Category: Uncategorized

Slight Adjustments – One Thing Leads to Another

This week began with big plans, big accomplishments, and an unstoppable spirit! It felt strangely reminiscent of the 365 Day Cup project and even more interestingly it followed the same path. Big dreams, unstoppable spirit … and big challenges in the beginning phases!

NUMBER CRUNCHING
So I sat down and ran the numbers to see what it would take to get The “Dinnerware Dash” project completed on time. To recap, I planned to make dinnerware pieces by using the 1250 lbs of brown stoneware to earn money to purchase porcelain. All this by the end of March!

It was a hefty order…unfortunately a little too hefty. Figuring in throwing time (50 lbs per day for 25 days straight) so that I have sufficient drying time (during the rain winter), firing bisque, glazing and glaze firing times for all the volume … it was just not feasible with the equipment and schedule I have.

SLIGHTLY ALTERED PLAN
I’m going to be throwing / handbuilding daily, until the 15th of February. Using as much clay as I possibly can, to create unique dinnerware sets … the key word here is UNIQUE! Look forward to it!

FIXED AND FINE
I really do not ask my husband to help me with much in the studio, so this week was truly special for me! Even though not a lot of clay work got done, the studio “honey do’s” were all taken care of (especially fixing my doors and the slab roller!)

 

 

CONCEPTS IN WATERCOLOR?
When not in my studio I’ve been exploring concepts I’d like to try in porcelain (once I get some). I’ve taken to watercolor imagery to express form and texture I’d like to incorporate into my clay dialogue… here is a copy of examples. 

Tomorrow (Wednesday) starts my first day back in the studio to get some heavy duty clay work done … tomorrow seems so far away!

Enjoy The Clay!

Tammy Jo

 

This weeks video! 

 

Artist Vision Board & Finding Your Voice! Hobby Potter Weekly Update S3.E2

My First Vision Board! What I love in Art, Form, Imagery & Color
Last week we had a whirlwind tour of the Egyptian Museum (where a fingerprint in clay started my interest in pottery). Unfortunately, it was a strange week and I lost all my video files and had to do a recap (but thankfully the phone still functioned and could be reset).  Here is this weeks video!   This week, most of my time was spent deciding on my future in clay and putting the (cold) studio in order (this actually is taking much longer than anticipated … the whole week)! Being a self-taught potter has its perks and its perils! The first is you need to be self-motivated, to take responsibility for your course, and also be able to pull together a vision that will move you forward. I wanted to gather a visual representation of the most inspiring imagery I can quickly reflect on when I’m in the studio. There are artists, techniques, imagery, color, form, and ideas. that motivational when looking at them. My dream/goal is to pull together the “essence” and qualities I love about this imagery and create a unique style I adore creating! DEVELOPING CREATIVITY – WHAT SEASON IS MY DEVELOPMENT? So, where am I really in the development process? I found a fabulous article by Todd Henry that outlined the phases of “Developing Your Creative Voice” and it really helped me understand the seasons of life in any seeking creative. I made this PDF for my own reference and thought I’d share it in case it was useful to you as well. Phases of Developing Your Creative Style The bottom-line conclusion this week? I found myself smack dab in the Emulation Phase but pretty close to crossing over to the Divergence Phase (which was exciting!) So in order to fully explore my visions, I’m more determined than ever to clear out my excess brown speckled stoneware and extra glazes in favor of some nice white porcelain!
Which brings me to a HUGE …and I’m talking HUGE project I’m starting on Monday! 
 
This is a mad DASH to cracking out some maker bowls, dishes, plates, and even some tumblers to use up the 1250lbs or clay! They will be glazed in all my extra glazes and made into one of a kind dinnerware sets! The goal is to be finished before I open my studio in April for the Artist Open Studio Tour! With this exciting goal set, I had one dilemma … I needed to reclaim some blocks of clay first so on to next week! I WAS able to throw 1 cup thrown in the middle of my studio mess and I put that in the video!

A New “Clay Practice”! EP 1.1

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Happy New Year My Pottery Friends! I’m beyond excited to get started working on a new clay focus for 2019! From “clay play” to “clay practice”, I hope to move my learning experiences to more intentional fun that is for both personal growth and technique mastery.

After 8 years of enjoying ceramics with a whimsical, randomness about learning, I wanted to streamline my studio, my ideas and really work to create the inspirations in my head. It just feels like the time.

The term “Finding Your Voice” is such an ambiguous phrase in the art world. You hear it, you aren’t really sure what it is, but you just know you need it. So I’ve decided my mission this year is to work on an authentic clay practice to cure the “ceramic laryngitis” and create work that speaks (and had a lot to say like me lol)!

EPISODE 1.1 This Weeks Episode!

REFLECTION – A Trip Back In Time

As some of you know, my history in clay began as a prescription from a doctor; it was to find a healing hobby for relaxation. My glimmer of potter began 35 years ago when I was 17 and working at the Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA. While cleaning glass I noticed and became fascinated with a fingerprint in the ancient pieces of pottery. I wanted to go back to the beginning to find the root of my inspiration … just to see it again!

So my husband and son trekked along with me as we drove 2 hours to San Jose, California to accomplish my
BUCKET LIST ITEM #1! FIND THE ANCIENT FINGERPRINTS
(See Video)

Making Studio Adjustments “Enough is as good as a feast”
In life, we all have those “squeaky doors”. Those things that just keep nagging at us to take care of. They aren’t urgent, but they still nag at you… like a squeaky door! My studio is full of these squeaky doors and it comes in the form of clay, glazes, and designs that don’t work.

Before investing another penny on my clay trek, I had to make some serious decisions. Porcelain has always been my true desire to learn and work with, but currently, have 35 boxes of stoneware and red earthenware clay in my studio. This is the furthest thing from pure white when it comes to clay!  I realize they are a blessing and am grateful been blessed with an  ABUNDANCE of supplies, and am grateful. Yet I now realize it’s like my favorite saying goes, “Enough is as good as a feast”. This feast mentality is all over my studio and I just need to streamline it more to my minimalistic liking.

Next week I will be planning my projects and taking care of finishing the shop so I can whip out my clay … I can’t wait! ~ Tammy Jo!

How Can I Help ? – Pottery – Resources – Life!

My Bucket List for 2019 is growing – I’M SO EXCITED!  
As I contemplate my next adventures, they wouldn’t feel complete if I didn’t pair them with my favorite necessities … ALL OF YOU!  You are so much a part of what inspires me, and our warm community of “hobby potters ” is an essential encouragement for any new or seasoned clay junkie.

Clay feeds into all areas of my life, it strengthens my faith, relaxes me, heals me, continually trains my patience and always leads me to meet the most FANTASTIC folks who share a kindred spirit! For me, it’s really more than a hobby and runs deeper than just a desire to “play with clay”.  It’s the excitement of hearing someone experience an “aha” moment at a success or failure. It’s motivating someone with a gentle“kick in the backside” to take a risk in clay. It is being here for the person struggling through life’s challenges and giving them respite to regroup and just be able to enjoy a simple clay adventure until they can begin their own. I love it all! 

WHAT’S COMING IN VIDEO
This next video year, as I check off my Bucket List items, I’ll continue to “keep it real” and add some of YOUR good stuff as I’m living mine! I’ll most definitely be sharing my studio happenings, clay projects, some destination adventures and all the resources I scoop up along the way.   Plus I want to share some inspiring stories and questions from fellow potters and ceramic artists BUT I NEED YOUR HELP!

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TELL ME WHAT YOU NEED!
Besides asking for a million dollars … I’d like to answer or share encouragement from you in my videos!!
Tell me what you want (that you wouldn’t mind me sharing anonymously ..first names only … onYouTube)

Please post in our FACEBOOK GROUP or send me a personal message through Facebook or Instagram! 
I’m so looking forward to sharing our journey together and hope you enjoy
A Hobby Potter’s Bucket List Coming January 2019!  (Subscribe for Notifications)

Enjoying the Clay Journey With You!

Tammy Jo

 

 

A New Clay Adventure! When One Door Closes – Another One Opens

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I wanted to take this time to say …..there are not enough words to say… how much I appreciate and am thankful for each and every one of you! You have filled my year with fun, friendship, clay, learning adventures, and love. Let’s not forget, lots and lots of personal growth sprinkled in!

2018’s goal was to bring together like-minded clay enthusiasts into a community (newsletter & Facebook Group) to learn and inspire each other through our individual pottery journey’s while working on a common themed free monthly project. I LOVED this time with all of you. Hopefully, you all have enjoyed these projects and made warm lasting friendships along the way!

FINAL PROJECT NEWSLETTER-  December 2018

Yes, it’s true, December will be the last official project installation and our grand finale of monthly projects. If you have been with me through this year..thank you so much and CONGRATULATIONS!

The steps you took may have caused you to stretch yourself and develop new skills for future creativity. But don’t worry … I won’t be far away. When one door closes, another one opens…

(If you wish to save the project notes from this past year please visit the archives / Past Issues of one of your newsletters and PRINT them for your records before December 31, 2018).

SOooo…. WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2019 – BACK TO MY ROOTS – THE VIDEOS, THE BASICS

Videos Are Back
Taking a holiday and then I’ll be returning to YouTube making videos in 2019 (I may be a little rusty … so bear with me) 😀

With the brief hiatus from sharing my clay journey through video, I’ve decided to head away from my laptop and back into the studio! (if you want to get notices just subscribe and “ring the bell” for notifications to easily follow along).

MY HOBBY POTTER BUCKET LIST? 
Over the past almost 8 years of videos there were “clay promises” made and adventures never taken. There were projects I wanted to try and never attempted. THAT is what this next journey will involve! I’m cleaning up my commitments …and am still excited to get to them! I want to make good on my word and grow in the process 😀

As always, this personal video/vlog journey will keep me accountable in the studio, as I actively check off pottery bucket list items.

Meet Me On Facebook and Join Me By Making Your Own Bucket List
What would YOU like to accomplish in the next year? Don’t put it off… Are there places, people, adventures in clay that you think will really excite and make a difference in your work? (If you don’t aim at a target, your chances of hitting it are slim) Join me in stretching yourself with your own personalized Hobby Potter Bucket List and learn what moves you in clay.
So full gratitude for this past year of doing projects together with you!  My hope this that people continue to make a connection to each other and to their clay. If I played any kind of role in helping people find the joy of clay … mission accomplished!

~Tammy Jo

(A Hobby Potter)

Re-Invigorated by the “Rejects” – A Ceramic Underdog Story

Recently I made a stop at my local supply store only to learn some disappointing news, the store will be closing soon. Their old stock of art supplies, ceramic glazes and clays were marked down to unbelievably low prices. So I did what any logical artist would do, I grabbed a basket, called my artist friends and let the shopping begin!  After picking through the prime clays and glazes, I felt comfortable that I was being frugal and had only bought what I needed.
Just a few weeks later I checked into the store again. A clerk tiredly described clearing out the warehouse and the thought of having to ship back and get rid of a troubling pallet of old, over-hard clay. (Remember, my friends and I had already picked through for the good stuff ..so these were repeatedly rejected!). It gave me a vague flash back of choosing teams in elementary school. These boxes were the non-athletic kids, waiting against the wall hoping to not be the last one picked.
Feeling an adventure coming on ( I’m also a sucker for the underdog),  I offered a solution to the clerk, ” I don’t really use this kind of clay, and it’s pretty hard…but if no one else wants it I guess I can take it home.”  I could live with or without it, but by the end of the day, I had a $1200 pallet of clay in my studio, for the price $37.84. Thanks to a suggestion from my clay buddy, Pam Ackles , I tried adding a few cups of water to some of the bags, then let it sit for a week. Surprisingly … the clay was PERFECT for use!

These “misfit” boxes of clay have become my new joy and inspiration. Re-invigorated by the fact they were once passed over and rejected, gives me a strange desire to make them into something lovely. To give them my time and attention, create something precious and create a blessing with these blessings, I’ll have made the best purchase of the year!

Why am I Still a “Hobby Potter”?

Why am I Still a “Hobby Potter”?

Pottery For the Joy Of It!

LOVE this time of year! April is the Stanislaus Artist Open Studio Tour and I still get just as excited as if it were my first time! As I gear up to receive visitors,  I find myself reflecting on what people would like to experience in my studio.

During the tour I’ll share the pottery making process, throw on the pottery wheel and create a mosaic “guestbook” with all the names of my visitors. Sometimes I’ll answer technical questions from first timers  and the more experienced art seekers will inadvertently ask the same question, ‘Why do you call yourself “Hobby Potter”?

It seems since my skills have moved beyond the basic, people are concerned my artwork will be devalued because of the term “hobby”.  True, a respected title is important and it has crossed my mind on occasion to revamp my YouTube channel or materials and just use my name.  But then I remember why I started this journey and why it’s still relevant to me today.

Let me explain!

hob·by / noun
1. an activity done regularly for entertainment, joy or pleasure.

From forming to glazing to sharing, every aspect of pottery making thrills me! It’s all about keeping things light and joyful. I do take my ceramics seriously and enjoy the hard work it involves along with the elements of the unknown. So for me, the term “hobby” helps me continue in a “spontaneously creative” mindset.  It’s the core reason I work in clay….creativity at my own pace, in my own way.

There is a freedom to pursue what moves me, a “no boundaries” rule to play with the ever-changing ideas that inspire me. Because I started my whole clay journey after a long stint of serious illness, I also wanted to continue to feel like I had permission to pause when I needed to and resume when I was ready. Basically it means I am not a “production” style potter. Repetition of any magnitude is just not in my ENFP nature, so I carry a tremendous amount of respect for production potters who do what I can not! My concluding focus will be creating pieces that exude my enthusiasm for clay (even it it’s not in high volumes.)

 Being a “Hobby Potter” is not a “skill level”, or a definition of work quality or even a lack of ambition to do “serious ceramics”.

Hobby Pottery is my pursuit of creative freedom that fires me up with anticipation the second I step out into my studio!

So with that in mind, I’m heading out to Spring Clean the studio for guests, determined to remain just a “Hobby Potter”!