Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Where is the new pottery?

Folks may be wondering why there have been so few new items listed in my Etsy shop. I know Grandpa Doll looks like he is missing some new jugs!

The reason is a forced, but happy move of studio space.

I have been sharing rented studio space with other artists at in a large old building here in town. The building was sold, and we artists were given less than a week to move. So, I am trying to get my kilns up and ready as quickly as possible at home, but it means new wiring for the small electric kiln, and an inspector visit and new line for the large kiln, not to mention all the safety equipment I need! Whew!

I am hoping to be up and running by the end of February, but it really depends on how fast I can think outside the box to get things done safely and cheaply at home.

The upside is that will be producing pottery here, at home. I am very excited about that! And, since I already have my wheel set up, I am making greenware (unfired pottery) while I wait for the kilns to be ready to fire. And since my favorite part of the process is the throwing, I am pretty content.

Also, for those who have wondered- My husband Danny is doing well. He is out of the hospital again, and is up and around. Thanks for your thoughts and wishes for his health!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

first teapot

first teapot, originally uploaded by antfiresbetter.

This is a photo of a little teapot I made a few months after first starting in clay. The cork is in the spout, because I made the spout too low on the vessel, and the water pours out just after you pour it in the top! We use this now for pouring homemade mulberry syrup for pancakes. It isn't that good, but it works and I am fond of it, because it is my first teapot. I am posting this photo, because of this discussion:

On Etsy, I belong to a guild of sorts, the Etsy Mud Team. Someone on the forum for our team mentioned that on another very well-known potter's forum, ClayArt, there was some discussion about those who sell on Etsy.

A few folks said they loved selling and buying there, but several folks were very vocal about the diverse skill level that was on Etsy, and they felt that it was a bad thing to let those of lower skill sell with those of higher skill. And that customers are rather stupid, and need to be protected from "bad pottery". That got our danders up!

Of course, we all had to pop over and read their posts, and it got a lively discussion going on our forums too.

I stated my opinion this way:
"I think quality and craftsmanship are probably the most important thing for many folks, not all, but I would say for most crafters. I guess I just overreacted to the feeling I got of some of the postings there of "I worked for years to get here, and until you are at my level, you have no place in the artworld". One of our newest members has only been doing clay for a couple of years, and his stuff is wonderful! The idea of "paying dues" is the idea I don't like. Or that there is an absolute line between quality and crud. Or that customers are oblivious of all this.

I have bought handmade bowls from new students because I liked the bowls, being full aware that they had some distance to go to become on par with Leach. But I still happily use their works, even if it is not the creme de la creme of handmade pottery. There is often something alive and refreshing and joyful in a novice's pottery, even though the craftsmanship is lacking. I like the energy of a piece that shows that an fledgling artist is discovering themself."

I don't think customers need to be protected from anything! Why can't a customer like any style they choose? Who is foolish enough to say "This is good and this is bad, this is nice, this is ugly, so you can only buy what I say"! Phooey!

I was very unhappy with that thought, then Natalie, (owner of nkpdesigns.etsy.com and nkpbeads.etsy.com) said this, and I thought it was the perfect expression of how exploring our art and craft through clay should be viewed:

Natalie said:
"I have the first bowls I started throwing back in 2003 and wow, I'm really glad I didn't try to sell them. I have them in my kitchen cabinets and use them regularly and they are special to me because I remember what it felt like to throw them, and I remember that great feeling I had taking them out of the kiln that first time. It's a great memory. But its my special memory and so I have those first efforts and I cherish them.

I had a friend come over to look at my pottery and she picked up this very awful small mug. It was crude. It was a first try. The handle was not on properly. But she knew me. She was my friend. She loved me. So she loved that cup. She wanted to BUY that cup. I gave it her. She still loves that cup. God bless her! But I think she loves it because she loves me. And that's great. That's what its all about sometimes.

And hopefully, as I continue learning and throwing and reading and studying and handbuilding and learning and doing then others who don't know me or have a reason to love me will love my pottery too.

Ah to dream .... :)"

Perfect. :D

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Felted wool purse, first try!

At Kwanzaa, we give handmade gifts. For some reason my kids think that if I give them something I made from pottery that I am cheating, so I try to make Kwanzaa an excuse for learning some new craft. This year, I tried felting sweaters bought at a thrift store to make purses. I love the idea of recycling, and that what I make is useful!

These purses are my gifts for this year. I think they turned out pretty well for my first tries!

I bought the sweaters, and washed and dried them three times on the hottest wash and the hottest dry setting. Then I cut out the bags just by eyeballing what I wanted the finished product to look like.

Danny has been home from the hospital for about a week now*, and wanted to help. Thank goodness he was well enough to sew them for me - I was not looking forward to learning his sewing machine. I haven't sewn since junior high, which was so long ago it was before the world was in color! I pinned them, and he did the seams.

I am very happy with how they look, and I am thinking about making more!

* Danny has been in and out of the hospital for the last 9 months due to complications from an old injury. He is weak, and still unable to work with clay. I completely enjoyed his help with these. I have missed working with him. Having Danny well has been my favorite gift this holiday season!!

Poster for Etsy Mud Team Post Holiday Sale

The Etsy Mud Team, a street team I belong too on Etsy.com, is sponsoring an After Holiday Sale. I am participating by offering 10% off anything in my shop. Buyers during the sale will be registered for a drawing for prized donated by the shops. Lovely things, I am doing some shopping myself. My goal this year is to buy a mug or cup from every mud team shop. I don't know if I will make it tho, since the team grows daily.

So, come on by and see the sale, and say Hi when you get to Etsy!