Handmade Holiday

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 in About Me, Gifts, Holiday, Philosophy, Sous-potter, Teaching | 2 comments

Handmade gifts can express something more than an average store-bought gift.  A handmade present is one-of-a kind.  And, in our lives of homogeneous chain stores and generic gift cards, this is refreshing. Handmade gifts made by you are even more special.  Perhaps because they represent a sacrifice of time and energy; or, perhaps because they are an intimate expression of how dear the recipient is to you.  Even children recognize this.  I really enjoy helping kids make things – pottery, cookies, ornaments, etc.  And, more often than not, as they are working on their craft, they are planning to give it away to some one special.  It seems that the desire to make something creative is intertwined with the desire to share that creation with a loved one. This year, I have been so blessed as I watched the potters at the art center prepare for Christmas.  The theme of the pottery session was ‘Holiday Ceramics 2011’ – essentially, it was an independent study so everyone could have time to make the gifts on their lists.  Every night, class was a busy workshop.  The potters planned and made pots for the special people in their lives.  It was amazing to see how much care went into the each of the projects.  And to me, those pots epitomize the genuine spirit of gift giving. But, nothing compares to the ultimate gift that the Lord gave when He sent His Son to earth to be a sacrifice for our sins.  Christ’s act of love is the true celebration of Christmas. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed on Him should be...

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Christmas List for a Potter

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 in Books, Gifts, Holiday, Scale, Tools | 1 comment

During gift-giving season, many people are searching for the perfect present.  So, I have been commissioned by the elves to help.  To that, here are some suggestions that would surely make any potter smile on Christmas morning. Stocking Stuffers: Sherrill Mud tools Dolan Trim tools Metal and Wooden Ribs For the VERY Nice Potter: Wheel Kiln Giffin Grip Under-the-Tree Gifts: Throwing Bats Tile Bat System Clay Scale Set of three sieves Sampler sieves For the Literary Potter: 500 Book Series Subscription to Clay Times Subscription to Pottery Maker’s Illustrated For the Experimental Potter: Glaze Sampler Set MKM Wooden Stamps Gifts that can be bought anywhere: Containers with lids – various sizes Apron Drill with mixer paddle Angle grinder Dremmel Tool Sand paper sponges Buckets Sketch books Camera Kitchen tools – large spoons, spatulas, rolling pin Paint brushes – various sizes Sponges – natural, various sizes Gift Certificates: Bailey Pottery Big Ceramics Store Clay King Local Craft Store Local Art Center (supplies/workshops/classes) You can direct the elves in your life to this entry for quick links or you can print out this Wish List for them to take with them when they go...

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On making gifts

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in About Me, Gifts, Holiday, Philosophy, Sous-potter | 0 comments

It is mid-November which means that gifts must be started very soon.  I thought I got a great start on the Advent calendar in July.  I made four sets of jars.  To date, I have glazed 1.5 sets of jars and Jeffrey has completed one of the new boxes.  This is how life is – something more urgent (not necessarily important) interrupts the progress.  I plan to glaze the balance of the jars this weekend and then fire them.  I hope to have two of the boxes for my family finished by Thanksgiving. I am excited about filling each jar with a bible verse and treat.  However, my sous-potter is agonizing over the unworthiness of the boxes.  I asked him if he noticed the jars – he said that he did and he thought they were great.  They are great, but they are far from perfect.  Being a very pragmatic person, I realize that none of my pots are ever going to be perfect.  But, that isn’t my ambition and I certainly don’t let it steal the joy of making a present for some one.  Instead of obsessing about how badly my project is going, my mind is filled with thoughts of the recipient and I am excited about the prospect of sharing something I have made with a special person.  Instead of criticizing the work, I take the opportunity to pray for my gift and the person who will receive it.  I believe the attitude with which a gift is made is seen in the...

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Sticks and More

Posted by on Jun 17, 2011 in Bowls, Gifts, Lime Fiesta, Mugs | 0 comments

Today, we took new pots to restock inventory at Sticks and More in Snow Hill, NC.  This was the first shop to host pottery by A Bit Off Center.  It is a cute store – actually it is a renovated petroleum station.  Although I am a potter by passion, I work for an environmental consulting firm by day – which means that most of my clients are petroleum retail facilities.  But, none of my project sites have an AST (above ground storage tank) painted pink! Sticks and More is just as adorable inside as it is outside.  They have quite an assortment of fun and unique gifts and they host arts and crafts made by local artisans – and we have been thrilled to be included in their eclectic collection since August...

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Posted by on Dec 27, 2010 in Class, Gifts, Holiday, Studio, Uncategorized | 0 comments

My last day of potting was December 21.  Julie and I worked really hard to fill orders and finish gifts.  We will get back to work at the end of the week.  But I am relishing the break and the time to do some other holiday things. This holiday season was a lot of fun for me.  I love making pottery to give because I love making pots for dear friends most of all.  Although I started in October, it was barely enough time to finish all the gifts that I wanted to give.  Even with the early start, I didn’t get tired of the holiday preparations.  I enjoyed the process of planning and making things for the people I love. I also enjoyed teaching the pottery class this session because it was the last one before the holidays.  This was the first year that I taught the winter session.  The theme of the session was ‘Ceramics for the Holidays‘.  The intent was to help the potters make all the pots on their gift list.  I don’t think they really needed any help because they were very motivated and quite focused.   I loved hearing the other potters discussing which pots they were giving and to whom.  They were excited and I was excited.  I hope all of those recipients enjoy the gifts they were given.  They were certainly made with love and thoughtfulness.  I can’t wait to hear how they were...

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Advent Continued

Posted by on Dec 13, 2010 in Gifts, Glazes, Holiday, Lids, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Advent Pot Production I really enjoyed making the Advent calendar.  So I thought I would share the development process.  As I have disclosed, I don’t have a artistic background.  So it was surprising for me to find out that ‘artists’ work and rework ideas – they don’t ‘just’ make something.  At first, I wanted to make various types of lidded jars – but I had to stick with drop-in and bowl lids because they allowed the most volume (I wanted to fit 2 chocolates in each pot).  I made all the pots in one sitting and then threw all the lids.  I tried to make the pot galleries to the same diameter so I could make all the lids the same size.  This is the liberty of multiples – I found a lid to match every pot.        It took a while for me to figure out how to number the pots.  Discarded ideas included: numbering each cubby rather than the pot (but the pots filled the cubbies so the numbers couldn’t be seen), incising the pots and filling with underglaze (but that would limit glaze choices), and stamping numbers into the pot body (but that could distort the pot which might prevent the lid from fitting well).  I decided to add stamped numbers to each pot – this allowed for the least amount of opportunity for distortion.        I originally wanted to glaze the pots in white/green and white/red – which I did for one set.  But it was suggested that multiple glazes would be fun – which is how I glazed the boxes for my friend and nephews.  I must say, the multiple pots are fun – they invite you to pick them up and keep you engaged with the shadowbox.  However, the white/red/green pots feel very festive and Christmasy.          Jeff worked hard on the shadow box – the beveled corners really set it off.  The final challenge was choosing a color for the shadow box.  Green worked really well for the white/red/green pots; but the color choice for the multiples is still a bit unresolved.  The gold is a bit harsh but will do for now.  I am looking forward to making another box for my...

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