There are no mistakes.

When glazing, I often dip one glaze over another to get the results I want. Some turn out beautifully and become main studio glaze and others, not so good. I have had anything from swamp scum brown, to burn scar pink/yellow, to simply running off the pot and destroying shelves. Much like Christmas morning, you are never really sure of what you will get when combining glazes.

I had my last Tuesday night Clay Class a few weeks ago. It has been a busy time, and keep in mind I am so unorganized. I was running fairly fast for me. I had the trade show looming, pot orders to get out and working at the Post Office. When I set up the studio for glazing, grabbed the wrong bucket for the ladies to dip first and then second to get my Moonshadow glaze.

This is the glaze I thought I was setting up for.
This is the glaze I thought I was setting up for.

It’s a small studio, 600 square feet. I use  32 gallon garbage cans for glaze buckets and I had out six large buckets and three, 5 gallon pails for glazing. There are 7 ladies in the class all glazing at once. In the mix, I put the wrong bucket out. All the ladies used it thinking they were getting Moonshadow. The glazing class is fun and a little crazy.

We all love the way it breaks.
We all love the way it breaks.

 

 

 

It

 

 

 

It wasn’t until the next day, I discovered that we used the wrong bucket. All the ladies that wanted Moonshadow had glazed it wrong. I had no idea what the glaze would be. I had a good idea it would be in brown family, but what brown? Swamp scum brown, snot green? I was fairly sure it wouldn’t run off the pot, both glazes were the same base so they would work together, but to do what? I told the ladies it was wrong and asked if they wanted to come back, wash it all off and reglaze. In my mind I was saying ” no, no no” I had no time for another class. As it turned out, neither did they. They/ we decided to let it go and see what we would get…..what could happen…… What happened was beautiful. I am so happy to add “Sage Brush” to my line of glazes.

Sage Brush glaze in a sage brush.
Sage Brush glaze in a sage brush.

This is the first text I did. We took it out and put in a sage brush, just for fun. You can see where it got its name.

Then I applied it to more pots to get a better idea, and it is a keeper!

 

Mugs for hot and cold beverages.
Mugs for hot and cold beverages.
I like the way it breaks on the texture.
I like the way it breaks on the texture.
Inside and outside on a bowl.
Inside and outside on a bowl.

 

There are no mistakes. I thought I really goofed up and ruined everything. This is the result. It’s my new glaze, Sage Brush. It is the colour of the local sage brush.  I would like to say that have been working all this time to formulate a glaze that represents the area and our new home…..

I guess I could say that….. Yeah… that’s it…..The new glaze is the result of two years of study and represents where we live and the impact the local environment has on my work………Yeah…..

 

 

Give me a bit more time and I will work that into an artist statement. ……Maybe not.

 

Until next time.

Cindy

 

Coutts Days come and gone.

Coutts Days is this weekend and Jim and I have become engulfed in the process of getting ready for it. I’m not sure how it happened , but we have become very involved, very quickly in this little town. Every Coutts Days starts out the same, and has for years, as I mentioned in the last post. They have the Pancake Breakfast and then the parade. This years theme for the parade is Peace, Love and Tie Dye.

One group we somehow got very active in, is the seniors club, and I’m not even a senior. Jim got elected as president, he is a senior, but just barely. We do as much as we can for the group. Some of those people are very senior and often it is much like visiting “the home” when you attend meetings or pot luck suppers. The theme of the parade is basically the 60’s, but this is rural Alberta. Peace, Love and Tie Dye never did make it this deep into ranch country. During the 60’s, the seniors we are working with, were not aware of that culture, so trying to remind them about the sex and drugs and rock and roll is kinda cute. We are helping them build a float for the parade where they all will be Flower Children, they never saw listening and dancing to music they never heard. Should be fun.  Neither Jim or I can be apart of the float. I have the trade show and Jim is taking pictures and video of the parade. We are building the float Wednesday, but Jim and I will make all the signs today. We have the truck and trailer lined up, so the ladies just need to decorate.

Now skip ahead to Tuesday after Coutts Days. Or was that daze.

The decorating went okay. The day we said we could help, the other ladies couldn’t, didn’t or forgot to come. They decorated on Thursday. Jim had the music all lined up and working. They won first prize in the parade and as soon as they won, there was a glitch, it got unplugged, they didn’t see that it was unplugged so for the parade, it was quiet. It was the day the music died.  Here is the parade. 

The trade show went fairly well. Saturday was good and Sunday was a bust. At this point I would love to add pictures of the parade, the breakfast, the show, vendors, but we didn’t take any pictures??? I don’t know where our heads were, but not behind a camera.

The show was a fund raiser for the school, and the fund raising part didn’t do that well. We raised about 75% of what we did last year. People didn’t buy the raffle tickets or bid up the silent auction items. It is what it is, or was what it was. We worked hard and did our best. We will try something new for next year. Like the farmers that surround us, next year will be a good one.

Until next time,

Cindy

 

“A Change Is Gonna Come”

Every third weekend in June, Coutts has their Coutts Days. The Coutts Grass Rodeo takes comes t town and a large home coming slow pitch baseball tournament takes place.

Hold on to more than your hat.
Hold on to more than your hat.
The pitch, the ballet. It is all in the technique.
The pitch, the ballet. It is all in the technique.
The line up for pancake breakfast. .
The line up for pancake breakfast.

The town has their parade and pancake breakfast. It’s a pretty big deal for this little town and has been for forty plus years without change.

The gym during the show. We had a great a turnout.
The gym during the show. We had a great a turnout.
The first year of vendors in tents.
The first year of vendors in tents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been working on putting together the Second Annual Coutts Days Art, Craft and Trade Show. Except for last year, there has never been summer craft show here in Coutts. Last year was our first year and it was a hit. Now this year, we are expanding the show  That’s where the rub is . This is a small town, 275 people small. There are people who have been here their entire lives and don’t handle change well. So when we come in, bring in new ideas and then doing something about them, it upsets some of the locals. I don’t know how many times I have been told that they never did that before, or  that’s not the way we always do it, why should we change now. I also hear that the new people, us, don’t understand what Coutts Days is all about. The idea behind Coutts Days is only about the rodeo, baseball and fun. Tell that to the vendors that are coming down, with their products, hotel rooms, travel costs, 3 days away from home. I have been working to get pots together to sell not just to show them locals. The vendors and I hope to make some money. Making money is a part of idea behind Coutts Days, it’s fun! Also the show gives those people in town something else to do. I am hoping and planning to have a good show.

This town is slowly getting smaller and smaller. Granted, 275 is already pretty small. What some people  need to understand is that, doing nothing is still change. People have been doing nothing since they changed  the border approach, and long but that’s another blog,and it has gradually gotten smaller  and smaller.  It has changed and still is, changing. This little town is teetering on the brink. We need all the help we can get, and a trade show that brings in people can’t hurt. Jim, my husband,  and I plan to make some changes in this town. If Coutts is teetering on the brink, we want to help push the town over to the productive and growing side.  We hope to make changes and change is good.

Until next time,

My signature

A day at the Post Office

I have dropped the video and blogging ball. It has almost been a year. Life here in Coutts is busy and I am a little scattered and unorganized, but having fun. Last blog I posted said I was going to video blog, well……. But I am here again.

We have settled and enjoying this small town of only 277 people. The studio is doing well. I have ended the Tuesday night classes for the summer and I have as many clients as I want, four. I have taken part times jobs at the local Post Office, here in Coutts and Milk River, the town 18 kilometers north. The office here is small, meaning, that there is only one person in the office at a time. It is a great way to learn all  the jobs at the PO and get to know your neighbours. I was sorting mail yesterday, when I heard a voice from the other side of the boxes. “My names is Bud, what is my box number?” he hollered out. I hollered back, “Hi Bud,  you are 172 and you don’t have any mail today.”  Only in a small town.

Coutts Post Office
Coutts Post Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are working on our Second Annual Coutts Days Art, Craft and Trade Show. Everyone says , Bigger and Better, well we are. We have vendors coming from St. Albert, Calgary Lethbridge and all in between. We will have about 40 vendors. OOHHH I hope the people attend and the vendors do well.

Harvey Coulee Harvey Coulee Harvey Coulee

Today, I will walk the dog Harvey for a walk in his coulee. We live near this beautiful valley with water, birds, wild life and flowers. We are the only ones we know of that take advantage of the wonder 2 mile walk along the valley. We named the coulee Harvey Coulee because he simply loves it there. We may walk only a couple of miles, but he runs all over and does a whole lot more than that.  We try to walk him there every morning. What a great way to start your day. I have a bunch of pots to glaze and then load. I will work the lunch hour at the Post Office and tonight we have to mow the lawn. We have double lot and that is a lot …. well two lots…. of grass.

It will be a day.

Until next time,

Cindy

 

 

 

 

Video blogging is easier than writing a blog.

I try to write a blog. I see things that are funny or interesting and I want to share it here. However, as you  from the frequency of my entries, I’m not that good at finding the time, or making the time to talk about my day.  I have added a couple of video blogs. It’s fun and a lot easier to stand and talk than sit and type.

 

 

 

 

We will unload the kiln today and I will post the results here.

Until next time,

My signature

AKA Mrs. Clay

Old Blog

Out of the Fire Studio

How to Make Pottery

 

Time keeps on slipping into the future….and Coutts Days….

Two months have come and gone since I last blogged. We have been busy in the pottery  studio. I have made lots of pots, Coutts Days, have come and gone. We have had company, then company and then company again. The old kiln is getting more and more moody and picky. We have fixed, coaxed, cajoled  and babied the old boy along with refires and shut downs.  Our yard is 11,000 square feet of looking after. I blinked, and 2 months went by.

The gym with tables waiting for the show.

The gym with tables waiting for the show.

The gym during the show. We had a great a turnout.
The gym during the show. We had a great a turnout.

We put together the first trade show to be held in conjunction with Coutts Days, and Coutts Days Art, Craft and Trade show was born. Coutts Days is when our little village comes alive.

The third weekend of June, we have , our local fair, slow pitch tournament and rodeo. Along with the baseball and rodeo, we have a parade, pancake breakfast, kid games, and fireworks. We thought it would be great to have a trade show in the mix as well. How hard could it be? As potters, we have attended many retail and wholesale trade shows, but it was our first time on the organizers side of the fence.

It was a great weekend.

The line up for pancake breakfast. .
The line up for pancake breakfast. .

What we learned was that it was a great weekend, but none of the groups worked together, that we could see. The slow pitch people did their thing, the rodeo people were independent, and there was little communication from the town to anyone else. Coutts Days just kinda happened. We plan to change that. We, with the help of others, will get a Coutts Day Committee and get everyone talking, sharing, working and promoting together. Next year will be different.

Hold on to more than your hat.

The slow pitch was fun to watch and I enjoyed the ballet method of pitching.

The wind up
the wind up
The pitch, the ballet. It is all in the technique.
The pitch, the ballet. It is all in the technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The parade was small this year, but here it is.

That was Coutts Days and some of what we have been up to in the last 2 months.

Until next time.

Cindy

 

 

 

AKA Mrs. Clay

Old Blog

Out of the Fire Studio

 

 

 

 

Been a long time since I rock and rolled…. or blogged.

My last blog I talked about aging. This blog I start off by making reference to a Led Zeppelin song that came out in 1971, back when I was a girl, 44 years ago. So that’s how it happens. You get busy, take a moment to look up and over 40 years have gone by. Scary stuff.

It takes me so long to write a blog. I’m not sure why. I guess because I am a potter and not a writer. I have been blogging on YouTube,

It’s easier to stand there a just talk about what I have been doing and to find, take, make the time to sit down and write about. There is also the easily distracted side of me that once I am on the PC, I have to check my email,  Facebook, then have a game of candy crush …….. There goes the computer time window.

I have been spending some time organizing the first craft show here in Coutts to run in conjunction with Coutts Days. In June, Coutts has a town fair with Pancake Breakfast, Parade, Rodeo, Slo Pitch and now the First Annual Art, Craft and Trade Show.  Life is sure change. When we living in Edmonton and doing retail shows, I would have never done a little craft fair with Tupper Ware and home made Barbie Clothes. Now, not only am I doing a craft fair juried by cheque, I am organizing it. All proceeds from the show go to CRAS, Coutts, Recreational and Arts Society. The old school needs some work. We hope to raise enough money to have all the chinking done. The mortar is coming lose from the bricks. I have donated a place setting for 4 for a raffle. We have 2,000 tickets printed at $2 per ticket or 3 for $5. We have room for 35 tables at $25 per table. Chinking is about $6500. If we sell all the tickets, all the tables, have a donation jar, and remain pathologically optimistic, we will get there. CRAS isn’t depending on the show for the mortar, it would just be nice to be able to do itl We have a grant to replace the roof. With a new roof and the a new skin, the old girl will stand there for another 80 years!

Here is the dinner set.

Place setting for 4 in Prairies Glaze. First prize in draw for a donation of $2.

Place setting for 4 in Prairies Glaze. First prize in draw for a donation of $2.

The draw is June 20, 2015. Buy a ticket and you too could win. For the price shipping, you could have the dinner set. It’s only 2 dollar donation and a great cause.

Until next time.

Cindy

 

Aging 101.

My Mom had her 101st birthday last week. Mother was 45 when I was born and have been watching aging first hand for a long time. She is in an extended care home, confined to a wheel chair and hasn’t walked in years. Mom suffers from dementia and lives a in half  of a hospital like room with another lady that is not as infirm, but everyone there is there for a reason. Spending the last four days visiting Mom, others in the home and the staff, Lesson #1 in Aging 101, is that aging is not for wimps.

Lesson #2 be happy. Make whatever choices you have to make to ensure that you have a life that makes you happy. Happy where it counts, in the pit in of your stomach where all the true answers are. Don’t make choices motivated by fear, money, comfort, what others think, or any other reason. Make choices  you honestly think that are best for you. Not easy to do, but as we learned in Lesson #1, aging is not for wimps.

Lesson #3, Work, it is imperative to healthy and happy aging. It keeps our sense of self worth and ego. Wake up everyday with a purpose. If you don’t have one, get one. Make lists that are far to long to finish in one day. Doesn’t have to be a “job” in the traditional sense, but work. Find a way to keep your body and mind moving and fit. It’s easy to slide into a slow and lazy life, again, we can apply Lesson #1 here.

Lesson #4, Don’t take life personally. That often is a tough one.

Lesson #5, Don’t life too seriously, no one ever gets out alive.

Lesson#6, Make your own lesson plan.

It was an interesting week, seeing my Mother and sisters. Mother is 101 and us sisters are not getting any younger either. As I have watched Mom age, if have watched us girls getting older too. We have all aged very differently and our lives have few  similarities. I have two sisters and they have the responsibility of Mom and I only get down there when I can.  It was good to get together, but at the same time, it was an education in aging. Aging 101.

Happy Birthday Mom
Happy Birthday Mom

I found this video after I posted, but just had to add it! It made me happy to do so.

Until next time,

Cindy

 

 

 

AKA Mrs. Clay

Old Blog

Out of the Fire Studio

The Clay Teacher

Happy-Groundhog-Day-2015-4-300x209

Bowls, kilns and Groundhog Day.

IateHim

 

 

 

 

 

Today was cloudy here in Coutts, sooo… winter is over… right….What are the chances of having 6 more weeks of winter the end of February in Canada?

We shot Episode 13 yesterday at the studio. Today we didn’t shot a blog. Jim was in Lethbridge and I made some plates.

 

Until next time.

Cindy

 

 

 

AKA Mrs. Clay

Old Blog

Out of the Fire Studio

The Clay Teacher