Category: Uncategorized

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!
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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!

 

 

I’m 50 TODAY! – Things you don’t know about me, the Hobby Potter!

TODAY IS MY 50th BIRTHDAY! Supplemental stuff! Since I won’t have the opportunity to “party with you all” and chat one on one in person, I thought it would be fun to share some “chat style” info about myself that you may not know and could find interesting!

My birthday is also my new year, generally major inspirations or events happen on my birthday so I’ve committed to setting my future goals on this day and laying the ground work for the following year to take the challenge of completing them…I’ll share what I’ve got so far today 😀

Thanks for watching and thanks for coming to my online birthday party!

~ Tammy Jo 😀

http://www.hobbypotter.com

http://www.instagram.com/hobbypotter

Creating a Body of Work for a Gallery – Pulling it All Together! – Journal Entry 1

“I’m Excitedly Overwhelmed!” 

The Owners Of The Chartreuse Muse Art Gallery In Modesto, CA, (Sandra Veneman And Ellen Roehne), Invited Me To Do A Show Together With A Phenomenal Artist And Painter Nicole Slater. She Is A “Kindred Spirit” In Every Sense Of The Word , but plays art in a different medium!

Sandra, Nicole & I Sat Down Together To Eat And Chat At “The Artists Loft” … Nicole’s Haven   And Art studio All Trade shows All Trade Shows Trade shows All (Amazing Tour To Come!). We Wanted To Discuss Details The Of The Putting Together A Cohesive Show , Yet At the same time maintain our own individual freedoms of expression!
Such Interesting Talk Table! We Lunched And “Desserted” As We Tossed Around Ideas. We Discussed Color Combinations And Techniques. Again, So Insightful Talking With Other Artists. I Gleaned New Ideas And Put Them In My Pocket To Ponder On Later. 
I Went Into This Visit Fresh, With No Preconceived Ideas Of What I Was Going To Create. Since Nicole Had Already Completed Some Oil And Acrylic Paintings For The Show, I Was Able To See The Colors And Themes To Use As A Springboard For My Brainstorming . Cohesive … That Was My Goal!
Adjectives & Verbs
Learned a lot about myself and how I come up with ideas. I need a “word” a descriptive word! Once that word is in place … I’m ready to rock n roll !!!! My word (s) … Secret Garden! 
Video Shows Weeks This The Things I’ve Been Working On In The studio All … Some Throwing On The Wheel And Trimming Along With A Quick Tour Of My Handbuilding And More. After I Do The Tour A (Quite Lengthy) Tammy Jo’s Table Talk where I share a slide show and describe my feelings and process for coming up with pieces for our show … called … “2gether”! The 2 of us are doing this art thing 2gether! Meshing her paintings and my ceramic work for  an awesome cohesive experience!




To see the photos of some finished pieces and read back about my journey you may visit my Facebook fan page
Hobby Potter – Pottery Making and Ceramics

Test Tile Organized Game Plan – Cross-Mixing Commercial Glaze Colors!

Just jotting down some thoughts as I ponder the best way to organize and test my plethora of glazes.
Plethora = Over 100!

Obviously I have to have a baseline criteria and system or else the number of glaze samples would be into the 1000’s. So how should I go about choosing what I want to mix and what do I really want to know about what my colors can do together? One thing is necessary…

BASIC SAMPLE CRITERIA

1. Everything will be fired to Cone 5 so only cone 5 glazes will be mixed together.

2. Same Brand: To simplify the process, I’m going to only mix glazes within the same brand family (except when adding tinting (white) and shading (black) glazes to the basic colors. These two colors may be another brand.

3. 1/4th ratios : Again for simplicity sake I thought I’d mix 50/50 – equal parts, but realized that mixing a heavily dominant color or extra runny glaze may need adjustments. I’ve decided on mixing in 1/4 portions dependent on the characteristics of each glaze.

3 TYPES OF TEST TILES

1. BASIC COLORS (meaning commercial glazes as they come from the manufacturer).
      A. Sample stripe of the basic color in 1, 2 & 3 coats.
      B. Sample stripe of the basic color with Tint (white added) & Shade (black added)

2. MIXED BASIC COLORS (3 coats of color)
      A. Sample strip of each stand alone BASIC COLOR
      B. Sample strip of colors after they are mixed.
 
3. LOW FIRE GLAZES AT HIGH FIRE TEMPERATURES
     A. Sample test tile of 1-2-3 coats.
     B. Sample of wash effect.

Just typing it out really helped me get a handle on the direction I need to go…now it’s trying to figure out the most time efficient way to get the job done!

Here we go folks! !!!