Thursday, August 30, 2012

Important Pottery Pieces

You may have seen some pictures of my dogs or remember me mentioning them in an article so you know I'm an animal lover.  Some customers have realized that too, some have commissioned me to make a memory vase using hair from a pet horse or dog, some have commissioned me to make urns for their pets.  I don't normally take pictures of these pieces as they seem really, really personal.  I did do a collaborative urn for a woman who asked me to create the urn and her friend who is a painter to do the decoration.  I'd love a picture of that piece to see the painting.

Today I had a conversation with another Etsy seller, she was complementing my horse hair raku.  She told me a story about how her Aunt had a horse that had to be put down.  The Aunt had a horse hair raku pot made from the mane and tail hair of the beloved horse and now has a piece of art that is very meaningful to her.  This story touched me and reminded me about how important a piece of pottery can be to someone.
Round Horse Hair Vase
Paws, Wags and Whiskers Pet Crematory also carries some of my pottery for their clients.  I consider it an honor.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Home Again

I made it home.  I actually got here Saturday evening and had a wonderful dinner with friends, it was nice catching up.  Then I did some catching up on laundry, errands and sleeping.  It's amazing how exhausting a couple weeks at Penland can be.  As much as I love the art, friends and energy there it's also nice to be home with Janet, friends and pups.
Do You Think Dori Missed Me?
Yesterday was spent catching up on glazing and dropping off pots at Mudfire for the Mugs for Jugs breast cancer benefit and the Clay Pride show that Kathy King is curating.  I can't wait to see these shows.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We started firing Gin Gin, the big salt/soda kiln last night. This is what she looked like after breakfast this morning.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Woman Pots

Today is the last wet working day, meaning anything we want to put into a glaze kiln needs to be complete by about 5PM today. Sooner would be better so they can dry.  I'll have some pieces ready for the glaze firing if I can get them dry without them breaking.

These pots are what I've been working on, Jim suggested that I make 3 - 5 so I can build on what I've learned from each piece.  The first one took a lot longer to make than the last.  I learned something from each pot and tried new steps to make them better.  I can tell the progression but I wonder if I will be able to in a few months.  I purposefully made each one different since no too people are exactly alike, even identical twins.  I also tried to make them look like real woman's bodies.  Venus has been done, there is beauty in our bodies even with lumps and sags and scars.  My hope is that people will see that in these.
Woman Pots
We are unloading Julia today, I have a tea pot and a couple of mugs in her, cross your fingers that the kiln gods were kind.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Field Trip From Penland

On Friday we took a break from the studio to go on a field trip to Bakersville, NC. We visited Crimson Laurel Gallery and Mica Gallery which is a new gallery that is a co-op owned by the potters of the Roan.  Both galleries had lots of exciting and interesting pottery.  Crimson Laurel's latest exhibit was of wood fired works.  I took this picture for Tracey Broome.  It's really great to see how art is helping to make this little town thrive.

Wood Fired Houses and Barns
From there we went to visit the studio and home of Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin, Suze was still at Mica but Kent showed us around the studio and told us how his chicken fat kiln worked including some of the eccentricities and funny stories of firing with this combustable. He then invited us into the house for delicious brownies and lemon aide. Of course we were all completely taken with the magnificent pottery collection.  This picture is just a very, very small sample.  I think we could have spent hours there inspecting all the pots.

How Many Potters Can You Name On These Shelves?
We left there really inspired to get back into the studio and create new pots, but first we unloaded Lucille. I only had one piece in the kiln and it was a test piece but I was pleased with what I learned about the glazes.

Today we unloaded a bisque kiln and one of my tea pots exploded in a really big way.  We are all very certain it was dry before it was put into the kiln and then the kiln candled for about 5 hours.  One other pot exploded also and that one was also made by someone that knows enough not to put wet pots into the kiln so we are pretty curious what caused the explosions.  Thankfully one of the tea pots I made did survive and I had time to make another one today.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Nick Joerling Visit

We had a visitor at Penland today. Nick Joerling is an old friend of Jim Lawton's (the instructor for this workshop) and one of my favorite potters.  It was a special treat for me as well as everyone else in the class.

Nick did a demo of some new pots he's working on.  These are some really new pots, he said he's only done these for two kiln loads.  The forms are inspired by a trip to some really interesting places out west.  I'll let the work speak for itself once he gets it out into the public.  It's really fun to see how the work is changing shape but still retains that animated quality that I love in his work.
Nick Joerling Demo
Today is field trip day then we unload Lucille.  I only have one test piece in the kiln but I'm still excited about the results.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's A Pitcher

Jim Lawton is the instructor for the class that I'm taking at Penland. He does a lot of wheel throwing and then altering. He loves words and letters which is his inspiration to his forms.  He has a background in teaching so the first couple of days we had assignments for the pieces we made.  I did the assignments and was happy with the knowledge and thoughts involved but I wasn't really happy with the results of the first piece.  I'm using it to test glazes.  The other piece has gotten quite a bit of praise but I haven't decided how I feel about it.  I may write about it after it's fired.

Then I came up with this design for a pitcher based on what Jim does.  It's another exorcize, I have no interest in making worth that resembles his this closely but it was a good way to play with seams and darts and the like.

Thrown and Altered Pitcher
Yes, it's thrown.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Head In The Clouds

This is the view from my window at the craft house at Penland School of Craft. It's a pretty cool old log building.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mountain Magic

The 27th Annual Penland Benefit Auction is this weekend and I've volunteered to help out. This is the 3rd year I've worked the auction, it's something I love doing because of the people that come here, the beauty of Western North Carolina and the magic that is Penland. Last night I felt the magic.

One of the other volunteers is a story teller, she was asked to tell a bed time story so a group of us gathered into a quiet corner under the big tent while she spun her tale.  Apparently it was her adaptation of an old fairy tale that has been told and retold for hundreds of years, each storyteller putting a spin on it based on their life experience.  One of the people who was there to listen to the story told us how hearing this story really influenced her whole body of artwork.  I was ready for a powerful tale.

As she was telling the story, although I was seriously into it I was also reminded of when I was in Toastmasters and trying my hand at storytelling, it's a difficult thing and this woman was doing the telling very well.  I was also thinking about how I would like the story to go in some parts.  If you think about a lot of fairytales they are, let's just say not really strong feminist examples, which also doesn't speak too well of the "heros."  I was not disappointed, the story was told in a way that made it so everyone truly could live happily ever after, often with the twists I was hoping to hear.

After the story ended we all thanked the storyteller and gave our words of how wonderful the story was to us and why.  Then she turned to me and said "I don't know you Lori, but I was feeling a lot of energy from you.  That helped to fuel the story."  How much of our lives do we create just by fueling the story?

Morning Mist Over The Mountain at Penland

Monday, August 6, 2012

iPad Photo Apps for Artists Under $2

It's fun to see how many artists are using iPads these days.  The great looking screen and ease of use makes them really handy.  And the fact that you can actually see photos and videos is really helpful.  They are also great to have a shows for taking credit cards or showing process pictures.  Their are also a lot of apps out there that are handy for artists.  I've compiled a list of a few of them that are under $2.  Some are even free which is a price I really like but it does come at a cost as the app normally comes with some advertising.  If you don't mind the ads some are really handy and fun.

You may have seen some Instagram  photos around the internet.  It's a photo filter app that has social media sharing capabilities.  It's got a really simple interface that you can use to view your friends images as well as share your own. 

Befunky is another photo filter app that may actually be more fun because you can add text bubbles and graphics to your images, it also has quite a few different artistic styles to choose from.  It's made for apple and android products plus it also has a web interface so you can adjust your pictures on your computer.
Made With Befunky

Adobe has released Photoshop Express which is a free app that's nice for making some minor changes to photos, for the real fun you need to give them some money.  It's a pretty easy interface and it does make a copy of the picture you've adjusted so your original is unchanged.  Nice.

CameraBag focuses on emulating styles and processes from some of the most interesting cameras of the past to enhance the mood of an image.  It cost $1.99.

PhotoPad is a free photo editing app with some very interesting features. You can rotate, crop and scale images and you can also adjust threshold levels, color, contrast and saturation.  I've just started playing with this one and have enjoyed it.  I'll probably write a review later.

FX Photo Studio HD is all about effects. Currently, the application offers photo editors 201 customizable effects to choose from additionally, FX Photo Studio offers standard photo editing features, such as crop, rotate, and flip. It allows you to upload edited photos to almost all the social networks.  It costs $1.99 but could be money well spent for all it includes.

Do you have any favorite apps?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery