Friday, December 28, 2012

New Salt Cellars

Have you tried the new specialty salts yet? You should, they are really exciting by adding a hint of unexpected flavor to your food. You can find lots of different flavors which might even be fun to mix. These specialty salts have gotten me thinking about making salt cellars so I tried making a few new varieties.  You may remember the salt pigs that I showed you a few months ago.  These are a little less fun but at about 3 inches across they are still cute.  Which one do you like best?

salt keepers by Lori Buff
Salt Cellars

This picture was taken around noon, don't you love how the winter sun makes the shadows long even in midday.

I'll likely be taking a little break from blogging until after the new year.  Have a terrific New Years celebration and stay safe.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Michèle Hastings Mug

Yesterday was boxing day, it's a holiday the day after Christmas when gifts are exchanged.  We don't always celebrate it in the States but sometimes we do.

I did because the mail carrier delivered this beautiful mug from my friend Michèle Hastings.  This mug is totally my style.  It's the perfect size, comfortable to hold and has some great carbon trapping.  I'm a sucker for carbon trapping.  This mug will be one of those that I reach for when I'm making my morning coffee mug selection.
Meesh's Mug

Today it's back into the studio to make some pots.  I hope all my Northern friends are warm and dry and have had no problems with the snow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays

Whatever holidays you celebrate this winter enjoy them.

You Never Know Who's Going to Show Up At Your Door

Best wishes,
Lori & family
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gary Rith Mug

Santa's helper in a blue USPS uniform came to the house yesterday dropping off gifts.  One was a package from my Pottery Pal Gary Rith.  It's an awesome fun mug with a robot face on it.

Needless to say this was the mug of choice for my morning coffee.  It's a very generous cup, what I would call a weekender because it's a great size to use on a weekend morning when you can just sit around and enjoy the coffee and maybe the Sunday comics.  The handle is comfortable, it drinks well and who could not be happy when looking at this cute robot face.  Yes, the glaze is even fun, you have to take my word for it because this picture isn't great.  Or just head over to Gary's Etsy shop.  It also came with the cutest business card I have ever seen in my life.

I love it, thanks Gary, thank you so much.

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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rainbows Before the End

This morning the sky was glowing a golden color as the day was dawning.  It was really beautiful and energizing.  When we looked out the back windows we saw this amazing rainbow.  It was very tall but you could still see the curve and where it started and ended (well, almost).

Can you see it?  Look between the trees. The light was still low enough that the camera flashed but the rainbow was bright enough to be captured.  When a day starts off like this you can expect a certain amount of magic.

I'm not really sure what time the world is supposed to end tomorrow so just incase I don't get to chat with you before then have a great apocalypse.

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Refreshment Time

Holiday season means hectic season.  Many of us have shows, we have to make sure galleries and stores have enough pots in stock, on-line orders are filled and shipped, plus we have to deal with our own lives and how hectic that becomes around this time of year.  It can all be fun and exciting as well as draining.

The good news is that January is a slower month that gives us an opportunity to refresh our energy.  We may still have to make pottery, at least I hope so, but we can do it at a more relaxed pace.  This is a great time to experiment, to try some new technique, form or surface decoration that has been dancing in our imaginations.
Experimental Pitcher Form

It's also a good time to play around with some other creative outlet.  Sometimes doing something completely different and just for fun can add a whole new freshness to your work.  You may start drawing or painting and find a new form to throw or a new idea for decorating surfaces.  Lots of things may happen if we let our minds and our hands play.

This is also a great time to take a few minutes everyday to take yourself for a walk.  You may have to bundle up against the cold but you will feel refreshed physically and mentally after just a short time.

What do you do to refresh yourself and your work?

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

Monday, December 17, 2012

Meatless Monday - Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad

We don't always think of salad as a cool season dish but we still need our veggies. Besides, most greens are cool season vegetables and can have some really good flavors right now. So how about combining natures bounty of root vegetables and greens to make a winter salad that will make you happy.

This is my adaptation of Jamie Oliver's salad, much of this was made directly from our winter garden.

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Citrus - Lori Buff
Roasted Carrot Salad

  • 1 pound medium differently colored carrots, with their leafy tops
  • 2 level teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 or 2 small dried chillies, crumbled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • white wine
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • red wine vinegar
  • 4 x ½-inch-thick slices of artisan bread
  • 2 handfuls of interesting mixed winter salad leaves (like Treviso, arugula, radicchio or mustard greens), washed and spun dry
  • 2 bunches of watercress
  • goat cheese (we used lavender and fennel goat cheese but plain will do fine)
  • 4 tablespoons mixed seeds and/or nuts, toasted (like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, or slivered almonds)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Parboil your carrots in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes, until they are very nearly cooked, then drain and put them into a roasting pan. You should flavor them while they're steaming hot, so while the carrots are cooking get a pestle and mortar and smash up the cumin seeds, chillies, salt and pepper. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and smash up again until you have a kind of paste. The idea here is to build up the flavors. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to generously cover the paste, and a good swig of white wine. This will be like a marinade, a rub and a dressing all in one.  Stir together, then pour over the carrots in the pan, coating them well. Add the orange and lemon halves, cut-side down. These will roast along with the carrots, and their juice can be used as the basis of the dressing. Place in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden.

While the carrots are roasting, halve and peel your avocados, discarding the pits, then cut them into wedges lengthwise and place in a big bowl. Remove the carrots from the oven and add them to the avocados. Carefully, using tongs, squeeze the roasted orange and lemon juice into a bowl and add the same amount of extra virgin olive oil and a little swig of red wine vinegar. Season, and pour this dressing over the carrots and avocados. Mix together and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Broil your bread slices.Tear the toasted bread into little pieces and add to the dressed carrot and avocado. Mix together, toss in the salad leaves and cress and transfer to a big platter or divide between individual plates. Crumble the goat cheese over the salad, sprinkle on toasted seeds and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What To Do When You Are Down

Do you ever get a little down this time of year? Maybe it's the holidays, maybe it's just because it's winter and we can't go play in the sun. Maybe it's memories of something sad, many of my friends seem to be dealing with those issues.  Whatever the reason it's not really good to spend the day with the blues unless it's some good blues tunes.  So maybe it's a good time to crank up some Leadbelly or Stevie Ray Vaughn and do something creative.

For me it was carving this little jar I threw the other day.  It's always helpful for me to have some music while I carve, I guess my hand just likes to go with the rhythm.  

What do you do to pick yourself up when you're down?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Post Stacks Lofts + Artists Tour

The show this past weekend was a lot of fun, we had singing and dancing and carrying on plus some art sales and really great customers.  The committee that made the show happen did a great job of setting everything up and communicating with the artists.  The show was promoted well, I heard someone say they had more people walk through the door on Friday night than any previous show in the past six years.  I know from personal experience that it's a lot of work to put on a show like this and I think the commette did a great job.  I'd also like to thank the loft owners who opened up their homes to artists.  It could not have happened without the community coming together as it did.
Stein of Rainbow and City Skyline
Atlanta Skyline Rainbow Mug

One thing that happened which I loved was a preview party the night before the show.  The artists, loft owners and volunteers all met in the community center (where my pottery was displayed) and had a few cocktails & snacks then went around to visit all the lofts for a few minutes.  This really gave us a chance to see the show without trying to find someone to booth sit.  It's a great idea and it was a lot of fun.

Since the show didn't start until 2pm on Saturday I was able to take the historical tour.  This was a lot of fun and rather educational.

My only complaint was our location.  It was actually a great space, I was able to get set up on the Monday before the show which meant I didn't have to unload the truck after the Decatur Holiday Market.  The floor had a wonderful thick, padded carpet which is so fantastic when you have to be on your feet all day and worry about pottery getting dropped.  The problem was that we didn't have a lot of traffic on Saturday.  On Friday the luminaries to the building helped a lot but on Saturday we were almost invisible, even with a sign.  So where I'd love to do the show again next year I'd really like to help the committee get more visitors into that space somehow.

Other Stuff:
Old Images Blog Post

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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meatless Monday - Butternut Squash And Pasta With Walnuts

This is a bowl full of healthy comfort food. The flavors are rather mild but the walnuts and sage add subtle interest. It's also pretty quickly made and reheats well for terrific leftovers.

  • 1 pound Butternut Squash, peeled, cubed and steamed
  • 1 pound Pasta, cooked and drained
  • 15 leaves Sage, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped and roasted
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oile
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1/4 cup Marscapone Cheese
Heat olive oil in a pan, add butter and melt. Reduce heat to medium low, add walnuts and sage leaves, cook until sage leaves start to crisp. Add to pasta with squash and marscapone. Stir until blended and the cheese is melty. Enjoy

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Stacks Lofts + Artist Tour (Part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about participating in the Stacks Lofts + Artists Tour in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta.  Today I'll continue with the history of this place, now it starts to get really exciting.

My first recollection of the mill was in 1999 when it caught fire during the renovation of the mill into lofts.  This horrible fire was made more exciting by the rescue of a crane operator who was trapped above the blaze in his crane.  Firefighter Matt Mosely was lifted by helicopter to the crane where he rescued the operator and lightened the situation by telling the worker that his boss said "he could knock off early." Of course the news broadcasts where filled with this story for about a week.

Images from the rescue

The renovations continued after the fire and some very nice lofts were built.  One of my friends bought one and I loved to visit him, you could just feel the history in the building even though the lofts were built with a very contemporary look and feel.  It is an interesting match.  Then in March of 2008 an F2 tornato hit the Lofts causing significant damage including a crushed elevator that was believed to have people in it and structural damage to 5 of the 7 buildings.  Thankfully nobody was killed and the elevator was actually empty when it was hit with 4 floors worth of debris.  My friend was allowed to return to his unit after a few days and reconstruction started again on the damaged buildings.  Now they are completely restored and perfect for an art show.

Map of the Community, I'll be in building B

The show is tonight, Friday, Dec 7 from 6pm - 10 pm and Saturday, Dec 8 from 2pm - 7pm  I'll be in Building B which is the community center, it's near the front entrance, I hope you can stop by, have a glass of wine and enjoy some good art.

Their is a $5 entrance fee (cash only) which goes to support local, worthy causes.

The preview party for the artists was last night and it was fantastic, you really don't want to miss seeing the art and the archetecture.

Other Stuff:
Directions to The Stacks Lofts
History of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Stacks Lofts + Artists Tour (Part 1)

This Friday and Saturday I'll be participating in the sixth annual Stacks Holiday + Artists Tour.  I'm really excited about doing this show because I've been chatting with some of the people who I'm going to be showing with and they seem like a lot of fun, plus their web sites show some really nice work.  Besides that, the venue is really cool.  They will be giving tours on Saturday but I won't be able to take one since I'll be selling pots.  So I did some exploring when I was there to check out the space and some further exploring on-line.

Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill

The building complex was originally named the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill.  It was created around 1889 and was a huge employer of men, women, and children in the area known as Cabbagetown.  Being a factory meant a few labor disputes and strikes.  This was a family owned business and it stayed in the family of the originator Jacob Elsas from 1889 until 1968.  Elsas is also known for being instrumental in founding Georgia Tech and his philanthropy in supporting the Grand Opera House, the Hebrew Orphan's Home, and Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

The Stacks

The history doesn't stop in 1968, or even in the mid-1970's when the factory closed.  I'll write more about that tomorrow.

When I was walking around the factory grounds I started thinking about my friend Laura's farm in Central Georgia, it's a cotton farm that has been in her family for hundreds of years.  I can imagine that some of the cotton that was grown there was then milled here and made into grain bags.

The show is Friday, Dec 7 from 6pm - 10 pm and Saturday, Dec 8 from 2pm - 7pm  I'll be in Building B which is the community center, it's near the front entrance, I hope you can stop by, have a glass of wine and enjoy some good art.

Their is a $5 entrance fee (cash only) which goes to support local, worthy causes.

Other Stuff:
Directions to The Stacks Lofts
History of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rough Start

This past weekend was the Decatur Holiday Market at The Clairemont School.  I was told this was a great show by other crafts people but they were people who make jewelry and soap and stuff like that. Pottery can be different in that type of show, many people with elementary school age kids don't like to buy pottery, probably because it's breakable.  I understand and had normally had some other show to do that weekend anyway.  This year was different so I sent in my application and crossed my fingers that it'd be a good show.

Set-up for this show is rushed, you have an hour and a half to get everything carted in, unloaded and set up.  With 2 people on a good day I can do this, but by myself is a different story.  I was told the school had a lot of volunteers who would help.  Great, maybe I can do this.  I got there a few minutes early to get the room assignment, get my truck unloaded onto the curb and moved out of the way.  Then I got a couple of hand truck loads up to the room when the elevator broke!  I told someone about it and they assigned me one man to help me carry my shelves and several bins of pottery, a 6 foot table, etc. upstairs.  After the first load I was ready to pull up the truck, pack-up and go home.  I was contemplating this the elevator was fixed.  That was fast.  And they got another person and another handtruck so we were in business.  I finished setting up just as the first customers came into the room.

Friday night I sold two pieces.  That did not even cover the booth fee.  The other people in the room seemed to be selling.  So I thought this was just not my market.  Oh, well, live and learn.  It was still really nice to just leave the room at the end of the night and know that it was safe and would be exactly as I left it when I returned on Saturday.

It was also nice to get to the show only 15 minutes before the door opened and not have to do any set-up, I just rearranged a few pieces to make them look better.  It must have worked because Saturday was a great day.   Lots of people from Friday night returned to purchase pieces they had admired and lots of new faces were present also.  And everyone was really nice, they asked meaningful questions about the work, nobody wanted a discount, they shared with me how they were going to use the pottery.  It just made me feel good.  The other artists in the room were fun and supportive and helped to make it a good show.

At the end the parents swarmed in to help us pack out so that happened in record time.  It was a good show after the rough start.  I'd do it again.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support the artists and the school (it's a fund raiser) and to all the volunteers who really busted their butts to make it easier for us.

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

Monday, December 3, 2012

Meatless Monday - Provençal Vegetable Tian

Doesn't this sound like a fancy French dish? It taste like it too so don't tell anyone how easy it is to make. Let them think you're an amazing chef, especially if that's exactly what you are. This Tian can be put together really quickly but does cook in the oven for one hour and 25 minutes so it's best made when you have that kind of time and want the kitchen nice and warm.

Provençal Vegetable Tian
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 C thinly sliced leeks,white and pale-green parts only, rinsed well (1 large leek)
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato (8 ounces), sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small eggplant or butternut squash (12 ounces), trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 large zucchini (8 ounces), sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 C pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves divided, plus some for garnish

1. Drizzle 1 tbsp oil in a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Layer half the leeks in dish, cover with half the potato, season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Top with a layer each of half the eggplant or butternut squash, half the zucchini and half the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper again.Scatter half the olives and half the thyme. Drizzle with 2 tbsp oil. Repeat the layering and seasoning with remaining vegetables. Drizzle with remaining oil, cover loosely.

2. Place the casserole in the oven than turn it to 450 degrees, bake for 20 minutes then remove the lid. Press the vegetables down with a spatula and bake until potato is tender and the edges are well caramelized, about 45 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving