Sunday, December 21, 2008

Finished Urn

I was able to complete the urn before heading to Ohio to visit with family for Christmas and am pleased with the results. Hopefully the family who commissioned it will like it. Attached to the surface of the piece was a coin that has special significance to the family. It seemed to integrate well into the piece.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Special orders

The past couple of weeks I've been working on a few special orders- some for gifts, one through a gallery and one bigger project.
Just before I gave birth to Guthrie I was approached about making an urn and I reluctantly turned down the opporutnity because it didn't seem possible to make it in a timely fashion. This family really wanted it so they decided to wait (I felt/feel really honored by this). I finally got around to working on it over the past couple weeks and am pleased with the result (I hope the family receiving it will be too!). The knob on the top is attached to a lid that sits flush on the top and can be waxed shut once the ashes are inserted.
I've also begun working on two sinks for my friend Jeanene. Her house has undergone a huge renovation so she commissioned me to make her a couple of sinks that will sit on a large countertop in the master bath. Here's one in process. Obviously the hole for the drain hasn't been cut and I still need to add support to the little side wall. The actual bowl is 5" deep, so hopefully that'll be enough for it not to splash (cross your fingers!).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pots in use- thanksgiving style

Brian, Guthrie and I had the pleasure of hosting Thanksgiving at our home this year. Both of our families were able to come in from Ohio (and Charlotte), so we had a great time visiting, eating and sharing.

One moment I took a step back to survey the scene: our kitchen full of loved ones, enjoying food and each other's company. The tables were covered with handmade items- mostly pottery. Somehow this added even more warmth to the scene- almost as if the people who created these pieces were there with us too. It made me very thankful to be one who creates and I couldn't help wondering with whom else I was "sharing" these moments with through my pottery.
Guthrie joined in the festivities as well by trying sweet potatoes for the first time. He couldn't quite figure out which tasted better: the sweet potatoes or Suze's pot?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thoughts on teaching

While I haven't had an abundance of time in the studio lately (this is why), one constant in my life as a potter has been teaching. I really love to teach and have done so in many capacities from after-school kids art classes, to adult clay classes, to elementary school art teacher, to teaching residencies, to teaching people how to build a house (scary, but true). Teaching always provides me with many beneficial challenges as well as introduces me to people I wouldn't have met or known under any other circumstances.

Some of my best ideas for my own work have come about as a result of teaching. Case in point: I teach a handbuilding class at Clayworks in Charlotte and have several students who have taken the class with me many many times. In order to keep up the interest for them (and me), I spend a lot of time thinking, experimenting and planning new forms and methods. Here's one such example: we made these lobed boxes in this past session. Soon I'm going to work on reforming this process a bit and start to make something of the sort for my own body of work. I liked this little owl knob too.
I have some exciting teaching opportunities coming up in the next few months. The Arts and Science Council here in Charlotte is hosting an "Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute" that will be held over 3 Saturdays and is geared toward artists thinking of themselves as small business owners. Many different "modules" (classes) are held covering topics such as how to market your work, incorporation, creating a brand, etc. I'm honored to have a chance to teach the module on selecting your distribution outlets- ie: where can you sell your work? It's been really beneficial for me to sit down and think of all the different places where people can purchase my work and which of these have the greatest rate of return. I think it's pretty easy to just think, "oh, it's just galleries and craft fairs," but, in reality, there are so many additional opportunities. Just thinking about some other options that are less traditional that others have tried have piqued my own interest. When I'm on the ball enough I'll try to do a longer posting of my research and presentation. What are some places you market and sell your work that are a little more creative?

Coming up in February (20-22), I'll be a presenter at the Potter's Council Focus on Function workshop held at Funke Fired Arts in Cincinnati, OH. I'm so honored to present here and am looking forward to meeting all the other presenting artists and participants. I'll be doing two 3 hour demos of my own work and there will be a hands on portion for the participants to make some texturing tools and stamps. This event will also be fun for my because I grew up in Cinci and my family all still live there, so it'll serve as a visit too (although, they all just want to see my little Guthrie!).

In March (27/28) I'll be doing a demo workshop at Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem. I'm really looking forward to this because I'll have lots of time to demo many of my pieces and will have the opportunity to do a slide show of my work and influences. There have been so many artists that have generously shared knowledge and techniques and I'm so excited to be part of that cycle of sharing to possibly help enhance an old idea or spark a new direction of work for someone else.

It has been a long-time goal of mine to do more workshop style teaching at art centers. I feel that I have some original methods to share and have plenty of embarrassingly funny, self-deprecating stories to tell.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...(that's a pleasant sigh, not a scream)

It's been a while since I've had some uninterrupted time in the studio, and I was blessed just that yesterday. Brian has Mondays off now due to his new position at Habitat, so he agreed to hang out with Guthrie to give me some time to work. It felt so good to get my hands on some clay. I'm working on filling a gallery order of mostly handbuilt pieces and thus decided to tackle making some wall pieces. Here are a few in process. Below are nine tiles, halfway finished. I start with thinly-stretched slabs, cut and stamp them, and then pinch together the seams.Here's one receiving its border, which is pinched on as well.The clay is then rolled/folded to create a frame (this is the backside, by the way).A slab with 2 holes, in which to later thread wire, is attached.Here are the finished tiles. They are about 7"x 7" wet, and end up around 5 1/2" square once they're fired.

Monday, October 13, 2008

100th post/studio renovation

Hooray for post #100! I don't know what that means, but yea.
Aside from demo pots from my handbuilding classes at Clayworks, I haven't been making anything for the past couple of weeks. Brian and I (well, mostly Brian) have been renovating the studio: we tore out a closet and moved my wheel and wareboard shelves over into that area, and then Brian built a big section of permanent shelves in the corner where the wheel used to be. This will make the space way more efficient and give me more storage for works in progress. I'm really excited about getting back in there to create: the forced "vacation" has been wearing on me and I've felt a little down recently as a result. It goes to show that we who are made to create, must.

The man himself: Brian stands in his renovation glory:
The new shelves are so nice that I think I'll just sleep out here tonight....clay makes a great pillow.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Guthrie has something to say!

Guthrie is very concerned about the state of the US these days, so he recently joined the National Baby Union (not to be confused with the Union of Babies in America) which is endorsing the Obama/Biden ticket this fall. So, if you're for babies, you need to check out a great fundraiser that some potter friends and colleagues are promoting: Obamaware!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Circle show at Lark and Key

Tonight was the opening of our Circle of Eight show at Lark and Key. It was a beautiful evening on a gallery crawl Friday, so many people were out and about. Julie and Sandy (the co-owner of Lark and Key) did a great job setting up the show- our pots were displayed very nicely.

We were honored to have Diana Fayt as our guest artist for this show. I have admired her pots for some time and it was really exciting to see a small collection of them at the show. The surfaces she creates are very rich; it's easy to spend quite some time exploring each pot.

Here are some of my Julie's little tumblers in front Ron and Jen's work....
Ron's platter and work by Adrienne... Pots by Julie, Jen and Greg...
Lark and Key carries my work typically, so here's some of the other work I have there on display...

A real treat for the night was having Guthrie at the opening. He stole the show, of course, and welcomed me to the gallery by spitting up all over me about 3 or 4 times. Thanks little man! He was super cute in his brown (which somehow we were all wearing, so he fit right in). Here's Sarah and Ron Philbeck getting their Guthrie fix! Such naturals!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New office?

Since becoming a new mom, my life has begun to adapt to many changes. Example: last week I had an almost hour-long phone meeting about the public art piece I have on the horizon and I needed access to a computer while also having Guthrie entertained close-by.So, Guthrie and I created a makeshift office in my bedroom complete with computer, coffee (my little french press on the table next to the bed), and paper and pen. Guthrie was such a great little guy- he played quietly next to me the entire time, happily entertained by his little jungle toy thing. It was hilarious as there was some playful background noise to my conversation: when he would hit the little ball held by the tiger, kid music played.
Our little guy just turned three months old today and he continues to delight and amaze us.
What a sweet and precious little boy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Great sale

Yesterday was one of those ridiculously beautiful days that makes me so thankful to live in North Carolina. We had the perfect Carolina blue sky as a cover for our Circle of Eight sale, and just enough nip in the air to warrant jeans and a light long sleeve shirt. Oh, beautiful fall in Charlotte!
Our sale went really well- there was a good turnout of friends that have become customers and customers who have become friends. We tried a new setup this time, inspired by the displays used at Bob Briscoe's for their big St. Croix pottery tour in Minnesota. Ron got a hold of a bunch of hollow core doors which we propped up on saw horses and with bricks. Then each of us picked our own drapery and added small shelves to display our pots. There was a good response to this new display as many customers said that they felt that it looked more open and inviting, and more pots could be viewed.

Guthrie was a real trooper and his usual charming self. Of course he was a bit of a star at times and smiled on cue (when he wasn't sleeping, but he was really cute then too!).

I thought I had gotten pictures of everyone's display, but while viewing my pictures last night, I realized that I obviously had been distracted because there are only images of Ron, Jen's, and my booth on the camera. Space brain.
Here's one of the new vase forms I've been working on recently.
I feel as though I turned over a new leaf on this sale: typically I work up to the last minute producing work for a show and often am slightly anxious about having "enough work." Being a new mom has obviously reduced the time I have available to work in the studio, so I was able to make an actual realistic list of pots to make, complete them (early!) and just plain feel ok with what I had available. I always make way too many pots anyway!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pots to be glazed

Since the Circle sale coming up quickly (next Saturday), I've been trying to capture every moment that Guthrie's napping by glazing in the studio. It's felt more and more ok to be out there with the monitor, and I can get inside quickly if I need to. Things are chugging along slowly, but I have already fired one full kiln load, and think I'll have another ready by this evening or tomorrow. That leaves only one more bisque and one more glaze. Hmmmm, that's 4 days worth of firings and 7 days until the sale so it should work...(hopefully I didn't just jinx myself!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tagging business

I was "tagged" by Ron about a week ago, and felt that it was about time for me to play along. I'm supposed to list the rules and then my random facts about me. Here goes:

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post rules
3. Write 6 random things about yourself
4. Tag 6 others and link to them.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

My 6 random facts:

1. My childhood nickname in my family (mostly to my mom) was Bubblicious. My mom even wrote and sung a song about it.

2. I played french horn for 10 years.

3. I married my high school sweetheart who also happened to be homecoming king. I was not the queen.

4. Even though very few things scare me, ceramic garden gnomes and face jugs really freak me out. 

5. I played basketball and ran cross country in college.

6. My all-time favorite movie is "A Christmas Story." (you'll shoot your eye out, you'll shoot your eye out!)

Many people have already been tagged. I'll figure out who that's going to be for me soon. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bringing up a potter?

I just caught Brian reading Studio Potter to Guthrie while I was doing dishes. Do we have a future potter in our midst? You pay attention mister!

New booty

...that is, new treasure for us from the Mint Museum pottery sale this past Saturday in Charlotte. No hurricane in sight- Saturday was a beautiful day to browse and buy some amazing work. It was also fun to visit with potter friends- although I was very disappointed with myself. I get goofily shy sometimes and had wanted to introduce myself to Michael Kline and didn't, which is downright silly because everyone says he's super friendly. So Michael, if you actually read this- I'll be sure not to be shy the next time I'm around!

Anyway, I brought home some new sweeties that Brian and I both have already enjoyed using. Here are a cup and bowl made by Ronan Peterson. The surfaces are very textural and rich and the cup fits my hand perfectly. We had the pleasure of Ronan's company this weekend before the show- he stayed with us on Friday and we had a great time going to dinner and an opening, and topping the evening off with some good conversation about pots, kids and life in general. Ronan got his "baby" fix by hanging with Guthrie some since he was missing his little son Nolan. I also purchased these yummy pots from Shoko Teruyama who is a resident artist at Penland. I've wanted some of her work for some time now, and am so pleased to now have a plate and teabowl. Her drawings are so intimate and striking.