Fall, and the Cycles of Pottery

The first day of fall and our New England weather is changing.  The leaves are just starting to show the first hints of color, and the nights are getting so cold.  For me the fall changes are not only in the weather, or the kids back at school.  The cycles of my pottery take a speedy turn into the busy season.  In late August pots are being made for the holiday sales and shows.  By mid September I want to see  those pots made in August glazed and ready for the coming wholesale orders.  Pottery classes also began this week, three full classes, three nights a week.  Plans for the Spring Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail are already being made… the nine potters got our heads together yesterday for our up-coming 10th anniversary tour this April.

Aah, cycles… it seems the older I get these cycles that mark my year come sooner and sooner.  Here are some photos of what is being made , some drying on the sunny table, others fresh from the kiln, and ready to be shared with the world.  I must also include the lovely entrance to my studio, with the zinnias, and morning glories in all their glory on the arbor!

50 Bowls ready for the kiln salt cellars kitchen canisters Kitchen Canisters, and Salt Cellars 22 keepsake urns Salt Cellar Amber Brown Studio Entrance September September Studio Garden




The 32nd Annual Pottery Seconds Sale

I can’t believe it’s already March and once again it’s time for the best bargain basement pottery seconds sale in New England!  Be there if you’re in the neighborhood!  Many fine potters, glassblowers and others!
32nd Annual Pottery & More Seconds Sale March 4 & 5
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Artspace’s 32nd Annual Pottery and More Seconds Sale will be held at Greenfield High School on Friday, March 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thirty-six artisans will be selling their wares that include handmade pottery, glass, jewelry, wood and prints.  This sale is sponsored by Artspace Community Arts Center in Greenfield and benefits art and music programs for children and adults, gallery exhibits and Artspace’s Strings for Kids program in the Greenfield Public Schools. At 1:45 on Saturday, there will be a drawing for door prizes.  At 1:30 p.m. there will be a brief string demonstration by students in the Strings for Kids program.

Admission to the sale is free and there is plenty of free parking.


One Cold Potter

The morning weather report… 15 below zero.  By the time my sons were waiting for the bus it was a balmy minus 10!

I got into the studio by 9:00 and did everything I could to avoid wedging the cold clay.  I did paper work, and loaded a bisque kiln.  My fellow potter friend Tom White called.  He was doing the same as me… everything to avoid the cold clay.  He said his throwing buckets had ice on the top of the water!  Tom and I both have nice finished studios, mine a renovated barn, with my chickens living below my studio.  I have a very nice wood pellet stove, so technically it should be fairly warm… but it took hours to warm today. 

Well by 10:00 I faced the clay.  As I wedged my clay my hands became numb.  After ten minutes I held them under warm water to defrost, they tingled for another ten minutes.  So I came back in the house frozen, and ate another warm blueberry muffin (that I made specifically to help warm the house), and had a cup of tea. 

Got back in the studio and finally threw for a couple of hours.  These past two weeks between snow storms, snow days with kids, and freezing arctic air, is paradoxically  reminding of a heat wave in the summer.  When there is a heat wave everything seems to stop.  I’m feeling the same way, my body is having such a hard time getting in sync with this weather extreme.  The amount of work that is getting done is very similar…  a snail’s pace.  It all just reminds me that we are not ultimately in control.   


minus 10 degrees, wearing three layers and a fleece to work!

Making New Throwing Bats

Projects I want to complete by the end of summer: 

New bats for my old Randall kickwheel.  A new bat system for my electric wheels.  Polyurethane all my old bats. 

Well I’m getting there!  Yesterday (before I sliced the palm of my hand on a kiln shelf… another story) my son Luke and I worked on cutting the bottom half of the disk to sit in the Randall wheel head. 

The other day I cut out bats via the Jeff Campana method using quarry tile for the actual throwing surface.  Luke and I spent a lot of time fitting the tiles into the bats… sanding that square perfectly for the tiles to fit in. 

I’m so happy my sons are getting old enough to work for me in a way that is really helpful.  They are at that age… 13 and 15, where they are too young to get a job, but old enough to do odd jobs for neighbors, etc.,  I am happy to pay them, and at the same time they are learning a bit about being a potter!

Studio Dogs in Summer

 Summer just moves at a different pace, everything seems to be slowing down around me… except me, this summer.     Oh how I wish I were a kid off for the summer, or like my studio dogs lazing around waiting for rabbits.

Here are the two cuties guarding my studio entrance on a sunny summer day.

Willow and Graham watching for rabbits.

Plates and my “Not So Little” Helper

My son Andrew doesn’t spend as much time in the studio as when he was little, (he is now 12) but he has this one job he still likes to do… after I make a bunch of plates, he happily gets the job of spinning that potter’s wheel scraping the excess off the bats.