Monday, August 31, 2009

September Open Studio Schedule and other cool events... I could FEEL the fall in the air, and it felt GREAT! Cool, just a bit breezy, leaves starting to take flight. It is my favorite season!

Here's the September open studio schedule, as always, subject to change! A bit about some of the highlighted dates:

Friday, September 4: that's First Friday! Get out and see some galleries or studio openings, have a little nosh, meet some artists and gaze upon and when ever possible fondle some very nice work. Crazy Green Studios closes early to encourage all studio members to do just this, and with any luck I'll do it too!

We're closed over Labor Day weekend - not so much for the holiday, although I hope all studio members have wonderful weekends, fire up the grill for the beginning of the cool-weather cookouts, hit the beach while the water's still warm ... have a little 'you' time. I'll be in the glaze studio, painting trees and letting brushes dance over a kiln load of pots destined for bridal registries, fine eating establishments and a new gallery, with just a little left over for show stock.

Saturday, September 12: 2nd Saturday Artist Market! This month the Market will be rockin' with many returning and many new vendors, and we expect extra buzz in East West Asheville as it's also the day of the West Asheville Garden Stroll. And we're just a little biased, but we think the hottest stop on the Garden Stroll will be Christopher's Garden, just across the end of Domino Lane, and featuring additional 2nd Saturday Artist Market artists vending in the garden along with Christopher Mello!

Sunday, September 13: OrganicFest! This will be the the fourth year that Crazy Green Studios will have a booth at this wonderful downtown festival celebrating all things organic, healthy, sustainable and local. We are very proud to be the unofficial potters of the OrganicFest!

Friday, September 18: ok, here's the first peep on the blog about the long-awaited new gallery! Echo Gallery at Biltmore Park will have a 'soft' opening, inviting friends and family (that's you!) to come check out our new Co-op gallery on Main Street in Biltmore Park. We're still hanging, painting, organizing and generally walking around going 'can you believe this is really happening?!', and some of us are trying hard not to think too much about all the work going into this one kiln next weekend that will of course come out gorgeous for the gallery. I won't way which one(s) of us who are trying hard not to think about this, I'm just saying...

Friday, September 25: this may change, but as a member of the coop gallery, I'll be working shifts at the gallery, and based on the studio traffic between Thursday - Sunday, when we'll initially be open, Friday is the best day for me to take a shift. It may not be every Friday, but I wanted to keep that one open.

So there you have it dear readers - a bit of the fun and excitement in store at and around Crazy Green Studios - hope to see you at one of this month's events!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

into the stretch, refreshed!

What a wonderful little break I had while Isabel, Jason & Sam visited Asheville. I knew I'd take a day off to play with them, but ended up really having a mini-vaca with them. Isabel will post (with great cropping discretion, I trust!) all the action photos on facebook - I only grabbed my camera the day they left. But we had a great afternoon at Lake Powhatan where I went lake swimming for the first time in years, and had my first experience with the noodle. LOVED it. And yesterday we had a day with double the mud fun! First, Sam had an impromptu lesson on the wheel, and made a very lovely piece.

Sam's bowl - he has a very nice touch on the wheel!

Then, we found a great place not far from town to do some 'gemming', and now I'm waiting to hear what happens to the big rock Sam found that was described mainly as 'money', when we asked our guide what it was.

hmmmm....was I always this much shorter?
somebody get me a half apple!

one more squidge before they go

So now they're on the road to Pawley's Island (believe me, I tried to figure out how to close the studio another few days to hit that beach as well, but since I don't yet control time and space, I couldn't do that and get the kilns filled....), and I'm back to my lovely studio.

the welcome pedestal, abloom with the promise of a productive day!

It's another gorgeous day, breezy so far, so with windows open and fans running, it's quite nice.

Plenty here just waiting for my attention, plus the list I have yet to make!

oh wedging fairy...?!

ready to load...

ready for ...

So I may daydream about getting back in that lake, but I've got some new energy to crank out the pots so maybe I WILL go float in the lake (gotta get a noodle...)!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Studio closed, Saturday, Aug 22

Last minute schedule change - won't have time to change the calendar, so sorry for any inconvenience or drop-in's that we miss...back in action on Sunday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lizella tests and other things out of and for the kiln...

For those of you who followed along with the Yunomi workshop a couple of weeks back, I finally glazed and fired some of the lizella that we mixed up and threw that week, and here are some results:

I meant to use a clear glaze, but used celadon, which
gave an olive green result on the clay

trio of lizella fluted shots - the copper green and tenmoku
one on the left will make it worth doing more ... satin white w/
wax resist in the middle, and tenmoku over porcelain slip on the outside
plus some underglaze brushwork. Dark, but it's there!

Also in the kiln, the first batch of mugs for Izzy's - these will be in the shop soon, with more coming out of the next kiln.

some of the mugs headed to Izzy's on Haywood...

A little member spotlight - Crazy Green Studios member Katie has been working on mugs, and has been a mug machine! This little sweetie was in this kiln.

Katie's fun mug...

Back to filling the bisques so I have ware for the reduction kiln in a couple of weeks (yikes!). One of the newer forms in the works are candlesticks. I used to throw them a lot ... a lot ... got rather sick of them and have completely ignored them for the past couple of years. I'm making a pair for a wedding registry, but I'm also making work for a new gallery, and didn't want to just make one pair and forget them gain, so I've been playing around with various designs. Much to my great frustration, I'm finding that I have a lot to re-teach myself about successfully throwing this seemingly simple form. First one was great, then I had to start thinking about it, and it's been a very colorful exploration over the past few days, with a growing pile of clay for reclaim and barely a shelf full of actual forms. Perhaps I need to go back and read what Julia and the pugger have taught me ...

playing around with the candlestick...
heather gave me great ideas with her versions (in the back)

Today has been better, in large part thanks to pal Heather who came by the studio (with lunch, no less!) and listened to me rant and watched me throw and even threw a couple of sticks herself. No huge 'aha!' moments, but just the nice, calming effect of a supportive friend collaborating on a challenge. I'll probably continue to add to the reclaim pile, but I think the technical aspects are taking care of themselves and I can go back to thinking less about it and just doing it!

and over in the 'random' wing ... this little key just popped off my keyboard...
...the (mac) universe telling me I should question more ... try a different slant to my views ...
...and more will be added to my life...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

happy, happy, soggy, soggy!

the soapy dog

Since the moist weather persists, I took a break from poking pots to see that they're still not dry to take the pup for a much overdue visit to the Soapy Dog for a sudsy bath. Lissa has been keeping relatively clean with occasional hose rinses and jumps in the river, but sometimes you just gotta get in the tub! We had a good hike this morning with Heather & Bennie, and she had a good bit of fun in both mud and stream, so the time was right.

watching another dog leave, wondering if she should make a break

This visit was much better than the first, which we did shortly after I brought her home from the shelter. We still had to lift her into the tub, but she only squirmed a little (mostly when I tried to take the pictures!) and at least for the moment smells quite nice.

we tried to bribe her to hold still for a close up

Now back in the studio ... pots still drying, clay still too wet to wedge/pug ... I may glaze a few more test pieces for the cone 7 kiln, and then I'll find drying homes for the wet pots so I can fill the shelves with more. I think firing the kiln tonight will go a long way in motivating the wet out of the pots, and with the retained heat and an oscillating fan, I'll be ready to load the bisque after I unload the glaze!

our heroine, tuckered from hike and bath, curled up behind the wheel
(sigh - clay dust will always be a part of the equation!)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Liz Zlot Summerfield Benefit

From Lindsay Roger's blog:

In April of this year Liz was diagnosed with a type of cancer called non-hodgkins Lymphoma. When she got the news of her cancer all studio work for Liz and her husband, glass blower Scott Summerfield, stopped. For most artists a halt to work, combined with illness and bills, is a hardship too large to manage alone. Like most plans, our ideas for this benefit started out small and have since bloomed in to something that I believe will be a wonderful, fun and supportive event. With all that said, there are several ways that you can participate!

1) Attend the live auction at Penland or visit the online sale as a buyer!

The live auction is August 16th in the Northlight Building at Penland School of Crafts. Doors will open at 1:00pm at which point there will be light refreshments, Bandana Klezmer will provide fabulous entertainment and visitors will have a chance to take a good look at the work available in the live and silent auctions. The live auction of work will begin at 2:00pm and is expected to last around an hour or so. At the end of the auction visitors can pick up and pay for their pieces knowing that 100% of the proceeds will go to helping Liz, Scott and their young daughter, Roby, get through this really hard time.

The online sale will be held on and will begin September 1st. I will post more information about the online auction (including the web address) as we get closer to the date.

2) Help us find more buyers by sending out an email of the postcard.
You can access an image of the postcard in jpeg or pdf format by clicking the following links to the right.

3) You can make a monetary donation to a PayPal account created for Liz's benefit.
By clicking on the donate button to the right/above, or using this link below, you can be assured that all donations will go quickly, safely and directly to Liz.

Click HERE to be taken directly to Liz's benifit PayPal account.

Help Us Support
Liz Zlot Summerfield

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lessons learned from Julia Child and Peter Pugger...

I've often found parallels between the worlds of cooking and clay, in the approach, the sensory aspects, the challenges and the satisfaction. I used to work in restaurants and catering kitchens, and soon after I decided I'd be spending more time in the studio, many of my fun kitchen gadgets and tools made their way into the pottery tool bin.

In the kitchen, I learned many lessons from Julia Child that served me well not only over a stove, but in life. My favorite came from one of her early tv shows (one I think from previews I've seen was re-created for the recent Meryl Streep movie) where she is demonstrating a potato pancake. In order to have a successful flip, you 'must have the courage of your convictions' ... words to live by.

More recently in my studio, I've been learning a lot of lessons, most not for the first time, from my pug mill. For those of you not familiar, the pug mill is a much appreciated piece of equipment that allows me to reclaim and even make new clay, with much less physical effort than doing so by hand. I've been using my Peter Pugger for about a year now, and it's been an ongoing study on just what mix will give me the perfectly pugged clay I seek.

The recent movie 'Julie and Julia' reminded me that many of these pugger lessons are some of the same I learned with Julia and in the kitchen:

have all your ingredients (materials) assembled before you begin
safety first
don't under mix
don't over mix
don't over think
read recipes/instructions carefully through before beginning
try a recipe/process as written once first before you start mucking around with it (yes that's right, I said mucking)
don't fret the mistakes, you'll make more
make extra to share

and of must have the courage of your convictions!

Friday, August 7, 2009

2nd Saturday Artist Market this weekend!

It's that time! If you're in the east-West Asheville area on Saturday, be sure to visit the 2nd Saturday Artist Market on Domino Lane, and stroll over through Christopher's Garden and see what delights await you there!

In addition to the participating artists and craftspeople, both anchor studios will be open. At Crazy Green Studios, I'll have a table of 'clearance' items that really want to find a home, and next door at Mimi Strang Design, Mimi is also clearing inventory to make room for her new work, so you'll find deals on the decorative and functional treasures you've been waiting for!

And in the Community Booth, you'll find information on many upcoming community events, cards for other local merchants and as always, you'll have the opportunity to drop off canned food and other non-perishables for MANNA FoodBank. You'll also be able to purchase bowls that will support Imagine Render's 'Empty Bowls Project', which also benefits MANNA FoodBank.

Click the image above to visit the Artist Market blog for profiles on our vendors, and you can find your way here with the maps to the right (also available at the Market blog!).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mug*Shots opens at MudFire this weekend!

Check out the video 'tour' of the show - my humble offerings are very pleased to be in the company they are in!

Atlanta area folks, there's an opening reception this Saturday, August 8 from 5-8pm. I won't make it down for the party as I'll be up here at the 2nd Saturday Artist Market, but I'll raise a mug and a shot (at different times) in a salute to the show!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

bit by bit...

It has been slow going to get back into a production cycle. The last round ended with a cone 7 and cone 10 firing, right before multiple deliveries and two shows, followed by a week of teaching. And then it's not just sit down and throw - the lists, oh the lists! This upcoming production cycle is a little different. I have some commission work to do, some back up product to make for re-orders, and the remaining pieces of a bridal registry. But the majority of work will be going to a new gallery (stay tuned...), and some is 'spec' work for future work I hope to get. Usually, the production list writes itself in response to orders, but this time it has to come from my head, and that slowed me down to a crawl.

And because everything is connected, just thinking about the 'work' list begets another list, and that's the list of bills vs. orders ... or the 'business' list. I saw a piece on a Sunday morning show today about a rivalry in Renaissance times between some painters, and daydreamed about my own Marie de Medici to come grant me a patronage so I can focus on the work and not be consumed by the business for just a little while. sigh. But I'm in the business because I love the work, and so it goes hand in hand (or as a friend likes to say 'in one hand and out the other').

empty shelves, taunting me...

So I can call the last week 'mental prep', as I succeeded in cleaning the studio a bit, working on the 2nd Saturday Market, lots of meetings and bustle for upcoming projects, and much thinking on what I need to be making when I actually get back to the making. Taking a quick run through the Biltmore Village show was also inspiring - seeing other potter's work out in a show makes me want to have a booth full myself, so even though my work list practically doubled, it was still inspiring.

Happily, I've broken through the trance of mental prep and finally started making shh...stuff again. Started easy by filling some smaller orders. The recent rains are helping keep things nice and wet, which is fine while I wait for a logo stamp to arrive for the Izzy's mugs, and handle plugs are ready and waiting in the wet box for the Clingman mugs for whenever they dry out.


Getting things on the shelves goes a long way to making better work habits. Gotta keep things moving now, get the handles on the mugs, keep greenware going into bisque and packing bisque for the September glaze firing. I'm already looking forward to that, this time scheduling in better glaze prep time and scouting out plate setters to get the most in the load. It'll also be exciting to see how the kiln fires with the new door.

A few more empty shelves to fill...

August Studio Schedule

click schedule for larger view

First of the month snuck right in under my nose (again). Here's the open studio schedule, as always subject to change, but the one you find here (and on the sidebar to the right) should be accurate.

Studio members: please note starting August 11 hours are changing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The new hours will be 2-9pm (based on inquiries and actual use). Also, on Mondays we have more hours starting on the 11th. If this change is a problem with your schedule, please let me know.

Also, members who have bisque to glaze, we're loading the kiln on Tuesday, come on in and glaze your work!