Monday, December 29, 2014

An old friend

It's been a while, eh?

Visiting family has been fun, and I see lots of my creations in clay all over their home.  But today I found an old friend in the cupboard.  It may be too small for my daughter-in-law's coffee tastes, but I still like it...so had my coffee in it today.


And so what if lots of my pots are chipped and broken.  It's the way potters can keep making more pots.  I'm ready to get back into clay soon...last night I dreamed about what kinds of things I want to make!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Forest Project details

earlier today I posted the whole sculptural installation.
Here are some details.
The main piece is slab built, carved.  Oxides are the only finish, besides black paint on the ceramic base below the actual tree grove.

Oxides were applied in impressed and carved lines, wiped off.  Then I took a stiff brush and splatted more onto the whole large piece.

The Forest Project



Friday, December 12, 2014

Plate designs in gallery

My two tree decorated entries on the wall in the Black Mountain Center for the Arts gallery.  To the left is Greenman Live-oak Tree Plate...and on the right is Willow Goddess Platter.  Both were drawn entirely on the bisqued ware with "designer liners" then the glaze colors (Mayco Stroke 'n Coat) were applied, then a thin coat of clear glaze was applied before they were fired to cone 6.  Mayco came out with Designer Liners in about 5-6 colors last year, and I've enjoyed playing with the design possibilities on plates.  The work of drawing then painting glazes on a plate does take time, but they feel like a good drawing or painting should, when the finishing touch is applied, I know I've done my best.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More displays at Pottery Market

More photos from the Appalachian Potters Market...but I'm afraid they are all of Cathy and my wares.  Sorry I didn't go around and take pictures of other's booths...which would have been so smart.  But I was pretty tired...and got much tireder.

Bowl on the front left edge of my table was picked up more than any other piece, but nobody bought it!  It has a lady bug and leaves painted on the rim.  We did get an order to make another slightly bigger one though!
Many people were interested in Cathy's mishima white vase.
This is my latest plate design


I'm so grateful to sell this, right before closing!

The largest three glaze bowl sold.
I am so very thankful for the sales we made.  It was just exhausting for me.  Did I say how tired I was at the end of the day?  Dragging!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Holly Jolly sales tables

We had a lovely party on last Friday night.  Refreshments were outstanding.

Not as many pottery students displayed their wares as in previous years.  But what was there was very nice looking.

Charles (Studio Manager)

Fred

Jim
Pat
Barbara (taking picture in pink scarf)
Marsha

Sunday, December 7, 2014

And after the market

On the good side, we had enough sales for our fist venture into this venue...paid the expenses and a little profit. 

We had variety and quality (I hope) more than quantity.

Cathy Babula's display

But the whole market was really wonderful.  I think most customers are familiar with pottery already, so know how to comparison shop.  Which is where competition comes in.  I guess I'm not competitive in that market place.
You've heard perhaps, if you've worked retail, of "loss leaders."  Things that a company will lose money on, but it will bring the shoppers into the store and they will probably buy more.

Black Friday loves the concept. 

I don't think I've ever done it myself in selling pots, though I have sold seconds at cost, I never lost money on them.

Barbara Rogers' display

Our booth at the Appalacian Potters Market yesterday was close to a few potters that were either doing "loss leaders" or selling wholesale.  That's how I figure it, anyway. 

That's ok, until a sign saying "4 mugs for $20, 4 bowls for $20" was hung right next to our display...which was backed up to their very big one.  I said to the owner that it was confusing, since it basically hung right before our display as well as theirs.  He moved it around on the inside of his shelf for a while.  An hour later it was back on the end of the shelf.

I've seen this happen before in potters markets...there are big sales in their booth.  They even had a second table outside their booth for wrapping the sales. (Don't know how they get away with that, but they did, across the aisle under the stairs.)

Did we sell many mugs or bowls, prices pretty reasonable from $15-$26, depending on the amount of work that went into them?  Nah.

We sure are asking for another location next year.  And we gave feedback as to how the market might be improved.  As more sales are offered at wholesale rates, the public will happily come purchase.  But I can't compete because I'm not a "production potter" who carries 6 dozen mugs or bowls to sell.


Barb and Cathy at APM in Marion, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

At the pottery market

This is an adventure.
I'm looking forward to it.
I'm anxious about it.

So I'm just going to put one foot in front of the other, and that's all I can do.
Hope you come over, if you're in the area.

I realize most folks who read blogs don't end up going to pottery markets.

So thanks to those who have been so kind as to come to my home and purchase my pottery right there.  If that's you're choice, give me an email and we can set an appointment!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holly Jolly night

Well, as you noticed, I'm posting this in the early hours of the day.  It's due to rain (50% chance has changed to 10% predicted).  Have you ever figured out if that means
a.) 10% of the area being forecast will actually have rain
or b.) If you stay in one place, only 10% of the time will it rain.



OK, I am a bit brainless right now.  I'm not the kind of potter that works with a kiln up till the wee hours before a sale.  I'm the kind that brings everything I've ever made that I still have out on the living room floor, and decides what to take to the sale.


Not every time.  But this week that's definitely happened.  That's cause I've never had 2 sales back to back before.  Nor knew that there wouldn't be many other opportunities to sell things for 6 months.

Sort of pressure cooker on the brain.

Now my son, Tai, is presenting his final project (thesis?) for his MFA in ceramics today.  Talk about pressure.  I hope he does well.  I know he will feel much better tomorrow...when I'm still trying to sell whatever I chose to bring to that sale, and will be kicking myself because I left home "that thing" that someone asked about.  Actually I've never made a honey jar, but I could!  And that was the last thing that was requested of me which I didn't have on my table.




Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holly Jolly Pottery Sales and Gallery Exhibit

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts 
225 West State St.
invites the public to visit upstairs 
for the Pottery Sales Showroom
 and the Pottery Gallery Exhibit.

Student potters are happy to sell their work, which is diverse, beautiful, and economical!
Year after year this is a great venue, and offers refreshments as well!
No matter what the weather outside may be, from 5-8 pm on Friday, December 5, 2014, this is an important stop in the holiday party that Black Mountain throws once a year.  

Other shops may have interesting holiday goods, but this is the place for pottery!  Walk through the streets, but save space for our nibbles, as well as the fun of picking some gifts for others (or yourself!)  

All showroom sales contribute 50% to the Center for the Arts.

Visit BMCA home page HERE.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Green Man Plate

His mate is Green Eyed Willow Goddess platter...which was posted HERE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Appalachian Potters Market, Marion NC

Bring a friend, or two.  Come browse the best potters market in the area...just one day, indoors!
Look for Barbara Rogers and Cathy Babula's booth.  Tell me you saw this on my blog and I'll give you a 10% discount.  Hey, bloggers are great and deserve a break!

Do not use MapQuest to try to find the school!

Address for Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
600 McDowell High Drive
Marion, NC 28752-9131

Directions
Traveling NORTH on US 221 or NC 226:
  1. Just after crossing I-40, US 221 and NC 226 merge to become the Marion Bypass (US 221/NC 226).
    • Travelers on NC 226 should continue STRAIGHT.
    • Travelers on US 221 should TURN LEFT onto the Marion Bypass.
  2. After about 5 miles the Bypass will end in a large intersection with Big Lots on the left and Taco Bell on the right. TURN LEFT.
  3. Go STRAIGHT through two intersections and TURN LEFT at the third. You will see a sign for West McDowell Junior High School. McDowell High is up the hill past the Junior High.
Travel Time from I-40: 11 minutes
Traveling EAST on I-40 from Asheville:
  1. Take EXIT 72 (Hwy 70 / Old Fort).
  2. WARNING: SLOW DOWN and follow the speed limit after leaving the Interstate. You will be traveling along main street in the town of Old Fort and the speed limit goes down to 35 MPH.
  3. Continue STRAIGHT on Hwy 70 for about 11 miles.
  4. When you come to the third intersection with a sign for West McDowell Junior High School, TURN RIGHT. McDowell High is up the hill past the Junior High.
Travel Time from I-40: 12 minutes
Traveling WEST on I-40 from Hickory:
  1. Take EXIT 86 (NC 226) and TURN RIGHT at the end of the ramp.
  2. Continue STRAIGHT through two intersections and onto US 221/NC 226 (Marion Bypass). After about 5 miles the Bypass will end in a large intersection with Big Lots on the left and Taco Bell on the right. TURN LEFT.
  3. Go STRAIGHT through two intersections and TURN LEFT at the third. You will see a sign for West McDowell Junior High School. McDowell High is up the hill past the Junior High.
Travel Time from I-40: 11 minutes
Traveling SOUTH on US 221 or NC 226:
  1. Once you enter Marion, you will come to a large intersection with Big Lots on your right and Taco Bell on your left. TURN RIGHT.
  2. Go STRAIGHT through two intersections and TURN LEFT at the third. You will see a sign for West McDowell Junior High School. McDowell High is up the hill past the Junior High.
Travel Time from Marion City Limits: 4 minutes
  • Do NOT use MapQuest to get Driving Directions. Much of the geographical data on MapQuest for our area is WRONG.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The casserole lid

Yep, there it is, the lid tight as a drum on the base...except for the smallest one, where the lid was too small to correctly fit in the first place.

I was able to tap the medium size casserole to get it's lid off, but there were splinters of clay that fell off into the bowl, showing that I actually had broken some of the edge to get it open.  (I later took a Dremmel tool to it to make sure the edges all were smooth.)

The largest lid just wouldn't come off, so I followed the suggestion of our studio manager when I got home...that Marsha sometimes put it in the freezer.

But Marsha wasn't around the next morning when I took it out, so I didn't know exactly what the next step was.

So I let it sit an hour.  It didn't come right off.
I tried tapping it with the handle of something, which had that soft plastic handgrip on it.  No luck.  My taps became more frantic.  What was it going to take?

Finally it did come apart.  And again there were little flakes of stoneware which were inside the casserole.  They'd come off the edge of the lid, where it had been rounded, but also where it was touching the galley of the casserole lip.  There was plenty of give when I turned the lid around and around, though it sat best in just one place.

There was no glaze evident...these surfaces had been well waxed...and wiped.  But somehow the stoneware stuck to itself.  What makes that happen? 

The Dremmel tool again smoothed off the edges.  I don't make enough casseroles to know all the answers, but now want to know more about clay that adheres just by being fired to cone 6.


Monday, November 24, 2014

That last market

So much joy
So much sadness

And luminous light and warmth in the sunshine!
Bette Potter Jones, Marsha Cozart, Cathy Babula

Today the Mud Buddies remember all this summer, as well as the five prior ones.  And we had a visit from a former Mud Buddy as well.
Barbara Rogers and Pat Levi

Tomorrow I'll share the set up and the beautiful pots.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Out in the world

There they are, my little babies, all grown up and living independently.

Thanks to my friend (who tried to get out of the shot, but the edge of her is there!) for taking a picture of the bathroom caddy which I made, as well as the little dog tumbler.  Unfortunately the glazes won't match, since we've been having some Celadon problems...but they are close enough to coexist on my friend's counter.

Thanks so much for sharing the photo!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Something's gonna be cooking

Yesterday "dear blogger" wouldn't let me post so I hope today I'm fortunate.

These 3 casseroles are made the same...Speckled Brownstone stoneware clay, with interiors in Satin White glaze and exteriors in Bermuda Green (a mix of the mason stain of the same name with Satin White glaze).

The living room is covered with pottery, being priced and wrapped and packed.  I've got the Tailgate Holiday Market tomorrow morning 10-1...same place in Black Mountain behind the First Baptist Church under the trees off Montreat Rd.

Two more sales are coming up in the first weekend of December.  I'm skipping anything to do with sales over the Thanksgiving weekend...am seeing some family members after a long time missing them.  But if I see any pretty pottery, I'll take some photos and share with you!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The least of these

Consider this a work in progress...I've got intense cobalt stain permanently in most of the clay, but then, some places are paler, which doesn't look quite right.  So I'm going to do some more finishing touches.  This forest project piece is the least favorite of mine.  It may become garbage, who knows.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More sculpted trees

I want to stain the pedestal darker, so it sets off the roots.  Just need to get out the paintbrush.

Then there are the little trees that go together with this sculpture...

Or are they really mushrooms?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Forest Project revisited

This time of year my creativity turns to sculptures, because my retail pottery sales are just about over with the holiday shows.

In the meantime, I do hope to make some space on my shelves for lovelies like this piece.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Turquoise or green...?


Bermuda green is a mason stain, which is added to satin white glaze for this pale turquoise effect on a stoneware.
These all have the same "celadon" glaze one them, but the mug to the left is made of white clay, Little Loafers, while the set on the right are made with a stoneware, Speckled Brownstone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If it's Thursday...

I MAY go to Highwater to pick up clay and glazes, if they have made the clay I'm waiting for (and so are some of my friends.)

I MAY pick up some more plate holders at A.C. Moore if I'm driving right by there going to Asheville.

I MAY have survived last night's Clay Club pot luck meet at the BMCA studio.

and I MAY have taken some photos of the fun...which even if only 3 of us were there, I am sure would have happened.  (I'm writing this before the meeting while waiting for cupcakes to cool before frosting the for the party.)

I MAY find the 2 little pots that I glazed earlier in the week are out of the kiln, thus I know whether or not the Celedo glaze is working again.

I MAY and for sure will be at the clay studio from 1-4pm as I am for Open Studio time every Thursday.

I MAY glaze the other little wonky pot that I know is somewhere lost on the bisqued shelf.

I MAY have some of my greenware loaded for the next bisque firing.

I MAY just put one foot in front of the other and at the end of the day sit here and know that life is good.

and I MAY make something new that I've never done before.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Do you know Don Reitz?

From his New York Times obit earlier this year...
Don Reitz, an internationally renowned artist in dirt and salt, died on March 19 at his home in Clarkdale, Ariz. He was 84.

A ceramicist — with typical puckish pragmatism he preferred to describe his chosen medium as dirt instead of clay — Mr. Reitz was one of a small cadre of midcentury artisans who expanded the medium to include immense, intellectually provocative works of abstract art.
At his death, he was an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he taught for a quarter-century before his retirement in 1988. His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and elsewhere.
You may read more of that article if you wish, HERE.
He was known in particular for reviving the centuries-old technique of salt firing, in which salt added to a hot kiln yields textured surfaces far different from those made with conventional glazes.
Mr. Reitz’s style was characterized by “a kind of tension between a respect for classical pottery form and a really kind of brash, impetuous approach to working with wet clay,” Jody Clowes, the curator of “Don Reitz: Clay, Fire, Salt and Wood,” a touring exhibition of 2005, said in an interview on Friday.
 From The Times...
Donald Lester Reitz was born on Nov. 7, 1929, in Sunbury, Pa., and reared in Belvidere, N.J. Dyslexic, he preferred working with his hands to schoolwork.
Enlisting in the Navy in 1948, he spent five years as a salvage diver and afterward plied a series of trades — truck driver, sign painter — before settling into a career as a butcher.
“In a way, it is an art,” Mr. Reitz wrote in a 1991 autobiographical essay in the magazine Ceramics Monthly. “You have to know how to cut and display your product, everything from putting bootees on lamb chops to arranging a crown roast. I could cut rosettes on a ham so that when it was baked, they opened up in beautiful patterns.”
But with time, he began to chafe among the meat. Enrolling at Kutztown State Teacher’s College in Pennsylvania, he studied painting; after earning a bachelor’s degree in art education there in 1957, he taught in the Dover, N.J., public schools.
Mr. Reitz had discovered ceramics in his last semester of college, and that, he soon realized, was his true calling. Installing a wheel in his house and a kiln outside it, he began making pots, which he attempted to sell at a roadside stand.
No one stopped until he also began offering homegrown vegetables. People bought the vegetables, and he gave them the pots at no charge.
From the New York State College of Ceramics, part of Alfred University in western New York, Mr. Reitz earned a master of fine arts degree in 1962. He joined the Wisconsin faculty that year.
  
Don Reitz taught in the University of Wisconsin–Madison art department from 1962 to 1988. In 2002 he received one of the highest honors in his field when the American Craft Council awarded him their Gold Medal.

But the proof is in the pudding (to use a really lame metaphor).  A University of Wisconsin publication about him (photo below) is now out of print.






NC Clay Club (this came from the web)
 

So we are having a short video of his firing an Anagama in Arizona with Charles Freeland (our manager) for the Clay Club party/meet on Nov. 12 at the Black Mountain Clay Studio.  Just wanted you to know a bit of what he was like, in case you didn't know yet.