About The Artist

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I am a jeweler, a potter...an artist I suppose. I have been creating hemp, glass bead and wire jewelry since 1996 but have only been throwing pottery since the Spring of 2008. I plan to open my own gallery and workshop within the next five years but for now I make my work out of my home and sell in galleries and online. I sell my work to feed my hobby and because I am running out of room for my creations in the house. My art, like this blog, is in it's beginning stages and I hope that as my reader you will join me in my journey as an artist and enjoy it as much as I know I will!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Jewelry!

I have a confession to make: I HATE the winter. Or I guess more specifically, I hate cold weather. I hate winter clothes and feeling constricted when I'm bundled up to brave the cold, I hate living in a cold house and having to wear socks and slippers to walk on the cold wood floor. I hate it! All I want to do in the winter is take hot showers and then lay in bed in front of my heater and watch movies or read a book. The only time I can even remotely enjoy the winter is when I'm snowboarding and I would enjoy it more if I could do that in a T-shirt in 80 degree weather. This means that one: I should move somewhere warmer and take up surfing, and two: I'm not enjoying throwing pottery right now.

My basement is cold and even though I bring my heater down there with me, its still cold. The water is cold, the wet clay is cold and to keep my body warm I have to wear layers of clothes which constricts me when I throw. I have to wear shoes or my toes (no joke) go numb! The sleeves of my hoodie won't stay up so they're covered in cold, wet clay the entire time. I am just not a happy camper in my basement. So lately I haven't been so motivated to throw, especially now since my Christmas presents have been all but fired.

So last night I was curled up in bed (where I had been since 5pm) and after eating cereal for dinner for the third night in a row, watched House for the umpteenth time this week and finished the book I've been reading, I decided to make some jewelry. Its perfect! My jewelry desk is on wheels so I can roll it into my nice, warm bedroom from my cold office (I purposely bought the desk because of this). So I rolled the desk up to my bed, put my heater where it could still blow warm air to me beneath the desk and began creating.

Here are the pieces I made and have listed on Etsy:

This bright green necklace set is my favorite, though I feel like the pictures I took just don't do it any justice, especially the color.

This necklace lays really nicely on the collar bone and the beads shine nicely in the light

I love the way this necklace turned out and it looks so good on, it lays perfectly on the neck

So those are my new pieces. It seems that because of the time of year you will mostly likely be seeing more of my jewelry too, since I can make it from the comfort of my own bed. Hope you like the new work!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update On the Odyssey...And a Few Other Things

Quick update: I went back to the Odyssey yesterday to sort everything out, fill out some important forms and what-not. I spoke with Dawn in the office and when I explained to her my situation she knew right away which RA I dealt with Saturday. Turns out the guy's new and doesn't quite know the ropes yet so I'm feeling better about my first experience there knowing the full situation.
Dawn sent me to Bob yesterday who showed me how to fill out a firing form and walked me through the whole process. Its really easy and I feel pretty comfortable with everything now. He was the one who ended up loading all of my pieces into a kiln and he helped me estimate their measurements since I hadn't written them down Saturday.
I won't be going back until next Monday because of the holiday but I will be picking up my bisque pieces and bringing in more green ware for firing then. I would show you pictures of my latest work but its all Christmas presents and my family reads the blog occasionally so I don't want to spoil any surprises. They are awesome though and as long as they survive their firings, I am finally finished with Christmas gifts! Of course I said this over a month ago and have since needed to re-create at least half a dozen pieces so, once again, I'm probably speaking too soon. Oh well. Just keeping my fingers crossed that these pieces survive.

That's it for now! Tonight I'll be making some jewelry and will write a short blog and show photos. I made one awesome necklace the other night and plan to make at least two more this evening and put them on Etsy so check back soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Signature Piece

It seems every artist has a special something that defines their work as their own. With most artists, you can look at a piece of their work and know that it is theirs by a certain style or characteristic their pieces share. I have never had that. My work has always been so random, so different. I offer a really wide variety of styles, especially of jewelry, and no two pieces look alike enough to show they were made by the same hands. I have never been too concerned with this issue because I feel like my work attracts a wider variety of buyers, it appeals to many different styles. However, with my pottery I feel I have now developed my signature piece and that is the "Sand and Sea Turtle" design. This was a design I came up with all on my own. Mom of course gave me the glass idea, but using the sand textured clay and creating a beach scene was mine.

A lot of my ideas, as many artists do, stem from other's creation that I take and make my own but this design was mine from the start and I take pride in that. So I started creating quite a few "Sand and Sea" pieces and plan to make scenes with little crabs, sea shells, etc. and I feel these will be my best sellers to the local galleries. I have also taken the image of my first finished "Sand and Sea" bowl and used it as my business card background and banner (see card below and banner at the top of my page).
I'm really excited that I finally have a piece that defines my true style. I loved my first "Sand and Sea Turtle" bowl so much I've decided to keep it and it is my favorite piece of pottery thus far! So you will be seeing a lot more of this design and hopefully not just on here and Etsy, but in some local galleries as well.
Never fear though, I will still be making other pieces as well. Tenzie and I talked about it and he made a good point, that if I turn to only making this style of pottery I am going to be targeting a certain audience and no others. If I continue to create a wide variety of pieces I will continue to appeal to more buyers and most likely make more sales. Also, I don't want to get burnt out or bored with this one design. So my jewelry and pottery selection will remain as random as always, but now I will at least have one signature piece that people will see and recognize as the work of Mallory Trasport.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My First Visit to the Odyssey...and Maybe My Last

Ok, so it won't be my last, most likely, but let's just say it was not the best first visit to the Odyssey.
A little over a week ago I had called the Odyssey to find out what I needed to do to get some pieces fired in their studio. I talked to a woman and told her I would most likely come in on weekends and she told me that all I needed to do was bring in my green ware and find an RA (resident's assistant) to help me. She said I would need to fill out a firing form for my pieces and leave credit card information and that was it. Simple.
So this morning I started out taking 12 pieces for bisque firing but 2 broke in transit (one being a Christmas present that I have attempted five times now!) So things started out rough and didn't get much better. I arrived in the River Arts District and carried a box into the studio where I found a woman who appeared to work there and asked if she was an RA; she said she was not but would show me where the RA on duty was. She proceeded to lead me into the kiln room and to the RA (who shall remain nameless) that was loading a kiln.
This guy had "stoner" written all over him, from his dreads to his blank stare I could tell he was a little, shall we say...out of it. He pointed to a shelf and told me to sit my pieces on it, not even asking what cone firing it was or anything. There was only one other piece even on the shelf and it looked like porcelain, not clay...comforting. The good thing is I think with a bisque firing its at a lower temperature so maybe different cone pieces can be bisque fired together...hopefully.
So needless to say I was hesitant, but did what he said and unpacked my pieces, then went back to the car for my second box. When I went back inside the guy was leaning into the kiln, just staring at a piece; he had a small lump of clay in his hand. He looked at the clay and then looked at me and then looked back into the kiln and finally said he needed to go tell someone that he'd broken one of their pieces! Oh dear God...could this get any worse? The RA broke someones pottery! Great!
Then the next thing this guy does is explain to me how he loads the shelves into the kiln, telling me he does it a "special" way so the shelves don't block the heat and most people don't do it this way (I wonder why). None of this was even relevant to me but I listened patiently as he told me his technique and how he loads the kiln, all the while wondering if he even knew what he was talking about. Then once my meaningless lesson had ended, and once all of my pieces were unpacked, I asked him how to fill out a firing form. He said I didn't need to fill out anything, all I do is put my stuff on the shelf. I took a deep breath and explained to him that this was my first time ever firing there and told him about the lady I'd talked to earlier in the week and all she's said. Surprise, surprise, he didn't know anything about anything I was saying. So I told him I would just come back Monday and talk to the woman in the office. I then asked for his name, introduced myself and got a "hey Mallory" in return before I left the building.
I did leave my pieces there but only because he told me he would most likely NOT get a chance to load them into the kiln today. I'm hoping a different RA on duty will load my pieces tomorrow or Monday. Fingers crossed! So they are just sitting on a green ware shelf, nothing but my initials carved in the bottom of each pieces to show that they even belong to me, and I am still nowhere in the studio's system! And I actually thought this was going to be more organized that bringing my things to my mom's friend's house. Oh well.
So this was my first experience with the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts. Monday I will have to leave work early and go talk to the woman who runs the office, see if I can get some more information. I have a lot of questions that I didn't even bother asking the clueless RA and I'm just hoping the office lady can answer them for me and get things in order. Pray for my pieces, because at this point I'm not even sure I'll ever see them again...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pieces in Process

Sorry I haven't written in a little while but no fear, I am still creating! I have yet to bring new pieces to the Odyssey for firing but I am still throwing and have new pieces drying, awaiting a kiln. I hope to go over there some time next week to learn the ropes and get the pieces into a bisque firing.

Here are some of my pieces in process:

This is the piece I threw using the technique I learned during the Studio Stroll. Its so simple but has such a cool result and I definitely want to experiment with it more.

Here is a new snake mug. Its fairly small but I really like the design!

I finally accomplished a gecko! I threw a fairly large pitcher and it was just such a great canvas I went for it and did this gecko on the side.

I have had some Christmas presents break or ruined by glazing so I need to throw replacements and get them fired ASAP. Unfortunately I had a very unsuccessful night last night when trying to throw some new pieces. I drew out ideas all day at work yesterday and couldn't wait to throw last night but couldn't throw a single piece I had envisioned once I got home. Its so frustrating! Hopefully tonight will be a better night.

Last night I was trying to throw some recycled clay that had gotten just a little too hard so this was one of my problems to start with. I changed to my usual clay and had no better luck though, so I can only blame so much on the clay. I really want to use my left-over clay though, I feel wasteful just letting it sit around in bags. I went online and learned how to dry it out slowly and after throwing this is how my work table looks:
I can usually catch the clay once its dried just long enough and re-wedge it and its fine to throw. But last night the clay was too dry and just added to my horrible mood and I shouldn't have tried to fight it because it only made things worse.

I'm off to throw now. I can't spend a lot of time blogging or I won't have any time to throw, and Samantha is so demanding when I'm home and not doing anything she deems worthy of my time (like being on the computer). This is what she does while I blog:

That's my lap and she made sure to get on it and between me and the computer just enough to put it out of my reach. Oddly enough she's fine while I throw, most days. She wonders around the basement or sits on the stairs and watches me. The only time she gives me trouble is when she tries to drink out of my water bucket and gets slip all over her, which she has done multiple times. She's a faithful audience though, so I can't complain.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Find a Happy Medium

My mother is an extremely creative person. She's always learning new crafts and I swear every Christmas is a new handmade item from her. She has done photography, knitting, basket weaving, crochet, scrapbooking and felting; she has made me clothes and slippers, written and illustrated a children's book; she's amazing. She took a pottery class several years back too, and experimented with glass (that's where I got the idea) and now she's making jewelry. So obviously I got my creativity from my mother.
Mom and I have a problem though. We go to craft shows and walk through galleries and everything we see we say "we can make that!" So we make it and add our own touches, our style, we love it and want to make more. I want to do things a little differently from Mom though, I want to choose one or two mediums to be great at. Mom has never really wanted to sell her work so she has tried a little of everything and enjoys it all but I want to find a few things I really love to do and be great at them. And I'm excited now because I think I have finally accomplished that with jewelry and pottery. I have tried a lot of other things, like my mother, but these two mediums seem to fit the best.
Recently I have been engrossed in my pottery though, and jewelry has fallen by the wayside...until now. I finally sent my Etsy site out to everyone I work with and within the hour one of the ladies wrote me a check for one of my necklaces (the blue one on the right). So that's technically my first jewelry sale on Etsy.
I also started a Facebook group to get my Etsy and Blog sites out to friends. I invited all 507 of my Facebook friends and my group currently has 93 members. One of my friends, Chelsey, has even special ordered a necklace that I made last night.
She wanted a Superman charm, in memory of a friend of ours and a boy she loved. Its here on the left. I think I may still add yellow material behind the S, we'll see what she thinks once she sees the picture. RIP Phillip.

I also finished a necklace for Tenzie that I started a while ago and we've been continually improving. I think it's finally finished and I'm really happy with it.

So its been a productive couple of days with the jewelry and I'm happy about it. Now I'm off to work in the basement on some pottery I threw last night. I'll post pictures soon so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Pieces on Etsy!

Last night I went to pick up my pieces in Waynesville and was really disappointed to find only five sale items and two Christmas gifts had been fired and I hated how most of them turned out. One of my Christmas gifts is even ruined because the glaze was so thick its cracking off! I also used this new blue that had been mixed up and it runs really badly when fired. It covered up details on some of my pieces and made one teapot stick to the kiln. I was really upset, feeling like the glazes I had chosen ruined my work. When I brought them home though my roommate, David, made me feel better. He looked at my turtle mug which I said looks like someone puked on it and he called it a "Swamp Turtle" mug. This got me looking at the snake mug and I decided to call it "Water Snake" because the blue running over the snake looks like water. Soon my pieces all took on some kind of water theme and I was in a much better mood. So I photographed my work and listed five new items on Etsy this morning. Check them out:

Sand and Sea Turtle Bowl

Water Snake Clay Mate Mug

Swamp Turtle Clay Mate Mug

Milk and Cookie Mouse Clay Mate

Soup and Cracker Bowl (crackers not included)

So there are my new pieces! To see more photos, check out Etsy page!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Am Not an Artist

I have been reading some really interesting pottery blogs recently. I found a lot of local potters who blog like I do and I have already learned so much from their writing! I will definitely continue to read and follow along on their journeys as artists.
I am finding a little discouragement in reading these blogs though. These potters really have their work together, they are so well established and really know their trade. I feel so far from that its depressing. I don't even know how to load and fire a kiln, let alone mix glazes. Sometimes I feel like I could really do this for a living and other times I feel like I would never make it. I also feel like I'm only good enough right now to make the cutesy stuff, the turtle mugs and bowls and frog jars and stuff that people will like but not consider art. But do I even really want to be an artist? Sometimes I'm not so sure. The pottery scene here in WNC is amazing and is a perfect place for me if I want to continue to be a potter, but I don't know if I care to be apart of that scene. Honestly I think I just want to keep having fun with my work, the hell with how its viewed by others. I don't need to be known as one of the great potters of the area, I really just want to make what I make and enjoy making it. Does that make sense to anyone but me?
I really think my work will fit well in the galleries I have spoken with and on Etsy so maybe I will just stick with those venues for now. Making money off of my work is really just to feed my hobby at this point anyway, I'm not trying to make a living like the area potters I've been reading about. Maybe when I get to that point I will start to care about being well known and being considered an artist, but not right now.

And to answer your question, where are the photos of you throwing last night? Well I don't like to make excuses but yesterday when I posted my blog my back was hurting a little bit and it got worse as the day progressed (sitting at my desk all day did not help). So by the time I got home I didn't think my back could take leaning over a pottery wheel for several hours. Its all my fault, I went to softball practice Sunday and it was the first time I'd pitched in two weeks and of course I over-did it and my muscles were just letting me know that. A good night's rest did help though, so I should be ready to throw tomorrow.

My plans for this evening have fallen through. I'm really disappointed, I've been looking forward to glazing for days! I'm still making the trip to Waynesville to pick up my finished pieces though, so there will still be pictures Wednesday. I can't wait any longer to see those pieces!

And in other news: Last night my wonderful roommate David helped me to design some business cards. I have not priced anything yet but I think I have decided on his design of putting a picture of one of my necklaces on the left of the card and one of my bowls on the right. My name will be at the top of the cards with SilverWear beneath it on the left and ClayWorks on the right. Here's the picture, sorry its not very clear:

Fanning an Old Flame...

I wanted to announce that I am getting back into jewelry making, my first love. My boyfriend loves my jewelry work and he inspired me! See, Tenzie often finds things he wants made into charms like arrowheads, sharks teeth, bullets, etc. and instead of making him 20 some necklaces, one for each charm, I had the idea (a while ago) to make him charms and attach them to snaps. I put all the charms on male-end snaps and put the female-end on a necklace so he can change the charm any time he wants. I have made him several different necklaces with the snaps too, so he can change out the necklace as well. He has a tan and brown one, a bright green one, etc.
Well the other night I was in Tenzie's apartment and saw that all of his charms were just thrown into a desk drawer and one had even broken and I thought about how he could keep them all together. So, I am going to buy him a nice wooden box and put female-end snaps in the lid of the box where he can keep all of his charms and he can put his necklaces in the bottom of the box! Its a perfect little gift idea and now I want to make them and sell them! I figure I'll buy boxes that are wide enough to fit maybe six charms but sell them with three and one necklace and then sell different necklaces and charms separate. I really think people will like to give them as gifts and then keep giving charms and necklaces to add to the collection.
I want to start making clay beads too, to bring both of my loves together. So with this idea I will make clay pendants and attach them to snaps. I can make them for men and women and I really think they will be a big hit! I'm so excited!

Here are pictures of Tenzie's necklaces and charms in the box I made for him:

Necklace with charmed snapped on

Necklace with charm unsnapped

Male end on the necklace, female end on the charm

Monday, November 10, 2008

Asheville River Arts District Studio Stroll

I went to the Studio Stroll in the River Arts District this weekend and had an amazing time! I got to see a lot of pottery and see it with a new eye since last year I was only a jeweler. My wonderful boyfriend, Tenzie, came with me and though it's not really his thing to walk around art galleries, he does it with a smile just for me. I guess after three years the boy has realized there's no getting around it.

We went to every open studio in the district this year so it was a long day and a lot of walking, but it was well worth it! I encourage everyone to try to go next year, either in July or November.

My favorite studios/artists were Jonas Gerard, Desert Moon Designs, Meagan Chaney and Clayspace.

-Jonas Gerard is a painter and the best way I can describe his work is to say that he leaves his tools behind. Most of his paintings are not just paint and canvas but have a paintbrush left in the paint. He also does sculptures that look like 3-D graffiti. The artist himself is a colorful man too, he has the voice of the godfather but a sense of humor and for the brief moment that I heard him speak I really enjoyed listening to him.

- Desert Moon Designs is a husband and wife duo that does bright glass work and jewelry. They have a really fun studio that I enjoyed this year just as much as last year.

- Meagan Chaney is a younger artist, maybe just a bit older than I am, and her work is so unique I can hardly describe it. Her wall-hangings are like nothing else and I would love to have one in every room of my house someday.

- Clayspace is a new studio started by an artist from Marshall, Josh Copus. I had attempted to interview him during an amazing internship I did last summer (I think I'll write a blog about that in fact) because one of the potters I interviewed recommended I speak with him. Unfortunately Josh had just moved here and I could never get a phone number. Anyway, he's another artist that's around my age and I guess I just find inspiration in that alone, that someone my age can be so successful in their work already. So after reading articles about Josh and his work I finally got to see it in person which was great.

I also really enjoyed watching the demonstrations done at various galleries too. Tenzie and I watched glass blowing and we saw a guy make three ornaments. I think I could have watched him do it all day and it made Tenzie want to try it. Of course though, the pottery demonstrations were the best! I met Greg, one of the artists that rents space in the Odyssey. He was doing throwing demonstrations and was happy to talk to me about the studio and how rental works. He said everyone there is really friendly and helpful and he encouraged me to become a member. After talking to him I was really excited about the place and I have decided to start firing my work there! I'm excited to have found a place so close to home and since I made the decision the ideas for new work have been running through my head non-stop! I've decided that for Christmas, I need a sketchbook to carry around with me so I can draw all of my pottery and jewelry ideas whenever something comes to me. It'll clear up some space in my head since it feels so crammed full of ideas right now.

But anyway, Tenzie and I spent at least a half hour just watching throwing demonstrations and I learned a new technique I really want to try. I can't remember the name and it would take FOREVER for me to describe it so I'll just throw a piece and take a picture to show everyone in a later blog.

I have to say that the highlight of the day though, was the discovery of a new artist, Joey Sheehan. His pottery and glazing techniques are incredible and some of my favorite work! He is one of the resident assistants at the Odyssey and his work was on display during the stroll. Check out his website and look at the picture below...amazing!
I'd been so bummed out about not having a place to fire my work that I almost didn't go to the Studio Stroll, but now I'm so glad I did! I haven't thrown new work, other than Christmas presents, in at least a week but that ends tonight! Now I can't wait to throw and bring my work to the Odyssey for firing and glazing. So tonight I throw and tomorrow I am going to Waynesville to pick up some of my finished work. Tonight I swear I will take some pictures while I'm working and post them and by Wednesday I will have photos of my new work on here as well. Keep checking back, there is so much more to come!

Friday, November 7, 2008

My First Sale!

I sold my first piece on Etsy today!!! I sold my "Drinking Buddy" mug with the little turtle to a woman in Florida. She is not a friend or relative, just someone who found my page and liked my work! This is my first pottery sale other than a sale to a friend in college, I think for Mother's day or a mother's birthday... Joan? Anyway, this is my first sale to a non-relative/friend and my first Etsy sale! I have yet to even have business cards printed (due to a housemates' empty promises...I'm a little bitter) or really advertise at all other than on my Facebook so this is pretty major and I'm really excited! Just wanted to share the excitement!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I am in search of a place to glaze and fire my pottery, does anyone know of a place in Asheville or the surrounding area where I can do so? I plan to check out Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts but am open to other suggestions as well. My initial set-up seems to be falling through and it has been a great discouragement. I haven't thrown in nearly two weeks and I plan to only work on Christmas presents from now until I find a new place to fire. The woman who agreed to fire my work originally has said she will at least help to finish up my Christmas stuff so I am grateful for that. As far as work for galleries, there will not be enough and I have no motivation to create more. Sorry for the bleak blog, maybe a happier one will follow if I find a new place to fire.
I will be picking up some finished work next week so I will post pictures. I am also attending the River Arts District studio stroll this coming weekend so maybe I will find some inspiration there. Odyssey is located in the arts district too so I will be able to check it out. We'll see how it goes.