new year

Every year I try to take on a new project in January.  Learn something new, develop a new habit.  It's leftover from my college days when we were on a 4-1-4 system and had the month of January to take an intensive class, do an internship, independent study, or travel (I took a class on Churchill in 1994, interned at my city's Human Relations Council office- essentially a Civil Rights/non-discrimination arm of the city government -in 1995, interned at the Arkansas Territorial Restoration in 1996, and completed ten oil paintings in 1997).  It's a nice way to segue into a new year and ease out of the excitement of the holidays without having those post-holiday January blues set in. 

In years past, I learned how to knit socks, ran every day, taught people to knit, started blogging and opened an etsy store, painted or did printmaking.  It's never been as monumental a project as when I was in college, and frankly, as a mother and a small business owner, my memory of those "extra" things that we do for ourselves is a little lacking.  Two years ago I started the habit of taking a photo every day.  I continued that last year, but started to feel like my photos were becoming a little, um, formulaic or rote.  How many times can I take a picture of a bowls of lemons?  Lots, apparently.  In high school and college I really thrived in art classes.  I loved to draw and kept sketchbooks.  Since 2000, I think I've jumped around in three or four different sketchbooks- some huge, some purse-sized- mostly for taking notes, jotting pottery ideas, sketching pots and surface design motifs.  I decided to buy a thick, 365+ page book for this year, some nice micro pens, and make a drawing every day.

Here's my first drawing.  Edna, my black star hen, her egg, and one of her fluffy downy under feathers.  Then I drew a rose, some lemons (sensing a pattern here), and today I drew a saucer that took at least twice as long to sketch as it did to throw on the wheel.  So it's stretching me, which is rather the point of these January exercises.  But I think I'm enjoying taking ten minutes (or thirty) sitting by the fire, sketching and drawing before I start working in the studio for the day.  I'm posting some of the sketches on flickr, as I feel up to it.  Some are private, visible only to me, others public.  I think tomorrow I'm going to work on the shallots on the counter that have sprouted and should be planted in the coldframes.  Maybe.

There's studio work, too, an order to finish for a client, new work to develop, and an entire 6 foot table in my basement full of work to glaze.  I threw 6 saucers, 4 mugs, and 3 ill-fated yarn bowls today- my first time at the wheel since early December.  I need to ease into that rather than hurl headlong.  No real goals for the year, just observing the journey as I take it.

Happy Wednesday, folks,  and see you soon.

getting ready for spring

It is the last day of January, my Jan term is over, and I believe that I've met my goals. Blogging regularly-check. Etsy store open-check. A good jump start on making pottery for spring shows- check.
I have been making pottery almost every day this month- my standard goal is 5 pieces per throwing session. I also learned how to replace the elements in my kiln with the help of my co-worker, Dierdre. I've even sold a few pieces this month, which was encouraging after a slow holiday season.
These herb markers are my festival bread-and-butter. Last year I sold 500 on a single day. Gary was freelancing, and I was teaching a lot, but these little gems paid our mortgage that month. I have several hundred on hand, but it is time to break out the slabroller and make several hundred more before planting season begins.