Thursday, September 27, 2012


One of the most challenging things about writing a blog is coming up with fresh and interesting content.  I love the community that has been developed thanks to reading and writing blogs and I don't want to lose that nor, especially by boring you to death.  So I'm trying to come up with some changes in format that will keep things interesting for you, the reader.

I am thinking about writing a "Meatless Monday" recipe each week, especially since we are supposed to be trying to avoid processed foods during the month of October.  Honestly, I think limited processed foods all the time is a really good idea, hopefully this initiative for October will be helpful in raising awareness.

I've thought about doing a Wordless Wednesday post like The Smart Cat does.  Her pictures are so great.  Of course with "wordless" in the subject I feel like I shouldn't comment or keep my comments quiet out of respect.  I know that's silly of me, it's just how I think and something to do with liking silence.
Hand crafted pottery mixing bowls
Nesting Mixing Bowls

I've also thought about writing a weekly "how to" post that discusses processes and techniques.  I might even make more videos in order to show the steps.

Then I thought that the best way to keep this blog interesting to readers is to ask you what you'd like to see here.  What would you be interested in reading about?


Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


A few days ago I read this blog post on saying "Thank You," then yesterday I read a facebook post that reminded readers how important is is to show compassion to others including strangers.  It's really easy to say "thank you" to a customer that purchases one of my pots or someone who comes into the booth and complements my work even if they don't buy something.  I usually send a thank you note with packages that I ship to customers and I always try to show appreciation to the gallery and store owners who sell my pottery for me.  But I rarely get a chance to say "thanks" to the people who make purchases through these galleries and stores or the person that wins a donated piece in a silent auction for charity.  Sometimes someone will walk into my booth and tell me they own something I made that they picked up at one of these places but that doen't happen often enough that I know I'm thanking everyone.

I could not survive as an artist without the customers who support me by purchasing the pots that I make.  I'm making them for myself and for the recipient and I often try to imagine who this person might be.  Sometimes I'm very surprised like when a 9 year old boy bought a shot cup.  He didn't have a drinking problem, he needed something to use to soak the reed for his musical instrument.  The fact that this young man would want to spend his money on handmade pottery to do that impressed me and changed my thoughts about who's buying my shot cups.  I thank him for the purchase and for changing my thinking.
Penland Remember Sign - Lori Buff
Remembering Friends

I'd like to thank all of the people who have and will purchase my pottery.  I could not do this without you.

While I'm expressing thanks, let my not forget my readers.  Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting and thanks for telling me that you do read my blog.  It's so often a surprise, because I can forget that it's not just the commenters who are reading.  Just like my pots, I create this blog for you all and for me but it wouldn't exist without you.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, September 24, 2012

Perfect Raku Day

The Raku Gods were happy with us yesterday. The weather in Atlanta was sunny and warm but not too hot, with just enough breeze to keep the smoke pushed away. We had quite a few people sign up for yesterday's firing, most of them new to the process. It seemed like everyone had a great time and got some nice pieces. You could not ask for a better raku day.

While waiting for the kilns to get to temperature I brought some pots outside where I decorated them while chatting with my fellow raku potters. It was nice to have the company and conversation. It's something that I occasionally miss while working in my own studio. Even though I'm normally very comfortable with the solitude it's just a really nice change to be working with other people and sharing our stories. Of course if I worked around other people all of the time I would crave the solitude of my own space. It'all perspective and balance.

How was your weekend?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wait Wait

If you listen to Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! on NPR this morning you'll here me and 40,000 other Atlantans laughing and having a great time at the Fabulous Fox Theater.  It was a fun show and it was really interesting to see a radio broadcast created.

Peter Sagal of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, September 21, 2012

Asheville In Atlanta

Tonight (Friday, Sept. 21, 2012) is the opening of the Asheville in Atlanta show at Mudfire Gallery.  I've seen most of the show and it is a great show.  Asheville is an amazing place where talent seems to thrive.  If you're in the area come to the opening tonight to meet some of the artists and have some birthday cake.  If you're not in the area you can still see the show and make purchases on line until November 18.

Speaking of Asheville, I'll be going up there for a long weekend soon.  I know a lot of the good pottery is here but I expect I can still find more.  I've been to Asheville a couple of times and know it will be lots of fun.  Of course I'm always looking for new things to do.  I've been to Blue Spiral Gallery and know that it is a great gallery that I'll want to visit again.  I've also read about Flock to the Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.  This looks like fun for a raptor lover.

Pottery Raptor Stein
Eagle Stein

Where do you like to go in Asheville?  I'm interested in knowing about your favorite places be they restaurants or attraction and events.  I might even go there.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Photographing Your Artwork

The piece is made, it's fired, it's glazed and re-fired the bottoms are smoothed and it just looks gorgeous. Another piece to be really proud of making.  Now it's time to set up the light booth and the camera, take a bunch of pictures from different angles, upload them onto the computer, maybe correct the lighting or white balance in photoshop so they look like the actual piece, crop, resize (are they ever the right size?), name and organize.  It can drive you crazy.  It almost seems like more work is put into taking good pictures of your art than in making the actual piece.  Of course I find throwing pots much more fun than doing this kind of photography which could be why it seems like less work.

Horse Hair Raku Lidded Jar
Horse Hair Raku Covered Jar

Having a good photo booth is one way of making things easier and a lot of artists have shared their set-ups on line (see the list below).  I'm grateful for that, I've learned a lot from them.  I have also set up some automation in photoshop to make some steps easier, like resizing the photos for my Etsy store or the web but it still seems like a bit of a drudgery.  Yes, it's not as bad as paying taxes or having teeth pulled but it's not something I tend to look forward to doing, even though I usually am very happy with the results.

What do you do to make this task easier and more enjoyable?

Other Stuff:

Emily Murphy's Studio and Photo Setup
D. Michael Coffee, Low Tech Photo Setup
How to Photograph Pottery on the Kitchen Table
How To Automate Anything in Photoshop
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Making Dragons

I threw a few Dragon Steins on Monday then carved them on Tuesday when they were dry enough to carve without harming them. They have to be at a state of leather hard but not too dry. Carving is actually a two step process because I don't feel comfortable carving them freehand just yet. So I trace them into the soft clay from a piece of cellophane that has the original drawing, after waxing over that drawing I use a couple of calligraphy pens to carve the lines deeply into the clay through the wax. When I add the colored slip into the carved lines the wax will make cleanup easier since the slip will (mostly) only go where I need it to be.
Pottery Dragon Steins
Drying Dragon Steins

These will stayed covered under plastic overnight so they could dry more evenly, that's also why they are sitting upside down. Then today they will be moved to the wire shelf until they are ready for the kiln.

Monday, September 17, 2012

East Atlanta Strut Success

It always feels good to have a successful art show, it feels even better when it's in my neighborhood.   This year the East Atlanta Strut was another success for me.  It happens the same weekend as the Atlanta Art's festival so I always struggle with the consideration of which show gets my application.  For the past three years it's been the Strut, mostly because it's right here, a mile from my house and many of my friends and neighbors go to it.  Every year they support me.  Could I do better at the larger show?  Maybe, but would it be as much fun?

Storm Trooper at East Atlanta Strut
Storm Trooper with an EAV Calendar
Pottery Dragon Stein by Lori Buff of Future Relics Gallery
Purple Dragon Stein

I sold out of dragon steins, they were very popular.  One nice man bought a green dragon mug and told me he was going to name the dragon Ed.  I will think of this man and Ed the dragon when I make new ones.

I hope you all had a great weekend also.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Saturday, September 15, 2012

East Atlanta Strut

I'll have my booth set up with lots of new pottery.  Come on by and enjoy the music, beer, parade and other fun.
East Atlanta Strut
Strut 2012

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Friday, September 14, 2012

Beer - Roger Jamison Stein

It's Friday and that means it's a great day for a beer. Okay, I think most days are a great day for a beer but Friday just seems like the perfect day for a beer. And what better way to enjoy one than in a wood fired mug made by Roger Jamison.

Pottery Beer Stein

I picked up this beer stein at Perspectives when we went there earlier this month.  It's got a generous handle but is very light weight.  It feels good in your hand.  I'm not sure exactly how much it holds, a 12 ounce bottle still leave ample room once the foam settles.  I would guess about a pint.  It should be a good mug to use when you've picked up a growler.

I would guess it would be a great mug for iced tea or coffee as you'd have plenty of room for ice and the beverage but I've only used it for beer.

Tomorrow is the East Atlanta Strut, come visit my booth if you're there.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What is a Community

I didn't write about the anniversary of 9/11 yesterday.  That was by choice, it's a hard day for me.  I grew up 15 miles away from where they were built.  I had family and friends work on the construction of the towers and work in the towers.  Some of them were inside when they fell.  In the days after the attack we came together as a community.  We helped dig, we supported friends and family, we gave our own blood to help others who needed it.  When I write "we" I mean the global "we," people from all over the world.  For a while we were a global community.

Then, of course, we had to go to war because of the attack and that community diminished.  People had to choose sides and find a collective group to hate in order to make sense of something so senseless.  Sadly, recent politics in America have continued to diminish community.  Both republicans and democrats are so busy trying to make us hate the other party that they are doing things that are very harmful to the people of this country.

What is the best way to win the war on terrorism?  I think it's by rebuilding that strong community we had for a while starting on 9/12.  What can you do to strengthen your world community?

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Casserole Day

Yesterday was casserole day in the studio and in the kitchen. Here's a picture of a couple of the larger casseroles I threw. Today they will get trimmed and I will add handles to the lids. I make the gallery towards the outer edge of the bottom part of the dish which makes it easier to get all of the food out of the casserole at dinner and make clean-up after dinner easier. The other benefit is that the flared edge also acts as a handle so you never have to worry about putting the casserole dish into the oven with the handles in the wrong position. Yes, I've don't this, don't ask how.

New Casserole Dishes - Lori Buff
Young Casserole Dishes

Any handmade casserole should be put into the oven when the oven is cold so the oven and the clay can warm up together.  Even though I use Highwater's Phoenix clay, which is designed to resist thermal shock and does so well enough to be used for my horse hair raku, it's still a really good practice.  It also actually saves energy because your cooking time is cut down a little.

We also had a delicious veggie casserole for dinner last night.  It looked so good I even remembered to take a picture.  I'll get the recipe together and post it soon.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bike Ride and Pow Wow

Sunday gave us perfect weather. Since the motorcycle is still in the kiln shed I thought it best to honor the day with a ride. We headed down to Indian Springs State Park which is the oldest state park in the country. It's got lots of camping and some hiking but it's main reason for tourism is the mineral springs that are supposed to have very strong healing powers. Being in riding gear and planing to get back on the bike, I stayed out of the water.  However, for many years people used to come from all over to enjoy the park.  Naturally the Native Americans were the first people to enjoy the springs then it was given away to the settlers in a treaty.  The settlers built several hotels there and made it a resort spot.  Many years and several fires later it's not a resort at all, just a small rural town with some heritage.  Yesterday the Native American's were celebrating their heritage near the park so we visited the Pow Wow to watch the dancing and listen to the drums and chanting.

This little girl was really into the dance.  She danced most of the dances in this colorful outfit.  Can you see the bells on her ankles?  They really enhanced the music and the dance.

Another man had several birds of prey including a semi-trained vulture. The trick was mainly to come when called which I can imagine is a tough trick to teach a bird. He did explain how important vultures are to keeping our environment clean and healthy. They are really, really an important part of our planet.

There were also tents with crafts people but nobody had any pottery.  This was disappointing but being on the bike prevents one from buying any pottery anyway.

How was your weekend?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Biker Mug

Here's a mug I made using the Dykes on Bikes logo I created several years ago for our ten year anniversary. I'll probably take this over to Charis Books and More.
Dykes on Bikes Mug
The logo is carved into the mug then the black lines are inlaid with slip, the rest of the color was added after the bisque firing using underglazes.  I then did some waxing to give a tattoo like effect on the clay.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Martha Grover Demo

One of the teacher's assistants for the Jim Lawton workshop I just attended at Penland was Martha Grover.  This presented a great opportunity for all the students in the class because she gives workshops also.  I think we all felt like she was an amazing added bonus.  Besides being a really nice, down to Earth person, she's a terrific potter.

Martha Grover Demos

We talked her into doing a demo so she and the other teacher's assistant, Bailey Arend did "dueling demos" where they both demonstrated something in their style of work and answered quite a few questions about their education, their views on pottery,where they wanted to go with their work, etc.  Both demos were really excellent, if you get a chance to go to a workshop that Martha Grover is presenting I think you should.  While you're waiting for a workshop you could order the DVD that was just released through the ceramic arts bookstore.  I haven't seen the DVD, and nobody has asked me to promote it, I simply suspect it will be good because of having met Martha and seen her working for two weeks at Penland.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

OCAF Perspectives 2012

This weekend was the opening of the Ocnee Cultural Arts Foundation's Georgia Pottery Invitational, Perspectives in Watkinsville, GA.  I love going to this show to wander through the isles and look at pots.  The variety of work must insure that their is something for everyone, you can find really amazingly ornate work and very simple, honest pottery sitting right next to each other.  It's fun, it's a lot, but not so much as to be overwhelming.

Perspectives Pottery Show

This picture is from On-line Athens (I forgot to take any pictures), it shows the old gym from the school where the show is held, it's where you get to see A LOT of pots.  In the main school building is a gallery with a couple of rooms of art that you should go see.  In the main gallery they display a piece or two from the invited artists along with a piece from that artists collection (not for sale).  I love this idea, it gives us an insite to what type of work inspires the potter.

I'm now reminded that I've haven't written any posts for the "Other People's Pots" series in a long time. I should get back to that.

The show runs through Sept. 19, 2012, the doors are open from 10am - 5pm and admission is free.  It's worth the trip for anyone in the area.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery