Monday, May 30, 2011

Being Loose

Sometimes, when it doesn't count, when there's no pressure, when it's "Let's just see what happens"....... wonderful things can happen.

That's just what happened with this little trivet.

I was busy teaching myself how to throw an upside-down trivet.

I made essentially a bowl with an exaggerated bottom that was thicker than usual. I extended bottom rim and brought up the sides and turned the top edge outward, making a convex shape.

I let it sit on the batt until it was dry enough to take off. I turned it over, trimmed the (now) top to recess the surface and create a slightly higher rolled edge.

Then I cut into the sides of the bowl to make 4 feet, rolled worms to support them and let the whole thing dry.

It warped slightly during the bisque firing, but I kept it for a test piece anyway.

I dipped it in white glaze, dipped a big brush into watered down cobalt stain and just let the brush dance. I was thinking Sandy Brown.

During the firing, the stain went nuts. It popped all over the place making a lightly dotted patterns all over the white glaze.

Lessons learned.

Give a piece strong enough legs so it won't warp in the bisque firing.

Don't use straight cobalt stain.

It's possible to throw a trivet upside down with little trimming and alteration.

Big brushes and a fast and loose application makes a piece that comes alive.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Sometimes, when you're doing a show and you've set up your booth, when the doos open and the customers come in, the cosmos come into alignment.

The right work is sitting in your booth and the right customer appears and snaps it up.


This is exactly what happened with this salt and pepper.

You can almost see them coming. They zero right in on the item, scoop it up, don't quibble about the price.

This is a golden moment.

Don't let that customer escape. Talk to them while you wrap up and bag the item. Don't hurry.

You want to know this person. Find out why they like what they bought. How they plan to use it. Try to establish a rapport; a relationship. This is someone who 'gets' you and your work.

Gently suggest they join your mailing list. Let them know about your next show. Make sure they get your card and contact information. Invite them to your studio, if it's feasible

Maybe slip a little "Thank You" into the bag in the form of a small spoon rest, a coupon for 10% off, any little something that will be a surprise when they get home and open the bag. You want them to tell their friends about the piece they bought and the wonderful potter who made it.

Add them to your customer list when you get home.

Put a star by their name.

You want to see that person again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Random Thoughts.....


Most of us take our favorite cup to use when we pack our stuff for a show. I have a few pieces that I like to use in my booth.

And sometimes, when I go to a show or visit a potter's booth, I see them drinking from a cup or eating from a bowl.

How often I have been tempted to ask, "Is that your own mug and is it for sale?"

It might make a most interesting collection.

This is one of my favorite mugs, but I'm afraid I would never sell it.

Pedestrians and Racers

Some potters refer to their best work as "Racers", those pieces that, when you crack the lid of your kiln after a firing just dazzle you when you lift them out.

They are the surprises. The exceptional. The keepers.

And keep them you should. This is your best work.
Photograph them.
Put them in a place of honor.
Respect them because they are the very best representatives of your talent.

Keep them as your personal work index.

Use them as a reference for further work.

Analyze them to find your next pathway.

They are your past and future.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Creamer and Sugar

Cream and Sugar-er?

Creamer and Sugar?

Cream and Sugar. That's better.

Hand formed in porcelain with touches of dark stain applied. A happy pair.

Click image for enlarged view.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Art Myths

Art/Craft can be "Quick and Easy".

Artists/Craftsmen can't make a living selling their art.

If it costs a lot, it must be good art.

If it doesn't cost a lot, it must not be good art.

It just takes "talent" to make good art.

You can always buy the piece later.

You can find the same thing at Target/Walmart/Macy's/a garage sale.

Your child/grandmother/kitty cat/ could make something just like that.

Art is a luxury.

Art can't be useful or functional.

If it's big and ugly, it's gotta be art.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Life, Lately

After a short interruption, we will return to our normal programing.