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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