Monthly Archives: November 2014

Motivation, what is it and why?

Last post I talked about being back in the grove again. Being motivated to work and really enjoying working. It’s true, I’m there. I have made more pots in the last month, than I have in the past 2 years. One of the motivators, I have to admit, is money. ‘Tis  the season. I like making pots and I like selling them.  The product is  doing well at Galleria Inglewood. The sun is shining so I am making hay…..well pots……. I will deliver my Christmas batch the second week of December. However money is not the only motivator, it if it were, I would never have become a potter. So what is the motivator, what is motivation, where does it come from? I am only asking the questions. I don’t have any answers,  to those questions and many others.

I am working on a batch of pots that I know will sell. The same old, same pots. Bowls, tea pots, casseroles, mugs etc.. I was checking out Facebook and a friend of mine, Dori Braun a potter and musician I have known for years, is working, I will assume, the same Christmas market and  making some very cool candy dishes.

Dori Braun’s Candy Dishes.

Now I have been in head down, flat out production mode. I have a good idea what will sell and have been working on that. The potter came back and the pots are  flying.  I plan to play in the clay in the New Year, but right now my motivation is making lots of pots, or so I thought.  When I saw her candy dishes, I wanted to make candy dishes too. I was motivated. Time is tight and play time is short., but I took a bit of time time to play, to listen to the motivation. Her pots are very different from mine, but the motivation was the same, play with clay and make candy dishes.

Two dishes
Raw clay dishes.

We need to pay attention to what motivates us, what makes us want to work, what gives us that drive to create. More important, we have to act on it.  I don’t know what motivation is or why it shows up, but if I listen to the potter inside, I know what it feels like. We all need to pay attention to that. Work with it. That’s where our best work comes from.  I made some candy dishes. It is not for me to say if they are good, bad or ugly. (odd and out of place Clint Eastwood reference) We can never judge our own work. If we didn’t think it was good, we wouldn’t have finished it. All we can and should do, is go with the feeling, the motivation to create. What could happen?


SantaDish SnowmanDish

It is a candy dish week. We, The Clay Teacher, are making candy dishes with the kids classes on Friday afternoon.



Since it is a candy dish week, if anyone reading is making candy dishes, or has been motivated to make candy dishes, please send me pictures and I will include them in a future post.

What can I say about motivation…..SWEEEET…..

Until next time,






AKA Mrs. Clay

Out of the Fire Studio

The Clay Teacher


I’ve got my groove back!

We have been in Coutts for almost a year now. Last year at this time we had the house here and were back and forth from Edmonton settling things there and setting up here. We moved here in January into a real fixer upper. Here is link to my last blog that talks about the move, fixing up the house and the studio. We finished in August.

Before we retired and moved we were  The Clay Teacher reaching about 8,000 students a year. Before that we ran a gallery for a short while and before that, I was a potter known as Out of the Fire Studio. We shut the big studio down in 2006 to start the little gallery and studio in down town Edmonton. Like most bad ideas, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was burnt out as a production potter. When we closed the big studio, Jim and I had about 45 different retailers across Western Canada and we processing about 10 tons of clay into production pots. We opened our shop just before the Financial crisis of 2007-08. That didn’t go so well. The building isn’t even there anymore.

Long story short. I was a potter. I worked way to hard making way too many pots  for way too many clients and burned out. Then ran like a crazy woman to run a gallery, but we lost the race. Then  ran a little faster when we were The Clay Teacher. In all that running, about 15 years of it, I lost the potter. She came back this week, or was it last week? I have been working in the studio for the last couple of months, but it wasn’t until just recently that it felt like the old me.  But the old me was  15 years ago and now I am old….hhhmmmm… ??anyway…. I feel like I have my grove back. I am a potter again, and not just someone who makes pots.

We have been here for about a year. The house is done, the studio is done, and it took a while, but I’m settled and very happy in the new life. I had to catch my breath and find a new rhythm. It is a much slower rhythm. I only work when I want to and the hours that I like, but now I like working. I’m work longer and longer hours and enjoying it more all the time.

Today we went to the local craft fair, 11 vendor tables. It was a small show, $15 a table and juried by cheque. There are no small shows, just small potters! It was good. There has never been a potter at the local craft show. Not only did we do well at the show, next year, we are in charge of the show. Today we inherited a craft show. It has been the same two ladies putting on the show for years. They were more than happy to pass the reins. Next year I know there will be a potter at the show.

Me behind the pots.

The best part about a small table show in a small town is knock down. Packed up and home in less than 30 minutes.

Until next time.





AKA Mrs. Clay


The Clay Teacher

Out of the Fire Studio

Details of Couttsgrass colours

New Glaze, Old Glaze

Five Mugs Glazed in Couttsgrass
Mugs glazed in Couttsgrass

I have been using the same glazes for about a decade. Playing with glazes and discovering new colours and textures has never been my strong suit. It has never really caught my interest as much as it should. But then, how much should it? We all have our areas of interest. That’s what makes us the potters we are.  I have always had cool glazes….. I think. I combined two glazes I have used together for years, but in a whole new way, and voila…..

The new glaze “Couttsgrass”

Facevase in Couttsgrass.


Details of Couttsgrass colours

Close up to show all the colours of the new glaze.

Face details
Details of the face.


It is a busy time of year. We have a new venue, Galleria Inglewood in Calgary. It is a wonderful store, and they will take as much pottery as I can send them. They sell a lot of pots. They don’t have me on the website yet, but they have been very busy. As I said, it is a busy time of year. I have a few local Christmas Craft shows coming up. Pot production is in full swing.

Gotta get to work.

Until next time.

My signature



AKA Mrs. Clay

A cow laying on her back

All in a day’s work.

Link to Black Swan FarmsI got a call last Tuesday from a lady near Red Deer Alberta. She raises Australian Swans. They  are a beautiful large black bird. She sells the eggs and the Momma bird get upset when the egg has left the nest. What the lady needed was a replacement egg to calm the Momma. She wanted me to make six multicoloured eggs out of clay to try to fool the Momma and keep her happy. They have to be waterproof, as Momma likes to continually fill her beak with water and pour it over the eggs. I convinced the caller she could make her own eggs. If they were fired and then painted with acrylic paint they would …..perhaps…. fool the Momma. She is going to try, but I know she has as good as chance as any to fool the poor Mamma.

I went home for lunch to find an email from a teacher in New Zealand looking for some workshop help. We emailed back and forth and her students made some great pieces.  The theme was Charlotte’s Web. I read the book as a child, but I don’t remember the dragons, kittens, or large faces but there might have been a cow in the barn.

Continue reading All in a day’s work.