Yesterday I was at an art's event where some of my work was being showcased (along with a LOT of other artists!). I was generally pleased with the comments by those viewing my pieces, although I didn't sell any.

I have one piece that I am very attached to and just love. Why, I don't know, but something in the colors and the shape or combination thereof fits my idea of nice. Someone was talking to me about my work, giving compliments and then told me they were talking with another artist and the two of them had agreed it would be a much better piece without the additions. I explained why there were there but didn't say what went through my mind, which was that I liked them.

Everyone has their own ideas of art and what is good. It didn't offend me that the person offered their opinion, although it might offend some. I appreciate constructive critism, even if I don't decide to act on it.

Some people are purists when it comes to pottery. They don't want to marry various materials. I'm like that with nuts. I love to eat them... alone. Put them in a batch of brownies and the brownies are ruined. I'm a brownie purist . Some folks want the pottery to shine for what it is and feel that additions detract.

I'm a potter, a crafter and an artist. I like mixing and matching various materials. Some pots would look horrible with additions, and some might think some of the additions on a few of my pieces are horrible.

If you're going to be an artist and show your work to the public, you're going to have to learn tolerance. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has different tastes, you're not going to please everyone (in some cases, you might only please a few people). If you are pleasing yourself with what you're creating, and you're willing to grow and learn, you'll sooner or later find a market for your work.


Special Piece for a Special Person

I'm working on a piece in honor of a special friend, Jim Steinbach, who died last week. The old saying that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone is somewhat true in Jim's case. We always appreciated so many things about him, knew he was a very special person. However, somehow when you lose someone it all gets pulled together and you see the person as a whole rather than splinters. It was amazing how all the people at the various services and get-togethers all had pretty much the same picture of Jim. Says a lot for his consistency.

Some of my pieces take days, some take weeks, some I roll out in an hour (not counting the drying, firing, glazing and re-firing times ;-). This one is still rolling around in my mind. I'm still not settled on his entire essense so it's hard to form a shape in my mind. I think probably I'll end up staring at a block of clay someday soon, thinking about him and how much he has meant to Greg & I. I'm thinking this is going to be one of my longer productions as there was nothing simple about Jim other than his single-mindedness when he tackled a project! Guess I better block out some time if I'm going to pursue this with that same dogged spirit...

All I really know about this piece is that it better be perfection at its finest! Like all of us, Jim wasn't perfect, but he knew what perfection looked like and he strove to do it right. I'll strive to make something that will honor his memory in some form and I'll shoot for perfection.

I don't know that I'll want to give it to anyone as it will be my own personal memorial for Jim. I do think though that I just might have to make it a trio of pieces - one for his wife, Ellen, and one for Fayette Senior Services. Oops, I bet his church, St. Matthews might want one, too. Hmmm... I am assuming a lot in thinking that they'll all like my work! Maybe I'll just stick with a piece that Greg & I can look at!


Lucky Bamboo

I'm going to be making some pots for lucky bamboo. I found a great place that sells the bamboo, liked it, bought some, potted it, then found out it's considered "lucky." Here's what I've found out about it thus far:

It's luckier to get it as a gift.
It's a feng shui MUST.
Different numbers of stalks bring different kinds of luck:
• 2 stalks = love
• 3 or 6 stalks = happiness
• 5 or 7 stalks = health
• 8 stalks = wealth
• 9 stalks = general good fortune
• 21 stalks = blessings
(Note: I picked up 3 stalks, but they weren't a gift - wonder if this negates some of the luck? Since I'll be buying them and putting them in my pots for others to give as gifts, will I have blessings galore?)

Also, this lucky plant is poisonous. It's not really bamboo, it's Dracaena Sanderia. If you get huge stalks and have pets, beware. Your best bet would be to stick with smaller versions that can sit up on shelves.

The lucky bamboo does best with low, indirect light.

It loves water but it doesn't like the chemicals most folks have in their water so use filtered water or rain water. If neither of those options work for you put tap water in a container and let it sit out for at least 24 hours so the chemicals disperse. You may also want to try your dirty aquarium water - the bamboo loves the organisms that the fish don't particulary care for!

Change the water every week or so.

If you'd like curly bamboo (it's naturally straight) you can train it but it is slow going. If you're not a patient person, pay a few extra dollars and buy it. If you'd like to do it yourself, block the light on three sides (a cardboard box with one side cut out works great) or put it in an area where there is a stronger bit of light in one direction with very low light on the other sides. After a while the bamboo will start to turn toward the light at the top. Turn it a bit to give it a "curl." Keep doing that until it curls and curls.

It's a very easy plant to care for but it can develope problems. There are great sources on the Inernet (search words that seem to work best are lucky bamboo container grow).

Once I have a few pots completed with bamboo I'll pop some photos onto the website and will put them on here.