Friday, January 30, 2015

Work Your Art Interview

People often like to have some connection with an artist, especially if they are going to enjoy the artists work in their home or even give it as a gift. It’s nice to be able to say things like “I met the artist and she was a really nice person.” I’ve had conversations about dogs with other dog lovers who also became customers, they like the connection, hopefully they like my pottery, and I can chat dogs all day with people.

It’s not always possible to have a nice conversation with someone who is interested in my pots because they may be miles away, they may even be in another country.  But the nice part about the modern world is that we can meet each other anyway thanks to the internet.  So when Debbie from Work Your Art asked if I would do an interview I was more than happy to do it. I was honored to be asked.
Hand Crafted Ceramic Mugs by Lori Buff
Coffee and Conversation 

You can read the interview on her sight: Work Your Art.  While you’re there you should check out the other stuff she has to offer, it’s packed full of great information.

If you like listening to interviews you should check put Paul Bliss’ The Potter’s Cast (who also interviewed me) and Ben Carter’s Tales of a Red Clay Rambler as well as Michael Kline’s Sawdust and Dirt Podcasts.

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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

We Have Mice

Do all little girls like mice?  Maybe I’m weird? Okay, we really do know the answer to that question, let’s not talk about it. I remember liking more than just Micky Mouse, I had all kinds of toy mice I played with as a kid. I even build them a little city out of boxes and they would go on adventures.  I also remember scaring my grandmother with them.  Not nice.

So it stands to reason that I would make a sculpture that included some cute mice. I had forgotten about this piece but upon looking at it with adult eyes I really like it.  Yes, it’s got a cute quality but it also has some nice attention to detail, like the plaster in the walls and it’s texture.  I know now that a corner like that would have a stud to hold it together but I wonder how many adults would have noticed that if I didn’t point it out.

Mice Sculpture
It’s hard to see in the picture but the mouse that is coming through the hole has a big, spirally, pipe cleaner tail.  From the looks of it this was intentional.  I does not look like a tail broke off and the pipe cleaner used in it’s place.  I wonder if that was a suggestion of my teacher or my idea but it must have been a good idea since a ceramic tail would have broken a long time ago.

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Putting on The Strut

The folks in East Atlanta Village are very proud that our neighborhood was picked as the third hottest neighborhood in the entire country.  One of the reasons it’s so hot is because of the way the community bonds together. Yes, it’s got it’s problems like any urban area but it is also pretty close knit and wonderfully supportive.  This neighborhood holds several events each year that raise awareness and funds for the various community non-profit organizations.

One of those events is The East Atlanta Strut. Which is also one of my favorite fall festivals.  It’s only a mile from my studio, tons of fun and I get to visit with friends and neighbors.  I rarely feels like work and the patrons are extremely supportive. One year it started raining as soon as I got my booth set up and didn’t let up until about 4 or 5 in the afternoon.  Many of the other venders packed up and left as soon as it stopped raining but I stayed, people came out and bought.  Many of them were very grateful that I suffered through the rain and stayed open so they could enjoy the art. They wanted to support the artists that support the neighborhood.

So when I learned that The Strut was starting to struggle I knew I had to help.  I offered to volunteer some of my time and I also attended a meeting of other interested parties and the festival committee.  It was quite a learning experience and seems like it will continue to be so.  I was a big part of the planing committee for another show a few years ago so I don’t think I’m going to be tremendously surprised by how much goes into putting on a show but I do expect that this will have a number of differences since it’s a street festival.  I hope to share some of those insights with you, I hope you’re interested.

One thing that I love about this festival is that they are mostly concerned with being something positive for the neighborhood.  If the show only breaks even but good people from outside of East Atlanta Village think about dinning, shopping or especially moving here than it’s fulfilled a goal.  To me that’s nicer than a for profit event, don’t you think?

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Art Explosion

A few days ago I was invited to participate in the Facebook Art Explosion.  I’ve been enjoying seeing the work of so many talented artists so I was happy to participate.  It’s been really fun and also a little difficult picking out the pots that I want to show.  Some pictures are a couple years old but they show pots that I fell in love with and still want to share.
Iron Fumed Ceramic Light by Lori Buff
Fumed Lamp
 The way the art explosion works is one artists in any medium, not just clay, gets challenged by a friend.  That artist that has been challenged has to post 3 images of his or her work each day for 5 days and nominate at least one other artist each day.  That’s hard to do also, when you know so many artists choosing is best done with a dart board.  I really hope nobody I know, who’s work I love gets offended for not being invited to participate.
Horse Hair Raku Covered Jar by Future Relics Gallery
Horse Hair Raku Jar

These photos are just a sample.  If you want to see more you can visit my Future Relics Gallery Facebook Page.
Woodfired Ceramic Candle Ring by Lori Buff
Woodfired Candle Ring

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

Monday, January 26, 2015

Meatless Monday - Easy Low Sodium Vegetable Curry with Chick Peas

It seems like everyone has some special dietary needs. People with high blood pressure concerns are encouraged to eat a low sodium diet.  I normally don’t add much more than a pinch or two of salt to my meals but when I was cooking for my mother when she was released from the hospital I needed to cut out all salt.  That’s not a problem, mom had a really well stocked spice rack.

Since life was a bit hectic while I was visiting I made this dish with frozen vegetables and it received lots of complements. Still, if I were making it at home or at a less busy time I’d take the effort to use fresh vegetables. I could tell the difference.  Nobody missed the salt.

Vegetable Curry with Chick Peas

Mixed winter vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot blend)
1 baking potato, cut into bite sized pieces with the skin on and scrubbed
1 16oz can of chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1-2 TBS olive oil
2 cups cooked rice (optional)


Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and then the spices, stir for about 30 seconds then add the vegetables and potato, stir to coat. Cook for about a minute then add the chick peas.  Heat until the liquid from the chick peas starts to bubble then reduce heat to low.  Simmer until the vegetables are heated completely.

Serve over cooked rice if desired.

The bowl was made by Berkshire Pottery.

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Just Like Starting Over

Some people rest in the winter because that is what nature does.  As much as I like this idea I’ve not been able to really do it.  Besides, I love making pottery.  However, this winter it’s been tough to get into the studio.  I had a lot of shows booked before Christmas which take a lot of my energy, then I got the flu which had me out for about 2 weeks.  Then my mom got sick so I was out of the state helping her get better (she is getting stronger every day).

Now it’s time to get back to work.  It was great to feel the clay slip through my hands as it was spinning on the wheel.  It felt good to be moving the clay into the form I wanted but it also felt a little strange.  I felt out of practice.  It was okay, it felt very fresh.

Fresh Pottery Mugs in Progress by Lori Buff
Fresh Mugs in Progress
I made several mugs with varied body shapes like I usually do.  Some will have dragons or wolves or something else drawn on them, some will just be glazed with pretty glazes.  Right now they are waiting patiently for handles to be attached.

I love my little studio and I love making pots, it’s good to be back there.  How do you feel after taking a long break?

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chipmunk Sculpture

It takes a certain talent to make really great ceramic sculptures.  I’ve had the privilege to assist and audit workshops with great artists like Tip Toland and Debra Fritts but I still have not felt ready to add any to my body of work, or to my pots like my friend Gary Rith does.  However, I have tried my hand a making clay sculptures for sure.

When I was visiting my mom recently I found a few of these scultpures hiding in a box on a shelf in the basement.  Seeing these were quite a trip back in time.  I dusted a few of them off and took some pictures.  I only had my iPhone with me so I apologize for the quality.

Ceramic Chipmunk Sculpture by Lori Buff
Chipmunk Sculpture

This little guy must have been made when I was in elementary school.  Parents save the darnedest things.  I don’t know if that is a nut in his paws or a bowling ball, not that it matters, it’s a cute chipmunk made by the hands of a little kid who never stopped loving playing with clay.

Do you have any pictures of your really old art?  Post them on line, I’d love to see them.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Safer Shopping Small?

These days you are always learning about another company that has had a security breach which may or may not mean your credit card numbers have been compromised.  It’s very scary and it’s a complete pain in the neck if you have to contact your credit card company and get new cards issued.  Then there is always the concern that this new credit card will be stolen from your mailbox while you’re at work.  Someone was just arrested for stealing people’s mail near my house.  It makes me glad I work from home but frightened for my neighbors.

When you look at the list of companies that have had breaches they are all large companies, mostly big box stores.  You’d think these companies would have enough money to keep security tight, and many of them do, and make a good effort but they are also big targets.  They have a lot of credit card information.  The criminals know about them and want this information. Your information.

Hand crafted Butter Keeper by Future Relics Gallery
Keeping Butter Safe

Comparatively, small businesses have much less of your personal information.  By law, a small business still has to take huge steps to safeguard your info but they are less likely to be targets for this kind of theft.  Many people prefer to pay small businesses with cash because they know how expensive credit card processing can be for the little guy.  That combined with the shear lack of volume of customers makes them an unattractive choice for a hacker.

Your own financial safety, another reason to feel good about shopping small.

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

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sweet Potato and Ginger Dahl

Dahl is one of those dishes that is very common in Indian food.  I love Indian food and I love especially almost anything with ginger.  Some people are a bit put off by dahl because it’s a bit soupy without really being soup.  However, it doesn’t have to be and this recipe is a good example of that.  It was a lot firmer than I’ve had in traditional restaurants.

I served it with black rice just because that looked pretty with the rest of the colors, you could use a brown or white rice if you desire.

Sweet Potato and Ginger Dahl by Future Relics Pottery
Sweet Potato and Ginger Dahl

Dal Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tsp coconut oil 
  • 1 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds 
  • pinch of chili flakes 
  • 1 cup red lentils 
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced small 
  • 1 two inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced 
  • 1 one inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and minced (or substitute 1 tsp dried turmeric powder) 
  • 3 1/2 cups water plus extra if necessary 
  • salt to taste 
Coconut Leeks Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil 
  • 1 leek, white and light green part julienned 
  • squeeze of lime juice 
  • pinch of salt 

For Serving:

  • cooked, warm rice 
  • chopped parsley, cilantro or mint (or a combination) 
  • black sesame seeds (optional) 

Place a large pot over medium heat. Heat up the coconut oil in the pot and add the ground coriander, mustard seeds and chili flakes. Stir about until the mustard seeds start to pop just a little bit. Add the lentils, diced sweet potato, ginger, turmeric, and a pinch of salt. Stir the whole mixture to combine/coat in oil. Add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer stirring occasionally.  The mixture should become creamy and the sweet potato pieces should still be intact and slightly firm (about 20 minutes). The lentils will be broken down, filling out the mixture. Add more water as desired.

Meanwhile sauté the leeks. Heat the coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan and sauté until leeks are soft and very fragrant. Season with salt. Add a squeeze of lime then remove from the heat.

To serve: divide the hot dal over 4 portions of rice. Top the dal with sautéed leeks and a few dribbles of the coconut oil left in the pan. Garnish each serving with the chopped herbs and black sesame seeds.

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

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Flower Bowl

The other day I wrote about finding a box in my mom's basement and I promised to show you pictures of what was in the box.  Believe it or not I actually waited to open it also. Not because I wasn't dying of curiosity but because I was busy getting things ready for my mom's return home from the hospital but also because it only seemed fair. I'm still going to draw out showing pot from the box, isn't that what throw back Thursday is all about?

The first piece I unwrapped must have been a piece I made for an assignment in High School. I could not guess all the details of the assignment but I made this covered bowl where the lid is covered in flowers.

Both the lid and the bowl are wheel thrown, of course the flowers are slab built and attached to the lid which seems to be unglazed, it only has underglazes for color so it's got a very matte finish.  The bowl has been fully glazed.

When I look at the piece I see the very beginnings of the casserole dishes I throw now. That in itself makes me feel like it was a good assignment.  I really do like the difference in finish between the lid and the bowl but it's awkward to remove the lid due to the size and lack of a lug or a handle on the lid.  If I were to recreate this I would try to encorporate a handle.  I wonder how I would do that without making it really obvious that it is a handle.  Maybe a flower that is a bit higher. Ah, it's coming to me, I can see what I would do.

Maybe recreating some of these old pots would be really fun.  We shall see what the future brings.

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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lasting Pleasures

Handcrafted pottery may cost a little bit more than similar mass produced items but that is one of the reasons they have more value to us.  Even if a piece of pottery comes to someone as a gift it is often more appreciated than something not made by hand.

I was taught to take care of valuable items.  When I use the word valuable I don’t necessarily mean expensive, I just mean things that we care about, that have value to us.  I suspect many people where taught to do the same.  Maybe mom taught you to read the care labels on your clothes or dad taught you to wash and wax the car.  Somehow we were told take care of with something of value so it would last a long time.
Happy Mug
 I found evidence of that when I was having tea at a friend’s house.  Of course I was using a handmade mug so I had to inspect it.  Not only did I find the signature on the bottom but “95.”  I assume that was the year.  The mug was made in 1995, it’s now 20 years old.  Why would someone keep a mug for 20 years?  Because it is special to them, it has value, it continues to make them happy after all this time.
Dated 95

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What's in the Box?

Those of us that have older parents, especially if they have lived in the same house for many, many years may have found opportunities to help our parents clean out some clutter.  Sometimes stuff just accumulates and we need to clean out attacs and basements. My mom has lived in her house since 1959 so she has given us lots of opportunities.  Some of it is boring like recycling catalogues that are a few months old, others are trips down memory lane.  While we were sorting stuff in her basement we came across this box.

It's my handwriting so I know I packed it, probably in the early 1980's.  I moved out of the house around that time so I forgot about it. Mom and Dad kept it safe for me all these years.  They are good that way.

I plan to take a few pictures of the contents and post them for Throw Back Thursday or #tbt for the people who prefer hashtags.  I hope this doesn't end up like the opening of Al Capone's secret vault.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Saucy Coconut Quorn Stir Fry

Some people tell me that they can’t cook vegetarian meals because some family member does not feel like a meal is complete without meat.  I get that, a lot of vegetarians eat things like tofurkey to fulfill that need.  However, lots of people don’t think this counts or, like me, don’t care for tofu often. However, I was introduced to a product called Quorn which has similar characteristics to chicken but is vegetarian, it is quite delicious and works really well in this stir fry.  You might even find out that nobody in your family knows it’s not chicken.
Saucy Coconut Quorn Stir Fry by Future Relics Gallery
Saucy Coconut Quorn Stir Fry


  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 package quorn "chicken" nuggets
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional) 
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 6 cups sliced cabbage
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add Quorn and cook, stirring often, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer Quorn to a plate.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the wok or pot. Add jalapeño, scallion whites, broccoli ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cabbage, Quorn and scallion greens; cook, stirring constantly, until the cabbage is slightly wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in basil just before serving.

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

Saturday, January 10, 2015


New Forms from the Southeast seeks to show artists who create Public Art (in it’s many forms) working in the Southeast region of The United States.

Dates: March 20 - August14th, 2015, opening reception March 20.
Location: Tattnall Square Park in Macon, Georgia.

Open to artists who reside in the Southeast United States.
Application deadline: 11 p.m., Sat., February 14. 

Send materials to: artinthepark@mercer.edu - Download full CFE at: http://tinyurl.com/pyxjozf Contact: Craig Coleman | 478-301-2507 | www.facebook.com/artinparkMU | coleman_c@mercer.edu

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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

TBT - Early Slab Piece

You may remember that I'm visiting my mom while she's recovering from heart surgery. While here I found this piece that I made many years ago. I'm not sure when I made it, probably sometime in the 1970's.
I did a lot more slab work in high school than I do now so it's a bit amusing to me.  Anyway, I thought it would be perfect for a throwback Thursday post.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Plans For Spring

A few months ago I sent in an application to be one of the studio assistants for Cynthia Bringle’s class during spring concentration at Penland School of Crafts.  After sending in something like that all you can do is keep your fingers crossed.  It’s hard to throw pots with crossed fingers but I tried.  Thankfully, I can uncross my fingers.  I got an acceptance letter and I could not be happier or more excited.  Life is good.
Wood Fired Vase with Horse by Lori Buff
Horse Vase at Penland

I learned that the other assistant is Seth Bardendse whose work I knew because we were both in an Empty Bowls event a few months ago and we are mutual friends with artist Micah Goguen.  I’m looking forward to working with him, he seems like a great guy.

A few other potters I know and admire like Lora Rust and Becky Strickland have told me they will be taking the class.  Needless to say I’m really looking forward to hanging with them for 8 weeks.  It’s going to be fun.

I also fully expect it’s going to be a lot of work.  I was a studio assistant for a one week workshop with Linda and Charlie Riggs and I’ve seen what other assistants have done in previous workshops.  I feel like I should be resting up for this adventure right now.  Of course with being out of town caring for my mother and then trying to make new pots to replace those that sold around Christmas I don’t know when that rest is going to happen.  It doesn’t matter, I’m so excited I can’t sleep anyway.

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Top Pottery Blogs for 2014

Have you checked out the blog Pottery Making Info?  If you like reading about the lives of potters you should.  It’s an easy blog to follow because Brandon normally only posts once or twice a month.  Even though he doesn’t publish often he provides a great service by publishing the best blogs we potters publish each month, so if you are short on time this is the place to find the stuff you want to read.  Then at the end of the year he picks the top blog writers based on this list of blog posts.

In 2013 I made the list of the top blogs and I was very, very happy about that.  It was a milestone I wanted to achieve because I truly admire the potters/bloggers that were on the top of the list in previous years.  But this year was a hard year for me and I didn’t write as many blog posts as I would have liked to write.  I always try to write articles that I think you will find interesting and many days I either felt empty of interesting ideas or I was so busy playing catch up that I didn’t have the energy to write.  Still, I must have done something right because I was once again granted the honor of being in the top 14 list.  Okay, I was number 13 but that’s still pretty good for someone who had given up hope.

I do plan and hope to continue to write good and interesting articles to share with you.  If you have any thoughts about what you’d like to read about here, please feel free to tell me.  I’m always happy to share an idea or technique.  Besides, this blog is all about you, the reader.

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

Monday, January 5, 2015

Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup

It’s soup season. Doesn’t a nice bowl of flavorful hot soup sound like a great winter comfort food. It’s also a great way to get your vitamins because the soup retains about everything the veggies have to offer.  It also has pomegranate as a garnish, not only are they in season right now but they are really good for you.  You might consider serving the remainder of the pomegranate for dessert or have it with your breakfast in the morning.

This rich and delicious soup has such a nice selection of warming spices it is bound to chase away the winter chills plus it’s thick, rich and filling.  Oh, and it’s really pretty too.  You might want to share this with friends.  Serve with some fresh, crusty bread and you’ve got a delightful dinner.

Butternut Squash Soup with Moroccan spices by Future Relics
Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 head garlic, for roasting 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (you can substitute olive oil but the coconut adds more coconut flavor)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed 
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried) 
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk (I used full fat, but lite will work too) 
  • 2 cups veggie broth salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, plus a little more for topping, omit for vegans
  • roughly chopped cilantro and pistachios, for topping 
  • arils from one pomegranate, for topping 
Coconut Ginger Cream
  • 1/2 cup cooled canned coconut milk 
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger 

Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Peel any excess paper/skin off the bulb of garlic. Pour about one teaspoon of olive oil on top of the garlic cloves and place in a garlic roaster or foil. Roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the garlic is golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Squeeze garlic out of the paper skin into a small bowl, mash well with a fork and set aside.

Add the coconut oil to a large soup pot set over medium heat. Once hot, add the red pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the cubed butternut squash, spicy curry powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes then pour in the coconut milk and veggie broth. Bring the soup to boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork tender.

While the soup or the garlic is cooking make the ginger cream. Add the cold coconut milk and 1 tablespoon ginger to a small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Once the butternut squash is tender, add the roasted garlic and the crumbled goat cheese to the soup. Remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool slightly, then puree the soup with an emersion blender or in a regular blender.  Return the soup back to the stove and heat through.

To serve, ladle the soup into a handcrafted bowl. Drizzle the coconut ginger cream over the soup and swirl with a spoon. Garnish with chopped cilantro, pistachios and crumbled goat cheese. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils.

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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Returning to the World

I hope you all enjoyed whatever holidays you celebrate and that you have a fantastic 2015.  Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that it's been quiet for a couple of weeks.  This little silence was brought to you by influenza.  It's been a bad year for the flu in Georgia and many other states so of course I managed to catch it.  It laid me out flat and left me nothing to write about except so weird dreams.  I'll spare you.

Now I'm feeling better and ready to get back to the potter's wheel but that will only last for a few days since I will be going to help my mom who has a couple compression fractures in her spine and just had to have heart surgery last night.  Needless to say my writing may be a bit sporadic for the rest of the month.  

I do have a few things to write about and some Meatless Monday recipes to post so please check back.  I appreciate all you readers and everyone's comments.