Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Halloween

Black and Yellow Argiope
Writing Spider

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Family and Friends and Sandy

I grew up in Northern New Jersey.  My parents, one of my brothers and his family and many friends still live there and I know they are not having a great morning.  Over the next few days we will spend a lot of time on the phone if possible and checking email and facebook in the hopes that electricity or cell towers have been restored so we can communicate.  It makes me feel so helpless but really, what can be done?

It could never hurt to make some sort of donation to a disaster relief organization.  I've listed a few here but you may know more, please share your ideas.

My parents are older which often means wiser even if they don't know how to use an iPhone or the latest techno gadget.  They have taken precautions of stocking some filtered water, good beer and flashlight batteries.  Their refrigerator and pantry has never been empty.  They have stacks and stacks of good books to read.  But they also took this opportunity to help someone else and add some sunshine to the storm.  They are dog sitting.  They sit for this cute little dog who they absolutely love.  The owners of the dog live in a house that is powered completely by electricity, including the pump for the well water so if the power goes out they are living very primitively (in a very, very nice house).  So in the best interest of the dog my parents always volunteer to bring them to their house in bad weather.  It's no sacrifice, they LOVE this dog.

Other Stuff:

Red Cross
CERF+  Craft Emergency Relief
Bergen County Animal Shelter
Pet Finder Desaster Relief
AmeriCares Disaster Relief
Feeding America

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meatless Monday - Roasted Cauliflower with Medjool Dates, Olives and Rosemary

Holy Taco, one of our favorite restaurants in East Atlanta Village is not your typical taqueria.  The food has been called Mexican Fusion by some reviewer.  All I know is that it's good and it's often creative.  One of our favorite dishes is this roasted cauliflower with dates and olives.  It's a real treat for your tastebuds.  But they change the menu at Holy Taco seasonally so we can't always get it.  Of course the answer was to look up the recipe to see if anyone else was making this dish and I found it on a fun blog named Running with Tweezers.

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates and Olives

You should check out the site, she's got some articles about Atlanta but the blog's information is really more far reaching than just my fair city. Besides, this recipe is worth the click.  It makes a great main course or a side dish.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pottery Casserole Garden

Sometimes pots are beautiful but flawed. If you can't accept loss it's really hard to be a potter because it happens a lot. It seems that the better we get at our craft the more pots we reject. It has to do with knowing that they aren't perfect enough to present to our customers. But sometimes it's still hard to part with some of these pots.

What to do with these seconds that we still love?
Plant them!

Pottery Seconds in the Garden - Lori Buff
Casserole Garden
I planted these pots into the side of the hill by my studio then planted some draught tolerant, colorful, and hardy plants into them. The hope is that some of the plants will spill out of the casseroles turned planters and fill in the soil surrounding the pots.

Patience, it will happen with time.
Do you do anything creative with your seconds?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Horse Hair Raku Woman Bottle

Sunday was another perfect day for a raku party so that's exactly what we did at Mudfire.  It was a lot of fun with a perfect balance of new people and experienced raku artists.  I brought a few pots with the multi-colored terra sigillata surface treatment I've been doing lately.  This is the first one that I've done using the woman form.  I'm really happy with the way she came out and that she held together despite the thermal shock abuse that these poor pieces go through.  The black lines are from the horse hair that burns into the piece after it's removed from the very hot kiln.  To see the process go to my YouTube channel here.  I'll take better pictures of this piece to show you soon.

Horse Hair Raku Woman Vase
Horse Hair Raku Woman Bottle
The people who raku with much more smoke and fire were having a friendly debate about which is better, more paper or less. The more paper side argued that they got better results from the bonfire while the less paper people claimed just as nice results with less smoke and clean-up. If you raku where do you stand on this debate?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meatless Monday - Quinoa Chili

As the temperature starts dropping soups and chili's make their way onto the menu for the week.  Vegetarian chili is nothing new, you can find recipes and even cans of it everywhere.  The problem is that I don't care for most beans and most of those recipes have beens.  The solution is quinoa chili with lots of other veggies.  This is a very meaty chili for one that does not have any meat in it.  It's really hearty, warming and delicious.  You can add bean if you want, I don't but I'm sure it would be a terrific addition for those who enjoy them.

Quinoa chili recipe
Quinoa Chili with Cheese and Sour Cream
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 tblsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 poblano (or bell) peppers, roasted, seeded, peeled and chopped
2 medium zucchini chopped
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes 
1 8 oz jar of salsa
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder

Heat olive oil in a large heavy dutch oven, add onions and garlic and cook until tender (about 5 minutes). Add zucchini and peppers, cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes, salsa and spices and cook about another 10 minutes. 
Add quinoa and cook until heated through.

Serve as is or with sour cream, cheese, green onions or other assorted toppings.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Scarecrows in the Garden

It's October which means the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is decorated with highly creative and fun scarecrows.  Janet and I like to go to this every year because it's a lot of fun, the garden is open late so you can experience flowers that only release scent at night, creatures that only come out after dark and the scarecrows in the glow of a flashlight.  It's also were we went on our second date so it's a celebration for us.

Knightly Scarecrow at Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Sir Scares Alot
We are really are very lucky to have such a large and active botanical garden.  It's full of sculptures with exhibits changing regularly, an orchid house, tropical, high altitude and desert gardens.  I often feel like I'm on vacation when I'm in one of these areas. They recently installed a canopy walk through the woods that gives us a birds eye view of the forest and lots of ponds and fountains.  It's truly one of my favorite places in Atlanta.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

So Many Hats to Wear

When I was in my 20's I somehow started collecting baseball hats, but most of them were not from baseball teams, they advertised other things.  You've seen them displaying the logos for John Deere Tractors and the HRC.  Okay, maybe those two aren't going to be on the same hat but you get the idea. I'm not sure how this started, I guess I just started wearing one when it rained to keep water off my glasses and then people started giving me hats.

Red Woman Sculpture Pot - Lori Buff
Red Woman Vase - Reba

Now that I live in the desert southeast and don't have to protect myself from raindrops as much the hat collection has diminished greatly.  But that doesn't mean that I wear any less hats, they have just changed.  Instead of baseball hats I'm wearing the various hats of the self employed.  Those of you that own your own business know exactly what I'm talking about.  You're everything from CEO to janitor.  Today I have to finish sculpting one of the woman pots I made for the wood firing at Shorter University and then create a flier for my studio sale.  Where this seems similar, they are both artistic they are so different in process that it's always a bit of a weird transition for me.  Not that I don't love doing either one, it's just switching my way of thinking fairly drastically.  Do you make these types of transitions smoothly?

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Underglaze In Wood Firing

I've been invited to participate in another wood firing at Shorter University.  I'm really excited about it because I love the way wood fired pottery looks.  I'm making three more woman vases to go into the anagama, I just threw the cylinders for them yesterday, that's all, but I'm already totally excited about how they might look when they come out of the kiln.
Hand Crafted Pottery Dragon Stein
Dragon Stein

I also threw some steins that I want to decorate with dragons.  I do these by a combination of Mishima and painting with underglazes.  I suspect the Mishima lines will hold up to the heat of cone 10 but I don't know what the underglazes will do.  Luckily Amaco has a handy chart on their website:
Amaco Velvets high fire chart.  Of course it doesn't show what the colors will do in reduction so I may have to just pick something and hope for the best.  Have you ever used underglazes in a wood kiln?

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meatless Monday Butternut Squash and Ginger Muffins

It's hard to have an entirely meatless day without considering all your meals so today's recipe is for muffins. These can be made with almost any winter squash including pumpkin or you can use sweet potatoes. These are not only delicious for breakfast but they are great with chili also.

The recipe has a lot of room for variation which means you might be able to make these from foods you have on hand thus preventing a trip to the grocery store.

sweet potato muffin
Butternut Squash Muffing
1/3 cup chopped candied ginger, pineapple, dates and/or raisins
1/4 cup butter (melted) or vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup winter squash or sweet potato (cooked and mashed)
2 eggs or equivalent quantity of apple sauce
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of salt

Mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry in another, then combine the two mixing gently but thoroughly.  Spoon the batter into muffin tins then bake at 375F for 25 minutes until lightly browned.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Clay Pride

Kathy King is the curator of the latest show at Mudfire Gallery.  It's named Clay Pride and is a a celebration of the LBGT community.  The opening coincides with Atlanta's 42nd annual PRIDE festival.  I was honored with an invitation to be a part of this show and I'm in great company.  As with most things related to gay pride this show is very colorful, funny and heartfelt, insightful, affectionate and maybe just a little off-color.  Yes, it's possible to be colorful and off-color at the same time.

Atlanta Gay Pride Mug
Atlanta Rainbow Mug

The Mugs For Jugs breast cancer awareness fundraiser is still showing in the gallery so this is a great time to come out and visit.  I plan to be at the artist reception tonight (Friday Oct 12, 2012) from 5pm until 9pm and would love to see you.  If you can't make it to the show you can view and purchase pieces on line at www.mudfire.com.

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

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wanting To Go To School

After reading this article, and thinking about how brave this girl was when she spoke out about wanting to get an education and by thusly standing up to the Taliban I thought about how often I tried to stay home from school when I was a kid.  Any mothers that are reading this have probably experienced a time when her child faked an illness or something in order to stay home from school.

Schools in America can suck for a kid, they are not as fun as staying home and watching TV or playing video games.  When I stayed home from school, even if my mother banned the TV,  I had my books and I loved to read.  Plus schools are where the bullying happens.  I can't tell you how often I've heard or said "kids can be mean to each other."  We accept this as fact.  Honestly, I've not done much to try to change it, of course my kids are all dogs so it's different.

It wasn't until I got into High School and had a really good teacher in a field that I was really interested in learning that I became dedicated to school, that I became resistant at all cost to go to school rather than stay home.  You might guess that it was my ceramics teacher and class that created that change.  In those days, for that class, I might have stood up to the Taliban.  I was young and bullet proof, or so I thought.  It was really, really important to me.  Like it was to this girl, like it is to many girls in Pakistan, Afganistan, and lots of other countries where education is not just something that a child has to do.

Other Stuff:
Three Cups of Tea

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Americans seem to be obsessed with time.  We are always checking the time on our watches and cell phones.  We often seem to be running so late we will risk lives darting through traffic.  We take work home because we don't have enough time during the work day to do all our work.  New students are often asking me how long it will take for their new clay creation to dry and customers are often asking me how long it took to make something.  I'm never really sure how to answer this question.  Do you mean how long did it take to learn how to throw with any kind of proficiency?  Do you want to include the time waiting for the clay to dry.  Is drawing, carving, painting, glazing, and firing included?  Should I add in the time it took to apply for the show and set up my booth?

Ceramic Lidded Jar
Covered Jar

I'm sure people have different motivations for asking and I'm never insulted by the question, I just am unsure what to say.  I don't want to come across as being rude but it's just not a simple question to answer.  How do you answer this question?  

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

Monday, October 8, 2012

Meatless Monday Pizza

Some experts suggest that eating vegetarian at least one day a week is good for you and the environment.  I'm not sure if that's true or not but a bunch of cows, chickens and pigs seem to agree.  It was also suggested that we try to avoid processed foods in the month of October.  I try to avoid processed food most of the time so I have a bunch of recipes for vegetarian dishes that don't use any or few processed foods.  Oh, yeah, they are really delicious too.  I'm going to try to share one with you every Monday.

Home Made Pizza Recipe
Cheese and Tomato Pizza

I'm starting with pizza because homemade pizza is really easy and good.  You can throw a lot of different foods on top of one and it's usually amazing.  Get creative, red onion and butternut squash is more interesting than peperoni and it's delicious.  If you don't have any sauce how about a white pizza, or using salsa?  I often make pizza out of leftovers because it doesn't take a lot of toppings to sufficiently cover a pizza. In the warmer weather it's a great way to eat out of the garden.  If you're vegan you can get vegan cheeses that melt nicely.

I've posted an easy recipe for pizza crust here, you can freeze the dough, just make sure it's back to room temperature before you try to toss and stretch it.

Buon appetito

Friday, October 5, 2012

How Do You Get Organized?

I was recently talking to a gallery owner who was commenting how some artists, while very talented, are not always easy to work with because they aren't very professional.  Not that they were rude or anything like that, they were unsure of how to price their art or inconsistant with pricing and they were disorganized.  It sounds silly that with so many tools at our finger tips it would be difficult to be or stay organized, but it happens.  The best tool for helping to keep you organized will fail if you don't use it.  Yes, sometimes it will fail even if you use it, but not using it is a promise of failure.

To my way of thinking the tools that I'm most likely to use are easy to use but also give me ample options.  I want to be able to put as much information or as little as possible and I want to be able to share some of it.

As you can see from my website I use google calendar.  I like how it integrates with iCal, I can imbed it into my webpage and this blog and I can keep some calendar entries private while making others public.  You may want to know when a gallery show opens or when you can find me at a festival, you don't want to know when my next dentist appointment is.  But I can keep those all in the same place and just choose who sees them.

The other tool I'm enjoying is called Do It (Tomorrow), it's perfect for procrastinators.  You make a simple to do list, as you do the tasks you can cross them off or you can push them off until tomorrow.  It's that easy.  It's on-line and you can get iPhone, iPad and Android apps so you have it with you if you have one of those devices.

What do you do to get organized?

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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nicest Customers

So often we see artists posting about less than pleasant customer interactions.  It's usually done with a tongue in cheek attitude about someone that was met at an art festival or some other venue like that.  I have to admit that I've had interactions with those types of people also and knowing I'm not alone makes it easier to laugh them off.  They don't really understand that they aren't just questioning or commenting an item, they are also talking about the artist, provided the artist actually puts a little piece of themselves into the work.  I imagine all or most of us do.

Recently I had an interaction with a customer that was just the opposite.  She found one of my covered jars on my Etsy store and inquired about it as an urn for her dog who had recently passed away.  In discussions about the piece and her dog I realized how much love she felt for this animal.  I have four dogs, I understand this bond.

Horse Hair Raku Urn
Horse Hair Raku Covered Jar
She received this piece yesterday and wrote me the nicest email.  People like this will really make your day.  I know I brightened her world and she mine just by the commonality of this piece of pottery.  I'm so sorry that she lost her dog but I'm glad I could help comfort her by providing a resting place.

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


You may remember that I mentioned going to Asheville, NC in a recent post.  Thank you all for your suggestions about things to see and do.  Their is so much to do in that city, there is no way we could have done it all.

The house we stayed in was within easy walking distance from downtown so we wandered down there Friday night.  After spending about three and a half hours in the car the walk was very welcome.  We didn't have a destination, just exploring, when we found the old Woolworth's Store which has been converted into an art gallery and is now called Woolworth Walk.  I'd heard about this place so I wanted to see it.  Besides, I have some fond memories of shopping for toys as a kid in my local Woolworth Store.  They call it an art gallery but it has more of a co-op or collective feel to it.  Each artist has an area that they have set up for their display.  It's like a bunch of little rooms.  Of course in this type of setting you're going to see a wide variety of art and styles.  We only got to go through the main floor before the place closed and they kicked us out but we still got to see a lot of great stuff.  For nostalgia buffs they still have the old soda fountain in operation but I didn't get a root beer float because of the hour.  So sad.

From there we wandered around and enjoyed the vibrancy of the street.  Asheville is alive with music, jugglers, dancing and drumming in the park.  Even the liquor store had a band.


Here's a very short video I took of the drumming in the park, I hope you enjoy it.  We was a great time.

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mugs For Jugs at Mudfire Gallery

In honor of October being breast cancer awareness month Mudfire Gallery is having a fundraiser named Mugs For Jugs.  It's an on line and in gallery event where you can purchase a really great mug (some are very funny) and a portion of the procedes will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Last year, which was the first event, a check for over $1700 was given to BCRF.  This year should be an even bigger event.
Ceramic Lingerie Mug by Lori Buff
Lingerie Mug

The event runs from October 1 through November 20 and is really a lot of fun.

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