Monday, June 30, 2008

too hot to do anything

I AM NOT COMPLAINING! It actually isn't too hot until around 3:30 when my studio focuses the sunlight and becomes a bit of an oven. So prior to the crazy heat time I did get a lot done. My favorite task is always unloading a kiln after a glaze firing. I was very happy with everything that came out of my kiln today. The bowls (above and below) are exactly what I was hoping they would be.

The matte turquoise runs beautifully. I also had some in and out of town customers to chat with while I was throwing tumblers. I have to do some more work on them tomorrow and then you will get a photograph.

My lovely friend Lori brought me some flowers from her garden so I am sending on the pictures to brighten your day.

A view of the studio through the wildflowers.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

summer is finally here!

I have no photos of summer to show you. Imagine 32 degrees and scorching sunshine. It is beautiful and make me think we need a swimming pool. Above is a picture of the water jugs with their handles attached. They are still in the damp cupboard and under plastic with all this dry heat.

I unloaded a decal firing this morning and got all the orders organized to head out the door. This is a set of baby dishes that will be heading to Australia soon.

Here are some new neclaces that will be in my shop and at the Farmer's Market. Let me know if you want to see them on Esty and I will get to it sooner rather than later. I also threw some more medium bowls today and had quite a few customers. The summer traffic has arrived, I hope it keeps up.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

got it in gear again

I am always on the lookout for new things to impress into clay and I have been having some trouble with my letter stamps. Luckily I followed my friend into the scrapbooking shop yesterday and found myself some new letter stamps.

Then we headed to Bacchus Books and Cafe and had lunch on the patio overlooking the fast and full Kicking Horse River.

These were pulled out of the kiln last night. I LOVE them. This is my favorite new turquoise glaze. I think I need to focus on matte glazes again.

This is a new glaze, I have named it night sky. It looks richer in the sunlight which in noticeably absent today.

A closeup of the mug. Busy day today. Appointments to confirm and cancel, decals to apply and fire, more pots to glaze, bottoms to be sanded, pots to be priced and put out on the shelves. Nice to have a few customers today and an order picked up. The shop will be closed tomorrow as I am in Calgary for the day. Going to buy wedding shoes for the family.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

honestly, i need a kick in the ass

More puttering about today. Running errands all morning and then not really get much accomplished this afternoon in the studio. I stopped at the Chamber of Commerce to pick up the new Kicking Horse Mercatile brochures. They look great, I am in them and a photo of my work is on the cover. I also grabbed some farmer's market brochures. This starts on the first Wednesday in July and we ae trying to spread the word. So if you are in Golden on a Wednesday this summer from 2-7pm, please stop by.

Someone pointed out that our wedding party is in a month and a half and that I had better get those invitations mailed out, so I spent a fair amount of time getting those ready to go.

This beautiful dragon is the work of a very special friend of mine. He is a wee bit excited about his dragon and we talk about it each time I see him. The dragon is drying VERY slowly and for a VERY long time as he is a bit thick in places and I don't want any explosions.

Tuesday's photo is of a very beautiful flowering shrub in my front garden.

A little sunshine and happiness for you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

some thoughts on production

A busy day today. I have a bunch of orders heading out the door on Thursday (and by bunch of orders I mean 3 of varying size). They were glazed today and are now in the kiln working their magic.

Mugs with bright insides and clear outsides. I think they are fun for spring and summer and the bright colours have been very popular.

Vessels waiting for handles. I like this water jug form, very loose.

Ok, here are some thoughts on throwing, trimming and production work. I have a small studio and so I try to minimize each process and step so that it all takes less time before it makes it onto the gallery shelves and out the door. The places that I do not try to take many shortcuts is in the planning and in the glazing. I have learned that these things need patience and planning.

So here is my typical process when planning and executing a new mug form: I look at what has sold well in the past, comments that people have made, my own mug preferences and my own throwing and design strengths. I might sketch a few shapes, but I am much more likely to visualize what I want and just head to the wheel. I use a standard weight for my mugs as this simplifies things. My clay comes in 22# blocks and this is divided into 16 balls. I throw the form and work on it until it is the shape that I am looking for. Then I trim off as much as possible using a japanese trimming tool whose name I don't know, but we call Margaret. I throw thin and my goal is to do no trimming after the initial throwing and trimming. I use a measuring tape to assess the height and width and then I throw the rest of the mugs to match. They are thrown on tiles and cut off with a wire, then the entire tile is removed. These go into the damp cupboard for two days (depending on what else is in the cupboard and how hot/dry it is outside). Then I pull handles and let them set up, I don't pull off the mug. It makes me nervous. I remove the mugs from the clay tiles that they have been thrown on and roll the bottoms to smooth and clean the edge. I stamp them with my dragonfly and the Golden, B.C. stamps. I attach the handles and then they go back into the damp cupboard for until they are dry. The clay I am using really likes to separate and crack. Drying slowly is very important. Once they are dry they are cleaned up in preparation for the bisque firing. I plan what kind of glaze will be used on each form before throwing as this makes a big difference in shape and texture. The only forms that I consistently trim when leather hard are bowls. I like a tall and defined foot so I enjoy trimming these and it seems worth the effort and time.

busy weekend

Kuljit and Trevor are married.

It was sunny and beautiful and very, very colourful.

Fancy clothing doesn't stop us from playing horseshoes.

I had a camera attached to my face for the entire day. But, because I don't use a flash, I was free to dance all night.

Playing volleyball in a sari. It is as hard as it looks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

cactus, coffee mugs and an indian wedding

Wednesday's photo is of the most beautiful flowering cactus growing in front of a local building. The garden is full of succelents and cacti and they are in full bloom. Very beautiful.

I don't know what this is called, anyone?

Today I played busy catch-up, try to get ahead of the game. I unloaded my bisque kiln, waxed all the pot bottoms, wedged up and threw some new mug forms and a few water pitcher orders. I reclaimed some clay, trimmed the large bowls, checked email, blogs, posted to my blog, checked facebook (wee addiction), made a bunch of phone calls, re-organized my studio calendar, and watered all of my gardens.

The studio will be closed for the next two days as my friend is getting married and this means much visiting and dancing and drinking of red wine. And really, really great indian food. I will post photos next week, hopefully my sari will stay put (I am cheating with safety pins). Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I am finding it a little difficult to get back in the swing of things after so much time off. I feel like I need a little holiday from my holiday. However that is not to occur now as I am holidaying a lot in August so must wait. I perused the contract for the new gift gallery for Kicking Horse Culture and packed up some of my work.

I threw some large bowls as they seem to fly out of the gallery. This is my highly technical and organized dimensions and weight chart. I just add things as I make them. I find it really handy regarding the weight to start with and indispensable when I need to make a special order to match something that has already been made.

This is all the stoneware clay I have left. It sort of just disappeared without me noticing. Good thing I am going to Calgary next week. I will focus on porcelain until then.

This is the shape of the new large bowl. It is 8 inches tall and 10 inches across. I only threw 4 as I wanted to save the rest of the stoneware for some water jugs.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

a busy weekend with no pottery making in sight

My friend Kuljit of the famous Jita's Cafe is getting married on Friday. We had her party on Sunday. We belly danced and hennaed. It was fun.

My mother and I (mostly my mother) sewed a lot. The dresses are beautiful and done.

My daughters graduated from Elementary school.

High School here they come!

In between all of these festivities, they played in their soccer tournament and they played HARD.

A busy and wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

visiting and sewing

Sleeping critters.

Apple blossems.

Flower girl dresses.

My parents are visiting and my Mom and I are busy sewing. See you in a few days.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

pretty, pretty turquoise

Today was my favorite kind of day. It was a day that started with unloading a glaze firing. I am thrilled with almost everything that came out of the kiln today.

New mug shapes, colour and designs.

Crawly vines and turqoise glaze.

One of the bowls glazed in turquoise, clear and now waiting for a decal.

The icky bits from the kiln would be the four bowls that ended up cobalt blue when they should have been oil spot. How did that happen you wonder? It happened because SOMEONE was in a hurry to glaze and load a kiln and SOMEONE didn't read the labels on the glaze bucket. I have no studio assistant, so that SOMEONE was me. It is my own fault, and I HATE cobalt blue. I have hidden the offending bowls away and I will revisit them another time.

Today I also: ran a million shop errands, bank, mail, sanded pot bottoms, affixed price stickers, artfully arranged shelves, dusted, posted to my blog, took more photos, thought about how I need update my webpage, glazed some pots (carefully and slowly), packed up more student work, talked to customers, sold things, checked items in damp cupboard and revisited my production schedule for June/July/August.

i got it! (and i need your help)

Oh happy day. I was a successful applicant for a project grant from the CKCA. It is a small grant, but I am not one to look a grant horse in the mouth. I have been lucky with grants in my short career. This is the third that I have received. I applied for the VADA grant last year and was very disappointed when I did not get it (it was a BIG one). I had high hopes for my application this year but sadly the main organization is having funding issues itself and the granting process has been put on hold.

So onward to discuss my successful grant and the project for which is was granted:
The title is Woman as Vessel - form and function
Those who know me, know that my shows explore gender issues, body image, advertising and the effect that media has on our view of ourselves. The brief summary provided to the granting body was: 30 to 40 ceramic vessels exploring the theme of woman as a vessel or a metaphor for a vessel, both positive and negative associations.
My intention is to create of body of functional work that explores this theme using image and text.

So here is the part where you come in. For my last two shows I have requested that people become involved in the project by sending me their thoughts and related articles and images that they come across or may have been holding onto. I take it all and in various ways it becomes part of the project. This can take many forms. For the first project "Written on the Body" I had over 100 woman answer a survey for me regarding their experiences and thoughts about media and body image. These were distilled into text that covered the bodies of 18 different sculptural pieces. For my most recent show "We've Come a Long Way Baby?", people sent in images and thoughts about how advertising has and hasn't changed regarding women's roles in society.

So my request to you? Please think about how you feel about the theme of woman as vessel. Please leave a comment or email me with "Woman as Vessel" in the subject line. I would like your thoughts, comments, images and text. I know I have come across this idea on an almost daily basis. Now I just need to collect all the instances and explore.


road trip

Hmmm, where could I be driving to? I would love to tell you that I was driving to Paris to see the French Open but you know I live in Canada so that is impossible. Almost as good though, I went to Rossland to watch the French Open with my friend and to visit her adorable town.

She has left Golden for the greener pastures of Rossland B.C. and is busy selling homes. Beautiful, old homes. I had major home envy when I wandered around. Of course I am trying to get away from wintery weather places and eventually head to the Coast, so purchasing in Rossland makes no sense for me. Not that I didn't have about a million little fantasies about how I would fix up my little heritage gem should I be so lucky.

She herself has created a lovely little nest in her new but very old home. I swooned over the high ceilings, kitchen cupboards and stove.

We went on many walks and were joined by some very enthusiastic stick chasers. Sorry Rookie, but I don't think I can throw that for you...

This is the view of Rossland from the top of one of the local hikes. It is a very friendly and picturesque little town. Perhaps they need a local potter...