"The chief source of art is man's pleasure in his daily work, which expresses itself and is embodied in that art itself."
William Morris (1834-1896)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Making pots again

We are back in the studio after a whirlwind of art fairs in August. September is clear so we'll be catching up on orders and getting ready for 2 art fairs in October. We are also in a group show at a local gallery in October so I'm hoping to make some special pieces soon. These photos show Steve throwing pots and then the pots setting up before he trims them. The bottom two are of Cherie decorating a mini. Steve set himself a goal of making 111 minis! We don't have orders for that many but they slip away steadily.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sonnenberg's Art in the Gardens

Here is the setting of the Arts in the Gardens show at the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion in Canandaigua, NY. The duck pond is in the foreground; the greenhouses in the rear in the first photo. The Mansion is at the end of the aisle of artists' tents in the second. Now part of the New York State Park system, this is a complex set of gardens, a 1906 Mansion and numerous greenhouses with orchids and cacti. They also have a gift shop an cafe. We felt right at home(!)

They were predicting bad weather possibilities but it didn't happen. Here we cautiously start to set up.

Steve is finishing up the pricing and the sun came out!

They placed us next to the duck pond. Every so often we would see the geese flock circle up above and land in the pond and then take a nap on the grounds close by with the baby deer munching on the Japanese Pagoda Tree.
We won a Merit Award from the Judges. Notice the blue ribbon on the top left pole of the booth.

Here is a gazebo with a spring fed pond below in the left photo and a view of the Japanese garden in the right photo.

It started to rain when we moved out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Arts in the Gardens at the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion

We now put aside our pot making and hit the road once again. This time we will venture towards the Finger Lakes region of New York. There is a State Historic Park in Canandaigua, NY called the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion. We visited it long ago on our return trip to East Aurora for a show. This is the ninth year for the show which increased the number of its exhibitors to 100. It is actually listed as the best show in New York by Sunshine Artists magazine, a trade magazine covering art fairs across the nation. The roster looks impressive so we are really looking forward to this. The show runs Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 5 pm. More information can be had at their website www.artsatthegardens.org
Here we go........

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Studio Work before leaving for Sonnenberg Show

I received an order for a ginger at the Ann Arbor show in July so I'm trying to make two of them before leaving for the next art fair this weekend. We always make an extra one to cover the chance of one of them not making it through the drying/firing process. Here are some photos of the work in process starting with the source of real inspiration, ground ginger. Steve had thrown the two pots last week and we tightly enclosed them in plastic bags while we were away at the Garrison show. It is time to finish them up so they can dry slowly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Garrison Art Center's 40th Annual Show

Garrison is a very small community on the Hudson about an hour from Manhattan. It boasts having the best view of West Point Military Academy across the river. The setting is beautiful and the show is small like the town. There were only 92 exhibitors at this show. Despite the obviously good circumstances, the weather was not accommodating at all. After unseasonably cool temperatures all summer, we New Yorkers could only complain when the weather finally became seasonably typical in the mid-90's with high humidity. Sales were flat though we handed out a lot of postcards. I think a lot of people used them as fans....

That is a distant view of West Point across the Hudson River from where the artists were setting up on Garrison's Landing.

Here is our space! #89. Gives you an idea of what we begin with at an outdoor show.
And then the show in full bloom........

and in the end, return to the calm of the rolling River......

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Glaze firing last night

We are hurriedly preparing for our next two art fairs.

The first is this coming weekend on Garrison's Landing on the Hudson River by the Garrison Art Center. It is a small show in a very beautiful setting.

The second show follows on the weekend after that in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It is in Canandaigua at the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion.

This is the kiln filled with glazed pots like the second photo. After the glaze is applied and before the pieces are fired, it is difficult to visually determine what glaze was used.

We fired the glaze kiln last night after glazing for 3 days intermittently with making pots. Glazing is always a unique challenge. There are so many factors that determine the glaze results. One factor is the changing viscosity of the glaze along with the aging factor of different chemicals. Although we do use an instrument to measure the viscosity generally, it essentially relies on our experience with its feel. Heavy cream/medium cream/ light, etc.... will influence the application thickness and needs to be adjusted according to whether we dip or brush the glazes onto the pot. Pots with two different colored glazes require both brushing and dipping. Smaller areas of one glaze would be brushed or painted on then waxed so that when the dipping occurs, there is a resist.

Today the kiln cools all day. We may be able to crack it open tonight. It is crucial that the cooling process not be rushed for our pieces.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saugerties Artists Tour 2009

For those of you who have not seen our studio, here are a few photos we took this weekend during our participation in the annual Saugerties Artists Tour. This first one is the front door of the studio which is attached to our house because it used to be a two car garage. Steve and I converted it into a studio in 1990 after we purchased the house.
This is the side yard. We have been losing our white pines gradually because of a voracious pine bark beetle which girdles the trees. We lost a huge one this year and Steve decided to make use of it by making some pedestals for the open house. The stacked fire wood is not from the pine of course. Steve cut and split 4 cords for next winter from some oak trees on our 4 acres.
We always have a selection of 'Pots with Problems' on our deck. These are pots that have blemishes. We can not take them to fairs or send them to our galleries so this is our only chance to give them a happy home.

Inside the studio, we used any free surface as display area.

Saturday we counted about 48 visitors. It was a beautiful day. Sunday was rather gloomy and rainy. It cut our attendance down to 23+.

The garden was appreciated by many. I had to give Mother Nature most of the credit because we've had so much rain this year. I haven't used my soaker hoses since April nor any water from the 4 rain barrels I have around the house. The folks in the valley are drowning but those of us on the cliff are living in very lush surroundings this year.

This year there were 31 studios on the Tour up from 24 last year. It is a good variety of artists and makes for an interesting tour.
At times we had as many as four or five cars in our driveway
and then there were none......

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Seventh Annual Saugerties Artists Tour

This coming weekend is the only weekend of the year that we open our studio to the public. We do this as part of the annual Saugerties Artists Tour. Saturday and Sunday, August 8 & 9 from 10am. to 5pm. you can visit any of the 31 studios on the Tour. Our group is quite varied and consists of some really talented people from painters to potters like ourselves.
If you are within driving distance, check out the event's website online www.saugertiesarttour.com to download a version of the map.
See you soon!