Showing posts with label pottery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pottery. Show all posts

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's a BIG world out there.....

It's a big world out there and we are so excited to be one stop along the way.

As our first highway attraction sign is now up and "running," we have been seeing LOTS of traffic from EVERYWHERE!!!

Interstate 66 carries approximately 45,000 plus vehicles per day right by our little old Marshall exit 27 and we have been making new friends from near and far.  Our west bound sign has been installed and our east bound sign at the same exit is on the way!

Just since our first sign has gone up we have had visitors from: Montana, Chicago, Ohio, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Florida, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kansas, South Dakota, Australia, England, France, Germany, Japan, China, and Mexico!!!!

I think we may need to put up one of those maps of the world with little red pins so that we can keep track.   We love to visit and meet new friends!   

If you are in the area, stop in and say hello we look forward to meeting you!

Monday, July 7, 2014

TEEN Classes ...

Living in rural Virginia is such a wonderful experience for families.
It is a peaceful, easy going way to raise children.  When those kids reach the teen years, it is wonderful to have alternative activities with which they can participate. Pottery is a great outlet for the busy and sometimes complex lives of our teens.  With pottery there are no grades, no exams, no recitals, no special equipment or uniforms to complicate the experience.
Pottery is a wonderful leveling activity.  No matter if you are the quarterback, the math whiz or a shy quiet student, every teen can enjoy the experience of working with clay. Each teen will walk away from their clay experience with new insight the art form, and may find a passion and talent they never knew was there.

At Big Dog Pots Pottery we will begin offering a TEEN CLASS on Friday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm starting in September. We will go back and forth between both hand building and working with the wheel and will explore all the basics of both forms of working with clay.

Classes will be kept small so that each student can receive personalized instruction in a positive and welcoming environment.

Our first class will begin on Friday, September 5th and will run in four (4) week sessions.  Sign up will be on a first come basis.  Please contact the Studio with any questions (540) 364-2834.



Friday, January 31, 2014

Finding Balance.....

Well, here we are in the home stretch of renovations on our new Studio/Gallery.  It has been a LOT of work, a lot of fun, and an interesting journey for sure. As my thoughts for the Studio are coming more and more into focus, the realization that I cannot do everything is certainly sinking in.  I do, after all, only have 2 hands!
I have read over the years in various ceramic journals about "finding balance" and over the past 7 years, I have tried to find a balance between home, life, passion, and pots.  Now "balance" is going to take on a new dimension as it relates to custom work.
My ETSY store has been quite successful, and many customers have been thrilled with my custom pieces. While it has been a fun adventure, working with customers and gaining insight into how others view pottery creation, it has also be quite time consuming and stressful.  All those wedding trays!  When my Thank You trays are given to the parents at the rehearsal night dinner, they have to be there on time and in perfect condition.  All of my brides and grooms to date have been a true joy to work with, but mother nature intervenes, or my LIFE intervenes (think 2 kids, 4 cats, 2 dogs - one with a serious cardiac condition), and hard deadlines have on occasion become stressful all day/all night events in the Studio.
I am proud to say that with almost 350 online orders, I don't think I have missed many dates, if any at all, and certainly, I have not missed a rehearsal dinner - even one that took place in Paris, France!!!
For a one person potter, working out of an unheated space with no running water, I am pretty proud of this accomplishment!!!
As I look to my new Studio and Gift Gallery, I see a different type of work, and a different type of work pattern in my future.  I will still create custom pieces, but now they will only be available through the Studio.   By offering ready to ship pieces via ETSY, I see myself actually having more time to create the pieces I would like to create, and growing in my journey as a potter.
While I realize that I will be making a shift in my work, I think it will actually be more of a return to what my life as a potter had been like before the "Custom Frenzy!"
So, in the end, I believe this decision will offer me a less stressful life, with more time to enjoy life, and enjoy creating pottery...and in the end, for me - that is what it is all about....living a peaceful life and making pots!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Down to Earth....


As we are closing in on the last few days of bringing the construction phase of our "little project" to a conclusion. I am beginning to think in earnest about all the details of what, where and why in setting up the Studio and Gallery.  We have made some last minute changes, and I am thinking that the changes will work well and allow for lots of interesting opportunities.

First up is the actual layout.  We decided that in order to better use space and keep the actual creation processes on tile surfaces (think muddy here), we will be adding some additional Gallery space.  This will serve several purposes, first to encourage visitors to feel welcome past the first two rooms and encourage them to go "behind the scenes" into areas of the Studio where work will be in progress. Second it will allow for additional area for sales of both work by our Studio Artists, as well as some of my favorite non-pottery art work which I have discovered along my journey into mud.

Having participated in many Fine Art Shows over the past 7 years, I had the joy of meeting and getting to know several artists who create phenomenal work, and yet like me they strive to keep their prices down to earth and affordable.

Yes, there will be a few items that will be in higher price ranges, but overall everything in the Gallery will be affordable art for everyday, or for that special day when something unique is needed. All of the pieces that I create will be available for custom order with choices of text, impression, clay base and glaze colors.

It is my hope that the Studio will be a welcoming and friendly place where people look forward to come and explore being creative, or come looking for unique creations.

In the meantime, we are setting up all the needed "number things" book keeping, scheduling, ordering, and ultimately, very soon  MOVING IN AND SETTING UP !!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Swimming Into Fall....

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.....

I love living in a place where the seasons change.  It is so inspirational to see the world change its color palate every 3 months.  So surprising to watch the subtle changes of emerging plants from year to year.
Even the wind gives me ideas....

The movement of fish through the water is so interesting.  How certain species move, glide, sprint, or jump!  It is all interesting for me to observe and I find that ideas about pieces I would like to make can be attached to how my senses react to changes in the environment.  This piece is my "fall fish."  I make a lot of beach/nautical themed pieces during the summer months, but this fish seemed to want to belong in a deeper, richer setting.  Playing with the scales, and various inscribed patterns on the fins was an interesting contemplation of both movement, and providing surfaces for reflective relief.

Without, getting to "deep," I think this guy came out quite nicely, and I am thinking about trying another fall themed piece with perhaps splashes of purple.....

Monday, September 9, 2013

To Studio Cat or NOT to Studio Cat????



I have talked and blogged and posted a lot about my animals, but I have never really gone into how Sneakers came to be a part of our family.  A few years back we lost our last dog of the two that we had had, and that same week Sneakers appeared at our back door.

Now for some folks, a stray showing up may be a fairly normal occurrence,  but out here, surrounded by cow farms and woods and mountains, (and normally dogs), we had never had a stray show up.

 It was a first in nearly 22 years!

When he first arrived, he was hungry and wary, but still obviously wanted to be petted.  So, we set him up on our front porch and he snuggled right in.  A few weeks went by and he came indoors and all seemed to be just fine.  Our 3 other cats accepted him, or so we thought.  Then, about a year after Sneakers became a member of the clan, our female alpha cat Sammie decided Sneakers was not welcome.  And, well... it has been a rough go ever since.  At this point, both Sneakers and Sammie have been living outside on our porch. They are doing just fine, but they miss us :(, and we miss them.

I am considering moving Sneakers to the Studio once we are open.  He is an incredibly laid back dude. Loves to be held and petted and tolerates being hugged and nuzzled.  I have always liked when I go to a studio and there is an animal lazing around, and I think Sneakers might fit right in :).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

UNDER CONTRACT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


We are moving ahead.  Still keeping the exact property under wraps, for now.  But things are definitely moving along.
We plan to settle in the next few weeks.  Then the property will need some much needed repairs, new equipment will be arriving and we hope to move in during November.
Sammie and Sneakers Help with Refinishing a Chest of Drawers
Hopefully, Saturdays in December, we will be open for Holiday shopping.
Then in the first week in January we will begin classes for pottery and other art forms (HINT)!
LOTS going on....in the mean time we are working behind the scenes getting fixtures and other pieces built and/or refinished so that they will be ready to move in when we are.
I have accumulated a number of displays during my 7 years on the show circuit, my theme for the gallery is going to be white on white so that the pottery and other unique items (HINT) will display well. 

I hope to create an inviting, uplifting, and comfortable place where children and adults can immerse themselves in pottery and other art forms (HINT.....yes AGAIN).
These first steps toward making that a reality for my hometown are really very exciting.  Stay tuned as more information rolls out over the next few weeks and months.




Saturday, April 6, 2013

Unique Gift for Wedding, Anniversary, Retirement, or Any Special Occasion




Lace Tray made with handmade Italian 
Wedding Lace




When I first started working with clay I had some "big" ideas about projects I wanted to try.  This tray was one of them.  It is a favorite piece for me to create and I am always surprised with the results.  These trays are made by impressing wedding lace and then individually glazing each and every petal.   They are wonderful as a wedding gift, anniversary present, retirement, or just to have and to enjoy.


These are wonderful for any season.  I have created this in fall these, spring, summer, and even in winter shades using wonderful pastels.


It takes me about 2 hours to glaze a single tray.  Some of my pottery friends think I am "nuts" to make these, but I just keep making them.  I love how the lace appears after the final firing.


 Yes, these are not your average pottery run.  There are normally an average of 4 runs per tray to achieve the final result.




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

I have been struggling with presenting my pendants in photographs on my ETSY site.  When I take my pendants with me to shows they are a BIG seller, but my sales on ETSY have been lacking.  I know the problem is my photographs and so I set off to find a better way to present them.  I did a LOT of research, and did a LOT of trial and error photographing in various lights, various settings, but I think I have found a fairly simple way to photograph these pieces that hopefully should be able to be consistent as I move forward.

Here is the picture of the first listing I posted on ETSY.  I really like these stones and when I look at them, they appear to be a wonderful contrast for my pendants.  But when I get the pictures loaded onto the ETSY site, a LOT is lost in the translation.



Now, let's fast forward to my latest picture for this piece, I think showing them side by side really shows the difference lighting and background can make.

This is my second attempt at photographing the same pendant.


All I have to say is YEAH!!!  The color, dimension, relief and glaze are really represented so much better in the second photograph.  In the first picture the dimensional aspects of the piece were really lost and the piece appeared to have almost no relief.  In the second picture, I think you can really see the texture of the piece.

The solution was fairly simple.  I waited for a clear sunny day and found a monotone background, that was not black, set up the piece so that the sun was fully shinning on it, but there was no glare shinning off the piece, and I got to shoot away.

Here is the direct link for the ETSY listing for this fabulous and unique piece:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/118352281/horse-head-equestrian-pendant-necklace

While no two of pendants come out exactly the same, I am able to make sets for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, family celebrations and other special gatherings.  Here is a direct link to my ETSY shop listing for custom pendants: https://www.etsy.com/listing/117010598/personalized-bridesmaid-gift-wedding

Hopefully, these new pictures will help to show my customers the true nature of my pieces, I think in this instance, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays 2012

Elf Daisy

Santa Max
Happy Holidays From Big Dog Pots!
Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season and in the coming New Year.
We give thanks as we end enter our 6th year
for the friends and family who have graciously supported our efforts.  We give thanks to all who give their time, energy and spirit
to the protection, care and love of animals everywhere.
Consider adopting your next pet, 
change a life forever.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Study in Horses...



I learned to ride when I was 6.  I won't tell you how long ago that was, but let's just say that Neil Armstrong hadn't walked on the moon yet!  I loved my time with horses.  My summers were spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia.  As the summers past, and I became a little more accomplished with my riding skills, I started to care for the horses, and barns.  I remember walking out early on summer mornings in thick mist, and wet grass to call in the horses for the day's activities.  I would walk and call, and walk and call, and couldn't see much of anything.  And then, all of a sudden, I could hear them cantering and galloping thru the rich green fields and heading straight for ME!  I would stand still and spread my arms straight out to either the side and when they were a little too close for comfort sometimes, they would see me, and come to a very quick stop.  Snorting, and stomping, and breathing heavy from their morning run.  Then they would fall in line and follow me back to the barns to be groomed, fed and saddled for the day.

Having about 20 horses running full bast toward you in a thick mist, is something not to be forgotten.  I loved those experiences and I have been looking for a way to reconnect to my time with horses.  I did a study in horse heads over the summer, and created this piece trying to capture the essence of movement, particularly in the mane.  I am very pleased with the results, and thrilled with some of my glazing results.

Here are the study photos of a horse I met in western North Carolina a few years ago, and then the raw clay piece and then the final glazed piece.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Summer....Selling Shells by the Seashore...

It has been a busy Spring here at Big Dog Pots. We are almost finished with the construction of an additional building next to our studio. The new building is almost the same size as the studio, but will not have electricity. We have outgrown our studio over the past few years and need the new space for storage, believe it or not! In the meantime, I have been very interested in sea creatures lately. My pieces are now being sold at Old Town Hardware in Old Town Alexandria. Look for Big Dog Pots in their Home Decor section. The good citizens of Old Town live right on the Potomac and have a proud maritime history. To this end, I have been searching for just the right pieces to create life like molds for all sorts of sea creatures. The pictures in this post are showing a couple of my latest finds incorporated into functional pieces. As I have said before, I LOVE texture. Realistic texture with creatures from the sea seemed a logical extension. Also new at Big Dog Pots is a move toward dipped glazing. I have always hand painted my pieces, but I find with the increase in demand, I am finding dipped glazes to be more economical with my time....and energy :). Once these pieces are glazed I will post follow up photos. Enjoy the changing of the seasons as we turn toward Summer. I will be at the Delaplane Strawberry Festival www.delaplanestrawberryfestival.com/ over Memorial Day weekend. Come by and say hello! Hope to see you there.

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.

Thanks.

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.

.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friends...


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, August 5, 2010

ETSY....


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
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Bigdogpots.

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

Patriotic



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!