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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

Strangeness

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