Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cough, cough, sniffle, sneeze

Morning!

Worst blogger in the whole wide world here.

Hahaha

Well, you must admit I've been neglecting this blog, when I should have some great stories to write. After all I did participate in a fabulous Christmas market in S'toon (Flock and Gather) and I've since dropped some of my work off at the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery which is still a little surreal to be honest!

But I've been under the weather with this wicked cold/flu thing and just when I thought the worst of it was over, it's moved to my head. Last night I spend the evening, sniffling and sneezing, eyes a blur from watering and I've gone through several boxes of kleenex! Today seems better...my head feels smaller (unbelievable I know), and I've loosened up...the tightness in my chest. Unfortunately or maybe it's fortunate, I'm not really tasting anything. But I think I'm on the mend and just in the nic of time!

In just a few days my kids arrive home for Christmas and I want to be ready! I'm almost there, just a few mugs to throw, decorate, some gift wrapping and a few groceries and I'm set. As usual, I seem to work best under pressure....speaking of which....I'm off to throw!

Wishing you all a very merry holiday season! I'll be back on 2013!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Breathe, Brenda....breathe!

Feeling a little overwhelmed, though I did have a good chuckle at some comments posted on fb from a few of my equally stressed out potter friends...just when I was thinking I might be alone! I hate to wallow in your misery but it's always comforting to know that I'm not the only one staying up late and rising early and eating crap...yes, that's right crap! Adriana Christianson commented on eating corn flakes for supper and instant noodles for lunch. Now I love cereal and if I could, I'd probably eat it for every meal (god knows I have!), but all those carbs make me sluggish and I need the energy right now! That being said, I had toast for lunch. I did make dinner though. Fran's Chili Chicken (I think that's what it's called) and it was soooo delish, but I eat so fast these days and as a result suffer from heartburn and truthfully, I'm not even sure I tasted most of what went into my mouth!

So, I desperately need groceries. It's literally been months since I've bought a cart full of them. Oh, we've picked up the odd thing. Eggs...we're eating a lot of them these days...and milk of course. Bread, though I'm still trying to stay off that (the toast was a bit of a carb breakdown!) and bananas. Apples and bananas, peas and carrots. Not a lot of variety in what I'm eating these days! I'm not sure I can remember what a salad tastes like (and I do love a nice spring green salad) and I'm sick to death of carrots and frozen peas (thank god I have the carrots from my garden or I'd have even less to chose from!).

This evening was a bust. I sat on the sofa, mouth hanging open and snored my way through a quick cat nap, while my poor mother watched 'A Few Good Men' and complained when I finally came to that she didn't like that movie and had seen it before. So we found another...some stupid movie, that I sat through because I was just too lazy to go downstairs to finish up the bowls I've been decorating. Because I had to, I did sneak away for an extended commercial to attach the little bw stamp to each bowl and managed to break the rim of one of them because I was rushing. I also managed to make a pan of puffed wheat squares because my poor mother has been complaining that I have nothing in the house to eat (and she's meaning anything sweet and not good for us) and so ate more crap!

Tomorrow night I'm going out for dinner. It's a sponsorship dinner with speeches but I need the break. Between clay and snow I'm feeling really housebound! I'm looking forward to shedding my dusty clothes and dressing up...running a comb through my hair, actually applying mascara! hahahahah

Okay..so lots of nonsensical babble at 12:00 am, but it somehow keeps me sane. I'd love to hear how the rest of you are doing these days, when making is taking over our lives! You can find more of us at Mud Colony!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

No Rest for the Weary...

Not entirely true. I DID throw a few smaller bowls on Monday...just a little bigger than my little 'salt' bowls, but smaller than my small bowls. I had requests for something just a little bigger. They'll be adorable with in my polka dots and I might stencil something on them or at least on a few. I also cut out a bunch of my hang tags, which were uber popular (I figured they would be...especially to the eco conscious crowd!). Yesterday I had some running around to do and frankly, I think it all suddenly caught up with me and I was soooo tired, I only walked into my studio to flip my bowls upside down.

But today, I'm pumped and I have my 'To Do' list in hand. Finishing my coffee and then off I go to throw and throw and throw. More bowls, more BIG bowls (sold them all), a few new things and a new design. White on white I think. The inside of my big Olga bowl drew lots of attention...the big dots on white and it's something I have considered for a while. I'll do it to keep things interesting, 'cos doing the same ole, same ole bores me quickly! hahahah

This is where I want to thank all of you that visited me at Wintergreen! It was a great sale for me and all thanks to you of course! I got to reunite with so many of my old FN customers, who I really do miss (and quite frankly it was a little like 'coming home'!) and had to pleasure of introducing myself to so many new people and exhibitors too. I also got to meet my 'stalker' (you know who you are!) and apologize for not recognizing her by name when she introduced herself to me! I hope you enjoy your bowl, Claire! I also need to thank my sister Kelly, sales woman extraordinaire and thanks as well to Monica my CARFAC Mentor!

After set up! I was amazed at how much I had actually made!

Just a few hours before closing!

I hope to have a some work in the Art Gallery of Regina Christmas sale with the Regina Guild November 30, to December 2. Friday 1-9 pm ; Saturday 10 am - 5 pm ;
Sunday 11 am - 4 pm. I have also submitted a few Jarheads in the Community Art Show and Sale at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre in Regina Beach. I'm really excited about that...a first for me! There is an opening reception on November 25th from 12:30 to 3:30!

Then I'm off to S'toon for Flock and Gather on the 7th and 8th of December! I'm super excited to be a part of that sale! I've heard nothing but good things and I've met a few of the organizers...all terrific and talented artists!



Whew! It doesn't end there! :) I have also been asked to sell my work in a few local shops, which I'm ecstatic about. I'll let you know when and where as soon as I know!

So there you go...a little info on what I'm doing, have done and will do and a huge bouquet of thanks to all of you!

I am truly blessed!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snow!


If this doesn't put people in the mood for Christmas shopping, nothing will! We've had out first big snowfall of the season. Big one. Lots of snow and still snowing. I have no idea how much, but it looks to be about a foot deep in the ruts my hubby left in the driveway when he left this morning. It's soooo pretty. I will admit to loving the snow, especially when it's undisturbed...no mucky dirty bits, just that lovely white blanket enveloping everything and the thick frosting like dollops hanging off the trees. I went out this morning to take the photo in my pj's. Just slipped on my hubbies running shoes and stood there taking the pictures. Not nearly as impressive as it is for real, but still pretty!

Seems fitting that I should post a few photos of my newly bisqued, carved porcelain pots. (Seeing how they're snow white!) They survived the bisque fire and truthfully, I have no idea what to expect when I glaze them. Maybe that's when they might crack, warp, possibly disintegrate? hahahah Either way, I LOVE them and can't wait to see them finished!







Busy morning for me, more pots to decorate! Time is ticking!

A great big happy birthday to Mud Colony, which I'm told turned one year as of yesterday! More and more wonderful potters are sharing their blog posts and photos. Great stuff! Why not pop over to take a peek....here!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Christmas Sale #1

Christmas Sale #!...over!

This was a small sale, and I paid literally peanuts for the table. Quite a nice crowd and great feedback on my work. Sold a little of everything including two Jarheads so that was terrific! (thank you Barb, Erin and Jackie!). Thanks too to my sister Jackie...for driving out after the freezing rain/snow storm on a bad tire (because hers went flat!).


As I was unpacking all my pots I was surprised to find that I actually had more than I thought I did...or maybe it was just setting it all up together. In fact, I think for the next sale, I won't put out so many of each. I did have a 10' table which I won't have for the next sale. That will be an 8', so it'll look even fuller than this one! I was pretty happy with my set up too....maybe a few things to tweak but all in all it worked well. I found that having matching sets made it much easier to display things and I'll continue to make those! Maybe add another design or two or maybe what I have right now is good for this season..and I'll have to come up with some new colours and patterns for spring. I'll definitely make more salt bowls and I think a few more serving type dishes for this next sale. I might even tackle the dreaded mug (because I did have people asking). I'd love to try a cake plate but I've never really tackled a plate that large and I have read horror stories about cracking. Maybe some tumblers... There was a lot of interest in my scoops and a request for green ones...might have to make a few of those too!


So here are some pictures pre door opening. I'm tired...just sitting quietly and watching the Riders..who are playing poorly!

I'm off to check out what my potter friends over at Mud Colony have been up to! You should visit them too...here!

Night!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Feel Good....

Getting excited now! Really excited. I'm not so worried now about having enough, because i have stacked a few of my bowls on my little stools and they look so nice and if I keep potting, I'm going to be just fine! Deciding to do sets or themes of colours has really made it easier for me, it's somehow calmed my somewhat obsessive, perfectionist head. I do realize there is a lot of blue and green. In fact, blue, green, black and red (decorating some small bowls today in red..stripes of polka dots...can't quite decide but they will look really nice with the turquoise blue bird bowls and their tiny red berries. I found that at my last sale, the blue was the most popular. I can see now why established potters pick a new colour scheme seasonally. I think it'll keep me from getting bored!



This bowl is an accident. Happy one at that. It's that big bowl that I threw and yes, bragged about...'biggest bowl ever!' *sigh* I noticed a crack at the lip as I was getting ready to decorate it and tried to patch it, but that didn't work (I've since learned that paper clay on bisque is a terrific patch!..see below.) Anyway, Monica suggested that I could just cut that crack out, alter it a bit and so I did...more than a bit, because I started just carving a small curve beneath that crack and then couldn't stop but truthfully, I love the way it turned out and I love the handles. It has a retro feel to me. I think I'll be doing more of them, though this time it'll be because I chose to, not because I must!


Today I have this last bunch of jarheads in my kiln. Fingers and toes are crossed that they're dry enough because I have really pushed these last two. I NEED to have the one done by Friday, and so it's spent some time in the oven, drying on very low and this morning I will shut my kiln off for an hour or so once it reaches 100 degrees just to be sure.



Firing is going to be a challenge this week. I have 3 large bowls that I would really love to get fired before my sale on the weekend, but if not, they'll be there for the next one! I can definitely see a bigger kiln in my future!

On another note, I attended a paper clay workshop yesterday with Teresa Gagne from S'toon. Teresa and I recently became fb friends and so getting to meet her in person was exciting and let me just say that she is a lovely person! I really enjoyed the workshop. Paper clay is quite fascinating! I will definitely be trying it with my sculptural work!! I really love 'hanging' with other potters...I can definitely see now why networking is so important!

Times up! As you can imagine, I'm on a schedule these days though it changes constantly! This weekend I will be in Lumsden at the Snowflake sale. Hope to see you there!

Apologies for the bad photos. That is on my list of things to do yet this week before the sale. Also for the messy kitchen table! (We have to push things back to eat! hahahah)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

So little time...

I'm so busy these days I barely have time to breath, let alone post here, or for that matter chat with some of my favourite potter friends. One week to go before my first Christmas sale and so many things to do! This isn't a big sale, but it's local, and I'm looking forward to it...sort of a precursor to the BIG one, two weeks after that!

My hubby has made me some little stools that I plan to use as risers. I picked up some little tester pots of paint for them and hopefully today I can work on those! I'll squeeze that in between trimming, decorating, and hopefully more throwing. I'm really happy with my progress. I'm feeling much more organized and though my kiln is a little small for all that I need to fire, it's working non stop to keep up. I'm pushing the drying process just a little, using my oven to suck out any moisture so that I can bisque fire with no fear of an explosion (at least that's what I've always thought would happen).


I'm really happy with my new bowls...love the colours and the silk screens worked so well. I can see I'll be making more of those!



It's all the other things in life that are really getting in my way. Like eating...who has time! and cooking? forget it! Today I'm going to convince my husband to cook up a big pot of lentil soup, that should last for days...not that I have time to eat it and when I do, I pretty much snort it so that I can 'get back to work'. My house..egads....well, that's another story and honestly if some unexpected company knocked at my door, I'd surely die! My pottery studio is a disaster, and I can't remember the last time I've mopped the floor, though I did sweep (yes I know, NOT a good idea with clay) the other day only because it was getting crunchy under my feet! I have to do our GST and get that in to the govn't before the end of the month as well, and then there is the pricing (hate that job), and packing and all those last minute things I need to do for the sale. Yeeshh!

Alrighty...I've now worked myself into a tizzy..., hiho hiho...you know the rest!

Check out all the other harried potters on Mud Colony! It's so good to know I'm in good company!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Focus

That's what I should be doing...focusing on my work for Wintergreen, but my Laguna Frost Porcelain clay was calling me...begging me to pleaseeeee play with me! Honestly I don't know why on earth I decided yesterday was the day to try throwing a porcelain clay for the first time, but I did. I've only used it once before and that was making those little pendants. Well, I held one of those fired pendants up to the light and 'lo and behold, that clay is sooooo lovely and translucent...and even all the horror stories I've read about working with Frost didn't scare me off!

So I threw two bowls...both of them, lovely and round... and then I decided just a plain old porcelain pot wasn't enough, I'd like to carve it in hopes that the light would shine through. The first one now sits in my small scrap pile...'cos I was over ambitious and tried to carve and alter the pot like Jennifer McCurdy (what was I thinking!) and well, she makes it look soooo easy...and it's not...or maybe I was too impatient and started cutting when it was too wet and sticky (strange texture that porcelain). Anyway, I decided I'd do something I was a little more familiar with on the second one and I have to admit, that I LOVE the way it turned out! Now, it's only greenware...we'll see what happens after the bisque firing, but even so.....I can't wait to work with it again, but for now I need to concentrate on building my stock list for this big sale!

So here's a picture....keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't warp...crack......

That's what I've been doing! You can check out what other Mud Colony potters have been up to on the MC blog!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lessons learned...

I'm been busy making. I'm trying to get a little ahead of myself and stock pile my jars and stuff. It's not so much the throwing, altering, and decorating. It's that damned drying...that sloooooww drying and then two firings in my teeny tiny kiln that has me thinking that it's better to make now...right now.

I spent yesterday with my mentor, Monica. She watched me wedge... and pointed out where my problem lies...you remember...those nasty air bubbles, and though I'm feeling a little awkward doing it the right way, I know it'll come. Let me just say that it's SO much less work than I was putting into it prior to this back/shoulder/arm saving lesson! No more sweating or aching arms for me! She also helped me hone my throwing skills. Seems I'm a fondler and even after her reminding me (more than a few times), to keep my paws off that nicely centered ball of clay, I found myself touching...without even thinking....THAT is something I'm really going to have to work on!

So today, I'm patiently waiting for my newly thrown pots to dry enough that I can do some altering. I hope I'm not rushing it. While I wait, I'm going to throw a few more, because I have sketches galore of what I hope to do and it's probably more than I'll need but at least I have a game plan!

I'm including some pics of some new pieces I just pulled out of the kiln this morning. A few bigger bowls using my new stencils and some tiny snack bowls that I'd love to call Pit Bowls but thinking that no one will understand what I'm talking about. Curious? I had lunch at a friend's the other day and we had some lovely BC cherries for dessert..AND she handed me this sweet little bowl for my pits! Anyway, I suppose they can be used for so many things!




I am soooo happy with this pink! I mixed a red and white and this is really pretty!



Happy to be back and contributing to Mud Colony! You need to check out the work of the other fabulous potters there!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Productive Weekend!

That's right...I managed to get a few things done. I made some small snack dishes (in the kiln now so no pics!) and then cleaned things up and pulled out the red clay. It was nice to get back to it. I still love it...the smell, the feel... I threw a bunch of body parts for my jars and some bowl-y type things for these handled baskets I'm planning to make. I'm gonna call them Headcases. Yes, I know what you're thinking....why does she have to name everything? Hmmm....well, good question but I do....'cos I LOVE doing it!

So, Halloween is on it's way and I LOVE halloween and all the decorations.....the goblins, and zombies.... I especially love the old vintage stuff...not that I have any...but oh how I wish! I ALWAYS buy the Fall/Halloween magazines and I always save them...every single one...Martha Stewart, House and Home, Country Living, etc. etc. I love the colours of fall, which is strange cos it's a colour I don't even wear, nor do I have them in my house. I wanted so desperately to paint my livingroom orange and had patches of oranges and mustardy yellows on the walls for ages, but not one of them looked any good for felt right in my house. So, I guess that I get my fix from the magazine photos!

Anyway, I am focusing on some Jarheads with a Halloween theme, even though I won't be in a sale until after the 31st of August. People seem to like spooky things....and some people love Halloween all year round...doesn't matter, I have sketches of things I plan to make and I can't wait to work on more!

So for now....here's my first 3. I've actually done a little sculpting. Yes! Taking bits of clay and shaping it into brow bones and cheek bones and I have to say, I liked it! Pics of the finished pieces will be here soon! BTW, the little beret on the girl is a lid! Cute huh? Okay..she's NOT halloweeny, but cute as a button!





No, not an alien! The Man in the Moon! See his crater covered backside! hahahah...






Friday, September 7, 2012

Orientation!

I was accepted into a mentorship program sponsored by our local Crafts Council. I'm really excited about it and at the same time a little bit nervous! Tomorrow is our first group meeting...orientation. I have to present a 5 minute slide show of my work. Five minutes...that's not long...so why am I so worried?

But it should be fun! I think it includes a lunch (we were asked if we had any food requirements or allergies. I am looking forward to meeting the other mentees (though I don't think there are many) and the mentors.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

BIG is the best!

I'm pathetic at posting these days. I'm blaming it on my company and as of yesterday, they've all gone home and I'm feeling much more inspired to play with my clay. That might be because I've come to realize that I need to get busy if I'm to have a nice variety of work for these upcoming sales or it might be because I have finally taught myself to spiral wedge and can now officially say goodbye to those nasty air bubbles that have been tormenting me!

So..spiral wedging... It definitely takes some practice...and STRENGTH! I found standing on my little blue stool was much easier because the how-tos I've read have suggested straight arms and I'm short, with a bench that is a little high for wedging period, let alone spiral wedging. I also find that it goes much better if I don't watch my hands....just get into a rhythm. I am a far cry from doing it well...nothing like the videos I've watched on You Tube, but I'm sure I'll improve! Yesterday I wedged the same 3 balls over and over and over again...and then cut them up to see if there were any air bubbles and nope...nothing that I could see! I'm not convinced that my rams head wedging was the reason for the bubbles prior to this. I think it was my centering to be honest. I think I was pushing too hard and getting air trapped under the clay. Now that I am aware of it, I'm trying some different techniques, and when I do get air trapped and I haven't coned it up and dispersed it into a bubbly mess, I seem to have figured out how to get rid of it! So far it's working!

So....I managed to wedge 8 pounds of clay! That's the most I've ever tackled! Not only did I wedge it but I threw a bowl...a VERY big bowl! The bottom is a little too thick but that I can trim and I wish that I had left the top a little thicker so that I could have left a bit of a rim, but honestly...it turned out so well...and even when it looked pretty perfect to me, I kept on tweaking and had to make myself put down my rib and STOP, before I spoiled the whole thing. I've done that before...in fact 3 times yesterday on some very nice big bowls!

My BIG bowl (now to decide on decorating!)

I also broke into my box of precious...OH SO PRECIOUS, Laguna Frost that I bought ages ago in anticipation of one day working with a porcelain. I'm not sure I'm ready to throw it. I was surprised by the texture to be honest. But I did roll out a smallish slab and cut it into little shapes, which then became pendants (or so I'm hoping), and one thing lead to another and I was decorating them with a variety of leafy patterns! Pretty happy with them, even though I really don't know what to expect once they dry. Will they warp? Curl up? I've noticed that a few already have...which I don't mind so much. I'm not sure what to expect once they're fired either, so it's all a bit of an experiment for me. I'm not planning to glaze them, so I think I can fire them at Cone 5 and skip the bisque firing? Hmmm....I'll have ask to be sure.

Any suggestions on what to use these for would be greatly appreciated. I'm thinking they'd be pretty nice as a necklace but I'm wondering what to hang them from? Leather cording perhaps? Will they be heavy enough?

Anyway, here I am blabbering away and making this post far longer than I suppose anyone is going to want to read. I really should break these down into several smaller posts...yes...that's what I'll do....next time!

Here's a couple of other things I've been doing. The first is a flower pot I made in trade for the cutest stuffed animal. (pictured below). Erin Weiss of Boolah Baguette is so talented! You can find her here on her etsy site!

Bella (she loves swimming so you'll get the cute little ruffled swimsuit and life jacket!)

I also played with a couple of bowls, using the same stencils as I did for the pendants. They're pretty...but pretty simple as well. Not sure what I think of them yet.

I'm about to pop over to Mud Colony to see what my other pottery friends have been up to! You can check them out too...here!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Losing Sleep....

That was me last night...tossing and turning while my lovely mishima-d bowls baked in a very hot kiln. I was so worried they wouldn't turn out smooth and blemish free, especially after that episode I had a month or so ago where half of my bowls were dotted with little pits.

It has taken ages for my kiln to cool enough so that I could take a peek. No doubt because the porch is already quite warm from this scorching weather, but finally....success!! Yay!! I am doing the happy dance!!! These are a gift for a wedding taking place this weekend and I would have seriously cried had they come out in any way but almost perfect. The only problem with them is the size. Not as big as I had hoped they'd be, but still pretty nice. That size/shrinkage thing still baffles me. One day I hope I'll understand it better!


I also fired my bird vases and one of my Potty Mouths. I used a different clay for these, redder and a mid fire, though in the end they are a lovely brown and would be really lovely if I hadn't washed them with the black underglaze because now I'm seeing a bit of a bluish tinge. Still nice, don't get me wrong...but I prefer my low fire terra cotta. His hat turned out quite shiny. I'm guessing the u/g has more flux in it? Sort of worked in my favour!


Citrus bowls, glazed and ready to fire!


So, a little of what I've been up this week. See what other potters have been doing at Mud Colony! You can find them here!


Friday, August 24, 2012

'Bout time....

I am sans mother this weekend so I hope to gets a lot of potting done! I did manage to finish an order for my daughter. I can't tell you what it is yet because it's a gift for a friend's wedding. I suppose that I can't post any pics either! Awwww....Okay...well, right now they're still green...decorated with mishima. I am hoping they'll be dry enough to fire tomorrow. I also have the other bowls for this order ready to trim and a few planters that I had a request for. I'm actually pretty excited about these. I know what I want to do with them and I think they'll be bright and fun and make someone very happy sitting on a windowsill!

I've recently read a few posts lately about the change over from summer to fall and it's definitely happening here. Some of the trees are already turning. (I always thought you needed a frost before that happened but seems it's not at all true) The air just feels more "fally" or "autumny" if that's how you choose to call this time of year. Even on a hot day...and we've been having temps of 30+, it doesn't feel as hot, though the other day we had a quick shower and the day turned hot and humid so that was definitely an exception!

I'm never too sad to see summer go. Don't get me wrong, I love the summer, but eventually I get tired of the weeding, the watering, the deadheading. I don't know how you people that live in summer-all-year-round climates do it...ALWAYS doing those dreaded tasks! My hubby is sick to death of mowing the lawn and thankfully it's not growing as quickly these days either! I really do like winter, though it's not my favourite season, but I like the snow...when everything is blanketed with white and especially when it's sunny and not too bitterly cold and the ground sparkles with little ice crystals. It does get cold here...-40...wind chills...and truthfully, running from the house to the car is sometimes torture, but we get a LOT of sunshine...even on the coldest days and it never really seems as bad.

Of course looking out my window from my heated house, admiring those sparkly ice crystals and that glorious sunshine makes it much more bearable! Yikes! I'm babbling this morning!

Off to do my little interval run. Yes..if you can believe it...and I know some of you won't....I'm doing the Couch Potato to 5K training...not FOR a 5K run...but for me! I'd better get out there before it gets to hot!



Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Poor Neglected Blog...

I'm blaming it on the hayfever or the hayfever symptoms, 'cos I haven't been officially diagnosed. It seems that I've developed some allergies because this time last year I suffered from the same annoying symptoms....itching, red, dry, scratchy (literally I could rub them out of my head) eyes, sneezing...constantly, sinus headache, runny nose..though sometimes it's just stuffy. Fun stuff! Thank goodness last year at this time when my eyes were redder than red and somewhat swollen, I visited with my eye doc and he gave me some prescription drops which do seem to help a little. I need to apply some nice warm compresses to them at times, I think. I'm also taking Reactine daily (an antihistamine) which is or isn't helping. I can't tell to be honest. Maybe it would all be much worse if I wasn't on it, but still I'm waking with a doozie of headache and really just feeling very sluggish! I'm zonked by mid afternoon and taking naps! Not sure if that's all a part of this or maybe the drugs? Either way, I haven't been accomplishing much in the way of clay even though I'm itching to get down there. Hopefully today.

Monday, August 13, 2012

For the Love of Red Clay....

Remind me never to take such a long break from potting again. Two weeks away and I struggled to throw a pot!...make that 3 pots...all squashed! I think it was partly because I was using reclaimed clay and hadn't wedged it well enough....and to be honest, I'm a little lazy when I'm reclaiming, because from what I understand, I should be letting the clay dry and then smashing it into little bits....not dropping entire pots into my watery clay and then squeezing periodically with my hands. This time around, the clay sat on my cement board too long and the edges dried up...but I did pick through those.....obviously not well enough!

Anyyywaaaayy.....

I peeled back a new bag of clay (I LOVE the smell when I first open it....red clay...mmmmmm) and started fresh. I've been making Jarheads and one Potty Mouth, in hopes that I can get the red clay out of the way and start on my orders. I really do spend a lot of time on these...I'm not even going to tell you how long, but I love doing them....REALLY love the fussing over them and adding the little bits!

So, here is my bird jar that I've been dying to make for ages. He's totally modified because my original sketch was a duck and this is....well, I like to think of him as a Robin. Bert the Robin...that' him. He really does look better in person and once he's all dirtied up I think he'll be great! No teeth in Bert...but tonight I'm going to look for a little Robin poem to maybe stamp around the inside flange. I think there might be one in an A.A. Milne books?


Here's my salt pig (aka Potty Mouth). He needs some colour but I really like him!




Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Teaching....

Today I picked my mom up from her once-a-week day program at our local nursing home. I stopped to chat with the Activity Coordinator, who asked me about my pottery. It seems my dear mother is bragging me up and telling everyone that I will bring pots in! I promised I'd bring one or two for 'show and tell'. That led to another idea...the possibility of me volunteering for a handbuilding class.

Now I'm thinking there is some real possibility in this, because I know how therepeutic running your fingers into clay can be, even though I have yet to convince my mother to try it. I'll push that a little more in the next few days, using her as my 'guinea pig'. Most of the residents in this home suffer from Alzeimers or severe dementia and my mother is quite "normal" in comparison. That being said, a lot of them do participate in the morning exercises and from what I hear they get quite excited when someone comes to entertain them with music.

I'll need to keep it simple. My Aussie friend Adriana suggested nothing more than rolling out clay and cutting it with cookie cutters to use for wind chimes or Christmas tree ornaments. I like that idea. I do realize that some might have trouble with the rolling but of course I'll be there to help! Another suggestion was a handprint, which is another fabulous idea! I think I'd need some very soft clay. It takes some strength to press down into the clay and really some of these people are very frail.

I'd love to hear any other suggestions you might have. Maybe I can make it a monthly thing if it goes over well the first time. I'm thinking it'll be much like teaching a kids program. Not that I've done that, but I've seen what they can do!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lesson #1

Don't take things personally.

That, for me, is going to be difficult.

My one and only picture of my display with my lovely sister "tweaking" things. I need to work on my props. We did some serious brainstorming and sketching so the next sale should look a little more professional"

My helpers for the day, soaking up some sun.


Breaking through the barriers! No dogs were allowed so it meant that my daughter, my hubby and Bella had to spend most of the day at the lake! They did take turns walking the dog so that they could peruse the sale as well. Bella was persistant that that she be allowed in!

My sale went well! It started off a little slow and there weren't a jillion people crammed wall to wall, but...it was outdoors and the 'Fort' was a really nice space to hold it. We had lots of space between exhibitors and I was parked right next to a lovely pine tree that smelled wonderful, especially in the morning when it was still dewy! (It felt like I was camping!) I was also right next to a lovely wasp nest, that my sister and daughter discovered shortly after we arrived. A perfect wasp nest, attached to the big wooden post holding up the walls of the fort. Luckily, we weren't bothered by them...not even as we ate our lunch or sipped on our Coke Zero through the day. The day itself was perfect, a little chilly in the morning, but once the sun came out, it was gorgeous...not too hot and even when it a cloud did pass over and it felt a little cooler, it was still quite nice! People strolled the entire day. There seemed to be a lot of the cottage owners "just checking stuff out", but there were also quite a number who trekked from the city and surrounding areas, specifically for the sale.

I received lots of good feed back. Most seemed to appreciate the bright colours and there are a lot of polka dot lovers out there! A lot of people were curious about my spoons and scoops though they seemed to struggle with what to use them for. I've always found that to be the case when selling something. You need to educate them. You need to make suggestions telling them what this piece can be used for! That usually peeks their interest and at this sale and specifically with my spoons and scoops, only then would they pick them up and cup the bowls of the spoons in their hands rubbing them over the smooth glaze (they really do feel so nice) and in the end I sold quite a few...more than I thought I would, though I might have priced them a little low. I'll have to evaluate that for the next sale!

Blue was the colour of the day. Turquoise. Not much interest at all in my orange pieces. In fact, they were all drawn to the blue cupboard. That makes me happy. I'm a blue girl and quite honestly if I could paint everything in turquoise I'd be thrilled! Something else to consider. It's funny that almost everyone that entered my booth would first be drawn to my dark blue (almost navy) bowls with the orange dots, but no one would buy them. The same thing happened at my last sale. Interesting as well, was my lovely green lacey bowl sitting on a little perch and being the VERY first thing people went to, and almost always picked it up! Eventually my sister suggested we move that to another spot, because it is also one of my pricier pieces and she figured that for some, it was enough to turn them on their heels, thinking I my work was too expensive. BTW, that bowl did sell at the end of the day...to a wonderful woman that loved green AND polka dots and for a few minutes she was debating on that green bowl or the big navy bowl, but the green won out!

So the biggest thing I need to overcome is that feeling of rejection when people walk by the booth, without even stopping for a peek. Or when they stroll by and quickly turn their heads in the other direction, hoping you won't see them! Of course I know that not everyone is interested in pottery and certainly not everyone loves contemporary pottery. I'm aware too, that some are just out for the day, stopping in packs to visit with their fellow cottage owners, or that some have just accidently passed by and thought they'd take a peek at what's inside those big wooden walls. Maybe I'm a little greedy. Or maybe I just love being praised! Who doesn't love that! I want them ALL to love my work! This isn't the first time I've struggled with this. I owned a retail shop for years and felt totally deflated when someone would step through the front doors and turn on their heels and leave without even so much as taking a few steps...and I was in a lovely, century old house!

So, to everyone who did stop by and to give me my very much appreciated "pat on the back", a great big thank you. Thank you too, to everyone who bought a little something from me. I hope whatever it is you took home with you, brings you lots of joy!

Quick question. Does the work Ceramics confuse people? Do most see it as the greenware poured from moulds, not hand thrown, not even "handmade" by the potter...the pieces you clean the seams and then glaze? Is it better to call myself a potter than a ceramicist? I like the word ceramics. To me it feel more modern and I did struggle a little as to what to call myself. It struck me at this sale, when my cousin asked me "where I get my pieces from". Hmmm....I'll be curious to see what you have to say! I actually took my sign down because I thought maybe it was confusing people!



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ta Da!!!

My spoons and scoops are fired! They turned out well...really well in fact, though I have to admit my heart sank when I opened my kiln and found each and every spoon and scoop with a stilt stuck to the glaze! Before you ask (Monica), I DID clear a little spot where the metal prong would sit, although perhaps not enough. I wonder too if it wouldn't have been a better idea to just flip the stilt over and let the glaze rest on the porcelain bit. Is it porcelain? I really have no idea, but there were bits of glaze resting against that bit of the stilt and for some reason the glaze didn't adhere to that. I was reading something on Ceramic Arts Daily about making your own "kisses" and/or painting them with kiln wash so that the glaze doesn't stick. I'll definitely do some more reading up on this before I make more of these.

The good news is that I did manage to break all of the stilts free. I had to cover them with a small towel and tap them with a pair of pliers (for the life of me, I couldn't find a hammer). It didn't take much tapping but it did leave a little pinched glaze, which of course was sharp. Luckily, in this crafty life of mine, I've tried my hand at stained glass and so I had a file to smooth those down. Then I rubbed them with a dampened piece of wet/dry sandpaper. Yes, there are holes....unfortunately...and some are "darkish", but they're all on the back side and won't interfere with the serving side of the pieces. Some of the glaze is a little thick on a few of the red pieces and so there is some clouding, but I'm loving the spoons so much, I barely notice!

And so.....here they are!



One day I AM going to work on better photos, but tonight I'm trying to get all my stuff packed up for my sale on Saturday, so no time to make any adjustments! Check out Mud Colony to see what all my mud buds have been up to this week!