Winter Months in my Massachusetts Studio

The long winter is almost over.  It’s been a busy one… a time of stocking up, and getting ready for wholesale orders, and spring shows.  Two big shows are coming soon… first the Worcester Pottery Invitational, and then the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail.  Both in April!

Here are some photos of what’s been going on in and around the studio these past couple of months.

mug order, ready for the kiln

mug order, ready for the kiln

mug order, fresh out of the kin.

mug order, fresh out of the kiln.

Owl in our field

Owl in our field

winter woods at dusk

winter woods at dusk

batter bowls drying

batter bowls drying

finished batter bowls

finished batter bowls

spoons for sugar jars

spoons for sugar jars

one of our hens flew the coop

one of our hens flew the coop

holiday sale

Studio entrance, winter welcome

Good Morning Sunshine

After a whole lot of rain here in the Northeast, the last week of heat has been welcome. 

Went out to the garden this morning and picked a handful of raspberries… just enough to fill my little mini hanging berry bowl!  I then sat at the back porch table to enjoy them with my morning tea and toast.

I love these little basket like bowls.  I”ve made this with the intention of it hanging on a hook near the sink for easy access.

 

mini hanging berry bow1 mini hanging berry bowl

Studio Entrance in Spring

I can show you a photo… but I wish I could somehow fill your sense of smell with the sweet scent of  lilacs that permeate my studio entrance.  The weather this spring must be perfect for lilacs here in Massachusetts, because everywhere I see lilac bushes they have abundant blooms!

lilacs at the arbor

I have made some signs for my entrance, finally.  One for the gate, so that you know it’s the studio, and not to come knocking at the house entrance.  The other is just a welcome sign at the door.  I made these just before the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail a couple of weeks ago.  I thought people might like the welcome sign, so made an extra which sold on the trail,  (also had an order for one).  Yesterday I made one for the order…  and some extra just in case,  maybe I’ll put them up on etsy!

After the RainEarly Spring Welcome

Then of course… my studio entrance is not complete without my studio dogs! 

Guard Dogs in Spring

Berry Baskets and Berry Bowls

The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail is two weeks away!  One of the items (a customer favorite) that I have been making are berry bowls and baskets.  Here are some drying on my work table, and a couple of finished ones. 

Berry Season is almost upon us!

Berry baskets and plates dryingdetail handle drying

cranberrybasketdetail

two split rim berry bowls

Teaching my Apprentice about Kiln Repair

Today my apprentice Gemma Farrell got her first look inside of the control panel of my L&L Kiln. I really feel it’s important that my apprentices know every aspect of the pottery business, plus walk away from the two years with great pots.  Gemma already has the great pots, (which I will show off in the next post.)  She just needs the biz end of it… the part they don’t teach you in art school.

Repairing an electric kiln

 

Gemma learning how to fix a kiln

It was definitely time to change the element wires and the thermocouples.  How did I know this you might ask…  well the first sign is that the element wires are starting to grey and flatten in areas… but still work.  The most notable reason to change them now, is that the kiln is taking longer and longer to fire… a sure sign it’s going to break down soon.  The other reason to really, really change them now is that I do not have a big show coming up this month. It seems that kilns tend to break down in the middle of a firing, right before an important show or the holiday season!   My next big show is the pottery trail at the end of April… and I better have the kiln heathly for all the firings coming up!

Whew, take a look at that old thermocouple compared to what it looks like new… won’t be long before that’s a goner.  It’s been over a hundred firings… when that time comes along I know it’s time to take a look at them!

therrmocouple new and old

Berry Baskets

I took some photos today of my newer berry bowls.  I was getting bored with the bowl part of it… needed to have a little more fun, so now they are berry baskets.

Here are some variations of photos from natural light with props to a grey/black background.  My new props are old finds from our barn.  Kinda going with the industrial/antique look, or cottage/chic… or as I like to call it, (when my feminine pots are juxtaposed with the old finds), industrial/fem.

This photo below is so different from the natural light and props… still nice, not as warm… but feels quiet and calming to me.

Olive Tray with Handles

You may have seen my asparagus trays in the past… I love those trays.  It’s a fun form to make and really serves its function well.  I wanted to make something for olives, so over the summer I kinda just shrunk the asparagus tray down.  The size and scale really work well, and they are as cute as can be.