29 June 2007

lining up

Just popping in to give you a glimpse of what I have been up to. This isn't even the half of it either! I wasn't kidding when I said I was making too much work for this upcoming sale. I don't know how it will all fit in the wee 10'x10' block of space I get to display my work. Like I said, I am thinking of piles and clusters. These vases are drying and still need to be bisque fired and glazed. I spent all day yesterday drawing and today looks like it will be more the same. I am on a tight schedule now to finish all of what I started. Looks like I will be working through the weekend.

28 June 2007

more, more, more

I am feeling a little badly these days...Have I been neglecting you? I have been kind of absent lately, haven't I ? The reason being I have been so busy making way too much work for the upcoming ACGA show on July 7th & 8th. I have this vision of piles of bowls, plates, platters and large groupings of vases. Everything stacked sky high and clustered together! I think my vision will be realized but it makes me a bad blogger for it.

The moon is starting to get full and I am in one of those wild eyed moods and my brain is on fire. I have been also obsessively been thinking about my upcoming show, that will be in November, at the Candy Store here in San Francisco. That may seem like a long time away, god forbid thinking about November in lovely June...but that is the way it is with this slow and tedious medium, we have to think way ahead of the game. I am kinda crawling out of my skin with my ideas for the show. Suffice to say it will be thematic with some color restrictions except for red! I'll keep you posted on its development as the time comes closer. Speaking of the Candy Store, my friend Annie Galvin is having a show there of 100 of her paintings and the opening is tonight from six until nine. Rumor has it margarita's will be served (we love rumors, don't we, especially when they are about margaritas!)

Also my very dear friend, confidant and most admired ceramic artist and business woman, Laura Zindel, will be my next guest blogger! You will want to check back for her post, she will be covering a topic which I think everyone will find very interesting. Plus we get to see some of Laura's gorgeous work as well. Oh and I can't leave out one more opening that you should definitely check out if you are in the area. My very good friend and partner in crime and crazy adventures, Jeanne Lorenz (think the two of us riding to Death Valley on her 1976 Honda 450 back when we were Art School students in 1992), is having a show at Bucheon Gallery which opens tomorrow, Friday June 29th. Jeanne is an amazing painter and the show is sure to be a good one. Hope to see you there!

24 June 2007

what inspires you

three small shallow bowls 8"x8"x3"

After a fabulous weekend away I am home with some new inspiration and load of work to finish before the weeks end. I had some enlightening conversations with this lovely bird about life and the creative spirit and what we can do to encourage it in everyone. Here is something that inspires me. What inspires you?

Thank you Ayumi and Renee for your guest posts! It is such a joy to have friends to share with in this creative journey.

21 June 2007

closer to hand

I am so excited to introduce this weeks guest blogger to you!
Back in December

Renee wrote to me
asking me what I call the dreaded question..."What is your process?" I wrote back, trying to gently couch the usual response I give to people who ask me to give missives of my process via email (I don't even teach workshops on my process...sad but true, I am a hoarder this way). Which is, thanks for writing, but sorry, I'm not gonna tell you. I hate doing this but as much as I believe in sharing I don't believe in sharing everything. I try to be nice, give a little something in return without giving away my secrets but never the less I know it pisses people off.

Renee, did not respond right away to my answer of "no". Then about a week later she did...She was honest in telling me that she felt sort of "miffed" as she put it but then thought about it a little and what I got in return was a very thoughtful and understanding response.

I was so impressed by Renee I thought to myself; Man, I wish this girl lived closer to me... She's my kinda lady! Bold enough to ask questions, strong enough to take the answers (even when they aren't what she wants to hear), honest enough to tell me what she thinks, thoughtful about the information and kind enough to tell me she understands.

Well the rest is now history. Renee and I exchange emails as often as our busy schedules allow. If we did live closer to one another, you would most definitely find me loitering about her studio, chatting, sharing stories of clay battles won and lost and maybe even sharing a few well guarded secrets.

Welcome aboard Renee! We are so lucky to have you.


First, a word of thanks and appreciation to Diana for being such a dedicated blogger.
Reading about the struggles and successes of a
fellow potter motivates me to work harder in the studio. At times,
living way out in West Virginia leaves me feeling alone in this crazy
pursuit of making pots in the 21st century. It's amazing how a few
well crafted words have spurred new thoughts and approaches to my

 Reading and responding to Diana's blog has given me the chance to
develop a dialogue with friends I have yet to meet. Thanks One
Blackbird for hosting guest bloggers like me. It is my hope that
these guest blogs will encourage other clay artists to create a
larger community of bloggers who know about all things clay.

I have been making pots since my freshman year of college. Viewing
my transcript would reveal a very eclectic education; I knew that
college life should be about learning all sorts of things. Much to
the chagrin of my mother, the one passion that has remained constant
is my love of clay. After leaving school, I was lucky enough to fall
into situations that facilitated my dream of being a potter and I
have had a clay studio for the past thirteen years. My current
studio is twenty paces out my back door and is painted a fetching
color of purple. When I look out at my perfect purple cottage, it
makes me smile.

While I have had this constant desire to make pots, I have also had moments (or even years!) of distraction. Along with making pots, my life has been full. I am now moving into a new place in my life. My son is nearing his sixteenth birthday and my studio, which was actually slated to be demolished before we purchased it, is finally in order. I now have more time and energy to invest in my work and I am quite excited to enter this new phase in my life.

Over the years, I have pursued several different venues for my
pottery. I have worried with craft fairs (the lost business cards,
missing wrapping paper and the curtain that would not stay in place),
gone the route of consignment (the errant dust bunny nestled in your
pots, people who know nothing about your craft in charge of selling
your work), moved on to work only with galleries (nice, but pricey).
Yes, each outlet has its own particular down side. These experiences
have lead me to look for a better way...

In 2001, I went to Haystack, where I was Jack Troy's teaching
assistant. He wisely advised the class not to overlook our local
market. I remember him saying, "Your neighbors will not let you
down." He assured us that galleries, no matter how lovely, come and
go. I knew this to be true, even for "star" potters--Jeff Shapiro
once told me a story about a gallery that perfectly illustrated
Jack's point. Jeff was asked to make coffee cups for a four star
gallery that was representing him on the east coast. He was so
honored, he gave the gallery owner a good price and got busy making
the cups. They were to be commemorative cups, stamped with the
opening date of the gallery. When he went to unload the kiln, the
glaze had pooled in the stamped area making it illegible. Again,
back to the wheel to make more. After all of this effort, the
gallery owner got what he wanted. Guess how the story ends?
Shortly after delivering the cups, the gallery let him know they no
longer wanted to represent him.

This story allowed me to see the strength in Jack's advice and
reminded me of a phrase I'd heard: "closer to hand." I find power in
these words, and when I am grappling to make a decision I ask myself,
what is closest to hand? It often clears my mind and allows me to
see what is right in front of me. My goal is to sell my work
locally, giving myself the pleasure of meeting the folks who want my
pottery in their lives. I plan to take this year to explore things
that are closer to hand for me...Check out my progress on my new
blog: The Pondering Potter.

19 June 2007

daisy chain

I feel like I have been away for ages! I have been a bit distracted by family visits and graduations these days but now that is all over. I was finally able to get back into my studio today. I always get the nicest feeling when I walk into my studio after I have been away. Like visiting a very dear friend. I love that feeling. I packed up orders, loaded the kilns, finished a large bowl, counted and recounted the work on my shelves as I am preparing for the annual Association of Clay and Glass Artists sale on July 8th & 9th. If you live in the Bay Area please come on by. I will have all kinds of work for sale plus there will be a whole bunch of other great ceramics and glass available by other talented artists as well.

The guest blog feature will happen again this Thursday! I am so excited to introduce my next blogger that I want it to be Thursday now!

Till then friends!

daisy chain bowl 10.5" x10.5" x4.5" available $320

12 June 2007

vacationing with ayumi

Did everyone have enough cake? I certainly did. After a few false starts I am very honored to present my first guest blogger, Ayumi Horie. It seems no matter how much we potters and ceramic people try to take some time off from our work we have a very difficult time staying away from anything clay.

For our vacation this year in
Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Malmo, Sweden, I promised my partner that I'd keep work related interests to a minimum so that I could take a break from work, but of course it wasn't so easy. I saw many things that I hadn't seen before and others things, like old pots that look one way in a book, look very different in person when the details can be seen and appreciated. Here are some ceramics that moved me in some way.

Our one predetermined ceramic event was to visit Delft to go to the opening of my Swedish friend, Jen Forsberg, at the Terra gallery. What a treat to be able to see these pieces in person! They are at once abstract and concrete in the way that a form can materialize based on what can kind of time can be spent in the making. You can see in these pieces the shorts spurts of focused time that went into them. Notice, too, how differently the black and white clays hold space around them.

This colander from the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam made me want to get back into the studio and bump up the scale of my work. Even though it's slumped in the middle, I love the smartness of the lip and the dumbness of those coiled handles. I don't mean dumb in a pejorative way, but mean it in the sense that it's the easiest (dumbest) solution to the problem of how to pick up a heavy, hot pot. Coils don't have much sculptural value in and of themselves, except if used in multiples, but used in the right way on the right pot, they can be the best, most unpretentious solution.

Yes, they were using clay frying pans back then!

I love this twist on the traditional posture of the piggy bank because it suits so well the experience of patiently sitting and waiting for money to accumulate. Made by Pol's Potten in Amsterdam.

Here's a tiled wall at the Paul Tetar Van Elven house in Delft with images of various people and children playing. What's so interesting here is that the wall was originally tiled because the black skirts of the servants were brushing up against the plaster walls making their skirts dusty and white. Tiling the walls of the narrow staircase with ceramic solved this situation.

Another instance of clever design in the Netherlands from Studio Frederick Roije. This Two of a Kind ring is meant to be broken by two people in order to make a bond. Of course, the two serrated stubs that are left might slice a finger off, but who's counting?

Lastly, I saw this excellent diorama at the Malmohus Castle in Malmo, Sweden and couldn't help but feel lucky that I don't have to sit on the ground, pinch work, or wear that frock. This is the first pottery diorama I've seen and would love to know of others.

Thanks to Diana for this invitation to share some things I loved on my summer vacation!

Thank you Ayumi! I am glad to not have to sit on the floor in that frock, pinching pots too.

11 June 2007

while we are waiting...

There are birthdays to celebrate, guest blogs to anticipate and a perfect San Francisco day to enjoy. So why don't you all come on over to my place for a little apricot cake! We can sit outside in my garden, eat cake and drink tea from handmade cups.

stay tuned

hand painted porcelain tiles (by me)

We are having some technical difficulties at the moment so Ayumi's guest blog appearance has been postponed (momentarily). It is soon to come once the glitches are ironed out. Stay tuned!

08 June 2007

pile up

Whoa, where did the week go? I have that feeling of too many things going on at once and my brain is a little dead because of it. I am speechless at the moment. No worries though, the words always come back and if they don't well then I'll just have someone else do the talking...

I wanted to do something special to celebrate my one year of blogging and I thought it would be nice to invite some other ceramic friends to contribute to this here blog. I put the word out and the guest entries are slowly starting to come in. All the folks I invited do not have blogs of their own (yet!) so it will be a first time hearing from them here in the bloggy world.

Speaking of friends, Whitney Smith, potter extraordinaire, is looking for some studio help. If you are an aspiring potter who lives in the Bay Area and want some hands on experience this is the place to get it! Check out the details here.

Check back on Monday...My first guest blogger will be Ayumi Horie! Oh, I am so excited!!

04 June 2007

a fond farewell

The west coast pottery gals, as Whitney likes to calls us, the Pottery Posse, had a farewell dinner for our friend and fellow potter Christa Assad.

me (left) and whitney (right) enjoying dinner

Our gatherings are always fun and we all have a chance to catch up with one another. There is always plenty of wine to drink along with a homemade meal by whomever is hosting the party, this time by the ever beautiful and talented Sara Paloma.

Sara lit just about every candle in her Ikea tea lite bag though most spectacular was Sara's Disco Ball, it sparkled and gleamed and cast spots of light all over her beautiful home making it seem like we were having dinner in the stars! (see my last post for a picture of the Disco Ball)

We bounced Sara's beautiful daughter on our knees and talked about all things pottery and as usual, boys. It never changes does it!?

Rae bouncing Sara's beautiful babe

talking shop left to right; Sara, Whitney, Rae & Christa

Christa is off to the Kansas City Art Institute to teach ceramics to some very lucky people. Christa is an amazing potter and well on her way to the Pottery Hall of Fame.

We are all so very happy for Christa but also sad as it is never easy to lose one of the Posse. Best of luck Christa, knock 'em dead! We sure will miss you! sniff, sniff.

01 June 2007

one year

Today marks the one year anniversary of my blog! When I started off writing this I had a little manifesto of rules that I adhered to...for a little while. A little list of things I would and would not do on my blog. You will be happy to know that I have broken all of them. It has been such an amazing year. Not only have I actually sat down and written over a hundred posts (see me patting myself on the back) but more importantly I have had the immense honor of having all of you come into my life. So thank you all for a great year!

my glowbowls all lit up, at friend sara paloma's, home