You can often find me here

You can often find me here

Monday, April 16, 2018

And Almost a Month Later...

After the Catawba Valley Pottery Market back in March, I took a short break.  Spring Break started the week after. I don't remember what I had going on that first weekend, I am pretty sure that it did not involve clay.  Then there was Easter weekend and family visiting followed by our annual go to Charleston for the Cooper River Bridge Run weekend.  Last weekend was the first time that I spent any time in the studio.  

Boy, was it good to get in the clay again!  Here are some of the things I made.  

Between all these pieces, an extra smaller casserole dish without a lid, and the 8 mugs that I didn't manage to take any pictures of, I worked through 50 pounds of clay.  I'm not sure I've ever done that much in one weekend before.  I know I was pretty tired by that last piece!  

Soon there will be news of the next bisque fire followed closely by a glaze fire and I will have more finished things to share.  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

See This Plant?

That's a 27 year old house plant, folks.  My mentor teacher brought me this tiny little plant for my classroom sometime during my first year teaching.  I kept it in my classroom as long as I had a classroom, and then when I moved to the community college 9 years ago, I brought it home.  It has been near death a time or two due to neglect, but every time, I've given it a new pot and some fresh dirt, and the poor little thing rallied.  It has grown over the years.  In fact, it looks really different than it did way back then.  It occurs to me that I too have grown over the years in lots of ways and I look pretty different than I did back in the fall of 1991.

Yes, my plant is currently living in a Susan Jones pottery pot, but that is not why I'm sharing this with you now.  My mentor teacher during my first few years of teaching was Betty Lohr.  She taught Language Arts at Shelby Middle School where I began my teaching career.  Betty is long since retired and she moved to the Hickory area several years ago. I saw Betty this past fall at the Carolina Pottery Festival.  She gave me an application to the Catawaba Valley Pottery Festival when she stopped by my booth to say hi.  I doubt Betty will remember this plant, but you better believe that I plan to tell her about it tomorrow if I see her. 

All the pots, able drapes, plates stands, rack cards, and business cards are packed in boxes.  All I have to do is get it all in the truck in the morning.  I still need to decide on clothes, but that may wait until the morning too.  This enormous pressure that I've felt ever since I found out that I was in this festival is finally beginning to ease. I'm sure there are things that I haven't done, but you know what?  It will be ok.  I have pots.  I have change.  I have shelves.  I will have something to wear.  The cat has been deposited at her grandparents across town and the dog will go to the other set of grandparents in the morning.  I have money to leave for Sarah who comes to feed the horse when we are out of town.  We have a hotel reservation for tomorrow night.  I think we are good.  Now to rest.  The next two days are going to be long ones. Here's hoping they are really fun too.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I Think I'm Going To Make It!

As you know, I have been working hard since early February to get ready for the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival.  That show is next weekend.  If you are interested, here is a website with more information about the festival: 

Today I finally feel like I'm probably going to be ready.  

These bacon cookers didn't get drain holds drilled in them, so I didn't feel like I could sell them as bacon cookers.  I've had them since way back in the fall and finally yesterday got some succulents to plant in them.  I think they turned out pretty nice.  If they don't sell, I might keep one at home because those little plants make me smile. 

I fired a glaze fire on Thursday evening.  Friday morning when I stopped in the studio on the way to work, I realized that I had forgotten to close the peep holes and to put the bricks on the lid of the kiln.  I may have explained this before, but the lid doesn't sit down really tight unless I put something on top to give it a little more weight.  Without the bricks, there's a crack between the lid and the sides. Because it wasn't closed up tight, it took about an hour and a half to two hours longer to fire than it should have.  Most everything turned out just fine.  I was a little disappointed in a couple of my pieces, but they are OK.  Just not what I expected them to look like.  

I brought all those new pieces home yesterday and got them priced this morning.  
Everything of mine from this firing.

I've also go bowls like this that are solid blue and some that are tan and red.

The soup tureen turned out pretty nice.

But the ladles didn't make it.  They shifted in the kiln after I closed the lid and ended up stuck together.  Before you ask, the answer is no.  I was not able to separate them without destroying them both.  The soup tureen will just not have a ceramic ladle with it.

 Some mugs.
 More mugs.
 Still more mugs. 
They don't look blurry in person.  Bad photographer
Even more mugs and a few other things. 

With these things on my shelves at home plus some things from the gallery at A Griffin Pottery and Buffalo Creek Gallery, I am going to have a full display of things that I'm pretty proud of for the show next weekend.  Phew!  

I also loaded up one more glaze fire today that has the last few things that I hoped to get completed before the show next weekend.  Big thanks to Gail and to Vicki who worked hard yesterday to finish their glazing so that the kiln would be full.  

The rest of this week will consist of unloading that kiln, pricing all those pieces, gathering up the pieces from the galleries uptown that I want to take with me, packing up newspaper and bags and table drapes and shelves, borrowing my father-in-law's pickup truck, packing everything up on Thursday evening so that we are ready to head out to Hickory on Friday morning.  

I actually managed to make a couple of small casseroles this weekend too.  

And I replaced the seal on the bottom of the garage door at the studio. It was super easy, but I'm feeling very handy today.  Maybe now more of the leaves will stay outside the studio.  Maybe not.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Feels Like Zero

I didn't start any new pots this week, so it feels like I made nothing.  Weird.  I loaded and fired a bisque fire on Monday afternoon.  My friends unloaded for me on Wed, so I didn't have to do that, but I did fix a minor plumbing problem that afternoon.  Thursday, I worked on getting all my pieces ready to glaze.  Then on Friday and Saturday I glazed all the things.  The kiln got loaded up and fired Saturday afternoon.  How does this feel like I didn't do any pottery last week? 

Here's a (bad) picture of some of the pieces that I glazed.

I am a crazy person.  Is it a good thing that I can at least recognize it sometimes when I am a crazy person?  Please tell me this is a good sign. 

I finished up these tan wine cups,
(I really like how these came out!)

these white wine cups,

eight egg separators (two don't have faces),

and this big whopper of a bowl.

There are actually more things that didn't make it in the glaze fire, so I will have even more finished work to show off in a few more weeks.  I think I may have even timed things correctly to have maximum finished work to go to the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival in Hickory.  

I also finally did some much needed cleaning out of old, bad pots that couldn't be sold.  Yay for me!  

Someone has actually asked for broken, glazed pottery, so I'm doing what I can to supply some.  It was really hard to smash that first piece with the hammer.  Really hard.  Even though it was awful crap, it was still hard to destroy it on purpose. At first.  Then I kind of enjoyed it.  For the record, I did wear "these safety glasses" while breaking things up.  Norm Abrams would be proud.  If you don't know who that is, please look up This Old House and/or The New Yankee Workshop.  I recommend binge watching.  

Monday, February 26, 2018

Taking A Break

This weekend, we went to Mount Pleasant to visit our good friends Liz and Rob Boyles.  It couldn't have been a better break!  The weather was ridiculously beautiful, the company excellent, and the show at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, which was the excuse for making this trip, was outstanding!  If you have the chance to see Steve Martin and Martin Short perform, DO IT.  So funny! 

Not much pottery got done this week.  It's ok though.  I finished up a few things on Thursday afternoon, and then took the rest of the weekend off.  It was exactly what I needed after pushing as hard as I have for the last few months.

It is roughly three weeks until the Catwaba Valley Pottery Show in Hickory.  I may be able to get a few more things made between now and then, but I imagine that I'll need to finish up what I've got in the works at the studio and be satisfied that I did the best that I could to get ready.  There are a few things that I can think of off the top of my head that I wouldn't have liked to get finished that I think just aren't going to happen.  You know what, it will be ok.  

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Pretty Productive Week

Know what this is?  Egg separators and wine cups DRYING OUTSIDE on Friday because it was so warm.  Saturday it was mid 40's and raining, but Friday's high of 82 was amazing.

Someone came in Thursday afternoon looking for an egg separator.  I didn't have what she wanted, and I realized that I probably needed to get busy getting some more made.

Most of them got goofy faces.

I put flowers on the wine cups.

The mugs that didn't get made last week were thrown on Wednesday afternoon.  I had a little bit of time between work and an appointment.
 Handles didn't go on until Saturday because it was so damp this week. 

I made some bowls.  These are all 4 pounds.

I also made some soup bowls.  These will have to wait until later in the week to finish.  They weren't dry enough to trim this afternoon.  

Tuesday I went to Charlotte for clay.

Because I must be a glutton for punishment, I got some more Mediterranean Mist glaze.  I'll test this and let you know.  Right now, I am not optimistic that they have corrected the issue with this glaze.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Push On!

These wine cups are the newest additions to the gallery at A Griffin Pottery.  There are a total of 4 of these.  They were in the last kiln load that I fired last weekend.  I had lots of nice things in that kiln load. In addition to these 4 cups, I also dropped off some new mugs and a utensil holder at Buffalo Creek Gallery.  Many of the new pieces went to the Arts Council for my display for Treasures of the Earth.  That show is up through March 7.  I hope that you can find the time to go by. 

I am working hard to get ready for the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival.  Treasures will be over by then, so I can plan on taking things that didn't sell here to Hickory with me. One always hopes to not have much to pack up and bring home after a show, so I am working under the assumption that I will need a booth full of new pots for the March 24th show.  What can I say, I have flashes of optimism. 

Here's what I accomplished this weekend.

Some lidded jars.

This one is shorter and wider.  It would work as a cookie jar.

I forget how much time these take!  It didn't help that things dried so slowly due to all the rain.

The last thing I made was this utensil holder.
I managed a little more height this time than the last batch of big things, but I am still a ways away from my 12 inch goal.

I still need mugs.  I planned on making another group of 6 on Saturday before I left. Sometimes though, one is so tired that it is best to just STOP and go home.  I tried the first mug and couldn't even get one successful pull.  Time to quit.  That clay will still be there this week when I get back to the studio.