Farmer’s Market

May 26th, 2016

I had fun at the La Grange Farmer’s Market & Artisans on Saturday. I was pleased to have sold 8 dozen eggs last week. I did show some pottery, but my stock is pretty low. Over the next couple of weeks I plan to produce a kiln load or two. I’m looking forward to setting up there every Saturday (8 am to 1 pm) through October!

This Saturday I will bring my potter’s wheel and work while I am there. I will have 5 – 6 dozen eggs, catnip, mint and pottery.

To get reminders of this Saturday’s market, like my Facebook Event! See you there!

Rebooted! (again)

May 5th, 2016

Starting this summer, I will be setting up at La Grange Farmer’s Market & Artisans. I’m starting to spend more time in the studio. I’d like to have an outlet, but start small, with what I have now. I think this is the perfect opportunity for me! As I am ramping up with my clay art, I will be also selling eggs and produce. Come by and say hello!

Confused Past, “I AM” Present

July 29th, 2013

So many things have changed in my life since my last post. I would just like to re-introduce myself and say welcome to my blog!

I’ll start with my history in clay. I learned clay at Indiana University Southeast, under the excellent mentorship of John Guenther. I finished my degree in Fine Arts (concentrating in ceramics), planning to go on to complete an MFA – required to teach ceramics at the college level. That was my ultimate goal, being a college professor, just like my dear teacher.

I loved spending every waking moment in the studio. As such, I developed strong relationships with my peers. I loved becoming the go-to person in the studio. I loved mentoring. I loved my clay family. I loved building and firing kilns as well as formulating glazes. So… a part of me wishes I didn’t have to graduate!!

But graduate I did. I went on to the MFA program at the University of Memphis. It was such a culture shock! As the only graduate clay person, with NO clay peers, and no structure or order, I think the idea is that I would come in and reshape the place. But it seemed openly hostile. My new professor confirmed it when she admitted to me that the other arts professors had made bets that I wouldn’t last a year. At first I rose to the challenge, but the joy was gone, and with my parents’ health problems threatening their ability to support themselves, I had more reason to leave than to stay. So I left and returned home.

I made a half-hearted attempt at returning to IUS as an independent study student, but my way forward was no longer clear. I felt like an outsider. And I needed to figure out what to do for a career. I soon dropped out of clay altogether, feeling a failure. I wouldn’t touch clay for the next decade. I turned to developing the computer programming skills that I had mostly self-taught on the side while in college. I went on to develop websites, then web applications and mobile apps, databases, etc.

Having built my career, I suddenly wanted to get my hands in clay again. I had played around with miniatures, dabbled in gardening… learning about myself. I have really learned that I am a MAKER. I love making. making websites, making mobile apps, making artwork, making electronic circuits, and again making ceramics.

I have struggled most at attempting to define myself. What am I? Who am I? And then struggling to present myself “in a box” to whatever particular audience I was engaging. It was a poisoned existence – feeling as though I needed to concentrate my efforts, and be a “pure” something to be successful – as though I had to package myself for market.

So began my re-entry into clay. It was frightening. I had a real block there… I had put so much pressure on myself to PERFORM perfectly, to have the right ideas, the right approach, the right everything. And because I fancied earning a living at clay, there was the financial and work pressure as well. My head wasn’t screwed on right. My marriage was breaking down. I was finally able to understand my needs after all these years – and they didn’t fit my current life. So I changed my life.

It wasn’t only “the need to do clay” that molded my new life. But when this need reawakened in me, and it was so out-of-sync with my life at that moment, it revealed the changes that were required. I suppose you could say that the need to do clay was a spotlight, or maybe a doorway… and behind it the knowledge of me.

This was 3 years ago. I had just set up my first studio, in the basement of our rental home, but I took it down, moved out and began rebuilding my life as a single mom. It’s taken me this time, and a lot of work on myself and my life, to get this level of clarity. I did some work at Broadway Clay in Frankfort, Kentucky while living in an apartment, but I have just bought a house! And now I am setting up MY studio in MY house, MY way. For fun. For me. And this time around, I’m not worrying about needing to present myself a certain way or conform to any ideal.



So I’m just going to blog about making stuff. Some of it will be clay, but also electronics, miniatures, gardening, food… And I’m just going to have fun being me.

Color and Texture: Discovering My Aesthetic

June 13th, 2010

Lana Wilson -  Teapot

Lana Wilson builds using slabs of porcelain decorated with colored slips and texture.

I recently attended a Lana Wilson workshop, sponsored by Louisville Clay and hosted at the University of Louisville ceramic studio. She has been using colored slips in her work quite a bit recently.

As I’d been thinking a lot about using colored slips already, I dove right in and began mixing some up! I’m quite interested in experimenting with colors and textures to further develop my own aesthetic. I think color plays such an important role in the feeling of ceramic work. And this role is often a last consideration – trailing behind form, function and process.

So how do I want my work to feel? What colors will meet my aesthetic requirements? How do I want to create my work? Ceramic techniques are so much like treats at a candy store. I’d like to try them all! And each lends it’s own mark on the look of a piece. As an experimenter, I like to try things and see the results and choose what I like. And of course there are times when I know what I want the end result to be, and it’s a matter of figuring out what will get me there. This is one of those times.

As an exercise to help me to recognize what it is I’m after, I’ve recently browsed some Etsy Treasuries and selected items that appeal to me. Here are some of my favorites, chosen for overall feel, primarily related to color and texture.

Some words that I feel relate to every one of these are: serene, romantic, pretty. Many of the images evoke ideas of folklore, legend, myth. I have long had a fascination with stories, objects, places and occupations which have historically been given extra significance – often as an association to magic or mysticism, or as metaphor for an enduring idea or sentiment. The colors, softness and textures reinforce this.

WomanwiththeRedHair by Jenny Harmon Scott

I love the soft medium-tone neutrals for their pacifying effect. I love bronze and black deep-textural elements, for their mystery, and the way my hand wants to touch them. Their weight and depth lend a sense of permanence, strength and age. Glassy transparent color accents on a soft neutral or a dark texture lend a transcendental, otherworldly experience. I’ve always loved amber for it’s natural timelessness and geological reference. And copper has always elicited a fascination related to Celtic romance –  which includes my love of chestnut red hair.

I am experimenting with these combinations of colors in my own work, using my own reaction to the art shown here as a guide. Using matte surfaces for softness and glossy ones for accent, glossy colored accents on matte neutrals and dark textures. Softness and texture together. What do you love? What does it make you think of?

Glaze testing

March 27th, 2010

Stoneware and porcelain ceramic test tiles ready for glaze

Test tiles ready for glaze

Getting started again at a different temperature requires using all new clays and glazes. I’m testing some commercial glazes to give me a basic palette to work with while I formulate my own to fit my needs exactly.

So I roll out slabs of clay, cut them up into tiles and bevel the edges and cut a hole for hanging on a board later (as a display for reference) and stamp a pattern to test how the glaze is affected by texture. I make two sets: stoneware and porcelain. The color of the clay shows through glazes and will affect the color. And I want to test the fit on each clay body.

After applying the glaze to each tile, I applied the same red iron oxide and rutile again on a different area of the tile, because they will look a bit different whether above or below the glaze.

Porcelain and stoneware ceramic test tiles of Coyote glazes after firing

Test tiles after firing

I fired them like normal to cone 6 in my electric kiln. All of these are Coyote glazes. From the left, they are Black, Shino, Light Shino, Red Gold, Espresso Bean, Really Red, Gun Metal Green, Cedar Shino, Oatmeal and Oasis Blue. I’ve used the black with success on a pot. It’s a good solid glaze. Shino is nice, Light shino is a beautiful creamy glaze on porcelain. Red Gold looks wonderful in this test on stoneware, but not so nice on porcelain. Really Red looks awful as a whole tile, but I’m thinking it would be good as an accent glaze. Gun Metal Green is just beautiful on pots. I can’t recommend Cedar Shino at all. I would say the same about Oatmeal, except that where it borders Gun Metal Green some nice things happen: small blue “flames”. And Oasis Blue is really pretty. It’s quite even and seems very stable.

I’ve saved Espresso bean for last. You can see it’s crawled on the test tile. I’ll have to test this one again, applied more thinly. This particular glaze doesn’t want to stay on the pot if it’s applied at all thickly. It will crack and chip off very easily.

So here it is. I’ve already decided I like the Black, Shino, Gun Metal Green, and Light Shino. You can see these glazes on my pots already. Oasis Blue and Red Gold are maybes. I’m going to try them more on real pots. I’ve been saving them up until I’m confident I have good glazes to put them on.

Unglazed stoneware and porcelain pots waiting for glaze selection

Waiting for glaze

New site!

March 19th, 2010

I’ve been working hard getting things in order, thanks for viewing my hard work!