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Located 90 miles south of Kansas City on 69 highway sits a stone house built in 1865. It was first used as an office to load fresh fruit which was then hauled to town. Later it was used to house workers at the colonial motel. For awhile it was used for junk storage. Now it is a magical place for me to create & show my clay work. The first time I touched the clay I immediately saw a big pantry filled with pots made by me. So I named my space The Pot Pantry. Each time I enter the stone house, I feel the presence of those that built it. I thank them for building this rock house strong enough to withstand the test of time. I have a wheel & can throw pots. Perfectly round pots bore me & I prefer to hand build my pieces. That makes each piece one of a kind & totally my design. I created mugs for our local cancer group personalized with names of loved ones either fighting the cancer battle or in memory of a loved one that has died. I work with 4-H kids on their fair projects, many of whom have taken their clay masterpiece to the state level. Workshops are offered, art fairs are attended, competitions are entered & won, the clay is my world. Please visit my photo gallery for more of my work. All work shown is for sale. That changes daily & some pieces might not be available.
All glazes are lead free.
Good morning to the friends I cannot see,
Remember how I have told you that not all kiln openings are like Christmas? Disclaimer–sometimes there are some jewels hiding in the ugliness. Ugliness first–upon opening the lid I said “Dang it”. Even though I had thought ahead & set my largest piece of work on wire stilts–the glaze had moved so far it was on the stilts & on the shelf. And not even the glaze that I had put on the top knowing it sometimes moved, it was the old reliable blue glaze that everyone loves. (thus my thought that piece would sell quickly). It’s OK I said–other pieces were nice. Remove the top shelves & look—“Dang it” came out again. There was a great mug glazed in white & at the last minute (not able to leave just one glaze on anything) I brushed some blue lines plus some green dots on the blue lines. The overall look was stunning—on the mug but not so much as it reached the shelf. I didn’t get mad, or upset & vow to stop making pots, I did continue to unload the kiln & did find some really nice pieces. They will be available at our art walk this Friday downtown. Did I learn a lesson from this–yes & it was Everything does not go as planned so learn to deal with it & continue down the path of life. The shelves were grinded off (thanks to Mark) & I just put new kiln wash on all of them. I have a load almost ready to bisque fire next week–but as I glaze that load I will try to remember what glazes not to use. Oh wait, I never write anything down (as my teacher Sammie taught me) so perhaps I won’t remember this load & it will happen again.
The upside of this story is that all of this work was mine. It’s much harder for the students to lose a piece (especially on me) & that doesn’t happen often. Stress cracks, yes, but when that happened to a young girl she said “That’s OK Mz Bobbi—it is what it is” I will remember her smile & upbeat manner forever.
Until we meet again
To my friends I cannot see,
It’s been awhile since we have visited. You know, winter, yuck, & all that stuff gets in the way of happy vibes. But the sun is shining, the birds are singing, & the kiln has gifted me with some awesome pots. I did just now take a few pictures & with the help of my kids showing how easy it is to post them to facebook, that is what I did. I don’t know how to post them to my blog yet. Still working on that but visit my facebook if you want some happiness in your life today. Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of Harry’s death. Sad day for me. But a friend came to the rescue & we attended a house concert at Tony & Rhonda’s last night. Again awesome music & great food. So today I turned my music to full volume, danced on the rock house porch, & unpacked pots & unloaded my kiln. Both loads gave me joy. The studio is filling up with 4-H work done by the young people, pots made by me & as soon as we get a full kiln load dried, the cycle starts again of creating work from clay (mud), firing the kiln, glazing, & the opening. Just like we humans in our circle of life–conception, birth, life, death & life everlasting.
So until we meet again
Good Morning to the friends I cannot see,
Whew, it has been a whirlwind 2 months. My heart is so heavy with gratitude for all of you that like my pottery & buy my pottery. I fired & unloaded yesterday the last kiln load before Christmas. One workshop & 2 special orders plus a few of my last minute creations. On the spur of the moment I decided to do a random act of kindness & placed some of my pots at Carmen’s hair shop. Those sold almost completely out–made way for me to make more & hopefully gave joy & smiles to those that found them.
Lets talk workshops-I hosted a father/daughter (which they picked up yesterday) & that was so much fun. I expected some trash talk like–I can make a better pot than you or you are so slow Dad or you are going to glaze it what color?. But I heard none of that–they worked together, often in silence, always with a smile on their face & the love between them was so obvious. Each made completely different work. The Dad had done some clay in college so tried his hand on the wheel and actually threw a really good mug. A little heavy but it did not blow up in the kiln & the handle stayed on. Wahooo— OW the daughter also threw a bowl on the wheel. That took several tries & it definitely was a little heavy but again, it stayed in one piece. She chose several bright colors for that piece. Her favorite she said.
If any of you are at a loss for a Christmas gift please consider a gift certificate to do a workshop in the magical rock house. Lasting memories are made there,
I have to go over & put magnets on the pieces with a special name on it–they will be frig magnets. I am hearing that children & adults like to see their name on the frig. These hold that special picture on the frig–maybe their first school paper, their school picture, the dogs picture, their first deer kill picture (I have a grandson that has several of these even though he is now 21) oh & I made 2 for grandmas grandchildren plus a picture frame for that new born grandson.
Anyway, enough chatter. I am looking forward to a new year & all the blessings that will come. I hope to see new faces in the rock house plus all of you that have been a part of my clay world & given me so much encouragement—Thank You.
I wish for all of you a very Blessed & Merry Christmas.
Until we visit again
Good Morning to the friends I cannot see,
This is an awesome fall day full of sunshine & very nice pots just out of the kiln. Actually I fired two loads this week, one in the gas kiln & one in the electric kiln. One stuck to the shelf (but not bad) & I know why it did that–the glaze was applied too thick. But it looks really nice with a bronze outside glaze & a soft butter yellow on the inside. A cup actually & it says “I am ready for some beverage”. So I am fully stocked with pots for the festivals that are booked for the next 3 months. This is not a sales pitch but I must tell you that shopping has begun today as my faithful pot lovers stop in to get first choice to fulfill their holiday gift giving. I invite you to do the same—soon.
The great weather has allowed me to spray glaze the pots outside. This technique does use more glaze but I like the end result. I think I have talked about this before. In fact, I bet I have talked about just about everything before, but it all bears repeating. A few workshop bisque pieces are left to glaze. Then its back to working hard to fill another kiln load. My friend SP is coming tomorrow to take pictures of the new pieces so look for them on my website bobbikemnapottery.com.
The Royals are playing so I gotta go cheer them on. Till we visit again—
The kiln opening yesterday was a rainbow of color. Raising the lid made me laugh out loud & my heart sing. It was filled with the creations of several summer workshops. They stepped out of the box & glazed their work with vibrant, happy colors. I was invited to share the clay with a Church group & talked about the bible passage “I am the potter–you are the clay” S G made baseball jerseys–his brother L G made mugs. A W continued with her series of crosses–she glazed it in several colors–it was absolutely stunning. Grandmother S R & her 2 granddaughters used texture on their pieces that grabbed the glaze & made it sing. It has been a great summer for me.
I did an art show near St. Louis last week end. Now several people have my work in their homes. That always makes me happy. More festivals coming up in the next 3 months. Weather man says lots of snow & bad weather is on the way for the winter. That DOES NOT MAKE ME HAPPY. So I guess I will just keep my hands in the mud & think happy thoughts. In fact, I am going to make this blog short & head back over to the magical rock house to see what awesome “mud pies” I can make today. Until we visit again——–
Good Morning To The Friends I Cannot See,
Where to start??? Well I can tell you that this rain filled period that we are going through is not friendly to my clay work drying. Uggggh—- and the rain & wind does not allow me to spray on the glazes on the table outside the studio door. So that means I either have to dip or pour the glazes or wait for a better day to spray glazes. Of course I prefer to spray so I can control the over spray of different colors which makes my work different than other potters. However, I have willed myself to have some self control over what I cannot control. FYI–that isn’t working very well.
So, lets talk about something else. 140 kindergarten students & 11 teachers came mid April for a field trip here & made pinch pots with lots of texture. That took 2 days & 4 busses but it was a wonderful time had by all. Probably me most of all. The kids made pots, watched me throw on the wheel (lots of ahhhs & big eyes on that one) brought sack lunches which they ate in my back yard, played tag, pulled & pushed the wagon & vowed to come back again. One mother shared her son’s comments with me when he got home from school “Mom, when I grow up I am going to be a potter like Mz Bobbi for my whole life” That was pretty special I thought. If he were older I would tell him “don’t quit your day job just yet. (smile)” I bisque fired the pots then returned them to school where the kids painted them.
The kiln has been working overtime the past few weeks to finish up the 4-H projects & my festival dates inventory. I went to Parsons on Sat for their Katy Days celebration. What a great group to work with. They set up big tents for the vendors to show under & provide tables & chairs. Those of you that follow my blog know that I like color. Sat, there was an older couple that visited my space several times with their eye on a large piece that had lots of color (purple, red, black, brown crawl & red gold glazes). Finally they said they wanted to buy it. They were consolidating their homes, getting married & building a new home for themselves. Most of what they now owed was dark colors & dull. They wanted color in their lives now. My piece is to set on the new fireplace & they promised to send me a picture. You also know that after Harry died I tried my hand at painting. They look like my pots, lots of splats, splashed, & unorganized colors. The gentleman said “how much for the painting” I said “make me an offer” He did, I stuck out my hand & said “you got a deal”. So one of my paintings plus one of my colorful pots now has a new home in Denver, Colorado. Yipeeee–When others like what I do it makes doing it so much more worthwhile.
I better get back to work. Oh, and thanks to all of you that “liked” my pottery site on facebook. I was so surprised to get that response (over 500 likes). I guess most do not know that I write these blogs to keep you connected to my pottery life & was gently encouraged by a friend D D to tell people about that. So, feel free to forward this to anyone you want to. Have a great day & until we visit again
I think my grass is turning green with the warm temps last week. I know we will pay for it later but it sure felt good to feel the sun on my body. And it gave me a chance to fire 2 loads of pots—last year with all of the ice & snow I didn’t even get to make pots in the rock house. So I am a happy potter.
Two young people tried their hands in the clay—here’s how that went.
#1 L.S. He is 9 years old & has made pots before, two workshops actually. He enters his work in the fair for 4-H. Now LS is a bright boy, way ahead of his years. He hasn’t perfected the art of patience yet, he tends to want to “just get it done”. That is me too, so I totally understand that trait. This is how the time went—————-
Me “what is in your head today. Tell me what you see the look of your piece will be when it is finished”
LS “I want a flat bottom & this sorta round piece of clay going around the flat piece”
Me “so you are wanting a bowl or a serving dish”
LS “no, I want the round piece to be tall in some places & shorter in other places. I want it to have some doors”
Me “OK” the round piece goes all around the flat piece”
LS “No just part way around the flat piece”
Me “is this going to hold anything, like corn or beans or candy”
LS ‘NO’ he said with a look that spoke volumes like what is wrong with this lady that she doesn’t understand me.
Long story short—can any of you get what he was talking about? The finished piece is absolutely marvelous. This is a 9 years old remember. LS finally told me “my piece is the colosioum in Rome!!!
The next young person is a 7 years old G W—-first time in the clay. Her grandmother got the workshop for her birthday gift. Beautiful young lady that talks a lot. She wanted to make a pitcher that would hold tea for her tea parties. After much discussion, the pitcher was to be 5” tall with a good handle & a spout that would actually pour tea. Oh “and I want to make a turtle”
Me “do you know what a turtle looks like”
G W “yes, I play with turtles all of the time” But when you put them down in the grass, you have to really watch them closely cause they can get away really fast”
I also love turtles & have their shells all around my house. So I went out on the rock house porch & got one from the window sill. Me “how about this G W?” She was so excited. She did not want to make a whole turtle with head & feet but rather just the shell. Then toads can use it for their house. Time to glaze the masterpieces—
G W ” I want lots of different colors on my pitcher. Blue, a streak of red, oh & some yellow, probably some green–white too, do you have white. & purple would be nice. Do you have purple?
Me ” your pitcher is going to be beautiful—it will be like Dolly Pardon’s song Coat of Many Colors”
AGAIN, that look that said what is this lady talking about.
The young & the old. So many years apart but still able to connect. I am so blessed that others still continue to put up with me & that parents continue to share their children with me.
Oh & the pitcher was beautiful in it’s coat of many colors & the toads are going to be happy also cause they will have a resting place–also of many colors.
Until me visit again
Good Morning to the friends I cannot see,
We had our first snow last night–a beautiful sight if you like snow–I got over it years ago. Liking it that is. A few years ago when Harry had to help me up from making snow angels I decided to gracefully let go of that part of winter. I just finished my walking workout with a DVD with Leslie Sansone. An amazing workout–I encourage all of you to try it. Start with the power mile, then the power 2 mile, then the power 4 mile (which I do now). Leslie says if you do this workout, it equals losing one meal a day. During this marathon eating month I hope she is right.
Let’s talk about clay. After all, isn’t that what this blog is about. Each day in my life is full of “the clay”. I finished up the last glaze firing (mine & the rest of the workshops work) a couple of weeks ago. Just in time for the annual holiday festival here in ft. scott. Last week as I looked around the rock house I said to myself “bobbi, you have tons of clay here, how about you use it up before restocking” Over 10 years ago I purchased an awesome clay from Minn Clay Co. It has a lot of iron which makes those brown spots that I dearly love when glazed & fired to cone 10. I expected it to be hard & need to be soaked to make it moist & usable. When I poked the plastic bag, to my disbelief, the clay was as moist as the day it was packaged. I laughed outloud, said a big thank you, opened the bag & began to create . If I do say so myself, there are some great pieces coming out of that clay. I can hardly wait for the finished work. I was going to say masterpiece, but that might be a little over the top. Workshops for the new year are already being booked. Working in the rock house is magical & all of us need magic during the dreary months of winter.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you that read my nonsense. I especially want to thank those of you that like my style of pottery making. The rock house has been busy this week with customers coming to choose that unique gift for that someone special in their life. I even received a picture on my phone yesterday with the message “just wanted to share this with you. I bought this pot in 1994 & it remains one of my favorites” Ahhhh—that started my day off HAPPY. So to all of you THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR INVESTING IN ME—–
And please remember that JESUS is the reason for the season. I wish all of you a blessed Christmas & a happy new year.
Till we visit again