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. (:

The Crawl

I've been an official Hamiltonian since February when we moved into the old general store, but I never truly felt one with the Hammer folk until September's annual Supercrawl. I must begin by expressing my love for Hamilton - I have long been a fan of this city and the people in it. I have fostered many relationships at the Ben Thanh, enriched my life through programming at Cathedral Place on James St N, and the monthly art crawls are always on my calendar. The city is full of life and love, excitement, entertainment and best of all, art.

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"Art is the new steel!" they say of Hamilton, ON. Once the home to a booming steel industry, the city is now a hub of arts culture and events, live music, street performance and craft beer. It is home to hundreds of galleries, vintage clothing shops and specialty food stores that sell cupcakes, organic goods and vegan smoothies. Every month James St N hosts an art "crawl" where the studio artists open their doors to the public, galleries put on sweet spreads, buskers serenade the passersby and vendors spread their wares across picnic blankets.

In September, the street completely shuts down to host Supercrawl, a weekend long crawl that brings in traffic from across Ontario. This is the crawl of all crawls. Art is hung on every alleyway wall, fences are decorated with chalk art and graffiti murals, large installations take up intersections and at night there are acrobats riding giant tricycles that shoot flames into the sky. Over 150,000 people descended up downtown Hamilton to share the experience. supercrawl I had a booth this year, to start my relationship with the city as a TRUE Hamiltonian. The feedback from the crowds was excellent, the weather (if chilly) was merciful, and I even got to play some music with my band inside the beautiful Cathedral.

Thanks to everyone who helped make Supercrawl an enjoyable and successful event!

Walk in the Rain

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After work yesterday I got into my little red car and drove back down to the GTA for a couple days. For the first 45 minutes it was bucketing rain but afterwards the drive was pleasant, and all of the plants appeared to have exploded with colour from the past few days of drizzle. A highlight of the road trip was the little town of "Scone" just a half hour south of Wiarton. Having missed the turn off to the main highway, I took several smaller roads to get back on track and stumbled my way through this little area. Not only did I see some Menonites on a horse and buggy (always humbling to see), but the farmland and lush orchards at the side of the road were breathtaking. There is something very inspiring about wide open fields of green. The large expanses of space make me feel much smaller and much more insignificant, something I always find liberating.

Today I took my parent's dog on a hike through Dundas Valley Conservation Area with my friend Tom. We started out at Sherman Falls and hiked through to The Hermitage (the ruins of a 19th century mansion) before looping back through an old orchard. I haven't been on a nice long hike in a while, but I'll have to scope out some good places in the Bruce Peninsula so I can get back into shape. I would love to hike the entire Bruce Trail one day, but at the rate I'm going, I wouldn't have the stamina. Bentley quite enjoyed the hike as well, he even saw his first deer.

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I'm headed back up to Wiarton tomorrow with more of my clay and equipment, so I can start producing some of my own work during my days off. I will be firing a wood-fired soda kiln with Marcelina Salazar (another Sheridan alumnus) at the end of June, and need to start making some work for it.

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Until next time, enjoy your weekend!

Monday Morning

I'm back in the studio this morning and the clay is awaiting my touch, but I've decided to start this morning with research and reflection. I've found the long break from working with clay to be disruptive and stalling - I have become lethargic and unmotivated after three weeks of clean hands. Though I am anxious to produce work, I am unsure of what work to make and how to get started. Today my dilemma is "what is a cake stand, anyway?" - What purpose does it serve? Where will it exist in the world? Who will see it, who will touch it, who will wash it and view the underside before putting it away?

I'm sitting here listening to The Tallest Man on Earth's album Shallow Grave and mulling all these questions over in my little head. My first reaction to these questions is a yellow house, with sunflowers blooming in the front garden on a sunny June afternoon. The house wife of choice has just pulled a homemade cherry pie out of the oven, with fresh cherries from the tree in their backyard. She sets the cherry pie on a tall stand, rustic and elegant. The stand is equally intriguing and supportive. A piece of art and beauty in itself, it is the skeleton that focuses the consumer's attention to the dessert it bears. The stand is comfortable in the hands, easy to pick up and place down - it provides a pleasurable experience for the person who will turn it over and over when the pie is consumed. When the water and soap bubbles run over it, the surface will absorb the holder's attention entirely. Their fingers will run over the ridges and crevices, reading each rise and fall, the lines and patterns speaking of direction and atmosphere.

With any new project I find myself beginning with research and planning. I start each week with a general schedule to follow - goals for each day, and a firing schedule. I sketch ideas for new forms, spend hours on the Internet and listen to a lot of music while quietly laying on the couch and writing lists. The forms I plan almost never make it into my body of work, but I sketch and make lists as a tool to get my thoughts rolling. I am a neurotic and theoretical person - lists and research are my launchpads for creativity. My excitement to make something from these lists and research will take hold of me, and from excitement, motivation follows.

Getting my hands into clay will come next. But first, more research.

Here are a couple of the maps I found on Pinterest this weekend.

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Map of Prague

Here's to a productive Monday morning - I hope yours is swell.

Cheers