Friday, October 31, 2008

True Folk Art

Deb had a vision of this pot and wanted to make it for her Aloe Vera Plant. Somehow it just works and was well crafted as well. It made her smile.

I met a true folk artist at my shop a couple months ago and she came back today. She was waiting for me, after calling, in the parking lot when I got to work. Her name is Deb.
She reminds me of Georgia Michael, a friend of mine 26 years ago in Glade Springs, Virgina. Her art fits right in the Folk Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

I knew Deb was smart and talented with no formal education. She learned everything in a junior high art class many years ago. She did not forget a thing.
She is tiny. She has struggled with health issues. She is kind and aware of everything around her.

Today she came in and wanted to glaze a head she brought me to fire and we talked. I wish I could photograph her and write more about her life. She was fascinating and from a very different world than mine. In the course of our conversation she told me things in confidence I will not repeat. She was sincere and honest and we talked about her love of art and all about her life.

Art was what she did well. Through her art she tried to relate to and be accepted by others.

She found God through a Pentecostal church and she turned her life around. I am not normally a very traditionally religious person but I say "I am glad this worked for you." and I meant it.

She could always draw well and she said and I notice she knows a lot about art and artists. She has a deep understanding of the passion of art and why people create and the obsession of art.
She still survives and has pulled her act together.

Through her smiling and twitching I see a true artist. She explained to me the true passion of Van Gogh cutting off his ear. She understands.

She has befriended people no one else would ever understand. She has been down and out and homeless. Now she is happy and is a true survivor thanks to her art and religion. I see her coping skills as the friend who has driven her to my shop brings up some less pleasant topics and she says, "Oh please, lets not talk about that it makes me feel...upset...unhappy.. I..". We understand and change the subject. Her calmness returns.
I give her any clay I have to recycle whenever I see her and she is incredibly grateful.
I look forward to talking to her more and seeing life from her point of view. She has saved herself.
In her art I see a great need to create and communicate her deep feelings. She also creates very original and creative art with function. It is a pleasure to see true folk art in the making. Creativity and sanity and religion and intelligence, it all comes together and it is fascinating to see how it all works. Nothing gives Deb more happiness in life than creating her art work. That is pure non egocentric art.

There is hardly a dull day at the pottery. I should have been keeping a journal for years of all the types of people who come to the shop.
Yesterday it was an obsessed woodworker who cannot wait to create large busts. Never let the technical info slow you down! He was one of the few time consuming customers who actually offered to pay me for the hour and a half it took to sell him his bag of clay, a few tools. But I just said thanks for the offer and good luck.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Working Hard

Oh boy. Where did October go? I have been working hard, making pots and teaching and will post more pictures and pottery info soon.
Watch for more info this weekend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Having Fun even in our Tough Economy

"Hey, so what is your problem? As a small boy cat I was lost in a drain close to the pottery shop. I could not get out because my paw was injured. Rachel Coward heard me crying and I was stuck in that God awful place for a couple of days.
She and Linda tried to get me out and finally after a kind of 911 call the city sent out three trucks and a bunch of guys and an air gun. He blew me into a corner under the street, grabbed me with thick gloves, stuck me in a box head first and handed me to Rachel. I was scared to death and thankful at the same time.
Now I have a life of luxury. So see? We all get scared sometimes but we usually end up standing on all four paws right? And now, I am thinking about taking a pottery class from Linda. She says I am more creative than I realize. And she will help me come up with ideas and show me how to make a few Christmas gifts. A few of my friends would appreciate a handmade food bowl and if not I will keep it myself." Nellers

My Grandmother said the depression came and went and she was never able to tell the difference.

The fortune teller told me I would never be rich but I would always have enough. (I have noticed enough really varies.)

Another friend told me to get all credit cards to a 0% stable bank or else?

Another friend told me if Obama wins, we will all be forced to be Muslim and wear scarves over our heads and have higher taxes. (I will pretend like I never heard him say it and continue being his friend and remain a failed Unitarian.)

Basically, I am pretty happy anyway and still have too much stuff.

So what could be fun these days? I admit, my purse strings are a bit tight too. But I have lower overhead, less business and more time. It is time to have a good time!

So, as I was laying on the acupuncture table full of needles and daydreams I started thinking. Hmm. Could I afford to temporarily lower a class fee to help people make special Christmas presents? There must be a way. Work smarter, not harder. Hmm. anyone interested in Saturday morning short workshops? They would meet on the days I am there anyway, first and third Saturday mornings from 10-12 and a different session from 2-4 if we have too many students. I will come up with simple projects and teach a 2 time session for a little less time, making it affordable from my point of view. Usually my classes are 3 and a half hours.

Two hour class for $20 instead of $25 for 3and a half hour class. Sign up for two at a time=$40. Plus, pay for as much clay as you use and buy just a few tools (less $ for the material fee) and pay .50 an inch for firing and $2 for glazing each pot. The class could be for all ages, all levels, and should pay for itself as you make your own quality Christmas gifts.
Class is limited to 6 students at a time.

I will post an official list on the blog soon with a list of projects we will complete.

I love to make things happen and our small purses should not keep us from making art.

OR come join me in my new class at the Philbrook starting this Thursday! It should be fun too.
Call the Philbrook or look on line for more info. Or, call me and I will help you with those numbers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Call for all Oklahoma Potters

So how are Oklahoma potters and what do you need?

Gary Schwam (hope I spelled his last name correctly) is asking this question. He has a non-profit status and wants to form a significant organization for potters and help give them what they need. He is open to new ideas.
He has a pottery collection and would like to house it somewhere permanently and perhaps collect more potters works for an OK pottery museum. He would like to meet with area potters and hear what they say. So I am sending out this group email as a heads up and to have you all start thinking about it. He is wanting to make a difference in Oklahoma for potters, so if you hear from him, this what is happening.

His heart is in the right place and this could be a chance for us to unite and build a stronger pottery/sculpture/art community.
He needs your names, and other potters email addresses as well.

I want to help him get this project going. If you know more names of potters with their email addresses please send them to We will meet soon so let everyone who is interested know about this first meeting. You might recognize Gary as a plant seller from herb shows and the farmers markets. So think, collect names and tell him if you are interested.

Many years ago, I was Vice President of the state organization, Tennessee Artist Craftsman Association. We worked together and built a strong core to make things happen. We had group shows in big deal buildings downtown with significant amounts of prize money. We brought in nationally recognized artists to lead workshops for us. We had great pot luck dinners where we got to know each other and brainstorm and network. It worked well. In my opinion it is probably time for a potter's guild in Tulsa. It would be nice to have a central location for invitational shows and festivals. And wouldn't an old warehouse with galleries and studios be nice? Those are just a few of my ideas.

Come see me in my new location. Call first if you are in a hurry to make sure I am there.I am into being more productive in less time. You know I have new hours but have the same phone number.
or visit my blog for the latest news

Wed.-Fri 12-5
open 1st and 3rd Sat. 10-4 and by appointment
(918) 747-7574 (W) 697-6364 cell

Please forward this info to your pottery friends.
Thanks, Linda

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another successful Raku Firing!

Have you seen my midlife crisis car? I won the lottery, again, and they threw in this car as well. So, I drove to Santa Fe and stayed in the nicest hotel downtown until I found a condo to buy. Now I just hang out in the tea shop on Canyon Road, exercise everyday, eat healthy gourmet food and make art that everyone is buying before I get it finished. Oh the life, it is so easy!

Just kidding. But life is rich.

We had a great firing at Sherri's and people really liked their raku pottery. It is always fun to see people discover the fun of and instant success of raku firing. They are so involved in the whole process.

Next, I drove home, grabbed a small glass of red wine and hopped in the shower to get the stinky smoke out of my clothes and hair. The little nettie pot gets some of the smoke out of your sinuses. Try it if you raku and want the junk out of your system unless you have ear problems.

I only fired two of my own little pots but offered the students several I had made to fire. They enjoyed firing them and it was fun to see how they glazed the pots. I will do another firing in my backyard to finish my own work. Or, maybe I will go out to Sherri's in Stonebluff and she and I will do our own little firing. Propane is out of sight now$$$$.

I came home caught my breath, bathed and John and I took off for an Oklahoma Humanities Council gathering for the author Sara Paretsky. The author, Sara Paretsky was very interesting. She is the author of the V I Warshawski novels and she talked about finding her way with her writing as a woman in a man's world. She lived in New York and Chicago and had a lot of stories about both.

I sat next to an interesting man and I guessed his profession and then had him try and guess mine. He guessed a motivational speaker! That is a new one. Motivational speaker? I nearly spit out my chicken in laughter thinking about that one. Did I miss my calling? John Burnet suggested I had missed my calling and maybe I should have been a reporter. I could have spit out my Black and White beer with that one.
Have I missed my calling? Someone important also told me I would have made a good lawyer. I disagree with the last idea because I don't like conflict and fighting unless absolutely necessary. I do like finding many solutions for one problem, or looking at things in different ways. Chances are I would work for a free law clinic anyway and wish I had gone into the arts.

We went to another fund raiser for Rice at a lovely home this weekend. It was a very lovely home. The couple was so young and their house was not only lovely but comfortable as well. The cosmopolitan drinks were good too. I had never had one. The company was fine and I do hope he beats Inholfe. That will be difficult to say the least.
OK, I am just a left handed lefty liberal and I live in a very conservative part of the country.
May the best man win.

One of the perks of being an artist is that you can jump over social boundaries on a regular basis. It is great to just take people for who they are without too many preconceived notions. I have talked to the guys outside the courthouses whittling in Tennessee and hobnobbed with the elite as well. Maybe you don't have to be an artist to do that. Maybe you just need to look and listen and respect others for who they are.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Class was fun! Raku is next.

Sherri's new Pottery shop in Leonard Ok where we will Raku this Saturday

My new cozy pottery in Brookside makes a nice place to have class. Everything is really handy and not to far away. That is for sure.
Our object is to be productive and have fun and we are doing that.
Next week we are going to make birds. In these tough economic times, the class can pay for itself by the gifts we make. And, the gifts will feel really special this year because they come with loving care. Yep, we are a small class and that makes it fun for us all. I can only take 5-6 students at a time. That makes for a lot of special attention. I still have room for a couple more students. We have decided to meet on Wednesdays instead of Tuesday

And don't forget, we will Raku at Stone Bluff Pottery this week. Call me or email for more info. It should be fun too. Sherri has opened her new pottery and we will be there to support her. If you have not tried raku firing we will show you how.

Can't wait to see our new pots! Stop by on your way to the winery or come help us fire.
Call first more more details.

Monday, October 6, 2008

An evening with John Burnett

John Burnett signs his book at Presidential Suite at Reynolds Center at TU

John and his TU Communications Dept. brought in John Burnett to visit with students and community. He has a book out titled Uncivilized Beasts and Shameless Hellions. It is very interesting and easy to read and well written. It give a behind the scenes look at the NPR reporter at Katrina, Iraq, Waco, Guatemala and more. I highly recommend it.
We had a late night dinner with him at Kilkenny's.
Listen to him on NPR. KWGS will interview him soon.

He tells one story about being in Iraq when the statue was coming down and he was not on the scene. He needed a helicopter ride to get there with some marines to see history being made and report about it. He went up to a couple of marines and asked if he could ride, as a journalist, with them. The looked him over and realized he was not an attractive female reporter or had any special appeal to them and refused. Then he said he worked for NPR and they said, "NPR, we love car talk get in!" He writes about the incident in his book so read it for a more accurate version. The Katrina stories have incredible details giving us more insight as we see it through his eyes.

He is 6'7'' so it is hard for him to not be an obvious American. That put him in precarious situations in Guatemala and Iraq. Journalists do not usually carry guns in war zones and at one point a soldier throws a gun in his lap and says "Here, you are from Texas, use it."

These and many other stories in his book will keep you reading.

He lives in Austin, a couple of block from where I used to work at Feats of Clay. His wife teaches history at UT and they compare how he is reporting the history and she interprets it later. He uses his best judgment to stay as safe as possible.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Personality vs Policy

Sarah would be fine to have to dinner. Maybe even more pleasant than Biden. She is cuter. She relates more. I trust his judgment more. He is smarter.
I was impressed that she did not goof up but, I agreed with his politics more. Get out of the war with a deadline. Let Iraq pay for it financially and with their lives. We need to find Osama bin Laden and go after those guys.
Her smile is charming but a good soccer mom and a mayor of 7000 is not my pick. Alaska is the 4th smallest state and is smaller than San Antonio.
Only 21% thought she won the debate. She memorized her part very well. Somehow I think of her as a game show host or the conservative one on the View. She is lovely but...did she answer the questions? "Give me an example Sarah after you give me your answers."
Sarah does speak better than Bush. Does that say much? Nobody wants to claim Bush.

Please remember my dear Republican friends, this is not a personal battle between us. I will listen to you too. Part of the beauty of our country is we can differ and discuss it. This is a journal and just my opinions. It is not a personal attack and quite honestly I value my friends more than our opposing political views. I have some great Republican friends and I hope they will forgive me for voicing my opinions. We need moderates on both sides to be a pleasant place to live. This is what we are all about. The melting pot sometimes boils and gets sticky on the sides. Let's not take ourselves too seriously.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Remembering Tid Kowalski and Bunny Aubrey

I'm sad. I read in the paper today that Bunny just died and just a couple years ago while I was on a cruise in Mexico Tid died. Who were these ladies? These ladies were my good friends I traveled with and painted with them for a month in Montone Italy a few years ago. We studied with Daniel Lang and I loved being there with them all.

These were no ordinary ladies. These were real women. Really good painters and hard drinkers and great conversationalists. I liked them a lot. And now it is hard to believe they are both gone. What if I have a question for one of them?

They did not create your typical boring "so I am on old lady painting in Italy" paintings. They painted with character. Tid was an artist most of her life, raised her kids alone and was quite a beauty in her day. At her 75th birthday party I saw an old photo of her on the fridge and she looked a lot like Lauren Becall. On the flight over she told me she had been married five times. I said we would have a month together so she could fill me in on each and every marriage and so she did.

For her 75th birthday she asked me as a sculpture to create in clay her cake topping decorations. We decided to put a small portrait of each of her husbands on her cake.
It scandalized the baker at Bud's bakery. She looked at us like we were crazy. We decided to create each of her husbands ( 3 inches in size) in a black suit like they were laying in their caskets, arm crossed and all. Well, that was how I portrayed 4 husbands. The one she really loved, the father of her children I put up on his elbows holding a heart, her heart. She really loved him. He died too young.
Tid lived to be a fine old lady. She has a Unitarian minister for a son and a professor for another son. Her father was a painter. She used to come and visit me in my pottery shop and we dreamed of going to Italy together for a second time.

On one of our day trips we were going to see the the tomb of St Francis of Assesi and Bunny and Tid wanted to stop for a cocktail on the way up the hill. They could both drink a strong drink and continue the hike up the hill and carry on for the rest of the day full speed ahead. I could not keep up with them so I chose not to have a nip in the afternoon. They would also invite me in for a stiff drink every now and then in the convent where we stayed. Whew.

Tid's paintings included a romantic Italian village scene with a bright yellow bulldozer right in the middle. A delightful surprise in the painting with a reality check of the romanticism of Italy. She fought with Daniel Lang, our charming and talented painting instructor, on occasian. They had a bit of a clash of personalities. He was soft spoken and gentle and she could not hear him and talked over him a lot. It was kind of funny to watch them spat.

I don't remember Bunny's paintings as much but I remember she was a decent painter and a great journal keeper. She later gave me a copy of her writings about everything we did. I still have it and it is a wonderful reminder of where we went and when and what we did.
Bunny was not that old but had quite the Carol Burnett shuffle. She could get anywhere but chances are she would shuffle to get there whether it was up a steep bunch of steps or to the table to get another sip. Later Bunny showed signs of Alzheimer's and it got her. And today I saw her obit in the paper.
We three pulled a few pranks together. I would go to their room and practice my imitation of a nun, throwing a black sweater over my head with a white napkin across the forehead. We would go try and scare Americans with the evil eye of the nun as I looked over my wire rim glasses in my nun garb. That was with no alcohol!
Jay Brothers and his wife were also on the same art adventure. They had a lovely romantic month and I would hear beautiful music coming from their room and his wife bore a similarity to Doris Day as she gazed out the window and watched Jay paint. I saw the glee in his eye as he came back from painting on a country road one afternoon bragging how he had "saved" a young female artist traveling with us. He saved her under a tree. I generally referred to her as belly button girl because her belly button was always peaking out from her tight shirt and pants and she often complained about the foreign men following her around. Duh! And Jay was delighted to think he had "saved" her religiously. I wonder how long that lasted. That was quite a save. I was sad to hear Jay died a few years later as well. But oh what a lovely summer he had with his wife that year. I saw it!

Oh I am sorry they are all gone now.

Life if precious. Time changes everything. We should never take each other for granted. Friendship and times with our friends is precious. As I get older I realize this more and more. There should be no time for bickering and petty arguments. What a waste of time that is! Life is too short. We should enjoy every moment we can.

Pottery Class Begins at Brookside Pottery in Tulsa

Tom Coleman cuts out a handle from a block of clay at his recent workshop at the University of Tulsa. I also sometimes use this same method to make handles and I will show you how in my pottery class. It is easy and fun. Look at these birthing a handle shots. His was extraordinaire.

Yes, it is time to sign up for pottery class again!

No, Tom Coleman is not teaching as you see above. I just wanted to show some more interesting techniques from his workshop.

We are going to start simple with one class, first come, first serve. I will add additional classes as needed. I can only teach 5-6 people at a time and that is what I really prefer. I also have a class at the Phibrook on Thursday nights beginning Oct. 16th. Check their web site under classes or call me and I will get you a brochure with the info. The price is comparable because the materials are included.

Hand building at Brookside Pottery
Tuesday nights from 6-9:30
Starts October 7th
Fee is $150 for 6 weeks
Material $40

We will be hand building in my new shop. I expect several students will be repeating and I will work with you individually to improve your skills.
If we have beginners, we will learn pinching, coiling, slab building and more. We will make masks, plates bowls platters, wind chimes, bowls vases and maybe cups.

It is a great time to make presents for the holidays which helps save money to pay for the class while you discover your creativity.

If we have a lot of beginners sign up, we will start a special Wednesday night class especially for them as well.

If this does not meet your schedule and you have had class with me before, you can sign up for open workshops on Saturdays. Sign up for 4 times and come when you please at $25 per session.

Also, students and friends coming to the Raku firing should come and make your pots sometime this Saturday or get them made at home so they will be dry for our firing Oct. 11th.

Remember I also now offer tutoring in your studio. I can help you find your way with the wheel, glazing, understanding how your kiln works etc.

I also still do get togethers for friends, scouts and birthday parties.

Come join the fun!