Friday, March 20, 2020

Pottery Time Apart

I have come to the conclusion it isn't safe to have classes due to the COVID-19 disease outbreak. It isn't worth the risk of any of us getting really sick or worse, or spreading it. I can still continue to help you create pottery from a distance. I want you to have some fun and get into The Zone (no distractions) while creating, during this confusing and separate time. There is no pressure to do this. I hope you are doing something healing for yourself.

If you want, arrange for a pick up of clay and tools! You can pay for the clay, and borrow needed tools like you check out books from the library. You can do hand building at home then return your finished work for firing later, paying for firing fees instead of paying for a class. Estimate for firing fees: $2 for a piece the size of a fist.

Tell me how much clay you want, the tools you would like to borrow (see images below), "sign" the borrow agreement (see below), and arrange for a pick up time.

About the clay amount, I don't have a scale so we will estimate. The bags that sit on the stairs are 25 lbs. each. I pay about $20 for them (half of a box including travel time/gas to pick them up). Tell me what portion of a bag you would like to buy from me and the color of clay: $5 would get you a 1/4 of a bag (4" of the 16" full bag and about 6.25 lbs.). You could get that amount or less for one or both clays, just let me know. I will tell you your total when you get back to me with your interest. (The average amount a student usually centers on the wheel at a time (about the size of a fist or two) is about a 16th of a bag.)

If you want to order your own clay, you can. But it is a lot of clay for you to get at a time at home since it comes in 50 lb. bags and the shipping is almost the cost of the clay. I buy it in bulk and pick it up once a year or so in Attleboro. It comes from Sheffield Pottery in Sheffield, MA. Please ask me for the kind of clay I buy if you still want me to fire for you. I will not fire clay that is not the right kind or unknown to you/me. It is too much of a risk to fire "wrong clay" as it might damage my kiln and/or other pieces in the kiln. 

There is a lot you can make with clay at home. Hand building is fun. These are some simple little things I made with slabs of clay flattened in my hand, formed, and stamped.

Olga made this cute little birdie at home this week 
with recycled clay she thankfully saved from a past project:

Notes for if you make pottery at home that I will fire for you...please...

1. ... save your carvings and scrap clay and return it for me to recycle or recycle yourself (preferred). It can dry out. Keep your unused clay moist in a plastic bag. If it starts to dry out too much, sprinkle in some water.

2. ... do not let anything get stuck in the clay, ie. wood, plastic, or metal...only add water and love to clay.

3. ... do not have finished work be too thick or have air bubbles in it. You know this by now, I think. Just stating it again for the record. 

4. Keep your finished work leather hard in a plastic bag so it won't break when you transport it back to me.

5. Get ideas by searching for "pottery" on YouTube.

6. You can return work by appointment, for me to dry and bisque fire. All glazing will commence when we are back to having classes (aka Studio Together!).

Take pictures of what you make. I can share them here. Have fun during this stressful time (one reason for this offering of remote pottery time.) 

Tools that you can borrow (unless another student borrows before you ask; I'll let you know about that when you tell me the numbers you'd like to use): 

I'll add pictures of stamps you can borrow too.

Eri wanted to give me something to "rent" the tools she is borrowing; as I told her, I will donate anything she gives over the cost of clay (my cost too) to folks asking for help on I will do the same for all volunteered rental fees. Thanks for your support Eri!

The borrow agreement...write me a message (over text/email) to "sign" this: 

Do you agree to return all the tools you borrowed, in good condition or replace them, to the studio when classes start up again? All tools not returned within a month of us classes starting again will cost the borrower $5 each.

Remote hugs and take care,

P.S. Please see the next post also and participate in our Favorite Pottery Share!

Favorite Pottery Share

We unfortunately had to cancel the Stone Soup'r Bowl Party for now; we will reschedule when we are able to gather again after this COVID-19 separation time. Let's go ahead now though and remotely enjoy each other's favorite pieces.

Please send me a picture of you holding your favorite piece of pottery (made by you), and the reason why it is your favorite. I will post those things here.

Below is my newest student, Rachel
She is so new to Studio Together, she hasn't had a chance to make much, or to glaze her few pieces. 

Rachel will share later, why this is her favorite of her three bisque-fired pots.

"Please understand my tired appearance.
I've been busy with my mom- she's been ill and trying to find a nursing home. 

I love the very first piece I made:

I love the black interesting variation and simplicity of the piece."

Friday, January 3, 2020

Stone Soup'r Bowl Party

You are invited to join the other students who come to Studio Together for a party with soup, pottery share, and a pottery swap!

Inspired by this picture that Olga found online recently:

I'll make "stone soup" by cooking vegetables we each contribute (one kind from each of us, cleaned and cut in advance so ready to cook, enough to fill your bowl at least, see* below). A vegetable that cooks and goes well in a mixed vegetable soup. I'll add the "stone" (aka awesome wholewheat pasta I got from the Ashland Farmer's Market). We will partake of this soup... and any other thing you'd like to bring to contribute to a mid afternoon potluck meal.

Since you don't all know each other, this will be an opportunity to get to know the folks I am always raving about. And to share our pottery interests. With that in mind, please bring 3 pieces of pottery you have made:
  1. a bowl to eat your soup from* (if you have a bowl you can use one of mine if not)
  2. a piece of pottery you are happy with...a successful one...a favorite (remote share)
  3. one piece you would like to swap (all who bring one to swap will get to participate in the swap), if you don't have one you made that you want to part with, no worries, you don't need to participate in this part 
You will go home with your own pottery (see 1 & 2) and a piece you pick from another potter among us during the swap. I will participate in the swap too.

We can just chat and talk pottery stuff and more, and/or we can play a game. I have lots available. We can decide this while you are here.

This is the date picked (after a lot of back and forth discussion with those who got back to me before Jan. 8, thanks to those who helped me out with this tough task of planning a date that works for the majority of you!):
  • Sat. Mar. 14, 3-6pm (cancelled due to COVID-19, we'll reschedule when we can!)
  • can go: Elaine, Mia, Olga, Rebecca, Eri, Tonya, Travora, Stacy, Marty, Rachel
  • can't go: Scott, Susanne, Amey
  • haven't heard from yet: Barbara, Danielle, Kim...
This party will be at my house. I hope you can come!

- Deb

Friday, November 3, 2017

storage policy for pottery left while taking a break from classes

Good news: I have many new students joining us to Studio Together!

Challenge: Having space in the studio to store work-in-progress for all students when students who haven't taken a class in a while have unfinished and finished work sitting on shelves (indefinitely).

Due to above, I need to put a new policy into effect:

If a student needs to take a break, for up to 3 months, I can store unfinished and finished work if I know they will be back within 3 months (within reason...I understand some students have situations why they can't return within 3 months...if they just communicate the reasons to me, I can be flexible).

There is no guarantee that wet work-in-progress (left in a plastic bag) will be wet enough to be trimmed if they leave it for over one month.

Generally, students have a future date, or two, planned for returning for classes. If I haven't heard from a student a month or more since their last class, I would like to hear from them soon to see what their plans are for returning (preferably within a month, 3 max) or not.

If I haven't heard from a student for 3 months or more since your last class, I will wait one month (from the time I send this info to the student this applies to) and then I will not store the unfinished and finished work anymore.

Any student can arrange for a pick up and hold your unfinished work at your home (or use any fired work until you have time to return to glaze it).

If you want me to finish your unfinished work, I can do that with glaze guidance for rate of $30/hr prorated to nearest quarter hour. Let me know if you want this option.

Thank you for understanding...and communicating about this situation (if it applies to you),

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Studio Together: new name for classes

A few months ago, a student (Kim) suggested the name "Studio Together" for our classes. She thought it better expressed what is important to me...about what we do in our classes = work and create together.

Earlier this year, a student (Janeen) had surprised me with a gift of 2 hand-routed wooden signs that she had made with my initials and website URL: Dag(works). This month I added some more to one of them and hung it out on the gate that students come and go through. I decided this was important after trying to visit home studios in Maine and not being sure where to go.

Thanks for the suggestion and signage students!

Cooking Together

After our monthly time making pottery together on a Sunday, Travora, Stacy, Scott and I often cook and eat lunch together because months ago, Travora casually mentioned she wanted to learn to cook. Today we made rice with stir fry veggies and tofu. After eating this out on the deck, we blind taste-tested and discussed favorites of 3 kinds of apples: Macs, Cortlands, and Honey Crisp from the Ashland Farmers Market. It was fun.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Scott started the trend to make small animals last year. The younger students followed his lead. These are all an inch to two in height. More have been made too. Very cute!

Mia's turtle, elephant, whale

 Mia's lion

Clara's duck

Scott's cat, shark, and tiny cup