Posts by Rae


Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in About Me, Travel | 0 comments

Happy 2015!  It is a new year and now that the holidays are over, I am ready to go boldly into this calendar year. Looking back at 2014, there were lots of good things.  Jeff and I started the year in Japan – which was an amazing and inspirational trip.  We ‘finished’ dog training classes with Koko.  And, our backyard underwent several landscaping changes – a project that has been long over-due but is still a work in progress.  And, of course, there were lots of trips to visit friends and family and opportunities to host several house guests, too! I also made some changes in my day-job by expanding my position.  Although it has proven to be a good thing, it impacted my studio time and how I work with ABOC.  As a consequence, I decided to take a break from teaching adult pottery classes in order to reclaim some studio time.  It was a appropriate decision but I confess that I still miss the weekly inspiration that teaching brought me.  My new schedule also affected ABOC because I get off work later.  Since Julie retired, she has more time in the day and is less inclined to work in the evenings.  So, we worked independently during the week and collaboratively on Fridays and Saturdays. We were very productive and managed to have a successful year. So what is in store for 2015?  Well, two of the highest priorities is to freshen up our website and re-activate my blog. Here is the thing, when time is limited (and it always is), I choose to do other things instead of website work.  But, in today’s culture, a cyber-presence is essential.  Although, we don’t sell items on the our site with a shopping cart (and I am not planning to do that), many people purchase our pots as gifts.  A website gives the recipients of those pots an opportunity to ‘meet us’.  Also, we have many loyal clients who frequently purchase from us.  A website with a relevant gallery gives them an opportunity to see more work than what we are able to display at a show or in a store.  So all this means, I need to take and edit a lot of photos.  I may even update the layout – but for now, the gallery is the priority. Re-activating the blog is mostly for me.  Teaching pottery classes forced me to continually look for ideas to share and incorporate in the studio.  Since I am not planning to go back into teaching at this time (although I will when the right opportunity arises), the blog offers a good outlet for me to teach some and offers enough structure to cause me to be more attentive to considering and developing new ideas. Those aren’t my only objectives for 2015.  I have many studio ideas that I am excited to try out. But, the business side of pot making needs some attention early in the year (like now when it is cold and I am less inclined to work after dark). So, whatever your New’s Goals or Resolutions are, I hope 2015 is a...

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Having a Partner

Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in Parnter | 0 comments

Which pots are yours?  How does having a partner work?  Who made this pot? These are some of the questions that we are frequently asked.  I am not sure why it seems so out of the ordinary to work collaboratively in clay.  After all, there are a number of successful collaborations in many media: Rogers and Hammerstein, Simon and Garfunkel, Ira and George Gershwin, Hall and Oats. And, those are just off the top of my head.  The reality is, most creative work is collaborative.  No movie is made by one person – the ten minutes of credits are testimony to the host of people involved. Julie and I met while working at a community studio.  We were both ‘clay crazy’ so when Julie was approached about purchasing a booth in a local craft fair, she invited me to split it with her.  After, a while, we began working collaboratively. Every partnership is unique.  Although Julie and I are different, we are compatible in essential areas.  We share a similar work ethic and susceptibility to guilt.   This means we each worry that we aren’t carrying our own weight which results us making a lot of pots.  We also have a similar aesthetic.  This is valuable  because otherwise our body of work would not have a unified feel.  Julie and I also share a respect for well-thrown and balanced pottery.  This causes us to be open to one another’s critiques because when all is said and done, we want to make better pots. Here is an overview of how we work.  When we throw together, we work at Julie’s studio where I have a wheel.  We get the clay ready (sometimes she has this done before I get there) and throw whatever pots are on our agenda.  Then we work on finishing them.  This means that one or both of us will trim or add attachments regardless of who threw the pot body.   Sometimes we work independently; this is mostly due to our schedules.  We each have a list of things that we make monthly; but we still glaze the pots together.  When we glaze, one of us waxes as the other preps glaze or starts the glazing.  As the pots are finished, Julie loads them in the kiln (her super-power is packing).  While we throw or glaze pots, we have an on-going discussion of ideas of things to implement and change.  This is when we come up with new designs or ways to improve our existing work. Having a partner is great because it divides the administrative and non-pot making tasks.  I handle most of the book-keeping, show applications, photography, and glaze-mixing.  Julie handles most of the ordering and purchasing (supplies/glazes/business cards/lunch, etc.); she also does most of the kiln loading/unloading and recycles most of the clay. I know that I would not have accomplished as much as I have without having worked with Julie; and, for that, I celebrate my friend today.  Happy Birthday!...

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Summer Solstice

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Craft Show, Holiday | 0 comments

It’s the Summer Solstice today – longest day/shortest night.  If it isn’t already obvious from past postings, I really like the solstices and equinoxes.  It is something about their oppositional balance that I find appealing. So, on this first official day of summer, I spent most of it in the studio working on snowman plates.  It was purely coincidental that what we were working on Christmas-themed pots today.   However, we struggled last year to keep up with the requests for Christmas plates because we didn’t start making them until September.  This year, I am determined to avoid that craziness.  In addition to that,  Carolina Artists’ Colony (one of the stores that hosts our pots) is planning a ‘Christmas in July’ event that we will be participating in; so we have to get the plates done. We just finished the spring shows and our next show isn’t until August which gives us a bit of a break.  The spring show season was a success.  We had wonderful weather for all the shows, excellent booth locations, a great response from new patrons, and visits from  many people who bought pots at past events.  Our sales were excellent and many of the new glazes on our small bowls were well received.  Shows are a lot of work to prepare for and to do; but, they are well worth it when we have such a...

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Salavaging Pottery

Posted by on Oct 6, 2013 in Creativity, Surface Decoration | 1 comment

I messed up.  I over-fired a bisque load. It was careless and I still can’t figure out how it happened.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time that I’ve done this…it is the second. The first time it happened, our kiln was full of small bowls.  Although they didn’t take a lot of time to make, there were so many of them that we decided to try to salvage them.  When bisque pots are fired to maturity, they are no longer porous and therefore do not absorb glaze.  So the challenge to saving them is to get glaze to adhere to the pot during the re-firing.  Vertical surfaces are especially difficult as the glaze often succumbs to gravity and falls off the pot.    We averted this particular difficulty by applying iron-oxide to the outside of the bowls.  In order to glaze the inside of the bowls, we heated them and applied several coats.  The results were mixed.  The iron-oxide was successful; but, there was a lot of glaze crawling inside the bowls.  So we re-applied glaze to them again and re-fired for a third time – and several were saved. They say necessity is the mother of invention – or in our case, the mother of creativity.  Since my debacle, we began incorporating iron-oxide into our surface treatment options when using runny glazes. Unfortunately, this most recent kiln load had an assortment of of pots.  The larger the pot, the more prone it is to cracking when re-fired.  We spent a day trying to salvage the pots that resulted in little success and a lot of ugly or broken pots.  In fact, the only success was the mugs that Julie thought looked like ancient maps.  The lesson learned from this most recent episode is sometimes we need to cut our...

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First Place!

Posted by on Sep 29, 2013 in Craft Show | 0 comments

This is show season.  Although, we participate in shows throughout the year, the fall is our busy time.  And, this year, we have a full docket. Our most recent show was in Fayetteville at the International Folk Festival where A Bit Off Center won first place for quality of work and display!  It was really an exciting surprise that was accompanied by a certificate and a...

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