Sunday, May 31, 2009
It's Saturday here at Sour Cherry and we have our new apprentice here to learn how to run a pottery. Ava the Queen of England is here with us for the weekend so we are teaching her the art of the cash register. She likes the sound it makes- so do we!!! Here is a days work in the studio. Once a day of mugs would be over 100 and now it is an embarrassing 9. We seem to work in groups of 5 with the other things we make. Oh well, the one thing I have found out is the more time I put into each piece the more money I feel comfortable in asking for it.
So payment for Ava other than room and board is a trip to the carousel at Port Dalhousie. 50 some odd hand carved horses and it's still a nickel a ride. We all went on for 3 rides-30 cents. It's so wonderful to watch kids.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Sometimes in this business you do what you have to do. Yep, the guys that polish and spit shine their old Plymouth's are not our target market. The up side of the story is that the newspaper reporter showed up and took pics of a guy in his car and yes our Sour Cherry Pottery sign was in the picture. Do you think the reporter showing up was a coincidence??? So we'll get some free press. You'll notice one guy is carrying one of our paper shopping bags so not all was in vain.
I enjoyed chatting with them and looking at their cars. The great thing about being in this business is that it's not all about clay. It's about creating an experience.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Our studio is very small. Due to zoning regulations we have 250 square feet of studio and 250 square feet of showroom. The studio is not very big for 2 full time studio potters so for 3 seasons of the year we get to use the outside as much as possible. It means getting work outside and into the kiln to make room inside for us to carry on. Here are some pots we just glazed on the cement pad by the house. You can see Sheila's cast iron bra and bullet proof undies that I leave to keep the wolves at bay when I'm off travelling. The kiln is loaded and firing as I post this message. It feels good to be making my bowls, and rolls (casseroles) that is.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I showed the house and studio from the road. The nice wisteria, the maples and beeches well that's called curb appeal. We believe that our place has to look appealing in order to have customers want to pull in and have a look in the showroom. We have an acre and the back of the property has an abundance of Chinese elms. These trees are like weeds and they grow at an amazing rate, the branches break off with the slightest wind and they drop leaves in the fall that require days of raking. The upside is it's free firewood for our train or house. Free means gas for the chain saw, the splitter, the chipper, the John Deere, the Toyota truck, and oh yeah maintenance of the above. We usually buy our wood from our friend Dr. Pumpkin at $70 a 16" face cord. He says his trees are always free and we just pay him 6 or $7 an hour for his labour. No truer words were ever spoken.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Keeping the candle burning...
While I was running around the world,Sheila was keeping the candle burning in the window at Sour Cherry Pottery.
She has been quietly working away and earning respect internationally without leaving the farm. She was a featured guest artist at Arrowmont's Utilitarian Clay Invitational Exhibition in Gatlinburg,Tennessee and now her work is to be shown at an International Ceramic Symposium in Jingdezhen, China , October 2009 as part of an exhibition representing Canadian ceramics.
Monday, May 25, 2009
The quest for my Masters of Fine Arts at Utah State University that began in 2006 has now come and gone. The MFA Thesis Exhibition "Transcending Borders" was held at the AVA Gallery in Logan, Utah on April 17th and was a success. Stop by our studio and take a look at some of the exhibition pieces.They are a lovely contrast to our functional work.It was an honour to have a piece selected by The Nora Eccles Harrison Museum at Utah State University for their extensive Permanent Ceramic Collection.
The Title of the exhibition "Transcending Borders" was inspired by two things.
1. I have been working and building friendships in the USA.
2. I made all the work with clay slabs which was a different technique from my usual potter's wheel.
Take a look at the sampling of work from the exhibition in the slideshow.
When you pick something up, you have to put something down.
All this travelling, education and teaching has presented me with an MFA in Ceramics and now the honour of being inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts this June. I have however been absent from the studio and let you, my customers, down for extended periods of time.
I'm back home, glad to be here and hope we can get re-acquainted.
It is nice to be back in Ontario in our little secret part of Canada that is known as a Carolinian forest since we can grow things here that are native to the Carolina's pretty far south of here. Here is a pic of our 140 year old farm house that I call The Grand Old House- a grand for this and a grand for that!
We have this half breed Wisteria in our front yard that people stop to get their pictures taken beside since it is white on one side and purple on the other. Sheila has spent the better part of 2 weeks cleaning up the property which included me cutting down 3 large locust trees and a Chinese elm. Stacked and split we got around 4 cords of wood. It's good to see the flowers that I'm in charge of are still nicely rusting and that my cement shroooms are just about ready to eat. And they think BC is the mushroom capital of Canada-ha!
I've been home 3 weeks today and to be honest I've been feeling rather looooooooow. It's like something you've been working on for the better part of 3 years is over and then what????? I had some things to catch up on to be sure that brought my spirits up like going to visit my son Jay, his partner Denise and my new grand daughter Olivia. She is a doll and will be "O" to me.
Got a e-mail from the boys in Korea. Looks like they each bought a cheap pair of sun glasses and the merchant threw in a cheap perm. Bobby and Perry have gone to China and now Korea thru USU. Not a bad education, I'd say. Robin in the middle had his mother in law( Eden-The Potter's Wife's mum) pay me a surprise visit from Calgary. For those geographically challenged that's about 2500 miles away. I told her Robin was a saint and was now reading The Book of Mormon and had started a home study group at Aggie Ice Cream on Sunday afternoons. Just trying to keep ya in the will- Robin.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Well my buddy and former land lady Heidi Kreitchet has sent me pics of the pieces from her grad show entitled The "X" Factor. Heidi spent her last four months on her knees- not praying for my deliverance from Hell but throwing slabs of clay on a rubber mat. The letter "X" was her reference and she fired the "X" in wood firings that were fired hot, mid range, cooled in reduction and oxidation. She fired more kilns than any grad and I love her work. We had a lot of fun around the kitchen table drinking cheap wine and coming up with titles for the work. Exes ( the plural of X), Southern Exposure after a strip joint in Salt Lake, Tic, Tac , Toe after 3 X's on a brick, Malcolm (X) and the 24th letter. Well done Heidi and good hunting.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Here is a pic of the homestead and studio. Looks like the hired help kept it looking good and watered the flowers. Potters always seem to have interesting houses that are well kept and gardens are prominent. Sheila spends hours upon hours attending to the property and I'm proud to say it always has curb appeal. People crane their necks when driving by to see what she has done next to beautify our 160 year old Niagara farm house.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Now that I have your attention!!! I'm waiting for the land lady to send me images of her grad exhibition The "X Factor" so I can end this blog until my next adventure. Right now I'm back home being a potter and sex magnet. Heidi will have had a great show and I want to show it to ya before I sign off. She will probably check my blog before she thinks of sending me the images so here goes. I like to refer to her as my old bitch land lady but she gets in a big twist about being called old. She can live with being a bitch. Here is a pic of Heidi at Great Salt Lake. It's not been a week and I miss the ole B and all the USU family.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Thanx for missing me Eden. I'm about 2300 miles east of you now. For those of you that have followed this old dawg with his travels in the MFA pursuit I might encourage the younger ones to follow Eden DuPont's blog The Potter's Wife. Robin(Eden's potter husband) was my studio mate and a first year grad student from Ceh-neh-deh! MY kids have all left the nest and I'm probably two beers late for the party. Robin and Eden are in their 30's with kids and they are taking the plunge. They are part of my hope for good pots in Canada.
Here are some pics of their straw bale house near Nelson, B.C. I don't know where Illa is in these pics. She is a sweetie. Here is Robin, Eden and Roscoe and Sheila on the ferry.
Hey give Robin two more years and he's gonna tear down that Cat in favour of a train. I luv trains!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Trevor took the lettering from my exhibition and put it on the back of my truck. As if I don't have enuff problems at the border they are now to think I'm carrying drugs in order to transcend myself. The truck was loaded to the rafters with clay hoo-doo's on Bobby Free's smelly couch cushions. The combination of weight and bad roads just east of Chicago had me blow a hole in the sidewall of my back tire. Luckily, I had just pulled into my motel, had two cans of PBR on board and the tire shop was almost next door.
I dropped by my aunt and uncle's grave on the way home just to have a wee chat. They were fully blown LDS (Latter Day Saints) and I've always been a bit suspicious of how I ended up in the heart of Mormon Land at a 90% LDS school. He always wanted me to move there but coffee, alcohol and not a sweet tooth in my body kept me away from the religion but somewhat spiritual. Hence my little stop to talk with them for a moment.
Their starting me in pottery, buying me books of all sorts, taking me to Shakespearean plays, and being my guiding light keeps me wondering about compost or the after life.
Sour Cherry Pottery is open and looking good. Sheila didn't leave me for a rich man. I've told her before if she leaves me she has to take me with her.
It's nice to home!!!