Thursday, January 25, 2007

Random thoughts on Wheel-throwing

For the last two years, I have worked nearly exclusively with handbuilding. I've handbuilt my pottery, and have assisted in handbuilding classes. Because I felt that it was time to become re-acquainted with the wheel, I decided to assist in a wheelthrown class this semester.

Teaching others to throw has made me think a lot about what it takes to change a lump of clay into an aesthetically pleasing (one hopes) vessel.

Among beginning students, the biggest challenge that I've seen is simply holding still. The clay obstinately pushes against the hand and makes the arm bump back and forth. Sometimes a student will decide to push back hard, and end up throwing the lump off the other direction. When this happens, the spinning lump gathers force and pushes back even harder the next time around. It is easy to explain--yet so hard for new students to do-- to brace their elbow against their thigh, their hand against the clay, exert an even pressure, and just hold still. The entire body must be tensed, calm, and very still.

It occurred to me tonight that centering clay is a lot like parenting. With my daughter, when I get distracted or busy or lazy, I find myself being "bumped around". Whenever I get frustrated and push too hard, it always comes back to bite me. But when I can be steady, calm, and "still", things go so much better for the both of us.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Worlwide Women Artist Show--Press Release

WHO: Progress Energy Art Gallery
WHAT: Worldwide Women Artists' Organization Exhibit & Art Sale
WHEN: February 2 – March 31
WHERE: 6231 Grand Boulevard, downtown New Port Richey

Progress Energy Art Gallery &
Greater New Port Richey Main Street
6231 Grand Boulevard, New Port Richey

January 17, 2007

Contact: Lia Gallegos, Director
Phone: 727.842.8066


Women Artists From Around the World Exhibit To Aid Czech Photographers

New Port Richey, FL – The New Year is starting off with a definite
global flavor at the Progress Energy Art Gallery in downtown New Port
Richey. During the months of February and March the Worldwide Women
Artists Organization members will be exhibiting artwork from local
members as well as from members all across the globe in the show, A
Woman's Work is Never Done. The exhibit opens Friday, February 2 at
6:00 p.m.

This dynamic group, led by artists Laura Milnor Iverson and Teresa
Turner who created the group in May 2004, has a long history of using
art to help nonprofit organizations and charities. Ms. Iverson has
been a leader in the online art community, setting a fine example for
other artists and encouraging artists to take on the role of
philanthropist. She has been featured on
( for her

The February exhibit is dedicated to the strength, passion and
compassion of women and their impact on the world around us today.
The art collection will be as diverse as the women who create it;
with influences from all around the world including the Canada,
Brazil & Greece.
Local members exhibiting will include, Toni - K, Michelle Astuto
Collins, Margaret McKeehan, Michele Palenick, Paula Showen and Karren
Doll Toliver. "This exhibit is going to be absolutely fantastic,"
says Exhibit Coordinator Michelle Astuto Collins. "It's something
I've wanted to do for a long time and now to see all of this artwork
from around the world here in our Gallery is just an amazing
accomplishment. I know the public is going to love the diversity and
quality of this exhibit."

The Gallery will be donating its percentage of all sales from this
exhibit to raising funds for the following exhibit A Czech Dialogue:
Images from the 7,65foto Club located in the Czech Republic town of
Liberec. This exhibit will take place April through May 2007 and
several of the artists will be in attendance to personally share in
this exchange of cultures.

The artists from WWAO are also going to be hosting an online art sale
during the month of March in which they will also be donating part of
the proceeds to the Czech exhibit. The online sale will begin March 1
and go through March 15. Sale items may be found at the Gallery's

Artist Spotlight:

Laura Milnor Iverson is a professional artist who has been painting
since the age of 12. Iverson, a native Californian, takes much of
her inspiration from the beautiful natural landscape of the San
Francisco Bay Area. She expresses her love of nature in both Dreamy
Realism (realistic landscapes and seascapes with an impressionist
overtone...the imprint of a scene on the mind, with the soft edges of
memory) and Contemporary Zen (botanical abstracts in a modern Asian
style, such as autumn leaves, florals, cherry blossoms, and so on).

Teresa M. Turner became a full time artist in 1992, creating mixed
media sculptures and paintings. Teresa works in a variety of media,
though most of her two dimensional pieces are acrylics or oils on
canvas. Other two dimensional media she employs include watercolors,
pen and ink, photography, graphite, and gouache. Teresa's sculptures,
employing a variety of ancient techniques, are often done in leather
and porcelain.

Frequent travel in the US and Canada, as well as travels in Europe,
provide Teresa with the ideas and inspiration for many of her pieces.
She has great appreciation for impressionist art, as well as a
lifelong love of the outdoors, which greatly influence her work.

Teresa's work appears in private collections throughout the US and
Canada, as well as throughout Europe and the UK. Additionally, pieces
have been added to locations in the public sector for permanent
display in city offices and art and educational centers. Her work has
been exhibited at such locations as the Royal Botanical Gardens in
Hamilton, Ontario, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC,
among many others.

A complete list of participating artists and their biographies is
available at:

The Progress Energy Art Gallery is a community gallery which was
opened by the not-for-profit organization, Greater New Port Richey
Main Street with a grant from Progress Energy, to encourage the
growth of art and culture in our downtown. All proceeds from sales go
toward keeping this valuable asset to the community operational.

The Gallery is located at 6231 Grand Boulevard, downtown New Port
Richey. For further information please call 727.848.6500 or see our
web site at

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Potters Workshop

I went to an amazing workshop this weekend hosted by
Clay Arts Utah and taught by local potters. The workshop ran all day Saturday, and featured demos, recipes, and discussions. Suzanne Storer shared her terra sig recipes and processes. Ken Marvel demonstrated how to throw monster-sized pots and also spoke about his horsehair and saggar finishes. Sharon Mikkelson showed how overglaze brushwork can enhance pottery and also shared her recipes. Dawn Atkin explained the results discovered during the summer Saggar Firing Experiment and also the basic process of Saggar firing. Aaron Ashcraft (isn't that a great last name for a potter?) spoke about the business side of pottery and how he made the transition to a professional potter. There was an excellent panel discussion with several potters on how they price their work. Cheryl Glenn shared her display ideas for exhibiting work in fairs and festivals. Last but not least, Chuck Parsons demonstrated how to build a backyard kiln from a metal garbage can.

I can't wait to try out the new recipes and techniques that I saw. Sometimes I can feel very isolated between making pots alone and being home with just Emily (my 18 month daughter) for company. I really enjoyed seeing and speaking with several other local potters. I was especially interested to speak with Aaron Ashcraft. In his class, I learned that he started work as a professional potter around the same time that his son was born. In a reversal of usual roles, he was the stay-at-home father/potter while his wife worked a 9-5 job. It's inspiring for me to see positive examples of parents who make pottery and parenting work.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Valentine's Jewelry Sale

From January 14th to February 14th, I'm having a jewelry sale in my Etsy Store. I've reduced prices on all of my unique clay jewelry pieces by 10%. Be sure to check it out at

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Strange name, great site! Squidoo is a fast way to set up a small website. I just heard about it from some other members of
Worldwide Women Artists. Having never heard of it before, I had no idea what people were talking about when they said that they had set up a new "lens" or asked others to "lensroll" their site. I went on out of curiosity and ended up making a site of my own. It took me about an hour to set up a workable site, or "lens". I joined two groups of other lenses, "Self-Representing Artists" and "Fine Arts Group" and "lensrolled" or basically, "marked as favorite" a couple of other lenses. You can check out my lens at and even "lensroll" my lens for yourself.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Worldwide Women Artists

I recently joined an excellent organization called Worldwide Women Artists. It is a collective of women from all over the world who share their insights on art, marketing, and being a woman. I'm excited to have been accepted into the group. Below are links to the WWAO site and the Artists Who Blog list of other WWAO blogs.