Monday, July 6, 2015

Two Versions

One of the great benefits of the 100 mug challenge I did earlier this year was a wide variety of mugs for both the wood kiln and the electric kiln.  It's a great opportunity to try similar glaze themes on different styles to see how the designs work on the different shapes.


This glaze is a satin matte black that I've really just started to appreciate.  On its own, it's pretty boring, but with some wax resist patterns and combined with other glazes - I LOVE IT!

I'm looking forward to trying some other patterns with this glaze in my next firing. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer

This is my first summer as a fully self employed person.  I'd previously spent many years working full time doing other things while being a potter part time as well.  Beginning as a young teen I worked summers full time while school was out and upon graduation, began a full time job. Working through the summers my entire adult life as well. So...it's tempting to spend most of this summer like most the others of my life immersed in my work (though now more enjoyable work).  


However, with a great deal of "OMG, I've become a master slacker" guilt, I've taken more time this summer to just enjoy the time rather than work straight through it.  Though still producing a good quantity of pottery and attending a few events, I've been spending more time just enjoying a summer free of work obligation, lunching with friends, watching the daily changes in the garden, reading the Outlander series and so many things I hadn't the time for in a long time.  I put on "real shoes" a few days ago to go to a funeral and realized I'd spent the last several weeks barefoot or in sandals.  Perfect!
 

Enjoy your summer in whatever way possible.  They are so short, especially here in Minnesota.

Oh...and a subtle vase let's the flowers be the focal point. The earthy woodfired color adds natural beauty without overpowering or distracting.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

So...I've Been Thinking

This is usually the time that my husband, roadie and employee of the year says "Uh oh!"

A few weeks ago I attended a work session/dinner put on by our local art's organization.  We were asked several questions about arts in our community and the results of our discussion would be used to create a performance to be presented at the upcoming Rural Arts and Culture Summit in June.  Liked the idea... but since then have been kicking around some of the discussion topics in my head.  


April 2015 Firing
The one foremost in my thoughts is the question "Do I feel  my community values artists?"  Since my community markets itself as an art destination and community, this was an interesting perspective.  I think those involved in art organizations and economic development for the most part said they felt artists were valued.  However, it seemed  most of the artists in the gathering didn't feel as valued.  And I was right along side them in that feeling.  


New striped design - will need to include more in next firing
Over the next few days follow the dinner, I thought about this question frequently.  Why the divide between how these groups viewed artist's value?  How can that divide be reduced?  But over time, I got to questioning why we think we should be valued?  I get we all want to be valued for what we do, but should artists be valued more than other community segments?  


cups and saucers

I mean...do the local plumbers or electricians (or massage therapists, restaurant chefs... any profession) get together over coffee and discuss how they don't feel valued by the community.  It's hard to differentiate between our value and the value of the things we do/create... but I'm talking about our value as an artists, not the value of my art.  I love running water, sewer that flows properly, and power to run all my devices as much as the next person, but is the person who makes that happen valued more than other professions in my community.  Not really and I don't think they get together to discuss it either.



Yellow Salt glaze is so interesting - always looks a little different than the before


Gotta love the orange peel effect on this bottle

So ultimately, what is this need for a perceived community value about?  Being an active, productive member of any community is a value, regardless if you're an artist or plumber.  I think your value is based on what you give to the community, not what you choose to do for a living.  But I'm sure this will continue to be something I think about for quite a while.


Rectangle baker

Figured I'd sneak some photos from my last firing in the mix to keep you reading.  Nobody likes a post with just words.  We all need a little eye candy to keep us going forward.  Have a great summer.

And there is always something in each firing that just doesn't work at all.  Here is a example.


Grinder time - this mug is stuck to the shelf

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Squares

A couple weeks ago, I needed a little distraction from my usual thrown work. So I put the slab roller to work and made some little trinket dishes.  The first group of them were fired yesterday with green glass marbles in the stamped impression.  I really like the outcome. 


Also in this firing were several glaze test tiles.  I'm looking to add a couple new glaze colors to my line up and maybe retire a couple colors as well. Haven't really found anything I like so far, so I'll have to keep testing.





Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nick DeVries Workshop

Last weekend I attended a Fundamentals of Design in Clay workshop lead by Nick DeVries  at the Edina Art Center.  It was a great time and very educational.  Edina Art Center has a wonderful facility and always puts on equally wonderful special events.  

Principles and elements of design as they relate to creating works in clay were the primary lessons of the workshop and the concepts were made clear while watching Nick demonstrate his very unique processes.  

Most of Nick's work is thrown rather thick and his shapes refined by the use of a rasp.  Using this process, he often makes squared shapes out of round and uses the subtle texture left by the rasp to give his pieces a great textural feel.  Nick's additional stamped and carved design elements along with his gorgeous matte oxidation glazes finish the pieces off perfectly.


I look forward to keeping the principles and elements of design in my mind always as I create work and over the next couple weeks hope I can try out a few of his decoration techniques to see if there is anything I can adapt to my work as well.  It's always so fun to learn new techniques and consider how they can change things you may already do.  If nothing else, it will be good to get the rust off my Mudtools small shredder.



You can find more of Nick's work HERE.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter Wood Firing

Last Monday, Becky Brandow of Willow Avenue Pottery joined me to unload the wood kiln we'd fired the weekend before.  Between the firing and pizza party we had during the firing, I didn't manage to get any photos of the firing itself.  Didn't even get my traditional pic of the loaded kiln before we brick up the door.  Apparently I don't deal well with distractions.  Oh well...the photos would have looked just like my previous firings anyway.



Becky is planning a kiln build for this summer so she brought a bunch of glaze test cups as well as a collection of other work to join my usual body of work for this firing.  


 Overall, we had a really good firing.  There are always some pieces that get blasted by ash or serious glaze runs, but most needed just light sanding.  

Here's some of the results.
 






Time to mix a couple new glaze batches and start of new round of work for my April firing. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Getting Started In The New Year

Like so many other artists, I like to take a bit of a break through the holidays to enjoy the season and my family.  We had a great Christmas and fun with friends on New Year's Eve.  And just before settling into the studio for the winter, potter friend Becky Brandow of Willow Avenue Pottery in Iowa visited for a couple days.  It was two days of potter shopping (Continental Clay, Ikea, The Container Store and Northern Clay Center), discussion of glazes to test in the woodfiriing we'll be doing in February and just plain lots of fun.  
 


Now it's time to buckle down and put a serious dent in my "need to make" list before spring sales begin.  It's a pretty long list but I think I'll be glad to start the season with a good inventory of the things I sell a lot of.  Of course there's always time for a little distraction by some of the daily beauty of a Minnesota winter.  Here are a couple of this week's distractions.