Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ice Storm of 2013, Whales and Wine

Ice Storm of 2013....no comparison to 1998...but still packed an unexpected punch leaving Peasley Pottery without power for a week.  It left behind down trees, fencing and an inch of ice over everything. 

Unfortunately, it brought my work in the pottery studio to a complete stand still for a week.  I don't like standing still.  And, it came at the worst time possible.  I have been working diligently on a large order and now I am a week off my schedule.  I am very anal about being on schedule, on time and I actually pride myself for being ahead of schedule and arriving early.....needless to say, this has screwed with my mojo, so I am dealing with a bit of anxiety!  (...and the bazillion birch and pine trees that need to be amputated so my poor fence can be mended, so the crazy beasts in the barn can be freed)...one of which being "playful" tried to have a Van Gogh moment with me in her failed attempt to steal my fleece headband...she bit my ear.....luckily, my ear was in one piece and the frigid cold temperatures numbed the pain.  Anyhow...back to the pottery......

(photo of right whale pots at various stages)
 I have been working on an order for The Environmental Resources Network (T.E.R.N.) located in the State of Georgia, for a  fundraiser to benefit the continued research and conservation of the North Atlantic Right Whale by the  Department of Natural Resources.  The fundraiser is part of the 'Weekend for Wildlife' being held at Sea Island.  For more information click on this link Weekend for Wildlife at Sea Island.

Peasley Pottery has been commissioned to create 40 vases and 40 plates depicting right whales which have been named and identified with a numerical tag.  On the bottom of each piece is their name and I.D. number.  All the whales are hand carved, then glazed to accentuate their individualized markings and scars.  Some of which are caused naturally, while others are due to ship strikes, fishing gear entanglements or other misadventures at sea.  These pieces will be used as centerpieces at each table at the event to be sold off at the end of the evening.  Each donor will receive their whale pot along with a biography of their whale which includes name, sex, date of birth, sighting dates and locations, any family history with other whales in the catalog, and other observed interactions or other historical data associated with each whale.  Not only are donors supporting a great cause, they are going home with an original work of art with historical significance.

Here are a few of the finished pieces.

 I will keep you posted as to the progress over the next two weeks and with more photos! 

One of my new year's resolutions is to be a better blogger, more frequent, on schedule.... :)   One last thing to leave you with....

The girls and I went to a wine making class.....that is what it was called, but more accurately, it was a wine tasting while watching the making....not one of us actually made anything, unless you call "making payments" for the wine... wine making.  I suppose in a round about backwoods way, we did make the wine....we paid a guy who made the wine and we supervised his making by telling him what kind we wanted and how much.  In honor of my supervisory wine making.....I made a wine bottle.  I actually did make the wine bottle and it will hold the wine I did not make at the wine making class I successfully completed.  Cheers!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Seaplanes, Tea Time and the Right Whale

If this year is any indication as to what next year will bring...I need to expand my studio as soon as possible.  What a blessed and busy season. 

At the beginning of September, I started attending the Bucksport Bay Farmer's Market.  What a  sweet little market.  I am enjoying it immensely.  I have two dear friends who are vendors also.  It is becoming my tea and friendship time!  One of the ladies brings hot water and the most Delightful (that's the name) tea. Sipping hot tea with friends on a brisk Fall market day....priceless. 

Also in September we attended the International Seaplane Fly-In on Moosehead Lake in Greenville.  I love the games they play, especially the seaplane bomb drop of a grapefruit and the bush pilot canoe race.  Unfortunately, from my booth I could see....none of that! I did get to enjoy the sound effects of the event as I sold pottery. 

Here is a sampling of pottery I took with me.  The seaplane mugs sold out immediately, no surprise there.  Then, so did the moose mugs.  Next year, I will be sure to take a lot more of both.
 My daughter and grandson were a great help selling and entertaining.  My grandson is 5 years old and quite the entrepreneur! He borrowed another vendors dog and opened his own business.  He asked...no, told...everyone he met, "You can have a picture of me and this dog for $2."   Tilley the dog was a real sport!  He didn't get anyone to buy, but had a wonderful time trying!! 

Before I left for Greenville, I received a call from a man who is organizing a fundraiser for the research and conservation of the North Atlantic Right Whale.  I will give more details later, but he was seeking centerpieces for the event which will be sold/auctioned off that evening.  The photo's below are of a few of the pieces I am making.  These whale pieces are all hand carved and will be completely individual in every way.  Each whale pot has an ID#/name carved into the bottom and represents a particular whale that has or is being studied.  Each whale is unique with scars, marks and other distinctive features.  Some whales are carrying long lines from fishing gear and that gear will also be depicted in the piece for an accurate portrayal of the whale.  I am so excited about this project!  

Many, many moons ago I worked for a marine mammal research organization and met a women who is part of the small group of research scientists who study these whales.  She introduced me to the North Atlantic Right Whale and I have loved them ever since.  I always wanted to participate in a fundraiser that would benefit these lovely animals, and now, I have that opportunity.  I will keep you posted with more details, but for now, here are a few photo's of the whale pots.....
As you can see in the bottom photo, the whale is entangled in line.  This is sadly a reality.

I will post more photo's as they are completed.

I also have a few more whale pieces to share.  I decided to try out the dark chocolate colored clay.  This clay turns a rich black/brown once fired.  It should be interesting to see the results of these.

And then there's Annikens....my favorite break from a hard day of "potterizing".....taking photo's around the farm.
THIS was not my intended subject to photograph, but Annikens ultimately made the decision by sticking her nose where it didn't belong....as always!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

End of Summer Blues

Where did the summer go?  The last thing I remember, it was June and I was looking forward to the rain stopping long enough for us to enjoy summer...I was waiting...and waiting.....then, the next thing I know, the wait is over!  It's the end of August, the sun has been shining for a week straight. Only one problem, it feels like Fall.  The pool is ice cold.  The vegetable garden looks like it has gone through a frost and is dying back far too early.  This was the summer that never happened. We had winter, mud season and now Fall.  

With Fall comes the International Seaplane Fly-In www.seaplanefly-in.org  at Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Me.   This year, Peasley Pottery will be there on Saturday and Sunday, September 7th and 8th.  I am VERY excited about it!  I am going up early so I can have a day to.....DO NOTHING!!!! Yes, nothing.  I will be sitting lakeside with a good book, glass of wine and there is a great possibility that I will be too exhausted to even do that.  I may just nap in a hammock all day!  I am having a day of low ambition and pure laziness....and I can't wait!

And here is why I can not wait to get a day of nothing....

This is the latest Brook Trout carving.  

And then there were yarn bowls, and more yarn bowls, until I could take it no more....

....and soap dishes.  To form the soap dish, I put it in a pvc pipe cut in half. It worked out very well.  After the clay set up, I decorated each one and attached feet. My friend, Terry Bryant of Sugarbush Country Farm in Troy, Me., will be at the fly-in selling her heavenly goats milk soaps displayed on these soap dishes which will also be for sale!  What a great combo!! (You should smell her soaps....even men comment on how wonderful they smell.  They are not over powering floral madness, they are in a league of their own, long lasting and wonderful!!! She has a new soap called Maine Woods....my favorite! check out the other scents at website http://www.sugarbushcountryfarm.com/soap-descriptions.html ) 
 Below are round wheel thrown soap dishes

 Berry Bowls and Yarn Bowls
 Mugs, Jugs and Misc.

 And more Maine Lobster Buoy Hummingbird Feeders are being made as well.

There are also dinner plates, dessert plates, bowls of all sizes, garlic grater/olive oil dipping plates, garlic keepers, mugs of all sizes and many, many more pieces in need of glazing and firing.  It will be a busy few weeks preparing for this show.  I will post more photo's of pottery fresh out of the kiln, glazed and finish products before leaving for Greenville.  (I will do it, the Double L's are doubting me, but I will post those photo's before Sept 7th!)

And last, but not least.....I had two Monarch butterflies last week. In the photo below, you will see on the right two Monarch's....one is directly behind the other.  I don't know what the butterfly on the left is, but they are here all summer.
It was also a very sad few weeks around the farm.  Button's Bunny went missing about three weeks ago, then Honey Bunny disappeared early last week.  All that was left was Funny Bunny in the back pasture....a very antisocial bunny and not so funny, hence all the sadness.  I love waking up and having coffee with Button's Bunny...so peaceful.  I've missed it.  Then, this morning I was having coffee with a human...all the animals were apparently busy.... and out of the corner of my eye I saw a furry flash.  It was a little baby bunny hopping as fast as possible across the lawn!  And not too far away was Buttons!  Apparently Button's was on maternity leave.   Bunnies make the world a happier place...and wine...chocolate...definitely lobster and Houlton Farm butter.... :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ugly August and LIKE Bombing on Facebook!

It's August...August is a sad month...or at least I think so.  You realize summer is almost over, temperatures have chilled, kids are preparing to go back to school and everyone is rushing around to cram in as much fun as possible prior to reality striking and summer has ended. Fun stuff like chopping, splitting, piling wood...cutting, baling and stacking hay...picking, canning and tilling the garden.  I prefer July....brushing, feeding and riding horses...bbq's, lobster's, friends/family, fireworks, ice cream, strawberry shortcake, swimming, pontoon boat rides, kayaking and morning coffee in the field full of happy bunnies bouncing about. Now that's what I call fun...August...not so much.
"Button's Bunny"...one of four families here at the farm.  We have Honey Bunny, the Funny Bunnies and Bugs Bunny & his family.  Very original names.  They are so much fun to watch!

As much fun as August can be, I do have some fun coming up displaying/selling pottery in the Bucksport Bay Farmer's Market every Thursday from 2-6pm.  I have a few friends who have booths there as well, selling everything from vegetables to concrete garden sculptures.  The fellowship of the marketeers!  And, there is LIVE ENTERTAINMENT, as oppose to those dead ones! I stopped by one Thursday and I will attest to the fact the entertainment is alive and really good!  So stop by and join in the fun...  Bucksport Bay Farmer's Market on Facebook.  Please show your support and LIKE them on Facebook!

Don't forget to head over to Surry Girls in Ellsworth for Peasley Pottery and for all your fine gift and candle needs.  The shop smells incredible!  It is a very delightful shop, cozy and warm.  If you can't find a gift there, then you probably didn't need one.  It is filled with gifts that convey love from the heart.  The owners, Joan & Julie - the Surry Girls, are two sisters who are just as welcoming and warm as their shop...You will enjoy your visit to this little gem of a shop.
 Surry Girls on Facebook  Please visit them on Facebook and LIKE these girls!!
This is my high school classmate, Vicki, who escaped Maine years ago to live in the Sunshine State and was in town visiting and stopped by Surry Girls!  Here she is with her newly acquired piece of Peasley Pottery!  Thank you Vicki!!

Recently, I made a deliver of the Maine Sea Salt Buoys to the Maine Sea Salt Company located in Marshfield.  My mother, grandson and I got a tour of their sea salt making facility.   You don't think about the process when you are shaking the salt on your food, but after visiting their facility, watching how they make their salts...which some are smoked (who'da thunk!)... I have a new, more appreciative relationship with salt!  My mother picked up some "magic" sea salt...it is a heavenly herb sea salt which will compliment anything consumable...it would even make cardboard delicious!  She also picked up some of their garlic salt...Momma Mia!!! is that devine sprinkled on pizza!  If you get to the Machias area, head over to Marshfield and check out the Maine Sea Salt Company or go to their website at Maine Sea Salt Company   Here is a photo of their showroom display with the Peasley Pottery Maine Sea Salt Buoys.
And you can check them out on Facebook.... Maine Sea Salt Company on Facebook  and don't forget to LIKE their page!

I can't forget to mention a trip my mother and I made North to the county...for those of you from away, that'd be Aroostook County....absolutely gorgeous!  I had a pottery delivery and this is what I found...
of course! Buffalo!  That's the first thing I think of when I think of Aroostook County Maine...where the buffalo roam...except not home on the range, but rather home near where the potato farmer ranges. I was told these aren't for eating, but are pets.  I don't know, but I think it is safe to say most people in the county would see meat and potato's, not a pet next to Mr. Potato Head.

Now on to pottery making.  I am blessed with a boat load of orders and upcoming events.  I fired two bisque kiln loads in as many days and now will be glazing them all and firing again before sending them off to the markets!  It is exciting and frightening to see the orders flying in.  I'm running through clay like it is water in a sieve.  It's a wicked beautiful thing!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How to tell your potter is from Maine...and possibly a redneck...

I think the title of this post will be self-explanatory by the first photo.  As I made pretty floral vases...I came to the conclusion that not everyone wanted flowered containers to put their flowers in, and not everyone had flowers to put in a flower vase.  So, where pray tell do I put these welding rods?  Or my pile of Spruce gum for safe keeping?   I was a bit irritated the first day I made these.... and, apparently wanted to shoot something, because the bullet vases were a result of that deep meditation at the potter's wheel.  And...they are here to stay.  I have had a wonderful response, primarily by men, but many women too...even those who don't wear camo underwear!  I'm also adding to the line a liquid soap dispenser, or if you prefer, a fast orange shop hand cleaner dispenser.  Naturally, I am also adding to the line a bullet hummingbird feeder!    
After constructing the bullets, I moved on to a folky-native Mainer version of the black bear. 
 Below is the top view...a parade of prints encompassing the rim of the vase.
One of my favorite flowers, the Lady Slipper.  Each year I anxiously await their bloom and wish it lasted much longer. They are such a delight to see in the woods, it is the sure sign of summer.
 Mother black bear and her cubs under the majestic mountains.
 Keeping with the wilderness theme....an animal tracks wax warmer...a compliment to any rustic cabin, lodge or homestead.  
 Deep red, pierced, floral wax warmer
The Maine coast is notorious for it's Puffins.
 This abstract small jug or vase is one of my favorite pieces. The clay is naturally a deep brown, almost black.  I carve deeply into the thick thrown clay body to create wells for the red glaze to pool in, then fire.  This is the result and I am so pleased with the color combination.
When I finished decorating the raw brown clay with the white slip into these wildflowers (lupine & others), I loved the contrast and old world quality so much, that I left the exterior natural with just a satin clear coat over and finished off the interior of the pot with a deep firebrick glaze.
Equine Pottery...has been a rare thing this year.  Not that I haven't made some...I'll explain in a bit.  When these tumbler's came out of the kiln I was very pleased with the vibrant contrast between the white stoneware and the dark blue glaze, they almost look black. 
And, her is part of the explanation for the lack of equine pottery this year.  This extremely large bowl would have been glazed and fired had it not cracked in the initial firing.  The crack is on the bottom, but not a typical S crack or split.  It is actually on only one side of the base and just enough to ruin the piece for sales purposes.  I still intend to glaze it, but upside down, leaving the rim natural clay rather than the bottom.  I think it will be pretty and I really could use a new huge bowl.
And last, but not least, Moose Track mugs, bowls, double-handle casserole baker and gravy boat. I have had some fabulous results with this glaze on white stoneware, but on the earth tone clay, it changes color and is much richer, more dramatic.  This reminds me of the beautiful, and dramatic, Katahdin region. 

I hope you enjoyed some, if not all, of the pottery here today....if not the bullets, at least appreciate the workmanship.  Have a wonderful week enjoying the summer in all its splendor, thunder storms and all...because it won't be long when we'll be complaining about shoveling snow!