Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not an end but a beginning

With 2008 coming to an end, I look forward to a wonderful new year of creating and sharing.
I have spoken about the creative side of my family members, and I have not finished all of that... next year...
I want to take a few minutes to mention someone who helped nurture the creative side of my siblings and myself. He was our high school art teacher, Mr. Greene. A potter by trade (and a really great one at that!), he made a point of teaching a wide variety of things to us. We learned photography, pen & ink, charcoal, acrylics, oils, watecolors, pencil drawing, still life, figure drawing, sculpture, sterling silver jewelry, macrame, weaving, linoleum block printing, zinc plate etching, wheel thrown pottery, sculpture, slab building, photo silk screen, book binding, bronze stenciling (cutting our own stencils), calligraphy, architectural drawing and more. He paid for some supplies from his own pocket when the school budget was slim, just so we could still have that experience.
Although we disliked the deadlines of sketchbooks, we did understand their value and we all look back at our days in the art room with gratititude and respect for what one man did to try to expose us to so many aspects of creativity.
In a way, he is responsible for the passion my sister Terri and I have for sharing creativity with our students.
And as a note at the end of this eventful year, I again want to thank those in my life who encourage me and give me reasons to create. I want to thank those who love me and care about me. I want to thank my friends and customers. But most of all, I want to wish everyone a wonderful 2009.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

We have had our Christmas Eve outing to the children's service at church. DragonBen was a shepherd in the recreation of the Christmas story. We came home and had pizza. Now it is time to get all snuggled in our beds and wait for Christmas day.
We are spending the day at my sister's house for her tradition of fondue. Friday, my younger brother is coming with his wife and son for a few days.
I have always loved seeing the children enjoy the festivities. I personnaly love the lights. The hustle and bustle and all that is fine, but my favorite way to spend my time is to just sit alone in the room with just the tree lights on and maybe Christmas music playing. I could sit there for hours just looking at the lights.
May you all have a wonderful Christmas.
I want to thank all of my friends for the gift of their friendship this past year, I hope that I am as good a friend to you as you all have been to me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A belated Happy Thanksgiving

With all of the prep for the show and sales, I have not had the energy to sit and post.
I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. What I like most about Thanksgiving is that it is a rather low-key holiday. Yes, there is all of the food prep and eating, and dessert, but all in all, it is a more relaxed holiday that most.
Even when we were young and traveled over 300 miles to our grandmother's house (Nana), the actual day was relaxed. That is because in our family, everyone has always helped in the preparations. And with the Macy's parade on the TV, and then football of every shape and form, you just get to sit and relax and let the food digest. That is, after the dishes are cleared and washed.
Thank you to all in the family that contributed yesterday, whether it was a phone call from afar or helping with the gathering here.
I am thankful for my health, my family, and my network of friends. With that, I can continue to create, which makes me feel fulfilled. There is an empty space in me when I cannot express my creativity in the ways I want to.
I am grateful to those who love me and encourage me to create and grow. Your love and support is what keeps me going.
Oh, I also had a very nice Birthday yesterday as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Coffee Anyone?

Here is the first successfully poured coffee pot! (It now has been trimmed, glazed & fired successfully.)

It was a very emotional event since I have not been able to make them for 12 years.

I unloaded two of them from the kiln about 7:15 yesterday morning and brought them to the Mistletoe Market at the Museum. I have not sold them (yet), but there has been a great amount of positive reaction to them. The show continues today. There was a wonderful turn out last night, despite the rain. Hopefully today will be the same. The damp weather may drive some of the Clemson Homecoming crowd out to shop instead of sitting in the stadium.
I've also included a photo of my booth at the show. I tweaked it a bit after the photo, and I turned on the lamp, but it gives you a bit of an idea.
I am posting this at 6-something this morning because I have to be back at the show by 8 (a 20 minute drive) and if I wasn't doing something to keep me awake, I might fall back asleep and over sleep.
PS - The show went great, although nobody bought the coffee pot. I do have a couple of people interested anyway. But I will start making more tomorrow.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Holiday Show & Sale

The Arts Center in Clemson has started their 2nd Annual Holiday Show and Sale. I have some of my pottery there. I will have more later. The Show & Sale runs through December. I think Cheryl said there are 40 artisans represented.
There is pottery of several styles, jewelry, glass, multi-media, paintings, photography, textiles and more...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Kiln

I have finally gotten my new kiln up and running, thanks to Dad running around to find a new breaker switch to replace the old tired one.

I am so excited, I can now start to make the coffee pots again. I haven't been able to make them for years because my kiln wasn't deep enough (by 1/2") to fire them.

Well, off to glaze and then to the storage unit to get the coffee pot mold and prepare it to start casting again.

Happy November to all!
(*NOTE: I have added the photo so you can see my pretty new kiln! - 11/15/08)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Halloween is just around the corner.
I used to love Halloween and dressing up and the candy. I still have fun with Halloween.
I usually have a selection of pins that I wear leading up to Halloween. And sometimes I will dress up. Most of the time it might just be a cape or something, but I enjoy it.
When growing up we had a trunk that was full of costumes, most had been from ballet recitals, but others were made for Halloween specifically. We would mix & match and find something to suit our needs that year. It was fun. And with 6 of us, it was never dull.
We used to also grow pumpkins in our vegetable garden. One year in particular, we had lots & lots of pumpkins of all sizes & shapes. We carved a few and had those mainly by the front door, but we also painted a bunch of them and had them scattered throughout the rock garden along the front sidewalk.
I love Fall, with it's colorful leaves and the smells of apple or pumpkin pie (or Derby Pie...). But, then again, I love Winter, Spring & Summer too... all for their own unique reasons.
Right now, the thoughts of sitting snuggled inside a cozy mountain cabin with a roaring fire and plenty of food supplies sounds like a nice retreat.
But I have shows to prepare for. I need to get pottery to the Clemson Arts Center for their Holiday Show & Sale, I need to get pottery to the Blue Ridge Art Center for their show & sale, and I also need to finish pottery and cards for the Mistletoe market at the Anderson County Museum on November 14 & 15.
Now, if only we can find a replacement breaker so I can start firing the pottery in my new kiln!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Rewards of Teaching

While growing up, I never recall considering teaching as a career.
The first time I remember teaching was long-long ago at the Allegany County Fair in western NY state. I had a booth demonstrating and teaching woodburning. I was nervous as all get-out and shaking like a leaf in a wind storm.
Other than teaching someone on the job, I didn't teach again until joining the family here. When I arrived, my sister Terri was pregnant with DragonBen. She was the teacher at the store, offering classes in rubber stamping. Then DragonBen was born. Instead of putting all classes on hold while she was out on maternity leave, I was asked to step in and begin teaching. I agreed.
That first class in Basic Rubber Stamping was an evening filled with fear and nervousness. This time, people were paying for me to teach them! We all survived and the students were very supportive during my first class. They even returned to take more classes...
These days I am teaching all the time. Terri and I can offer up to 9 or 10 classes each week. We share the load.
One of my new favorite classes to teach is Wire Wrapping Basics. The photo above is one that one of my students made in class. M loves angels and saw an angel in the wire as she was bending and curling it. She was so proud of herself. She actually did not plan to wire wrap anything, she had wanted me to help her make a wire angel. But when she saw the beautiful Sodalite stone, she changed her mind. Last I knew, she wanted to make some more.
That is why I love to teach. Yes, I sometimes still get nervous, especially when I am teaching a new project. But the rewards are worth it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Columbus Day

I don't have any photos today, but I want to let you all know about a new blog my youngest sister has, along with her husband and our nephew. It is called Any Ideas for Dinner? So far they have had recipes for dinners as well as desserts and spice mixes.
If you are thinking of trying something new, or a new twist on an old favorite, check them out to see what ideas they have.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy October

I am back from a whirlwind business trip to Orlando. We left Saturday morning, drove 10 hours straight through, spent Sunday at a trade show, and then drove back on Monday.

The most amazing sight on the trip was as we were loading the car for the trip home. We walked out of the hotel and heard this loud squawk, it was a Great Blue Heron. This was not uncommon, as we saw them from our room at the small lake in front of the hotel. What was amazing was that this Heron was perched on top of a street light! After he (for some reason I always call them 'he') caught our attention, he stretched his wings out and looked almost like he was showing off his beautiful wings and graceful neck. My camera was in the car. As I hurridly got the camera, I turned around and he was gone. Mom and Terri saw him up there too, so they can vouch for my sighting.
Unfortunately, we were unable to stay in Orlando to visit with our friends at
Bead Dreams on Sand Lake Road, it was raining and we wanted to get on the road home, they were not open yet. We wanted to visit with Demi & Ursula and also check out what wonderful goodies they have in their store. Maybe next time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another generation of talent

When I first started this blog, I was talking about the talent in the family. The photo is of a nativity my nephew DragonBen made a couple of weeks ago.

He was sitting on Grandma's lap while she looked through one of the vendor's catalogs that carry nativities. (We like to get some new and different ones for the store each year.) He then hopped down and said he was going to make a nativity.

I will have to get a better photo taken so the details show better. He started with a BLANK piece of paper and a pair of scissors. He then cut out the shapes. Finally he drew in the details.

The stable is difficult to see well in the photo, but it has a star standing up at the front and it has a hole in the roof so the light can shine in on the baby Jesus. The baby is sucking his thumb and is seperate from the manger. The shepherd has his crook and the 3 kings are kneeling together.

This child will be 9 in January! His talents are incredible. But so are those of his cousins and the rest of the family. You can see some of my youngest sister's munchkin's talents here.

Friday, he made a South Carolina flag on a piece of blue paper with the palmetto tree cut out of white paper, as well as the crescent moon (photo to be placed on the store's blog). Then, he added a crab that resembles our Happy the Crafting Crab, up in the fronds of the palmetto tree.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


What a busy few days it has been...
Sunday, I was working on my porcelain production area and we had the monthly meeting of the Hole in the Bead Gang Bead Club.
Monday I had a big bead order to process.
All day Tuesday we prepared for a short show at the Anderson YMCA for National Women's Health Day. I was folding brochures and pulling together all of the display paraphanalia. Terri made several sets of greeting cards and Mom helped gather assorted other merchandise for the show.
We hurridly set up for the show yesterday morning and had a wonderful time there. We met a lot of fantastic people and had a delicious lunch donated by Chick-fil-A. Then it was back to the store to unpack.
We also had the Crafty Crew Rubber Stamp Club monthly gathering at the store last night. Our customer/friend BP had a wonderful project (photo to come...) for us all to make and M & CD brought delicious goodies for us to munch on afterward. Those brownies were so delectable! We had the company of a group of fun and creative people. This month we had 4 guests joining us and we hope they will come back again.
This morning we have a class for 12 through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through Clemson University.
I have had so much going on, I have not had the energy at the end of the day to finish pulling together a disc of photos for sister Regina (for the store's web page) or the cards won by Ruth.
I WILL get both of those things out in the mail the first part of next week! And I WILL get some new photos for here and a new post for the store's blog.
Keep those creative juices flowing!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I don't have any photos to share at the moment, they are all on the other computer. And that computer has a fried modem from a t-storm about a month ago. (I am still on dial-up here at home and I had a surge protector for the power cord, but not for the phone line... I do now!)
This past Friday my sister Sue and two of her friends came up from Aiken, SC to visit and to view the quilt show in Seneca, SC. (I'll find the link later...) We went to the Arts Company and viewed a show there, one at The Artist's Loft and the main show at the Shaver Center.
I love quilts and truely admire the work that goes into them. I have difficulties with sewing, so quilting is not my thing. But with the other creative outlets I have, I don't know where quilting would fit into my routines. So to all of you quilters, thank you. Thank you for creating such wonderful pieces. Some day I hope to finish, or should I say, start the small quilted Heron wall hanging I have the pattern and fabric for (I bought it 8 or 9 years ago at this same guild's show...)
Thanks to the Lake and Mountain Quilter's Guild and the other groups who displayed elsewhere, the Fringe Sisters, Thread Heads and others I cannot recall at the moment.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And the winner is...

A drum roll please....... The winner is my long-time pen-pal Ruth.
The names were all put in a hat and hers was the lucky one drawn.
I will consult with Mom and have her help me with the secondary contest as to who had the best reason (it is a tough decision, the reasons are all wonderful!). I still have not decided what that prize will be. I should just leave it as a surprise until the winner receives it.
Ruth and I became pen-pals when I was in 6th grade. Although I used to be really good at writing, I have gotten lax. But we do still keep in touch. She sends me photos of her adorable little girl and when I actually get around to sending them, I send her Christmas cards and the occasional real email (as well as the normal fwd.).
We have never met, and only spoken on the phone once that I recall. But we have kept up with teen-aged romances, jobs, marriages, the birth of her daughter and other life-changing events. I feel guilty that I don't write as I used to (I would to send multi page letters chronicling my daily life). Please don't feel bad, Ruth, I don't write much to anyone.
Her name being the winner gives me a chance to send her something once again through snail-mail!
And Ruth, I hope you don't mind that I snitched your photo from your comment to post here... : )
I also want to thank everyone who entered the contest - it was fun to read your comments and cross comments.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This is fun...

No photo today, still sorting through all of them.
I am having a great time with the comments from people who want to win the cards... Colleen is the only one I do not know. But I did live in Syracuse for a few years (what seems like a lifetime ago...), so I know her hometown...
I have decided that I will come up with a prize for the most interesting comment as to why you should win my cards. That will be a tough choice, they are all great!
At this point, for the original give-away, I am going to just place all the names into a 'hat' and pick one. How much more random can you get?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Card Give Away

I know, I have not posted for over a month. It has been a busy month for me.
I am going to give away a selection of 8 hand made greeting cards, made by me, of course. They will include some holiday cards and at least one using the washi paper quilting technique shown in this photo.
The give-away contest starts now and ends on Saturday, September 20. I will randomly pick the winner Sunday morning 9/21. When I contact you, I'll need delivery information to ship your cards.
Just for kicks, let me know why you feel you should win the cards.
After the holiday season is over, I will do another give-away featuring a piece of my porcelain pottery. Right now I need everything for the show and sales I have on the schedule.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


This is a photo of one of my favorite pyrographic pieces. In other words, it is one of my wood burnings.
I have always loved Great Blue Herons, this picture was done in 1984. Even today, when I go walking with my friends at the track in Clemson, we are ever on the lookout for Herons. You might call them our mascots.
This was the second Great Blue Heron I did, the first was a clock. Both were burned onto maple.
I don't do a lot of pyrography right now, I spend more time with my porcelain and jewelry instead. But nothing compares to the smell of the wood burning. It is not an overwhelming smokey smell, but one that entices you like a good cookout, or a pot of soup simmering on the stove.
I finally got started scanning a photo or two to add here from the days before digital photography. I only scanned 2. But I have more to sort through to find the ones I'd like to share.
Off to work on another project... I just wanted to be sure to get a new photo up for all of you to see.
Oh, a follow-up on my friend Mike and how he is coping with the loss of his sweet Savannah. He still misses her and feels the void without her around. But to help fill his time and keep his mind occupied, he has welcomed a new addition to his family. Her name is Sandie (as in Pecan Sandie). Sandie is an adorable handful of a Yellow Lab puppy. I think she is maybe 4 months old... I am not positive. I hope to get a photo to share sometime soon.
Also, I need to figure out how to link you to Bunspace, a blogging forum for bunnies all around the world (and their owners) that Sharon has been sharing with me. But I need more time than I have right now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Best Totem Pole in Clemson

I mentioned that I had taught a clay class at the Clemson Arts Center a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday was the culmination show with selections of the artwork by the students. One of the projects my kids did was to make a totem pole. I encouraged them by telling them it would be the best totem pole Clemson has ever seen. To my knowledge, Clemson doesn't have any totem poles.

I needed to make it an easily disassembled totem pole so the kids could take their creations home at the end of the show. So each piece is sitting on a bamboo skewer peg and the upright is a 7 foot bamboo pole stabilized by a weighted tree stand in a planter.

There were 8 kids in my class ranging in age from 6 - 9 years old. Starting at the top we have a cat (opposite side is a dog), an alligator, a gorilla (opposite side is a fly), a puppy, a monkey (opposite side is a deer), a kitten, a dog, and a turtle.

It was a joy seeing the kids come in with their families and show off their work.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My samples are posted!

A couple of months ago, I sent some photos of cards I made using a technique from one of the companies we feature at our store. They emailed me back to see if they could post them on their web site. I have periodically checked to see if they were up yet, and they are now! They did not put my name up there, but listed the store.
They are
here. This sample is not one of them... I designed this one after emailing the photos.
*Note, when you go to their web site, click on the Retail site link, then click on the card samples link in the band across the top. Finally, click on Sample Set 12. Those are all my original creations, the other samples they have posted are fabulous too!

I'm still here

I have been pretty busy lately with teaching classes at our store, teaching a clay class at the Clemson Arts Center for their summer Kids Camp and just trying to get my things organized. That, along with working full time and pulling a few of my things together for inclusion in a members show at the Blue Ridge Arts Center. I have missed posting, but I have no photos to add, and I know you all like photos to look at. Next time.
And I will show a photo of the completed re-arranging/organizing of my work space... I promise. I figure if I promise, it will give me more incentive.
I hope everyone is having a great July.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I had said that my week off from work was to include a big cleaning project. Well, I was cleaning out several years accumulation of stuff I no longer use or need. It was taking over my life.
I am happy to say that despite years of procrastination, it feels good to get rid of the junk. It took several years to accumulate, and is taking some dedicated time to 'decumulate'.
Pictured here is my drying table. It is actually a gorgeous spring-leaf kitchen table with opaque cobalt glass inserts. A little of the glass shows to the left of the table. It served as my kitchen counter in the small cottage I lived in last. I have another table I use for my casting.
Well, off to sort another box, Monday is trash day.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation Get-Away

Well, this wasn't originally a vacation, Dad was taking a class in Oklahoma and we all went along. This photo was taken at the Woolorock Museum.
The only one of us kids not pictured is Regina and she is the one who inspired this walk down memory lane... But she was just a baby and may have been sleeping at the time of the photo. I am the one all the way to the right. My new hair cut is even shorter than that one!
Things I remember from that trip... Remington Bronzes, giant jaw breakers, tortise races, 'Can y'all come out and play?', tornados, watermelon seed spitting contests, many hours in the car travelling from western NY to Oklahoma and back, Howard Johnson's restaurants, 'vanilla please', and that short set (one of 2 or 3) that matched Terri's.
One of these days I need to sit down and scan a bunch of print photos so I will have access to them here. Not just of me in younger years, but some with things I have created over the years.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vacationing in my mind

Our store vacation will be the first week of July. I know that is not too far away. But, (there is always one of those...) I have lots of sorting and cleaning out to do. So what most people think of as a vacation (aka 'get-away') is not going to be feasable.
So, I think I may take some of that time to 'get-away' locally for a few hours. I may take a quiet walk at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens in Clemson. They don't have as large a stream as the one in this photo (that came on my computer), but they have some tranquil ponds with ducks and carp and wonderful plants to look at. Or I may walk with friends at the Hartwell Dam. Whatever I do, even for a few hours, I will soak in the quietness of my natural surroundings. This will refresh me so I can put my nose back to the grindstone and finish that cleaning and sorting project.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The promised photo

These are 3 of my Ebonyware bowls. The one on the left is the large rice bowl, it measures just under 6 inches across and stands about 3 inches tall. In the middle is my candy bowl with a cherry spoon carved by a friend of the family. And to the right is the small rice bowl.
All 3 are shown with the Texture Plum glaze on the inside.
I really get satisfaction from creating these pieces. And I truly hope my customers are pleased with their purchases. I do enjoy meeting them and learning where my pieces are going. I know there are some in Japan, and I think some in Germany. The rest I think are all here in the US, but I may be wrong.
I hope all fathers out there have a pleasant Father's Day. Don't forget to tell your father Happy Father's Day this weekend.

I've been tagged!

My younger sister Regina has tagged me. I noticed it last night but since I am new to blogging, I had to think about what to do, whom to tag... I only read a few blogs on a regular basis.

Here are the rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Now to the questions:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? 1998 - I was living in Syracuse, NY and working for the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors as the MLS clerk.

2. What are 5 things on my list to do today? 1. Get my hair cut - even shorter! (done at 9 AM) 2. Ice my foot (thank goodness it is not broken), I feel like such a dummy hurting it by just turning my foot walking down the sidewalk... 3. Add a new photo to my blog (next entry) 4. Make dinner (Skewered Shrimp...) 5.Take care of this game of tag.

3.What snacks do I enjoy? Yes, please to just about anything - but especially chocolate, popcorn and ice cream.

4. What would I do if I was a billionaire? Pay off debts and spend/invest the rest carefully.

5.Where have I lived? Alfred, NY - (Cazenovia, NY while in college the first 2 years) - Buffalo, NY (2 weeks) - back to Alfred to attend Alfred University - Syracuse, NY - back to Alfred - Ashland, MA - Somerset, MA - Pendleton, SC

As I said, I am rather new to blogging, so I don't know many other bloggers out there, yet. I guess I will have to choose my friend
Jo. Jo has lots of friends in the blogging world.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm still here!

I have not yet gotten those photos of my Ebonyware taken that I said I would. I will try to get some taken today if it isn't too busy at work.
I hope everyone is getting through the weather extremes alright. It was officially 100 at the Greenville/Spartanburg airport yesterday! Not only a record for the date, but I think the earliest in the year that it has reached 100!
Think cool, calming thoughts and I will try to get those photos posted tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sweet Dreams

Since I had dinner with my friend Sharon last night, and I don't have any decent new photos of my Ebonyware yet, I will share another photo of Sharon's bunnies. Here Cookie Man, Bunny and Chessie take a nap. Isn't it cute how they are all snuggled together? Sharon sent me this photo last week.
Today I bring a few pieces to the Clemson Arts Center for the Instructor's show. I will be teaching a clay class to 6 - 9 year olds one week in July for the Kids Camp. The other two clay instructors and I are meeting this afternoon to make sure we have all of the supplies we need and to go over the firing schedule and procedures.
Last week I joined the Blue Ridge Arts Council. They are having a members show coming up soon. Another way of trying to get a bit more exposure for my pieces. If I can get exposure in more venues, hopefully it will build recognition and a following. I have some very faithful customers already, some from the earlier years and some more recent.
I tried selling in a few other shops/galleries, but sold little to nothing. My best sales have been either at a show or at our store.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Art Clay SIlver

I don't know how this will show up on line, but this is a photo of an Art Clay Silver pendant I made. It is a recognition piece for the Volunteer(s) of the year at the Cancer Association of Anderson (SC). I have made them since 2005, this is one I made last year. It is about the size of a quarter, with a textured surface and the letters CAA incised in the front. I then hand apply a star. Each pendant is different, purposely. I will not draw the star as a precise, pre-measured image, I just go for it. One of the recipients last year is a family friend and she let me take a photo of it while she was attending Relay For Life. I have gotten the approval from the Cancer Association to make her a pair of earrings to go with it, and any of the other past recipients are welcome to order them too.
In October of 2004, I went to Orlando, FL, to a wonderful bead shop called Bead Dreams. There, I took the certification course for Art Clay Silver. My instructor was Demi and she is one of the owners, with Ursula. I had such a wonderful time there. They are very nice people and talented too. Since that time, I have been teaching Art Clay Silver classes at The Mercantile. In fact, I have a full class tomorrow afternoon. It is a wonderfully diverse medium to work in. One of these days I have to try firing it to a piece of my Ebonyware...

Monday, May 26, 2008

The process

I said I needed to take new photos of my Ebonyware. Well, I have some new photos (taken yesterday) of the process.

If I had been thinking about it sooner, I'd have photographed them full of the porcelain slip.
The photo shows the molds after they have been opened, but the porcelain is still drying a bit before handling to remove to dry.

Now there are still a lot of 'ceramic studios' out there that mold items and allow people to come in and do the trimming and decorating (for a fee of course) and take them home. This is the same concept except for the fact that they purchase their molds from 'Hobby Ceramic' mold companies. These molds were made by my ex and myself from models we designed and made ourselves. Nobody else has them but me. So, from an artists perspective, although I have not hand thrown or sculpted each individual piece, I am the designer and have had my hands on every single step of their formation. Even when my ex was making the models, I was there for consultation and assistance. He made some of the molds and I made others. And in the 17 or 18 years since beginning production, I have made 95% of the porcelain pieces myself. And in the last 14 years I have made 100% of it.

I know, I sound like I am defending myself, well, I am, sort-of. Some shows do not accept molded items. But they are referring to items from commercial molds, mine are not in that category.

Oh, if you go to the Celebrate Clayton web site, you can click on the 2008 Artist Award Winners and see a listing of the winners this year (including me!!!). Still no photos from this year's event there, and still none of my samples on the Washi Quilted card site. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It's time for raisins!

I am a sucker for cute pets... this is our friend Tony feeding the bunnies raisins. To the left is Bunnie, Cookie man is in the middle and little Chessie is on the right. This is one of 4 photos Sharon sent me of the bunnies eating raisins, one photo had all 3 of them climbing up on Tony to get their share. Here, Bunnie has already had her share, as well as CM, but little Chessie wants more!
As for my creative side... I bought a new kiln! I have not been able to make my coffee pots for quite a few years because my current kiln is about an inch too short for them to fit. I just bought a lightly used kiln larger than any I have personally owned before. This new one will fit several coffee pots, in addition to mugs and bowls and such... all at the same time. My last personal kiln could fire 3 coffee pots at once, but that was all that would fit. I also used to have use of the kilns at work (where I worked before I moved to SC), as long as they were not needed for the company's production. I am so excited. We just have to clear a spot for it and get the wiring set. In the meantime, a friend is storing it in their garage.
I am casting a few things this morning while my laundry is drying, then it is a shower and off to Arts on the Alley to see what there is and to help some friends.
I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend. And remember what the original purpose of Memorial Day is, a time to remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms. They made it possible for us to have BBQs and picnics and fun. We shall be forever grateful to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day

I keep saying I will get new photos of everything, and still, I am pulling up older photos to post. This photo shows my sugar & creamer set and in the foreground is a sauce/pin dish and to the right of the photo is a napkin ring. The napkin rings are something I cannot make anymore. The molds got severe water damage back in MA and could not be repaired. I hope to get a new design of napkin ring going sometime.
Do you have anything planned for Memorial Day weekend? I am working today and am teaching an Art Clay Silver class this afternoon. We are open on Memorial Day Monday, as we have been for the last 20 years.
If you are looking for something to do in the SC upstate area this weekend, The Ram Cat Alley Merchants Association in Seneca is having their Arts on the Alley festival this Sat. & Sun. in conjunction with the new 'Meet and 3' BBQ fest sponsored by the city of Seneca. They both run Sat. 10 - 8 and Sun. 11 - 5. I would have loved to do this show, but it is a busy weekend at the Mercantile so I could not break away. The show focuses on art and encourages the artisans to demo if they can. One woman weaves wonderful free form baskets in her booth, and they are usually sold before she can finish them. It is a great way to spend your weekend.
And while in Seneca, take a trip on over to Pendleton and stop by our store to see me. (We are closed Sundays, but you can leave a note...) Sometimes I wonder if anyone out there reads this at all...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Other interests

I have mentioned that I also enjoy rubber stamping and other paper arts. This is an example of one of the Washi Quilted Cards that I teach at The Mercantile. The company we order the materials from has 10 kits with 4 - 5 patterns in each. And, as beautiful as their designs are, I would rather create my own for class. Each time I teach a session, I add at least one new design. The company has asked if they can post some of my designs on their web site, giving me & the store credit, of course. And I couldn't say no. They were not posted as of Saturday, but I'll keep checking. This is one of my favorite techniques. Washi (decorative Japanese paper) is so wonderful to work with, it is almost fabric like. It is difficult to tell from my photo, but the vase is padded and puffy. I have embellished with gold cord, beautiful ribbon and paper flowers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

doggie photos

Above are photos of Hops (to the left) who is still just a puppy, and Gertie. These photos were taken at the end of the afternoon. All three dogs had played their heart out for hours. After Leia went home, the remaining two just kicked back and relaxed before their trip home to Seneca (SC).
Leia just didn't want to sit still long enough for me to get a good picture of her. You can see her out smelling the flowers. This is a view of sister Sue's (and BIL Jim's) beautiful back yard garden. To the left is the house, and to the right is the pool.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A stitch in time...

I really did take a couple of photos of one of sister Sue's quilts. This is one of MANY she has made over the years. I have one I keep at the foot of my bed, perfect for a little cat nap, or on a chilly night as an extra cover.
This is a quilt she has in her living room. It goes beautifully with the rich earth tones of her sofa and chairs.
I have done a little quilting, but the big drawback for me is that it involves sewing. Sewing is not my favorite creative outlet. It is too much like work to me. I end up 'un-sewing' more than sewing. Then I get frustrated and I may as well quit. I have done a few small projects, but I have to really work hard at knowing when to put it down and walk away to relax. I can truly admire the work that goes into a quilt.
Now, my porcelain and bead work, those I get true enjoyment out of. I also enjoy pyrography (woodburing) and paper folding and rubber stamping, and... those don't stress me out like the sewing does.
Tomorrow, some photos of my niece & nephew's dogs...

Rise & Shine!

I know, I like flowers... this photo was shared by a friend from an Internet group I used to belong to.

I did get a couple of photos of a quilt made by my sister Sue, but I haven't gotten around to downloading them yet... sorry.

We had a wonderful time Sunday, Sue's two children and their spouses had surprised her the night before by coming to visit. The Grilled Shrimp & Chicken with Peanut Sauce were delicious! The grand-dogs were a riot! I have photos of them too... tomorrow.

I just felt like posting a little bit this morning, I'll post more tomorrow morning.

I am off to go for my walk this morning.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

This is a photo of my first great neice with her grandfather Don. Don is my ex-husband's brother. This little cutie just turned 6 months old this past week.

I don't feel old enough to be a great aunt, Don is not old enough to be a grandfather, and Mellisa is definitely not old enough to be a mother... but then again, she's in her 20's... I just haven't seen her in person for 10 years or so and can't imagine her being a mom. But, my denial of growing older aside, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to Mellisa and to all of the Mom's in my family! My Mom, Verne's Mom, my sister Sue, Mellisa's Mom Jan (not old enough to be a grandmother), my brother's wife Miwa, my sisiter Terri, My younger brother's wife Alice, and my sister Regina.

I also hope that anyone reading this remembers their Mom and whether she is still around to call or not, please wish her a Happy Mother's Day. Some of you may not be on the greatest terms with your Mom, don't let that stop you. Wish her a Happy Mother's Day anyway.

We are off to Aiken, SC to visit my sister Sue today. Maybe I can get some good photos of a quilt or two for me to show her wonderful creativity.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In progress

This photo shows some of my Ebonyware porcelain in progress. In the far background are the sake bottles, the mid range has both the mugs and the sugar bowl , closer to the front is my small rice bowl and the forefront shows the small sauce/pin dish. These are all in various stages of drying, as is evidenced by the varying shades of grey.
I am currently working on filling orders for some roly sake cups and some large rice bowls. And in the process, I am trying to get some sugar bowls that are not warped (so the lids will fit properly).
Don't forget to check out the POP Studio tour this weekend. And, while you're out and about, visit the other small business in that town. You may find things you never knew were so close to home.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

P.O.P Studio Tour

Another image from my computer. I need to download some of my photos to the new/used laptop.
There is an event going on this weekend in the Pickens, Oconee, Pendleton area (P.O.P.). It is the first annual P.O.P. Studio tour.
If I remember correctly, there are over 40 artisans showing off their talents. Some are located in their studios, and some are located in places such as Pendleton Gallery & Graphics, The Arts Center in Clemson, The Blue Ridge Arts Center in Seneca as well as places in Easley, Walhalla and more.
The tour runs both Saturday 10 - 6 & Sunday 12 - 6. Please get out and see what wonderful talents abound in the area. There are jewelers, potters, painters, quilters and woodworkers. You will see necklaces, vases, sculptures, wall hangings and more. The artisans will be demonstrating their talents as well as having some of their work available for sale.
For more information, please call the Blue Ridge Arts Center at 864-882-2722 or visit them at

More on my creative family

Another entry to the creative family is my sister Terri. Pictured is one of her necklace designs. This was designed for a bride to give to her attendants and went on to be a class. It contains two sizes of freshwater pearls as well as Swarovski crystals and sterling accents.
Terri is an extremely talented illustrator and designer. At one time she owned her own decorative rubber stamp company while living in the UK. She designed and manufactured the stamps herself.
If you are ever in Anderson, SC and have a craving for delicious pizza, go into NY Pizza just off Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.. Hanging on the wall to the left as you go in are a series of mixed media collages which Terri created in less than 2 weeks when the owner was redecorating. Each features a region in Italy. One of them even features the doors of the church in Sicily where our great grandparents were married. And while you are there, enjoy some wonderful food! Mom & Dad have even gotten take-out to bring to Churchville, NY when visiting Regina! We usually go every Wednesday & Saturday for dinner.
Terri can be found at our family store creating with beads or paper and rubber stamps. She also has taught bookbinding both at the store and at the Clemson Arts Center ( ). And this year she has volunteered at her son's school and helped the students in his class create fun things for different holidays. Not to mention the several Open Studios she has had at Hospice of the Upstate for staff and patients family members.
No headache this morning. YAY!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cookie Man & Chessie

Sharon was able to send me some photos of her bunnies. Earlier I posted a photo of Bunny & Cookie Man eating. Here is Cookie Man (CM) with the newest member of the family, Chessie.
Sharon assures me that their eyes are not red, it is just the camera's flash.
I'm told that Bunny hasn't bonded with Chessie as well as CM has, but at least they are not fighting and have accepted her into the family.
This appears that the 2 rabbits are in a very small cage, but if you look to the left of the photo, you will see that the door is open and they actually have a small room all their own. They still like to sit in the cage though, it gives them a view of the livingroom and what is going on there.
Once Sharon's finals are over we'll have to get together and do something. Between her schedule and mine, we haven't gotten together in a while.
In case you're wondering, I didn't get any sleep since my last post, but I did get to rest for about an hour or so before I just felt I needed to get up (or fall asleep and miss the day completely!).

Early morning rambles

No, these aren't my water lilies, but I thought it was a pretty picture.
I am awake early in the morning with a migraine and just felt the urge to post. This photo was stored on the computer, like the blue flowers in my profile.
Mom and Dad and Aunt Celeste returned from their trip to Maryland safely. They had a good time. It is great to have them back and also that schedules can return to normal. Terri and I doing the work of the 4 of us takes it's toll on our energy.
Back to the creative vein in the family, our 'matriarchal sister' Sue is an avid quilter. She has loved sewing since she was young and used to make a lot of her own clothes in high school, along with clothes for the rest of us too. She did some wonderful smocking when her son Bobby was young (he is married now...) and then ventured into more quilting. She has worked part time in a quilt shop while also teaching 3-year old pre-school. And has been teaching quilting classes for many years. One of her favorite pattern makers is Lazy Girl Designs which you can access by going to my younger sister Regina's blog . Regina refers to Sue as 'Lazy Sister Sue'. (Please note the corrected address for Regina's blog - Thanks Sue!)
I guess that's all for right now. I may post again after I get a little more rest... not sure if I can sleep or not.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Porcelain Mugs

I still have not had the chance to get all my photos taken. This is another shot from my Sunday display last weekend at Celebrate Clayton.

Pictured here are my mugs. Right now they are the only size I have. They hold 8 ounces. They were designed with the tapered shape to have less surface area for the coffee/tea/cocoa to cool. They also were designed with a large enough handle for the comfort of even those with larger hands.

I am in the process of developing a larger mug for those who don't like going for refills all of the time.

I need to give credit where credit is due. I learned what I know about model and mold making from my ex-husband and his father. Their professional expertise was in industrial ceramics. They both did this for a living. My father-in-law (Wally Higgins) taught Industrial Ceramic Design at the NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred University for over 25 years. My ex (Verne Higgins) received his degree there and worked for companies such as Lenox, Pfaltzgraff, Syracuse China and Sherle Wagner. In 1989 we went to work for my father-in-law. I started out decorating pieces and soon moved into other areas. I learned on the job. I may not have made all of the models for the pieces I make, but I worked on their design. The plaster wheel was Verne's area, I got to do some, but he was so experienced, it was easier (and quicker) to let him turn most of the pieces. I made a larger percentage of the original molds. Now I make all of the molds myself and am working on making more models. I do not have an industrial wheel to work on, so I am making do with what I can put together.

But, that all being said, from the beginning, 95% + of the production was done solely by me. Now it is done 100% by me. I may ask for input from friends and family on glaze colors and applications or new shapes, but the work is all done by me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My Max

Last night I talked about my friend Mike's sweet Savannah. Here is a photo of my buddy Max. This photo was taken several years ago when my ex and I were visiting Pendleton. It was taken in the garden outside the back door of the house. About 2 feet to the right of where this photo ends is where Max is at rest today. He died 7 years to the day after our move to Pendleton. Max was a wonderful friend and companion. Some nights I am sure he is curled up on my feet in bed as he did for a good part of his 18 years. I still miss him today. We had some nick-names for him like 'Tubby Tuna' he was 23 pounds at his heaviest, the vet even had to weigh him on the dog scale! And when we got him they said he was the runt of the litter and would stay small... I can't imagine what his siblings looked like fully grown! I can still remember the day we got him. We had to put down our previous cat Samantha the day before because she was so very sick with Diabetes (the worst the vet had ever seen). Our hearts and home were so empty, we searched for a new kitten. We ended up travelling 75 miles to Rochester, NY (we were living in Alfred, NY at the time) to a pet store where they had 4 kittens. 2 were orange tabbys and 2 were grey/black tabbys. Max was on top of the cat tower and the others were down below. We fell in love with his beautiful swirled markings and his white paws, not o mention his bold personality. On our way home in the car, we tried to decide on a name for him. We tried several and none seemed to fit. I had some t-shirts with a label of 'Sam & Max' and since our last cat was Sam, I said 'What about Max?' He responded to that name. We always said he picked his own name.
Hopefully Max and Savannah are playing well together somewhere and they are free of the pain of their last days. I will remember them always.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Goodbye Sweet Savannah

For all of you out there who have loved a pet, this entry is for you.
My dear friend Mike had to say goodbye this morning to his beautiful sweet chocolate Lab Savannah. She had her 9th birthday just yesterday. She has been ill for a few weeks now and the vet has not been able to determine what the problem was. Last night she took a drastic turn for the worse.
She was Mike's constant companion since she was a puppy. She went on the road with him when he was a sales rep. A sweeter, more faithful dog you would not find. And smart - wow - she put some of those 5 th graders on TV to shame!
I wish I had a photo of her that I could post. She was a beautiful dog.
In the last year or so she had become a good friend to me too, always excited to see me.
I could never miss her near as much as Mike does, but I will miss her too.
Goodbye Sweet Savannah, memories of you will live on in our hearts.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The show

It was a wonderful Saturday. We got there early to set up and I had my first sale before the show officially started.
About mid-morning two ladies came through asking a lot of questions. I didn't realize until later that they were the judges. They came back twice before the event chair stopped in to tell me to be at the stage at 3:30. When we gathered at the stage (12 artists in all) we did not know which award we were getting. In addition to 10 Best in Category awards, there were the Best Booth in Show and Best of Show awards as well. By the time my name was called, there were only 4 of us remaining.
I've never won an award like that before. Yes, I entered art competitions in highschool, and got 2nd place ribbons or honorable mentions. This was different. I didn't go with the intention of trying to win. I was just trying to show what I enjoy doing and share it with the public.
Sunday got off to a great start for me again, despite the drizzle. One of my customers from last year had gotten the post card I had sent and came looking for me. He purchased some of my new large rice bowls and a few sake cups for the people who own the winery down the road.
This photo shows a closer view of my Sunday set-up. The blue bowl is one of the large rice bowls, just minutes before it was sold.
If you are interested in any of my porcelain, please feel free to contact me at
The photos I tried to take of individual items at the show did not turn out well. I will need to take more and try to post them here soon.

I won a prize!!!

This photo is of my booth at Celebrate Clayton 2008 in Clayton, GA.

I did very well at the show, selling a nice variety of my pieces.

The title of this entry is 'I won a prize!!!' because I won one of the 10 prizes for best in category. It is officially called 'Judges Choice - Best in Pottery/Ceramics'. I am so excited and proud!

The weather on Saturday was quite warm, and on Sunday it rained most of the time. Pretty much a drizzle the majority of the time, but about 3:30 or so it just poured! We broke down our booths early. The customers pretty much left.

I'll tell you more tonight or tomorrow when I have a bit more time.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Beading Boys

Finally! I was able to get the photos to upload... These are my brother Bill's two boys on their first full day here visiting. And they chose to come and learn some beading. Their attention to detail is wonderful. Bill also did a little beading and made a beautiful Kyanite pendant for his wife Miwa. It had some sterling and some Rhodochrosite and Lapis beads to accent the large Kyanite piece. Miwa joined my sister Sue and made herself a netted weave bracelet.

About the show. I don't have the time this morning to post photos. I'll get some up of my other products after I get back.

I am looking forward to the show, but right now I am stressing. I know I shouldn't be. It's just something I do. I really, truely hope that the scattered thunder showers that are predicted this weekend are scattered widely enough that they bypass downtown Clayton, GA! The show goes on, rain or shine.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomorrow is the day...

Tomorrow I leave for Clayton. I have as much done as I can. The last glaze firing is in the kiln and I can unload it in the morning.
I tried to upload some photos, but I'm having problems tonight. If I have the chance, I'll try again in the morning. If not, it won't be until I return Sunday night or when I'm rested Monday morning.
The visit with family has been great. Bill's two boys have been learing to do bead weaving (off-loom) and making earrings too. They have spent 2 1/2 days of their Spring Break vacation at our store beading! I have photos, but I have been experiencing connection problems and cannot upload the photos at the moment.
I need this show. I love doing shows almost as much as I love creating my porcelain. I'd really like to do a few more shows in a year. We'll see... with a family owned and operated business, it is sometimes difficult to get away. I have those obligations, and yet I also have the need to do shows to help spark my creativity and keep me going.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


My younger sister, Regina has been collecting turtles for many years. We can't even remember exactly when she started 'collecting', but we know she got a turtle pull toy for her first birthday. My oldest sister, Sue, has become fond of turtles since swimming with a sea turtle on her visit to Hawaii a few years ago.
My friend Linda went to Hawaii in January and brought me back 6 Tiger Eye carved turtle beads. I debated what to do with the beads. Then one day, it came to me. There are 4 of us girls in our immediate family, 2 of whom are especially fond of turtles. I decided to make a pair of earrings for each of them, and a pendant for the other 2 of us. The photo was just before shipping the one pair to Regina in Churchville, NY. I positioned her pair 'swimming' North, and Sue's pair 'swimming' South to Aiken, SC and the ones for Terri and I are in the middle since we are both here. I used copper beads and findings to make them.
I got an IM from Regina this afternoon and she just received them. She said she LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVEs the earrings. Sue arrived here tonight and I gave her her pair, she said to add another LOVE to the list so she has 5.
I got a lot of sanding done on my pieces tonight. Tomorrow morning I will glaze. I still need to take some photos before the show... Two more production days to go...

Cookie Man & Bunny

I mentioned that my friend Sharon volunteers at the Rabbit Sanctuary in Simpsonville, SC. These are two of Sharon's bunnies. I don't have a photo yet of the newest addition to the family 'Chessie'. I haven't met Chessie yet. Cookie Man and Bunny are very sweet rabbits. They don't come over and want to sit in your lap, but they definitely want to be around to see what is going on. And once in a while, you'll feel one of them rub against your feet while you're eating dinner.
Having had dogs and cats most of my life, it is a little hard for me not being able to pick them up and pet them. But I respect their particular personalities and don't even try. But if one were to come over and hop in my lap, I wouldn't argue one bit!
Currently, I don't have a pet. Well, I kind-of do. We are co-caretakers of Shadow, a beautiful black cat that belonged to our late neighbor. She left him to my dad, but he has adopted the man who now lives in her house. Shadow is an outdoor cat and has always thought of our yard as part of his home. I put out his food every day, as I have for a few years now, but he spends a lot of time next door. And our new neighbor feeds him too.
To skip to another subject... brother Bill and family arrived safely yesterday afternoon. Sister Sue arrives this evening to visit with them. Sue lives about 2 1/2 hours from here, so she doesn't get to see the MA branch of the family often either.
Off to unload a bisque firing in the kiln...

Monday, April 21, 2008

creativity is in the blood

I know that I have been talking about the creativity among my immediate family, but I need to show how that creativity is in the blood.
In July of 2005, my neice got married. Terri's son was the ring-bearer. At the time, he was 5 1/2. At the rehersal, he didn't want to reherse. 'Mom, I know how to do it!' Instead, he sat in the church and drew this picture of the wedding. Remember, this was the rehersal, and yet he has the bride & groom in full wedding garb, as well as himself in the picture.
His mom is a very talented illustrator and at one time had her own rubber stamp company where she designed and manufactured them. When she moved back to the US from the UK, she gave up the company. She continues to do incredible illustrations. The 'Happy the crafting crab' on our store's web site ( ) is one of her creations. The one pictured is a digitised version of a wooden one we have on a message board outside the store.
As he has gotten older (he is now 8) he has continued his love of drawing. And his drawing technique is amazing. I'll have to take some time one day to figure out how to describe it.
My oldest nephew is in Graphic Communications with a degree for Clemson University (4 miles from here) and now works for International Paper in Clemson. His wife also works there and is a wonderful potter.
The others in that generation are also very creative. But when I came across this drawing yesterday, I had to post it. I'll get back to my siblings next.
Speaking of siblings, Bill & his family are arriving sometime today. That is why I wanted to get so much done with my porcelain so I won't seem like I am being antisocial.
Counting today, there are only 4 more production days to go. And work a full time job as well. I will be ready!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Production proceeds smoothly

These photos show the Ebonyware Porcelain in the bisque and the glazed-but-not-fired stages. That is where a good number of pieces are right now. I have a kiln load firing a glaze firing right now. I'll put in another one in the morning.
My kiln is rather small, an Evenheat 810 (I think). I got it when I just needed something small for home as I had use of kilns at work as long as they were not needed for work firings. It is 110. I wish I had a larger kiln, but I don't have the space or budget for it at the moment.
Today was my last day to cast before the show. I still may not finish every piece, but I'll be able to move the molds out of the way to have more space for trimming & glazing. (And I need to take the table to the show...)
I did take a break this afternoon to go to our local bead club meeting The Hole In The Bead Gang. It was a small group today, but we all had something to show for the challenge which was something with flowers.
Jo brought in some fiber and leather scraps. We were to pick a minimum of 2 pieces and for next month, we need to make something using them in the piece. I chose about 6 - 7 pieces of different leathers. I am not sure what I will do, but they 'spoke' to me and the fibers, as beautiful as they were, didn't.
Show anxiety isn't real strong yet, but today is only Sunday, I leave at noon on Friday. I can even unload a kiln as late as 11:45 and bring it with me.