Monday, September 28, 2009

show is me.

Well, this was my first big show back, at the Matthews Art Fest, and I hope that it was just a cursed show and the economy isn't as crap as we all fear. Do not get me wrong, this is usually a great show to do. But all possible elements got together and conspired to make it absolutely ridiculously bad in many ways. Let' s get the bad out so we can get to the good.

First of all, the weather was unbelievably silly on Saturday. It's been 80 degrees most of the time lately, but Saturday we were suddenly transported to some harsher, colder, and wetter climate. It never got above 65 and kept a steady mist or drizzle going much of the day. Everything was damp, business cards curling inward, price stickers freeing themselves from earthly bonds, and sudden rivulets cascading down back and cleavage from the tops of the tents. We shivered in the dreary moistness and had fantasies of soup. Lucky me, there was a Thai place right where we were, so I got a steaming fiery plate of tofu, veggies, and cashew nuts courtesy of my loving husband. Sharon got the same thing upon seeing mine, minus the fiery. Then we almost came to impolite conversation when we started discussing the herb that was in our food. It was thai basil, Sharon, really it was. We actually had some customers, which made it hopeful. My display looked good, despite the craziness I went through to get it that way. Thursday was ridiculously busy, with running to pick up pots from Lark and Key, then going to lunch with Wren, then going to pick up printing supplies to do cards and bios, then going home and painting display boxes in the kitchen as she slept, then getting a card from my neighbor at 6:30 that she had lost my tablecloth for my third table, then running to the fabric store and trying to find a perfect match, then getting home and realizing that the white material was much too white, then tea staining the white material, then staying up until 1:00 am sewing another damnable tablecloth. [pant pant pant] I need to go back further, don't I? To the part about Ian being out of town all week and me having to pull all of my wax and glaze supplies into the house and setting up an impromptu glaze room in the kitchen to avoid getting killed in my studio at working night by myself since I had to get two firings done in one week. [pant pant pant] Ummm... and I'm done. Yes, the setup looked good. So good, in fact, that it won an award for best booth display! Yes, there was a lovely purple ribbon and a nice cushy check that went along with that honor! Yay for efforts getting rewarded!

Sunday was absolutely beautiful, sunny and warm with a lovely breeze. Though, not too much breeze that I feared the plates would come down. But where were the customers? [insert sound of crickets here] Not in my booth. Not in anyone else's, either. No, they were at the two other festivals that were occurring at the same blooming time. Matthews Art Fest, I love you so. Can you please switch to a different weekend? This one has gotten so full. I had two sales all day. Ouch. I did make three really great trades, though. One was a meditating lady for a fantastic om necklace. The other was a vase for a mug from Valerie Hawkins, who was taking lessons from the studio when I was apprenticing. Her things have grown into something gorgeous. Way to use a leaf impression, Valerie! At the end of the day, she traded me again, two cups for two cups, so I could give something to my best friend, sitting beside me coveting my mug all day. Hey, I am a unrepentant trader, not a ruthless one. My spoils:

And finally, I managed to finish this huge beastie before the show. It only took about three weeks to do. It is heavy as all get out, when compared to the rest of my stuff. But, I love it. And have put a swooningly high price tag on it. Because I can. And will probably not make another like it any time soon. I think...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Of apple pie and new things...

I, for some reason, have suddenly jumped into a few shows coming up in the next month. Which gives me very little time to get ready. Good thing I was already making things for Christmas, because I'm now deep in a festival of painting. Lots of painting. Tiny painting. Hee hee! So, whoever lives nearby or will be in NC can check me out at the Matthews Art Fest on the 26th and 27th of this month. I will be right beside the gazebo alongside my very dearest friend, photographer extraordinaire Sharon Augustyniak.

All these preparations and custom orders have put me on a fast schedule of firing, the latest of which finished last night. I put myself to the test of getting the latest mud team challenge entry finished and barely made it. I was taking pictures at eleven thirty last night and sweating bullets trying to think of something clever to say about a sake set. Clever doesn't come easily at certain times of day. Clever was woefully absent last night. I really liked how the set came out, though!

I had a few other things come out that were new and turned out well. I had done a treasury for etsy awhile back that featured yunomis, little drinking cups, and got inspired. Also, I have been doing large wide bowls with elaborately tall and sweeping bases. Put the two together, and this is what you get:

I also did a tiny tea set, inspired by Wren always wanting "Wren-sized things". She gets so excited about finding things that fit her perfectly, so I think she'll be getting a tea set this Christmas. Of course, I asked her which pattern she liked best, and she chose the night garden. Figures!

Speaking of the night garden, I managed to finish a ridiculously time consuming plate in that pattern to put in this firing and was so proud when I opened the kiln and saw how it came out.

Until I looked at it from the side and saw the warping. Oops.

Oh well. And finally, this week I made my first apple pie. You may be looking at me askance and thinking, why did it take you thirty-four years to bake an apple pie, but I do not come from an apple pie family. I came from a pecan pie family. Or strawberry in the summer. Wren and I went apple picking at a local farm and had a lot of questionable apples. Questionable because she picked all of them in about five minutes with me running after her with a camera. It was a photographable moment, but we didn't get the nicest apples. And, ever since we had a peach tree in our yard that I decided to sample from, I have a fear of nature in my fruit. Never again will I bite directly into a piece of fruit not from the grocery store. Ugh. Cutting first, please. Which led me to the idea of a pie. However, another reason I have never made an apple pie is, I don't really like them. Well, I do now. I did the whole thing, from the crust to the apples and it was delicious. In case you are mentally accusing me of type-A-ism, I was going to use a store bought crust, but they are full of lard and that freaks me out. And, I found, pie crusts are no harder to make than biscuits are and so much more delicious than the things from the frozen depths of the store. Behold the beautiful results. Yum!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Huffing and puffing and stretching...

I came to realization not long ago that I actually have shows coming up. And Christmas. And custom orders that I must get done. After the initial hyperventilating, I got to it. I started off trying to get a few more mugs churned out and actually tried throwing without my trusty ruler. I'm trying to get away from my production roots just a bit and decided that one way to do that is to just throw. Oh, now, you know that my anal retentive little soul wouldn't let me just rip off a chunk of clay and start going. No, no, no I still weighed the pieces and wedged them up before I started. Of course, they came out pretty much the same shape and size within a half inch. Hey, I tried.

I did get inspired through a video another potter shared on the etsy mud team forum, though, to actually use the tools I have. Here's the video of fellow potter Cory Lum throwing a gigantuan bowl: . I have to have everything just right, clay wise, to throw a giant bowl or things get ripply and ridgey and collapsy. I started a relatively sizable bowl today of about 6 pounds and had my doubts on it's success due to a softer reclaimed clay. Yep, the ridging and rippling and collapsing started trying to happen until I used the force and called upon the power of Cory Lum. And picked up a metal flexible potter's rib. And used it. It worked! Nice even curved sides! No collapsing! No ridginess! For those of you who have actually seen me work, you know I keep three things on my table: sponge, pointy stick, and needle tool. I actually use the sponge and the pointy stick. Sometimes a wooden rib comes in for the big 'uns. Adding a new tool to my repertoire is a big girl step for me. Hooray hooray hooray!

Did I say reclaimed clay? Yes, I did. Because I've been working through my bags of recycling slowly but surely. I'm so proud of myself. Especially since all of the spiders have fled to that area and like to poke their heads out menacingly when I come too close. I have a particularly heavy bat that I keep near to throw just in case one of them decides they can take me. Does this go against everything I believe? Hmm... some of those boogers can jump.

And, finally, I got the surprise of my week by winning the latest mud team challenge, which was a bottle challenge. I painted it with the completely ridiculously time consuming new pattern I invented for my big pots, which is a chrysanthemum swirl star pattern with a black background. Here it is hanging out with a fellow pot:

The other entries were so fantastic, I did not think I had a chance of winning, so the whole thing was flooring. Next challenge is a sake set, but I don't know how to top that last pattern! Hmm...