It’s all about Birds and Friends

Little Bird Jar 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 somethBird Cupsing 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?

Trunk Show Meets Tupperware Party

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! SuzanneGreen Hops Lamp with Mica Shade

Yes, Virginia, It IS Time to Panic About Gifts

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. SuzanneRed Lotus Bowl

Holiday Open House Saturday, December 5th

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!)Holiday Open House

We’re Gearing Up For American Craft Week! The Gallery is Crawling with Bugs!

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! David Blake

Adopt a Handmade Tile Mural: August 11th

Today’s handmadCheckered Leaf Murale 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.

Handmade Tile Clearance Sale– Now through August 31st

For Adoption:  An Amber and a Green 6 inch by 18 inch loose tile mural with red berries.  These two are definitely related and would prefer to stay together in their new Forever Home.  Originally priced at $204 each, they are now just $95 each.  Both have a slightly warped personality which would be just fine on a wall, but not great for a table.

For Adoption: An Amber and a Green 6 inch by 18 inch loose tile mural with red berries. These two are definitely related and would prefer to stay together in their new Forever Home. Originally priced at $204 each, they are now just $95 each. Both have a slightly warped personality which would be just fine on a wall, but not great for a table.

This is HUGE, friends. From now until August 31st, I am offering 50% to 80% off lots of loose handmade tile murals, some framed tile murals, a few tile mirrors, some single tiles–for the FIRST and LAST time EVER! I opened Mud Dauber Pottery in 1997, and we didn’t start making tiles right away, but I’d say we’ve been making tiles for at least 15 years now. We’ve got lots of gorgeous work we simply can’t display on a regular basis. There are various reasons I’m offering these particular tiles at clearance prices. Some of them are glazed in colors we can no longer produce; some are simply too large to keep in storage; some have small faults like a little warping or oddities in the glaze; but most are simply more back-stock than we wish to store. Had I ever had the brains to have spread them out the way I have done now in preparation for this sale, I simply would have photographed them nicely and put the pictures up on my website and sold them! But have I ever been that organized?! In any case, I will post pictures here on my blog, and on my Suzanne Crane Fine Stoneware Facebook page (mind you, NOT my Suzanne Crane personal Facebook page), since many of you won’t be able to come to the studio to see everything in person. It’s really hard to take pictures of individual tiles, but I’ll get as many of the murals as possible. Most of the 6″ single tiles have been marked down from $65 to $30. Some are even lower than that. Many are slightly warped and most are rather uniquely glazed. See the pictures here of the sets of green and amber tiles to see what I mean. I really don’t recommend buying discounted single tiles unless you can see them in person. I will be posting an August Adopt-a-Mural-a-Day picture on this blog. Happily, the little Christmas Fern mural that was pictured in the last email blast has found a Forever Home with Kathy Anderson in Oklahoma City!
6" Green Clearance Tiles, $30 each

6″ Green Clearance Tiles, $30 each

6" Amber Clearance Tiles, $30 each

6″ Amber Clearance Tiles, $30 each


Our first Free Toast Tuesday

Mud Dauber Pottery in Bloom.jpg-2Well, Our first Free Toast Tuesday, on July 28th, 2015, pretty much accomplished most of what it Free Toast Tuesday.jpg-3was supposed to accomplish–namely, entertain the neighbors, who have enthusiastically expressed love of my chalkboard since I instituted it about 3 years ago. It did not bring many buyers in. Now, this may be due to the anti-gluten trend in many of our diets, or it may be due to the fact that almost every sane person who lives in Central Virginia leaves for the humid months of July and August, or it may be due to my son’s supposition that with this particular street-marketing campaign I have proven myself to be “around the bend” and people are now afraid to drop in and check out the gallery. But I don’t see Gallery Get In Here.jpg-1what’s so “around the bend” about a simple promotion: Buy a Piece (of pottery); Get a Piece (of toast). We had a week long count- down on the chalkboard to build up anticipation–Only 3 Days Until Free Toast Tuesday! Etc. Now it’s over. We made three pieces of toast during the day, and only one for a customer. The chalkboard now says, “Perhaps You Would Have Preferred Ice Cream.”