Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Way back in January, I posted about being inspired by watching how John Britt threw a couple of pots off center, thick and clunky and then just messed them up. I don't know if he ever finished the pots, but watching him got me thinking outside the box.

My work tends to be pretty clean and refined. The cylinders I start off with are often off-center, but you can't see that in the finished pots. I decided to try messing up some cylinders and making a basket out of them. Now, as you can see, I didn't really mess them up all that much. Has that ever happened to you? You think you're really changing things up and pushing the limits, when actually the end result isn't all that different.

I really like the basket, but it doesn't hold a candle to some of the crazy stuff I did in college. Even so, it's helping me to get over my fear of experimenting with a little ugly.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pottery Models

I usually take the week following the Studio Tour off from pottery. This is also the kids first week of summer break. I had planned on taking them to the Aquarium in Gatlinburg, swimming in the river and the like. And then, we saw a friend's Facebook post about two stray kittens...

We did not end up adopting the kittens she found. They were still in quarantine at Mitchell County Animal Rescue, so we decided to visit the Yancey County Animal Shelter, where Allison wants to volunteer this summer anyway. We had our pick of 4 kittens who had just returned from being spayed and neutered. Allison named her short-haired calico "Deziree" and Ben kept the shelter's name "Flash" for his long-haired tabby. It's been 17 years since I've had a kitten around. They're a lot like fast-moving toddlers.

Except I wouldn't let a toddler near my pottery.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The End of the Trail

Jay called me last night at 10:30 to tell me he was looking at the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon. I'm really proud of him for setting a goal and reaching it. I'm already living my dream. I'm so glad he could live out his, too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trans-America Trail Week 3

Nothern California

Well, I have to be honest that Jay's name has been synonymous with dirt this past week. I had two glaze firings, Allison's chorus concert, two end-of-year award ceremonies (one of which I could not attend), and all the yard work and clean up leading up to the Studio Tour. I wasn't too happy at having to handle all of it alone, but my Mom raised me to be a capable girl. I pulled it off, and the kids really came through though, too, opting to complete the long list of indoor chores while I weeded the garden. Smart kids.
Camp Somewhere

So now that the Tour is over, sales were down 40% from last year, unless you consider that I sold two pieces out of the Tour exhibit, and this is the first year I am represented in several galleries in the area. Those checks will start rolling in in a few weeks, and I will stop wondering if potential customers drove by my place, overgrown with weeds as it is...

I wish I had more information on my travelling husband. However, he has been without a cell signal most of the time. I do know that they had a terrible time getting through some of the NV desert and were forced to turn back on countless passages through the mountains of NV getting into CA. A waitress along the way informed Jay and Bruce that she doesn't usually see TAT riders until sometime in July. Timing is everything. I thought it was location, location, location.


When we spoke on Saturday, Jay told me he is dirty, sore, and tired. His GPS quit working a few days ago (Bruce's quit back in OK), so they must rely on maps and the roll chart that they didn't put together (remember that this is a trail with no roads...). And he and Bruce are quibbling a little bit. And he's nearly out of money. Good thing he's already bought his ticket home, although I'm not sure he sounded as if he wants to come home yet. He did express his desire to drive his car once he's home. Usually the motorcycle is a gas-saver in the summer. Perhaps this year not so much.

By now, I suppose Jay is somewhere in OR. The trail ends in Coos Bay (I think). He's taking the red-eye out of Portland Friday night. And from here on out, he needs his own blog. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Studio Tour and More

I feel like I've been in a daze for the past several days, ever since the late night firing Tuesday. I think the stress of having Jay gone for so long is catching up with me. My blood pressure was up at the doc's office the other day.

Moth on a pile of pottery

The kids are out of school for the summer, and the Studio Tour is winding up. Traffic has been slower than last year, but I thoroughly enjoy talking to the people that stop by. I have gotten a few new ideas from visitors that I'll take up when I get back into the studio later this month.

Butterfly on an ikebana dish

I've been working on taking new photographs of my pieces. I bought 300 watt compact fluorescent bulbs (which are in no way compact at all), however, the base of the bulb is too large to fit 2 of my 3 clamp lights, so I am using one as the overhead light and 100 watt CFLs for the side lighting. My camera has 3 fluorescent light settings: cool, warm and daylight. I decided to take photos using all three, as well as the automatic setting. Interestingly, all the fluorescent settings make the photos too yellow. The automatic setting seems to work just fine.

Now I'll be able to update my website and get some images sent to Meredith for the Clay and Blogs Exhibit.

Monday, June 7, 2010

One Down, One To Go

The kiln fired off without a hitch Saturday morning. I'm very pleased with the results. It's weird only using 4 glazes though. It makes glazing go a whole lot faster, but somehow it just seems wrong. I'll post pictures of the pieces using my new found photography skills next week. I forgot to take a before photo of load #2.

In the meantime, I've been getting ready for the TRAC Studio Tour. There is always more to do than I realize, especially when you throw in the end-of-year school happenings and the fact that I am missing a very useful spouse. And I am hosting the Clay Club meeting at my studio tomorrow night from 6-8 pm. Drop by if you're in the neighborhood.
With the studio, gallery and bathroom already clean, maybe I'll finally have a moment or two to myself before the rush of visitors this weekend. Then again, I'm sure there's a pile of laundry with my name on it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trans-America Trail Week 2

Bruce in the Colorado Snow

We last left our adventurers in Colorado. It took a surprising long time to get out of Colorado. Towards the end of last week, they were turned around at two mountain passes due to snow. They ended up taking a (yikes!) paved road for 20 miles or so to get into Utah.

Jay in Arches

Jay in the lower left, Northwindow

They spent two day in Moab, UT, doing some hiking in Arches National Park. Then they moved on to Canyonlands for a couple of nights. Somewhere along the way Bruce's brakepads wore out as well as one of his tires.

Highway 279, Canyonlands

I got a call from Jay Thursday night asking me to look online for a bike shop in or near Salina UT. His rear brake pads were shot, and he couldn't get the bike to go faster than about 45 mph. I found a shop for him, but they didn't have the brake pads he needed, so they spent the better part of yesterday travelling to a town 100 miles away to get them, going 45 mph on a highway with a 75 mph speed limit! As it turns out, his air filter was clogged with sand after 30 miles of desert riding.

They've been in a motel for the past two days, so they should be well rested for the next leg of the journey: into the desert of Nevada.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Another Load Ready to Go

I am extremely inept at judging how much work can fit inside a kiln. I was able to fit what I thought would be two bisque loads into one in the big Oval. I do enjoy the challenge of fitting as much as I can into a kiln, but was pleasantly surprised when I realized I would not have to fire the bisque twice this week.

Then as I am loading the glaze kiln, I make the astute observation that the 18 cu ft Bailey that I thought was SO large when we bought this place, is actually not large enough to hold all of my pots. Not by a long shot. And this is not the first time this has happened. In fact it happens almost every time I am ready to fire.

So, I'll fire one load Saturday morning and then another Tuesday in between my mammogram appointment and folks from the Senior Center coming to see the studio. It's all got to get done somehow.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Mark Peters put out a call for volunteers to help work on the wood kiln he's building up at the EnergyXchange. I was happy to get out of the house and away from my "to do" list for a while, considering that my list just got longer. It turns out that I have to trek down to Asheville tomorrow for some glaze ingredients rather than actually starting to glaze.

Anyway, I was given the task of building the bagwall. A recent ASU grad named Brandon cut the bricks while I stacked them according to Mark's careful measurements. No pics since I didn't have my camera, but I'll go up and take a picure of the whole kiln. It's pretty big since it's designed to burn whole pallets.

I think I have a pallet lying around here somewhere.