Mar 13 2015

New directions

A year is an awfully long time between blog posts. Well it may be time to revisit the practice of blogging. With so much personal stuff going on plus the allure of Facebook, and all the other Social Networking platforms, blogging seems to have taken a spot way down the list.

Wood kiln in action with nice cone shape flame

Well here I am, still alive, still making pots. We finished building our wood kiln last year and have fired it with reasonable results. The ‘manabigama’ design is a bit of a killer to load with old knees, but virtually fires itself. Fires in the same amount of time as my old gas kiln, 12 to 14 hours, and with the exception of the very back of the kiln, it fired to a consistent cone 10-11.  Still a lot of experimenting, tweaking, and testing to do yet.

Lowell got some results he wanted on his facejugs and wig stand that he put right up in front in the place of a bag wall, so some happy results came out of that last firing. Here are a few of his ugly boys.

Old timey wood fired facejusgsEveryone needs a home for their wig

 


Oct 22 2011

Forgive me father..

throwing

Forgive me because I have not blogged in ….months.

Seems time folds when I’m busy or preoccupied.  Spring is always a flurry of activity getting ready for shows, the winding down the kiddos’ school year, and teaching obligations.  Last spring, I agreed to teach kids at a local art center and taught in an after school program at my daughters’ school, above and beyond my adult students and doing production work.

I haven’t really mentioned much about her before, but my eldest daughter, who will be 9 tomorrow, is developmentally delayed. While she can walk around, eats table food, and can belly laugh at her younger sister, she cannot talk or communicate in any typical manner, does not feed herself, and still wears diapers.  She more or less functions at the level of  a 1 yr old, in some respects, only she can walk around and hit things with the strength of a 9 year old.  Not terribly self-reliant, I’m afraid, and can’t really be left to entertain herself for any period, even when I need to work.  She goes for clinical therapy for speech/gross and fine motor skills once a week, and has been in a special ed class since the age of 3.   Its been pretty trying and I won’t say our life has been typical, by any means. When she is conscious, and home, I get little work done in the studio, as I am the principle caregiver and sometimes the only person who can snap her out of a fit or episode. Fun.

When school ended last year, and my girls were denied enrollment at the school’s summer program, I was resigned to the fact that my pottery production would have to slow down significantly in June and July. When August finally rolled around, I was relieved, but first, I had planned a trip to Canada to see my dad and situate (and hopefully ship down) some of the things I still had in storage there.

Before I left though, I learned that my dad, who is now 87, had, after struggling with his driver’s tests (in Ontario, you have to take a test to renew your license every year once you reach 80), decided to finally give up his license. He also sold his car  evenbefore my youngest daughter and I arrived

Its always shocking to see an aging parent after you haven’t seen them for a year.  My dad, who has been battling some health problems these last few years, was showing his age and slowing down quite visibly.  With the loss of his car, he wanted to sell his house and decided it was time to move into a retirement home.  (Talk about a lifestyle adjustment ..)  So the week we were there, that’s what we worked towards. Aside from packing/sorting/organizing, we listed his house and commenced showing it 2 days later, and we toured various retirement facilities about town, one of which he really liked, and the lease was signed so he could move in Sept 1. Great. My daughter and I fly out on the 10th or so, with a few days to spare before she had to go back to school.  I start gearing up mentally to work on pots…

I learned that after I left, he had had 2 falls (!). Days later, when his scheduled doctor’s appointment rolled around (he refused to go before that), the doctor, learning of of his falls, whisked him off to the hospital for xrays (thankfully no broken bones), a blood transfusion, and they admitted him for a few days to deal because of some other issues.  That was August.  Poor thing, he has been in and out of the hospital ever since.

We got word after three weeks of the house being listed that the it had sold and would be closing Sept 20.   I made plans to return to finish moving things to his room at the ‘home’, pack and ship my stuff south, take care of the rest of the house contents, etc., and do all the rest of the things in prep of the closing date.

I arrived on Sept 8, and my dad was back in the hospital. It was a difficult week to be sure, but thanks to a few very exceptional friends who came to my rescue, everything fell into place and somehow got done, and I was still able to spend some time with my dad in the hospital every day.  By some miracle, I handed the keys over to the lawyer on the 18th and was able to spend my final evening there with my dad. I had spent so much time and energy before I left for Canada the second time, making arrangements, and mentally preparing myself for the daunting task what needed to be accomplished that week, and then on actually getting it all done, that when I got back, the drive home from the airport in Pensacola seemed almost surreal.

So my dad and his situation, on top of everything else, has been, as one would expect, consuming, especially being so far away.  I’ve spent most of my studio time since I’ve been back working on orders and shows we have coming up in November.  I’m glad to say that there is talk now that my dad will be discharged back to the ‘home’ soon and will be receiving some extra care as he transitions back from the hospital.  Thank goodness there are resources and services available! Hoping we have a small reprieve until I fly back up, so I can get what I need to get done here and keep plodding forward, one day at a time.


Apr 18 2009

Coming up for Spring Air

Red Geranium FlowerpotDo you ever feel like time folds?  I was reminded again yesterday that it was spring when I drove past the usual fields on my way to Fairhope,  and I noticed all the pecan branches finally leafing out (a sure sign here in the South that cold temperatures are past).

May is just around the corner and this winter/spring, I’ve revamped our web site, had 2 shows, had 3 waves of illness blow through here (and been knocked on my ear 2 of those times), finished the taxes, did a major studio clean out and reorg, survived spring break,  and had my wheel die.  I can’t believe its been a month since I’ve posted anything here.

Lowell's test kilnHere’s a picture of a little gas test kiln Lowell is building out of spare bits we had laying about, including some homemade burners.  It will be used mostly to test glazes, but if all goes well, it will be a good size to fire a last small batch for an order or before a show when we don’t have quite enough to fill the other kiln.

I mentioned earlier my wheel died.  Its really frustrating especially considering we replaced the motor and circuit board a little over a year ago. Also frustrating because I finally got my little throwing area just the way I want it.  So now I am flip flopping around the studio, dividing throwing time between an electric kickwheel and that little Shimpo Aspire tabletop wheel I’ve mentioned in other posts.  My friend Marilyn Farrell (from New Brunswick) once said “never get too dependent on one specific tool or piece of equipment”.  Boy those are pretty shrewd words.  I hear her saying them every day lately.  I am having to stand up to throw on the Aspire, then its a different posture altogether working on the kickwheel.  While I appreciate being able to adapt like that, I much prefer a regular electric wheel to work at on regular basis.


Mar 24 2008

Taking WordPress for a test drive

I’ve had my blog on Blogspot for a few years now but last week my friend Cynthia from Colorado was singing WordPress praises since moving her blog over from Blogspot. Figured it was worth checking out.

After a couple of days and as many conversations, I ended up transferring all my posts over and am starting to take root. Frankly, I didn’t think it would that easy a sell.

My blogspot URL: http://webbpottery.blogspot.com

My WordPress URL: http://annewebb.wordpress.com


Sep 26 2006

Webb pottery web site? …Where’d it go?

Yes we are still around, but the web site has been down for the last 3 days. Unsure what the problem is this time but am hoping that some light is shed by sometime later today.
Later today: Found out the Webb Pottery site will be down at least until Thursday or Friday. Problems with web host server. Please bear with us. Thanks!


Sep 4 2006

Pottery Biz with Kids? Shows, Gas, Coastal Artisans, Art marketing…,

Because of surgery recovery and other irons in the fire, we decided this year to not do our usual Labor Day show. Even though recovery went better than I expected, I think it was probably a wise decision. It has allowed me to ease back into throwing, enough time to try out some new forms and designs, and to reorganize my work space.

My eldest daughter started at school four full 4 days a week this year and I am amazed at how much of a difference it makes to my routine and productivity. Believe me, having 2 small (and busy) children and trying to make pots certainly presents its challenges, to say the least! One has to learn 1) how to work smarter, 2) not to leave critical things to the last minute (because inevitably that will be when your child decides to have a meltdown or get sick), and 3) not to beat yourself up if you don’t get everything done. No small task for a skilled procrastinator.

Then doing craft/art shows with small children …that’s another experience. At an outdoor show its a little more doable than an indoor one, but, believe me, having to keep a steady eye on a child while trying to deal with a customer is tough, if not impossible. So last year when a friend of mine offered to watch the girls while we went to a show in Ocean Springs, MS, I jumped at the chance.

The day started out well but Saturday morning, shortly after setting up (in the pouring rain), I started to feel quite ill, with the flu, as it turned out. Lowell kept asking me if he needed to take me home but since we had driven all that way, were already set up, and I was convinced I was going to will myself better, we stayed. By the time I finally got to calling to check on the girls, I learned that they had already been sick since early that afternoon. The choice had been made for me, we had to head home and get the girls. Luckily Lowell was healthy enough the next day to head back finish the show so that saved us.

This fall, with children as a consideration but also the ballooning cost of gas and travel, we had to think hard about our show schedule. Staying closer to home seemed a little more prudent. In hopes to create a niche, we, along with a group of other select local artists, are putting together a special one day show at Mobile’s Botanical Gardens this late this fall. Our group is called the Coastal Artisans. The group has intentionally been kept small, limited this year to 12 to 14 invited artists, to ensure quality and an eclectic variety of mediums. Its an experiment, but if it works out well, we plan to make it an annual event. Look for more about our event in future posts.

In my surfings in the wee morning hours (my period of solitude with noone to bother me), I found 2 valuable websites: 1) Artbizblog – a blog by Allyson Stanfield that covers a plethora of valuable art marketing info and tips for artists; and 2) the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) – an organization that helps out artists providing “direct financial and educational assistance to craft artists, including emergency relief assistance, business development support, and resources and referrals on topics such as health, safety, and insurance.” ..including artists who have been victims of natural disasters, such as Katrina.

Other news… It was down for longer than I had hoped, but our web site and regular email is back up. (yay!) If you tried to contact us and haven’t had a response, please send your post through again.


Aug 25 2006

Webb Pottery web site and email down until tomorrow


Well just off the phone. The Webb Pottery web site and email will be down until sometime tomorrow, Saturday Aug 26th.
In the meantime, here is one of the pots I recently posted to it:

Raku Dragonfly Vessel
8.5″ H x 4.5″ W
2006

Anne Webb, Webb Pottery
Magnolia Springs, AL


Aug 25 2006

Webb Web site access problems in the last few days…

My apologies to everyone who has gone to look at our web site or try to email us from the email link in the sidebar here. The webhosting server I have been using has been experiencing some technical difficulties. I can assure you both are still in service and hopefully the problem will be resolved shortly. Thanks for your patience.
Anne
http://www.webbpottery.com


Aug 4 2006

Pottery sick toys

I’ve been layed up for the last week because of some surgery I had last Friday. Not much fun when you have 2 little kids and a million things to do on a normal day, including find the time to make pots. Not overdoing it is a challenge, but thankfully every day gets a little bit easier to maneuver.

When I am incapacitated, Lowell has a tendency to bring home all kinds of things. Sick toys he calls them. When I was a month away from delivering my first little girl, Halley, he brought home a puppy. Then when I was pretty far along with my second, he brought me a turkey…yes the kind that walks around, not one that just sits quietly in the freezer. Einstein the turkey grew to a pretty good size and liked to sit on your lap and try and peck the freckles off your leg…. but that’s another story for another day….

Lowell came home last week with 2 “pre-sugery sick toys” ….kittens which, luckily are incredibly laid back and pathetic, and take the presence of a 2 yr old in stride. so that is relatively stress free.

But even more exciting is yesterday he came home with a little wooden boat in the back of the truck. Its a sturdy 12 foot cypress dore that, with a few small little additions, will be perfect for exploring those little tributaries off the Magnolia River not 2 minutes from the studio. If you can move quietly over the glassy water, there is lots of local plant, bird, and other animal life to catch in a perfect position to photograph. ..something you just can’t quite do from shore. Not only a medatative way to spend a few hours on my own, but great inspiration for new pottery designs.

Hopefully be back to throwing next week.

Have a few events scheduled for the fall and should have more juicy details for you sometime soon.

Tropical Storm Chris looks like its petering out, thankfully. Only three and a half more months of hurricane season to go. yippee skippy.


Jul 11 2006

Riley the Golden – Long time Friend and Potter Dog


We buried Riley, my dear and devoted friend, Sunday evening beside Rebel, Winston, and Elvis, out behind the studio. Suffering from advancing congestive heart failure and nerve damage, he was unable to raise his head to eat let alone stand to go to the bathroom. As I lay beside him quietly listening to him breathe and stroking his side, his heart beat abnormally fast, and seemed to jump out of his chest with every single beat. He couldn’t even wag. I said goodbye to my dear, dear friend and let him go in the most peaceful, comfortable, and dignified way I knew. He is sorely missed.