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".