Monday, June 30, 2008

back to the business of business...

Someone told me that I should always have a picture to post with my blog entries, so in lieu of any interesting update pics from the new or old studio, my offering is this of the woods where I take Lissa for her morning hikes. That's her ahead of me on the trail by the tree. I chose this one because as I sit down to write this update, a gorgeous cool breeze is floating in my window next to the computer, reminding me of how lovely the morning hikes have been lately and giving me something to look forward to for tomorrow. The day after this hike, when of course I had no camera, there was a great mist and fog hanging over the tops of the trees, adding an element of mysticism to the experience.

I am very fortunate that this is the way I get to start my day, and I get to express my own gratitude in the beauty of these woods, chimed in by a very happy dog. Happier even today when I took her to the park by the river for a nice dip in the water (or three). She had it coming as she seems to have rolled in some poison oak, which has since rubbed off on me.

While I have gotten a good bit done since the end of the workshop last week, I still haven't actually been back to work on the wheel. But the good news is that I should get the majority of my 'working' studio moved over by the weekend, and I may even have a kiln to pick up by then as well. The electrician is on deck to get the kiln properly aligned, and new members of the team are hopefully coming in to build more pieces of the puzzle. Got a little more of the books in order, files set up, forms created, blahblahblah. All necessary and I'll be so happy to have everything in place, but it's amazing how much time whisks away while you're face down in a pile of papers. Much happier whisking away time at the wheel!

Tomorrow is shift day at the studio, but by tomorrow night I'll have enough packed up and moved around that I'll at least be able to sit at my wheel again. That kiln loading in about 2 weeks keeps coming closer!

Ok, off to pleasant dreams beneath a cool summer breeze...peace

Friday, June 27, 2008

end of workshop, now back to work!

It's been quite a week. Wouldn't trade it for the world, but I do admit I'm very excited to move into the next set of busy-ness! Above are the chawans I made this week. I didn't get a lot made over the week, but what did get made I'm very pleased with and it was great to revisit some techniques I haven't played with in a while. I think I'll have to put the chawans into the regular routine.

Not much done for the new space, but Holly came by to check it out and prodded me to shoot some update pictures, so here they are:

visitor Holly checking out the fab new kiln gloves...

the new storage fun over the sink...

the corner office with requisite dog bed behind the desk...

Tomorrow will be cleaning, taking a load of recycling away and opening up and assembling two more wheels (and taking more recycling away). I'm very pleased that Shimpo packs its wheels in cardboard and doesn't use a lot of foamy filler - I'll be able to save a lot of it for my own packing. Once the clean up is done, I'll get back to the current studio, pack up some more and get it situated to get back to work. It was good to do some workshop work during the week, but I've got the dt's for my own kickwheel. Also got a lot to catch up on, and I think a kiln is actually scheduled in about two weeks, so there's a nice deadline to keep me motivated.

To any of the Akira workshop participants who may be checking in to see the blog, it was an extreme pleasure to work with all of you this week, and I hope you stay tuned and keep in touch (or perhaps we'll all reunite later in Italy)! pace - LT

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Day 3 of Akira Satake's workshop and another lovely day. I've made peace with the fact that I just won't get much done for the new studio this week, and yet every day I manage to slip in a few things and if nothing else, phone calls and appointments were made!

Meanwhile back at the workshop, this being the third time I've assisted and been able to watch Akira work up close, some of his philosophy and aesthetic that I admire so are finally sinking in a bit. This is definitely a good example of why I took the Residency and how I've made the very most of the opportunities that have come along the way. I think Akira's class or workshop was one of the first I took when I arrived, so it's a rather nice bookend to have his be one of the last I take under the Residency.

I worked on a few chawans today - ceremonial tea bowls made by combining two wheel thrown pieces in a nicely organic process. No, of course I didn't take a picture, but I will tomorrow, it's drying on the shelf tonight. We've talked a lot this week about 'wabi sabi' and the beauty of imperfection, and it was a lot of fun to work with crunchy clay, beating it up and letting it do its own thing while creating something that by itself has a lot of beauty, not to mention the potential with the right glaze in the right firing. Akira's examples of his shigaraki fired chawans are beautiful in so many obvious and subtle ways. And it may be the same thing, but I recently read an article on 'shibui' that makes me think that term is more suited to the experience of making these chawans. I think I'll save at least one for Akira's next firing and see what comes of it.

As for today's image offerings, I have shots of some of the pots that came out of Akira's first firing of the train kiln:
yummy ash drips and runs. in the background is part
of a kohiki piece, and on the right is a sliver shot of
a piece made with Akira's clay

shino teabowl - frosty finish is from reduction cooling, which
he does for about four hours at the end of the 40+ hour firing.

this is one of my tumblers that he put in - it has a couple of shino
layers, with brushwork on the other side, but this side just seemed a
whole lot cooler to show.

With almost impeccable timing, Lissa is letting me know it's time to take a stroll. peace - LT

Monday, June 23, 2008

I love craigslist!

I'll eventually do a little photo log of all the delightful things I've found on Craigslist that will end up in the studio. Most recently a very sweet 'farm table' that's serving as my desk, and just today the laptop on which I write this blog entry. As soon as I get all the files carried over, it'll be the studio computer and will hopefully help me keep the business end of this business all up to date.

And in the world of 'it's all in the timing', I had a shot at some great studio liquidation items, but because I couldn't go check it out till after the workshop today, I missed them all. Bummer, but it seems that opportunities like that pop up on a semi-regular basis, so the watch continues.

Today was day 1 of the Akira Satake workshop at Odyssey. I had my camera but was just to darn busy to take any pictures yet, so here's a snap of some of Akira's work and the technique he demo'd for us today:

kohiki plate

He did bring back the pieces of mine that he was kind enough to put in his inaugural train kiln firing, and I'll snap some pictures of those tomorrow and post. Some were refires of shino clad tumblers that came out of the soda kiln, and others were pieces decorated (some glazed, some not) in the McKenzie Smith workshop. More on those when I can post the pictures tomorrow, but some very cool results and I'm looking forward to making and glazing specifically for that kiln.

Back to work - gotta get the studio computer updated and fully loaded. peace out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

a week's progress

No new pictures of the new space, but it's coming along. Kind of in that state of half moved in, half unpacked, half put together, half there at all. That, and my camera battery died right after I took the pictures posted below (or perhaps it was the shock of the studio that stunned the camera into a coma!). In the new space, I added some new shelving and a table for my desk, got the new cubby in and put a couple of coats of poly* on it, and ran a few trips worth of moving the pile that will be coming from the current studio. *I'm using a blend of BioPoly and citrus solvent - much nicer to smell and much nicer to the environment. I can even compost the rags I used to rub it into the wood after they soak in water. I don't have the paperwork on it all now, and I can't remember the names, but talk to the folks at Build It Naturally in Asheville if you want to know more.

The earlier pictures of the new studio are billed as the 'before' pictures, but this is really the 'before' - my current studio, with great horror and shame to even be sharing this with anyone other than those brave enough to venture down the hallway...

It all happens so fast, one day you have a neat little space with tools in the proper place, reclaim drying evenly on the plaster and greenware stacked on the shelves above the bisque waiting for then in an instant of prepping for multiple firings before stroll and finishing commissions, participating in a workshop on the other side of the studio - my space pretty much became a dumping ground. Add to that the week's worth of running around to get the new space up and running. Amazingly enough, I've actually been working in here too! Got the decal samples back, and they took fine enough but I still think it should be better. More tests. And this week throwing again too. That's my wheel somewhere under the fan. sigh.

I didn't make it out to Akira's to see the kiln opening, but he's going to have a studio party soon enough. Next week is his workshop, which I'm looking forward to. It'll be nice to be back in studio and into the clay again after a week of 'the business'. I'll also get to work more on various orders that have been waiting for finishing, some for starting. Gotta keep it straight or everybody gets kohiki!

Ok - early up for day 1 of the workshop, so time to get the pup out for the last walk of the day. Closing the studio for the day - good night!goo

Friday, June 20, 2008

shopped now I'll drop

Today was a very productive day. Got the Shimpos moved to the studio with the help of fellow Resident and birthday boy Bob, and even got one out of the box and put together. Then Alex delivered the first cubby unit he built for me, and we settled on the next round of the order: ware shelves, wedging table and small ware shelves for the shimpos. Then the shopping! Found some good covered tins on craigslist that will be great for smaller amounts of dry material, then made trips to Harbor Freight and Lowes for all sorts of doo dads:

evidence of the day's foraging

So tomorrow will be putting the other wheels together, putting a finish on the new cubby storage shelves, putting together the sink shelving - the glamorous part! At some point, radical as it may seem, I also might get some other kind of work done...the pottery kind. The latest decal tests should be out of the kiln along with some bisque from the McKenzie Smith workshop. Many of the fab folks at the workshop made and donated bowls to Empty Bowls, and I think I'll take the ^10 bisque up to John's studio for glazing in the 'Empty Bowls' kiln. And then I may move other elements of my Odyssey studio to the Crazy Green studios...and then maybe throw a bowl!

Well I see by the wimper of the dog that time is up for this evening. toodles...xoxo

Thursday, June 19, 2008

finally the pictures!

well at the very least, the 'before' pictures. This is a quickie because Lissa really wants to get outside and I really want to get her outside!

Here's the outside of my little studio, isn't it sweet?!

Crazy Green Studios

And here are a few interior shots - the floor actually is light green, but the lighting and my quick shots make the whole place look a little like the inside of a pool...but the light is really good inside, I haven't even had to turn the lights on yet as I've been doing most of the work so far this week during daylight.

This is just inside the door to the right. The right side of the picture/
that corner will be the office, and the majority of the rest of the
space will be the wheel area. I got the extra kickwheel in today
(thanks Patti!) and eventually my own kick will go in the
back 'left' corner (see the lovely shaft of light from the skylight!)

And this is just inside the door to the left.
The sink is there, and just around the wall on the left side
of the picture is the door to the hall bathroom. This side will
be for kiln, pugger, wedging, glaze stuff, etc.

I know it doesn't show much yet, but just wait! If I can get a little more manpower (or womanpower, I'm not picky!) tomorrow, I'll get the electric wheels in. Today I picked up some office stuff and put in some interim shelving so I can play more with the layout. Tomorrow I also teach in the afternoon, so I might just load up the car after the lesson and start bringing more from the current studio. It's a good thing I've got till September to dig out of there!

ok, short and sweet and time to walk the dog and water the yard! xoxo

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stoking with Bob & Yoko...

First firing in action...

I know, still no pictures of the new studio. I forgot the camera earlier in the day when I was there, but it's in the bag for tomorrow, so have faith and patience! I got a lot of planning done today, moved a few more things from Odyssey, had a delightful lunch with Jane in the new studio 'hood and picked up Heather's csa box o' food as she's out of town. Then in the afternoon I went up to Akira Satake's studio to visit during the inaugural firing of his new train kiln. A year in the building/site prep/firing planning, and I'm sure worth the wait, it's a beauty. He was nice enough to put a few of my pots in even though I was only available to come visit. I did bring kale and chard, which could be some culture's traditional gift of greeting and gratitude, or it could be what I had in the car (thanks ht) when I realized I forgot the blueberries I had intended to bring. A lovely green bouquet on a fabulous, breezy summer day! Akira (aka 'Bob Dylan') is firing this first load with Judith 'Yoko Ono' Duff, and it was great to watch and listen as they watched and listened to the kiln. I still had no camera, but knew I'd be back later and hoped to get a picture of Bob & Yoko at work, but Judith had left by the time I returned so no duets captured on film. I'll head back out on Sunday to snap pics of the opening too.

Between kiln visits, I raced back to town for the Studio Stroll wrap party at 12 Bones bbq, had some eats and drinks and chats with other RDA members and even won a door prize - two very sweet tiny houses by Matt Jacobs. My real estate empire is begun! The RDA member 'fun facts' game for door prizes was fun, and for any of you who were there yes I really was in a Freddy Mercury video. And that's all I'm gonna say about that for now...

And between 12 Bones and back to the kiln, I even managed to pick up a nice mini fridge for the new studio. Mini fridge, Foreman grill, bag o' bones for the dog and we'll be ready for business!

Tomorrow wheels go into the studio and maybe some more furniture. Very sleepy, g'nite.

Backing up a little...

I know I'll fill in a lot of the details as we go, but here's a snapshot of the development to date:

As my Residency is up in September, I've known that a new studio space was needed. I'm at a point where there are commission projects that interest me, but I need more space. I've always known that the Odyssey studio was a transitional space, and the Residency has provided me with two years of wonderful transition and preparation. In prep for the big 'move on', I joined Mountain Biz Works to help me prep a business plan and get some guidance in growing and expanding my business. To anyone in the Asheville area who hasn't checked out their small business development and support services, I highly recommend you do!

I enrolled in MBW's 'Go Program', which paired me with a mentor to help guide me through the actual process of getting my own business off the ground. My guide through this has been Jane Renfroe, a fabulous teaching artist who has been mentor, guide and friend to me throughout, and who I will happily be working with for the next few months while I set up the new studio. The Go program is set up for three months, and I figured when I started it in April that it was good timing to get my business plan solid and find a new space before the end of my Residency in September. The very first week we met, however, I noticed an ad for studio space. I didn't think I would be able to move on it, but of course it can't hurt to look, right? Looks good...great location...landlord who's worked in my seems reasonable... I go back to Jane and we decide to use it as a model for updating my business plan. Then it turns out that the reviewing board for start up loans is meeting in the next couple of weeks, and a whirlwind 2-3 weeks later, I've managed to put together the plan and the space is still available. And then they approve me, and now I'm getting the new space ready to move in!

People who know me know that this indeed is a short version of any story I tell! I'm taking the camera with me to get some 'before' shots to share today. And as promised, the cast of characters! Actual casting is still in progress, but the most important mascot and official studio dog has a lock on the starring role, so here she is!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Beginning...

Greetings all - I'm taking the suggestion many friends have made and am creating this little blog to keep everyone updated on the new studio. For those of you getting here for the first time, welcome! I'll be adding pictures and more information soon and often.

To get everyone up to date: I've been in a Residency at Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts in Asheville, and the Residency ends in September. I've just signed a lease on my own studio space in West Asheville, and I'm in the process of getting it outfitted for me to do my work and teach private lessons. I'm just taking a few minutes to get the ol' blog up and running, and then I'm off to meet with the insurance agent. Had the electrician out this morning, and with any luck I'll get a truck this week to move some of the larger equipment in. Met with a way cool woodworker yesterday who I hope to work with to make some pieces for the studio.

I'll introduce the full cast of characters and put up some pictures soon! LT