Thursday, January 31, 2013

My First Juicer

When I throw knob handles I throw them off the hump, meaning I put a large hunk of clay on the wheel but only use a small amount at a time. Then I throw several handles so I can see which one looks best on each piece. I normally have a few left over, I'd rather have too many in case one breaks or something.

The other day I had a bunch of handles made but still had plenty of clay left on the wheel.  I thought it would be best if I threw something with this leftover clay when it occurred to me that I'd never made a juicer.  We don't own a juicer but we are constantly squeezing lemons, limes and oranges into one recipe or another.  So I made this juicer.

First Juicer
I'm not sure why I've never made one before.  I guess I just think people aren't squeezing their own orange juice these days.  That's a shame because it's delicious.  Anyway, I'll use this one for a while to see what works well and what changes need to be made then I'll make some more for my Etsy Store.

Check out other potters at Mud Colony.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Art House

Art On The Beltline
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Condiment Bowl

Here's a new form for me.  Well, it's not completely new, I tried to make one with three bowls a while back but it didn't come out well.  After a few tries I gave up because something else caught my interest. Now just felt right for trying again and I like this style. Since I started making this knob/handle for my mixing bowls I've found a few places where it fits well and this seems to be one of them.

Double Condiment Pottery Bowl by Lori Buff
Condiment Bowl
I made a couple using half pound bowls and a couple using 3/4 pound bowls.  I'm not sure if I want to go larger or if I want to try the tripple again.  It's tempting.  These feel really delicate in this greenware stage, I hope they survive the bisque firing.  I'll show you pictures once they are glazed, if the kiln gods smile on me.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meatless Monday - Broccoli Soup

Winter is the perfect time for soups and since broccoli is actually a cool season vegetable it's often freshest right now. It's also really, really good for you as well as really delicious. This recipe uses roasted garbanzo beans (chick peas) to add a little protein and crunch. To make them you just dump a can of garbanzo beans onto an oiled cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes depending on how crunchy you want them. These make a great snack.

Broccoli soup with roasted garbanzo beans
Broccoli Soup
  • 1 head broccoli (1 pound), cut into florets and thinly sliced stems
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can of roasted Garbanzo Beans
  • Freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1/2 ounce shaved Parmesan (optional)

1. Steam broccoli until tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside ½ cup florets for garnish.
2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add stock and bring mixture to a simmer.
3. Remove from heat and add broccoli; puree in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.
4. Garnish each bowl with broccoli florets, a handful of roasted garbanzo beans, and shaved Parmesan (optional).

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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board - Salt Cellars

You may remember the post about the salt cellars from a few weeks ago. They are finally complete but they did not turn out as expected. Like that's new in pottery.  They look pretty good but the bottom bowl seems to have tried to flatten out just a bit in the kiln, this makes the lid sit down lower than it should and doesn't leave much room for salt.  That's a problem in something that is supposed to hold salt.  I wanted the bowls to be pretty open so it would be easy to grab a pinch or scoop with a measuring spoon.  It looks like I'm going to have to make them a bit deeper with less of a shallow curve to the bowl.
Salt Cellar by Lori Buff
Salt Cellars
At least I've learned something and one did come out nice, it'll be for sale in my Etsy Shop as soon as I get a picture of it.

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stop and Smell the Roses

Have you seen the video of the violin player in the train station yet?  Take three minutes and check it out, I'll wait while you click here.

Did you listen to the video while reading about it?  If you did you are like the children, not too distracted by your busy life to get distracted by something amazingly beautiful.  In defense of the adults, the children don't have the pressures of meetings and time clocks.  They have the luxury of time to be curious.  Maybe we should learn how to find a few extra minutes in our lives to allow for something wonderful to just happen into it, even if that wonderful something is just stopping to smell a rose or watch a sunset.
Enjoying the Sunset

A friend of mine gave me a great gift one day.  We had plans to get together one evening after my shift at Mudfire.  When we were discussing what time to meet she said, "sometime around 7ish would be fine, but don't rush. Why get stressed out about what time you're going to go have fun?"

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oval Platters

Once in a while I like to shake things up a bit and do some handbuilding. It feels very different, yet still very connected to wheel throwing, which is what I normally do. It's also much slower which means a more contemplative attitude towards each piece, for me at least.

These platters are made by using an old (antique I think) aluminum serving platter as a slump mold.  I was drawn to this piece as a mold because of the flower pattern that is embossed on the inside.  That pattern is now on the bottom of my platters.  To me pottery should look nice from all angles including the underside.  Have you ever watched someone picking out a piece of pottery?  They always look underneath, even if the price tag is very obviously somewhere else.  They want to be certain the entire piece is as nice and as well made as the top.

After rolling out the slab and smoothing it into the mold I let the clay sit under plastic overnight to firm up a little.  The next day I embossed the leaf pattern into the clay then brushed in some white slip.  You can see the oak leaf still needs to be cleaned up.  I'll do that today then let it dry enough to remove it from the mold.  I'll then let it dry completely on a wire rack for even drying, this will help prevent warping.  I'll show you the bottoms after they are fired.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King Day

Today we celebrate the life and work of one of my heros, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We may know him as a great civil rights leader, the man that helped create the change in how people of color were treated in America.  He was also a tremendously powerful speaker who was able to make a speech that contained politics and religion and a true point, all joined yet able to stand on it's own merit.

One thing I love about the celebration of his life today is that people are encouraged to volunteer their services.  The news tonight will be full of people who have done wonderful things to help their community, some of them will keep on volunteering and helping the community for month and even years.  Some will not do anything again until next year.  That's okay, every hour someone spends helping to make the world a better place is an hour well spent.

I normally spend time on MLK Day beautifying my community.  Being an artist that seems to make sense to me.  By simply picking up and neglected cigarette butts (which are NOT bio-degradable) I can make a positive impact for myself, my neighbors, the pets, and wildlife in my city.  Add to that picking up bottles and cans and other recyclables will make an even greater impact.  I'm sure I can fill up a few trash bags in no time.  It makes me sad how much trash we toss out of car windows or just throw on the ground.  It's not a city thing, I see a ton of beer bottles and cans along country roads too.  All from the cheap red, white and blue beer manufacturers.  It looks a little patriotic in a "I hate my country" kind of way.  It's infuriating how people can get a full bootle of beer from the store into the vehicle but are then too weak to carry the empty from the vehicle to the recycle bin.

What are you going to do for your community today?

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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Too Much Grey?

It's been raining all week.  Yuk!  We need the rain but we need the sunshine too.  I really prefer a mix but mother nature doesn't always give me what I want so I simply do my best to cope with whatever is coming my way.  Tonight it's one of those wintery mixes.  Yuk again.  This seems like a good time to snuggle in with some pups.
Dori, Ginger and I

All of this grey weather has me wanting to repaint the studio to brighten it up some.  Of course when we return to our normal sunny weather I don't know that I'll want some bright yellow or bright orange.  Right now it's a tranquil blue-grey with a light blue ceiling and a turquoise floor.  I was using leftover paints when I painted it but I do like the colors.  Maybe the weather is all that I want changed.

Studio Colors

What color is your studio?

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lamps The Start

Here are three lamps that I threw. They are not yet fired, just thrown and burnished with Terra Sig so they'll be ready for horse hair raku. This is something new for me, I've never made a pottery lamp before. I'm hoping that I made the neck right so that I can attach the lamp hardware. I did make a hole in the bottom for the wire to come out and they are wireless so I can attach all the lamp fixin's. The other thing I did was leave them a little heavy so they will be steady when the lampshade is put on them. I hope I thought of everything but no matter what, they are a learning experience.

Ceramic Lamps - Lori Buff
Pottery Lamps Awaiting Firing
This picture was taken yesterday in the few minutes that the sun came out. Other than that it's been rainy and cloudy all day. That means the pots I'm throwing are drying really slowly. It's okay, I'm in no rush, just running out of room for damp work. The good part is that we did some planting this weekend since it was 70 degrees out. Now those new shrubs are getting well watered.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Meatless Monday - Garlic Soup with Poached Egg

This time of year it feels like it's hard to get veggies that seem fresh.  Yet that's often what our bodies crave.  Fortunately for those of us that live in the south we can grow some green leafy vegetables in the winter.  For people in colder climates a trip to the grocery store will have to do.

I found this recipe for a soup that has a fresh veggie taste and is packed with stuff our bodies need to fight off winter colds and such.  You can find the original recipe on the Yoga Journal.  I've listed my changes here.  To go with it I made some of Smart Cat's Cuban bread to which I added some rosemary.  Yummy.
Garlic Soup with Poached Egg
4 cups Not Chicken Bouillon
2 tbs dried mushrooms
6 Sage leaves (or to taste)
6 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cloves of garlic sliced very thin, plus one for rubbing on the bread
A drop of white wine vinegar
Olive oil for drizzling
2 thick slices of Cuban bread
2 eggs 
1 bunch of kale, sautéed 
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved parmesan for garnish

Make the bouillon then soak the mushrooms in it until hydrated (about 10 minutes).  Then heat the mixture with the herbs.  Add the garlic, salt to taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Place the bread in the soup bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

Crack the egg into a mug.  Add the drop of vinegar to the soup.  Gently add the egg into the soup.  Cook until the egg white is cooked and the yoke is soft.  

Lay the warm sautéed greens onto the toast in the bowl then ladle the egg and soup into the bowl laying the egg on top of the bread.  Top with shaved parmesan.

Dinner for two.

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

Teapot Trio

Now that the holiday's are over and nothing much is happening for me until around spring time I have time to really play with clay. Sometimes that will mean making a completely new form (I'm thinking about lamps quite a bit lately) or a new surface decoration.  Sometimes it means just revising old friends like these side handle teapots.

During the slower times I really enjoy making these because I'm more relaxed.  I can take the extra time to make a bunch of handles, spouts and lids to see which one fits best and even experiment with some different shapes.  I normally make extras, of any attachments, but this time of year I feel I have more freedom to play with them.

While I was making these I shot some video for my youtube channel.  I haven't posted any demo videos in quite a while.  Hopefully I'll get them all uploaded and make my channel interesting again. Stay tuned for that.

What do you do when you feel less work pressure?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Call For Artists - Jan 15, 2013 Deadline

Mudfire Clayworks and Gallery has put out a call for artists entries for three shows that are planned for this year.  The shows are "Fur and Feathers," "Print on Clay," and "Layered."  All the information you should need can be found here:

Mudfire Call For Artists

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


This is the time of year when people see a new beginning and start setting a lot of goals for themselves. They try to loose weight, quit some bad habit or do better at something.  These are all great ideas but sometimes the best of intentions in January are lost within a few months, sometimes a few days.  I'm not being critical, I can come up with an improvement plan then forget about it in a matter of minutes.

So what do we do to stay on track?

First, write it down.  Whatever your goal of goals may be put them in writing, a file on your computer works just as well as a piece of paper as long as you can find that document later.

Second, know yourself.  How has goal setting worked for you in the past?  Do you follow the plan for days, weeks, or months?  Say you're pretty good at following a plan for a few months but then you start to wander from the plan you know you'll need a reminder in two to three months.

Eagle Mug - Lori Buff
Eagle Stein

Now set a calendar reminder to go back and review your goals.  You can write this on your desk or kitchen calendar or use an application like google calendars, just set a reminder.  It would also be a good idea to remind yourself where you put the document with your list of goals so you can find it easily.

Now when you are just about to become distracted about the goals you have just set because it's January, you can become re-acquainted with them and (hopefully) reinsured to reach them.

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

Monday, January 7, 2013

Meatless Monday - Potato Soup

So many potato soup recipes call for bacon.  You could make that recipe with fakon (fake bacon) or you can make a delicious potato soup without a meat or meat substitute.  This recipe is so good you won't miss the meat.
Yukon Gold and garlic soup
Potato Soup
  • 8-12 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbls unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 1/2 c vegetable stock or broth
  • 2 c water
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, lightly peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 tsp kosher (sea) salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish if desired
Place garlic in the center of a 12" square of aluminum foil or a garlic roaster, drizzle 1 tsp of the olive oil over them then toss to coat. Wrap the foil around the cloves then roast in the oven at 375 until tender, about 1 hour. This step may be done up to 5 days ahead of time if you keep the roasted garlic refrigerated.

Heat remaining olive oil with butter in a large (4 quart) sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and carrot.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not brown.  Add the stock, water, potatoes, herbs de Provence, and roasted garlic.  Raise heat and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer.  Cover the pot loosely and simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the soup sit for a few minutes.

Using a blender or food processer, blend the ingredients until smooth.  Add the milk, salt and pepper then mix again.  Serve hot but do not reboil. Garnish with fresh parsley.

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