Loading...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Kitchen Tools - Zester

 Janet is a wonderful cook, she really enjoys experimenting with new dishes for dinner or baking something sinfully delicious.  I'm very lucky.
Creating pottery and creating culinary delights have a lot in common.  We are both often trying new things, sometimes it's something completely different than we normally create, sometimes it's a new twist on an old favorite.  We are both very concerned with aesthetics as well as function (if it doesn't taste good nobody is happy).  And we both are always looking at new tools and gadgets.  Sadly, for Janet, I'm often looking though our kitchen for these tools.  I pretend I'm helping her cook but I'm actually thinking about what some kitchen gadget will do on clay.  I've actually tried a few of these kitchen tools with varying degrees of success so I thought I'd write some articles about the tools I like.
One of the tools I like for making a basket weave design is a zester.  You use one of these tools to scrape the outer layer of peel off citrus fruit, I use it to make Lemoncello.  It's nice because it makes nice lines in a perfect row.  I use it when the clay is leather hard but it might do some interesting things on softer clay too.  Have you used one?  I'd love to see what you did.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Plate

Geoff Picket plate Here's another piece by Geoff Pickett, we picked this one up at Perspectives in Watkinsville, GA this year.  It's a really beautiful piece.  Most foodies will tell you that food looks best on a plain white plate.  It's due to a lack of competing or disagreeing colors.  I know this is true from a set of bowls I made and glazed with Libbys Red-Orange which is a beautiful glaze.  The bowls look great and a salad really stands out, but anything with a tomato sauce doesn't look appealing in the bowls.
Geoff got it right with a natural white glaze and just a hint of color on the boarder of the plate.  I can learn a lot from this man.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rainier Has Heartworm

You may remember the article I wrote a few months ago about a very sweet dog that was trying to adopt us.  Of course we kept him and he and Ginger the Min Pin have become best buddies.  They just love to play together, they run around the back yard and wrestle and don't even care about the size difference.  I worry sometimes because he is so much bigger (about 60 pounds) than she is but he is so gentle with her that she's always fine. 
Rainier is an attention hound who loves nothing more than to push his head under my hand so I'll pet him or he'll rub his entire body against me, usually when I'm trying to tie my shoes.  I'm not sure if he thinks that this will get him a walk or if he'll just be able to knock me to the floor so we can wrestle.  Either way it's sweet, annoying, but sweet.
We took him to the vet yesterday to get his six month heartworm check and it came back positive.  The vet believes that he was infected just before the first test he had which is why that came back negative.  He has been on treatment so they don't see any sign of baby heartworms but it's still going to be a long, expensive and difficult treatment process.
We have two traditional, vet recommended options and several non-traditional, herbal alternatives which sound less invasive but don't carry any guarantee.  Mostly, I'm concerned about trying to keep him quiet during several months of treatment.  Apparently activity like running around with his little sister could be deadly as the heartworm start to die.  This is what scares me the most.
Thankfully, he's very healthy otherwise and since we've found them pretty early he's got a fantastic chance of a full recovery.

Other Stuff:
American Heartworm Society
Unchain Your Dog

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Xmas, War is Over?

It's hard for me to believe that the war in Iraq is truly over.  I hope that's just because it's been going on so long that it has just become a part of my life that I haven't fully let go of yet.  I'm glad that the troops are coming home and that some of them will even get to spend this day with family.  I hope you and they enjoy today.
Of course the timing is perfect for my favorite Christmas song which I'm sharing with you here with a word of caution, the video is rather graphic and may cause you to hate war.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dinner With A Potter

Please excuse the poor quality of this photo, it was taken with my iPod which doesn't have a flash.  I could have gone and found my camera but I wanted to get to the soup before it got cold and the beer before it got warm.  
Being a potter for me also means having pottery from many other potters to use at meals and other times.  When I picked out this bowl and stein I wasn't thinking about how Michael Kline (the maker of the bowl) and Kyle Carpenter (the maker of the stein) are friends who sometimes share kiln space.  Who knows, this may not be the first time these pots were together, I know it won't be the last. 

Other Stuff:
Michael Kline Pottery 
Kyle Carpenter 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas vs Kiln Opening

This holiday season has not been one of my better ones in terms of holiday spirit.   I'm not certain why that is,  I really like Christmas,  I enjoy giving gift more now than when I was a kid when all I thought about was receiving. Giving someone something that will make them happy gives me lots of joy.
Sales have been great since November, much of it is from people buying gifts for others or buying something to use during holiday celebrations.  Still, this year I'm feeling just a bit apathetic.   I'm not really being a Scrooge, I'm just disinterested.
Yesterday it occurred to me what might be causing the issue.  I was unloading the big gas kiln at Mudfire and marveling at the beautiful pots that the studio members had made.  I knew how excited they would be when they saw the pots.  I even got to share in the excitement that some members felt as they found their art on the selves as I was still unloading the kiln.  Then it struck me.  I'm desensitized.  I get to experience the joy of kiln openings pretty regularly.  And many a potter has likened the experience to Christmas.
May you enjoy the season and the feelings of happiness throughout the coming year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Time To Relax

This past weekend I had my Last Chance Studio Sale, when it was done I closed up shop for the rest of the year and into January.   Now comes the time to start focusing heavily on creating pots for next spring.  Of course I still have to keep the gallery's and shops stocked but that too can come from the pieces I create over the next few months. 
For now I'm tired and grateful.  It seems like this fall and winter have been particularity busy, which is a good thing but it's draining.  My tired is not a bad tired, but I do feel like I need to rest.  I imagine it's similar to the type of exhaustion someone would feel after running a marathon or an iron man (only without the muscle pain).  Not being the athletic type I'm not really sure, I just know it's a good tired and a good healing needed. 
I was reminded that this is a good time to take a few minutes each day and meditate.  It's something I had stopped doing as I got really busy.  I'm not sure it's the best thing to give up when I'm stressed for time but it went away.  Now I'll give myself that gift.  It will help me to heal.
I am also very grateful to all the people who came to my shows and shops.  I'm thankful for the people who bought my pottery so I can continue to make more, I'm grateful to the people who visited my booth just to chat.  It's nice to take that time to visit and learn what's happening in the lives of my friends.  And I'm thankful to the people who brought me gifts like food from their garden, to share in the joy of creating.
I am also forever grateful to Janet for all of the support she's given to me, for all of the weekends she's given up to hang around an art festival, for the cookies she's baked and then given away to customers, and for the love she's shown every step of the way.  Thank you.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Chance Studio Sale Dec 17 and 18

Covered Oval Casserole

As the holiday season draws to a close the shopping frenzy often heats up.   Avoid the traffic and crowds at the malls and shopping centers.  Buy local products that show you care about the person who is receiving it.  Come to my studio sale.
This is a great opportunity to see pottery in the making in a working studio. I'll will be offering demonstrations on throwing, hand building and decorating pottery starting with a simple bag of clay. I will also be available to discuss various glazing and firing techniques. Finished pottery pieces will be available for sale at the show, works in progress will be offered for pre-purchase and customization to your needs.

The Studio is located on Willow Place off Bouldercrest Dr, one mile south of East Atlanta Village.
Hours of sale are 11am until 5 pm Saturday Dec 17 and Sunday Dec 18.

Save The Date



Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Artists Website

For the past couple of weeks I've been working on updating my website.  I like the way it looks but it uses Adobe Flash on the home page and some smart phones don't like that so I'm trying to make it more friendly to all the people that would be likely to view the site.  I taught myself HTML many years ago, back when websites where chiseled into rock but later I actually took classes in website design and development at Emory University her in Atlanta.  I learned a lot but it's still very time consuming to make a really great website.  Thankfully, I'm the client and the webmaster so I set my own time frame and deadlines.
Because of this I was very interested in this article about why you need a webmaster if you're an artist.  Much of it rings true for any business but it got me thinking.  First, in the interest of full disclosure, I also run a business building websites for artists.  It's nowhere near as much fun or as lucrative as pottery so I'm pretty quiet about it.  Needless to say, I could not agree with this article more.  I've built websites for people and told them I would maintain the site for them for a small fee.  Most people are not interested in paying that, they just want me to show them how to swap out the pictures.  When I show them they get glassy eyed and start thinking about what kid they know who plays computer games so should be able to update the site.  Bad thinking.
A couple of years ago a restaurant owner asked me about building a site for him.  The interview ended with him telling me he had a few other people to interview but he'd get back to me.  When I followed up with him he said his neighbor's son or someone like that was going to build the site for him.  About a year later I was dining there with friends and inquired about the site, he said it was almost done (a year later!!!).  A couple of months after that the restaurant was out of business.
I don't know how much the website had to do with the demise of the establishment, but I imagine the types of business decisions he made were. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Malcolm Davis - RIP

Like many other artists I was surprised and saddened by the news of the death of Malcolm Davis.  I read one potter's thoughts of how he will live on forever due to his shino glaze.  It seems many of us had our first, and maybe only encounter with the man through the glaze.  Not only was that very generous - it's a great glaze - but that was really smart marketing.  It makes me think he was a really smart man.  I have read and heard from people who have met him that he's also a really nice man.  I only know his glaze and his pots.  His pots have been really inspiring to me.  We have had some of his pieces at shows at Mudfire and I was always impressed with the craftsmanship and with the design.  I love the simple brushwork that he would do on his pieces which, of course, showed off what a wonderful glaze he created.  The thing is, he was much more than someone who made pots, he was much more than someone who made glazes.  He was a civil rights activist who was interested in things like peace and love and a good planet to live on.  He was a great role model. He gave us a lot, he'll be missed a lot too.

Other Stuff:

Article on the life of Malcolm Davis from Studio Potter
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trip To Athens

After the Raku Party this weekend Janet & I took a trip to Athens, GA to see the studio sale that Carter Gillies was having at his place.  It's always hard to get to other potter's sales because they are often on the same weekend as mine or there are too many and too spread out to get everywhere.  But we do try to make it to at least one a year and since Carter was having some guests we figured we could also see the work of several potters in one place.  I wanted to see a new glaze Carter is using and Janet wanted another plate from Geoff Pickett to complement the one we already have so those thoughts influenced our decision also.  I apologize to my other potter friends, we'll get to your studio sale another year.
The photo here is not very good, I'll take individual pictures of the pieces and write about them in my "Other Peoples Pots" series.  The jar already has coffee beans in it and I had to take the tea bowl out of the dishwasher for the shot so I wasn't doing a big set up.  I should have taken a picture at the studio.
Carter's studio is behind his house in a residential neighborhood in the beautiful city of Athens.  I love looking at the architecture in the city, it may not be as awe inspiring as the Greek city of the same name but it does have some cool and funky buildings.  Being a college town it also has a really cool vibe.  I fear it may become a strip mall hell in a few years but hope that the idea of supporting local businesses is strong in the residents.  Judging by the amount of people we saw shopping at Carter's studio sale I feel it's there in some.
Speaking of studio sales, I have to get ready for mine which is this weekend.  I'm calling it "Last Chance Studio Sale" because it'll be the last chance for people to shop for my pots (except on line) and the last chance for me to sell them this year.  Come on out.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another Raku Party

The weather was absolutely perfect for this weekend's raku party at Mudfire.  It was sunny and warm enough to be comfortable but not too warm as to not want to be near the kilns or reduction chambers.  I love firing raku in these conditions.
We had a few new members who wanted to participate in this firing which meant that I got to practice my how-to-raku and safety speech.  It must have worked because nobody set themselves on fire which is always a good way to be.  And everyone had some pieces that they liked.  I really enjoy teaching raku firing.  I especially like it when the kiln Gods co-operate and we get some exciting work.  I'm actually considering writing a proposal to run a workshop at John C. Campbell Folk School.  It's a really cool place and that would be a great way for me to spend some time up there.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Template Change?

A new year gets people thinking about new things.  Sometimes those are seen in the form of New Years resolutions sometimes they just find it a good time to make changes.  Several years ago I made a New Years resolution to stop making New Years resolutions, so far I've stuck with that one.  But I still think about making changes, hopefully positive ones, in my life. One small change that I'm considering is changing this blogs template and updating my website.  I wonder if that's a good thing or not, marketing people will talk about consistency in branding and things like that.  I don't know if that is really important in my line of work.
What are your thoughts?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My First Demo Video

I decided to try my hand at making a demo video.  I can see a few things that I could do better, like camera placement to keep my head out of the video but I think it's not too bad for a first try.  What do you think?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanks For A Great Show

The Telephone Factory Art Show is over, I'm happy and exhausted so this will be short but don't take that for being less than the huge amount of gratitude that I am feeling.  I'm thankful to the people that liked my pots, especially those that liked them enough to buy them.  I hope you enjoy them for many, many years or that you enjoy gifting them to the people you care about. 
Thank you to the artists that made this show a success by producing great art and doing your part to make it a fun show for the patrons.
Thank you to the residents of The Telephone Factory Lofts.  The hosts were fantastic, we couldn't have done it without your generosity.  Thanks to the residents that had to put up with a bunch of artists and art buyers for the weekend.  I hope you never felt inconvenienced or uncomfortable.  And thanks to the people that work at the Telephone Factory that helped get the place ready, directed us to the way you wanted things done for the benefit of the residents and the building, and, of course, thanks for letting this happen in this fantastic place.
Thanks to the volunteers who helped get the signs and balloons made and placed and those that helped staff the front desk and smile booth.
A huge thank you to Tonya and Ian who helped to put this show together.  I would not have happened if it weren't for your efforts.  Words cannot express my gratitude.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, December 2, 2011

Telephone Factory Lofts Art Show & Sale 12/3-12/4;

Altered Horse Hair Pot

The Telephone Factory Lofts Art Show and Sale

Dec 3rd 11am - 7pm
Dec 4th  1pm - 6pm

Established in 1996, The Telephone Factory Art Show and Sale is one of Atlanta's longest running art events. The Show provides artists an opportunity to exhibit and sell their work in a unique, progressive, art walk setting.
Participating Telephone Factory residents open their homes to local, guest artists who exhibit and sell their artwork, mix and mingle with the public and have a really great time in the process. There is also a daily raffle drawing for visitors. This year's prizes are 8GB iPod touches.
The Telephone Factory Art Show and Sale has become a much anticipated event over the years.
Admission is free and open to the public.

The Telephone Factory Art Show and Sale
828 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30306


also on Saturday:

Mudfire Holiday Studio Show

Nov 26 - Dec 23



The potters and sculptors at MudFire have been busy making hundreds of delightfully unique, affordable, one-of-a-kind creations for the holiday season. We invite you to buy handmade American craft, and GIFT IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!
Gallery Open Daily 12-8pm except
Closed on Tuesdays

Holiday Party & Reception
Sat. December 3, 5-9pm
175 Laredo Drive
Decatur, GA 30030
info@mudfire.com
phone: 404-377-8033

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Candle Karma

As part of the Telephone Factory Lofts Art Show and Sale planing committee I have had to do a little shopping.  Post cards and business cards were needed which means postage stamps needed to be purchased, things like that.  We also have the use of some public restrooms which of course need to be stocked.  We decided that the rest rooms would be nicer with some yummy scented candles burning but wanted to be considerate of the environment so we wanted soy candles.  We talked about getting them from the usual type places when I suddenly remembered someone I met who makes candles.  He's an artist that sells soap and soy candles at Donna VanGogh's Artist Market in Candler Park.  I was there dropping off pots one day when he was there, he asked if I made any honey jars.  Of course I do and I brought him one.  Now when I needed candles I wanted to return the favor.  This is the beauty of collective stores, art shows and even galleries; we artists get to meet and support each other.
Don't forget to come to the show Dec 3rd and Dec 4th at 828 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NEAtlanta, Georgia 30306

Other Stuff:
Basic Handmade Soy Candles
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Early Work

Those of you who are also friends with me on Facebook may have noticed a new profile picture.  It's a picture of a slide that my high school pottery teacher took when I was taking her class in my junior year. Yes, that was eleventh grade.  It seems like so long ago and yesterday simultaneously.   This may have been a slide that was included in the portfolio I sent to Alfred University when I was applying there.  It makes me wonder things like who has seen the slide, what do other people think about the work (I am trying to resist critiquing it), and what happened to this piece.
For me, this is some of the fun of facebook. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, November 28, 2011

Peach Cobbler

I love it when a customer sends me a picture of one of my pots in use or where it's displayed.  I really think it would be fun to have a collection of these pictures but I rarely think to ask for them.  Thankfully, some of my customers think about it themselves.  That's what happened this weekend when a casserole I made was used in someone's Thanksgiving dinner.  Here it is with some peach cobbler in it.  I just love the way the warm, golden color of the cobbler looks with the ash glaze trio.
The lid is designed to stand easily on the knob, on some pieces it can actually be used as a serving bowl.  In this picture it's being used as a stand for the cobbler.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I'd like to wish all of my friends, family and followers a happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for your support and encouragement. 
Janet and I are celebrating with family in Oregon which is the inspiration for the picture choice today.  It's a view of Mount Saint Helen's and Mount Hood that I took during an earlier trip.  It's really fun being in a place where you can see so many snow capped volcanoes. 
However you spend today, I hope you have an opportunity to see the beauty around you and be thankful for it.   

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Comments Please

The other day I was eavesdropping on a conversation near me.  Normally I wouldn't do this but when the conversation started the two couples were discussing a trip to China that sounded very interesting.  They were also talking loud enough for others to hear easily so I don't think they cared. 

Apparently the couple that went to China also blogged about the trip while they were traveling.  The friends mentioned that they left some comments on the blog just to let their friends know they were reading the blog.  The travelers said they had seen the comments and it meant a lot to them that the friends did comment.  I think it means a lot to many bloggers to see people writing comments.  It helps us to realize that people are reading our writing and it's effecting them in some way.  I have friends that tell me they read this blog but have never commented.  I appreciate hearing that they have been reading it too, again, it makes me feel like I'm not all alone here in the bloggosphere. 

I have also made friends with other artists through blog commenting which has lead to some email commenting and may result in a visit sometime.  I think that would be fun.  Yet their are still some people who write blogs who have received many friendly comments from me over the past few years who have never acknowledged my feedback or commented on my blog. I know people are busy but after a while that just seems rude so I stop reading their blogs.

I want to take this time and space to thank my readers, whether you comment or not, for following this blog.  I appreciate comments and emails, I appreciate Facebook likes and retweets and I appreciate hearing "I read your blog" when we're talking.  Thank you

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open Studio and Sale at Future Relics Pottery Studio Nov 17 - 20

Covered Oval Casserole

This is a great opportunity to see pottery in the making in a working studio. Lori will be offering demonstrations on throwing, hand building and decorating pottery starting with a simple bag of clay. She will also be available to discuss various glazing and firing techniques. Chiminea firings may be held throughout the weekend, time and weather permitting. Finished pottery pieces will be available for sale at the show, works in progress will be offered for pre-purchase and customization to your needs.
Come share a cup of apple cider and taste the worlds best chocolate chip cookies then enter a drawing to win handcrafted pottery.
The Studio is located on Willow Place off Bouldercrest Dr, one mile south of East Atlanta Village.
Hours of sale are noon until 6 pm Thursday, Nov 17 through Sunday, Nov 20.

Save The Date

Nov 19 - 20:  Artvisions At Paideia School
Nov 25 - Dec 22:  Holiday Show at Mudfire Clayworks in Decatur, GA
Dec 3 - 4:  Telephone Factory Lofts Art Show
Dec 15 - 18: Last Chance Holiday Sale and Open Studio, East Atlanta, GA

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Feeling Foolish

As you may know,  I'm on the planning committee for the Telephone Factory Art Show and Sale.  I volunteered for the committee because the show might have been canceled if nobody helped make it possible.  It's been a lot of work but I've really enjoyed doing it and working with the rest of the committee.  Of course it's also been a bit stressful fitting in everything for the show plus my own stuff, especially my studio sale coming up this weekend.  But I've actually been able to get some stuff done ahead of time which made me feel great.  Until I realized that we need about 3000 postcards printed and I only ordered 1000.  This puts us way behind in getting the word out there.  I feel like I've let the committee and the other artists down.  I know it'll all work out but right now I feel pretty crappy.
Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments (please be kind).
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goddess Mugs At Charis Books and More

This weekend I brought some Goddess-ware to Charis Books and More at  1189 Euclid Ave in the Little 5 Points neighborhood of Atlanta.  I am so happy to have these pieces there, it just feels like a perfect fit.  Charis is the Souths oldest independent feminist bookstore, they have been an institution in the community for over 35 years.  Not only do they sell books but they have always found ways to give back to the community that supports them.
When I first started making the Goddess Mugs I wanted Charis to carry them but I was never able to connect.  This Saturday Angela, one of the owners, was at Mudfire and saw a mug that is in the Mugs For Jugs breast cancer fundraiser, she asked Erik about it.  The good news for me was I just happened to be at Mudfire for the raku firing so we got to talk.  Now my dream of having these pieces in Charis has come true.

Other Stuff:
Charis Books and More
Mudfire Clayworks
Charis Circle

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ladybug Bowl

I don't normally like to rush the drying of any of my pots.  I've seen too much loss when people do this and I don't want my pots to suffer the same fate.  If I don't have time for them to dry properly I most likely don't have time to recreate them.  But sometimes they need just a few minutes to be at the perfect dryness for trimming or something.  At those times I'll put the pot in the sun.  Sometimes I will find that a furry woodland creature has invaded Atlanta and is checking out my pottery.  I don't mind, who doesn't love it when their art is admired.  The only thing I don't like is that squirrels and chipmunks tend to leave paw prints in the rims of the bowls leaving me to have to refinish the rim.  Today I came out of the studio to find this lady bug trying to leave her mark on my bowl.  Thankfully, it was dry enough to resist but it started making me think about how to decorate the edges of some pieces.  I'm not sure where these thoughts will take me but I guess I can say it'll be inspired by nature.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Raku

Horse Hai Pot by Lori Buff We did another raku firing at Mudfire today, I did six pots in horse hair and this time none of them broke.  Yay, thank you kiln Gods.  Since half the pots broke last time I'm really very happy with today's firing.  I tried doing some things differently which seems to have worked.  One of the pieces was left at Mudfire to go into my display in the gallery, the rest came home for the studio sale this week.
I also got some other great news but I think it'll keep until Monday when the paperwork has been signed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It Is Lovely Indeed, It Is Lovely Indeed.

I, I am the spirit within the earth.
The feet of the earth are my feet;
The legs of the earth are my legs.
The strength of the earth is my strength;
The thoughts of the earth are my thoughts;
The voice of the earth is my voice.
The feather of the earth is my feather;
All that belongs to the earth belongs to me;
All that surrounds the earth surrounds me.
I, I am the sacred works of the earth.
It is lovely indeed, it is lovely indeed.





~ Navajo origin legend
Song of the Earth Spirit
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Woodfiring

I just got back from Shorter University where I dropped off some pots to be wood fired.  This time some students are going to be handling the loading and firing of the kiln so it feels really removed.  It also feels like a relief that I didn't have to spend the time there right now while I'm getting ready for all the holiday shows and studio sale.  For that I am grateful. 
I also was able to take a few minutes to visit Spring Place Pottery in Cartersville, GA where I have some pots.  It was good to see gail and talk about the holiday sale she is running the Holiday Sale there on Nov 18th and 19th which is the same weekend I'm holding my studio sale.  We're hoping it's a good weekend for everyone.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good News

The alarm clock is set to NPR which means I normally wake up to the news and start complaining politics first thing in the morning.  I need to find a light jazz station or something soothing.  However, yesterday I heard two stories that really made me happy.  One was about Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who was arrested without charges several months ago.  Lots of people protested, Weiwei was released and told not to leave the country.  It took the Chinese government a few months to charge Weiwei with tax evasion to the tune of $2.4 million.  That might be enough to make you really sad except people are donating money to him so he can pay the tax bill.  Some are sending it into his home via paper airplanes or tied to fruit that they throw over the wall.  It makes my heart feel good that the people of China are supporting this artist that the government clearly wants to quiet.
The other article that made me happy was about all the people that have moved their money to credit unions or small banks.  You may remember that I wrote this article suggesting you do the same.  Well, a movement was started (not because of my article) and this past Saturday was "Move Your Money Day."  I had no idea that this even existed when I wrote the article, I was just pissed at Bank of Screw America (who I don't use) for being so greedy and ugly to their customers (some of whom are my friends).  So I'm glad to see the credit unions and the members who own them getting stronger while the big banks that hurt this country getting smaller.  Keep it up people, it's not as hard as BoA wants you to think it is.  You can set up a new bank account on line right now.  Go.

Other Stuff:

NYC Galleries Show Ai Weiwei's Work while Donations in China Pour In
MoveYourMoneyDay.com & Dump Your Bank Day Success Evolves Into Live Webinar Event

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No Use Crying...

Today is starting out on a sad note, last night we realized that we have a dead bunny to pick up near the road.  I didn't want to do that task in the dark so it's awaiting me now.  A great way to start the day.  Then Janet was getting ready for work and accidentally broke one of her favorite coffee mugs (not the one pictured here).  It's interesting how we think of things, as much as I hate to see any dead animal it seems worse that it's a bunny, they are cute and relatively harmless (except to my garden), they don't seem to tease the dogs like squirrels do so it feels sadder to see it has died. 
The mug is a little bit of a different story.  Yes, it sucks that it got broken, even though it's just an object Janet cried about it, she feels awful.  But if she had treasured it, and put it on a shelf somewhere safe and not used it I don't think she would have enjoyed it so much and it still may have gotten broken while dusting or something. 
Lorrie King of 50 Cents Period brought one of my Goddess mugs to a woman in Nepal who said it was too beautiful to use and put the mug somewhere safe.  I appreciate that she feels that way and I honor her thinking but I don't wonder if it would be better if she used it and was reminded of the Goddess within herself, her friendship with Lorrie, the great work they are doing together, or anything else that may come to mind.
I guess the message here is that life is short, no matter if it's an animal or an object, and we should simply enjoy as much of it as we can.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stone Soup

Stone Soup
Despite the fact that I'm living the glamorous life of a potter I still cannot escape the drudgery of housework. Being a potter means you have to make the dishes and wash them too. And you have to make the bed, do the laundry, clean the floors in your house and studio. It's not all fun and games (although I wouldn't trade my job for anyone's). One thing that I sometimes enjoy doing is cooking. It's sort of like mixing glazes but you get to taste what you've made. I have made glazes with tasty names like Mint Julip and Licorice but I've not wanted to taste them. The food that I really enjoy cooking the most is soup. I think that's because it's hard to ruin soup. Naturally, that means I cook more in the cooler weather, last night was the start. I made Stone Soup, which means I wandered around the co-op and my kitchen finding veggies that seemed like they would go well together, threw them all in a big pot with some vegetable broth and spices and cooked it until we were ready to eat. It was pretty yummy but I can't tell you the exact recipe. You can follow the links in the "other stuff" section to find some great soup recipes.

Bon Appetit!  

Other Stuff:

Miso-Ginger Soup
Butternut Squash Soup
Spinach Soup
Seafood Chowdah

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bowls Today

Six pound bowl I've been making a lot of smaller pieces lately like butter keepers, soap dishes, and of course, mugs.  So today, after I was inspired by a call from a collector, I decided to make some decent size bowls.  Here's one I made just before going into the house for lunch and to write this blog.  It's six pounds of clay and a nice size but I think it can be a little bigger.  I may try after lunch, it'll be a bit firmer then.
What do you think, would you try one more pull?
This afternoon I'll be going over to At The Collective to take down what's left of my opening show, I'll leave some pieces for my permanent display, it'll be fun to decide which ones.  I love packing up when I'm not exhausted from selling pots all day.  It just makes it easier.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Day At The Beach

Ginger in the Ocean We are back from Charleston, where we had a great time.  The architecture there is so fun and beautiful I could just wander around neighborhoods admiring peoples homes.  I also love the look of the old oak trees dripping Spanish moss.  It's especially fun during Halloween since it does have an other-worldly look.
We brought Ginger the min pin with us and she fell in love with the beach.  It's so fun to see the world through her eyes. 

Other Stuff:
Charleston, SC Tourism  
Photos Of Charleston Architecture 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Other People's Pots - Bamboo Mug

Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the artists who made this mug.  It's a shame because it's a favorite and because they got me to thinking about my booth layout in different ways.   They told me about how they hired a feug shui expert to look at their booth and make suggestions for improving the energy or Chi of the booth.  When they followed the advice they discovered an increase in sales.  I think anybody would be happy to have an increase in sales so I started reading about Feng Shui and Bagua maps (plans for good chi) and made some changes to my booth.  I too noticed an increase in sales.  The increase can be related to a lot of things but I do think the booth looks nicer anyway.
Oh, yeah, the glaze on this mug is really pretty too.

Other Stuff:
Lucky Bamboo 
American Feng Shui Institute
Bagua Map
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

At The Collective Show Extended

Today I was supposed to pick up my pottery from At The Collective in Inman Park but they are still selling really well and it was requested that we keep the show up through this weekend.  So if you haven't had a chance to come down to 280 Elizabeth Street to check out the pots you still have time. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Join a Credit Union

Many people are upset about Bank of screw America charging a $5 to use your debit card.  I've even seen a petition going around Change.org.  The other big banks that we bailed out with our tax dollars are sitting poised to see how this works for BoA.  If we simply get used to it then many of the other banks that we own will start charging customers also.   We may see advertising wars like who has the lowest debit card rate but the bottom line is, you're going to pay for it.
The other option is to become a member of a credit union.  As a member you do own the bank and have a say in what happens.  Imagine being asked to vote on a bank policy.  Credit Unions are non-profit which benefits the members, and they didn't need to be bailed out.  If everyone moves away from the big banks and joins a credit union, or at least a small bank, then the big one's won't be too big to fail or too big to screw the customer.

Other Stuff:

National Credit Union Administration
Credit Union National Association

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, October 24, 2011

Too Busy To Be Creative?

I keep getting totally stressed out by how busy I am right now.  If you're an artist too you are probably thinking "it's the holiday season, we all are busy, get over it and count your blessings."  You'd be right, that's really good advice.  The thing is, sometimes being very busy, and stressed because of it cuts down on creativity.  We may not be as busy next year if we aren't creative enough this season so now is a good time to think about some things we can do to prevent or get over the creativity suck of being very busy.

The first thing to remind ourselves is that we can't do everything and it's ok to ask for some help.  Sometimes that help may be something as simple as asking a partner to do a little more of the house work.  For me, I know I'll have more time to pay-back that favor in January and February so it's ok to ask for it now when I need it.

Another thing to do is notice when you have the most creative energy and try to use that to schedule work time.  If it's morning, try getting up a little bit earlier so you can spend some time creating before the other distractions of the day start getting in the way.  If it's evening maybe forgo watching TV or some other evening activity that would take you away from your most creative time.

Try to be more organized.  Now may not be the time to reorganize your entire studio or all the closets in your house, who has got time for that anyway?  But it may be a great time to find little things that you can do in a more organized fashion.  This should save you some time and energy and make your life easier.  We can all do with a little of that.

Don't be afraid to say "no."  As the holidays approach we get asked to attend a lot of events.  Some are more fun than others, some more important than others.  Try to strike a balance.  You'll be really stressed out if you don't take some time to relax and have fun but don't be afraid to say "no, thanks, I have to be in the studio."


Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, October 21, 2011

Opening Event At The Collective

I'll be having an opening event on Saturday the 22nd from 11am - 6pm At The Collective in Inman Park.  If you haven't been there now is a great time to come see my work plus that of the 50+ other artist that show and sell in the store.  It's really an interesting place with something for everyone.
I'll be serving wine and some appetizers in the afternoon which is not a shopping experience you get everyday.

At The Collective
280 Elizabeth St
Atlanta, GA  30307
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Call For Artists

The first meeting for the Telephone Factory Lofts Arts Show and Sale was held Tuesday night and we had a great turn out, not to mention a list of folks that intend to be in the show but were unable to attend the meeting.  The good news is that we still have room for a few more artists.  If you're interested in being a part of this event we would be happy to discuss this with you, simply fill out the form at:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?hl=en_US&formkey=dHUzSWxJNzJ1TzR1a21ObE9TWWFXMlE6MA#gid=0


Established in 1996 The Telephone Factory Art Show is one of the city's longest running art events. The show provides artists an opportunity to exhibit and sell their work in a unique, progressive, art walk setting.
Participating Residents open their spaces to artists who exhibit their artwork, mix and mingle with the public, make a few sales, and have a really great time in the process. There is also a daily prize drawing for visitors.
The Art Show has become a much anticipated event with last year's show attracting an estimated 3000 patrons.
Admission is free and open to the public.

The Telephone Factory Art Show
828 Ralph McGill Boulevard, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
thetelephonefactoryartshow@gmail.com
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cutting vs. Growing

Yes, the U.S. government wastes too much money, you'll never get an argument from me about that and I agree cuts are needed.  Too bad the idiots in Washington don't know how to run a business and don't understand that many of the cuts they are making actually cost the country money because they are cutting jobs.  This is not the way to grow the economy or any business.
I keep track of my sales.  When I noticed that people were buying more functional pots I started making more of them.  It's what people want and I enjoy making them.  Now my sales are consistently up.   I don't see anything wrong with this.
Sometimes a business may have to reinvent itself in order to grow and thrive.  This may be what some government agencies like the post office need to do. I'll admit, I don't have all the answers to how they would go about doing this but I think they need a redirected focus.  Focus on growth not on cuts.
I'll never have a successful pottery if I only make cuts, we will not have a successful economy if all we do is focus on cuts.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, October 17, 2011

What to do When People Don't Pay

I have many really wonderful customers.  I get a lot of repeat business, I have new customers that send me notes telling me how much they love the pottery they bought, I have customers that refer other customers to me.  But once in a while someone bursts that bubble of happiness.  Usually it's because I have to track them down to get payment on a piece.
I tend to be rather trusting, many potters are.  I've often heard stories of someone who wanted to buy a piece from a potter but didn't have the cash and the artists didn't take credit cards so the artists said "take it home with you and mail me a check."  This helps make for loyal customers.  In many of the studios I've visited in Western North Carolina the potters leave a box and a calculator (for computing the tax) in the showroom just in case someone wants to buy something when the artist isn't there.  I love these bits of faith in people.
So it really bothers me when I have to pursue someone for money for a piece they purchased.  It feels bad in so many ways.  I do worry that some problem has occurred, like the customer is ill or they found something wrong with the piece.  It almost feels like a bit of a relief to find out that everything is ok, they are just to busy to remember that artists have bills too.  Then it just feels vulgar and like a big time suck to beg someone to pay me for the pottery that I've delivered or at least made to there order and would like to give to them.
Once I created a pot that is intentionally chipped on the bottom, the glazes are dark moving into light.  I made it to remind myself that when people do things to chip away at this potter by doing things like not paying a bill I will still reach for the sky.
What do you do when someone is resistant to paying?
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Saturday, October 15, 2011

AutumnFest Oct 15-16

Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm (music until 8:30 pm), Sunday, Noon- 5 pm
Don't miss this year's AutumnFest, across from City Hall in Avondale Estates. Enjoy browsing the artist market featuring a variety of mediums from artists from all over the Southeast. Live music and entertainment features popular bands such as Adron, Underhill Rose and Kodac Harrison. New this year, food and drink vendors will stay open after the artist market closes Saturday night so you can enjoy the live music of The Buggs, Atlanta's most exciting Beatles tribute band! The whole family is sure to enjoy all this plus food, drink and recreational activities for the kids! This year’s children’s area includes the Reptile Wagon, a mobile “reptile zoo” displaying everything from Cobras to American Alligators! Don’t miss the Southeastern Snake Encounter on the main stage on Saturday. Admission is free.
 

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, October 10, 2011

Silence Means Working

We all know it's the holiday season, people are doing a lot of shows and a lot of making so we can keep stock fresh for the shows and the galleries.  It's a hectic time of the year.  So, since I've got so much free time (note the sarcasm) I decided to volunteer for the Telephone Factory Art Show and Sale planing committee.  It's been one of my best and favorite shows for the past few years and I hated the idea that it might go away if people didn't volunteer to help make it happen.  So I committed to do my best to make this a really great show, even if that means a little less blogging or something.
Historically the people of Atlanta (and surrounding area) have been really good about supporting this show.  The venue is cool, the art tends to be very diverse and great and the party atmosphere creates a really good time.
This year the challenge will be getting residents to host the show since so many of the resident artist have had to move out.  I don't think it'll be a big problem though, it seems that a good sense of community is a part of living in these lofts.
I hope to see you there.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts About Steve Jobs As An Artist

It started in a garage, as a creation of a dream and became something that has, in some way or another touched most people who are alive today.
Many artists work alone in a garage/studio and never consider the tie they have with the technology genius of Steve Jobs.  His life wasn't about mother boards and ram.  It was about being creative, about following your heart, about adding elegance and beauty into peoples lives and it was about believing in himself.  He didn't invent products that people wanted, he invented products and then told us that we want them.  And he was right, we do want them.  We want them because they are built well, useful, and beautiful.
As artists we try to create the same things.  We don't want to put our worst work out there for the public, we want to show our best work.  People have different reasons for finding something useful.  A beautiful painting can be as useful as a coffee mug.  The fact that people will pay $10 - $100 or more for a hand made coffee mug when they can buy a used mug that works just as well for fifty cents at a garage sale proves that people want beauty in their lives.
Steve Jobs did and said a lot of brilliant things in his life.  Even though it has ended much too early we should never stop learning from him and we should always remember that great things can come out of our humble garage/studio.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mugs for Jugs 2011

MudFire announces our most important event of the year, a collaboration with artist friends to raise money to help fight breast cancer. On October 1, 2011, we'll launch Mugs for Jugs, an exhibit and benefit sale of handmade ceramic mugs with proceeds donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
This event provides a great opportunity for coffee drinkers to team up with artists to fight this terrible disease, while taking home a piece of handmade American craft for daily enjoyment.
The exhibit and benefit sale will begin online at 10:00 am EST on Saturday, October 1. A reception and kick-off party will be held that night from 5:00 - 9:00 pm in our Atlanta gallery.

175 Laredo Drive
Decatur, GA 30030
info@mudfire.com
phone: 404-377-8033

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is the only breast cancer organization to earn the highest rating from both non-profit watchdogs Charity Navigator and the American Institute of Philanthropy. Over 90% of their budget goes directly to research & awareness programs. We are proud to support their efforts and hopeful about meeting the goal of achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime.
Mugs for Jugs is a national invitational exhibit, with over 50 artists accepting our call to join arms in the battle against breast cancer. We are overwhelmed by the enthusiastic support of our artist friends from around the country. MudFire instructor Emily Downey conceived the event and is a key part of the effort to realize it.
The show will present the largest and most significant collection of clay artists in a single exhibit in Atlanta this year.
Each artist has chosen their contribution level to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, with MudFire matching their contribution. On average, over 40% of each sale will be donated. We are still adding to the roster of participating artists, which currently includes: Autumn Higgins, Beau Raymond, Becky Strickland, Brooke Noble, Chandra DeBuse, Debra Fritts, Dow Redcorn, Emily Downey, Emily Reason, Erik Haagensen, Gay Smith, Jennifer Graff, Jeremy Randall, John Britt, John Roberts, Joy Tanner, Julia Galloway, Julie Wiggins, Justin Rothshank, Kathy King, Kathy Phelps, Keith Phillips, Kristen Kieffer, Kyle Carpenter, Lana Wilson, Leah Leitson, Linda McFarling, Lisa Orr, Lora Rust, Lori Buff, Luba Sharapan, Maria Andrade Troya, Mark Issenberg, Mark Knott, Mary Briggs, Megan Daloz, Mike Yarnold, Niel Hora, Ron Philbeck, Ronan Peterson, Sarah Anne Marraffino, Shadow May, Stacey Stanhope, Vernon Smith, and William Baker.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Two Opportunities This Weekend

LakeFest is happening in Pine Lake, GA this weekend.  Last year this two day event was a blast, I can only assume it's going to be even better this year.
October 1 – 2, 2011 • Saturday, 10am – 7pm • Sunday, 12pm – 6pm
Admission is free, all are welcome
and

Mugs for Jugs

October 1, 2011

MudFire announces our most important event of the year, a collaboration with artist friends to raise money to help fight breast cancer. On October 1, 2011, we'll launch Mugs for Jugs, an exhibit and benefit sale of handmade ceramic mugs with proceeds donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
This event provides a great opportunity for coffee drinkers to team up with artists to fight this terrible disease, while taking home a piece of handmade American craft for daily enjoyment.
The exhibit and benefit sale will begin online at 10:00 am EST on Saturday, October 1. A reception and kick-off party will be held that night from 5:00 - 9:00 pm in our Atlanta gallery.
Please check back later to view the available artwork. If you would like notification when the mugs are online, please sign up for our gallery newsletter to the left.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paper-clay?

Yesterday I was having some difficulties throwing this pot.  It felt like I had an air bubble but when I tried to poke the bubble with my pin tool I realized something was actually in the clay.  So I set about trying to dig out the offending matter.  It turned out to be a large piece of cardboard. 
I had just opened this bag of clay so, even though I did wedge the clay I didn't do as through a job as I would have if the clay was being reused. I guess I learned my lesson.  I just hope Highwater doesn't charge me extra for the paper-clay.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Etsy and The Studio Potter

Maybe I get bored easily or maybe I'm continually growing.  I like to think the latter is true especially since I spend so much time auditing and attending workshops and trying to improve myself and my pots.  We are told that growth is a good thing.  We are always striving for a higher degree of knowledge, a promotion at a job, we even measure our children's growth on a wall because we find it important.
Sometimes growth is not so good, like when it comes to listing my pottery on Etsy.  I don't create formula pots.  Even when I make a lot of one piece each one tends to be very different.  Take mugs for example.  Many potters make mugs, they can be a staple of our existence. But when I make them, even if I make a set, no two are alike.  It's not that I can't make a pair of matching mugs, I guess I could if I tried.  It's that I don't want to.  Like many people my mug travels around with me in the mornings.  It starts in the kitchen, moves to the bedroom then maybe outside, to the office then the studio, and eventually back to the kitchen and into the dishwasher.  Janet's morning coffee mug makes a similar journey and we don't want to get them mixed up since she takes hers without sugar and I take mine with, if we mixed them up it would be bad. 
In order to list one piece for sale on Etsy I need to take at least 5 good images of the piece from different angles, know it's measurements and then write something interesting about it.  That's a lot of work.  So is setting up and breaking down a show.  Which is the greater time suck?  I don't know.  But I will tell you that I do enjoy doing shows more than Etsy.  I like meeting my customers and hanging out with other artists.  Don't get me wrong, my favorite way to sell is still in galleries and stores.  It's easier than setting up the booth and I still enjoy a personal relationship with the owner of the place.
Lots of people sell on Esty, some of the work is very unique.  I'd love to know where they find the time.  I'd also love to hear some suggestions for making Etsy listing faster and easier.
I love and appreciate your comments.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Solving Problems With Art

I sell a lot of French Butter Keepers.  They are a simple product that solves a problem for people by keeping butter soft and fresh.  It also gives people a nice way to serve their guests that's different than a traditional butter dish and they make a great gift.  Essentially they solve a problem so they sell well. 
When you think about it most of my art solves a problem for someone.  Sometimes the problem is the need and want for a unique gift.  I can't tell you how often someone has bought a pot from me then told me that it was the perfect gift for someone who "has everything."  Sometimes it's a piece to ad interest to a person's home and sometimes it's very functional like butter dishes and casseroles.
As artists we need to think of our art in terms of fulfilling a need when we are trying to sell it.  A friend of mine is a writer who loves music.  Music inspires her but she can't listen to music with lyrics while writing.  The solution is, of course, that she listens to instrumental music while writing.  The hard part is finding radio stations that play only instrumental music, and of the type she likes.  To solve the problems she can buy CD's or download music onto her computer or find internet radio stations that fill this need.  This is a great example of art solving a problem and artists supporting other artists.
What problems can your art solve?

Other Stuff:

Solving Your Customers' Problems
Basic Sales Skills - Problem Solving


Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery