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Wednesday - Friday 11 a.m. through 7 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. through 5 p.m.
See the Calendar tab for the latest.
Contact me:ConniWhittaker@ FryeburgPottery.com or for quicker communication, call or text me at 207-256-0072.
The following class is being offered at Gallery 302 in Bridgton ME. You can register by stopping in the Gallery, going online at Gallery 302.com (click on class registration form and print it) or telephoning them at 647-2787.
“Ceramic Pendants, Buttons & Beads”
Instructor: Conni Whittaker
Sundays: February 28th or March 6th for creating.
Optional: March 20th , for putting them together.
Time: 12pm – 3pm
Price per student: $35. per each class.
Optional: Students can also sign up for Sunday, March 20th to turn their pendants, beads into a finished necklace, earrings, pin. Basic supplies will be provided: tools, silver ear wires and stud backs, black cording for necklaces, pin backs and glue.
Materials Fee: $5 for those who want their finished pieces mailed to them.
Materials supplied by instructor: clay, glaze, cutting tools, stamps and molds, firing, flat rate shipping packages if needed.
Maximum 10 students.
What better way to complete your outfit than an original necklace pendant, matching earrings or button for your sweater or hat. In this class you will be rolling out the clay, cutting it with cookie cutters or a knife, embellishing your pieces by stamping or molding, then glazing (painting) them. I will fire our day’s work in my electric kiln (6-8 hours to fire to 2000oF, 12-24 hours to cool) and have them ready to pick up the following Sunday. Not going to be at class on Sunday? I can mail them to you. Students will come away with 1-3 dozen pieces depending on the size and time spent on each.
Recommended but optional materials students can bring to first class:
• An apron if you don’t want to get clay and glaze on your clothes.
• If you want buttons for a specific project, you will need to know the button size and colors so either bring the piece or color samples to match to glazes.
• An egg carton to keep your buttons stored and labeled with your name on so I can keep them separated for travel to and from the kiln.
• Stamps or other designs you would like to use on your buttons or pendants.
Every January we remove all our art work from the Gallery, clean the carpet, paint the walls and refresh the art in our display areas. Here is my “freshened” display. Behind in the right is the Gift Shop which was in process of having all the paintings rehung on the nice new paint. The winter hours at the Gallery are Sunday, Tuesday through Friday 11-3 and Saturday 11-4. For those of you who have never been in, Gallery 302 is located on 112 Main Street (Route 302) in Bridgton, Maine. We are a cooperative Gallery meaning it is an all-artist operated Gallery. When you come in to see the fabulous art created by local artists, you will be greeted by an artist of the Gallery who will also “ring up” your purchases.
While cleaning up my studio I found a mysterious paper bag. Inside I found the new toys I bought this fall in Belfast to play with in the clay. Christmas came early.
Why is a coffee mug so important? Because it is the ritual I start my day with…right after yoga. It was a satisfying exchange of gifts: a coffee mug for custom ground, organic Caramel Nut Decaf coffee from Good Vibes Coffee.
While at the Maine Fiber College this September I took on a commission for six appetizer plates (finished), six small bowls to go with the plates (finished), 6 large charger sized dinner plates (almost done) and a huge salad bowl. The salad bowl is my last challenge.
While at the USM Craft Fair in October I met a wonderful couple, Glenn and Vrege Murray of Brighton Woodworks. They make wood turned pizza cutter handles, ice cream scoops, pens, and more. Best of all, seam rippers. We exchanged gifts: pottery for a seam ripper.
I visited with them this week to view a damaged Tree of Life sculpture that was successfully transported from Mexico and home here in Maine in a nylon net shopping bag only to have a flower broken years later. Vrege was hoping I could make her a new flower or at least render her repair less visible.
This sculpture is stunning the flowers are the bare clay while the tree itself appears to have a terracotta slip coloring it. Unfortunately anything I could do would only make the break more visible since I cannot match the clay or glaze. We decided on camouflage. Here are the butterflies that will join the flowers, apples, the naughty serpent, Adam and Eve on the tree of life. One or all of these butterflies will pause to rest on the tree and one of them will coincidentally alight on the crack and cover it up.
I managed to get a few more mini quilts into the kiln in time for the Bethel Craft & Ware’s Fair. I have only a few left. Here is the larger fabric quilt, almost done, inspiring all the quilting in the clay.
It was a wonderful and fun week at Fryeburg Fair demonstrating pottery making in the Farm Museum and answering questions about the process. I talked to a lot of great people, young and old, fellow potters, people who would like to try pottery, and people who wanted to know how a lump of clay was transformed into a bowl or plate that you could use at the dinnertable. I also made tons of work while I was there so my challenge Monday was getting it all in the kiln. My favorite moment was a little boy on the first Sunday who was fascinated by all my favorite objects, the ones I use to stamp the clay. He watched me make something and I showed him how I used the various can openers, nuts and bolts and screws in the tray. Then he picked up my 2 inch plastic fish and commanded that I create a fish dish, which I did feeling like Dr. Suess producing a fish dish when he wished for fish. Then he wanted a ball–we compromised with a bead. His parents then spirited him away afraid, I think, that he might be wearing out his welcome. He wasn’t, he was enjoying the clay process and I was enjoying his enthusiasm. And suddenly it was the last Sunday and, once again, the Fair was over until next year.
The studio is open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for as long as Liz’s work schedule allows. Please note we have adjusted the hours to fit Liz’s night owl work schedule.
Summer Recreation for kids begins today, noon to 2.
A great time was had by all yesterday during our first session of Lovell Recreation here at the pottery. We each made a personalized dinner plate which I will fire in the kiln and next Wednesday the kids will glaze it. Then for some immediate gratification, the kids painted small bisque pieces with acrylic paints and we glued them to magnets for the refrigerator. I wish I had pictures but I always get so absorbed in the project that I forget.
It was time to rearrange the furniture. I’m not done yet, still have to “tweak” the glazing area. The pottery wheels are now right next to sinkzilla to make cleaning up much easier. I think the new arrangement makes the room feel larger and less heavy.
I have updated the Calendar with the craft fairs I will be attending. As much as possible, the studio will remain open for studio members. Kathy will be holding us open this Saturday for Lovell Old Home Days. Thank you Kathy.
I have finally also launched my new Etsy site with great excitement, trepidation and much fear of the new and unknown. You can see it if you wish at Etsy.com/shop/WhitsEndPottery. To that end, I have given up trying to create a Gallery page of my work on this site since Etsy makes it so much easier. So the Whits End Pottery Gallery page has been updated as well.
Also, I have finally entered all the phone numbers and emails of everyone into my handy dandy iphone and, as some of you may have noticed, been using it to let you know when your pieces have come out the kiln. Such a great way to share the excitement of opening the kiln.
My new year’s resolution is to try to keep this website updated more regularly…oh is it July already?
This Friday, August 3rd, is Destination Fryeburg at Monument Corner in Fryeburg from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Fryeburg Pottery studio will be closed in order to participate. I had a good time last month at this event and saw a lot of old friends. Come on down and join us.
The Fair is Saturday, August 18th, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and I will have a booth there this year. The studio will be open; Kathy will be minding the store for me if you want to come in and use your studio time or pick up finished work.
Saturday, August 25th, is the Maine Street Festival Arts & Crafts Fair at Bradley Park in Fryeburg from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I will have a tent booth there but do not have anyone to mind the studio so it will be closed. I am looking forward to seeing what all the other vendors have to offer and so happy to see the forecast for the week is dry and sunny.
I had a great time at the Lovell Arts & Artisans Fair on the 18th. I have decided that craft fairs are like giant show and tell days. Sort of like in school only you get to bring lots of stuff to show and tell. I always love seeing what everyone else had to show.
The Maine Street Festival was a lot of fun. I met a lot of local crafts people and saw some amazing pieces. I am so glad the church picked up this Festival after the library discontinued it.
September is a very busy month for me and, I am sure the rest of you also. I will be closed on the following days. For those of you who would like to begin classes or purchase studio time, we can adjust as necessary.
- Destination Fryeburg, First Friday Art Walk, Friday, September 7, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The studio will close at 3:30 p.m.
- Maine Common Ground Fair, Friday – Sunday, September 21-23. The studio will be closed. I won’t be a vendor; I will be enjoying myself at the numerous farming, homesteading, and gardening workshops. The crafts people at this Fair are fabulous, everyone of them top notch. If you have never been, you are missing a great fair.
- Fryeburg Fair, September 30th through October 7th, in the Farm Museum, demonstrations 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The studio will be closed the entire week of the Fair. Please come see me at the Farm Museum (the barn near Main Street with two huge signs that read “Museum”).
The Fair begins Sunday and I just realized that I have to set up on Saturday, SO-O-O, the studio will be CLOSED Saturday, September 29th, as well as Fair Week (Sep. 30 – Oct. 7) so I can haul all things pottery and pottery making to the Museum. See you all there.
All set for tomorrow’s first day of the Fair. Looking forward to french fries and a blooming onion. Hoping to see some of the Fair in between demonstrating. See you there.
Fryeburg Fair is over for another year. It was fun and I made lots and lots of bowls and plates. So much to glaze! The studio is finally put back together and someone reminded me Thanksgiving is coming up. October is already halfway over. Wow!
So, November’s schedule is as follows:
CLOSED: Sunday, November 18th because I will have a booth at the Fryeburg Academy Teacher’s Association Holiday Craft Fair in the Gym.
CLOSED: Thursday and Friday, November 22 & 23, for Thanksgiving.
It would have helped if I had posted this to the TOP instead of the bottom of the page. So I might has well add the Christmas schedule also.
If you are shopping for Holiday gifts, all pottery in the studio is 10% off. I also provide gift certificates for studio time or classes.
Fryeburg Pottery will be CLOSED on the following days for craft fairs:
- Saturday, November 24th, 9-3, Effingham Holiday Craft Festival, Effingham Elementary School, Effingham NH
- Saturday, December 8th, 9-3, Shopping for the Holidays Craft Festival, Salyards Center for the Arts, Conway NH
- CLOSED December 26th through Jan 1st and will reopen Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Here is a photo of the craft fair in Effingham. I was feeling pretty good, only an hour to set up and only an hour to break it down and pack it back in the vehicles. It must be true what they say: practice makes perfect.
It’s late into January for this wish but this is how I do everything. I am learning to live with what others might consider my character defects by turning them into strengths. So, first up, a few changes.
- I will continue to be open on Sundays only it will be by appointment. So if you want to use your studio time on Sunday let me know in advance so we can make arrangements. The same for lessons; I will be available with advance notice. Hopefully this will give me the flexibility to volunteer at Harvest Hills Thrift Store one day a month and to try to give a day to other places without sacrificing my two days off to work around my house and be with my husband. I really don’t mind being here on Sundays if someone wants to be here so don’t be afraid to make an appointment.
- Snow days. Originally, I had decided to close if school was closed but that leaves Saturday and Sunday snow days up in the air. And what about heavy snow until 8 a.m. that is cleaned up and the sky is blue by 11 a.m.? So, the change is: if the weather is horrible and roads scary–stay home. If the weather has cleared and the roads are passable, give me a call or text me at 207-256-0072. Chances are the driveway here is clear and the studio will be open as usual. I have been cleared by my husband for tractor snowblowing duty having passed his stringent training.
Just a reminder, at the end of each day (6 p.m. during week, 4 p.m. weekends), if I find my self alone and my work is done, I will clean up and go home. If you are planning on coming in late around this time, call me to make sure we don’t miss each other. I don’t mind staying for a reason.
2013 is going to be a great year. I can feel it.
Part of welcoming in 2013 was cleaning up after 2012. I cleaned up much of my clutter at home and now its time to declutter here. I have finally crossed “Create Fryeburg Pottery Facebook page” off my to do list. Please like Fryeburg Pottery & Art Center on Facebook. I am going to try and use it as a message board for things such as kiln firings, craft fairs, technique of the week (see below) and to post pictures of beautiful pots coming out the kiln. There are also some policy changes.
I am restructuring clay and firing fees by un-bundling? de-bundling? the firing and glazing from the purchase of clay. This was necessary to actually cover what it costs for me to provide firing and glazing. While it will be a little more cumbersome to calculate each piece, those of you who actually glaze and fire your pieces will be paying for the glazing and firing. My choices were to almost triple the price of the clay (you pay up front for firing and glazing) or to do it this way (you pay as you go). If you like to throw and smush, throw and smush, and finally fire that one perfect piece, this change will save you money. If, like me, you like to fire everything it may cost you some more. Please see the “Clay, Firing & Glazes” tab for the changes. If you have already purchased clay, you have until the end of March to glaze and fire that clay under the old fee structure.
I have also created a formal class schedule and I am trying to be better by posting all this information on the wall in the studio (well on signs on the wall). Also new is “Technique of the Week”: a three hour workshop that will produce a finished piece or tool for participants while learning something new on Wednesday nights. Bring your own libation.
It’s 7:15 a.m. This is the snow on my deck. I will probably walk into the studio at 11 a.m. to finish up some things I didn’t finish yesterday. Call or text before you brave the roads to make sure I am in. I am also planning on closing early, probably 5ish. CLOSED SATURDAY. If you would like to come in SUNDAY, let me know and we can make arrangements.
Much as I would like to complain about the snow, I will not because I am thrilled to see the white stuff–FINALLY–in February. And, even better, it’s not raining.
My deck…what a difference a day makes. I am going out to feed the goats, poultry and barn kitty…with my shovel in hand like everyone else in Maine (and New England). I am hoping my car is under there somewhere. Then the deck and over to Fryeburg Pottery to find that deck. My goal today is to load and fire the kiln. Kiln opening Wednesday morning. Then, unless you call me saying you would like to have some clay play, I am going home. I might even take a nap. I am still glad we got snow instead of rain.
Not sure if you will like making pottery or just want to know what it is all about? Fryeburg Pottery offers an introductory class: one 2-3 hour class to make a plate or bowl (your choice) for $30. You will be able to explore the process while also making a finished product. Give us a call at 207-256-0072 to schedule a class or email me at email@example.com.
The annual Ladies Fair at the Lovell VFW Hall will be Saturday, April 27th, from 10-2. I will be there so the studio will be closed for the day. The studio will be open Sunday instead.
The Art in Denmark was awesome! All craft fairs should serve wine, cheese & crackers and shrimp cocktail, and giant cupcakes, and… Can’t wait for next year.
My next event is Mother’s Day at the Stone Mountain Art Center. Live music–Tricky Britches (Blue Grass) and Kirkmount (Celtic), delicious food, a bar and lots of wonderful vendors so that Mom can pick out her own gift. Check out their website: www.stonemountainartscenter.com. Tickets are $7.
May 12 at 10 to 3
I had so much fun attending this event with friends a few years ago. I am still enjoying the quilted pillow covers and the carved wooden fish I purchased although the decadent chocolate covered bacon and toffee is long gone. It was a lot of fun talking with the all the artisans. Kathy, June and I each had a delicious desert at the bar. So it is with great anticipation that I am looking forward to joining the ranks as a vendor this year at such a gorgeous venue. If you haven’t yet been, you should check it out.
May 17th, 18th & 19th, Fri 11-6, Sat 10-6, Sun 10-4 at the Fryeburg Fair Grounds
I am looking forward to attending the Show this year as I missed it last year but had a fabulous time the year before. Better yet, I am attending as a vendor for the first time. I am hoping my husband can spell me in my booth so that I can also wander around and enjoy the Show.
So the studio here at Fryeburg Pottery will be closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. See you at the Fair Grounds.
Here’s a picture of the before… If I had a picture of after, it would be me in my arm chair, feet up and snoring. It was great introducing myself to neighbors from Lovell, Fryeburg, Conway and other surrounding areas and to those who came from even further away. But like all fun, when it was over I needed a nap.
A friend told me the other day she never knew what to do when she wasn’t buying at a craft show or fair. She wanted to look but felt guilty taking up the vendor’s time and space when she wasn’t going to buy anything. I can only speak about myself so here is what I told her.
- Don’t be afraid to smile, make eye contact, say Hello and walk on by if you are not in the least interested in what is displayed. But I don’t like to be invisible. At least acknowledge my presence.
- If you love pottery or beads or fudge, don’t be afraid to examine the goodies on display. As an artisan, I love feedback on my work. Yes, a sale is nice and yes, I am there to sell, but your admiration will do wonders for my ego. As my son, the musician tells me, he plays so his music can be heard. So maybe I create so my work will be seen.
- If you see something you don’t quite understand (like what is that and how does it work), don’t be afraid to ask. It makes for a long day when you are standing and watching the crowd go by. So don’t be afraid, we are there to answer questions.
- Oh, if I seem to be watching you, it is only because I am curious to see what attracts people. What is it that catches their eye? I try not to be obvious but sometimes I do catch myself staring–sorry.
I am having a garage sale here, 9am-3pm, Fri-Sat-Sun, May 24,25 & 26. My son has finally cleaned out his old room so there is lots of musical gear: custom rosewood drum set, drum rack and miscellaneous hardware, guitars (acoustical and electric), amps and speakers, piano keyboards, and other unidentifiable (to me) musical gadgets (you can email or call for a list), computer desk, dresser, teak entertainment unit, 2 baker’s racks, vintage radial arm saw, miscellaneous stuff, an assortment of pottery plaster molds. 1981 V-6 Caballero $2600 OBO. While you are here check out the Fryeburg Pottery studio whether you are interested someday in lessons, studio space or pottery.
Reminder to all, I will be closed Friday and Saturday (May 31 & June 1) in order to attend the Maine Fiber Frolic which will be held Saturday & Sunday, June 2 & 3, at the Windsor Fairgrounds in Windsor, Maine, FMI see their Facebook page or go to FiberFrolic.com. I don’t have any more craft fairs scheduled until July. Maybe I can get my garden in.
It has been a busy weekend with the garage sale, I sold a lot and I still managed to glaze and make a few pieces in between. I am expecting a big delivery of clay this week: 2000 pounds. It sounds like more than it is: 40 boxes. And being totally true to my procrastinating nature, instead of putting price stickers on all the musical gear, I impulsively decided to rearrange the studio. Which actually means that it has probably been on my mind for awhile and I finally couldn’t stand it anymore. It looks fabulous.
Here is a photo of the silk scarf banner that my friend Ivy of Water’s Edge Gallery & Studio did for me. It looks great and a lot more light weight than a clay sign. If you haven’t already checked out Water’s Edge, you should. She has a great gift shop and has great classes as well. She is located in the salmon pink building at Monument Corner in Fryeburg.
I will be closing early on Friday, June 7th, at 3:30 because Water’s Edge Studio & Gallery is again hosting its First “Frye”day Art Walk this summer from 2-7pm: June 7, July 5, August 2 and ending September 6th, at the corner of Main and Portland Street on Monument Corner. Each First Frye-day Art Walk will feature local artisans, light refreshments, entertainment and a raffle to benefit Mother Seton House, Brownfield Food Pantry, The Dinner Bell and Shawnee Peak’s Adaptive Ski Program for Fryeburg Students. The door prize will be a hand crafted item from a local artisan. If you are a local artisan and would like to join us, call Ivy Jordan at Water’s Edge at 935-7455.
The studio will be closed Friday, June 21st so that I can attend a Pleasant Mountain Fiber Arts Workshop on Natural Dyeing for Fiber. If you love fiber also, please check out PleasantMtFiber.com to see their list of workshops coming up on June 21st through 23rd in Brownfield, Maine.
June 22 at 5:00pm
Accordingly, I will have a booth there so I will need to leave at 3 pm. If you want to use the studio on Saturday, plan to be here prior to 3 pm. I’ll let you close up.
This posting is way later than I wanted it to be but life has been crazy…and crazy fun too. Last Friday—oops two Fridays ago, I attended a Natural Dying Workshop which was “to dye for.” Sorry, somebody had to say it. I had so much fun with my friend Kathy and Michelle Delucia was an awesome instructor. Then on Saturday was the “Not For Sale” Art Walk & Concert. And Sunday I went with Kathy to a cheesemaking workshop at The Big Farm Creamery in Madison NH. That was fun and I learned more and lunch was garden fresh salad, rustic bread & cheese, mushroom soup, beer or wine, and cheesecake for desert. Sigh, that was good. And since then I have been racing to catch up. Ducklings hatched, chicks hatched, the garden needed tending, the piglets needed feeding, goats needed milking, and the barn needed cleaning. I threw 50 pounds of clay on the pottery wheel (1-2 pounds at a time) and had to finish that. Yesterday, I made butter and chevre (goat’s milk cheese). Today I am at the studio catching up.
I will probably be late getting into the studio tomorrow morning for the 4th of July because I am going to help my friend Ivy hold up a banner in the parade in Fryeburg. Then I will be closing early at 3:30 on Friday for the First Fryeday Art Walk. So if you want to work on Friday, come in before 3:30 and you can close up for me when you leave. Then Saturday, July 6th, I will be closed to be in Bethel for the Art Fair and then closed on Saturday, July 13th, for the North Conway Library Book & Art Sale, and again I will be closed on Saturday, July 20th, for Lovell Old Home Days. Phew! August will be similar so keep an eye on the craft fair schedule.
Saturday in Bethel was great. Did you know that Bethel has trees? Trees make shade and the common was lined with trees. As you might remember last weekend was blisteringly hot with what felt like 99% humidity. So Bethel was the place to be. Here are a few photos. Please take note of the Fryeburg Pottery banner/scarf that my friend Ivy of Water’s Edge Gallery in Fryeburg made for me. There was a judging for Best in Show Wall-Hung Art, Artisan Crafts and Photography. I am not clear if there was one category to include the three categories or three different categories but I am still thrilled to have third place for my tissue box cover. If you haven’t been to the Bethel Art Fair before, which I hadn’t, you are missing a truly remarkable group of artisans. I was proud to be in their company.
My favorite artisan there was an remarkable woman (senior citizen) who made braided rugs. She pointed to her 700th braided rug as I confessed to be working on my 6th (a work in progress for the last 10 years, it gets abandoned for several years at a time). She attended the Fair in her wheelchair, I’m not sure if works from it or just when out and about and she also gives classes. I hope I stay that active…I intend to stay that active.
I will be CLOSED Saturday, July 13th because I will be at the North Conway Book & Art Sale. It is Saturday and Sunday from 9am-2pm. I am only attending on Saturday. Sunday I am going to the flea market and then on to the Chickadee Quilter’s Quilt Show in Bridgton with a friend. This Quilt show has been on my “must go to someday list” for almost 30 years. I am looking forward to it.
Please make a note of the changes to the rest of July’s schedule.
OPEN Wednesday, July 24th
CLOSED Thursday and Friday, July 25th and 26th
OPEN Saturday, July 27th
CLOSED Wednesday and Thursday, July 31st and August 1st
OPEN Friday and Saturday, August 2nd and 3rd
Except that I will be CLOSING EARLY at 3:30 on Friday, August 2nd for the First Fryeday Art Walk in Fryeburg
I am making these changes in order to maximize my chances for actually getting to the lake or on the river this summer when it is not raining. Since my husband can’t change his schedule, I am adjusting mine. We are also trying to install pasture fencing this summer and I can maximize my chances of having this happen if I help. Thanks for your understanding and I will post August’s schedule as soon as I have it. There are also days in August when I will be closed because of craft fairs and that schedule is posted under the “2013 Craft Fair Schedule” Tab. Thanks again.
Here is my August Calendar. I will be in Freedom on Friday and then the Lovell Arts & Artisan’s Fair is coming up fast on August 17th. Someone put on the brakes, it feels like summer is fast careening to an end!
I can’t believe it is September already and the kids are back in school. Here is September’s calendar. I will be setting up for the Fair on Saturday, September 28th. Please let me know if you want to come in and use your studio time so we can coordinate it with my travels back and forth to the Fairgrounds setting up.
I have finally gotten around to website housekeeping. I have posted December’s calendar ingeniously under the tab “Calendar” and the details of my last craft fair of the year cleverly under “2013 Craft Fairs.” I am looking forward to this one in Eaton at the Inn at Crystal Lake. My husband and I went up to see the space so we could plan my display (3 shelf units will cunningly surround the piano with a few items on top). I am still not sure where I will be able to stand. It will be an interesting dance. The Inn is beautiful and I snuck a peek at a menu, it looked delicious.
Snow storms and nasty weather are here again. Just another reality of our lives for living in New England. Please see my snow day policy–again, this information is cleverly hidden under the tab “Snow Days.”
New stuff…I have pottery on display and, of course for sale, at Water’s Edge Gallery & Studio in Bridgton (Main Street in the Bridgton News Building). Photo below is of Thanksgiving display. If you haven’t already been, check it out. Water’s Edge is a beautiful store and Ivy Jordan also holds classes on jewelry making.
Today, I am waiting for three kilns to cool. I spent yesterday walking back and forth from home to turn up Baby Bear and Mama Bear kilns and started Papa Bear when Baby Bear shut off. I was a little nervous about running three electric kilns all at the same time even though Bob said “theoretically, with 200 amp service, power should be fine.” So, I waited to power up Papa Bear. This morning, it is about 50-60 degrees in the two smaller kilns and 1500 degrees in Papa Bear. I am superstitious about taking things out of the kiln until they are as cold as the outdoor temperatures. There is nothing so dreadful sounding as a beautiful piece of pottery as it pings loudly and cracks. So in the meantime, I am cleaning up the studio.
My barn cat is the most awesome pest control I have ever tried plus great company. She keeps the mice, squirrels, chipmunks and stray birds out of my barn, house and pottery studio. Once or twice a year she will come to the studio door meowing and demanding to be let in–all very business-like. She will rush in and dash into the kitchen searching or toward the basement door and demand to go downstairs where she will spend hours. I don’t know how she even knew the door was there. Yesterday however she took the day off and after demanding entrance promptly took an 8-hour nap until I threw her out so we could go home.
I did enjoy some studio time during my new year’s vacation with my son, Curtis and his girl friend, Ashley.
The studio is closed today. I decided on this course of action 2 hours into my usual 1 hour barn chores. At least the ducks were happy. I tried throwing hay down on the ice since I was out of sand. I needed to get to the end yard where my goat buck is housed with his visiting 3 girlfriends. I have been entertaining myself by peeking out the window to monitor the success of his romantic efforts. I am running a goat fertility clinic of sorts this month.
How do you spend your time in the dark? I got creative. I made Feta Cheese and worked on my braided rug. I am nervously listening to the rain because it will be time in a few hours to brave the ice again to do my evening barn chores of feeding the poultry, goats, rabbits and barn cat, milking 3 goats and collecting eggs. It is pouring now. My plan is to take the sled down to the barn again and crawl back up pulling the sled behind me. And yes, I still do love winter.
a) its steepness, b) frost heaves which make it impossible to snow blow cleanly and c) it only gets maybe an hour of direct sunlight to aid in ice removal.
Finally completed this butter dish commissioned during the Fryeburg Fair. Actually, I’ve made three since then including this one. It just took me three tries to get it right. The first one was beautiful but (note to self–take better notes), I glazed it in wrong colors. The second one was beautiful also, but this time I completely obliterated the beautiful aztec turquoise starfish. You can see those efforts on the Gallery page. Pssst, they are both for sale. This one was just right and is on it’s way to its new home.
This is June’s gorgeous platter. Love the vibrant colors.
For context, in order to put the first layer of pottery into Papa Bear, I have to stand on a stool. Also I have to heat the controls to 40 degrees to run it. Baby Bear only comes up to my hip and I don’t have to heat it up BUT, I have to be around to turn it up every hour or so for 8 hours. Not fun at zero degrees or from home (it requires a walk in the cold). Papa Bear is digital, I just have to come around at the end to be sure it did in fact shut off.
It takes about an hour to load Baby Bear depending on how challenging the pieces are: odd shapes, large pieces, glazed or sloppy bottoms, green ware versus glazed. Papa Bear takes at least three hours. Also, if the load contains lots of little glazed pieces that need to be stilted add an hour. So I try to choose sunny, warmish days.
Baby Bear because of its size and smaller load takes about 24 hours to cool before I can empty it. Papa Bear takes the same amount of time for bisque firing and I try to fire slow for 12 hours for glazing but it requires at least 36 hours or more to cool. My rule of thumb is 2 days.
Uh,uh,uh…no peeking. I am very superstitious…or rather learned through experience to let the pieces come to ambient outside of the kiln temperatures before opening the kiln. There is nothing so heartbreaking or sickening as to hear the ping of piece cracking because of thermal shock (sudden change in temperature). I am so superstitious that after unloading the kiln in the cold, I cover it up and let it slowly come to room temperature inside the studio.
So that’s where I’m headed in a few hours. Unloading will be Thursday morning.
Saturday was a fabulous day. The sun was shining and I dashed out to the Earle Family Farm to pick up the last share of my Winter CSA. Such a joy to have beets, rutabaga, onions, shallots, celeriac, spinach, carrots, frozen corn and frozen sweet peppers. Chatted with my son regarding his newest mead-making adventures. He wanted to know if he could use carrots or beets. So now I want to start some funky meads too. That’s tomorrow’s project. Then I raced over to the Lovell Library for the farmers market and got some honey to make mead, some beautiful blue and red potatoes and fresh alfalfa sprouts. Bought a book from the book cellar, returned a book I borrowed and ran into my friend Kristin. Then it was dash back to the studio to open at 11. Okay it was 11:05. Had a wonderful day with Krys, a new student. We talked all day like old friends as we worked on the pottery wheel and we both met a new friend from Rhode Island who came in looking for the perfect coffee mug. So I am on a mission to make “the perfect coffee mug” for our new friend, Cindy. And then June came in and added to the circle of friends. What a wonderful day. And the sun was still shining at 5 when I went home. (Insert happy sigh here.)
I have updated 2014 Craft Fairs with the Maine Fiber Frolic in June. I’m hard at work making yarn bowls for that fair and for the Maine Fiber College. Here is an address (I can’t figure out how to do links) to a Martha Stewart interview with the Gees Bend Quilters who will be there for workshops in September: http://www.marthastewart.com/910994/gees-bend-quilting-techniques.
Today’s snow storm has not yet arrived so I am going to the studio to play. Please call/text me if you are coming in since I may go home early if I am all alone, I’m done working and it is snowing. Today’s plate seemed appropriate. It’s quote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivien Greene
The Studio is closed today cause the snow in the driveway is up to my kneecaps and Bob has banned me from using the tractor/snow blower. Some lame excuse about it being temperamental and not having enough sheer pins and he won’t get up at 3 am before he goes to work so I can play in the mud. He promised to clean the driveway when he gets home from work tonight. See you tomorrow.
Something I never really thought about before embarking on this new creative path was how much work goes into simply scheduling craft fairs for the season. This year I am trying a new organization technique with a file box and folders instead of the notebook (too much work and effort to 3 hole punch, put info in, retrieve it when necessary and refile it). It seems to be working so far.
It has been illuminating to see how quickly craft shows and fairs fill up. What does that mean? It means that January and February are the months to be scheduling and planning. The difficult part is all those vendor fees need to be paid up front, pretty much at the same time. I will have to budget better for that in 2015 because it is also the same time that winter fuel bills are coming in.
As I look back at last year’s events, I am struck by all the green. Was it really as hot as I remember? With all the snow on the ground, 90 degrees and 99% humidity doesn’t seem that bad.
I am working hard at adding a Gallery store and also keeping my Craft Fair schedule updated and to make regular posts. Here is an example of one the pieces for sale being demonstrated at a craft fair last summer. For more, click on the Gallery tab.
I have just posted the studio’s March Calendar and updated the 2014 Craft Fairs tab with Belfast Arts in the Park, July 12 & 13. I am really looking forward to this one. I haven’t been before but it is in Harbor Park right on the ocean. What’s not to love: ocean views, ocean breezes and I’m sure there is lobster close by. You can check this fair out on their website: artsinthepartbelfast.org or on Facebook: Arts in the Park, Belfast, Maine.
I have been making lots and lots of flower frogs in anticipation of Spring. I think I have 24 to put in the kiln. They’re kind of cute so I am enjoying making them. How can you not love something that makes silk flowers look good. Just think how fabulous the real thing will look. This guy needs a crown and kiss.
I had a terrific time a few weeks ago with a friend rummaging through Rivard’s Auction House Annex, Harry Barkers I & II and The Main Mercantile in Bridgton. So I have been spending the last week playing with all my new toys in the clay.
The resulting platters are quite large but sometimes it feels so good to make something big. They are now drying slowly on the rack.
I have updated the 2014 Craft Fair Calendar. Wow! It’s going to be a busy year. There are four more applications pending and a few more to apply to in the fall.
Just posted the April Calendar. I’m running behind just like this year’s maple sap run. I did get 5 quarts of yummy syrup on Tuesday’s boil. Now to slog through a foot of slushy snow and water to pull my taps and retrieve what may be in the buckets I couldn’t get to this last weekend. I think I will make maple beer with what is left. Now to run out and see if Mildred has had her kids yet. Here is a picture of this Spring’s ladies in waiting.
Or so they say. April brought me baby goats: 3 does (girls) and 4 bucks (boys). This year I am on a conquistador and queen theme. I have Isabella, Elizabeth, Victoria, Cortez, Balboa, Blackbeard, and Magellan.
I also have baby rabbits: eight 2-week olds that should be emerging from the nest in a few days and this morning what seems like an equal number of newborns…hairless and eyes closed. Piglets should be ready for pick up mid-May and chicks and poults are coming in mid-June. Hopefully Ellie will have kids June 1st. And it is time to get the garden going. My seedlings are started indoors and its time to plant peas, potatoes and lettuces and things outside. Phew! It looks like a busy summer.
I have posted May’s calendar and updated the Craft Shows.
Turnawhat??? Turnaround is when we at the Gallery play a version of musical chairs by rotating all our exhibits so that every artisan has an opportunity in a new space. Its a good thing to have to move your pieces because you then must revisit your exhibit to a) dust if necessary, b) remove a few pieces, c) add a few pieces, and most of all d) you see your exhibit with new eyes. I did all of the above.
CALENDAR UPDATE: The studio will be closed Wednesday, July 16th to take my son and his girlfriend to the airport, and since we are there, shopping.
NEW STUDIO: Things have been crazy here. As many of you already know, the studio has moved from the building right next to my home to my lovely, well-lit and naturally and deliciously cool walk out basement. It is not quite as big but I don’t think it has to be. I am deciding on what things to keep and what is just clutter. The sign needs to be moved and the kilns need to come over here.
Why the move? Call me crazy, but the old studio was too far away. I spent way too much time starting and stopping. I am loving being able to dash downstairs and put a coat of glaze on a piece. I am closer to my animals and I can make cheese and not worry about being in two places at one time when I don’t finish on time. Things will be perfect once the kilns are here and I figure out where I put everything. Pictures to follow after the boxes are emptied out.
PICTURES OR BELFAST SHOW: It was a fabulous weekend. How could you not love being on the ocean?
This is one day in November when the new studio was kind of clean (at least this half was). I have been organizing since Christmas and it feels good. I’m even beginning to remember where I put things–sort of.
Last year from July through December went from crazy to outright insane. I gave up on my garden and just took care of the pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, ducks and guineas while trying to move my studio from its previous location on the road to my home. AND that was between all the art shows. Then, SURPRISE, when I got home from demonstrating at Fryeburg Fair Mabel had kidded two weeks early. I guess she and Fred were getting along better than I thought. Alice was more thoughtful and waited until Tuesday after the Fair was over only three days early by my calculations.
My husband and I managed to move the studio, have a massive yard sale, and prepare the old building for my new tenant to live in. This is also why I took the sign down. My tenant doesn’t need drop ins looking for me. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to put the sign up at 919 Lovell Road and now the ground is frozen. The mailbox has numbers on both sides, coming and going and it is directly opposite our driveway.
The studio and I are still available Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. except as noted on the calendar. However, one of the reasons for the move was to be free to take care of all aspects of my life and not just pottery. For instance: gardening, cheese making, bill paying, goat walking and just plain freedom to run errands or whatever else needs doing like learning how to knit and spin. Although my husband tells me I’m pretty good at spinning already. Somehow I don’t think he is talking about wool.
So, please let me know when you would like to come and work so I can plan accordingly and so you won’t be disappointed when you drop in and I’m not here.
My quilting class has been a wonderful inspiration that informs my creations right now. I love the geometry of quilting. Here are a few pictures.
It’s been a long crazy year. Lots of fun but so busy. Once I got my studio going, it was time to tap the maple trees, then goats were kidding, it was time to plant the garden, and surprise! my male cat had kittens (funny story), then go pick up piglets, first craft shows, my son and his wife came to stay for the summer (that was so much fun), then north to Alaska for an 11 day vacation, more craft shows and summer classes (I took Botanical Drawing, Needle Felting, Coptic Book Binding, Eco Printing), more in the garden, cheese making, milking and feeding, oh my. Oh yes, and my quilt block of the month class (I am making two double bed sized quilts and I made a quilted table runner). Needless to say I didn’t have much time this summer to make much pottery. I am trying to get back on top of things and bring more order to the chaos of my life. This is an endless challenge. Oh yeah, I also added a twice weekly yoga class and a daily yoga routine to my schedule. This is a must do for everyday physical and mental health. And somehow I ended up on the Board of Gallery 302 and the Bridgton Art Guild. I did manage to make some pottery. That is for the next post.
I have been asked to make a replacement base for this turkey that has been a part of several decades worth of Thanksgiving dinners until the bottom broke. I didn’t make the turkey but I am attempting to make a casserole style dish similar in style that will hold the turkey in the base so the turkey won’t slide off. Unfortunately clay shrinks as it dries and again while being fired. This makes it difficult to judge if the already fired turkey will fit when the casserole is fired. The first one is a little too small but I now have a better idea of how big to make the new base. The first dish I made won’t be wasted. I am going to make a top for it and have a covered casserole for myself. If I make the handles right, the top will be reversible and can be used as a serving bowl. Both pieces will make perfect deep dish pie plates. I just need to remember to place them in a cold oven and then turn the heat on.
I adore vintage doilies. I collect them, tattered and stained, from thrift stores and flea markets. The geometry in them is beautiful. I admire the busy hands that created them. Doilies are so unappreciated now. So I preserve them in my clay pieces, fossilizing them in the clay. The doily gets removed before firing in the kiln so I can use it again and again. This piece in particular reminded me of a suspension bridge so I named it “Grandma’s Engineering.” Of course, I added my own geometry into the blank spaces of the piece. I sold it a few weeks ago. I must use that doily again to make another one…but different.
The glazing assembly line: first squeeze glaze into all the lovely impressions, then glaze the bottoms moving from one to the next, when you get to the last one, start back with the first. Three coats of glaze on each side. The easiest way to do this is have a really good audio book playing. Right now I am listening to the Harry Potter series for the third time. It keeps me entertained and I am still able to focus on what I am doing.
This last weekend’s show at USM in Gorham was a good one. I had a great time meeting new people, reconnecting with repeat customers, selling and linking up again with vendor friends. So here is my booth all set up and waiting to show. It took my husband and I about an hour to set up and another 30 minutes to tweak. Working together, we can pack it up again in an hour. I pack up and my husband removes all the lighting, folds up all the shelving and puts it all in the van as it is ready. Without him, it would take me at least another 30 minutes or more. Right now it is all packed in my little transit van waiting to set up for the next show on Saturday at the White Mountain Waldorf School in Albany, NH. This show runs from 10 to 2. It’s the first time I’ve exhibited there and I am looking forward to seeing the school.
Then we will pack it up and do it all over again the day after Thanksgiving in Bethel, Maine, and again on December 6th at the Stone Mountain Art Center. I think I am done then unless something else comes along that I can’t say no to.