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Karen B

Member Since 11 Sep 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 07:50 AM

#72406 Who Gives Their Own Work As Gifts?

Posted by Karen B on 24 December 2014 - 01:21 PM

Yes, but only the best pieces. I couldn't bear to go to their house and see an imperfection glaring at me.

The best thing is when I go to a far-away friends house after several years, and they point out something

I made. Usually I forgot I made it and enjoy the momentary objectivity of seeing the piece.

#69502 For Christmas.

Posted by Karen B on 07 November 2014 - 12:08 PM

Coasters, if I can get the darn things to stay flat when they dry (they're hand-built rather than thrown). Also spoon rests (which are thrown) and a couple of sake sets - the sake bottles are too big to be considered space fillers IMO, but the cups are itty bitty.

I make handbuilt coasters. After I cut them out, I smack 'em down on the table. Then put on wheel for a quick smoothing of the edge. They stay flat.

Attached Files

#66978 My First Show!

Posted by Karen B on 30 September 2014 - 08:42 PM

I few days before my first show, I was at a crowded gallery opening for some well known potters (Warren Mckenzie, Mark Shapiro, Randy Johnston...). One of the people in the crowd was Steve Branfman, who I had taken a workshop from many years prior. I was chatting with him and mentioned that I was doing my first show. He gave me a piece of advice that saved me many times over. He said, "If you don't sell anything, don't take it personally, and if you sell a lot, don't take it personally.


Rebekah, I love your pots. Thanks for sharing your experience.

BTW, I loved the plaid cloth!  :)



#64406 Advice For A Home Studio

Posted by Karen B on 13 August 2014 - 05:50 PM

Hope you don't mind a different view Luke, but I would recommend getting involved in a ceramics program in your area. You pay one price and have everything you need plus (usually) open studio time to practice. In this setting, you would get to explore your options and find out about your favorite materials and what you would need, plus, you will have a community with lots of information. With this start, you will not waste a lot of time and money getting things you won't need or will have to move. 

#62599 Image Envy ...

Posted by Karen B on 17 July 2014 - 07:05 AM



I wonder how much of "image envy" comes from the different interaction we have with other people's work than we have with our own.  


First - I have realized that it is very hard for me to be satisfied with my own work. Burdened with expectations of what it should be, I focus on the flaws and failures of my work to meet my ideal. While being our own harshest critic pushes us to be better, it sure doesn't give us a neutral starting point for interacting with our own creations.   Conversely, when I look at other people's work, I'm free of expectations and able to engage with the piece for what it is.  Ever notice that something that would drive you crazy in your own work just isn't a big deal in someone else's work?


Further more, familiarity breeds contempt.   How many times do we look at our own work and say "I wish I made that!"  We discount our own uniqueness/specialness because it isn't unique or special to us.  After all, we work the way we do because that's how we do it.  However, our work may be special to others in the same way that we find other's work special to us.  As you said, there are pots you make and pots you buy.  Let's hope that ours are special enough that someone wants to own them.


Lastly, by the nature of what we do as makers, we are going to look at and analyze other's work. Rather than image envy, I would hope that we can change the mindset to image appreciation.  A friend of mind once commented that instead of being envious, he was happy for other people that made more money then he.  That was eye opening to me, and since then I've strived for an approach where I try not to begrudge anyone else's success (certain outrageous CEO compensation plans excluded ;) ).  Instead of wishing that those images were ours, let's be glad for the maker and that we get to enjoy their creations. 






 This resonates with me big time. At a show, a woman grabbed a colorful bowl I made. Looking suspicious, she asked why the price was so low. I said nothing. To my relief she bought it and thankfully carried it away, out of my sight. For you see, I despised it.

#61598 Tips & Tricks

Posted by Karen B on 30 June 2014 - 11:53 PM

Hi Denice, I have some that is 1" thick. So plenty sturdy, and practically weightless. It came as packing in something I ordered. I am lucky that I have 2 big pieces that are the same size. It actually is polystyrene insulation and comes in sheets that are 2' x 8'.


I edited this post and my previous post for accuracy. So sorry I relied on faulty memory initially.

#61462 Tips & Tricks

Posted by Karen B on 27 June 2014 - 12:47 PM

If you have to flip a large thin slab that is rolled out on canvas, slide the canvas onto a large piece of insulating foam "PolarGuard" and put another over the slab. The foam adds no weight and is strong, then you can flip and peel the canvas off without disturbing the slab.

#56245 Hand-Built Baking Pans?

Posted by Karen B on 07 April 2014 - 11:09 AM

If you have a specific size in mind, account for the clay shrinkage before making the mold or, as you probably remember, you will be quite surprised when you take your tiny pan out of the kiln.

#54874 Trimming A Foot For Bowls

Posted by Karen B on 17 March 2014 - 01:04 PM

I sometimes use calipers on the wall of the bowl. Starting at the wall closest to the foot and slide up to the rim, I can see how much I need to remove. It gives me a good visual.

#52151 How Do You Store Your Kiln Shelves?

Posted by Karen B on 10 February 2014 - 04:57 PM



I prefer leaning them against the wall as well - but we're outdoors so eventually they have to be covered.  Currently that means they go onto a stainless wire shelf covered by a tarp.  It seems every time I go to the studio it has been improved with everything organized in yet a new better way, with new containers so each time I get to relearn where everything is.  It reminds me of a bad joke where Helen Keller's parents would punish her by rearranging the furniture.


Just leaning against the wall next to the kilns.



I share my studio with a guy who loves to redesign and evolve the studio into a well organised machine so I know your pain.


I very much remember where things are by what I was doing when I last used them, not the type of guy to organise things unless a pile of stuff counts  ;)



What I would give to have a guy like that!

#38941 What Is The Most Incorrect "rule" You Ever Heard For Pottery?

Posted by Karen B on 15 July 2013 - 04:46 PM

I was told many years ago that the pre-made clay from a bag had to be wedged before using. This year I took a workshop in which the teacher told us that was bunk. Well I have now thrown from many bags of clay without wedging, with no problems at all.

#22403 Fish Mugs

Posted by Karen B on 19 September 2012 - 10:54 AM

I have made some special fish mugs over the years-between lots of underwater photography and tuna fishing I have a soft spot for fish mugs.
They are more work than you can get paid for so I choose to make them for friends as gifts-The past weekend I had friends over to make their own from my mugs
Heres the early outcome-rock fish and tuna mugs
Also after a week of cool weather and fog we had sun so the pots dried well today before loading into a bisque.

Nice mugs, The fish details are very well done. I was wondering if you have considered modeling a few, and making sprig molds of them either with clay or plaster. I have also carved some stamps out of bass wood for objects that I want to use in a repetitive manner. Right now I am working on a design for pine branches and needles(raised). Details are tough, but with work, I am getting better results-just takes some time.

Would love to see pictures of your carving in the wood.