What brings joy?

Like so many others, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is a time when I like to look back at the year, reflect and focus on the upcoming year.  One of the things I’ve really thought about this past year are the things that bring me joy. It’s often in very small ways, but still they bring a smile to my face or joy to my heart. Today, I’d like to share some photos of one of the places that bring me joy. 

My husband and I own 40 acres in a small farming community of Lanesboro, Minnesota.  When it was purchased, there was nothing on the property but a well that hadn’t been used in decades.  Since that time, we’ve had a driveway built, brought power into the site, constructed a small building to operate as my studio with a sleeping loft above, established a “yard”, constructed a kiln shed and had a bourry box kiln built there. 

While this was all a great deal of work, it brings me so much joy when I look back to where we started and how the site has changed.  In addition to the sense of accomplishment in making this site “ours”, the quiet, peaceful nature of the areas hills and valleys brings me even greater joy.  

We love the place it has become and the peace we feel when we are there. 

What brings you joy?


With a Minnesota winter arriving any day now, I needed to give up some of my studio space so it could go back to being the middle stall of our garage. Stupid winter!!

Just yesterday this space was taken up with glaze buckets and a work table covered with glaze drips and glazed pots.

I’m sure I’ll appreciate getting into a warm truck when it’s cold and snowy, but it was so nice to have the extra space to spread my mess out a bit. OK – bring on the snow… I’m ready.

Funny How Things Happen

This past weekend we had a party at the farm/studio in SE Minnesota. The weather was a little hot and humid, but the breeze made the weather tolerable. Otherwise it was all about good friends, good food and some adult beverages. On Friday morning my husband and I along with one of the 1st of the guest went to a little restaurant/store just a mile or so from the farm called the Highland Store.

It was established in 1892 and has been operated by several different families since that time. The current owner Vicky serves great organic breakfast and lunch every Sunday through Friday. This particular Friday morning I was enjoying my multi-grain waffle and visiting with Iris our server. I mentioned to Iris that I was a potter and her reply surprised me. “I’ve been praying to meet a potter.” Not world peace or saving the starving children, but meeting a potter. Wow, I don’t get that kind of reception very often.

Turns out, Iris makes great deep dish pies and her deep dish pie plate she had custom made for her in Washington many years ago had developed a crack. She’s been looking for someone to make a new one. I was happy to help out (especially knowing it was going to be used to make deep dish pies that I would eventually enjoy at the Highland Store). On Friday afternoon I made two pie dishes for Iris. I hope she likes them and makes some delicious pies.

It’s kinda funny how things happen like that. Deep dish blackberry pie – can you taste it?? I can’t wait.

Studio Helper

Sometimes it’s nice having help in the studio. And sometimes, it’s not really helpful. My daughter’s pooch, Snuffles, frequently is by my side while I’m working. Occasionally, she gets her nose a little too close to moving parts or she wanders off with a sponge which apparently makes a fun dog toy. But when she doesn’t feel she’s getting adequate attention, she occasionally likes to get right up in the action. Silly puppy!

In spite of all this help, I’ve continued my efforts to stockpile the items most frequently sold during my summer sales. Throwing in a few fun, creative pieces as the fun wears off making 40 spoon rests in a sitting. I’ve recently been making some plates that start out like a typical thrown salad size plate, but after trimming the foot ring, I reshape the rim to a rounded square shape. I really enjoy the altered shape and think when they’re paired with a thrown dinner plate they make a great place setting. The hardest part is catching them at the right stage of drying to be able to trim the foot ring yet the rim isn’t too dry to cut smoothly with a sharp knife. If it gets too dry, the edge of the rim crumbles and chunks off instead of cutting cleanly. But challenges are part of the fun. Right?

Be well and stop in for a visit again soon.