Friday, November 30, 2007


Thank you to everyone who came out to the sale tonight. It was PACKED!!! Lots of pots and vessels were moving along to new homes. It was so fun to share the space, work and process with friends and new friends. Special mention to Red Cross friends, Courtney, Farah, and Rick. But there were so many friends who came out to visit! Thank you to all. A fellow potter said to his audience, thank you for your support and allowing us to continue our exploration and passion in clay. I feel the same way!

Here is a photo with Courtney, Farah and myself!

And some pottery friends Liz, Terry and Liesel.

Some of the Dia de los Muertos work was captivating to some people who are interested in commissioning some pieces!! Very fun!

If you missed it, there is still tomorrow.....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Clayworks sale tomorrow

Friday, November 30 6-9 p and December 1, 10-3p. If you can, come on by. I saw some of the work today and it is awesome. You will not be disappointed. I am thinking of all the pieces I want to buy from the other artists.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kiln unloaded

So many great pieces came out of the kiln today. The color was a lot deeper than I am used to...not sure why, seemed like the firing was hotter than usual. The work was in a different that could be the difference. Here is a slide show!!

Julie made sure someone was around to help me unload!!!, and that someone was Susan. And even Greg left a a note to call in case I needed help. SOOO great not to worry about getting it unloaded.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Yesterday I was in the studio from 11am to 11pm getting the pieces ready for the kiln. Hopefully they will be ready on Wed evening. No camera needs new batteries. But tomorrow will have lots of photos of the new work. Right now it is cooking away....

I will be in another show in Mount Holly next week..for this one I have to provide the shelving and display tools, etc....which is a bit more demanding...packing up everything, pricing it and recording it on sheets, dropping off the stuff, setting it up....picking it up later. Lots of sweat going in....I am not convinced this is the avenue for me to get work out to the world....I like the idea of online options better.

Having to coordinate schedules with others, since I need help packing the stuff into the car, unloading the shelving units and assembling them...etc etc. I feel so vulnerable when I have to depend on is one of my personal challenges using a wheelchair. I have to ask for help. No way around it , or not do certain things. But I want to do it and I want to do it myself. Arggh frustrates me. If I were walking still it would probably not be a big deal...but it seems to be my lesson. Keeps coming back for me to wrestle with it. I think I have it mastered, then I am tested, or pushed here we go a little bit further into my discomfort zone...

Oh and last night was another test. Since I again took so long to glaze my stuff, Julie could not help me load the kiln last night. So she did it this morning without me. So it is getting done. But I could not help but think, if I could load the kiln by myself, it would not matter when I finished....I would just do it then. I just feel a loss of choice, flexibility. It pushes up against me,,,,nudges me and irks me just enough. Time and time again. I wonder when it won't bother me anymore?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving. I am visiting my father and Joan. this morning they were busy making little meatballs for soup:

And Dad built two ramps so I can get around the house when and where I want..choice. is a great thing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fall Leaves

I continue to gasp and oooo and ahhhh and the amazing Fall color. I drive by a tree and am astounded by the brilliant, intense, potent color on the trees. Just breathtaking. I need to remind my self to stay on the road, because I see these trees while driving through Charlotte.

On the way to work, I took my camera and captured some of the brilliant color!
The first tree I see, the Maple in my front yard. In a few days it will be blazing red.
Oh and the Cherry Tree in my front yard.... and then a few others as I drive to work.

Look at the dusty rays of sun that were caught in this photo....quite unexpected...I was very qucikly just shooting pictures, barely looking through the lens.....

I think about the seasons and how trees, at the end of their cycle, look so beautiful. Then I wish our culture would feel the same way about people. That they too are beautiful in their final years and days. That the deep lines and soft skin are beautiful to behold. What I hear too often is Stay Young, Dye Your Hair, Lift Your Skin, anything to remain young looking. I think that is part of why I like leaving the fingerprints, cracks and holes, and uneven ridges in my ceramics work. It doesn't have to be "all shiny and perfect" to be beautiful.
I learned this too when I sustained a spinal cord injury. One day I was a 21 year old walking around woman with a working body that looked pretty good. Physically fit, flexible, limber. The next day, a body that nowhere around me said looked stomach muscle to hold in the stomach, pancake thighs, swollen ankles....and that is just the tip of the iceburg. I did not look at myself naked fully in a mirror for three years. NO exaggeration. The first time I looked down at my stomach while I was sitting down in a shower, I cried. I looked 5 months pregnant.
But what I came to realize after 5, 6 maybe 7 years of using a wheelchair, was that really really beauty is not the physical ....this sounds OVERUSED- but it really is a decision on the inside.
NO LIE, as soon as I made that decision, I had soooo many people tell me directly, in the grocery store, video store, on the street, friends, etc. that I was beautiful. I had never received this much or direct type of feedback before in my life. (of course the grandmas and great aunts always had said it!!) I know the feedback just affirmed my decision I had already made about myself.
so-where does this leave (leaf!) us?? ....Musings for the day!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Making glaze

I like making glaze because it is the same process as baking...exact measurments, following a recipe, mixing it all together, scraping the sides to get all the stuff. No baking it right away, but it will bake!, although at quite a bit higher temp. Cone 5 -which is the temperature I fire at -is 2232F...a little bit warmer than the oven in the kitchen!

Photos of the process: In these photos are the tools of the trade, measuring, blending through a sieve, and me being safe with a mask!!! The ingredients are not good to breath in....using silica, metals like manganese, iron oxide, cobalt oxide.....and by the way, some of the metals are heavier than they look, which surprises me when I pick them up.

And yes, I am smiling under that mask!
Now I am ready to go next week to glaze.....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Small world

Yesterday my mother returned from a three week trip overseas in Taiwan, Vietnam and Cambodia. It was fun to travel with her...and you can see her trip on her blog.

During her travels she visited a village that seemed to have a lot of pottery as its focus...maybe like a Seagrove? Not sure. But it was fun to see the photos of tons of clay sitting on the sidewalk, or people squatting at the wheel making work. Definitely production focused.

No pottery today for me. Although I have a load of stuff in my car that I need to get to the studio....the makings for black glaze, slip and a new clay to try out.....

Fall colors

I have not seen a fall like this since I left New York State. It was the one thing I really missed, (I did not miss the 9 months of cold or cloudy and rainy or foul weather, or the 120 or more inches of snow...) I could remember looking at trees and thinking, "I could meet my end driving and looking", I became so captivated. Well this fall is like that. Captivating. I keep ooohhh and ahhhhhing in my car as I drive around the city. Mostly the maples are the most stunning. Although this picture hardly captures the variety and drama of the color, it is what I see on my street. That crimson....yowza...

My house and tree are not as stunning as those red trees, but the maple in front is turning soon enough I will have blazing glory!!

Then tonight, Liesel celebrated her birthday by inviting some friends to share dinner with her at the Cheesecake factory. After being told there is a 2.5 hour wait!!!!! We decided Villa Antonia was a much better idea..and had a great evening celebrating her birthday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pre and post bisque kiln

I spend a lot of time on my pieces for the first firing which is called bisque firing. Applying oxides, writing on are some photos of the pieces before firing....

Here are the mugs with crocus martis on them, ready for me to now write many letters to Jim!
And here they are after the writing... and then the last photo...after the first firing....
I had a couple people ask me when writing on the pots, if it is the same thing over and over or different. As in any letter, the only thing that is the same is the opening, Dear....which is always Jimmy. And then the letter is different.
I just write what is on my mind. It could be the day I have had, or something on my mind. Sometimes I find myself asking him questions, and I don't like it, because he is not going to answer. So I focus again on sharing about my life and how I am feeling. I feel connected to my brother afterwards. In a physical present moment type of way. Sometimes I wonder if would he have listened to me if he were here, or sometimes I will hear him respond as if he were around....
He used to love to say to me, "you are out there" or if someone was around, "my sister, she is out there." Because I use organic products, or like acupuncture...stuff like that. I can just hear him respond at times during my letters. another great one was if I was stressing, or fretting, or upset....he would say, relax....or chill out dude. I hear that too.

Setting up gallery

Clayworks has a gallery and all the studio artists are encouraged to place work in it. That was my work is so varied...some really distinct styles...and then making it work together on a shelf...I did not get any input and still wonder what are the considerations/choices when creating the space....

I had fun setting it took longer than I I had to price all my work...and pricing is sooo hard. It is not simply considering how much time, materials, rent, and other work in the gallery....but I think my experience. Because if I took just time, materials, rent...the pieces would be much higher, but considering other work and my experience, I feel the prices should be a bit lower.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Much to share

I have lots of photos and a great session from the studio today..but it will have to wait until tomorrow....too late tonight.

Mugs mugs mugs

Yesterday I pinched 12 mugs...I really like pinching, it is just my hands and the clay. The mugs are not perfectly round or symetrical, but to me, that is part of their beauty. And I like that part of me is left to see on the cup. The indentations of my thumb or finger. It is like a memory of how the piece came to be. Which is why I do not smooth those indentations away.I will take these to the studio today and cover them with crocus martis, which is a beautiful deep maroon color once completely fired. Then I will etch into that surface. I write letters to my brother on them. I love doing this because it keeps him physically present in my life. And he has to listen to everything I say,...just like a big sister! I will post photos of the mugs after I write on them.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Zada Jane

This new restaurant opened in Plaza Midwood, my favorite neighborhood. I had breakfast there this morning with two friends, Deb and Jan and here are some photos...I love that name, Zada Jane...

Jan was working on the beginning of a new baby blanket. And here are Deb's cute dogs, Sam and Dave. and they are funny trotting around scouting out the yard saying hello to passerbys and marking their territory.

And then it was off to the studio where I again forgot to snap a few photos of these new wall hanging Dia de los Muertos skulls I am making that I love. Tomorrow.... But here is Susan buying one of the pieces from the last kiln....bye bye to another piece.... tomorrow I have do all the pre bisque kiln prep...applying oxides and writing onto the surface. Kiln is Wed night

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Work to do

The last two nights were really productive at the studio. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting my camera!!! I am learning how to make a lot of work, so the kilns I have signed up for...the smaller ones, I am not even sure will be large enough now!!! Wait until you see the new skulls....big wall hangings.....I am excited about them. Tomorrow I will finish up one and will post photos.

I have been sort of out of it the past week, not posting much. Will return to the swing of things. I -through much deliberation and consideration- have accepted a new job with Chamber Music at St. Peters as their Executive Director. I am very excited about this opportunity. New challenge for me and I love the organization.

But today was hard because I gave notice at the Red Cross and there are a lot of people I am connected to, so it is hard knowing we will no longer be working together...
As usual keeping in the clay studio keeps me centered balanced renewed energized...all the good stuff. So I plan on spending a good chunk of the day there tomorrow (day off) and then I get a massage.....nice!!!
Here is a photo of my cat Euphrates who is acting really old suddenly. She looks so tiny here, she used to be an 18 pound cat!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Printing photos of work

So the professional photos that I had taken in September- and one of my first blogs, I finally sent them off to have prints made. Several people have mentioned it is a good idea to have prints available so people can see my other work. Plus they look so good professionally photographed.

It is probably time too to photograph some more work, since it has evolved some since then, and I have some nice work I would like shot.

The other fun thing I did at ritz pics online- is create a book of an experiment. Pretty cool. Select the photos you want in the book, add captions, select linen or leather and voila, you have a book of photos. I have no idea what this will look like, so I purchased it on a whim. If it works, could be a cool way to have images printed...although more expensive. About $1 per photo versus .15 - .40...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Annual pie day

Third post tonight--after nothing all week...trying to catch up!!

For the third year in a row, my friends Lee and Steve and I had an annual pie day. Steve and I both bake pies- and talk about how each person's pie is better than the other - and I have to seriously reduce my apple amount there have been pie juice floods in the past and that is not nice when using someone else's oven!!

Lee just sent photos so here are some highlights from the the pie day. And a photo of Lee and Sue-

Sue was a huge help this year..peeling and coring apples. And the final shot of the two pies...mine is the taller one of course! But to see the real deal see this post.

Photos of all the new skulls

Couldn't help myself...but had to take a shot or two of the new guys waiting to be dressed up!! aka...glazed!!! I completed these guys this a.m.

And the whole group....

So the three medium and 5 small ones I completed today took me from pinching the form, cutting out the eyes, drawing in the teeth, nose, drawing a scene on the head ( butterflies, flowers, scrollings and such) and then writing El Dia de los Muertos... about 4hours about 1/2 hr. per skull. I still have to fire then paint on black copper oxide, wipe it off, apply 4/5 different colored oxides and./or underglazes and spray on clear...then fire again....

Setting up work in gallery

Clayworks is getting ready for the annual fall sale, and so studio artists are asked to place items if you want, in the gallery. So today I spent some time selecting, arranging and pricing my choices. It takes a lot of time...and figuring they look good arranged like that? How much should they cost? Hard to say. That seems to be the hardest part at times. being able to let it go and then say how much it should cost...

This morning I made more Dia de los Muertos skulls...I am enjoying this new series...although these are from the last series, these five are the one's inspiring me the most for this next grouping. I decided today with all the photos I took, I can let these go. Hard. I really love these select skulls. But there is still time to change my mind if I am still feeling like I can't let them go....

I am about ready to do another bisque kiln to get ready for one more glaze kiln before the sale on Nov. 30.