Monday, March 31, 2014

Top Movers and Shakers

I just inloaded a kiln full of pots and will be shipping the best of the bunch to Dallas for this weekend's Dallas Pottery Invitational. I can't wait to see all of the potters and their pots at the show. Maybe I will see some of you? Let me know if you are going!

I'm a little late with this week's top facebook Ceramic Artists Pages but thanks to Scott for getting these numbers to me! The pages are listed in order of highest percentage change of new fans since last week. Congrats to all the active artists providing interesting content to their ever growing Facebook followers!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Some Painted Pots and The Village Potter

All the pots are bisqued
and the glaze is stirred
 I picked up my brush...

the last bisque with glaze test tiles for Courtney Martin
natures patterns are everywhere! even in a bisque firing!

step by step vine instructions (clockwise)
more pattern, less negative space

Ahh, can't finish this!  (to the tune of Mingei-sota Dreaming, or is that California Dreamin'???)

Staying up late painting pots has once again dulled my recall.

I strive, (I really do!) each session, to refine my painting, to push it to a slightly different place. I guess it might look like the same old @klineola ware, but i hope the patterns are more nuanced, more fluid each time.

I like these just the way they are but the glaze and firing will make these functional and add another layer of subtlety.

coffee break with my newish  Matthew Schiemann mug

Way behind schedule, but, as promised, a few pics of my painting progress, and a link to a great article I just read while taking my coffee break!

Read about the island of misfit pots: The Village Potter

OK! Back to work!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Calling All Clayers

Diana Fayt is doing it again! Join her next month for a brand new online Clayer e-course.

Click here to visit The Clayer website and join the fun. Here's a fun little teaser video!

The Clayer E-Course: Part Two from Diana Fayt on Vimeo.

Deco-Rotation Beginnings

I'm afraid I might be painting myself into a corner (again)!

Just back from conferencing, yet again, and not enough time to get all the ideas that I've had for surface treatments onto all of these pots. Oh my.

But I'm off to a good start, though, and the brushes feel good. New things always happen and its hard to hold back from trying new motifs, etc. But time is always the party pooper.

So, I'll be brief and get back to the bisque straight away. I'll continue to post regularly here and might try to put down some thoughts during this sit-down-and-paint-some-pots day or two.

Thanks for reading.

snowed last night and the studio light is very bright. :-)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mark Making:Painting: José Parlá video

Sometimes, here on the internet, someone [thanks David Ernster] will share content with you with a kind of perfect timing. A timing that parallels something you might be thinking about and validates. As I sit here painting pots I was thrilled to hear what José Parlá says about mark making and language. I thought I would share this video with you so when you find it it might speak to you as well.

The Fancy Shape

Just back from NCECA 2014 and there's so much to catch up on.
Stay tuned for some awesome(hopefully) deco this week and some thoughts on fanciness!

Do you listen to podcasts while you work? I do and I would totally recommend this one. It's all about a the fancy shape! Check it out.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Shakers and Movers Week 12

I just got back from a wonderful NCECA conference in Milwaukee. Today is my decompression AND my re-entry day, all in one. So, as I get ready to wield some brushes to deco some pots, I offer you this week's climbers on the FB Ceramic Index, courtesy of Butterfly Bend potter, Scott Williamson.  If you have a FB page for your ceramic art and aren't listed, please leave me a comment with your URL. I'll list you ASAP.

Stay tuned for some new deco this week as well as a post about my time at #NCECA2014!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Guest Blogger: NCECA Prep

Editor's note: this is a rebroadcast of Simon Levin's blogpost from a couple years ago. It still makes me laugh. Happy Monday's y'all!

As we pulled onto the highway headed for NCECA it occurred to me that finally I am one of the merging artists this year. Much thought and preparation has gone into this year’s trip. My bag is filled with swag and I have honed some techniques to make my NCECA experience the best it can be. Let me share with you some of the helpful tools I plan to employ.

The over the shoulder crowd survey
This is a common tool used by those who want to make the most of their time. When catching up with an old friend make sure you keep looking over his or her shoulder for someone else with more status. Perhaps someone well known that you would like to be seen talking to, or someone whose ego you would like to massage hoping they can give your career a boost. Never be afraid to trade up, NCECA will soon be over.

 Make sure you have your “I don’t remember you but want to seem like I do” phrases ready.

You will need these. Let me share a few that imply varying degrees of false intimacy.

  • “Heeeeyyyyyyy”. Draw this one out, the less you remember the person the longer this greeting should be. It may give you time to recollect and the lag time suggests pleasure and enthusiasm at seeing this stranger.
  •  “Wow, you have lost weight”. Always a good way to go, unless they are a recent amputee.
  •  “Did that rash ever clear up”?
  •  “I always enjoy your status updates on Facebook”.
  •  “What ever happened with that paternity test”. Note: This is fine to ask women as well as men.
  • “Got that $20 you owe me?” You never know, and if you insist enough you can always settle and let them buy you lunch.

 At NCECA be prepared to see some crappy work.

 You must be armed with vaguely upbeat but non-committal comments that suggest interest but cover your dismay, disgust or nausea. Here are a few.

  •  Interesting
  •  Look at that!
  •  You price your work way too cheap.
  •  That ‘s bold!
  •  How much time did you spend on that?
  •  I have never seen work like this.
  •  I admire your courage to present work like this.
  •  Now that’s a handle!
  •  I didn’t think it could be done, but you have ruined dirt.
  •  How many poo-flinging monkeys helped you with this?
  •  You have raised the bar for craptastic work everywhere.

And finally you will find yourself in deep and meaningful conversations that you cannot wait to get away from.

 In these situations you will need a few polite ways to excuse yourself immediately. Feel free to use any of these:

  • What time is it? Oh man I need to run.
  • Oh there goes my ride.
  • I am sorry but there is a lecture I really want to hear. (This one is hard to make sound truthful, I mean, holy cow, people talk so much at NCECA. Really how much can you say about dirt. I’d probably listen more if it was about me or Jersey Shore.)
It is always better if you can subtly make them want to end the conversation allowing you to leave still seeming interested in them as a person. So for the more advanced NCECA attendee try these:
  • Do you have $50 bucks I can borrow?
  • The infection is highly contagious; do you have any lip balm I can borrow?
  • Whoops there goes my Irritable Bowell Syndrome
  • Do you have any crack on you?
  • My therapist says I am due for a beserker rage any day now.
Anyway I am looking forward to my time at NCECA this year. You will find me looking over the shoulder of one of my nearest and dearest friends.

Simon Levin is an irregular contributor to Sawdust and Dirt. He lives and makes pots in Gresham, WI. When Simon is not making or firing pots, fighting fires, or caring for his lovely family, he is creating such wonders as WikiClay! To find out more about Simon Levin and his pottery go to

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This Weeks Movers and Shakers

Here are this week's Top 10 movers from the FB Ceramic Index. Each week I track Clay/Ceramic Artists' Facebook Pages and log their numbers. The list is ordered by the biggest percentage of change in each page’s fans from week to week. The Index is far from complete, but so far I have 308 sites. If you aren't on the list, please leave a comment here and I will try to add it ASAP.

Here's little how-to:

  • each artist's "box" is scrollable 
  • scroll outside the artist's box to scroll down the page.
  • if you are a facebooker and are logged in you can 'like' pages here. 
  • if you want to leave comments or like individual posts, click on that post and you will be taken to FB.
I hope you find new artists to follow and that new followers if you are and artist on the list!


Gary Vaynerchuk

I shared this interview on our #virtualclay event page over on the Facebook the other day in advance of our NCECA talk next week. There are a few really engaging discussions going on there. I really think there are some great nuggets for creatives in this interview. I hope you enjoy and get something out of it.

some markers of the interview courtesy of youtube user Timor Kuliev
03:30 - “jab jab jab right hook” cover and overview
07:00 - Getting through the noise
11:10 - Photographers in social media
16:00 - Linkedin
17:30 - Working on your craft OR working on marketing yourself
19:50 - Humans of New York example to above
22:16 - Be Patient, Making a business is a years game, Marathon
23:50 - Hustle and working hard
25:00 - Inforgraphic -
27:30 - Forecasting the future, showing real emotions
32:00 - Why people fear social media, Privacy is dead,and more
34:40 - How to restore reputation
37:50 - How to fight repetition
39:50 - Believing in what you sell, and Complaining
42:15 - Success in vine and Being consistent
44:30 - What creatives waste time on, Information this days
50:00 - What is next
53:10 - Getting back in the game
55:40 - Old media this days, and do your own social media
58:40 - How to grow a Facebook page
1:00:40 - Balance with jab and right hook
1:02:10 - How to give back
1:04:00 - Focus on one platform perfectly or few imperfectly
1:06:50 - Do you ever stop when you reach certain success
1:08:20 - is social media really that important
1:12:20 - How to keep productivity high
1:14:20 - How important is blogging this days
1:18:00 - How to separate personal content from brand content
1:19:20 - Crowdfunding
1:21:00 - How to make a right hook seem like a jab
1:24:00 - Gary weakness, scale the unscalable