Saturday, December 29, 2018

January 2019 Studio Update

Hope everyone enjoyed the festive season! I have been back in the studio after a sweet little break for presents and roast beef:) 

We were on our own again this Christmas except for the 4 (+/-) chickens, 2 cats, 2 dogs and the two 3 year olds and the 6 year old~somehow it was pretty busy.

I have also joined insta gram as trial by fire pottery and am putting up a photo or video once in a while as a sneak inside my tiny world and brand new studio:) 


I have been working on the next steps for my pots once the Nest Gallery in Duncan closes at the end of the year. I have applied to join the Imagine That! artisan gallery downtown and have dropped off 6 pots for their jury process. After making about 16,000 pots since 1996, I am still leery of being rejected on such a soul level and hate the wait. (Of course, the best way to cope is to throw 75 kilos of clay a day:)

I could probably sell on my website (here) but it would be very rudimentary at best. Hubby and I were spitballing ideas and it came up that I could put up a simple photo of a mug with height and weight so that if someone wanted to purchase one they could email the money and I could box it. I sent a package to Prince George in early Decmeber with 2 travel mugs and the shipping was $15~meaning that the 2 mugs at $45 + shipping was $105. Perhaps the world is ready for that, perhaps not. I will give it a try:)

The other big change is that I am trialing the written name of my pottery studio instead of the TBF that I have been adding with coloured clay slip. I will have to fine tune it and fall in love with it but I do like that it is a real handwritten addition and not a laser cut stamp-maybe it will morph into that. As much as I love the old fashioned idea of having a cryptic signature, it make more sense in the Information Age to have something handwritten in stone that one might look up on the Google machine;)

I am still teaching at the HUB in Cowichan Station but my Jan/Feb/Mar class filled up in November this year. I did a special workshop with Quamichan School and assisted them in creating the below primitive style pots. I later fired them, sorted, waxed, glazed and fired them again and they were back out into the world use before the kids went off for Christmas break:) 


February Classes

Group Class for up to 4 students 
$120/4 February classes 
Includes clay/tools/rags/etc

Tuesday evenings 6:30pm-8:30pm
Feb. 5/12/19/26

Wednesday evenings 6:30pm-8:30pm
Feb. 6/13/20/27

Saturday Mornings 9am-11am
Feb. 2/9/16/23

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

January and February Class Schedule

Hello! Thanks for checking out my blog:)

I am teaching 4 person classes in my pretty little home studio on George Road in Cowichan Bay. I have 3 brand new Shimpo Whisper VL wheels and a tall Brent CXC wheel.

Folks can sign up for a 4 week class session and pay $120. The evening classes run from 6:30 to 8:30pm with a bit of open time to get comfy before class and some clean up time afterward. The morning ones are from 9am-11am. 

JANUARY 2019


FEBRUARY 2019



I am also offering pottery events for a special group of friends to get together and try out throwing clay on the pottery wheel--while having a snack and some good laughs:) These special events are arranged in advance and I can work around most schedules. You dress normally and bring a snack and I provide everything you need to give it a go!
I occasionally create special kids classes in support of home school programs and drop in visits at schools--we can arrange a time and an estimate via email.

Call or text me at two five zero-seven ten-eight seven five eight or email me at trialbyfirepottery@hotmail.com to sign up for a scheduled class or see about booking a special event. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Christmas Open House December 1st and 2nd, 2018 ~10am to 5pm~

We are almost ready for the 12th annual Christmas Show.....

George Road in Cowichan Bay. Easiest to find us off Wilmot if you're coming out of the Bay and turn onto Koksilah then Wilmot if you're coming off the highway.







  When I started out in 2006, I put a sign at the end of the driveway and put out my tent and two tables and sold exactly one pot!! Of course, one might want to advertise a bit more widely;) but it was an interesting day of folks wanting to step inside the studio and seeing how I made pots. My studio was then (for 9 years) 8 1/2 feet wide by 11 1/2 feet long with the entire one wall a window. It held an old Estrin wheel that was so loud Dave looked for a new one for several long years. I threw pots in there, dried in the same damp shelf that I still use, trimmed/handled/dried etc in there and fired in the carport. It meant that I carried pots out onto shelves beside the kiln, loaded and fired--simply hoping no one was going to either touch the red hot kiln or report that the carport was glowing red! 

  Fast forward to the many years that I rented the Clements Centre and (we) hauled all the pots to the community centre and had the show there. It is a lovely place that helps everyone that comes through their doors and I was happy to be there. Dave would go out on the Saturday morning before dawn and put signs all over town in the frosty grass. The building got a regular rentor for Sundays so that excluded me and my little show. 

 Next, I rented the Mercury Theatre for a few years. It was such a pretty venue and most years the show went well. It was also a really good workout because I had to haul the pottery tubs up several stairs to get to the large wooden hall. The last time there, it ice rained the night before so the entire city was crazy slippery--almost no one came to the show and it was very difficult to pack up the show into the van because of the ice. But, better luck next year, I always think:)

  These past several years that we have been in Cowichan Bay, I have opened my humble garage studio to the public and had so many lovely folks come out! Dave still volounteers to put out all the signs at the crack of dawn in the wet weather. It has been a really nice time to meet a bit more random public than usually signs up for my classes or regularly attends my other outlets. 

  This year, I have a beautiful, bright, new studio and will host the open house both Saturday and Sunday, December 1st and 2nd from 10-5pm. The studio door is around the north side of the house (the side closest to the ocean) and I will be doing throwing demonstrations as much a possible throughout the weekend. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Classes Starting in November

The first round of group classes will start up on November 13th!! I am so excited and looking forward to the 3 brand new shimpo wheels arriving Wednesday. I have taught pottery in my home studio since 2008 but always on a one-to-one basis because I have had super tiny studios and only one wheel. I teach at the Clay HUB Collective Studio across the highway for groups of 10 students and will likely still do one class a week there a few times a year. And now for something completely different......once the actual wheels arrive this week.

Class Schedule for November start:

November 13th~Tuesday nights for 5** weeks $150 ($30/two hour class)
6:30pm to 8:30pm 
Maximum 4 people in the class. 
The studio will be open from 6pm for folks to get aquainted to the new studio and after the class is over there will be a 15 minute clean up then the studio will close at 9pm.
[nov.13/20 + dec. 4/11/18] I have a special event on the 27th**

November 14th~Wednesday nights for 6 weeks $180 ($30/two hour class)
6:30pm to 8:30pm 
Maximum 4 people in the class. 


November 19th~Monday nights will be for individual lessons
7-8pm 
8-9pm is booked for a few, text or email for another time:)
[nov.19/26 + dec. 5/12/19]

There is plenty of parking at the house and on Wilmot out here in the tiny village of Cowichan Bay:) 
Folks wanting to sign up can let me know by email to trialbyfirepottery@hotmail.com or text/call me at 250-710-eight seven five eight for more details.
I will post here and on FB when there is a spot left or the class has sold out so do check back. 





Saturday, October 13, 2018

It''s time for a home studio!!

We have decided to make a home studio indoors. This space is lovely and bright with large windows, hot and cold water and it will be a very clean studio. I will be posting photos of before and after and the work in progress shots as well:))

Above is a photo of my current garage studio (Ethan is finishing the glaze work on his pendants) that I will be taking apart and making into a beautiful home style studio. It's going to be a LOT of work and I am open to folks offering to help (a few have already signed up to help paint). 

I am going to buy three brand new shimpo wheels from Vancouver Island Potters Warehouse so my home studio classes will be only 4 students max. 

There's so much to do here, I will be posting photos here and on FB and Instagram of the new studio build but for now I have to make some mugs and butter dishes for Christmas Chaos and my open home studio show the first weekend in December. 
The quarry.



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:))