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Monday, December 05, 2011

My knit strawberries

I had decided a while ago to knit some strawberries to display with my berry bowls, to help people know what the small dishes are exactly. There is still some confusion with shoppers sometimes, but overall they did the job.

This weekend at the JP First Church Holiday Sale and Bazaar Bizarre I got lots of comments about them. Even a few offers to purchase! As I told the shoppers, I found the pattern online and it had asked users to please not produce it for profit, and as a handmade person I can appreciate that. 

So here it is, the super cute knit strawberry pattern! Also, the knit piece is the size of a large real strawberry when finished. The one I'm holding looks like it's been growing in Alaska because my hands are really small for an adult (youth medium gloves!).


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 reasons to buy a handmade mug

1. It's green! Bring yours to the office and save some styrofoam or paper.
2. A nice, well fit mug can be super warm and cozy in your hands on a cold morning.
3. No one likes to do the dishes, but something about washing handmade pots is very relaxing and pleasing.
4. Make friends envious that you have a well-made/local-made piece of art you begin your days with.
5. A coffee mug is also a juice mug, a tea mug, a milk mug, a water mug, a soda mug, and a beer mug.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Save the Date! Boston Handmade is at Bazaar Bizarre December 4!

Save the Date! Boston Handmade is at Bazaar Bizarre December 4!

Boston Handmade members are certainly out and about this holiday shopping season, and one of our stops is at the Boston Bazaar Bizarre on Sunday, December 4 at the Cyclorama. The event runs from 12pm-6pm and is always a blast. The eight Boston Handmade members representing the group this year will be:

You'll also be able to purchase a Boston Handmade tshirt from us that day. Come see us and other talented artists that afternoon, you don't want to miss this super fun event!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chawan: An International Exhibition

I was invited to participate in an international traveling show while it is here in the United States and I hope you can come celebrate at the opening reception with me! The exhibit concentrates on a vessel to drink tea, the chawan, or tea bowl. Chawan: An International Exhibition features work from artists representing nine countries and has been traveling to museums and galleries around the world for the last few years. This Sunday, October 30 is the opening of the first stop in this country for an exhibit that has already seen Belgium, France, Korea, and Croatia and will head to Japan.

The reception is 1-4 at the Gorse Mill Studios Gallery at 31 Thorpe Road in Needham. There will be a demonstration of the Chinese tea ceremony by participating artist Chang kuei Wei at 2pm if you would like to see that as well. I hope you can make it! If not, the exhibit is up until November 27, and gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 11-5. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

My New Ceramic Button

This past weekend I went to the Newton Harvest Fair and of course I check out the craft vendors. There was a lot of really nice work, but I ended up going home with this small piece from Ingrid Hathway. She had two baskets full of beautiful buttons, I really had a hard time picking just one. I love it, and plan to put it on a future knitting project of mine.

Friday, October 07, 2011

American Craft Week at The Potters Shop

American Craft Week is happening October 7-16 and people across the country are celebrating in various ways. The studio that I work in, The Potters Shop and School in Needham, is celebrating with a gallery event on Friday, October 14 from 6-9pm. The display will have work from studio staff, members, summer interns, and students. Because there are so many potters submitting work for the event there is a huge range of work styles, techniques, and price points. It's a great opportunity to see what some local artists are up to and to support what they are doing. The studio is located inside Gorse Mill Studios at 31 Thorpe Road in Needham, Massachusetts. I hope you can come by!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Note From My Neighbor

My car is usually filled with boxes of pots, tables, wooden shelving displays, and other odds and ends I cart around from one show to the next. Since there is usually little time between shows everything generally sits in my car. I've wondered what my neighbors think I'm up to, and I finally found out! I found this note on my car the other day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Anniversary Art

Last summer I wrote about the vacations and art that my husband and I celebrate our anniversary with every year, and updated you with our purchases from our 3rd anniversary. Our 4th wedding anniversary brought us up to Maine. This year we got a large plate by Richard Robertson of Rockport, Maine. The piece was both of our favorites, so it was an easy choice. Unlike the other plates we've bought on our past trips, this one is going on the wall and not in the cabinet for use, except for special occasions. We didn't fish on our trip, but I think the rugged, outdoorsy look of the plate will remind us of the time we spent camping, hiking to waterfalls, watching moose, and seeing the sun rise from the top of Cadillac Mountain.

My Second Knitting Project

Check out my post over on the Boston Handmade blog about my second knitting project

Friday, July 29, 2011

This Saturday! Boston Handmade Somerville Marketplace!

This Saturday, July 30, is the big annual Boston Handmade Somerville Marketplace featuring lots of awesome work by many local talented artists, including your truly. The event is 3-7 in Union Square. The rain date is the following day, July 31, but Saturday afternoon is looking to be gorgeous, perfect shopping weather you could even say. ;)

I will have have many new raku and sawdust fired pieces I've been working on recently. Some of these results have been VERY cool, and I'm sure you guys will like them too. I'm going to do a small demonstration at my booth also, polishing up some sawdust pots I fired. It's not nearly as exciting as the firing process itself, but it is the last step and gives the unglazed pots a beautiful sheen.

The event will also be the debut of my yarn bowls! Yup, yarn bowls! I'm pretty excited about them and I think knitters and crocheters will love them too. I recently learned how to knit, so making the bowls seemed like a natural step, combining the two crafts.

I hope to see you there! Come say hello!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Big Changes Coming Soon!

Hi folks!

I'm about to do something big for my business that I've been considering for a long time. Something I haven't done in almost two years. It's good news, but it might sound a little scary at first....ready?

I'm raising my prices! Yeah! Why is this happening and why is it good news?

Well, it's happening because it's something I haven't done in nearly two years and it's time. I feel I've truly grown as a potter and artist in this timespan, and putting a higher value on my work is due in the scheme of things. My work was valued fairly when I priced it so long ago, but those prices are now undervaluing my work and I need to address that. It's something I've put off because I didn't want to alienate customers, but I've decided that if someone truly values what I am doing and enjoys the work, a few dollars difference won't sway their decision and they will still be happy to own the piece.

This increase is good news because it means that I've been successful at what I've been doing! If things weren't going well and I didn't see progress in my work I wouldn't have made this decision. My work is getting nicer, my events are going better, and my name is getting recognized. It's a long road to get where I want to be, but I'm on the right track, and raising prices is a step towards that direction.

Don't worry, if it was $40 before it's not going to be $90 now. But if you do want to save yourself a few bucks (who doesn't these days?) place your order from my Etsy shop before July 1 to get my current prices, I'll be changing them then.

Friday, May 20, 2011

adjusting etsy listings...too much?

Hi folks!

I've been working on adjusting some descriptions of etsy listings. I like the changes, but can't decide if I'm laying it on just a bit too thick....what do you think? 

Enjoy your morning coffee even more when you have a new favorite mug. These stoneware mugs were thrown on a wheel and textured with rope. The exterior was glazed with a rich brown shade and the interior was glazed with a glossy sky blue color. The mug's neck and the handle's dimples are perfect for fidgeting with, and the smooth handle's curve is a comfy fit for fingers. The mugs are also available individually, look for the listing in my Etsy shop. They're also fun to pair with my mugs that are brown on the outside and green inside. The mugs are safe for your drink, food, microwave, and dishwasher. They stand about 4" high.
Enjoy your morning coffee even more when you get extra cozy with a new favorite mug that fits in the nooks and crannies of your hand just perfectly. I hear it all the time: these handles are extra comfortable. The curves fit your fingers just right, no matter the size, and allow for a  few fingers to wrap inside the loop, making sure there's no fumbling about. Pair the curvy handle with dimples at the attachments, rope texture, and the angled shape of the mug's neck and your fingers are bound to linger a bit beyond your sip, luxuriating in a moment of tactile pleasure. Oh my.  
These stoneware handmade mugs were thrown on a wheel and textured with rope, the oldest known form of surface decoration on pottery, around the majority of the exterior, the lip left smooth for easy, dribble free drinking. Then I glazed the exterior with a rich brown shade, and the interior was glazed with a glossy sky blue color, modern adaptations of the classic tenmoku and celadon glazes of Asia. After that I loaded them up into the kiln and fired them up to roughly 2200° F 
The mugs stand about 4" high, offering plenty of space to fill with your favorite beverage.
No one needs more work, so it'll be easy living with these dishwasher and microwave safe mugs. And they are definitely safe for your food and drink! 
Please understand that the mugs you receive may not be these exact mugs, but I promise they will remain true to the work pictured. Pretty much, you'll enjoy what you receive unless you just really loved the way the handle crested over 1/16" of that line of rope texture. Handmade, ya hear?
Shipping, ugh, what a bummer. It's not just you, I'm not happy about how expensive it is either. USPS, UPS, FedEx, none of them are cheap. What I can offer you is 1) if you convo me your zip code I'll see if I can get a more exact, and hopefully lower, rate 2) if the shipping cost listed is more than $1 difference from the actual, I'll refund the difference 3) I can promise that all shipping materials are used (but clean!) to both keep down costs and help mama earth. I hope this helps! 
The mugs are also available individually, look for the listing in my Etsy shop. 
They're also fun to pair with my mugs that are brown on the outside and green inside. 
See what else I'm offering up in my etsy shop! 
Find me elsewhere around the web: @cityseaceramics

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Open Studios

The next three weekends will be keeping myself and other Boston Handmade'ers busy with Open Studio events in different towns around the Boston area. I encourage you to check out at least one of these events, but if you really want that gold star, you'd better get to all three. ;)

This weekend, April 30 and May 1, will be West Medford Open Studios. There will be four of us representing Boston Handmade at one location. Showing at 56 Bower Street will be myself, Lynne of Cozy Cottage Creations, Allison of Fraske Designs, and Sharon of Stray Notions. The event runs noon to 5 each day. Come get mom that gift for Mother's Day. Mom's LOVE handmade!

The following weekend, I am participating in Needham Open Studios, the town I live and work in. May 7 the event runs from 10-4 and May 8 the event runs from 12-4. I will be showing out of The Potters Shop in Gorse Mill Studios. Gorse Mill is a major stop for Needham Open Studios, having 16 artists in one location. Come say hi!
On May 15 will be the very first Dedham Open Studios event. This event will also have a few of us Boston Handmade'ers showing together representing the group. Participating in DOS will be myself, Kerry Hawkins of Kerry Hawkins Photography, and Nancy MacCallum of Nancyrosetta. Come support the first ever Dedham Open Studios event to ensure that it continues in the future!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pots for Earth Day

I try to be as conscious about waste as I can be with my business, and take small but meaningful steps where I can. I ship all my items with used packing materials and boxes. I try to collect people's email addresses for my mailing list rather than snail mail addresses. I had been reusing shopping bags for my sales until this winter, but I made the decision to buy new bags to sell my items in. I went with brown paper bags, and I carved a recycle stamp to put on each one, trying to encourage what hands it fell into once it left mine that they should recycle or reuse it.

I like to think that my pottery itself has a hand in keeping plastic cups, plates, and bowls out of landfills. I have many of each in my home that are sturdy enough to toss into a bag and without worry, go camping, road tripping, or just an average day. Having a cup with you is super handy to avoid those unfriendly containers that come along with spontaneous beverages.

Handmade pottery is far more durable than the stuff you can pick up at any giant chain. I have dropped mugs on the ground at shows to show people how sturdy they are. Am I crazy? No, I just know how strong they are. When potters have a piece that didn't come out of the kiln right and isn't fixable, some of them smash it. I do this, and have to hit pots numerous times with a hammer to chip it. If they can hold up to this, they can certainly hold up to an afternoon in your purse or backpack.

Here's a cup I cart around with me. Some tips on what to look for when shopping for travel-friendly pots:

 The straighter the sides the better. The curves will have more weak points in the curve. Straight or shallow curves are best. You don't want it to be heavy, but it should feel sturdy.

A thicker lip is a good thing for this. Generally a lip should taper a bit more to prevent dribbling. In this case, you want a nice thick rounded lip.

The foot of the pot should be flat on the bottom and rounded edges on the perimeter. If there is a trimmed foot it is a weak point and more prone to chipping while getting tossed around. A trimmed foot could still be okay if it still had the same idea as the lip, rounded and thick, sturdy. The foot shown has a flower pattern carved on it, but is shallow enough not to compromise the piece.

I hope these tips are helpful. Let me know if you decide to buy sturdy pots in an effort to avoid plastic and styrofoam!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

My Visit To DeCordova Sculpture Park

I took a recent trip to the DeCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA on one of these gorgeous days we've been having. If you have never been, go! Right now! It's one of my favorite museums in the area and it's so much fun to wander and discover what they have. It's a perfect art museum for kids, as they are allowed to touch the sculptures outdoors, though no climbing is allowed as tempting as it may be. There's also many visitors that bring their dogs along. It sure beats a walk through the neighborhood any day.

While walking one of the winding paths I came upon Daniel Ladd maintaining one of his tree sculptures. Watching him manipulate the branches, I figured he was the artist, as it didn't seem like a job for the general landscaping crew. I asked if he was, and he seemed happy that I had made that assumption. Many others had passed, simply looking and moving along. I'm so glad I began speaking with Daniel because he took a few moments to show me exactly what he was up to. 

Daniel's sculpture began in 1990. It is 11 elm trees, each bending to a 90 degree angle at a similar height, and growing into the one before it. Daniel said that he comes out 3-5 times a year to maintain the shaping of the tree sculpture. 

Daniel cuts through the outer layer of bark, exposing the inside of the branches. He then tightly wraps them together. This time of the year is when it is best to encourage the branch grafting, since the trees are in a heavy growth period the two branches are able to grow into each other and become one. He also uses nails and a putty like substance to help direct the growth. 

It was so much fun to see the park and it was especially nice to talk with Daniel Ladd. I plan on taking many more trips to the park, and you can bet I'll be paying special attention to the growth progress of Daniel's work. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mashiko Potters Fund

Reposted from my website page. Please find links to tweet, share, and email there:

As the days continue since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, many projects have grown to help the people affected. The images we have seen are devastating and touch us, urging us to help those who are experiencing what we cannot imagine. Many have helped Red Cross, auctions like Handmade for Japan have been organized, people have joined forces to help animals, even my favorite band, Phish, is releasing a show they played in Japan with all proceeds going towards relief. People are finding ways that are close to them to help, and I have found a cause close to me. 

50% of all sales made in my online Etsy shop now through the end of April will be donated to the Mashiko Potters Fund. My goal is to be able to donate $500 on May 1.

I came across the Mashiko Potters Fund, or MPF, through email from Pucker Gallery in Boston. 

After reading the email I knew immediately I wanted to help the MPF, organized by potter Ken Matsuzaki and the Mayor of Mashiko. Before I had heard of the MPF I had seen images of magnificent kilns crumbled and amazing pots destroyed. As a potter who has been so influenced by Japanese potters, these pictures struck a chord with me. Mashiko in particular has been the home to two of my favorite potters, Shoji Hamada and Tatsuzo Shimaoka. The village is filled with so many potters and so much history. To think of it coming to and end, the potters losing their livelihoods, and the kilns not being rebuilt is terrible and sad. I want to help this village continue on with what they do so wonderfully. 

Local pottery studio Mudflat is the fiscal sponsor for the MPF. Proceeds will be transfered to them directly. I will be posting regular updates on the progress to the goal of $500 on facebook and twitter.

How you can help:
-purchase a piece from my Etsy shop
-donate to MPF yourself
-share on facebook
-share on twitter
-share on your blog
-email your friends
-spread the word any way you can

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Prettiest Bathroom You'll Ever See

I attended the Elusive Teabowl Workshop at Harvard that I had previously blogged a bit about, and I will tell you all about it, but that time must wait. Right now we need to talk about bathrooms. Gorgeous bathrooms. Harvard ceramics department bathrooms.

Next time you are even close to 219 Western Ave in Allston, go see it. It's right next to the ceramics department entrance, so you can quietly sneak in and check it out without anyone thinking you an odd duck sneaking around bathrooms. It's worth the stop. I love seeing it any time I'm at the studio for an event. The wall and floor tiles were created by Lucy Scanlon. According to her website, the project was created after she had won a juried competition for the job while she was teaching there.

This phone camera shot of a dimly lit corner doesn't do it justice, but hey, I left the tripod and lamps at home. You are still able to see the incredible waves of texture in the tiles, including the border tiles at the top. Even the toilet paper holder is awesome. It's not every day you say that, that's why it's so exciting!

The texture of the tiles is amazing, but I love the glaze as well. It's a gorgeous aqua shade with lots of variation in it, varying so much from tile to tile, and even from corner to corner on a single one. The color and forms give you so much to look at. It still has the classic "blue/water" theme that so many bathrooms have, but it is the most unique and beautiful interpretation of it I've ever seen.

219 Western Ave in Allston, entrance is in the back of the building, down a few steps. The bathroom is right around the corner from the display of work that is directly in front of you when you walk in. Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Teabowls in Boston

Boston will be hosting a number of events concerning teabowls in March, which I am super excited about. 

On March 12, Lacoste Gallery in Concord opens the exhibit The Elusive Teabowl. The group show has some very exciting potters included, and kicks off the events of the next few days. 

At the MFA, the exhibit An Unspoken Dialogue with Tea opened in February and runs through September. This show focuses on the tea ceremony itself, and presents a number of teabowls made of various materials. On March 13, the MFA is hosting A Day About Japanese Tea to compliment the exhibit. The lecture has many speakers, including Japanese potters Tsujimura Shiro and Suzuki Goro, and American potter Jeff Shapiro.

On March 14, Harvard Ceramics Department is hosting a workshop, The  Elusive Teabowl. The three potters from the MFA lecture will be hosting, as well as American potter Richard Milgram.

If you're interested in pottery or just like tea, I encourage you to check out some of these events. Maybe I'll see you there!