About Me

2015!

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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March 6

Posted by on Mar 6, 2013 in About Me, Sous-potter | 0 comments

It is cold today.  March is a potluck of weather conditions.  But I don’t mind working in the studio when it is cold if I run the heater, have warm throwing water, and the clay isn’t cold.  Cold clay gives me an ice-cream headache.  I tried to speed up the warming process by putting the clay by the fire – which did help.  So Braum and I spent a wintry, March evening in the studio making bowls and tumblers (although I think he would have preferred remaining by the fire.)

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Common Questions

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in About Me, Shows | 0 comments

Although pottery isn’t my full time pursuit, I treat it professionally.  That means, I set time to work in the studio and then go there; I maintain a website and have business cards; and, I keep financial records.  Since I often get asked logistical questions about A Bit Off Center, I thought I would share a few of the most common ones. You make a lot of pots; when do you do it?  Each week is different; but, essentially, I work a few afternoons from 4 til 630 and Saturday with Julie.  I have a studio at home, so I often work for short sessions on ‘off’ evenings.  I enjoy my studio so it isn’t hard to find time to get in there.  Pottery keeps me from watching a lot of TV! How did you get started selling?  I wanted to make better pots so I made a lot of pots.  Julie and I knew each other from the community studio so we worked together for company.  Then we saw a local Craft Show and split a booth. Is it hard to get into/do craft shows?  Some shows are juried which means you submit photos of your work and they select the participants.  Other shows are entered by paying  fee.  Neither is difficult (except it helps to have really good photos).  Doing the shows is a lot of work and planning.  It requires having a booth (tables/shelves/tent), getting enough pots made, and making provision to take payment. What is your best seller?  Mugs.  Everyone likes mugs.  We also sell a lot of small bowls and chip and dip servers. What is your biggest expense?  Glaze.  It is expensive and we use a lot.  But, last year, our booth fees were almost as much as our glaze expenditure. I wouldn’t want to make things because I have to.  How do you do it?  I think it is a mind set.  I don’t feel like I have to do anything.  It feels like I get to make pots and I like multiples – they feel like another opportunity to do it better or...

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A New Beginning

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in About Me | 0 comments

The New Year has begun.  And although I am optimistic about all 2013 has to offer, 2013 feels different…larger.   Perhaps that is because while I am welcoming the new year, I am also welcoming a new decade of my life and as I am contemplating goals for 2013, I  am also thinking about where I want to go in this new stage of life. Working in clay has enhanced my life and pushed me beyond who I thought I could be.  But now I am asking myself why I am making pots.  I think that is a question all potters ask themselves.  In fact, it is one I ask all my beginning students.  Answers vary, but basically most of us can’t fight the compulsion to make pots. That was my initial answer but I think that has changed.  For a while, I made pots in order to make better pots.  Learning how to throw was a challenge.  But having accomplished the basics, it seems appropriate to ask the question again.  Why am I making pots? I love making pots; and I love the process.   I like planning and investigating shapes and designs.  I love how handmade pots enhance eating a meal and drinking a coffee.  Now, I want to create pots that are beautiful and soulful and I think this is my next pottery...

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Confessions of a Quantifier

Posted by on Sep 29, 2012 in About Me, How-to, Scale | 0 comments

I admit that I like to quantify things – by weight/volume/ whatever – give me a number to associate with it and it feels more tangible.  In fact, when I cook, I use 2 timers – one counts down based on the prescribed time to doneness but I also use one that counts up – so I can KNOW how much time it really took to doneness. I believe this neuroses of quantification is a good thing for potters.  By weighing clay, a potter can gauge how efficently she has thrown a pot.  I weigh my clay and often make note of it – I do this as I get the clay balls ready for throwing.  And, when I am developing a new form, I use these data to help me select the amount of clay I should start with. For any potter who is struggling to throw better, throwing with the same amount of clay will help her focus on her technique by removing one...

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Don’t wait for it – work for it

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in About Me, Creativity | 0 comments

I’ve never been successful waiting for creativity and motivation to strike.  However, I have been successful finding creative solutions and getting a lot of work done when I work – even if I don’t feel like it.  The discipline of engaging with the clay and following a work schedule hase resulted in more successful pots for me. Creativity and success are not the result of lightening strike work habits.  However, I am a lazy person who will squander time piddling around the house without much to show for it.  So I avert my naturally tendencies toward slothfulness by cultivating habits that induce focus.  By this, I mean, that I plan what I want to do, write it on a list, post the list, give myself a deadline, schedule time to work with Julie (accountability), and schedule time in my own studio (continued work time).  I also try to remove obstacles that distract me from working.  By this, I mean that I try to keep current with my day job, meal planning, housework, and paperwork so they won’t interfere with time I have scheduled to work on pottery.  I also try to incorporate incentives for me to get to work.  For example, I listen to an audiobook only in the studio (a good book will help me log a lot of studio time).  Sometimes, I give myself a challenge  (like make 75 mugs in 30 days).  Although I don’t think I am very competitive, accomplishing a personal challenge really motivates me to work. Lack of productivity is not usually the result of lack of inspiration; lack of inspiration is often the result of lack of work.  In order to do creative work, working is the first step.  There are many days when I don’t feel like working in the studio, but when I keep my commitment to my schedule and press through my ennui, I often find that the motivation...

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