Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inman Park Festival and Firedworks

The week of blogging starts off with Meatless Mondays and now Teapot Tuesdays so whatever happens over the weekend seems to just wait until Wednesday.  This isn't a problem, especially when it's been a really good weekend.  Sometimes it's nice to revisit after a few days.

The weekend started by driving down to Macon to set up for Firedworks on Friday.  I love this show because it's so well run, so easy to do, it has so many great potters, and I get to visit with them as well as the patrons.  I've been reading the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and he just mentioned going to an art opening where he expected to talk to some artists, but no, only patrons where at this art opening.  Firedworks is not like that.  It's true that some people have other commitment and can't make it to the opening but many of the potters do stay.  I was only sad that I couldn't stay longer but I did have to get up early to set up for the Inman Park Festival.  Firedworks is a 10 day show so try to get to it by May 4th, 2014 if you can.

Firedworks Display

Saturday started out sunny and pleasant and pretty much stayed that way the entire day.  It was nice and warm in the sun but a gentle breeze and abundant shade kept us from feeling too hot.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a festival.  The people were there to have fun and to see and buy some great art.  This event gives them all of that and more.  I got to visit with a lot of friends and I found new homes for lots of pots.  By the end of Saturday I had run out of my medium size bags and had to start using larger ones.  Thankfully I still had some bags at the studio.
Inman Park Booth

Sunday brought more of the same, lots of wonderful people who where really enjoying the festival.  More visiting with friends, more pots finding new homes.  The weather was almost as nice but just a touch more humid, rain was in the area.  About an hour and a half before it was time to close I could tell it was coming.  My mom grew up in the country and taught me the signs.  I started packing up the parts of my display that don't like water.  I'm never too worried about the pots, they can handle it, many are made to hold liquids but the shelves and risers are wood.  If I were smarter I would have put the sidewalls back on the tent.  Hindsight is 20/20.  It doesn't matter, we got everything packed up  except the tent when the rain stopped, I got the truck and we loaded that in a hurry because more storms were in the area.  I think it took 5 minutes to load, maybe 6, and we were off in record time.

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Teapot Tuesday - Dogwood Teapot

This is another example of a side handled teapot.  Last weeks teapot was smaller and had the handle on the left, this one is a little larger and is handled on the right side.  This pot was also made with a white clay that works well for doing Mishima and underglaze design so that's exactly what I did with it.  I even took some videos of the processes, you can find them on my youtube channel here.

Dogwood Mishima pottery tea pot by Future Relics Gallery
Dogwood Teapot
The only thing I don't like about this teapot is trying to get a good photograph of it.  I think it looks a little off balance in the picture because the handle is behind the teapot body.  If I take the picture from the top like I did the smaller side handled teapot, then you loose a lot of the detail of the painting.  These are some of the trials of a 3D artist showing work in 2D.  How would you photograph the piece?

I hope everyone has a great Teapot Tuesday.  I can't wait to see the tea pots the other potters are posting.

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

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meatless Monday - Wine and Cheese

Sometimes a simple meal is the best.  If something is quick to fix and easy to enjoy, not to mention easy to clean up, life is good.  A loaf of bread, a wheel of brie or some other favorite cheeses, some green apples, olives, pesto, and a goblet of good wine.

Cheese Plate by Future Relics Pottery
Cheese Plate

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Building A Raku Kiln

In preparation for the two shows I have coming up this weekend (Fired Works and The Inman Park Festival) I wanted some more naked raku pieces.  I had a few already to go and all the equipment I needed to build a raku kiln so that's just what I did.

The Start of a Raku Kiln
The body of the kiln is a galvanized steel trash can (new and clean).  The flame will come from a weed burner.  This one puts out up to 500,000 BTU's so I thought it might be enough.  It connects to a propane tank like you would use for a bar-b-que grill.  The can was lined with ceramic fiber cloth.

Ceramic Fiber Cloth
This is not something you want to breathe or touch.  I wore a long sleeve shirt, gloves and a mask.

I rolled out some of the fiber cloth then pushed the bottom of the trash can down on it to make an impression of a circle the size of the bottom of the can.  It's not easy to draw on this cloth with a pen or Sharpe but this was actually easier than tracing would have been.

I cut the cloth with some surgical scissors I got from a friend who's a nurse.  They worked really well.
Cut Cloth With Surgical Sissors
I drilled a hole in the side of the can about 2 inches up from the bottom.  This is where the flame will enter the kiln and it needs to be low but above the ceramic fiber cloth that is in the bottom of the can.  I cut the hole larger with tin snips.  I made the opening one inch larger than the size of the torch head but I think it needs to be another inch larger.  I cut a hole in the lid of the trash can - now - kiln the same way, this will be the chimney.

I measured across the top and the bottom of the can then did some quick geometry calculations to get the circumference of both places.  This way I'd know how much cloth to cut.  The cloth was tucked inside the can then held in place with clay buttons that were held in place with high temperature wire.
Raku Kiln Buttons
This was a bit of a pain in the neck because the wire had to be pushed through a hole in the can, through the cloth, through a hole in the button and back around again then twisted tightly on the outside of the kiln.  All while wearing gloves and a mask.  I said some words that are inappropriate for small children and that seemed to make it work.

Three pieces of soft brick made the posts and one made a flame deflector.  But when I came time to install the shelf I realized it was just a tad too big because of the thickness of the fiber cloth.  More bad words and I was able to find enough pieces of shelf to cobble something together.  Yay, the cussing seems to help (kids, don't try this at home).
Raku kiln building by Future Relics

I have an old kiln that I've been using to scavenge parts. The stand and kiln bottom seemed like a good place to put the raku kiln for firing.  It was a little tall because I'm vertically challenged, but it worked well otherwise.  I suspect I could just put it on a few cinderblocks also.

Home Made Raku kiln by Future Relics Gallery
Firing the Raku Kiln
I had to use a piece of soft brick for the chimney damper since I used all the old kiln shelf for the shelf.  I will get a new shelf that fits before I fire it again.

I did a ferric fuming for the first firing.  I don't use a pyrometer for this type of firing, I just watch the aluminum foil and stop the firing when the foil changes from shinny to flat.

Fumed Naked Raku Vase by Future Relics Gallery
Fumed Vase

Naked Raku, Fumed by Future Relics Pottery
Fumed Plate

Two of my favorites from this kiln.

Disclaimer:  Working with ceramic fiber and firing a raku kiln can be dangerous.  Please do not do this unless you are qualified and/or are working with a trained, qualified individual.

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tea Pot Tuesday - Side Handled Tea Pot For Left Handed People

It's Tea Pot Tuesday again.  You may remember from last week that Potter/blogger Gary Rith has started encouraging potters to post pictures of our tea pots on Tea Pot Tuesday.  I'm not sure how long I can keep this up since I don't make too many tea pots, or maybe I'll be inspired to make more.

Today's tea pot is a small side handled tea pot. The side handle is an Asian design.  I like the way it looks and I like that the handle does not get in way when you're filling the tea pot with boiling water.  Yes, you could just put this pot in the microwave and heat the water that way but sometimes it's nice to use a tea kettle and listen for the whistle.

When I made the first set of travel mugs several readers commented that they are left handed and the mugs wouldn't work for them (actually, you can drink out of either side of these travel mugs so it's okay), which got me thinking.  When I make other mugs I make some left handed and right handed but what about tea pots?  I'm ambidextrous when drinking out of a mug but not when pouring tea.  So I made this little tea pot so that left hand dominant people can use it comfortably, but I also made it small enough that it should be comfortable for a right handed person to use, just with their non-dominant hand.
Woodfired teapot with side handle by Future Relics Pottery
Side Handled Wood Fired Tea Pot

The tea pot was thrown with Highwater's Orangestone clay and fired in the wood kiln at Penland School of Crafts this past winter.  You can see more pictures of it in my Etsy Store.

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Call For Artists - Atlantic Health System


The Healing Arts Program of Atlantic Health System is looking for 3-D sculptural work for their Institute of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Disease in Summit, NJ. The piece should express the themes of the Institute, as well as "high-tech, high-touch" advanced technologies in healthcare paired with direct and caring human interaction. Those interested in receiving a prospectus, please e-mail


or send a SASE to: Healing Arts, Atlantic Health System, 475 South Street, Morristown NJ 07962.


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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Tortoise and The Hare

Do you remember that old story about a tortoise and hare racing.  Since the hare is faster he thinks he can screw around and take a nap while the tortoise just carries on at his own pace and ends up winning.  The moral of the story is that if we just stay on course and do what we have to do we will win the race, and maybe we won't even break a sweat.  That's my normal philosophy, slow and steady, just keep making pots and I'll be ready for any show.  Yes, their is often a push to get somethings done near the end but normally I don't have too much panic.

Today I'm panicking.

Two of my biggest spring shows are happening simultaneously.  That means twice the pots to make, fire, glaze/decorate and fire again.  They have to be priced, entered into inventory, and packed into boxes and bins and then packed into the vehicle.

In the tradition of slow and steady, I tend to have an inventory of pots.  I can, and have, done a show at the last minute with no problems.  But this is two shows, two big shows.  Do we ever have enough pots?
Fired Works 2013

Right now the last bisque kiln is firing.  It has a few pieces that I made special for a Mother's Day show and pieces for Fired Works and The Inman Park Festival (the simultaneous shows).  I'll have to fire two glaze kilns and do a naked raku firing before the week is up.  I'll also have to go through all these pots and figure out which ones go to which show.

Time for another mug of coffee.

Other Stuff:

Fired Works
Central City Park
Macon, GA
April 25th - May 4, 2014

Inman Park Festival and Tour of Homes
Atlanta, GA
April 26th - 27th 2014

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Full of Ourselves

Painter Helen Ferguson Crawford posted this little cartoon on Facebook the other day.  I can really see why it would appeal to any artist and many women.

It seems like their is always a bit of a thin line between self promotion and being full of ourselves.  I suspect the line moves for each person so it's really hard to know where it is and how not to cross it.

Artists do things like go to school for many years plus do residencies and workshops and whatever else it takes to get really good at what we do.  Some people spend as much time learning to be an artist as someone else spends to be doctor or lawyer without the possibility of as great an income.  And then when they finally feel really good about what they've done they shout to the world about it only to hear the reply "that woman is full of herself."

Sometimes I'll start talking with a customer in my booth and say "I really love that pot."  Some people take it as a complement to their taste but some people give me a look that says "how dare you love something that you created yourself."  My grandmother would have been one of those people.  She believed we are supposed to be humble, not proud, don't toot your own horn or people will think you're an ass hole.  Actually, I just love the piece without any hidden agenda.

How do we tell other people that we made something and it brings us joy and we want to share that joy with them without sounding like we are full of ourselves?  How do we show our strength and our beauty without pissing someone off?  Or is the answer really that nobody would actually think a big, strong, beautiful tree is really an ass hole and a person that has similar characteristics to that tree is not an ass hole either.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teapot Tuesday

Blogger, potter and friend Gary Rith has started a new theme of Teapot Tuesday.  This sounds like fun because people make so many different styles of teapots.  Have you ever going to a teapot show or looked through Lark's 500 Teapot's book?  You'll find so many creative and fun ideas there.

I tend to make very traditional teapots.  I like for my functional pottery to be used.  I also like to make them beautiful because their is something about the act of serving tea that feels special to me, even when I'm just serving it to myself.  It always feels a bit garish to boil the water in the microwave, drop the teabag in the mug and let it steep for a few minutes then toss it away.  Yes, I do this, probably much more often then I make a pot of tea and treat myself well.  Either way, the tea is enjoyed in a hand crafted vessel.

Woodfired Tea Pot
This tea pot was fired in the wood kiln at Penland School of Crafts. You can see more pictures and read more about it at my Etsy Store.

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meatless Monday - Peanut Noodles

This is another one of those recipes that you can very easily adapt to suit your needs.  The vegetables that I'm listing here are only a guide, use whatever you have on hand or is in season.  It's great if you shop for veggies at your local farmer's market because you won't have to worry if they don't have something, just make a substitute with whatever you and your family like.  If you'd like this dish really hot just add chili's to the dressing.

This recipe makes about 4 servings and takes around 30 minutes from prep to plate.

Peanut Noodles

7 ounces medium egg noodles
2 TBS olive oil
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 1/4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped


1/4 cup olive oil
1 lime, grated and juiced
1 tsp hot sauce (adjust per your taste)
4 TBS chopped cilantro
1-2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 - 2 tsp soy sauce


Make the dressing (can be made a day ahead of time) whisk together all the ingredients then adjust the hot sauce and soy sauce to your taste.

Cook the noodles per the package directions, drain well.

While the noodles are cooking heat the oil in a preheated wok or large frying pan.  Cook the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes or until they begin to soften.  Add the vegetables and cook for another 15 minutes over medium heat.  They should begin to soften and brown.  Add the peanuts and cook 1 minute more.

Toss the noodles into the wok with the vegetables and heat through.  Add the dressing and stir to coat.  Serve immediately with cilantro or chives as a garnish and soy sauce on the side.

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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Call To Artists - Auburn Ceramics Competition

Jule Collins Smith Museum, Auburn University (JCSM) is seeking applications from ceramic artists working in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida to be juried for our 2014 Alabama and Neighbors Ceramics Exhibition and Sale. This call for ceramics is open to all artists age 18 and older, and entries must be received electronically by May 15, 2014, with an early bird discount by April 15, 2014.  

Twelve to fifteen artists will be selected to exhibit in the Grand Gallery, September 13-November 2, 2014. Additionally, there will be an opportunity, October 31-November 2, 2014, to sell exclusively to JCSM members and visitors from campus, the community, and the East Alabama region. The juror is Christopher Staley, an active ceramic artist and professor of Ceramic Art at Pennsylvania State University.

You will find all details in our prospectus at http://jcsm.auburn.edu/assets/files/Ceramics_Exhibition_and_Sale-prospectus-FINAL.pdf or through our home page under "Juried Exhibitions."   

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Shivering in Spring

Doesn't it always happen?  A few weeks before a big show, when you're really feeling the pressure, something breaks or fails or gives you some unnecessary trouble.  I've been using this same ash glaze recipe for many years.  Obviously it's always worked well, a real tried and true performer.

Until now.

When I opened the kiln yesterday I found shivering on a couple of pieces.  I wasn't sure why and I kept on defeating my own arguments about why.  You know how we second guess ourselves in times of panic.
Glaze Issues

So I went to the internet, to one of the Facebook groups I belong to named Clay Buddies.  I'm normally pretty quiet in this group because by the time I see a post 50 people have already answered it and I don't think anyone needs my thoughts at that point.

A few people answered my post and with a collective knowledge I was able to make an educated guess at what I think is the problem and solution.  The shivering is caused by more clay than flux (the ash).  I have normally used ash from a fireplace but this time it was from a wood kiln.  Having been in the heat for so long more of the silica in the wood may have burned out and been sent to the pots in that kiln leaving less for mine.  It's either that or I measured my ingredients, which is also a possibility.  The good news is that it shouldn't be difficult at all to figure out if it's the ash or the potter and I have some solutions.

Thanks to the world of potters who are always willing to help another.

Other Stuff:

Six Easy Steps to Stop Glaze Shivering

Ash Glaze Recipe:
1 part clay (om-4 or red art)
1 part ash

2% cobalt or copper for color

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

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Public Art In Boise

Public art is important to cities.  It adds beauty and interest.  It speaks to the priorities of the people of the city.  It gives residents and visitors something to view, admire, and discuss.  It helps prevent graffiti.  The city of Boise, ID, and many other cities around the world have discovered this to be true.  As a tourist I was really happy to see it.  Not only do I love looking at art but it made me feel like the city was safer because someone cares about it.  Okay, Boise, ID in the middle of the day seems really safe anyway, but you know what I mean, it's better to look at a city street that is decorated and loved rather than ignored.

You know those ugly, grey electrical boxes you see on many street corners, the one's the make the traffic lights work?  In Boise each was adorned with some art.  I don't mean fliers for some band that played at some bar 3 weeks ago, but they were made into an actual work of art.  The artwork was respected so the handbills were not posted.

Freak Alley Gallery, Boise, ID

Another great space for public art was called Freak Alley Gallery.  This was really interesting because it was a space that was being used for parking, and included an alley way to help people get to neighboring streets and businesses.  Alley's don't usually sound like someplace attractive.  At best they tend to be a way to get somewhere, at worst they are filled with garbage and/or crime.  But here, it's filled with art.  You could probably spend an a good deal of time exploring the various murals in this area.  So much fun.

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

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meatless Monday - Potato Tortino

This is comfort food.  A tortino is a type of pie that's made san a pastry crust.  You make them with chopped or puréed vegetables. I used 2 baking potatoes and one sweet potato to make the two pound of potatoes but you could use all of one kind or the other or even use turnips instead of some of the potatoes.  The other vegetable I used was spinach.  I just laid the leaves in and let them bake into the potatoes and cheese. You could also add mushrooms, leeks, fennel, carrots, tomatoes...the types of vegetables used is limited only by availability and your taste.

Potato Tortino

2 Pounds of potatoes, cut up for mashing, peeled if desired (I didn't peel them)
4 TBS butter
3 TBS ricotta cheese
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch of nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
2 TBS olive oil
6 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped or pureed vegetable of your choice


Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for 20 minutes or until they are tender.  Drain and put into a mixing bowl.  Add the butter, eggs, milk, ricotta, and garlic.  Mix well and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  The mixture should be fairly soft like mashed potatoes.

Grease a casserole dish with the olive oil and dust with half of the Parmesan cheese.  Pour in half of the potato mixture and cover with the sliced mozzarella cheese.  Add a layer of vegetables.  Pour in the rest of the potato mixture and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  The top should be nicely browned, if not, give it a few more minutes.

Makes about 6 servings.

What vegetables would you use?

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Call for Artists - Plate at Mudfire Gallery

Invitational Group Show, 3-4 pieces each by 20 artists.
Are you tired of cup and yunomi shows? Us too. We thought it was time for the hardest working item on the table to get some love - the plate. Show us how you'd serve up a big o' plate of awesome. Functional or not, the plate is the foundation of the craft we all love.
Moving beyond simply serving show us a plate that we'd be proud to have on our table - hand-built, thrown, decorated, layered, printed, carved, show us your favorite plate!
June 1, 2014, Submissions Due at MudFire for Consideration
June 15, Final Invitations Issued
July 1, Acceptance Deadline
September 30, Artwork Arrives at MudFire (early shipments welcome)
October 25, 2014 Show Opens

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

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ceramics and Other Art In Boise

Yesterday I wrote about some of our vacation in Southern Idaho.  When we left there we went up to Boise which is a nice little city with a pretty cool down town area with lots of local flavor.  The first touristy thing we did was go to the Boise Art Museum.  It's a pretty cool little museum with some very interesting art.  We had planed to go visit BAM before I even realized that they had an exhibit of modern and contemporary ceramics which is the Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo collection.  And what a collection it is!  They were exhibiting pieces from many of the great names like Lucie Rie, Bernard Leach, Paul Soldner, Peter Voulkos, Beatrice Wood, and so many more.  It was really an interesting, eclectic, and wonderful collection.  I wonder what these people have at home.

Christopher Staley, Half Moon Jar, 2009

They also had an exhibit by Lisa Kokin titled "How The West Was Sewn."  She displayed a couple of different styles of work.  For one body she took apart books and sewed them into wall sculptures that resemble vines, branches, and leaves.  These were really quite beautiful and colorful, something I'd defiantly love to have on a wall in my house.  Even the shadows that they cast on the walls was wonderful.
Lisa Kokin, Lost River (detail), thread, wire, book pages

She also has creates cowboys out of lace that are really enjoyable.  She uses the lace to poke a little fun at the cowboy image that we've been exposed to in westerns.  They are really smart and funny.

Their were others but one of my favorite displays was titled Night Hunter and Night Hunter House by Stacey Steers.  It's dark.  It's weird.  It's edgy. It's pretty great. She took parts of old, silent movies and created a collage with animation.  Yes, it's a film collage.  They were playing that in one room while in the next were images from the movie displayed on the walls and a very detailed sculpture of a victorian house.  As we looked into the windows of each room we saw that the room was created as a replica of a room in the film and sections of the film where being played in the various rooms.  It was very creative and captivating.  I cannot begin to imagine how many hours of work were put into making it happen let alone creating the idea.

Stacey Steers, Night Hunter House (detail), 2011

The museum has a no photography policy that I had to respect so all the images are from BAM, not me.

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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Little Time Off

The end of this month will see two of the biggest shows I do in the spring, Firedworks in Macon, GA and The Inman Park Festival here in Atlanta.  Both shows start on the same weekend.  I know that weekend is going to be busy so I've been making pots like crazy so I have enough good ones for both events.  However, I also took a little time off to visit Janet's family in Idaho.  Her family lives in rural southern Idaho.  It's farm country for sure.  That means lots of amazing vistas.  You can see the weather coming a mile away.

When we left Atlanta it was just starting to become spring-like.  The flowers were starting to bloom and the days were feeling warmer.  The first morning we awoke in Idaho we found snow on the fields.

Snowy Sunrise in Idaho

It was pretty and just a light dusting so no big deal.  Okay, it would have brought Atlanta to a complete standstill but we didn't have to drive or shovel so it was fun to play with the dogs in it.

We also took a boat ride along part of the Snake River thanks to 1000 Springs Boat Tours.  Here's a picture of one of the waterfalls.

Snake River Waterfall

I didn't try to photograph or count them all but we saw a lot of them. This time of year you miss the spectacular foliage but the flowering trees where already showing their beauty and we got to see a large variety of birds that we might not have seen otherwise.  It all evens out.

Tomorrow I'll write about the fun stuff we did in Boise including a great ceramics exhibit.

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