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.

Some links I like

I have listed a few links to family and friends. Both web sites and blogs are included. I'll add more in time.
Three of the links are family. One being our store here in Pendleton, the website, another it's blog and last but not least my younger sister Regina's blog. Regina is the one who made me aware of Blogger. She is also the one I go to when I can't figure something out here. She is my techno-savvy, easy to IM sibling.
The other links are for close creative friends. Michael Craig Designs & Savage Art Studio are more along the lines of informational sites, but have wonderful galleries of their work. Dogmaw Glass has all the bells and whistles. Jo & Chris not only feature their work but sell Satake glass rods. Jo's blog often features furry friends.
Today I may add the link to the Rabbit Sanctuary in Simpsonville, SC. My friend Sharon volunteers there and I have done some rabbit art (water colored sketches) for some of their benefit functions.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Here is a photo of my small rice bowl.

I have used some colored glazes on the inside and left the outside bare.

I work hard at getting the porcelain as smooth as possible. To me, pottery is very tactile. Most people looking for pottery pick it up and feel it's weight, running their hands across the surface. I try to get mine as smooth as silk.

I use glazes with some interest in them. Solid opaque glazes are not my thing. I like speckles and reactions in the glazes. I also look at the microwaveability of them. Most people have a tendancy to re-heat their coffee, tea or cocoa in the microwave. I don't want to use glazes that may damage the microwaves. I purchase my glazes rather than take the time to formulate my own. I have done that before, but I have so little time to devote, I'd rather have it be in creating rather than testing.

Regina commented that she linked people to my blog, she has a fun blog herself at . In it she shares her creativity as well as some of our sister Sue (the oldest sibling). Of particular interest is her 'Turtle of the Day' series.

more memory lane...

Maybe Rick & Regina will prefer these photos, they are a bit more flattering than the last one.
I do have to get some more photos of my pottery anyway, this is a good excuse to photograph them before the show...

Bill's woodwork

These are a couple of photos of Bill's woodworking. Pictured are my nephew and my brother-in-law who were visiting Bill's family for Easter.
You might be able to see his detail work and the wonderful inlay he did on the floor. The rail of the balcony then follows around and down the staircase to the first floor.
Thanks to my earlier post, sister Regina sent these photos from her collection. And I was going to wait and ask Bill next week while he is here if he had any in his camera... Thanks sis!

A step back in time...

This old photo/slide was taken on my birthday. (The label on the photo from my sister says 1970.) We were at my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving. To my right is my younger brother Rick, and to my left is my younger sister Regina.

I'm not sure if that was the year I had a pumpkin pie for my birthday cake, complete with a Santa Claus candle that had 'walked' to the middle.

One of Rick's artistic talents is his expertise with lighting and sound. He was always such a ham growing up, we thought he'd be on stage. He ended up preferring to be back stage.

Regina's creativity spans several media. Her most recent focus has been more on the quilting end of the spectrum, although her beading and rubber stamping are not far behind. Most of her time is spent with her 3-year old son.

There is more to their creative sides, but I have more molds to empty and some finishing work to do on other pieces.

Show Anxiety

I guess show anxiety is starting to set in.
My mind is racing from one thing to another. I leave in a week.
Do I have enough of each product in each color glaze? Will the weather in the Georgia mountains be good again for the show this year? Are they going to put me in the same general spot I was in last year?
There's more going through my mind, but it races through so fast, I cannot always catch the thought.
Anyhow, today is the day my older brother and his family leave eastern Massachussets and begin their trip south to visit. The boys have Spring Break. They will take their time driving and stop in North Carolina for the weekend to visit with my younger brother and his family. They will arrive here on Monday.
My older brother's creativity is incredible. He was a fine Art/Photography major at the NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He then went on and got his Masters in Computer Science. He has done beautiful blown glass, gorgeous sterling silver jewelry, made wonderful macrame pieces back in the 1970's, and his home now shows his detail oriented woodwork. He has made some of the most beautiful furniture, as well as laying the floors in the family room and their bedroom with Maple and Mahogony. If I can get ahold of some photos, I'll post them.
I need to attend to my porcelain, molds need emptying. I shall return...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some of my work

Here is an example of some of the work I do. This is a Sake set and it is sitting on a small wooden stand made by my older brother. The clay is actually the black that you see here. All I have done is add a clear glaze to the inside. I also make mugs and bowls. I am working on adding more to the line. But not having the model & mold making equipment at work like I used to, I have to find other ways to get my models made.

pictures or lack thereof

I am trying to add photos of my work, but I am having difficulties, it says there is an internal problem.
I mentioned that my family is all creative (all 6 children plus our parents). A little more on that subject...
Our father is a fine arts major who graduated from the NY State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. His specialty was ceramics. He eventually began teaching Engineering Graphics (drafting) to Ceramic Engineering students at his Alma mater. He funneled most of his creative work into building. Our mom always wanted to work with plants, but in her generation it was still frowned upon. Most girls went on to become secretaries, nurses or teachers. She went to Alfred State College (a 2 year state school) and majored in Medical Lab Technology. But her love of plants and creativity did not wane. She was/is a phenomenal landscape designer. Our home in Alfred had the prettiest terraced rock garden filled with a vast variety of flowering and decorative foliage. Dad was responsible for the wonderful stone walls that snaked their way through the garden as retaining walls for the terracing. Mom's other gift was her cooking, baking and cake design. She has made some of the most gorgeous, elegant wedding cakes I have seen.
I will talk more about my family's creativeness in future posts. Now I am off to work on my own creativity... I have a kiln to unload.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting Started

Let me introduce myself.
My name is Cindy Earl Higgins and I live in South Carolina.
I am a designer of porcelain pottery. I use a black porcelain and call my product Ebonyware. Most of what I make is mugs and other functional tableware. When I figure out this blog, I will add some photos.
I do not use a potters wheel. I instead make models and molds and cast the pieces. I worked for several years in the Industrial Ceramics field and that is what I learned. When in high school, I was never able to center the clay on the wheel.
Right now I am preparing for a show in Clayton, GA on the 26 & 27 of this month. I am excited. It was a great show for me last year and I love the town.
If you can come, it will be on Main Street in Clayton, rain or shine.