Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ney Years Cheers

Happy New year to you and yours.

To Life

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Gift

I recall the story of a potter who talked about the gift of a potters rib she received for Christmas every year.  Where she appreciated the gesture it was just not the type of tool she used and it was a little sad a frustrating.  I suppose if she stored them up for a few years she could make a nice donation to a school or something.

Thankfully, I didn't have that issue this year.  One of my gifts was a pair of beautiful ribs made by Troy Bungart.  All his ribs are hand crafted out of beautiful woods.  He's also a potter so one would think he really considers how the ribs will be used.  I already have a couple of his tools and I really love them.  They are formed and finished beautifully plus it's nice to have ribs that are not in mass produced shapes.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Mudtools ribs a lot.  It's just nice to have the more unique forms.

Pottery Ribs by Troy Bungart

As much as I wanted to sneak away to the studio and play with them yesterday, I resisted the urge.  It was a holiday after all.  Now I'll get my chance.  The large rib is about 7" at it's largest, I can see using this for platters and serving bowls, and I'm already envisioning other forms to create.  What would you make?

I hope your Christmas was warm and happy and full of love.

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

Monday, December 23, 2013

Meatless Monday - Peanut Soup

This cold December weather calls for something hearty and warming.  You feel like you want to be filled up and comfortable so you can snuggle up with a good book and a good dog in front of the fire. At least I do.  I've also had the misfortune of contracting the flu, I'm feeling much better now but I still don't want to eat anything that is full of dairy products even though my body is also craving that creamy goodness.  What I've created here is a soup that is warming, full of healthy veggies, is vegan (no animal products at all), and gluten free.  It's also delicious and very easy to prepare which is nice when you're still feeling a little under the weather or handing off the cooking to someone who doesn't normally cook.  This is some pretty nice comfort food.

The veggies are all going to be chopped finely so using a food processor can be a huge time saver.  You don't have to peel the potatoes, just scrub them really well.  So many of the vitamins and mineral are in that skin it would be a shame to loose them to the compost bin.  Also, using a baking potato will give you a creamer soup since they break down more than other potatoes but if you don't have a baking potato, any potato will do.

Peanutbutter Soup by Future Relics Pottery
Peanut Soup
  • 2 Tbls oil (peanut or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 - 5 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 baking potato, scrubbed and finely chopped
  • 1 small - medium sweet potato, scrubbed and finely chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth or stock
  • 6 Tbls crunchy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup sweet corn
  • salt and pepper
  • roasted peanuts for garnish (lightly salted or unsalted are best for this)


Heat your stock pan, add the oil to coat the pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes until the onions start becoming soft and translucent.  Add the chili powder and cook for another minute.

Add the peppers, carrots, and potatoes.  Cook for 4 minutes stirring occationally.

Pour in the vegetable broth then stir in the peanut butter and sweet corn.  Stir well until everything looks well combined.

Bring to a boil then turn back to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, laddle into bowls, garnish with peanuts and serve.

This recipe makes about 6 servings.

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Meatless Monday - French Onion Soup

Winter is soup season.  I honestly can eat soups all year long but in winter a nice bowl of hot soup just sounds really appealing.  French onion is one of my favorite soups but it's usually made with beef broth which doesn't work for a vegetarian diet.  So I developed my own version which is just as delicious but is animal friendly and has a little less fat than traditional French onion soup.

Before serving this soup you have to put the bowls under the broiler for a few minutes.  This may be a concern for people using handmade pottery bowls but the solution is simple.  I warm the bowls up by letting them sit on top of the oven, near the cooking soup on a cookie sheet.  This way they are not cold going into the broiler but not too hot to bring to the table.  They will keep the soup warmer longer this way.  I've been doing this with a set of soup bowls I made when I was 17 years old.  They have been around quite a few years.

French Onion Soup by Future Relics Pottery
Vegetarian French Onion Soup


2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
5 large onions (about 3 lb.), halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cubes Not Beef Bouillon
4 cups water
2 cups apple juice
⅓ cup brandy
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
6 ½-inch slices crusty bread, toasted
⅔ cup shredded Jarlsberg or Gruyère cheese (Jarlsberg Lite is fine)


1. Heat butter and oil in heavy, large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and salt, and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to very low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 50 to 90 minutes, until onions are very tender and brown.

 2. Stir in flour, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Blend in bouillon, water, brandy, apple juice, and mustard. Cover, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sherry vinegar.

 3. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into six warmed bowls. Top each with slice of toast and grated cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot.

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

Friday, December 13, 2013

Love From Highwater Clay

Do you open your clay box upside down?  I do.  It's easier to get the bags out because Highwater folds the top part of the bag underneath the clay.  I assume this is to make sure the bag stays shut tight and the clay stays moist.

Today I found a message stamped into the flap of the box.  I never would have seen it if I had not opened the box at the bottom.  It felt like I found an Easter egg.

Special Message

I'm not certain but I think it says "Packed with love by T. Crittenden and crew."  I looked at a few other boxes that I have open, none have this or a similar stamp.

Thanks T. Crittenden and crew, returning the love.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No Rest For The Potter

This is the time of year when many potters are so busy selling they don't have much time to actually make work.  Some of us are fortunate enough to be selling and making.  I have some orders to fill so I am one of those fortunate ones.  I'm actually really glad to be busy and to have the orders which will most likely be delivered after the holiday rush.  Thankfully the customer is very understanding about the life of a potter.

Ceramic plates by Future Relics Pottery
Freshly Thrown Plates

I've also just realized that I have a big festival to do in Atlanta the same weekend that Firedworks starts in Macon.  I'm thinking about the logistics now (nothing like planing 4 months in advance) but I'm really pretty sure I can pull it off provided that I keep making a decent amount of pots between then and now.  I can see 2014 on the horizon and it looks like a fun year already.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Supporting the Community

"This was my fifth grade classroom." announced a man as he looked around the room that had been transformed into a micro-gallery for the Annual Decatur Holiday Marketplace.  Yes, it's a show that draws people back.  It's a show where people get it and make it a community event.

It starts with the volunteers who are often the parents of kids that attend the school.  They do a lot of the heavy lifting, literally.   They clear the classrooms of furniture and make them ready for the artists then they help the artists bring art, craft, displays, and all our accouterments into the rooms so we can make them look like beautiful art spaces.  Parents do this in other schools all over the country because this is a a fund raiser for their child's school.  They get it.

Ceramic Nesting Batter Bowls by Lori Buff
Nesting Mixing Bowl Set
Then the people come to shop.  They are those same volunteers, they are students and former students, they are people from the neighborhood, they are people from all over.  They buy.  They buy gifts for friends and family, they buy gifts for them selves, they buy things they need and things they want.  They support the artists which supports the school.

These people all understand, on some level, that if they support us, we support the school which supports the children which makes a great community.  I cannot express my thanks enough.  When you shop at an event like this, whether you are buying a piece of pottery, a bar of handcrafted soap, or an artistic photograph, you are helping make your world a little bit better.  THANK YOU!!!

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

Friday, December 6, 2013

Decatur Holiday Marketplace This Weekend

This weekend is the 22nd Annual Decatur Holiday Marketplace and Cafe at the Clairemont Elementary School in Decatur, GA.  The school is located at 155 Erie Ave, you can click here for a map.  With about 100 different artists plus a cafe and a tour of homes, this is a really great show, one you won't want to miss.  It's also inside the school, so it's heated, dry, well lit, and comfortable.  It's a great opportunity to do some gift shopping without the maul of the malls.

While your there enjoying the art you should also stop by the cafe.  They transform the school cafeteria into a place of delicious homemade soups and desserts and entertain you with local musicians.  You would not think a school cafeteria could serve such delicious food but they do and everyone love it.  You might want to think about stopping in for lunch or dinner.

I'll be there so stop by and visit for a bit.

Show dates and times:

Friday Dec 6th 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Saturday Dec 7th 10am - 8:00pm

View Larger Map

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

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Have Mug, Will Travel

The travel mugs have been glazed and fired and taken for a few test drives.  Now they are ready to go to their new homes.  They hold a full 12 ounces of coffee, or tea, or whatever your favorite beverage is.  It comes right up to the splash guard which is perfect.  The are light enough to be carried comfortably but heavy enough that they don't tip over in a loose cup holder like the one in my truck.  We also tested them out in a car with a nice deep cup holder and the handles are high enough to stay out of the cup holder.

Ceramic Travel Mugs by Future Relics
Travel Mugs

They are made with the driver in mind so the handle and splash guard is oriented so you can pick it up with your right hand and drink directly. However, since their is also an opening on the opposite side of the splash guard people who prefer to hold a mug with their left hand will still be able to use the mug.  I tend to be ambidextrous when it comes to using a mug and this is a feature I really like.  I have a handled, lidded travel mug that I can only use with one hand unless I continually turn the lid around.  It annoys me so it's rarely used.  I do think I will make some that are oriented for the passenger, which may also be appealing to left handed folks.

Which hand do you use to hold a mug?

This is the last entry for the Mudcolony blog.  It's moved over to Facebook so check them out there after this week.

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Strength in Numbers - Lessons Learned

The studio sale was rather successful.  Not only was it a lot of fun for me and hopefully all or most of the visitors but it was fairly profitable.  Of course I didn't have to pay a fee to enter this event so that saved me some money but I did have to do a good bit of the advertising myself.  I advertised on my Facebook page and my Twitter feed, and The Buzz, I sent a press release to the local newspaper and the East Atlanta Patch.  I cleaned up the signs that some politicians left littering vacant lots near by, repainted them and made them into advertising posters and I brought fliers around to many of the businesses in the village.

It seems though, that the best advertising was the brain child of another East Atlanta Business.  We have a local deli and specialty grocery store in East Atlanta named Urban Cannibals, the owners wanted to take advantage of Small Business Saturday but didn't like that Amex (who is very instrumental in orchestrating this initiative) is now only giving registered card holders $10 back when last year they gave $25, and many small businesses can't afford to accept American Express cards because the fee is higher.  So they started an initiative within East Atlanta Village that for Small Business Saturday participating businesses would give a 15% discount to anyone who had a receipt from another participating small business from the village.  So if someone had lunch at Urban Cannibals they could take that receipt to Bound to Be Read Book Store and get a discount.  People seemed to love this idea and it really did help my sales.  It seems like it was good for the businesses in East Atlanta Village also.

Other nice factors are that, similar to an art festival, multiple businesses advertising helped build up interest for other area businesses.  And keeping the money in the local businesses keeps the neighborhood vibrant and makes it a place we want to live, work, and play.

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale

Today is Cyber Monday the day where we all sit home and shop in our PJ's or go to work and shop online on our breaks or while the boss isn't watching.  In celebration of cyber Monday, I'll be offering a 10% discount on all purchases made through my Etsy shop.  You'll need to enter the coupon code POTTERY when you're checking out to receive the discount.

Thanks for visiting, I'll post a new Meatless Monday recipe next week.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blogging Friends Visit The Pottery Sale

Yesterday, right after I got everything set up and ready for customers Terry Kearns who writes the fantastic blog Architecture Tourist.  I showed him my pottery and was showing him around the studio and talking about working with clay while he (like a good blogger) was asking a lot of questions and taking a lot of pictures.  Then someone else showed up.  I excused myself and stepped outside.  The new visitor pulled out her camera and started shooting.  I looked over my shoulder and said to Terry "This person must be related to you."  He never looked up from his camera.

As I approached the new visitors the faces looked familiar, "Hi Lori, do you recognize me?  It's Linda."  And so it was, Linda Starr of Blue Starr Gallery Blog and her husband Gary.  Linda writes another blog that I read regularly so I was thrilled to meet them in person.  She also reads Terry's blog so we visited and chatted about blogging until Terry had to leave then we visited and talked about pottery and the house that the Starrs are trying to buy.  It was so much fun visiting with them.

Blog Writers Linda Starr and Terry Kearns visit Future Relics Gallery
Bloggers Linda Starr, Terry Kearns, Lori Buff

In the world of blogging I've found a few blogs that I read regularly and the writers and I share comments almost everyday.  We've formed a little community and I feel like I know these people, I am happy for their successes and sad when they have sorrow but I don't often get the chance to meet them face to face and chat.  It was so nice to be able to do that yesterday.

The open pottery studio and sale is still going on today, I am excited to see who comes by for a visit.

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

Friday, November 29, 2013

Open Pottery Studio and Sale - Friday - Sunday

November 29 thru December 1
Noon til 5 PM

  • Functional and decorative pottery
  • Teacup gardens & container gardens
  • Pottery throwing demonstrations
  • Unique handcrafted gifts
  • Buy-one-get-one sale on seconds
  • Hot cider and homemade cookies
  • 15% Discount with a recipt from a purchase at another EAV Business
The studio is located on Willow Place off Bouldercrest Drive one mile south of East Atlanta Village.

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving with lots of peace and joy, family, friends, and smiles.  Thank you for reading this blog. Thanks to those who comment and have become friends and thanks to those who have yet to join the conversation, I know you're there and I think about you too when I'm writing.

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Clearing the Cobwebs

The studio cleaning has commenced, spiders have been displaced, dust removed, windows washed, floors swept, and mopped.  It's exhausting but in a way that makes you feel good and productive.  When cleaning the studio I can see the results.  Normally it's not hard to find spots that need to be rewashed but it still feels like something has been accomplished.  Today I will hang holiday lights and ad few other festive touches to make the place look good for the Open Studio and Sale this weekend.

Future Relics Pottery Studio
Cleaner Pottery Studio

One thing I make sure to do when cleaning the studio is to find stuff to throw away.  I am not a hoarder by any means but I do find things that look like they would make interesting textures or would be otherwise useful for creating interesting and pretty pottery.  Some of this never gets used, some become standards in the tool bank.  So I make decisions about some stuff that has been collecting dust.  Yes, most goes in the trash or recycling bin but a few pieces still feel inspiring to me.  Maybe after I've looked at them again they will get used.

What are you keeping that you don't use?

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fennel and Orange Salad

This time of year it's easy to find some really great cool season vegetables.  Many of these veggies are really packed with vitamins that are needed during the cooler weather.  I used kale as my greens but I'm sure you can substitute any other cool season green that you prefer.

Fennel and Orange Salad


  • Bread of choice, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, very thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup fennel fronds
  • 1 head of kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Place bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, 8-10 minutes. Let cool and break into pieces. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, lemon and orange zests, ginger, and pepper in a large bowl; season with salt and whisk in oil.
Using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from oranges; discard. Working over bowl with dressing, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl; discard membranes. Add fennel, fennel fronds, kale, and croutons to bowl; toss to combine.

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wood Firing Fail

A few weeks ago I told you about a wood firing that I was invited to at Shorter University.  I promised to show you the results but they are really not very interesting.  That's because they were never loaded into the kiln.

The university is about a 2 hour drive from my house.  It takes a good bit of gas money to get up there.  Doing that twice for no reason, with no pots to sell to pay for the gas, hurts on multiple levels. One of the pieces that was in the bunch was a commission for a very nice customer.  She wants the pot to be wood fired and knows the risks but it sucked to get her hopes up only to report that the piece never made it into the kiln and she may need to wait want months, possibly over a year for my schedule to allow for another wood firing.

The pots are glazed for the wood kiln, not only in the way the glaze is applied but also in the temperature the glaze is made to fire to.  I fire at cone 6, these pots all have cone 10 glazes on them so I'll have to wash them off or just store them somewhere waiting for the next opportunity.  Just like gas money and spare time, storage space around the pottery isn't abundant.

Wood Fired Vase by Future Relics Pottery
Woodfired Vase

The instructor who failed to get the pots loaded did apologize and the customer was very sweet and understanding, no lives where lost so it's not all bad, just very sad.  Of course we all know that pottery has more than it's fair share of disappointments.

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

Art Visions at Paideia School

This weekend is Art Visions which is a fund raiser for the visual arts program at Paideia School in Atlanta.  It's a really great show with lots of variety in the art work.  You'll find art and craft in a wide variety of mediums, all rather reasonably priced.

When I dropped off my work there the volunteer who checked my inventory told me what a great time she was having meeting all the artists and getting to preview all of the art.  I got to see a little of it and was impressed with what I saw.  I can't wait to head back there this weekend to see the show set up fully.

Saturday, Nov 16, 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday, Nov 17, 12 pm - 5 pm

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Deep Breaths

For the past few days I've been really bad about taking the time to comment on my friends blogs.  Honestly, I've really mostly been skimming them to see what my friends are doing then I'm off running around in a completely different direction.  I feel a bit like a chicken with my head cut off.  I suppose we all have felt like that a few times in our lives and we know that we will get a handle on things and settle down again.  I actually like the adrenalin a little but it is draining.

I've been making pots for the holiday shows and orders.  That feels the least stressful and I'm really glad that I have that to center me (pun intended).  I will have work in Art Visions Fine Art and Crafts Show at Paideia School here in Atlanta.  It's an easy show because volunteers turn the gym area into a fantastic art gallery, they also take care of all the sales, I just pick out the pieces that I want to send, make the price tags and inventory sheets, pack everything and bring it there.

Mishima horse on horse hair raku pot by Future Relics
Horse Hair with Mishima Horse

I'm also preparing for my studio sale which I've moved to the weekend after Thanksgiving.  That's a lot more work because I'm doing all the advertising, making, mowing, cleaning, and everything else that goes into the open studio and sale.  Well, Janet's making the cookies, she is an awesome baker and will do a much better job with them then I ever could.

Today we have to take our dog Jolie back the the vet to have her knee looked at and then we head down to the airport to pick up Janet's parents who are visiting for a few days.  It'll be good to see them and to take a little break from working so much.  Of course I've worked into our plans to go to Art Visions to see the show and to go up to Shorter University to pick up the pots from the wood kiln.

I have only 4 pots left in my Etsy Store.  I'm not sure when I'll find time to take pictures and post new work but you know I will have to do it and soon. So if I don't communicate with you for a few days don't think I'm not here, I am, I'm just being a little crazy. 

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Meatless Monday - Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

Autumn is the time for butternut, acorn, pumpkin and other winter squashes.  It's also a great time to bake stuff in the oven, it warms the house nicely.  This is also the season for pot luck dinners.  I found this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna by Paula Jones so I tried it and thought it was delicious enough to share.
Open Casserole Dish by Future Relics Pottery
FUNky Casserole

I did not make any changes to the recipe and I thought it was pretty darn good as is.  The nice part is that you can make this dish in advance and then pop it in the oven when you need it.  So I would prepare it on Sunday so I could eat it on Monday.

Happy Veteran's Day and thank you to all who have served.

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

Friday, November 8, 2013

Small Business Saturday And Customer Service

The Saturday after Thanksgiving (Nov 30 this year) is Small Business Saturday, it's something that American Express is promoting to remind people to shop at small, local businesses.  Since it's also the Saturday of my Open Studio and Sale I thought it would be a great idea to get on this bandwagon.

I went on the Amex web site for this and registered, they were pretty awesome.  They have artwork for me to download and will include Future Relics on a map of participating businesses.  They even give $10 to anyone that registers their Amex card and shops at a participating merchant like me.  I was very pleased.  When I got to the end of the registration, they said they had partnered with FedEx to print 2 fliers for me for free.  Sweet!  Oh, but that's when the trouble started.

I filled out the form on the FedEx website and uploaded the artwork for the posters but the "send" button was broken.  It didn't do anything.  I called the store, they said they never got it (no surprise) but gave me the number for tech support.  I called tech support, explained the issue, got transferred, explained the issue for the third time and helped the nice tech support person to understand and try to recreate the issue.  To make a long story short and save you from the boring details I'll just tell you that I gave up.  If time is money it would have cost much less for me to simply send the artwork to FedEx and pay for it but I'm not sure I want it that badly.  The thing is, I spent almost an hour on the phone with the support guy trying to recreate the issue so they could fix it, at the end of the conversation I told him that a work around is what I really needed.  I even told him what a simple solution might be (me just emailing the art rather than using the broken form).  But, since he works for a large corporation he could not say "yes, just do that, it'll be okay."

I really do appreciate these large businesses trying to support the small local businesses and in doing so realized that I still love my independent, local printer.

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Travel Mugs

The holidays are approaching and people are requesting pottery gifts.  I love the people who order early so I actually have time to make and fire the pieces.  I also love it when someone orders something that challenges me a little.  Yes, it's busy season so I don't want to be getting too involved in a new design but somethings that are on scholarship or just something new can be welcome, especially when given ample time.

That's the case with these travel mugs that were ordered by a client.  The idea is that they would fit into a car cup holder but also have a splash guard so people are less likely to spill on themselves while driving.  And, of course, their has to be a way to get the coffee or tea into the mug as well as wash them out.  I think these mugs will accomplish all of that.

Pottery Travel Mug by Lori Buff
Pottery Travel Mugs

The base is about the size of a soda can (I had to calculate for shrinkage) but the top flairs out a little for a wider opening.  I also made them all right handed mugs considering that they will most likely be used by the driver who will be sitting on the left side of the car in the states.  If I am ever asked to export them to England I'll change that aspect of the design.

My thought is that the opening is ample for cleaning as well as stirring in some sugar. They are dishwasher safe, which in my mind is always the easiest way to clean something but I think their is plenty of room for hand washing.

I'll be test driving one after they are fired.

You should check out Mudcolony today, I'm the featured potter this week.

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Glazing For Wood Firing

Wood firing is probably the most risky firing a potter can do.  Some will argue that you can have a lot of breakage in raku and that is a valid argument.  I don't know if a study has ever been done to prove which type of firing creates the most loss but it might be an interesting topic to discuss while sitting around the wood kiln late at night.  Which do you think is riskier and why?

I'm thinking about this because I just brought a bunch of pots to Shorter University to fire in the anagama up there.  This is actually a pretty easy firing for me since students are available to do most of the work.  I simply had to throw and glaze the pieces.  I'll pick them up when they are finished and work a shift of stoking if needed.  I love stoking the kiln, that's not a problem, but I am also fine with not having to drive the 2 hours up there and back to do the stoking even though it's a really pretty drive.

Wood Kiln at Shorter University

Anyway, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for another good firing and will post the result here when it's finished.

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meatless Monday - Curried Quinoa

Quinoa is one of those grains that has been around for a long time but that has just recently become known and popular in the states.  It is delicious and good, healthy grains are important to your diet.  If you have issues with gluten you should check the package as not all quinoa is gluten free.

Curried Quinoa with Green Beans and Cashews


  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 2 small onions, chop 1/2 of one finely, chop the rest coarsely
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup carrot juice
  • 1 cup green beans, cut small
  • 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced, some green is okay
  • 1 cup cashews, roasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs cilantro, chopped


Boil 2 cups of water.  While the water is heating, heat 1 Tbs oil in s small pot, add the finely chopped onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Stir in the quinoa, curry powder, and a dash of salt, cook for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of boiling water then reduce the heat.  Cook covered for 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 Tbs oil in a 12 inch skillet.  Add the chopped onion and zucchini.  Cook stirring frequently over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of water and the carrot juice.  Simmer, covered for 5 minutes, then add the green beans and scallions and cook for a few more minutes.  Stir the veggies and cashews into the quinoa.  Serve in soup bowls, garnish with cilantro.

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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Give Me My Props

Happy Halloween Everyone.

It's time to make more soap and sponge holders.  They are a continual seller so I make them throughout the year but around this time of year I start stocking up on them.  I do this not just because the holidays are coming and people like to give them as gifts but because I'm going to be in the Decatur Holiday Marketplace sharing a room with my friend Marci Scharko who makes Turnrow soaps.  We both put out these soap holders with her soaps in them and people see the instant gift potential.  We both do well.

Ceramic Sponge Holder by Future Relics Pottery
Soap or Sponge Holders

During the rest of the year I display them with a bright and happy sponge (it travels well) but they don't sell as well.  I suspect it's because a pleasantly scented, handcrafted soap conjures up the idea of a long, luxurious bath or a hot, steamy shower, the sponge makes us think about washing the dishes.

It's the same piece, it can be used either way, buy two, one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom -they really are not expensive.  It's simply that when the really nice soap is used to convey the use of the pot people flock to them.

What props do you use or like to see when looking at pottery?

Don't forget to pop over to Mudcolony.

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pricing Art That Is On Scholarship

Last week we had a lively discussion about what to do when customers request a discount.  In the discussion Michael Kline mentioned a phrase that Mark Shapiro coined for "Those pieces can't be sold for enough money to cover the time and attention one gives, yet are valid to bring to the marketplace."  The phrase is "On Scholarship."  Which is a term I love because it says so much with so little.

About a year ago a customer contacted me and asked me to make him a shaving scuttle.  He described what he wanted the piece to do (keep his shaving soap warm) and what sort of sizes he needed for things like the brush holder.  He was happy with the piece and later contacted me again to design a razor holder for him.  Once more, we discussed his needs and I created the piece for him.

Pottery Razor and toothbrush holder by Lori Buff
Razor, Toothbrush or Paint brush Holders

I enjoyed the challenge of creating a new design, I really like bringing that engineering into my art and I was honored that he liked my work enough to request not just one piece but two.  The thing is, I could not charge him what they cost to make.  I had to sell them at a loss because I spent time working out the pieces and the process of making and glazing them.  These pieces were sold on scholarship.  I had to figure out a fair price for the pieces (fair to me and to the customer) based on how much time and matterials I would use if I produced many more of these pieces.

I suspect all potters have a few of these pieces in their lives.  Either a customer asks for something or we challenge ourselves.  The thing is, we have to take into consideration that we can not always ask for the time spent in designing these pieces, that's part of the education process and it's not fair to charge one customer to foot the bill for the entire education unless we know this is strictly a "one of" piece and we will never make another like this again.

What pieces do you have on scholarship.

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meatless Monday - Cauliflower Gratin

The best recipes are the ones that are easy to follow, take very little time to prepare and yield delicious results.  These are the ones that you'll make many times because they are such a pleasure to make and eat.  This recipe is one of those.  I think you'll love it.  We loved it so much I forgot to take a picture of it.

Lidded casserole dish by Future Relics
Carved, Covered Casserole


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 med onion, sliced thin
  • 2 - 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes or equivalent of fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • tablespoon capers
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large cauliflower broken into florets
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 oz crumbled feta
  • Finely chopped parsley for garnish


Lightly oil a 2 quart casserole dish and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat then add the oil, onion, garlic, oregano, and cinnamon.  Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is softened.  Add the tomatoes and cook 7 minutes more, now add the honey and capers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish.

Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes.  Set it on the sauce and season with a little more salt and pepper if desired.  Pour the lemon juice over the cauliflower and add the feta. Place in the oven about 5 - 6 inches below the broiler then turn on the broiler.  Heat until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown (start checking after about 10 minutes).  Garnish with parsley and serve.

If you are preparing the gratin ahead of time (say, for a pot luck dinner), you can bake covered at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes then brown it under the broiler.

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Volume Discounts?

A woman was walking by the booth on Sunday and saw a mug that she liked so she showed the mug to her mother, the mother liked it and picked up one with a similar, but very different glaze pattern.  I told them about the mugs and they seemed very happy and ready to buy.  Then it came, the question we all love to hear, "would you give me a discount if I buy two?"

Please understand that this show was in an affluent area of the city which normally means that a lot of people who go to the festival are looking for a deal and ask for a discount.  Truly the majority of people were out enjoying the nice weather and the really great art.  They were looking for gifts for themselves or a loved one, and they were glad to support local artists.  But their were an awful lot of bargain hunters in the mix and I was tired of them.  Frankly, I put a lot of thought into my pricing and it's insulting when someone thinks that buying 2 items gives them the right to ask for a volume discount.

Striped Mugs

I should have explained to her the extra time that goes into creating a striped mug.  This was not striped with layering but with tape and wax resists.  $25 was really a low price considering the time I'd put into them.  I don't know if it would have mattered but instead I asked why she thought they were overpriced.  Naturally she got mad and told me that she never pays more than $20 for a mug before she stormed off.  A few minutes later another couple of women came over, quickly found a mug they liked and were happy to give me the $35 I was asking for it.

I know this is a long and well discussed topic amongst people who do art festivals.  Someone once told me that people feel good when they find a sale or negotiate a deal so I should price accordingly.  Well, doesn't that hurt the people that are respectful of my prices and don't haggle?  They really are the vast majority of people who by my pots and I don't want to take advantage of them or scare them off with prices that are too high because I'm building in a sale price (that's what some department stores tend to do).

I'm considering making a sign that reads "$5 off if you don't ask for a discount."

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hot and Sour Soup

This is a cool weather favorite, especially if you have a cold.  The heat from the soup and the spices really help you to breathe when you're a little stuffy.  The soup also tastes great.  It's traditionally a starter at Chinese restaurants but that doesn't mean that you can't make a meal out of it.  This recipe is full of stuff to make it a complete meal, plus it's a bit thicker that what I have found at restaurants.

I used organic, whole wheat asian noodles but I'm sure what ever you prefer would be fine.  Gluten free noodles should work well.  This recipe is vegan so all the animals are happy with it.

  • 8-oz package of Asian noodles cooked according to instructions
  • 1 tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced or grated on a grate plate
  • 1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes (more if you want it hotter)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely minced or grated on a grate plate 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper 
  • 2 tbsp. chinese black vinegar (available at your local Asian markets)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil 
  • 1/4 cup nappa cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, with hard stems removed
  • 1 carrot, sliced or julienned 
  • 2 medium green onions, finely chopped into rounds
  • 3-oz. tofu diced into 1/2-inch cubes, pressed (about 4-6 hours)
  • 3 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, rinsed, dried, leaves removed and chopped for garnish


Boil the Asian noodles. After they are cooked, remove the noodles from the pot immediately and place them in a tray full of cold water and set aside.

In a large stock pot, heat oil, and sauté ginger & garlic on medium heat until fragrant. Add dried chili flakes. Add broth. Add pepper, Chinese black vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce in it then heat stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes. Add all vegetables & tofu until vegetables are tender (usually about 8-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve starch in 1/2 cup cold water and then add it to the soup while it is boiling. Stir continually to avoid lumps. Add bean sprouts. Stir and let it cook for about few minutes.

Place some cooked noodles in serving bowls. Add the soup and garnish with green onions and cilantro.

If you have any leftovers the noodles should be stored in a separate container from the soup or they will absorb all or most of the liquid.

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brookhaven Arts Festival

This weekend I'll be at the Brookhaven Arts Festival.  This is a new festival for me and I'm very excited about being able to be a part of the fun.

Now in it's 10th year, the Brookhaven Arts Festival has something to offer everyone.  Great art and music, delicious food, and fun for the whole family.

Saturday, October 19, 10am - 6pm
Sunday, October 20, 11am - 5pm

Free parking at the Brookhaven MARTA station during the festival.

Parking and more info...

Ceramic Lidded Vessel by Future Relics
Covered Jar 

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Potter's Résumé and C.V.

Occasionally the merits of having and maintaining an artist résumé or curriculum vitae (C.V.) are discussed.  It's possible that very few people, artists or otherwise, enjoy working on these little, tiny views into who we are and what we do.  When I worked in the corporate world we were told a résumé should be no more than 2 pages and it should be arranged in a certain format.  Of course every time I did something noteworthy someone would comment about how it should go on my résumé, that usually meant that another, older, noteworthy achievement was squeezed out since I had to keep things down to two pages.  I also had occasion to read other people's résumés...yawn.

As artists we have, and should make a more exciting presentation of our professional history.  If you're applying to shows they often want to see or know that history.  To be honest and technical, a résumé and a C.V. are actually a little different in that a résumé is supposed to show work history and a C.V. shows the person's artistic achievements.  Sometimes these are not one in the same although some overlap may occur.  I have seen show applications where they ask for one or the other and I often wonder if the requester is asking for a résumé and not a C.V. for a particular reason.

A quick internet search on creative or artists résumé will show what some creative people have done to create interesting, exciting, and creative résumés.   Their are a couple on the site above that you can cut out and make into a box.  Those seem the most fun to me because the viewer can interact with them.  But what do we do as potters?

I think about the old urns that show stories as their decoration.  I can imagine decorating a pot with a sgraffito representation of my history as an artist and sending that to a show jury.  As fun as that may seem it's also impractical and I really do prefer to apply via email anyway.

Do you have a résumé and a C.V.?  Have you done anything especially creative with the layout?

Have you been to Mudcolony lately?

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Glaze Happieness

Sometimes a new glaze, or a combination of two old familiar glazes can bring new excitement to a potter's work.  I've found that to be true with this combination of a chocolate brown glaze and Steven Hills Apricot.  It's fun how much depth and how many colors these two glazes in combination give this juicer.
Fruit Juicer by Future Relics Pottery
Handle of Jucer
It also breaks and pools really nicely.  Browns, blues, copper reds, apricots, and more.  Joy.

Pottery Juicer by Lori Buff
Juicer with Combo Glaze
Now I'm thinking about what other pieces I can make that would play with this glaze combination.  What would you make?

While I'm excited about this glaze I'm also excited about being part of the Brookhaven Arts Festival this weekend.  It looks like it's going to be a great show, it's the first time I've done this one.  I applied a few years ago but was not accepted.  I'm glad they thought my work was good enough this year.  It'll be nice to meet some new people and see some friends that live in that neighborhood.

I'm also making pots for another wood firing in November.  Stay tuned for that fun.

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

Meatless Monday - Rustic Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup with Kale

This is a delicious and easy potato soup recipe that is also quick to cook.  If you don't like kale you can try it with spinach, mustard greens, parsley, or leave out the greens altogether, they are optional.  This recipe is vegan.

I used two types of potatoes because the baking potatoes fall apart when they are boiled which adds a thickness to the soup.  The Russet pototoes hold together better for some substance.  I also left the skins on the potatoes because that is where much of the flavor and nutrition resides. For this reason it's best to use organic potatoes to avoid chemicals.  You could also peel the potatoes.

Potato Soup

  • 3 tbls olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound Russet potatoes
  • 1 pound baking potatoes
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Several leaves of kale or other green leafy vegetable (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Roast the garlic (can be done a day or 2 a head):

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin but leave the skins of the cloves intact.  Cut 1/4 - 1/2 inch off the top of the bulb to expose the cloves.  Place in a garlic roaster and drizzle with some olive oil.  Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.  The cloves will feel soft.  Allow to cool to the touch or refrigerate and use in a day or two.

For the soup:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and the bay leaves and cook them slowly.  While the onions are cooking quarter and slice the baking potato, quarter the Russets.

Add the potatoes to the pot then raise the heat, sauté, stirring frequently until the onions start to brown, about 10 minutes.  Don't worry if a glaze starts to build up on the pan, you want that for more flavor.  Add some salt and 1 cup of water.  Loosen the glaze and solids from the bottom of the pan by scraping then add 2 more quarts of water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.  Remove the cloves of garlic from the skins by squeezing or using a cocktail fork, add them to the soup as it cooks. Meanwhile steam the greens for a few minutes then drain. Remove the bay leaves then process the soup until smooth using an emersion blender or carefully with a standing blender.  Add the kale. Ladle into soup bowls, top with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese if desired.

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