Holiday Sale / Open House 2014

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Our annual Holiday Sale is this coming weekend (December 6/7) from 10am - 4pm both days. We have been working tirelessly to set up a great shop space filled with handmade gifts by local artists. At the sale you will find beautifully crafted bags, scarves and pencil cases by Toronto-based textile designer Fionna Hanna, quirky and thought-provoking original artworks by fellow Hamiltonians Sean Gadoury and Caitlin Eady, hand illustrated letterpress cards by Papillon Press (Westmount ON), and of course, lots of quality porcelain pottery by yours truly. Along with several sizes and shapes of mugs and bowls, this year I've designed brie bakers, serving trays, wine cups, spoons, creamers and more - you will find something for everyone!

Come visit and cross some of those names off your shopping list, check out the new studio and enjoy some refreshments!

Thank you for shopping handmade this holiday season, and for supporting your local artists. (:

Wood Season

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Over the past few years I've found that I work best under pressure; I need deadlines and commitments to work efficiently. At the beginning of each week I set myself a schedule of what I'd like to accomplish, on which day. It's wood firing season, and with a woodfiring on the horizon, time management becomes imperative. For each firing I plan the days I will sand and glaze, when I need to get my last bisque firing in, and how much time it will take for pieces to dry. This planning activates a side of my brain that I really enjoy using – I feel joy while filling out calendars and date books.

Last week I unloaded work from my fourth firing this year, and will be loading my fifth this Saturday. While I still need to sand and wash the pieces we just unloaded, I am instead pulling handles on cups and jugs, finishing up details on prototype vases, and adding rims to serving dishes for the firing coming up. Studio life is a constant balancing and juggling act – one that I am starting to get comfortable with. While one tray of bowls dries you throw creamers. While the creamers are drying you roll out slabs to get them stiffening and then start to trim your bowls. When the slabs are stiff enough to work with you build the walls for vases and slowly dry them while you finish the creamers. On it goes, a carousel.

Here are some photos of the pots that came out of last week's firing. It was my first time leading a firing in the Manabigama, and was delighted to have a great time of eager potters who wanted to learn about firing with wood. The pots turned out delightful.

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Video - Robin Dupont

Robin Dupont is a ceramic artist from British Columbia who specializes in wood fired pottery. He was nominated for the RBC Emerging Artist Award in 2013 at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Each of the artists nominated for this award had to make a video to be played during the exhibition. Robin was the only potter nominated for this award, and his video sums up my love for making, wood firing, and designing objects to be used. I particularly love how he talks about how he is collaborating with food, and drink, and flowers. What a humbling way to think about one's artwork. Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D4Wlag1zIA&w=420&h=315]

Emily Schroeder Willis

esw2 What about her? .... I love her work. ADORE even.

What do I love most about it? The pinch-ey finger marks? The voluptuous curves?  Luscious glaze? The overall whimsy and delicacy? I don't know - I can't choose. There are SO MANY qualitites that I am over-the-moon in awe of. The hard truth is that she makes excellent work, and I wish my work were as excellent. These pots are the essence of my love for pottery.

I miss making pinch pots and coil pots. I have spent a lot of time throwing over the past few months, in an attempt to build inventory for shows and sales. But the fact is, I miss manipulating clay without tools. I miss throwing slabs around, I miss attaching parts - designing and building. I especially miss holding a ball of clay and seeing what I can make from it, with only the methodical movement of my fingers (and maybe a scoring tool).

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Please visit Emily Schroeder Willis' website and fall in with her work yourself. Warning: Drool .. it might happen.