Wednesday, December 28, 2011

pottery 2011


pottery 2011 1
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I made a little mosaic. Actually, there are three.  This year and been good and hard and crazy and glorious. I have part-time help, retail accounts, three publications, a show, several wipe-outs, and I am just now getting back to being ready to work and getting excited about what 2012 will bring.

I hope y'all have a great new year's eve and a wonderful new beginning to 2012. See you soon.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Professionally, I have been a bit of a stinker this holiday season.  My basement glazing area is full of pots to glaze, as is my slab roller upstairs in the "regular" studio.  Honey pots, mugs, teapots, platters, even butter crocks.  They sit, sad and abandoned, waiting until I'm ready to work on them again in January.  I stocked my shelves at one store in town, made sure another client was taken care of, and made some special order Christmas ornaments for a friend's business and another set for a local church.  I have a small kiln-load of glazed ornaments to give as gifts, and a few other special pieces I want finished- some icon-like pieces, a belated wedding gift, and some bowls for a special friend.  I've still been working- developing, hand-building, glazing, shipping, but I don't have much to show for it.

It is very strange to me that I don't feel guilty about this at all.  I'm content to sit and draw and think and knit or cook something.  Stranger still, I have nothing but one class on the calendar for 2012.  No markets, no fairs, nothing.  And I'm fine with that, as well. 

This year I'm giving lots of handmade gifts, but made my friends or their spouses.  I knit a hedgehog and a pair of socks that aren't quite finished yet.  One scarf.  Two pieces of pottery are going to friends who live abroad, but they aren't special made.  Christmas cards?  They're going to elderly relatives and a few mentors, but I haven't even begun them.  Honestly, I don't quite know what's come over me because I have never ever been this laid-back about Christmas in my adult life.  (I kinda like it!)

I am excited about my back door.  Several weeks ago I took a pair of klompen that some college roommates had bought for me in Holland, painted them yellow, and nailed them to the back of my house.  Planted them with johnny jump ups.  I bought a second pair from another college friend who sent me another pair and a single.  Last night I drilled, nailed, and planted them all.  They make me exceedingly happy.  I'm looking for a red pair, and maybe a plain wooden shoe to paint blue, to finish off this wall, but, dreaming big here, I'd like to have an entire wall filled cheek-to-jowl with planted klompen.  Call me crazy, but it makes me happy.

I'm signing back off until, oh, almost January.  I hope your holidays are merry and bright and joy-filled and peaceful.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

pulling back, experimenting

Hi, friends.  Would you believe that I'm STILL on the mend, still not 100%, still coughing and not up to my usual energy levels?  This is the 3rd Sunday.  A bear of a virus, this was.  But I'm better, I'm being quiet and listening my my body and energy levels and pulling back from working like crazy during this holiday season and resting.  I am working, but I'm doing so slowly, with help, quietly.

In October, I returned from San Francisco ready to experiment with new clay bodies, glazes, techniques.  I've gotten the first bits of what I made from the kiln this week.  There have been some definite YAY pieces, like this mug.  It is porcelain, which worked beautifully with my standard yellow glaze.  It seems to just make the glaze sing.  It is also the first finished piece with my honeycomb hex stamps, inspired by a conversation I had at Heath Ceramics in which I looked at their enormous kilns and fixated on the hex nuts holding it together.  I'm very pleased with it.

The porcelain did very well when it was a flat-bottomed, not footed piece.  If the piece had a trimmed foot ring, it left large chunks of itself adhered to the kiln shelf.  Every. Single. Stinking. piece.  No glaze on the bottom, but the porcelain doing it's thing and sticking.  It did this, too, if it had an underglaze bottom.  The edges stuck.  So I did a bit of research and found that I need to add an alumina hydrate solution to my wax to keep the porcelain from adhering.  You learn something new every day.




This blue is a new underglaze color.  I was excited about it, but it's 2 ticks too bright for my taste.  Nice, but not what I was looking for.  Not to mention that on a large pitcher, it peeled off in several spots, ruining what I thought was a particularly nice piece.    I was playing around with the surface design and this piece, in particular, never felt right.  I like it, but it wasn't me.  I realized why once I pulled it from the kiln.  The divided planes of color and random lines intersecting the two is a fairly straightforward (but unconscious) copy of my mentor's work.  Nothing wrong with copying styles to learn, but I kept feeling like this piece specifically wasn't me, even as I was making it.  Well, Duh.  It's not.  It's nice, but the color, the line, they're not me.   Diana also helped me trouble-shoot my underglaze peeling issue yesterday, so I'll be ready to roll in January.

While I felt that half of this kiln-load was filled with failed pieces,  I did learn a lot from trouble-shooting the problems.  This week I'm planning to scrape and re-coat my shelves with kiln wash, order my alumina hydrate, and keep working, slowly, steadily, at honing this craft.  I'm also planning to add several small pieces to the shop and finish up orders people have placed for Christmas.  Failure marks progress.  And makes a fantastic mosaic pile!

Thanks for reading.




Thursday, November 24, 2011

thankful

Today I am thankful to be *almost* all better.

I am thankful for a Thanksgiving meal at my mother's house that was the most colorful, vegetable-filled meal I think I've ever eaten.

I am thankful that I was able to bring my favorite harvest dishes, like this (dairy-free, panko-topped) take on this tomato cobbler.

And I'm thankful that there were still plenty of fresh local cherry tomatoes at my favorite farmers' restaurant/grocery last night.

I'm thankful that my good friend and studio helper has more sense than I do and sent me back to bed on Tuesday (or Monday.  I'm not sure anymore) and told me that I was too sick to work.

And I'm thankful that she told me that I was too sick to do the Tsunami Sale on Sunday.  Because truly, if I'd tried to press though, I would still be sick.  I'm sorry that I'm not doing the sale, but also not.  I'll have work available by appointment if you're local, and online in the coming weeks.  This week I'm putting a lot on Etsy (I hope.  I think).

And I'm thankful to y'all for continuing to read my ramblings and support me with your encouraging words and your business.  It means so much.

I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving and your coming holiday season is a joyous one.

Monday, November 21, 2011

the third

 Here they are.  The pieces for the St. Jude event that I began in mid- July.  Finished them last week.  11 short oval vases, 11 taller oval vases, and in the back you can barely see the 10 enormous thrown and hand-built shallow serving bowls.
And here are the smaller vases and butter plates I made for the tables.  I'm incredibly proud of this body of work, but less pleased with the time it took me to make them.

As fate would have it, I came down with the upper respiratory virus that is winding its way around the city and spent yesterday, the day of the actual event, in bed, asleep, or trying to cough up my lungs.  I don't have any photos of the event itself (yet). 

I'm still under the weather, and the weather itself is not being very cooperative, so I will have limited work for Sunday's artists sale at Tsunami in Cooper-Young.  I think I'm ok with that.  I'll have what I'll have - some ornaments, some bee pieces, some of these colorful vases.  Not what I'd planned, but it's better than nothing!

Over and out until December.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Oh!  If you're still reading, I try to respond to people who comment, but most of the time blogger doesn't give me your email address.  This makes me cranky.   So if I don't reply to you when you've taken the time to comment, forgive me.  I want to, I just can't find your email address.

Monday, November 7, 2011

two collections




I'm so happy to be finished with both.  My third collection should be finished this week. 
Have a good Monday, everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

sunday morning

It is a foggy foggy morning- I'm in a quiet hotel room and all of my family is asleep after a late night at my cousin's wedding.  I'm thinking about pottery- specifically picking up a box of porcelain and some new white glazes to test.  I'm still having problems with glaze shivering off the edges of my pieces- it seems to happen at random, and even though I've switched glazes and even the formulations of the glazes, I think I'm ready to try a new clay.   Maybe it's the clay that's been reformulated rather than the glaze?   I've been yearning for porcelain for some time, but my normal clay supplier, as wonderful as they are, doesn't carry much in the way of porcelain.  They have 2 that I've tried but once finished, there's not a perceptible difference between it and the smooth smooth stoneware I usually use.  So, that's tomorrow.

Last week my boy was sick, sick, and I focused on tending to him and delivering pots rather than making anything new.  I boxed up twenty little cups and saucers for my friend and client, Lane.  I finished the botanical dinnerware set, finally,  as well as the bowls for another client who's ordered her dishes by component.  I also delivered all of my bee pieces.  I spent last Saturday hanging them on the wall of my dining room and shooting them.  I'm really really proud of them and can't wait to see how they look all hanging together at the same time. 
 This is a set of 8 small dessert bowls I threw on the wheel and decorated.  Honestly, if they don't sell, I will be more than happy to keep them.  I'm just tickled with how they turned out. 
 And this is a detail shot of one of my larger bowls.  It's a slab piece, one that Natalie made for me.  She really has been invaluable- she and I worked and worked on figuring out how to use the honeycomb foundation to make a nice impression before we laid the enormous, heavy slab into its mold.  I inscribed a bit of Emily Dickinson's poem 58/"the bee" into the side rim. 
All of these pieces hang on the wall- either with traditional plate hangers, small holes I drilled into the foot of the piece, or little lug loops I added to the backs of the larger platters.

I'm ready to begin working and throwing again.  I have very little inventory.  Mugs and bowls are platters and ornaments for the holidays are on my to-make list, as are travel cups.  A friend found some silicone lids for her mugs in her etsy shop.  I'm on a search for some lids to make cups to locally.  This week I'm finishing up my "hope" pieces for the St. Jude event- hopefully early in the week.  I'm motivated to clear my plate and emerge from the land of "swamped" and start being creative again. 

Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

invitational

I can't tell you when I've felt such a sense of accomplishment (well, yes, I can, it was when I finished with my dinner set, but that was erased when I broke three of the dishes.  they're almost done!).  I needed to have 10 pieces (or groups of pieces) for the annual invitational at St. George's Independent School.  Now I need to go through them, separate them into groups, and price them.

There is no way I could have possibly made all of these without the help of my friend Natalie.  She wedged clay, rolled slabs and cut out all of the molds for my platters.  I did the finishing, decorating, and throwing, but she was instrumental in helping me work through this task.  I'm grateful and excited and ready to finish my last big assignment.  But before I do, look at what's coming! 

I made and bisqued some hex stamps to speed up my honeycombs.  One of my "eureka" moments came at Heath Ceramics when I was talking to Ali, the kiln-daddy and glaze mixer-master.  I kept staring that the hex nuts on the kiln and finally realized that they were the key to my honeycomb problems.  I'd been using a template to draw them, but I wanted larger shapes.  Hex nuts don't make a good impression in clay, but they do make a fine template for clay stamps.  I know it's obvious, but I'd been stumped and the answer was waiting for me in my hardware cabinet. 

Y'all have a nice end of your week and weekend.  My boys are going on a group camping trip and I'm taking the "extra" time to do a little housekeeping in the studio, pushing through the last of my production obligations, and get started on holiday production.  I'm late in the game and my work will be limited, but I'll have enough for a small studio sale, etsy restock, and to stock my local retailers. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SF, 2- some things I learned

I learned a lot when I was touring pottery studios and galleries- by looking and talking to folks.  Some new techniques- like this, which is very similar to the crayon scratch-art we did as kids- though I don't think I *quite* got it, I'm mostly pleased with the results.  And wondering how I'd like it with another color as the base layer.  It isn't what I anticipated, but I'm not disappointed with the results, either.  I saw some pieces in process like this at Fourth and Clay, so I'm not 100% sure how they were supposed to turn out.  That may be good, because where I take the process from here will be entirely up to me.  It's very painterly, isn't it?

I also learned that I need to take greater care with the bottoms of my pieces.  Sometimes I don't catch things in time to make the bottoms smooth and pleasing, or trim them quite properly.  There might be a rough spot from an air bubble that I let pass because it's on the bottom.  I need to pay more attention to those details.  On the flip side, I saw some very expensive pieces by celebrated potters that had some quirks would have made me scrap the pieces entirely- handles not attached smoothly, some uneven/peely glaze issues.  Potters aren't perfect.  Neither is the work of our hands.  We aren't factories and some things slip by us.  Lesson for me- Melissa Bridgman needs to cut herself some slack.  Point taken.

So- it is Tuesday, the kiln needs loading and firing, and I'm looking forward to a large pot of soup on this first really cold day of fall.  Hope y'all have a good week.


Monday, October 10, 2011

R&D- San Francisco

This trip was fantastic.  I toured Heath Ceramics (This is such a wonderful small company.  Everyone there was so incredibly kind and open and I learned SO MUCH), several individual pottery studios (Diana Fayt, Fourth and Clay, the studio of Josie Jurczenia, Rae Dunn, and Christa Assad), and Trax Gallery, which is both a ceramics gallery and studio for Sandy Simon and Robert Brady.   There was a drive-by of Whitney Smith's studio and shop in Oakland.  Bought unavailable-locally glazes, underglazes, and tools.  Spent several hours at SF MOMA, which, happily, featured a ceramics collaboration .


I returned home inspired to clear my plate of my obligations (this week will be a veritable glazing festival) so that I can work on new pieces, using new techniques I learned on the studio visits and try my hand at adapting some pieces that were particularly inspiring.  I am ever grateful to Diana Fayt for sharing her time, knowledge, and passion for this medium with me, and even more grateful to call her my friend.

(top, L-R Josie Jurczenia's studio, Heath Ceramics, test tiles at Diana Fayt's studio.  middle, L-R Rae Dunn's studio, Diana Fayt's studio, Trouble Coffee and my friend Monica Bodnar-Pharr's teacups.  bottom, L-R Heath Ceramics, work in process, Christa Assad's cup, Nest, Louise Nevelson at SF MOMA)




Monday, September 26, 2011

preview

to say that I am thrilled with these is an understatement.  Bisque firing a bunch more of these today.




This weekend I also went to see this show and lecture.  I bought the book that accompanied the show, which is something that I rarely do, but I think I'll go back to it over and over again.  I drew and took notes furiously throughout the lecture- not so much on this potter's style- it was very much in the folk, utilitarian style of the NC mountains (read- really, really thick), but he used a slip-painting style that was reminiscent of Wedgwood Jasperware (without knowing about Jasperware) and crystalline glazes.  Crystalline isn't something I'm interested in pursuing- they're not really food safe- almost, but not quite, too soft and leachable, and frankly, too finicky in the firing.  I'm not into finicky.  Nope.  But I did fall in love with how they cascade down the shoulders of large vases, and that, friends, is something I can draw.  If you're in Memphis, the show runs through mid-November.  There's also a nice impressionist exhibit up through Oct 9.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

working and sorting

I may have mentioned that I was sorting out my options for the foreseeable future,  what I wanted to do, what I wanted to make more of, what I didn't want to do this year(a holiday home sale) and what I didn't want to make anymore.  This is a process that's been difficult for me, and that I've been wrestling with for the better part of this year.  Difficult because some things have been so so good in the past but don't feel quite right anymore.  Difficult because I'm used to them and changing how I do business or make pottery is scary.  Difficult because I've been in survival mode for so long that I haven't let myself ask big questions since, oh, 2009, when I decided to quit my job, one that I loved but knew I wouldn't want to do forever, and go out on my own.

During this process, I've been off-line from social media sites (that are useful but harmfully addictive for people who need to actually get things done).  The only on-line form I've kept up with has been flickr, and if I weren't committed to taking and posting a photo a day, I would have foresworn that, too.  Surprisingly, I haven't missed it.  Not at all, which leads me to wonder how much of it I'll add back in October, once the heavy part of my current workload is over.  I've also just finished a 30 day vegan course, which was challenging and stretching and good.  There's been a lot of navel-gazing in the midst of a heavy workload, but I'm seeing lots of progress in both the work and clarifying my goals for the future.

These berry bowls, which have happily (but more frequently, frustratingly) paid my mortgage for several months of each year for at least the last four years,  are on the don't want to make anymore list.  Maybe forever, maybe not.  These are the last three berry bowls I made.  Even with new techniques in throwing and piercing the holes, the percentage of breakage (which never shows up until after they've been glazed, leaving me with a functional but non-sellable bowl) is just too too high.  One in every four or five bowls cracks, even when pierced with a sharp tool, a drill, compressed on the edges, etc. etc.  No more.  I have one (not pictured) tucked away in my cupboard in case the one I use most breaks.  Two of these are being sent away.  I haven't decided what to do the last bowl.  It will probably go into my gift closet.  I love to use my berry bowl, but I will not miss making them, nor will I miss explaining that despite its diminutive size, it is a colander.  Not a coffee cup.  Ahem.

Next week I should have lots of pretty pretty work to show you.  I've been throwing and glazing and drawing on pots every day.  There's no more shelf space in my studio.  I have another hour's worth of either glazing or drawing to do tonight (probably glazing, so that I can fire the kiln overnight).  I have conquered the "how to hang it" issues I was having last week, happily.  I'm knocking through long-standing orders.  I'm super-tired, but my goals are clear(er) and I'm moving past the post-stress exhaustion, thank goodness.

Hope your week ends well, friends.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

deadlines

Good morning!  It is mid-morning here, now, and I'm ready to start my day in the studio.  I've been spending a lot of time planning and drawing this week because I realized, late last week, that a deadline was approaching much faster than I'd anticipated.  As in, weeks sooner.  And that I was somewhat behind in both planning and production, given this new deadline.

This summer I accepted an invitation to show at St. George's School here in Memphis.  I had a plan and was thinking through how I'd be hanging my plates, platters, and bowls on the wall.  I'm still working through that- have had some successes and some abject failures in the hanging department.  The show is in November.  Plenty of time, I thought, to work steadily and give myself some days off to regroup, refocus, re-evaluate.  Friday I shuffled through the papers that came with my contract and realized that photos and artist statements are due this week.  Eek.  Work needs to be finished by mid October.  Eek.  I have several pieces in process, but only a few pieces are actually finished and ready to be shot.  Eek.  I have a plane ticket for Oct 3, and wanted a clear plate before I leave.  Well.  Time to revise the plans.

My solution is eating breathing sleeping drawing bees on pieces that I've thrown and handbuilt.  I've made a good bit of progress (my plans, roughly sketched out, above) but I have miles to go.  Realistically, one can only sit hunched over a plate/platter/bowl you're drawing on for 3 hours a day.  The actual making of the pieces is a breeze, but the surface design/detail work is hard on the body.  Yoga has become my good good friend.  I'm excited about the work that I'm making.  That helps.  The other work (those large cylinder vases) are on the back burner for another week or so because I'm 4/5 finished with those large pieces and they aren't due until November.  Progress and process.  I don't work well when I'm freaked out.  I do work well when I have a plan.  So I have the plan, and it will all be well.

See you soon.


Friday, September 9, 2011

little bits of happy

yesterday I pulled this piece, and a few others (it was a tiny kiln load in my tiny kiln), from my kiln.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  This blue is a new color for me- brighter than I wanted, but I'm pleased.  The photo is dark so it's difficult to see (especially with the high gloss finish), but I really like the watercolor-y lightness and depth of color.  I want to play more with this watercolor effect.

I was also pleased that my little kiln made it up to ^6- I regularly bisque in this kiln- the bisque fire is the first firing- I take the kiln up to about 1900 degrees, slowly at first to make sure the pieces are bone dry- then finish up fairly rapidly in 10 or so hours.  Yes, I said rapidly.  The second firing goes to the mid 2200s and typically takes 13-14 hours.  The little kiln is older; the coils need to be replaced, but I rarely glaze fire because in the past it hasn't reached ^6 in 14 hours.  Happily, it did on Tuesday night and I opened the kiln up Thursday morning.  I've taken to letting the kiln cool for a full 24 hours before I even touch it- I don't want to risk cracks in the glaze or worse, the pots, from cool air flooding the hot pottery.  Once, in my first few years of making pots, I melted the sleeves of a down coat by taking a too-hot piece from the kiln.  I've learned my lesson there.

Other happy bits- the weather has cooled down to windows-open temps.  Next week will be back in the 90s, but this week's been a lovely reprieve.  And it's reminded us to get our firewood ready for actual cold.

I bought my plane ticket for San Francisco!  Only after much hesitating and dithering and nausea caused by sticker shock.  Lesson learned: next time, buy it when it's $300.  I am excited to go, and more excited to see my friend and mentor, Diana.  I'm also grateful that Gary's company is having a big meeting in an interesting city.  Work (at home, even) is going well for him, and I'm glad for that. 

This piece of pottery is for an Oct/Nov invitational show.  I'm really excited to be working on a large group of unified pieces.  They all have to hang on the wall- that's a challenge I'm working through.  I've figured out flattish bowls and platters, but I'd like to hang some deeper pieces.  Time for some experimentation.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

right here

is where all of my energy has been going lately.  So far I think I have 8 of each of these pieces, maybe a few more.  The ones on the upper shelf are 7.5" x 5-6" oval cylinder vases.  The lower shelf is 5.5"x 7.5" ovals.  Not shown are 13" diameter shallow bowls. 

I need to have 10 of each of the 3 styles, so I'm making 14 of each. 
I'm also working on finishing glazing the dinner set I showed you last week- the touch ups and replacement pieces, plus two sets of bowls for a client who has been ordering her dishes piece-meal fashion. 

I did not labor on labor day.  I didn't even pick up my camera.  Today I glazed.  Tomorrow I'll trim and throw a bit, then tackle a few boxes of tomatoes.  Those won't last.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

relief

my friends, let me show you what relief looks like:


This is the dinner set that I referred to as "green ware" in my last post.  "Green" means that it hasn't been fired.  I have to remake one mug and three desert plates, plus do some spot-reglazing on almost every piece in this set, but the bulk of the work is done and I'm not sweating over it anymore.

Plus, I have an incentive to get it (and two other big projects) off my plate.  I'm going to San Francisco (tagging along on a work trip) the first of October and I want a clear slate before I leave.  This means that September will be busy, but that's good because I need immediate goals to stay focused and productive.  Now I know this about myself, but it's always good to have it reaffirmed.

This coming week I'll attack those other two projects with a vengeance and get these pieces re-spot-glazed.  I'm grateful today that they're 4/5 finished, that my bout with the flu was short-lived (but oh!  I got LOTS of rest, which I needed), that my friends on the East Coast are safe and the hurricane packed less of a punch than we anticipated, and that I finally got a batch of okra pickled and processed.

Hope y'all have a good week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

watching and waiting

Last week was the first week of school, right on the heels of our beach trip.  It got massively, oppressively hot.  Then it got really nice and cool. As in, 80 degree days in which you can hang out in the yard with the chickens and a cool beverage in the evening sort of days.   I threw and threw and threw and ran out of clay last week.

My husband landed a new job after a long long long time of uncertainty and trying to keep everything together by the skin of our teeth.  It was hard, so now that it's over I've been having a bit of a post-emergency collapse.  Periods of resting and doing nothing, periods of remembering that I have a full fall schedule and will kick myself for watching Mad Men at noon on Monday.  It's not something that I'm used to (luxuriant laziness) and I'm not sure I like it.  I prefer being productive.

Having run out of clay, I fired several kiln-loads of green ware this week and am spending the last half glazing and firing it.  I'm getting more clay this weekend and next week will glaze my dinnerware set in one fell swoop.  I'm really excited about it- unglazed, it looks good.  Unfortunately, it is always the last firing that shows where the flaws are hiding- either through weakness in the clay or sloppiness in my glazing.  We'll see how that goes.

Summer is fleeting.  I'm ready for fall.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

return





We've been back for almost a week and school's begun.  Our trip was filled with art, inspiration, rest, rejuvenation.  We were sorry to leave, happy to be back.  Still a little quiet around here.  Working steadily, wrapping projects up, beginning new ones.  
Captions: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, MS.  Community Center Mural
Beach glass
Ship Island, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore
Bottlenose dolphins following the ferry
Last morning's low-tide beach combing expedition

Sunday, July 31, 2011

look!



This is my favorite part of the weekend.  It's been excessively difficult, but this bee tree- a new colony, it seems- in my mom's yard seems to be a message of renewal and life in the midst of trial, struggle, and succumbing to the end. 

Thanks for your kind comments and support of my work and the direction in which I'm heading.  It means a lot.  Y'all mean a lot.

I'll be back here on Friday.  Have a good week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

a shift

I've been putting off listing my new pieces online - I didn't touch the pottery last week.  It has been sitting on a sideboard in the dining room, staring balefully at me every time I walk past.  I feel a little at odds with it and with my work as a whole, but I'm beginning to come to terms with it. 

For the past ten years I've been making pots.  I've been selling them at a price with which I feel comfortable.  I've reasoned that I can pay myself a certain rate per hour and factor the cost of my work by that rate- and it covers my expenses.  I've prided myself on making useful and above all, affordable work.  A lovely but expensive mug won't get used, I thought.  I want my work to be used and enjoyed every day.  So, as the costs of materials and utilities went up (oh, you should see my electric bill when I'm firing a lot), my prices stayed relatively even.  Over the years my coffee mugs have gone from $15-18, but nothing drastic.  I also know that as a, um, impoverished sort of person, money is tight, and that's almost universal right now.  $30 cup, or $30 for lunches for my family for a week.  I know the answer to that question.

This year, my wholesale orders have jumped.  You probably know how that goes, right?  I get $9 for that $18 mug?  Um, not so appealing.  So the mugs that my wholesale clients sell are higher priced, and if I sell those same mugs, I match their price so as not to undercut them.  I've tried to keep my prices at a level that I'd pay, but I've been uneasy about it.  I have a beautiful cup that I bought for well over $50.  A guest in my home asked about it when we were having tea and wanted to use it.  She asked me (because she was a very good, close friend, and we've dispensed with those barriers) about its price and promptly put it back on the shelf.  I understand that reaction, and it isn't one I'd like to see with my work.  There's a flip side to that- under-pricing work makes it disposable.  I get that, too.

BUT.  I'm experiencing a shift.  This work, like the cup above, is still pretty affordable.  But it is significantly more expensive than one of my botanical cups.  So I've put off listing the bowls and platters and pitchers, items that are regularly more expensive anyway, because I've been worried about (speaking collectively here) your reaction.  Not that it isn't good enough to fetch the price that I ask, and not that I don't deserve to be compensated for my work, but I've just been nervous.  This week I'm going to start listing them.  They do me absolutely no good sitting in my dining room, staring at me.  Actually, less good, because they're likely to get broken where they are now.  So these pieces will be special*.  They'll cost more.  But they take more time, more skill, more firings.  I think they're worth more.  I feel mostly good about this decision.

Several of these cups are already up on Etsy.  The one pictured above is going to its new home tomorrow.  The mugs that I used for my invitation will go up in another few weeks- they need another glazing and firing.  I won't be around here much over the next two weeks.  We're wrapping up summer, working hard, and sneaking in a beach trip before school begins.  I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, too.



*They're also special because I'm setting aside a bit of each sale to finance my own urban bee hive next year.  And they're the pieces I'm making for my first invitational show this fall.  And they're special because I love them in a way that I don't love my other work.  Maybe because Melissa means "honey bee", maybe because I'm drawing them.  I'm not sure. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

restored

My home is restored to its normal state, or mostly so, after the weekend sale.  We remove the furniture (and some of the books lining the walls, not not all anymore- that got just plain crazy) from the living room/library, bring in shelves, and fill it with pottery.  The furniture is back in place, the shelves are stored, and the pottery is waiting to be packed up, delivered to local shops, listed online,  etc.
I am pleased with my sale attendance- I didn't expect high turnout in July because it's hot and sticky, but I am really tickled by the number of people who came out.  Even more tickled by the new people I met!
Some funny events: the thermostat batteries died.  I felt like it was getting hotter and hotter- indeed, the thermostat read 83 degrees.  Even warmer because there were 20+ people in my living room.   At the same time, 4 children under the age of 10 decided to play boy-on-girl mortal combat in the back yard and, yes, in the house, complete with screaming, crying, stick-throwing.  I am ever grateful to my neighbor friends for corralling our collective children and leading them out of the house.  All in a day's work!
The surprise hit of the evening was the blueberry lemonade I made for the sale - it was so simple.  I made lemonade in a large beverage dispenser and used frozen blueberries (which I'd picked intending to make jam, but running out of steam, stashed in the freezer) instead of ice.  It turned a lovely pink color delicately flavored with blueberries.  I also made sangria with white wine (a box of Big House White was perfect for this), peaches, lemon verbena, some lemon/ginger infused vodka, and seltzer.  Both were Yummy.  We're still enjoying the last of the beverages, as well as the tuberose I bought for the taller vases.
I'm taking this week off for some quiet time and rejuvenation.  I hope you have a good week!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a preview

I just pulled this little bitty pot (it's about 1.5" tall, mouth about as big as a quarter) out of the little kiln.  I made it to test using the honeycomb foundation pieces on thrown work.  I can barely even stand it I love it so much.

I'm in the middle of loading the big kiln with the last glaze load.  Mercy, it is HOT outside.  I'll wait until sunset to begin firing. 

How's your week treating you?  I feel like it is Thursday rather than Wednesday.  But my heavy work is almost finished, and I'll be glad to spend time organizing, setting up, and pricing tomorrow and Friday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

sale week!


You've seen this image before.  I'm not sure if I got lazy or if I just really like it,  but it's the postcard.  Those are going out today.  I also sent an email version.  If you're local and would like a print or email postcard, send me an email and I'll get one out to you.

Last night I fired my last bisque load.  Today I'm doing a small touch-up glaze firing, then I'll be glazing all day tomorrow, firing tomorrow night, and unloading it on Thursday.  Lots of setting up and spiffing up to do around here to get ready to open the doors for y'all.

I might be back later this week with some sneak peeks.  Like this one.  Have a nice week!  Stay cool- it's scorching hot here in Memphis!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

details

Good morning!
Today is my glazing day.  The first of two before next weekend's sale.  so of course it is overcast and looking like rain.  Inevitably if I set aside a day for glazing it rains.  Such is life.  I am grateful to have glazing help today, and grateful to have had help yesterday in cranking out the last few platters I wanted to make.
I am tweeting.  Sometimes I feel like I have something to say or share, pottery-wise, but not enough for an entire post.  We'll see how it goes.

Yesterday I picked up my sale postcards.  I'm mailing some, emailing some, facebook-inviting some.  I always feel awkward inviting friends- Hey!  Come buy my stuff!  Love you!  Ok!  Bye!- But what do you do?  So while I'm not glazing I'll be addressing postcards.

This cake plate is off to California.  I hope to have another like it for next weekend.  I have a base and am waiting for the plate to dry.

Oh!  Today I am glazing the first of the honeycomb foundation pieces.  Can't wait to see how the glaze pools up in the impressions.

There is much to do.  See you back in this space next week. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

friday

Happy weekend!

Today is my wedding anniversary.  11 years.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Today I also had the nicest chat with my mentor. It was good to touch base and talk pots and life. Whatever path you take, it is so so helpful to have a mentor. Someone who has experience in your field, and in life, to help guide you. I feel very lucky that mine was kind and answered  my questions about beginning a pottery business and moving it online. I think it takes a special kind of person to be a mentor, and I hope that someday I can be a good one.


I drew on some mugs, like the bee mug in the previous post, this morning, and on some platters that my friend Natalie helped me impress with honeycomb foundation. I got the foundation (plastic pieces with raised honeycomb pattern to help guide the bees in langstroth hives) in making their combs from my friends Rita and Richard Underhill at Peace Bee Farm.  Last night they were on ABC news!  You can watch the segment here (although the video doesn't seem to be up yet, you can read the transcript.  I'm really excited for them.  They are good stewards of their bees and I have (and will continue to, as I prepare to begin my own urban bee journey) learned so much from them.

But about the pots! I'm really excited about using the foundation to create texture. I can't wait to see what the pieces look like once they're glazed. I've been throwing and glazing and making pots like crazy for my sale on the 15th and 16th. This next week will be my last week to throw before the sale, and I'll continue glazing and firing through Weds the 13th. Nothing like working until the last minute, hmm?

This week my camera died.  I was very sad.  Its replacement, a Nikon d80 (a step down from the d90 or other upper numbers, because I don't want or need video- heck, I'd really rather use film, still, most of the time), should arrive today.  I'm excited to have my camera back in hand.  I knew I relied on it, but I didn't realize how bereft I'd feel without it.  And I'm so glad to have lots of work to do to pay for it.  I wasn't really planning on this purchase. . .

Monday we're partaking in my own family's 4th of July tradition.  My mother and I (and my son, plus anyone else we can wrangle) get up as early as possible, drive to a tiny farm in MS, and pick blueberries.  I ran out of blueberry butter back in February and I only have one jar of blueberry-raspberry jam left.  I'm not big on using the berries in muffins or pancakes, but I usually dry a gallon to add to our family granola. The berries came early this year- I hope to pick 3 gallons.

Ok.  Enough rambling.  Happy 4th, everyone. Be safe this long weekend.

Friday, June 24, 2011

moving forward

Good morning!  Yesterday I dropped off a small batch of these cups and had a really interesting talk with Diane of Diane's Art Gift and Home in Midtown Memphis.  She is such a creative, generous person- I'm grateful to have her retailing my work- for that matter, I'm grateful to have good working relationships with all of my retailers- they encourage me to look beyond what I'm currently making and into what's possible.  Sometimes it's a bit of a stretch, but stretching is good.  We're working on some things with a little more whimsy- more birds, more color.  We'll see what comes of it!  She was excited about these little cups- as am I.  I'm just crazy about drawing these bees. 

I was browsing around early this morning and came across this blog.  I was looking for something having to do with refinishing a built-in-butler's pantry, but this honeycomb platter caught my eye.  She uses self-hardening clay for this project, but I am definitely going to adapt her use of a plastic bee-keeper's honeycomb foundation to create some texture and pattern in my bee pieces.  I'm thinking that I'm going to set aside a portion of my bee sales to financemy own hive next spring.  This website is full of good information on top-bar beekeeping, a low-impact practice that is good for urban areas. 

One last bit- I am holding my annual Spring/Summer sale on July 15 and 16.  Let me know if you want on my mailing list (please email me your address).  I know it will be warm, but I'll have lemonade and cooling snacks for you.

Have a nice weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

plates

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words- here, on Facebook, and elsewhere- regarding my departure from the crazy-making and unattainable land of perfect.  I really appreciate them.  We jetted out of town for a long weekend of lakeside family reunion for my grandmother's 90th birthday and to help another relative move into her new house- it was cool and rainy and there was no internet access.  I napped and knitted and organized rested and unpacked and watched the river roll by my aunt's new house.  It was nice.

Shortly before I left I unloaded this stack of plates from the kiln for a client's dinnerware set.  I've done teacups, tumblers, salad/dessert plates, and now her dinner plates.  She's getting her set one component at a time, and while these aren't *quite* where I'd want them to be, I am, by and large, pleased.  It has  taken me years to get to the point where I could make plates- both in terms of skill level and in dealing with tendonitis.  I've found that I can make 2-3 plates a day if I alternate plates with smaller pieces that don't require as much force to center.  I started with around 3 lb of wet clay and threw them around 11.25." After bisque and glaze firing, they shrank to 10-10.5".  I made 12 hoping for 8 successful plates.  Another client has asked for a botanical set of dinnerware and I am about 1/4 of the way through her set. 

Yesterday I found an email from a potential client who wanted tea bowls for matcha.  He was kind enough to send me a link showing me exactly the shape and slope he wanted- I had no idea there was so much variation.  I did some online research and really enjoyed watching this series, which included the chawan bowls I've been asked to make.  There are so many different shapes and styles of tea bowls, from refined porcelain to rough and rustic groggy clay.  This should be an interesting project.

If you happen to be in the Memphis area, Original Ink is having their grand opening/open house on Thursday afternoon/evening.  We have a conflict or I would be there, but I hope that you can stop by and see their lovely shop.

Have a good week!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

restocking: taking stock

I have finally restocked my etsy shop. There are latte cups, a few honey pots, new mugs, and more solid-colored spoon rests.  And more to come- both locally and online.

Saturday's last market day was good- events unfolded so that it was bitter-sweet, more sweet than anything else.  My instincts that it was time to go were validated- friends were sad but happy to see me embarking on a new chapter.  Now- to begin that new chapter?  What shall I do?

I'm listening to myself, to my customers, to new opportunities that come knocking.  I'm revising my plans and my expectations of myself.  One large revision is throwing away expectations of perfection.  I'm embracing wabi-sabi- all of my work shows my hand.  There is a flaw in every piece because I am a human, flawed, wonderfully imperfect.  And I'm getting to the point where I'm ok with that.  I'm not going to kill myself trying to make work that looks like it rolled off a factory line somewhere and should be sitting at (name your favorite large kitchen-ware retailer)__________.  Stopping that right here.  Happily.

I have shelves full of work to be fired upstairs and am waiting until it is just a *little* cooler before I fire again.  We've had 2 weeks of 100+ heat indices and actual temps of 95+.  I think most of the country has.  I'm in no hurry.  It's summer.  It's the south.  We move slowly for a reason (but we're thinking fast, don't let our pace or drawl fool you!).

Ok.  all done.  Y'all have a nice weekend.

Friday, June 3, 2011

last day

I am back.  Happy to be home, well rested, feeling cooler than the temps outside.  Holding all of the deep lush green forest damp in my heart.

Tomorrow is my last day at the Farmers Market in Memphis.  I'm not sure if it's the last ever, but it will be the last this year.  If you're in the notion, come and find me and say hello.  Leaving the market was a difficult decision, but I can't keep and build inventory and hold on to my wholesale accounts or manage to stock an online store.  So I'm dropping my obligations there and seeing what will happen in other areas.  I'll have some mugs, some honey pots, a few berry bowls, and a precious few bee pieces.

While we were away in the Smoky Mountains my new clear glazes arrived.  I'm excited to try them.  And shortly before we left I restocked my wares at Original Ink in Germantown, TN.  I am so happy to be with the ladies who run this lovely stationery and gift shop- they have so many nice gifts for babies, small children, and a growing selection of gifts that would be just wonderful for hostess and birthday gifts.

Next week I'm planning to do more glazing and firing and restocking.  Have a nice weekend, y'all.  Stay cool!

Friday, May 27, 2011

And-

I'm glaze shopping again.  For clear this time; the new batch of white is doing exactly what it is supposed to, but the clear- oh goodness.  I tell you that it BITES to spend, say, six hours on a set of cups (start to finish, hands-on time is about 10 hours for these 20 cups, not including firing) and pull them from the kiln and find them rough and streaky and/or cloudy.  I tried to reglaze them but the glaze wouldn't stick because it was too thin.  Not terribly good for someone trying to fill wholesale orders. On Tuesday I cried about it and told my son I didn't want to be a potter any more.  He asked what I'd do with my wheel and kilns.  Good question.

And then I see lovely photos of my work in friends' homes, and someone I know sees me out at supper and tells me that she loves the new piece she bought, and my knitting friends are tickled with their newest batch of seconds, and I realize that it's ok.  And that I am in serious need of a re-boot.  A vacation.  So we're taking one.  I'll be back here in a few weeks, with some new clear glaze, and hopefully some work to share.

Happy Memorial Day.  Enjoy your holiday weekend.  Remember those who have given and lost and be thankful.

Friday, May 20, 2011

peeking

Here's a preview of half of my kiln that is ticking and cooling out back.  about 2/3 of this load is intended for local shops.  The other 1/3 is for my etsy shop.  I love love love these pieces.  Yesterday, when my assistant was over, I had her roll out slabs to make some platters to draw on.  I checked on them last night and am looking forward to spending an hour with them later this morning. 

I keep feeling like I'm working and working and not having much to show for it, but I remind myself that keeping things in inventory is not my goal.  Making and moving them out is.  I do need a certain amount of inventory to, oh, stock an etsy shop or have a sale at home, but I realized that I'm accustomed to having six huge rubbermaid bins chock full of pottery- 60+ lbs each, but that's not how I'm working anymore.  It isn't efficient or, frankly, the best way to generate income for my family.

Tomorrow I'm getting a new batch of the glaze that worked best for me so that I can finish one of my dinnerware orders and start a second.  (hint to Melissa- THAT's where your effort has been going!)
This afternoon I'm going to pick strawberries with a friend and our children, and then we're going to make JAM!  Canning season has begun (I snuck in a batch of rose petal jelly and syrup on Mother's Day) and I have a plan.  Tonight will be rocking at Levitt Shell, our neighborhood free concert venue- I'm thinking about a picnic of Zapps (google it!), banh mi, and rose- or abita, as it's a new orleans band.  And on Sunday, I'm working on putting those front-yard raised beds in.  In the middle of the yard.  Because it's my yard, dang it all, and I'm out of veggie space.  Possibilities.

I hope your Friday is full of potential.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I stink

at blogging this year.  But ironically, I'm making like gang-busters.  Everything I make, like these platters, I'm making in quantity.  Platters, honey pots, latte  cups, mugs, berry bowls.  I've been making 8 at a time of everything.  First, I'm working on filling my wholesale obligations and the dinner sets that people have ordered.  Second, I'm working on building inventory so that I can have a sale at home in June, and put things up on etsy.  I seem to have been unable to have enough work to put it online.   And I've been doing little projects around the house, like painting a new mailbox for the front porch so that the mail doesn't fall through the slot and get permanently lost under the sofa.  Not good when that happens with bills, or netflix envelopes.  Trying new things in the studio and outside of the studio.   Reorganizing the studio with found and new-to-me shelving.  Painting lots of things.  And summer's almost here.  Ten more days of school.

Hope your weekend is swell.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the glaze test

I've unloaded the kiln and am mostly happy with my test results.  This is glaze one, which was totally new to me.  Um, No.  I'm not sure if you can see that it has an almost eggshell like texture to it- almost miniature dimples.  It is bright white and runs all over the place on the pieces that I dipped.  I tried it on one of my botanical mugs and you can't see the leaf at all.  It was fine for brushing, but again, the piece that I brushed had a 4-leaf clover in the middle and the image was almost completely obscured.  The glaze also dripped all the way down to the kiln shelf on several pieces, so I have some shelf maintenance to do now- you can see this on the little bowl, which had a really clear margin of wax on the bottom to keep the glaze off the bottom of the pot.  This will probably be a good liner glaze (to go on the inside of mugs, particularly the mugs that I draw on), but this glaze is not for me.  I bought 5 lbs of it, which makes a gallon, and it should be fairly easy to use up if I use it exclusively on the inside of pieces.


Here are glazes 2 and 3.  Glaze 2 is my old glaze.  Glaze 3 is my old glaze, just a fresher batch.  Again, I dipped and brushed pieces.  I measured 100 ml of each glaze and then weighed them.  They each came in at 146 g, 145-150 being the optimal weight according to the manufacturer (less weight means too much water, more weight means too much glaze solids).   No shivering off this time with the old glaze, but there were still patchy rough places.  In this photo I dipped the platter on the bottom in the new formula and it was almost perfect.  Lesson 1- start dipping ALL of my pieces if possible.  The second piece, on top, is the new mix of white on top- nice and thick, 3 brushed-on coats.  On the bottom, the old mix- again, 3 brushed-on coats.  I'm not sure if you can tell in the photo, but the top layer is much thicker than the bottom layer.  The really interesting thing about these tests is when I mixed up the  glazes, there was a discernible difference between the two buckets of the old and new glaze.  The old glaze was bright white and settled out quickly, even though I'd added a stabilizer.  The new glaze was creamier, almost beige.  It didn't need a stabilizer, even after I'd been using the bucket for an hour or so.

I didn't glaze under ideal conditions- it was raining cats and dogs for most of Tuesday morning, and I was in the even-more humid basement.  I always have problems with the glaze sticking on humid days, so I expected some problems.  I'm pleased that I didn't ruin too many pieces with Glaze 1, that 75% of the pieces I used Glaze 3 with came out near-perfect, and Glaze 2 did exactly what I expected it to, which was to under-perform. 

If you're interested in knowing which glaze I used for Glaze 1, shoot me an email (I don't get most of the email addresses with your comments) and I'll tell you.  Glaze 2 is an at least 3 year old 25 lb bag of Opulence Gloss White.  Glaze 3 was a brand-new bag of the same.  There is one other white glaze I'd like to test, but since I buy all of my clay and most of my other glazes from Opulence (they're based in Nashville, fairly close to me), I think I'll stick with them.  Now to work on those dinner and wholesale orders!

I'll be at MFM for Mothers' Day shopping on Saturday.  Maybe in the new section of the pavilion.  Come say hello!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

good morning!

It is, finally, a beautiful sunny day.  We've had torrential rains for the last few days (Sat pm through Monday night), which, coupled with the MS river's almost record-breaking depth (we're almost at 45 ft, expected to be at 47 next week.  Official flood stage is 34 ft), has almost everyone on alert.  Last year on May 1 we had flash flooding that caused creeks to rise, threw municipal pumping stations off line, and caused all sorts of havoc.  We didn't know it was coming.  Now we know it's coming and people are evacuating, planning, sand-bagging, worrying.  I'm grateful for the warning and lead-time.

Weather aside, yesterday I tested my three white glazes.  My old white glaze that had been giving me problems, a new batch (same glaze, but made recently- my I bought my old batch several years ago), and an entirely new brand.  I mixed them up on Monday, let them rest for 24 hours, then screened and glazed a load to see what they would do.  Mugs, small platters and little bowls- I tested dipping (my preferred method of glazing) and brushing (what I have to do for larger pieces) to see how they'd turn out.  The kiln finished firing around 4am, and I'll need to wait until Thursday morning to unload it.  My fingers are crossed.  There was a discernible difference between the new and old versions of my "regular" white glaze- both in how the glaze felt when mixed and dried on the pieces, and in its color.  I loaded the kiln so that each glaze  got its own shelf - we'll see.  I'm hopeful that the new/old white will work well and that maybe the new-new white will, too.  Because I've got a TON of pottery that needs to be glazed white, and I'm ready to put that dinnerware set to bed!

Thanks for your good thoughts and emails about how my family fared with the bad weather here in the Deep South.  I really appreciate it.
Happy Wednesday-

Friday, April 29, 2011

eek

what a crazy week it's been.  Easter was lovely, then the weather came.  All of our friends and family are safe and well, but the toll on the mid-South has been really steep.  I complained about three straight days and nights of tornado sirens wailing, but the reality is that I'm glad we have them and I'm very grateful that Memphis escaped most of the damaging winds.

Pottery-wise, I'm having a bit of a crisis.  My old reliable white glaze has begun acting up on me- either not covering properly or shivering off - which means that the glaze cracks and bits of razor sharp glaze flake off.  I grabbed one of my new latte cups from its bin on Wednesday and cut myself.  Not badly, but that's not supposed to happen.  I suspect that my clay has been reformulated, but my clay and glaze supplier has sent me a new batch of white to test and I've purchased a few other glazes to test the next time I fire.  I'm waiting to glaze a fire a ton of work until these problems have been worked out- which must happen, oh, next week.

My colored glazes all seem to be working properly, so I will be using them, instead.  I put up a bunch of these speckled spoon rests at Etsy and will list the solid colors over the weekend.  I had hopes for honeypots, but many of them are supposed to be white, and, well, ahem.  Soon, I hope. 

I think that these are growing pains.  It's interesting to me that these problems are cropping up now, eight years after I began using this clay and this glaze, and I'm working more carefully and mindfully now than ever before.  There's something to learn, I'm just not sure what it is.  So in the meantime, I'm doing a lot of thinking and throwing and yoga (I've discovered that I can do a mean headstand.  The handstand triggers my old friend tendonitis, so I'll stay away from that, thanks much, but I'm a bit tickled by the headstand action) and reading and refining my pottery-making process.  Maybe that's what I'm supposed to be doing- refining rather than producing.

Well.  I've said all I have in me.  I hope your weekend is nice and relaxing.  Thanks for being here with me, friends.




Friday, April 22, 2011

new work

For the past 6 weeks I've been working like one crazed- typically 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.  I feel both satisfied and dissatisfied with this- I have very little product on hand to show for the time I've put in, but my last two (previous to the load I just unloaded) kilnloads were sold before they were even fired.  I've made a few dozen large platters, mugs and honeypots of all sorts, these latte cups, egg cups, and spoon rests, all pre-sold.  It's craziness.  Right now I have these cups, spoon rests, and not much else to take to my first of three appearances at the Memphis Farmers Market.  Plenty of herb markers on hand thanks to my once-a-week studio helper, Natalie, but pickings are slim.  I'm grateful for the pre-sales and feeling slightly crazy at the same time.

These latte cups make me really happy.  I kept one (a bonjour) for myself, and I have several more upstairs drying.  It's also berry bowl season, and my friend Jeanette Zeis shared some new-to-me techniques that seem to have stopped the insidious cracking problems I've been suffering through for the last three years.  I'm actually excited about making berry bowls again!

Ok.  Must run.  There are pots to price and pack, pots to trim, and a brother to pick up from the airport in the next five hours.
Happy Easter weekend, Happy Passover friends.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

hope (one hundred two)


hope (one hundred two)
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I feel like one of those kindergarten mice on an exercise wheel- going and going and going and getting nowhere. Not that I'm nowhere, but I have been working like crazy and not feeling like I've got an appropriate (ha!) pile of work to show for it. So. I'm here, I'm hard at work. I'll be at MFM on the 23rd. Etsy restocking isn't happening this week. I painted a bunch of "bonjour" and "good morning" latte cups today. I work on getting pots ready for glazing for about 4 hours this morning and afternoon. This is the first day in, oh, six, that I haven't done a 8-10 hour day. Monday and Tuesday nights I worked until 10 pm. YUCKY. This is not, folks, why most people decide to work for themselves. I will tell you, though, that this is also why most pottery is as expensive as it is. It's because each cup takes about 2 hours of hands-on time, lump of clay to finished product, not counting the 16+ hours of firing and 40+ hours of cooling time.

To top it off, I cannot get my pictures up to blogger and I have to use flickr to do it.  The day's been caca, I tell you.  I am managing to keep up with my photo-a-day, but just barely.  But we're here, breathing, well(ish), together.  That's all that matters in the end.

So. A poem. Not mine.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me



Thank you, Miss Emily.

Monday, April 4, 2011

well.

that absence was unexpected.  life is crazy sometimes.  mine certainly is.  the bad things are bad; we learn from them, hopefully, and send them on their way.  We got hit by big-time bad on monday the 21st, right after I wrote here last.  Another layoff, unexpected, and a big problem with our insurance.  All is well in the end.  We're coping, we have short-term insurance (hi, powers that be, I'd really really like single-payer insurance.  I'd be happy to pay for it, to sacrifice some other things to get it.  just so you know, in case you're listening.).  The end that is well isn't here yet, but it will be.

I promised I'd show some of the new work that is at my newest retail account, Original Ink a stationery and gift shop in Germantown, TN.  They're carrying my botanical pieces and some of the French redware, but I wanted to show you two ideas that they asked me to create:

 The first is a series of baby cups, a spin-off of my french-labeled pieces.  I love the "bebe" in lower case font.  I'm not typically a pink fan, but I think it worked well here:

The second, a series of plates and platters, comes from my little nest-topped honey pots.  I would have never thought to take the little nest and put it on a platter, but it's sweet.  

Both of these lines are exclusive to Original Ink.  I'll still sell my nest-topped honeypots and redware locally and at my etsy shop, but these particular versions are only available in Germantown.  They are keeping me busy, as are my other retail accounts in Memphis.  I'm planning my home sale for mid-May, and updating etsy NEXT WEEK!  I promise.

Later this week (barring uncertainties) I'll have a few more things to show you.  Until then, be well, be happy, be grateful for the good in your life.  That's helped me wade through the muck.  Thanks for reading, friends.