The Wheel in the Studio Goes Round and Round

Work coming full circle in the studio this winter

If you’ve been keeping up with my previous posts since November 2016, you’ll know that I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk.  The results of the election knocked the stuffing out of me and it took awhile to find my creative footing.  When I’m stuck like this I find what I need to do is just shut up and make and let the reasons why take care of themselves.  The act of making with my hands seems to plug my brain into some sort of electrical outlet that ignites the spark that jumpstarts the creative juices into flowing.

For those of you who know my work, I’m not much of a thrower.  There are several reasons both ergonomic and creative.  Ergonomically I seem to have freakishly small hands.  Add to that my lower back is always an issue.  I keep toying with teaching a clay class called Throwing with Tiny Hands and a Bad Back.  Creatively, round forms make me very nervous.  They’re just so- circular!  Circles have so many connotations:  they have no beginning or end; they have a sense of completion; and there’s always that pressure of repetition.  I’m not a production potter by any stretch of the imagination.

But this winter I hunkered down in my studio every day and threw.  There was something very soothing about getting up in the morning, making a pot of tea, putting on an audio book, shutting the door and sitting down at the wheel.  Life at the time seemed so out of kilter, and  I needed the structure of repetitive routine.  I craved the calming influence and hypnotic effect of watching the wheel go round while clay squeezed between my hands.  I began to look forward to my days at the wheel like I never have.  I decided to challenge myself and throw plates, platters, bowls and cups to fill the kitchen cabinets in our new vacation home in the mountains of Colorado.  I may be out of creative gas but I could at least trick out my ride so that when the tank refilled I had more power under the hood and bells and whistles on my dashboard  to go more places than ever before.

I decided to stop being a wimp and to finally learn how to throw plates on hump molds and plaster bats and to make cup handles with an extruder.  I also challenged myself to throw series of bowls and forms the same size, and to nest.

Things started happening.  I found myself adding textures and elements making these round static forms more interesting, more mine.

From there I started thinking about colors, glazes, firing ranges and applications.  In the spirit of adventure I decided to revisit some old glaze recipes requiring spray-on application as well as some I’ve never done before, even using commercial glazes in combination with others.  Spraying involved figuring out the correct thickness, even which air compressor to use.

While all this was happening, the creative current began to trickle in.  I had a bag of glass nuggets incompatible for fusing and a glass lidded jar from a defunct terrarium.  All of a sudden the jar was on its side with the bag of nuggets next to it, and every time I walked by I glued one on.  What began as form of wheel avoidance and procrastination became an Ex-Voto urn for the sculpture Good Friends.

It was such a relief to make a glass sculpture by simple cold working.  But then it made me miss fusing.  I found myself getting emboldened.  While I was doing all these new things, and to a certain amount of success and satisfaction, why not finally get around to finishing some sculptures that have been percolating way too long in my noggin?  Time to fuse some glass and make bases for sculptures and lamps, and while I was at it, how bout some coasters and trays for spring!

Before I knew it, I had completed my goals.  That wheel work paid off in spades.  Not only do I have the dishes, bowls, and mugs made, but I seem to have launched myself into a better place creatively.

Springtime in One Artist’s Life


If you think my desk is a mess you should see the studio

Ever see The Wizard of OzYou know that scene where Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Toto come upon the Scarecrow after he’d been marauded by the flying monkeys, where he says something like:  “my legs are over there, my arms are over there and my stomach’s over there?”  Well that’s what it’s been like for me since I last wrote.  I’ve been a little busy- too busy to post, sorry.  But it’s all good: a demo here, work in a show over there, a few pieces to drop off and a few to pick up; an annual event to orchestrate, teaching one class, getting ready to teach 2 more, firing away, even sales and a commission thrown in the mix.  These are the times where all the recharging of batteries an artist does by going to museums and galleries and communing with nature for inspiration comes in handy, we need that fuel the same way our bodies need fuel to get us through all this creative activity.

Not in any particular order (though I’ll try) allow me to let you behind the wizard’s curtain:

The Fundraiser:


Lots of thank you cards to write! Everyone was so generous!!!

For the past several years Bill and I have supported an effort to fund summer camp scholarships at the Montclair Art Museum where I teach.  It means alot to us that as many children from diverse backgrounds are able to attend the camp to ensure a rich mixture of ideas, cultures, energy and creativity.  This year we sent out a call to friends and family for contributions in honor of our 25th (!!!) wedding anniversary and my 55th (gasp!) birthday.  The results exceeded expectations and were quite humbling.  In about a blink of an eye we had enough contributions for 3 full scholarships.  At this point we have enough for 9.  There is still more coming in.  To say we are thrilled is an understatement.

The Priest Project:

Every year since 2008 I orchestrate an event between The Restoration Workshop of Our Lady of Lourdes Church (my parish) and the Archdiocesan Offices of Clergy Personnel in the Archdiocese of Newark.  We call it The Priest Project.  In essence, with the help of clergy we restore and distribute the effects of deceased and retired priests to the candidates for ordination each year.  We obtain biographies of the deceased and retired priests and try to pass along to the candidates as much information as we can.

This event requires acquiring effects, identifying and executing repairs, meetings to figure out who restores what and gives them to whom, compiling spreadsheets, the logistics of going to and from the event, taking pictures, adding subtitles, printing out and compiling records of the event into a book.  Alot of work, but all done joyfully.


The Demo:


I had the good fortune of being asked to perform a raku firing demonstration at Peters Valley on May 1 as part of their open studios.  Please read my previous blog post all about that, it was really really fun!

Teaching Glass and Clay:


Student work in about to go in the kiln

Can I tell you how much I love my students that I teach at the Montclair Art Museum?  I teach them glass primarily.  When I wanted to teach clay they happily all signed on board for that adventure.  So we are having a split spring session:  4 weeks of fused glass, 4 weeks of clay with a raku firing on the last day.  My students are so cheerful and easy going.  They get along well with each other and make my experience pure joy.  I really enjoy firing their glass work.  In a way it’s how I get to collaborate with them- to try to fire their work to the best of it’s ability by me being at the best of my abilities as I load and program the kiln.

Clay class will be a bit like the candy manufacturing scene of The Lucy Show, as 4 once-a-week classes really isn’t alot of time to teach several students who have never worked in clay before to make enough work to then bisque, glaze and raku fire.  But I tell my students the object of the class is to relax, have fun, learn something new and be creative in a supportive environment.  If we follow those tenets we’ll be fine.

Filling the Kiln:


Not enough for a second load, ack!


Got to make some of my own to fill up the space…

Firing glass in a clay kiln can be tricky as glass is finicky and a vertical kiln with no elements in the lid means the temperatures within are uneven for that purpose.  I have found that glass does not like to have a lot of open space around it.  If there is not enough work to fill the kiln, that means to stay on schedule I need to add some stuff of my own.  Add one more thing to do to the list.  Also add the finish work, photographing and uploading to the Etsy shop in an attempt to sell it to the work load too.

The Sales:

Throw into this mix the happy delirium involved with packaging up sales on my Etsy shop and finally finishing a commission that took way longer than I would have liked to. Ca-Ching!

Preparing for the Big Workshop:


“The Peters Valley Pile” keeps growing exponentially

Like the light of an oncoming train, the 3 day Raku Rodeo workshop at Peters Valley is fast approaching.  I’m trying not to think about it too much so I don’t make a run for it.  I just make my lists of things to do to prepare and chip away at it every day.  So far I’ve created all the hand outs, glaze recipes, slide show and am now in the process of gathering materials and creating “the pile” of stuff to pack and bring.  I like to itemize all that stuff onto a spreadsheet to minimize forgetting some key component or leaving something valuable to me behind.

The Shows:

Last Sunday I picked up work from Sacred Spaces Holy Places in Metuchen and prepped and dropped off work for Visions of the Vanguard, a show of work by the faculty of the museum.   The Montclair 10 Returns show will be on the Montclair Gallery Walk tomorrow, so block out time for that.  The show closes that weekend so block out time to pick up the work on Sunday.  There’s my piece Echo Chamber to pack and drop off for the SMI VIewpoints show at Aljira in Newark (they put my piece on their promo, OMG!!!) Oh and look- the opening reception for Visions of the Vanguard is June 2nd as part of their Free First Thursday Nights, on the same day we depart for Peters Valley!  Since it’s in the evening that means I’ll be dropping off and settling in at Peters Valley that morning then driving back here for the evening’s reception then departing again to Peters Valley to hide under that bed until morning when the workshop begins.


Echo Chamber made the cover of the gallery announcement! So pleased!

Like I said it’s ALL GOOD.  One thing that keeps niggling the back of my mind is that in addition to having enormous gratitude for all these great things happening in my more than full time artistic career, I am extremely grateful that my art career is not my sole source of income.  Those who know me know this is my second career and through my previous career and other good fortunes I can live an amazing life without worry of supporting myself only by teaching and selling art, because I can’t.  I don’t get paid a living wage from either.  Even though I began this pursuit in 2008 I am still what one would charitably refer to as an “emerging artist,” which sometimes feels like a breach birth.  I have no idea when or if indeed I will emerge and emerge into what and where I have no clue.  All I know is that I am an artist, working full time.  For me, creating does not feel like a choice, it’s like a mandate, or a function to sustain life that has to be done, like breathing.  I worry constantly about other artists out there like me who need to make art but unlike me need to make a living at the same time.  Please help these artists survive.  Support your local artists!

May Day May Day!!!! Peters Valley Open House and Studio Tours

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May Day can either mean May 1st,  a day to celebrate or  May Day May Day a distress signal.    Thankfully in my case it was a celebration, as in my line of work it could have gone either way.  Yesterday was the Open House and Studio Tours event at Peters Valley Craft Center and I was asked to fire the raku kiln as part of the festivities.

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Sharon Pflug-Moench (left) and I (right) doing the heavy lifting at the Peters Valley Raku kiln


Knowing my schedule would only permit me to make enough ware for 1 or 2 loads I reached out to teacher, potter, and good friend Sharon Pflug-Moench to make ware and join me in the effort.  She did not disappoint.  We had enough work between us for 6 loads, a full day of firing fun!


Sharon aka Lucy and me, aka Ethel with the ware waiting to be fired


Caught Instagramming- red handed!

Sharon and I are the clay version of Lucy and Ethel.  We’re soft-hearted tough cookies.  We work well together.  We get into scrapes.  We generate alot of laughs. To temper us and provide support were my husband Bill and her husband Paul- Ricky and Fred, although none of us could decide who was who of that pair.

True to form, like every other time I have raku fired at Peters Valley, it poured rain all day long.  You can set your watch to it.  You want rain?  Call me, I’ll either schedule an outdoor picnic or a raku fire at Peters Valley.  I’m so used to it I don’t think I’d know what to do if the sun was shining.

Joining us in the ceramic studio were director Bruce Dehnert, his wonderful wife Kulvinder Dhew, and fellow potters throwing on wheels, including Linda Garrabrandt of MudSlingers Pottery Works.


Kulvinder Dhew arranging Bruce Denhert’s work for sale, while Linda Garrabrandt of MudSlingers Pottery Works throws clay in the background

Visitors came and went and pots went in and out of the kiln.


Vases fresh from the kiln “steaming” until cool to the touch

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I was nervous about firing hot and fast in a kiln set up differently than my own, but it’s alittle like riding someone else’s horse:  the basics are the same I just had to learn its nuances and how to get along with it.  Everything worked out fine and the kiln saints and devils smiled upon us.  The pieces survived the firings, the glazes came out great and the humans came out of the experience unscathed, just filthy, tired and wet, but very very happy.


In terms of kiln saints, I brought the heavy artillery: St Michael the Archangel, Pinocchio and the little devil who, if the sun were shining as he is solar powered, would be dancing a little jig

I had the good fortune to meet many people touring through the studios, show my work, eat a great meal from a food truck (fish tacos with the most divine fries!) and even get interviewed by a reporter at the NJ Herald.  Look at me, I wound up the lead article in their on line edition the following day!

herald news lisa cover

For my next Peters Valley trick I will be teaching the 3-day raku workshop Raku Rodeo the first weekend in June.  Get out your umbrellas and galoshes and come fire with me!


A Breakthrough and A New Assistant


Not a bad weekend shut in the studio, for a change!

As the saying goes, “don’t give up just before the miracle.”  All the clay I touched for the past month wound up in that endless cycle of wedge, throw, reclaim, wedge, throw, reclaim.  Sigh.  Whether my efforts made the clay just a boring blank cylinder with no spirit, or a structural failure, everything just kept going into the damn bucket.  In bygone days, when I was young and had more ego than brains or skill, I thought every single time I touched clay had to be a masterpiece.  Runs like this would be crushing and I’d leave the studio and walk away from clay for a good long while.  Now I just persevere.  I realize that nothing worth creating comes easy.  There is no antidote to this situation but hard work.  I also realize that my absolute worst day in my studio as a full time artist equals my best day when I was stuck in an office driving a desk for 23 years at a job I had grown to loathe.  Audio books and a new puppy helped too.

Enter Mel.  Our teenage Treeing Walker Coon Hound who we adopted on February 2, 2016.  Mel was rescued from a neglect situation in West Virginia, fostered while he got shots and neutered then sent to a kennel in southern Pennsylvania to adopt out.  We managed one week without our dear Petey who died with us here at home then we realized the house was too empty and clean, the studios too quiet and our lives without that happy canine chaos that gives us our energy.   He’s a big white warm soft bundle of love requiring us to change his name from Boomer to Mel, short of Marshmallow Pie.  He’s very good in the studios, he even has his own cubicle.


Mel , our new studio assistant, in his studio cubicle reporting for duty.

After about a month of fruitless labor, things started happening.  More shapes were coming off the wheel to be put in the wet box instead of the reclaim bucket.  I wasn’t happy with them as is, but no matter.  I kept throwing.  All of a sudden I could see shapes for my commission project that had me baffled and clueless for months;  I could see sculptural infrastructure that could be assembled from forms coming off the wheel.  Suddenly these cylindrical forms, so lifeless and lackluster were blank canvasses for me to alter and add texture to make them come alive and sing.  Hmmm!  All of a sudden I’m dragging out my Haeckel books and hunting for ideas, making slip and filling my decorating bag.


My current treasure troves of ideas and inspirations


And suddenly, here I am, breaking through to the other side, busting out from craft into art.


Functional forms given spirit and life



3 plain bowls demanded to be assembled and turned into a sculpture

Glass was happening in the studio too.  My students are wonderful.  They make thoughtful, deliberate, creative work.  They are putting alot of care and effort into making elaborate creations so output is slow.  I took advantage of the empty kiln space and made some work of my own.  Aside from incorporating it into sculpture I don’t work with glass as a primary medium, but every now and then it’s fun to make a tray.  It’s straight forward “what you see is what you get” manner helps clear and calm my mind in between elaborate clay projects or when working in clay is more of a wrestling match than a productive, fun pursuit.



Jewelry bits, trays and coasters are nice palate cleansers in between clay projects

Now when I sit at the wheel I feel more back in the saddle.  Glazing here we come, yee hah!

Waiting Any Minute for the Big Breakthrough and an Exciting Opening Reception

Every once in awhile I go on a downhill slide in the studio.  I hate to refer to it as a losing streak, but sometimes that’s how it feels.  It’s the time where I’m the studio on a daily basis working away fervently with visions of cranking out lots and lots of great work, but in reality all I have to show for my efforts are clay spattered clothes and a full reclaim bucket.  Sigh.


After an entire day of throwing, all I got out of the deal was 1 anemic bottle and a meh bowl….Sigh.

Used to be that I’d get really down on myself and discouraged. What the hell is wrong with me?  Why can’t I make great work like everyone else?  I’m a terrible potter, what was I thinking?! And on and on.  Now I just shrug and keep going.  What else am I going to do?  Besides, usually when I hit the creative skids like this, it’s usually before some sort of big breakthrough, either with an ongoing series or a new technique or new depth of range to my artistic voice.  So here I sit, behind the wheel, covered in clay, listening to my audio books (humor to keep my spirits up) like Charlie Brown stepping up to the mound.

Another factor in this creative trough is that sadly, we said good-bye to my most beloved studio assistant, Petey Pie Westheimer, who died of cancer at home last Wednesday.  Good bye my sweet clay dog!

Petey in his final week in the studio. God speed my dear sweet boy!

Petey in his final week in the studio. God speed my dear sweet boy!

But then I attend an opening reception of my work and all is forgiven.  In this regard, the opening reception of Sacred Spaces Holy Places at the Nails in the Wall Gallery in Metuchen, NJ did not disappoint.  Nails in the Wall is a bit of second home to me and my artwork.  The gallery is a very good fit for my work as their themes slant towards the sacred with components of social justice.  Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella, who runs the gallery is an amazing soul.  She is a huge supporter of every artist she takes under her wing and a big booster of the art scene in the town of Metuchen.  She creates a lovely vibe for the receptions with wonderful food, music and talks by the artists, even some via Skype or video.  The gallery is located on the campus of the church of St Lukes, so there is lots of foot traffic.  I particularly enjoy that many of the people who come into the gallery do not consider themselves art collectors or art appreciators.  Interacting with these folks allows me to see my work and the work in the show with fresh eyes.  I love answering questions and explaining the motivation of my work to them.

Posing with "Holy Innocents" a the opening reception

Posing with my 3 sculptures a the opening reception. L-R: “Holy Innocents,” “Hotei Hideaway,” and “Hotei Hideout.”

I had the good fortune of having 3 of my works in the show, Holy Innocents*, a multi fired stoneware sculpture with 14K gold, Murano glass and acrylic inclusions, Hotei Hideaway**, a raku fired stoneware sculpture with resin inclusions, and Hotei Hideout,**, a wood fired stoneware sculpture on a carved cherry wood base with glass and resin inclusions.  I enjoyed spending the afternoon at the reception, catching up with Linda, her wonderful husband Nino and the other artists in the show, many of whom I have been in shows with previously.

*statement for Holy Innocents

**statement for Hotei Hideaway and Hotei Hideout

Studio coming and goings, January 2016

7 blank canvases screaming for decoration.

7 blank canvases screaming for decoration.

Being away from my studio for long periods of time feels like holding my breath underwater for way too long, only instead of my lungs, I feel like my soul is going to burst.  Life has had me out and about, selling at holiday craft fairs and on line, spending time with friends and family for the Christmas and New Years holidays, resuming my teaching gig in glass fusing at the museum, and doing the big time suck known as working on the computer.  I finally got to throw some clay around last week.

Usually even though I’m away from clay, projects are fermenting in my brain.  I’ve been trying to work out another sculpture for my Ex-Voto series in my head, with not alot of luck.  So I just went into the clay bin and got busy on the wheel.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to get unstuck.  I took a workshop over the summer and was so impressed by everyone else’s prowess at the wheel that I resolved to hone my skills a bit, so my first exercise was bottles using 3 to 5 pounds of clay.  It was fun and I got 7 out of 8 balls for my troubles, not bad for a long drought.

I put them in the wet box and let them keep to ponder the next step.  I have some new raku glazes that I think would look great on a bottle, but, these were just too plain, like blank canvases begging to be painted!  So I saved a couple and decided to spice up the rest.  I’ve got a glaze pallet of really wild runny glazes that break and change color depending on where they run and pool, so I broke out my texture tools, made some slip and went alittle wild.

The barnacle fairy visited the studio yesterday.

The barnacle fairy visited the studio yesterday.

I’m excited for the next step and my wheels are already turning for more forms and styles.  I hope to raku or luster strike fire as much as I can, because I’ll be teaching a raku workshop at Peters Valley the first weekend in June and I want to practice.  It’s so nice to be in the clay again, I feel like my soul can breathe again, phew!

Like I said, I’m teaching glass fusing again at the Montclair Art Museum Yard School of Art.  I have a wonderful group of students this winter, a mixture of returning students, advanced, intermediate and beginners.  It’s a thrill to see what they do with the glass and I try so hard to fire everything with care.  I have a gremlin that lives in my kiln that loves to play tricks on my firings, from sprinkling kiln wash on the glass ware while it’s molten to over or under firing very reliable firing schedules.  I’m happy to report that rather than ruin my student work, the little scamp only ruined 2 of my own trays.  I swear I could hear him giggling behind the kiln when I lifted the lid.

The kiln gremlin attacked my cheese trays- blisters and bubbles where sparkles should be, little scamp!

The kiln gremlin attacked my cheese trays- blisters and bubbles where sparkles should be, little scamp!

Finished student work, at least they escaped the mischief of the kiln gremlin!

Finished student work, at least they escaped the mischief of the kiln gremlin!

Student work about to be slumped into dishes and trays.

Student work about to be slumped into dishes and trays.

Oh it’s great to be back in the studio, it’s going to be a wonderful new creative year!


I’ve Been a Busy Bee!

Oh it’s so good to be back in the studio and away from the computer at least for a couple days, and even though the tasks were more rote than creative.  My studio time is as necessary as breathing and being out of it is like holding my breath, I get panicky if I go too long without it.

All the little projects in last week’s studio tour have been done and a glass order has been placed to make holiday trays and items for craft fair and holiday sales season.

Upcycled/recycled fused glass art trays painted on back with glass paint and baked to fuse. Now they can be displayed easily without visible hanging hardware or stands. Tiny little detail that makes a huge difference!

Upcycled/recycled fused glass art trays painted on back with glass paint and baked to fuse. Now they can be displayed easily without visible hanging hardware or stands. Tiny little detail that makes a huge difference!

Repaired as best I could the broken ceramic statue and gave a lick of paint to the plastic ones. Repaired Msgr Bradley's rosary beads (he prays very hard) and finally finished editing, captioning and printing out images from our MAY 2015 Priest Project Event at the Archidiocese of Newark. (I feel so guilty it took this long!) These pages will go into a book kept in our church Heritage Room that chronicles the our Restoration Workshop/Priest Project work. For more info go to:

Repaired as best I could the broken ceramic statue and gave a lick of paint to the plastic ones. Repaired Msgr Bradley’s rosary beads (he prays very hard) and finally finished editing, captioning and printing out images from our MAY 2015 Priest Project Event at the Archidiocese of Newark. (I feel so guilty it took this long!) These pages will go into a book kept in our church Heritage Room that chronicles the our Restoration Workshop/Priest Project work. For more info go to:

The sculpture in the back right of the image got its drop of glue and is ready for delivery.

More bottle trays made, bottoms of tiny bowls ground, more glass items painted on the back and baked, a broken Murano glass tumbler melted to make into a dish or jewelry.

More bottle trays made, bottoms of tiny bowls ground, more glass items painted on the back and baked, a broken Murano glass tumbler melted to make into a dish or jewelry.

Studio time is over for now, drat.   Time to photograph, process, box up, ship out, upload to Etsy.  In between is a trip to Denver, to enjoy a wedding and see some art!

Studio Tour, September, 2015

This is the first installment of my studio tour series. I hope to provide you with regular updates on what’s happening (or not) in my studio, giving you a glimpse of what goes on in there and in my brain behind the scenes.

This installment can be called, “not alot going on just yet.” This is a state of affairs that happens as the seasons transition from one to another, in between series, or in between sales events.

Lately most of my work is taking place staring at a computer monitor.  Uploading images, adding items to my Etsy shop, blogging, working with consultants and assistants to create new social media platforms.  But a tiny amount of work is going on in the clown car known as my studio.  I find little projects as I clean, pesky little maintenance tasks, like a pile of kiln furniture that needs scraping, bottles in need of having their labels removed and cleaning prior to slumping into trays, gluing, repairing, cold working.  Basically, the place is a mess in need of a good solid cleaning!


Welcome to the clown car, don’t mind the mess!


Sculpture needs a drop of glue before shipping off to its new home


Tiny treasures in need of grinding, religious statuary in need of cleaning, repair and painting as part of my Restoration Workshop work for my church community


Sometimes an object is beyond repair. This statue was broken once before and just can’t be repaired. 😦


Broken Murano blown glass tumbler from Venice to be remelted and made into jewelry, recycle reuse!


Bottles, clean with labels removed drying in oven to prepare for slumping


Items just washed, drying before being photographed, cataloged and put up for sale


Glass found object artwork waiting for the backs to be painted


There is alot to do:  place a glass and finding order, prepare for a glass jewelry making workshop, plan and prepare for 2 holiday craft fairs.  This is the side of being an artist they didn’t teach me about in school.  The mind’s eye envisions artists happily creating work in their studios all day long, giving life to work effortlessly and happily in their signature voice, stopping only to give someone a studio tour and sell a piece to someone who magically appeared on their doorstep or to fill an order for a store or gallery hankering to feature them.

No, it’s never that simple.  From carving out the time, formulating the idea, wrestling with how to best execute it to the blood sweat and tears of actually creating it, firing it, finishing it and getting it out into the world.  That’s what goes on behind the wizard’s curtain beyond the closed studio door.  Here’s to hoping next month’s studio tour has some new work on the boards to show you!