Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Multitasking Creativity

My sister-in-law is an artist also, her major was interior design but, being a creative, she also has lots of other creative projects going on, often several at one time.  This is true of many of the members of Mudfire too, they are doing pottery part of the day, maybe knitting at night, and using culinary arts to make terrific dinners for their families.  It seems like we don't, or maybe even we can't channel our creativity to just one outlet.  Yet I read blogs where people are concerned about this and feel like they should be single focused.  Then I remember Julia Cameron telling us in The Artists Way that we should be taking ourselves on artists dates and playing with other creative outlets.

I talk to people that hate to glaze and people that love to create interesting surface decoration.  For some it's creating the form that matters, the rest is all just window dressing.  For other people the form is simply the canvas for the design.  But when people look at a piece of pottery they often see either the glaze or the form first, then notice the entire piece as a whole.

Drawn, Carved, Horse Hair, Glazed Raku Vase

I guess if you don't like to glaze you should think about that and try to figure out what sort of surface decoration would be interesting to you, then play with that until you enjoy finishing the piece as much as you enjoyed starting it.  The same hold true if you don't care so much about the form; find forms that are interesting to you, maybe sculpting would be interesting with your special surface decoration.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that creating art should be fun.  If you don't like a certain aspect of it then start playing until you find something you love.  Chances are you're creative enough to find or invent something.  Think about your other creative outlets, how can you bring elements from that into your pottery?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good Friends

Since it was a holiday weekend I had not really intended to do any work.  I had plans to enjoy friends, enjoy a book and do some house cleaning (fun).  But I received two messages on my voicemail that changed those plans a little bit.  A woman called me from Charis Books & More where she had seen a set of goblets I have there and wanted to know if I had some mugs with the same glaze.  About an hour later I got a call from At The Collective, the same two women were there, they found a mug that they liked but wanted to know if it was part of a set.  Clearly they like my pottery.

I contacted the women and was told that they had friends in Alabama who had lost their house and everything in it to a fire.  They had lived in the house for about 25 years, maybe you can imagine the loss they must have been feeling.  But they seem to have good friends who were interested in making them a care package that consisted of some hand made pottery.  The fire victims enjoy drinking tea so a couple of nice mugs and a teabag coaster seemed like a nice gift that would help them find some pleasure.  They also found a nice serving bowl to go into the care package and I threw in a small berry bowl that had a complementary glaze to the pieces that were purchased.

As much as I feel bad for the people that lost everything in the fire I know they will be okay because they have such caring friends.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Cave

I just finished reading "The Cave" by Jose Saramago, I highly recommend it.  Saramago's writing style is a little difficult to read.  He doesn't use quotation marks and paragraphs may unfold over several pages, it feels like stream of conscience writing in some places.  It's a style that you may have to get used to while reading his works but it didn't take me long to adapt.   The story is about an elderly potter named Cipriano Algor who lives in a rural village with his adult daughter.  He sells his pottery to The Center which felt to me like what Wal-mart might want to be.  It's a live, work, play, shop area that is God-like and ever growing.   The book starts with Cipriano bringing a van load of pots to The Center but being told that the people don't want his pots anymore, they prefer plastic.

This book addresses the human dilemma's we all see around us, people wanting what they can't have but other people spurning that same thing are frequently seen in the story.  It also makes me think about what we do to ourselves when we give large corporations more and more power. The Center, although looking like a paradise, deprived the people of creativity, curiosity and freedoms, not to mention the sky and fresh air.

Obviously this is not a light read, it's full of philosophy and depth but it also has a good bit of humor and love.  It feels like one of those books I'd like to re-read in the future.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm Inspired

Have you ever woke up in the morning with your head so full of ideas you could hardly contain them?  That's what happened to me this morning.  Being of a certain age I know if I don't get these ideas down on paper I'll forget them before the first cup of coffee has been drunk.  Thankfully I keep a notebook next to the bed so I could grab it and start writing and drawing my ideas.  Now that I have them on paper I need to get them into clay.

I don't want to discuss what the ideas are just yet, suffice to say they have something to do with this work and some beer mugs I'm making.

Mishima and Horse Hair Raku

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Horse Hair Raku

On Sunday I did a raku firing, the weather was perfect before the rain. I was a little concerned about this one because I had carved all of the pieces and I didn't know how that would turn out.  Raku is always a bit of a crap shoot but I didn't want all of these pots to break, or amy of them actually, after I had spent the time carving and inlaying the slip.  I got lucky, none of them broke.  I'm really pleased with the way they turned out.
Mishima Horse Hair Raku
It seems appropriate to carve horse into horse hair raku but it also seems a little cliche, if that can be possible with mishima on horse hair pots.  I've also started carving some birds of prey so those may be on the next series.
Altered Horse Hair Raku Pot
This is one of my favorites, it was thrown then altered. While it was still green and a bit damp I applied the tera sigillata then burnished the piece, after that I carved the horse and inlayed the black slip. It was bisque fired then I glazed the inside with Rick's Turquoise raku glaze. Then I fired it in the raku kiln, removed it from the kiln and immediately burned the horse hair onto the pot. You can click the link below to see how the horse hair is applied.

You can understand why I didn't want this to break.

Other Stuff:
Horse Hair Raku Video

Monday, May 21, 2012


Sometimes things just feel like they are going your way.  Don't you love that feeling?  Even if you don't know exactly what's going to happen, you just feel really positive and like serendipity likes you. Sometimes you just see the signs.

Sunday it rained here, one of those clean smelling rains that makes you think of mountain air.  Penland often smells like that when it rains, I went there in my mind just by breathing.  When the rain slowed and the late afternoon, eclipse covered sun came out we looked for the rainbow and found it.  It ended at our front walkway.  You can just see it in this picture if you look close enough.

Rainbow Ending In My Front Yard

If that wasn't enough, today I got my prize from fellow potter and blogger Gary Rith's blog contest from last week, 4 four leaf clovers!

Do you think I should buy a lottery ticket?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Doing My Civic Duty

On Saturday I did my civic duty by doing volunteer work for the East Atlanta Beer Fest.  Janet and I have been volunteering for this event for about 5 years now.  Not only is it really fun, we get to drink some tasty beverages and we do help to raise money for the village.  Last year the beerfest commitee was able to give $80,000 in grant money to community projects and organizations in the Village.  It's something that keeps our little section on Atlanta strong.   It's also a really good time.

Wasted Potential
Here's some of the day's entertainment, they were a really fun group with a surprising amount of talent for a band named Wasted Potential.

Here are some of the nicest looking port-potties that I have ever seen.  I did not, however, go inside of them, volunteers got to use the real rest rooms inside the air conditioned rec center.  Another benefit of volunteering.

Since I didn't have a hang-over today I went over to Mudfire for a raku party.  All of my pieces were test pieces.  I'm really very happy with the results.  I should have them posted in a day or two.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Casserole Lids

The other night we had mac and cheese for dinner. I love mac and cheese, do you? It's one of my favorite dishes.  The recipe calls for it to be baked in an uncovered casserole, I seem to sell all of them but have kept a few covered casseroles (usually they are seconds).  That's not a problem, just cook it with the lid off.  IF we have leftovers they can be easily covered with the lid and put into the fridge.

Casserole in poor lighting

We didn't have to do that with this batch. But since the lid had been out of the cabinet it got Janet thinking.

Casserole Lid being used as a bread tray

So last night she used the lid as a serving tray.  I love it when people get my design ideas.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Don't Blame Your Partner

I've noticed a trend recently when dealing with partnerships.  It seems that when a business is a partnership and something is messed up, like nobody responded to my phone call or email, the person I'm talking to will say "I thought my partner had taken care of that."  What that tells me is that you don't have a really good partnership and maybe I should think twice about doing business with you and your partner.  We can argue that we have lots of ways to communicate quickly with each other, so much so that things get lost in the flood of email, phone calls, text message and snail mail, just to name a few.  But as someone who is doing business with you it still feels like bad business and a poor excuse.

One merchant that sells my pottery sometimes can't respond to an email as quickly as they would like.  But they have never given me the excuse that they thought the other partner responded.  They simply deal with my email as soon as they can and if it's been a while, they apologize for the delay.  They don't waste their time or mine with excuses.  We all really know the reason, everyone is very busy.  I also know that they will get back to me as soon as they can, they have set that precedent.  I trust them.  I understand a little bit about their end of the business and I respect their time and needs and they return the favor. 

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Okay Monday

I still like Mondays, that's one of the many nice parts about being a potter.  Normally on Mondays I'm pretty charged up to go into the studio and start throwing some new pots but yesterday was different.  Yesterday Janet had the day off (she took a comp day) which meant we did not wake up to the sound of NPR on the clock radio, the dogs even let me sleep in a little bit, so I woke up feeling pretty rested.  At about 10am we went to Ria's Bluebird for an awesome breakfast then set up to run a few errands.  Isn't that what happens on so many days off from work, you end up running errands?  Besides the usual banking and grocery shopping we stopped at Michael's Arts & Crafts Store to get a tie dye kit; I have a shirt I want to redecorate.

On the way home we decided to stop at The Midway Pub because they were doing a cask beer tapping.  We were there a bit early for that but not too early to convince some friends to come hang out with us.

After a nice beer and visit we headed home to do some gardening and chillin' with the pups.  It was a really nice Monday.  How was yours?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rain, Rain...

The sound of rain, something we don't hear enough in Georgia anymore, it's cleansing and rejuvenating,  even romantic, it's something I've rejoiced over enough to dance in.  But not today.  Today it's another insult in an already miserable weekend.  Yes, you guessed it, this show is not going very well.  Okay, that's an understatement, this is going down as the worst show to date.  So even though I know I'm not supposed to break down early I'm planning my exit strategy.  I'm not worried about the promoters, I'm unafraid of not being invited back, I'm not intending to ever go back to this show.  Besides, they haven't event pretended to notice that I'm there.  It's possible they don't want to hear me complain about my booth being put across the sidewalk from another potter.  I think it's bad form but she's a very nice woman and her work is much different than mine, except it's wheel thrown, largely functional pottery also.  I assume if we were next door neighbors we'd become friends.  She's been doing this for many years, I'm sure I could learn a lot from her.

I've sold two pieces so far this weekend.  That has covered less than 50% of my entry fee not including the cost of making the pieces and my time.  So many people have come into my booth, ignored my greeting and walked back out after a few minutes of looking around.  It's just rude.  I understand if people are engaged in a conversation with friends that they might not hear me.  I understand that some people may suffer from hearing loss or some other problem that prevents them from hearing me.  But the majority of people shouldn't miss my greeting in a quiet booth.  I wonder if they are afraid that if they respond to my greeting they might see me as a human being who has put a part of herself into her art that they have no intention to buy.

I'm really pretty introverted, I'm usually quite happy to go unseen and unheard but I'm finally feeling a strong direction in my art, I've got this entire theme planed which will tie my functional work nicely with the horse hair raku.  I've got some really beautiful, well made pieces in this show.  And truth be known, the feedback that I have gotten is comments about how beautiful my work is.  It's not nice enough to buy, these are the parting comments.  That feels better than being ignored completely but not as nice as someone who truly loves a piece.  Even if they don't buy it, I love to see that person that really enjoys a piece.  I've not seen that enough this weekend so I've let these people make me feel invisible and worthless.  Did you ever make a boat out of newspaper and sail it down the currents in the gutter?  I want to make one, clime aboard and sail away.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, May 11, 2012

Colors Festival of Arts Roswell, GA

May 12 10am - 6pm
May 13 10am - 6pm

Mother's Day Weekend of 2012 will bring lots of "colors" to the historic Town Square.
The beautiful flowers of spring will combine with beauty created from sparkling glass, an array of paintings, photography, captivating jewelry, whimsical sculptures and a wide array of original arts and crafts the entire family will find enjoyable.
Browse to your heart's content and purchase those items you hear calling your name. If you haven't found the perfect Mother's Day gift yet, don't fret …. Mom is sure to find something she will love at the Colors Festival of Arts.
Sponsored by the Roswell Junior Woman's Club the event is their major fundraiser for the year, with proceeds going back into community projects and causes they sponsor.

In 2012, the Colors Festival of Arts will celebrate its 22nd year of presenting this community event that has become a traditional way for many families to celebrate "Mom." Only fitting, since many of the Roswell Junior Women's Club members who put on this event are mothers themselves.
Artists and craftsmen arrive from areas around the Southeast, joining with Roswell and North Fulton artists to present a magnificent show. Entertainment is scheduled throughout the day and ranges from Storytelling to vocalists, instrumentalists to dance performances. An array of festive food vendors are on hand to satisfy the appetite.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, May 10, 2012

To Color or Not To Color?

This is my first side handled tea pot. That seems like a strange thing to say but I've really only put handles on the back of my teapots. I like the look and feel of it but, of course, being the first one I'm being overly cautious with it. I also carved a bird sitting amongst some Dogwood flowers as you can see in the pictures.
Dogwood Flowers on Teapot
Side Handled Teapot with Bird
It's been bisque fired and now it's glazing time and I'm debating about what to do.  Glazing can be so scary, it's so easy to mess up a nice piece with a bad glaze job.

I'm considering doing a little blush of pink on the flowers and maybe a little bit of green in the leaves, just lightly, like a water color.  Or I may just want to leave it black and white like the plates, bowls and cups I made last month.  I would glaze this teapot with the blue and green ash glazes that I use and it would then match the pieces you can see in the picture here.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Amendment 1

Many of you who read this blog are from North Carolina, and many of you aren't but are hearing in the news and other places that Amendment 1 passed there today.  This new law is essentially a hate crime which I hope will be repealed.  In the meantime I'm also seeing lots of negative stuff on Facebook and Twitter about the people of North Carolina. The thing is, it's only true of some people and not all.  Sadly the stereotypes are being tossed around.  I'm guilty of the same.  Because of my experience at places like Penland, Asheville, and even High Point I tend to see North Carolina as a wonderful, beautiful place.  I stereotype it into being a great place, where I would love to live.  I forget that not everyone there is like those of you I have gotten to know.  So I'm saddened by this vote and shocked back into reality.

I appreciate that some of you did vote against the bill, I want to thank many of you in advance for the fight you will have to help repeal Amendment 1.  I apologize to you for being grouped in with the people who are less liberal, you will be included in the name calling just for where you choose to live.  I know, I get the same abuses here in Georgia.

A petition has been started already to get the law repealed.  If you go to:


and sign the petition I'd appreciate it.  If you share it with your friends to help get more signatures I'd appreciate that too.  If you call or send a letter to your local politicians you'll have my undying love.  If you care, even just a little, you have my friendship.  Please feel free to tweet, post to Facebook, or Pinterest, etc.  Thanks

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Gandhi

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Top 10 Art Schools

I'm taking a few days off from blogging but I've got a guest writer who has come up with this list of the top 10 art schools for you.  Some of the schools here surprised me, how about you?

If you have a strong creative drive there’s no better way to unleash your powers than by developing a creative career. Going to an art school if a great way to land a creative job, especially if the school trains you well and has a great reputation that can land you your dream job. The top ten art schools according to the fine art school rankings from US News are:

1. Yale University, New Haven, CT
Specialties include: graphic design, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

2. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Specialties include: ceramics, industrial design, multimedia and visual communications, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Specialties include: ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, multimedia and visual communications, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

4. University of California–Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Specialties include: ceramics, graphic design, multimedia and visual communications, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

5. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Specialties include: ceramics, graphic design, multimedia and visual communications, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

6. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
Specialties include: graphic design, multimedia and visual communications, painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture.

7. Carnegie Mellon University,  Pittsburgh, PA
Specialties include: graphic design, industrial design, multimedia and visual communications, painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture.

8. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Specialties include: ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

9. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Specialites include: graphic design, multimedia and visual communications, painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture.

10. Columbia University, New York, NY
Specialties include: painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

Getting into these schools isn’t easy and there are many other great art programs to choose from. When researching what schools best fit your needs you should consider how much it costs to attend the school, whether the school offers programs in the areas of your interest, and whether the school’s location and cost of living is affordable and desirable. You may not want to attend a school in the flatlands if your one, true desire is to become a landscape painter. There are many other important factors to consider when choosing what school to attend based on your individual needs. Whatever you choose, keep those creative juices flowing and don’t stop reaching for your dreams!

About the Author
Cat Y. is a writer for AspiringNurse.com.If you are interested in a nurse salary  or becoming a pediatric nurse, this site can help you immensely. 

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, May 7, 2012


This peony bloomed the other day.  Unlike Meredith, I did not cut it and put it in a beautiful vase.  I left it outside so, as I mentioned in my comments, my neighbors could enjoy it also.  But that got me thinking that I could share it with you too.

Peony in My Garden

I wish you could smell it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Art-B-Que - Avondale Estates, GA

May 5th 10am - 11pm

May 6th 10am - 6pm

Join us May 5th and 6th for our FREE outdoor festival in Avondale Estates, GA! Great local bands, wonderful Southern based artists, good beer, huge selection of food vendors and fun for all!

This year I will be sharing a booth with fellow ceramic artist Lindsey Elsey. A large selection of great pottery is assured.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Thursday, May 3, 2012

French Butter Keepers

One of my hottest selling items are my French Butter Keepers.  Very often someone will come into my booth looking for one, or once they see them they think it's a great idea and want one.  Many people like the one they bought so much they come back to buy another one to give as a gift.  It seems like a lot of people like fresh tasting, soft butter that they can spread on bread or toast without the bread ripping.

So what is it and how does it work.

It's a pretty simple concept, you smoosh the butter into the top section of the butter keeper and put a little water in the bottom section.  The water creates a seal which keeps the butter fresh even when it's sitting on the counter.  I always recommend that you change the water every 5 - 10 days depending on how warm you keep your home.

A customer did ask about the water sticking to the butter.  I've never known this to be a problem.  The butter is upside down in the water so it shouldn't pick any up, besides, butter is slippery and repels moisture.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Do You Want From A Promoter?

This weekend a man walked into my booth, looked at my work then asked if he could have my card so he could send me an email.  I was so glad he asked.  Had he read my blog post about the woman who spammed me from my biz card?  I asked him what he wanted to email me about and he told me it was for a show called WestFest.  I'm already on the list so I asked him about it.  You see, the invitational email was interesting but I still had my doubts.  The invitation told me what a great area the show was going to be in and what was expected of me but it didn't tell me everything I was paying for.  I was very active on the committee that put on the Telephone Factory Lofts Art Show and Sale last year, I know how expensive a show can be if it's done right (I'm assuming we did it right). The cost of running the show and advertising the show can be much larger than you might imagine.  But I want to know if the show is going to be advertised and how, if they are providing overnight security, if they are judging the work what is the prize.  I have been in shows where the prize was a certificate and a ribbon only.  That's fine, just let me know that's what to expect.
Booth Table By Lori Buff
Booth Table at Inman Park Festival
I really like shows where they send a follow-up survey asking what I liked and what could be done better.  It makes me want to go back next year even if the show wasn't the best one of the year.  They can't all be the best right?  But if the promoter is trying to make it great I'm happy to work with them.

What do you want to know from a promoter who is inviting you to a show or event?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Festival Tips - Multi Use Bucket

A while back I wrote this article about my tent weights.  One reader commented about bringing empty buckets then filling them with water at the show.  I thought this was a great idea and since the weather had gotten so windy for the Dogwood Festival (I didn't show there so I was not effected) last weekend I decided to bring a bucket or two to Inman Park along with my usual tent weights.

Festival Bucket
The only bucket that would fit in my truck was this repurposed cat litter bucket.  I don't even have a cat, go figure.  Anyway, the weather was beautiful with just a slight breeze so I hid the bucket behind the tent, which also happened to be near a sidewalk that was often used by the festival goers.

When I looked in the bucket on Saturday afternoon I saw that people were using it as a trash can.  I thought, "I can do that too" and did the same with my trash during the show then just emptied the entire thing into the nearest trash can when the show was over.  It actually made things convenient for me and kept the area around my booth nice and clean.  If the wind had picked up I could have dumped the trash when I was going to get water so that would not have been an issue either.