Spring, Sprang, Sprung!

 

 

 

Getting outside at Afton State Park

Blue skies and fleet feet

 

I’ve decided to change up this month’s update a bit. I’m combining the March and April updates into one update. I’ve had a few requests for a weekend update and so the next update will be Sunday April 3 at 12:00 central. Changing the schedule gives me a little more leeway to get outside and recharge my batteries for my studio time! As a happy potter makes (more) happy pots!

 

 

 

The last box

I’m a sucker for a good deadline. Always pulling term papers out in the final hours before a due date or tweaking a project with moments to spare, I like the energy of sucking the marrow of every second I have, it’s almost better than coffee. In that spirit there is always “the last kiln”. Experience has taught me to start this last kiln a little earlier. Hot pots are hard to wrap and tend to melt bubble wrap. So, last night the last kiln was born, allowed to cool, wrapped and boxed. It’s now on the plane with me to California for Stitches West. The box and I are looking forward to seeing green things and liquid water. You can find us in booth 931!  

    

 

All the colors

 

Bike buttons!

Bike buttons!

I’m working on another collaboration, this time featuring the ever popular bike button. Here’s a  peek at some of the colors that will be available in the kit, online, and at my booth in California at Stitches West. I’m a sucker for a good rainbow. Maybe my next sweater should have one of every color?

Vases waiting for their bisque

Freshies

 

Vases waiting for their bisque

Vases waiting for their bisque

One of the surprising benefits of my summer arm injury has been a refocusing of my creative process. It was initially immensely frustrating to cope with being unable to make and carve pots. I had to embrace other ways of creating the pattern and play I so love about making and decorating pots. Now that I can throw again, with almost full capacity, I can take these ideas and transfer them into new pieces.

 

Rice Bowl inside view

Rice Bowl inside view

I would describe my thrown forms as clean, utilitarian and simple. These new pots allow for a bit more texture and surface dimension. The result is less “tight” and has a bit more “flow.” (Darn it is difficult to express thetactile in words) I am enjoying this step into uncharted territory, I hope you all do too!

Rice Bowl outside

Rice Bowl outside

 

 

 

Happy Holidays

 

Bennie at Cookie Fiesta

Bennie at Cookie Fiesta

Hope everyone has has a happy holiday season! We had a jam packed Christmas with four celebrations over two days. One of our traditions is the cookie Fiesta, which takes place at my mom’s house. This year it was a two day bonanza of all things butter and yum.  I believe we made fifteen different varieties of cookies, although with my current blood sugar levels I may have missed one or two.

Each year we try and reduce the number of cookies made, reducing the recipes down to the “it wouldn’t be the holidays without x.”  Mom is sneaky though, and sidesteps the rule by pre making additional varieties siting such excuses as, ” It was the paper’s best cookie of 2011″ , “the knitting ladies recommended this recipe” or “we needed more chocolate.” Hard to argue with. Over the years she clips more and more recipes becoming more like my Gram, her mom.

My gram had file cabinets, seriously FILE CABINETS of recipe clippings, booklets and cards. Hers ran the gamut from weird 1950’s vegetable aspics to artichoke appetizers with healthy helpings of “Microwave cookery” and “Pillsbury’s Blue Ribbon Winners” thrown in.  My mom seems to lean more toward the butter end of the spectrum with cookie and bar recipes. (brushes crumbs off key board) I support this trend.

So, in the spirit of cookie Fiesta, what is your favorite cookie or bar that you love around the holidays. I’m starting our research for 2016.

I raise a sugar cookie to traditions, family and friends. I hope you all have a fantastic finish to 2015!

Sugar cookies

Sugar cookies

Indigodragonfly

Indigodragonfly will be helping me keep the shelves full this weekend with her beautiful yarns. We’ve had a few great meeting of the minds before. Button parings and last year’s Troika?  Here’s a peek at some of the beauties that will be intermingled with all the pottery goods. Kim’s yarns are really fantastic to knit with and she has some stunning designs too. Pulley, upper right picture, will be available in special Rhinebeck kits. (When I finally got clearance to knit a few weeks ago, its the Chameleon sock that I picked up first!)

Methods

New method

I’ve been making pottery for many years now and like anything you’ve spent years doing, I’ve become quite entrenched in my method of making. The character of my pots in large part comes from my way of carving the designs and motifs on my hand thrown pottery.

After my forced rest from clay work this summer I had to reassess my method of making and find ways to reduce the amount of carving I had in my pottery.  Immensely frustrating to begin with,  eventually I found I could add designs and motifs in different ways to the clay surface. I  broke down each motif into smaller elements.  I used my carving time to create hand carved lino stamps to impress into the clay surface while freshly thrown. The color on these pots comes from a different layering of underglazes and glazes too. I think the spirit of my work is the same, the result is different.

Building stock for this show was a dance between throwing and carving for a bit and then switching to the new method.  I’m quite smitten with making these new pots. It’s brought back some play to the act of making pots. Many of these are coming along to the show,  along with many in the traditional method and style I’m known for.  I do hope you all like them.

 

 

 

Huzzah!

 

carving hand

grip is a magical thing

Up to my eyeballs in studio to-dos and writing always gets shoved to the bottom of the list. I’ll be doing my best to remedy this over the next few days. I have lots of things that each merit their own posting, so stand by.

After months of physical therapy and many rounds of treatments my hand has improved. I’m terribly pleased with this to say the least. I’ve been taking videos and photographs of my work progress to share with my hand therapists and they have been able to suggest many modifications to improve my process.  Just being able to work again and to hold tools is really a marvelous thing. Huzzah!

The photo is what my hand looks like after carving. The tools I use are made of aluminum and with repeated use the metal transfers onto my hand. I have foam grips and wraps on most of my tools to improve the stress on my joints as I carve, but I still end up with grey hands after a carving session. The work I’ll have at my next show (Rhinebeck!) will be a combination of pots some of the tried and true favorites, some modified methods of design and some work that has a combination of the two.

 

Intersection and Small bits, coming soon . . .

Modified Thumbs Up

Modified Thumbs Up, the thumb goes to the splash pad.

It’s been an interesting summer here in Potterville. A bike mishap coupled with my normal activities (biking, pottery, weightlifting, knitting etc) has made a masterful stew of inflammation with the oh so glamorous name Intersection Syndrome**. It’s a painful condition, and I’m immobilized with a splint.

Unfortunately this has all sorts of everyday repercussions. Mine is largely a life led one handed. One of the more frustrating challenges has been no wheel work. I have not been actively throwing, trimming or carving for a few months now. This has been quite the challenge. My hand therapists assure me I will be back to work soon, and so I remain positive. Somedays I am more succesful than others.

This has unfortunately affected my fall schedule and I am unable to attend one of my favorite events, The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival early this September. The event organizers have been kind enough to save my spot for 2016, and so I’ll be back next year. This schedule change will help me take some extra time to resume my work s l o w l y. I’m typically a bit of a tornado before a show, and my studio work will be more of a drip than a proper storm when it resumes.

It’s mind numbingly  s l o w this soft tissue healing. Most days I look forward to going to bed in the hopes that the following morning I’ll wake up and my hand will feel better. It’s an odd mental shift as I typically relish my first morning thought of, “What can I make today” Instead it has been,  “What can I do to safely mark time until I’m better?” There have been some silver linings, mostly more time with the kiddos and some longer than expected vacations. It’s really been mixed and has made me even more aware of how challenging it is for me to be idle.

pile o' pendants

pile o’ pendants

I have been amassing quite the selection of small bits, buttons, pendants and stitch markers in the studio. I’m in the process of prepping some of these for online sale. The photography has been slow going. Did you know this ENTIRE WORLD seems to be created for right handed folks? (All my SLR buttons and toggles are on the right.) Photo editing is also a hoot with your non dominant hand. Try it. It’s soo fun. (by fun I mean frustrating) We’ve taken to modifying most everything these days. Including my thumbs up.

I’m almost finished with the editing, and the posts will go live on my Etsy shop this Sunday after 12 noon Central. I’m not sending out a email notification for this small bits sale, as there will not be pots. I’ll be announcing it on Twitter, Ravelry and Instagram too!

intersection syndrome

**For those interested in the pathophisioloigy of Intersection syndrome here’s an excerpt from MedScape

“The condition has long been held to be caused by friction from the overlying extensor pollicis brevis (EPB) and abductor pollicis longus (APL) tendons.[8] Tensile and shearing stresses in the tendons and peritendinous tissues may lead to thickening, adhesions, and cellular proliferation. Subsequent swelling and proliferation of tenosynovium may cause pain, as these tissues are compressed within the unyielding second extensor compartment.”

 

Birch!

  
Every now and again I do something that makes me take my palm to my forehead and do my best Homer Simpson impression, “D’oh!” Why haven’t I done this before? This design is definitely one of those moments. Easily executed, and awfully pretty if I do say so myself, this new birch motif is sure to be on every form I make! They’ve always been amongst my favorite trees, and now I’ll be seeing them in my sleep.

Ps… I’ve been asked a lot lately what my next show is, and it is Wisconsin Sheep and Wool in September. My current studio work is being earmarked for an online update. I’m in the throes of summer revelry with the kiddos, so the date and time haven’t been scheduled yet. So, TBD!