Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thank you everyone!

I just wanted to thank all of you for your wise words, emails, phone calls and posts on my blog yesterday. I appreciate the opinions and advise and wisdom from your own experiences with galleries and UPS!

You will be happy to know that I received a very kind phone call this afternoon from the shop in question and I am going to be reimbursed 100% for my loss. I wrote an email this morning sort of paraphrasing some of your comments and asking them to do the right thing, and I am happy to say they did. I have a good relationship with this shop, they are very professional, which is why I was surprised yesterday to receive the email saying they would only cover 60%. Apparently this came from the accounting side, those who only ever see the numbers and not the personal situation attached. The gallery manager went to bat for me, fought for me and she clearly got the point across. I have been really impressed with how all of this has been handled, except for the packing part that started this in the first place! So, all is well, lessons learned by all of us. Fight for justice and the right thing, sometimes you can actually win the battle, especially when you are dealing with intelligent, kind and  rational people, haha!
Meanwhile, I have a bisque fire going, finally, Wesley is home sick with the flu, and I am dressing my loom. This little cup is in the kiln, looking forward to glazing it over the weekend and seeing if it can survive my inept skills with ^6. I hope so, I have grown fond of it.
peace ya'll, hope all your shipments arrive unharmed :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is this fair.....?

 Yesterday I received a box from a gallery returning some of my work. They are re-doing their inventory and shipped back some older work. When I opened the package it was like those photos you look at and know that something is off, but you can't quite figure out "what is wrong with this picture".
 Then it hit me. One cardboard box with nine pieces of ceramic stuffed in it and wrapped in newsprint. Hmmm... where are the packing peanuts, where is the corrugated cardboard, where is the bubble wrap?!?!
A couple of weeks ago I got a shipment back from Mudfire Gallery. (I know, I just love all this work coming back, ugh). Mudfire wins the prize for packing and shipping. Double bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and a HUGE box for just three pieces. Everything snug and safe, just as it should be.
 This box had only two vases wrapped in bubble wrap, the rest of the work only wrapped in newsprint.
So, here is the best part. Two of my barns were broken on the corners, real surprise there, right?
I emailed photos to the gallery, they called, very apologetic and embarrassed, seems a new hire did the packing, obviously did not know what they were doing.
NOW.... here is my question to you. I have never dealt with breakage before, these are my first returns, and as I said the other gallery packed to perfection. This gallery wants to pay me 60% of the cost of these pieces they packed so poorly because I quote "it is such a hassle to file a claim with UPS and they aren't very cooperative with handmade items". They want to reimburse me as if it were a sale.
This hardly seems fair to me. Each barn was $150. So I think the gallery owes me $300 for this work. They emailed and said they were sending me a check for $180. As I am typing this, my fingers are tapping the keys harder and harder, I really think this is irresponsible and unfair and I am out $120. It's not like I am getting rich making pottery as it is, and now this. I like this gallery, very nice people and I have a good relationship, I don't want to burn bridges here, but seriously.....
So is this gallery policy? To pay a commission price for work they ship incompetently that gets broken? The work was insured, shouldn't I get the full price for my loss? I'm getting more and more annoyed with selling art. There are just so many pissy things involved!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A day in the woods

I know it's cliche, but it's true, nature is so art inspiring. Yesterday's trip to the Uwharrie Mts. (pronounced you warrys) down in Asheboro fed my soul. It was around 40 degrees and cloudy, but the walking warmed me up and then the environment distracted me from the cold completely. These boulders are all over the place, outcropping in a flatter meadow area, and from this point you could see Badin Lake down below.

While Gerry climbed on every rock he could find, I wandered around in the woods collecting art supplies. I was obsessed with these orange rocks. I spent this morning trying to find a raku glaze that would match this red orange color.

The Uwharries are a bit of a playground for.... how do I say this nicely? Southern Good old boys?.... didn't their mamas teach them anything about picking up trash?! Gerry spent some time gathering up broken glass, I gathered rusty tin cans and brought them home! I didn't know Bud Light came in this blue bottle. I'm thinking glass shards for raku..... I also brought home a lot of dried grasses, seed pods and some tiny sticks that have mossy greens and cranberry reds on them. I have an idea for some more nature weavings and raku on tiles.....

The red orange rock and the green moss on the boulders has me longing for glazes that would replicate these colors. 
It was good to get out and let nature fill my head with ideas.....

......spend the day with a hot guy.......

......and drive along isolated country dirt roads. So much better than kiln sitting, don't you think?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Around here

 Looks like it's going to be another week for eating warm things. Woke up to a cloudy morning with rain predicted for tomorrow and more cloudy days on and off for the rest of the week. I'm just giving in to it and using it as an excuse to eat more soup! I like making big pots of beans. This was last week's assortment, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans and azuki beans. Topped with havarti with caraway seeds and cilantro. yum! and in my newest bowl from Hollis, so pretty.
 Stopped in to explore some antique shops over the weekend. Starting to look for props for Walt, but I end up finding more things for Tracey. I collect these cigar tins and found a new one for $9, including these porcelain cylinders inside.
 Any clue what they are?
 I'm thinking legs for houses.......
 Starting to see a little green around here.
I was planning to fire my kiln today but Gerry has other plans, looks like the boulder fields in the Uwharries instead. Which would you choose with about six weeks before your first show of the year and nothing made yet? Yeah, I'll be down in Asheboro :) there is no hope for me. I didn't get any work done here over the weekend either, I had other places to go..... sigh.
Hope you guys have a great week.

ps: I have been meaning to say: some you you with different blog formats have blogs that I can't comment on with my ipad and also some I can't view if flash is involved. Just saying, I'm reading, but I mostly use my ipad now, so sorry for the lack of commenting here  xo

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I think we need a laugh

This is really funny, I don't know how I missed it when it was all viral. I live in a hole apparently :)
Enjoy..... lighten up

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Deja Vu All Over Again

Day after Day, another mama's crying
She's lost her precious Child to a war that has no end......

Yesterday while I untangled an unholy mess from my loom, Gerry was playing his guitar. He has learned this song all the way through, he sounds really good, and it was in my head all night. What a profound song. Really puts into perspective how unimportant worrying about clay and yarn really is. Mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children,and friends are losing a loved one somewhere in this world everyday. That's what's important..... the time we have with the ones we love, while we have them ..... for such a short time.

peace ya'll

Friday, February 22, 2013

Test tiles

I am nearly ready to start testing some ^6 glazes, just got to get a break in the weather to load my kiln for a bisque. I made a bunch of flat test tiles, but then I realized the glazes I am testing are probably runny and I want to see what they will do so I made these little cylinders. When I was teaching hand building classes, we always had a stamp day. Everyone brought in creative things to make stamps with and we all shared. I have boxes of stamps from those classes, so I got out some old ones that I had forgotten about.  These were quick and easy to make and are about 5" tall. I put bottoms on them, so if they look ok after the test firing, they might make nice little bud vases. I could be so lucky!
It's another dreary rainy cold day. Yesterday of course was beautiful, just to continue the trend of the psycho weather, and I got my studio cleaned up from the glaze mixing and red clay vs. white clay projects, and I cleaned buckets, boards, all the usual things that come along with pottery that people who want a $5 bowl don't understand. I should make a picture board one day of all the crap work I do just to be able to make a bowl and put it in my booth, ha!
Looks like an icky weekend, so I am planning to warp my loom today and do some indoor work. I gave it a try working out in my studio and putting the heater right at my feet, but still I was so cold, that now I have muscles in my neck all cinched up, my right hand is tingling and my left bicep is still in excruciating pain when I move it wrong. I'm pretty sure I have a pinched nerve but I have convinced myself that yoga is going to take care of it. I hate going to docs. So far my flexibility is getting really great, but not my neck, shoulders and arms. If I stay busy enough though, I don't really think too much about it. Just the pains of a body that hasn't been quite as active as it used to be. Speaking of staying active. Gerry went rock climbing last week with our old climbing mates and one of them is now 70 years old! Gerry said they were both climbing about the same pace, I am just digging the fact that a 70 year old can get out and rock climb. I'm not dead yet! Just a little achy....... but there is hope for a long active life!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tea anyone?

 I'm working on props for the musical, Walt, about Walt Whitman, and there is a scene where the director is thinking the ladies will be having a little gossip (singing of course) while stage business will be sipping from tea cups. This has got me thinking about making cups and saucers. My pal Susan Wells makes what I think is the prettiest tea cup ever. I bought this one from her several years ago when we first met. It is an old friend. I remember when I first got it, I would sit on the porch in my grandmother's swing every afternoon and have tea in this cup. Newer cups came along and I got crushes on them, and this cup, though well loved, went to the back of the cupboard for awhile. I got it back out now that I have these amazing new teas, and I am enjoying it once again. The handle is rough and stained with iron oxide. At first I wasn't sure that I liked that, but after awhile, I started to really enjoy the tactile nature of the handle, it reminded me that it was not a factory made cup, but made by the hands of a good friend, and now it is a comforting feeling that I look forward to when I use this cup.
For some reason, I like coffee in a mug, tea in a cup. It just feels right.
 This is another old friend. I made it a few years back when I had semi access to the ^10 reduction firings at Claymakers. It is probably the best mug I ever made. Brandon Phillips made a couple of tutorials for me when I was struggling with making handles and mugs and this is what came from those tutorials. Ahh the good old days before facebook..... sigh.....
 This is my new coconut chai tea, pretty with my old mug isn't it? I think I will go have a cup right now! Bloggers seem to have tea on the brain today, after I wrote this I saw several blog posts about tea pots and tea. I think it's that time of year. I'm tired of the seasonal ciders and hot chocolates but I still need a warm beverage that tastes like winter. It's a good time to be selling teapots,  but I won't be making them!
peace ya'll

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Did I mention bloggers are the BEST!!

I have been pondering for the past couple of days on a blog post. So many things about this country are getting on my last nerve, and I feel them spilling over in my brain, but I am really trying to stop having crazy rants on my blog, so I have just not posted anything, if you can't say something nice, blah blah blah.....  but today I got manna from heaven, blog material!Last month I got several nice surprises in the mail from bloggers. It is always fun to get unexpected mail, and even better when there is treasure inside. I am still glowing from those packages and then today another one came!

 Hollis Engley, you are the BEST! Many of you know Hollis and Hatchville Pottery, and probably know that we stayed with Hollis and Dee on our trip home from Maine a couple of years ago. We barely knew them, but they kindly invited us to come for a visit and we took them up on it. Hollis has a beautiful gallery on Cape Cod and has a pretty nice life up there, yes he does! a little cold right now, maybe...

 Today, after a very cold and shivering day in my own studio, I came in to a package waiting for me. Hollis sent me his mother's weaving materials, I know, are you gasping?! did your eyes open wide, mouth drop open?! Me too!
I am beyond excited to have these beautiful tools, I am a tool- alholic, especially if they are beautiful and useful, and these are both. I only have one shuttle, and now I have many many. And they are so special, because someone's mother used these to weave, Hollis' mom. There she is in the photo he included with a note explaining that she started weaving in her 50's, ME TOO! Also included was a bowl to add to my growing collection of Hatchville Pottery. I have bowls on the brain right now, so this is a great inspiration to make some good ones. Except now, I only want to weave.......
Hollis, thank you so much for your kindness, and I have a little something here that I might just send as a big thanks for this very special package. Just know that I will use every one of these items with love and will treasure them, just as I am sure your mom did!!!
One last note, Happy Birthday Tyler, he is twelve years old today and this patch of sun by the back door is his spot in the afternoons to warm those tired old bones. I delivered Tyler 12 years ago today, his mom had already pushed out 8 puppies and she just couldn't get her strength back to get this last one out, he had just started to exit and she gave up, so I had to pull him out. I had no idea what I was doing, I had never seen an animal birth before, but I had given birth, so I sort of got the idea, haha!

If that patch of sun had been by the door today, I think I might have laid down there myself. It was a cold and rainy day, again! more psycho weather. We really need some spring time don't we? Much like when we are bitching in August that we need some cool weather. Never satisfied........
Hope all of you are dry and warm and making beautiful art or if you aren't an artist, go buy some!
Thanks again Hollis, much appreciated, you made my day!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Psycho weather

 Yesterday Wesley and I went shopping at Whole Foods, ate lunch there, walked around and tried all of the samples they had to offer, then went to Southern Seasons, sampled more things and bought tea and goat cheese. I got a new tangerine white tea and a coconut chai, both really great. When we got home we made a pot of the chai, went outside in our short sleeve shirts and sat in the sun, soaking up that vitamin D. It was one of those days that warms your soul. I have to say the marketing at Whole Foods and Southern Seasons was very successful yesterday for at least two of their customers. I bought the chips and guacamole, the red delicious apples, the goat cheese, and some other stuff. There was one cheese they let us try that maybe they shouldn't have been letting folks taste first. We didn't buy it after we tasted it, sorry.
This is my cup du jour, a sweet little Alex Matisse/Mark Hewitt cup, and the tangerine tea that looks suspiciously like an illegal substance.....
Today I woke just in time to see the neighbor's chickens running across the yard to our house and snow coming down.... HARD. It has not stopped all day, but this is my kind of a snow, very pretty, big fluffy flakes and a wet warm ground to melt most of it. 
Gerry had to shoot the Carolina game, so Wesley and I snuggled in for a movie day and warm food. We watched Tree of Life. I feel so bad for the people that got up and walked out on this movie. Too bad they couldn't stay and really appreciate a talented film maker. What a visual film and such a relatable story for many of my generation. I loved it. 
A pot of chili is on the stove, making corn bread and my favorite thing to make on days like this, Ina Garten's orange pound cake. It's comfort day here :)
This weather is making my head spin a bit, but it's sort of interesting. We get a day almost in the 70's then the next day snow, then meteors fall from the sky, then hurricane force winds blow. A little something for everyone! Hope your weekend is a lovely one. My girl is home for a few days, so it's all good here!

Friday, February 15, 2013


 I have a pretty good collection of bowls now, so I hope to get my kiln fired next week and test some ^6 glazes on both dark and white clay and see what I like. Much as I would love to fire a bunch of shino bowls, I just don't have the means to do that, so I'm hoping to come up with some ^6 colors that I like. I don't really have the desire to make functional pottery, other than bowls. I love making bowls. I could sit at my wheel all day and just make bowls. I don't want to make mugs, pitchers, plates, serving pieces, just bowls...... and look, I made a bunch that look the same!
 I am testing a base glaze and adding colorants so I should have a green, purple and turquoise and a satin matte white. I may mix up a black.... I got tired of sieving yesterday, so I have more mixing to do today. I also mixed up some red luster glazes to test for raku.....
Can I just say glaze mixing is a pain in the ass? I am lazy and I don't particularly like glazing work, so I am hoping this base with colorants will work out. I would be happy with just one color and bowls. I don't know what kind of potter that makes me, but there it is. Lazy and single minded haha!
Actually, I like things to be simple. Complication annoys my brain. I think that's why I like making my barns. Build a barn, make it white. I would be happy to make a nice bowl, glaze it white. I don't like decoration on my work. I'm not good at it, so I feel like my form has to be really good so that the ^6 glaze holds up and doesn't look like my old student work at a community center. With wood firing and reduction, the glaze often makes a sometimes mediocre piece look great, but with ^6, the form should be good. I hope this works out. I have had many glaze failures since I got this kiln. This might be my last effort with it! There's always raku and terra sig, which seem to agree with me......

Thursday, February 14, 2013


 Hope you are with the ones you love today!

I switched over to throwing white clay yesterday and I have to say, I love my white clay. It's raku clay so it's groggy, but I don't mind that. I threw some really pretty bowls, Hope to get them trimmed today, the weather has not been too bad so I am getting in some well needed studio time.
Have fun smelling your flowers and eating your chocolates today!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do what I want to....

 It was nice to get back on my wheel last week and throw some bowls, get that out of my system. I like throwing bowls, I like making little barns, and I like making pendants. So why spend time making things I don't really like making? Or spend time doing things I don't like doing?
I have been thinking a lot about that and I have started marking things off my list. I withdrew from the CDCG board and the Chatham Artists board. I like the people involved a lot, and I like what they represent, but I get bored in those meetings, haha. My mind starts to wander, and the meetings always end with me realizing I missed most of what went on. So why spend my time there when I have so many other things going on in my life. I am also passing over exhibitions that require money to enter. If I applied to every show I have received emails about this month, I would have already spent about $300. Why bother? also passing on those expensive shows. A few affordable ones I will do, but $1000 booth fees? really?
I signed on to do props and help with the set for the Artcenter's production of Walt, a musical about Walt Whitman. I went to the first production meeting this past weekend, and was nearly giddy I was so happy to be doing theater work again.
I thought that I was over the barn thing, but I made some today and we still like each other. I'll make more, just not like the ones I made last year. No more of those. There are plenty out in galleries that represent my work, so I see no need to make more. I want to do something else. Little ones, more sculptural, less expensive, more accessible.....

 I don't know about the dark clay. I like my white clay, my white studio, I spent forever today cleaning up red clay from my tools and boards so I can throw some white stoneware bowls. It may have to be one or the other, we'll see..... if the glaze tests come out good, and you know they will since I have doubts, the red clay might stay.....
Trish, the photo on the right is for you. I realized I forgot to respond to your question about how I raku fire beads. I have tried lots of ways, but for a quick and dirty tool, one of my students came up with this tree. It's just a lump of clay, I hollowed out the bottom, and I stuck in high temp wire. These things hold up to lots and lots of firings, unlike other things I have tried. I have three that I have had for four years now, and I made a new one so I can fire lots more.
I made some more test tiles and built some new shelves in my studio today for my glaze ingredients. 
Tomorrow more white clay work and trimming bowls. Seriously taking advantage of this nice weather while I can. Sorry for you folks up in the northern polar regions, but I had my studio door open today and had a t-shirt on.... I know...... it won't be too much longer.....

My blog pals Dennis and Judi both posted thoughtful blogs this week and it gave me a lot to think about today. I was going to continue the thread, but for some reason, I am drawing a blank on what to say. I'm sure in the wee hours when I don't sleep, something will come along.

I heard on the radio today that the Year of the Snake is about rebirth and transformation, and it is sure feeling like that here in the Broome household. All of us are going through some changings.. it feels exciting!
Meanwhile, I'm just going to do whatever I feel like doing and not worry too much about who is liking what I do and who will buy what. I'm just putting it out there for whomever may come along and like what I do!

Peace ya'll

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Boots On The Ground

In 2004, I was taking pottery classes at Clayworks on 9th Street in Charlotte NC. and Gerry joined an embed with troops going to Iraq to do a story on the first anniversary of the Iraq war. He called me one day to say that he would be out of touch for a few days and couldn't say where he would be, but he would check in as soon as he could. A few days later, I was driving in to Charlotte to go to my pottery class and heard on NPR that two American journalists had been killed in southern Iraq, which was where Gerry was heading. By the time I got to Clayworks, I was sick with worry, could not focus on making anything and finally ended up in tears. Bless the people that were there that day, they consoled me as best they could and then one of them suggested I call home and see if Gerry had left a message. And by some small miracle he had. He was alright, he was at a camp with the troops that were looking after him and I calmed down a bit. 

 Forward to 2013..... on 7th Street in Charlotte, just two blocks away from where I learned to make pottery, is the Levine Museum of the New South. And Gerry's work from the Iraq war is on exhibit there, along with an exhibit of Margaret Bourke-White's photos of the first M.A.S.H unit during WWII. Imagine, you shoot one of the best assignments of your career and your work ends up in a museum alongside an exhibit from one of the most famous photojournalists of our time. That has got to feel pretty great. I am incredibly proud of Gerry and what he has accomplished since I met him. We met when I was 19 years old and his first job for the Greensboro News and Record was as a stringer shooting pet of the week. Now he works for the largest news organization in the world and has a show in Charlotte. We drove down to the big city today to see it. Gerry had the flu the night of the opening reception and this is the first chance we have had to go.

 This was probably one of the last really great photojournalist assignments Gerry worked on before he went to work for the Associated Press and started sitting on the basketball court A LOT, shooting sports photos for our sports obsessed culture. Gerry has a great job, and he loves what he does, but what he does best is tell stories with his photos and he doesn't get to do nearly enough of that anymore. Sadly, journalism is dying a slow and painful death and I for one am sorry to see that. I have hopes that the generation behind us will see how important it is, and keep it alive and truthful.
When this photo ran of this little boy, it really struck a nerve with the Observer readers. The chaplain that Gerry traveled with on his trip said his images were really getting the soldiers noticed and phone cards and things for them were pouring in.

 The exhibit is so well curated and I was very impressed. We thought that Gerry's photos were to be part of a larger exhibit but instead they took the actual pages from the stories he and writer Mark Washburn filed and printed them full size on boards and the page spreads were placed all around the gallery. It made quite an impact visually and I love how they did this. As I stood in that room, I just had chills looking at those photos. They are powerful images and they reminded me of what a really great photographer Gerry really is. Sometimes with all of the football and hockey and basketball I forget that he used to tell amazing stories, back when there was real journalism.

 There were several other people included in this exhibit, one was an artist that did a floor installation of the country of Iraq printed on a vinyl canvas, more about that later.
As we walked around looking at all of the photos, Gerry kept saying, where is my tank photo? It was one of his best images and they had asked for it specifically, but it wasn't in the gallery. I walked outside to shoot a photo of the building for my blog and found the tank photo, haha!

 I'm not really sure how we missed this going in! This is probably the largest format Gerry has ever had a picture run.
 He even got a photo credit:)

So, if you are in the Charlotte area, stop by the Levine Museum and check it out, the show is pretty great and the Margaret Bourke-White photos are pretty special too.
Wesley was home last weekend and completed her application to transfer to UNC here in Chapel Hill and enter the journalism school. Imagine that! She practically grew up in the newspaper building in Greensboro and has been able to go on assignment from time to time with her dad, and she wants to tell stories. Two peas in a pod, she has had a great example of how to do it, we will see what happens. Fingers crossed she gets in!
Congrats Gerry! I am really proud of you and the work you do... xoxo

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Journal Pages

 Here are a few pages from the journal that Wesley and I are sharing. The first week she went back to school, I got this moleskin journal for us to send back and forth while she was away. I got the idea from my pals Laura and Shannon who did a sketchbook journal together. This was my entry for February, the first day she went back to school after being home for a really nice long weekend together. It was cold and rainy and the house seemed so quiet without her here. I wanted to wrap myself in a warm blanket, but I went for weaving and watercolor instead. Nice company.

 Wesley did these pages while she was home on Christmas break and then left the journal here for me to see when she went back to school. Wrapping paper from a Christmas gift, the unicorn is from the Sufian Stevens Christmas concert she went to, and Django Unchained sketch and movie ticket stub.
 Wesley's watercolor. This was the first Halloween we have been apart since she was born. I got her two little pumkins for her dorm room, it was not the most fun Halloween for either of us.....
If you have a kid away at school or just away somewhere, I highly recommend doing this journal. It's been really fun to wait for it in the mail, getting the envelope and peeking inside to see what the newest pages are. I think it will be  great to look back at the end of the year and see what we have done.
I had a good week in the studio, bowls and cups made for a test ^6, today I made about 50 pendants, some clay stamps and a few tile ideas that I am working on for a raku firing. The little barns are nudging me at the back of my brain, they aren't completely gone yet, but they will be different, the ones I made last year are all I'm doing like that. Time to move forward, I am feeling the push.