Friday, November 30, 2012

A Pleasant Evening out with Friends

This past summer I made 12 crocks in the “Medalta” style for a friend who was getting married in the new events facility at Medalta. I did not charge for my time, just the materials, so as a thank you, she bought me 2 tickets to see Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert at the Jubilee Auditorium. Last night was the show, and we had really good seats. There were 8 of us in our group and we were in the 1st row of the first balcony. They were pretty good seats if you ask me. If you don't know the Vinyl Cafe, you should check it out. It began as a radio show on the CBC and it still is, but now they take it on the road as well and do live audience broadcasts in various cities and towns across Canada and some in the US as well. At Christmas they do a special tour for their Christmas Concert. The show has been running for 19 years now and to me it has been a staple when I'm in the studio on Sunday mornings. I got home around 10:45pm, but only because the parking at the Jubilee is stupid. It took about 20 minutes for me to park, and 15 minutes just to get out afterwards. My night took a turn for the weird after that. I went to bed at around 11:45 and woke up at about 4am having just had a dream about tazering somebody. I will have to review my sleep talking recordings when I get home tonight, because I know I was very vocal. I woke myself up sleep yelling at someone to “just get out of here”. Very strange indeed.

I will be all alone at the studio tonight. But that is OK, I have about a dozen or so large mugs to finish decorating which is quite tedious and I tend to tune everyone out and ignore them anyway. I will just turn the radio up and be antisocial tonight. I may even see if I have enough greenware to load a bisque, but that is not urgent, so maybe not, we'll see. I have been shooting more youtube videos as well, so perhaps I will work on a few more this weekend and see if I can't get at least one edited and uploaded this weekend. They just take so much time to finalize and upload these days with the HD quality videos, but they are nicer to watch than the grainy low res ones. I'm still searching for the perfect angle to shoot from too. I may try using 2 cameras to get a couple different angles. It is hard to see what is going on inside a pot when throwing and that is just as crucial as what is going on on the outside. Something else to work on I guess.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Post Sale Blues

Another sale is in the books, but not the record books. We began arriving to set up the hall at 6:45 on Saturday morning. I managed to forget to bring coffee cups, so I had to run off and buy some at Safeway. I have never been the first person in a grocery store before, but now I have. Gotta say, the employees are mildly crabby at 8am. The set up went well, not rushed. I only broke one thing :(. I tipped a plate over onto a teapot and cracked the lid. The doors opened at 9am on the dot, and although the crowds were nothing compared to the black friday freakyness in the US, I took my life in my hands opening the doors up. I'm pretty sure that if I had not gotten out of the way quickly enough I would have been knocked down and run over by crazed pottery buyers and their rolling suitcases and I would have been just a stain on the linoleum. As per usual, the crowds rushed around grabbing everything they saw, shoving it into their boxes and bags to be picked over in a corner of the hall when the frenzy subsided. I must say I still don't understand the buying public's thought processes. The things that attract me and make me oooh and aaah are obviously not the same as what attracts their attention. It apparently doesn't matter if a piece is perfectly thrown and glazed just right. They like the bling. If it has super busy glazes, then that is what they love. If you spent hours carving a piece, no matter, they don't care. They just want cheap. So, if it is lumpy, bumpy and much less than perfect, but only costs $10, then they will take it, doesn't matter. Perhaps it matches their drapes. One shopper came with a friend and was heard saying “this isn't a seconds sale, I thought it was a seconds sale”. We have never advertised it as a seconds sale. I don't know who told her it was, but we gotta nip that in the bud. She was pleased that the quality was much better than a seconds sale, but would she have come on her own if she did not know? Probably not. I think the sale was above average in sales, but mine were down a bit from previous years, so I guess that is what has me bummed a little. What I thought would fly off the table did not, so I guess I will need to rethink my new work, or just bombard them with it at the next sale and not give them a choice.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

New glaze combo

Just testing my blogger app. I did not even realize there was such a beastie.

I swear I'm not on drugs officer

Check out that pupil, it's huge.
I had just had my eyes dilated at the optometrist. Driving home was weird. I could see clearly to drive, but up close everything was fuzzy. Just glad I didn't go through a check stop. They might have thought I was under the influence of some illegal substance.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Another Trip to Medalta

It looks like I might possibly make another trip down to Medalta in the spring. My friend Susan and I are thinking of going down the weekend of April 27th to fire in their Salt and Soda kilns. Medalta is located in Medicine Hat, Alberta and is in the historic clay district. Back in the day, there was the Medalta pottery, the Hycroft pottery, and at least 1 brick factory that I know of. It is also where Plainsman Clays is located.

When I went down in Feb 2010, we had a very good tour of the Hycroft factory as well as the Medalta museum and the areas of Medalta that were off limits to the regular visitor. At that time, the new Events facility was still under construction. The facility was being constructed on top of some excavated Bee Hive kilns that you would then be able to view through the floor.

If we are able to book our trip for that weekend, it will coincide with a community clay event that Medalta is having. Their long term resident artists will be holding workshops for the public and it would be fun to be involved with that while we are firing.

I am hoping April will be much warmer than when we were there last. It was so cold that weekend that my power steering froze during the time we were glazing and loading the kilns that first evening (note to self: don't leave your car facing into the wind when it's -30 celcius). The temperature difference while we were firing in the kiln area was such that we created our own weather system. The skies were clear and blue, but it was snowing in the kiln compound..

So I am looking forward to that. Right now however, I am still not ready for the studio sale next weekend. I still need to clean out the car and empty out my boxes of pots and decide what is going and what is going into the trash to make room for the new stuff. Then I need to price which is not a science. I usually go on gut instinct for pricing. I ask myself “would I pay $xx for this?” then, do I really want to sell it (still precious to me)? If it is still precious, I jack the price up so as to alleviate the pain of letting it go. Otherwise, I try to price it fairly so that it doesn't make it impossible for the average person to buy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


The pictures suck, but they were taken with the old iphone under fluorescent lighting on my desk at work.
This is an example of what I was up to on the weekend. The previous weekend I had thrown a few "Christmas" bells as well with the idea that I would carve holly leaves into them. So I did. There were many many bells, and they took me 3 days to finish, including the mugs. I also managed to wear my pin tool and a small kemper triangle ribbon tool down to wee little nubs. They came out of the kiln on Tuesday and I wrapped them up to take home. I did manage to "ring" one bell before I got out the door. I tested it against the concrete floor. Not recommended.
After sgraffitoing 4 mugs and 16 bells I was beginning to get a weird tingling shooting pain running up my forearm. I might have found a way to speed up the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome. I was also doing a pretty good impression of Quasimodo by the end of the day.
On another note, I am going to be learing the art of wood turning. Maybe tonight even. I am leaving it at that though, I don't want to give away my Christmas gift ideas to the possible recipients of said gifts.