Saturday, July 30, 2011

Treasure hunt

Maybe in some obscure way I am trying to deny this heat really exists so I got Wesley up early this morning and we went to the flea market at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. I love this place, but on a day when there is a code orange alert and it's supposed to be 102 later in the day, we probably should have stayed home. I noticed a lot of the vendors did not show up, smart on their part I would say, but the ones that were there were selling, good for them! I bought this little seahorse. I plan to make a mold of him for Christmas ornaments this year, so cute! I love sea horses, the fact that the male carries the eggs and all that.....ok, moving on......
I dug him out of this pile of iron stuff, I would have bought the whole wagon but Wesley reminded me I don't really need any more stuff, good girl!
Here is the real reason we went. Last year Wes bought the coolest army jacket, Vietnam era and she wore it all winter. The guy we bought it from had a bunch of these cases and we went to see him today. Of course he wasn't there, but there was another vendor with one. The only catch was that it was full of stuff and we had to buy the whole thing.
So we brought home this medic case for Wesley to take to college for storage, and we also got 2 white sailor hats, officers ties, army hats, brown t shirts, webbing, several pairs of gloves, 2 nice pairs of wool pants,chemical gloves that will be great for mixing glazes, chemical suits? a couple of small medic bags, and all kinds of other crap I have no idea what to do with. Anyway, it was fun digging through all the stuff, all of it was labeled with someone's name. It makes me wonder who all of these things belonged to, where are they now, have they survived battle, and this medic kit, what traumas has it witnessed. God bless the military for doing what many of us would never be able to, but really can we just stop having wars, it would be so much easier that way! Safe journeys to the soldiers out there, wherever you are.

Friday, July 29, 2011

To hot for handbuilding

I have this antique wooden doll and for the longest time I have wanted to make a clay sculpture of it. Of course I would pick one of the hottest days of the month. I was so obsessed with making her that I didn't really notice the heat, except that she was drying faster than I could get her made. She is coil built, and even though I kept spraying her with water, the face and hands got dry before I could really finish them, so there are some things that aren't exactly the way I want them, but I like her and will try again when it isn't so hot, if that day ever comes. I'm not that great at sculpture, but I like doing it, and should do more so I could get better.
Her texture sort of matches the texture I am putting on my barns. I even made some trays with that texture. Seems that every thing I am making right now looks like old wood.
Here are the shelves I put up the other day when it was 100 degrees. I really can't stand working in this heat, but what are you going to do, things have to get done and this heat doesn't look like it is going to let up. I really need to fire my kiln, but I have some concerns about the heat and dry weather and the closeness of my shed to the heat source. Plus, I'm not that into being near a kiln blazing at 1900 degrees. Where IS that ice and snow I was firing in not so long ago!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Project Runway

So I will just go ahead and say, Yes, I have a shallow side, and that shallow side LOVES Project Runway. I'm getting a quick blog post in before the season premiere which will be on in 5 minutes(they are actually doing a count down on Lifetime). This is just about the only thing I watch on TV, I mostly hate network programing and I miss 24, the other show I used to watch. What in the world has happened to TV? We are watching re runs of Mary Tyler Moore and Andy Griffith, so better than what's on now, or we have it on Pandora. So anyway...
When I was in high school I made a lot of my own clothes. I lived for the new Vogue magazine to hit the newsstand, and I read it like a Bible. I would cut out pictures and try to create those images in my own outfits. I mostly went to school looking like some freak artist (wait, I WAS a freak artist) but God bless my mom, she let me go to school any way I wanted and never said one word. I rode with my neighbor to school every day and at least once a week her mom made her go back to her room to change because she didn't have a belt in her belt loops or she didn't have a shirt tucked in to her perfectly pressed khakis. Lord, her mom must have wondered what drug my mom was on, letting me out of the house with scarves tied around my head, fringe boots, and skirts that did NOT allow me to bend at all.
Anyway, YAY! Another season of Project Runway!! Do I have any company? And don't you just love Tim Gunn?

Ahoy Maties

I'm still here. I haven't had much of an urge to blog this week, the heat is mind numbing and I'm trying to work in the studio every day. I'm able to work for a few hours, then the temps creep up to triple digits, I get a headache and I come in and plop on our cool leather sofa for the afternoon and read. Then I go back out in the evening for a few more hours. Also catching up on filing and paperwork that seems never ending and I moved a bunch of stuff to an external hard drive because my computer was down to less than 2g. I did manage to build some new shelves yesterday for my studio and also managed to get a huge headache from that, whine whine.....
I'm still reading Ahab's Wife and images of ships and the ocean are in my dreams every night. What a book this is! I have Wesley here for just two more weeks and then we take her off to college, and Gerry and I start our therapy sessions (just kidding). Wesley shot a lot of video in Maine and Gerry is trying to convince her to make a video to go with her song. We just got her the new Macbook pro and we pick up Final Cut pro software at UNC on Friday so she should be able to put together a kick ass video. Meanwhile, I'm using a computer that is older than dirt. One of these days, I'm going to be the one getting a new computer! Well. that's all I got, not much excitement around here, too hot to function properly!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deep Water

Deep Water, copyright 2011, Wesley Broome
photos by Gerry Broome, Tracey Broome and Wesley Broome
please do not use this song or images without permission, thank you

Wesley worked on this amazing song in Maine and in the upstairs gallery/bedroom at Dee and Hollis Engley's house in Cape Cod. She finished it up with her band while I was in Beaufort. These colors, textures and places are the things informing my work right now. I feel so at home with these images and this song, I am filled with all of this right now. Enjoy...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Le Tour

Congratulations today to Cadell Evans! What a race he has had. Around here, in the mornings, THE TOUR is on. It is a great way to avoid the heat, just lay down on the sofa and waste away the morning watching a bike race! Pathetic isn't it? But people, it's 100 degrees every day!
Gerry is usually calling between assignments to check in with Wesley for a race update or he has to catch the replay at night when he gets home. Tomorrow is the ride into Paris and we will have the traditional Tour de France brunch, breakfast burritos and mimosas. Today I got some figs at the store and plan to have them as well, with honey drizzled over and walnuts. Gerry has been pulling for Andy Schleck, but I have to say, Evans really earned this race. Go Aussies!!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why is art necessary or do you need to breathe?

I'm trying to write a new artist statement, which I hate doing, I am not a writer and I don't really know how to express what I do or why I do it in words. I just FEEL it. I have been reading some articles on why we create art and have found some interesting thoughts on the subject. Gerry shot this photo in Maine, finally shooting some art instead of news and sports. It was great to see him doing something for the love of creating an image, not for the job assignment. I'm pondering why I make what I do, it's an interesting question. I'm also sitting here procrastinating because it is HOT out there!
Meanwhile, here is one statement that I came across that I thought was very interesting and important reading:

I would like to address the wholesale elimination or drastic cutting back of art in schools. I have many years of experience teaching and in administration and this has become a crisis particularly in the state of Oregon where the economy has been far worse and there are more hungry people here than in other areas of the country. Art has been viewed as nonessential and has been cut drastically. The problem is this: some children and adults have talent in art only because they are primarily visual learners and are not gifted in other academic areas. We have told them to ignore visual information. If we eliminate those art programs, we are speaking to a large population of future citizens and telling them that they have no place to shine in our most important systems and that if they shine anyway in visual areas like art that are not covered, we will not value that effort because it is outside the system. That is the same as telling all of us that we should go through our days ignoring our senses, with endless days of extreme frustration, extreme difficulty and rare success doing things we do not enjoy, with no hope the situation will ever change. If art is eliminated, there is no appreciation of good art -- we have lowered the bar and allowed the acceptance of mediocrity in search of any visual stimulation at all. If art is not seen as necessary, it is not included. Under these circumstances, it can easily be ignored and whole segments of our population are excluded. Art was an integral part of living in caves before the advent of our more advanced civilized human society. Ask this: have we suddenly decided to quit our humanity?
--Zel Brook, artist, Corvallis, Oregon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Days

Summer is full on around here, both in and out of the studio. I just keep reminding myself of the raku firing I did with ice and snow falling around me. I am working in the mornings when it isn't so bad and then by 4pm I have to come in. I like the heat though and I have shells and beach debris all around me to remind me of vacation days. My work is definitely reflecting all this stuff around me. The only bad thing is that I am on a wholesale buyer's cycle instead of retail. I'm making work that reflects the summer, but it will be sold in the fall and winter when everyone is thinking about Christmas items. If I were doing wholesale shows that would be fine for buyers that are looking forward to Spring 2012. Old habits from my designer days I guess....
I'll just have to come up with some way to display the stuff with a hint of winter.
This thing was a mofo! I have been wanting to make some barn shapes that have drawers and now that I have that out of my system this may be a one of a kind. What a pain it was.
It's pretty cool though, the drawer is like a little treasure box and I will line the inside with some nice paper or fabric. The texture turned out super cool, must do more with this!

I am in a cycle of throwing in the morning while I wait for my slabs to firm up, then making a couple of barns then the thrown work is dry enough to trim and add sprigs. I sat down yesterday and made a spread sheet of the shows I have for fall and the pieces I want to make for each show.
What an eye opener that was. I have really got to stay focused and stop the one of a kind, what if I did this, or what if I changed that, and just make a limited number of styles and lots of them!
Focus is the word of the day. And Corona!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage

My blogger friend Gay Judson at Sister Creek Pottery sent me this lovely email yesterday. Thanks Gay, reminds me of the book Four Huts that you sent me, which I got out to read again this morning. Happy day everyone....

Song of the grass-roof hermitage
by Sekito
I’ve built a grass hut where there’s nothing of value. After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap. When it was completed, fresh weed appeared. Now it’s been lived in – covered by weeds.
The person in the hut lives here calmly, Not stuck to inside, outside, or in between.
Places worldly people live, he doesn’t live. Realms worldly people love, he doesn’t love.
Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world. In ten square feet, an old man illumines forms and their nature.
A Great Vehicle bodhisattva trusts without doubt. The middling or lowly can’t help wondering ; Will this hut perish or not ? Perishable or not, the original master is present, Not dwelling south or north, east or west,
Firmly based on steadiness, it can’t be surpassed.
A shining window below the green pines, Jades palaces or vermilion towers can’t compare with it.
Just sitting with head covered all things are at rest. Thus, this mountain monk doesn’t understand at all. Living here he no longer works to get free. Who would proudly arrange seats, trying to entice guests ?
Turn around the light to shine within, then just return. The vast inconceivable source can’t be faced or turned away from. Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instruction.
Bind grasses to built a hut, and don’t give up. Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely. Open your hands and walk, innocent.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm feeling just the slightest twinge that summer will soon be coming to an end. The mornings are just a little bit cooler, the days a little shorter, but it's still hot and I don't see that ending any time soon, it is the South after all. This has been a great summer and full of inspiration for making pottery. It has also been a really peaceful summer. I feel good about where I am with my work, I feel good about Wesley going to college, and all seems right with the world here in our little corner of it. I haven't had a huge rant about anything lately, surprise, nothing seems to be pissing me off, except of course our government and the idiots that run our country, but what can you do about that. We just keep voting for fools and the media just gets more and more ass like, I'm just sticking my head in the summer sand so it doesn't explode!
I'm making some tiles with shell motifs. I like making tiles as sort of a warm up in the studio when I just can't get myself going. I have started mixing my terra sig sort of like watercolors and painting these. It will be interesting to see how they come out in the firing.
I am making more barns, I like this new one, it is very reminiscent of Maine and the NC coast.
More buckets. These will be white and gray. I have this new palette in mind of blue, gray, white and tan. Very soothing.
This is my summer reading. It was recommended to me by Sarah at the Hotel Hadley gallery and I am loving it, very well written.
Ok, well that's all I got for now. Looking forward to a week in my studio. I have the Carolina Designer Craftsman Show, The Chatham Artists Studio tour and I'm applying again for Festifall. I have no idea how much work I need for these shows, but it seems obvious that I need a lot. I'm trying to keep a simple palette, and a simple line of pieces, so I can stay focused. We shall see how long that lasts with my wandering mind.......

Friday, July 15, 2011

Barns, Bottles and Buckets

I have been going through quite a transition with my work this past couple of months. I felt it coming on before we went to Maine, but I was in a funk, I knew I wanted a change I just didn't know what it was. This past week, it just sort of clicked for me and I have been in the studio, throwing on the wheel again, making some molds, and changing up my barns. Lots of beach inspired work, the only danger here is that this could get into the gimmicky area and I have to try and keep it sophisticated and interesting. I plan to use some mixed media and some interesting surface treatment, so that should help and I just have to be mindful to keep the work on a more artistic level. I'm not making this stuff for the gift shops at the beach....
I made this little piece yesterday and it just made me smile. It has such a coastal feel to it, don't you think?
I have spent most of the summer walking along the Atlantic coastline, picking up shells, rope, driftwood, old boards, bottles, and rocks along the beach. They have all been laying around in my studio and I have studied them and kept them around me while I figured it all out. Their influence is slowly finding it's way into my work. I am texturing the barns now and they look like old driftwood. I am making bottles that resemble some that I found washed up on the beach, and I am putting shell sprigs on little buckets that will resemble old metal pails when I finish them.
I feel like I haven't seen the forest for the trees or something like that. Since I have been working on this beach inspired work, I have noticed that there are shells and rocks and driftwood all over my house. I have shells in drawers, on windowsills, in bowls, on shelves, they are everywhere, and I have always been this way. If I walk on the beach, I bring stuff home.
I grew up on the beach, much of who I am is because of living by the water, having sand in my bed every night, having skin that tasted like salt, having shells everywhere, it's all a part of the fabric of who I am. So why has it taken me so long to come to this in my work? I think it has to do with the snob factor we sometimes get when we are potters (at least for me, but I think others may feel this way as well). We look at those wood fired pots, those glazed with salt and soda, that cone 10 reduction shino, and that is the aesthetic many of us strive for. At least I have chased that dragon, until finally I am out of breath with it, and I have embraced my terra sig, my raku and accepted the limitations I have with my kiln, my property and my interests.So what if I put shell sprigs on some bottles and put terra sig on them. They are going to be really pretty and different and I am going to really like them, so what's wrong with that. This path feels right for me and it feels like who I am, so I am going to see where this goes. The rural inspired work will still be there, because that is also a part of who I am, but I am going to visit the traditions of my ancestors for awhile and explore the sea.....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Energy Show

I have some barns at the Hotel Hadley Gallery in Siler City for the Energy Show , Click on the link for info of the opening, it's Friday night during the artwalk. If you are around the area check it out. The gallery is in an old Victorian era hotel and Sarah Kuhn is a rock star! Should be a great show.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One Hundred and One Degrees

This my friends is the only cure for the heat and humidity of the South. There were quite a few of these consumed at the beach this past weekend I can tell you that! NPR kept reminding me today in my studio that it was 101 degrees, like I really needed to hear that over and over while working in a studio without AC! I did manage to get some work done, had the fans going and I am down in the shady part of the yard, so it was sort of tolerable, better than the ice and snow anyway. Camera batteries were dead or I would show you some proof of my labors.
I have a little story for you from this past Sunday. I got up very early while the light was still nice to go shoot some pictures in the very old cemetery across the street from where I was staying in Beaufort. It was behind this beautiful old church, and I was wishing that I had planned better, I would have gone in for the 8:30 service. I walked around with the dead for about an hour, really enjoying the quiet and reading all of the old tombstones, many with dates from the 1700's. I have this thing for cemeteries, they don't frighten me or creep me out, for some reason, I am really drawn to them. So anyway, it was getting hot around 8am and I knew my friend Barbara would be up and wondering where I was, so I went out through the very old iron gate and headed up the sidewalk.
Just as I walked through the gate this slightly bent over, very old man appeared out of nowhere and smiled at me. I said hello and he said, with a very sweet smile "would you like to go to church with me?" He was such a kind and gentle looking soul, and I wanted more than anything to go into church with him. I said that I had thought about it, but I wasn't prepared and I kept walking. All of a sudden I just burst into tears, and I have no idea why, I guess I just wanted to be able to say yes, and go into that beautiful old church with this little old man and I missed an amazing chance to have an interesting moment in time. I know that I will regret that I didn't just go in, but my friend would have been worried, and my stomach would have been growling, because I had not eaten, and I really was not dressed for church, I had not even brushed my hair, not that I do that much anyway, but still.... so I will have that regret, but I have an interesting memory, and I'm actually wondering if he was real or if he was just a reminder to make sure I'm ready when interesting opportunities come up....
So there is my little graveyard story, here is a marker in the cemetery I shot for our friends across the pond. I'm not sure I understand this correctly, was he put in the ground vertically? Because on the coast you dig about three feet down and you hit water, was he a short guy? Or was he saluting and laid down in a horizontal position? so many mysteries in the world aren't there? Hope everyone had a cold one today!! See ya..........

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Fun

I'm back from my trip to Beaufort NC with my friend Barbara. We had an amazing time, talked about pottery and art and life in general, lots of great food, great conversation, some good weather, some rain, and lots of inspiration everywhere in this very historic town.
I took lots of photos of textures and colors and roof lines, peeling paint, not your usual vacation photos and I will spare you since they will mostly mean something to me as they are just reference for future glaze and surface ideas.
Barbara is a boat lover and a lover of the sea like me. She insisted we take a boat over to Shackelford Banks one day and we finally got a brief window when there was no rain, so we went.
So glad we did. This is a five mile island of sand and dunes and shells. I found some very old bottles that may have a future in clay, lots of beautiful shells and driftwood. So much treasure! We had a great time walking around on the island.
While I was in Beaufort, Gerry was in Florida shooting the last space shuttle launch. His photo made the front page of the Washington Post on Saturday, 6 columns across the page. doesn't get much better than that. Did anyone get that paper? If you did and don't want it, would you like to send it to Gerry? We couldn't find one around here anywhere.

Since Gerry and I were both gone, Wesley was left here with her band recording a new CD. It was the first time we have left her here overnight alone, and we left her with three 18 year old boys! How's that for trust?! I'm happy to say that the house was clean and still standing, except for recording equipment and instruments everywhere. Guitars in the chairs, chords strung all over the floor and up the stairs, equipment cases in every room. Chaos, but creative chaos. We heard some of their songs last night and I am blown away. We are tempted to just tell them to forget college for awhile and get out on the road! These kids are brilliant and they are only 18! I can't wait to see what they all do with their lives.
So, enough with all this fun. It was great to see Maine and Cape Cod, and great to go with my friend to Beaufort, but it's time to get to work! I have some important shows coming up in the fall and I have got to get busy. My summer fun is coming to an end a little too soon, but the clay is calling....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The last ones

While we were in Maine there was a full moon. We walked down a trail that we had found earlier that day to some rocky cliffs and sat and watched the moon rise over the ocean. Gerry made this picture of me and Wesley sitting there together. We talked about where her life is going and where her life has been so far. The reflection from the moon pointed straight at us as if to say here is your path, now follow it. I have never seen such a beautiful moon rise and it was very emotional. We sat there together holding hands and there was such peace around us.
Finally, I'll stop posting Maine pics now and move on. I just had to put these two up. This was shot one morning around 4am when Gerry and Wesley got up and went to see the sun rise. I was not at all interested, I have been up many mornings to see the sun rise, but this was a good one. I'm glad they went together without me. A nice father daughter moment. I wish I could have seen a sun rise with my dad.....
I'm leaving the family here for a few days and going down to Beaufort with my good friend and fellow potter Barbara McKenzie. So much of what I know about pottery I have learned from her, With her, I learned to Raku, to hand build with slabs, we have experimented with ^6 reductions together, pit fired in saggars..... so much. She is so full of information, it will be fun to spend some time with her absorbing more of her knowledge! I'll be back pottery blogging on Monday.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Thank you farmers

Here are some more pretty pictures for you.Yesterday the Farmer's Market was intoxicating. It's the first time I have made it on Saturday since the market began, we seem to always be out of town on Saturday or I have been at a show somewhere. In true southern fashion, today was a Sunday lunch of butter beans, fried okra, fried in cornmeal I bought at the market, corn on the cob, fresh blueberries and buttermilk biscuits that Wes made with honey and strawberry jelly. Gerry's grandmother taught me how to make biscuits when we were first married and now Wes is following the tradition of her great grandmother. Naps for everyone after lunch, it just doesn't get more southern, except we didn't go to church, oh well, three times a day on Sunday growing up was quite enough of that, thank you!
Have a great Fourth of July everyone!!! We are expecting temps near 100 degrees f, so I won't be doing much of anything.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Postcard from Maine

Here are some pretty pictures for you and a pretty song, Happy Weekend!

Rain Fell No More by Wesley Broome
copyright 2010 please do not use without permission

New direction

Somehow I went out to my studio today and everything just clicked. The new texture on my barns told me exactly where I wanted to go, I was seeing the grays and blues and whites of the shore, the colors of the shells and the textures of the driftwood I collected in Maine. Thoughts of my ancestors sailing off the coast of NC were in my head and a sort of peace was with me after spending two days in the hospital just sitting and listening to the hypnotic stories my uncle told. I have a whole collection of pieces I want to do with a new palette inspired by the ocean and my connection to it.
My barns are wanting to be blue and gray now instead of the rust and green. I'm not abandoning that palette because I still love it too, I'm just going to add to it and dress it up a bit.

This tray turned out really good although you can't put a nice seafood dish in it, If only I could get functional glazes to work for me.......
You can put some nice shells from your walks on the beach in it though......
I made this lantern the other day just to get started on something and to get this shell thing out of my system. It's kinda cool, I need to tweek it a bit, it isn't quite as sophisticated as I want it to be, but I may keep it as a reminder of the method to my madness, getting what was in my head out into the clay. It's been crazy trying to figure out what wanted to come out. Do all artists go through this? As soon as I got the color on that tray and the texture on the barn, I knew exactly where I was going, but building this lantern started me on this journey.

Thanks Maine for the inspiration, this is going to be fun!!