Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas in 5 days?!?

It seems like for the past 8 or 10 years, Christmas has this amazing ability to sneak up on me. Every year, I am so surprised that Christmas is right around the corner. I used to get somewhat miffed at Walmart and all the other stores that put up their holiday merchandise so early, but now I have a different opinion. Now I feel like Christmas comes and goes so quickly, that maybe it is a good thing to put up holiday decorations a bit early. At least that way, you sort of draw out the Christmas spirit. From now on, I think I am going to start my holiday decorating on December 1. That way, we enjoy the other holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, but then we stretch out Christmas. Maybe that way, I will have more time to enjoy it. For anyone who is following my mother's health, we are still hanging in there. It has now been 9 months since she was diagnosed and she has outlived the doctors' predictions twice. She is still going through chemo and that has taken such a toll on her body. Cancer treatment is a crazy thing. We poison the body to eventually cure it of the disease. Bizarre. I pray that one day we can develop a better, and more effective, form of treatment. Mom is struggling with the brain cancer - that seems to be the one that we have to worry about. The effects of the cancer are noticeable in her personality, in her thought processes and even in her speech. The effects of the chemo are obvious too, but more physical. I didn't know if she would even be here for the holidays, so I am thankful that she is with us for this Christmas. My plan is to have a camera handy and really make the most of it this year. She is one of my best friends and I want to have visual memories of this Christmas.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Great Horned Owl!

Last night, the coolest thing happened. Charlie and Marley and I were upstairs playing on the bed, when I heard an owl nearby (the doors were open). Charlie went out onto the deck and very quickly spotted a great horned owl sitting in one of the pine trees in our back yard! It was dusk, so it was easy to see his profile. His "ears" were very clearly defined, especially with the binoculars, and he was just the coolest thing to see. Every time he hooted, he would sort bend over and fluff his tailfeathers. We made a sort of hooting sound, and he turned our way - and I got to see his face! He was so beautiful and strong. Living here in the new house, has been such a new experience of Folly Beach. It is so quiet and we get a lot of wildlife that we didn't really have at our old house. Our backyard is the marsh (as you see in the photo) and we get to see so many marshbirds. I love the way they sound so exotic as they fly down the tidal creek. I 'm so fortunate to love where I live and I am looking forward to raising Marley in this place.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

American Craft Council Show

Hey Everybody! I'm home from my American Craft Council show and I had a great time! It was awesome, and I met so many nice people. Artists and customers alike. It was my first time showing with the ACC, and hopefully I will be able to continue to do so. I am sure that most of you already know this, but the ACC is awfully hard to get into as it has such a wonderful reputation. But they really put on a nice show and work hard on their advertising. I had great sales and now it is time to come back home and get back to work making some pieces! Marley was there, and she is officially a "show baby". Here's a pic of us the first day of the show opening, in my booth. Charlie took the photo, which is quite funny, as it is not exactly in focus! But you get the idea... I had a great show, but now I'm home, trying to build up inventory. There is also a lot of personal work I want to do and some scupltures I want to start... All in good time....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wow, How Time Flies

Wow, time is just zooming past these days. Having a little baby is awesome and fun and exciting, but you sure do start to lose track of different things! Let's see, quick update on everything. My Mom is doing okay. She is stable right now. Chemo doesn't seem to be helping with the cancer, but we have found a steroid that keeps her symptoms at bay. Now, it is a quality of life thing - this steroid keeps her headaches away and eases the confusion and gives her energy and a appetite. So I am glad that she feels better. Little Marley is four months old now as of tomorrow, and I can't believe it has already been four months. We saw a dad in the grocery store last night with a new baby, and I can't believe that Marley was that small! It is really mind-blowing. She's well and she's happy and she just got her pavlik brace off her legs last week. For anyone who didn't know, Marley's hip sockets were a little loose when she was born and she had to wear a canvas/velcro brace for three months. She is doing much better now and only has a brace on at night when she sleeps. I'm back at work in my clay, even though I am not getting nearly as much time to work as I would like. I have a show coming up in Charlotte next week that I am very much looking forward to. It is with the American Craft Council and is a very nice show. I will not have all the inventory I would have like to have had, but with everything going on, there was just no way I could make more time for pottery. Between moving, my mother being sick, and the new baby, our lives have been a little out of whack this entire year. But we are slowly finding our way in this crazy new world. That is a photo of Marley in the studio with me while I'm prepping for glazing! So right now, things are good, they are stable, and now I just need some more sleep...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy 3 Months to Little Marley!

Today, Marley is three months old. I can't believe it. This time, three months ago, I was getting prepped for surgery. Marley was a planned (sort of) c-section. They prepped me and at 11:45, I walked down and into the surgery room to have a baby. It was a wild sensation to submit to surgery like that, but knowing that when it was all done, I'd have a baby. None of the contractions, none of the birthing pains, just surgery. (All my pain came after the surgery!)But she was worth it! I mean, look at that smile! Not only are we celebrating Marley's birthday today, but we are also celebrating our new house! Yes, we have moved in, thanks to all of our friends helping us out. They came over one Saturday and helped us move all the big stuff. Furniture, mattresses, anything heavy. We still have stuff over at the old house, but we keep working at it and we are getting there. One day, we will have all of it over here at the new house!

Friday, August 29, 2008


This morning I'm thinking about tolerance. At what point does a person lose their tolerance? Does it happen all at once or a little at a time? I'm specifically thinking about nurses and their tolerances. It seems like the ones who have been around for 30 years have lost their tolerance for any kind of bad behavior. But then there are the angels who nothing fazes them and they just take it all in stride. Those are the ones that really make a difference. I'm trying to increase my tolerance for others and their problems and perhaps the world would be a little nicer if we could all find just a little more tolerance for things.

Back to the Hospital

It is almost 3:00 am and I am here at the hospital with my mother. Her cancer is still having its way with her body, and now her brain is getting involved. She is terribly confused and is having a hard time finding her words. The doctors think that it is the brain tumors that are causing the confusion, but they are not yet sure. So many tests, so little information. As I watch her squirm in bed and try to get comfortable, I can't help but think of the similarities between her and my 2 month old daughter. It absolutely kills me. Everything always seems harder in the middle of the night, for some reason. I sit here, listening to the beeping medical equipment and hope for a better day tomorrow. My aunt and my grandfather are coming to town to help me with Mom, but I have to be hopeful that tomorrow will bring me my mother back. At least a little. Please keep us in your thoughts and I thank all of you for your support. Love to you all, Kelly

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Locks of Love

I did it! I chopped all my hair off! I had ten inches whacked off and donated to Locks of Love. I wanted to do that in light of my mother's diagnosis. I am glad to be able to donate all my hair to people who really need it. After all, it will grow back! I think the ponytail on the table looks a bit strange. Like a dead critter or something! Pantene is another company that takes hair donations and you only need 8 inches for them. They give their wigs to people under the age of 18 who lose their hair due to cancer or other conditions. There is too much cancer in this world and I really hope they find a cure one day. At least maybe they will continue to improve the treatments so that there is hope for these patients. My mom's cancer is not responding to the chemo like the doctor had hoped, and the chemo is just wearing her down. It is so hard on her and the side effects are really hard. Maybe one day, patients with cancer won't have to go through all of this. Let's hope for the best.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Great Opportunity

I have news! I have been accepted into a great retail show, put on by the American Craft Council in Charlotte, NC. It is the first time I have applied to this show, and I can't believe that I actually got in! Yippee! This is such a great opportunity for me and it has given me new energy and drive for my pottery. I haven't worked in clay in over four months, but now I am working again. With my mother's sickness and a new baby, clay just didn't have priority in my life. One of my concerns with having a baby was that I would lose myself and my creativity in taking care of little Marley. So I have decided to go forward with this show and keep my creativity alive. I am so glad and I think it is the right decision. We have hired a baby sitter, who is actually the mother of a close friend of mine (Hi Sheri!), and she comes a couple of times a week to babysit while I get some work done. My husband and I have also worked out a schedule that allows me 3-4 hours on some days to work on my clay. I couldn't do this without his help. He and I are both trying to maintain our businesses with this little one, and we both work out of the house, so it is a bit of a challenge. But I am working and here is a photo of some pieces that I have thrown. They are drying and waiting to go into the kiln. It will be a while before they are glazed, and in the meantime, I am working on some new urn designs. I want to have a lot of new work for this show and I have a little bit of time - the show isn't until the end of October and beginning of November. I am so looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

She Sleeps

It is almost too good to be true - little Marley slept for 9 hours last night! It is the beginning of a new era! She will be 8 weeks on Wednesday, Aug 20th, and it is a miracle that she slept so much last night. In the beginning, she didn't really settle down very easily. Charlie, my other half, and I would take 3 hour shifts and take turns with the baby. That was rough. He and I were like ships passing in the night - we never really saw each other. You'd get about 2.5 hours sleep, if that, and just hope the baby would sleep after you fed her. She didn't always go back to sleep and you would have to stay awake with her and bide your time until your shift was over. This madness lasted for about 5 weeks. At the end of this cycle, she started sleeping, but only on your chest. You could lie down on the couch, and with her on your chest, you could sleep for a little while. It's totally against the rules these days due to SIDS, but at this point, Charlie and I were so exhausted, we would do almost anything to get a couple hours of sleep. This is when Charlie was about to leave the country to photograph a wedding in Antigua. How in the world was I going to manage by myself?? And then I stumbled onto something. I put Marley in the bed with me, snuggled up nice and close, so she could feel the body heat, and we slept together in the bed, with her at my side. This was a milestone for us. I could actually sleep on my side instead of flat on my back with a baby on top of me. At this point, she actually began to sleep more in between feedings - about 4 hours in between. I could handle this! Yay! This is how I made it through the nights with Charlie gone. Then we bought a "sleep positioner" for babies, which is a thing with two bolster pillows (one on each side) that is supposed to keep babies on their backs for sleeping. We used it for keeping Marley on her side, which is where she wanted to be. We put this in our bed, between the two pillows (with plenty of room) and Marley seemed to like this. We slept like this for maybe a week and a half, and then the sleep positioner (and baby) got transitioned to the bassinet. And that is where she sleeps now! It is so nice to have my bed back and to be able to snuggle with my husband! And then for the real miracle - she slept nine hours last night in the bassinet. It is an amazing thing!!! Here's to getting a good nights sleep! (This is where you clink glasses, or coffee mugs or whatever...)

I'm working again!

Not only was I MIA from the blog, I wasn't making pottery or sculpture either. But all that has changed and I'm working again. It feels good to be working in clay; I feel like I need to dust off the cobwebs and find the rhythm once again. I have been throwing some mugs and some lidded jars - after I had to search to find all my tools again. My studio has been in a state of disrepair - we ripped out the sink and transformed it into a closet. (We did that because we were preparing to put the house on the market and needed another bedroom.) So, I am working without a sink, but I am managing alright with buckets of water. I know I am not the first potter to work without a sink! In the new house, I'm going to have a bad ass studio and that will make up for it. I've already purchased a kiln - I got a large, electric front loading kiln from Bailey. I stayed with electric firing because all my glazes are formulated for it. To switch to gas firing, I would have to make so many changes to my glazes, and I'm not prepared to do that at this time. I don't have any pictures of finished pieces yet, because there are no finished pieces yet! I'm in a throwing cycle, and soon I will start firing and glazing some of the work. As soon as I have some pieces, I will take a quick picture and post it. Thanks and you all have a great day!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm Back!

Well, well, well! After a long hiatus, I'm back. Things have been so crazy around the Thiel household. First off - we had our baby! Three weeks early, as a matter of fact. I went in for a doctor's appt, and had an ultrasound. We found out that I was running out of amniotic fluid and it was time to get the baby out! Wow! I didn't even have my car seat yet! We had ordered it, but it hadn't been delivered yet! The same goes for my rocking chair and other baby gadgets. So we scrambled, got a bag together, arranged for a dogsitter, made about a million phone calls and got ourselves to the hospital. I stayed the night and the next morning they prepped me for surgery, as I was going to have a c-section. (Why? I'll tell you all about that later...) At about 11:45, I walked into the surgery room (boy, that was a bit scary) and at 12:02, we had a baby girl. What a crazy experience! Marley Marie weighed 6 lbs, 12 oz and was 19.5" long. She had medium brown hair and was ours! Wow! Since then, we have been trying to adapt to this new life, and getting very little sleep while doing it. Baby Marley didn't want to sleep at night in the beginning, and we've only begun to turn that around here in the past couple of weeks. Thank goodness! Now the challenge is to get her to sleep in the bassinet instead of on our chests. That is where she is happiest. She is a cute little peanut and she is our biggest challenge. Having a baby is such an emotional event - nobody warns you that you will feel the strongest emotions of your life. You feel extreme happiness, excitement, frustration, stressed out, worried, guilty, crazy, exhausted and more. I realize that not all of those are emotions, but you feel them all! And then there is the reprioritizing of your life. Some things just lose their importance in those first few hours with a baby! And other things gain importance, like friends, family, health, safety, things of that sort. I could go on and on, but I will save it for another time. I have included some photos for you all. I'm sorry I was MIA for a while. I guess I was feeling overwhelmed! Love to all of you!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Look at that Belly!

I took this photo of myself at 29 weeks pregnant! As I sit here and write this, I think my belly has grown even more, so I will have to post another photo soon. I'm actually starting my 31 week tomorrow, so that photo is slightly out of date. I am feeling great right now, just very aware of this baby growing in my belly! Charlie and I have been to register and will soon start taking baby classes at the hospital. I believe we start on May 21 with the Childbirth Prep and Tour. Wow, things are getting real! It sounds like our new house will not be ready in time for the new baby, but that might be a good thing. With so much going on, maybe we will have a chance to get used to this baby thing before we have to dive into a move. I will keep you posted. I'm not sure what this means for my pottery studio, but I will have to play it all by ear. With my decreasing energy and Mom going through chemo, things are kind of up in the air anyway. Happy Mother's Day to all of you~ Kelly

Mother's Day

Hello everyone, Mother's Day is tomorrow, and this year has special meaning for me. With my Mom being sick, I realize that this could be our last Mother's Day together, and that weighs so heavily on my heart. Because of this, I am going to try to make the day special for her. I am taking her to Beaufort, SC, with her mother, as well, and the three of us are going to make a day of it. We are going to have lunch and go shopping and just enjoy being together. She is feeling pretty good today, and hopefully tomorrow will be another "feel-good" kind of day. She started chemotherapy last week, and so far, she is doing okay. Thank goodness for that. Mom is such a generous person. Her last stay in the hospital was for bronchitis, and she really enjoyed all of the nurses she dealt with. So what did she do? She came home and started making clay pendants for keychains for all the nurses. She just wanted to do a little something to say thank you. She has taught me so much in life and and I hope to learn even more from her as we go along on this path. Thank you to all of you who have sent me your thoughts and prayers. I do believe they are helping! Kelly

Friday, April 25, 2008

Getting out of the Hospital

My mother should be getting out of the hospital on Friday and hopefully things will settle down a bit. She caught a cold that turned into bronchitis and sent her to the hospital on Monday. Once again, it has been a wild ride, with appointments, and medications, and lovely side effects. I can't believe that our country spends billions on cancer and we still can't really beat it. We are getting better at it and thank goodness for that, but I know the world will rejoice when we can eradicate this awful demon altogether. Thank you to all of you who have called or emailed me about Mom's condition. I may not always be able to respond, but it really does help to hear such feeling in your voice. I can't say thank you enough. I am doing my best to take care of me and my growing belly and it helps to know you all are there.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gearing Up For Another Week

Today is a beautiful spring day! The jasmine is starting to bloom, as is the pittosporum shrub, and the air is perfumed with all these wonderful smells. It is a perfect day to recharge the batteries and get ready for another week. I did not realize how much I needed a day to do this. Our lives today get so busy with everything, that I think sometimes, your spirit just gets tired. I didn't have the energy to do any of my "normal" activities, even the ones that usually cheer me up. I haven't touched wet clay in a while, ever since we found out about Mom's cancer. I did manage to run the kiln though, so I do have a few new glazed items that I can take to Charleston Crafts. That will be good. My Mom has now been through 6 radiation treatments to the brain and is just starting to see some hair loss. A few hairs in the brush is all, but it is starting. I think that is so hard for anybody, man or woman, to lose their hair so suddenly like that. I just hope she is able to keep her eyebrows and eyelashes for a little longer. I know the chemo will claim those eventually, but for now, I would love for her to keep those. I have started my third trimester in my pregnancy, as of today, and I need to take some new photos to post on here. I'll see if I can do that in the next few days for you guys. This is such a bittersweet time for me right now, with the baby coming in a couple of months and my mom being sick. There is so much to be done, and not enough energy or drive to do it. I do want to try to get back into the clay this week. I know that I have orders to fill and galleries waiting on deliveries. I will let all of you know where I get started on all that. Everyone take care of yourselves and stay healthy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

You never think it could happen to you..

Well, last week, we got some terrible news about my mother's health. You never think it could happen to you or your family, but she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the lungs. I can't believe it. My mother, who is never sick, has cancer. It all started with that trip to Tampa for the Gasparilla Art Festival, she started having symptoms there, but those sort of went away. Her symptoms would come and go, and seemed to be so strange and intermittent. Then, last week, she started having serious headaches (she never gets headaches) and nausea, and I took her to the ER. The admitted her immediately and started testing with CT scans and MRIs. Turns out the news is pretty bad. It started out as lung cancer, and has spread to the brain and adrenal glands. We've been in and out of doctors' offices ever since. She started her radiation last Friday and hopefully that will help her headaches and some of the other symptoms. I'm sure it will give her new ones, as well. This is why I haven't posted in a while, as we've been a little busy with appointments. I haven't been doing much pottery or sculpture in the past two weeks, as I have been dealing with so many conflicting emotions. Maybe I can get back to it before too long. Sculpting has always been therapeutic for me. My pregnancy has become so bittersweet for me right now. I want my mother here to meet the little one and watch her grow up. I don't know if that is in our future. Anyone else find themselves in a situation like this?? How did I get here??

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

5 Minutes of Fame on Lowcountry Live

I went on Lowcountry Live this morning, which is a local TV show here in Charleston, SC. It was great! We had a blast doing the show, meeting the hosts (they were great!) and getting photos with the famous Pinkie Pie! That was a pretty amazing costume, with blinking eyes and a mouth that could open and close. The personality could really come through - it was so neat to watch it! We actually went on the show to talk about our upcoming Open House on Friday, March 28, but the hosts asked us some great questions about our pottery and photography. It was great to be able to tell our stories, even if it was short and sweet. I explained that I was a local potter here in Charleston, and I got started by taking an introductory course. After that Kelly Thiel was hooked on clay! The hosts, Brian and Ryan were so nice and it was fun to watch how a show is produced. We just sat quietly until a commercial break, then during the breaks, everyone could move around or make jokes, or talk about their new chiropractor. It was a relaxed atmosphere, but I started to get hungry by the end of the show, as they had a chef on the show cooking up some jerk chicken that smelled so wonderful! This amazing art and craft world takes me places and introduces me to people that I would not have met otherwise (like Pinkie Pie). How fun it all is!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Upcoming Open House at Charleston Crafts

On March 28, 2008, one of my galleries, Charleston Crafts Gallery, will host an Open House featuring myself with my pottery, and Jennifer Daly with her black and white photography! We will have some wine, and some yummy snacks, so come on out! It should be a good time. It will go from about 5:00- 8:00, or just whenever the wine is gone. To help promote our Open House, Jennifer and I will be appearing on Lowcountry Live, a local tv show here, that often features the creative things going on around Charleston. Its filmed live, and comes on at 10:00 am. Check us out! I think it is Channel 4, but I'm not entirely sure on that. We are trying to get the word out to locals folks here in Charleston about our little gallery, because there are still plenty of people who don't even know about us. It is a great little gallery to find unique, handmade items perfect for a gift. Easter is here, and Mother's Day is just right around the corner! The website is

Saturday, March 15, 2008

23 weeks pregnant!

Well, here is a baby bump photo of me at the new house. I'm 23 weeks along, so almost 6 months pregnant! The house in the background is the one we are building, and I'm standing on the pool deck in the sun - as you can tell by the squinty look on my face! You can already feel the sun getting stronger here, and many of the trees are already blooming. It's a bit early, but I'm so ready for spring! Spring has become my favorite season of the year, and it always puts me in a good mood. Speaking of good moods, I've been working on a sculpture, getting her finished. I'm trying something different on this one - what is known as 'cold finishes'. It's unfired paints of any sort that you can use to color your sculpture. This is a fun way to finish my pieces as you can tell exactly what color or finish you are going to get. It is never a given with ceramic glazes - you just never know for sure what you are going to get in the kiln! With cold finishes, you can experiment and keep working on the piece until you are happy with it. I find it to be a less of a "get it right the first time" mentality, which can be stressful. I think I'm going to spend some time working on both sculptures and pottery and just try to increase my production. We have a lot going on right now, but it is all good stuff. I feel so unbelievably lucky to love my job!

Friday, March 7, 2008

21 Weeks Pregnant!

Well, for those of you who didn't know, I am 5 months pregnant! This will be my first baby and I'm wondering how I'm going to balance out my artwork with motherhood. I plan on posting updates on how the situation is going - from my growing belly to having a playpen in the clay studio. We will see how it all works out! As it stands right now, I've got a little baby belly, but I can still throw at the wheel with no problem. I sit up a little straighter, but that's a good thing! I'm very careful with my glaze chemicals and I'm making sure that I wear gloves and a respirator when I need to. So far, the only thing I've really noticed, is the decreased energy level. I feel great in the mornings, but when afternoon rolls around, I sure do get sleepy! It's hard to keep working at the pace I used to, so that has been a change. As I get bigger and get some photos of the baby belly, I'll post them. But stay tuned - there's a lot going on my life - building a house, growing a baby, and always working in clay!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gasparilla Art Festival was great!

I just returned from the Gasparilla Art Festival in Tampa, FL and I'm STILL recovering from the show! An 8 hour drive on Friday, with set-up on Friday night, only to get up at 5:45 am on Saturday to finish setting up. The show opened at 9:00 am and the shoppers came! It was a great show, with great weather, and I even managed to get a little tan on my shoulders! I have never seen such a crowd on a Sunday afternoon. Tampa is a big city, for those of you who've never been (it was my first time there) and the downtown area is quite large. The only complaint I had was that most of the restaurants close at 6:00 pm and so dinner selections are slim, if you don't want to drive. On Sunday night, we found the best little restaurant called Fly, and it was the best meal of the weekend! I highly recommend them, so try them out. (Not open on Sundays normally). My Meditation Series pottery was a big hit and I sold a lot of work. I created a whole new inventory for that show and sold half of what a took down there. People seemed to like the glazes and my graphic designs. I did not take any sculpture, as I ran out of room in the car!! I would be happy to go back next year if they let me, but at least I will know what I'm getting in to!