Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Open Studio - The First for My Little Pottery Studio

Photo by Richard Boucher
Photo by Richard Boucher


This past weekend, I joined with many other potters throughout the USA and world for National Clay Week. I had heard about this event which is in its second year on a podcast I listen to called Tales of a Red Clay Rambler. I hemmed and hawed over whether I should give it a try. Where I live - which is kind of the middle of nowhere - isn't the best place for an Open Studio event.

In my mind I said to myself "Oh no one will come. Why bother. My work isn't good enough..." Generally all the self doubt that artists have running around in their heads about taking a leap and putting yourself out there. But then I decided to go for it. I knew that - as a very deadline driven person - if I had a deadline to make a lot of pottery to show, I would pull it off. That is the confidence I have in myself when deadlines loom. I can make it happen even if I do it totally by myself and exhaust myself in the process. 

I did exhaust myself, I will admit. Besides making and finishing pottery I had to clean, organize, and make pretty my little pottery studio. I had to paint signs for the road so people could find the Little Pottery Studio in the middle of nowhere. I had to make fliers and post to social media. I had to send out newsletters and do blog posts to create excitement. I had to bake some snacks, purchase paper products and beverages, move tables, set up tablecloths, and display pottery outside, do glaze firings, price work..... The list went on and on. It's funny how when you or I get an idea and decide to do it - we may forget about all the pre-work that needs to happen. I say you or I because I'm sure some of you do this too. I also see how my mom was able to entertain so often when we were young - she had 5 helping hands to help. 

Saturday morning rolled around. The "event" didn't start until 11 so I had lots of time to organize the Lamb Farmstore, price lamb meat, sweep it out, un-load the kiln that had been cooling and then price the work. All this and I wasn't sure anyone would come. I asked my friend Alyssa if she could help for the day - not knowing if anyone would come and if her help would even be necessary. I had hoped that Julia would be able to help with sales and running the credit card sales on my phone but after some practice runs, we both decided it was too difficult for her. Her job would be to be nice to people. 

It was a two day event. It was an incredibly beautiful fall weekend with the hill behind my little pottery studio turning lovely autumn shades. Saturday was much slower in traffic than Sunday. In the time that no visitors were here, Alyssa and I cleaned greenware so it wasn't a lost day of work. I have all this greenware plus more to paint and glaze for the holidays. Greenware is the term for ceramics made out of clay that has not been fired. It is very fragile and can break easily if held incorrectly or treated roughly. 

Our first visitors were my friends Shalee, Emme, and Marlee who are long-time family friends. The girls were so excited to see the pottery studio. I gave them some clay and helped them try out my potter's wheel. They ended up covered in clay and their excitement was so contagious. It is one of the most precious memories I have of the weekend. 

Photo by Richard Boucher

Visitors came and went. It wasn't too busy that I couldn't spend time with each visitor. It made me feel good that many people enjoy my pottery enough to come out and support my work. My friend Richard came on Saturday with his wife Laurie and took some lovely photos - some of which are included here. Sadie, our Gt Pyrenees sheep guard dog was on great behavior as was Kate the Border Collie who couldn't stop eating bees (is that normal - she must have eaten 100!). The dogs were a hit with everyone. 

Photo by Richard Boucher

As were the sheep who wandered around in the background.

It was a very nice weekend - even if it was gobs of work. But seriously, isn't everything a lot of work to make it come out the way you plan it in your mind. Work is good - it keeps me grounded and focused. Photos from the weekend follow. I will think about celebrating National Clay Week next year. Over the next few weeks I have got to paint, decorate, and fire all the greenware pottery I have been throwing in order to have it ready for my Holiday Sale on December 2nd and 3rd. 

Thanks to everyone who came out and made my first Open Studio such a fun, memorable and successful weekend. XO 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sunflower Platter - From Inspiration to Finished Platter

First off - I hope I get to meet some of you at the Open Studio here at our farm this weekend. Hours are 11 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday. I will be demonstrating throwing on my wheel and share how I decorate my pottery with glazes. I am participating with other potters throughout the US and world for National Clay Week. More info here.

The sunflowers in my garden are almost done for the year. Here are some photos of those that are left. I love how they get heavy with seed and then start leaning over. Just gorgeous. 

I've been finding a lot of sunflower inspiration over the past couple weeks as I have worked on ceramics for this weekend's Open Studio. Here are some progress photos of a large sunflower platter. I'm so happy with how it turned out.  

Here it is - out of the kiln and photographed with the inspiration.  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Student Tiles + What I am Making + Open Studio This Weekend

The second Creative Retreat of 2017 here at Leyden Glen Farm featured a day of tile painting. After the students left, the tiles were bisque fired. Then I painted on a gloss glaze and fired them again. Here are all the tiles the students painted. 

The next two photos show the sets of tiles a little closer. Aren't they fantastic? I am so proud of everyone. 

This class was such a hit that I plan to run it again next year. 

Outside in the garden, the bees and butterflies are collecting pollen like crazy. The sunflowers are mostly gone for 2017 but there is still so much natural activity with all kinds of insects. Soon the seeds will mature and it will be a feast for the birds, squirrels and other rodents. 

In my studio, I've been working like the busy bees outside my windows. I will be joining in with clay artists throughout the US and world for National Clay Week. This Saturday and Sunday - October 14/15, my Little Pottery Studio will be open to the public from 11 to 4. I will be demonstrating how I make pottery on my wheel and selling some work. 

National Clay Week gave me an opportunity to gear up for lots of making for the upcoming holiday season. The sunflowers have been inspiring me and I've been decorating lots of pots with colorful blooms.  Here are some in process shots of work before it has been bisque or glaze fired. 

DIrections to our farm here.
Hours 11 to 4 on October 14 + 15
2 hours from Boston
3 1/2 hours from NYC
15 minutes from the I-91 Greenfield Exit #26 Rotary 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Ongoing Inspiration + Some New Handmade Mugs

It's really hard to stop taking photos of the sunflowers at this time of year. Every day the weather is different, the flowers have changed, new insects have moved in, the light shifts and changes, fog has setttled in, the air clears. All these things change everyday.  I sense the daily shifts. 

As the autumn weather creeps in, I know I don't have long to enjoy the warm rays of the sunlight. It all happens so fast, doesn't it? The leaves will change colors and then they will drop. Before I know it, the gray days of November will creep in. So I might as well keep enjoying the beautiful blooms, the weather while it is all here. 

Here are some more photos of the sunflowers as they are blooming and changing daily. Enjoy everyone. 

When I began decorating my ceramics in anticipation of the Open Studio I am hosting in Celebration of National Clay Week, I naturally started painting sunflowers. They are all around me - they might as well be on the pots too! Here's a few mugs using a sunflower theme in colors of blue and yellow. There are a couple more that were painted before the sunflower inspiration hit me. They will be available at my Open Studio on October 14/15 from 11 to 4. Directions to our farm here. NOTE: This is not a farmhouse tour - only a Studio Tour. There will be no toilet facilities - sorry.