Monday, November 30, 2009


Advent is my favorite "season." It is a quiet time for waiting, reflection, preparing. I love it. A peek of light in the darkness, speaking of good things to come. Yesterday we had our annual advent wreath workshop; this year, little boy did the wreath almost entirely by himself. I usually have very specific ideas of what I want, how I want it to look, but I let go and let him create this year. Letting go, preparing, waiting is my own personal theme for this advent season. It is hard to do that- I HATE letting go- but the results always pay off- in beautiful memories and unexpected blessings.

I went to a women's college in Winston Salem, founded by the Moravian church. Advent was very special in Old Salem, celebrated with beautiful white stars hanging in doorways, lots of beeswax candles, and greenery. It was simple and lovely. I've taken my cues for Christmas decorating from my four years in this special place- I don't put up our tree until midway through December, but our advent wreath is out, my simple advent calendar comes out, and in years past, I've hung a Moravian Star over our doorway. Sadly, it died last year (after eight years of advents) and I never got around to replacing it.

This year's advent preparations are more simple, and hopefully more meaningful. We've cut back on the extraneous- both gifts and activities. We're giving fewer, simpler, and more handmade gifts. I have some sewing to do, more pottery to make, and a bit of knitting to finish. I spent a large chunk of Saturday afternoon finishing rolled beeswax candles and making some paper star ornaments for packages. The smell of beeswax and the golden light these candles make me happy and fill me with hope. That's what advent is about- letting go and quiet, hopeful waiting and watching for the bright future.

Blessings, friends.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

creative friends

In another week I'm going to be participating in a collective holiday sale called "Deck the Halls," located in East Memphis, and put on by my friend Lisa Williamson. Lisa is an incredible woman- I met her last year when her eldest daughter was in my son's pre-k class. She is an artist, a women's running coach, and she is putting together an interactive art museum for children and adults called the Junkyard. They're currently scouting for a location and the whole city is abuzz about its potential.

Lisa just opened a new etsy store with some of her smaller encaustic and mixed media paintings and is offering free shipping until Christmas! I'm excited that she's joined etsy, and proud to be her friend. (this painting, Green Wallflowers, is up in her shop)

Oh, and thank you all so much for your support for my etsy shop. I'm adding a few more pieces this week- some mugs and the next batch of berry bowls late this week.
I hope you're having a beautiful weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

first holiday listing

I had a beautiful day yesterday. Did you? I hope so.
At 10 am these will all go up over at my etsy shop. I also have a little shelf full of other work that I need to photograph and list. Some today, some during the next week.
After a little "work" time, we're going off to hike in the woods. I hope you enjoy your day, too!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


heading your way
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I'll be listing about half of the promised 25 berrybowls on etsy. I thought about listing all of them, but I know that folks are out of town and traveling, so I'll do a second batch on Thursday, Dec 3. And I'll sprinkle a few other things in here and there.

Happy Thanksgiving- I am so, so grateful for the good things in my life. And for the hard things, too. They don't make me happy, but good things come from them, and for that, I give thanks.

See y'all.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

sale aftermath

botanical ware
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Wow. I am so, so grateful to all of my friends and customers who came out to my house this weekend for the sale. My expectations were exceeded more than I can even tell. They were blown out of the water. And even better, I still have about half of my work to carry me through to my next 3 sales on Dec 4, 5, and 10. The kiln is full again, slowly heating up to bisque a new set of pomegranates, platters (because I'm slap out of both of those) and the promised etsy berrybowl restock on Friday.

The first year we were in our house Gary built a wall of bookshelves in the living room, facing the fireplace. We ran out of space on them almost before they were finished. We love our books and find that we have to cull the collection quarterly. Only the classics and pretty books get to go on these shelves, and guess what- there's no more room! Twice a year we empty 1/3 of the shelves- everything at eye-level- for pottery display. We move the club chairs, the sofa, the rug out, and move the pottery in. Two large shelves plus bookshelves in the living room, the dining room table and another small self in the dining room. Pottery central.

We have just moved the furniture back into place, but all of the pottery is still in the dining room. I need to inventory what I've got and what I need to make, organize it, and pack the ware back into their proper bins. In time for Thanksgiving. And I tell you, I am thankful. Life has thrown my family an enormous curveball or two this year, but I'm grateful beyond words for all of the good things that have come our way.

I'll try to pop in on Wednesday and give you another peek at what's going up on Friday. Y'all have a wonderful week, won't you?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bridgman Pottery Pre-Holiday 2009 Sneak Peak

Here are some of my new pieces- new styles and colors. And, of course, old favorites. I haven't shot any of my berry bowls in a while, but I'll have about a dozen for this sale. I'm holding back all the rest for etsy.

Time to go move furniture and start setting up!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

taking a small break

Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
From preparing for tomorrow's sale to celebrate my son's 6th birthday. His school has instituted a no sweets birthday policy, so we did up some dime store dinosaurs to give his class. Time sure does fly. I can't believe he's such a big kid. And I know in a few years I won't be able to believe how little he seemed in 2009.

My kiln is full to the brim with blistering hot, glazed pottery. It is cooling down and I'll unload and finish pricing everything tomorrow. Today's task: cleaning. This is one benefit to having sales at home- I get a really deep clean done in the living room, dining room, bathroom, and kitchen. We move all of the furniture and take the books out of our bookshelves to display pottery - everything gets a good Mrs. Meyer's lavender wipe-down in the process. With masks on- we tackle that task today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
This morning we needed mittens, scarves (for me) and hats (for the boy) to walk to school. Winter is finally coming- we've had balmy, September-like temperatures all November. It has been wonderful in most respects, including being able to find and use fresh leaves in my pottery. A frost will come soon, and with it, my leaf supply will be gone until April. After dropping the boy off, I picked up as many japanese maple and ginkgo leaves as I could carry. Once home, I wrapped them in paper towels, tucked them into plastic zipper bags, and stashed them in the cheese drawer in the fridge. I need to find some more ginkgo leaves and ferns. Oh, I'll need lots of ferns to see me though the winter's making.

Today I'm glazing my fall leaves pottery for the sale. I may do two glaze firings before Friday, but I'm not counting on it. There is still so much work to do for my December sales, but I'm energized by it rather than stressed by the prospect of so much to do.

I hope your Tuesday is lovely. Ours is chilly and grey- good soup weather!

PS- I'm now on facebook as Come see me!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

little pitcher

little pitcher
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
another piece from the last kiln load. I love these shapes derived from mom MIL's mid-centry Rosenthal china. And I love the hot pop of color on their insides. I think I'll be making lots more of these, though not in time for my sale at home. I have one more load to bisque and glaze - I hope to be finished with all pottery-making by Wednesday. Lots more leafy pieces- this time in autumnal colors! And a set of spoons (tiny, like salt spoons), too. I am so excited about the spoons.

I love pitchers- they are both useful and lovely. They hold so much, give so much. Empty, refill. Empty, refill. Holding in, sharing. This may be my winter of making pitchers. I used to make them a lot, but I haven't in some years. I have a tiny one that I keep for milk in my coffee that I made a long time ago. I use it almost every day and need to make more of that size. Especially right now, I feel like they parallel our lives- the emptying and receiving that we all experience day to day.

It has been a gorgeous weekend here. I hope yours has been lovely, too. I have a busy week ahead- lots of spiffing up the house, preparing for the sale. We have a birthday this week too- my little one will be 6, which seems unreal. We celebrated with his friends yesterday at a campground- simple, fun, easy.

Have a good week, friends!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I am really really happy with how all the pomegranates turned out. I love love love them. The fruit and my representation of them. The red still isn't perfect but I'm ok with that. The entire kiln load was a happy one (with the exception of a piece or two that needs a little more love). I glazed more yesterday and am ready to clean up those pieces, reload, and fire that bad boy.

It's Thursday already. Where has the week gone?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

sneak peek

Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I'm a little breathless over here- my kiln is running every two days- load, fire, cool down for 24 hours, load, fire. I'm still making and glazing for December. I think this may be the last load (maybe) for my sale at home on Nov 20 and 21. I did a lot of ferny leafy pieces in this load. And reglazing the reds. Lots of bird egg speckled pieces in here, too.

I'm finishing addressing the postcard invites today and will mail them tomorrow. If you're a facebook friend or on my email list, you'll get your invite that way. I didn't print as many cards this year as in years past.

We had a big birthday yesterday, a birthday party Saturday, then another big birthday next week. And the SALE! A little breathless here.

Hope your Wednesday is sunny and bright!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

sunday kids cooking

Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Sundays are always hard for me. I try to be out the door by 9:30 so that I can prepare my atrium for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Mary's. This means a simple snack for toddlers, flowers, fresh polishing supplies (wood and mirrors) set out for practical life work, and sometimes grown-up snacks for hospitality hour afterwards. Plus getting us all dressed. All this equals stressed.

If I get up early enough, I try to make a "festive" breakfast for us to eat together. This usually counteracts my stress level. This week I made some pumpkin and spice waffles. I was inspired by Molly's pancake recipe and worked from there. I keep a large bin filled with the whole grain version of the Sept '06 Everyday Food pancake mix. I reduced the liquid by 1/3 and omitted the oil, replacing them with 1/2 c pumpkin puree. I also added about 1.5 teaspoons each maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice plus sprinkle of turbinado sugar to help with browning.

These were so good. I'm going to make more and freeze them for DIY school day breakfasts. I love waffles. Don't you?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

streaky mcstreaksalot

streaky mcstreaksalot
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
This red series may be a very limited run. Every piece requires two glaze firings. If the color is right the glaze is so thick that it runs and covers the holes in the berry bowls, which I have to pierce, file down, and refire. If it is thin, it's streaky - unacceptably so- and see all those light spots? They're also sandpapery-rough, despite the fact that I sand down all these pieces before glazing so that they're very smooth. I just reglazed these and will fire again on Sunday or Monday. That hadn't been on my Saturday agenda.

So. Question. Is it worth it to you to literally pay $10 more for a red thing? Because, yes, it is beautiful, and yes, I love red, too (my glasses, my favorite lipsticks and glosses, embarrassingly, half of my shoes are red, too), but if I had a choice between a red mug that was $26 and a blue or green one that was $16, I'd probably pick the blue or green one.

I'll keep enough of this on hand to make these pomegranate vases (though they had to be reglazed too) on a seasonal basis, I'm just not sure if this will be a permanent color. Thoughts?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

today's throwing

today's throwing
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
should be about the last of the work that I'm making for my home sale. I still have a way to go for etsy and my december obligations, but I can see the light at the end of the production tunnel. I made a dozen of these largeish serving pieces, four platters, and another dozen tiny bowls and vases. I ran though 25 lbs of clay in just under 2 hours. Tomorrow they should be ready to trim.

These pieces are usually white with green leaves. But after a brief camera (and leaf collecting) walk early this morning, I've decided to glaze the ginkgo leaves in their splendid autumnal gold and go for red with the japanese maple leaves. Just because.

For the rest of the morning I'm going to load the kiln and begin a glaze firing and glaze some more pieces to fire again on Saturday or Sunday. It usually takes a good 24-36 hours for the kiln to cool enough to unload without risking cracking the glaze as it meets the cooler air temperature. Lately I've been trying to work hard from 7:30 until about 12:30 (with breaks for coffee, an early lunch, and email checking) and be cleaned up, showered, and ready to pick up little boy by 1:30. That leaves enough time to plan our supper before I get him at 2ish. The afternoons are dedicated to homework and picking up, reading practice and a little knitting if I'm lucky. The weeks just fly by.

I hope to have some new pieces to show you this weekend. Have a great rest of your week!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yesterday I made this little collage of some of my work from this year for my pre-holiday sale invitation. Cards are printed and ready to be cut, addressed, and stamped. I think I've made everything that I wanted to make for this sale, but I'm making more for my December obligations. I'm excited that my friend Uele is joining me this year. She makes the best granola. And steamed breads, floral honey, tea blends, bath soaks. . . Dark star, the chocolate granola, is irresistible.

Today I'm glazing (I finished my trimming before 9- I love our 7:15 am school start some days), mixing glazes for my class to glaze their icons and crosses, and I just paid to reserve a spot in a 3-day class this summer with Diana Fayt. Early Merry Christmas (and tax-deductible!) to me!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Did you have a good halloween? Ours was jam-packed with kiddo fun on Friday and Saturday nights. Little boy had great fun with his best friend and our combined families. I only did a minimum of pottery work this weekend- trimming another dozen berry bowls. After my last day at the farmers market, I decided to use a portion of my sales to buy this fancy trimming tool that I'd wanted for years. The Giffin Grip really does make trimming (especially centering) easier and nearly fool-proof. I can't tell you how many times I watched in horror as a pot lost its gob of anchoring clay and went flying off the wheel. No longer! I can't say that I'm trimming faster, but I am trimming better. It was money well spent.

Yesterday I spent the day being a lazy lazy lie-a-bed, doing a little Christmas knitting and a lot of contemplating. I meant to load and fire this body of work, about 40 small crosses from a workshop I've been teaching at the cathedral, but I never made it past the den. I'll fire it and the rest of the dry ware that didn't make the last firing today. This little workshop will be finished on Wednesday, when we glaze our work. While I've enjoyed it, I have also realized that my teaching days (with the exception of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd work) are over for a while. I've been teaching in full-to-part time capacity since 1997. Sometimes elementary and middle schoolers in reading (once the kids are physically bigger than I am, something changes and teaching gets a LOT harder), sometimes as a grad student trying to cajole undergrads into reading and discussing Faulkner (this was when I put any thoughts of a PhD out of my head), and for the last eight years, as a teaching artist. After I left my museum job, I knew I was tired and wanted my creative energy to go into my own work and family. But when I started dragging my feet with this fun little workshop for people I know well, I realized that my teaching cycle is over, at least for now.

Lots of things seem to be beginning or ending their cycles lately: the changing seasons, little boy's new school and the challenges and opportunities that go with this new community (one thing that I'm very excited about is the school's garden and its expansion), the calendar year is winding down, and I find I'm narrowing my focus and gladly dropping what isn't working anymore. Regardless, it is interesting to detach a little, sit back and watch these cycles begin anew or play themselves out. So: teaching- ending. Making- beginning and continuing. Living- continuing to figure out what works and what doesn't. I look back fondly at some things that are ending- and am grateful that others are over. I wonder at what will happen in the future, which doors will open. Life is good right now. Life is good always, even when I have to puzzle over it a bit.

And speaking of making- off to work. Hope your week is a productive one. I know mine will be!