Saturday, January 23, 2010

Making Potter Bowls and Loving It, Giving Bowls

Earthy handmade large bowl measuring 10" high x 13 wide. Bright Robin's Egg Blue inside. $120 plus shipping and handling.

Recently made slab and pinched giving bowl, ready to dry and fire twice.

Cereal bowls thrown on the wheel waiting to be trimmed, fired and glazed.

A plain and simple glazed bowl, thrown on the wheel, sells for $9 and lasts forever. Lead free, microwaveable, dishwasher safe and ready to fill with soup.

Very large bowl, great for bread, salad, candle your choice! Formed by hand from three different clays. Sells for $120 plus freight. 10" tall x 13" wide

The giving bowl. I read the book a long time ago and found it fascinating. Being a potter and having made who knows how many bowls over 35 years how could I resist reading a book like that. In essence, the Monks are out everyday with their empty bowls living off what others put in them. Hmm.
Part of me likes the idea and the other part wonders what separates them from the persons I see under the interstate, same spot everyday with a sign, "Will work for food." or "Homeless" etc. Beyond that it is an idea worth thinking about and I think I have a new spring theme.

I want to make more bowls. The bowl must be one of the oldest produced shapes ever and quite functional. And of course, I want to push it to utilitarian/art/ worthy and thoughtful, not to mention beatiful.

When I am stressed I like to make bowls. It soothes me. The wheels spins, the lump of clay forms into a lovely container that later meet our basic needs. Or, making it is the basic rhythm of pinching round and round, watching how the clay moves, forming the patterns and one of a kind finger prints. Later the bowl holds something we need to nourish our bodies or contain something special. Or to just sit there, looking lovely and handmade to do whatever we want it to do.

When I am not stressed I also like to make bowls. A person cannot have enough bowls and they make lovely gifts for dear friends, new or old for that matter, brides. Everyone needs bowls.

Life hands us what we have. What is in our bowls? Are we grateful? Do we want bigger bowls? Smaller bowls? Brighter bowls? Matching bowls? Earthy bowls? One of a kind bowls? Bowls.
Do we have enough or too many?

I like to think life does not hand me what I have in my bowl. Would you call that bowl control? I like the take charge kind of attitude and that might make it hard for me to stand on the corner with my bowl and see what happens. How long could I stand there? I think I would feel embarrassed.
I cannot stand the phrases, "It is just meant to be." or other similar religious statements and I won't go there for now. So what about that bowl?

I am making bowls, special bowls, all kinds of bowls and will soon have an artist's statement about them. Follow me on this blog and let's see what happens. By spring I should have lots and lots of bowls for sale, all kinds.

Put simply, I love making bowls. And now my "Giving Bowls, made with love, one at a time, for many reasons for many people."

Pottery Class, Scout Badges, Birthday Parties and Tutoring at Brookside Pottery, Tulsa

A new beginning class has just started at Brookside Pottery.
The class meets on Tuesday evening from 6:30-9, lasts 6 weeks, fee $150 plus materials. (materials run about $45 and includes clay, tools and firing).
Please note: my studio is a fair weather studio and during the winter's coldest months we have to delay the class. The shop is heated with space heaters and below 45 temps make it to cold to work. The rest of the year it is no big deal. So we must remain flexible with when we can meet.

A more advanced group meets on Wed. nights for the same fee and same price.

See info below for general info:

Brookside Pottery is here to help you learn the art of handbuilding and throwing clay. We make both utilitarian and sculptural creations.

Who? All interested persons who need help learning the basics of pottery making. I have the knowledge, equipment and space to make this fun. Over the past 35 years all ages have come to Brookside Pottery to make pottery and have been surprised what they can create with good instruction.

Where? Brookside Pottery is now located at 1138D East 37th Street, down the alley off 37th Street. It is a small creative studio with a garden outside complete with a picnic table for refreshment time.

When? Work time can be arranged individually. We can meet during your regular meeting time or on weekends at your convenience. Day or night, we are flexible. For an additional fee I can come to your regular meeting space although the real studio experience is fun and recommended.
The class usually lasts from one to one and a half hours including refreshment time.

Fees and alternative ways to learn about pottery: Special group rates for scouts, home schoolers, parties etc: One overall $25 instruction fee and $20 per person includes clay, materials and firing. Students may return a second time for only $10 for glazing finished projects. There are several options for the second projects.
Private tutoring for 1-3 students is $25 per hour per person.
Regular classes are $25 per person per week plus materials and usually meet 4-6 times, once a week.
Open studio: $25 plus materials time to be arranged.

For more information or to schedule a meeting time call:
Linda Coward, Brookside Pottery
1138D E. 37th Street
Tulsa, OK 74105

747-7574 work
697-6364 cell

Thank you for supporting your local potter!

Materials to take home for the enthusiastic ones!

25 pound bag of clay=25 baseballs $19.00
1/2 bag $10
1/4 bag $6

Basic pottery tool kit $17.95

or buy tools individually as needed
Needle tool $2.19
Wire $2.49
Various loops $2.49 up
Chamois $1.00
Brushes $3.00 up
and much more available as well
Glazes run $8 up per pint

Firing fees:
$1.00 an inch in the longest direction of the pot ($2.00 minimum firing fee)
Small beads etc must be placed in a fireable bowl.
All pots must follow the rules of good pottery craftsmanship and cannot be thicker than 1/2 “ and show no signs that they might blow up as determined by Linda. Pots will be handled carefully but we cannot be responsible for pots surviving firing or handling.
Fired pots must be picked up within 2 weeks after being fired.

Clay and Pottery Supplies in Tulsa Available at Brookside Pottery

Need Tools, Clay or Supplies?
Brookside Pottery has everything you need or I can get it for you!
normal hours:
Wed.-Fri. 12-5
and the 1st and 3rd Sat. from 10-4
and by appointment

Please note: Jan and Feb hours are less reliable because of no heat in my studio and travel plans. But I will do all I can to meet you at the shop for your pottery tool needs. Just call first to be sure I am there or call my cell and I will meet you there or have someone else help out.
(918) 747-7574 shop (918) 697-6364
Where did I move?
1138 D East 37th Street, at the end of the alley behind Diamond Brokers and Lockers Hair, my old storage garage, on the West side of Peoria.

Thanks for supporting your local potter!
Linda Coward

Monday, January 4, 2010

Puff Pastry, Triple Cream Goat Cheese and Raspberries Walnuts and Honey, My Newly Created Recipe

A decent Washington State Champagne makes cooking fun while sipping.

Hmm, triple creme goat cheese, not so expensive, from Whole Food's Market

raspberries, walnut honey goo, more of this and a little less cheese than online recipes

egg wash to seal and brown the pastry, simply brush over pastry before baking

Ready to bake, oozed out goo painted on top, take advantage of mistakes
The pasty always splits a little.

Carefully study what you bake while having another sip or 2 of of chamagne.

Let it cool a bit before you cut it. Place on plate for faster cooling. Serve on apples or crackers.

Eat this while waiting for cheese to cool.

Additonal bonus recipe to be made into cabbage/meatball soup tomorrow.

Yum. Here we go again. Could not help but share this delicious recipe I just made up. This was made for my Sunday night date with my husband. We watch a couple of stupid TV shows and have terrific appetisers. We could not stop eating the Goat Cheese Brie Puff Pastry. Guess I better start a new exercise regiment if this continues.

I looked up some recipes on line and then decided to play "Splendid Table" using ingredients I already have in my refrigerator to make something really good. After all, who wants to run to the grocery if you don't have to and have way to many leftovers from holidays? I looked up a few ideas on and then made my own version.

Bottle of champagne to sip while cooking;
A frozen puff pastry, thawed about 40 minutes and ready to roll a little thinner
1/3 cup frozen raspberries, fresh if they were available
1/3 cup of walnuts chopped
1/3 cup of local honey
a few snips of fresh Rosemary about 1 tsp+
small wheel of Goat Cheese Brie
Egg with 1 TBS of water to baste pastry

Drink a swig of champagne and start mashing frozen raspberries into walnuts and honey in small bowl. Roll out the thawed puff pastry just a little larger and spread the raspberry honey walnut goo on the center of pastry sheet. Swig champagne and then place goat cheese in middle of raspberries goo. Fold the pastry over the cheese and hope it does not fall apart. IF some of the goo oozes out, fear not. Place loaded pastry in ungreased pan and cover top with extra goo. Baste with egg wash, after swigging more champagne. Place in over at 425 for about 30-40 minutes. Cool for about 30 minutes or half way through the TV show. Call husband run to TV with more champagne and eat other appetisers while waiting for brie. Is that Brie on Desperate Housewives or brie in oven? Have more champagne.

I made a plate of sliced apples, grapes and celery with peanut butter to snack on while waiting.

I also made a meatball something to add a little variety.
Throw Sam's frozen meatballs in saucepan, add, chopped canned green chili peppers, two hands full of shredded cabbage, a bunch of garlic and fresh thyme and rosemary. Simmer on stove and cook until meat is ready and cabbage mix is soft. Eat a little and save the rest to use as a base for a great soup the next day.

Next day Cabbage Meatball Soup with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Left over meat ball cabbage combo
can of Progresso tomato soup
several more hand fulls of shredded cabbage carrot blend
A couple TBS of ketchup for sweetness
A quart of chicken broth
more Sam's frozen meatballs
Cook it a while on the stove until cabbage is soft and meat is cooked and simmer a little longer than you thought you would.

Made some great homemade garlic mashed potatoes. When you are hungry enough, put mashed potatoes in a bowl and scoop soup over potatoes. Smile and eat. Later call several friends and tell them to come over and share it. Feeds a small army and is fun to share so you can make something else tomorrow and have a little left over.

Try not to overeat and remember to share anything you have left over. Boy it is hard to diet when the food tastes so good. Maybe the cabbage cancels the triple creme Goat Cheese. Oh well just think portion control!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Musing about the Slow Movement

central time
fast time
slow time
no time
big time
hard time
my time
your time
some time
long time
short time
real time
show time
hard time
time clock
time out

It is here and it is gone. It is so basic and still so complicated. I was intrigued listening to NPR's To the Best of My Knowledge as they discussed the concept of time. Americans do keep moving and try to defy time thinking there is never enough time to do what we want to do.
Time is a such an abstract concept. Yesterday is gone, totally gone and tomorrow is not yet here.

Time plays with our way of thinking. Are you on time? Are you power playing by arriving late? Are you on Mexican or Indian time and expected to be late? Do you set your clock 3 minutes faster so you can play mind games with your watch and not be late?

I remember reading in UTNE magazine how the alarm clock changed our concept of time pushing us to conform and get to work on time. How many times have we pushed snooze and tried to defy time? I remember growing up in Indiana and hearing the whistle blow from the Seagram's factory signaling my Dad to go to get to work or have lunch or quit for the day. I remember being fascinated with the first public clock in small town Indiana as it showed us a digital clock the first time and the temperature as well. And now, I hear still hear a noon whistle in Tulsa on Fridays and the Church Bells from Southminster Church on the hour and half hour as well. We live in such a time conscious society. I have found I normally run about 7 minutes behind the rest of the universe. I don't like to hurry.

We can slow down time if we really make a conscious effort. The way this best worked for me was when my husband and I walked across Tennessee some 587 miles in 62 days. We did not race across the state. We walked in the cool of the morning and in the evening. Some days we walked about 12 miles and some days a few more. We were very aware of our environment. I took photos and my husband wrote about our adventure and we sent articles back to a small town paper in Tennessee. Several years later I biked across Oklahoma. I remember hearing the young men who want to be there first rattling their tents, bikes and leaving camp first. Their day's ride was over by early morning. I finished toward the end of the day. That slowed time down a bit but not like walking. You are where you are when you are walking but you still see a lot from a good bike ride.

The pottery process if most rewarding when it is done slowly as well. It is no fun to be thinking about the next project while working on another.

Those early morning hours are fun when you feel relaxed and slowly wake up slowly making plans for the art or life projects of the day.

I get upset when I see adults trying to hurry children through a day. Learn fast, faster than anyone in you class. Hurry! Grow up. Act like an adult. Dress like an adult. Be an adult. The computers and video games seem to encourage fast behaviour as well. I remember my son saying once as I literally pulled on his arm rushing to catch the school bus when he was 5, "Hey Mom, Did you see the birds on the line?" No, I didn't. I was in a big hurry.
We should not rush our children to learn to quickly. They need to be able to fully grasp a concept be it math or creative thinking before hurrying them on to the next idea. For example, the ancient Haiku, Old Pond,Frog jump in. Water Sound. Yes you can "get it" quickly but how much to you really understand or contemplate if you move right along?

I met a dance teacher at the private Jewish summer camp where I was teaching this summer. My slower than New Jersey speech pattern drove her crazy and she let me know it. She could not sit still and spoke rapidly. After a bit of getting used to each other and discussing our differences we got along just fine. So often people in the north consider us "slow" if we don't respond as quickly. We grew to appreciate each others habits.

Walking through Whole Foods market today, around noon on Sunday, I noticed several ambitious shoppers, mostly well dressed short haired young men, flying up and down the isles with their shopping carts. In my slow mood, I found them very irritating. They nearly ran me down several times as I jumped out of their way. And, I am not sure they got much more accomplished that I did in a few minutes less.

I love the question, "What do you have when fast food is not fast?" When you wait a long time for fast food there is just nothing there. Just like food, a good glaze recipe is likely to have many ingredients in it to make it better. Foods with lots of layers of taste can sometimes be better as well. Or, maybe just slowly eating an apple can give you a chance to savor it more. Some people eat so fast they hardly salivate. Eating in the car while on the way to an appointment is just a little too ordinary in this country. And of course we all know if we eat more slowly we supposedly eat less leading to better health.

There are so many layers to thinking about time. When I think about time and age it feels so bizarre. My earliest memories were my Mother reading to me from a library book about squirrels in my bedroom as a small child. I also remember running around in a cemetery with other kids and crawling on my knees in concrete drain pipes under the road scraping my knees. It is so unusual to think that person is still me. That was about 54 years ago. And it is strange to realize we are as old as we have ever been and as young as we will ever be. And of course, that some day our time ends, totally ends.

I feel better when I do things more slowly. And if you move too fast sometimes it catches up with you. During the Christmas rush,on the day of my open house, I was moving fast, too fast. I was moving so fast I tripped and fell in my office at my studio. I laid there for a minute, wondering if I had broken my wrist or knee and thought about the consequences. I had nearly tripped twice before a few minutes earlier. Still, I did not listen. I got up slowly and thank goodness, nothing was broken even though I tripped onto a concrete floor. I was rattled but not injured. Then, I listened after the "what ifs" got a hold of my brain.

As a society, I am afraid we are not listening. We get in the hurry up habit and it is hard to break. We would not want to appear lazy or slow. Well, now we are beginning to reevaluate this fast pace. We? I think we. Same song, slow down we move too fast.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Big Horn Sheep Pots

Sold and out the door before I got picture of them glazed. They were a dark brown clay with a shiny brown and tan interior. Stoneware and stronger than the Mexican version. Very silly and very one of a kind. Small ones are about $25, Medium are $35 and Large are $45, plus shipping and handling. And I can make even larger ones for $60 up to be used as outdoor planters. Special orders welcome!

This is a Glitzie girl still available. I only have this one available now. She was hiding and shy and maybe a bit glamorous for an ever so earthy big Horn Sheep kind of Girl. She is 9 inches wide from nose to tail and 6 inches tall.

I sit in my very cold studio still wanting to make pottery even though it is 37 degrees in here! I will have to play Little House on the Prairie just like I do with my little 8 year old student. I am Ma and she is Mary. Her twin sister who take painting somewhere else, not pottery, is in fact, Laura. When we have to throw the thicker slip water over the fence we call that watering the horses in the winter on the prairie even though Tulsa in no way resembles the prairie except for wind and cold.

I have always felt very inspired by Mexican, African and Native American pottery. Those were my influences in grad school some 3o years ago. I love the Mexican goat pots and found myself making a variation of them creating my Big Horn Sheep pots. After a trip many years ago, seeing Big Horn sheep at and around Big Bend Nat'l Park, I starting making my Big Horn Sheep pots. They are fun and silly. They help liven any party with the small ones holding salsa and the big ones a large bag of chips. I don't make them all the time. With the encouragement of others I decided to make some this year for Christmas.
I still have one who is a bit glitzy and not as earthy as most. "She" stimulated a special order for a couple of smaller ones and I made a couple extras as I usually do when I have a commission. As soon as their feet (hoofs) hit the table they were all gone, out the door. I just realized I don't even have a picture of them complete so glitzy will have to show how they look finished.
Maybe I will make some more soon if the shop ever gets warm enough to stick my hands in the clay.
Usually my pots reflect my environment. I came across the poster of the big horn sheep and realized that is kind of how I feel today. Thick, strong, I can take the cold as I stand my ground here in this shop or on the rock. Just bring it on Old Man Winter. Mother Earth is here!