Monday, June 30, 2008

early morning

This was me early this morning, except that instead of making, I was finishing. I woke up early, roused by dogs who start needing to go out at 5:30, and dreaming that the pottery I'd thrown and covered up on Friday had all dried to the point that they weren't trimmable anymore. Well, out of eight bowls, two were completely dry, but the other six were wet enough to trim and pierce later today. I am really behind on getting the berry bowls done, but little boy's virus week before last, last weeks dr's appointments (oh, my ear is fine! And I CAN ski again!) and hospital visits with Gary's mother means that not much work got done. There are more important things than a production schedule, and when something in my life has to go on the back burner, it seems that it is always pottery. I'm not complaining, but if I owe you a berry bowl, I hope you'll understand. June has flown by faster than I'd like.

While I was throwing on Friday (I'm not sure, but I think that I only spent time in the studio twice last week. Once session produced four bowls, the next saw six. That's 10 of 30! YAY!) I also threw a set of dessert plates with some tiny ferns and japanese maple leaves I harvested from in front of my babysitter's house. They'll be in the green on white "Delta Zen" colorway. They look a lot like these, but bigger and the design is on the outside, near the rim, rather than in the center of the plate. I didn't even uncover them to start trimming them because little boy woke up and it was time to start the mama job.

It's time to start thinking about the holidays, believe it or not! I have a private home sale coming up in the fall in addition to my regular at-home sale, plus a friend has asked me to put work in her shop for the holidays. And there are the sisters that want working on. My, my, how time flies!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Yesterday, as Gary and I were leaving an afternoon birthday party, I demanded that he stop the car. We'd just passed a house in a hip little neighborhood that had a great funky garden and a pile of brush by the curb. Why stop for a pile of brush, you ask? Because it was LOADED with ripe peaches. Not much bigger than golf balls, but golden, velvety, and being steadily consumed by mocking birds. I grabbed a grocery bag (I keep a stash of reusable bags in the car, plus little boy suffers from carsickness, so I also have a little bag stuffed full of "emergency" plastic bags), fought off the mocking birds, and brought home about 30 small but extremely sweet peaches. Gary waited patiently while little boy offered encouragement and guidance- "you missed one over there, mama!"

When I finally got back in the car, Gary said that I'd reached new levels in my tenderheartedness. I've gone from rescuing dogs to birds, and now abandoned fruit. I piped in that he'd left out cool old furniture that I've rescued from the curb. Here's my question about the whole thing: who in their right mind would cut down five huge limbs loaded with ripe-to-almost-ripe fruit? My friend Liz has a little peach obsession. She was the first person I informed of this incident. I think she'd understand.

Hello, brandied peaches. Christmas will be fruity this year!

Friday, June 27, 2008

the sisters

Sisters of St. Mary's
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
These ladies seem to be watching over me. When I made this as a gift for our former priest, I never dreamed I'd see it again or that anything would happen because of it. I was thrilled when it was included in a local exhibit of icons, even more excited when there was a class offered on icon-writing with the exhibit. This week, these ladies and that exhibit started to make things happen.

I got an email from a female priest on Monday, telling me that she'd seen the exhibit and my rendition of the Sisters of St. Mary's that morning. She is organizing a festive conference in September and wants to use the image for the poster. I'm not sure if the poster will be for sale, but I know that it will go up at each episcopal church in the diocese. We spoke on the phone for quite a long time, looked at my flickr images together, and both got even more excited about the sisters.

An bit later, I got another email requesting a similar icon for St. Mary's school, where the sisters taught. I got back in touch with Tobias Haller, BSG, who is a gracious man and is as excited about the spread of the "cult of the Martyrs of Memphis" as we were. By Tuesday, I had orders for two large icons to go to the school and to St. Mary's convent, in Sewanee, TN (it was originally a convent for the Episcopal nuns and is now a conference and retreat center). The line drawing/tracing I used for my glass icon may be on the program for the event, and I'm working on a stencil to make smaller, simplified copies of this image.

I am astounded at how quickly this all seemed to fall into place, and grateful. Grateful to Br. Haller for his generosity in using this image, grateful to our friend for allowing this icon to be exhibited, grateful to these two priests who were moved by the icon, and grateful to the Sisters for their selfless sacrifice and inspiration.

And I am one busy girl, because this all needs to be done by the first of September! I'm still working on these, too, and plan to have a batch finished by the end of next week. Keeping my hands in clay these days, grateful for the work. Happy weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

one local supper: June 25

Man oh man was this a good little meal. It was a solo meal- little boy refused to open his mouth to it (win some, lose some) and opted for a turkey burger instead- and Gary's been with his mom in pre- waiting, and post-op all day. She is just fine, thank you, and we're hoping/praying for a speedy recovery. So my local meal was for me alone, and frankly, I was happy not to have to share. On my last visit to the downtown farmers market, I bought a bunch of baby beets and baby carrots from the fine folks at Whitton Flower and Produce Company. Then little boy was sick, then we were out of town. Today we visited the mid-week market, so I had to use up produce, fast. I knew just what to do.

About 5 years ago the Dan Zanes family appeared in a thanksgiving Martha Stewart Living article. They live(d?) in a great Brooklyn brownstone and had the whole crew in for a typical beautiful/funky MSL feature. There was a fabulous roasted beet, walnut, and feta salad recipe (sorry I can't find a link!) that I made that year and have been making ever since. Then in March a really delicious grated beet and carrot salad recipe showed up at Chocolate and Zucchini. I combined the two in an incredibly happy marriage of whole roasted baby beets, baby carrots, arugula from my garden, and goat-feta. I used olive oil and a splash of local wine (that I don't like at all but will make great vinegar) for the dressing. (Really. It said of itself that it was "dry and fruity," but it made me make a face.) I'm thrilled to have a local acid, because the lack of one was really hurting me in this challenge.

And look what I found while I was trimming the carrots! A carrot man! I can almost see a little face. I love finding anthropomorphic vegetables (remind me to tell you about the dancing green onion man sometime)! This guy escaped the knife and is propped up on my butter dish on a bed of spices until he gets ready for the compost. I plan to keep him around until he's old and wrinkled and smelly. I was too tickled to top, tail, and roast him!

spiritu's happy ending

spiritu's happy ending
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I know I've told you about the plight of the white dove that seemed to be making its home in my fig tree and my neighbor's back yard, happily eating seed from our hands. When I last saw the bird, he was high up in my neighbor's oak tree, with seed spilling out of a hole in its craw. After a day or two, I didn't see it anymore. I was just despondent. It was so magical to have this white bird visiting us, letting us pet it, pick it up. In this photo, taken on June 11, I thought we were going to have to put it down or take it to a bird rescue facility. Big jethro-dumb Luther started barking behind the door, scaring both me and the bird so that it flew away. I thought that he'd surely perished.

You may not know this, but doves like Spiritu are completely defenseless. When they're released at weddings or funerals, they are essentially "throw-away" birds. Doves mate for life and domesticated doves have been given food, water, and shelter for their entire existence. Usually, they fall prey to dogs, cats, or hawks.

Last night I was putting some late tomatoes into my garden when Danny, my back-yard neighbor, wandered over. He told us that his wife called him a week and a half ago to tell him that the dove was resting on the fence, with its eyes closed. He came home, put his hand over the dove, brought it in, and gave it water. Poor bird was severely dehydrated. Cindy, his wife, bought a large cage for the dove, who now lives happily in their home. Their front porch is screened, so it flies around the porch. They have graciously offered to let us (me) pet-sit when they go out of town. Both Gary and I were so happy that we nearly cried. Well, I nearly cried. Gary did the guy-reaction "Great!" and went back to working on the treehouse.

I am so glad that this little docile bird has a happy ending. I still think he's a little magical.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

back to the studio

I've had a large break from making pottery. I haven't been at the wheel since Thursday, June 5. There has been lots of glazing, lots of child-tending, some sewing, a little traveling. It is time to get back to reality and the business of earning my income. I have some new ideas I'd like to try; I also have a commission or two that I have to work out the hows and how muches in my head before they're confirmed. Lots to do. Can you believe June is waning? I'd like to see these on my shelves again before it's over.

Monday, June 23, 2008

mini vacation

tiny plates
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
It was SO nice to get away, nice to come home. Time to unpack the bags, start the laundry, and keep putting the pottery on etsy. Get back on the berry bowls.

We spent the weekend at the lake with my aunt and her new ski boat. I hadn't skied since 1997 or 1998. In 1999 I had my eardrum replaced after a really bad infection/perferation. They said "no more skiing." I didn't listen. I took a really nasty spill, hurt my ear, and have to go back to the ENT to have them take a look at it and drain the lake water out of my ear. Fun. Worth it? Not really. The rest of the weekend was wonderful, despite the fall that seemed tied to last week's maladies.

Back to real life now. Dinners, garden, pottery, etsy, keeping little boy occupied. To start: I just got four of these little plates up (minus the ginkgo and the center fern/fiddlehead plate) to join with the bud vases. Next up: more little bowls and all of my bright yellow and blue cups and sugar/creamer sets.

Friday, June 20, 2008

this week in review

We're headed out of town this afternoon for a weekend with family at a lake about 3 hours away, and I'll be frank, I'm ready to leave this week behind. I never fully recovered from Tuesday's debacle. Even thought some great things happened, like a visit with a favorite relative, some sewing, twice, even, and a big listing of the bud vases on etsy, the week was punctuated by a little boy's stomach virus, a couple 3 or 4 am morning starts, and then a minor but frustrating car incident.

Instead of being all cranky (oh, I am SO cranky right now), I will focus on the blessings, like all of the nice, sympathetic comments I got from ya'll here and on flickr regarding the pottery loss, the success of last week's pottery sale and its continuation on etsy this week, a very nice swimming teacher who rescheduled our missed week of lessons, the wonderful fact that car bumpers are plastic lego-like constructions and it wasn't a car or a person or a building that I hit. And that the bumper seems to have just snapped back into place. Several good dinners happened this week, and little boy is finally over this virus. I have another session of my icon class on Sunday, and I hope to jump back on the pottery-making train on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone. I'm going to go sit down with my knitting now and wait for the weekend to start!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

fern detail

fern detail
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
This is a detail from a platter I'm sending off today with Gary's uncle, a minister who is in town for a conference. When we talk to him on the phone, we both imagine that we're talking to Bill Moyers. They even fit the same physical profile, now that I think about it. He is performing one of his nephew's wedding next month in Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill is my idea of heaven, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that we can go. I'm sending this platter with Uncle Allen as a wedding gift just in case we don't get to go because Gary's mom is having a major surgery next week, and at the age of 80, we're not sure that it would be a good idea to travel 12 hours away three weeks after her surgery.

Cousin David's mother sent us a beautiful bowl made by her cousin, Lee Davis, for our wedding. All of my china is blue and white, and this bowl matches! Gary and I decided to send along some pottery, and this is one of my favorite pieces.

I may have talked about this line before, but all of the hazel-green leaves on milky white are the "delta zen" line, named by Gary. It's the confluence of my studies in graduate school- a little bit eastern design aesthetic meets the ideals of hospitality (they're all serving pieces) of the Mississippi Delta. It's my most popular line of pottery, and the most labor-intensive in finishing because of the botanical details. I always hate it when I'm working on the glazing, then enchanted when I open the kiln.

I've never shipped one of these pieces before, so we're sending it with the preacher. I hope they like it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

one local supper: June 17

Thanks, everyone, for all of your kind comments about yesterday's mishap. Did I tell you that I'd also been up since 3 with little boy? And that we (little boy and I, during a non-vomiting spell) took both dogs to the vet to get their boarding vaccinations? Haha! Happily, the day got better and not worse. We're still fevery today, but not vomity. This is an improvement.

This is last night's local meal. I bought a mixed box of yellow and green beans last week at the farmers market and sauteed them in garlic (mine!), olive oil, and crushed brown mustard seeds. The broccoli was from last week's (or the week before) farmers market.

The star of the show, however, is the "rock and roll squash." I have two favorite farmers at the market. Jill and Keith Forrester, and Lori Greene of Downing Hollow Farm. Lori is a former Memphis Rock'n'Roller who went by the name of Lorette Velvette (warning, this link plays music. Adjust your volume!). I've loved her music for years (I have a thing for tough-girl chic rockers, but very few make the cut). When Lori first started go give me some merchandising advice at the market a year or two ago, I was enchanted by her personality first, and her produce second. There was a writeup about her in Edible Memphis Magazine last year, and I was shocked to make the connection between her music that I loved and her fabulous organic produce. Gary is somewhat older than I am, and he likes to tell stories about how she played with her band in his apartment way back when. One of her bandmates, now a Montessori art teacher, is my across-the-street neighbor.

Okay. Back to the food. I cut the rock'n'roll yellow and white pattypan squash into chunks, tossed it with my garlic, olive oil, kosher salt, fresh herbs, and breadcrumbs I made out of the heels of leftover farmers maket and my own baking bread. Roasted at 400 degrees for 30+ minutes. It was SO good. I may not repeat this because the boys weren't thrilled, but I will happily eat the half-pan that's left over.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

managing expectations

managing expectations
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
So, these are the berry bowls that were going to be fired. That one in the corner that looks intact? It isn't. Big hunk missing from the rim. There were a dozen. Plus a nice fern platter. Little boy started throwing up early this morning, so I'd called the swimming teacher to reschedule our lessons. The phone rang as I was walking out the door. I put the tray down on the shelf/ledge (normally wide and sturdy enough for the load), to get the phone, then I heard the crash. How nice to lose $250 and disappoint a half-dozen people in one second.

So my day's plans have changed somewhat. And it wasn't even the swimming teacher on the phone. I guess this is why we have answering machines?


queen anne's lace
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I took yesterday to rest after last week's craziness. I'd intended to list the pottery that didn't go at my sale. It didn't happen. Some will go up today. I'm also firing another batch of berry bowls that didn't get into the kiln last week. I'm behind on getting them finished and shipped out, so if you're waiting for one, I apologize.

The temps are a bit cooler here this week- last week got into the mid to high 90s all week- typical August temperatures- so I'll be able to bisque and glaze quickly. I'm grateful for any temps under 92, with less than 50% humidity. I love living in the deep south, but let me tell you, things move slower here because there's no other option. It's hard to be speedy when the night air is as tactile as a velvet cloak on your skin. Sounds romantic, but the reality is that most of us turn into slugs in the summer. Today is brisk in comparison, so I'm loading up the kiln this morning and getting back in the game.

Monday, June 16, 2008

local supper- last week

local supper- June 11
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I didn't blog this last week 'cause I was too crazed, but this meal ended up being outstandingly good. I'm leaning a bit too heavily on the venison sausage, but that will end as I either a) get better at this or b) buy some grass-fed beef/local chickens. I want us to go more veggie, but the boys sulk a little.

We had a baked-omelete thing with eggs and goat feta from the farmers market. Swiss chard from the garden. Basil from the garden, and onions from the garden. In Feb I had some onion sprouting issues in my pantry, so I planted about 6 of them, just to see what would happen. I later read that they'd just produce seed, but most of them split like shallots and made new baby onions. Bonus- most of the time onions make me weep. Not this time.

Next up, some really good farmer's market broccoli. For dessert, sauteed peaches with Angel Food Ice Cream (made in Memphis). We're almost out of the Angel Food, but my Mom gave us her old Donvier (same brand as my yogurt maker!) ice cream maker, so we'll start making our own sorbets and ice creams. There is a fig ice cream recipe over at Chocolate and Zucchini that I'll definitely try once my figs start coming in.

This meal was surprisingly good. When I was pregnant we had chickens, and I found myself unable to eat eggs. This first happened when I made a frittata and was grossed out. I really only like eggs fried/poached with the yolk nice and hot but still runny, or boiled. I had reservations about this, since it LOOKS like a frittata, but it was delicious. It was even better cold for lunch the next day. Little boy didn't like it (except for the sausage and cheese), but Gary and I ate it heartily. I only used 4 eggs, too, so it was a pretty thrifty meal.

This week: BEETS!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

pottery sale

tiny vases
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
It's over, I'm exhausted, we still need to put the furniture back. This week I'll start adding the pieces that didn't sell (there are quite a few!) to my etsy shop. It went pretty well, especially given the cost of gas, the heat and humidity, and how busy everyone is. I was pleased with the turnout, pleased with my sales, and pleased to meet some new friends who read this blog and from Ravelry.
Tomorrow I'll start taking pictures, finish the berry bowls that still need to be glazed, do some shipping, take little boy to swimming lessons, and maybe fit in some sewing time. I need more of these tops, 'cause 70% humidity is here for the summer, and tee shirts are no longer an option.

Have a great week, everyone!

pretty nice life

Daddy, you gave me security, a childhood, a future. Thank you.

Dad, you gave me life. Advice. Support as a young adult. Thank you.

This is Gary's Daddy. Greatly admired, greatly missed.

Pappa, you showed me that I can do anything, even when times are tough, by your own life's story. Thank you.

Fitz, you are a wonderful godfather. Supportive of us, loving little boy, traveling great distances to make sure your little charge really knows you. Thank you.

Sweetheart, you are the best Dad to our little boy. He's just now starting to call you "Dad," leaving "Daddy" behind as he learns how to be a little man.

Happy Father's Day to all of you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sale sneak peek, II

Botanical Mugs
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
botanical mugs and platters catching the morning light in my living room. Yesterday little boy proclaimed "our whole house is a pottery store!"

Several things, including one of my favorite small platters and half of the tiny vases, went last night. Thanks to everyone who turned out in the heat and humidity. I enjoyed meeting new people and seeing old friends. Come cool off with some lemonaid!

I got up really early this morning to get my eggs from the farmers market downtown and came away with quite a haul. My favorite farmers (I just signed up for their CSA for the fall last week!) told me that if I'll keep my chard cut, I may be able to squeeze another month out of them. YAY! Isn't this the prettiest?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

sneak peek

I unloaded the kiln this morning- here's a peek at what I have to offer. This is the first time in more than 3 years that I've done my sale by myself. Usually my friend Katherine of Turtle Pottery joins with me, and at the pre-holiday sale I always have an artist of a different media join in. This summer, it's all me, so it will be less of a shindig than usual. I'll have light refreshments on Saturday and a bit of wine on Friday, so stop by if you're in the greater Memphis area.

If you're a long-distance blog reader, I'll have a big etsy update next week. If you've pre-ordered berry bowls from me, about ten are still upstairs and will be glazed next week. I'll be making them through the end of summer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer sale

Annual summer sale! teapots, cake plates, mugs, teacups, platters, bowls, honeypots, berry bowls, bird houses, sea urchins, tiny bowls, ladybug ware, pitchers and creamers, sugar bowls, cannisters, herb markers, a very few super-on sale seconds. Lots and lots of pottery.

Friday, 6-8. Saturday, 11-4:30.Scroll down for a map!

Monday, June 9, 2008

icon-writing class

icon-writing class
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Last night* was my first night of a three-session icon class. It is a Romanian Icon, which is reverse painting on glass. It was advertised as easy, as in, "if you can draw a crooked line, you can do this." Ahem. I beg to disagree. My table, which held me, a person fairly comfortable with painting fine details (all those ferns and ladybugs?), a fireman (my boy was so jealous!), a gallery manager, and a retiree, well, we all struggled. Everyone there struggled. I quit at this point- after two hours of work. The first step was to trace your design's outline ( I brought my paper copy of the Martyrs of Memphis) on glass with a sharpie. No problem. 15 minutes. Then came the painting the reverse of that outline on the glass. This is where the problems came in. Our instructor said that the paint needed to be "thin." No problem. I can do thin, I do thin with a 3-bristled brush and thinned black underglaze to make my ladybug details. It was too thin. The paint is supposed to be as thick as ink, thick enough to make a wall to hold in a layer of paint. Mine was watercolor thin. I think I spent 20 minutes working on getting the consistency right, then keeping it right (because the water evaporated quickly in the super-air-conditioned room).

I brought the piece home with me to work on after my sale. I won't have time this week- it will be a glazing, cleaning, and re-arranging fiesta at casa Bridgman, but we don't meet again until June 22, so hopefully I will have time next week. Interestingly, all of the other designs available were very detailed- mine is very simplified from the original icon. It is also the reverse image, but oh well. I'm not perfect. Neither is it.

*last night the dove came back- I've seen him around, but he was hanging out in the tree house WITH the boys. While they were hammering. Then eating from both of their hands. Pretty magical. But this is someone's pet, so we put an ad in the paper today. But man, oh, man, I'd like to hold the dove again!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

pottery photos

most of the photos of my pottery on this blog are pictures that I've taken with my little Kodak EasyShare C603 Zoom. It wasn't expensive, although my days as a college and graduate student, living on less than $500 a month, have permanently colored my vision of personal finance and I'm extremely careful with spending, so that $150 or so felt like a small fortune. Eventually, we'll upgrade, but I take almost all of my pictures with the macro feature (forgive my dismal knowledge of photography lingo) and I'm pretty pleased.
This photo was taken by Kim, who ordered a set of herb and vegetable markers from my shop. I love it- it is so different from my other herb marker photos- maybe just because it's in her garden and not in mine!
Many of you have seen Molly's berry bowl. One of my college friends recently said that it looks like a professional food photographer took it! This week Jennifer took another lovely photo of the bowl and shared it on her blog. Again, I see food-styling in her future! I'm tickled to see my work in use in your lives*- creating work to enrich daily living is one of the biggest reasons I do what I do. Well, also, I don't think that I could stop.

This coming week may be post-light as I work towards glazing and cleaning the house for my sale this weekend. I'll still be around, so I'll see you later!

*Sunday edit- Michele of calico daisy added some pictures of my butter dish here. Thanks Michele!!

Friday, June 6, 2008


There are several magazines that I subscribe to with the laughable goal of being "on trend." Sometimes I'm ahead of the curve slightly, but mostly I make what I make and these magazines are eye candy. This little teacup and saucer, from Anthropologie, has been in Domino twice in the past couple of months. Really, it reminds me of the tumbler and bowl I bought from Molly Hatch and her now (sadly) empty etsy store. So I love it, they come in different colors, and it's a very good thing that there aren't Anthropologie stores in Tennessee (that I know of, and please don't inform me if there are) and that I no longer get the catalog, becuase I love their home goods but they, ah, prevent me from attaining my goal of a clutter-free home.

Originally, I ripped this out to see if I could make my own variation of it, but at this point in time, it seems that I will be making nothing but berry bowls for the foreseeable future. Not that I'm complaining! I'm going to attempt one, maybe making similar lines with a blue underglaze pencil, or make a blue one with white lines. . . in the fall.

Today I have my mother's helper, but all the pottery I'm going to make for my sale is made. I have more berry bowls for orders to make, but not today. I've done 26 this week, both for orders and my own sale, but today's task is herb markers, finishing sale postcards, and listing the pieces that I photographed for etsy on Monday (while I catch up on my podcasts!). Thursday was an all-day little boy fiesta. We went to the library, out for lunch, went to the barber shop for our first professional haircut (and silly mama forgot her camera), to a playdate, and then to the pool for a swimming date. We finished the day by catching fire flies at dusk under the trees at Rhodes College, and reading books in mamas bed until we passed out. Literally. I woke up with books around us and the lamps still on. Ahh, summer.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
today's task- finish addressing and mail the postcards for next weekend's sale. My postcard mailing list is limited to Memphis and surrounding suburbs, so I only send them out a week ahead of time. I'm pleased with how they turned out, but I am definitely going to go the sticker-address-label route next time.

I LOVE the tropical fruit stamps, but I've always been a fan of postage stamps. Two years ago (or was it only last year?) I bought 200 Gee's Bend quilt stamps. I'm still using them, just adding more penny stamps. Stamps are such little works of art- I frequently find myself peeling canceled stamps off envelopes to keep for craft projects.

When Gary and I married in 2000 the Louise Nevelson stamps had just come out- all black and white and spare and graphic. I used them on my wedding invitations! I know some people must have thought we were insane, but Nevelson has been one of my favorite artists since I was in high school. I even came up with a Nevelson-inspired project when I taught kids' art camps. Now if only there would be Louise Bourgeois spider stamps. . . . .

I'm feeling a little all over the place today, seeking balance and realizing that I always feel this way the week before a sale. Just keep breathing, I tell myself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

bee on wild grape

wild grape
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I took this photo this morning. I saw movement in the wild grape vine growing on my back fence from my kitchen window and ran out with the camera. This big bumble (or carpenter, 'cause his abdomen is shiny rather than fuzzy) bee was not happy with me. He buzzed me until I backed away, but he was so intent on getting to these luscious flowers that he forgot about me and I snuck in to get this shot. I love it, it just says summer to me. So I'm sharing it with you.

This is the first year I've noticed this vine, but there's been so much activity around it that I'm hopeful that we may have some wild grapes this fall. Regardless of its production, it is pretty right now, and it makes the bees happy, which makes me happy.

one local supper -june 1

This was our first 100% local supper. The cut off for food products is 100 miles- the goat cheese is the farthest away from our home-everything else is closer than 60 miles and came from the Memphis Farmers Market, my garden, or family. We had sauteed broccoli-raab (one of my very favorite vegetables) from Whitton Flower and Produce Company in east Arkansas. Also hailing from east Arkansas is my dad's hunting camp's homemade venison summer sausage. I have a huge log of it in my freezer that we cut up as our meat garnish for veggie meals. With two carnivorous boys, the meat garnish helps. The stone-ground polenta comes from Delta Grind, in Oxford, MS. Also in the main dish are heirloom egyptian walking onions that were threatening to take over our garden. The goat cheese is from Bonnie Blue Farm, also at the Memphis Farmers Market.

In the salad we have my mother's snow peas and carrots from her garden, and mixed greens from the Botanic Gardens Farmers Market. The radishes are also from Whitton- they are leftover from my invitation photo shoot. Even the flowers are local- perennial sweet peas that grown along my neighbor's fence.

This meal was SO good. Even 4 year-old little boy ate it all with gusto. I'm excited about our local meal and what this summer's experiments with 100% local will bring.

Martyrs of Memphis Icon

Martyrs ceramic icon
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
This just in- the wonderful priest who owns this icon has lent it to St. George's Episcopal Church gallery in Germantown, TN for an exhibit of icons, featuring the work of Mary Jane Miler of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I am so tickled that my icon will be included! The opening was last night- I was unable to attend, but I'm going to get out to see it. The exhibit is up until the end of July. I'm particularly excited about the icon writing class that's going to be on Sunday nights in June, starting this Sunday. This particular technique is reverse-painting on glass, a Romanian form, I believe (I could be so so wrong). I've wanted to take the traditional egg-tempera icon workshops for years, but they are pricey. At $75, this class is certainly affordable. It starts this Sunday, so I'm sure I'll have photos to show you as it progresses.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


There is one berry bowl, in yellow, up at my etsy shop. It's a second, not quite perfect, so it is $18 instead of $20. Finders, keepers. More are coming!

wren top

wren top
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
this little guy is one of my favorite pieces from my last kiln load. I sold it at the farmer's market with more than a twinge of regret. I have serious bird love. And OH! The dove came back yesterday! My friend Virginia and her two girls were hanging out in the back yard with us when little boy spotted it and called us over. It refused to come down from the high tree tops (with three screaming preschoolers, I can't blame him), but sat there watching us for half an hour or so.

I've gotten a mother's helper this week so I can get myself in gear to finish work for my sale on the 13th and 14th. Sunday morning a friend and customer came over to get some things for her sister- a teapot and some matching cups were the plan. She left with most of my Delta Zen pieces- I have mugs and a few platters left, so that's what I'm making this week- those and more berry bowls! Thanks, Melissa and Jennifer, for mentioning the berry bowl!

So, blog break is over- off to spend quality time with my wheel.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Sunday was- and always is- a full and tough day. I teach Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (it is supposed to be a calm, centering experience, so the irony of my frenetic Sundays is NOT lost on me). It starts early, we all leave the house together, plus what's for dinner, then what's for supper, and we all have projects to work on in the afternoon or things we want to do. This Sunday was no different from any other- and on the heels of a good sale-Saturday and a repeat early Sunday-morning sale that wiped out my "Delta Zen" line- I knew I would have a full day and a full week of catching up. We were winding down after our local supper (oh, yum!), going to pile up in the bed and read books before all of the getting-ready-for-bed began. The phone rang. Dear Gary was calling from the treehouse. "The Holy Spirit has descended into our fig tree." "What?" "Are white doves? pigeons? rare?" "What?"
Little boy and I headed out the door, corralled the dogs and saw this:

We quietly watched from the treehouse for a while, took pictures (really. 75 of them), and waited. He was not afraid of us. Over the weekend, little boy had picked some ripe wheat from a field at my parents' house. I got some of that to lure the little bird- he cautiously crept over and ate from my hand. I went back and got a handful of Kashi mixed-grain pilaf (delicious, by the way), and the dove came closer and ate from my hand. At one point, he was IN my hand.

It was magical. It was mystical. I am a member of what is both a practical and mystical church. The great mystics of history- the Catholic and Orthodox saints, Muslim and Jewish mystics have always fascinated me. I DO believe in the supernatural, and while I know that this dove was someone's pet, perhaps released at a funeral or a wedding, it was magical, spiritual to have him in my fig tree, in my hand, at the end of a long and sometimes-difficult day. After he'd eaten his fill, he hopped back up to a branch and went to sleep, lulled by a full belly and the darkening skies. This morning, of couse, he'd flown, but I'm keeping an eye out for my little espiritu dove.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

all the colors- all gone

all the colors
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
no more berry bowls. Except for 5 wet ones upstairs. The white one is mine because the rim is cracked. I had it filled with strawberries so people would have an idea what they were for. The green ones (spots and all!) were the first to go, then the blue, then the yellow. Several people dumped the berries out of the white bowl to buy it before I showed them the crack and refused to sell it.

The funniest thing kept happening. Men (and only men) would come up, stare at the bowls, look at me, and either ask "how do you use this?" or, my favorite, "how do you drink out of this??" By the end of the day, I laughed and replied to the gentleman inquirer (this one was jesting) that only male customers were asking those questions. His answer was perfect. He told me that my reply should be this: "quickly." I do love a pithy answer.

Even my cracked bowls have found happy new homes. I gave one to my favorite farmer (the cracks were visible only to me- probably in the glaze and not the clay), explaining that it was a second. My mom took one home (a blue one), my friend who took my apron picture has one. It seems like one or two more were parceled out, as well, and the last one, the white bowl pictured, is my display/personal use bowl.

Market lessons learned: display bowl. I need a sign explaining how to use the bowls. More white bowls, more green bowls, more blue bowls, fewer yellows. I'll be back at the market in October- perhaps with grapes or late tomatoes in the display.