Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Save Arrowmont Petition

I received an email today regarding Arrowmont School of Crafts:

"Below is a link to a petition that was started to help save Arrowmont. Please let your voice be heard and show your support for the school. There are many unknowns at the moment and we don't have a lot of answers but if you have not already shown your support please consider it. Your voice is very important to the future of the school. Please send this message to everyone you know we are trying to gather as many signatures as possible before Friday the 22nd. Thank you!"

It only takes a second to sign the petition. Here's the link: Save Arrowmont Petition

Monday, August 18, 2008

American Pottery Festival

I just found out about this event that sounds totally cool. Northern Clay Center is hosting the American Pottery Festival. I probably won't be able to go. So if you do, please write and fill me in!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Take Pottery Workshops

One of the best ways to learn techniques, network with other potters and to motivate yourself is to take a workshop from a studio potter. I spent 8 years at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. One benefit was the opportunity to take 1 and 2 day workshops from some of the best potters in the country. I also lived close to Terra Incognito Studio in Oak Park, Illinois. They also have a really fine workshop program. In the span of just a few years I watched Jeff Oestreich, Julia Galloway, Linda Christianson, Bob Briscoe, Dan Anderson, Sam Chung, Malcom Davis, Linda Sikora and others lecture, make pots and answer questions. I always came away with some useful information, a glaze recipe or two, and a deeper understanding of how personal and individual clay can be.

But you don't have to stick close to home! If you can, taking a week or longer hands-on workshop is even better. When you go away to a workshop you can accomplish so much more. You work in the studio every day (a luxury for most of us). You see demonstrations of new techniques and get to try them on the spot. You get great personal feedback from your instructor and your classmates. You meet other potters and make contacts that can be very helpful later when applying for shows, etc.

The big names like Penland, Arrowmont and Anderson Ranch are meccas for big name talent. But there are clay centers all over the country that provide great workshops. I think it is more important to pick an artist who's work really inspires you than a location. I have taken two workshops at Santa Fe Clay in New Mexico. I studied with Julia Galloway first and spent a 2nd week a year later working with Matt Metz and Linda Sikora. Both these workshops accelerated my growth and prepared me for the transition from student to working potter.

I've also taken some really helpful "Business of Art" workshops offered by Arts Wisconsin. Although not clay specific, these long weekends have been invaluable information sources for marketing, funding, grant writing, tax procedures, etc. These type of workshops are very helpful for those of us trying to make a living. And you still meet really cool people.

Come to think about it, I ended up living here in northern Wisconsin because of a workshop. I took a woodfire workshop with a potter who ran one of those ads at the back of Ceramics Monthly. A group of us traveled up to McNaughton, Wisconsin to work with Joan Slack of Riverrun Pottery. We bonded over wood splitting and stoking. Our group returned several times over the next few years and when Joan decided to build an art center and gallery she contacted me to be her apprentice. So there you have it. Take a workshop. It could change your life!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


After the Northwoods Art Tour I needed a vacation. What's a poor rural potter to do? When you live in "vacationland" it's easy to lure your family to come to you. Mine came from Illinois & Ohio for a one week visit. They rented a great lake cabin about 4 miles from my house. Although I had to work 2 days during the week, I still had plenty of time to pretend I was a tourist. Fish were caught. Marshmallows were roasted. Naps were taken. Here's a photo collage of some of the fun. And the best part... I slept in my own bed every night!

But now they are gone and I'll be back in the studio. My next show is in 6 weeks. Pottery will be made. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who are the art gypsies?

The Art Gypsies are a band of Northern Wisconsin artists residing in Vilas and Oneida counties. We formed, to pool our creative resources and develop new avenues to show our work. Our group ranges from 4 to 9 artists depending on the event. We work in a variety of art media including; photography, clay (functional pottery and sculpture), fiber arts, beaded jewelry, watercolor, paper arts and collage. We travel around the Northwoods and beyond, offering fine art for sale in eclectic settings.

Our next show, “Art in the Yard,” will be held on Saturday, September 27th from 9am to 4pm at Wild Expressions Gift Shop located on Hwy B in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin. The 6th annual show will feature 9 artists: (from left to right) Louise Engelbrecht, Carol Miller, Debra Ketchum Jircik, Amy Higgason, Kathleen Kimball, Wendy Powalisz, Cathy Wirtz, & (not pictured) Anne Appel, & Janice Zindel.

Past attendees of the event have learned to expect a memorable experience at “Art in the Yard.” We invite you to gather your good friends around the fire, laughter and really fine art. And don't forget your hula hoop!