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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”! 

Please Help Me “Live Vicariously”- NCECA Conference

Time for a role reversal! Often times I read comments on my YouTube videos where people say they are “Living Vicariously” through my online pottery adventures. This has always made me feel a bit sad but also extremely responsible in sharing what I do, because I realize not everyone is able to experience these things. I’ve always hoped that my hobby journey could inspire others to find their own way in clay. Of course it’s still exciting  to experience it through video, but there is just nothing like being there living it yourself!

NCECANational Council on Education for Ceramic Arts!
Today marks the beginning of the 2017 NCECA Conference in Portland, OR (March 22-25, 2017) … and unfortunately I’m having to miss it! I’m beside myself as I start to see posts on Facebook and Instagram about the event…but I’m taking heart in the fact people are posting their experiences!

Help Me “Live Vicariously” through all of your experiences! If you have a blog, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope channel where you will be posting updates…feel free to comment on this blog (or where this blog is posted), so I too and can live your adventure! It won’t be the same as being there, but I will for sure be grateful to have experienced it through your eyes!

 

2017 Stanislaus Family Justice Center – “Art of Justice” Art Pieces

2017 Stanislaus Family Justice Center – “Art of Justice” Art Pieces

I love, love, love doing this event each year! The Stanislaus Family Justice Center “Art of Justice” Event is the annual fundraiser for their programs. Using the artwork and inspirational words of the children healing in this program, local Stanislaus County artists create and donate art to help raise money for their useful services.

The Stanislaus Family Justice Center (SFJC), offers compassion and hope for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking with collaborative services in one safe place. We have a number of agencies located on site which offers these services at no cost.

Here are the art pieces I created this year and their synopsis! The event will be March  2017  If you would like to see the making of these pieces you can watch it here on Youtube!
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Repairing After A Storm

The inspiration behind this piece is a combination of the young artist’s words and color choices. Instead of focusing on Lillian’s stress, I chose to do a representation of the healing that comes after the storm.

When I saw Lillian’s piece, I envisioned the darkness one feels after being emotionally “ripped apart”. It would feel hollow, and possibly be blown out with holes and battles scars. Yet even with these wounds, you would still see the beautifully textured remnants of a unique life beginning to repair.


The color purple can create feelings of serenity or calmness, while yellow is seen as the energizer. Since Lillian’s artwork included both of these colors, I chose to use them in my sculpture as “Band Aids” to characterize being “put back together”. Both healing and rejuvenating for growth.

Perfectly Imperfect, this piece is a snapshot in the process of transformation from broken to beautiful.

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Character Traits of the ULTIMATE Super-Hero

“Favorite Super Hero? No, I don’t have one. Wait…Yes! Jesus is my Super Hero” ~ Mia Age 8

 

When we say “Super Hero” we may think of Spiderman, Ironman, Batman, but Mia was having none of that. My guess is because she knows they are make believe. After much thought and consideration she realized, “Wait…Jesus is my Super Hero”. She chose the real deal!

Words on Vase: “Truthful – Disciplined – Savior – Gentle – Super – Virtuous – Justice – Joy – Prayer – Dependable – Protector – Moral – Love – Faithful – Bold – Hero – Forgiving – Peace –  Sincerity – Generous – Safe – Courageous – Patient – Humble – Survivor – Saves – Wise – Defender

It got me thinking about the “real live” characteristics of Jesus the Ultimate Super Hero. These traits are surrounding this vase. I also chose to use the rainbow of colors in Mia’s artwork and make it a joyful piece. This shows the movement and excitement she must have felt when realizing she had the ultimate protector looking out for her!