Posts made in May, 2011

Self Sabotage

Posted by on May 27, 2011 in About Me, Philosophy | 2 comments

“Just imagine how much you’d get done… if you stopped actively sabotaging your own work.”   – Seth Godin I can always find reasons why I don’t do things.  Truthfully, they aren’t reasons, just excuses.  For instance, last Sunday, I didn’t make any pots; I didn’t take any photos; I didn’t clean anything.  But it wasn’t a restful or rejuvenating day either.  I read; ate dinner; watched TV; and that’s about it. So all this slothfulness has me thinking…If I had a wheel at home, I would make pots.  Wait…I do but I didn’t.  I love pottery and as odd as it is, I often choose to lie on the couch.  So why do I struggle to do what I love? Although it might be true that a potter would make more pots if she had her own wheel – this is not the largest limitation.  Lack of motivation and focus keep me from making more pots.  Instead, I allow my true passion to be sold out for lesser things – most often TV (the biggest consumer of my time with the smallest return). How can I keep myself from sabotaging my...

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A Potter’s Most Challenging Request

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in About Me, Glazes, Mugs, Multiples, Pottery, Selling Pottery, Spring Snow, Surface Decoration | 2 comments

I love mugs and I love making mugs – they are probably my favorite pots to make.  However, I shudder with anxiety when some one wants to replace a beloved but broken mug. As a potter, I get a lot of  requests for mugs.  But, when some one is looking to replace a mug, they don’t want a new mug; they want the same mug that they had.  Inevitably, these are coffee drinkers who have spent countless mornings with a familiar friend.  And, they often tell me in detail why their mug was perfect – ‘the handle was comfortable’, ‘it fit the curve of my hand’, ‘ it held exactly the amount of coffee I can drink before it gets cold’, etc.   One gentleman who visited our craft show booth even carried his broken mug of 20+ years with him trying to find its replacement!  No mug can live up to such legacies. The real issue is not that there aren’t wonderful mugs to choose from.  The real issue is that those mug-seekers will initially compare every mug to their old mug; and, all they will notice are the deficiencies of the new mug.  Change is challenging for most of us.  We cling to the comfort of the familiar.   But, if those mug-enthusiasts overcome their loss and if they select one of my mugs, I count it an honor because I hope that something I made will become a celebrated and familiar part of their daily...

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Potter’s Tool Kit – Core Tools

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in About Me, Review, Tools | 0 comments

Acquiring tools will not make better pots – practicing with them will. Tools are a hot topic in pottery.  They are discussed during every demo, at every workshop, and in every class.  A potter’s tool kit is unique to the potter. The tools a potter uses can determine (in part) the type of pot the potter makes.  I like to try new tools and see how they change my pots.  When I am unfocused or struggling to design a new pot, I challenge myself to make a cylinder or bowl using different tools. I use a variety of tools but there are a few tools that are my core tools. Triangle trim tool – This is my favorite tool.  It changed the profile of my pots because it helped me remove clay at the base of the pot in the throwing stage and prepare the pot for leather-hard trimming.  Some potters use a sharp wooden tool but the triangle tool is easier for me to remove the clay without marring the walls.  A good beginning tool or one that will be used in community studios is sold by PSH ($4).  I use the Dolan 120 ($12) available from Bailey. Thin undercut wires with handles – Dirty Girl Tools – I love these wires because they come in various sizes and are extremely thin.  They are great for beginners whose pots often have thin bottoms.  The 7” wire is great for me because the standard clay cutoff wire is usually too long and requires shortening my twisting around my fingers which hurts.  The soft, orange handles make cutting the pot off the bat very easy.  Buy from Kentucky Mudworks ($6/each) Metal ribs – I use these all the time to shape and strengthen the pots as I am throwing.  I have several shapes and sizes.  They are available at such a low price ($1/each) from PSH that I even cut them to fit specific needs. Sherrill ribs – These are ubiquitous and most potters love them.  They come in various shapes, sizes, and stiffnesses.  I use red 0, 1 and green 5 ($7/each), although I have several. Dolan trim tools – These are essential for trimming.  I have tried several brands but I prefer Dolan because they stay sharp.  There is nothing more frustrating to a potter or damaging to a pot than a dull trimming tool.  These come in several shapes and sizes; I use the Dolan 310 and 510...

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Pottery – There’s an App for that!

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Pottery, Throwing | 0 comments

It is 7 in the morning and you are itching to get into the studio but it isn’t open for several hours.  Here is something to tide you over until you get to a wheel… Virtual...

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Mid-May Maintenance

Posted by on May 14, 2011 in A Bit Off Center, Maintenance, Spring Snow | 0 comments

Our first craft show is over, the stores are stocked with inventory, and there are no gifts to be made at the moment.  It is a still time for A Bit Off Center.  We have a few orders to fill; but, for the most part, there is nothing pressing.  It is a nice reprieve – one that I have filled with lists. There are several projects that I have wanted to work on; and I plan to work on a few of those.  But, there are lists of non-pot-making things that I will be focusing on this month. Maintenance (non-pot-making tasks) feels cyclical to me.  We are out of one of our basic glazes so I need to mix it up; and, the other glazes could use sieving.   After our glaze-athon, the kiln shelves are desperate need of attention.  We have buckets of clay that are waiting to be recycled; and, the slip should be replenished.  The studio has been very neglected so I plan on cleaning it.  I spent most of today taking pictures of pots because we want updated photos to accompany craft show applications.  And, the website needs some freshening up. These are not complaints – I really enjoy all aspects of ceramics.  I am also very thankful that I have a partner who splits the maintenance with me so I can get back to my most favorite aspect – making...

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