I can’t get my mind off of birds these days. They’re at my feeder and nesting in my kiln shed and in my hanging planters; they’re looking in my window in the morning. There’s a particularly aggressive bluebird who sees his own reflection in our kitchen window and attacks it, over and over again, from his perch on top of our patio umbrella, until the sun shifts and moves the reflection away. The birds make me happy, and so they’ve made their way into my pottery.
I’ve also invented something I call a “Bird Friend Cup,” meant to be given to a friend, just because. Two little birds, perched on the rim of a cup, being friends. What could be nicer?
Happy New Year, Fellow Pottery Lovers,
It’s mid-January (already!), and I’m getting ready for the ACC Baltimore show February 19-21st. I’m making solid-colored tea-sets with tiny birds as the knobs on the teapots and sugar bowls–the sets are made to be presented on some vintage wooden trays I’ve found at various second-hand stores. And I’m making sets of tall-necked bottles in my poppy red, also to be presented on vintage trays, and beautiful lamps to go with the beautiful mica shades that Sue Johnson has sent me from Berkeley, California. It’s very exciting to face a new year and new projects.
But it’s also daunting to be trying to put together a show schedule when it’s more and more difficult to be able to count on getting into the shows that are still worth doing. More than 1500 applicants typically apply for fewer than 150 spots in the good shows. Each show is juried by three to five different jurors each year, so there is really no way to figure out how to pitch your work to a particular set of jurors. And most shows limit the number of accepted artists in each category to keep the show balanced–in many shows, there are 10 or fewer “ceramics” artists, including those doing both functional and sculptural work. I’m not complaining; it’s just the way it is for all of us.
It does mean, though, that I have not been able to bring my work to certain states or cities in a long time. I just got my rejection notice from the Lakefront Festival of the Arts in Milwaukee, for instance, for about the 6th year in a row. I WILL be in St Paul in April, but that’s a long way for most Wisconsonites to travel. So, here’s my idea:
I’m looking for a few volunteers among my customers to host, in their homes (or other fabulous venue), a pottery trunk show of Suzanne Crane pottery. It would be kind of like a lingerie party, but the guests would be invited to come to buy pottery instead of slips. The host would agree to let me sleep over for whatever length of time we decided was needed, would agree to invite at least 30 qualified (relatively wealthy) and interested buyers to come to their home, would agree to let me invite customers from my own mailing list to their home, and would set aside a room or rooms in the home for me to set up my pottery. (The room would not have to be cleared–just some space made on counters, shelves, and tables). I would, in turn, provide wine and snacks for the event, and give the host a $500 certificate toward purchase of my work.
Please let me know if you might be interested in hosting a pottery party in the coming year. In the meantime, let me know what you want me to make in time to bring to Baltimore!
Actually, I don’t believe in panicking about gift-giving at the holidays at all. My modus operandi has always been to give gifts that speak to me, that move me in some way…and I figure the receiver will be moved, too. Or will, at least, think of me when looking at the gift in days and years to come: “Now, why in the world did Suzanne think I’d LIKE that thing???” But most of the gifts I give don’t come out of electronics stores or corporate catalogues–they come from artists I either know or have followed, or they come from quirky little shops on Ocracoke Island or other places I visit whose owners have put together quirky collections that speak loads about themselves and their own personalities. Usually I have a story to tell about the gift when I give it–like the ice cream scoop with a hand-turned wooden handle that I picked up at the Rockingham County Artisans Shop on my way to a show in Chicago. I stopped in because I really needed to pee, and I’d rather stop in a craft shop than a 7-11. And, even though my son’s 13th birthday was 3 months away, when I saw the ice cream scoops, I knew one of them would make a perfect little gift for him; he can go through a HUGE container of Talenti Sea Salt Caramel gelato in no time. Perhaps an artisan-made ice cream scoop without the little flippy thing that some scoops have will slow him down. His birthday is in 4 days, and I hope he’ll like the fact that I thought of him three months ago, after I had my pee.
Now, as an artist and a shop-owner, there always IS a little bit of panic around the holidays, as I hope that people will continue to feel the need to buy and give artist-made gifts. It’s a contradiction, I know. Fortunately, the season has been going very well, sales wise, in what I like to call the Earlysville Arts District (that would be Mud Dauber Pottery–don’t blink or you might miss it!). I’d like to thank all of you for your support, and wish you all an artful and peaceful holiday season.
Save the date, people! We’re gearing up for a fabulous Holiday Open House at Mud Dauber on Saturday, December 5th from 10-6! Even if you made it to our PACKED Studio Tour/Open House on November 7th and 8th, we’ll have lots of new stuff for you to see and buy. Great stocking stuffers and gifts in all price ranges, including some stunning new framed very painterly prints of roosters and bears by Marion Rose in wild colors. You’ve just got to see them. I’ve also got some of Catherine Twomey’s (former Earlysville resident and painter, now moved to California) newest paintings as cards. One I like best is of a cow skull, but she’s also got one of Grace Vineyards that’s ethereal, and a new version of the red barn on Bleak House Road. I’ve restocked tea towels, and have some really cool new butterfly and dragonfly magnets, and oriental/modern throw pillows. NOT TO MENTION the most wonderful pottery on earth. Plus, I’ll serve wine, coffee, cider and cookies, play funky French-y music (unless you request holiday music), AND I’ll be introducing the new Mud Dauber and E-Ville bumper stickers! Bring three friends, buy something, anything, and YOU WILL GET A FREE MAGNET!
Hope to see you, and three or four of your friends here on the 5th! (And I realize that that’s one of the busiest Saturdays before the Holidays, but try to squeeze in a visit to support your local pot dealer!)
I’m freshly back from a wildly successful American Craft Exposition show at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and am turning my attention to getting the gallery ready for our “Birds, Bugs and Botanicals” weeklong celebration of American craft for American Craft Week, October 2-10. New work is coming in daily from artists all over the country, and some from Canada (heck, he’s from North America). It’ll be a fun show, with Praying Mantis silk-wrapped sculptures from Sandra Klink, fat Bee tiles from Gordon Hare, black and white birds on clothes-lines pottery from Francine Ozereko, Luna Moth earrings from Dawn Estrin at Bijou Graphique, and lovely glass dragonfly ornaments with airplants from David Blake, etc. etc. etc. If you’re in town, try to drop in sometime during the week! I’m hosting an opening reception with refreshments on Saturday, October 3rd, from 12-5. See you there!
Our tile clearance sale ends in less than a week, but we still have some really nifty tiles left, including these four 6″ tiles with Japanese Maple leaves. At just $30 each, you could buy them to give as a set, or take care of all of your year-end teacher gifts in one swoop! Know anyone moving into a new house? Just one of these, as a trivet, would be a pretty thoughtful housewarming present.
Don’t wait! August 31st is just around the corner, and then our one and only tile clearance sale in 19 years comes to an end.
With only 7 days left of our tile clearance sale, we’re still getting lots of customers coming in to buy kitchen backsplashes, holiday gifts, tile murals for bathroom accents and for trays and table top projects. It’s been a blast, but it’s never, ever going to happen again. It’s a once-in-19-years event. We even have a few tile murals with red berries in the clearance sale. Check them out and grab them before they’re gone! Far left, was $204, now $102. Middle, was $204, now $95. Right, green, was $$544, now $272.
Hi, People! I finally figured out how to load pictures of the sale tiles onto my very own website! Aren’t you proud of me?! So, when you’re done reading this blog post, go back to my Home page, then click on “Shop.” From there, click on “In Stock” and you’ll see all of the tiles that are in the clearance sale show up with the other pieces I have in stock at the moment. You can even buy right on line without having to call me, except in the cases where I’ve posted multiple murals in one picture. Then you’ll need to call me to specify which mural you want to buy. Happy tile hunting!
Today’s adorable adoptable tile is single and needs a new home. This 6 incher is entirely unique, one-of-a-kind, a dark beauty that we couldn’t replicate if we wanted to! The glaze we used to make this little guy used an ingredient called Albany Slip, and the mine it came from closed when a developer decided to build an apartment complex over it. Besides that, we made this tile when we were still using our big 65 cubic foot, downdraft, sprung arch, propane fired reduction kiln. (That means we were able to choke the oxygen out of the fire at a certain point, thus “reducing” the atmosphere, to make interesting things happen chemically to some of the glazes). This tile is a fine example of a reduction-fired glaze. Anyway, the little guy could be yours for the low low price of $30, down from $65! First person to contact me gets him!
Today’s handmade tile mural looking for a loving home has had a checkered past, having been framed. But it has since been cleared of any suspicion of wrongdoing and will make a sweet addition to your family. At 12″ by 18 3/4″, it doesn’t take up too much space. Quite the wall-flower, this mural in a cherry frame is both bold and pretty. Once priced at $298, you can give it a forever home for just $145.