Thursday, June 30, 2011

Savor Everyday Moments

The experts say that savoring everyday moments helps to keep us happy and healthy.  It seems like it would be a good way to avoid non-chemical depression in our lives.  When was the last time you saw someone literally stop to smell the roses? When was the last time you did?   Whenever we ask someone how they are they either say "good" (I love it when they say "well" or "fine" because I'm a grammar geek about that) or "busy."  In a previous post I wrote about the things artist do while working.  That included napping.  So if we are thinking about an afternoon nap as work are we really savoring it?  Ok, I am trying to savor that nap but it's not always comfortable when I say "Honey, I'm going to work, wake me up when dinner is ready."
Face it, we are all busy.  We are creating, marketing, selling at art shows, shipping to galleries,...the list goes on and on. Just don't forget to remember what a great life you have and be thankful that you're so busy.
What moments did you savor today?

Other Stuff:

I Savor Each Moment of Each Day
A Healthy Attiude

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, June 27, 2011

Atlanta Clay's Birthday Party

This past weekend Atlanta Clay celebrated their second year in business with a party only they could throw (pun intended).  The party was a Tiki theme including a nice Tiki Bar with volcano punch and a keg of beer right next to a food table full of wonderful treats made by many of the guests.  The nice thing about potters is that many of them are really great cooks too.
After letting us enjoy the food and the bar we started playing games including blindfolded hand building and a clay version of Pictionary.  I gotta tell you it's really fun to watch otherwise competent artists try to make sculptures under a time limit and without being able to see.  It was really a hoot as was clay Pictionary which tends to be a really fun game anyway as long as it's not over played.
The evening ended in a raffle which included prizes like soap, t-shirts, glazes, a banding wheel (generously donated by Shimpo) and the grand prize of one ton of clay.  I tried hard to win the clay but the kiln gods or tiki gods or someone wasn't smiling on me and I didn't win.  I did however win some glazes so look for even more colors on my clay pallet.
Ton of Clay Winner-he's a happy man
I can't wait to see what happens next year.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Social Media Selling

Social media appears to be here to stay, at least until the next best thing comes along.  It is a fine way to keep in touch with people and make new acquaintances, and tell people what cool and interesting (to you at least) stuff you are doing.  I use it to share my work and to see what other artists are doing.  I've actually gotten a few glaze recipes from other potters on Facebook.
If you listen to the marketing experts they will tell you that social media is a great way to connect with customers.  It's not difficult at all to find 100 blogs that tell you the best way to leverage these sites to create brand recognition and millions of dollars in income.  Well, maybe a few dollars if not the possibility of millions.  I know I'm doing things wrong because I have yet to have one sale from a Twitter follower.  That may be my fault since I don't spend much time being social on Twitter.  To me it seems to be a great place to find links to blogs and other interesting (and some not so interesting) web sites.  I've joined a few groups on LinkedIn, some have meaningful discussions, some just try to share facebook "Likes."  Frankly, I'd rather someone really like my work than just like me so I'll like them back.  It just sounds like third grade to me.
As you may have noticed, I have a like button on this blog.  If you like the blog and want to click the button I'll be very happy.  If nobody clicks it that's ok, I'm not going to go take a bath with the toaster just because nobody clicks my "like" button.
I would love to know what your experience with growing your customer base using social media has been.  If you sell your art or something else and use social media as a means to help gain those sales please take a minute to answer this short survey, I'll post the results on this blog and all my social sites after a few days.
Thank you in advance.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pottery of the Mississippian Indians

In Monday's blog about the Etowa Indian Mounds I promised you I'd post some pictures of the pottery that is in the museum. Here they are with apologies about the quality of the pictures. It's best not to use a flash when taking pictures of old relics that are under glass because of the degradation that occurs to the art and the reflection on the glass.
This piece is a water jug.  It's a pretty good size and would likely have needed two hands to pour when it was full.  Since the people lived on a river it didn't have to be too large as water was readily available nearby.
This vessel was interesting in it's lack of ornamentation and in the angle of the neck.  This piece is most likely built with coils but I'd like to throw something this shape.
It's great that we can still see the color on this pot.  The indigenous people made an ocher stain to decorate the pots.   Today, I use an ocher glaze.
The neck of this pot is amazing, it looks like the head of a hawk to me.  We still have a few Red Tail Hawk and Cooper's Hawks in the Atlanta area.  A Red Tail Hawk lives near me, she's beautiful in flight.
I was unable to get a good angle for photographing this pot without getting that awful glare but you can still see the intricate carving on this piece.  The inside is actually rather smooth but you can still see signs of the hands of the maker.

Other Stuff:
Georgia Indian Pottery Type Page 
Lost Worlds
Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, June 20, 2011

Etowa Indian Mounds and Spring Place Pottery

This weekend was the first anniversary party for Spring Place Pottery and Artists Gallery on Main Street in Cartersville, GA.  They honor me by carrying some of my work along with the pieces of some really great regional artists so I really wanted to attend this event.  Since we were near the Etowa Indian Mounds Historic Site I also wanted to go there and explore, besides, it was a great day for a picnic.
When you first enter the site you can go through a small museum and watch a short video to learn about the mounds and the people that inhabited the region starting about 950 AD.
 These effigies are part of the museum, they are sculpted from marble and are in remarkably good condition.  I'd love to learn about the symbolism of them.
 This is one of the three mounds that have been excavated at the site. There are six or seven mounds but only three have been excavated to date.  In times of use the houses of important people or buildings for meetings would have been atop these mounds.  Not only would this give a good view over the village plaza and into the woods on the river bank but it would also provide protection from flooding.
This is a replica of wattle and daub house that the indigenous people would have lived in.  It's a great use of Georgia clay.  I started thinking about how I might use clay from the area in my own work (besides the Lizella clay that I currently use on occasion).
This is me and two of the barn series of plates that are at Spring Place Pottery.  I'm smiling so big because of the big bag of pottery I had in my hand.
I'll show you more pictures of the Indian pottery and the pieces we bought on another day.

Other stuff:
Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site
Mississippian Indians
Mississippian Indian Pottery
News Article about Spring Place Pottery

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Anniversary Party

Spring Place Pottery is having a first anniversary celebration.
Please join us on Saturday, June 18, 2011.
There will be cake and coffee as well as door prizes donated by the artists.
Extended shopping hours - 10:30 am to 7pm.
The gallery features work of over 35 local and regional artist.
Save 10% on select artwork
15 E. Main Street, Cartersville, GA  30120

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, June 16, 2011

John Bauer Thoughts on Being a Potter

I found this article about South African potter John Bauer and was inspired to learn more about him personally. He's really an interesting man who is not only an artist but a wheelchair activist too. Having had to spend some time in a wheelchair myself I appreciate his activism.
Here's a short video about some of his thoughts on pottery.

Other Stuff
Modern Artist Gallery
Wheelchair Etiquette
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tea Ceremony Bowls

Here are some tea ceremony bowls that I made for the wood firing at Hambidge.  I attended a workshop with Akira Satake last year and tried to incorporate his teachings about the tea ceremony bowls into the pieces.  I think I may have succeeded with a few of them.
I'll probably end up keeping them.  It seems that I can't sell very many pieces that I feel incorporate the Japanese aesthetic.  I even made a couple of Sake bottles that have lingered in my Etsy store for some time, even after I sold the Sake cups.  At Art-B-Que a Japanese woman looked around my booth and (unsolicited) told me that I did a great job of capturing the aesthetic.  This made me feel really good but it doesn't bring me any sales.  I think maybe its just not what my typical customer wants.
In the winter I'll often have some herb tea in a tea bowl like one of these.  It's a great way to relax at the end of the day.  In the summer I'm more southern and drink sweet tea with lots of ice.
What pieces do you make just for the love of making them?

Other Stuff:

Japanese Tea Ceremony
Presentation Zen
Seven Principles of Japanese Aesthetics

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What I'm Doing When I'm Working

Life as an artist is very different than life in the corporate world where so much time is spent in an office or cube pretending to work while checking out a favorite social media site or reading peoples blogs.  Artists don't NEED a crackberry although many of us would be lost without an iPhone for the camera/video and credit card apps we also tend to believe we could turn it off if it had such a switch.

Artists work differently, sometimes we are in our studios busily creating or at our computers marketing ourselves and our products or doing bookkeeping or any number of other tasks related to running a business but we also work while we are doing other things.  No, not like the annoying person standing behind you in the checkout line who is trying to make the biggest and loudest sales deal, I'm talking about writing in journals, drawing in sketch books and going for walks.  I can't tell you how often I've been inspired by some architectural element or (dare I say it?) something in nature that I see while taking a walk with the dogs.  Sometimes I'll be thinking about a new form or surface decoration and realize that I'm just staring into space.   Try telling your corporate VP that daydreaming really is work.  If you work for a creative type you may get a promotion, someone else and you may get a pink slip.
I'm curious, what kind of work can you be seen doing when you're not really looking like you're working?

Other Stuff:
Creativity Portal Find ideas for arts and crafts, creative living, writing, and prompts–or if all else fails, get creativity coaching.
Logic Puzzles. Solve these free timed, logic puzzles that provide an easy-to-use solving grid.
StumbleUpon takes you to web pages, photos, and videos handpicked by your friends and like-minded people.
Planet Sark website about creativity and creative action.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Summer Swan Invitational

Swan Coach House Gallery

Swan Coach House Gallery
3130 Slaton Drive
Atlanta, GA 30339

404 266 2636
Tues. - Sat. 10 - 4 

Opening reception:
 Thursday, June 9  6-8 pm
  The Summer Swan Invitational
Contemporary Southern Pottery and Handmade Objects 

Sponsored by
 Sarah Kennedy

Luba Sharapan
Luba Sharapan
Debora Muhl
Deborah Muhl

Robert Gardner
Robert Gardner

On Thursday, June 9, the Swan Coach House Gallery and the Forward Arts Foundation is pleased to open the exhibition, The Summer Swan Invitational.  With this show the gallery launches its inaugural summer exhibition with over 60 regional artists. Each summer, we plan to invite a guest co-curator to select work for a section of the exhibition.  This year the gallery will be set-up as an evolving exhibition space where artwork may be purchased and taken home, and then replaced with new work.

Our first guest co-curator is Erik Haagensen of Mudfire Clayworks & Gallery in Decatur. Erik has curated the functional pottery part of this show. About the artists he has selected, he says, "I look to capture the vibrancy of the contemporary studio pottery movement; standing in awe of the variety of directions these artists have imagined clay. My selection largely honors teachers, who share their knowledge so this ancient art form may be continually reinterpreted for modern living."

"In my role as co-curator", Marianne Lambert says, "I searched for interesting and amusing handmade objects.  I've included some wonderful artists who work in a variety of mediums including wood, metal, found objects, textiles and sweet grass.  While I have chosen some clay pieces, the work is more sculptural and object-oriented than Erik's selections."

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ginger's Birthday Party

This weekend we celebrated the first birthday of our newest rescue dog, Ginger. Since she's a rescue we don't know the exact date of her birth but the house was clean and I had just pulled this beautiful cake plate out of the glaze kiln so it seemed like the thing to do.
Ginger is a very cute Miniature Pincher who was rescued a few months ago as she ran up a busy Atlanta interstate one Saturday morning. It was a pretty day and Janet and I were on our way to a friend’s house in my truck because we were to help our friend prepare for an upcoming move. Just as we were approaching the entrance ramp to the highway I saw this little puppy in the middle of the street. We stopped the truck and called to the dog but she was so scared she just kept running across the street, which leads to the entrance ramp of the interstate highway. I yelled and minivan driver saw her, the passenger got out and tried to catch her but she was not about to be caught, instead she headed across several lanes of traffic. This dog wanted to run in the fast lane. I followed in the truck fearing that I was going to watch this poor dog get run over by a car or worse, a semi. Thankfully the minivan had not given up hope and was trying to block traffic to protect the dog. I did the same and soon four other vehicles were surrounding the puppy while some passengers even tried to catch her on foot. After about a mile of running on the interstate (and who knows how much before that), she stopped underneath someone's SUV where one of the drivers was able to catch her. The problem now was as he held her in his hand she held him in her teeth, she was terrified and some dogs bite when they are scared. I suggested he put her into the back of my truck because she could be safe there (I have a cap to keep my booth set up out of the elements when I'm going to a show) while we humans were safe in the cab of the truck. I drove her to my vet where after 45 minutes of getting to know each other and a half a bag of treats while she was learning to trust me we were able to have her scanned for a chip and examined.
After much failed searching for her owner we have gotten her fixed and chipped and she is now in her forever home, mine.

Other Stuff

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Damn Right I Got The Blues

June 4, 2011MudFire welcomes a talented group of sculptors and potters for our first color-themed exhibit in the key of blue. The show features 20 artists invited from across the country. We look forward to their investigations into this most contentious of colors. Cobalt, the base of most fired blues, perhaps the ceramicists best friend? Come take a look and ponder the effects of a multitude of blues on clay.
We'll kick off the exhibit with a celebration and artist reception on June 4, 2011 from 5:00 - 9:00 pm. Did someone say refreshments?
Work will post in preview mode by June 2, and will be available for purchase starting 10:00 am on Saturday, June 14, 2011.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery