It seems that the past year or so I have been photographing my work mainly for etsy and my facebook page which tends to be in an informal setting. I like to photo my work in this way for two reasons… one, because I love working with natural light in my photography… two, because it allows the viewer to see it in a way that is real to them, rather than a pot sitting on a white/grey/black background. There comes a time though when you need some new work formally photographed for shows, so this morning was that time.
One of my most favorite things to do when I am not making pots is to spend time in the garden. Today was a cold November day, the time to put straw over the garden beds, tend to the lettuce and spinach in the cold frames and greenhouse, and pick the tail end of the kale, leeks, brussel sprouts and carrots. Then just sit and watch the chickens… I can’t think of a better way to spend my Sunday away from the studio!
How does November slip in there so quickly? November has always been one of my favorite months of the year. I love the leaves beneath my feet and that sweet fragrance that emanates from them into the air with each step I take. I love Thanksgiving and the family gathering. Ahh… the family gathering, so special, and even more so as my birthday, or one of my two sisters birthdays inevitably seems to fall on Thanksgiving. Three of the six of us have birthdays the same week!
It has been ingrained in me that November is family time, and the time to transition, slow down, cozy in… fourteen years ago I had my first open studio/holiday sale… since then November has never been the same.
Don’t get me wrong I still love everything I mentioned above, now I’m just conflicted… 10-12 hour workdays just don’t equate with long walks, family time and cozying in… I still try… kinda like some people have their power naps, I have my power cozy.
So here is what I am gearing up for these next few weeks!
November 22nd & 23rd, The Makers Market at the Parlor Room. Northampton, MA
November 18th through December 14th, Wesleyan Potters 59th Annual Exhibit and Sale Middletown, CT
December 7th, Craft Show at Hosie & Sarah’s. Northampton, MA
And last but not least… my three day Open Studio/Holiday Sale! December 12th, 13th, 14th!
Goodies from the weekend firing. More to come!
Talk about a cool digital publishing platform… I just looked through Foodies of New England Magazine via ISSUU, an exciting way to view, clip and share photos and articles from magazines on social media.
Foodies of New England magazine featured my work, and the work of fellow potter friend, Tom White in their gorgeous Winter issue! The chef, and crew visited our studios back in May to do a cooking segment for their magazine/video social media. Elaine Pusateri Cowan the chef, brought her hot plate, ingredients and cooking utensils to do a special, “on the road show”. Donna Dufault the designer, and Scott Erb the photographer set up and stayed for a couple of hours. Food was made, then served up in my pots for a photo shoot. A delicious meal was shared afterwards!
Check out the Winter issue online through ISSUU, or buy it at Barnes and Noble and other news stands. It really is a beautifully photographed and well written , informative magazine!
A new book by Sumi von Dassow, In the Potter’s Kitchen, Handmade pots for Home-cooked Recipes was just released last week from Ceramics Arts Daily. It looks like a great book for people like me who love to cook and make pots! I have yet to get a copy, but I know I have at least one photo of my citrus juicers in it as you can see from the introduction on Ceramics Arts Daily.
Chapter 8: Preparation Ware
As with serving ware, almost any pot can be used to prepare food. A cook will grab a bowl to grate cheese into, a mug to whisk corn starch into broth, a saucer to mince a clove of garlic on. But some kinds of pots are designed to make certain preparation steps easier, and those pieces are what this chapter is about, including mixing bowls, egg separators, graters, and juicers.
The older I get the more I realize summer is way to short in New England. So the past two summers I have taken a break from teaching, and slowed down a bit on production… working only about 6-8 hours a day rather than 10-12 hours a day. I’ve spent many hours in the garden, on my bike, and just taking time to really see the beauty of nature. I have focused on renewing my creativity, and took some time to follow through with the ideas that have been accumulating in my sketchbook for the past year or so.
Here are some photos of a new urn form and the process; from drying shellac resist design, then glazed but not yet fired, to the finished fired urns. These new urn forms should be up on my website in the next few months.
As the years go by my studio seems to have gotten more and more crowded. The intention when I renovated our old barn in 2001 was to have a space for my wheel along with two other wheels to teach a few students a week. Since 2001 I have added three additional wheels, and another kiln. My classes have gone from one a week with three students, to three a week, with five students in each class. In 2010 I had an 12 x 10′ foot addition built onto the barn for a kiln room, and have managed to squeeze five wheels, and five work tables into the original barn/studio space. There are two small loft spaces, one is filled with packing materials and my stock of urns, the other has become my photography studio. The 800 square foot studio is filled to the brim to say the least.
These last few years I felt as though I was losing “my space” to my students. There were just too many wheels in an unplanned space, it was time to redesign, get rid of tables and wheels that were too big, get rid of chairs and purchase stools, and just streamline the space. This included selling two of my beloved potters wheels. One was my first wheel I bought with my babysitting money in the 12th grade, (I cried when that went out the door.) The other was a Randall kick wheel… (if you went to Alfred University you know how much that wheel means!) That Randall was great, but just too big for a teaching studio. I replaced these two wheels with three more Bailey Pottery Wheels, (love those wheels).
Luckily I really enjoy building things. I have enough patience for rough carpentry, but the detail of finished wood working doesn’t interest me… maybe it’s because I am all detailed out with my pottery!
For three weeks I kept myself very busy. I sold one 4 x 4 square work table, and built a 3 x 8′ work table. I then took down two large shelving units. I now had a work table to work on to build two new shelving units which fit better into the space. I took apart my 3 x 3 rolling board for recycling clay which was under the 4 x 4 old table, and built a new one to fit under the new table. I put up new corner shelves for speakers, (better surround sound… I need the good music while working). I then set the five potters wheels in their new space and built four work stations between the wheels. I set my stand-up Bailey wheel under a large window and built a little side shelf for easy access to my tools. Lastly I stretched canvas on the new work table and put up some new lighting!
One of the exciting things about the new studio design is that I have my own space, separate from the student space, and, at the same time the student space is now more spacious!