Little Shop In Dover

Last Sunday, I dropped off pottery at a fun little shop in Dover Minnesota called Simple Soaps for Simple folks.  the owner of the shop Shanna and I met a couple years ago and I’ve greatly enjoyed occasionally having my pottery in her shop.  

If you find your self in southeastern Minnesota, I encourage you to top by the shop, check out Shanna’s soaps and all the other gorgeous crafts items she has for sale.  You might even find a great new piece of pottery you just gotta have.   

To follow simple Soaps for Simple Folks on Facebook click HERE

When The Fortune Cookie Speaks…

you should listen!!

So… after leaving my full-time job at the beginning of the year, I’ve been working part-time as a contractor for my former employer until they have a new hire in place.  With the additional studio time I’ve had available I’ve been busy making lots of the pieces that potters sell lots of – cups, mugs, bowls, baking dishes, those kinds of things. And while there is always a touch of creativity in them for the most part they don’t feel like a creative task to me.  

At the end of my work week yesterday, I was in a little funk, feeling like I really needed a creative kick in the pants and should take a break from the inventory building phase I’ve been in to do a few more creative pieces for a while. Of course I didn’t get right into that and instead decided on getting take out from a local Asian restaurant.

Apparently… the universe thinks I should be spending my studio time more creatively too.  Today’s activities will including finishing up the things I already have on drying boards, yoga, grocery shopping and then back in the studio for some creative work.

Hope you have a creative day as well. 

Glazing Day

I’ve been throwing lots of pots lately, which I bisque and then store up to glaze just before spring sales start.  I do, however, have a couple orders I need to get out of here soon, so I decided to run a couple glaze firings through the electric kiln next week.  

Pots have been cleaned, the bottoms waxed and now it’s time to start glazing.  Hoping to run the first load on Monday.  

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

The Devil is in the Details

According to Wikipedia, the phrase “the devil is in the details” is derived from an earlier phrase “God is in the details” but generally it means details are important.

When I’m low on inventory or need to produce a larger body of work, I’m sometimes tempted to not spend as much time on details as I’d like.  With a greater amount of time to create pottery in 2014, one of my many goals is focusing on and refining details

Here is a collection of photos of details from past pots. 

Frozen Pots

As some of you may have read yesterday, anything freezable in my studio was frozen when I woke up.  The door had been left open and the heater couldn’t keep up with the -20F temps outside.

I had a lot of ware on drying boards and was a little concerned with how it might deal with freezing and then thawing again. So far, the bowls I’d thrown the day before seem to be doing well.  I trimmed them up today and though I’d planned to carve their rims, I decided to just leave them uncarved instead of putting more time into them just in case they did have some problem that hadn’t shown up yet.  

I also had a couple dozen mugs in two different shapes on drying boards.  They had been trimmed and handled a few days ago and were covered in plastic to slow dry.  When I first checked them yesterday they had significant ice crystals that had formed on them.  

frozen mug

Today, I checked them again and most of them are doing OK, but I notice several had developed fissures in the clay.  And I think it’s only on this one style of mug.  The other rounder, fuller shapes so far aren’t exhibiting any of these fissures. The clay is still soft enough I can work these fissures out with my thumb, but I’m pretty sure they will return once it is fired. 

fissures after mug thawed and began to dry

Anyway, while I don’t think this is something I’d ever intend to do, it has been a great learning opportunity on what happens when water is forced out of clay under freezing conditions.  And of course an excellent reminder to make sure the door is tightly closed before going to bed.  Just goes to show, we’re never too old to learn.  

Be well.  And make sure your doors are closed!!

Good morning

A couple days ago, I re-pinned this on Pinterest.  Little did I know then that I would be making use of the principle today. 

Last night the studio door was left open with outdoor temps of -20F.  Needless to say, the heater couldn’t keep up with that and everything inside the studio froze.  Faucets, sink trap, clay, glazes, slip, wax resist, leather hard pieces and the stuff I’d just thrown all were hard as a rock this morning. 

Check out the ice crystals on the bottom of this mug


Glaze bucket frozen solid

Definitely not what I’d planned, but today I’ll take a deep breath and spend some time thawing stuff out, determine what can be salvaged and what needs to be reclaimed.  Then we’ll just have to go from there.

Lots of work, but ultimately, I’m so glad we are on the back side of this polar vortex.  We’ve got more comfortable weather heading our way and are supposed to see temps above freezing by the weekend.  
Stay warm friends.  

ps.  Any pottery friends ever had to deal with this?  Would love to hear what I can expect from the work that froze.  

Flashbacks of 2013

I was feeling a bit inspired by the slideshow video Lori Watts shared earlier this week on Facebook and since it’s currently -13 here in MN indoor activities are on my to do list today as well.

2013 was a great year here with a whole collection of activities and lots of new pots

  • Becky Brandow of Willow Avenue Pottery in Iowa joined me for a woodfire in late January.
  • We had a great time and lots of visitors for our annual Bluff Country Studio Art Tour kiln opening and pizza party.  This was our second year for the event and it’s growing.  Hope we can see even more folks in 2014.
  • Enjoyed making a custom cake plate for a bride’s special day as well as custom place settings for another wedding gift.
  • Had some great studio help when the grandkids visited.
  • Attended several art festivals and enjoyed seeing so many new faces and some old ones. 🙂
  • Participated in The Color Run with some of my favorite people.  What a great event and a fantastic time.
  • Saw some beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
  • Joined forces with other Lanesboro artists to create a new event called Lanesboro Area Art Trail.
  • Had a great time starting my bottle garden and hope to add more bottles in 2014
  • Rang in the new year with the best roadie ever. Thanks Kevin for all your help this year.

In my last post of 2013, I mentioned some news… well… I left my day job after nearly 34 year and will be working as a full-time potter in 2014.  It’s a big change for me and I’ll probably do a whole post on it in the next couple weeks.  So scary, but very exciting.

Have a great 2014 everybody.  Be well.

Mud & Suds Sale

Wow!!  Where does the time go??

My last sale of the season is just a couple weeks away and I’ve got several glaze kiln loads to get done before the event.  The first kiln is cooling tonight and I hope to get one more done this weekend.

December 6 & 7 my sister Jackie, of Wishy Washy Soap Company and I will be hosting our annual Mud and Suds Sale.  Hope you can join us for this great opportunity to get beautiful pottery and very indulgent bath and body products.  Click HERE for more informaton

New Work

The last couple months have been really focused on selling the items I’ve made earlier in the year, but I did manage to get some new things made. Lots of mugs because I’ve really sold a lot of those this season. Also some baking dishes and square platters. Now that these have all been washed and waxed, it’s time to start glazing. 

The last Lanesboro Area Art Trail of the 2013 season takes place this weekend. If you’re in the SE Minnesota area stop in and visit for a bit.  

Finally had a chance to clean up my sidebar a bit too.  Check out those social media buttons on the top.  They were long overdue, try them out.  

Have a great week!!!

Lanesboro Area Art Trail

Lanesboro Minnesota, long known as the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota was recently named one of America’s Top Twelve Art Places.  With the intent of expanding the areas artistic spectrum, a few artists in the Lanesboro Minnesota area got together to discuss the creation of an ongoing open studio event.  The result of those discussions was the creation of a series of group, scheduled open studio weekends from June through November each year called the Lanesboro Area Art Trail. 

The first of these open studio weekends will take place September 20 – 21 with three artist studios participating. 

I’m proud to be one of the participating artist studios and so excited to be involved in this new event.  The last couple months have been a whirlwind of getting dates nailed down, rack cards made, maps and brochures printed, signs printed, photos and info from artists, a web site created and ads ready for Minnesota Public Radio.  It’s all coming together nicely.

The Lanesboro area in the fall is stunning.  With three open studio dates scheduled for this fall, I hope you can come out to visit our studios and see the beautiful and inspiring artistic spaces where we create. 

For more information on the Lanesboro Area Art Trail dates and participating studios, click HERE and find us on FACEBOOK.

Firing 9, August 2013

Some neighbors came over on Sunday to help unload the kiln Kevin and I fired the previous weekend.  It’s always great to have some extra hands around to help.  

Here are a few of my favorites from this firing.

And there was just one really bad piece from the firing.  These conjoined twin mugs are not really what I’d intended. 

I have a couple events scheduled for September so many of these pieces will be available at those events.  See the sidebar for info on my upcoming events.

Have a great week.

Pots in Use

It’s always so fun to get photos of my pots in use at their new homes.  Marv and Carol Eggert who operate an wonderful bed and breakfast in Lanesboro Minnesota called Hillcrest Hideaway were very kind to send me a photo of my little flower pots in use.  

The ham and egg dish Carol made looks just delicious with its flower accent in this little flower pot.  I think they would be very useful for muffins as well.  Thanks for sharing the photo Marv!!

Barnyard Boutique 2013

The Barnyard Boutique in Dover Minnesota is coming up in a couple weeks. Located on a quaint farm just a short drive from Rochester, this event is a must attend for anyone looking for unique pottery and gifts. 

Want to have even more fun? The Barnyard Boutique is one of the stops on a bus tour taking place on Saturday, August 24th.  Here is more info on the bus tour.

Bus trip – Saturday, August 24, 2013
8:15 Meet bus at Shopko South (far end towards Culvers)
8:30 Bus leaves
9:00 Arrive at Barnyard Boutique in Dover
9:45 Leave Barnyard Boutique
10:00 Arrive at Simple Soaps in Dover (enjoy donuts and coffee)
10:45 Leave Simple Soaps in Dover
11:15 Arrive at Adourn in Chatfield
12:00 Leave Adourn
12:30 Arrive in Lanesboro
Lunch is on your own and explore the town
4:00 Bus leaves Lanesboro for Rochester
4:45 Arrive in Rochester at Shopko South
Cost is $15.00 includes bus trip, goodie bag and prizes
Deadline is: August 18th please call or e-mail to get your name on the list (contact info below)
Send check to: Melissa Burnett 423 River St. SW, Chatfield, MN 55923
Any questions contact: Melissa at mmcmanimon@hotmail.comor 507-421-5592

Summer Sunflowers

I could tell you all about the pots I’m making this weekend (some big bowls if you’re curious)  but this is such a pretty picture, I’d like to share it instead.

We have a 15′ – 20′ strip of sunflowers planted along our driveway and this week they are just gorgeous.  In a few weeks, the finches will be having a feast.

Have a great weekend.