Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to it

I have been a bad blogger, its true. And for most of the summer I was a bad potter. The trade off was much needed time to enjoy the summer and relax on weekends and evenings instead of pushing myself. But, now I'm back to the studio and back to work.
Instead of potting, much of my newly discovered free time was spent in our garden or processing our veggies. After all of our hard work and trying season of cool weather and tons of rain, we couldn't stand to part with any of our homegrown produce. All summer our fridge was packed to the gills with kale, chard, chili peppers and squash. As the end of August rolled around we (for the first time ever) canned our food. It was labor intensive, but after 3 or 4 days of prepping, washing jars and cooking up batches, we ended up with quite a collection of yummy garden treats to get us through the cold months.
To name a few: curried zukes, bread and butter pickles, pickled garlic, three kinds of hot sauce, and a few chutneys. Mmmm.Now that our garden is pretty much finished (except for that hardy kale!) and its too cold to spend time by the creek, I'm getting back to it. Working on some new ideas and restocking my shop....just in time for the cool weather. Chili anyone?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer days

Shortly after my last update, I decided to participate in a small craft show in my backyard during the Rosendale Street Festival in the Belltower Market.
It was the first time I had shown my stoneware work and I realized as I was setting up my table that the last time I participated in a show of any kind was five years ago.
I ran into many old friends and made some new ones. In particular, I found my fiber counterpart in Alison Tauber's silkscreened clothing. We noticed our work has a similar design sense and color scheme. I came home with this excellent t-shirt printed on organic cotton.

It was good to get out and show my new body work which has only been seen and sold on etsy. I heard lots of good feedback and met a few local shop owners. Most importantly, it gave me the inspiration I was looking for to get me back in the studio.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation mode and front page

Happy summer! Hard to believe it's been exactly a month since my last post. I have been on a bit of a sabbatical from working in my studio. Aside from a major cleaning and purging, I have been reading up on marketing art both on and off the internet. There are so many resources that I've found with a little digging around the internet and library. Most importantly, I'm rediscovering how good it feels to unplug from the computer and relax by the creek we live near. I think this desire to reconnect with nature is even stronger after cool and rainy June.
I have lots of work to photograph still and post. My shop is pretty full at the moment, but as of today, I decided to go into semi-vacation mode in my shop. I am excited to get back to making new work and want to focus my energies on making for the next few weeks. So, I'm going to post less often and renew here and there. I'll post pictures of my progress, both in my studio and garden real soon. Hopefully there will be lots of growth in both areas!

This month, I was included in two absolutely beautiful treasuries, both of which made it to the front page of etsy. It would be really swell if etsy had some way of notifying sellers that they were on the front page, other than the rush of convos and hearts you get during that brief time. Either way, I was especially flattered by this one assembled by windowseatbooks. It included two of my items and other potters I admire. Plus a few new sellers I've never heard of before.
For whatever reason, the one assembled by owlonthesill just may be my all time favorite. Thanks to both sellers!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Out of space

Before I start a new body of work, I need to start with a fresh and organized space. Yesterday as I was cleaning the shelves where I store finished work and work in progress, I could see I was completely out of space. I have two entire shelves of work that are waiting to find homes. So, I am marking down items that have been around for a while. Check out my OUT OF SPACE SALE.
I'll be adding new items until I can see the back of my deep shelves. That means lots of items at super affordable prices.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Interview and a garden update

I've been interviewed on Artsy Beat's blog. Click here to see it. If you're not familiar with Artsy Beat, you should definitely check it out. Lots of interviews with artists in all mediums and some helpful articles too. A great way to get some inspiration and learn about other artists on etsy and around the world.Not much new to report from my studio at the moment. I've been working on filling up my etsy shop a bit. But almost all of my free time has been spent working on our 20 x 30' garden plot at a community garden. And the weather up until this week has been ideal for prepping the beds and planting. Last year we grew so much food we had to freeze and pickle a bunch. The site is ideal, tons of sun and insanely fertile soil. You'd never know if from this pic below, taken in mid-May.
After tilling and plotting out beds, it was starting to show some signs of a decent veggie garden.
Even more promising with lots of seedlings. Now all we have to do is keep up with watering and weeding. I've lost count of the number of wheelbarrows we filled with weeds so far just this year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My new plate

One of our favorite dinner plates that I made back in college broke recently. I used to love to throw plates back in college and it was part of a class called Design and Production. We had to make a place setting service for 8 of dinner, lunch and dessert plates, bowls, tumblers and mugs. It definitely gave us a taste of life as a production potter. And that taste was all I needed to figure out I was not interested in making the exact same thing over and over again. The nice part was getting a full set of dishes after the class was over. I only kept a few of the pieces, selling and giving away most of it. For whatever reason I only ended up keeping two dinner plates.
So when it cracked in half, I knew I'd have to make a replacement. This presented a new and exciting challenge. I had never made a dinner plate off the wheel until this one. It didn't warp and I love seeing the little blue birds dance around the border. Although the mossy glaze didn't quite behave like I would have liked, the blue center is perfect.Also in that firing were many of my glaze tests. Here is a portrait shot of my new family of glaze colors. I can hardly wait to see them in action.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

For all the moms out there, I'm posting some of my favorite flowers that have popped up in our garden this spring. And although I'm not actually spending the day with my mom this year, it doesn't mean that she's not in my thoughts... far from it.
Any time I think of my influences on my life and my art in general, both she and my grandmother top the list. Both are oil painters and were always very supportive of my interests in the arts and crafts. My mom, other than painting is extremely crafty with sewing, cooking, and decorating, amongst other things. She would regularly bring me to the local art supply store and set me up with beads or fabrics or markers or paints and never questioned what on earth I thought I was going to make or why I needed to do so.
When I discovered in college that I wanted to focus on ceramics, I was met by both my mom and my dad with excitement and complete support, something that surprises me to this day. To say I was encouraged is an understatement. This is truly the best gift a daughter could ever ask for, and today on Mom's Day, I'm feeling lucky to have such an accepting and creative mom who allowed me to grow and bloom. Thanks mom, you are the best!!And to all the other moms out there, enjoy your well deserved day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Making pots is relaxing...right?

I get a kick out of people not familiar with ceramics saying to me when they learn I'm a potter, wow, it must be so relaxing. Yes, at times it certainly can be quite therapeutic and peaceful, but there are other times when it is beyond stressful. I encountered moments of the latter this weekend when glaze firing a very full kiln. It has taken me months to produce, bisque fire, and glaze everything in there, yes my kiln is huge. Things were going just fine for the whole firing up until the last 10 minutes. I heard a loud pop and then what sounded like heavy dust raining down, a noise not common when firing. So this is where the fun began. It was 2 a.m. and I was exhausted to say the least. All I wanted to do was peek in the lid and make sure my entire kiln full of work was not destroyed by little particles of kiln brick or a pot that exploded settling onto the melted glaze. But, of course when the kiln is over 2000 degrees, there is no opening it until at least a day later let alone when it is glowing hot. I tried to sleep, but visions of what I would see when I opened it were running through my head. Luckily the next day I was too sleep deprived to worry.When I opened it up this morning, after a much needed yoga class I was pleasantly surprised. Everything was okay. The kiln wall did break off a bit and it looks like some particles fell to the floor, but amazingly nothing was affected. I guess there is something to be said for embracing the unknown. Regardless if it was a total disaster or not, there was nothing I could do.
The most exciting discovery from this firing were some new glaze colors, bright fresh green to replace the chartreuse that was finicky. A lovely coral red, salmon, and my favorite bright turquoise blue which will make their appearance in my next kiln. Until then, I'll be posting lots of new work in my shop, like these terracotta planters from my old body of work, heavily discounted.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


In between a visit with family, busy times at my day job, and blowing off some steam by enjoying the nice weather of spring, I've been glazing. It used to be my least favorite part of making ceramics, but I'm coming to terms with it lately. Although I love making and testing new glazes, the actual task of glazing used to be the hardest part.
When I was working with terracotta soon after college, I did not have the studio space needed to formulate my own glazes. That meant everything I glazed had to be painted on with multiple coats. Very tedious. It was a big adjustment from school where I had big buckets of everything and pieces could either be dipped or poured.
With the switch to stoneware last year, I was a mad scientist again testing and retesting glazes until I came up with about 10 colors. In a way, I envy potters who just use one glaze color. But, I love to see a rainbow of earthy tones accentuated by the white clay. And the chemistry involved with glaze formulation is fascinating. It is very similar to baking....measuring out specific amounts of powdered materials and making big batches of batter-like glazes. Not to mention, wearing a respirator is pretty darn sexy.Part of the reason I'm enjoying glazing more is that I've found colors I absolutely love. It turns out many of my designs need to be hand painted such as the monkey and bird. That makes it much more time consuming to glaze, but the end results make me very happy.
It's hard not to smile when you look at this monkey, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I've been struggling with my schedule and overall energy level lately specifically when it comes to finding the time to fit in my pottery. I think I'm finally over feeling guilty that I don't get to the studio every day or even sometimes for days on end. And when the weekends have rolled around, I'm beginning to let go of the expectation that I will spend a solid 8 hour day working. It's times like these I have to remind myself that I work all day four days a week and that can often take a lot out of me. Add quitting coffee and making some other lifestyle changes.
So instead of feeling overwhelmed each time I enter my creative space to see pots that need glazing, others that need to be photographed, and much more smaller projects that are equally time consuming, I am going to take a deep breath and just work at a slower and much more reasonable pace. If I can only fill my kiln and fire every few months instead of planning on a kiln a month (my kiln is huge!) then so be it. I'm rediscovering the joy of the creative process and seeing I was still in the mindset of pushing through tons of work like I had to in college. It never was a method that particularly appealed to me, and it took years of pushing myself at an unreasonable pace at times to learn this. Starting this spring, I am going to pay more attention to my other interests such as gardening, yoga and traveling while trying to strike a healthy balance of day job work, making pottery, and enjoying more leisure time. Luckily I crossed off taking photos from my list and will be filling my etsy shop back up. And it seems as though my coffee addiction is wearing off a bit with the help of tea and chocolate.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome spring

Happy Spring everyone! The snow has finally melted and the sure sign of spring is making itself known in my yard... yes crocuses are starting to bloom.I also am feeling my need to hibernate slowly fade away. It's not that I haven't been busy both in and out of the studio. The end of February, I volunteered at the Women's Studio Workshop's Annual Chili Bowl Sale. It is a super fun event. People from the area who have been feeling the effects of cabin fever come out for a day of music and chili donated from lots of local restaurants. And it is a great time for me to get out of my solitary studio and chat with old and new friends. My social butterfly tendencies needed a release I guess, after 5 or so hours, my voice was pretty hoarse. Not sure how many bowls sold, but the day started with over 900 and the tables looked pretty sparse by the evening.
In my studio, I have been picking up the pace a bit. My shelves are packed with work in all different stages of completion. At the time of this pic, I needed to fire a bisque. That's done now, and I have lots of glazing and photographing to do. So that means I really will be posting on etsy and filling up my shop this weekend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


The past two months have been a true time of hibernation for me. I have been making work at a very slow pace, but also catching up on other aspects of my life. Years ago in college, I had a talk with one of the visiting artists and she said her life was a constant balancing act between work, family, and resting time. When she noticed any one area was neglected, she focused on that. My very nature is not very good at resting for any length of time. So this winter, I've put some much needed energy into kicking back and hibernating a bit.

I was so surprised that my work on etsy is still making it's way into treasuries since I have not been actively listing new items for some time. This lovely treasury, thanks to Wren Willow highlights some locals in the Hudson Valley. And it is the first one I've seen that puts my work with my good friend's. Can you guess who that is? Hint, she is on an animal kick these days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Workshop fun

Over the summer I took a workshop with Kristen Kieffer at Greenwich House Pottery. If you're not already familiar with her work, check it out here. The workshop went through her process of throwing and altering pieces along with surface decoration. And the class had time to make their own work. I had a blast. It had been years since I've taken a class and I really needed to get inspired. Months later I picked up the pieces I made. Here is the only thing I made on the wheel the whole time. It is quickly becoming my favorite cup for wine.
Years ago, I realized I preferred to handbuild over throwing pots. I have more control working slower and more intentionally than when on the wheel. It was fun to use someone else's stamps and build in a familiar way. Here are a tumbler and small dish, both handbuilt.
The dish has the most amazing peacock stamp, hard to see with the glaze.
Most of my time however was spent learning how to make curvy covered jars with slabs. The thrown shape that Kristen starts her jars with was easy enough to make without a wheel. Here is one similar to what I made back in August. Waiting to be glazed.

Friday, February 6, 2009

More to come soon...

I had hopes of writing on my blog weekly when I first started. Turns out not to be the case. I have a few orders waiting to be completed and photos of some projects I've been working on to post soon. The cold weather really put a halt on my production though. Luckily we're finally going to have temperatures above freezing this weekend, so I'll be back in action. For now, here's the latest pic from my fiance from a sweet little German town he visited.
I love all the cobblestone pathways and plants growing everywhere. Seeing this gets me motivated to make planters again. When I worked with terracotta, I almost exclusively made planters. Here's one of my favorites from that body of work.
I still have quite a few terracotta planters from my days of doing craft shows and plan on selling them highly discounted on etsy once it's a bit closer to spring.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sending off

This month I ended up taking more time away from my studio than I expected. It’s not just that my space is so chilly that I have to warm up any clay I want to use the night before by our wood stove. There were many things that were neglected in our home for months which needed tending to. And for the past two weeks, I’ve been spending as much time as I can with my fiancĂ© who is about to leave for Germany for about a month for medical reasons. So needless to say, my etsy shop and overall business are put on a hold a bit until I help him get on his way. Maybe I’ll get into more detail in future posts, but for now, here’s a picture of the area he’s going to… right in the Black Forest.
And a nearby the red roofs.
Starting next week, I’ll be back in the swing of things both by posting on etsy and finally back in my studio making new work.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


We're still in a major cold spell in the Northeast. Today my studio was a chilly 48 degrees, making me happy that I have a part time job in a warm comfy building as my day job. I usually slow down production in the winter since my studio is cold and it's hard to want to roll out icy clay. I look forward to this time of year as much needed time to regroup.
And that starts with a major cleaning. This year I went especially crazy and things from years ago. This is a box of pots I am letting go of representing college years to the present. I used to just purge them by smashing them, but my fiance is much more practical and doesn't see the point in creating more waste in this world. So he's going to find homes for them, just not ours.
I had planned on firing a bunch of heart trays and tags in time for Valentine's Day.....
But instead of pushing through another kiln's worth of work, I'm deciding to wait and use this time to experiment with new forms and to search for some glaze colors I've been wanting. In the meantime, I have lots of work to post from the last firing I did the end of last month. Here's a preview.