Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm still alive....

In my hiatus, I took stock in my work and what direction I wanted to take in the new year. Lots of things happened along the way. The two most interesting are that I was accepted into Panoply for 2011 and some guy in Minnesota has taken my moniker as his website this year. I am overjoyed with the first and highly annoyed with the second.

More to come after the new year has arrived.

Merry Christmas and God's blessings upon you all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Just a quick update. The white stoneware that I have been using has been supposed to ship for over a week with no definite date in site. So after much debate, I settled for a "wheatstone". From my understanding it is a "wheat" version of the white I have been using. I was unable to pull up a sample on the manufacturer's site and decided to take the gamble on it. It looks a bit too red to be called "wheat". A little too late to be picky now.

I threw about fifty pounds today and boy are my arms feeling it. It was a joy to throw. Every piece, except for the last turned out just as I had hoped. By the time the last piece rolled around, I was feeling a bit like jelly. Looking around and surveying the aftermath of the day, I am a bit concerned that it might not all fit in the kiln. I will have to be very particular in my stacking. But that is a problem for next week. On to trimming tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The market days this summer have brought me a wonderful set of new friends and acquaintances. One woman in particular has been a boon to my confidence as a potter. But in a recent conversation she made a statement that gave me pause. She said, "Love the primitiveness of your design.. and simplicity.. Keep throwing.."

Up until this point, I had never thought of my pieces being described as "primitive."  It almost seemed like a dirty word rolling off my tongue....primitive. But then I began thinking about the influences for my pieces. As a child, my grandmother had stoneware bowls with simple blue and pink stripes around them. I loved their simplicity (and the wonderful things that came out of them). I don't like for my pieces to look identical. I think each piece has a mind of it's own. I begin with an idea and the clay may have another direction for me to take. I don't like for functional pieces to just sit upon a shelf. I want them to be used and loved. I want someone else's hands to know the piece as well as the hands that created it.

I have been pouring over a book, "Pots in the Kitchen" by Josie Walter. In it she traces the development of handmade pots used for cooking from the first century AD to the 20th century. It is all about function and form, about making a pot for cooking. In looking back over the photos and at my own work, the pieces are not refined like those brides pick out for their wedding china. They are sturdy pieces that are meant for work, kitchen work.

In this day to some, working in a kitchen daily at home is something only a foodie or their grandmother participates in. Frozen, bagged or boxed, toss it in the oven or microwave, drive thru, carry out, delivery. Who has time to prepare, slow cook and enjoy the fruits of the kitchen? Someone who is a bit primitive. Someone who appreciates the smell of turned earth, the growing season, the harvest, and the slow melding of flavors as the fruits of their labor simmer together in a happy pot. may not be such a dirty word after all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I think one of my prayers is on its way to being answered. Many thanks to St. Jude for the intercession!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I finished it!

It began with a few boards and a drill.

Which became a box. 

That turned into a slab roller.

I can't wait to take it for a test drive with some clay!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New project

All of the attempts at rolling out consistent slabs by hand has left me sore and fruitless. So I have begun a new project:  building a slab rolling table. I found a great design on Youtube. Last weekend I raided Dad's for scrap lumber. Then on the way home I picked up some perfect pieces from my neighbor's roadside pile. Yesterday, I cut everything to length. Today I will be assembling. I am proud to say at this time, I have retained all of my digits. Picts to come.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Peach Painting

Melanie Magee is a local painter who visits Helena's market days regularly. She recently purchased one of my bowls and used it in a painting. Check it out here.

The Plate

I have been working on a large plate for my SIL to go on top of her entertainment center. Her living room is two stories and she wanted a very large plate to go in the space. My first attempts were disastrous. Rolling out such a large piece of clay with a rolling pin proved fatal as the plate ended up in pieces as it cracked while air drying.

I made a bat. I had to remove the splash pan and stand to throw. It was HARD to do. I had no leverage as I usually use my hip to anchor my elbow while centering. But after lots of diligence and a sprained finger, I made it.

I added some texture using bits of hardware like screw heads
and sheet rock sand paper.

Hopefully it will make it through the bisque firing. I am worried about air bubbles.
I don't believe I will throw anything this large again. However, I have all kinds of ideas for textured plates. I am now on the search for an object to make a mold from. Something with a smooth bottom and a lip of an inch at least with a diameter of around 26 inches would be the optimum thing. Any ideas?

Saturday, June 19, 2010


After being around other creative people or in a creative atmosphere, I get the itch to be productive artistically. The trip to Wildflower Wax was just what I needed. The store reflects its owners. Looking around my home and my pottery, I just don't see an intimate reflection of Michael and myself. I have made a conscious decision to make our house and my work put forth a correct image of our hands.

These are some of the new pieces I have been working on this week. I have several pedestals to make. Here is one at the beginning stage.

A few small platters.......

A finished pedestal and large platters.......

Here's to a renewed focus and determination.

Girl's Night

Aimee and I were able to have a girl's night thanks to my wonderful husband. He kept all four kids while we went to Wildflower Wax to make candles. The store is perfectly funky.

Jennifer finishing the over pour for our mosaic candles. I chose Tahitian Spice for my scent. At least that is what I think it was called. The basement smells awesome and I haven't even lit it.

Besides candlemaking, they have a selection of vintage boots. I was highly disappointed to find none in my size. They also have leather purses, belts, jewelry and origonal art. My pocketbook was not deep enough to purchase all the things I wanted.
Take time to stop in and say hello. You won't be disappointed!

This is a look at my booth for CityFest. I would have loved to have had all the things from the explosion to add another table. But with no one buying, it wasn't a big deal.
Helena's Market Days was wonderful. I sold most of my pieces and received lots of positive feedback. Listening to the water falling from the dam made my desire to by Incahoots even more profound. It would make such a wonderful pottery and pub. I am looking forward to next weekend. Hopefully there will be a few clouds and a nice breeze to make the day bearable in this Alabama summer!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Last weekend I participated in Alabaster's CityFest. It was a HOT day and no one was purchasing anything. Standing on the asphalt was horrendous. I got water blisters on my shoulders and back. How I don't know. I was standing under a tent the whole time. I will post some picts later for my booth.

Today is my first time at The Helena Market Days. I will be attending this every other weekend through September. Thankfully I will be in a cooler place here.

Second and Third Firings

The first glaze firing went OK. I learned that if applied too thickly it will run. I also had a few sharp points show up. I will have to strain the entire batch to try to eliminate that from happening again.

I fired a second load of bisque. I felt constrained for time so I put in a piece or two that needed another day to ensure being bone dry. I paid for it. Every larger more intricate piece I made was blown to smithereens when the water in the not so dry pieces tried to escape. This was my first experience with kiln explosions. I am determined it will be my last.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I have been working on more rolled lip bowls. They really appeal to me. I also started on some bells for wind chimes. Philippa's plate is on my to do list for this week. More pictures will be posted as it comes together.

I fired the kiln for the first time last night. I was completely nerve wracked. I went and purchased a fire extinguisher before turning it on just in case. (have I mentioned I don't like working with electricity) Everything worked, but I am not sure if it reached the proper temperature. Either my kiln sitter cone did not melt enough or I did not place it properly on the stilts, because it didn't kick off. I could not tell if my freestanding cones were bending through the peep holes because everything was the same shade of orange-red. It is OK for now. I think I will have to borrow Dad's thermometer gun thing to test the temperature when I do the glaze firing. At least that way I will know for sure that the proper temp was reached. I didn't hear any popping, so hopefully nothing exploded. The kiln is still too hot to open. The cool down period is the worst for impatient people. Although, waiting on a bisque load is not nearly as unbearable as waiting on a glaze load.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It is finally done. The wiring has been completed! Dad and I finished it up on a Sunday afternoon. I am very nervous about my first firing. I hope I don't short circuit the entire house. Electricity makes me nervous. I have all of my shelf supports in, waiting to be stacked. In about two weeks I should have enough greenware dry to make a full load.

I checked out the local art supply store for clay and got a nice surprise. They carried several bodies from Alligator Clay I had been on a limb about whether or not to make an order with them. Seems my choice was made for me. Although, there was only 50 lbs of white stoneware in stock. I was hoping to get at least 150 lbs. Next time, I may have to try out some speckled buff. I have an idea running around in my head, but I need to learn more about Mason stains before I dive in.

Philippa and I hashed out the ideas for her plate. I need to make a run to the hardware and fabric store before I can begin. If all turns out well, it will be a signiture piece.