Posted by on Sep 24, 2011 in About Me, Philosophy, Teabowl | 0 comments

Yesterday was the beginning of autumn, my favorite season.  I love this time of year; and, even though eastern NC is slow in her transition, I am in full fall mode.  There are so many things I enjoy about this time of year – cooler weather, softer light, changing leaves, football. I takes a bit of effort for me to enjoy summer – but it is so easy for me to celebrate fall.  I buy mums, put out pumpkins, decorate the house with warm fall colors, light candles, and make soups.  I even have music that I listen to this time of year.  Most of my favorites include the hammered dulcimer: By the Pond by Stephen Humphries and A Following Wind by Glenn Morgan. Some how, pottery seems to fit right in with my love of fall probably because it embodies so many of the same things I associate with fall: quite, contemplative, and...

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Celebrating Summer

Posted by on Jul 23, 2011 in About Me, Lime Fiesta, Teabowl | 2 comments

My favorite time of the year is fall so summer has always felt like a long waiting period.  And, in eastern NC, fall doesn’t come until October so the wait is even more prolonged.  Add high heat and humidity, and summer has never been a favorite season of mine. I spent a lot of years in school until I finished my MS, therefore I was accustomed to an academic schedule setting the rhythm of my life rather than seasonal variations.  Essentially, I defined summers by time away from study and work, not by warmer weather.  After I began working full time, I realized that the season had no bearing on what I did.  Subsequently, I lost the sense of ‘summer’.  To that end, I decided that I needed to find ways to celebrate summer so I wouldn’t homogenize my days. I started a tradition of making a list of the things I wanted to do in the summer but didn’t get a chance and of the things I really enjoyed doing.  I make this list at the end of the summer and put it in my journal until May of the following year.  That list becomes my ‘to do’ list for the next summer.  It includes lots of small things: buy produce from the farmer’s market, swim with my nephews, take a day trip to the beach, walk in the morning before it gets hot, plant geraniums and marigolds, go to the movies in the afternoon, get a pedicure, wear a sleeveless shirt (an act of defiant bravery), pick strawberries, go to the library, etc.  All of these things have sensory or sentimental significance that help me embrace a season of the year that I would prefer to be shorter and cooler. This year, I added a couple things to the list.  I am really enjoying cucumber water – it is very simple but amazingly refreshing.  A few slices of cucumber in cool water, drunk from one of my tumblers – it is a perfect summer drink.  I think drinking out of a tumbler keeps the water cooler longer and I love engaging with pottery!  I serve cool beverages to my guests in ceramic tumblers (when they aren’t in the dishwasher – I really need to make more tumblers).  And, several of my regular guests have requested tumblers for themselves.  This is a major conversion since most people prefer glassware for cold drinks. I also love ice coffee.  So, each morning, I make a little extra coffee and pour it into a ceramic pitcher, which I store in the refrigerator.  I like to mix the chilled coffee with vanilla soymilk – it is a great mid-morning break.   And, pouring it from the ceramic pitcher makes it even more celebratory – and another great way I can commemorate...

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Show Season

Posted by on Jun 18, 2011 in About Me, Craft Show, Multiples, Selling Pottery, Teabowl, Wine Coaster | 2 comments

Big news… A Bit Off Center has been accepted into the Autumn Leaves Festival which is a HUGE craft show and festival in Mt. Airy, NC.  This is exciting and a bit intimidating. Shows are to potters as races are to runners.  Runners run; but, they are most focused when there is a 5k on the horizon.  This is what preparing for shows feels to me.  I plan inventory goals and then start to throw and glaze until the big day.  Or, in the case of Autumn Leaves Festival, I throw and glaze until the big 3 day weekend. If we are accepted into all the shows that we have applied to, then this will be our largest show season yet.  That means I have a lot of pots to make – Exciting!  I will be well on my way to accumulating my 10,000 hours of practice. There is something compulsive in me that loves to quantify things so when I first read about the 10,000 hour rule, I was really encouraged – I can be a master potter if I practice and strive to improve for 10,000 hours!  Which is even more reason to make the multiples that I  love.  And, making multiples gives me an opportunity to improve my technique and freedom to explore variations.  Also, having inventory goals and show dates really focuses me and takes away the luxury of slothfulness – or at least I hope that...

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Business Lessons

Posted by on Mar 8, 2011 in How-to, Red and White, Teabowl, Teapot, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I don’t have an art degree.  And, although I don’t have a business degree, when I got my ‘real world’ job, I had to learn business.  So I read – a lot. I am surprised that so many of the things I read in business literature can apply to art (specifically my pottery quest). In business, when starting a project, you consider as many ideas as possible.  Then you must focus and make choices in order to finish the project.  But most people aren’t open enough in the beginning; and, then they stay open too long, hold on to too many options, and never get a cohesive idea (Seth Godin). This seems to apply to clay.  When first learning pottery, I tried several techniques/glazes/clays/etc.   But in order to develop a personal aesthetic, I need to identify where I am most passionate and become indifferent to everything else in order to develop that. “Indifference is as important as passion.” (Bob...

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