in and around our (present) studio

pottery studio, Becca Van Fleet pottery

Two Potters, Nathan and Becca pottery

These days in our studio, we are:

- working at filling the 350 (or so) cubic feet of kiln space we have built- and getting excited to fire this spring

- adjusting to 'green glazing', where the slip or glaze goes onto the pot in the raw, unfired state . . . it takes a bit of getting used to, but we're starting to really like it

- imagining what said glazes and slips will actually look like . . . we've used and tested many of them over the years, but some are new to us, and every kiln and every firing is different . . . so we really are imagining (this is both liberating and completely frightening at once!)

- making large pots (ok, Nathan is making large pots) and smaller pots, among them at the moment are cookie jars, giant vessels, bottles for flowers, pasta bowls, put-away pots (our version of Tupperware!), wine cups, ice cream bowls, butter keepers, mugs, and 'tp towers' (yes, really)

- celebrating (oh so cautiously!) that our 1 1/2 year old puppy, Lego, has 'graduated' from his crate to free-in-the-studio, passing the hours on his bed by the stove (or right by our feet, or somewhere underneath our wheels smelling dried up flies and clay scraps)

- watching Lego watch and nuzzle with Troy, our friend Joan's greyhound, knowing they are happy to have each other around

- collaborating!  (the large pot in the photo above was thrown by Nathan and given the 'Becca treatment' of a wavy rim)

- enjoying each others company as we share the studio . . . usually our 'free' days are spent kiln building or kiln shed building or some such thing at home (roofing) or on the farm (forestry) and the rest of the time I work in the studio while Nathan goes to teach, but this winter we are spending that 'free' time in the studio and my goodness, it is NICE.

fall favorites

It's been a busy fall here on our "pottery farm," as we like to call home. (For now, at least, the primary crop on this farm is pottery.) It's hard to believe it's already time to put on the flannel-lined work pants in front of the wood stove! But there's nothing like the impending winter to motivate the outside projects, and we've been working steadily on all fronts.

Over the past few weeks we have been:

~enjoying visitors to the milkshed gallery during leaf-peeping season, including the first-ever Foliage Studio Tour (a success!)

~loving when said visitors bring their dogs to play with our oh-so-very-exuberant beast rascal puppy

~sending out kiln shelf share certificates to our "csa" members (number 70 just went out this morning, wow!)

~loving the last of the fall flowers in our vases (or collaboratively-made tumblers, as the case may be)

~putting the finishing touches on two wedding registries for two fabulous couples

~traveling to a good friend's kiln for a kiln-firing sleep-over to complete one of those registries (thank you, Tiffany!!)

~packing and shipping and packing and shipping, and occasionally finding treats left-behind by the co-op in our recycled packing peanuts (most recently a small water-based nail polish for our potters' fingers???)

~oh, by the way, one of those boxes of pottery went to the Artisans Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts, for the 4th Annual Cup and Mug Invitational, where you'll find a great collection of handmade mugs and cups, november 11th-december 31st

~most of all, building the massive collection of bricks that is the chimney of our kiln! (we're really gaining on it- more on that soon)

~and most importantly, truly enjoying the work, especially when that means being home together for an uninterrupted string of days, working steadily towards this wild wood-fired dream of ours . . .

Happiness is . . .

Today happiness is the first daffodils of spring by the kitchen sink . . .

. . . and a seven-month old puppy who relaxes peacefully for hours (this is no small feat) while I finally refinish an antique cabinet for our pottery.

Happiness is looking down at the counter to find flax seeds and the cordless drill and garden butternut and a measuring tape all mixed up together (this says a lot about our lives right now) . . .

. . . and two loaves of freshly baked bread made with whole wheat grown just miles away.

What does happiness look like for you today?

Two Potters' new pup!

Somewhere between shipping boxes of pottery and working on our old farmhouse, we're finding time to snuggle in for the winter with our new puppy, Legolas! Lego is a 3-month old yellow lab with cuteness and devilishness in equal parts. In any event, it's a lot of fun to have him!