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!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Just wanted to say Happy Holidays everyone! I'm home in Waynesville for Christmas so I'm obviously taking a break from the pottery for a while, and therefore a break from the blog until the new year. My Christmas gifts are all fired and most wrapped and ready to give away on Thursday (with the exception of Brad's gift which continues to be difficult and refuses to be ready to take home yet!) I will get back to throwing once I'm back with my wheel in Asheville and after Christmas I will post photos of all the Christmas gifts I made and gave away! I'm really proud of a lot of the pieces I made for gifts and want to share them with my readers once their owners have received them.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and enjoys this time to be with the ones they love, as I am. See you in 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shout Outs

Just wanted to show some love and say thanks for some shout outs I've gotten recently. Check out BusBarista's coffee blog where I got a sweet shout out a few weeks ago. And take some time to browse Ashevegas where I got a nice write up in the C.A.R.P. journal section.

Thanks for the support guys!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Before and After Shots

I posted photos a while back of unfinished pieces and thought it would be fun to show some before and after shots of the work now that I have the pieces glazed.

This is the lidded jar with the snake handle. I wasn't too happy with it at first but once I got it glazed and painted the snake, I think it turned out really well!

Here is the snake mug that's small but has a great design. I mixed some glazes and they ran a bit but I like the green and black I ended up with (though it was supposed to be green and blue).

Here is my first gecko! I loved the piece when it was green ware and I still really like it glazed, its so bright! I think the purple was a good choice, though I wish it had gone on a bit smoother.

And finally, my little turtle bowl! I loved him from the start and was upset when he came out of the glaze firing all patchy green. So once I started experimenting with the acrylic paints and liking the results, I decided to paint him!

So these are my before and after pieces! I love how they all turned out and I really like the comparison, I think I'll try to this more often.

Monday, December 15, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

I recently collected a massive amount of new work, thankfully many are Christmas gifts. I do have some work I will list on Etsy though, check out my new pottery:

The first mug was glazed with a matte black glaze I experimented with, glazed over a matte green. I painted the snake with metallic acrylic paint. I think its a fun piece and my roomie David says its a very comfortably shaped mug.
I did another Sand and Sea Turtle bowl and used a technique I learned at the Dillsboro pottery festival a while back. After throwing the bowl you slice away pieces of the rim and then spin the bowl and smooth the edges with a sponge. I think it kind of looks like waves so I thought it was fitting for the design.
I did a bowl with a turtle and glass but no sand, just to mix things up a little bit. I'm really liking the metallic green paint on the turtles too, in case you couldn't tell.
I did a lidded jar a while back and it ended up taking on the appearance of a mushroom so I went with it. I let Michaela glaze it the bright colors and I think its fun.

I recreated my turtle bowl to make sure I could do it but it looks very different from my original. I don't think I like the new one as much, but he's still cute.

And finally, I got back my other Frog Jar! Isn't he adorable? He has legs and a tongue! I LOVE him!

So those are the new pottery pieces, now here's the jewelry:

I went a little bottle cap crazy but all of my bottle cap pieces have sold at Pura-Vida so I figured I should go with what works.

So that's the new work! Thanks for taking the time to check it out and if you want to see more photos or are interested in buying, check out my Etsy site!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Weight Off My Shoulders

I just got back from glazing for the first time at the Odyssey. I spent the evening there and got every bisque piece I had glazed! Its such a relief to have gotten it all done and now I just have to be patient and wait for everything to be fired! However, my roommate Brad's Christmas present has yet to come out of the kiln, along with two gifts for my sisters. They just didn't make it into the firing with the other pieces I left there last week. Its no problem, I'll go another night next week and glaze again. I did a piece to test some colors in tonight's glazing and if it comes out well I'll have 25 more pieces to glaze the same way so I'll have plenty to glaze next week.
I think its funny that Brad's piece is still unfinished though. The thing has given me nothing but grief! I threw it the first time, got it fired and glazed and the glaze was so thick is ruined the piece! I attempted to throw the thing numerous times after that and they ended up wet wads of clay only to be recycled. Two attempts became different piece entirely and are now just lonely, pathetic bisque pieces I don't know that I like enough even to glaze! The, I guess forth attempt really, yielded an awesome result, I loved it...then I broke it trying to take it to the Odyssey for firing. Once I got the final piece thrown and assembled and safely to the Odyssey I was so happy! Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it makes it safely out of the kiln and I can glaze it without a hitch and finally get it finished!
But anyway, a great weight has been lifted now and I'm so happy its done! And my first experience glazing at the Odyssey was wonderful! I was surrounded by friendly people and yet had plenty of room to work. The glazes were amazing, with a great variety of colors and all mixed so well! It reminded me of glazing during my class at Mars Hill and I loved it! Now I can't wait to see my results!!!

Further Reassurance

As if my Etsy sale was not enough of a sign that I should continue my efforts, last night David brought in the mail and it contained a check from Pura-Vida! I had sold another pair of my bottle cap earrings and also this bottle cap bracelet:

I have sold all but maybe three of the pieces I put into the gallery and once December has passed I feel the owner will decide to keep selling my work since that is when my trial period is up. I'm so excited! This could not have come at a better time!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Much Needed Motivation!

Last night I sat down to write a quick blog, just as a little update for everyone, and I started getting a little negative in my writing. I have been slowing getting work back from Waynesville (that I threw months ago!) and I haven't been happy with my work. I haven't felt like I've been getting pieces back that I was proud of, that I wanted to show to anyone as my work. I also wasn't selling anything on Etsy. Then I got my first lidded frog jar back:

Isn't he adorable?!? I'm so happy with how he turned out, especially after I painted his features with some acrylic, bake-on paint I've been experimenting with. He's everything I've wanted my work to be: unique, fun and an eye-catcher. I love him!
Now I just can't wait to get my other one back cause it has legs and a tongue! I have the lid of it and painted its features already and next week I should be getting his body back from Waynesville (it was fired yesterday). I'm so excited!

And even better, I sold another piece on Etsy! I decided to list a couple bowls that I was originally saving for Pura-Vita. I figured why not, if they don't sell I'll put them in the gallery and if they do, I'll just make more. Well one sold the day I listed it!

So I'm really excited now, and in a much better mood than I was last night. Now I'm just ready to get more pieces finished! I picked up my first bisque pieces from Odyssey last week and dropped off more green ware for firing. Monday night I plan to go and spend an hour or so glazing all of those pieces. I have three Sand and Sea bowls in that mix, as well as two more snake mugs, a snake vase, my lidded "apple" jar and lidded jar with coiled snake handle. I'm really anxious to get those pieces glazed and possibly show some work to the owner of New Morning Gallery. She buys work out-right and I would love to get some work in there for Christmas. I know I'm pushing it for time but I can always dream! And now I'm finally getting work back that I'm really proud of and I'm ready to show off!

Also, I got my business cards in the mail and they turned out darker than they had looked online. They still catch the eye but I'm not very happy with them and will have to find another printer after they've run out. I need to buy some card holders and go to some restaurants downtown and ask if I can put my cards on their counters and what-not. I'll see if I can talk someone in to walking around downtown with me one night this week or next weekend to do it. This way I can get some last minute advertising done for my Etsy before the holidays.

So that's my good news and general update. I'm to the point where all of my Christmas presents are safely bisque fired and now just need glaze so I'll finish those up Monday and can begin to focus more on inventory for galleries and Etsy!

My First Teapot!

I attempted to throw a teapot multiple times when I was in my pottery class in college but every attempt failed. I struggled the most with the spout but even throwing a base proved a challenge and I never did get one put together before the class ended. When I got my wheel though, I thought I would try again and on my first attempt I ended up throwing a teapot, a spout and a lid! The next day I attached the pieces and was really happy with the result.
I brought the piece to Waynesville for firing and glazing and have finally gotten it back! Problem was, I had put polka-dots on it and painted a light blue glaze on the dots and handle and I didn't paint the glaze on thick enough. So I decided to test out acrylic paint, the kind you bake in the oven to seal it. I painted the dots, handle and the inside of the teapot and this is my final result:

I told my grandmother about the teapot and she decided she wanted to buy it from me to keep it in the family. She said I would inherit it once she's gone and I liked the idea of keeping it around. So I'm giving it to her for Christmas and I'm happy it'll stay in the family. I feel like it was a pretty big accomplishment, though I look at it now and can think of a hundred ways it could be better. Still, I was really proud of myself for trying it again and happy it turned out. There will be many more to come, as with all of my pieces, but its nice to know this original will be around to look back on and see how far I've come.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Perfectionist Working in an Imperfect Art

I'm pretty sure I was born a perfectionist. I am never satisfied because I constantly strive for perfection and perfection, in all things except the Lord, is unobtainable. And I know this, yet I still constantly want everything to be perfect. So now I am beginning to ask myself why I ever chose to engage in an art as imperfect as pottery. With jewelry I can plan out the placement of each bead, create symmetrical patterns and have a result that is both balanced and aesthetically pleasing. With pottery...I can't even throw a plate that is anywhere near a perfect circle! With pottery, I never know what I am going to get, I can't plan out a single piece, I draw designs and they never come out the way I pictured them. Its really quite frustrating.

So I was venting my frustration to an old friend the other day (his dad, Terance Painter, is an amazing potter) and this is what he told me about my imperfect art:

"As far as the pottery is concerned it isn't perfect but it is the uncontrollable elements that make it so amazing and beautiful. You don't force pottery to do what you want, you experience the pottery and let the pottery do what it naturally wants to do."
Oh and how true this is! Often times I've sat down at my wheel with pieces in mind that I wanted to create, I wedged clay specifically for each piece and not a single one turned out to be what I had planned. I have come to the conclusion that the clay has a mind of its own and there's no changing its mind. If a ball of clay wants to become a bowl, there is no making a mug out of that ball of clay, it will be a bowl or it will fail. As the artist, you have no control over the clay. Here lies another problem: I am also a control freak. In the first entry of the houseblog, David wrote this about me: "Mallory loves animals . . . maybe because she can keep them caged." Sad...but true. I have a great need for control in my life, I don't feel settled or comfortable in a situation that is out of my control. So once again, why have I fallen for an art where I cannot control my work's outcome?
Having given it much thought, I have come to the conclusion that my love for pottery was instilled in me in order to teach me some very valuable lessons. Nothing has succeeded to try my patience yet keep me as engaged as my pottery has; nothing has proven so uncontrollable and yet so intriguing...well nothing that is, except Tenzie, but that's a long, frustrating blog all on its own and we won't go there.
So anyway, normally, if something continually tries my patience and refuses to let me take control, I will get angry and frustrated and usually say the hell with it (if it is something I can say the hell with...unlike work). And I am not saying my pottery has not made me angry at times, but I still have a love for it that I have never known in an art before. I could plan out 10 projects and have 9 of them end up in a soggy pile of to-be-recycled clay and still want to throw more!
So I feel this art has become a passion of mine because I need to learn patience, I need to understand that I cannot control everything (or anything for that matter) and that with the clay, as well as with my life, I cannot force it to do or be what I want, I just have to experience it.