Monday, March 31, 2008


I don't know about you, but every time I look at this yellow it gets brighter. Last week (and all this weekend) the skies seemed dark and dreary- the yellow was bright and cheery. I think by midweek it will be blue again, but that particular shade called CAROLINA BLUE in preparation for the final four. GO HEELS!


Oh, I never thought I would be so glad to see a Monday morning! My boy has been sick, sick. He stayed home from school most of last week then popped a 103.5 temp friday night- well, at least that, because he wouldn't let me stick the thermometer anywhere but on the inside of his cheek. Nothing would stay down all day Saturday and Sunday morning; we had two visits to emergency care within one week- but HAPPY DAY- he is WELL! He had a bad stomach virus and a double ear infection following a stomach virus from Easter and tonsillitis on Tuesday- still quite a lot for one mama and one daddy to take care of. We are very grateful to live in Memphis and have a the fabulous Le Bonheur Children's Hospital 5 minutes from our house, and to have pediatricians who keep the office open on Saturday mornings, too!

But there is also pottery news: I made a small etsy shop update on Friday before the second round of sick started, and my kiln, which has not been firing properly since December, is now up and running like it should be. Thanks to my fabulous co-worker, friend, and master potter Deirdre, for that. Another friend requested a special little berry bowl- basically an oversized teacup with colander-like holes. We had a lovely little bowl like this as a wedding present, and I made a few several years ago, but I just fell out of the habit. If bowl #1 turns out, I plan to make a half-dozen for summer sales and the etsy shop.

If you are a Memphis or Mississippi reader, I just got definite news that I will be at the new Mississippi Handmade gallery in Oxford on April 26. They are located at 1004 Van Buren Ave, just off the square, and a stone's throw from the wonderful Bottletree Bakery. Mississippi Handmade is at the corner of 10th and Van Buren. Parking will be a bear that day- it is the annual Double Decker Arts Festival day. Later in May and June, I'll have a booth at the Memphis Farmers Market. I'm not certain about the dates yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I have them. I'm excited about both ventures, and I'll have a home/studio sale sometime in early June, as well. If you're on my mailing list, you should get a postcard about these events. If you'd like to be on my mailing list, email me (bridgmanpottery(at)yahoo (dot)com), and I'd be happy to put you on the snail mail or email list.
Have a great week!

Friday, March 28, 2008

why I love bees

* I wrote this little essay back in January. I've already told you some of why I love bees, but this is the whole story. Since I posted about the bee project earlier this week and have been spreading the news far and wide, I thought now would be a good time to go into the origins of my love for the little winged creatures.

In the 1970s and 80s, all, it seems, little Baptist boys and girls around Memphis were given small frameable cards with their name’s origins in greek, roman, or Hebrew. Mine is a derivation of the Greek word for honeybee. In mythology, Melissa was the name of a wood nymph who helped save young Zeus from his father, Cronus (a nice fellow who ate all of his other children), hid the young god in the hills, and fed him on milk and honey. When Cronus discovered Melissa’s treason, he turned her into a worm. Zeus took pity on the nymph and turned her into a honeybee. The card didn’t go into mythology, but stated that honeybees were hard working, diligent creatures. The name and its symbol are fitting: I have always been busy, industrious, bouncing from one project to the next (but finishing most of them!) like a bee gathering nectar and pollen from flowers in a garden. I have a bee’s inborn tendency to plan ahead and amass what I might need for a busy season: pottery for a festival or sale months away, a freezer full of meals to feed my family while I’m teaching a residency, six different books and knitting projects to fill my time on long trips.

After I had been making pottery for a year or so, I drew some designs to carve into stamps: a dragonfly, a bee, plus a few floral and leaf motifs- all reflecting my love for the garden and nature. I carved these designs into clay and bisqued them to use as stamps. Eventually I stopped using all but the bee. That original clay stamp still sees use in the designs of my pottery. I try to remember to stamp each piece while the clay is wet to leather-hard, even if the bee is not a part of the design of the piece. For those times when I don’t make it back up to the studio until the piece is too dry to handle, I had a rubber stamp made to use with an underglaze pad. That stamp, made in 2001, saw so much use it fell apart this year. Dear Gary had a new bee stamp made for me for Christmas this year.

The bee is now my signature, which made this summer’s bee die-off feel personal to me. I made an extra effort to plant bee-friendly flowers and plants in my garden, letting vegetables and herbs bolt, flower, and go to seed, and letting local wild flowers- clover, dandelions, and asters- pop up in my lawn to nourish the little bees of midtown Memphis who found their way into my garden. We use local honey from Peace Bee Farm in Proctor, AR (available at the Memphis Farmers Market downtown and at the Wednesday Memphis Botanic Gardens Farmers Market), and do our best to both grow and buy local organic produce and garden without pesticides. Interested in bee gardening? This is a great place to start, and, of course, the bee project.

This photo was from last summer- I had a bunch of sunflowers that volunteered in my little kitchen garden. The bees swarmed all summer- I liked nothing better than to go and watch the big and little pollen-covered bees gorge themselves at the sunflowers!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

seven things

Amy of happythings tagged me with a random things meme, but I'm going to follow her lead and show you seven things I've made, pottery and not, so there's still that element of random.

1. I knit. Obsessively but slowly, as in it's all I think about, but actually sit to do it rarely. Mostly socks. Also mittens, hats, shawls, like this one. This lovely lady is Nadia Price Bates Strid, the first professional female photographer in Memphis.

2. This is the first thing that I made (in 2000) that I kept. I keep it in my medicine cabinet- it only holds cotton balls. Next to it is my favorite scent- Azzaro's Pure Lavender- a woodsy/herbaly lavender- not soft and powdery. It's men's cologne, but I wear it daily. Next to that is my friend Elia's lavender/rose hydrosol. She makes the most wonderful bath products.

3.I like kids' crafty, too. Little boy and I made these for our Easter dinner table.

4.I've been known to pull things out of people's trash, like the year's worth of Everyday Food I pulled out of someone's curbside recycling bin. This mirror is my most recent score, found on the sidewalk the day it snowed. I also have two LARGE (really, 8ft long) mid-century sliding door consoles that came out of a demolition/rehab job on my street, and a 1920s built-in butler's pantry with original wavy glass that needs to be stripped and repainted and installed in my kitchen.

5.I used to (and still would, if asked again) teach children's pottery workshops. This is one of the first projects that we make- a tile based on the first letter of our name. B= bee (does that surprise anyone?)
6. When I was in college I painted in oils, but I took all of my studio classes pass/fail, much to my instructor's chagrin, because I was a rebellious prissy/preppy girl and didn't want to complete an assignment if it just didn't "work"for me. These classes were a break from more rigorous history and American Studies coursework, I think I (erroneously) thought they were fluff. My son found this painting and "needed" it in his room. I was influenced by how stained glass looks both flat and sculpted at the same time.

7. I also did a lot of printmaking, but never took a class in it. Should have, learned the basics of lino prints in high school, but didn't follow up on it at Salem. I did learn and teach some children's printmaking, using dick blick erasers and leaves, as an intern at Reynolda House in Winston-Salem, which was my first art education experience. But oh, to do real etchings on copper! Someday. This piece is in my den. They are leaf prints (from real leaves from my garden) on antique book pages that I took out of my great-grandparents junk room when we cleared out their house. I think I made this in 2001- inspired by a Martha Stewart "good thing." It now covers a redundant door in our den.

I'm going to tag Molly of Mollycoddle, another Molly at Read it and Wheeze, and Beth at Write, Mama. Write. Same thing- I think ya'll have done the randoms- how 'bout we all follow Amy's lead and show random creativity?

Bee Project

Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
As my regular readers know by now, I love, love, love bees. One of my acquaintances and readers, Beth Ann, an early childhood educator who also makes pottery, just turned me on to a new project that seems to be modeled on the Audubon Society's annual bird count. She specifically mentioned that this would be a great project to work on with little boy- I can see great homeschool or Montessori project potential here, for those of you who are on that track.

You plant native sunflowers (they send the seeds to you for free!) in your yard, garden, or even in a largeish pot for patio gardeners. After the sunflowers are planted and blooming, you go out to your garden, have a little sit, and time how long it takes for 5 bees to visit your sunflowers. You can report the data online or send it in, snail-mail. The website, , has tips on gardening for bees, what to do about bee stings, where to visit public gardens, forums, a guide to identifying bees, and additional resources on bees and their importance to our ecology and food systems.

Thanks, Beth Ann, for turning me on to this project. I've already signed up and will dedicate a patch of my front garden to blessing and counting the bees! The little honeybees in my neighborhood are already buzzing around the muscari, the last of the flowering quince, and the new blossoms of the hollies. Buzz, buzz!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

thinking spring

It's full-swing spring here in Memphis. The garden is starting to pop- most of the daffodils are already gone from my flowerbeds but the herbs and other perennials are really leafing out. My Kentucky Colonel mint (the best for juleps) is starting to put out some nice, large leaves. I passed its bed (because, as I'm sure you know, mint likes to take over) and remembered that I had only 2 cups left in my pottery stash, so on Friday I spent some time in the studio making a set of Julep Cups.

These were Gary's first great pottery idea. I was hesitant, but after my first dozen sold, they became a fixture. To me, these cups embody the ease and enthusiasm of spring (and of our old annual Derby-Day julep parties), and they are one of my favorite wedding gifts for folks who like to entertain. Juleps can make a body a little wild- they're something to be sipped, not gulped. The basic recipe is a cup of chipped ice, a tablespoon (or more) of simple syrup or slightly less superfine sugar, a couple of mint leaves, muddled, and a glass full of bourbon. I'm a lightweight, so I fill half the glass with club soda before adding the bourbon. While these drinks are traditionally made in sterling or pewter cups, I think mine are a fun option. Cheers!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
My cupcakes just weren't quite what I'd been craving.* The flavor was good, but they didn't mound up nicely, and the buttercream, um, just didn't do. It probably needed more butter, because it was drippy. Too much lemon simple syrup? And definitely too much food coloring- but they do match the johnny jump ups.

All of my cupcakes have been falling flat lately- even my old reliable Everyday Food one-bowl chocolate cupcakes. They all get flat and spread out rather than being nice and fluffy and mounded. Good thing my boys don't notice things like that!

*Sick home from school preschooler report: "Mama, I don't like this bottom part of the cupcake." Yeah, me neither, son.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bridgman Easter 2008

These are two baptismal banners I made for Easter Baptisms at the Cathedral. I was really excited about how they turned out. The entire thing is made out of craft foam sheets and really skinny ribbon. We traced the handprints of about 8 of the children in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd a week ago and I arranged them into a butterfly shape for the little boy, and a garden of lilies for the little girl. I was very pleased with how the ribbon looks a bit like calligraphy. The background is plain cotton duck canvas, which took hot glue and fabric glue really well.

Little boy and I also made easter egg garlands and place cards for our dinner yesterday, but he woke up this morning with a bad tummy bug, so the family festivities will be postponed. I changed out of my easter clothes and dressed up like an easter egg- a powder blue cashmere turtleneck a Cathedral friend outgrew, pink mini-wale cords, and my favorite blue and purple jaywalker socks. It's beautiful out, but only about 50 degrees, a reminder that spring's nature is fickle.

With all of the excitement about cupcakes in the blogosphere, I've been craving them this week, so when little boy fell asleep, I pulled out the kitchenaid and whipped up a batch of lemon cupcakes with buttercream icing. I'll save them for when little boy is feeling better, but the icing is the exact yellow of johnny-jump-ups, so at least a few with be flower-topped. Maybe I'll be able to get a picture of them with my favorite cake plate later this afternoon.

Happy Easter- sing out, ring the bells, enjoy the renewal of spring!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Earlier this winter it seemed like my life was turning upside down. I had three weeks of what seemed like nothing but bad news, but it was a vehicle for many people to show their love and support during my mini-crises. Lately, everything has more than leveled out- it even seems to be on an upswing. I need a new roof, suddenly we have the funds available for a new roof. I didn't get into my "sure thing" show I do every year, but sales picked up on etsy and amazingly, I just got an offer from an old friend to set up as a featured artist in a gallery she's helping run. I am so, so grateful, and excited about the potential for that day.

These little bud vases were a birthday gift from a dear friend- I turned 33 on Palm Sunday and little bits of love have been trickling in my mailbox and front door all week long. The muscari are from my garden- I have planted hundreds of them and have happy deep blue drifts all along my flowerbeds and into the lawn. The tulips were a gift from another friend, delivered the evening of my birthday, after a long day of church and family egg hunts. Dear Gary got me that bamboo ring I wrote about a while back, and my mother is helping me with a giffin grip for the studio. It has been a good, full week with a festive, full weekend ahead. Happy Easter, happy spring.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

tiny bowls

I've mentioned that when I go into the studio, especially if it's been a while since I've thrown, I always start out by making small items, like bud vases or tiny bowls. These bowls are usually grouped in a large flat basket like the one pictured at left, a treasure trove of colors, textures, and shapes, all priced at a point where almost anyone, even my youngest customers (usually little girls with allowance money, attracted by the bright candy colors) can afford them. I love to watch my customers stack these bowls in their basket, rearranging them by shape and color. This is where I let myself go a little crazy with my colors- you won't find that granny smith apple green in much else that I make.

These tiny bowls are really useful, too. I have a small stash of them in my kitchen to use for salt or chopped herbs when I'm cooking- a casual mies en place. Larger, deeper bowls are good salt cellars. I like to use them for dipping bowls for homemade spring rolls and nam plam-based sauces. Two sit on my kitchen window sill- one for rings, one for a small cake of soap my little boy likes to use for washing his hands. I keep one in my bathroom- it is very shallow and wide, perfect for swirling around a kabuki brush in mineral makeup powders without making a huge mess(I am hooked on everyday minerals, which offers free samples and a huge range of foundation colors- at a fraction of the cost of well-known brands). A friend uses hers for spoon and teabag rests-both are shallow, flattish bowls, another selected deeper bowls, still not quite ramekins, similar to the white bowls with blue and green interiors on the right side of the basket, for serving condiments. It's been fun for me to see and hear the creative uses friends and customers have come up with for my tiny bowls.

Monday, March 17, 2008

handmade goodness

handmade goodness
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Using handmade things is really important to me. Here are a few of my favorite handmade things- my blue "jaywalker" socks made from hand-dyed yarn, my lovely new bamboo spinning ring my husband gave me for my 33rd birthday, Molly Hatch's beautiful "peek a boo bird" tumbler - both of these things came from etsy, by the way, and my own hand-thrown and fluted teacup and saucer from my last experimentation with porcelain a few years ago.

When I was a little girl, my mother made all of my "special" clothes. I grew up knowing that if I wanted a blue dress, made a certain way, I could have it in a few days. When I was in college, I would know what I wanted and wander around the mall aimlessly looking for the specific dress, skirt, sweater so clearly pictured in my mind's eye and I would be unable to find it. I still have this "problem," but I find it is best solved by making the object- be it dress, sweater (well, not a sweater, but hat or socks), teacup, cake plate, whatever- or having it made for me. My husband built our bookshelves in our living room. Before that, he built a stereo cabinet out of an old (1930s?) window that came from my great-grandparents' home in Louisiana. In my dining room hangs a mirror made from a stained glass window, also from my great grandparents' , but originally from their church.

At this point in my life, love of the handmade is part self-reliance. For instance, it bothers me tremendously that I couldn't figure out how to fix the lock in our storm door when I am able to create clothing out of sticks and string, and make our dishes out of hunks of clay. I did learn how to fix the lock, but I had to have a pro show me how. This love is also a bit of throw-back, rejection of the have it all now, have it all perfect, have it all cheap. None of the things that I love best are perfect, instantaneous, or cheap. Affordable, yes. Cheaper than what you could find at Walmart or Target? Nope.

I try really hard to be flexible about these things, because most of the American public doesn't understand this sort of thinking. It just doesn't make sense to them. Why not have something that is perfect and instant and cheap? Several years ago my darling brother, who is as different from me as night and day, was visiting. He lives a good 16-hours drive from me, so our visits are infrequent. He looked at my beat-up kitchen table, our small TV, our pot rack that was made out of a sled, and the cut-tin folk art hanging on the wall. "Melissa," he said, "ya'll are eccentric." That stung a little (but I've been able to rub it in for about 6 years in the way that only an older sister can), but I've come to realize that priorities are just different, and what's best for me is not what's best for him or anyone else. This is one reason that I read blogs, and one reason that I started a blog. I love the fact that a daily click on my Bloglines tab will lead me to dozens of other creative women who are doing their best to manage their homes, make things, rear their children, live a life filled with the things that are important to me, too- handmade objects, good books, good home grown/home cooked/ organic foods, farmers markets, gardens. It makes me feel less alone in this world. It is my hope that maybe this little journal of pottery and living will help someone else realize that we are out here, and we're not that weird for having the priorities that we do.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Meant to be used

Meant to be used
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
A while ago my neighbor was over for a visit and cofessed, aghast, that she had finally used my bamboo tumblers (I had given her a set of 4 as a gift two years ago) for coffee, but her daughter had put them in the dishwasher. I laughed, opened my dishwasher, and showed her something like this. It's full of pottery- mine and others' work. While I may not put my platters in (they're oddly shaped, sometimes, and difficult to stack around), I do not hesitate to put anything else that I've made in. So here you'll see ramekins, my family's favorite cafe au lait bowls, bamboo tumblers, and the butter dish, because it was full of melted butter after I found it sitting on top of the toaster oven.

While I firmly believe that children should be able to use appropriately-sized versions of the same things adults use- I even make pottery for children- you DO see my boy's blue plastic cups from Target in there too. Previous owners of our home installed beautiful blue slate floors in the kitchen (which I hate). Everything breaks- even the tempered glass picardie glasses, although it takes a second drop for them- on contact with these beautiful but deadly floors. So until the boy gets taller or we can replace the floors with cork (a dream, but not in this lifetime)- he gets unbreakable. There are health concern with heating plastics, I know, so these only hold cold liquids. He has his own special mug for hot chocolate, which never drops, but the plates and bowls come crashing to the floor with such regularity that I can't give him all handmade yet. Also, little round plastic lids? Yogurt machine. Yum. One small appliance I wouldn't be without!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SALE on etsy

Five new-old pieces on etsy. All are leafy, mostly in golden brown/green colors- very natural and autumnal. All of the pieces are food safe, oven safe. A few are low fire, so I'd keep them out of the microwave and wash by hand. Everything is $15 and under, plus shipping. I still like- even LOVE- some of these pieces, but they just don't fit with the body of my work anymore.

We're heading out of town for a birthday camping trip on Sunday. I can ship on Friday, but after that, I won't be shipping anything before Wednesday.

old work for cheap

In the next few days I'm going to be putting some of my old work up on etsy. It's going to be cheap, because I am tired of looking at it, in its sad dusty pile, over in the corner of my studio. There's nothing wrong with any of it, but it is no longer a reflection of my style- a little rustic for my current tastes. There may be 6 pieces in a variety of colors, all functional, all leafy, all from 2001-2005. I stopped doing these right after Katrina because they just didn't make me happy anymore. This piece pictured above won't be included, I have no idea what happened to it, it's just the only photo I have of them, and it's blurry because it was a digital photo of a slide. So after I re-shoot the photos and put them up, I'll let ya'll know. Their original prices were in the mid 40s- these will be in the low teens to single digits. If they don't sell, off to goodwill they go.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

drippy ginkgo teacup

drippy ginkgo teacup
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Last summer I made a series of leaf teacups for my boy's mother's day out teachers, as well as the librarian who we saw every week for 2 years at the toddler story hour at the main library. I think I made 6-8 of them, let them sit around for a while, then finally put them up on etsy in the last week or so. You've already seen a couple of my favorites- one with a big beautiful fern (that I broke and may try to fix for my own use), and one with a Japanese Climbing fern.

I had serious reservations about putting this one up because I was so unhappy with how the glaze slid off the leaf and pooled at the foot of the cup. Ruined, I thought. A waste of a ginkgo, I thought. I LOVE the ginkgo tree. The tall stately sculptural shape of the tree itself, the fan-shaped leaves, its ancient history, and the fabulous golden fall coat it puts on every year*. My neighbor transplanted a small ginkgo from her backyard to her front yard shortly after we moved to this house in 2004. It thrives in the east-facing yard, and serves as a handy-dandy source for leaves for my pottery. Her neighbor also has a tree, so I may never be without!

I called in sick with a stomach bug this morning and went back to bed after dropping little boy off to school. When I awoke, in a sleepy queasy fog, I turned on the old mac and was shocked to see that this piece had sold. Thank you, Dane, for giving my poor drippy child a home. I am always surprised when the things that I perceive as sub-par are among the first to leave my "nest."

*Before I had my son, we lived way out in the country and I would drive into the city to teach clay residencies in the city schools through what was then the Center for Arts Education, an arm of the Greater Memphis Arts Council. Sadly, this program folded in 2003. I remember driving into midtown to reach a specific school just before Thanksgiving to drop off the children's pieces. I stopped the car in front of a huge ginkgo that was beginning to lose its leaves, a golden tree with a golden carpet. On impulse, I filled the entire back floorboard of my car with ginkgo leaves. Half of those leaves made it into pottery, a quarter stayed in the floor just to make me smile that winter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

new blog

a while ago I posted a picture of the goodies my miniswap partner, Amanda, sent my boy. This weekend she started a new blog- Owl and Pussycat. Our swap package was filled with fun things to play with, eat, make, read, and listen to, all based on her little family's favorite places to go in Vancouver. I look forward to seeing what creative goodness Amanda sends our way.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

bee logo

Last week I was at the post office shiping an etsy package. The clerk was unusually chatty and asked me about the bee on my business card (I'd gotten lazy and used it as my return address), if it was a bee simply because my last name begins with a "B." I answered that indeed, that was one reason, but also because Melissa, in Greek, means "honeybee."

I think in my last post about bees I mentioned that the shape of classic bee skeps is an inspiration to me, but the bees themselves are on each piece that I make. This image, and the image on the post, is one that I drew freehand. For the clay stamp, I traced the drawing on tracing paper then laid it over a thin slab of clay and pressed it to transfer the image to the clay. After the clay was leather hard, I took my lino-cut tools and carved out the image, leaving only the areas darkened by pencil marks. After I bisqued it, I used this little stamp instead of signing my pieces. The bee became my signature, as seen here on the base of this teacup. Occasionally, I also use this stamp as an all-over decoration, but I find that unless I go back to stamp the pottery at just the right moment, the piece warps and I have a hard time getting it back into its proper shape. These bee-strewn pieces show up from time to time -there are a few in the production line now- but not often.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

a little too excited about the white stuff

Snow covered wall with my leaf-tile border

Another early pottery birdhouse

Snow draped bottle tree and camellia

Friday, March 7, 2008

rare sight in these parts

This is the result of an hour's snowfall in my garden- it is beginning to pile up on the bushes, birdhouses (this is an old raku bird-shaped birdhouse I made in 2002- I stopped doing Raku when I was pregnant with my boy), roofs, and fences. Beautiful fluffy white snow. We already went out for a snow walk, because it hasn't snowed like this in 2 years, and we haven't gotten 4+ inches like we expect since 2000. Amazing to see snow covering a forsythia in full bloom!

This photo was taken a mere 30 minutes later! I imagine that everyone in town not already cozy at home is at the grocery buying up all of the milk, bread, cornmeal, and kerosene in sight. Folks in the mid-to-deep south get a little crazy when we see white stuff falling from the sky.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

craving color

We're expecting a busy and snowy weekend here- but this was from last weekend, when we had glorious late-spring like weather. This photo is blurry- I cut the focused part out-we're out in the country at my mom's, gathering golden cups of joy. This is what I call my "mork and mindy" tee shirt. You can almost see my red glasses.
I have a friend who once said that my pottery just didn't "do," it for her ("fair enough", I said, because to each her own, and it didn't really hurt my feelings) because there wasn't enough color. Jolts of blue, check, yellow, check, but admittedly, the bulk of my work is white, white, white. Because looking around at my home, my closet, even my lipstick stash, all I see is color- bold, vivid, pure pigments. Nothing shy or retiring. My favorite coat is the color of cooked gulf shrimp. Lipstick? Red. I own 7 pair of red shoes. Purse- red. Winter hat- emerald green. I guess I have to be restrained somewhere, and in my home, white stands out, especially when viewed on my yellow kitchen table. Also, I think, white makes the form stand out more than color, and I like to focus on the form and shape of my pottery more than its glaze color. Plus, a girl's eyes have got to rest somewhere, right?

Off to enjoy a day of sunshine before the snow (maybe) comes!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

shop update

I'll have an etsy shop update on Wednesday, with new teacups, some mugs, and serving pieces to choose from. I'm almost out of honey pots, but I have a few more butter servers and some other surprises.

This cup is impressed with a tendril of Japanese Climbing Fern, which came from my late friend Mary Mueller's home in Rossville, TN. I use this fern frequently as it is prolific and lovely.

snow day!

Well, not for me. Not for my boys, either. But Luther sure enjoyed his first snow! It doesn't snow much in Memphis, maybe once a year we'll see some flakes, but accumulation is much less frequent than that. It won't stick this time since we were in the 70s Sunday and Monday (that was yesterday!), but it is coming down like gangbusters.

Pottery work is happening, but not so much to see when work involves shipping (yay!), supplies, and computer work. I went to get new boxes for my etsy sales, recalculated my shipping charges based on the weight of each type of piece and plugging each weight into the USPS website for priority mail and insurance. Happily, I made accurate guesses, but some of my shipping charges have been lowered a bit. A few were raised: I'm not sure how I thought I could ship something priority for $4 when prices start at $4.60, but that's all fixed now. This is a learning process.

Yesterday I bisque fired for the first time in a while- my kiln needs a new part, so I can't do a glaze fire yet, but that will happen soon. Then I'll have LOTS of new work to show you!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

lovely and shiny and new

One of my first blog posts was about my dear friend Katharine's sister, Laura, who inspired me to work harder at pottery and at creative mothering. At the time, the painting, Night Chorus, pictured above, was the placeholder for her website. I've just discovered that the site is up and running! Please go and visit Laura's site and meander through her beautiful, folksy paintings that celebrate the everyday.

YAY, Laura!

gone to the dogs

All of our pets have had handmade dishes-so after dear Pete died last year at 15 (he had his own bowl, but it broke when little boy was a toddler who enjoyed picking up and dropping everything)and we had recovered sufficiently to talk about getting another dog, Luther got his own bowl. There was a Luther bowl before there was even a Luther. Our son came to me one day and said, "Mama, we need a new chocolate lab and we need to name him Luther." We have a dear friend named Luther, the only Luther little boy knows, so I said that after we asked permission (which Luther-the-man kindly granted), we could start looking. I was too heartbroken to get another chocolate, but when a wild year-old black lab pup wandered into our lives, he already had a bowl waiting for him. Birdy, our blonde old-lady lab-mix, also has her own bowl, but she prefers to eat out of Luther's. Luther eats out of Birdy's little dog-bone strewn bowl, and his own, if Birdy leaves anything in it.

This coming weekend my son's preschool is having its annual auction- we've put in this, which Gary took in 2000, a ladybug teapot, a "paint-it-yourself" platter that I threw, and a bowl like Luther's, customized with the winner's pet's name (little boy's class put together an adopt-a-dog basket, complete with a dog from the Humane Society). While this preschool is private and church-operated, the school's focus is on preparing their students for the accelerated program at the neighboring public elementary school. All of the money raised at the auction goes to providing scholarships for needy students.