Last week, Princess was put into a box and shipped to the other side of North Dakota to the Plains Art Museum. The exhibit is called Red River Reciprocity: Contemporary Ceramics in Minnesota and North Dakota. This is a joint project between the Plains and the Northern Clay Center. Holy cow it sure is wonderful to be included in this event.
And look at this! My sculpture made it on the invitation!
Here’s a linky to the Plains.
And here’s the link to the Northern Clay Center.
The opening reception is Saturday, February 8th in Fargo, North Dakota. 2-4PM.
Had enough of the cold? Yes, me too. It occurred to me as I was clipping the Greyhound’s toenails that I have clipped the hound’s nails many times this winter. And that frequency of dog toenail clipping is directly proportional to how long the winter feels. Poor dogs. Long toenails equal not enough walks and exercise. Our world is bitter cold and icy this winter.
Then again, plenty of studio time to be had. And plenty of time to chew on bully sticks (the dogs, ahem, not me. Ew…)
Started a new toy poodle sculpture. Look closely and you’ll see his little maquette next to the sponge. The big/little guy has a tongue and some teeth now and less buggy eyes and is missing that slightly unnerving pipe coming out of his neck.
One benefit of winter is there are plenty of opportunities to try the mugs I’ve made. This is is my current favorite, funky rim and all. More mugs are on the agenda. Sale soon. Pinky swear.
Speaking of sales, the latest batch of memory boxes will be available in my online shop beginning Thursday, January 30th at Noon Eastern time. The photos and information are in the shop now if you’d like to view the boxes before the sale opens. You know the details: they are all one of a kind, handmade, individuals.
The fourth of July has passed? Already? How can that be?
Time zips along… faster than a speeding greyhound. Or something like that. Where are the long summer evenings I remember as a child? Does it feel like time is rolling faster than it used to? Like life is speeding up rather than slowing down?
For the month of June, I tracked my time. Really how much time am I at the computer? At the library job? Working in the studio? Working on non-studio art related things? I guessed. So full steam ahead, I downloaded an app on my iPhone and pledged to track every detail of the entire month. I discovered I work about 60 hours a week – thats studio + non-studio art related + library job.
I was surprised by this number. This month didn’t include time sucking activities like an exhibit or event. “I’m tired,” I thought.
And then, like magic, the universe provided a break. Long ago I decided to have a dental implant installed(?) to fill the gap where my left eye tooth used to be. I put this off. For years. Then I decided to buck up, let’s move this thing along, stop being a chicken. I talked to people with dental implants. No problem. Mild discomfort. I went ahead with the procedure.
And thanks to some funky complications – hello, sinuses, you are the bullies on my elementary school playground – I’ve gotten my break. Turns out, I hate breaks. I want to work. I love work.
So small tasks and more drugs. Why does everything have to be a learning experience?
There is an idea eating my brain today. Perfection.
It started this morning. I packed an order and I wasn’t too pleased with myself since it contained a tile that I’d forgotten to send with a previous order. Somewhat embarrassed I wrapped the tile in bubble wrap. It was a small tile so required minimal amount of time and money to ship it. Nothing compared to a memory box. My head latched on to the time and cost spent anyway. When I discovered that I didn’t have the tiles to fill the next order, my head shifted into second gear. We were off.
“Why do I mess things up?” Shifting into third.
“Why don’t I have a better system? Why do I make so many things that are so many different sizes requiring so many different sized shipping boxes?” Fourth gear.
“Stupid. You’ve been at this awhile. You should have figured out a better storage/inventory/web store/restocking/workflow method by now.” Fifth gear.
My internal critic is sailing down the road in a red convertible with the top down, singing her favorite song at the top of her lungs.
Everything she says is correct. She’s right, except for the stupid part since I, too, know I need a better system, that some of my work habits are counterproductive, that there is efficiency to be found. The sketches of storage systems, packing stations, and work-flow options litter my sketchbook. I know that I should hire someone to be my pack and ship person since time is precious and studio time is even more so. I know I need to have some continuity with my glazes and that time has come to retire 95% of the tile designs and come up with new, exciting work. I know I need a big studio clean out that is going to take a tag sale or seconds sale or a visit from Mr. Hammer. I know I need buy that heavyweight shelving for both the studio and the storage room, set up the tables dedicated for packing and shipping, and get that spare computer set up with the scale and printer so I don’t have to handle the packed boxes so many times.
I also know that when my internal critic shows up it is indicative of one thing: I’m getting closer. I am making progress. Can’t let the fear stop me now. Must. Keep. Going.
This will be true too: no system is perfect. I need to learn to let some things go.
I know I need to write a blog post about how the mugs in the shop will go “live” and be available for sale at 7PM Central time tonight. That is number one on the “to do” list.
Also, I need to finish glazing the tiles for the firing on Wednesday. Then there is the raku firing on Friday. And I can’t forget the appointment with the dentist on Wednesday. They changed the time. Can’t forget that either. I should remember to write it on the calendar.
I wish I had some post-it notes next to the computer. They would be so handy there. I must remember to buy some the next time I’m at the big-box store.
Read in the newspaper today the new Ace Hardware is opening on Monday. I love hardware stores. The only hardware store in town closed down about a year ago. I need a chuck key for my 3/8 drill. I should put that on the list.
I also need to order the tie-dye supplies for the Summer Library Challenge kick-off party. I’ve got the new book bags designed and ordered. I should design the poster, submit advertisements to the local paper and put an ad on the Community calendar on the radio. Also the events calendar for June and July’s library programs needs to be finalized. The library budget meetings are coming up too. Didn’t we just do that?
I should start saving for a new kiln. I could sell this one, buy one with a different shape that would fit my work better. I wish bigceramicstore.com had a wish list/shopping list function.
I wonder how the reduction firing turned out. I will find out on friday at the raku firing. I wonder if my sleeping greyhound and rabbits will look good raku fired? Maybe I want a raku kiln. I know I want a gas kiln. I want every kiln.
So 7PM Central time is 8Pm Eastern Time and 6PM Mountain time. All the mugs are in the shop now so all I have to do it flip the switch and they’ll be ready to go.
I’m going to write note…
Kiln full of mugs is cooling. This is the hardest part. Waiting.
These are the best mugs I have made so far. Or they were when I put them into the kiln. Glaze firing is a major factor in the outcome. I want to be pleased. This is a problem. Between now and tomorrow afternoon when the kiln is cool enough to open I’ve got to lose my expectations.
But I so so want them to turn out well! The shapes are more confident. The designs are fresh. Overall the mugs should be larger too. Questions answered tomorrow.
The kiln is cooling. By tomorrow afternoon the temperature inside the kiln will be within the optimum range. I will be waiting – primed and ready to open the kiln and see what survived. This is the initial, bisque firing. The mugs shrink a little during this firing, a whole bunch in the next, glaze firing.
Hoping to get the mugs glazed and fired again this week. Here are a few mugs from the previous firing. They will be available in the next mug sale.
Scottish Deerhound with blue polka dots.
If you would like to be notified by email when the upcoming sales I’ve got a mailing list here.
The link takes you to a page with a simple form, like the image above. I won’t sell your address or do anything other than let you know about upcoming sales. Scout’s honor.
Spent Saturday morning with a friend hiking around the north edge of the Cave Hills in South Dakota. I was seeking photographs of the flower the people around here call crocus (pasque flower) for future mugs or whatnot, as well as a little respite from my busy little life.
Lest you think from the photos I post on this blog that the entire region is flat, treeless prairie, I submit these photos. Was a great morning for a hike…
Beautiful vista. Gorgeous sky.
Why do trees grow on rocks, yet not in my backyard?
Aren’t these rocks amazing? I wish I could replicate these colors and texture in a glaze.
And then the
crocus Pasque flowers appeared -covering the hillsides. Like so much of North/South Dakota, the beauty is there. You’re going to have to take some time to see it, however.
Weatherman says 70 degrees today. Perfect to open the studio’s windows and doors to give the place a good clean out. I know the top of the work table is there… someplace. It’s been a good five months of working here and there, not doing a good job of cleaning up. My studio doesn’t have plumbing, so I haul buckets. I get lazy. The studio suffers.
This cabinet must be cleaned out. It’s going to be storage space for the new glaze chemicals I’ve purchased. I have never had much interest in formulating my own glazes for the memory boxes and tiles until taking this pottery class. We mixed our own glaze last month. Interesting stuff. I want to begin with the memory boxes – coming up with my own formula, testing, and whatnot. A clean studio is a necessity.
What a mess. Bags of clay needing to be pugged, mugs for the next sale, the old slab roller doubling as a catch all table — all these things need attention. First things need to be sorted. Better get to it before I lose my motivation.
Poor blog. It ranks low on the prioritized “to do” list. The blog is one of my favorite things to do, yet the ease of sharing on Facebook leaves the blog bare. Darn it. Must work on this. Here is a recap of images of what has been going on since that last blog post in February (!)
Mr. Hammer meets some third quality mugs.
Sleeping Greyhound, upsidedown.
Sleeping Greyhound, right side up.
Large vase collaboration with Andrew McGarva.
Big Bunny + Running Greyhound mugs.
Big mug. Not fired yet. How much will it shrink? (About 16%)
More bunny mugs.
Throwing day shoes.
Bunny mug with tan polka dots – finished.
Snow. Snow. Snow.
When human and Greyhound collaborate.
Finished red polka dots.
Unfinished red polka dots.
Running hound with tan stripes. Unfired.
Runner hound sculpture.
I love grain bins.
Vein. I love Greyhounds.
Of course I’m going to have to make them available sometime… I guess now is that time. Mug time.
I’ve been photographing and measuring, then adding them to my online shop. They’ll go live on Sunday, February 17 at 5PM CST.
Looking over them all… and there are more that I didn’t photograph yet… I am hoping they don’t look too schizophrenic. Or maybe it’s ok that they do. These mugs are evidence of my learning process. That process includes exploring shape, handles, and surface.
So the mugs in the shop are one of a kind. No sets. No multiples. I hope to get to that level in my development but I’m not there yet. All are dishwasher safe, lead-free glazes, microwave safe. Through the process of photographing the finished mugs, there are a few shapes and handles that stand out as pleasing to me. Editing can be a good thing.
We’ll see what happens. This could get interesting.