Saturday, November 28, 2009

How to create versus How about trying this idea? Art or Craft

I was working with one of my students tonight showing her how to make Christmas trees in clay. An interesting thought happened. She is a good student and has come a long way as she becomes more of an art professional vs more of a craft student.
We were talking about "How" to make the Christmas tree and I kept suggesting "what if we do this or that." I explained that each tree must be looked at individually and we think of the possibilities of things to do with the surface and the shape. I explained that there is no right way to make it. We just look at it and think of new ideas that might make each tree more individualistic and interesting. And that is when I realized that one difference in art and craft approaches is with art you usually have the know how technically, assuming you are somewhat proficient. With craft, you want to know how to make it. This is only a small part of it. I am not wanting to confuse craft with craftsmanship at this point.
It is just a small difference in approach. And, I recognize with practice, a person approaching the same idea as a "crafts" person would also begin to reach out.
When does it become art not craft? I don't know. Maybe craft is about "how to make it" and art is "How about trying this or that."
This sounds a little too simple but is worth thinking about.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Poem by Marge Ackley

My friends Tom and Susan sent me this poem his mother wrote about Thanksgiving. I think it is lovely and I share the sentiments.

We offer gratitude to and for all friends

Who create, remake and refine one another;

Who point to stars and keep us from the dark;

Who help us hear the music in the silent places....

Who hold us and will not let us go.

By Marge Ackley

Happy Thanksgiving
Tom & Susan

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Are You Looking for Brookside Pottery, Linda Rimstidt Coward, Tulsa Oklahoma? Classes, gallery and supplies

Just in case you have lost me and are looking for Brookside Pottery, I am making this simple post on my blog.
Some of my customers think lost me or think I have gone out of business after I moved from 3710 South Peoria. So this is a simple way for you to find me if you have googled my business.

Where am I?
I am not located in the alley behind where I used to be, right behind Locker's Hair Salon, across from channel 2 in Tulsa. The actual address is 1138 D East 37th Street. I am down the alley off the parking lot in a garage at the end of the building. It is easy to find me if you turn west off South Peoria on 37th Street and look around the parking lot.

What are my crazy hours?
Hours: Seems like I am there all the time. I run late and stay late.
The official hours are Wed.-Fri for 12-5
And open the 1st and 3rd Sat of every month

Don't let that fool you. I am there a lot more and I teach on Tues and Wed nights as well as tutor on Monday afternoons. And I have to have some more worktime as well.

What kind of shop am I?
The shop is a working pottery studio, I teach classes, host birthday parties, scout groups and just about any kind of get together.
I also sell clay, tools, glazes and equipment.

How can you reach me for an appointment or more info?
My shop phone is (918) 747-7574 and my cell is (918) 697-6364
or you can email me at (00 are numbers not letters)

I have been a potter for about 36 years and located in Tulsa for 19 years.

I hope this post helps if you are one of my customers that thinks I have disappeared.
I will be harder to find in Jan and Feb because my shop has no heat or air conditioning. If it gets real cold, I will be open by appointment only.

The Finest Folk Artist I Have Ever Taught

Steph's latest pottery face influenced by a drawing by Picasso

Steph holds her pot just after it comes out of the kiln.

Steph has been enjoying making vessels with faces on them based on her drawings.

Friends talking and exchanging ideas.

Steph and Don enjoy seeing another pot come out of the kiln.

Steph's Indian Face

Steph and Don came to see me one afternoon to talk about taking classes. They had found me on the Internet and Steph wanted to learn how to make things with clay. It is a pleasure to teach her. She is in my opinion as good as any fold artist I saw in the Baltimore Folk Art Museum. Her work belongs there.
I have taught her several techniques and she continues to grow and learn and is not intimidated by any form or idea. She just gets in there and does it. She keeps a great journal of drawings and ideas and I want to help her find her way to form these ideas. She is very original and loves really bright colors. I have also called in my son, Ian, to help her on class night. She immediately was drawn to his work and they get excited talking about ideas, colors and inspiration.
It is a pleasure to teach such a natural folk artist and to see the joy in her eyes when her work comes out of the kiln.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness, lol

VooDoo Diva sitting on the shelf at Brookside pottery, always smiling and waiting for a home.

Today a friend posted a quote about happiness on facebook and I cannot get it out of mind without writing about it. I tried to boost myself out the door and "get on with the day" but instead headed for my claw footed bathtub for a soak. It is a great place to think. I wanted to think about happiness which gets a little tricky.

The quote that started this is:

"Taisen Deshimaru, a Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist teacher writes: If you are not happy here and now, you never will be."

If you want to be a happy person that puts a lot of pressure on you. I get a little self doubt if I start questioning it. Would a "happy" person think like that? Wouldn't a truly happy person just say "Oh yes, and push like, lol comment on facebook, the over the fence communication system of our day?

I generally feel happy, am told I am a "happy" person and try to surround myself with happy people. Blag. The thought of that makes me unhappy. Sounds like everyone is either smoking pot, on anti-depressants, overly religious or just plain dumb. Oops, how could a happy person say such a thing? I don't want to be a PollyAnna but I do like the braids.

A friend recently gave me a treat of Richard Sadaris ticket to hear him read. I was happy. We sat on the back row, giving me a feeling of freedom and superiority being a bit claustrophobic. And I laughed harder than I have in ages. I laughed until my throat hurt. I left happy and feeling like someone had hit me laughingly in the chest. Is that happy? Or is that just laughing, some kind of evolved instinct?

Having goals makes me happy. In the early years of my marriage I confess, my husband and I were getting a bit bored with each other. Goals. I knew we needed a mutual goal. We are both a bit type A, asking a lot out of life, and we needed to head in the same direction. Can you be type A non hyper active? That's me for all my friends that are reading this saying "Well maybe John is type a but not Linda."
So I thought about it and we decided we would hike across Tennessee and John would write about it and I would photograph it. That made us both happy. One step at a time, it slowed life down and helped us get down to the basics. 567 miles in 62 days of happiness. Sometimes sleeping on the ground, spread eagle and holding on tight while the earth is spinning is great.

I read in a book about the Hopi Indian tribe that never has a Hopi said, "Stop the world. I want to get off." And then the book elaborated about the Hopi sense of time and the calmness of the culture. That sounds happy to me but that was over 25 years ago. Is it still true? Was it ever really true?

Recently, given the opportunity, I would have gladly hopped out of this mind and body to give myself a break. Stop the world. I don't want to get off. I just need a break. This goal thing is getting out of hand. I don't do illegal drugs but I did drink a cup of real Kava the other night to try and "turn off." It tastes like drinking dirt and it only helped me go to sleep. By morning I was ready to hit the road again. It is too easy for me to forget to take time for myself and relax.

"Slow down, you move to fast. You gotta make the morning last. It's...." Forgot the rest of the song. Hope that was not the important part.

I watched a group of friends recently pursue their happiness. It seemed to be that none of them would be happy until they each found a husband, a rich husband. It was quite a scramble. They all buffed their bodies and "smiled" at rich men a lot. My concern was if they would be able to find love if they could not give love a little more. Was love really even involved? They all did it. I hope they are happy and have found love. If they stay married and keep smiling I guess the answer is yes. They are happy. I often wish I could be that self centered and get the body back in shape and spend some cash.

Spending cash does not always work either. Before my first child was born I had a miscarriage. Just when I thought OK, we are really having a baby and that will be fun. Boom. In my mind I could intellectually accept it. The baby probably would have had problems of some sort. I can try again etc. So, I decided I would take the deposit, all $500 I had given the Doctor's office for the baby having experience, and go shopping to make up the difference. I left every store I visited all day empty handed. Cash, as long as I have enough for basic needs, does not do it for me

Sometimes I wonder if crazy people are really just happy people to the extreme. Then I hear the other side, the scared and angry stories about truly diagnosed crazy people

I am happy when I cook. I am happy when I am making art alone. I am happy when my kids and husband are happy. I am happy when I am exploring, traveling and learning. I am happy when I surround myself with intelligent and interesting people.
I am not happy when I get on the scales after I cook. I am not happy when I can't think straight because people won't leave me alone so I can make art. I am not happy when I worry about family and friends. I am not happy when I think I am not happy.

How much is happiness related to gender? My husband and I were talking about this the other night. Is it more difficult to be happy if you are female? I am not sure. But, thinking about why so many women are not happy is a worthy thought. I am sad when I see a woman's happiness come only through her husband. That is not to be confused with appreciating, supporting and loving your husband. But in fact, many woman's careers which can bring happiness are greatly altered by the husbands job and motherhood. You have to be able to pull off what you want in any location and in stolen moments. And, I think it is mostly OK.

Yes, I am happy most of the time. It helps to be a basic optimist by nature. A friend told me you can change your habits but not your basic personality. It makes me wonder if we can control our happiness. I think the answer is not black and white but how about "sort of."

So Mr ever so smart Zen Buddist teacher. Yes I am happy now and will probably always be. Right after I take a nap.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What's Happening in Class at Brookside Pottery Tulsa?

Shy student hides behind her freshly glazed pot ready to be fired.

There is the lovely shy student, Angelina.

Bird by bird, not quite finished!

We have a lot of fun in pottery class and here is what the "Bird Women" and pinch potters did this week. Variety is the spice of life!

Succulent planters for Blue Moon Bakery

A fun combination of earthy and bright. Aloe plants will look great in this combination.

The special order asked for variety. So, we have similar shapes and very different color combinations.

Up close.

Glazed and ready to be fired.

Freshly thrown ware made on the potters wheel, waiting to be trimmed.

Kim Nelson stopped by the other day and asked if I would make new succulent planters for the middle of their tables in their new location for Blue Moon Bakery. I was delighted and here is the process.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Garden Deva Show Invitaion to all Art Lovers! Please come!

Here it is the best art show in Tulsa! Spread the word and come! No entry fee! Great art, music and refreshments. Support your local artists! I'll take pictures tomorrow and try to interview a few artists as well. See you there! I have a booth too!
Friday, November 6th - 11am to 8pm (fire dancers start at 7:30!)
Saturday, November 7th - 10am to 6pm
YRaffles every day!
Free to enter, bring a friend!
OVER 35 ARTISTS: Joe Staskal - ceramics, Angie Bovaird - jewelry, Elaine Emmons - beaded pillows, Maggie Connolly - jewelry, Suzi Swinford - ceramics, Kay Blanchard - painting, 3 Peas in a Pod - soaps& lotions, Zebanda - Indian fiberworks, Twisted Buckle - jeweled buckles, Eric Baker - metal & glass sculptures, Mary Little Lamp - knits, Mel Cornshucker - ceramics, Veronica Perkins - jewelry, Donna Prigmore - jewelry, Terri Higgs - silks, Angela Elliston - painted wood plates, Anna Veronesi - chair massage, Sunita Sitara - tarot & numerology, Jayne Scott - jewelry, Margareta Grill - pewter works, Nancy Parke - knits, Suzanne Anderson - hand sewn jackets, Clear Creek Lavender - soaps & lotions, Linda Coward - ceramics, Terry Fadem - knits, Of Earth - herbal teas & essential oils, Cathryn Thomas - ceramics, Paper Lotus - cards, magnets & tags, Margee Aycock - paintings, Leroy Anderson - jewelry & gourds, Tile Diva - mosaics, 4 Brooks Design - concrete designs, paintings & photography, Archana Gupta - jewelry, Sharyl Landis - beaded paintings, Caryn Cox - mosaic buckles, Kim Whiting - collages, Pam Case - feng shui, Molly Seay - paintings, Traci Cole - funky files, Lori Randell - hand sewn clothes, Urban Gardener (Sat. only) - plants
Musicians to play:
On Friday - Dianna Burrup, Ray Rodgers, Jacob Tovar, Susan Herndon, Jared Tyler, Wheat Penny, drummers with the fire dancers
On Saturday - Monica Taylor, Scott Aycock, Jane Duenner, Steve Lidell, Travis Fite, Loose Bricks, Gogo Plumbay

Garden Deva Sculpture Co. 592-3382

317 S. Trenton Avenue
on Trenton between 3rd and 4th Streets

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Second verse same as the first."

Angels and big pots wait to be fired and glazed for Christmas. The shelves are loaded.

These are just a few of the colors and glaze surfaces to choose from. I use both commercial glazes and glazes I mix as well. There are lots of color decisions to be made. I help form and listen to trends.
Can't believe I am repeating similar shapes. In grad school I was the least likely out of 12 to do any production pottery. Now I take pride in getting my stuff out there all over the place. It is a survival technique in a tough economy.
Can't make enough Christmas trees fast enough and now my students make them too. Fast and easy way to decorate and each tree is different when finished. These still need to be glazed.

Lucky for me I have an elf named Vera who loves to help me and together we come up with ideas of affordable Christmas ornaments and she helps the shop survive by producing ornaments and playing with glazes and surface design. Thank you Vira!

Ready to be glaze fired pots for a local bakery/cafe opening this Friday. These pots will be delivered in two days and should show great variety in color yet similar in design and shape.
Tables are full of pots to be fired! Don't set anything down. You might not find it again.
Every year around Christmas I follow a pattern. People all say, "Start making your angels in July." Somehow that does not feel right. And then time flies and it is October and November. And, the angels are in the making and not sitting on the shelf for those early Christmas buyers and decorators.
I was teaching a ceramics Sunday School class this week, a little unusual for me to say the least. I said. "We can make some Christmas presents too." Most of the 6th grade eyes lit up and said,"Yes!" But one little girl said "No! It is not even Thanksgiving yet." I know how she feels. I explained to her in pottery terms, time is flying and if we are going to make this years deadlines, we have to make it now and think ahead. But of course, really I agreed with her totally.

Today a friend replied on my blog as I make my way through the hours and hours of hard labor in my shop, working 10-12 hour days and still not getting enough done, "You sound like a broken record." That is not what I really wanted to hear. I was hoping for a little sympathy or moral support. I love my job and feel lucky to get to be a potter/artist getting to do what I want most days. But, every time this year I feel doubt and fear. As an update I would have to say there is no pause button or stop. It is just forward and feels like fast forward.

I don't want to always live in the future thinking "Oh my shop will be clean and perfect tomorrow and all my things I want to make are on the shelf and photographed on line as well."

My shop is a mess. An organized mess, but a mess. I jump over buckets of clay and boxes of stuff and there is never enough extra minute to stop and clean. And bedsides, there is no where to put it. Another friend came in the other day and he said "Linda stop apologizing, this is just you." Other friends salivate as they think about helping me and Lord knows they try.
In fact, I feel like there is so much going on, so many projects being made by me and my students. And there are always others bringing me things to be fired. So the shelves and tables are in constant flux. Put something somewhere and we will have to move it soon anyway.

It is OK. This broken record knows time will pass thank goodness. Whether or not I am ready for the Christmas shows, they will happen and it will be January before I know it. And yes, those insecurities are there, especially now with people having less cash to spend and changing their buying habits. But, I will keep making and hoping I have enough and do not worry too much for what it is all worth. Most of the time, I feel just fine. But every year, this is the push time for potters and people making a living with their arts.

I am grateful and I love that Art gives so much meaning to my life. I found it.