Saturday, July 11, 2015

It's Big Crafty Time!

I don't get out to do shows much anymore. I love getting to chat leisurely with folks about my work and watch them find pieces they love - not something I get to do when I'm not in the gallery. It's fun, but it's exhausting, and happily my own gallery keeps me busy filling inventory, plus I have an eclectic mix of clients that grace me with many opportunities to design and make new work. 

That being said, The Big Crafty is a really, really fun show. Plus, it's here in my town, and a lot of other artist friends who I don't get to see much are likely to be in the show or attending the show, so it's a win all around. I get to see friends, plus spend the day chatting with folks about my work. 

Conversation Plate by Holly de Saillan
This year will be a bit different in two ways: my usual cohort and table partner, Holly deSaillan (clay & mosaics by Holly de Saillan), will be at The Big Crafty, but she's filling her own entire space this year, and I can't WAIT to see her new work! I'm still happy filling half a space, so I was thrilled when Angelique Tassistro (Fly Coop Studios) agreed to apply with me and share the space. And even better, we're right next to Holly!

Olive Dishes by Angelique Tassitro 
The other difference this year is that I'm taking the opportunity to try some new designs out on my work that I bring to the show. To keep myself from going too crazy, I limited myself to drinking vessels - in fact that's all I'll have at this show: mugs, tea bowls, tumblers and cups. I'll have a few of my current designs, but I'll also have a larger grouping of sgraffito and relief-carved pieces in new designs. Some will enjoy their fun at The Big Crafty and happily retire, but some will find their way into other facets of my work.

New work, new glaze, new firing fun!

I hope you'll come by and check it out - you'll only find it at The Big Crafty, or you'll have to wait and see if/how it shows up again!

The Big Crafty is on Sunday, July 12 from 12-6pm in downtown Asheville at the Asheville Art Museum. Vendors will be outside and inside, and you'll find me and Angelique inside, on the lower level, at space #48.

Friday, June 26, 2015

200 Mug Challenge!!

We're making 200 mugs to celebrate the first firings of the Kazegama Kiln, and if we can get 200 donations at the mug level on our Kickstarter, we'll pretty much be able to build this kiln!

And, 200 mugs will find happy homes - if you'd like to be one of them, please check out our Kickstarter. The firings will be in early Fall, so this is a great way to make some early holiday purchases that will be very special and treasured gifts!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kazegama Kickstarter

We're in our fourth year at The Village Potters, and each year, our galleries, working studios and Teaching Center have continued to grow. Our galleries now include three showrooms, and our working studios hold the full time studios of six Resident potters and two studio assistants. Our student body is up to about 35, with many of the students are looking for ways to continue to study with us as they expand their skills and even prepare for a professional career themselves. 

To that end, we're growing to meet the needs of more visitors, new accounts and new students. We'll be expanding into another 2000 sq ft at the end of the year, and we're in the process of launching a new Independent Study & Mentoring Program. This invitational program will allow 1-2 year study for students wishing to sharpen their skills for their own pleasure or to develop a portfolio for professional use. Regular mini-workshops, mentorship, critiques and even exhibit opportunities will be available for participants. If you happen to be an interested artist, you can get more information by emailing 'info' at '' and asking for an Application to the IS/M Program.

And that's not all! We're also expanding our fire power by making plans to build a 'wood-influenced' Kazegama Kiln. This small kiln will allow us to fire in reduction with gas, and then add wood ash and even soda ash into the environment to create wood-fire effects while allowing us to fire within city codes. By building the kiln on a trailer, we also have the ability to protect it from any rising tides, as we're in the flood plain, and we will also be able to travel with the kiln to conduct workshops at other locations. 

The Kazegama Kiln

Because we have been so fortunate to have so much support from our community of friends, family and collectors, we are asking for help in building this segment of The Village Potters. We have established a Kickstarter Campaign for the Kazegama kiln, and with your support, we will be able to have our first community firings by the end of the summer, and have it fully functioning for the first class of participants in the Independent Study and Mentorship Program! 

And your donation will garner you any number of lovely rewards from each of The Village Potters. Some are available in the classic glazes you already know and love, and some are planned for the new kiln. And each and every donation comes with our deep and sincere appreciation. "It Takes a Village" is a fond refrain often heard around the studio, and we've done so much with our Village, we thank you for what has been and we thank you for what is to come!

Check out our Kickstarter Campaign, and Thank You!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Riverview Station Holiday Market

The Village Potters will be taking part in the First Annual Riverview Station Holiday Market, and we hope you'll come kick off the holiday season with us! Our Feature Gallery will feature wonderful holiday gift ideas, and we'll have our festive best out for you, along with some light refreshments and holiday cheer. And Santa himself will be there too! Join us at The Village Potters and wander throughout Riverview Station on Friday, December 5, from 4-8PM!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What a Summer, and What a Fall!

I was amazed to see my last post here was in June, and more amazed to think about all that's happened since then:

Glaze testing continues on the Potters Mark glazes. I may have mentioned it's a slow process. I may never match the glazes, but I'm getting close to getting ... something.

recent tests for Potters Mark Red
I feel grateful every day that I am working at what I love to do, and even more so that I get to do it in a studio with people I love and respect. Studio traffic has been steady and Gallery sales continue to grow as we prepare to celebrate our third anniversary at The Village Potters, I am happily working hard just to keep up with inventory demands. It gets even better when I look through the work I make for my clients, who are all inspirations as business leaders and as people. If you're in my area, you should check them all out:

These little piggies are on their way to Cúrate!

New design for Biltmore Village Inn! (photo by Camilla Photography)

Asheville Bee Charmers, where you'll find an incredible honey tasting bar,
along with some of my mugs, honey pots, and even these sweet necklaces.
Can't wait to see the new boutique at the new
French Broad Chocolate Lounge location!

Have a nice cup of tea after your mass-aaaah-ge
at Sensibilities Day Spa!
And add to that, The Village Potters have been named Finalists for Martha Stewart's American Made Awards in the Crafts Category. It's an exceptional opportunity, and we are humbled to be considered and thrilled to be among so many fine Makers. Did you know you can vote six times a day

You know I believe "homemade tastes better on handmade", and I've been fortunate to have some good experiences on the 'homemade' side a bit more lately. I cook regularly at the studio, to a ridiculously receptive crowd, which only makes me want to do it more (hmmm... I see their plan!). And I was honored to cook a love-filled special meal for a good friend, and with a good friend. It got even better as we got to pick from the absolute cream of the crops and design the entire meal around what was fresh from the Farmer's Market. Watch the homemade tastes better food blog for recipes from that.

And now I'm off on another culinary adventure: I'll be cooking for private groups of eclectic folks gathering to study the hammered dulcimer, and I'll be doing it for three weeks at Virginia Beach. A reasonable question would be 'why am I leaving the studio for three weeks?!' In the final analysis, I tried out two statements: "I got to cook for folks for three weeks at Virginia Beach" and "I passed on a chance to cook for folks for three weeks at Virginia Beach". Adventure wins. And this wasn't a bad motivation either:
Sunrise at Va. Beach (photo by Laurie McCarriar)
And when I get back to Asheville and back in the studio, I get to dive into crazy production to make pots for the holiday season and refill inventories. It will no doubt be highly stressful, extremely exhausting, and at times a tad bit frustrating, but I still wake up every day and think "I get to do this!"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Continuing a Legacy

I have been given an incredible honor - Marty & Eileen Black, who have recently retired The Potter's Mark studio and gallery, have given me their process and glazes/recipes for their signature line of pottery, in the hopes that I will be able to continue the legacy they've built over the past 30+ years.

I am indeed honored and very excited about what possibilities lie ahead with this opportunity. Currently, I'm in the process of testing two of the most popular glazes, their signature 'Red', and the 'Spirit' glaze. The first tests of using these glazes on my clay body in a different kiln were very encouraging, but I won't begin regular production in any of these glazes until I have consistent results in several firings. After I nail down these two glazes, I'll test through others. While I may not carry items in every glaze, my plan is to be able to fill replacement orders for long time collectors in any glaze they have. I will only produce bodies of work in 2-3 glazes for show and sale in The Village Potters' gallery and in other regional galleries, all under the name "The Potter's Mark Line". 

The overall list of items that will be offered will be less than what Marty and Eileen originally carried, as  they, working together full time, were able to carry over 50 items, many available for wholesale as well as retail. I will have to pare down that list as I will be working solo. I'll also be carrying on my own work - if you check out my website 'Portfolio' link, you'll see that I've added a section for The Potter's Mark. As I continue the tests and achieve consistent results, I'll begin posting samples of the glazes that will be available. But testing is imperative, and cannot be rushed! If you'd like to keep up with my progress, I invite you to join The Potter's Mark mailing list for monthly updates and opportunities to win very special, very one-of-a-kind test pieces during this process. You'll also get first dibs on placing orders once that time comes!

The standing bowl, above, is The Potter's Mark signature Red Glaze. On the right, first test firing in my kiln. Encouraged to get red at all, but still some work to do!

For those who have been collecting The Potter's Mark wares, I will be carrying the most popular forms, and while I will make every effort to stay true to the spirit of Marty & Eileen's forms, they will be different as different hands are making them. I would never attempt to copy their style - indeed, one of the reasons I have been given this great honor and opportunity is because our styles, while different on the surface and in our decoration, have much in common when you look at the base forms. I believe that when current collectors see the range of forms available, that they may not have or may not have considered, with Potter's Mark glazes, they will be very pleased to add them to the collection.

Stay tuned for more!