Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Me and Mud....A Survey

Trying a new trick here, seeing if I can do an online survey.

If you would like, please participate.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

End of 2010 Year

Thanks so much to everyone who supported Big Dog Pots this year. We were able to provide donations to the following local groups who work in our community:

Coleman Elementary
Emmanuel Episcopal Church - Community Outreach
Fauquier SPCA
Fauquier Habitat for Humanity
Grace Episcopal Church - Grace Food Bank
Fauquier Hospital Employee Crisis Fund and Patient Concierge Program
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Middleburg Humane Foundation

It is a wonderful feeling to be able to provide donations to such worthy groups.

Here at Big Dog Pots I am settling in for the long winter ahead. There are a few special orders that I have taken and will be completing this week. After that there will be a big clean out of the studio in preparation for the 2011 season.

I plan on taking some studio courses to improve my skills, branch out in the types of pieces I create, and also to be open to receiving new ideas and techniques.

Those pottery "Ah-Ha" moments are the best possible kind!

Due to some family celebrations next year, I won't be at the Delaplane Strawberry Festival. My entire family will miss being there, but sometimes extended family must come first. I plan on returning to the Festival in May 2012.

So, I am looking for some other shows to fill this void in my schedule. If you have some suggestions, please feel free to comment. All suggestions are welcome.

Also, sadly, Artrageous Studio in Middleburg is closing, so I will be in search of other galleries and venues which might be a good fit for my work. If you have suggestions or ideas, let me know.

I will continue to keep you all posted on all things MUD.

Wishing you all the best for this holiday season, and a healthy and happy 2011.

Mrs. Big Dog

Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Friday at Barrel Oak Winery

I was invited to attend the Barrel Oak Black Friday event on Friday, November 26, 2010. The event begins at 11 and will go through the afternoon and into the evening. The hours are not set as yet, but will be forthcoming.

This is my first time participating in this event, and I am looking forward to being at Barrel Oak Winery, and sharing in this festive day.

Hope to see you there!

Here is the link to Barrel Oak Winery to learn more about the event: www.barreloak.com.


WOW! A very busy week here at Big Dog Pots. Thanks to everyone who
supported us over this past week and this Holiday Season. The economy appears to be improving as customers and more confident in making purchases. This is wonderful and I can make more pieces and am able to donate to some very worthwhile groups.

From now until my last show on December 4th, all my proceeds will be donated to the Middleburg Humane Foundation. This group is one of my favorites, and I am so excited to be able to donate to help their efforts continue.

It will be back into the studio for me tomorrow, Sunday, November 21st. I should have just enough time to get some new things ready for the show at Barrel Oak on Black Friday.

I met a lovely artist from Bumpass, Virginia today. She is truly, truly, talented. Her work inspired me to try a few things, and so I will be trying some new ideas out tomorrow to see how they work out.

In the meantime, thanks again to everyone who purchased items from me this week. The proceeds from these shows will be donated to the Fauquier Habitat for Humanity; the Fauquier Hospital Employee Crisis Fund and Concierge Program; the Fauquier County S.P.C.A.; and the Grace Episcopal Church Food Bank.

Hope to see you soon. Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving. Travel Safely.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Had lunch with a new friend yesterday. We seemed to "just click". I have found in this second half of my life, that friends are hard to come by, and not always what they appear. So, I am thankful for a new one that comes into my life, and hopeful that old ones stay near, and dear.

Pottery is also a relatively new friend. A place to loose myself from the day to day. A place to create something that is all my own. A place to be daring and try things I would never have imagined I could do. A place to be hopeful and peaceful.

Combinations of glazes are like friends to me. Some have become constant and abiding. Some are fickle and are only there under the best of conditions. Some seem to return only during the worst of kiln runs and then disappear.

I have learned that glaze combinations, like friends, are unique. They live within the parameters of their relationships, sometimes they expand, sometimes contract, but that the basics of the relationships are constant. Old combinations loose their value as talent and experience move forward. But those old combinations are the important building blocks for all the new ones.

So to my friends, both human and chemical, I say thanks for being in my life. You are valued, you are needed, and I truly appreciate our time together.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Not sure about you, but my busy time is NOW! The bulk of my shows are happening now; galleries that I am working with would like "as many pieces as you can spare" now; kids are back into their worlds and I need to be available to escort them to their commitments....yes now. And the list continues.

I know, I know, all of this is self imposed. Or is it?????? :)

Including the "just have to plant for the spring" frenzy that takes place...yes now!

In addition, I have added some governmental hoops and dashes which eventually will benefit my child....but yes, all those dashes and jumps happen...now.

Oh well, I guess there are worse things in life than being a little too busy. I guess there are worse things than having to pick and choose what you do and who you do things with.

But I would really enjoy some rain, that way things will get cancelled and I can just veg-out.

How does this little rant relate to pottery. Well, last weekend I did a show for a local winery. The event was lovely, and they were very patient with me as I muttered to myself trying to set up on a SLIGHT hill. To some, non-potters out there, this is not a big deal, sort of a "what is all the fuss about" judgement from a distance. But to the potters out there who take their pieces on the road, they know exactly what 2-6 inches of slant MEANS!! Yikes!!

Still getting over that set up. And yes, I return again Saturday for more punishment.

In the meantime, I am focusing on LEAVES. I love this time of year. Love to use nature's gifts that float into my yard as decorations. Working on finding good background combinations to accentuate the leaves. So far I am really happy with the results. More are ready to glaze from a bisque run last night.

Now, if I could only get that black bear to find something else on HIS calendar than to slink around my studio. 200 pounds of black fluff, in this case is not soothing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Well, I have redoubled my efforts at Etsy.com and have started selling a new line of beaded pendants online (you can visit the site at http://www.etsy.com/shop/Bigdogpots). I have had a number of looks in the past 24 hours since I launched it, but no purchases. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

The only problem with Etsy is that it is addictive! I always feel like I have to check it to see if there are any questions, or requests. But I guess the extra effort will continue to keep me out of trouble.

I also saw other sellers naming their necklaces...like Woodland Splendor, and Sparkling Seas. This gave me and my husband quite a chuckle as we came up with our own list of off the wall names for these pendants. But in all seriousness, I did name them, and I did try to name them in some way that actually relates to the piece.

So we will see how it goes......If you want to see the site, check it out at

Friday, July 30, 2010

Being Humbled...

Being a humble person is something most of us aspire to, being humbled is good for the soul. Well, I am not sure if I am a humble person, but I have definitely been humbled a time or two in my life. Pottery offers a whole new arena in which to be humbled. Both by people who pass your work by, and by those who are almost groupies!

I had both experiences in the space of a few days last week and it was an interesting pendulum ride indeed! First the bad humbling....I spent 2 days at an Expo show and really did just awful. I felt bad for the amount of time I invested, and my family invested by supporting me and being there. But it was a learning experience, and I certainly learned the lesson. This show was not artisan oriented and although the demographics were perfect, people came out with other items in mind. I literally had 100 or more people stop, look very carefully at all my pieces, ask a few questions, and yes offer compliments, only to move on with a "I will have to keep this in mind for a gift" for so and so.

On the other end of the humbled spectrum, I happen to wander into a beautiful gallery is a lovely little town in the vicinity of my studio, and after the owner had looked at my website, she inquired if I might let her handle a few pieces. It was like a breath of fresh air had lifted my weary sails.

I had been quite discouraged, but thankfully this lovely gallery owner showed some interest and my spirits were lifted.

When I returned home the positive vibes continued, my email box had 4 invitations to attend events where I hope to be well received.

So, you just never know. I just keep plugging on, and am enjoying the interesting ride. It reminds me of that line from the children's movie Nemo..."just keep swimmin', just keep swimming'". And I do.

To help me along as I navigate through the cloudy waters of potteryville, I posted the fish platter along with this post. It was the first time I attempted this particular platter. It was originally done for a tennis friend of my husband who is from NYC and wanted it for a bagel/brunch server.

It was fun to make, and I will have another go at it later this summer.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The holidays we celebrate as a Nation during our summer months are all patriotic. Memorial Day, July 4th, and then Labor Day. It is a fun theme to work with in pottery. I have found a wonderful screaming bloody red that I love to use in combination with a wonderful eggshell white and royal blue. The three together give me consistent "WOW" results which I love. I am busily getting ready for my first show at an Expo Center. Those of you who have done this before, let me know your thoughts, suggestions.

Over the weekend, I was approached to sell my pieces in yet another new venue. It looks to be a very lovely way to sell some of my pieces, and I will let you know more, when I know more. For now, enjoy the Big Dog shown here. The picture was taken on the 4th, the dog was part of a float in a 4th of July parade.

Overall, I would have to give him a grade of A+ for patriotism!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knowing When to Say Goodbye....

Animals have been a constant in my life. Looking back to my youth, I found refuge in their unconditional love. In my young adult life, they were my trusted companions. In my mid-life, they helped to keep me young and engaged in the realm of "wonder". Watching my dog or cat move, react, respond, answer, relax, or any other number of ways always catches my attention, and makes me consider what they are thinking, and why they are doing what they are doing. When I apply my own interpretation to whatever they are doing, I feel even closer to them.

Over the past 25 years that I have been married to my husband, we have had a total of 6 dogs, 4 cats, 5 gerbils, 1 squirrel, 1 bird, 1 rabbit, and several fish.

This week we said goodbye to our dog Billy. He was about 13 years old, had been a resuce, and had been abused in the first half of his life. We had had him for about 7 years, and as I liked to say, he was having a good ending.

Now, you might wonder what in the world this has to do with pottery. Well, Billy was my constant companion. He was always with me, or near me. He liked to be in the studio, but he LOVED to lay underneath the floor of the studio, right under my work table. We would talk to each other while I worked, and I could hear his tail wag and tap the ground underneath me. He knew what "go studio" meant and would wag his tail and follow me out the back and down the short path to our respective spots. He under the studio, me inside.

It is always a hard thing to know when it is time to say goodbye. Even in the midst of providing your animal that last moment of love and affection, you still question is this the right thing to do? In the end, when you look back on their physical state once all is said and done, it becomes obvious that perhaps you should have done things sooner.

Billy was a sweet soul. Rarely barked. Always happy to meet a new friend, or greet a returning friend. Always just around, but never overbearing. He had very soft ears, and loved to have them rubbed. We miss him, but we knew it was his time, and we were glad that we could be holding him and telling him "good boy, we love you" up to the last.

We brought Billy home, and we have buried him by my pottery studio. I think he would have felt happiest there.

So this post is for Billy... we miss you already...peaceful journeys.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Welcome to May. I am having a SLOW awakening to the realization that I have several big shows coming up. I am also in the process of looking into adding a few new venues. So all this adds up to needing to get into the studio and get to it.

Unfortunately, this time every year I get bogged down in "transplantationitis". Not sure about your neck of the woods, but here there are LOTS of perennials that need to be divided and replanted during these few late weeks of April, and the early weeks of May.

Sunday, I spent about 12 hours doing just this, digging, dividing, digging, planting. After 20 years in my home, I have finally learned what works and what doesn't, from a perennial perspective.

I am a flower nut! But I also love a defined border. I have LOTS of both, and am pleased with the results, even if they have taken almost 2 decades.

Now that my annual planting frenzy is in a lull, I am waiting for the Irises to finish blooming so I can dig, divide, and transplant them, I am FINALLY going to get back to the studio.

I receive posts from several on-line pottery journals. One actually sends cool videos from other potters. One recent video showed how to make a sunflower from the wheel. This picture with this post is my interpretation. It was fun, not too quick a project, but I am pleased with the results.

Going back to make MORE!!

Friday, April 2, 2010


WOW!!! It is a wonderful feeling to finally emerge from the winter of 2010. The weather here in rural Virginia is lovely. Mid to upper 70's, clear blue skies, and flowers blooming. This year is a peak year for the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. We are thinking about trying to see them Easter Sunday, early, and maybe miss some crowds? Probably not.

Well, I have been seriously delayed in my pottery efforts. Unfortunately, I had some serious heath problems the past few weeks and have not be able to do much of anything, least of all pottery. But I find that as I am healing and feel more and more like myself, I visualize myself glazing!

Before my troubles began I had just run a full bisque kiln. So, I have a lot of work to do. Normally, I slug through glazing in one VERY long sitting, normally around 8-10 hours. I brush glaze all my pieces, so it takes much longer than dipping. I also have a lot of small intricate pieces that have to be done with TINY brushes in numerous colors of glaze or underglaze, so, it all takes time.

I think overall, it is best to be doing one part of the process at a time. With a small studio, it is easier to create, then bisque, then glaze. Instead of doing various things at the same time. When I glaze I like to finish each piece and immediately load it in the kiln to await firing. I find that if I let glazed pieces settle on a drying shelf invariably something happens and the finished product is a disappointment. So, I am a load and go type of potter. I know everyone has their own way of doing things, and I am always open to learning and hearing about how other potters create their art.

Well, before I can get back into the studio, I have a daughter who has been asking to go ride bikes at the park...so finally, I am going back out into the world.

Enjoy Spring in your neck of the woods!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 Off to a Great Start

This Saturday was my first show of 2010. It was nice to get back out there. I was running low, because I was cleared out at Christmas, but I still managed to triple what I made last year. I was very pleased to see the traffic going up. Perhaps that is a sign of a returning economy?

Now, I am back to the studio to generate more pieces. I was pretty well wiped out Saturday. I went with 4 crates, normally I have 5 plus an extra filled, just in case. I came home with 1.5 crates. So things were definitely moving.

Spring has finally come. My bulbs are up and blooming. I always forget from year to year where I have planted bulbs over the past 20 years on this property. It is fun to see things popping up all over.

Well, I had a lot of fun yesterday playing around with two completely different techniques. I was doing some coil work, which I never really do, and really got into it. It was a fun little project and I made a tall oval vase. We will see if it survives firing, and glazing, if it does I will post a picture.

Next I revisited using raw trim pieces. I did this when I first began doing pottery. My first pieces had raw claw embelishments, so it will be interesting to see if I have improved at all. I will post those as well, if they survive.

Well, my next show is April 24th, then my big 2 day show over Memorial Day weekend. So, time is going by, and I need to stock up!

Back to the mud.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Getting into Gear...

Well, this winter has been a hard one. The weather coupled with some family "stuff" have really put me behind as I try to get ready for my Spring show schedule. My first show is on March 20th, and I am a little low on inventory. I have a couple weeks, but as all you potters out there know, a couple weeks is NOT a lot of time in pottery language.

I made good use of my time during the snow. I printed out lots of photos of pieces that I liked, and have made a formal "glaze book". Listing glaze combinations with corresponding photos of pieces. It is a really helpful exercise, but it was time consuming. Now I will just add to it as I go.

The dish I am showing in this blog was a glaze redo, and it came out, right on the money! It is very satisfying to discover combinations and then be able to recreate them again!

So, I guess my efforts are beginning to pay off.

This weekend it is supposed to get into the 50's here, so I am thinking "wheel time". Remember, I have no running water in my studio, so I have to rely on a hose. Having a reasonable temperature sure goes a long way toward comfort when using the wheel.

Overall, I am hopeful as my bulbs begin to peek up through the ground. It is comforting to know that regardless of weather or other obstacles in life, earth continues to turn and life renews itself once again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

After the snow..

The snow here in Virginia has finally stopped falling. When all was said and done, we actually made out better than most. We only lost power for a couple of days, and our satellite was only out for a few days as well. We were able to get out between the two storms and "resupply" with food and fuel. On the down side, I honestly don't think I have shovelled that much snow in almost 30 years! Yikes! Showing my age now. At one point my husband and I were shovelling together for a few hours and we stopped to take a break. He said, "you know, my mother called earlier and reminded me that I am not too young to have a heart attack." As I have my own chronic lung issues to deal with I reminded him about my possible demise as well. We both laughed and got back to shovelling.

It took us about 20 hours to clear most of our driveway. We live about 1/2 mile off a road and have a small tractor that does a great job. The biggest problem was where to physically put the snow! We ran out of space, and so, about 1/4 of the driveway, the last part up to the house, is still covered, but passable with our 4WD vehicle.

So, you are wondering, what in the world does this have to do with pottery?

WELL, I was able to get one kiln full of pottery completed while I tip toe-ed through the snow flakes. I had promised myself that I would try new combinations that I had been wondering about all winter, and I did it! I did more test tiles which are really starting to add up to an interesting and extremely helpful collection. And, I confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that one glaze in particular, no matter what I pair it with is useless.

So, it is February 17th, and my first show is March 20th. In potter's time, that is not a lot of time. But I am feeling the urge for mud, and enjoying making a lot of pieces with floral, lighter glazes, and some funky stuff thrown in for interest.

I will post again after this next kiln full is completed with more to share about what works and what is just plain awful at Big Dog Pots.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Notes to Self...

Well, I have some time on my hands as storm #2 begins to pound away outside. Unfortunately, due to a LOT of snow I haven't been able to get much pottery done. My first show of 2010 is March 20th, and I am realizing, that that is just not that far away.

Things in general have started "OK". Some wheel work went surprisingly well, but seriously, it is so hard to work without hot water and have to rely on a hose in 30 degree weather.

Oh, well, potters are notorious for being independent problem solvers, so I guess I glided through that issue and have the bowls to prove it!

On the down side, I had been in LOVE with a very flowing glaze combination that when done looked like a river! I thought I would give it a go on a verticle piece. Note to self, when a glaze looks "flowing" it is probably because it DOES. Luckily, I have found a great use for the pot as a brush holder. I get to enjoy it, and have learned from it at the same time.

My dog Billy is getting old. what can I say, he was a rescue, we love him, we are keeping him company but there will be no heroics, just a sweet, loving goodbye when the time comes. I have had 7 dogs, some for more than 15 years each. I think it is very interesting that the ones that I have had since birth are the ones which have really bonded with me and my husband. Just an observation.

Billy is a funny guy. He doesn't bark. He was abused before we got him and trained to go outside right after he eats, but when he needs to go outside, he will just stand by the door, not saying a thing! Note to self, don't go to the studio to work after feeding the dog...remember to let him out! And yet, he survives us!

Here is that pot I glazed vertically and the evidence of my mistake. Live and learn! Hopefully, when this snow finally ends, I will be able to get back to the mud big time. I am beginning once again to feel the pressure!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A New Year, a beginning....

Well, what can I say, the last few months have been a roller coaster of shows, work, more work and more shows. The last show I did was in a quaint, very upscale town not far from my home. It was a juried show, and I had applied last year but was not accepted. I was accepted this year and was lucky enough to participate. It had such a wonderful write up by a number of artisans, I was really looking forward to being there.

Unfortunately, it was one of those Decembers when the snow came much too early! The day of the show we had almost 7 inches. I got there, got everything inside, set up and waited it out. All the artisans collectively decided at 3 pm to pack things in and hit the road. The show was supposed to go for another 2 hours, but the traffic had trailed off at 2pm, so we thought it was safe to call it a day.

For those of you who are craft show people, you KNOW what it means to pack out of a show in 7 inches of snow!!! YIKES!!! I was happy I only lost a few things in the process and didn't break any bones!

The holidays were very quiet. Fortunately, a wonderful friend was brave enough to clear my stock for me. She used the pieces for Christmas presents for family, friends, and teachers. I could not have been more pleased to help wrap it all up and send it home with her. Now my decks are clear, I don't have to worry about stock I may or may not have. I can start completely fresh. And I have to say that is an exciting prospect for me. It is like I have a clean slate, or a fresh canvas on which to create.

I have taken a true break from the studio. Some of it was wanted, some forced because of a health issue with one of my kids. But hopefully tomorrow will be my first full day back in the mud. I am looking forward to loosing myself in my music, some good sunlight, and the peace of creating.

By the way, apparently, we have a mountain lion on our little mountain. It has been spotted by 2 neighbors within 1/2 mile, and also a vet that lives close by also may have seen a deer that might have fallen victim to the lion. But we are not 100% sure on that one. Let me just tell you, I am definitely keeping track of all of my cats and they seem to want to be inside because of all the cold, so that has worked very well.

I will post some more pictures soon. I recently updated my website and added back in some more "spring time" pieces.

Well, I will be back blogging again soon. Thanks for stopping in and seeing what has been happening here.