Friday, February 16, 2018

Turn Thy Wheel

Not a photo of mugs, indeed a photo of me pushing my three kids home from school when the rain broke and turned all white and started to break the Hawthorne trees. Our usual bike ride didn't work as there was too much snow and it filled our wheels and fenders. I had to carry the stroller and bush whack to get to school on the pathway route so we took the long way home instead:). Ethan riding on the axle, two handmade blankets and (of course) several teddy bears.
Mugs in process, freshly thrown, wet.

Mugs. Cheese hard, trimmed and handled.

Taking a break on the rare-ish sunny days here on the island. The teal sweater is the one I knitted for Ethan's birthday and the little grey one was his years ago, my first with a real pattern. Dogs, Ben and Daisy.

Mugs. Dry, trimmed, handled, stamped and snuggling.

Mugs. Shorter and fatter, fresh.

My 5 year old made a Lego representation of my studio. Me at the wheel throwing goblets with the wheel head actually turning. I cried when I saw this. It was complete with batts to carry the fresh pots, the table that sits beside my wheel, a Lego piece with letters the way my old wheel used to have and wheeled carts for my glazes. The white Lego person is him. He spends time in the studio with me on a regular basis.

Mugs in the shape of latte bowls, low wide and freshly made here.

Mugs, well almost. I am wedging fresh clay (square slabs) into my reclaimed clay. I have yet to throw out a bucket of water or an ounce of clay since 1996. This means that I reclaim an ice cream pail full once or twice a week. I have huge hands so I wedge up a kilo or two at a time and ball it up then cut mug sized balls for my sealed Tupperware bin ready for the next day. This was a success tip from the autobiography of Beatrice Wood--do a bit extra work today to set up tomorrow's plan.

Mugs with a waist. It's been an interesting month of mugs and I am working through all kinds of shapes. I like a really focused study of any pot form---January is mug month.

Mugs. Above mugs with the waist, handled and a few with beaten dents.

Mugs. Wet here. I always find it odd how much the camera stretches the image. Clearly the mugs aren't crazy ovals;)

Mugs. Sometimes there's a real cutie and I pull it out to make a closer study of it! The mug was quite undercut in real life. I will take him out and throw this shape until I memorize it forever.

Mugs. Trimmed and handled, bike stamps are one of my signatures.

Mugs. I am a volunteer with the clay HUB collective here and one of the other potters from our public teaching studio stopped by to get a cheque for our new stools. Her comment upon looking at my drying rack was that I am prolific. It is almost cruel these days that I am only in the studio for an hour while the twins are napping and an hour and a half two nights a week. Hubby takes the crew grocery shopping and hiking on the weekends so I can have a bit longer stretches in the studio. 
Not mugs. I had a custom order from a regular customer for a sourdough crock pot. Of course, as any artist knows, I made 3 just in case;). I put the cutest little handles (inspired by Bill Van Gilder's DIY book) a bit after the photo.
Well, that's the update from the trenches. I fired a bisque load last night (three attempts to load the kiln as the kiddos weren't having any of it) and up against the weather that was threatening to go below freezing which would mean that if I didn't get the pots into the kiln and fired I would have had to bring them all back around to the heated studio. Anyway, turn thy wheel indeed. 

I will have an update about the HUGE MOVE THAT MY GALLERY IS MAKING INTO DOWNTOWN DUNCAN soon. I have booked a few special babysitter days so I can go help renovate/clean/paint/help with the new shop. I absolutely can't wait for the launch and I'm a bit scared to move my massive display unit (maybe uncle Trevor will lend me his truck in exchange for dinner again) but that's the life. Thanks for checking in:))

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 2017

The rush of the craft fair season is behind me now and I am focussed on getting the books done for the Clay HUB Collective before our year end closure. The open studio show here went well (it didn't snow either:)  and it was nice to meet new people who haven't been to see my pottery and studio yet. 

I am around doing chores and finishing a dinner set order for a fellow village resident so if you need a pot (that is already made) the best way to browse is to head over to the Nest Collective. If you don't see what you want you can email and we can sort out time to visit the studio. Having said that, I am busy with the kids/school run/chickens/meals/laundry/hub books etc most of the time from 5am until 1030pm ;). 
I am teaching at the Clay HUB in January but there are only 2 spots left in the Monday class and 3 left in the Thursday class. These are 8 week sessions and there will be another run of them starting in April with the April Thursday class being a 10 weeker:)
We are heading outside as much as we can as long as we take a box of tissue each....

Happy Christmas,

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Open Studio 2017 December 2nd and 3rd 10-6

It's that time of year again! I am opening the studio for the weekend coming up soon. 

I have lots of pots after a year of working during naps and a few evenings a week but not doing the weekly farmers' market in Duncan. 

Some photos of my work. 

I would love to see some of my regular customers and if you bring a friend to the open studio I will give you 20% off! (Just remind I still don't get a lot of sleep;)

4695 George Road, Cowichan Bay.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Future Plans for the Newsletter

It came to my attention (from various companies emailing me) that I would need to create a sign up system for my customers if I want to send out a note about my studio plans. Sooooo I emailed everyone that i had stored away in my contacts (like a goofy squirrel) and asked folks to let me know if they wanted to be on the new list. 

I send out a few emails every year to let my usual customers know which craft fairs I will be attending and which galleries are showing my work. You can email me to be added to the list if you like but I have already purged out a lot of expired contacts and will be starting the new list from July1, 2017. 

Thank you for keeping my pots and little studio in your life:)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer 2017 Studio Plan

I wanted to post the plan for my studio for the summer so folks looking for me at the Duncan Farmers' Market would have the info to easily find me. And perhaps find that perfect handmade wedding gift or funky coffee mug that is sturdy enough to drag out into the garden or give to their dad. 

I will be putting fresh pots into my display at the NEST every two weeks. The shop is at Whippletree Junction just south of Duncan on the highway. Turn left onto Bench Road if you're heading south and turn right on the exit just north of Koksilah Road if you're headed north. Our lovely artisan collective is open 10-5 every day! 

I have had a little display of 5 mugs at Coffee on the Moon for almost 10 years and that will continue. Just a note here that the owner doesn't take any money off the art sold and hung in his coffee shop! 

I will be in the studio on the weekends and most evenings so if you need a special gift you can always email me or call me and set up an appointment. These evening studio times are my making time so I will have lots of fresh pots for the fall and will not be so pressed for firing time as the fall shows start up. 

(PS the super funky jug will not likely survive to get into the kiln...)
Trimming the 'squared' baking dishes by hand before building the handles on them.
Freshly thrown wet bakers on 12 inch batts.
Night studio shot.

Dinner set work headed to Vancouver.
Travel mugs all glazed and ready to carry around to the kiln.
Priced, tagged and ready for the Nest Collective.
A very rare two of a kind.
Plate set for a customer who took them to New Zealand with her.
My display at the Nest Collective at Whippletree Junction.
I spend Saturdays in the studio and when I come up for lunch, this is what hubby has made the kids and I to eat:) The twins are 18 months old and Ethan is 4. Dad is a grown up so we don't need to count his age in months. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tony Clennell Workshop June 17 and 18 in Cowichan at the HUB

Hi Everyone! 

I will be the host for a two day workshop with Tony here at our beloved Clay HUB Collective in the beautiful Cowichan Valley. I am looking forward to it and I wanted to share the information here but the best source is to go the where you can sign up via email to 

There will be a potluck here at my home on the Saturday evening 6-9 and a "no-holds-barred" critique with this master pottery who has given workshops all over the world, so if you bring your best pot to show him he can give you some feedback:) 
Should prove to be an amazing workshop and (not to worry) I have hired a babysitter for the kids so there won't be two 1.5 year olds under foot or a 4 year old riding his bike through the HUB studio;)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring 2017

The gorgeous trees around our new house drop quite a bit of junk into the gutters so we all headed outside to clean up the mess on the first day that was 15degrees.

The matching sweaters from Grandma! So cute and they wash up nicely after a lovely romp in the garden boxes. I started some lettuce and spinach before the small ones broke the glass...twice. 

The siege was tamed by hubby's lunch preparation. I walked in from the studio to find lunch ready and a quiet gang of kids!  It is a daily treat to use my own handmade pots.

I was asked to make a cutlery drainer for Jenny (the face book friend who guessed correctly that my pots will be at The NEST:) so I made about a dozen or so and then had some fun with the slip trailer! 

I was setting up a system to allow my gallery in Tofino to choose the pots they wanted without having to drive all the way here. This was the overall photo I sent.

This was the plan: I would sort out 10 mugs, stack them in 2's then take a photo. I sent a photo with a number on the email then the gallery owner would call me and I would take the mugs out of the lineup and put a little tape mark on the ones she liked. Then move them onto the 'done' table and repeat. The light bulb was for size reference:)  We worked through 6 emails this way and it went very smoothly. In the end, I packed and boxed up about a dozen and paid the postage to get them to the far side of the island. 
We both felt that the other person should pay for the $18 shipping (she suggested I 'give' her a free pot to sell to cover the postage) The final result is that she decided to no longer carry my pottery....not a problem as long as she pays me for all the pots that are already there.....All the risk is on the artist with consignment as the postal system will not insure my work and it can sit without selling forever and sometimes getting it back can be a hassle. I am in the market for a new gallery in Tofino 60/40.

So....I wedged and threw this monster to focus my energy toward something useful. 

I just love this close up of my glaze and handmade bicycle stamp. I love mugs, making them, using them and mostly seeing folks find the perfect one for their loved one to use everyday. Quite a few people have bought a 'move out' mug for their college bound kids and it actually brings a tear to my eye. 

I will have some travel mugs ready around the beginning of May....they are wrapped to dry super slowly as I work through the steps on a few more (slowly, lol) then egg cups and little saucers......