Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seeing Dali

We went to see the Salvidor Dali exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.  As expected, the show was pretty fantastic.  The man was a genius with an amazing sense of detail and humor.  What I didn't realize was his status as a celebrity.  The exhibition showed video clips, pictures and told stories of his life, as well as his paintings.  As I think about the fame of artists like Dali, Andy Warhol and countless others I wonder how many people today can name more than one contemporary, living, fine artist.   Musicians and actors are pretty well known, but what about painters, sculptors and (of course) potters?  And do we want fame and all that it brings with it?  Obviously the financial benefits are nice.  Would you want to be famous?
Anyway, I'm just day dreaming while time is melting away from me.  If you get a chance to see this exhibit you should do it.  It's really great.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thanks to Technology

Whatever seasonal holidays you celebrate I hope you enjoyed them.  Did you see the eclipse?  It was very cool.
Idaho Barn Plate
Janet's brother got married so we took a trip to Idaho for the wedding and family festivities.  It was cold, windy, snowy and fun.  While there I received a phone call from a very nice man who was recommended by Donna Van Gogh's Artist Market, a gallery that carries my work.  This man wanted a custom piece made for his sweetie.  It sounds like an interesting project, full of meaning for them and he's fine with getting it after the holidays.  I like customers like this guy.  Thanks to the cell phone and the ability to take notes on the iPod I was able to discuss what this piece would become and take good notes so I could remember when I got back to the studio.
We had plans to go out to visit with friends on Christmas eve so I took a nap in the afternoon.  When I awoke I checked my email and found that another pot had sold on Etsy.  I don't sell very much on Etsy so it's always a nice surprise when it happens.  I love selling while I'm napping too.
Thanks to technology I can sell my pottery whenever and wherever I am.  I can give quick customer service even when I'm not in the studio.  And I still feel like I've been on vacation.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hello Dori

It's been way too cold here in Atlanta.  It could be worse but this is not Minnesota, it's Georgia, the warm south.   Dori the Whiggle (Whippet Beagle mix) just wants to hibernate.  This makes good sense but she also does need to get out from under the blankets and go outside a few times each day.  The solution is a pink, camo, fleece lined coat.  She won't step foot outside the house without it when it's this cold. 
Isn't she cute?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lizella Clay

I've made a few pieces with Lizella Clay recently because it's a local clay which comes from Lizella GA.  I think buying local is good for the economy and the environment so I thought I'd give it another try (I used it about 2 years ago).
It's a very soft clay but also very course which makes it great for sculpture and throwing although I may need to practice with it more if I want to throw anything very delicate.  I have seen very delicate walled pots made with this clay, I'm just not good at it yet.  It's also nice because it needs less water when throwing due to the softness.  The clay has a high iron content (4%) which makes firing above cone 9 not recommended but it also doesn't vitrify at cone 6.  These are just factors to consider when determining what to make with the clay and how to treat the surface.
The bisque fired clay is a bright, brick red that is really attractive and would be wonderful for flower pots.  I do want to try more low fire experiments with this clay for that reason.
In high fire reduction the body gets very dark and metallic looking.  Some of the pieces I've fired in reduction look great, others go to the charity cases bin.  It's too dark for me but lots of people think it's great.  I prefer the way the body looks in oxidation, it's a rich, dark red brown.  The high iron will, of course effect glaze colors as you can see in the picture.  This can be nice and earthy.
I want to see how it works with Terra Sig and with the Borax wash that I was on Tracey Broome's blog.  I'll keep you updated.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Business Cards

Once again it's time to print more business cards.  Some artists and other business people have said that business cards don't do any good but I'm here to tell you that is just not true.  I got a call the other day from someone who had picked up my card at a recent show and wanted to buy a piece of pottery he had seen.  Sadly, he had me mistaken for another potter, who I happen to know so I'll give her his contact information.  It was an awkward phone call as you can imagine, but it did prove that people sometimes do follow up when they really like a piece.
Infinity Casserole
Since I love change I'm considering some design changes on my card.  One thing that I'm thinking about is my title.  Do I use "Artist," "Potter," "Ceramic Artist," or something else entirely.   I'd love to come up with something really creative and memorable but I know that will not happen until after this batch is printed and I'll forget by the next time I need them.  What does your card say?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shop Local Day

A campaign has started which is pushing to make Nov 27th be the day we all shop at small businesses.  As much as I love this idea I'd rather make every day shop at small business day.  It's better for the economy, it's better for our home values, it's better for our frame of mind.  I know some of my fellow artist who read this usually support local and small business because they are a local and small business and it's just good karma.  However, I often hear potters saying "you can get this from (enter ugly big box store name here)."  Many of them give the argument that the big box store is the only place in town to shop...anymore.  Or else it's the convenience argument - "If I get Aunt Millie this crap she doesn't like at the big box store she can easily exchange it."  Why not get her something unique and thoughtful that she might actually like?
It kills me to hear people say that the small businesses are going under because the economy is so bad yet I drive past the full parking lot of the big box shopping center into my village of stores that have gone out of business after having thrived 20 years.  The distance is only 1 mile between the two.
This year, let's try to make gift giving a gift to our communities also. 

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, November 22, 2010

Open Studio Successes and Lessons

Open Studio Sale 2010

As you may know I held my first open studio and sale this past weekend.  It was a lot of fun and a good experience.   I definitely learned a few things, but I still have questions, actually the list of questions may have grown longer than it was before the sale.
I had pottery displayed in my tent, studio and kiln room.  This made closing up shop at night easier because everything that was in a building was safe and sound under a roof and behind a locked door.  The pots in my tent were boxed up at night for safety from the elements but the pottery in the studio actually received very little attention.  People were more interested in looking at the wheel and other equipment.  I had decorative pieces in there, naked raku, horse hair and porcelain.  These are not big sellers right now due to the economy so that may have been the issue too.  The shelves in the kiln room worked very well for a display, I'll be doing that again without a doubt.  Another thing I learned was that I need much better lighting in the tent, at least for this time of year.  I'd love to know if anyone has some good ideas for tent lighting.  Thankfully, I have electricity very close to the tent so that wouldn't be an issue.
I served some spiced cider that smelled as good as it tasted, I drank most of it so I wonder if I should continue that practice or not.  I also had homemade cookies, brownies & some veggie chips out.  Again, I ate most of them, very few customers did.  I think the lack of a party type atmosphere made the snacks less appealing because they were totally delicious.  I wonder if I should continue to offer them at my next studio sale or just skip it.  It does seem nice to have something to offer but it is also a waste if left untouched.  What do you think?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Sake Bottle
A few days ago I read the blog of fellow potter Paul Jessup who was feeling badly about himself and very uncreative because of an issue he was fighting with his bank.  I know the feeling, I'm there.  I've been having an ongoing struggle with my bank for the past six months.  Every time I try to take time to focus on my work they call me with another problem that requires me to drop everything I'm doing and do something for them.  It's draining.  It also makes it hard to even try to focus on my work knowing that they will pounce as soon as I get engrossed.  I know this will end eventually but it feels like it will go on for eternity.  Which makes me think about the kids that have killed themselves because of bullying.  To a kid a few years seems a lot like eternity, a few years of bullying feels a lot like an eternity in hell.  Our government says we need to stop the bullying but then will not give gay people equal rights.  I think kids who don't know a better way to deal with insecurities will always pick on other kids, but if they see someone as equal, if someone is treated equally by the world it will be one less thing to pick on and not a reason for shame to the point of suicide. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Open Studio Planning

This blog hasn't been updated for a week, that seems to be a trend lately.  I apologize for that, it's busy season in the pottery business.  I'm making it even busier by having my first ever open studio and sale in a week and a half.  It's a lot of work considering the studio building isn't even completely finished.  Thankfully, some of my wonderful friends came over and did some painting.
I've found some good advice from the blog on Ceramics Arts Daily but I'm always open for new ideas so if you have any suggestions for making this sale a success I'd love to read them.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I found this on Joanne Mattera's wonderful Art Blog and thought I would share it here.  Watch it, enjoy and then go out and vote.
Warning, this video contains language that might not be suitable for children and some unintelligent people.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Business Side of Pottery

It's been a week since I've written anything on this blog.  If you're wondering why you are probably not a potter.   This is a busy season with lots of shows and workshops.  I'm getting ready for my first open studio which should be fun but is also challenging.
For some unknown reason I've chosen this time of the year to try to get some stuff organized better.  I've got a lot of information about my pots but it's scattered which means I can't find anything when I need it.  If you're thinking "she needs a database" you are thinking correctly.
I've tried building one in OpenOffice but who has time for that?  So I have been messing around with the trial version of Bento which I like but am still learning and I'm not sure it's going to do everything I'd like it to do (which could include making meals and cleaning the house, I ask a lot).  It can use templates which is nice, I even found one for glaze recipes.
What do you use to keep track of inventory and sales?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Porch and Sign

The studio now has a porch.  It's not a very big one, it was actually built in about 5 hours, not including shopping time.  The hardest part was busting up the concrete ramp that led into the front door (remember, this used to be a shed).  That took a lot of time and energy, I'm still feeling the pain.  Thankfully, my wonderful neighbor came over and with a few good hits with the sledgehammer and breaker bar finished the task when my muscles were done.  I'd probably still be chipping away at that thing.
Janet's parents sent me a sign for the studio for my birthday.  It has special meaning to me because it was made by hand by Janet's sister-in-law.  It's a pretty sign and I think it looks great with the stain color of the building.  I think I may need to move it up a little higher because the plant covers part of it.  What do you think?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Still Pinging

I love gas firings.  I love how the flame dances around the pots and kisses them with color.  I enjoy the inconsistency and sometimes unpredictable results.  I feel like the piece is a collaboration between myself and the flame.  I also love how the pots will ping for a while after being removed from the kiln.  To me it sounds like they are singing.
After the most recent gas firing I left these pieces on the dinning room table for far longer than I should have but everyday at least one of them would greet me with it's song.   
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mob Hoppin'

This weekend we visited the Kangaroo Conservation Center in Dawsonville, GA.  This is a really great place with lots of land for the animals but it's set up so that it's not too difficult for humans to traverse.   We got to see all different breeds of Kangaroo's as well as other interesting animals from down under.  The center has developed a successful breeding program to help some animals that are now endangered in Australia.  I didn't realize just how many animals in Australia are endangered of extinction, it's scary.  We learned that an animal as innocuous seeming as a bunny rabbit when introduced to a habitat with limited predators could actually eat so much that the native animals perish.  As a gardener I know how painful invasive plants are, this seems worse to me.
The center is set up beautifully with aviaries throughout and places where you can pet Kangaroos who wish for this attention.  The animals are fenced so they can get away from undesired attention which seems more humane than a petting zoo.
It also serves as a wildlife refuge for many of the native woodland animals including deer and hawks.  I missed the picture but we did get to see a deer grazing on one side of the fence with a Kangaroo grazing next to her on the other side of the fence.  Where else are you going to see that?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere...

Nor any drop to drink.  So goes the line from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.    The poem was written in 1797 - 98 and that part still holds true today for many people in the world.  Much of the water in this world is dangerous to drink, it can cause death it's so dangerous.  Because of this I've been trying to raise funds to go on a tour with Potters For Peace by selling some of my seconds at shows.  If I don't raise enough money to go I'll just donate whatever I have gotten. 
But this is not a request for donations, this is a request for action (although donations will not be turned down).  I am asking you to think about the water you use and drink everyday.  I'm asking you to think about how you can use less and keep what water we do have cleaner.  One small step I take is to reuse my throwing water for a few days, what can't be reused goes to watering a plant. I do this with the slop bucket only, no glaze or anything with heavy metals or harmful chemicals in it.   That may not seem like much, maybe a liter a day but at the end of the year that's 365 liters of water saved or returned to the Earth.  I also have rain barrels installed under my downspouts, that saves a lot of water from going into the storm drain instead of to give my garden a drink.
What are you doing?  What more can you do?  I welcome your comments.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Studio Wren

This morning I went down and opened up the studio.  I needed fresh water so I went back up to the house with my bucket, I left the door wide open.  When I returned a little wren greeted me from the window.  It was very sweet but I had something in my hand that needed to go into the kiln room so I put down the bucket and ducked into the kiln room in time to watch another wren leaving that room (which is very open even when the door is locked.
My hands were empty now and the wren still had not left the studio so I dashed back up to the house to get my camera.  When I returned my little visitor had left the building.  I guess I should call him Elvis.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Place to Find My Pottery

This morning I went to Donna VanGogh's Artist Market on the recommendation of a couple of artist who sell their work out of this co-op.  It's a really fun place that you could get lost in despite it's small size.  The store is located in another one of Atlanta's quirky neighborhoods called Candler Park.  These areas are so great because of the sense of small town community within the city.  It's really important to spend time and money in these areas because they are what help to keep a community alive.  As the holiday's approach I hope you will consider giving gifts that give back, besides, the parking is easier and the crowds smaller than in the malls.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, October 11, 2010


Sometimes the strangest things happen in my little village.  The other night we went to Holy Taco for dinner and as we were leaving we saw this sweet dog tied up outside the bar door.  This is not uncommon, lots of people in the area take their dogs to the local eateries so they can be near them as they dine al fresco.  Being dog lovers we stopped and loved on the dog for a few minutes.  That's when a man wearing a jacket and id badge that read "Medical Examiner Forensic Investigations" came out of the bar, sat down on the ground and started talking to us.  It makes me a little nervous to see the medical examiner at the restaurant where I just ate dinner but he assured me he wasn't working right then, he'd just stopped in for a drink.  He was very friendly and started chatting with us about the dog and his work and such.  Somehow the conversation transitioned into him asking questions like "are you drunk?" and "do you smoke pot?' and the next thing you know he was asking us if we had any cocaine because he would love to do a line of cocaine and drink a nice glass of cognac. 
I think if the Fulton County medical examiner is thinking cocaine and cognac is a good idea it might be time that he consider changing careers or even retiring.  I'm honestly hoping that the id badge and jacket were all just part of a very early Halloween costume.  We don't even need to have a full moon to have strange things happen around here.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week of Cancelations

An email came yesterday saying that we did not have enough people involved in the woodfiring so it was canceled.  It's really disappointing.  We have reservations at the Old Clayton Inn and a dog sitter lined up so we are still going to go up and try to have a nice time exploring the state parks, art galleries and wineries.  I'd like to get involved in another wood firing but the only one I'm aware of is a class at John C. Campbell which would be nice but comes with a hefty price tag and no work-study options like Penland offers.
I have not ridden my motorcycle in a while and had to replace the battery this morning.  I thought about taking it up to North GA because it's a great place to ride and I wouldn't have to put pottery in the saddle bags (never a good idea).  I installed the battery, turned the key and noticed the smoke as she started to crank.  I quickly removed the key but she kept on smoking and cranking on and off as I quickly tried to disconnect the hot battery cables.  I suspect I need a new ignition switch but I also think it's time to put some thought into whether I want to put in the time and money to fix the bike.  I don't seem to have much time to ride her these days and the thought of spending about $3 per gallon of gas just for fun, especially after the BP oil spill, doesn't sit too well with me.  I can do a lot of things for fun that are less damaging to the planet.  Like set fire to a bunch of pottery.  OK, so I'm conflicted, I'll admit it.  What would you do?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Clay and Dough and Pizza

After reading the title you might think that this is a blog post about how to make money from pottery and pizza. It's not but I'm sure it's possible. It's about homemade ravioli and pizza dough and the similarities I've been thinking about recently. It all started with Janet making homemade ravioli, I was hanging out in the kitchen "helping" by commenting about using the pasta machine as a slab roller and stuff like that. But when the top and the bottom of the ravioli was wet and then joined I started really thinking about the correlations between clay and dough. They really do have lots of similar characteristics. Of course I remember Play-doh from when I was a kid but I'm trying to think of this in more artistic terms. I'm also thinking about the direction I'm going in FUNctional pottery and wonder how I can integrate the two. I'm not sure what that will end up becoming, if anything but I'd love to know your thoughts and ideas.
I did use this knowledge to create a really pretty pizza.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shimpo Potting Stool Birthday Gift

Today is my birthday.  My sweetie got me a Shimpo stool which I've already been testing.  It is really comfortable.  The legs are adjustable to various heights within about 1/4 inch which means you can make the back slightly higher than the front.  This gives good leverage for centering and helps you sit more upright when throwing which is great for your back.  I know I should stand at the wheel but I've had a few surgeries on my feet and knees so standing all day is really not an option.  This padded stool seems to be a really good solution.  Now I'll never come out of the studio.
Thank you to all my facebook friends and fans who have wished me a happy birthday today.  I really appreciate the well wishes.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whiggle Thief

So I'd just gotten out of the shower and was drying off when I see this being running past the bathroom door (yes, I was showering with the door open, try not to go there). What I saw appeared to be the Whiggle carrying a French baguette that was about as long as she is. I yelled and she dropped it before she got outside, I would have hated to have to chase her around the yard wearing nothing but a towel. The question is, how do you reprimand a dog when you're laughing at her?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Art Inspiring Art

A few of the pieces from my Emergence series include either peace signs or just the word "Peace" emerging from under cover.  These pieces (pun intended) have inspired my friend Gary who creates wonderful collages.   Check out his image on his blog Walking Spirals.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Precarious Pots

Here are some pots I made for the woodfiring I'm doing in October.  I added handles but I want the handles to come up and over the rim or the pot.  Of course gravity gets involved and the handles want to droop.  So I have placed these pots on the edge of the shelf with the handles hanging down, off the edge.  I then backed out of the studio on tip toes.  Yes, it's precarious and makes me a bit nervous.  If I start doing this a lot I'll build a rack where the pieces can sit with the handles hanging through the slats.  My current drying rack has slats that are too close together for this option.
If anyone else has ideas for how to do this I'd love to hear them.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, September 17, 2010

East Atlanta Strut This Saturday

This show is in my neighborhood so I'm really excited about it.  It's usually a fun time, well, any EAV event is fun.  We are a partying kind of crowd.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful, the music will be great, beer and good food in the village and, of course, some really cool art.  It'll be fun for me to hang with my friends and neighbors.
The East Atlanta Strut is Saturday September 18th 2010 from 10am to 10pm but the artist market closes 7pm.  See ya there.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Signing Up For My First Wood Firing

I love wood fired pottery. This may seem strange for someone who loves raku so much but it's true.  It because in both forms you can see the effects of the firing so directly on the pots.  Each pot will have an element of surprise and every angle will look different.  The firing time span may be drastically different but the potters involvement is not.  So when I was told about the anagma firing at Hambidge next month I immediate wrote a check to I could get my pots into the kiln.  Of course I don't have those pots made just yet but that's not a problem, I'm just excited (one could say "stoked") at the possibility of being there and being involved.
I'm told that this firing may have a low attendance due to some potters being in school.  If you can make it to north Georgia during the beginning of Oct and would like to do some wood firing now's the time to sign up.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Working Hard and Taking a Break

Now that summer has relaxed it's hot grip it's time to do more out door festivals.  I've done two already and have another coming up this weekend.  It's the East Atlanta Strut which is in my neighborhood.  It's a lot of fun and a little bit quirky but so is EAV.  I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and neighbors.
Duck Island
Last weekend I took a break from show preparation by spending Sunday on West Point Lake with some friends.  Pioleting the pontoon boat around the lake and swimming in a nice quiet cove was very fun and very relaxing.  I can totally understand the urge to spend some time on a sail boat or something.  I still have Jimmy Buffet songs floating through my head.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational 2010

The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) Georgia Pottery Invitational show and sale is being held in Watkinsville, GA now through September 15 2010.  This is a must see show for anybody who is interested in pottery and art.  The amount of fantastic pottery is almost overwhelming.  I have found that it's best to stroll through the isles two or three times to really see everything and enjoy the artists work.
I like to explore the work of potters who make complex or altered forms and try to figure out how they created a form.  Often I'll go back to my studio and test my theories.  This show has an entire room dedicated to Out of Round pottery by some of my favorite artists.  You can find descriptions about how the pots were altered  posted near the work.  I was having fun trying to figure it out and then see if I was right, or close.
It was also fun to see the work of fellow bloggers who I follow and members of the Georgia Clay Council who's work I may not have seen recently.  I highly recommend heading to Watkinsville to see this show.  It's a lot of fun.  Hours are 10-5 everyday.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pots For Food From Penland Workshop

After a hectic week of firing which included a salt firing, two soda firings, a salt and soda mix firing and a none vapor reduction firing all of the pots were done.  So was I.  I'm typically in bed with a good book and a warm dog by 10pm, we often did not start loading the kilns until 9 which meant a midnight or later ignition time.  It also meant round the clock kiln sitting where everyone in the class took shifts.  I understand the reasoning for such hours for the firings but I think I'm going to try to find a more reasonable schedule when I'm firing the soda kiln at Mudfire.
The salt kiln was put into reduction a bit too early (the downside of firing and unknown kiln) and the pots came out a deeper brown with no orange peel.  Looking through the kiln door at so many pots with this color was disappointing but when the pieces were separated and judged on their own my feeling was that this color looked warm and toasty.  I think they will be really enticing on the dinner table keeping your food warm.  The soda kilns produced a larger variety of coloring and that sense of having been fired in an atmospheric situation.  You could see where the vapors caressed the pots.
I only had a few pieces that made me happy but that was not the goal.  I was there to learn and stretch and grow.  These pots may not be the best I've ever made but the pieces I'll be making going  forward will reflect this growth and will make me happy.  My hope is that they find homes and make other people happy too. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Salt Kiln Firing

Me loading the Penland Salt kiln
We has enough pots to load the big salt kiln at Penland.  This kiln is really huge but we didn't have any problem finding pots to put in it.  Everyone in the class has been working like crazy, many long hours, little sleep. A little beer and wine fun have been added to the mix too, just to make it worth the effort.
The firing got off to a rough start as we found a small leak in a gas line.  We were able to repair the leak and light up all four (yes, four) burners.  The temperature rise was slow, around 160 to 180 degrees per hour, needless to say we fired late into the next evening.  Because of the volume of pots and Elisa's wishes to show us the differences between salt and soda we loaded up two more kilns while the big salt (Trusty ol' Rusty) was firing we loaded up two other kilns, Lucille and Julia and got them started.  Of course being the workaholics that we are we had too many pots which means another kiln will need to be fired.
These days with little or no sleep make people lose track of what day it is but everyone took a shift and we all had a good time.  The kiln has not been opened yet.  I'm excited to see the results.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Weaving The Penland Community

Weaving student Katie _ asked some of the people from Penland to help her with a project. What she was trying to do was to create a human weaving. As we lay there in the field with our bodies all linked together we realized that this was yet another way that Penland creates community. If more people were willing and able to take the time to join together with friends and strangers helping others I think we would have more and stronger communities throughout the world. We are not just creating art here.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peeping Into The Soda Kiln

We had the first glaze firing this weekend.  It was a soda firing that was somewhat problematic.  We had difficulty getting the kiln up to temperature.  We made balls of soda ash, sodium bicarbonate, and sawdust that we dropped into the kiln but they didn't vaporize due to the high humidity, so we needed to spray the soda into the kiln.  Some of the test rings had fallen down making is difficult to check for good coverage of the vapors.  But after 17 hours we called it done.  The two teacher's assistants really worked long and hard to get this firing done and done well.  We peaked into the kiln this afternoon, I think they were successful.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Student Life at Penland School of Crafts

Penland staff know how to keep people busy, which is why I've not been very active on this blog lately.  I've been in the studio by about 7:30 then down to a huge breakfast, back to the studio to work and be taught.  Elisa Helland-Hanson is a great teacher, we are all learning so much from her, she's very good about taking time with each individual or repeating demos if requested.  I've taken a lot of video so I'll have notes of the class.  At five we can go to a relaxation yoga class before dinner, slide shows of teacher's work at 8, back to the studio and maybe somewhere around midnight a beer in the studio porch.  We all figure we can sleep at home.
I took this picture at breakfast the other morning.  The views are spectacular here.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, August 20, 2010

Volunteering at Penland Auction

Friday, Saturday and half of Sunday were filled with auction volunteer events, parties and getting to know some people around here.  The volunteer work did not seem very difficult or strenuous but by Sunday I was pretty exhausted, and not from staying up late or drinking too much at the volunteer party.  It's just tiring to be "on" all of the time, even if you're just standing around waiting to do something it still takes it's toll.  I'm going to have to get used to it again because I have a pretty heavy show schedule coming up this fall.
I did get some time to walk around the campus and take pictures.  I found this really interesting art truck just sitting in a parking area.  It's not a permanent exhibit nor was it auctioned but I do find these things fun.

Sunday evening was orientation and our first class.  Orientation was interesting as we got to see a video explaining the Penland experience and Cynthia Bringle shared some of the amazing history of Penland with us.  One thing that I like is the emphasis on it being ok to take risks and make mistakes.  I think a lot of learning and growing comes from risking and mistakes, it's good to know that this is a safe place to do both.
Part of my Penland experience has been in the form of the people I have met and the connections that have occurred quickly but naturally.  I'm not just referring too casual chats with well known artists like Cynthia and Edwina Bringle but having in depth conversations about art and life with my roommates and really bonding.  I tend to be a rather introverted person who finds conversation with new people can sometimes be a bit strained, most likely due to my social lacking more than theirs.  But by the end of the weekend I felt a closeness that doesn't normally happen quickly.  I'm curious to see what bonds will be created after two weeks.  I'll keep you posted and send more pictures as I can.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, August 13, 2010

Arriving At Penland

The trip to Penland School of Crafts was mostly uneventful.  Despite being told that GPS doesn't know how to find this place I still brought Shirley (Shirley she knows how to get there) with me to help lead the way.  Please know, I can get lost in my bathroom without direction.  I think that comes from so many years of people telling me where to go.  Anyway, I was able to find the place with little difficulty by just plugging in an intersection that was mentioned in the printed instructions of how to get here.
Once I got here it was a different story but after hiking a few mountains I finally found someone who gave me directions to the volunteer check-in.  This is where the Penland experience started.  As I went through the process I met some very helpful, friendly, appreciative people.  I think my stay here is going to be fun.
I had a chance to explore the campus a little bit and have found some really fun things to capture with my camera.  These are little joys that I want to share but I don't want to spoil the surprises for my readers.  What to do?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off To Penland

This morning I'm heading to Penland School of Crafts .  I've volunteered to work at the auction which I think could be great fun, unless of course they put me in food service.  I think I'd be better a dropping food onto people than actually serving them properly.  Anyway, it's always nice to volunteer for stuff.  I'm also going to be attending a two week workshop with Elisa Helland-Hansen.  The laptop is coming along for the ride which should be an inspiration to post stories from Penland.  Stay tuned.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Forgot to Share

Oops, I had one more picture to share with you, it shows the skylight and the back window in the studio.  The skylight is right over the wheel which is nice for light, it's filtered because of a huge old oak tree that shades the studio.  The back and front have large triangular windows thanks to Dixie Glass Hoppers.
One day the carpenter (me) might try to hide the seams in the ceiling, but not this week.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Studio is Complete

Here are the pictures of the studio, I've not started working in it yet, that will happen as soon as I'm done posting this.  It's clean for now which seemed the best time to take these pictures.

Here's the wedging table with a shelf above for the scale and storage space below.

My wheel and some storage shelves, I can add more shelves if I need them but I'll see how this works for now.  The shelves where a gift from a friend and I really like the way they look.

This kick wheel will be used for trimming mostly.  It's quite the antique being from the '70's...I wonder what that makes me being from the '60's.

The work table with another shelf above it, I imagine I'll be adding more shelves here too.

The kiln room is not complete, that will wait for the temperatures to drop below 90 degrees.  The outside still needs to be painted, I've been working on that a little at a time because I have to wait for days when it's not likely to rain.  That should keep a drought at bay.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting More Color

The custom windows are supposed to be ready for pick up today so yesterday was spent building the frames for them.  Just as I was finishing the first frame I miss-hit with the hammer and smashed the heck out of my index finger.  This is just what every potter wants to do.  Even with ice, ibuprofen and ginger (an anti-inflammatory) it still swelled and bruised pretty badly.  Thankfully, I was still able to finish the frames and the discoloration is all on the pad so I don't think I'll lose the fingernail.
Years ago I learned to hold the nail with the pads of your fingers facing up, the idea is that this should hurt less when smacked with a hammer and lesson the likelihood of losing a fingernail.  I didn't do this and I'm regretting it.
I'll be raku firing this afternoon so we won't see much progress on the studio but it'll still be a fun day.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting Some Color

Last night's rain left us with cooler temperatures this morning making laying on the first coat of paint a pleasure.  This seems like a great color combination for several reasons.  One is that the gray paint is nice neutral color that won't distract from any posters/pictures I hang on the walls, it'll also help to hide some of the clay that splatters on the walls, at least the Phoenix, Orangstone will still glare and force me to clean.  I love turquoise so just looking at this floor color will make me happy.   The other part that's cool is that these paints are mistake paints that are ending up being used rather than polluting the environment.  We had the floor paint due to a mistake when getting several cans of paint mixed up at the home improvement store a few years ago, and the gray is a clearance paint because it was wrong for some reason.  I got it for $5.  Even better, I found someone giving away wood stain for free so I might have a chance at getting my exterior trim colors at least.  Another reason I like this paint combination is that it reminds me of my motorcycle.  It's not a bad thing to be thinking about one thing you enjoy while doing another thing you enjoy.
I'm still not certain what I'm going to do for the ceiling, I'd like it to be well insulated, cool looking and inexpensive.  Reusing some product would be awesome.  I'm open to suggestions.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Different Kind of Mud

I started applying tape and joint compound, also known as mudding, to the walls.  I got the first layer on and it looks pretty bad.  Janet is better with this kind of mud than I am, she generously offered to finish this task.  I guess if it's not spinning I'm really not very good at it.  I started thinking about installing lots of shelves and hanging a bunch of posters to cover up my mistakes until help was offered.  I'll still do shelves.

I did get all of the outlets installed in the studio side but of course I'm one outlet shy on the kiln room side.  Back to the hardware store for me.
The first layer of the cement board is installed.  The boards are 5' x 3' so I'm stacking them on the long end which will give the walls protection 5' wide by 6' high at which point the air will mix with that from the open window.  The hope is that it will be pretty rapidly cooled at this point.  A vent will be installed near the floor and the kiln stand to assist with air flow and an exhaust fan will help with heat and fumes.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Green Room

 All of the electrical outlets are installed and the wires run to them. I installed a lot of outlets in the studio work space but not as many in the kiln room. I hope I don't regret this but it shouldn't be too hard to add more later if needed since I'm not intending to finish those walls. I also installed on exterior outlet as it'll come in handy.

Next came insulation, I put mold resistant R-19 in the walls. I've not done anything with the ceiling yet as I'm trying to figure out what to do and save myself installing wall board above my head.
Speaking of wall board, my friend Lawrence came over yesterday and helped install the wall board. Again this is a mold resistant product. Sheetrock made it green instead of the usual whitish color that one normally sees in sheet rock. I like it because adding color suddenly made the room look like it was becoming finished. It's still a long way from completion but it does feel good to have the walls looking like walls.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Carpenters Are Gone

My internet connection has been out for a few days (thanks AT&T) but work on the studio continued to progress without it.  The construction crew is now gone leaving me to finish up the little details like running the electricity, dry wall installation, building windows and painting.   Nothing any carpenter/electricain/dry waller/glazier/painter/potter couldn't handle.  I love this jack of all trades thing anyway.  Yesterday I built and installed the window over the kiln room door.  It opens from the top to allow air in for when the kiln is being fired.
I really love that window on the side wall too, it opens well from the bottom and the top.  It'll let a good bit of air in while I'm working and give me a nice view of a wooded hill.  The sky light is right over where the electric wheel will be.  The studio is in a heavily shaded area so it'll be some nice soft natural light.  I also had a piece of clear roofing installed on the kiln room side so I can use that area during the day without turning on the light.  The idea is to be as environmentally friendly as a pottery with an old electric kiln can be.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, July 12, 2010

Walls and Windows on the Pottery Studio

The carpenters worked all weekend in the heat and got a lot of work done on the new studio. I'm really impressed with them and the work they did. While I was out watching the world cup with friends they were hammering and sawing and such. Way to go guys!
The picture is of the building Saturday evening, notice the big window. My wheel will be sitting in front of that so I have a nice view and I'll be facing east which is supposed to be good feung shui. On Sunday the walls were enclosed and the sky light installed but rain was in the forecast so it's now covered with a lovely blue tarp.
Tomorrow the electrician will be here (I hope).
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to Beat the Heat

It's summer and they don't call it Hotlanta for nothing. Of course it's pretty hot in a lot of other places in the world right now also. We've got a kiddie pool for the dogs to cool off in but we found that Dori the Whiggle would rather play in the spray of the hose than cool off in the pool. Now she goes crazy whenever she sees the garden hose. She's so silly and so funny I thought you might get a laugh from watching her.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dodging Bullets

As you may know I'm a monthly guest blogger on a blog titled Risk A Day which is hosted by my friend Laura Biering who is a fantastic coach and supporter of the arts as well as a facilitator for many Artist Way groups.  I think it's appropriate to share the blog with you.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cement Slab

Ceramic artists tend to envision slabs of clay for things like hand building when someone mentions slabs.   Concrete workers tend to think about foundations.  Yesterday the foundation slab was poured and the two ideas of a slab started to come together in one place.  All went well with the installation, the frame was filled and leveled in time for Lawrence (my good friend and expert contractor) to go watch the World Cup Soccer game and I even had time to throw a few bowls and tumblers.  It took a lot longer to set enough to be troweled, the downside of having the building in a nice shady area.
The electrician comes today so well have power for the weekend construction.  I'm excited.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, July 5, 2010

Foundation for Kiln Room

Construction on the studio has started! 
This weekend I cleared the weeds out of the area next to the shed.  This was no easy task considering all the invasive vines that were growing there.  I love how pretty Chinese wisteria looks when it's blooming but hate how the vines kill the trees.  Ok, off of the soap box.  Today my friend Lawrence and I (mostly him) built the frame for the concrete.  I laid the plastic and installed the rebar to give the foundation strength.  The foundation is for the kiln room, the shed that you see in the picture will be the main studio area.  The existing building is 10' x 12' so I'm building the kiln room to match.  I'm hoping this gives me ample storage but we all know how a small space can get filled up quickly. 
The floor to the shed/studio was caulked and primed this weekend too.
I'm tired, time for a beer.
I hope everyone had a great Forth of July holiday.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Growing Pains

This is part of what a mornings worth of work looks like for me.

Yes, I'm working in my laundry room which is fairly large as it is a converted porch. But it's still pretty cramped quarters so my pots end up all over the house.  Thankfully, we start construction on the studio next week.  I'm excited but also a bit apprehensive about setting it up well.  It'll be a small space also so efficiency is mega important.
I'm planing to place my wheel in front of a window with a work table and wedging table very close and open shelves on as much of the wall space as I can manage.  I'm also going to look for a rubber mat to lay on the floor thinking it will be good to stand on, insulating and easy to clean.
What are some ideas that you are using or would like to have in your ideal studio?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tip Toland Workshop This Weekend

This weekend Tip Toland will be giving a workshop at Mudfire.  I don't do this type of sculpture but I'm so impressed with her work that I'm very excited about the workshop.  A few months ago Debra Fritz gave a sculpture workshop and I learned a lot, had a wonderful time and met some talented artists.  It's a great way to spend a weekend in my opinion.
Look for a review of the workshop early next week on my other blog in the workshops section.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Enjoying Other's Art

Here are three pieces of art that hang on my living room wall.  The painting is by Don Thacker who I showed with at the Telephone Factory Lofts Show in December.  The blue plate is by Bill Campell.  It was a gift to Janet a few years ago because she loves his work.  And the fumed plate is a joint effort of Linda and Charlie Riggs and me.  Charlie threw the plate, gave it to me and then I decorated it as he and Linda had taught me in a workshop.
The little collection makes me happy, I hope it makes others happy too.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery