Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making the Deadline

I have the Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair coming up next weekend, and by planning summer fun into last weekend and this coming one, I have managed to make it difficult to get everything fired. My sister and niece who visit this weekend might get the rare opportunity to sit around with me all day while I fire a cone 10 load. I don't do this with just anyone.
Meanwhile, I am very excited to have been chosen by Tracey's daughter Wes to continue the Generosity Chain. Tracey got the idea from Barbara Chadwick's post. I'm so excited! And when the dust settles around here, I'll post the idea here on my blog.

Inspired by the kids and another Tracey post, I decided to clean up my wheel. Seems like such a waste considering I have to throw some bowls today. I got a visit from some folks who picked up a few the bowls I donated for an Empty Bowls fundraiser last winter. They love them and want me to make them some more. Thankfully, they brought one by so I have a prototype. I hope I can make them the same.

As the kids and I were cleaning, we were deciding what to do with the bucket of river rocks we found. I hauled some upstairs and out before realizing I might be able to put them to some use. Every so often, I'll have the slab bottom of a basket or wine coaster buckle and warp upwards a little. Using some thin foam, I piled rocks inside to add a little weight and keep the bottom flat. I'm not sure how well this will work, but it beats hauling them up the stairs.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Studio Assistants

While I was loading a bisque, I enlisted the help of my two favorite studio assistants this afternoon.

I think Ben was looking for the phone I knocked into the slurry bucket.
Allison cleaned up my glaze workbench and, in the process, found my favorite mini flexible rib and a most-sought-after elephant ear sponge. I am down to my last true elephant ear sponge and am desperate to find more. Highwater Clays no longer carries them. How can I possibly throw with a synthetic sponge?
I finished putting the handles on 9 baskets this afternoon. Attaching the handles is by far the most challenging part of making these pieces.

Then I loaded a bisque, using the craziest arrangement of shelves. I posted a while ago that I don't have enough shelves and the ones I have aren't the right size. So, I stacked pieces on half-shelves and broken shelves just to fill the kiln. I am going to Highwater tomorrow to finally buy the correct shelves for this kiln. And a new phone.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Last Week's CSA Bounty

Eating carrots a la Bugs Bunny
I am really enjoying our CSA share from Green Toe Ground Farm down in Celo. I pick it up Friday and there's always something new. There's usually also something I have no earthly idea how to prepare, but try it out anyway. We still visit Saturday morning's Farmer's Market last week picking up some goat cheese from OakMoon Farm and Creamery, plums, blueberries and some strawberry vinegar.
A tiny dish of homemade pesto. Next week, I'll buy about 3 times as much basil. I could live on pesto and goat cheese. I think I'll make a squash casserole tonight. Oh yeah, and maybe roast that fennel.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kari-style Basket Making

Cut two bottomless cylinders in half.

Lay flat on foam and cut curves along the bottoms.

Return to upright and cut edges perpendicular to tabletop.

Attach with a coil on each seam.

Invert and score bottom edge.

Attach to a slab.

Reinforce interior seam with a coil.
Invert and finish bottom exterior seam.
Pull handle.Attach.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life Lessons

I love Nick Nolte's character Lionel from "New York Stories" as he stands in front of a gigantic canvas with Procol Harem blaring throughout his studio. "A Whiter Shade of Pale" definitely has its place in my musical repertoire.

Ben's note to Mom

I listen to lots of different music while I'm in the studio, depending on my mood and what I'm doing. I've discovered that I throw better pots listening to Moby than Jane's Addiction. Older U2 can get me through the doldrums of wedging, and "In Through the Out Door" keeps me focused when I'm taking photos.

My basement studio is a wreck

I realized this week that with over 4000 songs on my iPod, I have listened to nothing but Neko Case's "Middle Cyclone" album for two weeks. I may be in a musical rut, but I'm definitely rolling out some pots.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

All Work and No Play...

makes Kari cranky! Every day since Tuesday, I've been in the studio, making wine bottle coasters and teardrops (photos later). My back hurts. I'm tired of slaving away. I'm out of ware boards. And I'm pretty certain that I'll need to buy some shelves for the electric kiln just to get all this work bisqued. And with a show coming up, I need to buy another canopy to replace the one that was "misplaced" by the friend to whom I leant it. Actually, her soon-to-be ex stole it. Oh well, shit happens.

Last weekend, after I got home from the beach, I found Jay shovelling a trench around his garage. There is no drainage, and everything inside has been slowly molding: camping equipment, fishing gear, tools. Yup, tools. These are the things that mean something to him. The trench is narrow and the dirt must be removed by 5 gallon bucket. It's another dream home improvement project that could have been completely avoided had the original owners done it right to begin with.

Anyway, Jay removed three small evergreens in front of the garage so that he could maneuver. Behind the stumps we found a boneyard. From the contents, it looks like Elizabeth's. She was the previous potter here, between the Craven's and us. I'm not sure how long she worked here, but she left buckets of unlabelled glazes, multiple shelves of shoddy bisqueware and apparently a boneyard to rival that of a potter with twice her years worth of work. I raked up 4 boxes of broken pottery and added to them several broken Craven pieces. It was another exercise in ownership.
Personally, I don't believe in boneyards. I will not live forever, and someone will be left to deal with my unwanted pots. I hammer up my rejects and with deep regret include them with my household trash. If anyone has a better solution, I'm all ears. I just look at a boneyard like composting by tossing apple cores and onion peels straight into the backyard. It's just not the right thing to do.

What do you do with your rejects?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why I Blog

With the "Clay and Blogs: Telling a Story" Exhibit coming up, I've been trying to articulate why I decided to started and why I continue to blog. Quite simply, I started blogging because I have something to say. And since I work alone, there is no one to listen to me. That's where you come in.

I continue to blog because it has become something entirely different than what I had expected. Initially, I thought I would just chronicle the events, explain the work, and get it all out of my head. Like a writing assignment I've given myself. Then I realized that I actually enjoy writing.

However, I think the real shift came after I was invited to join this Exhibit, and I started readling so many other blogs. I thought to myself that if I was eager to sit at the computer and read about Linda's road trip, Michael's latest pottery challenge or Julia's chickens, perhaps others were just as eager to read about my crazy life. I entertained the possiblity that others might look forward to reading my blog, like I look forward to reading Tracey's, Gary's, and so many others.

During the TRAC Studio Tour last month, Steve Young came to my studio and interviewed me. I started out talking about my work, but since he was my captive audience, I got to talk about lots of things including blogging. The blogging clip is what he decided to include on his blog. Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home from Vacation and Getting a Dose of Vitamin G(arden)


Purple Hydrangea

The kids and I spent last week in the Outer Banks with some great friends. Now, it's back to reality and what a doozy that is. Rather than dive directly into studio work, I thought I'd spend some time this morning in the garden.

Succulents in my pots
Latte in a Shane Mickey mug

Lavender with some Gladiolas in the background

Then I made it down to the studio for some throwing. I'm really trying to pick up the pace and contribute more to our household income. I'm pretty pleased at the rate I've been growing my art as a business. I'm narrowing down my shapes and glazes and am ready to branch out a little. I even think I'm ready to load my Etsy shop again.