December 2015 Newsletter

First, I would like to thank everyone who helped make my Open House such a success and extend a warm welcome to my new customers. A “cottage industry” like mine depends on word of mouth and I appreciate the referrals that friends have made on my behalf.

The last firing of the year took place this week. As a departure from my usual newsletters, I’m going to add prices in case anyone has last minute gifts to buy since there’s a bit of lag time between the newsletter and the pieces appearing on my website. If you see a piece that you want either email at earthandwaterpottery@gmail.com or call me at 607-722-4815.

There were two new pieces in this firing. Both sold out at my Open House last month so I believe they will be very popular. If you want one of these, don’t hesitate because I only had a couple of each in this firing.

The first new item is a bacon cooker. One drapes the slices over the rim, cover with a paper towel and microwave for approximately a minute a slice. Remember, that microwaves vary so be sure to watch it the first time. The grease drains to the bottom of both sides of the cylinder and you can pour it out for easy cleaning, as there’s a drain hole in the cylinder and a spout in the pan. The smaller one (blue) is about 3” high and 5” wide and is $36 and the larger one (turquoise) is about 4” high and 6” wide $42. Based on the activity at the Open House, it doesn’t appear that the recent findings on eating processed meats has stopped many from eating bacon! There were also orders taken for more. I guess like anything else, moderation is the key.

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The other new item is a bundt cake pan. They are $38.

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This firing contained a few garlic keepers. They are $30 each.  Only the one on the left remains.

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There were three of the ever-popular French Butter Keepers. They are also $30. The blue one in the center is spoken for.

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Remember, first come, first served on any orders from this selection and there’s not enough time for making new pieces and getting them to you by Christmas.  In looking at these pictures, I think the next piece of equipment I buy has to be a photography lamp to assure a true color rendition.  There’s too much yellow, even after editing.

I want to thank everyone for their support, especially this year when I was sidelined getting another new knee. I’m gradually becoming bionic now with three store bought joints! I can’t tell you how great it was to get back to “normal” and being able to sit at the wheel, which is my favorite part of the process. I’m looking forward to trying my black clay and envision some marbleized pieces using both black and white clays and clear glazes. I have some other things I want to try and, of course, am open to any ideas you may have. Some of my pieces came about by suggestions from you. I never heard of a kitchen compost keeper till one was requested! I’ve sold a few as a result of that suggestion.  Your ideas are another way for Earth and Water Pottery to grow.  Keep ’em coming and thanks for the ones already shared.

In closing I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous season if you celebrate another holiday this time of the year. Let’s hope the New Year brings us health, happiness, peace . . . and lots of pots!!!

All the best,
Lauren

Christmas Season 2014

Greetings –

As Christmas fast approaches, we at Earth and Water Pottery pause to wish all of our friends a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. We hope the new year brings you health, happiness and prosperity.

We look forward to bringing you new pieces, new techniques and old favorites as well. It’s been our pleasure to serve you through the years and hope we can continue to meet your needs, whether for gifts or home use.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

The Staff at Earth and Water Pottery

Lauren

Lauren

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Rafer, VP Security

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Nola, VP Public Relations

 

October 2014 Newsletter

Greeetings –

Happy Fall to everyone!  We’ve been especially lucky here in Upstate New York this season. We’ve had lovely warm, dry days and crisp nights. This allowed the colors to hang around longer. After my October firing, I got a virus on my laptop and it was in ICU getting everything removed and replaced. It’s like having a new computer again.  So, once again, the newsletter is a bit late getting out.

The firing seems so long ago as I’m almost ready for another! If I’m lucky, I can squeeze it in between now and my November 9 Open House.

The last firing had a new piece – earring holders. I decided to put a post in the center so rings can be held as well. I made one larger as a test, thinking that perhaps a couple bracelets could be tossed in as well. If you have younger women or teens on your shopping list, these would be useful gifts.  The smaller one is 6″ across and the larger is 8″.  Both have the same profile.  There are more drying on the shelf that will be in the next firing.

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I am still experimenting with various glaze combinations on the square plates that I like so much. A couple were in the kiln this time and I was pleased with the results. They are quite similar, even though different glazes were used with the cream glaze I’ve been keeping as a constant.  Once I determine the best combination – or the post popular – I am considering making place settings.  I need to get a small mold to make the salad plate.

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Included is a glaze combination on a small serving tray that I liked, although I can’t sell it because I caught the corner and broke it before it was fired. I get to keep that. Handles were added, thinking that it could be more functional with them.  You can see the blemish in the lower right corner.  I sprayed black from thick to thin and covered it with a clear glaze.

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Of course there were a couple of piggy banks. These I left natural, except for the pink ears and tail. I have some that are drying and the clay I’m using now will produce speckles so we’ll see how they look next month. I plan to leave one of them with a clear glaze and just do the ears but the rest will be glazed and maybe I’ll put polka dots on one or two.  Once I get those out of the kiln, I’ll be in touch with all of you who have been patiently waiting for me to get the “bugs” out of the creation of piggy banks.  That sure was a challenge every step of the way!  

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This firing also had three sets of oil and vinegar cruets, another popular gift item. They vary in size and will be priced accordingly.  The tall ones are 12″ and the other two are 9″ tall, including the spout.

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If you haven’t noticed, I enjoy trying different handles all the time. I used a new design on the covered casserole. I like the way the glaze pooled in the depressions made by the two coils and finger marks along the wall.  Some glazes do that better than others. The center picture is the interior and the one on the right is the underside of the lid.

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Two soap dishes were also in the firing, along with a blue chip and dip set. I make the bowl detached for easier storage.  It’s about 10″ wide.

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Earlier in the month I participated in NYSEG’s Market Days. It was good to see old friends and co-workers and meet new people as well. Welcome to those of you who are new recipients of this newsletter.

After the Open House early next month, I’ll be heading off to Sauquoit for their annual Arts and Crafts Show on November 22 & 23. There’s going to be over 100 vendors there and it is one of the most successful sales in Central New York. I hope to see some of you there. For those who might be interested, here’s the link: http://www.svcraftshow.com/

After the Sauquoit sale, there’s a mad dash to get Thanksgiving shopping and baking done as well as working in the studio to fill any outstanding orders that are needed by Christmas.

A funny thing happened at the Oneida sale.  I included a pair of egg separators of the half dozen I made.  I didn’t think any seasoned cook would buy them but thought someone just learning might.  To my surprise, a woman a bit younger than I and two young women appeared in the booth and the older woman picked one up.  I asked if she knew what it was and she did and said she couldn’t live without one!  She asked both younger women if they had one and bought one for each of them.  So, you just never know who will find pieces appealing.  Just like the piggy banks.  Although I thought grandparents would buy them for their grandchildren; they are buying them, for the most part, for themselves!

Have a great Thanksgiving and I hope to see some of you at the Open House on November 9 1:00 to 4:00 at 2 Midwood Drive, Binghamton or at my booth in Saquoit. Till then, enjoy these great fall days because we know what’s going to be following soon.

Lauren

September 2014 Newsletter

After returning from a relaxing two weeks on Oneida Lake and my 50th (!) high school reunion last month, it was time to load the kiln and fire.  I discovered that piggy banks don’t load well, having broken off legs, a tail and one ear, a terrible record for an animal lover.  Apparently, my definition of gentle and theirs differs somewhat.  I’m going to try to add the legs and tail and re-fire.  I think I have a solution to avoid so much carnage with the next batch.  Since it’s the first time I made them, it’s all a learning experience.  Lots of trial and error. Three of the eight made it out of the glaze firing.  One had glaze problems and another needs a cork smaller than the ones I have on hand but this little piggy is all set to go.  I’ve already made more for the next firing – and will be making them each month to both fill the requests I’ve had and be able to have them for the sales going into the holiday season.  This item gives an example of why some potters, when asked how long it took to make a piece, often reply, “Twenty-five years.”  Each new concept involves some trial and error before you truly make it your own.

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In addition to the piggy banks I have some new pieces, olive boats, leaves and baguette dishes.  When a friend saw the latter she said they’d make great individual corn on the cob holders so I’ll make some for that as well.  As I was working with them I thought shorter sizes could be used for other purposes besides holding a long loaf of bread.  They could be a spoon rest, key, change or jewelry holder on a dresser– and most likely other uses I haven’t thought of yet.  I’ve made them from about 4” to 14”, although my glaze experiment on the 4” resulted in that one being tossed in the garbage.  I made a multi-colored one just to see how that would work out.  I’m not satisfied with it but will try that again, maybe with fewer color blocks.  It’s too busy for my taste.  The leaf could be used for a brick of cheese or purely decorative.

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My favorite piece of the firing was a square plate.  Since I had it on the top shelf in the kiln and it was the first thing I saw when I opened it. It was a good first peek!  I wanted to make it two colors and spray a third along the border where the two colors met.  Overall, I liked the results.  I’ll definitely try it again with other glaze combinations.  I also experimented with one of the middle sized baguette holders by dipping one color and spraying another.  I liked the effect of using turquoise with black sprayed on.  That sold in Oneida so I’ll make another soon.

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Also in this firing were some of my more popular items:

 

Soup and cracker bowls

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Wine bottle holders

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Double utensil holders

 

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I have a new piece of equipment, a pug mill.  This allows me to more easily recycle and mix my clay and gives me the freedom to experiment more than I have in the past.  Before, I had to drive the clay to another studio to be pugged and that, though very much appreciated, was a pain.  I can now easily try larger pieces because if the piece collapses, I can just save it in a bag to run through the pug mill.  I have been thinking of trying a tall set of lamps one of these days.   I’ve made a few small lamps in the past.  Another thing I’m going to try, with the guidance of my neighbor or brother, is to build a shorter table for the pugger.  I’ve not learned much about carpentry work through the years so this should be an interesting project during the winter.

Potters, no matter how long they’ve been at it, usually wait with anticipation for their kilns to cool so they can see how the firing went, often wondering if the Kiln Gods were good to us.  We say that opening the kiln is like Christmas morning – filled with anticipation and sometimes a little dread.  This firing was a bit of both for me because of making new pieces, especially the banks, and trying new glazing techniques.  Overall, the Kiln Gods were smiling.  That being said, I lost mine.  (Yes, many have one they sit on the kiln while it’s firing, some quite elaborate.)  Mine was made by a potter who was an assistant at Roberson’s Clayworks.  It resembles a cartoon animal’s head.  I went to my shelf one time and there it was, along with my fired pieces.  Sadly, Charlie died way before his time.  He could make anything.  I’ve had that little trinket for years and couldn’t imagine where it went.  I’m pleased to say that I looked on the floor behind some shelves and found my little guy.  One eye was missing so I made another and he’ll go in the kiln, instead of sitting nearby, next firing.

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I’d like to end by welcoming all the new followers that I met at the Craft Fair in Oneida last weekend.  Though setup was in high heat and humidity on Friday, the weekend gave way to more pleasant weather, even with Saturday’s drizzle.  It was a great event and fun to chat with people who stopped by.  I’d like to return but may be getting a new knee in the spring so I can’t say for sure that I’ll be able to be there next fall.

Enjoy the rest of September and, with luck, I’ll be in touch by the end of October.  Have a great fall!

 

Lauren

 

 

 

 

Lauren

 

 

 

 

July 2014 Newsletter

 

 

Greetings ~

First I’d like to start off by welcoming the new readers who were at the Forge Festival of Arts on July 4.  It was a pleasure chatting with all of you and “the ventriloquists” were a great way to start the day and provided laughs for my brother and me long after you left.  You know who you are!

Since some new pieces sold and some are still in Utica, I will only be including a few pictures this time.  I made a bunch of flower pots and they range in size from small to large.

I also decided to reprieve one of the glazes that gave me bad outcomes when I first started doing my own firing.  Since then I’ve altered my firing programs and thought it may work better.  I was pleased with the results.  I didn’t ruin any kiln shelves this time!  I’ll use it sparingly but I really like the colors and thought I’d try a piece or two each firing.  The color is Redwood and it has crystals that melt nicely if cooled slowly.  They didn’t all melt but here’s close ups of two of the pieces, one a large bowl and the other a planter.

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A potter never knows what’s going to be popular and what’s not.  I’ve found that berry bowls and batter bowls are big sellers.  Dog bowls and treat jars are also quite popular.  That being said, I’ve never seen a reaction such as the one I got when I posted pictures on Facebook of 8 piggy banks that were just assembled and drying.  Every one of them has a home – and they haven’t even been fired the first time!  I see lots of them in my future.  I want to tweak them a bit, maybe making them a bit larger and keeping the snouts at a uniform size.  I made some with polka dots and some without.  My plan is to make a few each firing because if they had such a reaction so far from completion, they likely will sell well at sales.  Even more surprising is the fact that most of them were going to be kept by the buyer, not given to a grandchild.  One seasoned potter posted on a “Tips for Sales” column that one always needs pet and grandchildren items.  I was lacking kids’ pieces so that’s how the pigs came to be.   In the first picture, the pig on the left has his head tilted a bit if you notice where the eyes are.  The picture on the right shows rear and side views.

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I’ve applied for two more juried sales, Madison County’s – which I learned is the first art and craft sale in New York State – and the one in Sauquoit just before Thanksgiving.  Actually, I’ve been accepted at the Madison County sale.  The chairperson this year was a neighbor at Old Forge.  He handed out applications and approved mine in advance.  He said that he and I would be the only potters there.  I’ll know about the Sauquoit sale sometime in August.

The next newsletter will return to showing what came out of the kiln.  I didn’t have time to take pictures before I packed to go to Old Forge.  I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer.  I so hope that the extreme storms that have plagued Central New York are over.  I was caught in the aftermath of one trying to get to Utica so I could leave the next morning for Old Forge.  The normal two hour drive took me six with all the downed trees and power lines causing me to be rerouted from detour to detour – most for road obstructions and the last for a fire.  I saw more of Madison and Chenango Counties than I’ve ever seen.  When I went through the last hold up, a DWI Roadblock in Norwich, the policeman asked if I’d been drinking I said, “No but I could use one!”  I told him when I left Binghamton and that I’d been touring the countryside, he assured me that the road was now open to Utica.  That general area has had 6 or 7 tornadoes this month.  That’s unheard of.  It’s sad to see so much devastation and to learn of lives lost.

As always, thanks for your interest in my work.

Lauren

 

May 2014 Newsletter

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It’s been a while since I have had any pieces to share.  This winter was very cold and my newer, energy efficient furnace doesn’t “leak” heat into the cellar like the old one did, making it too cold to sit in short sleeves with a pail of water trying to throw – especially during the Polar Vortex.  I think I’ll have a vent added before next winter. Winter was a challenge but we in the Northeast and Mid-West proved, once again, that we are made of strong stock – not that we had much choice!  Toward season’s end, the Middle Atlantic wasn’t spared either.  I think just about everybody is glad to see spring, including people in Florida who likely had a bumper crop of visitors this year.

 

I decided to be positive and think of warmer weather yet to come and made some berry bowls.  These are very popular and, though many potters make a two piece version by adding a drip plate, I prefer to just keep mine in the sink till all the drips are gone and refrigerate.  Seems simpler to me.

 

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With the gardeners out there chomping at the bit to plant and get things in order, I made some compost keepers.  They allow us to toss scraps in and keep it handy near the sink.  Holes in the charcoal-lined lid keep odors away till the scraps are tossed in the compost bin.  There are two sizes available, medium or large.  My neighbor has one and says that it’s working well and does not give off any odor, which concerned me.

 

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Another popular piece is the batter bowl.  I had a couple in this firing and one already sold from the picture on Facebook of all the pieces after the kiln was empty.

 

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Mugs are always a favorite and I made a bunch.  They aren’t my favorite piece to make but it was a good form to make as I re-entered the world of clay after a season’s absence.

 

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I had success with the baking/roasting pans so I thought I’d expand the selection available by making a 9 x 13 pan.  This would work equally well whether making a larger cake or a batch of lasagna.   An oval roaster was also in this firing.  Unfortunately, these can’t be sold because the glaze separated but I thought I’d include the pictures so if anyone was interested I can make one to order.  I will likely make a couple for the next firing so if anyone wants one, please let me know and I’ll glaze it however you want. The cream colored areas are where the glazes “crawled” (or separated).

 

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Expanding my offerings, I decided to make some new (to me) pieces.  There are now citrus juicers, apple bakers and egg separators available.

 

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I didn’t like the diffuser bottles I had left so I made taller and narrower ones than what I’ve had in the past.  I think these will look better with the reeds in them.  I bought some Lily of the Valley oil and sit the diffuser on the kitchen window sill.  The breeze smells so nice.  I think I’ve had the window open once so far this spring.

 

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My “Iris” vases were a big hit so I had to make a few to have some available.  I envisioned them as bud vases but one customer thought they’d make nice candle holders.  It goes to show you that pieces can be versatile and the same piece can have several uses.   I’ve taken a bit of license and glazed some of them in colors I’ve never seen on an iris.  Only two survived because I knocked some over before they were fired and broke the leaves off.

 

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I threw a bowl-shaped casserole that didn’t make it to the firing.  I thought I’d carry my flower theme to other pieces.  For sure it will be in the next firing and I’m anxious to see how it looks glazed and ready to grace a dinner table.  It is an companion piece to my Rose Bowl that I made a while ago.  Also, I’m waiting for the wild dogwoods to bloom in my yard so I can get some pictures and see if I can replicate them in clay to embellish some pieces.  Such decoration is a bit removed from my typical contemporary, often Asian- inspired, work.  I shall call it “The Flower Series”.

 

Lastly, I would like to welcome the new readers who either signed up at the NYSEG Market Days or through Facebook.  Feel free to pass the newsletter on to friends.  I would like to expand the readership and any help is much appreciated.

 

Those readers who live in the Utica area, I’ll be participating in the Forge Festival of Arts and Crafts on July 4 in Old Forge.  If you’re in the area, stop in and say hi.

 

Enjoy what’s left of spring.  I plan to have another firing in June.

 

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December 2013 Newsletter

Season’s Greetings –

The December firing involved mostly pieces that were ordered at my Open House. A special thank you goes to all who placed orders – both for the orders themselves – and for waiting patiently while I participated in two different art sales during that time. In the firing were His and Her individual pasta bowls. They should provide the couple with plenty of meals together for years to come. The bowls are great for eating good meals and warming leftovers as they are both microwave and oven safe. I made another similar bowl just in case I had an accident and broke one from the special order.  It’s glazed in the same cream colored glaze as the ones pictured.

A pie plate was requested by a loyal customer. Thinking about fresh berries that could be used in a pie makes my mouth water as we go into winter and the lack of fresh, local fruit. I’m sure this plate will see plenty of pies come the first strawberries of June.

A new customer loved my soap dishes and ordered a dozen for stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. They are always a popular, inexpensive item and, with neutral glaze colors, would work in any décor.  I didn’t take any pictures of the new ones as there’s already pictures on the website and they were picked up earlier today.

Two special dogs will be getting new bowls for their meals. They’ll be sure to know it’s theirs because their names are on the front. No confusion there. Not to be outdone by the dogs, I finally made a cat treat jar – after a lady at HCCC asked about them. I told her I didn’t know what to put on the jar since I have dog bone cut outs on the dog treat jars. She suggested something novel: CAT. So here’s one and you know who you are. I always welcome suggestions, even obvious ones! I was going to put CAT TREATS but I either need smaller letters or larger jars.

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I continued making a couple variations on my serving dish. One has three rows of coils and integrated handles while the other only has one. The one I made last month had two rows.

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I guess it’s all a matter of preference, though I’m not sure that the higher one should hold anything liquid as high as the coils. I like the looks of the double and single the best.  I’m not sure what I’d serve in the triple.

I gave my ocean and mountain tray another try.  It’s getting better each time, though I’ll likely not get it exactly like the first one.  I’ll keep at it. The kiln ran hotter this firing and caused some unusual glaze patterns that don’t belong, such as the open spaces in the mountains.

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As I write this newsletter, we are fast approaching Christmas, having just wrapped up Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. My best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Safe travels to all who visit family and friends who live far away.

Lauren

 

 

November 2013 Newsletter

I’d like to start this newsletter by thanking those of you who came to my Open House.  I didn’t realize when I rescheduled it that I was moving it to Columbus Day Weekend.  Next year, I’ll not make that mistake again.  I rescheduled to accompany my stepfather on an Honor Flight to Washington, only to have him not able to go due to having bronchitis that week.  It was nice meeting new people as well as my “regulars”.  Little by little my reach is growing.  A big thanks to those of you who recommended me to your friends.   I think that word of mouth and referrals from current customers is the prime way that EWP will grow.

I’m starting this newsletter while the kiln is cooling from the glaze firing, over a day’s wait.  This month I tried to make things that I thought would be good for the HCCC Art and Craft Sale.  Since I’ve never participated before, it’s somewhat of a guess what will appeal the most.  It’s November 9 and 10 and I won’t be able to do another firing because there’s not enough time to throw enough pieces and have them trimmed and dried in time to do two firings.  I had to create a story board for the sale and when I showed a couple of my friends, they were suprised at all the steps involved.  I just showed throwing and what a load from the kiln looks like on a table.  I think we’ll be adding the story to the website soon.

I made more dog treat jars.  I read on a potter’s site that colorful presents for dogs and little children are popular and should be placed at the entrance of the booth.  So, I hope these catch people’s eyes since I didn’t really have a clue what to make for little kids.  One of the jars had a small crack on the lid so that will likely find a home in my cupboard.  I wouldn’t trust my dogs not to try to get at it if I left it on the counter.  They don’t counter surf while I’m home but they check things out when I’m away.  How else could the six red peppers I had drying on the counter when I left for the movies become only two???

Soap dishes continue to be popular so I made a few and will make more between now and Christmas.  In fact, I have a request from one of my new customers to make more and they will be done before Christmas, for sure.

There were two new tray/serving pieces in this firing.  I tried so hard to replicate the “beach and mountain” look that just happened in a bowl I made recently but it didn’t work.  Apparently, it’s hard to replicate serendipity!  I’ll try it again before I give up.  Meanwhile, the other tray has a more contemporary look to the glaze.

 

 

 

 

There was one flower pot in the firing.  If that doesn’t sell I know I can always use one!  I currently have cuttings taking root so there will be a need for small pots soon.

Small reed diffusers were in this firing.  I thought they would make good stocking stuffers or hostess gifts for some of the dinners or parties that we all get invited to at this time of the year.

Another “coffee table” bowl was in the firing.  I liked the way the blue glaze turned out.

 

 

 

 

Included was a chip and dip set because they are always popular.  I think it’s easier to store them if they are in two pieces rather than having the bowl attached so that’s the way this one is made.  We’ll see if the customers agree with me on the storage issue.

I included a small jar in the mix because I have two on my vanity for cotton pads and Q-tips.  Jars are always nice to keep things in that we use often and want to hide.  I tried yet another kind of handle on the lid.

Last but not least is an item that I’ve had a few requests for and have been trying to get right.  It’s a challenge to make something that I’ve never seen and can’t quite picture.  Apparently, there’s a big interest in grating plates to grate things like ginger, garlic or other seasonings.  The first one I tried didn’t have enough grating surface but I think these do.  They range in size from about 4″ to 6″ rim to rim.

Next weekend is the sale in Herkimer.  It’s my first solo venture in the public realm.  I hope my friends in the Mohawk Valley are able to stop by my booth to say hi if they plan to attend.  I haven’t attended it in a few years but the HCCC Annual Arts and Craft Sale has as many as 250 vendors and draws a big crowd.  This is the event’s 37th year so it’s a mainstay of The Valley.  The first time I attended I thought if I ever got “good enough” that was where I wanted to start.  There’s something comforting about returning to one’s roots, no matter how long one’s been away.  In my case, I’ve been living away longer than I lived in The Valley but return regularly.  So, we will see how it goes.

I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and will try get another newsletter out before Christmas, though I know I won’t make Hanukah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August/September Newsletter

 

It’s with sadness that I say goodbye to summer.  I like early fall but could do without the gray days that follow.  Coming right along will be my Open House.  It was originally scheduled for October 6 but is being postponed to the 13th.  I applied on behalf of my stepfather for an Honor Flight to Washington and he was accepted, with me as his “guide”.  They just notified me that we were on the flight a week ago, after my invitations were printed.  So, there will be a cross-out on the invitations.  Sorry for that but this is something he’ll enjoy.  He served in World War 2 and was a German POW.  I’ve heard from some who have gone on the flight that it’s a great tribute to our Veterans.

This month’s firing had a little bit of this and a bit of that.  I took inventory of what I had on hand and what I thought I’d need for the upcoming sales that follow one another pretty quickly.  I ended up doing two glaze firings, though the second one didn’t have as full a kiln as the first.

Flowers were on my mind as I tried to make the Iris bud vases more realistic looking and more to my liking.  I like these better than the first one I made that had a vine.

I also created The Rose Bowl, though I think I need to refine it a bit and develop a way to make it easier to work on the vines, leaves and flowers.  I was amazed at how long that aspect took – about 3 hours!  I was pleased at the first attempt, though.  I learned a bit about detail work – and that I wouldn’t want to make a career of working with little vines and leaves.

Having grown a bit tired of the traditional knobs on lids, I came up with some different ones for the garlic roaster/brie bakers I made.  I think they have an Asian flair, a look I really like.  I’m sure there will be more like this on future pots.

For a touch of whimsy, I added a curlicue for a lid on one of the casseroles, though I made another with a more traditional knob.  These casseroles are larger than others I make and hold quite a bit.  I have a similar one that only gets used for holiday dinners.

       

 

 

 

Realizing that it’s been ages since I made a wine bottle holder, I threw one in the mix.  I was pleased with the way the glazes turned out.  The pot was first partially dipped in cream glaze and then again in Arctic Blue, giving it a more vibrant shade of blue where the cream is.  Next time I will stop the cream a little higher on the pot to stop the runs from going to the edge, though I ground the bottoms of these so they won’t harm surfaces.

As usual, I had some dog dishes in this firing.  These two sets will accommodate both larger and smaller furry friends.  Also included are a couple jars without the dog bone add ons in case one wants a less obvious jar on the counter for dog treats or wants to put something else in besides dog biscuits.

Other jars included a couple of honey pots.

 

 

 

A friend asked me to make a small plate with a rough surface in the center to grate garlic, lemons or anything else that comes to mind.  I made one and have had a couple requests so I’ll be making more.  I’ve received feedback from my friend so will incorporate her suggestions.  These would likely make an unusual hostess gift.  As I mentioned in my last newsletter, hostesses and dogs seem to end up with a good portion of my sales.  Maybe after the holidays, I’ll devote an entire firing to “Pamper Yourself” pieces to develop another niche market!

I made a few sponger holders.

There were a couple pairs of soup and cracker mugs in these firings.  I think one pair is going to be a Christmas gift as that was a special order.

I had a single berry bowl in this firing because it didn’t make it into last month’s.  Sadly, berry season is over for another year.   I hate seeing blueberry and tomato season end.  We wait all year for fresh produce.

 

 

 

 

A while ago I had a few turquoise and purple pieces that fired a kind of alligator pattern that I’d never seen before so I took a guess that it happened because it was in a firing I did to a slightly lower temperature setting when the kiln ran a bit hot.  I thought perhaps the purple glaze didn’t fully mature and, sure enough, that’s what happened.

For those of you whose home addresses I don’t have, you are welcome to come to my Open House on Sunday, October 13 from 1:00 to 4:00.  Feel free to bring some friends if you want.  Based on comments I had last year – including a couple requests to make it a semi-annual event – people got to chat, have some goodies to eat and see what keeps me busy.  Invitations will be mailed if I have your address.  There will be some different pieces from what you saw last year such as diffusers, Chinese lanterns, and chicken roasters to name a few.

Have a great fall and enjoy all the gorgeous colors that we have just outside our doors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2013 Newsletter

This month has been a bit warm and my pieces have taken longer to dry due to the humidity.  There’s a smaller variety of pieces in the firing as I decided that I have to concentrate on building inventory in preparation for my three sales that will take place between Octboer 6 and November 10.  At the same time, I’m trying to acquire the display that I need for the sale at Herkimer County Community College.  I still have to come up with a backdrop of some kind.  The best idea I have so far is drapes hanging from a frame made of PVC pipes that a friend sent me from Pinterest.  If anyone has any ideas, please share.  I have to have everything by Labor Day since I committed to sending a picture of my completed booth, a requirement of the sale, by Labor Day.

While making the list of pieces that I need to have, something interesting dawned on me.  It seems that most of the pieces I sell are for people other than the buyer.  I’ve sold more hostess gifts than other types but have sold wedding, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day presents and even gifts for dogs.  I can’t help but wonder if any of you keep any pieces for yourself.  I think we often think of something to buy for others and forget about ourselves.  I’ve had a few of the pieces that I wanted to keep for myself but decided not to, so I’m guilty of that myself.

Thinking of the hostess gift idea, I made more diffuser bottles and will likely add even more.  It seems that everyone likes them.  I kept one for myself and have it on the kitchen windowsill with Lily of the Valley oil in it.  There’s usually a breeze on the hill so that wonderful scent wafts throughout the downstairs.

Though I’m not sure how the Chinese lanterns will appeal, I made more because I really like them myself.  If they aren’t great sellers, you’re likely to find them throughout my house!

Summer and the fresh berries that I love prompted me to make berry bowls because I’m down to one.  Mine seems to have a permanent home in the fridge between strawberry and blueberry season.  I like the ones I make now much more.  I have one with a little saucer and it’s a low slung bowl.  The ones I make now have a deep foot and can be left in the sink to drain before going into the refrigerator.  Less shelf space is used and I like the single piece much more.

    

Having only one garlic keeper left, I made a few.

I had an order for a very large salad bowl, about 14″ wide and 3 or 4″ high.  That is the outer limits of my capabilities due to the large amount of clay that has to be centered.  I used about 10 pounds.  Though that doesn’t sound like a lot, it can be a challenge to get that much centered and keep it under control throughout the process.  I was not happy with the first attempt but the second more than made up for it.

       

There was a custom-ordered bowl for my newest dog friend, Tank.  Keeping with the dog theme, I made another canister for dog treats.  They are popular.  I decided to make this one a bit more whimsical with multi colored bones.   There are more dog products drying on the shelves that will be in my next firing.

I had a single bowl in the firing.  It’s the size of a mixing bowl and could be used for a family salad – or one of my lunch salads!  The way the glazes came out, it is somewhat like an abstract of the ocean with mountains in the background and clear sky above.

        

The most important piece in this firing was an urn for my mother’s ashes.  For those of you who haven’t heard, she died the day between Mother’s Day and my birthday.  Since she was so supportive of my pottery endeavor, I thought it would be fitting to make an urn for her.  It’s a small gesture in appreciation for all the things she did for me through the years – from making things for me to giving moral support when I needed it and a push or two when that was warranted as well.  When I received the acceptance to sell at the HCCC Annual Art and Craft Sale my first thought was that Mom wasn’t l here to tell her the good news.  She would have been thrilled.  I remember how pleased she was years ago when our classes at Roberson had a display at an event at the museum and I was the biggest seller.  I was dumbfounded and she was so happy for me.