Wednesday, March 31, 2010

spring break

spring arrangement
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
hi. we're on spring break this week. at home, but trying to fit in fun things. like taking video of the chickens. Tromping through the woods with friends, having late night suppers with other friends, spending as much time as possible outside. And finally hashing out my summer schedule- for the boy's activities and my pottery obligations. I just got my dates down for MFM. I am still planning to have a summer sale, but since I'll be at MFM every other week, it will, by necessity, be slightly smaller and focus on larger items like platters and bigger bowls (plus seconds that I won't bring downtown) that I won't have much of at the Farmers Market. If you're local, I'd love some feedback on what you'd like to see.

I'm really ramping up my production- I just bought a new system of bats- actually one regular-sized bat with 22 5.5" square inserts. I have about 15 regular 15" bats that I use up pretty quickly. I can cut small bud vases off the bats to dry without distorting their shape, but can't do that with berry bowls, mugs, etc. These little square inserts are big enough for me to throw the majority of my pieces on and take up so much less space for drying. I used it for the first time yesterday and couldn't be happier.

Hope you have a beautiful week! (oh, and this lovely little vase is by the very talented Diana Fayt!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

new color

that I bought specifically for my porcelain teacups. I have to say that unless you throw paper thin (rather, unless I start throwing paper thin), there's just no sense in using porcelain. I can't tell much of a difference except that it is harder to work with.

I tried it on my salt cellars, too. I really like it on these. The color is called, app
ropriately enough, eggshell. It's like a heavy french vanilla with a white bloom on top. Very very difficult to photograph how the color "breaks," but there is a lot of variation in the color. When I took these photos on my normal blue drop, they just looked white. Thye also looked white on my yellow kitchen table. I don't like to photograph my white pieces on white because they don't show up well. I think these need white to photograph.

Can you see the color variation here? I like this glaze a lot, and I like it better when it is glazed heavily enough to really "break" (that's a reduction term- a different type of firing- for the color variation and mottling effects within a single color of glaze. It isn't an effect I use often- I generally prefer transparent but straight color). I'm not sure how I like it on the teacups, but I think it worked brilliantly on the salt cellars and spoons.

I've been working like crazy. But I'm also working within the limits of my tendinitis-prone arms. I can only throw for about 2 hours, and generally I do one day of throwing, one day of trimming with a tiny little bit of throwing (bud vases and tiny bowls) tacked on the end. Plus some hand-building. This week I've made 20 berry bowls, some platters, lots and lots of tiny bowls and bud vases, and two dozen egg cups. It's almost market time!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

chickie chickie

A long time ago, before my son was born, we kept chickens. We had them from late spring 2002 until late summer 2004. We lived in the country, had a Chicken Tractor type coop and mostly let them roam free during the day. I've missed the gorgeous fresh golden-yolked eggs and have dreamed of keeping them again. My big birthday gift this year was chickens. My favorite little country farm supply store got their chicks in on Monday, so yesterday we grabbed a favorite little family and took a field trip to get our chicks.

We bought two araucanas (they lay blue/green eggs) and two black star chicks (they lay regular brown eggs). They've been named Pearl (the second Pearl we've had, actually, named after my great-grandmother), Petunia, Mary (pronounced May-ree, just because), and Edna (the third Edna, named after Gary's grandmother). We're too too tickled. Over the weekend and next week's spring break we'll build their coop and yard. No chicken tractor this time, but a "palais de poulet," made with recycled/upcycled materials, more or less in this. These chicks won't have the run of the yard- that's asking for trouble in the city- but they'll have a nice big run and they'll be allowed to patrol the garden while I'm able to be out and supervise them. Fun stuff. I think I'm getting crunchier by the day.

Tomorrow, pottery pictures. I hired a helper for glazing last week. She was incredible- so meticulous. We got an entire load glazed in 2 hours. Usually, that takes me all day. I tested a new glaze color. Not 100% sold on it, but I'll keep working on it.

Have a fabulous week!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


seventy seven
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
how did it get to be Thursday already? How did it get to be middle March already?

It has been a good week. I had my 35th birthday. I got a little making done. Lots of check-up doctors visits. Accountant/tax stuff. Time in my son's classroom. All of the daffodils have begun blooming. My yard is full of cheerful yellow and the trees are beginning to bud. Spring makes me happy.

Tomorrow is a glazing day. I'm hiring some help, finally. I hate hate hate glazing, but unglazed pottery isn't really something to sell. I did most of the waxing (you know we wax the bottoms of pots because the glaze is essentially liquid glass and will melt and adhere to the kiln shelves. Also not saleable) on Wednesday. I have 20 berry bowls to wax and will begin listing them around the first of April.

If you know me in real time (or know me on facebook), you'll know that Memphis has been hit by a big loss. Alex Chilton, frontman for the Box Tops and later Big Star (awesome 70s power pop), passed away yesterday in New Orleans. My husband introduced me to Chilton and Big Star when we were dating. We listened to a lot of Chilton, Al Green, and early Wilco in the late 90s, so Chilton holds a special place in my heart. Much of Memphis, and especially the part of town I call home, is in mourning today. If you don't know of his music, go to iTunes (or pandora) and look him up. You won't be sorry.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I got back on my wheel for the first time in two weeks. I have been itching to throw again. I really, really need to glaze this week, but what I wanted to do was throw. I managed about an hour and a half- two taller cylinder vases, more eggs, some tiny bowls, and a honey pot. I need to take this vase upstairs and put it up by my wheel so that I can work on this form. Or perhaps it would be best handbuilt, like my new salt cellars. This was my mother in law's, probably from when she was a child or very young adult. It is Japanese export, very old. I'm not sure if it is the square shape and fluted texture that I like (probably) or if it is the burst of orange (not usually my color, but it works here) that appeals to me.

I think I talked about these antique jonquils last year. They came from Sisters Bulb Farm in Louisiana, which sadly, (really, really sadly, because they grew a huge variety of antique daffodils) is now closed. The really tiny ones are called "Early Louisiana", and I tell you, just this small clutch of 6 flowers has been enough to perfume my living room all week. I adore them.

Hope you have a lovely spring week- it will be a busy one for me, but I do hope I'll have new work to show at the end of it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

etsy- pre-spring

It is *almost* officially spring. Next week it comes and I couldn't be happier. We set our clocks forward this weekend- I am looking forward to longer days and sunshine. The daffodils are beginning to pop up in Memphis. The early plum and cherry trees are blooming; the forsythia is putting on its glorious golden cloak. To celebrate the beginning of bringing-flowers-in-again season I'm putting up a handful of my egg vases- big and little, creamy and blue, all speckled. Making them makes me happy- I don't even mind glazing them, and glazing is my least favorite part of the pottery-making process. Using them, and seeing them in use, makes me even happier. Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The Cathedral is doing a special project for Stations of the Cross during Lent. Each station serves as a springboard for a creative Cathedral member- we have painters, photographers, potters (who, I wonder?), and just plain inspired, creative people- to create a work of art based on that particular station. I chose Station IV, Jesus meets his mother. Clay, india ink, gold leaf, cigar box, paint. I'm almost finished, which is good as it is due Wednesday.

I'm feeling much better. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts.

Friday, March 5, 2010


did you know that there's a new service (? website?) called formspring*? you can ask any question of participating individuals, bloggers, whathaveyou and they'll answer them. Anonymously or not. So, if you feel like it, fire away.

*my addled mind keeps turning this into spring form, and I catch myself wondering why they'd name it after a cheesecake pan.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


moving around here. My small procedure turned into something bigger and more complex. I'm off my feet for a little longer than I anticipated. I had an abdominal incision, which means that if I'm going to work on the wheel any time soon I'm going to have to re-think how I do it. Not curled up over and around the pots. That won't work.

Yesterday I had Gary bring down a softball-sized lump of clay and my favorite clean-up tool, a double-sided blade that I use for trimming, hand-building, and decorating, but rarely for cleaning up, a fabric-covered piece of particle board leftover from my teaching days, and one of my rolling pins. I've been leafing through back issues of Ceramics Monthly and was beginning to get the clay "itch" again. Over the course of a few hours, I made a template for a new square salt cellar (slightly under 2" across) and worked on my salt spoons.

In November I was very excited about my first little spoons. But as I sat down to make more, I didn't like the bowls. In particular, I didn't like how the edges of the bowls curved up toward the handle. I'd simply been pinching them into a bowl shape, which worked fine, but the lines weren't as clean as I wanted (yes, I am a recovering perfectionist). Yesterday I began experimenting with cutting out darts in the bowls to get the look I wanted. I am happier with the new shape and will make a template to use to make more, I think.

I hope to have some help getting my kiln loaded and fired over the weekend- no heavy lifting for me. Next week I'll try glazing. I have a new color I bought to use for my porcelain teacups. We'll see how it goes.

Have a great weekend. I'm signing off until next week.