Monday, August 30, 2010

Garden Joys

Having a garden is a real joy for me.  This year was the first year I kept my tomatoes in pots, covered from the rain in the spring and then out in the sun during the summer.  We have been enjoying a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes and the roma tomatoes have now started to turn red.  Even the kitten seems to like the tomatoes- she eats any that I leave on the counters:)  Happy Monday to you!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Little friends

The past week has been made up of play and friends and family time.  Life is too short not to get to know other people's kids, I figure.  They are all so cute and funny with so much character of their own. 
Little Oliver and my sister spent the night this past week and it was my first time babysitting my little 5 month old nephew.  He's so yummy and such a content baby- I'm in love with the little guy.

At one point this past weekend there were 6 kids (ages 3-8) to 3 adults in the house.  We had a great big pancake breakfast and then walked to the park to play capture the flag.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This is the last from our holiday pics up in the Okanagan parts of BC.  Beautiful huge lakes to swim and watch boats on, amazing fruit fresh from the farmers markets and great meals and visits with our friends.  Don't you love their dining room table that they made?  And these little 'lantern' fruits were really interesting- not sure what they are called but it's a cross between a cherry and a tomato. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

holding onto summer

I'm kicking myself for not buying this little dish at Object Orange.  Something about it reminded me of my poppy design a bit.
How was your weekend?  I took a real weekend off (until last night when I cheated and whipped down to the studio to get a head start on the week).  We had an amazing home-grown dinner with friends on friday night at our place complete with peach and blackberry crumble for desert.  Our friends moved back from Halifax to Vancouver last year and we hadn't spent time all together as families for many years.  There's something so comfortable about getting together with old friends that you haven't seen in a while, where it takes nearly no time to catch up and you feel like your right back where you left off. 
We also got to spend Saturday night over at Cates Park for the last of their concert series with some great bands playing! It's too bad everyone else in the city was rockin it out to the Beach Boys and Bryan Adams at the PNE, missing out on these great local bands playing right on the ocean on an out-door stage.  Anyways, we were there and enjoyed eating a picnic with friends while taking in some really great indie music and a 'big-band' style group! 
Summer just feels so full of great times I don't want it to end....

Friday, August 20, 2010

In the Woods

Our friends live on Silver Star Mountain, surrounded by large Pine and Birch trees making us feel as though we are nestled in the woods on our holidays.  The Pine beetle has gotten a few of their Pine trees and we were there to help 'fell' one of the infected trees to chop into fire wood and hopefully prevent the spread of the beetles to the other beautiful trees.  We quickly planted another baby pine tree in the hopes that someday it will 'replace' the tree that was chopped down.
Pine Beetles kill the trees, turning the wood a blue colour and the needles red.  Part of the reason British Columbia has so many forest fires burning right now is because our forests are like matchsticks of dead trees that are easily lit in the dry and hot condition. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A night at the Drive-in

Nothing quite beats summer like watching a drive-in movie under the starry skies!  We had the chance to take our boys to their first drive-in on our holidays to watch the movie Despicable Me and it sure was fun.  We set Johnny up in the back of our station wagon with his sleeping bag and some popcorn (Sasha was in a little lawn-chair with sleeping bag) and the laughter and giggles coming from them was golden.  And when the stars came out, and in this case, the bats, it really was an evening these boys will never forget!
The best part about going to the drive-in is all the old animation they still use to try to get you to buy some popcorn at their store.  Since the kids movie went quite late (it was a double feature) we were leaving just as the old song 'let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby and get our selves a drink!' started playing with the little cups tap dancing.  Remember those?  It all comes back when you're at the drive-in!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Object Orange

While on holidays we came across this great mid-century modern shop called Object Orange, which had an amazing selection of mid-century ceramics and pottery along with some lovely teak furniture, funky retro sunglasses and vintage light fixtures that were groovy enough for that orange shag carpet rolled up in the Garage. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Music to leave the city with

This was on our playlist as we headed out the city into the country for our holidays. I was having trouble finding a good rendition of it on u-tube with Canned Heat- which is actually the version we were listening to. So this Kitty Daisy & Lewis will do!

Farmer's Market

The town of Vernon has a great Farmer's Market. Besides the amazing selection of locally grown organic veggies and fruit, they also have bakers, a fresh juice stand, kettle corn, samosa's and much more.  I've never tasted such an amazing fresh mint, almond and chocolate chip 'cookie' (pretty dense to be a cookie), and the swirled poppyseed bread we bought was delicious.  The home-grown and country feel to the market is really charming from the old timer busking to the organ playing puppeteer!?! - yes he's playing organ and his petal moves the puppets at the same time.

Of course, I should be getting myself to the Farmers Market's in Vancouver more often.  Although they have really limited and highly curated vendors and it has a real 'hipster' vibe that isn't quite as down to earth as a smaller town farmer's market, I'm sure it's just as good. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

back from holidays

Well I'm back from putting my feet up, from reading books all day and from watching the boys swim from a shady spot on the beach.  It's been really great to relax and enjoy the company of our good friends who we stayed with. 
I'll be getting back in the swing of things this week here, albeit a little slower because it's so incredibly hot and a few beach days are still in order around here.  Hope you are enjoying the last few weeks of the summer!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2 by 2

Here's a few photos from the garden house at the family farm which seems to have 2 of nearly everything.  

We are enjoying our holidays (filled with lots of trips to the beach, farmer's markets and even a drive-in movie) and I was hoping to put a few posts up but forgot the cord that downloads my photos to my laptop. Plus the internet connection is a little slow out here so I'll post them next week. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vintage light fixtures

I was looking through my photos over the last couple of months to find a few for some posts while I'm away and I found these from when we were at the Crescent Beach Cabin on the beach. Aren't they lovely?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Indigo Tie Dye: a review

Being completely inspired by this blog post to do some indigo tie dye this summer, I bought the kit and picked up some white t-shirts and fabric at the thrift store (no easy task to find white t's without yellow armpit stains) to do some tie dying while we were at my sister's place last week.  All in all I probably spent a little more money than I originally hoped to on this project, but if I add up what I got out of it, I think it was worth it.

If you are planning on doing this project here are some things to consider:

-you need to be outside and in a well-ventilated spot to use the dye.  The acid you add to the indigo is really smelly and not something that should come in contact with any kitchen utensils.
-It's not really a kid-friendly project- you need long rubber gloves on to 'work the dye into the fabric' and no skin should come in contact with the dye, making it a little difficult for kids to be involved.
- The dye works best when not exposed to air for long periods of time.  In other words, if you aren't careful about squeezing out the water and air before you place your t-shirt into the dye, or squeezing out excess dye as you pull your fabric out of the vat, then you are adding extra air into your dye and you will limit how many 'dyes' you can get out of your vat of dye. 
-You may want to share this project with a friend.  I'm considering a family portrait of all of us in our tie-dye for Christmas this year (lol), but seriously, with a time-limit on the vat, does a person really need/want more than 3 blue tie-dye t-shirts in their wardrobe??  Next time around, I might be making table runners as Christmas gifts with the 'extra dye'.
-Disposal of the dye at your home might be a little trickier than you think.  If you have your own septic system (which my sister does) than the acid from the dye will mess up the ph balance of your water.  If you are doing this project in the city (where your septic is connected to a much larger system and won't mess up ph balances), I can't really imagine how one would dump a full 5 gallon bucket full of blue-black-green stinky dye down the tub without permanently staining the entire bathroom with indigo splatter.  I opted to take the dye to my studio where we have industrial sinks that can handle me dumping out dye down the drain.  Even so, kind of messy and a total after-thought.

All in all it was fun.  I only found the cotton fabric to dye day two and enjoyed that a bit more than the t-shirts, although they were fun to do as well.  Opening up all the little folds and seeing the patterns was really where all the fun was. Also watching the fabric turn from yellow-green to blue as it came in contact with oxygen was pretty amazing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

last of the Island

A few more photos from the Island for you. The boys are now convinced that taking photos of shells/crabs etc that they've found on the beach is as good as taking those things home.  The tide was out so far and was so shallow, it was perfect for little boys to frolic in.  And my dear sweet Oliver, looking a little tired by the evening, but oh so cuddly and yummy at 4 months of age.  Love this age- they are just precious!

We leave today on our trip and won't be back until the 16th. Yay for holidays!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ceramic career path for the directionally challenged

I've had a number of chats with my studio assistant about career directions in Ceramics.  She's entering her last year for her undergrad with a major in ceramics and has had the summer seeing me at work to think about what might come after school for her.  Of course this has meant that I've had a few critiques about the route I've taken.  I don't mind, I remember being at Art School and being critical of artists and makers that were making a go of it.  It's hard not to have an opinion about what someone else is doing when you are thinking really about how you want to do something.

So I've been occasionally thinking about which direction I've taken in clay, what kind of work I make and what kind of work I might make if my direction would change.  Lots has changed for me since I first embarked on this venture of 'making a living making pots'.  I no longer have the initial desperation that I first had about applying for shows that I once did.  I no longer feel like I have to prove my work to anyone, be it clients or galleries or peers. Without those initial drivers that seemed to plot a course for me, I've been asking myself which route I might take.

I guess I feel as though navigating one's way through a career as an artist, or specifically a ceramic artists, is confusing and at times difficult.  It's like a 'choose your own adventure' book with a number of different outcomes, none actually guaranteeing that you will be able to make a living at making pots.  Sometimes I feel like I'm directionally challenged.   Which adventure do I want to take?  The production potter adventure or the one of a kind adventure?  Selling directly to my customer base or selling through a gallery or shop? Selling consignment or wholesale? Custom orders?  Get my Masters and teach?  Do I think like a business woman or like an artist?  Should I make more work, up my sales, raise my prices to finally pay myself a decent wage?

I know that it takes a number of decisions within this to make a go of it.  Nearly every day I get to make a decision about it and frankly, at the moment I'm just glad to be on that road.  The road where I get to choose my own adventure...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

holidays at home.

I must say that it is sometimes nice to holiday at home.  I've managed to be home for 2 whole days now without going anywhere, content to read my book, prune back the jungle that I call my yard, water the garden and watch as the neighbour kids take turns all play in each other's yards.  It's been really nice to make pasta salad, potato salad, soup and just re-heat or pull them out of the fridge if someone gets hungry.  The extra beer in the fridge has been an added bonus for those late afternoon heat waves when not much else will do. 

I've managed to clean out my 'sewing bin'.  These days it's relegated to a bin under the bed, that was getting a little tough to pull out from under the bed.  A good purge and a 'new' tupperware sewing box that I recently bought at a thrift store made sorting thread and needles and buttons kind of fun.  I also found a lovely sample of vintage fabric (the bird one in the photo) and then had some white cotton that I used in my indigo dyeing project that I may make pillow cushions covers out of.  Someday.

We are off to visit our friends in Vernon leaving friday for a week or so.  We don't have internet access up there but I'll try to prepare some posts intermittently while I'm away.  Hope you are having some good 'lazy' summer days as I've been:)!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Island get-a-way: Adventure Walk

Below my sister's place is a salmon spawning stream/river that is perfect for taking little boys on an nature walk.  We came to this cave-like tunnel at far end of the stream, which keeps the water flowing  through while holding train tracks above it.  The boys and I ventured through the dark tunnel, finding an almost magical waterhole on the other side.  If I had had my video camera with me you would have heard me 'yelling' at the boys to be careful along the wall and sides- not to slip into the water because it was so deep.  They are OK swimmers but it would have required me jumping in after them, camera and all if they had slipped in.  No worries- all went well and they have an adventure story to add to their summer holiday journal.