Happy to be back in the studio and back to my clay life. However, the next chapter of my life is beginning as the first grandchild is due in November. Priorities will soon be changing and I’m sure it’s not acceptable to get wet clay on a newborn! In addition, as a lifelong learner eager to learn new techniques and to try new ideas, my focus has shifted from vintage lace, (which I still love and will continue) , back to more organic glaze colors and….birds…..especially ornaments and on mugs. This Saturday as a vendor at the RI Foreign Language Association Conference my fall selling season begins! Fatrobinpottery.com continues to be updated with new photos of new inventory and show schedule. If you see something you would like in any of my new photos, get in touch as I am a “small batch” potter and inventory may be limited. Have a great fall and perhaps I’ll see you!
Common birds at my backyard feeder called to me and I made cardinal, blue jay, chickadee and hummingbird ornaments to celebrate everyone’s back yard! My lace inspired bowls, trays, and mugs are selling well, but this year’s favorites are the ornaments! Bestseller is the cardinal, which for many people, bring back fond memories of departed loved ones, or, for some, when a cardinal appears, it’s a visitor from heaven. Enjoy decorating your tree with all your memories! And if you need a few more memory makers, I am open every day—call/email/text to make an appointment.
Fat Robin inventory is increasing day by day as vintage lace is impressed into clay slabs and formed into bowls, trays, ornaments, mugs, and more! Sgrafitto mugs are appearing and bright sunflowers are poking out of mugs and bowls… the kiln is busy, ornaments are getting beaded and strung, and the last thought at bedtime before I switch my brain off (ha!) is, what’s next!
Unique Boutique Artisan Fair on November 10 and 11 at Easton’s Beach Rotunda is my first event of the season. I will not be at the Hibernian Sale this year as my daughter is getting married and therefore, my mind and body will not be focusing on clay! South County Art Association 48th Annual Holiday Fair begins the day after Thanksgiving and includes Fat Robin Pottery, and then I continue to Newport Hospital Auxiliary Fair on Dec. 1 and Newport Art Museum Holiday Sale on Dec. 13 to 15….and perhaps if inventory and energy allow there might be an Open House or another fair….will keep you posted!
The crisp fall air beckons and reminds you to get out and enjoy all the fall and holiday festivals, fairs, bazaars, and to support all the artisans behind those vendor tables! If you want to come by and shop Fat Robin Pottery, my garage is my staging area and all my inventory is spread out for you to see. I make a set amount of items, and unfortunately, when they are gone, they are gone….so if a certain mug is calling you, email or call or text to set up a time to come by….and bag it!
Have a great happy and sane and thoughtful fall and holiday season 2018!
In February each year, Spring Bull Gallery in Newport has their annual Fakes and Forgeries Gallery Show, my favorite….artists submit their interpretation of a well know work of art… my interpretation uses clay as my palette. The first year I entered I interpreted Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the next year was Hokasi’s The Great Wave, and this year was Gustav Klimt’s , The Kiss…. I enjoy entering because creating my entries is a sampling of every clay surface technique I’ve learned…and I am all about the surface!
At times like this, I am glad I have a smaller kiln, as one doesn’t make one entry as you never know what a piece will look like until it comes out of the final glaze kiln. I made 5 pieces, using every surface technique I enjoy—carving, slip trailing, sgrafitto, wax resist, mishima, and then applying underglazes, washes, and glaze.
In January my cellar studio by the sea is too cold and too damp to work in. Therefore, I covered the floor of my living room, set up a table near the window (ah, natural light) thus setting up a small temporary studio, with all clay, tools, and supplies needed in a warm, cozy room. I spent the week creating, relaxing, and enjoying the cold January weather on my terms. I did something that is hard to learn and hard to practice (but always pays off)…I took my time! Patience is critical, you never know how something is going to turn out until it’s out of the final glaze kiln; I could only say to people “I am working on my entry….” Met with a friend when all 5 were out of the kiln to make a group decision on which piece should be entered. When the entry was finally delivered to Spring Bull Gallery, I posted my photos on social media and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief…..and then started think of next years work of art to interpret….any ideas? As a follow up, on the show opening night, my entry had a now familiar red dot, which mean I no longer owned the piece. But I do have four other interpretations if any one is interested.
In a few days, our family is off to Valencia, Spain to immerse ourselves in Las Fallas, a festival which culminates in a week of fiestas, fireworks, culture, and mayhem! I’m copying a great explanation by the Don Quixote Spanish Language Learning School on a “Spain Travels” heading on my website, because it’s the most concise description I have found…. it’s hard to explain. Enjoy reading the description when you have a chance. Once in Spain, I hope to learn more about Spanish pottery and specifically the Cuerda Seca surface technique and also have a description under Spain Travels. I am wondering how 3 weeks in Spain will have an influence on my clay work; we will all find out as the year progresses!
My cellar studio is not conducive to productivity in this arctic (artic?) cold. Hence, I am comfortably sitting by the fire and reflecting on this past season and, thanks to many new and old customers, thinking ahead to many more seasons. A warm feeling overcame me on Christmas Eve– I thought about all the people in the holiday season opening a gift and receiving a piece of Fat Robin Pottery vintage lace impressed pottery for the first time…It became clear it was worth every second of the long hours spent in the studio creating.
The highlight of the craft shows? Watching total strangers walk up to my table/booth with a wondering look that read “give me time to think” as they looked at my wares for the first time. And a memory surfaced for them….my mother’s lace doily … and if I saw they needed help with their memory I showed them a doily….and the transformation on their face when they completed that memory and told me of a grandmother or aunt with similar lace in their possession was wonderful. One customer made the statement “you make the past come to life in your work.” And that comment hit the nail on the head…respect for the past and the women who created these doilies/lace and preserving these memories.
People are happy to suggest ETSY for a selling platform for my work….it won’t work for me—I can’t see the customers faces as they see my work…. And that means everything to me….
Thanks for a great season—I have lots of ideas to explore and I won’t dissappoint you! Maggie
This has been a summer of transition on the home front, as a daughter moved into her own home leaving an empty bedroom…. 2 empty bedrooms to be exact, which then involved painting, and that cleaning fervor led to other rooms. Much time was spent sorting old paper, possessions, books, emptying boxes in all rooms of the house and reliving memories for my husband and I….it was time well spent.
In one old file was my job resume from the late 1970’s. Since then I have had many jobs and raised children, so I strayed far from that original resume…. the best part of reading that resume was my objective …”to design, develop and manage my own business using personal skills and the talents and creativity of fellow craftspeople and artists…” I didn’t even know clay existed back then! But all my jobs, life experiences, travel, people connections, in the interim have brought me back to my original objective…..it only took 30 years plus to bring me full circle to my original intentions! Looking forward to many more revelations in the coming year….
The sun is shining! Happy June 1!
A lot has transpired the past few months while I was in hibernation…. With the kiln in winter mode, the cold months were a time for a fun project-the annual Fakes and Forgeries show at Spring Bull Gallery in Newport…my entry was a clay replica of “The Great Wave” by Mr. Hokusai After the show opening, I noticed a red dot and a lovely gray “most original” ribbon on my piece…happy clay lady. March was my annual MN visit for quality mother/daughter time….and a chance to shop antique malls for vintage lace (happily I hit the mother lode!) March also began my enrollment in a class at South County Art Association taught by the clay hand building guru of RI, Anna Highsmith.. Perfecting techniques, exploring, learning, practicing, and playing gave me a change to create new forms and strengthen previous designs, all perfect for vintage lace imprint….very happy with new shapes and ideas….
Which brings me to June! June finds me cleaning, purging, and getting ready for my summer production mode of pottery for fairs this fall…. I will have a table of test pieces, seconds, and other items that need a new home, (i.e. yours) at the Community yard, art, and craft sale at the Portsmouth Arts Guild , Saturday, June 10 from 9 to 3…. All part of my clay cycle–making room for new clay fun and inventory….enjoy this sunshine!
The Spring Bull Gallery in Newport’s upcoming show is The Art of Food – the perfect venue for my hubbard squash bowls….fortunately, I was able to purchase the last hubbard squash of the season at DeCastro’s Farm Stand in Portsmouth. This squash bowl edition of mine combines my love of vintage lace on clay, draped over a hubbard squash; this leaves a great lace impression on the inside of the bowl, and the nubbly squash texture with organic glaze qualities on the outside of the bowl.
As I filled out the show entry form at Spring Bull Gallery, I had to give the bowl a name….Vintage Hubbard. And then I realized, this gives Old Mother Hubbard a whole new meaning. Once home, being a lifelong learner, I quickly googled “Old Mother Hubbard Nursery Rhyme” and learned its political connections! Your lesson of the day is as follows ….” Old Mother Hubbard – In the 16th century in England, The Old Mother Hubbard rhyme allegedly refers to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and his unsuccessful attempt to get an annulment for King Henry VIII. Old Mother Hubbard is Cardinal Wolsey. The cupboard is the Catholic Church. The doggie is Henry VIII. The bone is the annulment Henry wanted in order to end his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. (this is the condensed version—lots more information and all the verses for you history buffs online…)
After all these years, I am so relieved there is no hungry senior citizen with her hungry dog! But to fuel your art hunger, there is a great show, the Art of Food, at Spring Bull Gallery in Newport.
(Of course I couldn’t make one bowl, I made three bowls….just in case….the first bowl is the entry…)
I stand corrected (it’s okay—I’m a lifelong learner!) A longtime customer politely pointed out to me that the shells I use to mold what I am calling my “quahog” dishes, are really sea clams, not quahogs. Sea clams are large, and quahogs are smaller and lined with the shades of purple..Therefore, I would like to inform my customers that I have an ample supply of Vintage Lace Impressed Sea Clam (formerly quahog) dishes if you need a gift for any homesick, currently out of state Rhode Islanders!
Many thanks to all who stopped by at the recent Fat Robin Pottery open house….the pottery display will remain set up in my garage for the next few weeks; if you’d like to stop by to shop—just get in touch! Happy to offer a wide selection of lace inspired pottery, ornaments, pit fired pots and votives, mugs, bowls, and other one of a kind items…..
“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.” ( – Donald E. Westlake) Best Wishes!
Stringing/embellishing ornaments is a daily activity as I get ready for the Unique Boutique Artisan Fair this weekend (November 12 and 13) at the Easton’s Beach Rotunda in Newport. Also on my table will be my varied assortment of vintage lace impressed mini bowls, trays, and assorted shapes (including the quahog) I have enjoyed making spoon holders with sunflower leaves from my garden and fern impressed trinket dishes and trays from local ferns.
Next week my wares will be transported to South County Art Association in Kingston for their 46th Annual Holiday Show from November 25 to December 18…. More than 50 member potters and crafts people have their crafts artfully displayed for holiday shopping.
Thanksgiving week will be a busy one as I am hosting my extended family Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever in Newport! Grateful for the help of family (both daughters!) and delighted to take a turn; therefore, I am not actively taking part in any fairs on Friday and Saturday of that weekend…however, the week ends on Sunday with a table of Fat Robin Pottery at the Hibernian Pop up sale at the Hibernian Hall on Wellington Ave in Newport. The following week, Friday, December 2, I will have a table at the Newport Auxiliary Fair in the atrium at Newport Hospital; the week ends with a Fat Robin Pottery open house on Sunday….. phew…perhaps then I’ll give my kiln a chance to cool!
Thank you in advance for supporting any local artisan or craftsperson and shopping “small” and local; there are many chances to do so in Newport on Thanksgiving weekend, including the Newport Art Museum ‘s Faculty and Student Arts and Crafts Sale, the Potters of Newport County Sale at the Elks, and the Pop Up Sale at the Hibernian on Sunday. May you have a happy and memorable holiday season! Hopefully Fat Robin Pottery can help you with any of your holiday gift giving needs! Looking forward to seeing new faces, happy regular customers, and old friends at my tables this season!