Monday, January 31, 2011

100 Artists

The Mary Lou Zeek Gallery is auctioning off 100 plates as a fund raiser for CERF.  CERF is a wonderful organization that helps craft artists when disaster strikes.  The bidding for the plates starts at $25 which seems really low to me considering the work.  The silent auction runs for the month of February and it's on-line and in the gallery.  Check it out, you might be able to get something awesome and help a good cause. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sunny Day, Perfect For...

Heart Shaped Mug
Grinding shelves!
I feel bad for my friends and family up north who got more snow, yet again.  It's been a difficult winter for many people and I feel their pain.  I'm longing for sun and warmth so whenever the sun has come out I try to find a reason to be in it's rays. 
Yesterday my excuse to be outside was grinding and washing kiln shelves.  It may not be the best thing one can do in the sunshine but it sure was a good way to spend an hour in the sun and not feel like I was slacking.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Soulwork of Clay

I recently read The Soulwork of Clay - A Hands-On Approach to Spirituality" by Marjory Zoet Bankson.  It was an interesting book, the author touches on how working with clay can help us to be more in touch with our spiritual selves.  I wonder how many hobby potters feel this connection and how many professional potters feel it also.  It's probably a good idea to consciously forget about the deadlines and work pressures of being a professional artist and be very connected with the medium only.  I was inspired to be more mindful of the activity of wedging the clay. 
She includes some hands-on activities that do not require a potter's wheel or even a kiln.  These would be good ideas for events like team building workshops or retreats.  They might even be very helpful for coming up with new approaches to clay when we are feeling a little stale.
The photos in the book are all black and white and most of them are not very good.  This was probably the biggest disappointment for me.  I would have thought that as a book relating to art more consideration for the visual aspects of the book would have been considered important by all involved in getting the book printed.
I got the book from my local library so my only investment was time and I do think it was worth my time but I'm not sure it would be worth the $16.99 cover price.  However, I have a feeling in a few weeks or months I may think about something I read in this book and want to revisit the chapter. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dry, But Not Idle Hands

Set of mixing bowls
 I've not been posting very much because I've been busy creating pots for shows in February and March.  I don't mind being busy at all but I think you might not want to read "hung out in the studio making pots all by myself, danced to the music on the radio while mopping the floor..."  You're probably too busy for that yourself.
All of this throwing in the winter does take a toll on my hands.  They are dry and continually craving hand lotion.  I use a lot of it this time of year.  The problem is that I am scentaphobic.  I don't mind real things that smell good, like roses and cedar wood but I think we have too many artificial scents in this world.  I'm not sure why I would want my body to smell like spring in Ireland, while my hair smelled like herb and my clothes smell like I've gained something and my hands smell like something entirely different.
What do you use and how well do you like it?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Raku Party

Yesterday we had our first raku party of 2011.  It was originally scheduled for  last weekend but it was cold and threatening to snow so we postponed it.  That was a good idea as yesterday was cool but sunny and warm enough to be enjoyable.  Of course when you're leaning over the fire it helps keep you warm.
It seemed everyone had great results and were happy with the firing, despite the chill in the air we only had one piece break.  The chill does help the crackle to craze like crazy so some of the best looking pieces were the ones glazed with clear or white crackle but I got some really nice results from adding a copper wash to areas of my pots. 

It's interesting how the copper works, I'm really enjoying the results.  I can't wait to see the reactions of buyers.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slow & Steady

It never seems like enough.  No matter how many pieces you make, no matter how much you have in stock it never seems like enough.  Do you ever feel this way?
In the community studio where I teach I see potters working feverishly before a show, trying to get enough pieces made to have a full display and good sales.  I don't usually do that, I just plod along at a comfortable pace. 
As I've been working in my studio I've been watching this icicle form.  It started out about 3" long but over the course of a few days it has grown to over 18".  One drop at a time.  Watching it reminds me that if I just keep at it I'll have enough pots to sell and a few to give away, and even a few to break (nothing anyone wants) without making myself too crazy.
The book "The Art of Racing in The Rain" by Garth Stein touches on this concept, it's a great book, I highly recommend it.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, January 10, 2011

White Stuff

It snowed last night.  Big, fluffy snowflakes blanketed Atlanta about 4 - 5 inches deep.  It's very pretty and was fun to walk in last night.  The dogs were enjoying playing in it, except Dori who hates to be cold.  Most of Atlanta is shut down because of it; we are ill equipped to deal with any amount of snow, especially a few inches.  I am able to make it down to the studio so I'll still be working.  For some reason I'm thinking about working with porcelain today.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, January 7, 2011

Creating Peace

Last night my friend Laura Biering did a book reading for her new RiskADay Journal.  During the talk she discussed how when people live authentic lives they are happier, emotionally healthier, more content, and more peaceful.  The theory is that if all people lived more authentic lives the world would have more peace in it.
Most of the readers of this blog are artists or other people that seem to be following their dreams, like landscape designer, Tara Dillard.  My guess is that, we are living authentic lives at least in our careers.  The joy that comes with doing what you love probably flows into other areas of our lives too, like how we treat other people.  Isn't it nice to know that just by following your heart you are helping to create peace in the world. 
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Batmate Test

Atlanta Clay has started carrying an item called a Batmate.  I'd never heard of this so I checked around on line and found a little information.  It's a thin piece of rubber that you wet and then lay between your wheel head and your bat.  It keeps the bat in position even when the holes for the bat pins have worn and the bat is loser than when new.  Most people seem to use a piece of newspaper or clay to help secure the bat when it starts wearing and becomes loose.  I've been doing that but have found little scraps of newspaper in places where I don't want newspaper, or found that the newspaper piece had fallen off before I put the bat on the wheel head.  I usually discover this when I'm centering a large lump of clay.  It's easy to fix but still inconvenient.  The Batmate eliminates that problem.  You just set it in place on the wheel head, put your bat on top of it and go to work.  Yesterday it stayed damp enough to work well all day so I didn't have to think about it again.  I normally use Masonite bats but I did have a plastic bat to test, it holds them both quite well.
I would guess that you could make something like this for a few dollars less from some shelf liner from the local big-box store but the batmate is under $9 at Atlanta clay and I really like having a local clay and tool supplier stay in business so it's totally worth it to me to buy the batmate from them.  I do highly recommend this product.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pottery Workers of Oaxaca

While doing a little research on black clay pottery I found this little video clip which is really interesting.  I think whoever wrote it has a very romantic view of what the indigenous children think is fun but watching Zapotec potter Doña Rosa Real de Nieto work is amazing.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery