Thursday, November 28, 2013

Today, I am grateful.

Today, I am grateful for:


The smell of fresh coffee.

Cold crispy air and frost sparkling on the creeping thyme.

Watching the geese land on the icy lake. (Ok, it's funny to watch them land and slide )

Clay in my hands...being able to create, throw and sculpt.

The talented surgeon that repaired my broken wrist so I can do the work I do.

A healthy body with the ability to enjoy life.

Love in my life...husband, daughter, son, friends and family, dogs and cats.

Beauty, warmth and shelter that surrounds me.

This wide and wonderful planet that I live on.

Eating Apple Maple Bacon Coffee Cake.

Drinking Eggnog Lattes.

And watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with my family!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

As the wheel turns: New twists and turns.

It's back to work as usual for me, this week. Throwing. Trimming. Sculpting.  Making mugs has been my goal for the last few months with a few bowls here and there. But, life has a way of evolving in ways I never anticipated and goals need to change. Even small goals like making mugs.

I made dozens of mugs for my open studio anticipating lots of mug sales like last year. I sold 3 mugs. But I had the best open studio ever, so I'm not upset at all.

Not only did I meet some wonderful new people, caught up with neighbors and old friends but I sold more pieces and had more people than any open studio event I've ever had.  I saw a wide variety of my work find new homes from sculptures to nesting bowls, art masks to vases.  I saw both my functional and sculptural work in the arms of new art lovers but best of all was watching the curiousity turn to happy smiles.

​​I have about half the amount of work than I did before. The big question isn't whether to work, but what to work on? More mugs? Sgraffito bowls? Wavy edged nesting bowls? Masks? Last year, I sold lots of mugs. This year, big and small bowls, decorative pieces and masks sold more.

My mind twists around upcoming shows and production goals plus predictions of what might be this year's sought after pieces. All while I sit throwing big and small bowls, plain ones and silly ones, swearing at my mistakes.  Then watch as the mistake magically turns into a lid for a jar that I throw next.  I didn't plan to make a jar when I sat down at the wheel but it happened anyway.

Maybe that's the real twist here: No plans, no goals, just creating as the wheel turns.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not art. Not craft. Just comfort.

I spent my morning making something. Normally, it's art or craft or art and craft. Not today.

Today, I made something practical. It's also something I used to see and cringe at. I make no apologies for my attitude. It was a product of honest ignorance. I just had no experience. I didn't know or understand.

Until Apple, the tiny terrier/chihuahua  joined our household, I didn't have much experience with small dogs. I'd met a few that were friendly and many who were not. I'd petted the nice ones and actively avoided the snarly ones. Even to the extreme of having to removed one from biting my much bigger and sweeter dog. I'd see them walking around the park in their fancy sweaters, polar fleece or raincoats and cringe. I'd shake my head at the doggy attire as silly, fanciful, doll clothes put on a poor unsuspecting dog.

Here's what I didn't know.

Many small dogs have little or no body fat. Their body temperatures are much more reactive to changes in the climate. Some, like Apple, have very short, sparse coats which provide almost no protection against cold or wet weather. Why? Because their country of origin was warm or moderate in climate, so they didn't need thick, water-proof fur.

Here's what I understand now.

Apple now lives in a cold, wet and rainy place. So when we walk through the park on a typical fall morning in the cold rain, she shivers. No matter how fast we walk, and she likes to go fast, she's still cold. She wants to go for her walk but I don't want her to suffer.

So I spent the morning making her a dog coat.  One side is red polar fleece to keep her warm.  The other side is black waterproof material to keep her dry.   I didn't make art.  I didn't make anything crafty.   I made something practical that, hopefully will make Apple's life a little more comfortable.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kiln Sitting.

I'm kiln sitting today. It's a little different than dog or cat sitting although they've got a lot in common.

There's always prep work to be done. Organizing. Cleaning. Lifting and carrying. Walking.

First, I organize all the pieces by size.  Dust off the kiln shelves.  I carry trays of mugs, vases, bowls, masks and sculptures walking from the studio to the kiln in the garage.  I lift each piece into the kiln, shifting it into place.

​Like dog or cat sitting, there's a need for loving attention, gentle touching and yes, even saying the right words. I'd like to say that there's no talking involved, but I'd be lying. Even though the clay can't hear me, I still use my voice to puzzle over proper placement on the shelves and try to cajole a little more space here and there.

Whether, it's dog, cat or kiln sitting, there are things you can't predict, changes in what's needed or wanted that requires taking the time to get it right. 

The biggest thing all these types of sitting takes is patience. I guess I figured that over time, kiln sitting even dog or cat sitting would be a predictable, easy routine. It's not. But, I have to admit, I like the challenge.