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Friday, January 31, 2014

Commence Firing

We started the wood kiln last night. I took the first shft stoking.
It was just a little campfire to warm things up.  We needed marshmallows.

My next shift was at 6am.  We had a bit more heat, around 700 degrees.  

It looked like this. 

We brought it up to 1600 in my six hour shift. Not bad.  I'll post more pictures later. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Wood Firing at Penland

I was invited to a wood firing at Penland School of crafts. Since I love wood firing and I love Penland this seemed like a great opportunity.  So I packed up all my warm clothes and drove up to the mountain in January.  As expected it's been really, really cold. This morning at about 7 AM it was only 1°. That's not enough degrees.  Needless to say this is delayed the start of the firing a little bit but we've been very innovative.
We set up a staging area inside the studio, where was nice and warm.  This picture simulates the inside of the Anagama kiln.


This is what it looked like when we finally called it quits last night.

The sun started coming over the mountain now, so I'll head up to the kiln and help finish loading.  I'll post more pictures and stories from the frozen wood fire in the next few days.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Joys of Creative Networks

A few nights ago I had dinner with a group of friends who are craft artists.  We all have a few things in common besides the love of craft, we've all been to Penland School of Crafts and have thrived on the energy that comes from being in an environment with lots of creative people.  The idea of having dinner together once a month of so is to help keep that creative spark burning while we are here in Atlanta.  Let me tell you, it was great fun.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist Way recommends having other creative friends who you can share passions, ideas, successes, and failures with.  Napoleon Hill recommends the same in his book Think and Grow Rich.  I'm sure you'll find lot of other people who are experts in helping people create success for themselves will recommend being a part of some sort of like minded group.  It just seems like the synergy of the group helps keep and build inspiration.  It could also lead to collaborative projects or group shows.

The collective knowledge can also help to build success or avoid failures.  Learning from mistakes is a good thing, learning from other people's mistakes is an even better thing.  When you're a part of a creative network you can learn what has worked for others, what hasn't worked, and get some thoughts about what you might do differently.  That's one of the appeals of reading and writing blogs. It's just easier to have a more full discussion when you talk face to face.  It's also fun, but I'm repeating myself.

Another creative network that I enjoy is a group called Likemind.  We meet once a month for coffee and conversation.  It's always a great time and very inspiring.  You should see if there is a Likemind group near you or start one.

Likemind Group

Do you have a creative network?  What's it like?

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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meatless Monday - Winter Warming Soup

Not much will warm you like a nice hot bowl of soup.  It's also a really good way to get most of the vitamins from your vegetables into your body.  This soup is full of vegetable and opportunity to make changes based on what you prefer to eat.  Don't like cauliflower?  Try broccoli instead.  Don't have any zucchini in the house?  Use an other squash variety.  This helps to keep things easy and interesting.  This recipe makes about 8 servings, I normally freeze some for future enjoyment.

This soup is vegan and gluten free but I like to serve some garlic bread with it.

Winter Warming Soup
Ingredients:


  • 1 Medium cabbage, cored and quartered
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 4 carrots, finely sliced
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 zucchini 
  • 1 small hot pepper of choice
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme (less if dried)
  • 2 TBS fresh parsley
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions:

Slice the cabbage quarters into thin strips.

Heat the oil in a large stock pot.  Add the cabbage, carrots, and parsnips then cook for 10 - 15 minutes over medium heat.  Stir frequently.

Stir the broth into the vegetables and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes, zucchini, pepper, tomatoes and herbs, when the soup just starts to boil again reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.


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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Call For Artists - First Street Gallery

Exhibition: June 26 -July 19, 2014
Entries start: Jan. 1, 2014

Open to U.S. resident artists 18 years or older.

Juror: Jed Perl - art critic for The New Republic; reviews and articles for Vogue, The New York Times Book Review, Harper's, and The New Criterion, among others. Entry fee: $35/1-3 works, $5/ea. additional work. Eligible works: oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, drawings, prints, mixed media, photography and sculpture.

Online applications only. Prospectus at: http://firststreetgallery.net/NJEprospectus14.html

Contact: NJEinquiries@firststreetgallery.net; 646-336-8053

Contact: First Street Gallery 646-336-8053

firststreetgallery.net/NJEprospectus14.html

NJEinquiries@firststreetgallery.net

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Sweetness of Pottery

“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.” 
― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Pottery Honey Jars by Lori Buff
Honey Jars Waiting to be Fired

The word that Winnie the Pooh didn't know was anticipation.  I guess he'd never heard the song by Carly Simon.  Now that I have that song playing in your head let's talk about pottery.  For the potter it's all about anticipation.  We plan what we are going to make then try to get into the studio to make that piece or just to feel the clay in our hands.  We anticipate what could go wrong while the piece is drying and take steps to prevent that. We fire the kiln and wait for it to cool so we can see how the pot looks bisqued.  Then we decorate the surface with patterns and glazes but we still are only anticipating the finished piece.  For some, the anticipation is over when the pot is taken out of the glaze kiln.  For others we anticipate how it will feel being used.  Is a handle comfortable, is a plate the right size, does the bowl hold enough soup?  And for some others we anticipate what the public will think of the piece.  Will they like it?  Will they buy it?  Will they argue over the price of it or will they love it?

Potter's spend much of our lives in a state of anticipation.  People tell me I'm very patient but I am not, I'm just waiting and living in that moment just before.

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thoughts on Artists Success

The other day I wrote a blog post which was inspired by other bloggers discussing branding yourself as an artists and a Ted Talk by Coach John Wooden.  You can read the blog and see the talk by clicking here.  I'd really suggest going and listening to it, it's only about 10 minutes and I'm going to refer to it in this blog.  I'll wait.

In Coach Wooden's Ted Talk he says "My idea is that you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you're outscored."  I can relate that to my pottery by saying I can be successful yet sell less pots than someone else and I can be a failure yet still sell more pots.  If I'm making work that I don't want to make, and not crafting it very well it doesn't matter how many I sell, it wouldn't be a success.

The thing is, sometimes potters make pieces not out of love for the piece but because they sell and that helps to pay the bills so we can make more pots that we love.  For example, I make some soap holders.  They are not tremendously creative partly because if I were to put many, many hours into each one of them they would be cost prohibitive and I would rather they be accessible.  I don't mind making them at all.  I love having them available when I know I'm going to have a booth near a friend of mine who makes handcrafted soap.  It's a way for us to work together, support each other, serve a customer's need and help pay the booth fee.  They are really pretty popular so I've been thinking about putting them in my Etsy store.

Handmade ceramic soap holder and soap by Future Relics and Basic
Hand Crafted Soap Holder and Soap

Would I put one in my portfolio?  Highly doubtful.  I don't think a judge would be as impressed with them as my customer's are.  My customer's see them as something nice for their homes or as a gift.  They see them as a complement for the handcrafted soap.  So even though they make people happy I suspect a show jury would not be positively impressed by them.  However, I see these soap holders as being a successful item because they make it possible for me to keep my hands in the mud and they help other people.  I consider this a win.

A while back someone suggested that I make a certain piece.  Another artist made these pieces and they sold really well so why shouldn't I?  Well, let's see, they are hand built and I'm a thrower, they are something that I'm not inspired to make, and they are someone else's idea and that would feel like stealing to me.  So I walk away from an idea that could make a few more dollars for me but I keep my personal and artistic integrity.  I may be outscored but I still win.

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Udu Drums

Have you ever seen or heard a udu drum played?  Or are you like me and you never heard of a udu drum?  I had never heard one or even heard of one until fairly recently.  Now, as tends to happen with these types of things, drumming has been finding it's way into my senses.  That's not to say I've never noticed drums before, quite the contrary.  When I was a kid I wanted to play the drums but I knew it would never happen in my house.  A drum set cost too much money and made too much noise so I never said a word about it.  Years later my mother confessed that she had always wished one of us kids had wanted to play the drums.  So much for communication.


A couple years ago we were in Asheville for a beautiful September weekend, as we were walking around we heard a drumming circle, we headed towards the sound and were met with a huge and very fun drumming circle.  It was pretty awesome so I wrote this blog post about it.

Then recently I met a potter who likes to make Udu drums so he showed me a few of his.  He even played them for me and discussed some of the things he did in the design that worked and some of the things that didn't work.  They were all very beautiful and sounded rather different depending on the size and the shape of the drum.

Later I was listening to some old podcasts of Tales of a Red Clay Rambler where Ben Carter, who usually interviews potters, was talking to the women of Ba-Boom who are musicians and educators that teach African drumming to Aboriginal chidden in the Australian Outback.  I don't see any udu drums in the pictures but it doesn't matter.  The whole thing is very inspiring and is making me think about making an udu drum or two.

Have you ever made an udu drum or other musical instrument out of clay?

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Meatless Monday - Curried Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasting vegetables brings out the best taste.  Even if you don't like a certain vegetable very much you might like it roasted.  Putting that wonderful roasted vegetable taste into a soup makes a hearty and delicious meal.  This recipe makes a soup that is not as spicy as it may sound.  The curry does help to make it really flavorful with just enough heat to be nice in the cooler weather.  You can also control the heat by your choice of peppers.


Curried Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Ingredients:


  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut up, stems separated from florets and chopped
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 2 TBS red curry paste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 hot pepper, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives for garnish


Directions:

Lightly oil a baking sheet, spread the cauliflower on the sheet, sprinkle with a little more oil, toss then roast in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the tips of the cauliflower are golden.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat a large soup pot, add 1 TBS of oil and the onion.  Sweat the onion over medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the curry paste, lemon zest, and wine then immediately raise the heat to medium - high.  Stir and cook until most of the wine has evaporated, about 3 more minutes.

Add the roasted cauliflower stems and about half the florets to the pot.  Stir in the broth, coconut milk, vinegar, and sugar.  After all these ingredients are combined well blend the soup until smooth using an immersion or regular blender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warm bowls then top with the remaining cauliflower, hot pepper slices, and chopped chives.


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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Call For Artists - Wide Open 5 Art Show


We are fortunate to have Paulina Pochoba, Asst Curator of Painting & Sculpture at NYC's Museum of Modern Art as our juror. $3000 in cash prizes will be awarded, including $1000 Best in Show. The enormous space of our Civil War-era gallery on the Brooklyn waterfront allows for huge work and we welcome it! Virtually every medium accepted (it's almost completely wide open). See prospectus for Early Bird deadline and fee.

This call for submissions is open to all US residents 18 years of age or older.
Contact: Jane Gutterman  718-596-2506

www.wideopenartshow.com
info@wideopenartshow.com

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Support Your Local Small Business While You Can

A few weeks before Christmas I received an email from a local artists co-op indicating that they were going out of business.  They were going to close down before Christmas, the time when many retail businesses make much of their money for the year.  How could this happen?  How could they not survive just a few more weeks?

Actually, it's pretty easy since in October and much of November stores like this keep paying the rent while people walk in, browse, say what a great store it is and how they will have to remember to come back when they are Christmas shopping.  Those people, if they remembered to go back, where disappointed and probably a little surprised.  They don't think that it's possibly because they didn't buy anything when they were there two months ago.


This was not a store that carried my pottery.  I knew about it but didn't even try to get my work into the store.  I feel like that adds a bit of responsibility on my shoulders too.

Now we're approaching Valentine's Day which is another holiday that really helps a lot of businesses survive for another few months.  I'm sure quite a few people are going to say "this is a great store, I'll have to come back when I'm shopping for Valentine's Day" as they leave some small business empty handed.  Now if you've only been dating someone for a few weeks, yes, waiting is understandable.  If you've been together for 27 years, chances are good you'll make it until the middle of February.  If you get your mother, father, sister, brother, or other relative a card or gift for the holiday there is a strong likelihood that that person will still be related to you in a few weeks, get the card or gift today while the store is still open.

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Saving Falling Rims

I'm working on an order for a set of plates and bowl.  The customer wants an angled rim on the bowls.  They look nice and make it easier to serve in this style bowl since it gives the server someplace to hold the bowl while keeping our fingers out of our guests food.  These bowls are made with a pretty sharp angle to the rim.  I expect that the rim will raise a bit in the kiln so I need to compensate for that.  The problem is that by compensating I'm also creating a dramatic angle that can easily collapse while I'm working on it.  Proper compression will help prevent a fall but sometimes it happens while the rim is being formed and before really good compression can be achieved.

Lipped Soup or Salad Bowl by Future Relics
Lipped Pottery Bowl

Most potters have seen this happen when they are first starting to throw and in students work.  It's especially discouraging for a student who has worked very hard to make a bowl only to have the side of it collapse.  Thankfully it is possible to save the pot.

If the bowl is being thrown on a 12" bat, and the rim of the bowl is not as wide as the bat (meaning less than 12" in diameter) you can easily flip the bowl upside down and hang it from the edge of a 5 gallon bucket.  I normally would use a couple of rulers or dowels to help suspend the bat and make it easier to take it out of the bucket later.  This also allows some air into the bucket so the clay can dry.  Gravity will bring it back into shape.  After a day or so you should be able to take the bowl out of the bucket and finish working on it since the clay will be stiffer.  Just remember not to over saturate the clay with water.

Saving a collapsed pottery bowl by Future Reilcs
Hanging a Bat Over a Bucket


If the rim of the bowl is larger than 12" you can suspend the bat on 2 yard sticks or long dowels suspended across the top of 2 buckets.  This would dry faster since it would be exposed to more air but you also need to take care that the bowl isn't hit with anything while suspended this way.  When it's inside a bucket it's protected by the bucket.

Whenever my students are trying to save a piece I try to remind them that they need to remember that it is already broken and we are just trying something that may or may not work.  The piece you save may not look like the piece you intended to make since warping tends to happen inside the kiln.  Also, if it takes more time and energy to save a piece than to remake it, is it really worth the trouble?


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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lessons About Success From Coach John Wooden

Do you read Tracey Broome's blog?  If not, you should.  She often writes about stuff that is going on in her head, the kind of stuff that gets into your head and sticks there forcing you to think.  She did that recently with a blog post about branding herself as an artist.  Which inspired Michael Kline to write a reply on his blog, which inspired Carter Gillies to write a reply on his blog.  All of these blog posts seem to have a common underlying theme (besides pottery), the concept of the joy of success.

A few days before all these blog posts where published I heard an article on NPR about John Wooden who is the winningest coach in history or in UCLA's history or something like that.  I'm not a huge fan of basketball so I didn't pay great attention until I heard something that struck a cord in me.  Coach Wooden never told his players to focus on winning the game, he never even talked about it.  What he tried to inspire his athletes to do was to try to do the best that they could do.  Period.



This is a lesson that I need to take.  I'm always seeing what other people are doing and comparing myself to them.  When I see someone I know got into a show that I did not get into I question what I could have done differently.  I see another potter get into a gallery, I'm happy for them but I also compare myself to them and think that the gallery may not need another functional potter, or any functional potter at all.  The Firedworks show set me into a panic every year, I ask myself "why would anyone buy my work when they can get pots from all these talented potters?"  I realize this is self defeating behavior,  some people like my work, others do not.  It's that simple.

So if I make the best pots that I can make, and do the best I can to get them seen then I should have at least enough success in my work that I can continue making pottery.

I found a few topics to discuss in the Ted Talk but I'll save them for other blogs so you can watch the video and get on with your day.

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

Meatless Monday - Garlic, Kale, and Mushroom Soup

It's winter, also known as cold and flu season.  Besides taking the proper precautions of hand washing and flu shots it's a great idea to eat very healthy foods.  I have read that garlic has anti-viral and antibiotic properties.  I don't know if that is true, I'm a potter, not a doctor or scientist or nutritionalist.  I do know that it's really tasty.  I've also previously mentioned kale's super food status and you've probably heard that eating green, leafy vegetables is good for you.  If you don't care for kale this you could try substituting spinach in this recipe.  The recipe also calls for wheat berries which I would not think are gluten free.  If you need to stay away from gluten you can easily substitute another similar grain like rice or millet.  I've included a link to a site that offers some gluten free grain substiutions at the bottom of this post.

I also made a couple loaves of Suzi's cuban bread to go with it.  It's delicious and so easy.  I've included a link to the recipe at the bottom of the post.

Garlic, Kale and Shitake Mushroom Soup by Future Relics
Garlic, Kale, and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:


  • ½ cup wheat berries
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced 
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch kale ( about 10 oz.), stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper of choice (cayenne or chilli)
Directions:

 1. Soak wheat berries in large bowl of cold water for 1 to 24 hours.

 2. Heat oil in 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt, if desired. Sauté mushrooms 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add garlic, and sauté 2 minutes more. Stir in vinegar; simmer until vinegar is almost evaporated, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan.

 3. Drain wheat berries, and add to mushroom mixture with vegetable broth, hot pepper, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Add kale, and cook 10 minutes more (add more water if needed to cover kale), or until kale is just tender. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Other Stuff:

Gluten Free Whole Grains
Smart Cat's Cuban Bread Recipe

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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Call For Artist - Women's Caucus for Art "Identity"

DENTITY. In a world dominated by pop culture, society and the media -- how is identity defined?

Identity seeks subversive and enticing contemporary artworks from women artists in all media that address female identity, elicit a dialogue that honors sexuality, and mold the definition of the powerful feminine.


 Exhibition to be held at Gallery nine5 and jurors are Anne Swartz and Maria Elena Buszek.

 Read more and enter here: http://www.entrythingy.com/www.nationalwca.org#show=1422

Show dates: May 22 to June 29, 2014

Opening: Saturday, May 31, 2014 Contact: Karen Gutfreund www.entrythingy.com/www.nationalwca.org#dashboard

wcashows@gmail.com

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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Winter Weather Activities

What to do while living in the polar vortex.  You can check the weather channel and discover that Anchorage, Alaska is warmer than Atlanta, GA.  You can bundle up then head out into the cold to blow bubbles.  That was fun.  I added a bit of corn syrup to the soap which was supposed to make stronger bubbles.  I'm not sure how well that worked.  The bubbles that did not pop on impact did freeze, then after a few minutes they started moving, it was like they were breathing.  Very cool, I highly recommend it.

It was too cold to work in the studio, the little space heater simply cannot keep up so I also messed around on the computer, updated my website a little, spent too much time on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and added a few pieces to my Etsy Shop.  This is something I'm really terrible about doing.  I tend to do very, very little with my Etsy Shop then get really surprised when someone adds a pot to their favorites or buys something.  It also makes me really, really happy when that happens so I don't know why I don't spend more time with it.  I guess if I were to be the type to make New Years resolutions (and I'm not) keeping up with my Esty Shop would be the one for 2014.

Now it's warm enough to go back to the studio and make some more pots.  Yay!

What did you do during the extreme cold weather?  I hope you were keeping warm.

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

To Freeze or Not To Freeze? That Is The Question

In his book "Finding One's Way With Clay" Paulus Berensohn suggests storing clay in an unheated room where it can freeze and thaw for about 2 years.  He calls this "vintage" clay that seems to throw and pinch "with a vigor all it's own - a true collaborator."  Yet I've often heard potters say you should never let your clay freeze, that it ruins the clay.  On an intellectual level I can give a little argument to either side.  Well, okay, I'm the type person that can probably argue both sides of any debate so that is not saying much.

I'd really like a more definitive answer to the question about letting clay freeze.  Paulus makes some amazing pots but one can question whether it's the clay freezing and thawing or if it's his handling of the clay that makes the difference.

Frozen clay pot by Future Relics Gallery
Frozen Pottery

Another argument is that clay, in it's most natural form had frozen and thawed many, many times for thousands of years, before it got into my hands.  Potters have been digging clay from the earth for centuries untold.  Did they always process it?  Did potters 200 or 300 years ago make sure that their clay never froze?

The thing is, the clay I use today has been processed and mixed with an eye towards the science of making great clay for great pots.  How much would freezing and thawing change that?  Would it be for the better or for the worse?

So I'm trying an experiment.  Some of my clay will be kept warm during this nasty cold weather and some will be left to freeze.  I hate to be cold so I feel bad for it but it's got to be done in the name of science and art.  I'm not sure if it will get cold enough next winter for it to freeze again but maybe one year of really crappy cold will be enough.

What do you do about your storing your clay in the winter?

Stay warm.

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

Monday, January 6, 2014

Meatless Monday - Macaroni and Cheese With Butternut Squash

Macaroni and cheese has got to be the best comfort food, it's loved by kids of all ages.  It's also hearty and filling but it is lacking in vegetables.  When I was a kid my mom used to try to remedy that by putting peas into it.  Yuk!  It meant I had to pick peas out of my, otherwise delicious dinner.  Of course now that I'm grown up I realize just how important eating your veggies is to your health.  The problem is, I still don't like peas.  I do, however, love butternut squash, and I probably would have loved it when I was growing up (I enjoyed acorn squash).  The thing about this recipe is that you hardly notice the squash so it might be perfect for parents of kids who, like me, would prefer mac and cheese without vegetables ruining it.

You'll notice a bit of broccoli on the side, that's because it's tasty, good for you, and extra delicious with anything cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash by Future Relics Pottery
Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (low fat is okay)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup butternut squash, pealed and thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt; stir until cheeses melt. Discard bay leaf.
2. Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes or until almost tender, drain well. Add pasta and squash to cheese mixture, stirring well. Place the mixture into an oven safe casserole coated with cooking spray. Top evenly with remaining cheddar cheese. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Spray lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle with black pepper. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until heated.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Top Pottery Blogs

I just found out that this blog was selected as one of the top blogs of 2013 by the Pottery Making Blog.  I'm very excited about this and consider it an honor.


If you have not been to this blog you should.  Brandon does a summery every month of blog post that he feels are important or otherwise useful.  I love it because it saves me valuable time since he does the reading for me.  It also has introduced me to some great pottery blogs.  It's listed with the other blogs in the sidebar of this blog so you should always be able to find it.

Thanks Brandon.

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

Friday, January 3, 2014

Back To Work To Do List

December seems to come and go before you know it.  This year was full of shows, special orders and then the flu (yuk).  So here it is, January 3, 2014 and I don't even have all of my Christmas shopping complete.  I guess the holidays will simply be extended.

We spent New Years at my friends farm in central Georgia.  It's very quiet and peaceful with walks with dogs through the woods or around the cotton field.  We play games, read, and do crafty things.  It's relaxing.

Cotton Field at Brinson's Race

Now it's back to work and I'm really excited to get back into the studio.  It feels like I haven't been there for a month since December work was so sporadic.  I have a set of dishes to make for a customer plus I've been invited to a wood firing at Penland at the end of the month so I have to make work for that.  And, I still have pieces left from December that need to be glazed.  When I'm not in the studio I have some applications to show and stuff to send off and I'm trying to write a workshop proposal.  Who needs sleep?

What do you have planed for the new year?

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

Thursday, January 2, 2014

5 Useful Video Marketing Blogs To Follow

Videos are becoming increasingly popular.  People like to watch videos because they can hear and see the story.  I have found it's helpful in explaining pottery creation processes if I can direct them to my YouTube channel.  But what about marketing?  Guest blogger Sam Write tells us about some top picks for video marketing that you might find helpful.

New marketing ideas and strategies are emerging all the time, and the advance of social media has transformed marketing. However, marketers don’t always have the time (or money) to take the latest training courses. Skills are valuable when searching for a marketing job, so how else can you keep on top of such a fast-moving industry?

One way to keep up to speed is by spending time reading the best blogs on marketing topics. Whether it’s email marketing, analytics, SEO, social media, there are blogs ideal for the marketing work you do.
Here are five of our favourite blogs for video marketers to follow.

The YouTube Official Blog

As the largest (and, arguably, the most important) video site in the world, keeping up to date with everything relating to YouTube should be a priority for video marketers. YouTube has its own official blog packed full of useful tips and interesting information about the site - ideal if you work in marketing.
The YouTube team regularly posts about features of the site and how you can use them to get the best out of your channel. It also includes information on some of the best channels on the site along with other events and ideas about video and video marketing.

VidYard Blog

VidYard is a useful video analytics tool to track how your videos are performing online. Whether you use the software or not, the VidYard blog is worth following.
The blog covers a range of video marketing ideas and strategies, as well as tips on using the VidYard software. Ideas in the blog can range from voice over tips and YouTube strategies to predictions about changes in the world of video and viral marketing.

Ask Mr Video

The Ask Mr Video blog is a blog that's not affiliated to any particular software company or vendor. The blog is run by Perry Lawrence, a marketing professional with over two decades of experience shooting marketing videos.
The blog is a great resource for the latest news and ideas, but if you find the sheer volume of content overwhelmind, there is also a range of filters so that you can view blogs on a specific topic. These cover video marketing platforms, tips, SEO and more.

Sociable Video

The Sociable Video blog is a great place for people looking to develop their video marketing skills. The blog is run by Wayne Ford, a digital producer and creator of the Sociable Video Training Course. He created the blog to help small businesses, startups, marketers and artists get the best out of social web video marketing.

Meme Machine

The Meme Machine is a blog that should be essential reading for all video marketers. The blog is related to the Viral Video charts and whilst it doesn’t necessarily give you tips or advice, it does keep you in touch with the most successful viral adverts out there. There is a fresh article almost every day of the working week, each covering one of the most successful videos on that day.

Following the Best Marketing Blogs

Even within a specific marketing field such as video marketing, there are hundreds of blogs you can follow, each sharing different ideas and providing useful information. Top up your information and get insight into best practice with these handy blogs and feeds.
Featured images:
By Sam Wright
Sam Wright is a journalist writing on behalf of the Brand Republic website.

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