Monday, November 2, 2020

2020 can't stop Yelp's Totally Bazaar

Yelp's Totally Bazaar is usually one of my favorite events of the year. Although we won't have our typical merry chaos at Indy's Central Library, you can still see the awesome local gifts and vendor virtually! 

I am lucky enough to be on the Bazaar Virtual Gift Guide with lots of other great gift ideas. I'm happy to set up mini shows on my front porch for folks who would like a private shopping experience. Just contact me to set up a showing.

Don't miss out on all the other awesome events that the Bazaar has going on virtually!!

Mistletoe Must-Knows with Rebel Vintage, Crimson Tate, Savor V and CoasterStone
Virtual event on Zoom
Tuesday, November 17th | 7:00pm EST
More info and RSVP:…

Cozy Cocktails with 8th Day Distillery
Virtual event on Zoom
Monday, November 23rd | 7:00pm EST
More info and RSVP:…

DIY Holiday Hygge with Make It Classy and Frangipani
Virtual event on Zoom
Thursday, December 3rd | 7:00pm EST
More info and RSVP:…

Om for the Holidays with Practice Indie Yoga
Virtual event on Zoom
Thursday, December 10th | 6:00pm EST
More info and RSVP:…

Sugar Cookie Showdown with Marsha's Specialty Desserts
Virtual event on Zoom
Monday, December 14th | 7:00pm EST
More info and RSVP:…

Circle of Lights Celebration with Kid Architect + Circle Kombucha
Virtual event on Zoom
Tuesday, December 22 | 7:00pm EST
More info and RSVP:…


Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Dread Teapot

I realize now, that I've outed myself as a Princess Bride fan. This is my second "Dread" post. I just can't help myself.

In the last eight years, I feel like I've become fairly confident about the forms that I throw regularly. Of course, I still have the desire to make things a little more perfect, more beautiful, just better...but I feel like I can take pride in the things that I do make well.

Teapots in progress: body, spout, lid. I can tell
now that I'll need to remake the spouts. Sigh.
But then there are the dread teapots. I've only made a few, and they humble me every time that I try to make one. A few friends have requested them over the years, but I never want to make them. They sit there on my to-do list, mocking me. But yesterday, I sat down and threw the components for several of them. And I was reminded again-- I hate making teapots. I may have even ranted a bit on my Facebook page about it. I absolutely ranted, I admit it.

When I think about why I don't like making them, it's easy to figure out why. I'm not good at them. Teapots are hard to make. Pretty much every skill set for a functional pot is present in a teapot.

-It's a lidded form. If I'm being honest, I also have to admit that I avoid making things that need lids. It's another thing that I need more practice at. But beyond just mechanics of making a good lid--getting the size and the shape of the lid right, getting the form right so it doesn't fall off when pouring tea, and creating a knob that suits the pot while also being functional. Oh, and of course, managing not to accidentally fuse the lid to the teapot while it's firing.

-It needs a handle. Handles I get, I've made lots, and I'm pretty confident with them on mugs an pitchers. But they're trickier on teapots. Getting the balance right is just harder. And teapots, the kind that I get the most requests for, are just heavier, so they need the handle to work as well as possible.

-Spouts. Ugh. This is where I feel the least competent. The shape, length, and angle of the spout are things that I just haven't yet mastered, even a little. And the spout needs to not dribble!

-There is also the intersection of adding all of these elements together in one me so many chances to mush or break it at any point.

-Finally, the challenge of finding someone to buy the tea pot that made it beyond all these issues without breaking it during packing/repacking for a dozen shows.

This is my one teapot that I felt comfortable enough to add to my show inventory. When I look at it now, I see all of its flaws as a functional teapot, but it was still a lovely piece. It was the most picked up item at all of my shows for about two years, but no one ever bought it. It finally ended up broken when I didn’t pack it quite right one night after a show. It was heartbreaking.

Needless to say, I'm a little bitter about teapots. Which is to say, I just need to practice them, just like I've done with all the other forms that I now feel comfortable with. The real issue for me is time. Teapots are time consuming, and at my current skill level, they don't sell. So I struggle with this. Although I want to get better at them, do I want to spend many many hours learning to get there?

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Taking time to count the pots...

Despite all my best intentions, I rarely take the time to take note of how many pots I have when I'm setting up or tearing down a show. My typical set-up routine--despite plenty of time--always has me arranging (and pricing that last batch of work from the kiln) up until opening time. And at the end of the show, there's just always a need to tear down as quickly as possible. And then the pottery lives in its crates until the next show. 

All of this means, that while I have a notion of which pots have completely run out, I rarely remember which pots and what colors by the time I'm back in the studio. And when the next show rolls around, I'm convinced that I'll never have enough work to fill my shelves, so I'm anxious and stressed.

After my last big show last year, I schlepped all of my crates into the house and inventoried. It took forever. The good part of it was that I ended up having a mini-home show for my friends, which was great.

I have come up with a new scheme, to help with this issue. This year, I've started taking a photo of all my shelves at the end of the show. It's pretty effective...not quite as good as a list, but WAY faster.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Dread Viking Potters!

In April 2018, Vikings invaded Whitestown, Indiana! And I pottered with them! This spring, Indiana's only annual Viking Fest moved from Richmond, Indiana, to Whitestown, on the northwest side of Indianapolis. It also changed from a 1 day event to a 3 day event. New location, new organizers, brand new park land, iffy spring weather, what could possibly go wrong?!? Of course this needed to be Dancing Pottery's first multi-day event! 

Of course, I needed to add some fun new designs for the Viking theme!

And, it went wonderfully. Despite a week of rainy weather, the skies cleared and the Whitestown Park crew did a fantastic job of getting the event space ready and shockingly free of mud. On Friday morning, my wonderful hubby helped me drive my truck full of pottery and my heavy kickwheel, and towed our adorable travel trailer to the event site. 
And then we got stuck in the mud. Note to self: do not back up a camper in wet grass with a truck bed full of pottery! But, the fantastic Whitestown Parks crew came and rescue the truck from the muddy lawn, and I made it out of the camping area and to the event site.

We had a fantastic pottery enclave for Viking Fest: Mike, John, and Maria from Beech Grove Clayworks, Rebecca of Graves Pottery Co, Holly of Dowidat Ceramics, and me!

Fiona, Mike, John, and Maria

Rebecca and Holly

Sales were a bit slow on Friday, but Saturday dawned beautifully, the weather was great and the crowds arrive to get their viking on!

And I learned that Viking reinactors take their jobs seriously. 

I also learned that throwing on a kickwheel in a corset and horned helmet can be challenging. But draws an appreciative crowd. (Sorry for the noisy video, it was pretty windy)

It was an exhausting, but fun weekend. And will be on my list again next year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Yelp's Totally Bazaar 2017

Woohoo! Dancing Pottery made it onto Indianapolis Monthly's list of favorites at Yelp's Totally Bazaar 2017!! I was one of thirteen chosen from more than 150 vendors at the event!

This year was my third at Yelp's Totally Bazaar. I still find it amazing to watch the gorgeous Indianapolis Public Library transform into a festive bazaar filled with thousands of people!

Main atrium floor. A few early vendors, staking out their claim.

Arriving early, I hurried up to my assigned floor.
I love the library!

My burly hubby and I hauled my booth up to the 4th floor.

That's me!

2 hours later, all set up.

My army of hedghogs will greet Yelpers as the arrive on the 4th floor.

Prepared with a tasty beverage, we wait for the starting gong!
Then the doors opened, letting in more than 5500 people in three hours, and I was too busy to take any more photos. Here's a bunch from Dylan Gregory, and they are gorgeous!

So many people!!


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Most awesome DIY studio tool ever

This $7 nifty plastic bin may be the best thing I’ve ever added to my home studio and gifted to my community studio. Please let me introduce you to my Giffin Grip Trimming Catcher!

Trimming leads to clay bits all around the wheel. I tend to trim many pots in one sitting, so the bits that fell on the ground had time to dry out and then were ground to dust as I got up from the wheel. This scenario is bad enough in a one-person studio, but in a group setting, it’s even more of an issue. 

But this nifty bin solves those dusty messy issues. Using a piece of cardboard as a template, I cut out the shape of the splash pan where it connects below the wheel head. I used a dremel tool cutting disc to cut through the plastic bin. I cut out one of the long sides of the bin, leaving a lip along the edges, except for where the bin needed to slide under the wheel head. Then I used the cardboard splash pan template to trace the same shape to the bottom of the bin and cut that section out with the dremel. 

After a little testing and more trimming with the dremel, the bin slides easily under the wheel head. 

An addition of a long piece of material draped over the cut edges of the bin of the bin, tucked under the wheel head, and over my legs keeps all of the trimmings off the floor.

Then I store my Giffin Grip, all of its bits, and the material in the bin. 

Best $7 that I’ve ever spent! 

While I made this specifically to use with a Giffin Grip, it should work just about as well just trimming on the wheel head. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A year has passed

I can't believe it's been a year since I posted. Although 2016 was really busy, or maybe because it was, I took a 3 month vacation from pottery this spring. If you'd like to read about my adventures, I blogged about it here.

Here's a quick Dancing Pottery year-in-review.
  • I continue to love being a member of Beech Grove Clay Works, the best studio in the Indianapolis area. 
  • Dancing Pottery was at 12 different events, markets, or fairs.

    Virginia Avenue Folk Fest

Greenwood Farmers Market

Demos at Brickyard Ceramics big summer event

German Fest

Cottage Home Block Party

 Frankfort Library Friend of Art Show

First Friday at Broken Beaker 

Yelp's Totally Bazaar