Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Northwoods Summer Art Tour

The Northwoods Art Tour started 9 years ago as an opportunity for artists in my area to demonstrate and show their artwork in their home studios. There are some artist-owned galleries on the tour, but for the most part the 23 tour stops feature private studios that are not generally open to the public. I have participated in the tour for 5 years, first at Riverrun and for the last 3 years at my studio in Lake Tomahawk. You'd think it's easier to do a show at your home. But as I wrote in the last post, there's just as much, if not more work involved. This year I cut it really close, but as I predicted everything got done in time for my first visitors on friday morning. Here are some photos from the 3 day event.

The south window of my studio is shaded by morning glorys.

Some inside shots of the gallery area.

These ladies had a great time travelling around to studios on friday. They decided to buy matching pendants from me. The "sisterhood of the travelling pendants" wondered if their husbands would notice at dinner that evening.

These are some of the tiles made by visitors to my studio during the 2007 summer and fall tours. We are in the process of mounting and installing the tiles on the exterior of my studio as a permanant clay guest book.

Here are just a few of my favorites.

Emily was just 3 years old last year when I helped her make a tile.

Here she is this year with her finished tile.

Here are some other visitors who came back to see their creations.

Biker babe Cheryl gave us a "gun show"

I couldn't have made it through the weekend without my helpers. Jeanne and Wendy were camera shy, but here is my artist friend Katlyn Koester during a brief break on saturday afternoon.

This was my best art tour yet. We had great weather, lots of interested visitors and terrific sales. I have several people interested in commissioning new versions of "THE PLATTER" (see photo below). Thank you to everyone who helped and attended. Come back in the fall. Till then I am headed back into my studio.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Panic Week

The Northwoods Summer Art Tour is in six days. Hundreds of people will visit my studio over the 3 day period of July 25-27. It's a lot of pressure. In between going to work and other responsibilities, I will have fired my kiln 3 times in 14 days. The studio is currently trashed from front to back. (So is my house.) I still have a days worth of glazing to finish. The lawn needs mowing. Nothing is priced. I've had to create a flowchart to make it through the week. At this point it seems impossible to get it all done.

Prediction... next friday morning at 9:01 I'll be sitting in my spotless studio surrounded by new work wondering when that first car will roll in. If you live in the area I hope you come for a visit. Here's a preview of some new pieces that are ready to go.

For more information about the Northwoods Art tour go to www.northwoodsarttour.com.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I came home from work one day recently and found this doll giving me a thumbs up at the entrance to my studio. I laughed and smiled because I knew exactly who had left it for me. My good friends Jeanne and Tony picked it up at a rummage sale because they knew I'd like it. O.K. I admit it. I like creepy/funny baby dolls.

Jeanne and Tony knew it would make a perfect addition to my COLLECTION. I keep it out in the studio where I am allowed to be quirky without judgement.

That's only one of the collections in my collective living space. I have rocks from around the world, rusty oil cans, Hello Kitty stuff, wind-up toys, good fortunes from long ago chinese meals, and circle shaped metal objects just to name a few. I have a great pottery collection. Over the weekend I considered starting an antique wood fishing lure collection. Why? Because they are cool.

We are by nature collectors. I can't think of any artist friend who isn't collecting something. Wendy has antique Irish postcards. Debbie has a rusted metal headboard graveyard. Carol has more baskets than any human could ever use. Chris collects antique science books. Jeanne & Tony are pottery junkies, rock hoarders, fans of all things rusty, etc. etc. etc.

What do you collect?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Some more pretty pots...

Photos by Guy Nicol

I made this jar in 2003 for the Setting the Stage show at Lillstreet. It is white stoneware, fired cone 10 reduction in a gas kiln.

A recent stoneware pitcher fired in my electric kiln to cone 6.

These two ewers were done in fall 2004 for my Philly show.

One of my favorite recent pieces, still available for purchase from my studio!

Friday, July 4, 2008


I live in a rural area on about 1/2 an acre of land. My lot is shaped like a bowling alley with my house and studio/garage in the middle. I do have some "traditional" lawn space around the house, but about 1/3rd of my property is growing wild and unmanicured... just the way I like it. It's full of daisys, tall grasses, clover, thistles, ferns and other plants. What some would consider weeds, I consider source material.

Some of my current work features drawings inspired by the plants and weeds in my yard and the surrounding woods. Pieces are thrown and trimmed at my potter's wheel. When the pots are leather hard I apply a chocolate underglaze to the exterior of the pot, and then brush on designs with black underglaze. Once the underglaze has dried to the touch, I use tools to carve through the layers of underglaze and expose the white stoneware clay underneath. After the pieces dry completely they will be bisque fired, glazed, and fired again to cone 6 in my electric kiln. After the glaze firing the pots turn a honey brown with black and white details (see previous post). The pots shown above are still in progress. They will be available for purchase during the Northwoods Art Tour at the end of July. For more information about the tour go to www.northwoodsarttour.com.