Friday, May 31, 2013

Glass blowing

Atlanta Hot Glass has moved into the building across the street from Mudfire.  Last weekend they had an open house so I popped over to see what they are doing and watch some glass blowing.  Yes, I find glass blowers and potters are really fun to watch.

They have a couple of gallery rooms where beautiful glass work was displayed.  It was fun to wander around them and enjoy the handy work of our neighboring artists.  They also have a huge, well equipped, well organized, and very clean studio.

Heating the Glass

Shaping the Molten Glass

More Shaping

Transferring the Vessel

The Finish Piece

It takes a lot of time to create a blown glass piece and surprisingly little of that is spent actually blowing into the tube that holds the glass.  Much of it is preparing the hot glass, and shaping it.  A glass blower also has to be very mindful of just how much time they have the glass out of the kiln as it becomes more likely that it will break the quicker it cools.  As it becomes closer to the desired shape, and therefore thinner, the likely hood of breaking becomes greater and greater.  One of the reasons I didn't get a good picture of this piece when it was finished was because I was too slow with the camera and the finished product has to go into a hot box to cool gradually as soon as it comes off the rod.

It was really fun to watch, I can see myself visiting there often.

You might want to head over to Mudcolony to see what other potters are doing.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Outside The Studio

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sharing Secrets with Tammy Marinuzzi

Do you have a secret?  Do you like sharing secrets?  Tammy Marinuzzi does, so about a year ago she started collecting them from people all around the country who were willing to share anonymously.  Then she made containers for the secrets, the containers are to represent the secret as well as house it.  You won't be able to read the secret until you purchase the container thereby making a commitment to the secret and the vessel.
"Birthday Suit"

The containers are really great, many of them have some kind of surprise crafted into them, besides the secret.  It was hard for me to capture the full wonder of Tammy's art in photographs, I think you really have to spend some time with the pieces.  For example, her faces are very expressive, but the emotion expressed is not very blatant, and will probably reflect the mood of the viewer best.  I love that because the viewer is interacting with the piece on an emotional level.  I imagine that will increase when the secret inside is reveled to the owner.  The pieces are very well crafted with a sense of whimsy attached to them.

Tammy's solo show opens tonight (May 24, 2013) with an artists reception at Mudfire from 5pm - 9pm.  You can preview the show online here and make online purchase after 9pm.

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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How To Decorate with Mishima

The Mishima name may be 17th century, but the style itself goes back to Korea's Koryo Period (935-1392) when bowls decorated in this way were known as Korai-jawan or Korai tea bowls. These were inlaid with various motifs such as floral and animal depictions. A potter would incise the design in the body, fill it in with contrasting colored clay or slip and then cover it with a transparent glaze.

As you can imagine, over the centuries some potters have developed their own styles and techniques for decorating using Mishima.  This is a  video of my technique.  It may not be the best way but it works for me.  I use this technique on functional pots like my dragon mugs and the tea pots you see here as well as on some horse hair raku pieces

I hope you enjoy the video

When you're done watching the video (and leaving comments if you'd like, thanks) head over to Mudcolony to see what some other potters are doing.

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Life is short, it should have plenty of sweet moments in it.  Here's a list of 10 things science says will make you happy.  Somehow they left pottery off the list, maybe it's number 11.

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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meatless Monday - Green Cheese Enchiladas

Enchiladas are so versatile. You can make them in a wide variety of different ways. Here's a meat free, bean free version that is really tasty and different.


1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 2-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained; or 3 serrano chilies finely chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 large garlic clove, minced
1-3/4 teaspoons ground cumin

2-1/2 cups (10 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
12 corn tortillas (6 inches), warmed


  • In a large skillet, saute spinach until wilted. Drain and remove. In same pan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add cream and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Stir in chilies, green onions, cilantro, garlic, cumin and spinach. Remove from heat; cool slightly. If desired, transfer to a food processor; cover and process until pureed. We left it chunky.
  • Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine cheeses; set aside 1 cup for topping. Add onion and cilantro to remaining cheese mixture; toss to combine. Place about 1/4 cup cheese-onion mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
  • Pour sauce over top. Sprinkle with reserved cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

Drying Pots

People always ask me how long it takes a pot to dry. Answer "too long if you're in a hurry or too fast if you can't get back to the piece quickly."

The real answer is still dependent on a lot of factors like how much water was used in making the piece, was the slip ribbed off of it or not, the humidity level in the studio, thickness of clay, etc.  Sometimes we can speed up the drying process by putting the pot in the hot sun or a dying cabinet but that can cause cracking.  Sometimes we want to slow down the drying process to help prevent cracking and warping, that's where a wet box or plastic are handy.

If a piece has many attachments or has been altered and has seams, or if it's a plate or a tile, it's often a good idea to let it dry slowly, thus evenly.  One way I've learned to do this is to lightly cover the piece in thin plastic like you'd get from a dry cleaner.  If possible you should unwrap the piece once or twice a day and turn over the plastic so the side that was nearest the clay faces out.  This side will have trapped some moisture so by flipping it you gently allow the piece to dry.

Drying ceramic pieces by Lori Buff
Mugs Drying

Quick drying, as I stated earlier, can cause cracking due to uneven drying.  Clay shrinks as it drys so if it drys very unevenly it can pull itself appart.  Nobody likes that.  Making the piece thin, using less water, and cleaning off any excess slip can help a pot dry quicker but even drying is still very important.  I like to place my pots on a wire shelf to dry, that way they get air from as many sides as possible.  However, I have found that I still sometimes have to place a light piece of plastic on a rim to prevent it from drying out much faster than the bottom of the pot.  When the wire shelves are full I simply stand the pots on their rims and let the foot get the most air.  Of course you need to wait until the rim is dry enough to support the pot, normally this is a little bit before it's dry enough to trim the foot.

No matter how you dry your clay, it's something that needs to be done with patience or the pot will break in the kiln and all your work will be for nothing.

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

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Functional Decorative Pots

The Macon Arts Alliance sent the check and inventory sheet for the pieces that sold at Fired Works.  Like most people, I don't love creating inventory sheets but they are invaluable so I make them.  What I learned from looking at this one is that people bought more functional pots than decorative pots.  That was not a shocker.  People can justify buying functional art because it has a use besides being pretty and making us happy.  I honestly get a lot of joy out of the functional pieces that I have collected from other potters.

My decorative pieces are usually either horse hair or ferric decorated which means they look really pretty in your home, they may even be a conversation piece, but don't put liquid in them or you'll have a puddle because they are naked and low fired.  But I did make some lamps and lidded jars that were decorated with ferric or horse hair and these were popular items.

Ceramic horse hair raku lamp by Lori Buff
Horse Hair Lamp

So now I'm thinking about what other functional pieces I can make using these decorating styles.  What would you like to see?

Have you been to mudcolony this week?

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ferric Firing - A Little Overfired But Still Nice

The other day the weather was perfect for a raku firing, it was sunny after several days of rain and warm.  I had some pots ready for ferric.  It seemed like all the planets were in alignment for a good firing but maybe they were just the tiniest bit off.  I'm still learning how to best adjust this kiln for this type of firing.  A few years ago I tested the pyrometer on this kiln against Wally Asselberghs' and we did see some discrepancy.  Not a big deal, you should never completely trust those things anyway.

I brought the kiln up to 500 degrees pretty slowly, maybe too slowly, it seemed to take forever.  Then I gave it some gas for a fast firing with the intent of getting to about 1325.  It didn't take too long before the aluminum foil saggar to start dulling, in a few places it had completely lost it's shine and was looking a little thin.  This is a signal that the pots are done but the pyrometer only showed about 1100 degrees fahrenheit.

I held the kiln at that temperature for 5 minutes in an effort to be safe then shut it down.  I waited another few minutes before opening the kiln but I was worried that the pots would be underfired since I was now seeing lots of area of shinny aluminum foil.  No worries, I could just restart the kiln right?  So I opened one of the pots only to find dark maroons, not the yellows and oranges I was expecting.  When firing with ferric chloride we usually see the color go from yellow to orange to red to maroon to white as the temperature raises.  These pieces have that full range of colors.  They are pretty but I think they need to be a little cooler.

Aluminum Foil Saggar, ferric chloride by Future Relics
Ferric Fired Pots

Next time I'll bring them up to 500 quicker, not soak for 5 minutes and get them out of the kiln faster.  I may also put too layers of aluminum foil on the pots to see if that gets me the colors I desire.  They did get lots of complements at Art-B-Que and I even sold a few of them.  So I'm not unhappy, I just want them to have more of the vibrant colors like I was getting at Penland in March with Linda and Charlie Riggs.

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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Art-B-Que and Outdoor Show Thoughts

This weekend was Art-B-Que in Avondale Estates, GA.  It's an outdoor festival that is a lot of fun for visitors and artists alike.  It's a small show that doesn't draw people from really far away like many of the larger shows but it's fun to see the friends from the area that I don't often see.  And it still attracted some really great art and music.  I can't say very much about the food because it was very anti-vegetarian.  I guess that's to be expected at something named Art-B-Que but I do wish someone had pizza or something without meat.

Although sales were pretty good it seemed like a lot of people were afraid to walk into the booth.  They preferred to stand at the entrance and admire the work from 10 feet away.  That's a shame because I have a nice rubber mat floor that feels really great to stand on after you've been walking on the pavement for a few hours.  Even when it was raining people would rather stand on the outskirts and look at the pots.  They were even picking them up and admiring them, from outside the booth.  I need to find a way to make the booth look safer and/or more inviting.

Advertisement for Art-B-Que in Avondale Estates, GA
Art-B-Que Chicken

Yes, I mentioned rain, we had a little bit on Saturday, never more than a short sprinkle until just before closing time.  It wasn't enough to keep most people away so I'd say it was really close to perfect.  Sunday was sunny but windy.  Blustery, gusty, wind...the potter's nemesis.  I've heard enough stories of potters losing a large amount of work to the wind to be very fearful of it.  And I've seen The Wizard of Oz, I know my tent and my shelves will never be heavy enough to withstand just the right gust.  This is why I'm trying to get away from doing outdoor festivals, much as I love them.

The show was well organized and well run which is no easy task.  I'm extremely grateful for all the work that was put into the show.    

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

Friday, May 10, 2013

Art-B-Que This Weekend

Every art festival that I do has good points and bad points.  The hope is that the good points far outweigh the bad and that lots of people take my pottery home with them.  Some shows are set up to be good because the promoter really gets what it's like to be an artist trying to make a living.  That's why artist when a show is organized by an artist it's where I want to be.

So it is with Art-B-Que which is organized by Avondale Estates artist Bart Webb.  He makes the festival lots of fun for the attendees and takes care of the artists.  It's a pretty well organized show, volunteers come around with coolers full of water so we don't dehydrate and he makes it a fun event for the community while still focusing on the art.

Lori Buff pottery at Art-b-que
Art-B-Que 2012

Some really good bands are scheduled to play throughout the weekend, some top notch food trucks will be serving the Bar-B-Que and other fare and it's a juried artist market so you know the art is great.

I spend a lot of time at this show hugging friends and catching up with what they've been doing since we last saw each other.  That's pretty awesome too, so if you can make it out to Avondale Estates this weekend please look for my booth we can exchange hugs.

Saturday, May 11, 2013 10am - 7pm
Sunday, May 12, 2013 11am - 6pm

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pottery Not Art

A woman called to commission a dog bowl to replace the one she broke.  She explained the specifications of size and color and then asked for a price.  When she expressed her surprise and dismay at the price she was quoted she was told "it cost money to commission an artist."

She replied "I don't need an artist, I just need a potter.  I'd just make it myself if I knew how."

If she knew how she wouldn't have balked at the price or made such a ridiculous statement.

Pottery Salad Bowl by Lori Buff
Serving Bowl

Sadly many people think of artists as painters only.  They don't include many other artists like writers, actors, and musicians or even potters.  It makes me wonder how they classify trapeze artists.

It's true that I am a crafts person since I craft something out of clay but let's think about a functional piece of pottery.  I have to consider how that piece is going to be used then I have to engineer it to function properly for it's intended use, I have to design it to be esthetically pleasing and then I have to mold it out of clay, fire it and decorate it in such a way that someone will want to pay me for all that I've put into it.  Even the most simple piece I make contains all of these elements and a lot of love.

So potters where many hats; designer, engineer, chemist, crafts person/manufacturer.  The price for that dog bowl should have been much higher.

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

Monday, May 6, 2013

Meatless Monday - Mango Avocado Salad

Warmer weather calls for salads. This one is extra refreshing and delicious with a little bit of spice.

Mango Avocado Salad

1/4 cup each sliced almonds and pepitas (pumpkin seed)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayanne pepper
6 oz arugula
2 avocados diced
2 mangos diced
1 lemon 
olive oil
good quality, hot mustard (we prefer Coleman's or a nice hot grainy mustard like Lusty Monk)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Mix nuts and spices together in a pie plate, toast at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Squeeze lemon and toss avocado in lemon juice, reserve juice.
Toss cooled nuts with arugula, mango, and avocados

Mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt and mustard to taste. Pour over salad and toss.
Sprinkle cilantro leaves on top.

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

Friday, May 3, 2013

Other People's Pots - Stephanie Galli

It's been a while since I've showed you pieces from my pottery collection. It's not because I ran out of pots, the collection has been growing steadily. It's just something I forget about doing when it's convenient.

This little plate was made by Stephanie Galli who is a wonderful and vibrant as her work.  She uses layers of color and texture in very creative and attractive ways.  She's also a very talented thrower who pays close attention to the details that make a piece nice.  For example, the foot of her mugs and cups are polished with a diamond pad to make them smooth as silk, this is something your hand and your table tops will appreciate.

I was inspired to show you her plate today because she's having a show at Mudfire starting today at noon EST.  You can see it online by clicking here.

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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Venture

The transition is now complete; Janet and I, partnering with Deanna Ranlett and Daphne Dail of Atlanta Clay are now on our own to run Mudfire.  The founders, Erik and Luba left on Tuesday for the mountains of Tennessee and a new adventure.  Of course they told us to call if we need them so we aren't completely alone.  Besides, they built a strong foundation and taught us well how to make it all work.  Still, they are big shoes to fill and although I'm no longer terrified about owning the studio and gallery it still feels like a lot.  It is, thankfully, getting smoother sailing every day.

Mudfire Pottery Gallery and Clay studio
Mudfire Clayworks and Gallery

Needless to say it's cutting in a bit on my pottery making time and my blog writing time but I have no intention to stop doing either.  You may just read about what's going on in my pottery world a little less frequently.

Of course I still will be reading blogs and keeping up with you all as much as I can.

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