Sunday, January 31, 2010

Soup of the Week: Sausage and White Bean

No photo today. Kind of had a soup fail. Seems appropriate since most of January sucked. And its the last day of the month so why not go out with a bang. Soup turned out ok but first of all the sausage I bought just happened to be super greasy. Needless to say the broth reflects that. Its not bad its just that this is my favorite soup and its not up to par which annoys me. On to the recipe:

1 package ground sweet italian sausage
3 leeks
2 cans white beans, your choice
chicken broth
pepper, salt, garlic, oregano, basil

Brown sausage then add the leeks. After about 2 minutes add carrots, broth and remaining ingredients. Boil then simmer for 1 hour.

Good luck. May you do better than I.

Friday, January 29, 2010

My first show of the season. Friday February 12th and Saturday February 13th. More info on its way...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I have finally editted some of the photos for my new online shop. This weather and post show burnout have made me rather lazy. I can't say I feel like doing much of anything. Next step, actually upload them. Wish me luck or motivation. Either will do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First look at the wall tiles. The photos did not turn out good. I need to set them up at home and take some shots. In the meantime here is one..

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First glaze fire of the year. Olive trays.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Soup of the Week: Replaced by Turkey Chili
This week I thought I would try making turkey chili in the crockpot. I make very good chili but using turkey is new for me. I'm on a health kick. I'm 7 lbs lighter than I was in November and I have more to go. I usually cook very healthy anyways but calorie counting has made me realize what portions I should be eating and how to get more out of them. I should note I could huge portions because I like to have something healthy around the house all week. And if I make too much I just freeze it for a day when I'm too lazy or poor to cook. Also I'm Italian so I think I'm genetically coded to cook for families of 12 despite the fact I'm an only child.

For this recipe I used:
1 lb of ground turkey, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can black beans, 2 green peppers, 1 red pepper, 1 white onion, one large can of tomato juice, cumin, chili powder, fresh ground pepper, fresh minced garlic, cilantro, taco seasoning, a bit of salt.

First I browned the turkey in a pan. After it was about 2/3s of the way done I added the fresh garlic and onions to give it more flavor. Then I transferred it to the crockpot and added the peppers, beans and tomato juice. I probably used 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning and cilantro and 1.5 tablespoons of cumin and fresh ground pepper. I didn't add much salt because the tomato juice has some already. It was in the crockpot for 6 hours.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm up for a Poppie! 

What does that mean you ask? Poppytalk, a great design blog is taking votes for a Handmade Awards Event. I was lucky enough to be nominated. How, I have no idea. I guess I have more Etsy followers than I realized. The most exciting part is the artists I am surrounded by. Diana Fayt, Heather Knight, and Ayumi Horie to name a few of the ceramic artists I follow. I feel like some of my hard work is paying off! And that is a good feeling.

Please go and vote here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New work in the studio.

As I was bisquing my first round of work from January I took on 2 tasks. The first being a photo shoot for work for my web shop. Also known as "my least favorite thing to do". Bleh. After le photo shoot I decided to work on some pendants. I can say I have any clear direction right now with my work. I'm just playing and figuring out what juried gallery exhibits to enter and which festivals this summer I wish to endure. I can tell you this, it will be a lot less than last year.

Shows are tedious for many reasons. The first being I'm a ceramics artists and my work is heavy. I love lugging it around in the hot summer weather and trying to set up the stupid tent. Then I get to answer questions like, "Did you paint this yourself?", "Why is this so expensive?", and of course "Do you make a living off of this?". Welcome to my hell.

Next are the show organizers and fellow vendors. Not everyone can organize a show. You have to take on the task of dealing with a lot of complaints and anticipating everything that could go wrong and planning for it just in case. Some people in this town = epic FAIL at organizing. And most of the time you get good neighbors but everyone once in awhile you get the loud mouth who I like to call sale stealers. You are sitting there talking in a normal tone of voice but the person next to you is so loud that it distracts half your customers all day long. Usually this person has mediocre work and an excessive amount of entitlement.

This is why I enjoy 2 things: my open studio sales and online shops. The studio sales draw in customers who want to see where artists work. Intelligent questions usually follow. And with online I can spend less time dragging ceramics across town and more time actually making work. Hopefully more gallery representation will follow this year. I'm a better artist than a salesperson and I would like to leave the selling up to someone else most of the time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New work from the studio.

Some new mugs. Lots of curves and assymmetry along the bottom with some sprigging for design. All of the handles have been textured. 2 have thumb rests. Playing with ideas. There are 16 of these. I want to glaze them in a matte black along the bottom half with aqua or bright purple on the remainder of the exterior and the interior. With a slight overlap I will get a nice third shade. The black and aqua creates a metallic green. The black and purple creates a ultramarine blue. I will post more soon. I hope to bisque these this weekend along with the trays.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Soup of the Week: Pasta Fagioli. Mmmmm.

I wanted to try a new soup this week. I didn't use the crockpot for this one. Its a yummy tomato based bean soup in case you were wondering. Sorry for a lack of measurements. I don't measure when I cook. I just go for it. My ingredients:
Can of diced tomatoes (slightly pureed)
Chicken bouillon
Turkey bacon (the original recipe called for a fancy Italian ham or bacon. I opted for something more healthy)
White beans. I used 4 cans. 
Pepper, Garlic, Oregano, Basil
Olive Oil

Saute the bacon in a separate pan. Then remove and dice. This eliminates some of the greasiness from affecting the soup. Then in the soup pot add the bacon and the onion and olive oil. After a minute or two add the carrots and celery.
Next add water and the remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and cook for one hour. I used too much water for the broth but it turned out yummy nevertheless.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Project for the week: photographing artwork. Kill me now.

I am working with a friend to create a shop on my website. I love Etsy but I get so many hits on my site I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of potential customers. I also feel like maybe my work is getting lost in the shuffle. Somehow the whole does not know about Etsy. Seems impossible at this point but working with that point of view I think 2 online shops is the way to go.

All of this means I get to do my least favorite chore of all, photographing my work. I hate it. Its boring, some of my glazes don't like the same lighting as others, and some glazes are so shiny the glare is horrendous. I've tried all the tricks, etc. Lightbox, natural light, whatever. I don't care what anyone says because I will never like this chore. I rather take care of my accounting and that says a lot.

After taking photos comes the joy of cropping and editing on Photoshop. I also have to measure each piece. Another tedious task. Then shipping costs must be worked out. I have this down now thanks to my Etsy site but still I sometimes misjudge. I like to pack things with excess amounts of bubble wrap. I've only have 2 orders break in 3 years. Still more than I would like.

So as I begin this chore wish me luck. In my head I hope to have this whole shop thing live by the end of February. I think its a realistic goal but I'm in no rush. However the potential of selling online and dealing with less shows makes it all worth while.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Work, Round 2.

I am the proud owner of a new slab roller. While shopping on Bailey Pottery Supply I found a great table top model. Perfect for what I need and have room for in the studio. I started making these little trays. It had been a long time since I played with the ideas of trays. For my thesis show I made all tray sets so I think I burnt myself out. 

This round has a geometric design on what I will describe as a leaf shaped tray. I made 7 for the first batch. Each one is different. My old tray sets were rectangular or square so these are definitely more organic. Not sure how to glaze them yet. I'm going to make some more with different stampings so perhaps I'll chose a color for each series.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New work. Round 1.
I have been trying to work on wall pieces for 3 years now. I have had little time to experiment. Lately I have felt like I am making work to sell, not making work to create. Therefore one of my goals for 2010 is to experiment and not worry if I have enough to sell or anything to sell. Come what may.

The first set of wall pieces were more like canvas. I constructed the boxes but the edges seemed so harsh. Then I tried using a foam mold. Again the shape was not quite right. Then of course holiday shows came and I abandoned my wall tiles.

The current piece above is essentially 2 tiles pressed together. There is a slight pillow quality to them so that they do not sit flat against the wall. There is a bit of a sculptural quality about them. Right now in my head I want these to be glazed in the gunmetal black/grey. I'm not sure how this will evolve but for the meantime I'm happy with the first round. I have made 6 and the construction is the best since the previous trials. I'll keep you posted on the progress. And in case you are wondering this one measures 5 inches square but it will shrink a bit.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Better late than never?
Here are some pics from the Bazaar Bizarre westside show. Why did it take me so long to post them? One word: vacation. Anyways, enjoy. You won't see me at a show till April. Until then I'll be hiding in my studio.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I'm trying to be a good blogger. And with the nice set up of scheduling blogs I can write them and then set a time for them to post. So when I'm snug under a blanket with my loyal space heater by my side on Sundays I can get a lot done. Sunday is usually cooking day for the week. I've been trying to make a soup a week. Its healthy and keeps me eating that way throughout the week when I often don't have time to cook. I also got a crockpot for Christmas which I'm very excited about. I've decided to start posting some of my food creations. Eating is something I love. And since I make dishes it kinda goes hand and hand. Below is my first crockpot creation: southwest stuffed peppers. I needed something vegetarian after a week of meat for Christmas. Please excuse the blurry picture. I'm trying to not be OCD about this.

The recipe called for:
4 large green peppers
1 cup rice
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1/2 cup green onions
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Mix together ingredients and stuff peppers. Cook on high for 4 hours. 

All and all a good recipe however I made a few alterations. I tried using a yellow pepper along with the green and I think that was a better choice. I added more cumin then the recipe called for along with some taco seasoning, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder. I also served them with fresh avocado slices. I'm not a cheese eater (and cheese was called for in the original recipe). So creamy avocado-ness was perfect.

After trying this recipe I think the time I will use less corn, more beans and salsa and cilantro. It was definitely missing something and I think the cilantro was it.

I think my next recipe will be turkey chili. I really want some chili but again I'm meated out from the holiday season. We'll see how that turns out.

Friday, January 01, 2010

52 Weeks 52 Works
A great way to start off the New Year! I am once again featured in the calendar put out by AGC: The Creative Advantage. Every year they have a call for artists and feature some amazing regional talent. My teapot below is included.

The focus this year is working on some new ideas. I did a lot of shows last year. I'm going to do less this year. I have wanted to make wall pieces for years now but I have never had the time. Due to my inventory I am at a place where I can experiment. I plan to take full advantage of it.

Please check back often and I will try to be a good pottery blogger.

Cheers to a fabulous 2010!