Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My next show is in Pittsburgh. Stop by and check it out!

SouthSide Works Exposed is an outdoor bazaar and music festival celebrating summer and the arts in Pittsburgh. The setting for this event is in and around the Town Square of the SouthSide Works. More than 70 local artists and craftspeople will be selling handmade wares including ceramics, photography, paintings, jewelry, clothing, natural body products, woodworked games and more.

Each day features food from SouthSide Works restaurants, drinks, music and traveling entertainers – and a dedicated area for kids!

To learn about the excitement and to see a sample of the artisans, visit www.imadeitmarket.com or www.southsideworks.com.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Works in progress.
I've decided I need to combine my love of food and cooking with my ceramics so I have created some new pieces based on this idea. First off are the olive and pit sets. I'm olive obsessed. So good.
Also some new coasters that read "drink" and "lush". I think I'm going do make more sets of those. They are fun to make. Enjoy. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Joys of Being an Introvert

I have spent the past few weeks reading some psychology books and info online about INFJ personality types. Its completely fascinating to me. I also liked this subject in school. If you read this blog often you know that I fall into this personality type which is about 1% of the population. Learning this has really broadened my sense of self and helped me to understand so much of what I have been dealing with. For example, throwing myself into my artwork is the best thing for me.  Below are some excerpts I found interesting and wanted to share. 

Its from a site called The Introvertz Coach and the quotations are from David DeVaughn. You can read the full thing  here.

"Friendship is difficult for INFJ for several reasons, the first being that we are Introverts and live inside our heads.  Most people are Extroverts who live in the outside world of people, places and things.  Most of these Extroverts are also Sensing people, which means they can only relate to that which they can see or feel."
 "...To make matters worse, the function that we INFJ's use to Extrovert is our Feeling side.  The rest of the world can sense how we feel, but not how we understand things.  They also do not understand how we deal with our Thinking side, which is also Introverted.  One minute we are sharing praise or comforting people and the next minute we are critical.  We are usually very honest in projecting our Feelings, but this confuses and often scares Sensing types.   Holding our tongues doesn't always help because we just can't hide how we feel..."
"...However, their is one thing that I have noticed.  Because much of my world takes place inside my head (where everything is in order), in my business dealings I often demand that the outside world follow that same order.  It took me a while to understand that I was not expressing the importance of this to those that I dealt with in my business.  Remember, INFJ's do a better job expressing their Feelings than expressing what they Intuitively know or Think.  We need to be careful not to let these issues come to a boil, which I define as the point where our feelings about places, time, things, etc. overwhelms our feelings/caring about people. 
I also found there is never was anyone around to help me either.  Part of the reason for that is because it is difficult for INFJ's to accept anything from others.  We are so used to others (especially Extroverts) draining us that (because of our strong Feeling function and because we are Introverted) we could never see ourselves draining others.  People just get used to taking and not giving.  Just this weekend, I had an experience like this. Someone I had been helping for literally years with a personal problem refused to extend himself in the slightest to help me with an errand I needed run that was very important.
Unfortunately, this constant disappointment with people makes us withdraw even more.  We need to be careful that we don't take on other personality traits as a means to escape into a better world...."
"...Generally speaking, people don't hurt us because they are mean.  They hurt us because they either don't understand us or they don't understand themselves.  As INFJ's and INFP's we are blessed with a far greater ability to understand.  We should use that ability to improve our lives as well as those around us.   The easiest way to do this is to RELAX.  Don't take everything so seriously.  Save your energy for that which is truly important.  Demand a little better from everyone, and a lot less from yourself.  People will see the real you and eventually, they will be your friend."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Days off.

I'm quite the busy artist these days. Two grants are due in September. A gallery exhibit app is due in July. I have 4 shows this summer. And I teach.

Next week and the week after something rare and exciting is happening. I am getting 2 weeks off of teaching! I love to teach, don't get me wrong. But the idea that every night is mine and I can do what I like is amazing. This won't happen again until December and then I'll be in show mode.

To spend 2 weeks in the studio as I wish is my version of vacation. As I have learned reading more about INFJ personality types the best thing for me is to work on my art. Being in my studio is a theraputic experience despite the haze that comes with preparing for shows.

Also with this time I plan on riding my bike, checking out a happy hour or two and finishing True Blood Season 2. Oh yes, its going to be great.

This has been one of the best summers I have had in awhile and I have my artwork to thank.
Think pink. More work to be listed in my Etsy shop this week. Here's a sneak preview.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New work
(to be found on Etsy. listings starting this week)

I spent my Saturday firing the kiln. It was almost 90 degrees out so needless to say I kept out of the studio. I spent my afternoon photographing, cropping, editting and posting to Etsy. More work to come throughout the week. This is my least favorite part of the process. Would rather be making that posting but I'm glad I get to share new work with all of you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

More things waiting to be bisqued. Bowls, plates and flower pots freshly carved.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New work in progress.

Soap dishes. Both the classic rectangle shape and a new leaf shaped dish.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sometimes this is a cooking blog. 

I signed up for City Fresh in Lakewood this year. If you are not familiar check out the LEAF site. I get fresh local produce once a week. But you never know what you are getting.

This week I got kohlrabi, a veggie that is new to me. If you like broccoli then you will like kohlrabi. I googled for some recipe and I found a great set of links from Simply Recipes.

I made stirfry with one to try it out. My stirfry sauce was a combo of Cha-cha Chinese Chicken salad dressing (from Heinen's and so amazing to cook with!, Rooster Sauce for heat and soy sauce. The dressing is a combo of sesame oils which makes everything taste amazing. I added the rest of my veggies and some jasmine rice courtesy of Trader Joe's.

I have one left in the fridge as well as the greens from the plant which I found out you can blanche then cook down with garlic and olive oil. Mmmm. I'm excited to try the kohlrabi squash and empanadas this week too. So many new recipes to try. I think this will help me along my path to healthy eating. I'm almost half way to my weight loss goal. I'm trying to add more and more veggies to my diet.

Now if I can just find a cheap mini fridge for the studio I bring my healthy snacks with me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Please join me for ARTiculation
The Domestic Violence Center's 6th Annual Stalking Awareness Art Auction and Fundraiser.

I don't donate work often anymore but this is a cause I feel strongly about. Thank you for supporting this event and this organization!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Since music and art go hand in hand I thought I would post my last 5 concerts I attended. I may enjoy the quiet of the studio but I like some noise to inspire me.

So the last five in order...
5. Swarm of Bats
4. Metric
3. A band I wish I knew the name of. Saw them at the Happy Dog. The lead singer was amazing. Why did I not catch their name...
2. Skinny Puppy
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Any concert recommendations?.............
Studio Music. The noise I listen to when I'm ignoring all of you.
Current Favorites...
Melissa auf der Maur. OOOM.
Florence and the Machine. Lungs.
Little Boots. Hands. (when I feel like dancing. which i'm bad at)
Garbage. Bleed Like Me. (because they won't release Shirley's solo album. its apparently too dark which means I will love it)
Lady Gaga. Fame Monster. (she is installation art. on a person. its fun. deal with it)
Metric. All albums because I just saw them in concert and they were A M A Z I N G.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Have you ever had a day that was kind of off and you didn't realize why? Today was that day. I spent Friday through Sunday working in the studio. I have a bad attention span. Usually 4-5 hours in my max. Sunday I lasted 7 hours. The quiet, alone time, creativity and focus that is associated with art and studio time has truly been theraputic these past few weeks. I obsess and live in my own head. If not for art I do not know what I would do.

Today I checked my mail and thanks to a letter I realized one month ago today my grandma passed away. And suddenly my off day made total sense.

Back to the studio on Saturday. Things to glaze. Pots to make. Ideas to explore.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Day at Wanda's

I love creatures. I spent my lunch yesterday observing a cute goat, lamb and lots of frogs. Enjoy.
Process. Pottery Graveyard. End Results.

One reason I have this blog as a separate entity from my website is so that I can discuss the process of making. As festival/sale season is creeping up I am reminded of the frustrating questions I get asked including my favorite one: Why does this cost so much?

Let me explain the process and why handmade ceramics costs what is does...

First I throw the pieces. Last Saturday I threw 50 pieces including mugs, dip bowls and soup bowls. This takes about 3-4 hours. The next day I come to the studio and trim them and attach handles. Again that is another 3-4 hours. I lost about 5 pieces just within this step. Work starts to dry out quickly in my studio despite efforts to create humidity for the pieces. Then I let the pieces dry while covered and come back to the studio and flip them upside down to dry. I use Standard Clay's 240. Its a smooth white stoneware that is often mistaken for porcelain. Its more forgiving that porcelain with the rich white color I need to accent my glazes. This clay likes to crack when drying to quickly. If the pieces aren't flipped then the bottoms dry and shrink too quickly and cracks occur along the bottoms. These pieces get scrapped and thrown back into the recycle buckets. Also consider that sometimes handles don't attach properly. Before I even put pieces into the bisque fire I lose 15 pieces. That is a 30% loss of work before the first firing. For every 100 pieces thrown, 30 end up in the pottery graveyard. R.I.P.

The bisque firing (at cone 04) is where any further problems with handles will present themselves. This firing is about 8 hrs. Then I glaze the pieces and fire them again to cone 5 for another 6-8 hrs.  You can't assume that these 70 pieces will turn out as planned. I have a set of glazes I rely on while continuously trying new colors and combos. Glazes can run and crawl. Or maybe a bisqued piece was under fired and now the glaze has pin holes. I won't sell a piece at full price unless it meets my high standards. Any sub par is sold as a "second" for a discounted price.

So here is the breakdown:
8 hours of making (throwing and trimming)
8 hours of bisque firing (1-2 firings are necessary depending on how big these 70 pieces may be) = 16 hrs
6-8 hours of glazing 
6 hours of glaze firing (w/3 firings) = 18 hrs

For a grand total of 38 hours. That means I roughly only make 2 pieces in an hour.

Now factor in supplies such as clay and glaze. I like bright colors therefore they are not cheap. Then there is studio rent. I teach out of my studio just to negate the rent from my bills. And don't forget insurance. I have liability insurance on my studio and equipment and because I teach in my space.

Then there is the method of selling your work. Galleries take 40-50%. Wholesale means you sell your work for 50% of its retail value. Online venues mean cuts from your profits and listing or web hosting fees. And more art shows cost at least $100 to enter. If you travel to a show then there are traveling expenses such as gas, lodging and food. I try to do shows where I know my lodging is free but this summer I am doing a show where its a necessity.

So now do you want to ask me why mugs are $25-30?

My prices on pieces are slowly being raised this year. Its necessary. I have to reflect the cost of rising studio and supply prices. When you factor in the other elements besides supplies, rent and time you realize you are selling yourself short. Remember that when you buy handmade it is appreciated because you are buying art. Not everyone can throw pottery. You are also helping to sustain the local economy.  
I appreciate every sale.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Summer Show Calendar


Find me and my work at the following shows...

Cleveland Handmade Market at the Orange Art Center
Sunday, June 27th from 10am to 5pm.
31500 Chagrin Blvd, Pepper Pike, OH 44124

I Made It Market! at Southside Works
Pittsburgh, PA
Friday, July 16 5pm-10pm
Saturday, July 17 2pm-10pm
Sunday, July 18 2pm-5pm
Visit the site for more info

Lakewood Arts Festival
Saturday, August 7th from 10am to 6pm.
Visit the website for more info.