Fakes & Forgeries….then Spain!

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!



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Holiday Open House this Sunday, Dec. 3

It’s my annual holiday open house this Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,  through the gate and in my garage at 26 Simmons St. in Newport….on Saturday, I will be at the Newport Hospital Auxiliary Craft Show at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Valley Rd. in Middletown;  I then empty all the boxes and display everything I make–from vintage lace impressed pottery to raku to pit fire to  sgrafitto on mugs, bowls, ornaments, plates, and more–a years worth of playing in clay and you can see it all!  My last selling event is the Newport Art Museum Faculty and Student show and I’m still working on surprises for that fair.  As usual, park creatively on Simmons St. or park elsewhere and take a walk and see all the sights along lower Thames St.

Can’t make it?  Email or call to set up an appointment on another day….I’ll have the tea water ready!

If I don’t see you, have a safe and sane holiday season! and thank you for keeping an eye on Fat Robin Pottery!  Maggie


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Energizing Fall Air!

This cool crisp air has me settling in nicely to a fall routine of creating pieces for holiday selling. The summer was spent exploring , practicing, and fine tuning my pottery….I also looked for new ways to decorate with leaves and trees and shopped and searched for new vintage lace doily patterns.   I spent time thinking about object sizes (i.e. how many items can I fit on a kiln shelf if I make it a bit smaller) and simplifying designs/shapes so I can keep price points in my range. Remembering this clay obsession is just a hobby, I am learning to be more productive in the time allotted. And then passing a happy and proud product to the buyer–you! Then you, in turn, appreciate local crafts and arts and continue to shop local. A good cycle.

While exploring and playing in clay I entered a few gallery shows and also learned a new technique called zentangle….I love the spontaneity of organized doodling! I also had the honor of pressing a few friends’ babies toes and handprints into clay and making mementos for them.

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A good summer—my mind is clear and content, and happy to back at my role as the Fat Robin Potter! Hope to see you soon—open daily by appointment, just get in touch… Maggie


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Spring Sale this Friday & Saturday….tired of waiting for the sun….rain or shine!

Spring Open House, Mother’s Day Sale, Kentucky Derby Day, call it what you want, Fat Robin Pottery is optimistic the sun will be out on Friday (1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.)  and Saturday (1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)  for  an open studio sales event to highlight this season’s new lace doily designs and shapes they adorn….. trays, bowls, squares, oblongs, and more….Also in stock are yarn bowls,  hubbard squash bowls,  and new parsnip leaf designs.  Old favorite pottery designs are available in mugs, bowls, sunflower leaves, and a few fern leaves.   No appointment necessary on Friday and Saturday; can’t make it?  call or email to set up an appointment to stop by!  Fat Robin Pottery, in the garage at 26 Simmons St., Newport….846-9323 or fatrobinpottery@gmail.com….  Happy spring!

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The hubbards are coming, the hubbards are coming!


Actually, the fall 2015 hubbard squash have arrived (after scouring many farm stands)  and are settling into the clay studio nicely.  In the next few weeks they will be used as the mold for my hubbard bowls….each bowl taking on the shape, texture, and color attributes of a hubbard squash.  No two bowls will be exactly alike.  Although I have glaze combinations that work well with these shapes, I am always searching and experimenting and trying more color combinations–I wonder what WOW combination will appear in the next few weeks!

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A Soggy 5th Annual Pottery Garage and Samples Sale

20151001_104711 Rain or shine, the 5th Annual Pottery Samples Sale goes on this weekend!  The garage has been cleared out and space made for bowls, mugs, serving pieces, lace pieces, leaves, pit fire, sgraffito–every technique I use–will be available for sale. Many one of a kind items…. It’s a chance to clear out older items and make way for new inventory, and to get invaluable customer feedback.  Saturday, October 3 the sale will  run from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Can’t make it?  Call or email to schedule another time for a visit–many customers already have!  City of Newport allows one free day for a yard sale and then charges for the second day–therefore Saturday will be a Garage Sale and Sunday will be an open studio.  The photos show a brief sample of what is available.

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A Couple Pits Later…..

Rough Point and a late July pit fire with clay pals have given me lots of firing practice.  Each artist/craftsperson has an idea of what they wish to achieve, and I am finally learning what organics give me what colors/effects  I want on my pit fired pottery.   My “palette” is emerging with consistency and I can now, as I create, imagine my end result.  It only took about 6 years but I did it!  Looking forward to many more pit fires–there’s nothing like the smell of controlled smoke and the afterglow of pots in a pit!

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The Countdown has begun!

The countdown has begun to tomorrow’s pit fire with Christine at Rough Point….weather permitting….fingers crossed….the seaweed has been collected.  Thanks to the marine plant skills of my sister in law, Paula, I can now identify what seaweed varieties I like to use.  I just started collecting Codium, commonly called dead man’s fingers (think Davy Jones character in Pirates of the Carribbean) along with the old standby worts and kelp.  The preparation of the pots for the pit–how they will be wrapped with seaweed to hopefully get the best color results–is the most thoughtful time….. With careful note taking, I can remember how items were prepared to duplicate the results another time.  Today I wrap and tomorrow we load the pit.  Looking forward to some great results!

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…..

20141219_150401As the last weekend before Christmas begins, we begin to accept the fate that this is the last week before THE day and online shopping and the associated online shipping costs will be rising;  therefore,  make any decision and stick with it!  At Fat Robin Pottery, poor Mother Hubbard could not decide between red wine or white, or kale or oak leaf or mamool imprint to serve her nightly cheese and crackers.  Even a brain less hubbard squash can’t make up its mind!

Just a reminder that Fat Robin Pottery is available every day before THE day to help you make any gift giving decision–if I don’t have what you need perhaps I can help you brainstorm and send you off in a positive direction!  Please call, text, or email so I can unlock the Robin’s Nest (my garage), turn on the heat, find the appropriate Pandora music,  and light the scented candle for a positive and calming mood.

Finished your shopping yet still need to get out and enjoy the day?  stop by to say hello and I’ll put the tea kettle on and we can talk pottery techniques,  International foods, or chat about our children and pets.

Have a sane holiday countdown, and remember–you can only do what you can do.  Thank you for supporting all small businesses, artists, and crafts people.   Keep giving me ideas, feedback and input and I look forward to creating lots of fun stuff in 2015!

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Fat Robin Pottery Open this Sunday

20141212_072458Due to the following reasons, the Robin’s Nest (heated garage) of Fat Robin Pottery will be open this Sunday from 12 to 4 at 26 Simmons St., Newport….

a.  Mamool (Lebanese filled cookies) will be made on Sunday morn and available for your enjoyment!

b.  It will be a sunny day and a great reason to get out and enjoy the day!

c.  My husband, Dana, will be sitting and correcting student work, therefore, the afternoon is mine to share with Fat Robin folk.

d.  for all you non football fans, there is a Patriots game and people who usually accompany you on errands may be preoccupied.

e.  there is still Fat Robin pottery inventory to share, along with complimentary ornaments to hand out to patrons!

Can’t make it–call or email to set up another time to come visit.   As usual,  cash, checks, visa, mc, discover, and pinot noir accepted!

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