Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Instagram Me

Are you on Instagram?  I am, I actually have had a profile on it for a long time but I never remembered to look at it or post pictures too much.  Essentially I just didn't get it.  Then a few months ago a friend reminded me about it and how much fun she was having with it so I thought I'd give it another try.  This time I'm really having fun with it.

I don't really post very many pictures but I do spend time looking at pictures that other people post.  naturally I follow many potters and other artists but my favorite non-artist is the usinterior.  They post the most beautiful pictures.  It's impossible for me to decide which is the best one to show you so I'll give you a few examples.


Yellowstone and Milkyway
I could actually post images from them all day but you can just go to instagram and follow them yourself.  While you're at it, you could follow me too, just search for FutureRelicsGallery.  Let me know what your user name is and I'll follow you back.

Who do you enjoy following on instagram?

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Almost There

We all know that it's helpful to have goals and then to take steps towards achieving them.  Back in January I joked about not really making a New Years resolution to keep up with my Etsy shop.  I did, at that time set out to do better with Etsy and increase my sales.  I've worked at it at a pace that felt comfortable for me.  I know I could do better, post lots more pieces and do all the other million little tasks that I am told I should do.  But I have to work at my pace so the offerings are more but not nearly the 100 that it should be.  I've interacted a bit more, visiting the forums and creating treasuries.  I enjoy making them, they are fun and I get to see other people's work that I might not have normally seen.

Now I am almost there.  The last piece that sold on Etsy brought me into a tie with the most I've ever sold in one year.  And it's only July!  Okay, it's the end of July but I do hope to sell some more pieces before the year is finished.  That will mean that I achieved the goal of exceeding my previous sales years.  That feels pretty good.
The bad news is that I'm a little lower on the cash side of things.  It seems I'm selling more items but lower cost items.  When I look at my shop it's easy to see why, the majority of my pieces are the less expensive ones.  Well, that's easy to fix.

The other thing I noticed is that most of my customers from Etsy are new.  This is a little strange to me since I have so many repeat customers (collectors?) here in Atlanta.  These are people that come to shows, festivals and shops and look for me.  These are the people that write or call and request a special item.  I wonder if people are getting lost in the volume that is Etsy so I created a coupon that gives a little discount to customers who come back and purchase from me again.  It feels like a nice way of saying "Thanks."

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Meatless Monday - Gnocchi in Brown Butter with Spinach and Pine Nuts

This is one of the easiest recipes you'll ever make.  That's perfect for a Monday, or any other week night.  Gnocchi are a pasta that is typically made from potatoes but it also has flour in it so you'll want to look for a gnocchi that is gluten free or make your own if that is a concern in your diet.  Being a pasta made from potatoes it's really a perfect comfort food.

The recipe is so easy you may even have time and energy to make some Crip Rosemary Flatbread to go with it.

Gnocchi in Brown Butter with Spinach and Pine Nuts by Future Relics Pottery
Gnocchi in Brown Butter with Spinach and Pine Nuts

  • 1 pound of gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 ounces of fresh spinach, washed and torn
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook gnocchi according to package or recipe directions, drain.

Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts to pan; cook 3 minutes or until butter and nuts are lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute. Add gnocchi and spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Call For Artists - Sheltered, an art benefit for animals at risk

Sheltered, an art benefit for animals at risk in our communities, is seeking artists for a curated exhibition to be presented at Davis Arts Center, Davis, CA.

The five-week show is open to all residents of the US, 18 years and older. The theme of the show is “shelter.” Artists are encouraged to interpret the theme broadly from their own unique perspective. All art mediums will be considered (painting, drawing, photography, multimedia, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, etc.) Works can be abstract, symbolic, realistic, representational, pastoral, urbanesque, minimalist. We want to see your vision! A percentage of net sales (artists can choose from 50% to 100%) will be donated to national and local  nonprofit animal welfare agencies selected by organizers as Beneficiaries.
Entry Deadline: ongoing until July 31, 2014
Event Dates: 10/10/14-11/15/14
Opening Reception: 10/10/14
Submissions Manager Portal: CLICK HEREWe’re using Submittable, a simple, secure platform as our submission manager. This makes it easier to keep track of all the submissions. There is no fee to enter. If you need to, you may also submit through email to shelteredartshow@gmail.com.
Sheltered seeks to raise awareness of the staggering number of homeless animals who will never find shelter. In addition to the art show, lectures, workshops, clinics, and other outreach activities are planned. The events coincide with Adopt a Shelter Dog and Adopt a Senior Pet months. The opening show and reception will be included in the 2nd Friday ArtAbout in Davis.
The Exhibition will be curated by Philadelphia-based artist and professor Ryann Casey.
Davis Arts Center
1919 F Street
Davis, CA  95616
SUBMISSIONS:Artists are invited to submit images, audio, or video* of up to six (6) separate works of art for preliminary review. Submission may be the actual work you are proposing or a sample of your work.  Please Note: acceptance of artist and/or work based on electronic images is contingent on the artistic integrity of the finished piece and how it relates to theme of the exhibit.
Due to space restrictions, artwork may not exceed 48″ overall height nor weigh more than 25 pounds (unless artist is local and can hang/install).
*Limited infrastructure for video and audio installations.
The artwork exhibited in Sheltered will help raise awareness of homeless animals and raise funds for specific non-profit animal rescues.  On submission, you will be asked an approximate selling price for your pieces of art.  Keep in mind that we want your artwork to sell and price accordingly.
The date shipped work and hand delivered work needs to arrive at the Davis Arts Center will be announced in 2014. Artists are responsible for all delivery costs.
All exhibited work should be self-insured by the artist during shipping and delivery.
By submitting work to Sheltered, the Artists confirm they have read and agreed to the following conditions: Permission is granted to Sheltered and  Davis Arts Center to use images of artwork accepted into the exhibition for publicity purposes. One or more images of artwork may be chosen for the cover design of invitation and other materials associated with the benefit show. Artists agree to allow reproduction of their digital files and/or photographs taken of their art for educational, publicity, and archival purposes. The Artist agrees to release and discharge representative of Sheltered and Davis Arts Center from any and all claims occasioned by loss or damage of  work while in the possession of Davis Arts Center or in transit.
SALE OF ART:Davis Arts Center processes all sales and retains 20% of revenue collected during art benefit to cover use of building, staffing, and administrative costs.
Artist agrees to donate a percentage of net sales (50% to 100%), which will be donated to selected animal welfare nonprofit agencies to be announced in December 2013.  Work will be available for viewing at Davis Arts Center and online at shelteredartshow.org.
Sold works will remain in show until closing.  Artists can choose to participate and set minimum bid for a Buy-or-Bid Silent Auction, to be held Nov. 15, 2014. It is the responsibility of Artists to pick up unsold work. Shipping of unsold art will be professionally packaged and shipped by a packing company. Artists are responsible for all packing and shipping fees. If artists do not wish to pay for shipping of unsold artwork, Sheltered will donate work to area shelters for display in those facilities.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Mugs, What a Relief

Sometimes you have to take your work to new dimensions.  I've been playing around with the mugs that I do with imagery on them.  The idea was that they would be reminiscent of tattoos.  I even leave some unglazed surface around the pictures, which makes me think about the variance between the body with and without adornment.

Pottery mug with dragon by Future Relics Gallery
Dragon Mug in Relief

Now I'm taking those pieces to a new level; a raised and carved surface.  I still created the lines using mishima and I'll paint the dragons and luna moths with underglazes.  I'll do a clear coat of glaze over that then add colored glazes on the reset of the body of the mug.  I think that's what I'll do anyway.  Sometimes these things change plans on me and I just have to go with it.

Ceramic Luna Moth Mug by Future Relics Gallery
Luna Moth Mug with Relief

What do you think?

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

For The Young Who Want To

I came across this poem by Marge Piercy a while ago.  I may no longer be young but it still holds some good thoughts and feelings. I think the flavor of it may be true for all artists. What do you think.  Enjoy.

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Horse hair raku covered jar by Future Relics Gallery
Horse Hair Raku Lidded Jar

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Meatless Monday - Rice Noodle Salad

So often we think of Asian food being something that is stir fried in a wok or maybe some spicy curry.  The foods that have deep, rich, complex flavors that warm the heart and the belly.  Asian salads are not the first thing that come to mind for me.  This nice, light salad may change that thought.  It's full of flavor but it's a light and delicious flavor.  Plus it's quick and easy to make.  You may wish to experiment with different vegetables or proteins.  I made this with shrimp but tofu would work well too.

Salad with Rice Noodles by Future Relics Pottery
Rice Noodle Salad


For The Dressing 

Juice from 1 large lime
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
½ cup water
1 small red chile, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

For The salad 

 8 ounces thin rice noodles
1 large carrot or zucchini, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
8 to 12 ounces cooked shrimp or tofu (optional)
A handful of fresh mint, cilantro, or Thai basil, or a combination, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped


Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a small lipped bowl. Set aside.

To make the salad, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes or per package directions. Drain in a colander and immediately rinse the noodles very well with cold water. Shake the colander to remove excess water, then spread the noodles out on a clean towel to cool.
Divide the noodles into bowls. Top each with carrots, cucumbers, tofu and nuts. Strew the herbs over the tops of the salads. Drizzle the dressing onto the salad.  Enjoy.

Makes about 4 servings.

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Call for Entry - Barrett Art Center


28th Annual National Juried CONTEMPORARY ART Exhibition
Barrett Art Center Galleries, 55 Noxon Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Juror:  Lynne Warren, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Notification of Acceptance:  by Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Accepted Work Delivered to Barrett Art Center:   September 10 - 17, 2014
Exhibition Dates: September 27—November 8, 2014 
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 27,   4 pm - 7 pm
ABOUT NEW DIRECTIONS and the BARRETT ART CENTER:   New Directions is a premier national exhibition of contemporary art in all visual art media, showcasing the current work of established and emerging artists from across the United States working in a varied array of medium and genres.  The show is visited by art appreciators and collectors from the Hudson Valley and beyond, including New York City and the suburbs of Connecticut. Now in its 29th year, and juried by professionals of repute from the country’s leading modern art museums, this exhibition brings contemporary art to an atypical venue - the warm and welcoming galleries of Barrett Art Center’s 1830's Greek Revival Townhouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.  Surprisingly, the Barrett townhouse lends itself well to a dramatic, visually compelling presentation of contemporary and cutting-edge work.
ABOUT OUR JUROR:  Barrett is pleased to have Lynne Warren, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, as our juror for New Directions ’14.  Ms. Warren has organized over 25 solo exhibitions of artists at MCA ranging from Robert Heinecken: Photographist of 1999 and 2004’s Dan Peterman: Plastic Economies to Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character of 2011. Major exhibitions includeAlexander Calder: Form, Balance, Joy of 2010, the H.C. Westermann exhibition and catalogue raisonné projects of 2001, both of which traveled nationally, and the Art in Chicago, 1945-1995 exhibition of 1996 which produced the first comprehensive book tracing Chicago’s unique art history including community-based and time arts. More recently she was the curator-in-charge for the MCA presentations of  Paul Sietsema and Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes (2013); Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure (2008) and organized the exhibition Everything’s Here in conjunction with MCA’s Jeff Koons, also 2008, which presented those Chicago-based artists Koons had admired and been influenced by.  She has also realized numerous smaller exhibitions including many in the MCA’s  12 x 12: New Artists/New Works series of emerging Chicago artists between 2001 and 2010, and the  on-going “MCA DNA” series which explores the strengths of the MCA Collection, such as the current “MCA DNA: Warhol and Marisol” exhibition. 
Warren’s publications are wide-ranging and numerous, including over 35 exhibition catalogues published by the MCA and such publishers as Harry N. Abrams and Thames and Hudson. Most recently she has focused on Chicago scholarship in writings for the catalogue for the inaugural exhibition Re: Chicago at the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago (2010) and for the catalogue for the Chicago Imagists exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin.
AWARDS and PUBLICITY for New Directions ‘14:  A gallery of all selected works will be displayed on the Barrett Art Center website after the opening.  Prizes are announced at the opening reception;  three cash prizes (amounts to be determined based on entries) and two honorary awards are selected by the juror.  Each selected artist who attends the opening reception will be given a brief opportunity to talk about his or her work.  In addition to our website, The NEW DIRECTIONS ’14 exhibit is publicized via the Barrett Art Center eNewsletter and in regional press releases and social networking sites on the Internet.  
Open to all artists residing in the United States and age 18 or older. 
Visual media eligible for entry in New Directions ’14:  Drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, installation art, glass, ceramics, fiber and mixed media. 
Media NOT eligible are video/film, performance art, or wearable art (clothing or jewelry). 
Details regarding 2-Dimensional Work:  2-Dimen-sional work cannot exceed 40 inches along any side, including the frame, if applicable.   Work accepted for exhibition must be ready to hang and include all necessary hardware (no saw tooth hangers, please).  Framed work must use plastic or Plexiglass;  frames with glass will NOT be accepted for hanging.  
Details regarding 3-Dimensional Work:  Installation art, sculpture and other 3-Dimensional works must fit within a parameter of 60 in. high by 30 in. wide x 24 in. deep.  Work cannot be hung or installed from ceiling.  Gallery has limited pedestals for use; accepted artist may need to provide pedestal for mounting accepted work.  
All work submitted must be original in design, concept and media. Submitted work must have been completed within the last three years.  Student projects are ineligible.  Work previously exhibited in a previous New Directions or other past Barrett Art Center exhibits is not eligible. 
SUBMITTING ENTRIES:  Deadline for submission:  Thursday, July 31, 2014 (midnight Mountain Time).
Submission of entries and the jurying process is conducted by CaFÉ, an easy-to-use online system, www.callforentry.org.  Payment of entry fees is conducted via the CaFÉ site linked to PayPal; personal checks are also accepted via CaFÉ.  Information on uploading images, artist information, and submitting an artist statement and biographical information is provided during the submission process at CaFÉ.  There is no additional cost to the artist (other than submission fees to a specific Call for Entry) to register and submit through CaFÉ.  The artist creates a unique login access which allows complete access to numerous open calls from any internet-connected computer.  
Please visit http://www.callforentry.org to view more details about the submission process, open a free artist account at CaFE, and complete the submission process to NEW DIRECTIONS '14.
Entrants can apply to the New Directions Call for Entry at:

ENTRY FEE for NEW DIRECTIONS '14:  Fees for submission are as follows: 
For members of Barrett Art Center, entry fee is $40 for up to three works.  [Members please call BAC for a coupon code to execute member entry discount, Wednesday through Friday, 10 am to 3 pm, 845-471-2550.] 
For non-members of BAC, the entry fee is $50 for up to three works.
IMAGES:  Artists may submit two images for each work, one full view showing entire image, plus one detail view of a small portion of the work (detail view is optional for 2-D work).  For sculptural, installation or three-dimensional work, artists MUST submit two views of each work (showing work from two vantage points).  Each entrant can submit no more than six images per entry.  
SALES:  Barrett Art Center will retain a commission fee for sales conducted during the exhibit and while work is housed at Barrett Art Center for New Directions ’14;  sales commission of 25% will apply to Barrett members, sales commission of 40% will apply to non-members.  Non-members are encouraged to sign up for membership to take advantage of commission rates and other membership benefits; please visit www.barrattartcenter.org/membership to become a member.   
NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE:  All applicants will be notified of the juror’s decision via email through the CaFÉ system by Wednesday, August 20, 2014. 
DELIVERY OF ACCEPTED WORKS:  Accepted work must be received (via shipment or personal delivery) by Barrett Art Center between Wednesday, September 10 and Wednesday, September 17.  (Detailed instructions for shipping/return shipping/insurance/personal delivery/etc. will be emailed to all accepted artists directly from Barrett Art Center after notification of acceptance in the exhibition.)  

QUESTIONS:  For more information, contact Deborah Bein at the Barrett Art Center by email:   info@barrettartcenter.org, or call (845) 471-2550.  Visit our website:  www.barrettartcenter.org

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to Make a Faceted Mug - Part 2

Yesterday's blog post was about how to facet a pot.  If you didn't read it yet you can find it by clicking  here.  Go do that now, I'll wait right here.  When you get back we'll learn how to make a double facet.

Making a double facet is similar to making a single facet, you just have more opportunities to cut through your wall.  Wheee!

You'd do everything the same as when making the single faceted pot but before you start cutting with your faceting tool you'll make a light line in the middle of the pot.  Make the line while the wheel is spinning so the line is completely around the pot.  Now when you make your first cut you'll bring the tool just down to that line then stop and cut off your piece.  I like to bring the tool over to the side a little bit so that the textured lines meet at an angle, but that's just personal preference. Do this around the entire top half of the piece.

Faceting the Top Half

Next move the piece so that one of the corners of the upper facet is facing you.  Insert the wire of the tool into the clay just under this point.  Again, cut straight down very carefully.  When you get to the bottom you can either make another angle cut or cut straight down.  It's an aesthetic choice, try both and see which look you like best.  I like cutting at an angle and leaving some clay if I'm going to be glazing the piece with a runny glaze.  The lip will help catch the glaze.

Starting the Second Facet Layer
Do this around the entire mug, or just part of it.  That might be a fun look too.  Play and see what you discover.
Ceramic mug, double facets by Future Relics Pottery
Double Faceted Mug
If you'd like a one on one demonstration and lesson on how to do this or many other pottery techniques you can schedule a Helpout with me.  The first lesson is free so why not give it a try.

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to Make a Faceted Mug - Part 1

Do you remember last winter when I was at Penland School of Crafts doing a wood firing.  As we linger in the dog days of summer it's fun to think about how cold it was there in January.  Now my parka hangs in a closet waiting to be worn again.  The winter residency there is pretty cool in ways that are not just temperature related.  Less people are in the studio and the atmosphere is relaxed and easy.  That doesn't mean that I didn't learn anything.  Besides all the fun of figuring out how best to load and fire the wood kiln and Julia, the salt and soda kiln, I also learned how to make pots with variegated clay from Michael Kline and with faceting from Marsha Owen.  Both are great people, potters, and teachers.

I made a few espresso mugs for practice while I was up there but then started playing with the technique Marsha showed me in earnest when I got home.  I've used this technique on several pieces but just recently posted a couple faceted mugs on Etsy.
Handmade Faceted Pottery Mug by Lori Buff
Faceted Mug
The first thing you need to do is wedge up more clay than you would normally need for the size piece you want.  You'll be cutting away the extra clay so about half again as much is a good rule.  Start throwing the cylinder but resist all urges to make it thin.  You want the walls nice and thick for this process.  Use a metal rib to make sure they are straight, clean, and vertical.  Then compress the rim of the piece with a little taper where the highest point is on the outside of the piece.  Now is also the best time to make the cut for your foot.  You can add more of a foot later but you defiantly want to get a good cut into the bottom of the piece and remove that extra clay before you start your cuts.

Stop the wheel and make faint marks in the rim describing where you're going to make your cuts.  You can simply touch the rim with a taught cut off wire or pin tool for this step.

I made a tool for faceting because I found myself cutting into the pot when I just tried using a cut off wire.  I made the tool with an old guitar string and a cheese slicer.  The guitar string gives the cuts some texture which I really like but I have to tighten the wire on occasion.  I think I need a thicker wire.
Tool for Faceting Ceramics by Future Relics Gallery
Faceting Tool

To make the single facet you would carefully cut straight down from the rim of the piece to the foot then pull the extra clay away. You'll want to start the cut about half the thickness of the width of the cylinder wall and keep your hand really steady.  After you make the first cut turn the wheel so the next section that you marked off is in front of you and cut again, the same way.  For some reason I rarely cut through into the pot until the last cut.  I guess I just have too much time on my hands.  Anyway, don't be discouraged, it happens, just wedge up the clay and try again.

If you don't cut through the pot then take your chamois and go around the rim while spinning the wheel slowly, this will clean up that cut edge nicely and accentuate the curves.

The next post will be about how to make a double facet.  Stay tuned.

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rather Old Pots

This past weekend we took a trip down to the Scott Antique Market.  I haven't been in several years so I was happy to go look around.  Some antiques are just really fascinating to me.  I often find myself thinking about things like "who owned this piece?"or "who made that piece?"  It's all fun and fantasy for my mind.  Of course I'm getting to an age where I see items that I used or played with as a kid on the shelves, often for more money than they originally cost.

Many of the vendors had antique pottery which I always find interesting.  I find beauty in simple forms and many of these pots were made to serve a function.  They were vessels to hold something and that is it.  But when you really look at the piece you realize that it's got a lot of beauty.  I imagine the potter that made them thinking about that form and appreciating it.

This one looks a lot like my kitchen crock, it's just larger and cost about $100 more than I would have charged for the crock.

This jug was most likely made and fired at Flemington, NJ.  My parents took me to the pottery there when I was quite young.  I still remember the big kiln.

Here's another beautifully simple form.  I wonder what was made to contain.  I might make a covered jar with this piece as the inspiration.

I wanted to get the writing on this pitcher because I thought it was interesting.  The vessel is just a simple cylinder with a pulled spout and a handle.  So utilitarian and simple but such a nice form.  I suspect a form like this would get overlooked in my Etsy shop or Festival booth.

This nice bottle form had a lot of writing on it.  It was hard to read because it also had several stamps that looked like post marks on it.  I wanted to examine this one longer.

For some reason the potter added a little decoration to this bottle.  It might have been nice to play with glaze a little every now and then.

This pot is far more ornate than the others but I still love it, mostly for it's carvings and beautiful form.

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

Monday, July 14, 2014

Meatless Monday - Broccoli Salad with Blueberries and Honeyed Pecans

They say broccoli is really good for you because it's full of calcium, beta carotene, and a host of other vitamins and minerals.  That's just a bonus, it tastes delicious.  It's always been one of my favorite vegetables, even when I was a kid.  I remember my great-grandfather (who was born in Sicily) liked to eat his broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.  The man knew how to eat.  I think he would have liked this salad.  I hope you do too.


2 small crowns broccoli, chopped into florets
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch kosher salt

For the Honey-Toasted Pecans: 

2/3 cup raw pecan halves
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 pinch kosher salt


To Prepare the Honey Toasted Walnuts: 
Add all ingredients for the walnuts to a small skillet and heat over medium. Cook 5 to 8 minutes until mixture is very bubbly and pecans have caramelized.  Set aside and allow to cool. Chop the pecans when cool enough to handle.

To Prepare the Broccoli Salad: 

Chop the broccoli crowns into small florets, and chop the broccoli stems. Add stems and florets to a large serving bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, honey, and salt. Pour this mixture over the broccoli and stir well to coat all of the broccoli with dressing. Add the red onion, blueberries, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts and toss.

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Google Webmaster Tools and Other Geekery

Part of running any business, no matter how big or small is getting the word out so the world knows you're there.  The internet is now the biggest way to do that and it's probably your most important way to talk to the world.  You may be using just social media, you may be using just Etsy, or you may have a website and/or a blog.  Some of us are using all of them.  That's very time consuming so it's best to know what works and what doesn't.  If you're communicating with customers and ask "How did you find me?" they will usually tell you.  That's fantastic but their is more to it.  Sometimes someone will sign up for my email list and I don't know how they found me.  Yes, I can send an email to welcome them and ask but I hate sending out too many emails.  It bother's people.

The other thing you don't always know is what is going on with people who you never get to meet.  If you don't have an interaction like a conversation or a sale you don't know about these folks.  Essentially this means you don't know why that potential customer left your website or blog.  This is why google webmaster tools and google analytics are so important, no matter how boring that sounds.

Using these tools I can see that a person came to my site, they looked around, clicked on some pictures then left.  Why?  Well, maybe they just don't like my pots or maybe they plan to come back later to make a purchase.  Or maybe they didn't see the link to my Etsy store, maybe they didn't see the email sign up form.  Maybe I have to make a quick change to my website so people who look at the pictures are then able to take action.  You can also find out information like how they are viewing your site.  Are they on a computer or a mobile device.  If they are on a mobile device and your website isn't optimized for them they may leave in a hurry.

The good news for those of us who would rather be making pots than playing with websites is that after you make any change you should just let it sit for a little while before you can figure out if it works or not.  That wait time can be used to create more pots.  How will you remember?  In google analytics you can set notes about when you made changes to your site, then when you come back to it a few months or weeks later you can see if anything has changed just by looking at a graph.

Yes, it may not be the most exciting part of your life but if you check these tools every few months you can make your visitors experience nicer and that's a good thing to do.

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Decorating the Rim on an Oval Casserole

Oval casseroles are nice because we can do so much with them.  You can use them for cooking foods like gratins, casseroles, or cobblers.  They also make wonderful serving dishes salads or breads.  As an artist they are fun to make because you can play with the curves and handle placement and other elements of design and decoration.  The funny thing is that I don't make very many of them and when I do I normally only make one at a time rather than multiples like when I'm making something like mugs.  I'm not sure why.

The latest one I made with a little extra clay at the rim which I then split after completing all my pulls and cleaning.  I let it sit for just a few minutes so it was still pretty wet when I pushed the outer rim into the inner rim in spaces all around the rim.

Creating a pinched rim on ceramics by Future Relics Pottery
Pinching with a Rib

You'll notice that the edge of the rib is covered with my chamois.  I do this to make that indentation a little softer.  I find it more ascetically pleasing and I don't get as much cracking.

A decorative rim on a casserole by Lori Buff
The Pinched Rim
I let the ring set up for a few hours then wired it off the bat and stretched it into an oval.  I let that sit overnight under some plastic so it would get dry, but not too dry, just leather hard.

The next day I rolled out a slab and let that dry for a bit, I wanted it to be the same dampness as the clay.  Once they were close enough I cut the slab into an oval using the ring as a guide.  Then I did a lot of slipping and scoring so the ring would attach well to the slab, I also go around the inside seam with a coil.  This adds strength and makes a nice smooth transition.  A little paddling and rolling on the bottom also helps to make a nice, firm attachment.

Hand crafted oval casserole with pretty rim by Future Relics Gallery
Oval Casserole with Decorative Rim
The last step is to attach the handles.  After I put these on I started thinking about how it might look if I attached them to the ends at an offset.  What do you think?

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Extra Long Weekend

The dog days of summer are upon us. It might be time for vacations and summer camp for some but for me it's a time to chill.  Since Independance Day fell on a Friday Janet took Monday off and we made a long weekend of it.  Man, was it nice.  We got to visit with friends on the fourth.  We actually went to two parties but they were easy, laid back events.  Very nice.  Since fireworks are now leagal in Georgia lots and lots of people where shooting them off.  Yes, it was noisy but it seemed most people quit between 10 and 11.  We even saw some neighbors sweeping the mess of papers that the fireworks leave behind.  I am very happy about that.  Luckily Dori,who is normally upset by fireworks and thunder didn't seem to have any issues with the noise.  Lucky dog.

Saturday found us at the drive-in with a bunch of friends.  We saw "Tammy" which seemed like it would be okay because it has a great cast.  It wasn't. Not that it mattered, it was a lot of fun anyway.

Sunday we had some other friends over for brunch.  We haven't seen them in weeks so we spent most of the day just visiting and catching up.  It was such a treat to spend the day just relaxing with these friends.

Monday afternoon found us at the pool in Grant Park.  I had never been there before but I will be back.  I was a great swimmer when I was younger.  My friends and I practically lived at the community pool when we were kids.  Now I looked at the lap lane on this Olympic size pool and thought "I need to work up to that."  My once sinewy body is now looking and feeling more and more like the 50 year old body that it is so it might be a really good thing to strive towards.  Besides, I love to swim, it's the only exorcize where you don't sweat.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Self Promotion for the Introverted Potter

Throwing pots does not have to be a group activity.  It's something that one can do quietly, alone in a little studio.  It's one of the things I love about being a potter.  I am a very introverted person and that tendency tends to be getting stronger as I get older.  As much as I love visiting with friends and family or meeting new people I also NEED alone time.  When I was younger I could sit by a stream and just watch the water flow for hours.  I soon discovered that if you sat next to that same stream with a fishing poll people would think I was doing something and whisper then leave me alone.  I rarely used bait or a hook.  There is nothing like catching a fish to ruin the peace of sitting by a stream.

Now that I'm older finding the time to sit quietly by a stream is difficult.  For so many people life is full of interactions.  Many of us carry around a small device that lets us work or socialize just about anywhere, even when we are already out socializing.

Ceramic platter with handles by Lori Buff
Handled Platter

Being an introvert means that sometimes I just want to be left alone.  Sometimes it's almost painful to even wave at a neighbor driving past my house, they might want to talk and involve themselves in my life as friends do.  Sometimes it's even hard to interact on social media.  If I comment or "like" something will I have to continue the conversation?  After all, isn't that what we are supposed to be doing there?  I try, I usually enjoy the conversation, but sometimes it's hard to get it started or to keep it going.

When I look at the stats on this blog I seem to get the most interest from readers when I write about my pottery.  That's no big epiphany, it's a pottery blog after all.  But that means I have to write articles that say "look at me, look at me" when I'd rather just sit quietly in front of my wheel and make pots.  I like twitter and pinterest because I can promote other artists and take the spotlight off of me in the hopes that it will come back in a karmic way.  Plus, I just really like to support the arts however I can.

So the question is, how does an artist draw attention to her work without drawing attention to herself?

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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Teapot Tuesday - The Death of the Teapot?

A few months ago several potters started posting pictures of the teapots they have made on Facebook and blogs.  They called it "Teapot Tuesday" and it's been great fun.  Teapots can be incredibly fun and interesting.  Just spend some time looking through Lark's 500 Teapots to see what I mean.

When I think about teapots I often think about the teapots I was surrounded with as a child.  My mother had a few, some were used for everyday, other's, made of bone china were used only with company on special occasions.  She had an old "Brown Betty" that she inherited from my great grandmother who may have brought it over from England.  Even the "everyday" teapots were not used everyday in our house but my grandmother made a pot of tea to serve after lunch every day.  I wonder how many people in America make a pot of tea everyday.  I know some people that drink an entire pot of green tea everyday and I know some people who have never drank tea from a pot.

Ash glazed teapot by Future Relics Pottery
Ash Glazed Teapot

That makes me wonder about the life of a teapot in modern times.  Honestly, I have quite a few teapots, sometimes I use them sometimes I just boil the water in the mug and drop in the teabag.  However, I do like the process of making and drinking tea using a teapot.  It feels right.  It makes me slow down and feel calmer.

Even though I do know a man that collects my teapots I don't make very many (I suspect his wife is happy about that) and usually they are custom orders.  I don't know that anyone has ever walked into my booth or sent me an email asking if I make teapots like they do with other pots like casserole dishes.  I would think a nice, handcrafted teapot would make a lovely wedding gift but nobody has asked.  I simply find that interesting.  I wonder if drinking tea from a teapot is something that we do alone now.  Some quiet, private ceremony so that our friends and family don't really know if we make pots of tea.

When I wrote about having a dinner party my friend Gary Rith wrote that he invites people over for tea because it's easier.  He also makes some terrific teapots. I think I'll follow that idea and invite some friends over for tea this weekend.

How do you drink your tea?

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