Friday, August 13, 2010

HOT &HUMID and Studio Pets


Fred, our neighbor's dog that hangs out in the studio.

Fred is very afraid of thunder and lightening and gun shots. He will hide under my work table and shake with fear. He is old and has bad arthritis and sure could use a serious bath. I have been removing the loose fur that he is shedding. I even broke down and bought a undercoat hair brush so I could finish the job. He doesn't get much TLC at home. He smells awful and I keep threatening to give him a bath. We also have a cat named Baby that hangs out in the studio. She was a wild kitty, and is the last of a litter that has lived in the area for years. She adores Jim and he has taken on feeding her and getting her veterinarian care. The vet guesses she is about 12 years old.

Turquoise Fishing Bear & New Red Small Bear with Fish

The air is so thick and heavy. Can you imagine me doing Raku in this weather? 90 today and 50% humidity....

Picture this: I have to wear a heavy sweatshirt, welder's gloves and open a kiln at 1850 degrees!!!!

The sweat pours down inside my clothes as I take out each piece one at a time and place them in a container of sawdust and whole oats or shredded newspaper. At least I like the way things have been coming out!

I have a new glaze I have been playing with. A red hot red! I like it. I did a Fishing Bear in the new red with a blue and turquoise fish and I also tried the Small Bear with Fish in this color combination. Actually, the colors were suggested by a gallery owner in Seattle. Suzanne owns Afishionado Gallery and has been ordering from me for several years. Thanks for the suggestion Suzanne!

In this photo the fish on the red bear is not as intense as I am now doing them. Picture a fish that is blue and turquoise...deeper in hue.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Talking to myself?

Fish Cigar Box (a long ago project)

From time to time I find out that someone is reading my blog.

Mostly posting feels like I am talking to myself.


Will all you lurkers out there please leave me a comment to let me know you exist and are reading these posts?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jim's Pottery

The final firing is done in a barrel.
Sunburst Pot by Jim Whalen, Paradox Pottery
This one is Mine!!!

Ruth and Jim - Thanksgiving 2009

If you would like to see Jim's official website go to:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Baskets and Pam
Ruth and Pam- The good bye party Sept 09Pam at the basketry workshop spring of 2009Ruth's basket backpack -Spring 2009

My dear friend Pam sent me an email yesterday that was so beautifully written that I want to share her words with you.
My dear friends and family,
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I rarely mark traditional contact days with any sort of card sending or annual report of the doings of Pam and Dave ....Yes, I think sending pre-processed thoughts to numbers of people a lame cop for real contact, but, thinking how much I miss my community of far flung loved ones , I decided tp send this to all the most special people on my mailing list. That decision resulted in scrolling down though my list, visualizing you and feeling your presence with me for a moment. I miss you. If we were spending time together, there is so much that we could/ might do...conversations on hold or unfinished, things we might share that would delight and astound us both.....adventures in action and creativityand stillness and the mundane and mystical. To be sure, I might not choose to ski down steep slopes anymore or jump high jumps on the back of horses, but, as I now take delight in sending spark to tinder and blowing up fire I know it is not too late for any of us to engage in new adventures together and /or apart. I wish it were possible to have the opportunity to be fully present with you in a way that would nuture our relationship and delight us both at least each week or month if not each day That not being the way of things, I just wanted to let you know that I am thing of you and do think of you and send my love. Pam

A little background:

A few years ago I met Pam and her husband David at a wonderful place called Hanazono, a noodle house next to the Rose Theater in Port Townsend, WA. . Pam and David were recent transplants from New Hampshire not very far from where I had lived in Putney, VT, we even knew a few of the same people. I instantly was drawn to her and we became friends. The transistion for Pam was rough at first, mourning the loss of her friends and family in the east. Being a strong spirit Pam dived into exploring the northwest and all it had to offer. She was a joiner...and tried out all kinds of groups and activities and used her garden building as a way to work through her sorrows and her joys. Saying goodbye at my going away party was very, very hard....Pam and I talk on the phone but I sure miss our meals together, walks on the beach and garden tours. Pam is a deep soul with a bright smile and the kindest of spirits. She is a friend that I miss with all my heart.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cold Weather, Hot Kilns

Paradox Pottery

Jim Whalen's Pots

Jim Whalem 12/09

(For the curious readers here is a photo of Jim and a few of his delicious pots.)

In this record cold that we have been having here in the mountains of North Carolina, my focus has returned to getting ready for Valentine's Day orders, developing new work and just making sure the studio and house stay warm and no pipes freeze.

Odd to think I moved from up by the Canadian boarder in Washington where it is warmer, to the cold south! Having lived in the northeast my first 40 years this cold doesn't bother me that much. I know how to dress for the cold and drive in snow and have a great car. The infrastructure to deal with this cold and the snow isn't here since it is so rare for it to stay this cold for this long. What would have been a non-event in Vermont is a really big deal here. The house I am living in wasn't built with such cold weather in mind. I hate to think what our electric and gas bills will total. We have a wood stove in the studio but are heating the back rooms with electricity. Next week we will be doing some bisque firing so that will help heat the studio as well.

I am having to focus on making inventory for orders to ship out in early February. My inventory shelves are very empty. I miss my wonderful helper and talented artist, Rose....she wouldn't move here with me! I was hoping to just focus on new work but I have lots of bills to pay!

Lots of positive energy coming my way in terms of One Hundred Horses. I am sending work to
a group show at:

Gorse Mill Studios
Needham, MA
Mastering Raku The Book and the Art Within
Feb 1 -March 19 2010

Steven Branfman author of "Mastering Raku" by Lark Books has invited all the artists whose work is featured in the book to do a show to celebrate.

I have 4 new galleries in western North Carolina including just getting an order from The Mint Museum Of Art Gift Shop in Charlotte. They will be moving the museum to a larger space and from what I hear their goal is to be the best contemporary fine handcraft museum in the country. All good omens for another good year for One Hundred Horses!

Jim and I did a full page ad with 6 other ceramic artists in the Winter issue of Niche Magazine which just came out. It will be interesting to see what comes of this new exposure. The ad will also appear in the show guide at the February Buyer's Market of American Craft, a well established wholesale show in Philadelphia.

I am getting throwing lessons on the wheel from Jim and decided today that I will pick up some earthenware and practice making flower pots. We have some collaborative pieces in process and I will post photos later if we like the results.

Jim is busy updating his website, making pots for the next round of retail shows
and experimenting with new firing techniques. He thinks the cold weather is "gross".

Shadow my small 15 year old dog has been doing fine. He likes to chase the squirrels and has learned the art of the quick pee when it gets in the teens outside. He wears a polar fleece jacket and still shivers some days when it is just too cold for him.

I am still up and down emotionally. Making so many profound changes in such a short time has taken its toll. All in all I think I am mostly doing OK. I miss my sons, and northwest friends and Port Townsend. It will take me awhile to connect with my new surroundings especially since I work at home. I feel like I now live in a universe of two people most days. I think Jim and I are doing really well at being around each other all the time. This is a whole new territory for me, this being together all the time. Jim and I are very different in many small ways and I find that for me this is OK. I think he is unlike anyone else I have ever known. He is very different than most people, much kinder and very thoughtful and at the same time self contained and very focused.

His desire to push his art as far as he can really drives him. I have much more fun doing what I do. He struggles through the complex process he is developing. With each step there are myriads of technical problems that can crop up. He sure could have picked an easier way to make a living. The end results do make it worth it, when all the stars align and the pots "work".