Sunday, November 27, 2011

My bestest friends

Amy, Laura, me, Susan and Barbara! My clay pals and best buds came to see me today! I have learned so much from these women, they are always there to answer questions about anything I need help with and there cheering each other on with our individual clay paths. Susan loaned me the booth, Laura has helped with so many things, even convinced me my prices were too low, and introduced me to bourbon, yum! Barbara has been a teacher for the past five years and I know most of what I know because of her generous help, advise and willingness to share what she knows. Amy and I have raku fired together, laughed, complained and shared our love of raku. These are some of the fiercest women I know and I am very honored to be their friend!
Today was another great day. The members of the CDCG are some of the finest artists and kindest people I have ever done a show with.
Many of you know Julie Wiggins and you will hear the story of what happened to her at the show. To make it short, someone knocked over a table full of beautiful work that was a commission, the clients were there looking at the work when suspicious things happened, I won't go into it, but the work crashed to the floor and Julie lost a great deal of money, the engaged couple lost their wedding commission. It was a horrible sound, the night of our preview party and we were all sick when we heard all of that breaking pottery echo through the exposition space. The guild meeting was this morning and the tale was told. A box quickly appeared and got passed around and the guild members raised $900 to help Julie replace her losses. Such a wonderful group!
I have a new gallery that wants my work, really nice women, I'm excited. The very adorable woman that got the barn last night as an anniversary gift from her very adorable husband came by to see me today, and she was so happy, I nearly cried. This has been an amazing show for me in so many ways. I feel like my work has reached a new level, and there is so much that I want to do now, there is another level coming and I can't wait to get to work!!!

Thanks to all of you that came by with your bright smiles, joy for my work, checkbooks, credit cards (haha!). Seriously, though, I absolutely adore you and thank you with all of my heart for your kind words and purchases. It makes all the crazy months that just passed well worth it!!!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Special people buy my work

The show is going pretty well, I had strong sales today until 2pm and then it died and I sat there until 6pm, when they announced the doors were being locked and a customer walked in with a last minute purchase. I always love those, it ends my day on a happy note!
So, I'll tell you a little about my day. I am across from a potter from Morehead City, I watched his blue bowls and lamp bases fly out of his booth all day. I don't know him, but he seems like a very nice person, people seemed to like him and his work is nice.
My work does not fly out of the booth, but here is what I have observed for the past two days. This doesn't happen at outdoor shows, which by the way I am done with. Anyway back to my day. People stop in the aisle to read the Deep Water lyrics that Wes wrote on one of the tall barns. I had many many comments on those, they are $500 so I haven't sold one, but that's ok, the right person has not come along yet. Then they come into my booth and they stop at each barn and look at it carefully, they pick it up, they look around and then this smile comes over their face and they look around for me, behind the counter to say something. I have been told they are "evocative", "they touched my heart", they remind me of going to see my grandparents when I was a kid", "they are powerful", whatever, I hear a story from everyone that takes the time to look at them.
And then there are the stories that go along with the folks that purchase them. This is the BEST part. Today, the door knob barns are gone. The first one sold to a beautiful woman named Margot, she is a cancer survivor, still very weak, she had a wheelchair to support her, but this woman came out, as tired as she was to BUY ART! Can you imagine this? And she bought a door knob barn for herself. I love the spirit of this woman and she inspired me so much. Then this other familiar face came in and picked up another door knob barn, the smile is what I recognized and I remembered she bought barns from me last year. In fact she bought one of my very favorites, it was one of the little white houses and it was the first one I put a door on. I got very teary last year when she bought it. So she bought a door knob barn too, it is a gift so I won't tell you her name, in case the person getting the gift reads this somehow! I sold the angel barn to a man from Key West for his wife's anniversary gift, one of the wall hangings with the bee transfer on it to a beekeeper that lost all of his bees, probably to pesticides. It just goes on and on.
My point is, the man across from me did well, sold a bunch of bowls, and that is a fine thing. People will use those bowls just as I use mine and they will love them. But every piece I sold was connected with a story, a memory, and that is what got me started making these in the first place. I love that. And here is the best part too. I mention the woman with cancer and the buyer with the pretty smile, because...... I took part of the money from their purchases and bought the most beautiful handmade scarf you have ever seen for myself as a treat for my hard work! I hardly ever do this, but it felt right, so girls, if you are reading this, your purchases supported two artists today!!!!! Thanks so much, I will wear this scarf every day for awhile, I love it so much and the artist that made it is from Asheville and a really interesting person that I got to know today. Isn't being an artist the very best thing in the world!?!?!?
Can you tell I had an ungodly amount of caffeine today, haha! It was a great day, the most money I have made at a show all year, and I thank all of you very kind people that loved my work and bought it!!!!!! I am so inspired and have a million ideas for new work.... in January!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today's the day

I heard there were already lines and folks were armed with their pepper spray to get to my booth this afternoon. Come on over, I have a limited supply, when they're gone, they're gone!
Feeling much better this morning, the sun is shining and I am ready to sell some barns!
Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show, Raleigh Fairgrounds, exposition building
Friday preview party 4-6pm doors open to the public 6pm-9pm
Saturday 10am-6pm
Sunday 11am-5pm

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crap, the holidays are here

It's been six months since something triggered my ACOA issues and today was another trigger. Like the words dinnertime, or 6pm, or Friday night, or seeing car lights through the window late at night, or loud voices, these tiny triggers come at me out of the blue. The only way I know how to deal with this is write about it, so here goes, you can read if you want to or just move on to a more fun place. It was the smallest thing. We had a nice Thanksgiving meal with Gerry's family. He has a great family, although I am an only child from a pretty f'd up family, so I always feel out of place with them, I always feel like I am standing outside looking in the window at them instead of actually being in the room and participating. I spent a good part of the day trying to recall Thanksgiving as a kid, and cannot for the life of me recall one. I remember them after my dad died. My mom didn't cook, she lived in Myrtle Beach and we would go to a local hotel that was doing a buffet. It sucked, I hated the whole thing, so I started having Thanksgiving at our house. I stayed very busy, passed out at night from all the work and never had time to think. This year Gerry's dad wanted to have us over to their house. That gave me a three hour ride there and back to think. Bad, bad, bad. We were talking about memories that traumatize kids, why on earth did we have to go there. And then like a tsunami it came at me. Holiday childhood memories for me are the worst. The unpredictability, the not knowing if dinner would be ruined, if Christmas would be ruined, would there be yelling, would my dad even come home...... all of that bottled up anxiety from childhood floods in with a wave of nausea and a lump in my throat that won't go away and there I sit while everyone is having a perfectly normal time, with all of this shit flooding at me. It's horrible and there is no way I can explain what I'm going through. You only understand it if you have been there. This never goes away. I live with the symptoms of ACOA every day, have to deal with things I learned as a child for coping that I don't really need now, but they won't go away. But the holidays are the very worst. They trigger memories so strongly and it always baffles me that I can't remember things like a Thanksgiving with my parents or what I did in fourth grade (I can't remember one single day of that year, but I do recall third grade and fifth grade, wtf?)
I have Wesley home and I feel like I am scratching and clawing to keep from falling down into that abyss where I go sometimes. So I stayed up after everyone went to bed, to write this, get it out of my system, so that tomorrow I can be happy and go sell some pottery without running off customers with my gloom and I can be a good mom, so that my daughter will remember Thanksgiving and not have some fucked up coping mechanism to have to deal with when she is my age! I just want to go to bed, pull the quilts over my head and get up on New Years day. I love New Year's day, but man, you can have Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's just tooooo much!
This is quite a forlorn post, I know, when everyone is giving thanks and loving their brothers and sisters and families and nearly comatose from the meals they had. But it wasn't that great for me, I was just an unamused observer at another families meal with my own demons pestering me. I'll be fine, I have so much to be thankful for, I have a great family and tomorrow will be fun at the CDCG show. However, I did have butterflies all day on Wednesday setting up. I just don't know how this will go. I know I don't have enough work, but it is the best work I have and I was really proud of it once it was all set up in my booth. I only hope the people that were not there yet to set up on either side of me don't knock my stuff over while they set up. This happened earlier in the day before I was set up. Half the pipe and drape aisle came down. I left my booth set up so if I go in tomorrow and things have been smashed, I'm just getting in my car and coming home! What an emotional week. Do other people go through this, or am I the only one possessed here ?!??!!
peace ya'll, come see me this weekend if you are around!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pricing, packing and last minute details

I'm loving this little girl, how sweet is that face!
My studio looks like Santa's workshop right now, with last minute details to glue and sand and file, and price. My car is all packed and I am ready to head to Raleigh tomorrow for set up. Very tired!
Surprise, look at me, I made the local newspaper!
Surprise, look at me, I got rejected for the Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council. I give up on this fucking thing. I think this is the fourth year I have been turned down and I'm really not sure how long I can be considered "emerging" as an artist!
So just when you start feeling like your shite don't stink, you get a smack down. Probably a good thing, keeps my head on straight!!
and so because I was tired and had an ego up and down kind of day, I had some Reese's Puffs in one of my very favorite bowls. Can you guess who's?
I'm ready for the show, ready to get it over with. I have no earthly idea what to expect. Probably my last post until after Thanksgiving sometime, Wesley comes home tomorrow and then we eat seared animal flesh on Thursday, show starts on Friday. I'll be back!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, have a great time with your families

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kudos to you bloggers!!!!!

First of all I wanted to give a big shout out to all of you that expressed your opinions here on my blog, (and emails) and had the balls to say what you thought, whether or not I agree with you, I respect you for voicing your opinion and not telling me that you were unsubscribing to my blog because you didn't agree with me! So I lost a reader, oh well. As long as I don't lose my friends I'll probably get through the day :) Anyway, those of you that I did not agree with, you at least made me think and see things from another point of view and I like that. So, kudos to all of you.

NOW! Let's move on. I'll be in Raleigh Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen show. I have lots of really nice things, the kiln I unloaded today was perfect, only one little tiny crack in a roof but it just gives it a little character. Tonight I made some small wall hangings with recycled barn wood and I used those porcelain insulators that you find on electric fences along with some house profiles. They are so awesome! I'll try to get some photos tomorrow. And I have a fun surprise to show you :)
Thanks again for having very interesting minds, you guys! I love it!!!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

But how do you really feel....

This reminds me of the scene from Citizen Kane when they pan over his belongings and at first it looks like NY. I loved that scene! Bye bye my babies, today this all gets priced and packed for the CDCG show next weekend. I hope I have enough, I hope I sell it all, I hope I sell something. My head is about to explode and then I had to start that fuss with my last blog. What is wrong with me. I really appreciate your comments, although it was quite unexpected. I guess I should have known better. What is it with you bloggers, you come over here to say what you really think :)
I really do appreciate that actually and I enjoyed reading your comments, I did get pissed at a few of you for about a minute, but you have a right to your opinion and I respect the fact that you felt open enough here on my blog to say what you think. Thanks for that! I'm not that pissed, but I still don't like that damn pepper spray. Better keep it away from my girl :)
Have a great week everyone, listen for the screams from Chapel Hill if I open my kiln in the morning to blown up barns. I may take the pepper spray to a certain Olympic kiln I know haha!
peace ya'll
be nice to someone tomorrow that you don't know :)

Do you look in the mirror and like what you see

How did this man face himself this morning? I just want to cry when I look at this photo.

Chancellor’s office (530) 752-2065

UC Davis police (530) 752-1727

The officer who pulled out the pepper spray was Lieutenant John Pike. 530-752-3989

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pepper Spray incident

I just can't get my head around this. My daughter is a college student and if police came on to her campus and sprayed her like this, I would come unglued. This blog would be getting posted from a jail cell!
I want to believe that police officers are out there to protect me, and I try hard to respect the job they do, but what kind of training are these guys getting to be able to look a CHILD in the face and spray pepper spray at them without even blinking an eye. This fucker was spraying at these kids as if he were spraying bug spray!!!! What would this officer do if he saw his child being treated this way? I am so disturbed by this incident I don't know what to do!

Chancellor’s office (530) 752-2065

UC Davis police (530) 752-1727

The officer who pulled out the pepper spray was Lieutenant John Pike. 530-752-3989

Finding my way

Just a few years ago, I shared a booth at the Clayworks Guild holiday show with my friend Teresa Pietsch. I was making functional pottery, firing cone 10 at Claymakers, using the studio glazes. I also had some horrid blue slip earthenware and some cute little planters that I put pansies in, I was going through a Vietri wanna be stage. Basically I was looking for what would sell. I sold very little in fact. Bless Deb Harris for buying a cup from me, she made my day that day! The work was ok, not great, not me. I was using the resources I had available, studio glazes, wheels, kilns, and my work looked like it was being made in a community studio. I'm thinking back to this, because today my friend Laura and I went over to Raleigh to the craft fair at Pullen Craft center. Our friend Barbara McKenzie teaches there and we went to support her. Barbara has been my friend and teacher and mentor since I moved to Chapel Hill. There was a LOT of pottery there, all similar, all had that community studio look (not Barbara's, her work is fabulous). There were some nice things but there was a lot of work that reminded me of what I used to do. It really showed me how far I have come, and on the way home this evening, I realized how hard I have been working to get where I am right now. My work is still evolving and I have so much more I want to do, but I like where I am, I like what I'm making. I think it took getting out of that community studio atmosphere to find my true voice and find the thing I loved to make.
I was not proud of the work I had at that sale that year and I did a couple of other sales with less than wonderful work, but people started buying more of it, so I was encouraged to keep on. I am proud of the work I will have next week at CDCG. I won't have beautiful functional pottery like a lot of artists there, but I will have pieces that make me smile, and pieces that speak to me. These are pieces that I have worked on for months, an evolution of a new voice I hear.
Maybe they will speak to you. Come see me!

ps: Sorry I didn't make it down to Seagrove, but I was thinking about all of you and hope you had a great day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Last day with clay

Here is one of the coil pots I was talking about. The other photo was blurry, not sure what's up with my camera. It doesn't want to focus on these black pots. I really enjoyed the process of making this pot. I remember making it during a time when I needed to slow down and think and it was a really calming process. I want to come back to these next year.
Today was my last day to make things maybe until next year.... I'll be at the CDCG show next week and I'll have the studio tour for the first two weekends of December. There is no way I'm making anything during the tour. And then Wesley comes home from school for winter break and then it's Christmas, so I'm not sure how I'll get any pottery making done. I think I have enough work. I've been hoarding everything I've made for the past three months. Today, I cleaned everything and sorted what's going where. I'll fire my kiln Sunday and then one more raku firing and that's it until 2012. My plan is to start back to work in January. I have lots of new ideas and sketches, so we'll see what the new year brings.

What is waiting for you?

Now looking through the slanting light
of the early morning window
toward the mountain presence
of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
--- David Whyte

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's up with ornaments?

I've been reading comments and blogs all week about the evils of ornaments. I'm sure if you plow through my verrrry long blog, you might find me complaining about them as well. But this year, I'm digging them. I'm only making these stars which I can never make enough of, they sell so fast and this year I made them very thin and they have turned out so pretty. So what's wrong with making ornaments? I love Christmas ornaments. Whenever we travel I always find a shop that has ornaments and buy one as a souvenir of our trip. This year I bought a little boat in Boothbay Maine. I also have a boat from St. Michaels, on the eastern shore of Maryland, that I bought when we were there for a wedding when Wes was 8 weeks old. It always reminds me of that trip and I always say "why were we in Maryland with an 8 week old baby!" I have a beautiful ornament I bought in Montreal when Gerry was there covering the World Swimming Championships. a maple leaf from Alberta, and so many others. Gerry and Wesley usually get me a Hallmark collectible ornament, I have the Jetsons lunch box and thermos, so tiny and adorable. One year I got the crate with the leg lamp from the movie A Christmas Story. Gerry's brother has lived all over the middle east and Asia and we have ornaments from many places there. I have hand made ornaments that friends have made for me, and some I made. So many great memories in these little things that I only get out once a year. So if someone likes my ornament and buys it, they will get it out each year at Christmas and what memory will they have from that purchase I wonder?
As promised for my raku pals, here is a good turquoise recipe. The one I was using has decided it no longer wants to work so I tried this one with pretty good results. If you leave it in the can for a long time you get beautiful reduction effects. Lots of golds. I was going to give you another recipe I tried but it looked like crap so I'll not bother!

Gerstley Borate 40
Neph Sy 13
Silica 13
Lithium 13
copper carbonate 3
Isn't she sweet? She is on a barn that I attached to some of the barn wood I got. I just love that little face :)
You may or may not remember some coil pots I made not too long ago. I finally got around to firing them, but the photos I shot were so blurry, then it got dark. I'll shoot them again tomorrow, I'm interested to see what you think. I love them and want to make more, but they are plain and simple.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Raku ornaments and old barns

I started the day off with organic oatmeal with flaxseed and brown sugar in my beautiful Hollis Engley bowl. Then I went out and raku fired a bunch of ornaments. Yes I said raku and ornament in the same sentence! And they turned out beautifully, I like them, and I will sell them and send the money to Wesley at school.
I was too tired to shoot any proper photos, but I'll put some up soon. And for all of my raku pals, I have a new turquoise glaze recipe for you. I'm also too tired to write a more serious post, but I feel one working itself up, I just need to be more awake.....
Yesterday I went back to the barns and got some more tin and wood and I picked up a rusty toolbox full of rusty square nails. It was like what most girls must feel like when they shop at the mall! Can you believe this green tin? I can't wait to use it and I have plans for these old tool handles. I have so many sketches and so many things I want to make, just don't have time for experiments right now.
Yes, I will store this properly when I get some time....
My little studio looks so happy tucked in the woods. I built it in March when there were no leaves on the trees and I have seen three seasons in it now. I wonder how winter will be. Winter may be in my upstairs art room making something else! Gerry has put up weather stripping for me, caulked all of the gaps and finished framing the outside overhangs. It's as tight as it can get except for insulation, I'll get to that in January when there aren't a bunch of breakables in there. I'm still making stuff and there are lots of things that are crossed out on my to do list, but it is a very long list......

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I just don't even know what to say about this band! I saw them tonight at the Cat's Cradle with my good pal Laura. The last time I was there for a concert, my kid was on the stage playing with her band and tonight she was crewing on a set at film school. What a change in just a few short months. I called her from the parking lot after the concert and sat there talking to her for about 45 minutes. Wish she could have been with us tonight, but Laura and I danced our asses off. If you EVER have the chance to see this band GO!
One of THE BEST concerts I have been to, and I have been to a lot of them! It was like a spiritual experience or something, I have never seen a band like this. Thanks for getting the tickets Laura!!!!!!! It's 1:00 am and I have no idea when I will ever fall asleep......

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bourbon Virgin

My pal Laura had some friends over today to eat up her mosaic supplies with whatever we wanted to bring. We had lots of great food, good music, good conversation, and I tried Bourbon for the first time. It's probably the only form of alcohol I haven't had, I think I like it. It's warm and fuzzy just like my friends :) check out our toast in the cups Laura won on Rae Dunn's blog. They are soooo cute and she has some on her blog today. What a coincidence!
I also picked up shelves and pedestals from my other bestest friend Susan. I'll show you those when I set them up at the CDCG show. Do I have the very best friends or what! Pizza, art, bourbon and a show booth all in one day!
I know, I know, I have soooooooo much work still to do, and I told Laura I would just stop by after picking up the show booth from Susan, but she had a pot already for me and I have never tried mosaic before, so I did one little pot before I needed to head home. Unfortunately there was the bourbon and the great pizza and the quiche, so that all required a nap when I got home, and then I made a pot of italian soup with italian sausage and then it got dark, then Gerry got home..... I'll have to work extra on Sunday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Discount tickets

The Carolina Designer Craftsmen show is offering a special on tickets for the Thanksgiving weekend show in Raleigh:
get 2-for-1 tickets (daily and weekend) on Groupon, now through next Friday, November 18th by going to:

Get your tickets and come see me. I'll have these barns there and lots more (I hope) !!

To Do:

Happy 11-11-11 !!
Lots to do today, the photographer from the News and Observer is coming out and I have a very long To Do list. I made one last night!
I go to bed, lay there forever going over my mental list of things to do, toss around for hours, finally fall asleep around 2 or 3am then the neighbors rooster crows at 5am, and I start the mental list again until I get up around 7 or 7:30am. Not much sleep going on and some days I really feel it. Lack of energy, lack of motivation. Maybe once a week I will take a Tylenol pm, just to get at least one night of sleep.
Last night, I started that list as soon as I got in bed and I knew what was coming. I got up, found my clip board and started writing down all that I still need to do. What do you know.... I fell asleep by, I think, 10pm and woke up at, no list in my head last night or this morning, it was all on paper. I like this!
I was just messing around with some of the scraps of wood I have from the barns and these little houses. These will be great for a less costly item that isn't a pendant or an ornament. I'm digging the mixed media, it gives me just one more creative outlet and keeps me from getting bored with the production aspect of work.
UNC TV did a story last night on the Carolina Designer Craftsmen show. I'm really worried that I don't have enough work and I'm a bit intimidated by the list of artists this year. My booth is on the same aisle with Gay Smith and Jennifer Mecca, talk about trying to measure up! Oh well, it is what it is, I'm doing the best I know how, as my friend Meredith so wisely puts it :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yanagi explains the concept of mingei in his seminal work, The Unknown Craftsman:
It is my belief that while the high level of culture of any country can be found in its fine arts, it is also vital that we should be able to examine and enjoy the proofs of the culture of the great mass of the people, which we call folk art. The former are made by a few for the few, but the latter, made by the many for many, are a truer test. The quality of the life of the people of that country as a whole can best be judged by the folkcrafts.

The Unknown Craftsman - A Japanese Insight into Beauty, Sōetsu Yanagi, Kodansha International, New York, 1989

This is sort of a reaction to a post Ron had today on his blog. I just don't know about all this pottery snobbery. I love raku, I love cookie cutter ornaments, I love apple bakers, I love the old time blue Seagrove pottery. I even like those chicken bakers where you put a can of beer up a chicken's butt. I also love shino, and crusty wood fired tea bowls, and crawly glazes. I love it because it's CLAY and someone lovingly made it! Let's all make some ornaments, people got trees to decorate :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Barns as Narrative

I have this very fortunate luck to meet people along my journey that inspire me, make me laugh, make me take a good long look at myself, or just offer words of comfort when I need them. Many of them are bloggers that post here, one is my child, who lent me the words to her song Deep Water, for my latest barn, and of course there is Gerry, who inspires me every day with the work he does, the talent he has with a camera. I recently met a very talented fiber artist, Candace Thomas, who I mentioned in a previous blog. She called me this week and we talked forever about her work and my work, and the things I speak to with my barns and the narratives that they are becoming. And then today Diane Daniel interviewed me for a piece in the Raleigh News and Observer. She asked some very insightful questions and made observations about my work from a writers point of view. Most of the people that I have interaction with regarding my work are other artists, lots of potters, and the general public that is buying my art. The outdoor festival is an interaction I'll pass on right now or I will write a whole other post. My point is, Diane asked some questions that most people do not ask and it really helped me to see my work from a new point of view, and I had to grab my sketchbook as soon I hung up the phone so that I could get some new ideas down on paper. I also got an email from a friend that is having a rough time right now, and she really puts into perspective the role our families play in our lives and how important they are, but what a drain they can be on creating our work. Such a fine balancing act all of us as artists juggle every day.
I feel so blessed to have these people come in and out of my life, it makes life rich and textured and adds so many layers, just like a work of art, isn't it? Thanks to all of you that check in on my blog, that leave comments, that send me wonderful emails, some that make me laugh, some that bring tears, but always add another layer to my life!!!!!
I want my barns to tell these stories, reflect the layers of my life and my experiences. I'm getting there, I have come so far with them in such a short time, but still they evolve and grow just as we do.
peace ya'll !!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Peaceful start to the week

Wesley called Saturday and asked if we wanted to come up and go to the mountains on Sunday. Well, heck yeah, what else have I got to do, except make about a hundred more pieces of pottery!
So, we picked her up, grabbed some sandwiches, and drove up to Pilot Mountain which is only about a 30 minute drive from her school. Did I mention I love this child? She actually wanted to spend her one free day in the mountains with her mom and dad! So what could we do, but show her a fun time. We had a great hike (kicked my ass) Gerry got to do a little bouldering, I put Sassafrass leaves in my hair, and Wesley has lots of great new things to write about if she ever has to write a comedy! We drove back to town and found a great coffee shop called Kranky's, had some amazing chai, then took her to dinner and dropped her off for her mandatory Sunday night film screening. It was a fun, spontaneous day, the weather was cooperating beautifully, we laughed, we told stories, we talked about her writing, had great food, and we might have seen a UFO on the way home. Did anyone see a star that seemed to appear and then drop straight down to the ground last night? WE did :)
Looks like a good weather week and my last week to make things before multiple kiln firings next week and then the show drama begins.
Peace ya'll

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Don't Frack with NC

Gerry told me today that he was with members of the news media yesterday and mentioned fracking and none of them even knew what he was talking about! He has also proposed a video story to the AP and got no response. When are we going to wake up? After we blow up the whole planet!?!?! Oklahoma has gone from an average of 50 earthquakes to 1000 this year!! And guess where there is a lot of fracking going on....
Read this:

In a surprising turn of events, Cuadrilla Resources, a British energy company, recently admitted that its hydraulic fracturing operations "likely" caused an earthquake in England. Predictably, this news quickly sent a shockwave through the U.K., the oil and natural gas industries, and the environmental activist community. And it certainly feeds plenty of speculation that the same phenomenon could be occurring elsewhere.

Speculation that would be well-founded, evidently. Right on the heels of Cuadrilla's announcement, news is spreading that the United States Geological Survey has released a report (pdf) that links a series of earthquakes in Oklahoma last January to a fracking operation underway there. Evidently, a resident reported feeling some minor earthquakes, spurring the USGS to investigate. They found that some 50 small earthquakes had indeed been registered, ranging in magnitude from 1.0 to 2.8. The bulk of these occurred within 2.1 miles of Eola Field, a fracking operation in southern Garvin County.

The U.S.G.S. determined that "from the character of the seismic recordings indicate that they are both shallow and unique."

From the report:

Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located. Most of these earthquakes occurred within a 24 hour period after hydraulic fracturing operations had ceased. There have been previous cases where seismologists have suggested a link between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes, but data was limited, so drawing a definitive conclusion was not possible for these cases

Friday, November 4, 2011

Raise your hand

Raise your hand if you worked in your studio today from 9am to 6pm, washed three loads of clothes, fed the dog and cat,washed a couple of sink fulls of dishes, fixed dinner, drank a beer, and collapsed on the sofa?
I did. I was going to go over to the artwalk in Raleigh tonight but I'm not even sure I can walk upstairs to take a shower right now! I threw some lanterns on the wheel today, made some more sheep that I can't keep in stock, made three barns, and rolled out a bunch of slabs for tomorrow. I am in overdrive right now to make sure I have enough for upcoming shows.
I had an email from someone today asking about firing pendants and beads. The best thing I have found is this, one of my friends actually made these for me when we did the raku workshop here. They work really well and have held up great. They are just a thick column of clay with high temp wire stuck in while the clay is still wet, Then a handle is added on top for lifting out of the kiln with tongs (I use these for raku).
I also use baskets with holes for added reduction, although I don't like this as well, the backs of the pieces can end up with dots on them. If you have a better idea let us know. I have seen the metal square contraption thing online but I can't figure out how to make it. The bead trees you can buy from ceramic supply companies don't work for raku, they don't hold up to the thermal shock. Mine are cheap and easy to make. If you have recycled clay laying around use that!
For all of those doing the artwalk tonight, best of luck, sorry I couldn't make it, I'll be in bed soon :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New favorite tools, new favorite houses

I got these new rubber tipped tools at the art supply store last week. I'm using them to try and seal the seams better on my barns and they appear to be doing what I thought they would do. I can really tell a difference in the seal at the seams of my slabs. We'll see with the next firing. I like these tools, they are comfortable to use and very efficient. I can also use them for some detail work and clean up around edges of holes and letters and things like that.

I made these houses after reading about the construction of slave quarters on the rice plantations in South Carolina. The art library at UNC has an amazing collection of books on slavery in the south. The African craftsmen made these houses out of clay and then later wood. Many of the large plantation homes are long gone while these well constructed little structures still stand. I love the thought of that. I love the way they are placed all in a line, the way they look so plain but yet they look so interesting. I can't get these little houses out of my head, and I am going to keep working on them until they say what I want them to. I think about the people that lived in these places. I imagine them being almost empty except for the necessary things. I think about the conversations that must have taken place in the nights by the fire after a hard day of work, I think about the fear that lived in these places. But, I also think that there had to be happy moments too, times filled with songs, story telling, sewing, hopefully some laughter. I want to celebrate the lives that lived in these spaces. And so I will keep working until I get where I want to go with them....
I found this one statement I read interesting. I love that they thought of pottery as an essential item!

Everything that most slaves "owned" could probably be put in a small pile. The archaeological evidence suggests the emphasis was always placed on "essential" items, such as pottery. "Non-essential" items, such as decorative objects, are so uncommon they must have been treasured by the slave community.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sneak Peek

Here's what I'm up to, I'll tell you more about what's going on later, I'm tired!
credit: song by Wesley Broome and Daniel Fields

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No Production work here....

The sun was so beautiful coming in my studio windows today. This piece is finished and I am going to have a hard time saying goodbye. It makes me smile. I added a tin roof and then I smiled even more..... oh please October, don't go away. What an amazing month October is! Everything is bright, golden, warm without the humidity, and there is lots of chocolate and candy corn! For the first time in 18 years, I crawled under my down quilt and ignored Halloween, my costume mate is not here. But my other mate is here and in the great spirit of Halloween he hid a severed (fake) hand in bed last night for me to find. My heart stopped for a second and then I loved that he did that for me!!!! So this morning I hid it in the microwave for him!
I went out to my studio today and cut out pieces with my mind set to make six houses before the end of the day. I was speeding through the first one so I could get them all done, and then... wait a minute..... what am I doing? Don't I make these because I enjoy the process of making them? Why am I rushing this? I'm not enjoying this..... so I slowed it down, took my time, thought about what I was doing, enjoyed what I was doing, thought about the people in my life, the warm sun, ahhhhh, there, all better again! Except I only got two made instead of six. Oh well, I'm going to have a shit load of people show up on the studio tour and I'm going to say, well, I'll take your order and slowly get one made for you :) I'm doing the best I can here....
Thanks, Gerry for putting up with this and having a real job, xoxo.