Monday, November 23, 2009

Hi Folks!

Well, we have officially lived in our new little town of Beaufort NC for almost three months. We are loving it more and more every day and are even starting to feel settled. Its crazy and quirky and electic. Its inspring! So, what does that mean? The hunt for a property for the new pottery has begun! I am spending a lot of time looking and researching. I feel in my heart that things will soon start to happen. The sense of community here is huge and I have a lot of people looking for properties for me. It is amazing to feel so embraced and this community is exactly what was missing in our lives before. So stay with me beacuse the race is on and we will be back in business in no time!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Time Out

this latest blog entry is to make an official announcement. my husband and i have made the decision to leave western north carolina and move to beaufort nc. he was given an offer too good to pass up. no worries! the pottery will stay in business, as soon as i find a studio. so keep me us in your thoughts in this crazy time of change and check back with me while the hunt for a new studio space is on. thanks y'all!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cone 6 Oxidation

more "expirements" from the electric kiln!
the idea is to stay within the realm of what i have been working towards, while not fighting the inherent qualities of firing in an electric kiln. i am using a white midrange stoneware clay. i have been testing celedons and ash glazes with some pretty good results. i am also striving for a nice matte glaze, which is hard to acheive in an electric kiln. ugh. still shiny! even with the slow cool. anyway, i guess i'll have to keep you posted on that one.
i have always been interested in carving flowers into my pots. something i really appreciated about the salt kiln was the way the carvings came out in the fire. when i was switching gears to electric firing i was driving myself crazy trying to figure out a way to translate what i was working towards in the salt kiln to something i could love in the electric kiln.
then one day.... i found it! mishima! the answer to all my problems! mishima, in its most simple definition is inlaid clay. the process is still that of carving the flowers into the surface of the pot in the same manner in which i always have. but now i inlay the lines with slip. this creates the fine lines and hard edges that i love. and the best part is.... no rough surfaces. just a few flowers as a border on a pot might be enough for some potters, but no-no, not this one! more flowers please! this approach is great! now i can run my fork across my plate. and i can cover the pot in ash glazes and the images stay crisp! something, i couldnt achieve witha brush, lord knows i've tried.
so i threw together this little pot trying to work out the skills i need to make these things look good. this new quest is not without challenges. but i am excited and motivated and refreshed by my happenings in this little electric kiln. take this little pot as a "sketch" if you will, and stay tuned for what is to come. yay!
thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

4-H Pottery Day

One of my favorite parts of being a potter is being able to share my skills and my love for clay with others. A few times a year I work with the 4-H ers here in Haywood County making pottery for a day. This year we made sculptures of fish and sculptures of birds in a nest.

Usually we start with an assignment and before long the kids are over flowing with ideas of what to make next. I love giving them their initial "assignment" and watching how kids let their creativity go crazy. They don't hold anything back. Its amazing! And not to mention inspirational!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Electric Glazes

my first "decent" glaze results in the electric kiln. celedon and basic white glaze with wax resist.

4-H Pottery Preview

finally! i have found a non-commercial glaze for the 4-H pottery i have been working on. here's a little sneak preview....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Its Electric!

hello all!

sorry for my delayed posts. with summer in full swing, teaching a little pottery here and there, and the farm keeping me at 120%....oh yeah... and the pottery too! no wonder blogging has escaped me!
to catch you up, i am currently deep into the exploration of cone 6 oxidation glazes. i have had mixed results and will continue to expiriment. pictures will be posted soon!

thanks for checkin in with me!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


more of the slip investigation. again, all of these pots are greenware. they have not been bisque fired or glaze fired. once they are goal is for the slip to be much lighter than the claybody, once the pot has been fired.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Making a mess with slips! Experiments with claybodies and slip combinations. As I wait (patiently?) for my kiln to be completed, I am making pots to fill it in the first few firings. I am using a "pink" slip a lot, and also the classic white slip on a darker claybody. The middle photo shows a bowl with scraffito carving (leaf pattern). The bottom photo is an example of my "finger painting". All of these pots have slip on them, painted of dipped, while still in a leather hard state. None have been fired yet, which is why they are all white.

A Collection

This is a collection of salt-fired bottles, one of my favorite shapes to make! Made at Penland. These pots only have glaze as the black and turquoise color accents. The warm orangish color of the clay is a slip, composed mostly of "helmar".

Saturday, March 07, 2009

why salt/soda? an explanation

this picture is of a few of the pots i made at penland. pardon the lack of a better quality documentation. that too, is on my "to-do" list.... oh well, you get the point.
people think i am crazy.

i been making functional ash glazed pottery for awhile. i worked hard to develop a line of marketable pottery. and to my surprise i was selling it. a lot of it. i am blessed.

so...why am i building a salt and soda kiln?

my first passionate experience in firing a kiln was with a wood kiln while attending UNCG working on my BFA. i love woodfired pots. woodfired pots are so beautiful; the earth tones, the fire that is so intense and so hungry, the slips, the ashes, the flames tracing patterns around the pots. this is a process that is so complete, totally full circle. so why am i not building a wood kiln?
i will explain. i am almost 32, i own an old farmhouse on 13.5 acres (all pasture!), i grow and can most of my food, and i have 25 animals to feed, every day. i hope someday to add "mom" to that list too. oh, and did i mention i am intensely and insanely passionate about my career as a potter.
excuses? maybe.
but the reality is...i don't have time to dedicate to an intense multi-day firing process. (may i also add here that i will someday build a woodfired kiln. but it wont be what i base my livelihood on, necessarily). i have tons of responsibilities that simply can't be ignored for a few days.
upon leaving haywood community college i had happily settled on using the ash glazes that i have become so familiar with in my work. but as time passed, secretly, i desired something more. i just couldn't figure out what that "more" really was.
in 2007, i went to penland as a studio assistant to the amazing potter terry gess of bakersville, nc. the class was based on salt firing. i had not really ever been a part of a salt firing, though i was familiar with the process and the effect it created. salt firing is a long standing tradition in nc pottery. as most of you know, i am strongly influenced by the nc folk pottery tradition. why not give it a try?
when i left for penland, my potter-Friends warned me "you are going to want to build a salt kiln when you get back".
"nope, not me." said i, "i am building a reduction kiln. but wow! what a really
wonderful learning experience this will be! " haha! i had no idea what i was going to learn in those two months with mr. gess.
here's what it is: SLIP. it is all about the slip. slip, in its most basic definition, is watered down clay. i love the simplicity of it. i love taking a pot in my favorite stage of clay, the "leather hard" stage and dipping it in a beautiful, fresh bucket of slimy, yummy slip! then i purposefully and atctfully, run my fingers over it. if you have never participated in this process, you will understand my excitement when i say it is just like finger painting. this stirs a child-like joy within me (this child-like joy is key to my existence i think).
i love the subtle flush of the slips and the clay in the salt kiln. i love the speckled pattern where the salt finds its home on the surface of the pot. while shiny surfaces created by certain glazes in the reduction kiln have never appealed to me, the sheen of a salt fired slip is a very sophisticated thing. in adding soda to the kiln , i hope to help to satisfy my need to see the movement of the flame on the pot.
i could go on and on about decoration. i am excited to start experiment with some other decorative techniques including my fascination with brushwork and maybe even some scraffito, another fascination. but for the people who think i am abandoning my ash glazes, i will say it now. i am not. i am expanding, broadening and deepening my effects. the ash glazes will appear in a different, but yet recognizable manner.

i will be me! only better...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


New photos are up! I have added a slide show to the blog. These featured pots were all made within the last three years. They are fired to approximately cone 10 in a gas kiln with a fairly light reduction atmosphere. They are glazed with layers of ash glazes and other glazes to create this fluid characteristic that I have been interested in. I am inspired by the suggestion of nature created by the combinations and textures of the glazes. This is my jumping off point to my current exploration into salt and soda firing. As a lifelong resident of North Carolina, I am intrigued by NC's heritage in pottery. These traditional potters often used salt in their kilns combined with alkaline glazes (ash glazes). I feel it is important to preserve this tradition, while I also intend to combine this style with my own, slightly more modern approach. When the kiln is complete I will post pictures with the results as we fire it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Pictures Coming Soon!

I finally got some more recent shots of reduction fired-ash glaze pots from previous years. I am currently editing them, but should have them up by the first of the week! Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Raku Firing

Sorry folks! I have not been to the blog spot in awhile! I still have not finished the salt kiln, but instead, I have been working on a very important project. I have photo documented a day in the process of this project. The pictures below are pictures of me raku firing, a fascinating approach to firing pottery. Keep reading!

the raku kiln

the kiln open with coasters inside

removing the coasters from the kiln


making it "crackle"
For the last few months I have been working on a project for the West District 4-H Leaders Association. I was commissioned to make coasters to be given out at the NC Volunteers Leaders Association Conference. I fired them by a process called Raku. This in an ancient traditional Japanese means of firing. For more information on this process and its fascinating history see

To begin, the pots, or in this case, the tiles, are made, allowed to dry, and bisque fired in an electric kiln to about 1650F degrees. The clay is now hard enough to handle, but still porous. I am ready to apply the glaze. Each piece is hand decorated. My approach to decoration is to mask off the design. I use pinstriping tape (for automobiles!). I brush the glaze over top of the design and anywhere I want the glaze to appear. Once the glaze dries, I remove the tape from the pot and the negative shapes create a pattern; in this case, the clover, the symbol of 4-H worldwide.
Now I am ready to fire. Each piece is fired individually in a small kiln called a raku kiln. The first picture is of the raku kiln with the coasters on top waiting to be fired. Notice the orange glow of the atmosphere inside. There are three to five coasters firing at once. It takes about 45 minutes for the the kiln to reach a temperature. The kiln is rigged on a pulley system to make it easier to raise the basket and retrieve the coasters from inside. Once the kiln reaches 1850F and while the coaster is still red hot, I pull them, one at a time, from the kiln using long tongs and fireproof gloves. The coaster is then transferred to a metal trashcan. The trashcan is packed with newspaper, a combustible material. Once the coaster is placed in the trashcan, the newspapers instantly burst into flames. I place more newspapers on top of the coaster and replace the lid. This process creates heavy smoke and an atmosphere void of oxygen. This atmosphere, called "reduction", creates the natural black color of the claybody.
The glazes I use are called crackle glazes. After a few moments, I use the tongs to pull the coaster back out of the trashcan. I bring the coaster close to my face and blow on it and I can hear the crackling and pinging of the glaze while the crackle effect is being achieved. I place the coaster back in the trashcan, again loaded with newspaper and wait for the paper to ignite. I replace the lid. Sometimes I repeat this process up to three times depending on how much crackling I would like to have on a certain piece. Meanwhile I have more coasters in the kiln slowly warming in the kiln, waiting for their turn. Then the process starts again!
Thanks for reading. Come back and visit soon!
I hope to have the salt/soda kiln finished before Spring.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


In addition to my personal line of pottery, I have been commissioned to develop a line of pottery for 4H. I am very excited in pursuing this line. These pots are "greenware" and have not yet been glazed. I have included pictures of a mug, a casserole dish and a pie plate. These are just a few examples of what I have been working on. The line will feature many pieces great for gift giving, awards and serving dishes perfect for those wonderful 4H potluck suppers!

Finding me:

asheville river arts district
95 roberts street
asheville, north carolina