Friday, December 31, 2010

back to a source

do you remember a place you used to spend so much time and poured so much energy into.. at some point in your past? a place that meant something to you, somewhere special, a place that will always be, in a home. and now you're in a different place, doing the same thing it your all, making another home. it's about the people and the experiences. it's how you grew and changed. And then one day.. you go back and see it all again. It's like getting a refresher and you can see the things that changed and inspired you. i know that there are going to be many many places like this in my life.. and i'm glad to have them and i'm glad to see them. those places continue, or disappear.. you, and hopefully I.... am still aware of the flow that is and has been what we call life.

Happy Hairy new Year, y'all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New piece

Finally finished it..

Have you ever worked on a piece, knowing it was already sold...and thought to yourself....

wow, this is a show piece.. too bad I already sold it... Ha...ha...

(it's going to a great home though)

p.s. remember my "birth of" post and that video? this is one of those forms during that process..i just hadn't attached the neck yet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



Friday, December 17, 2010

it's all apart of the job

Being sefl-employed definitely has it's perks... one of the great things about working for yourself is that when opportunities come a'knocking, you don't have to say to it, "ah dang..I can't. I have to work". Instead I get to say..well, my schedule is pretty flexible and I can move it around. This week I got a wonderful email telling yet another kiln at the Archie Bray was coming down and if I helped I could use the brick on the little wood kiln my friends and I are building. All I had to do was help carefully rip it down then cut this wall a little bit bigger so a big new kiln can get moved in. It wasn't so bad, in fact using a sledge hammer made me feel really good. It was warm enough that I could wear only a t-shirt while I bashed away. It was worth the extreme amount of dust and dirt in my eyes..because we'll now have enough nice brick to finish the walls and get the stack workin this weekend.

Other cool parts about my job are things like having the opportunity to volunteer at the local Holter Museum (which is my very first venue showcasing my own personal pots). Last night we volunteered for an event.. and my sister and I were in charge of the bar- ha! We made some good martinis, whisky-cider and wine for the public that showed up to watch a group of people walk the red carpet. It was a fashion show. I didn't see much, because I stayed at the bar, serving what seemed to be a never satisfied crowd the whole time. Working so hard with all that free booze didn't stop me from workin what I got on the red carpet with a new friend, Rachel. Nice moves, huh? Jeez.....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kiln Day- Arch Pull

Holy Moly it seems like forever ago since I've posted on the progress of our kiln. Actually... I don't even want to look and see. Anyways, to make a long blog short, we finally made it back today for another needed and fantastic kiln day. It was slow going but the weather sure was nice. I think it's still in the upper 40s as I type...I guess the midwest sucked all the cold weather that way. ha! thanks! So today was the much anticipated day to pull the arch form. And pull we did. Everything went super smoothly and the catenary arch pulled it's own weight and did what it's designed to do- be self supporting. Nothing shifted and the arch felt very solid...Everything looks awesome..and we even got started on the back side wall and set in the stoke door. Nice huh? It really dawned on me the size of the stacking space once I could stand in it... it's going to be small but real nice for some pots. Scott was very very happy with the arch..and you could say "tickled" how well the form worked. It looks like we're getting a good batch of weather so hopefully we'll be on for another kiln day next Sunday. This week I'll be collecting a few more bricks that have fallen into my lap..and a good thing too because we're out of the nice brick already..and are getting into some very crusty bricks indeed.. so until then. Happy Kiln Day.


If you're a potter who hasn't been in the same studio, with the same gallery that you own, along with the local community of the same customers, and you just might not be wanted enough to teach a workshop or two... you may not be getting the traffic needed to keep your head above water. And maybe you just can't get enough money from galleries, especially the ones that take close to half of your sale. So how do potters branch out? There's a number of opportunities out there and one, which isn't that new to most of us, but me, is Etsy. Personally I didn't even look at this site because of the name- I just don't like saying it. But it turns out that it actually does look pretty nice and it could add that extra 50 or 100 bucks a month, which is always welcome.

My sister set the account up last night and posted some of our nicest pots we have. Still have some Christmas shopping to do? Go get 'em, here they are!

Etsy Free Ceramics

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How it, I, work(s)

It's a curious thing..the "creative process". I'm still trying to figure out my own..and most of all try to be sensitive to the steps that I need to take before I have the finished piece in my hands. I guess what I like to do, at the very beginning is give myself a problem to try and solve. My new one, which isn't really new..actually I've been working on this problem for a long time now, but the problem is this: How the hell can I freaking make these pots better??, not exactly. The problem has a certain set of parameters. I want to work a certain way. One: Porcelain. Two: Pots. Three: Salt fired. Ok there are some parameters... now I can start to narrow in on my problem. My problem is how can I apply line, decoration, or pattern to really make a pottery form almost burst out of itself. Ok... now a really good thing, for me to do, is go back through some older pots I've made and try and see what went wrong, or what could be better... so I look. (this is me looking..dooo di dooo ohhh I like what's happening there..and there..that's not so hot... that's really bad..holy hell did I make that? HHmmmmm interesting...) And from looking..and even talking to people about some of these pots..which is so awesome when you get a good conversation about it.. then new ideas start to pop up. Oh... hmm... yes these are all so nice. What if I combined them??? WHat?, I never thought of that. Yah that sounds like a really great place to go! Alright.. now that I've got myself another parameter. Four: Combine qualities of these pots. Ok.... Now it's time to wrap my head around that idea for a little bit... so then I start to draw. Hmmmm Sweet. So the skinny lines will be sgraffito and the blue will be wax resist later to have some slip action..and that's where some sort of pooling glaze will be..AHhh yesss... (isn't this rediculous? if you've read this far you should give yourself a cookie or something nice because this is almost exactly how I talk to myself..and if it drives me mad sometimes..well, i commend you)

Now with a certain set of parameters it's going to be much easier on me to try and make something, dare I do it, NEW? Yes..making new things is both exciting and a little stressful...but it's not that hard once you begin to understand how it is that your own creative process works. Right? Right? (wow..that was a great cup of coffee I had this morning)

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Sale(s)

The big pottery weekend is over here in Helena, Montana. Last Friday night was the opening nights for twelve different Helena Potters all having their sales during the same time. It makes it a pretty busy night if you're a clay enthusiast out here.. Actually it just seems like there's too much happening to go see them all. And if you're out and about...chances are you're only going to hit up your favorites. I'm curious see how everybody here in town continues to evolve together. It's becoming so that it could be for the benefit of us all if we started some sort of co-op and throw a huge pottery sale for three days every December. But I don't know..maybe we all don't need to work together and we should just keep goin the way we've been goin. It's been working for Sarah Jaeger for 20 plus years... Just a thought. When does it become necessary for potters to gather their forces? Is Helena too small of a town where that's not necessary? I don't know.. If you saw the paper last week, advertising the pottery sales.. it was a jumbled mess of the same shtick, "So-and-So is having his pottery sale...." (next paragraph) "Blah blah is having her pottery sale..." . I heard it best... "All the potters are on the same page (in the newspaper)....but not on the same page". Interesting...

But anyways, our sale went great! It was just as good as last year...which is better then worse! It was nice to see so many happy faces enjoying the pots I'm so involved in now. Tara Wilson sold a good amount of work too..and some of the nicest pieces I've seen her make were there. And of favorites didn't sell. What's up with that? That always happens! Scott Walter came too and sold a ton of his beautifully carved wooden spoon and cutting boards. The sale looked great...and it's encouraging to know the community here is willing to support people like us. Thanks a lot!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Xmas time!

Hey y'all. The second to last glaze kiln was loaded last night and things are starting to heat up. Today is Wednesday, two days before our Christmas Sale opens...and if you've ever heard the phrase, "the calm before the storm"...then you know what I'm talking about. There are still so many things to get ready before the big night this Friday. Tara Wilson's kiln is getting unloaded tonight, tomorrow we're setting the house up.. and we're spreading the Free word these last few days. So if you happen to be around Helena this weekend..come see the craziness I've been involved in. I'll have some new posts about it as it all unfolds before my eyes. In the meantime... if you can re-post the picture, or tweet or facebook or whatever to get the word out..I'd so totally appreciate it!