Wednesday, September 29, 2010

checking in again

Time just keeps passing. 
The etsy show last weekend was a three-ring circus.  Very well attended, good publicity- there seemed to be some buzz. 

I just put these four bowls up in my shop
I haven't been making as many this summer as in years past.  I do plan to have more in November, right before Thanksgiving, for holiday giving.

I finally got my little kiln plugged in and fired it on Monday.  I'm reserving it for small batches and my drawn-on pieces.  The big kiln is running right now with some re-glazes for the weekend.

I've been asked to make some sacramental/liturgical items that might appeal to men and boys.  That's something big to think on, design-wise.  Color-wise, I know just where to go.  But it is the motif that has me slightly stuck.

Ok.  Back to work.
Have a nice week, everyone.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

sneak peek

some tumblers and honeypots for Friday night.  What doesn't sell will go on etsy.  If there aren't any left (wouldn't that be nice!) I'll be making more.

Is it fall-like where you are?  Mid 90s here again today.  Next week will be cooler.  I'm ready for crisp.  And not the dry, parched crisp we've had all summer, either.

Happy day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Earlier this week I shared some images of my new work on facebook and flickr.  I really couldn't be more pleased with them.  So much so that I grabbed this pitcher and called it "mine," not for sale.  I'm really happy with my application of this technique.  I feel like it is reminiscent of Diana Fayt's, but it is more me than simply aping her style (which I love but couldn't even begin to aspire to).  When I was getting ready for her workshop I found a photo that I altered and drew to become this bee on a blown-out pussywillow branch.  A friend copied it for me and made reductions and enlargements to work from.  As soon as I saw the copies I knew it had potential to use with an almost wallpaper-like repeat.  Although I'm not a great fan of wallpaper per se, the repeated motif really appeals to me as a design element on pots.   

So.  After two or three seemingly disastrous firings, I think I've gotten the hang of how to do this.  And I am so, so flipping happy about it.  The workshop was a fabulous experience, but to have come away with a new way of working is even better than fabulous.  I feel like I'm (almost) always pushing forward in my craft.  Heretofore my work has been focused on the form, not the surface design.  As many of you may know, I have HATED glazing for several years.  I never thought surface design would capture my attention (outside of laying a fern into the wet clay to create a glaze-able impression or stamping a word into the body of the piece, both of which I still love). 

I'll have a small selection of these pieces at the Etsy Memphis sale next Friday at the Jack Robinson Gallery.  I'm excited about them.  I hope you will be too!

Have a great week- I hope I'll be back in this space on Thursday to give you a preview of more work I'll be showing Friday night.  Take care.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Hi.  It's late afternoon, after a busy day.  I'm a little beat.  I ran this morning as dawn was breaking- it felt good.  Then I spent 4 hours in the studio, throwing and drawing bees on pots and I'm tired and sore.  I have a large pot of black beans on the stove that I'm about to turn into sliders, although I'm not sure we'll eat them tonight. 

Even though it is 95 degrees today, fall is in the air.  Yesterday I found bits of orange in the garden- rose hips, pyracantha berries, and some late milkweed blossoms.  I'm grateful the humidity has slipped away.

I thought I'd share some very good things with you.  You know the event I helped to work on?  We exceeded our goal of $4000.  That was so so wonderful. 

I found a new magazine that isn't for everyone, but I'm excited about it.  We've been simplifying and self-sufficient-ing more and more around here so it's right up my alley.

I'm planning a camping trip with a dear friend and her family next month in the TN mountains.  SO excited about this.

The local response to our Etsy Memphis sale has been so encouraging.  I'm working hard on some things to unveil next Friday!

I hope you're well and happy.  Have a good rest of your week!  Back to the sliders for me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

a big to do

This summer my good friend Papatya and I started talking about promoting etsy artists and artisans in Memphis.  We've been talking about it all summer, and now it's here.  The wonderful Lisa at the Center City Commission found a great space for us and 12 other etsy artists.  I am so grateful for her help!  This is a one-night-only show full of all kinds of vintage and handmade goodies.  Early holiday shopping, anyone?  If you're in town and out and about, I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


good morning.  has the back-to-school business set in for you yet?  social events, sports, charity?  It certainly has over here.  I have one special event I'd like to tell you about today.

Amazing Grace (sorry, it's a facebook link) is a fundraising event for a family that is dear to my heart.  My friends Wendy and Kalki adopted a sweet little girl a few years ago.  She has Pierre Robin Sequence and has had 16 surgeries in her short 5 years.  She's scheduled for two more in the next two months.  You can only begin to imagine the expenses associated with that many surgeries.  I can't wrap my head around it. 
Some friends of the family have gotten together to arrange a large fundraising party tomorrow night at the Trolley Stop Market, my good friends' store and restaurant.  $10 donation gets you in the door- unlimited pizza and entertainment, and there's a large silent auction filled with gorgeous works of artists (musicians, writers, and visual artists) and artisans.  This is  the piece I made for the event.
If you're in Memphis, I'd love to see you there.  If you're away, look around on the facebook page, and if you feel like giving, I'd thank you.

Have a lovely week.  I've got more things to tell you later in the week, but for now, I'm off to help with this event.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Here is the first batch of pottery I made from what I learned at the Diana Fayt workshop.  There's some definite potential here.  I love love love this bee motif (I found an old old photo of a bee feeding from a blown-out pussy willow blossom that I've drawn and altered to use).  The text, "l'abeille bonne", means "the good bee."  I think I like that almost as much as the image.

I'm both pleased and upset by this batch, but I'm going to compare this effort to learning to bake bread, or to knit a sweater.   This is a learning process.  The first loaf of bread you make, even following the best recipe, isn't going to be as good as the 100th loaf you make.
And y'all know I'm a big knitter, right?  Knitting is something that I do JUST for me and occasionally for beloved friends or family.  But the first sweater I knit doesn't look anything like the sweaters I knit now.  And my first sock?  e.gads.  So this pottery, using this technique, is similar.  I had wonderful instruction but I had several user errors along the way.  The first bisque firing way over-fired and vitrified the pieces so the glaze wouldn't stick.  All of these pieces that were in that firing are pretty rough to the touch- with one exception- not glossy/glassy.  The design shows through just fine, but the finish isn't where I want it to be.

The second bisque firing was fine, really, except that I didn't take it to the proper temperature.  A bit too low, this time.  When I started to apply color to the design it soaked in to the piece with a speed and intensity I didn't expect.  This little aqua pitcher was, well, black.  I glazed and fired it anyway, and it is fine, but much darker than I'd intended.  The white pitcher next to it also has problems from user error.  I meant to glaze the interior white- a thick, glossy, opaque glaze- but it spilled over, and since the outside of the pot was black-ish anyway, I just kept going.  The design is almost  completely obscured by the glossy opaque glaze. 

Lessons learned:  First, babysit your kiln and don't let it over-fire.  my last two firings have gone much better because I paid attention to the time.  Second, follow ALL of the directions at first.  Third, some pots are just for learning, not for sale.  The honey pot and two of the little vases are ok to use, but the others are far too un-glazed for real use.  Or to sell.  It's ok.  I'm still learning.