Saturday, August 6, 2022

As Yet Unnamed


The universe has provided me with a new truck. Or - equally plausible! - I scoured Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace, & every other avenue I could think of, until I found the vehicle I needed. It's a 2010 Ford Ranger, low miles, no frills. We got it for what would have been an insane price a couple of years ago but baby, things change. It was actually the cheapest one on my list, & had been on the market for over a month, so I was half expecting it to be trailing parts & belching smoke. Not at all! Other than some scratched in the bed, it's like a new truck. 

It hasn't yet earned a name, but I am listening to the wind thru the window for suggestions. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

The Grey Lady Drives Off Into The Sunset


It seems like only yesterday I drove her home, overjoyed to have a truck for the first time since 1989. Everything is a little easier with a truck! Art fairs, yardwork, dump runs, snagging free furniture left by the side of the road. But sadly the Grey Lady has been diagnosed with terminal frame rust, & she will not pass her next inspection. 

But I'm not doing artfairs anymore - probably? - & roadside furniture finds always smell funny; & I don't know if we can find a bargain like we got with the Grey Lady. It's a tough time to buy any used vehicle, especially a truck, since demand for used vehicles has never been higher, in part due to a dearth of new ones - that's that whole chip shortage you've been reading about. 

Anyway, we are, in a way, lucky: we have a PT Cruiser that I will continue to drive to class, & the Grey Lady herself is not immediately out of commission, so we have a few weeks to find a replacement. I'd love to get another small pick up, but it may not be in the cards. So, local readers, if you hear of a good deal on a used truck - or, heck, a good deal on any vehicle - give me a shout! It takes a village.

On a completely unrelated topic, anyody wanna buy pottery? 😄

Friday, July 29, 2022

In Use

I have an alter ego that occasionally pops up in the studio. Unlike my usual work, she makes hand built work with spontaneous shapes & rustic edges. I don’t know how other potters stick to just one style of working! My alter does not appear often, or make many items, but I really enjoy the few I get. 

This platter, for instance! I use it a lot; it’s a great serving size for two, or for side dishes for larger groups. Tonight I grilled cherry tomatoes & button mushrooms, and served them over pasta with Parmesan cheese. The warm iron-brown color of the platter seems to complement any food I place on it. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

New pots!

 I unloaded a firing last Sunday! Between packing & delivering the pots to their awaiting outlets, & photographing, then processing the images, I am only just getting around to posting about it. Nice problem to have: a week out, & almost all the pots are sold. I held out a few for the online store. 

Lately I have been producing two bodies of work: Dotopia & Sweet Life. (I find it helps, especially for taking wholesale orders, if I name the lines. Yes, the names are a bit corny! That's marketing for ya.) I'm only posting a few Sweet Life pots, because the Dotopia pots are in stores now. Damn, I really need to fire more often, because I need more inventory. 

Anyway, the pots are here. I'll be posting these in my online shop today

I'll be posting the links here as soon as I get these listed. Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Pottery Stairs are Out!


The Pottery Stairs, wearing their spiffy new coat of lipstick-red paint, are out for the first time since the Maine Pottery Tour! Local peeps, come & get your love! (Or, you know, mugs.)

Here's how it works: Choose your pottery. Grab an envelope - it's already got my address & a stamp.  You can mail me the price of the ware, or you can put the payment directly into my mailbox, on the porch. Or you can send money via CashApp: $FineMessPottery ; or at :@LoriKeenanWatts

Sorry, but I can't hold or ship pieces from the pottery stairs. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Yes, I'm Still Making Stuff!

You might have the impression from my last few posts that all I've done for the last couple months is studio housekeeping: roof repair, new shelving, painting the stairs. Au croissant! (or whatever.) I have been making like a mad bastard! I tend to share those photos on instagram - the social media platform I find truly enjoyable. I use a couple of the others but insta is the one that is actually fun, as opposed to a tool for staying informed, either of the news of the day or of my friends lives. Though I am very interested in politics, I keep my instagram feed free of it - anyone making political posts or god forbid memes, I mute them, at least for a while, because I think there need to be places, irl & online, where we can go & not focus on what divides us. It's the only way back to civility, if there even is a way back.  (Side note: I f*ckin hate most memes, they are basically bumper sticker thinking for the internet. Most just play into confirmation bias, & make people think they are informed without giving them any information.)

That was a long introduction, that wandered off into the weeds! Here are some pics of what's happening in the studio: 

Bisque on today is my last day to throw. Better make the most of it! 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Pottery Stairs Are Getting A Glow Up

The pottery stairs have needed spiffying for some time now, but it’s never the most important thing on my list. It’s not the most important thing on my list today, either, but I bumped it to the top while the waste I threw yesterday is drying . As you can see, the pottery stairs used to be red! And they will be again. 

Also on today’s list: Trim & decorate coffee cones; mow the lawn; grind kiln shelves; & listen to the 1/6 hearings.

But if the sun comes out, all bets are off; the kayak will start calling me.

Friday, June 3, 2022

All My Ducks In A Row

For “ducks” read “kiln furniture.” 

It takes so little to make me happy. Today it’s a new wire shelving rack to keep my posts orderly, freeing up tons of space in the summer studio. 
It's good to feel like one thing is under control! 

I've had a very busy June so far! I am still trying to catch up from not having a kiln for half of last year, in addition to the things I neglected while organizing the Pottery Tour: my taxes, for example. Did those yesterday, & got a start on reclaiming the lawn from no-mow May. I hope the pollinators appreciated it because it's way more work than if I had just been mowing all along. 

And then there are our new kayaks. 

I've been trying to purchase these for 2 years, but every time I had the money all in one place something would happen from one of our 3 big unexpected-expense categories: house, cars, pets. Never the less I finally made it happen so of course we had to take them out. We went to Savade Pond, a little puddle of a place too small to attract tourists, a paddled around for a few hours looking at lilies and turtles and white fluffy clouds. 

Other than that, I've mostly been in the studio. I have a slip trailing post queued up in my brain, all about my new best friend, Darvan 7. Type at ya later! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Up on the Roof

A predicted 4 day dry stretch seems like a good time to address the state of my studio roof. 

This is sort of a new experience for me, as my typical approach would be to wait until a thing is a Problem, with a capitol P, before solving it. I could have just plopped a tarp over it, or replaced the torn shingles, to keep the water out, but carpenter ants have gotten into the wood, & while I could have postponed the fix it was not gonna get better by itself. So, dry weather predicted? Time to tackle the roof. 

My only problem is, I don't really know what I am doing. I do find myself in this situation semi-regularly: a job that needs doing, but no money to hire it out, & no skills to do it myself. My usual approach has been to just do it anyway, & figure it out as I go along. How hard can it be? has been my catchphrase for decades, though some things can, in fact, be pretty damn hard! For example I have no idea if I am going about this job correctly. I climbed up on the roof with the circular saw & cut out the punky section; next it's back up the ladder with a tape measure, then off to Lowes to buy some...idk, plywood, I guess?... to fill the gap. 

And maybe there's some kind of product, like caulk, to seal up the joint between the boards? I mean, there's definitely caulk, i know there's caulk, but is there a special kind of...roof caulk? You know, like how there's moisturizer for you face & there's moisturizer for your elbow but they are different? Maybe caulk is like that. 

Or maybe I am overthinking it. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

3 Days in the Studio

 Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow:

Yesterday was mostly teaching classes - not a lot of studio work. I did some minor clean up from the pottery tour,

& sent off some photos & a blurb to promote a workshop I am teaching at Hallowell Clay Works. Oh! That reminds me. Want to take a slip workshop? It's Sunday, May 22nd, from 2 - 5. 

Today has some teaching also! I don't normally teach on Wednesdays but I am subbing a class this morning. This afternoon I'll be sorting, pricing, & packing pots to go to Mainely Gallery, in Belfast. That'll take most of the afternoon, but I might get to end my workday at a reasonable time & read my new book, The Investigator

Tomorrow I am delivering said pots! It is looking like a gorgeous day for a drive; maybe Doug will come with me & poke around the cute little town of Belfast, Maine. Not too long, though; I have to be in Portland to teach by 6 pm. 

Friday & Saturday I have to do a serious house cleaning. I mostly neglected cleaning in the 3 weeks prior to the pottery tour, and it shows! Then my mom & the fam are coming on Sunday for Mother's Day. Busy week! 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Time to say Goodbye

And, unlike the old song says, goodbye does mean forever. Goodbye does mean we'll never be together again! It's time to let go of my old art fair set up. I built it in 1994, and while it served me well for many years it has gotten increasingly rickety (not unlike myself) and I have had to resort to more and more desperate measures to make sure it is stable enough to hold the ware for the duration of an event. Last weekend I nailed parts of it together. There was a moment when I was contemplating duct tape. It's time to let it go.

Here's how it looked, in better days...
 The question is, do I build another one? If so, for what specific uses? If it is to be solely a studio evnt display, that has a different set of parameters than an art fair display, that needs to be fairly lightweight, portable, and quick to set up. 

I used to spend a lot of time thinking about booth displays. Lately I am thinking about whether I want to do art fairs at all, given my own increasingly rickety self. Art fairs are a lot of work! And, honestly, I got spoiled in St. Paul; there were maybe 20 top-shelf art fairs within a day's drive; here there's one. Craft Boston used to be, but for the last at-least 5 years it has been sucking mud; the PMA show is headed that way also. 
Most of the good shows that I used to do, when I lived in St Paul are still running, but driving 2 or 3 days, staying in motels (I'm too old to sleep in a tent on the ground, at least when I am working), eating out - fast food is both nastier & more expensive than home-food - the calculation is different. The absolute most I could hope to make from a good show is probably around $5000 - & that would be a rarity. Subtract the booth fee & the studio time, & the classes I'd have to miss & the travelling expenses...not looking like such a great dice to roll now. 

OTOH, I used to love the art fair lifestyle. Seeing new cities, a group of friends I only saw during that season, trying new restaurants...I didn't even mind the driving. I'd try to find a Spanish-language radio station & listen hard to see if I could understand any of it. 

Anyway. The Maine Pottery Tour is over for another year. My event was successful, about 70 visitors & the same sales as last year - which is good, because last year landed in kind of a unique moment, when for about 5 minutes we thought the pandemic which had been keeping us away from public activities for a year was over. (It's still not, of course, but the pottery tour is mostly an outside event, & even a big turnout isn't densely packed, so I felt ok about doing the tour.) Anyway, maybe we've just finally hit a critical mass of people who know about hte tour, return every year, & help spread the word.

This week is always funny for me, because I've spent the last 4 months thinking about & working on the tour in basically all my "free" (lol) time, and now there's a space where that used to be. I have orders to fill & pots to list online & stores to approach, not to mention classes to teach!  - believe me I have plenty to do - but I am going to take a moment to appreciate the not-urgency of those tasks. 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

The Pottery Tour is in the KJ!

 Featured are my friend Diane Harwood, at her studio in Winthrop, and Nick Skelton, whose studio, The Art Walk, is also located in Winthrop. If you scroll down the article a bit, I am quoted! 

Here's the link.