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Friday, January 30, 2009

Where did January go?

It seems like we just finished Christmas!

well we're busy as usual here at Hughes Pottery. Because life isn't full or interesting enough we take on extra things to be sure moss doesn't grow on our northsides.

I'm all alone this weekend because Rowan has run off to Erie for a few days. Don't worry she'll be back!

She needed a break from life here in State College. She's been busy. She's taken over as administrator of The Creative Oasis. It was close or kick it back into shape. She saw me all weepy over the prospect of closing so she's kicking butt. I'll let her tell the rest of the story eventually, but it seems to be working. She's not home much anymore, but that's probably good.

In the meantime I am helping her transition into the job and am making pots and running kids around.

These photos are what I have going on in the studio now. More to come!

Where did January go?

Monday, January 26, 2009


Two weeks ago I decided to return to my past and join a bowling league. I bought new equipment, ball, shoes and a bag since my last ball had split in half like in a Flintstones cartoon, my shoes were over 16 years old and my last bag was a duffel bag with a homemade cardboard ball support.

I went in on a Friday night to practice with Morgan. It didn't go well. I used house equipment and I bowled like an old man. Everything hurt and my hands were so tired the next day I couldn't squeeze clay.

When the league started 2 Sundays ago (wk 1) I did OK. I still was using house equipment, but I didn't make a fool of myself. I had a 128 a 117 and a 180. I felt REALLY good about the 180.

I got the new equipment this week. Had the ball drilled Saturday morning before the Oasis cleanup and tried it out Sunday night in league. This time I felt a lot better about it. I scored a 138, a 189 and then my best game ever! 298! Perfect right up ton the last ball..when I got an 8 and a split to boot.

It was cool.

Art and Chocolate 2009

Ro and I went to Clearwater Conservancy's annual fundraiser "For the Love of Art and Chocolate" again this year. I donated a medium sized mixing bowl with oak leaves carved into it. I'd donate my kidney for this event. OMG.

Unfortunately I forgot my digital camera and actually had to use my phones camera. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This weeks adventures

As always we have a lot going on...I'm going to summarize, post a few pictures of things and get busy again.

1) Florida Sales are going well so far, the first show performed about where I was thinking it would and next week the setup is moving from Ft. Myers to Gainesville. YAY

2) The Creative Oasis is having financial and staffing troubles again but we had the annual "should we keep going" meeting at The Creative Oasis and decided "YES!" We have been given some breathing room by the major creditors, landlord and the family that financed the original business loan for us.
Rowan has not only joined the battle, but is leading as what I called "Chief Antagonist and Pro Tempore Administrator" She's making a plan and gathering resources to get the place going. Based on what I see happening now I have complete faith we'll have a strong business within a couple months.

3) It's cold as the 7th level of Hell out there and our house in under attack by giant icicles.

4) Ro and I decided to learn how to cook our favorite Indian dishes at home..and while it was a major undertaking, mostly by her with me as a backup, we had amazing success!

5) I started bowling again. I joined a league put together by former HS classmate Julie Gold called "Gutter Trash" I feel at home already. Bowling was something I loved and was good at in's amazing how sore I am after a few games..just like going the gym.

6) We're having a few nibbles on selling the Erie house, it caused quite a bit of stress today when the agent called to say he was going to show it to the parents of potential buyers at 3, but it wasn't plowed out. *DAMN* and of course it is in Erie, so there is about 2 feet of snow blocking the driveway. She made a few calls, some of them were quite frustrating, but essentially she can't find anyone to do it in before 3. I hope they understand.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Another 3 AM Blog

It seems to be a trend! Since laying down in the bed produces coughing, I'm going to sit up and drink ginger brandy for a while till I lose the ability to cough! You is low, but my spirits are high!

Today was another long hard day. Much packing of pottery occurred. It's almost all done now. The living room and porch are practically devoid of pottery, except for this final table of bowls and vases. Downstairs in the basement there are still a few totes of pots remaining to be packed. So far we have 14 packed..and we just bought 10 more. At this point it's mostly mugs, tankards and a few cereal bowls. I hope there is room in the vehicles for all these. I am pretty sure I can get them to Jessa and Elliot, but I am not sure if there will be room for all of them in the bus. Jessa said she would make it I am counting on it.

In past years I've always had trouble making enough stock to sell the maximum amount possible. Since we now have Elliot on the road for us, it's possible for me to stay home and create MUCH more work. I am taking full advantage of it. We've discovered in the past that being understocked is a deterrent to sales, not necessarily that we were out of a particular item that someone wanted, but that if the booth doesn't look perfectly full the whole way through a show, sales slow down. This shouldn't happen this year. There are an abundance of lovely pieces and based on past sales records we should have enough stock in this initial shipment to last 3-4 months, and during that 3-4 month period I will be creating the work for the rest of the year. We need to get ahead and be prepared. Last year the economy slowed, but my sales increased. I believe that we can do the same thing this year.

In addition to the normal renaissance faire outlets, we're selling online through as well as picking up a few smaller, local gigs and pondering ways to make permanent retail space here at the house. The show must go on, the bills must continue to be paid.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A few other shots of pieces from the last 2 kilns


We finally finished glazing about an hour and a half ago.. 1:30AM. It has been a long day for sure. Working while sick is always like slogging through knee deep mud, but we did it.

The glaze I was worried about seems to be fine..the kiln we were waiting for to cool was absolutely gorgeous and included a few pieces I was exceptionally pleased with.

I've been revisiting some old techniques and trying to bring them into my current work and while much of it has been frustrating, I'm hitting on some results that are renewing my creative spirit.

Even at 3AM coughing my lungs up, I am excited about them. The mugs in the picture are a prime example. I am thrilled with them. Cone 6 electric fired ash glaze.

Yes. 3AM. I did go to bed..but the cough was severe and very dry and unproductive so after 1/2 hour of coughing, moaning, groaning and whining I got up and took a long steamy shower to loosen things up a bit as well as taking a cough suppressant. PLEASE let something work. I am better off now after the shower, but it could be a long and sleepless night unless my lungs give up trying to expell stuff that just isn't ready to go yet.

More tomorrow!

changes and changes

This has been a very difficult week for us. We've been dealing with travel, finishing production, illness to the point where production became an impossibility and it has thrown everything off.

We are supposed to be at a party right now..we should be waking up and enjoying the company of other revelers, having a mass breakfast, coffee with the crowd and gearing up for another day and night of silliness. That's not happening. Instead, I woke up this morning clear eyed for the first time, which means the pinkeye is done, but coughing in spasms, my body desperately trying to dislodge the infection in my lungs. It seems to be working. Something unpleasant was dislodged.

Rowan has inventoried all the pots we had finished up until now, there are more coming out of the kiln.

Almost everything has to be packed.

And I have at least two more kilns to fire.

The problem is I can't glaze the rest of these pots until I see the results later tonight when this kiln comes out.


I could glaze it now, but it would be a risk, because in the middle of glazing I ran out of one of my glazes and had to mix up a fresh batch. Unfortunately, the source for one of the ingredients changed and I am not sure if it is going to behave in the same way. Other people have used this new source and been less than thrilled with the results. Not that they were bad and unsaleable, but It could be really ugly, unsaleable ugly and despite wanting to get this all wrapped up and finished so I might be able to leave tomorrow and enjoy a day of party. I am unwilling to risk 150+ pieces just because I am in a hurry.

So I am sad.. and still sick but we're working on it..and maybe we'll get to the party just when everyone is leaving :(