Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lighten up and love it!

Oh my gosh! I did it. The old shop is empty except for mops, brooms a few lights and one more give away counter. It was dragging on day after day and not being finished no matter what I did. So today at about 5pm I decided I had had it! Finish it no matter what. Get the crap out of the big shop and move it into the new space.
I went home, ate a bite of spinach Alfredo pizza with extra cheese and 2 beers and launched the final attack. I picked up crap threw it in the truck, drove it to salvation army and home and worked like a maniac to finish. I could not take one more day of moving torture treatment.
Ian and John came home during my rampage and I invited them to join the frenzy warning them if they go to close they may be accidentally hit by a 2x4 because I intended to delay no more!

They told me to slow down take a breath and they would help. I was loading work tables over my head and throwing them in the truck, boards, chairs crap whatever toss it throw it and put it but stay out of my way. No more purgatory for me.

That all went well and I was feeling my spinach and ignoring aches and pains from moving when a landslide happened in the new shop. I was adding more shelving to the storage area over my head and it collapsed onto my head and body. Several large four foot shelves came toward me as an unbalanced black plastic shelf gave way. Oh sh--. I ducked, protected myself, felt to see if I had a goose egg or blood oozing and whew...except for minor scrapes, a small gash in my hair and a few bruises I survived and slowed down. My head hurt for a few minutes but all in all I was fine. I planned my safety strategy as the boards came toward me because I was determined not to go to the emergency room. "Landslide of shelves, stand back and cover your head!"My Zinna spirit was smashed but I was not injured. Thank God!
So I got real and slowed down.

John and Ian came and helped and we worked in a less zealous attitude, paced ourselves and got it all out of the shop. Amen. I am out.
It is one day later than I wanted but one day before the real deadline.

This morning Neighbor to Neighbor folks gave me an hour of work. Yesterday I gave them a van full of material and they were grateful and helped move several big bags of glaze chemicals. Thank you! I gave them a little cash and some Starbucks money and feel so grateful to them for moving a lot of the heavy stuff.

Also, it was a pleasure to give away a lot of antique furniture to Restore. It is a group of women from the Oklahoma prison project and they have a rehab program in furniture restoration. No good lawyers, bad boyfriends and drugs I suppose got them where they were. They like power tools and having a skill. I gave them more than furniture. I gave them candles and incense and housewares and assorted other bags of stuff. It was a pleasure to give it to them and make them happy. You know Oklahoma has the highest number of women in prisons? Something isn't right here.

Now my new shop is stuffed and not quite ready to be a productive studio but it is all there! So, I will give away more stuff until I fit nicely.

I have wonderful and giving friends. Without them I could not have done this. I have cried several times at crazy moments because I love my friends so much and appreciate each and every minute they gave to help me move. I am so lucky. It is such a spoiled rotten problem to have too much stuff. Without my friends I would have been stuck for several more months. I plan to have some kick ass parties for them all soon. I am so grateful. Thank you all! The generosity and moral support was a real gift.

I want to lighten up now. Less studio stuff, less responsibility and less shelf space to fill. I want lighter hair and I want to exercise more and weigh less. I want less stuff around me. I want to lighten up emotionally and regain my free spirit attitude. Yes it is time to lighten up in every way. I feel it. I will do it. Less is more. I get to concentrate on my artwork! Hooray.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So Close to "Art in the Alley"

Yes, the move is almost over! I am delighted and probably have one more push. Just looked at the weather for today and realize mother nature is going to push me one more time. It is gonna be 98 and humid. The new shop has no heat and no air. I do have great fans thanks to a couple of donated ceiling fans and a new super fan from Sam's. And, the kilns will heat the new place in the winter. Creative thinking always comes in handy.

Today will be a challenge. Moving clay and glaze chemicals in 98 degree temps ought to burn extra calories. Nothing like grinding chemicals into sweat.

The last few days have been great. Old customers coming out of the woodwork buying art at half price and fixtures as well. Yes, I'm gonna fit in 740 square feet. I cannot wait to make art again. I am so tired of moving and cleaning.

Mikey, my dear friend always said we should have "Art in the Alley" and we tried it a few times. Now that idea is permanent. I basically live in the alley now and I'm going to invite my art friends to join me in shows with tents in the alley with my art openings. We are going to have fun and keep art alive in Tulsa. So many galleries on my block had to close with our rent increase and month to month leases. So I can help bring everyone back here and there. Change happens, seize the day.

Change can be a good thing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thank you dear friends

Yep, I'm seeing light at the end of tunnel.

This past Sunday so many friends came and helped with the pottery move. Sure I have mount trash more in my office but it is not in the old shop! I can sort it soon.
The rest of the shop is falling into place. I may even be out sooner than Friday which is my personal deadline. Hooray! I can live again.

I am so grateful to my friends. They are patient and careful moving pottery stuff, so much stuff.
We made a list of jobs and everyone pitched in. I have water, lights, plugs, a great fan and shelves to the ceiling! I gonna get rid of even more. No more extra stuff for me! I will not be owned by my things again.

The kindness of my friends overwhelms me. And, we will party soon!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Christmas in August till Saturday at 4

In case you are not on my email list, this is my most recent email sendout.

This is it! The last week at my big shop. The move is coming along and now it the time to shop. Lots of my pots are on sale for 50% or more due to limited space in the new shop and a "clean start." Also, hundreds of gifts are really marked down as well as many collected little special things. The sale ends this Saturday at 4 o'clock. There are still a few interesting fixtures as well. Then it is all gone and given to non-profits. So come and get it!

Students left over pots will also be tossed this week because there is no extra space.I am cleaned up and out August 31! Don't wait till then.

If you have volunteered to help with the clean out, we are getting together this Sunday at 2. There will also be a few groups coming to help get pre-organized for that a few evenings before the Sunday event. Bring liquor store boxes if possible and be prepared to take a few things home that you would like to have for free. Just call and let me know you are coming so I have enough snacks for everyone.

So I thank you all for helping the business grow and be a fun place to be for 16 years. Things change and that can be good. I plan to continue working in the new shop located in the garage behind my old shop for as long as possible on a month to month deal with venture. I will have openings with my tent, wine and cheese, and good company and beautiful new pots on a regular basis. I look forward to producing with more focus as I run a smaller business.

Stay in touch and read my blog for updates ; That will let you know about my most recent projects, openings and any more real estate changes. And, I should have a web site soon as well where you can purchase online.

With all my thanks to everyone,
Linda Coward
(918) 747-7574 (shop number stayed the same)
(918) 697-6364 cell in my pocket

Monday, August 18, 2008

14 Days and Still Cleaning!

Today the kilns got electric power and we will see if they work right tomorrow. Yesterday several friends came by and we moved the kilns from my old shop to their new home. Things are getting in place in the new location, located right behind the old location. The extruder, the slab roller, the wheels, glazes and office and phone service is all in place. I have sold an incredible amount of fixtures but there are still more. There are so many little things for sale and so many good deals. Business is a bit slow with so many empty spots on my block. It looks a bit abandoned and I guess folks think I am gone too.

The new spot is small but exciting. It has a good creative feel. Now if I can just get this cleaning over with and make pots again. I am getting down to the "Now what do I do with this?" stage. Fourteen more days and I guess I will know the answers.

Wanna help sort? Next Sunday should be a good helping day and it may take a couple of evenings near the end as well. I have rented the dumpster for a couple more weeks! Good idea? Just a couple more weeks!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Santa Fe is Calling My Name

This bird and I are always looking for something shiny.

Blue Skies and freedom in New Mexico, too bad I'm not there.

I could use a hot soak in the hot springs mineral baths at Ojo Calliente.

I know. I cannot go right now. I have to keep cleaning and moving and sorting. But, as usual, I would rather be in Santa Fe.

I am so grateful to my friends who are helping me move. The 740 square foot shop is just about there now. We move kilns and do electrical hook-up on Sunday and Monday and just keep cleaning, selling and giving away. I hope to never live anywhere again for 18 years. All collectors should have to move every five years. Please don't let me do this to myself again.

I am getting super organized in case I have to move again sooner than I think. I am getting many great offers and opportunities to start again in several places. It is amazing what a listing in Craig's List will do. I just don't want to jump in too quickly anywhere. I need a little bit of freedom and time to think how to approach this crazy career now.
I have always liked the smaller area behind my shop and now I will fit in it.

Seventeen more hard cleaning days and then "It is what it is, for sure."

Big Sale -Relocating in 17 days-Linda's Pots and Fixtures

Shutters used for displaying jewelry and pottery masks $15 each

White Painted Bookshelf-Great for students $25//SOLD!
Solid Wood Mexican Bookshelf $300- sold
Solid Wood Mexican Bookshelf $300 or both for $550-sold

Lots more stuff on sale everyday. All Linda's pots are on sale for 50% off until the move is complete. Today I found a big stack of wooden bats to sell at $1.oo each. Lots of lowfire Laguna Underglazes on sale for 50% off. Many more fixtures including display and work tables, plastic shelving, chalk and bulletin boards, lots of gift wrap and cup racks.

Many gift and inspiring little art objects priced at $1, $3, $10 and $25 dollars.

I have 17 days until I have relocated into the 740 square ft behind my present shop. You won't believe the deals available. Think Christmas in August and stock up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Awe of Art

The beginning of the "Wind People" idea. This artwork was titled "Instant Audience" and was a piece I created in 1978 and is at the home of my sister in Tennessee. It is fun to give family members significant artwork and visit it later.

An early Spirit person? I created this piece around 1984.

Yes, I am in awe of art and pottery. It is a wonderful way to live. You can stay in the utopia of creating and pretty much ignore the rest of the world if you please. It does not make for the most well rounded life style but it is a fun place to be.

So there I was at my acupuncturist needles sticking in me, trying to focus on life and meditation and how to get there from here and we talked about life and balance. Eldon said, "You are in awe of art." And he is right. He said some people do this with religion and don't want to deal with the real world but yes, I do this with art.

I remember walking with a fellow grad student in Tennessee, picking up cow patties to burn in my primitive firing and realizing I was to much in awe of art. I felt completely unbalanced. I realized I thought about nothing but clay and had become a bit boring.

Balance in life is very important. I hope to find it again. I want to be with my family more, exercise again on a daily basis and have time to "smell the roses."

And, as soon as I get out of this cleaning and moving woman mode, I want to make art. I really want to get back to creating.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

About the Clearance Sale/Christmas in August

Yes, there will be my ongoing sale, things marked down more and more everyday.
It will be happening at 1o today.

Stop by and see. The move has taken a lot of big steps now. If you are looking for chemicals, I have not sorted and inventoried those. That will be last.

Thanks for 17 years of Brookside Pottery as it was. Now it will be simpler and more time for my creative energies as well. Yes, I will still sell clay, glazes, tools and my own work.

Yes, it is Christmas in August in Brookside Pottery.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It is hot in Tulsa!

It is 7 pm in Tulsa and it is 100 degrees. It has been scorching hot in Tulsa for days. I have been moving my shop and it is miserably hot.

I posted a wanted studio add in Craig's list and had an immediate response from an antique dealer on Harvard. It read:

Looking for a "fixer-upper" cheap pottery studio, gallery retail and teaching space. Must have potential and be relatively safe. I need around 1000-1200 square feet. I have had an established pottery business for 17 years in Tulsa and now am out priced in Brookside. Could possibly get other artists to join in with more and interesting space. Please help keep the arts alive in Tulsa.
Call Linda at Brookside Pottery (918) 747-7574.

So I called his landlord and he said "$974 a month" for a fixer upper. No way! I think it is worth about $500 a month and I could improve his property. Dark paneling, 6 foot florescent lights, bad carpet, probably funky smells. parking in the rear and just a few interesting businesses around? I would offer $500 tops in these risky times. I heard a report that Tulsa has the most retail space available since 1973. So, why don't the property owners make a deal, lower the rent and help the economy end this recession or whatever it is?
So, I posted another plea on Craig's list and my husband looked at me, rolled his eyes, and said. "Good luck."

So what did I learn? I felt excited about starting in a new spot with some security of not being evacuated or bulldozed on a daily basis. The spark of entrepreneurship is still in me. I felt happy and excited again when I thought I could start a new shop and build another art community at a reasonable rate.

Giving friends hold there arms open and say, "Let me help you. Just call me." or " I will help you store some stuff in case you need it later." and or "I will give you help moving." Generosity! I thank you all. Even if I don't do it, it is so comforting knowing people really care and will help, if I ask.

OK! Get organized and keep moving even if it is 100 degrees.

A simple life? Can it happen these days? I imagine a clean small studio with empty shelves yearning for new ideas. I have so many ideas, so many projects to create. I don't want to play monopoly, I just want to make art.
I remember as a child, hating to play board games, joining in an annoying monopoly game. I played it fast, spending all my monopoly money and trying to get out of the game and whoosh-I won! Why do I remember that game? Was it a fortune cookie game? Take more risks and don't care.

When I was young, a kid, I had that great American attitude. You can achieve anything you want. Be as rich as you want. And friends tell me that is true and I chose art over money. I made the choice. I chose art. My life, my career! Art at any expense. Who needs money? Yes I need love, lots of love but who needs money? I mostly believe that now except...? My children? College expenses? More stuff.? I don't want to leave them stuff and debt.

Art, I leave them both art. Both children are artists. Creators! Very different from each other but with the love of art and producing it. It is a gift, not a trust fund but a life gift.

I can finally look for more studio space. I am glad I have my stepping stone 740 square feet space. I don't know how long it can last. It will cost $700 to hook up my kiln and I hope it will remain there through at least Christmas. And, if I am really lucky maybe I will be there for a year. The space is a bit polluted but I do have water! Sometimes I dream about owning a barn in the country, an art barn. A big blue art barn full of art materials and time.

Meanwhile it is just hot in Tulsa. 30 days left until I move out of my comfortable spot completely. I really just want to make art, now.

I am making a volunteer list of friends who have made offers. Please remind me if you have volunteered. So many have offered to help and I thought I would remember each and every offer. I spin too much to really remember.

And yes we will party, probably on the last Thursday of August assuming the move is complete and I will try not to cry about where all these folks will celebrate art in their daily lives when my shop changes.

The art and creativity lie within ourselves not in the studio we rent.