Wednesday, August 31, 2011

the last hurrah of Summer

We managed to get away for one last road-trip up to Vernon.  It's a 5 hour drive through amazing mountains to the Lake Country- where the climate is dry and hot. There are orchards everywhere and we managed to come home with a bunch of fruit to make jams and just eat fresh.  I won't have time much time to make the jam though (that's Dean's job), as you can see, it's been a very productive summer.  This is only half of the vases that were made this summer... a 'little' order I've been working on that will be ready to ship early October.  Details to come soon:)!  In the meantime, I'm trying to work on some of my 'regular work' (non-vase related) so hopefully I'll have my online shops stocked up again soon!
Thanks for hanging in here- I'm hoping to get back into a regular schedule of blogging, with 'real photos' (not just i-phone photos), and real content soon.  School for the boys doesn't start until next week so they are hanging out with their Dad at home this week, getting the last of their fill of lego playing and back-lane scootering with the neighbours.  Hope your last week of summer is great!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dean got home from a trip to Toronto and Montreal late yesterday, and I'm very relieved to no longer be solo parenting.  I usually have the boys on my own for at least an extended weekend a month, but in summer it's more like 2 full weeks.  Generally things are rough the first day Dean is gone and the last day before he gets home, but the middle time goes by fast, once we find our rhythm.
Of course, the boys are getting older, which means things are getting a bit easier.  They want to help out while grocery shopping, not run around the store like monkey's chasing each other, like they used to.  Perhaps the incentive of getting to keep the quarter in the cart after they help out is part of it, but hopefully also the fact that they are starting to grow up.  My 9 year old is clearly getting closer to the pre-teen stage then the school-age stage.  He wants to listen to 'dance music' in his room on the radio, he rolls his eyes if I have to talk to him about his behavior, all the while still playing lego and having light saber battles.  He's tall too- his head reaches my chin.  Yes, he's going to be as tall as me soon.  Yikes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cat Nap Yoga

Yup, she's sound asleep in these photos in all her stretched out glory.  Doesn't it just make you want to curl up and take a nap?!
I've been solo-parenting again this weekend but am so grateful for neighbours and friends who were kind enough to invite us to dinner or to go swimming so we weren't lonely or bored.  The boys even managed to help me at the studio one morning, unloading and loading yet another kiln load of bottle vases.  4 of 6 glaze kiln-loads (85 vases per firing!!) have been finished- I'm over the mid-way point! Phew, what a lot of work, but I can't complain- very few vases so far have been seconds, so thank goodness for that!
Hope you have a great monday! It's our first rainy day of August.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lost & Found Paintings

Sometimes it's nice to find paintings in places I wouldn't expect. It inspires me to think differently about venue, space, mark making and colour.   I really love the random marks and painting on the bottom garage-  made by kids? with painted over graffiti and faded zebras...

Two major commercial art galleries in Vancouver have closed their doors.  It's caused a bit of a ripple of speculation among artists about reasons that are beyond just the economy, or the personal reasons of the gallery owners.  Some say the amount of art fundraisers in Vancouver at this time have changed how people buy art.  That people feel better about buying art when they are supporting a greater cause.   Perhaps without realizing it, what seems like a win/win for an art collector, has the potential to be a  lose/lose for both the galleries that support artists, and the artists themselves. 

It's  been interesting to think this through over the past few days and just to wonder about how art markets around the world have been changing.  Two fairly recent films I've watched about contemporary art were The Great Contemporary Art Bubble by Ben Lewis and Exit through the Gift Shop by Banksy.  Both had me really thinking about contemporary art, it's relevance, it's value, and purpose.  I find the art market rather intimidating, perhaps this is why I make more ceramics then paintings, but also very intriguing. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dream Boat

There is something so dreamy about a little row boat.  Forget a huge yacht, a little row boat is what ends up stealing my heart. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Watching the Tides

Island get-a-way's are pretty easy to slip into when they involve warm weather, lots of beach, and a beautiful log cabin.  Our friends were great hosts and the boys had heaps of fun skim boarding, sandcastle building, getting motorbike rides around the Island, and even doing some tubing out on the water behind a boat.  It's the kind of place you want to spend the whole summer just watching the tide go in and out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

East Van Skateboarding talent

While we're away, I thought I would share one of the skate videos that Dean's van full of skaters (ages 13-19, plus 2 adult leaders) created while they were at 'Roadrage' Skate Camp last week.  Dean (my husband) has been running a skateboard club for teens in East Van for about 12 years now and also heads up a camp that's been happening for about 15 years.  At first the SkateCamp was at a regular summer camp, but they would build ramps for the kids to skate for the week.  The past few years they've done a road-trip style SkateCamp, where they've met with Skate Clubs from all over Western Canada in the Okanagan for an 'Amazing Race' style trip for Skateboarders, with a manifest that they had to fill out by landing tricks at certain spots etc.  This year each van had to film a skate video throughout the week and then they rented out a theatre to watch the videos, with the best video winning a 'van-full' of skate product (with 2nd & 3rd place also winning prizes too!).  So bear with me and check the video out- it's not just a bunch of skate tricks.  By the way, they one first place :)!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer memories

We are heading out to Savary Island for a few days for some much needed R&R.  The summer feels like it's just flying by and now that our weather feels summery we want to spend a little time enjoying it before the boys head back to $#*ool (It's a 'bad word' around here this summer:)!
Here are some of the flowers in bloom in our yard right now- so many purples and pinks. The vase is one of the last I have from the collaboration between my friend and designer Disa MacKay, from last year.  And the textile piece is something I got at a thrift store when I was about 18 years old.  It brings up memories of the shed at my parent's place; my sister and I spent one summer completely decorating the inside of it with thrift-store finds and having slumber parties in the loft. I'm hoping we'll make a few summer memories like that for the boys this week! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

on my side of the fence

I've had to step back on the blogging front here this past week. I'm so busy, working hard, long hours to be on schedule and to keep up with everything while Dean is away.  The boys were at the family farm for a few days and I was able to pool together a few lovely people: my sister, my good friend Kat, Sarah and my cousin, to help me out with the most tedious and repetitive part of my glazing process- the stripes. I'll be firing my first of 6 glaze loads to complete this order I've been working on... so much work.  In the meantime, a lot of my local galleries are starting to send me orders to finish up the summer with.  Not only do I not have a lot of spare work in the studio, but I also don't have any room or energy to make anything besides this order until September comes, even when they are expecting and asking for me to send the work asap.  Since when did pottery get made asap?  
I often straddle between worrying that I can't possibly keep up with the demand for my work verses being concerned that people won't be able to afford what I make, considering all the financial crises and budget cuts.  I hesitate to push my little studio into a bigger space with more equipment and a full-time assistant in order to keep up production, and yet I am at full capacity with just one order right now.  It's clear to me a few things have to change for me not to burn out, but I'm not quite sure what it will be yet.  I'm just taking it one day at a time and trying not to feel too overwhelmed by it all.