26 October 2010

what to do...what to do.

the list for the holiday pottery making season...one dish set and a couple of special orders to take care of and then off and running. i love lists. i break items up into chunks so i don't make 40 of one thing at a time- i prefer sets of 10 even though i don't get into much of a groove with such a small number. i know potters who make dozens of the same form at a time and enjoy the zen-ness of repetition. not so much for me..a little a.d.d in that department.

at this point, i'm not participating in any holiday art events...just retail sales for now. it was a great summer for pottery buying and i hope that the 'handmade revolution' carries on through the holidays. i have definitely sensed a shift--more consumers are choosing local and handmade and appreciating the connectivity that choice brings.

do your best to buy local and handmade...it will make you happy.

22 October 2010

wow. once again....one hundred blog posts in my mind and nary a word written down. yikes.

i just got back from a 2 week roadtrip to minnesota for a gathering of the potters of the prairie and mountain and had a perfect time. loads of hard work and firing a delicious woodkiln (built/owned by eureka pots- colleen riley and donovan palmquist) and endless talk of all things clay. along with copious amounts of great food and wine. essentially- a potter girl's version of heaven.

as i have blogged about previously...i work alone. always. i am the only one involved in the process of making hh pottery start to finish. the late night kiln tending, broken machines and disappointments are mine to process. i prefer this work environment for the most part but what a joy to share the journey for a stretch.

tama (prairie fire pottery) and i were commenting while loading the soda kiln late one night how delightfully strange it was to have company and companionship in our normally solo endeavors. to be with people that understand the trials and tribulation and joy of making pottery a career is so comforting. they get it..no explanation required.

in addition to colleen, dawn, tama, myself and donovan...the firing of the wood kiln included another 4 clay folk that added an additional layer of experience/approach.

woodfire pots are the result of a team of people and their knowledge, sweat and sometimes blood, nights of lost sleep, high hopes and also well-intentioned misjudgement and folly. each pot holds all of this in its finished form. it is a beautiful and wonderous thing.

i am home now, the car is unpacked and most of the pots awaiting new homes. my mind and heart are full and i'm ready to hit it hard for holiday sales.

i wish for everyone a community like this to restore their spirit and fill their soul.

10 September 2010

working when it's cold

i've heard rumor that it is still hot in parts of the country, but montana...not so much. fall is in the air and although refreshing...can make getting into the shop at night a touch difficult. i hate being cold and am not in the mood (or awake enough) to start a fire. beginning the work day at 5pm (other commitments all day) is tough enough but if it's cold out there....forget it. summer nights are light until 10pm but now it's dark by 8, sigh. tomorrow is a bookstore day (thursdays and saturdays) so my casseroles will have to wait for their bottoms to be rolled and attached.

soon the hose will have to be put away which is a sad day for me. all you heat wave folk...send it our way when you're done with it.


01 September 2010

long studio days

big hours in the shop this week. 15 hours in the studio is a super long day for me. i know clay folk who regularly put in those kind of hours but not this potter. i usually work most every day in the shop (and on my 2 bookstore days, i'm either in there before or after or both)..but rarely more than 8 actual hours in the shop with hands in clay. glazing days are always long as are firing (because i'm usually unloading and glazing one last desperate load before i start the kiln).

having my shop at home means always having work 75 feet away but also always having home only 75 feet from work. i've found a bit of a happy balance over the last decade, but always tell myself i could be working harder. summers are more challenging to stay in the shop with all of the outdoor weeding, walking, painting, etc.

these long, intense days are a great reminder of what is possible though...production wise. i'm off to start my glazing marathon (hoping i can get my load glazed in the next 10 hours so i can start the kiln around 6pm and fire through the night (first time for that).

as usual...stay tuned.

30 August 2010

new leaf

i have not put word to blog in over 3 months...good grief. i probably think of a topic two or more times a week while working in the shop but then like morning fog..it dissipates, never to be retrieved from the corners of my brain. thus..the new leaf to which i refer.

i read a bevy of blogs every day and am always impressed with the clay folk who find the energy/discipline to post frequently so i vow to become more like them. i'm going to make a solid effort to post at least once a week..i know that i've got a lot to say but i often worry that it might be too trivial, but worry no more, i'm putting it out there.

i think that being active with my business facebook page also makes me feel like i'm participating in cyberland but blogging is such a different forum than quick fb updates.
so...stay tuned and feel free to ask any questions of offer suggestions for blog posts.

enjoy your day.

17 May 2010

where old pots go to die..

The 'tired pot' spot at our house is constantly growing. On any given random flat spot around my shop, you will find pots. Don't ask me what's wrong with them because I will sputter and stammer while pointing out the flaws I see. Maybe just a slight glaze fault that relegates it to the 'seconds shelf' (whenever I get that put together). I don't have the public up here very often (as in strangers)..or said pots would be ditched immediately so as not to explain to people why they cannot buy them. Friends have learned not to ask for the most part...just understand that for some reason...this potter's area propogates pots like bunnies.

Any massive flaw or crack or pot that stuck to the shelf is automatically smashed into the shard bucket. As I've been learning about new glazes in my reduction kiln...I have filled countless containers. I happily share these shards with eager mosaic folk if they ask. The bucket above is heading to a kitchen in the next town and I have no doubt that they will create something amazing. Often, the shards just end up sitting at the hopeful artist's house...but as long as they are out of my hair--no problem.

I aspire to have clean tables and often promise myself to deal with pots as they come out of the kiln. Either to the store, to the customer or to the dump..so far, not so good. Often, I just leave the pots I don't like in the kiln and don't deal with them until the following firing where they get stuck on an overflowing shelf next to my kiln. I give a few of these pots away each month to visitors who are happy to take them home. I often dream of cleaning out every pot in my shop and starting over with empty shelves of the fabulous new work that I will be making :)...stay tuned.

27 April 2010

spring things

I love this time of year more than anything. Spring in west glacier is a beautiful thing after the cold and snow of winter. We've been snow free for a couple of weeks now and had quite a beautiful march but now plants are coming up and a few are even blooming.

Pottery-wise, the non-frozen months are just so much easier. The hose laying in front of my shop...ready with fresh water for rinsing and glaze making. No fire in the woodstove to start and stoke...doors open for dogs to meander freely in and out. Outside storage and tables...ooohhhh. good stuff.
(the flying frog was made by my dear friend susan nebeker and I love him leaping in my lavender).