Monday, November 30, 2009

Influence of the Holiday

As most of you know, I have been sculpting a lot of birds lately and just a couple of days ago, I started a new sculpture. It will be a bird with a woman's face. I'm not doing the whole bird, just the front half of the bird. So yesterday I went into the studio for some clay time, unwrapped my sculpture, and thought - woah! That thing looks like a mounted Thanksgiving Turkey! (It has a square base - thus the "mounted" part of it.) So I spent the next two hours cutting away, and adding clay to get rid of the Turkey and make it into more of a falcon type of body. Thank God I caught that - can you imagine if I went through all of the process of building a piece, to fire it and all, and then take it out of the kiln and think - "that looks like a holiday turkey"????? I didn't take any pictures of it, on purpose!! I just couldn't stand the sight of it anymore and got to work right away. Sorry. Just use your imagination and think "bird, right out of the oven" kind of thing! Anybody hungry?

Christmas madness!

This is the second year that I have not had to go through the Potter's Christmas Hell due to the changes in my life, but this is what it was like for me in years past. Since getting pregnant/having a baby and the death of my mom, things for me in the studio have changed. Last Christmas I had canceled almost everything due to my mom and this Christmas I am slowly moving forward and getting back into the clay swing of things. If you don't know much about the "potter's life", follow that link and read the post by ceramic artist Whitney Smith. It really gives you an idea of what we put ourselves through! But the funny thing is: this year I am really excited about Christmas. Is it because I have a cute little girl to share it with, or because I'm not so stressed out that I can actually enjoy it? Or maybe a little of both? I was in Lowe's in mid-November, and I actually bought some Christmas decorations. Huh - never done that before! And normally, I feel like Scrouge when all the stores start decorating and setting out their Christmas stuff, but this year I am excited. It feels so nice after two years of stress. I hope you all are feeling the spirit this season. Best wishes!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another Girls Night in Studio #2

We had our second Girls Night in the clay studio tonight and it was just awesome. I think the ladies had a great time, and boy oh boy, were they ever productive! We went through about 30 lbs of clay and they really made some fun items. I love seeing people just play and have fun, and not get so caught up in perfection. So many folks don't get any kind of clay experience in school and they come to these parties completely virginal. They use tools in ways I've never even thought of, and do things in a completely different, and fresh way. I love it when they drink a little wine, loosen up and do lots of laughing and playing. I'll have to finish these pieces that they made tonight, and that's not as much fun for them, but in the end, they will get complete pieces that (hopefully) will be functional. There is no way I could get all of these ladies back into the studio to finish their work. Tonight's ladies live all over the country and it was a way for them to have a family night during their Thanksgiving holiday. But what is important to me is that they had a good time, and learned just a little about the process of making pottery. It is an unbelievably time consuming craft (or art) and most people do not realize how much goes into making a single mug or bowl. I think it was just awesome and I hope to do more in the future!

American Craft Council Show!

I just received word yesterday that I have gotten into the Atlanta ACC show in March! This is great news for me. I did an ACC show in Charlotte at the end of 2008 and I had an awesome time. All of the other artists were so nice and welcoming, and I was very happy with my sales. My mom was very sick at the time with her cancer, so this show turned into a bright spot in my life. I am looking forward to the Atlanta show too! I'll be selling my sculpture, which has always gotten pushed aside for other things. And right now, sculpture and big coil-built planters are all I want to do! It just feels right to grab a hunk of clay, twist, squeeze and smush it into itself to create bigger pieces. I don't have the patience to throw on the wheel right now. I personally, don't feel centered enough to throw pots on the wheel. So for now, this is what I am doing, and I am having a blast with it! So I better head out to the studio and start making some sculpture for the show. It is in March, but I best get started now! With the kiddo around, I don't get as many hours in the studio as I would like to have, so I will get going now! If you are around Atlanta in March, think about coming to the show. I know it will be a good one!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Girls Night in Studio

Last week's clay class was successful and super fun, and lucky me, I have another one tomorrow! I don't know these ladies, but they will be bringing the wine and apps, but I know we will have a fun good time. I have three options for them: throw on the wheel, make plates and platters a la Chinet brand paper plates, or they can make square (ish) nesting bowls. I'll be sure and post some pictures after the class is over. Talk to you soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Girls Night in the Studio

We did it! We had our girls' night in the studio last night and I think everyone had a blast. We had a couple of folks back out at the last minute - they just didn't know what they were missing, right?? Plenty of wine flowed and yummy apps were eaten, and then we got down to business. Two girls got on the wheel and tried their hand at making bowls, and the others made plates and platters using Chinet brand paper plates as molds. I pulled out some texture making things and just let them go to town with it. A couple of the girls had never even touched clay, so it was great to give them a chance to experience that. It is so funny, the personality quirks that come out when one plays with clay. You can see who is nervous and worried that her piece won't be awesome. It IS sort of scary, to be presented with so many options and only two hours left, so in your head you are thinking that you better get busy! Welcome to the clay world! I hope to do that again sometime in the near future. I think it is a huge amount of fun to share my "clay bug" with my friends. And sure enough, they were talking about taking pottery classes before the night was over! Ha Ha! We suckered you in (insert evil laugh here)...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Girls Night in the Studio

Next week I am hosting a Girls Night in the studio. This will be the first time I've done this, as my old studio was way to small for anybody except me. I'm looking forward to sharing my clay with some friends. We will probably have 7 people, with plenty of wine flowing. I've already figured out some projects they can work on, unless they come with ideas on what they want to make. I have also been working hard to get the studio organized and put away. It has taken me months (I'm not kidding), months! to get everything squared away. And you know how it is, it is never really finished. If you are like me, you hoard some stuff that you don't really need, but you think you might use in the near future: a bowl of colored slip, a really big piece of egg crate foam, some good, sturdy boxes that would be just the right size... for something. All that crap takes up space. I have thrown some of it out, but there is still a lot. When I die, someone is going to have a huge job of cleaning out my studio crap. Perhaps a construction dumpster would be the way to go.... But anyway, back on track.. So, Girls Night: I'm really looking forward to it and I will take some photos of our masterpieces and be sure to post those. Have a good day!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ikea

On Saturday, my hubby and I (and the kiddo) went to the Ikea, in Charlotte. I was so tempted by Ikea because you can get some nicely designed items for an amazingly cheap price. I'm not sure how they keep their prices so low, and I'm almost afraid to know how they do it, but I do enjoy the benefits of it. So I walked into the kitchen and dining section, and wham! I see dinnerware for 6, an entire set with bowls and everything, for $19.99!! As a potter, that does all sorts of crazy things to me. I can't believe that plates and bowls can be found so cheaply. We, as potters, struggle to make a single plate and sell it for $25. Even I was tempted to buy a set (I didn't though!) just so I could set a pretty, and different holiday table. So easy, $20 later. If I were to go home and make a set of plates, would I even have them done by the holidays? Would I like them enough to use them? It is so hard to compete with those low prices, and the general public has no understanding about the process of pottery making. It is hard to teach them, especially when they can find prices like that. Now I did end up buying some stuff - a coffee table for my studio, an art easel for Marley and a huge 10 x 12 rug for the living room. Again, all items that could be handmade, but I went to for the inexpensive items. You gotta pick your battles.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Good Pillow Fight

Wow, Marley just had her first pillow fight, although there wasn't a whole lot of actual "fighting". But she loved getting hit with the pillow! And I was using my cool, new iPhone 3GS to take the video. I love my new phone! How cool! video And boy, this little girl is turning into an artist. We mistakenly bought her some crayons and left them out for her... and now we have crayon on the walls, crayon on the cabinets, crayon on the washer and dryer, crayon on the white window trim... You get the idea. And, no, those weren't washable crayons! But just today, I went to Target and got her a slew of washable crayons, so that our furnishings will be a little safer. I can't get too mad because when I was a kid, I drew all over my bedsheets one day when I found an ink pen lying around the house. Mom was a little pissed about that!!! And here I am, 37 years old, and I still love to draw! So hopefully Marley will continue to love to draw too. With washable crayons, of course!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Birds will have to sleep this weekend

We are heading to Charlotte today to visit our good friends. I am looking forward to seeing them, but I have a sculpture in the works out in the studio and I hate to leave that unfinished all weekend. It's a woman who is morphing into a bird, and I need to work on her wings. I hate to leave a project when I haven't reached a good "stopping point". I guess I'm a little OCD that way. I also have all these other projects around the house that I want to work on, like landscaping our front "yard". There are just never enough hours in the day! But here is a photo of my Bird Lady. I still need to give her wings and feathers, but you can see what is going on... That's a bird bath she's sitting in. She'll just have to sleep all weekend and be ready to work Monday morning...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Birds, birds and more birds

This is an entry from my personal journal: "Why Birds? Why Birds? Why am I totally fascinated with birds right now? Marley loves them too - maybe that's part of it. Mom loved birds too - she was always sculpting them, and even painted them a bit. Birds can seem strong and scary or dainty and sweet. Birds can fly high or swoop down or ride with the wind. Can birds fly all the way to heaven and back? Can I be a bird - fly up high, visit Mom and then return to the ground for my life here? Don't we all want to be birds at some point and just fly away when things get a little rough? If I ever become home-bound due to illness or whatever, I want a bird feeder - fird beeder - outside my window so I can watch their comings and goings. " I wrote this one night and I was just letting my brain run wherever it wanted to go. I think that these thoughts are what's behind my latest sculptures. Other ideas that are all mixed in are: motherhood, passing the torch from my mother to me, raising and protecting kids, transition, and more. Ever since my mom died, I've been feeling all these emotions and they are all mixed together. It is not just one feeling, but a crazy, mixed up pile of emotions, all tied together. I think that for me, sculpture is the only way to get it all out. At least I hope so. Maybe if I get it all out of my system, I'll be able to sleep at night! Soon, I'll post some more images of my current clay sculptures.