Monday, December 17, 2007

Wrap it up!

I have to confess that I am a gift wrapping junkie. I get it honestly from my Mom. She is famous for her handmade bows that include pinecones, ornaments, bells, and fabric ribbon. My Dad even promised to get her a holster for the hot glue gun she uses to attach the bows to the gift-wrapped boxes. I know, its not as bad as it sounds. They are quite gorgeous and tasteful (they are just hard to describe). We loved those fancy ribbons so much that after opening presents we would scavenge the torn wrappings to rescue the bows and save them for the next year. So now that I am grown up and live a few provinces away, I have to do my wrapping holsterless. I spent last night wrapping my gifts up carefully and packing them in my luggage, sandwiching them between my undies and woolly sweaters. Tonight, I am working on filling one more box with handmade bows and plan to attach them to the gifts once I get back to my mom's house. Maybe she will let me use her glue gun to stick them on the boxes!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let it snow, etc. etc.

Whew. It snowed all night and all day today and I love it. It reminds me of my childhood on the prairies. The light fluffy flakes would stack up on the fence posts and the air was so still it would sit there for days until my pet cat would playfully push some of it off. I love how time stands still during a snowstorm and everyone has to stay indoors. No rushing off to go shopping or to the post office. I get to spend the whole day at home enjoying it.

The ceramic sale went better than I expected and I sold every single mug with my new Dark Olive glaze. There are going to be quite a few happy people out there receiving my dotted olive trays for Christmas. Here are the only tumblers left so I listed them on Etsy this morning. I have quite a bit of work to do in the new year to replenish my shop but for now I am going to grab my favorite mug and enjoy watching the huge flakes fall for a while. Cheers!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Craft Sale Kudos

I had so much fun on Saturday at the Tranzac Club. I arrived early to set up and was pretty busy all day so the time just flew. I was surrounded by some interesting gals who kept me giggling and full of caffeine. My hottest seller was of course my olive trays because the dots look so cute that everyone just wants to touch them. The day was sunny so traffic was steady. My hubby even brought me a snack in the middle of the day to keep me going. Online selling is great but it sure is nice to talk about my art in person. I had one lovely lady who bought one of my biggest bowls and said she was moving to Vancouver tomorrow. I gave her advice of how to pack it safely and was amazed that she felt the urge to purchase one of my pieces just before the long trek. (She was driving with her two young sons all the way across Canada. In winter.)I have a bit of work to do to get everything restocked but am looking forward to next Saturday. Same time, Same place! This is my last big sale and then I get to take a much needed rest to visit my family over the holidays. If you are still looking for gifts or just need a little treat for yourself, check out the Tranzac Club Sat. 12-6. There is a great variety of sellers and I know I will be shopping while I am there!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Free Shipping

I am almost set for the holidays and just need to wrap all of the fabulous gifts I have made for my friends and family. Even though I value handmade and original gifts, there are a few that I had to break down and buy. In my search for the perfect gift, I found a great site to help everyone save some money while you are at it. Check out . It has links to all stores that have free shipping online. So, before you buy, check to see if this site has a coupon code to get your purchase to you for free! Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Holiday Gift Sale

So here I am, Saturday afternoon, waiting to open my kiln and furiously refill it again to try and squeeze as much ware into it as possible. I am less than a week away from participating in the Annual Artisans Gift Fair. I will be at 292 Brunswich Ave in Toronto on both Sat 8th and Sat 15th. I always enjoy chatting with the other artists and purchasing a few handmade goodies for holiday gifts too. If you are in town, check it out. It is well worth the stop!

Friday, November 30, 2007


So I have been waiting patiently, checking my mail box daily, and biting my nails. Now I know how all the online shoppers feel! I helped the Etsy Mud Team organize a mug swap between over 40 pottery artists and I absolutely can`t wait any longer to get two fabulous mugs from my peers. It is a bit nerve racking sending a piece of my work to a fellow potter. I feel like I am in high school again...will they still like me, am I good enough... Every artist took a photo of themselves holding the mugs they were swapping so we could see who we received our mugs from. Don`t mind the bags under my eyes in my photo; I am told that that happens to all pottery artists around the busy holiday season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Recycling part 2

I just received a great little letter from Textured Turtle, a mosaic artist on Etsy. The Etsy Mud Team joined forces with other Etsy artists to become a little more environmental while we hone our crafts. It was always a challenge to find something to do with those pots and ceramics that just weren't up to par. Pieces that fired wrong, cracked, weren't food safe, or were just plain fugly often cluttered up a corner of my studio because I just couldn't let them end up at the dump. Many of us potters dread to think that future archaeologists would find our thousand year old pottery rejects in the midst of the petrified landfills our current society has created. So my little pile of rejected works sat in a corner collecting dust. I tried to use them at the bottom of newly potted plants but that only takes care of a small percentage. My little backyard garden is looking rather cluttered with those pieces that are still aesthetically pleasing but not functional enough for indoor use.

So, (pauses for dramatic effect) the EMT and Etsy Mosaic artists made a deal. I sent a box of my rejected work to Textured Turtle to use in her mosaic works. Win-win situation. My dusty corner is now clean, some new mosaics will have a little bit of my ceramics in them, and the landfill will not be getting filled with my pottery shards!

I challenge everyone to rethink their trash. It sure feels rewarding to help reduce waste and at the same time help add more beauty into the world!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Give Away!

To celebrate a great year on Etsy, I will be giving away a free set of ceramic magnets with my 100th sale. You could choose from Winter White, Blue Hydrangea, or Dark Olive colors. These super strong magnets can hold up postcards, photos, notes or whatever you choose. They add a little class to your fridge or office with the gentle textures and colors. If you can't wait to be the 100th sale, you can purchase them in my shop on Etsy too.

Funny for the weekend

Thanks to Gina of PhenixPottery for this potters clip. I hope it gives you a chuckle!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tis the Season for Online Shopping

This may be a bit off topic but I love sharing good ideas. I buy Handmade as often as possible but sometimes it just doesn't work for some of those people on my Christmas list. So, I would rather enjoy shopping online than getting stressed out in the overpopulated malls with bad lighting. In my roaming around, I found a great site that could help save a few bucks and thought I could share it with you.
Check out They offer coupon codes for a wide range shops and also have a huge list retailers that offer free shipping .

Hope this helps your budget a bit. Also, Etsy is my first choice for finding quality handmade gifts any time of year. Especially when the gifts are for me like the greatest handmade Whipt Pudding hand lotion from bathinginluxury.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Artisan's Gift Fair

This is one of my favorite gift fairs in Toronto. I will be selling there on Dec 8th and 15th. I have been busy making gift soap tray sets since they sold out last year. Make sure you come early in the day for the best selection of colors. It runs noon to 6pm at the Transac Club. I get most of my holiday shopping done there too!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

New Chance to Win!

Join the Etsy Mud Team for our "MUD-IN-THE-TREES" raffle - November 4 through November 11

Purchase an item from any Etsy Mud Team member shop November 4 through November 11 and your name will automatically be entered in our "Mud-In-The-Trees" raffle. The prize - - Your choice of a FREE Christmas tree ornament. Three (3) winners will be chosen!

Visit our web page - - for a complete list of Etsy Mud Team shops. Click on "Current Contests" to view all available ornaments.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Tis the Season

Well, November snuck up on me. The weather is still beautiful and the Autumn leaves are just turning but I have been in the studio thinking about the holiday season. Here is a sneak peak of a new design for me. Each ornament is a bit different from the next just like a real snowflake and they look pretty hanging from the little juniper tree in my kitchen!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Studio Recycling

What a treat it is to get my hands on a box of fresh new clay. I have been reclaiming all of my scrap pieces for the past few months so I haven't played with fresh clay for awhile. I spent all day in the studio and have a bunch of fantastic bowls waiting for me to trim them tomorrow morning.

I love the fact that potters are recyclers by nature. It not only saves a lot of money, I feel that it is my small way to help the environment. I know exactly the kind of waste that I create and know that I do everything that I can to minimize it. I even reuse my broken bowls in the garden so they won't be found centuries later in the dump by some archaeologist. When I get tired of the bowls in my cupboards, I give them to college kids so they have something a little nicer in the kitchen when they first move out on their own. I also donate seconds to the Salvation Army. Why not?

Another way I cut down on waste is to save the water that I clean my glaze brushed in. I decant the water until I have a nice bunch of glaze splooge. Most of my glazes use similar chemicals so they are compatible and I have found a few nice colors by accident. I can't use the splooge for functional ware because I'm not sure that it is food safe, but I can use it for my pendants. The only disappointment so far is that I can never reproduce the same recycled glaze color twice!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fusion Pottery and Glass Show

I have a fabulous hubby! I thought that he would be tired of my pottery talk by now but it was him that suggested an afternoon rendezvous at the CBC building to see the Fusion Pottery and Glass show. There was quite a variety of potters that showcased traditional porcelain, gas fired dinnerware, Raku, non-functional sculpture, you name it - they had it. They even had a wheel for demonstrations. I was drooling over the large vessels that I just know will end up being recycled at the end of the day.
You can check out several artist websites from the Fusion page. I always find it inspiring to see so many styles and techniques in one place. Happy mudding!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Coffee Shop Blogging

Its Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I would need several pages to list everything that I am thankful for. Besides the best turkey stuffing ever, I guess I have to be thankful for my computer crash a few weeks ago. After being off line for a few short weeks, I could already see a dip in traffic and sales on my blog and Etsy site. I know, that doesn't sound like a blessing but it let me know that everything that I was doing prior to the crash must have been working. All of the posting, commenting, listing, and chatting did make a difference. I am not quite back in full swing yet as I still need to get a few more programs up and running, but I should be in good shape before the holiday rush.

The other 'crash' related blessing was that I was able to use my Etsy earnings to buy a little laptop. Now I can do my blogging at one of my favorite cafes, Remarkable Bean. I love this little independent cafe for so many reasons. They roast their own beans in house so we can see the beans turn from green to chocolaty brown while we sit in the luscious scent of them roasting away. They have organic selections, a range of teas and of course their famous homemade cookies, quiche, and other snacks. In summer they have the most delicious freshly squeezed lemonade, too. One other huge benefit is that they have free wireless access. Other larger coffee chains expect $7.oo per hour from your Visa or higher monthly rates that I can't afford. Thank you Remarkable Bean for letting me feed my many addictions all in one place!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm back...almost

Well, I learned my lesson. Always back up your computer. My heart thumped and my stomach dropped and I felt pretty woozy when I found out my computer just wouldn't turn on. Not even a hum or flicker of light. I was lost without my computer.

Luckily it was just my power supply that died. My buddy Jai took my hard drive and copied it for me. (I love my friends!) Now I just need to dust off my Visa and get a new computer. Maybe a laptop so I can blog at my favorite coffee shop Remarkable Bean. They have free wireless so I can access everything while I drink my organic dark roast McCaw coffee. Yummm!

Another bonus, since I couldn't sit in front of my computer all week, I spent a lot of time in the studio. I started making ramekins. You know, those little dessert dishes for creme brule and custards. I should have everything up and running by the end of this weekend so look forward to some new pics in my next post.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm Begging Shamelessly for Votes!

The EMT Teapot Challenge is on! I was crushed in the Beer Butt Chicken cook off this summer and still can't look at my Barbecue without a tear in my eye. So I need your help! Check out all of the fabulous teapots on Votigo and then vote for me of course...tee hee. No seriously, I am floored with the quality and variety of teapots that are entered. A lot of them are for sale in the artists Etsy shops too. Here is one of my favorites by Earth Elements to get you excited. OK, go and exercise your right to vote!!! Oh, if you leave a comment you will be entered to win some fabulous ceramic prizes too!

Mix n Match

If you have been following along with my random streams of thought, you probably know by now that I love putting personality in my pottery. I guess its not really me putting it there, it just kind of happens. The pots grow into their persona through each stage of the creation process. I recently threw a bunch of similarly shaped jumbo tumblers and felt that they needed a little more personality. So, I decided to create a mix n match grouping that paired and alternated the glaze on the body with the colors of the rims. Each rim was dipped in the color of the previous mug and ta da! A mix n match set with personality!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A perfect bowl

I love bowls and I have cupboards overflowing with them. Yet I find another favorite in every kiln load. Here is my latest favorite. I love the ridges left loose during the throwing process. This time the glaze turned out perfect with a bit of the natural earthen color showing through from beneath the white glaze. Alas, (I love the word alas - it is not used nearly enough)...alas, My cupboards are full so this one will be listed for sale in my Etsy shop. I hope it find a loving home and gets used regularly. It always saddens me to think that a beautiful bowl could gather dust on a shelf somewhere. I rotate mine so that they get all get used every once in a while. I don't want to offend any little bowl who gets forgotten at the back of a shelf...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I love Sundays

What a great day! I spent a little lime in my garden trimming my wanna be Bonsai trees. (They are actually really trimmed junipers) Then my hubby made me blueberry pancakes. I have been anxiously waiting for my kiln to cool down enough to check out my new teapots for the EMT teapot challenge. I haven't really made teapots before (except for that terrible one I made for a clay class...) so this was a bit of a challenge. Then I found out that I have been featured on the Etsy Mud Team Blog! If you check out all of the great interviews there you will find an assortment of very talented potters and I am quite honored to be a part of it! I'm off to go for a coffee downtown and plan to get one of those decadent carmelly ones! Cheers!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Goodbye to my Planter

I have heard that this is a bit of a phenomenon among those of us who sell our creations. Artists get attached to their work and feel separation anxiety once they know it is going to a new home. So it is with my planter. I have become quite attached to it and am a bit sad to see it go. I know that it will enjoy its new home where it can serve its function and have some new admirers but I still can't get over that little twinge of sadness. I am about to wrap it carefully with bubble wrap and peanuts and will say a little goodbye (inside my head of course). I can't imagine what a mother seeing her children go off into the world on their own must feel like! Maybe a little bowl of ice cream will get me through. And I will use a little ceramic bowl that I kept just for me!

Friday, September 7, 2007

EMT Mug Swap - New Details

Calling all Etsy Mud Team Mudders. I am organizing a Mug swap.

You can swap a mug with one or more mudders. Each person pays for shipping their own mug(s) out and then they get a fabulous new mug back in the mail. Just add a comment to this post or send me a convo on Etsy to let me know if you want to swap a mug with one or more potters. We are thinking that we could have until Nov to get those mugs in the post. This should give potters time if they want to make something new. I am open to suggestions or changes to these plans and will update dates and details as we figure them out on our Etsy forum thread.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tagged! The Random 8 Meme

I came across this little 'Tag' in the comments of my latest post. It kinda feels like a chain letter but it is way easier to cut and paste on a computer than it was to hand write them when I was in elementary school! It was from lapellaart and I had been tagged to participate in the Random 8 Meme.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. List eight (8) random facts about yourself.
3. Tag eight people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

8 Random Lurearts Facts:

1. I love making ceramics, especially on my pottery wheel.
2. I have seen the movie 'Ghost' but it didn't factor into my choice to become a potter.
3. I think Patrick Swayze's best role was as a new age guru in DONNIE DARKO.
4. I watch mostly kid's animation movies at the theatre because my hubby works in the industry.
5. I teach high school.
6. I love gardening and wish I had a bigger back yard
7. I kill lot of house plants for some reason...
8. I am at a standoff with a black squirrel who thinks he owns my house. He even throws nuts at me!

The people I am tagging are: averly, Emily Murphy, JD Wolfe Pottery, Jessica Sharrah, nkp designs, stilettoheights, ariaimages, Tara Robertson Pottery

Sunday, September 2, 2007

New Glazes!

There is not much that can compare to the joy of opening a new batch of glaze tests and having everything turn out beautifully! I retested a few new glazes on actual pieces instead of just the regular test tiles. I find that the test tiles give a basic view of the glaze color but do not capture the nuances of brushstrokes and the pooling in textures that makes each glaze unique and valuable in my mind. After contemplating this new batch, I found a new favorite that I hadn't considered since its very first test tile. The vase at the back of the photo with the narrow mouth caught my attention immediately. It is a greyish, blue/green that has a lot of depth and variation. I may call it Stormy Sea. I love naming new glazes! I have another load bisque firing at the moment and can't wait to try out Stormy Sea on a mug. Oh, I also have a little sake set in the photo. What do you think?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Its a Keeper

I'm having a great long weekend! The sun is shining, my hubby took me for a fancy coffee downtown this afternoon, and I am anxiously waiting to open a new glaze firing. So, as I was cleaning up my studio in preparation for the new wares I will be taking out of the kiln, I realized that I have a studio full of pottery but I haven't really kept any of my new designs. My kitchen is full of my old wonky bowls but I don't really think of those as beautiful. So, I skipped down to my local florist and picked out a cute plant for my kitchen. I grabbed a new vase off of my 'for sale' shelf and took it outside to pot my little tree. Check it out, I now have a beautiful vase sitting on my windowsill that I can enjoy every day (as long as I don't kill the plant...)!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Daunting Venture

Well, that's it. Summer is officially over for me. I spent my first day back in the classroom and have a bit of summer nostalgia already. I have been teaching high school for over 10 years now and still find it difficult the first day back after the summer. Teaching is exhausting! So, I am a bit worried about how I can still keep up my web presence once I'm back into the routine of a full time job. Blogging, running my Etsy shop, social networking, pottery production, photography, and teaching full time? It seems daunting. I really enjoy teaching and find that it inspires me to create more than anything else. My difficulty is that once I have all of these ideas in my head, I can't find the time to get them out. I am up at 6.30 am and usually don't get home until 6pm. Then I have an hour or two of marking or class preparation, dinner to make, the odd bit of exercise, and hopefully a bit of time in the studio. Did you notice how the studio time was last on the agenda? I am often too physically and mentally burned out to find my way into the studio, though. So how am I to survive my full time job and still have time to create? Good question! I haven't quite figured that one out yet. I just had my one year Etsyversary and hit 500 hearts which is encouraging. My first year on Etsy started out quite slowly while I figured things out. I started listing and promoting more while starting up my blog this summer once I had more time. My photography improved and I found a lot of great forums to help me become part of a creative online community. I really can't see my life without the creative outlet that pottery gives me. So, even though my blog entries may not be quite as frequent, I plan on making studio time a priority. Thank goodness my husband can cook!

Monday, August 27, 2007


I feel that I am quite lucky to live between two fabulous Pottery supply stores. What is even better is that they both deliver straight to my door. I am not quite eager enough to dig and prepare my own clay from the earth at this point in my life, so I love that I can get a variety of quality clay from Pottery Supply House also kown as PSH. At the moment I am using C515X Smooth Cream Stoneware and love the way I can use it for throwing and handbuilding. My favorite Raku comes from PSH also. White Sheba Raku clay has been recommended to me over and over again for very good reason. It is quite groggy yet pliable.

For my glaze supplies I order from Tucker's Pottery Supplies. Their website is very clear and user friendly so I can order a large variety of supplies with no hassle. They always make a personal phone call to confirm my orders and deliver within a day or two. I have also visited the Brick and Mortar store in Richmond Hill, Ontario but it is dangerous when all of the tools and glazes are on shelves right in front of you. On special occasions they have demonstrations from guest potters and of course great sales on tools and equipment. Fabulous!

For all of you in the US, PSH has included a way to convert your price to USD. Just looking through the sites has given me the urge to splurge on some new tools! Take a look and you may find some inspiration in either of these shops!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Inspiration

Today was such a wonderful afternoon. Several friends of mine have been asking to come over to play so I invited them over for a crafternoon. I set up my dining room table with tools and different textures and gave a short demo of how to make a pendant. They just jumped right in and soon they had completed dozens. Not many of my friends have experience with clay, so I loved watching them figure out how to use my tools in original ways. It was inspiring to see someone use what I think of as a carving tool in a completely different way. I have been so inspired that I am heading to my studio for a few hours. If you ever have a creative block, the antidote is to invite your friends for a crafternoon!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Drying Rack

Since I have a home studio, I have had to come up with storage solutions quite different from a larger commercial studio. My issue was shelving and a damp rack/ drying rack. I have some great little windows in my basement studio but that means that wall space is at a premium. I use my studio for so many things that I wanted to keep the layout functional and yet adaptable to many studio tasks. Most of my tables and storage are on lockable wheels so that I can shift them around the studio depending on the job I have to do that day. My best find was my portable drying or damp rack. Most studios have built in shelves or book shelves where you have to wrap everything in plastic. Sometimes I have seen shelves with canvas walls that can be soaked to keep things moist. I needed a fast and easy solution and found it at Canadian Tire! I purchased an indoor greenhouse shelf. It is designed to keep moisture in and has 4 shelves with a zip closure which is perfect for pottery. The shelves are woven wire so my pots dry evenly because air can flow underneath the pot as well. No more S-cracks in the bottom of my bowls. If I want to keep work damp, I mist the plastic walls of the shelf to get the humidity higher in the rack. Another benefit is that because the floor of the rack is not sealed, mold does not grow because there is a little bit of air movement. When it is empty, I also use this shelf to keep bisque ware clean. The plastic cover ensures that no dust settles on the bisque ware so that if I have a few extra pieces that are sitting around for a few weeks, they are fresh and ready to go once my production has caught up to fill the entire kiln. There are a few downfalls though. The design isn't super sturdy so I have to treat it with extra care. The wire shelves are a benefit once I figured out how to use them. As I said it is perfect for drying pots evenly. I just have to be careful not to set soft ware directly on the shelves or the wire leaves indentations. I solved this by adding portable wooden boards to two shelves. Soft pots sit at the back on the wood. Once they have been trimmed they are leatherhard and can sit directly on the wire without affecting anything. Another bonus is the price! Check it out on the Canadian Tire website.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Day Off

Yesterday was my husband's birthday, so we decided to get out of the city for an adventure. We convinced our friend Tim to come with us out to the vineyards in Niagra. This is one of our favorite day trips. St. Catherines and Niagra-on-the-Lake is only about an hour drive so we often take any visitors out there to get a taste of Niagra. We stop at the wineries to taste a few red Merlots and I like the Late Harvest Reislings that taste almost like a dessert wine. Often we chance upon a tour and get to see the vats and barrels down in the cellars. We walked through the rows of vines staring at the enormous amount of grapes hanging just below the stakes holding them up. This year the destination was Carolina Cellers Lobsterfest. Each year this vineyard holds a back yard Lobsterfest and barbque on Nial's birthday. It is absolutely glutenous! We ordered 6 lobsters and a steak with all of the fixings for the three of us and it cost us $70 Canadian in total. They had a cheesy live band playing but the sun was out and within a few minutes we were covered with dripping butter from the lobster and corn on the cob. What better way than to spend a birthday?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tool Talk - Rasp

I have a confession. I am addicted to shopping. You may think that this is one of those stereotypical women things but its worse. I am addicted to shopping at Home Depot. I wander the aisles aimlessly, thinking of how to convert carpenters tools into studio tools. I have no idea what construction people do with dowels, but mine are used to create even slabs of clay. Metal wire turns into hanging systems for my planters. Paint mixers on a drill are the best way to mix large quantities of glaze. I hate to admit what my wire cutters have been up to! My long standing favorite must be the rasp. A rasp was originally designed as a woodworking tool but I buy just the replacement blades for my studio. As a beginner potter, I relied quite heavily on a rasp. It evened out the lopsided mouths of those tiny cylinders we all started with. Once clay is leather hard, a rasp cuts it like cheese. Now I use my rasp more for slab construction. I can create perfect right angles on boxes just with a few gentle drags of the rasp. I have started producing some small sake sets and the rasp helps me trim up the base of the cylinder without having to trim it on the wheel. Because the top of the sake carafe is much more narrow that the base, it is a lot trickier to trim on the wheel. I just wait until it is leather hard and the rasp cleans up the bottom easily with minimum effort and time. The other added benefit of using a rasp is the shredded clay it creates. If you are ever in a hurry for some slip, the gratings from the rasp dry within minutes because they are so thin. Add a little water and you have the perfect consistency for slip.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A terrible rotten day

I had a terribly rotten day today. Well, it wasn't life shattering but it was just one of those days when things weren't going my way. I rolled over in bed and hit snooze at 7am to get just five more minutes but the power decided to go out and I woke at 9:30 with a headache from oversleeping. I made a huge list last night and it was waiting for me on the kitchen table. I ran out to get a few errands done and ended up putting a nice scrape in the bumper of our new car. No one was hurt but it was just one of those stupid things that happens in parking lots just to ruin your day. I got home very frustrated, hungry and close to tears. Then I went into my studio.

There is something magical about working with clay. It puts things either out of your mind or into perspective. Potters are lucky people. We are close to the earth and therefore we stay grounded (most of the time...). After about an hour of playing in the mud, my headache was gone and I could see how lucky I was to be blessed with health, a home and happiness. I know it sounds corny but there is nothing better than playing in the mud. By the time my hubby came home from work I was able to joke about my terrible driving with him. I am also lucky that he has a creative soul too, as he just laughed when I told him what happened and how grumpy I had been.

So, its a good thing that I stepped into the studio today. I not only made some beautiful bowls, but put a little scrape into proper perspective. The next time you have a terribly rotten day, I suggest sticking your hands in the mud. It makes everything better!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thanks Mud Team!

Since I joined the EMT (Etsy Mud Team) I have found an abundance of fabulous potters who love chatting! It takes me a while to get through 40 pages of forum posts when I peek my head up from my studio, but it is well worth it! There are so many knowledgeable artists out there and it is always fun to follow them through their day. I sympathize and relate to the strange looks received upon walking into a drug store with my face unknowingly covered with mud. Even though selling art is a competitive market, these 'mudders' collaborated to open a communal shop and blog. Go EMT! Another bonus of joining the EMT street team is being a part of all of the fabulous mud Treasuries! We even hit the front page of Etsy which resulted in the team selling quite a few items.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Caffeine/Sugar Buzz

I have a secret to share... I am addicted to Ed's Ice cream! Down by the beach I have found an amazing homemade ice cream shop that is addictive. Tonight it was a dish of Tahitian Vanilla Bean with a shot of espresso poured over top. Nothing is better than caffeine and sugar! They even make their own cones in a waffle maker by the door so you can smell them down the street. My absolute favorite is Mint Grapefruit Gelato. It is perfect while I catch some sun on the sand. If you are ever in Toronto down at the beach, check out Ed's on Queen East. If you are adventurous, try the Chocolate Chili Pepper - Wow!! While you're there, say Hi to Ed for me!

Tool Talk - Handles

There has been a lot of talk going on concerning pulling handles and I have to admit that it is my least favorite task in the studio. I haven't pulled a handle in a while so I was avoiding making mugs. But all of the current talk about handles renewed my interest and I actually enjoyed making these. For those of you that are experts, this may be old news, but I know that when I was beginning, I used all of the little tips I could find! So, pulling a handle requires a gentle, patient touch. They say its like milking a cow, but I wouldn't know (even though I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan). I focus on keeping the clay damp and work over a bucket for easy access to water. Then I gently drag my hand with very little pressure, flipping the ball of clay from front to back quite often between pulls to make sure the handle has even thickness and width. I make extra handles because there are always a few that get dented and lose their flow of line. When the handle is longer than necessary, I tip it upside down to set for a while. Take a look at the pic above to see how the handle begins drying in a curve when set this way. Make sure to set them at the edge of a table so the handle can drape loosely without getting distorted.

Once they are set a bit, I cut the top of the handle off of the ball of clay at quite an angle. I attach and then flip the mug upside down so the curve does not get pulled down by gravity. I trim off the end of the handle flat and attach. Then I leave the mug upside down to dry with the handles facing in so they dry a bit slower than the body of the mug. I keep them covered for a day to slow the drying time as well so that the handles do not dry away from the body. It is also a good idea to turn the handles away from the walls of your kiln to avoid shocking them during the firing process.I usually add a little stamp or circle to the bottom of the handle. This not only adds a little design element, but ensures that the handle is stuck on properly. I hope you can find a new little trick in this post because I love buying new ceramic mugs. I have a shelf full of them in my kitchen. Any potters up for a mug swap?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Showcase and a New Banner

I had such a busy day yesterday but I was able to schedule time to walk down to the beach for brunch with my hubby. Well, its not really that difficult because he is freelancing from home this year. It has made this summer so much more enjoyable to have him around, working on his computer right beside mine. How romantic, LOL! Seriously, I have been on the computer a lot more than in my studio lately. Yesterday, I spent half the day in the studio, and the other designing a new banner and photographing pieces to list this week. Whew! I hope to be busy with sales today because I took the plunge and am in the Etsy Showcase today! Check it out and see if you can spot my item among the 35 other Etsy artists!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Change of Pace

My sister in law just bought a new condo (Yay her!) and requested a painting from me. It has been a few months so I thought I would play with a few canvases in between my pottery production. It is nice to change pace once in a while, so as my new work was drying I pulled out my easels and this is what happened. I just listed this in my new Painting shop on Etsy called Lure (my ceramics shop is called Lurearts). It is quite a bit more work to open a second shop but I didn't think that oil paintings belonged beside my ceramics. I'd love a few hearts in my new shop since its so new. It feels so empty compared to my ceramics shop. But don't worry, it will fill up soon!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fresh off the Wheel

I'm taking a little break from trimming so I thought I would post a pic of the new Bud Vases I was talking about earlier. These are fresh off the wheel so I will have to wait a few days while they dry before I can fire them. It has been quite a heat wave this past week so I am quite happy to be in my cool basement studio. Hmmm...I'll be choosing colors for glazes soon. I think these vases will be lovely in white. Maybe I need to get my lab coat out and play with the chemistry to get some new colors.

I feel loved

While I was busy hibernating in my studio, the Etsy group was busy sending me some love! I am at 433 hearts but am aiming for 500 by the end of the month ;)

I have been busy designing some new Pottery Bud Vases. They are a bit tricky to trim so that will be my task for today. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Self Promotion with MOO

They have arrived! My new Pottery Moo Stickers. I was lucky to find a free promo on What a fun way to wrap and post my pottery! This little booklet arrived quickly and is high quality. The color is accurate and the images are clear. It only took me a few minutes to order them with the easy step-by-step purchase forms online. When these are gone I will order new ones with my company logo or my Etsy shop address. What fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tool Talk - Stamps

I decided to start Tool Talk today. This will be a reoccurring topic of discussion where I share interesting tools and techniques. Ceramic artists love to brag about their newest 'found' tool. Finding a new use for some piece of junk in my studio is often the highlight of my day! Sad isn't it...

So my perfect find today came from a box of stuff that I had forgotten about. A friend cleaned out her studio and gave me a box of ceramic glazes that she did not use anymore. So today, I thought I would finally throw away that old cardboard box when I happened to find a tiny fishing lure box.

Now you know that my business is called lurearts (a story for another day) so I can't resist looking inside. And what a find. There were a variety of little antique letter stamps from an old fashioned printing press. It is not a full alphabet but I was able to put together a few short words.

The stamps are the perfect size for my new idea to make fridge magnets! If anyone out there finds a full alphabet of these babies, please let me know! There is something much more lovely about using antique letter stamps than those boring plastic ones that can be made to order.

Check out the fishing lure box too.

I love old design and typefaces. In another life I would have loved to be a designer...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fav Artist - Ray Caesar

Its about time I shared this fabulous artist with you! His work is not only rich, beautiful and creepy, but has so much meaning wrapped into each piece. Check out his website Trust me, its worth a look!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Squashed Rice Bowls

I just love making Rice Bowls! Recently I have been altering the rims to give the bowl a more oval mouth. I like the way that it gives each bowl a personality. I alter the rim just after I remove it from my wheel head but before I trim the foot. I have to alter is quite drastically while it is wet because as it dries, the mouth tends to creep back into its original round form. It is always a surprise once its been fired because the clay has a memory and keeps changing even into the second firing. Here is an example but it is difficult to photograph the subtle variation of the mouth.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Photographing artwork may be one of the most difficult jobs for an artist. Luckily, I have a fabulous husband that knows everything about cameras, lights and computers. Not so lucky, he is super busy and enjoys seeing me figure things out for myself. So, I thought that I would share my process with those of you who are not very computer literate (like me).

I love Photoshop. It makes it so easy for me to correct my photography errors. I know that light is the key to getting good photographs but I do not have a professional lighting set up yet. So, I have fallen in love with a few simple tools on Photoshop.

Once I pull an image into Photoshop, I try to keep the touchups to a minimum. I would rather be in my studio than stuck on the computer. First I crop, then I go to Image, Adjustments and adjust the Levels to get rid of empty information.

Then I tweak the color by using Image, Adjustments, Color Balance. I push up the Blue in the Shadows, the Green in the Midtones, and the Red in the highlights. This gives my work a richer look, more true to the real-life colors.

Then I tweak the Image, Adjustments, Brightness/Contrast if necessary. That is usually it. I shrink the image size and Save to Web. It usually takes only a few minutes to make a dramatic difference.
Here are some before and after shots.

Mastering Cone 6 Glazes - a review

Here is a great book that focuses on Cone 6. I keep this nearby in my studio when I am mixing the chemistry for glazes. It discusses not only the basics but how to create accurate glaze tests, fitting the glaze to your clay body, and approaches to develop your own stable glazes.

The book is full of beautiful photographs and is organized thoughtfully. Glaze recipes are included with corresponding images on various clay bodies as well.

Find more info at mastering glazes

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Good Week

It has been a great week. I found myself in 4, count them, 4 Etsy treasuries yesterday. I love being part of the EMT (ETSY Mud Team). There are so many inspirational ceramic artists out there. So, before I dive into my studio, I thought I would post some new olive trays. I am wondering which color would work the best. Any Suggestions on your favorites? From the top: Mint
Blue Hydrangea
Dark Olive
Brilliant Blue