had to look at the photos on the Mac laptop. This person had some good work, but the images were very difficult to judge. So I thought I would just list a few of my observations for anyone reading this that might just now be starting to enter into the jury process.
1. You really need your photos to be as close to professional as you can get them. Well lit, easy to understand the scale, the dimensions, and the material. I can't emphasize enough how important this step is. Environmental photos are not appealing, don't want to see you house decor! This is not the time to make artsy photos either. I remember once submitting images that Gerry had shot where I added some props and we made them all artsy pics. Wrong, it distracts from the judging of the work.
2. The work you present should be a cohesive body of work. If you do two or three things, this is not the time to tell people that. It is confusing. Each photo should flow nicely to the next one and you should tell a story about who you are and what you create with your images for greater impact. We had one artist that presented three different types of media, it was odd and we didn't quite understand what they did.
3. Be aware that someone else may be applying in your media and you may be judged next to that person. If you don't present the very best work you have, you may pale in comparison to another artist that is applying, thus swaying the opinions of the judges. Present the best work you have made.
4. It is important to describe your work well. We referred to the image description sheets frequently, and some were hard to understand. Make this clear and concise.
5. Don't put your name on the images so that they will show up on the screen, it is supposed to be an anonymous process. We had a couple of people that submitted with their name showing up, it's hard to be impartial when this happens.
6. Wrinkled backdrops are unappealing, I saw several, and it distracted from the quality of the work.
7. Keep in mind that when it comes down to it, you are still being judged by an individual with their own taste, so it can be a subjective process. Although I did not personally like some of the work submitted, I tried to judge it on the craftsmanship and the skill level of the artist rather than whether or not I would personally buy it. That was hard to do and I wonder how many times I have been judged by someone that just didn't personally like my style or what I made.
Just keep in mind, if you present the very best work you possibly can, and you still get rejected, it wasn't personal, it wasn't because someone didn't like you. It just means that you were not right for that particular show, maybe there was another similar artist that was way better, there is always someone better out there, you just need to be the one, you just need to keep working at getting better. You may think your craft is good, but better artists than you might be judging your work and know that it could be better, I'm still working at that with every piece I make!
I hope this helps. I highly recommend sitting on a jury if you ever have the chance, It gives you a different perspective when presenting your own work. I know it helped me.
I have volunteered to speak with those that were rejected if they want to have constructive feedback. I also think this is a helpful step in understanding why you did or didn't get selected so that you can present better the next time. I hope I don't make anyone mad! You know I have a history of expressing my opinions......

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bye Bye

Gena picked up her little barns today. I have separation anxiety. I miss them. I hope they will be happy.
Bye Bye! This was the most fun project I have ever done, thanks Gena for sharing your family with me for a brief time!!

It just tastes better

 I made a nice spinach salad for dinner last night in my favorite Joseph Sand bowl. For some reason food just tastes better to me when it is prepared in a beautiful piece of hand made pottery.
Since my behavior last week was that of a sloth, and a poorly eating one at that, I'm making up for it this week with no processed foods, no meat, and healthy fruits and veggies. Gerry and I walked last night until dark, and it was so nice out. Walking in our neighborhood is a challenge, since we have mostly vertical surfaces. We live in the "hill" part of Chapel Hill for sure! It was nice to be out walking together, since he hasn't been home hardly any nights since basketball season started.
It's so nice to sit down and have a nice meal, nice glass of wine and it still be light outside and warm! I love this time of year so much. Wesley was born in April and I remember then thinking what a nice time of year it was to be having a new baby. The flowers were just starting to bloom, it was warm but not hot and I would take her for walks at the Arboretum and show her all of the flowers.
I definitely have spring fever right now! Ready to get some basil planted!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Diondre

 Yesterday I had the great pleasure of working with a group of teachers at Duke University with my good friend Lynden Harris, director of Hidden Voices. This was a teacher enrichment workshop and part of a visual presentation that will be included in the April 2013 presentation of the School to Prison Pipeline program Hidden Voices is working on. It's not like I don't have enough to do, but I always come away from the workshops being touched by someone and learning something I did not know and so I say yes to helping out whenever I can. Yesterday was no exception. Lynden started off the workshop with a writing prompt. The teachers were asked to think of a student they would like to write a letter to. Later they were asked if they would like to share what they wrote, and of course these letters brought tears to my eyes. The one I will not forget was the teacher that wrote about her little 6 year old student and how he/she did not want to leave on the last day of school. This child was crying on the last day and when asked why they were not happy about school being out, the child said, "because this is the only place I feel safe and loved." Can you imagine this? From a 6 year old!?
My part in these workshops is to lead the art component. We made file folders and time schedules that will be part of an art installation when the program is complete. It will be on display at UNC, Duke and the Artscenter in Carrboro. I will post more when the project is closer to completion. Right now Hidden Voices is collecting stories, art, and writing a play, so lots to do before it is ready for the public.

Last night was insomnia night and I couldn't stop thinking about these letters that were read. It made me think about who I would write to and what I would say, so I though I would write my own letter.
The teachers were given prompts to help them get started so I will use those. Here goes:

the prompt: describe the student, what they did, what they said, how they looked
                   locate the moment in time, space, year, environment
                   what you said, did, or thought
                   This is just to say
                   I remember
                   I hope

Dear Diondre:
You were the smallest kid, the most lively, the most beautiful, the most attention seeking student I had in class. You were in my summer camp art class at the Community School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC and the year was 2003.
You were the biggest distraction in class and kept all of the other children from getting the attention they deserved because you got it all. I remember your name because I must have said it 100 times a day. Diondre sit down, Diondre don't do that, Diondre stop talking, Diondre what are you doing? , Diondre why aren't you doing your work, where is Diondre, on and on it went. It was so unfair to the other kids, because you were such a huge distraction to me, trying to keep you safe and interested while also trying to keep you from bothering all of the other well behaved kids in the class. It was so unfair to everyone. Then one day, I had enough and I snapped. I took you into the art supply room, shut the door and sat you down. I remember making you look me right in the eye while I told you that when you went into first grade, the teachers were going to get sick of you and you would fall through the cracks because no one was going to have the time to pay attention only to you. They would develop a dislike for you, because you were being so obnoxious and you would sit in the principal's office and then you would be off on the wrong track, have a history with the schools and not get the education you deserved because of a prejudice the teachers would have towards you due to your record of being a trouble maker. I saw this happen in my daughter's schools enough to know how it works. I told you these things and then you cried, and then I held you tight. You told me you didn't like art, you wanted to play basketball, but your grandmother was on the board, and you were there for free, because she wanted you there. But you didn't want to be there.
So we went back into the classroom and I wondered how many other kids didn't want to be there, but had to be because their parents had jobs and had to put their kids in summer camps all summer. You were tired and you just wanted to play outside.
So we did other things besides art. We made drum sticks and we made music, and we ran around the room like we were crazy, and you laughed and you settled down and you were not bored because someone was making you do art. Not everyone wants to do what the schools want them to do.
I still remember your beautiful face, and how you said goodbye to me at the end of camp, and I wonder where you are now and if what I said that day to you in the supply room made any difference at all in your life. Did you sit patiently in class when you started first grade, or have you been in the principal's office too many times.
I hope you have found a good life and have a little appreciation for art....


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Family Heirlooms

 I finally finished up the commission for Gena's family heirlooms. If you family members are looking at my blog, I won't tell you who gets which house, I'll let Gena tell you. But they are all wonderful and I will tell you that she put a lot of thought into who she wanted to give each one to and which house would get which item. This wasn't just a random selection! If you are new to my blog, this is a commission I recently got from one of my customers. These items are from her grandmother's old house and she is giving these houses to brothers, aunt, father, uncles, and grandmother. I would love to be there when each of you get your house!!
 I have been so honored to work on this project and I am so pleased at how great each one of them turned out, They each have their own personality and each have a story. I wish I had a project like this every month. This is really what I would like to spend my time doing. So send me your treasures, I'll make you a house! Or, I have lots of treasures here if you just want one of those:)
Here are the photos of the finished pieces, enjoy....
finial from the house

keys from the house and grandfather's knife sharpening stones
bed finial and spigot from house
kitchen door knob

grandfather's wrench and hard cider opener
grandmother's vase and house finial

The End.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Morning in Old Salem

 from The Alchemist:
"The path of personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.
When we first begin fighting for our dream, we have no experience and we make many mistakes. The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times."
email  from Wesley this morning:
"this morning I couldn't get back to sleep so I got up at 7:30 and
drove to Old Salem with my camera and a book. it was light outside but
pretty cloudy and the place was just deserted. I took some pictures,
thought about you guys!"   (hope you don't mind Wes!)

 My daughter is one of those rare beings that walks through the world in a quiet, strong peace. I love watching the person she is becoming and I love that this was her experience this morning......
 She is going to do amazing things in this life! I love you, Wesley! Thanks for sharing your Sunday morning with me  xoxo

Found Objects

 I found this Jesus Friday while out with Laura having art day. I really like religious icons, especially Jesus stuff. I think he would have been a cool dude to meet. The crucifix always makes me so sad, to think of treating someone this way. But this one is so beautiful, I had to buy it. I got Wesley one too. I will probably make a mold of it, so I can have lots of them. I guess these symbols are such a part of my childhood, they would just naturally fine their way to my work. I was at our church at least three, sometime four times a week. And then I married a preacher's kid!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Lately I have been sitting up until 3am playing Skyrim. I know, pathetic, right?! But, I love the environments in this game. The architecture, the scenery, the characters. It is just amazing artwork. I think that is why I like it so much. And I have a thing for dragons. It's a really beautiful game, but hard to put down. Gerry is covering the NCAA regionals so I have a lot of time alone right now. I also ate an entire rotisserie chicken and a whole container of mac and cheese from the deli section of the grocery store. And, don't tell anybody this, but I drank three red stripe beers while eating a box of milk duds. And I wrote a couple of blog posts that probably should have had an edit. It is 2pm on Saturday and I have on my red Christmas pajamas that have the face of the kid from A Christmas Story with the words, "you'll shoot your eye out!" They are comfortable, ok? And I am looking longingly at the xbox controller because I just discovered on youtube how to buy a house in Windhelm. Also, don't tell anybody this either, but I am watching a really bad Hallmark movie with Nicole Sheridan. I'm only watching it because she is in Ireland, and there are castles, it's for St. Patrick's Day :)

Do you have days like this? Is it just me? Do I need parental supervision? Do I need an intervention?
Oh well, I am going to fire my kiln Sunday, so why can't I lay around like a brain mush video game junkie on a Saturday?
My work seems to come in fits and spurts. I have to have these down times, and then I work and work and don't stop. This is probably why I have never been able to keep a real job. I have such peaks and valleys. I have a busy week planned next week, so I'm not feeling too guilty about this weekend, but I really should do something more intelligent with my time..... oh well, maybe later. Today I am Sloth...
Now, getting back to Skyrim, haha!. The structures in this game are amazing and like I said, there are dragons! I feel like in a very tiny way, right now, the architecture is creeping into my head when I am in the studio. I love the spires, the gothic windows, the stonework, the medieval feel of it all. I could easily be one of those people that travels around with the Renaissance festivals and I would be a fairy or something.  I was thinking that it might be fun to somehow include a dragon in a house. What if there was a head coming out one end and the tail coming out of the other? I made a bowl like this one time and loved it. Hollis has been blogging about his intern and the dragon she is making. I am so excited to see it completed, think about how that dragon is going to look with Hollis' shinos. Oh man!
I'll probably never make this dragon house, but it would be fun. Whenever I start to go off on a tangent like this, I have to remember to stay focused and stay concise, otherwise I would be all over the place and never have a solid body of work.
So, I'll just imagine dragons for now, I have a whole bunch of houses that need to get made next week.
Happy weekend to all of you!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chapelboro Blog

Artistic Women by Amanda Scherle

Click here for Amanda's bio

Life's an Adventure: An Interview with Tracey Broome

Agreeing to meet outside Foster's in Durham on a typical late afternoon in late February would be slightly crazy. As it was, last Thursday was anything but typical, from the 80 degree heat to my entourage of 5 kids (my 4 plus a tagalong baby nephew) to the youthful woman with a long brown braid reading outside the Market. Wearing a light mauve blouse, multicolored hand-dyed scarf, and embellished jeans, Tracey Broome certainly embodied the image of a successful artist and intellectual, and, as I spoke with her, I found her to beanything but typical.

Once she recovered from the surprise that I was there to interview her, and wasn't just another crazed mom of many descending upon the Market with ravenous locusts, her face lit up with recognition and we began to talk as if we'd known each other for years rather than seconds. Within minutes, she was holding my 9-month-old nephew, her eyes tracking my boys with a nostalgic gleam as they slurped all-natural root beers and squabbled on and under and at the picnic tables. She spoke fondly of her days teaching young children at the Arts Center in Carrboro, and of her own daughter, Wesley, now grown and attending film school in NC. She told me the story of her jeans and her beautiful scarf, both purchased from another artist after selling her own work for the first time.

Before moving to Chapel Hill, Broome was a set designer in Charlotte. She worked in the theater at night and took pottery classes during the day. Once she moved with her daughter and her husband, Gerry, she became a studio assistant at the Arts Center in Carrboro in exchange for time in the studio. Eventually, she started teaching children's classes, expanding to include homeschooling classes to fill more of the daytime hours in the studio.

As she tells me this, she's lightly bouncing my nephew and smiling as my youngest tries to convince me to try the strange concoction he's managed to put in his nearly empty root beer bottle (where do kids find this stuff?).

"I loved teaching kids, but I had to stop because they brought in so many germs and I kept getting sick. I had three respiratory infections in a row. I hated it, but I needed to be well."

So, Broome moved on. It was a fortuitous change as she built her backyard studio, and started creating her clay houses in earnest (They're not bird houses, by the way. In case, like me, you're prone to misspeaking and risk insulting your subject).  She submitted two of her houses to a local art show, sold them both, and submitted two more to another show. Both of those sold, and now, she's a rising local star. One well off couple in Chapel Hill is so certain that she's going all the way to the top that they've started collecting her pieces now, while she's accessible.

"What made you submit those first pieces?" I ask, taking my restless nephew while my 3.5 year old climbs up the back of the iron chair and over the top of my head.

Her eyes widen as she considers the question. "Wow, good question. I don't know." She pauses for a long while, searching back to when she was less confident and more surprised by the idea of being a real artist. "I guess...It must have been a do or die moment. If I was going to be a real artist, and really do this, I had to go all the way."

Broome is poised to go all the way. Her voice still carries a note of surprise that people are interested in her work, which is still evolving, becoming something personal and more family oriented as she incorporates antiques and personal belongings into custom pieces. This new phase started with the gift of a small porcelain doll from a friend. Broome worked it into a piece, and gave it back to the owner.

"This was a treasure that had been stored away in a drawer, and now it's part of something bigger and she has it out on display and loves to look at it. I love that part of it. Turning something special into something new. Now people give me doorknobs and figurines and pictures."

Broome's work is special and new, and she's a bit protective of it. "I'm starting to see elements of my work in others' work, and I don't like it.  You have to find your own voice. I've found mine."

As we wrap up the interview over the plaintive whining of my brood, she speaks warmly of her impending weekend trip to the beach with artistic friends (not surprising) and excitedly of her newfound vice, Skyrim (quite surprising). My 11 and 8 year olds are deeply impressed that this grown woman is encouraging them to try it out when they get a chance, and look at her with awe as she describes hunting dragons and having great adventures.

Yes, Tracey Broome is anything but typical, and she's in the midst of a grand adventure.Check out her work before the rest of the world figures this out, too. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To you blogger lovelies!

 Ok, let's try again. I wanted to end my day on a positive note since I had a brief mental episode earlier today. Yes, three posts in one day, yes, I need a laptop intervention, yes, Gerry was not here to help me edit myself and my temper. But you, my friends, are out there to help me get through these insane rants I go on without thinking. I just go into a rage and nothing can be done. I went back out to my studio after having my little fit and tried to understand why this thing has me so angry. I am a grown woman, I should behave better, I certainly taught my daughter to behave better. But I am my mother's child, and trust me you would not want that woman mad at you! She once through a brick at her brother, yikes!
I do apologize to you for the profanity, if you were offended by it. Wes really does not like it when I use my "bad words" and I should edit better. I'm sure I have customers out there saying WTF?!
But man, I was so mad. Why, I ask, was I mad? I have tried to understand this and get over it, but a button sure got pushed today, didn't it?! Thanks to you for articulating for me what I was not able to in my unreasonable state of mind. You all said what I should have said very well, and I thank you for having my back! I still don't think this is right, I know there are those that will be pissed at what I said, well bring it on, I asked for it, didn't I? I am sitting here in my cozy living room, having a Red Stripe and thinking about this bizarre blog world. So many of you I have never met, but I respect your work, I love to read your blogs, and it is so fun to meet so many of you with out ever really meeting you. Those of you that are customers or just readers, glad you are checking in. I just wanted to say thanks for the supportive comments and thanks for the emails too. None have been mean.... yet.... so thanks for that as well!
 I did manage to have a productive day in the studio.
The finials are going to work out, must get more of these, new house designs too. This could be endless....
 I finished up Gena's family commission today. Finally......
Into the oven, bake at 350 for 12 hours  and serve warm. (not really)
Fingers crossed the coming apart thing has been corrected, last firing was all good, so we shall see. Soon these will be family heirlooms.
I will be checking out the Nasher Museum exhibit tomorrow, Alexander Calder and Outsider art, so that should keep me out of trouble for at least a day. Thanks for having my back, ya'll!!  xo

Crazy ass bitch

Wesley and I were at Surplus Sids army surplus store last week shopping for her film. She has written a screenplay about three soldiers and needed military props. For some odd reason, Sid had this little girl laying on a table with some action figures. I know not why, you would have to know this store. It is my go to shop for props, if he doesn't have what you need, he picks up the phone and finds it.
Anyway, she screamed at me to take her home, so for 50 cents, she was mine. I can so relate to this little one. I love her crazy hair and her dirty dress and that little sassy smile on her face with the little raised eyebrows. It's like she knows what I'm thinking and she approves. She probably won't make it into one of my pieces, she may just keep me company in the studio, someone I can talk to, haha! She looks like I feel some days. I used to be manicured, made up, dressed up and clean. I went through my closet last night and realized all I have now are flannel shirts and hoodies. I forget to brush my hair, my nails always have clay under them, my shoes are always dirty, as are my jeans. What in the hell happened to me!?  The thing is, I like it. Gerry would probably prefer it if I could tidy up a bit, but he seems to be dealing with it, thanks Ger.
The dressed up me had no idea who she was and it was damn hard work keeping the nails polished, shopping at the mall, getting my hair cut, and so much money! The dirty me knows who she is most of the time, hardly ever goes to the mall, hair cut?! what's that?!  I like who I am much more now, although I feel like I might be slightly crazy some days. My mind seems like it is zooming at 100 miles an hour, it never rests. I think I slept for maybe an hour last night. I always feel like the odd one in the room. When I am around people that don't do art, I find it difficult to pay attention to what they are saying and I don't even want to try to explain how I spend my days. I find comfort being around others that create art. They are easy to be with, they have paint on them, or clay and their minds are racing right along with mine. They get what I see in this doll. But even with them, I always feel like I don't quite fit. Apparently this is a symptom of ACOA. For example, when I was at the beach with my friends the other week, there were moments when I felt like a complete misfit. This is completely irrational, because these are all loving and accepting women and they are good friends. But I felt like the round peg in the square hole. I hate this feeling but it's always there. Maybe that's why this doll called out to me. She is the one that doesn't quite fit and she was in an army surlpus store, haha!
Alas, I fear that this has all influenced Wesley. Her hair looks about like this doll too. She wore the same pair of jeans the entire time she was home for spring break, I could not make her go shopping for new clothes, although she did buy a gray army t shirt at the surplus store and got a great pair of black army boots for $15 at the flea market. All she wants are new pens and notebooks. Oh well, my daughter is a crazy ass bitch, just like her mom, and we like it like that, haha!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Being stoned

When I was in high school, I was a model, I had a job doing displays for Belk department stores and I ran with a much older crowd that was into scotch whiskey and cocaine. I was young and naive but learning quickly from these guys I was hanging with. One beautiful spring day, there was a party in Murrells Inlet being given by the owner of a very fine restaurant in Myrtle Beach. I was invited by my older friends and I went. There was amazing food and alcohol and hash brownies. I was drinking white wine, eating garlic sauteed shrimp, crab salad and throwing down the brownies like there was no tomorrow. The sun was so warm after the cold winter, the dock that led out to the inlet was dappled with sunlight, the seagulls were calling to me. I wandered out onto the dock and woke up three hours later in a stoned stupor. I had no idea I had eaten brownies with hash in them and no idea why I was a complete zombie. All I did know was that I felt amazing and to this day I remember the feeling of that afternoon, lying in the sunlight on the sound. Every now and then I get a wiff of that day, usually on a day when I have had a really great meal, or in the spring, like now when the days are getting warm again. I have been feeling the call of those brownies and that dock this week with the weather so warm. I never had hash brownies again, but I will never forget the taste of them.....
Yesterday I had lunch with Hollis, well not physically, but his work was there. Here is a Hollis Engley tea bowl and serving bowl that gets a lot of use in our house. I sauteed some asparagus in olive oil and garlic, poured it over some baby spinach and topped with almonds and slivers of parmesan. It wasn't hash brownies but it was really good, and all the better for the pottery it was served in. I'm so glad there are makers of wonderful handmade items like this out there. Handmade crafts make life a much better experience. Thank you to all of the crafters of handmade goods!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


So glad Gerry captured this moment before I sent these to the Mudfire show. I usually have time like this to bond with my pieces before I send them off. I didn't have a chance to do that with the pieces I took to Lark and Key, I didn't even get really great photos of them. I like to put new work on my old english pine kitchen table and look at them throughout the day, watching the way the light plays with the shadows, and making sure they are meaningful before they go to another home. These are still available, but if they don't sell, I think they will stay with me. My friend Susan once told me that when my pieces didn't sell, I wasn't ready to let them go. That might have been true about these. I really love them, sigh.............

Monday, March 12, 2012

I wandered lonely as a cloud....

 I am very fortunate to live with a child that loves words. She always has. She loves her books and she loves words. Today we were driving into Chapel Hill to look for props for the film she is shooting next week. There was a single cloud in the sky and she quietly said "I wandered lonely as a cloud".... as if this was just a common statement that anyone would make while riding in the car. I love this about Wesley. She expands my mind and keeps me thinking. She is a still water, deep and silent. Sometimes she is unsettling in her quietness. I am not quiet, I am not still. I am constant motion. She is stillness. A nice balance. We also picked up some books at the PTA thrift store. All of these great books for $3.
I am in a Steinbeck mood these days, that one is mine, and I picked up a couple of EB White books. The rest are Wesley's. She reads way beyond my level, almost always has.

 To show you my level of maturity, I like the cover of this book because it reminds me of Skyrim, haha
 Wes is heading back to school today. There will be an empty space in the house again. She fills up so much of the space in this house. I have cooked so many meals this past week, wanting to nourish her with good meals that she doesn't get at school. It's been great having her home and it will be sad to watch her car pull out of the driveway. I think about the time when she no longer lives here, when she is out on her own, making a life for herself, and I don't know how that is possible. How do we as parents cope with having our children leave us? We do it, I have almost survived a year of college now, but it is a growth process, getting to know a different me, deciding if I like this me. I liked the me that was a mom doing class parties and field trips and homework and projects. But I am alone with this me a lot and we are slowly getting to know each other......

My life has slowed down since Wesley went off to school.  I am paying attention to the slowness, the textures, the light, the quietness, the stillness. I think I like it.....
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beneath the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. W. Wordsworth

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lion Days and Lamb Days

 We took Wesley shopping today to find props for the film she is shooting next week, and I found these.
It seems like I hardly get one thing finished and I'm looking down the road at the next thing I want to make. These are cast iron and are going to be on my next houses. Just look at the rust and the shapes, oh God, I love these things. How will I part with them......
 I know this is pathetic, but I am finding myself very influenced by the architecture in Skyrim (my new xbox obsession, if you are a new reader). We saw a table full of daggers next to these finials, and I actually reached for one, thinking I needed it for battle, then I remembered I didn't actually do battle in real life, haha! But those daggers were really cool !
 These ladies are waiting for homes, so I'll finish them up before I start anything else, but I already can't wait to see how the finials are going to look. These dolls look like porcelain corpses, don't they.......

Today we heard a little boy ask his mother if it was a lion day or a lamb day. I love the image of that. It was windy and chilly so she told him it was a lion day. I like that it was a lion day today.....
I drafted a long nasty blog last night for those of you that keep reading those, but I changed my mind. The title of the post was Mind Vomit. You know how it is when you have eaten some shit and you know you have to vomit to feel better, but you just keep pretending you aren't going to .... that's how my mind feels. I have a nagging thing in my head like a mosquito buzzing and I know I would feel better if I would just get it over with and say something. But I am trying to be more mature and rise above the bullshit that sometimes flows my way, so I'm holding back the mind vomit. I have decided for now to be positive and professional and take a pause before I say things I regret later. Let's see how long this lasts :)
Tomorrow will be a lamb day, Sunday, Wesley's last day home, coffee, breakfast, sunshine, sloth behavior, ahhhhhh......