Cozy Tea and Cycling Season

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Taos is known for its mild weather through four distinct seasons here in the high desert.  We just got through a couple of weeks of back to back snow storms that left our ski valley full of hero snow and our village quenched for the moment with much needed moisture.  Those glorious days of precipitation have been quickly followed by blue skies, sunshine, muddy roads, and happy skiers, and these continuing warmer days have sparked talk of bike riding among my cycling buddies.  With the warmth of spring nipping at the heels of winter, day light savings pushing off the sunset, and itchy outdoors folk making their way down the ski hill and onto the trails it’s time to get my bikes tuned up and get as many ski days in before the lifts stop running and I have to intermix biking, hiking, and earning those turns with a little post-season hiking to ideal ski terrain!

Ok, I realize how lucky I am to live this lifestyle.  Living humbly in the teeniest of studio apartments with my partner in crime, keeping the shopping to a minimum, while planning a wedding and trying to buy a sweet little house, and having been so fortunate to not find myself NOT in debt from university or any other major expense (YET!) has afforded me these little luxuries.

Commission a Sculpture for The Cowgirl or Cowboy in Your Life

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I was honored to sculpt this sweet little cowboy for his doting grandmother.  The posture was just so simple and lovely I was thrilled to capture the timid feeling of his gesture from the photos that she sent.

I have done a few other commissions for folks out here and there, gifts for or of loved ones, exactly what the Clay Cowgirls are to me, capturing features, gestures, and looks of people I have looked up to, cared for, and known.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Commissioned pieces start at $675 and require a few photos and a short description of the person you would like to honor.  Tell me a little about the cowgirl or cowboy in your life, and I will create a unique, one-of-a-kind sculpture to match those sentiments.

Do the Hustle

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At a time when many of the balls you are juggling seem to be up in the air, it is quite a fancy trick to step away, drive 4 1/2 hours to the airport and fly across the country, hoping to pick up the act when you return.  With wedding plans underway, moving forward on buying a house, and the daily rhythms, or lack thereof, of building a business, my partner in crime and I took our act on the road this past weekend to share in the wedding celebration of one of his high school buddies on a magical snowy evening in Philadelphia.  As so often happens when you bring old friends together for the first time in many years, there was much remembering, reminiscing, and plenty of regressing.  It was a bro down love fest and a blast to see the man I love radiating in a shower of camaraderie with his old classmates.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download


verb |riˈgres|

1 [ no obj. ] return to a former or less developed state: art has been regressing toward adolescence for more than a generation now.

Ned and I are both from south eastern Pennsylvania, and one of the more common and easy entry topics that opened conversations for me at this wedding was the fact that two kids had to pick up their lives and move all the way to Taos, New Mexico in order to meet and fall in love with a fellow east coaster from just down the turnpike viagra englisch.

Sitting in the Philadelphia airport waiting for our flight, Ned grading papers and me on my laptop, it’s a familiar scenario.  So many things bring us back, and like our recent 10 day holiday gauntlet, our long weekend was no different.  When we first found each other, it was charming to think, of course we get each other having similar roots in PA, getting the crazy Philly sports fandom, and how logical to simply head east together to see both our families with one stone.  Well, this one stone has been hitting more than 2 birds with every toss in this direction, this time visiting both sets of parents, one grandmother, wedding celebrants and guests, some high school friends of mine, and a brother, sister, niece, and nephew in just 3 days!  ‘PHEW!  is right!  With so many reasons to come back and visit, we set plans to do as much as we can, and on our return we need more of a rest than before we left!

Going back isn’t just for the physical body.  This time Ned went back in time with old pals, and at the reception we imagined we had the stamina of ourselves as young 20 somethings (for those who don’t know… we’re young 30 somethings… not totally faint of heart…. yet!).  The suffering following those bad decisions was much worse than I remember.  You don’t really pretend to be young twenty somethings the morning after, it simply is not permitted… the body, the headache, the ill feelings in the gut, refuse to allow the fantasy any more indulgence, and probably as a defense mechanism, this body needs a break and it’s taking one whether I would like to or not.

Needless to say, all delusions I had when packing my gym clothes dissolved in a blur of gathering with friends and family and celebrating my love’s past high school years.  Cheers to long lasting friendships, I’m glad those friendships have much more stamina than I do!


Running from Lions

By | About Me, Adventure, Blog, Starving Artist, Studio, Taos, the grind, The Southwest | No Comments

I haven’t quite found the research, but it wasn’t the first time I was hearing that my fiancé and I were attempting to accomplish 3 of the most stressful things one can do in life in the next few months.  I’m starting my business here with making pottery and sculptures, we are planning our wedding (as low stress as we can for a guest list of up to 200 people), and in the past month we have been taking steps towards buying a house!  Aunt Julie says our bodies can’t really tell the difference from good excitement and stress… we’re basically “running from hungry lions.”  And, yes, it all seems good and exciting, but it certainly is stressful.

Buying a house has been on our minds for quite a while, flipping through real estate catalogues, trolling websites, eyeing up homes with glowing signs of their agents’ companies, and taking note of all the things we love or hate about the homes we’ve house sat for.  It was all very benign up until last month when we shared a chair lift with our buddies and expressed our interest in buying with a humble budget.  Before we knew it we were meeting with mortgage brokers, visiting the house they owned, other comparable properties, and talking with contractors, real estate agents, and all manner of family and friends for advice and decision making opinions and perspectives.

The house is the right size for what we are looking for, great location, with a little bit of acreage.  It is a funky old adobe with a lot of potential, much of which we think we can draw out ourselves with a little vision and TLC.  Taos ‘Funky’ is a hard one to wrap your mind around if you don’t live in the area.  It can mean anything in the range of unknown foundation and shared well and septic all the way to spray foam roofing and rotting adobes, any of which could result in a money pit or worse!  It’s our first time and we are not yet deterred by anything major.  So far all signs point to go as we do our homework, dot our i’s and cross our t’s.

One more important factor is having a studio on site.  We spoke today with a contractor, and need to make sure all is a go with the town, but if I can have my kiln in the same place as my studio that would be ideal…. for all those potters out there, I transport every piece of greenware to my kiln down the road… a dirt road no less!  For the laymen this means my work is traveling in its most fragile state to be fired and finished, and casualties are a devastating part of that process.

In the meantime, mugs are getting trimmed and handled, sculptures are being envisioned and sketched out, and wedding plans continue to take shape.  Life is an exciting adventure and as we run from hungry lions we are also hoping that we’re heading towards a healthy feast!

My 7 rules for Sticking to It :

By | A Little About Me, Blog, Business, Gallery, Starving Artist, Studio, the grind | No Comments

Trying to make it as an artist when your income is just not enough:

This weekend I have the run of Rottenstone Pottery, the local gallery that carries my work.  It’s not our busiest season, so traffic has been scattered and people poke in every now and again during mostly quiet days.  When I sit the gallery I get a little pay for my time, commissions on sales, and can spend time on my own work to my heart’s content.  It’s been over a year since I have taken the leap into the abyss of trying to make it as an artist, left the regularly scheduled world of working for someone else, and taken gigs and odd jobs to try and break even.

I am really lucky for having been offered various steady work waiting tables (my most recent previous form of regular income), and even other full time or part time regular jobs.  In this climate of unemployment and job insecurity, I am not ungrateful, but I know how easy it would be for me to neglect this commitment to myself, to pursue making, if my income is safely tied up in a steady job.  Yes, I realize it is a luxury to be able to live this way, and the choices, and happenstance of my life have allowed this.  I live incredibly humbly with my dear partner who is supportive to no end, in particular, because he has his own dreams for following his creative pursuits outside of the conventional steady job hustle.  He is an English teacher and a poet, New Mexico Charter School Teacher of the Year no less!  He didn’t get there with an easy gig idly minding behaved and head strong students.  He also struggles to support students with no other form of support, add to those, students with inclinations for dangerous forms of rebellion, with additional challenges in the work environment, and I wonder how in the world he is able to do it at all.

Still, he believes in me and takes on the lion’s share of the rent and expenses in our tiny studio apartment because he believes in what I am doing.  Eventually, my craft will make our living and he will take time away to focus on his writing!  For now, I am pushing away in the studio spending more than full time hours to seek a comfortable living and beyond with what I love doing.  In the meantime I take jobs here and there to fill in the gaps of my income, and I have set up some ground rules to keep my head and heart in the studio.  I have gotten a reputation as a good house and animal sitter and often get offered jobs in people’s homes for periods of time.  I also have experience and the credentials for working in restaurants with food and alcohol and I am offered regular appealing work more than I should be lucky enough to receive.  Jobs related directly to my work as a maker I will always consider.  And helping friends out is really important to me as well.  I have had so much help along the way I want to keep paying that forward where I am able.

My rules for staying true to the course:

1.  I don’t take anyone else’s steady jobs with a regular schedule so that I can pick and choose when and where I need to be for my own work, hosting openings, pursuing representation, and promoting.  This is particularly important because in this small town my busiest times of year are also the busiest times of year for most jobs I would take on.

2.  I cover jobs of people that I have worked comfortably with for a long time at rates that work for both of us.  New house sitting and/or animal sitting jobs I make sure work with my schedule and how I value my time.

3.  I don’t get tied to working a regular schedule for someone else’s dream, restaurant or whatever venture, so that I can focus on my own.  The time and energy I invest in building my business as an artist is much more valuable to me.

4.  I take jobs here and there for set specific times on a case by case basis catering or bar tending.  When I am able and the pay is acceptable I take on opportunities and let it be known that I am available for this kind of work.  Word of mouth and reputation from years of waiting tables is how I get these jobs.

5.  I would take a regular schedule with a space representing my work in order to build my understanding of running a gallery and working with customers, something that helps me represent my work, and teaches me the ins and outs if ever I would want to have my own gallery.

6.  I keep a regular vigorous schedule in my studio, making sure I am committing full time plus, and staying late and/or going in early or on weekends to make sure I have given myself those hours.

7.  I appreciate the freedom to adjust accordingly and like to offer my help to friends wherever I can, especially when they don’t have the same luxury.  My friends support me throughout the year, buying, using, and sharing my work, not to mention, welcoming me into their lives and homes.

I know I am lucky to even have the option of considering this type of life, but I have also had the opportunity to choose how humbly I want to live so that I can invest my time, energy, and resources in what is most important to me.  Before this past year I was making a decent living waiting tables with enough to spare for travel, skiing, and working in my studio.  Now I’m trying to have my making take on that responsibility.  Looks like time will tell if that works out or not!  I’ll keep you posted!

Where did January go?

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It’s been a helluva January that went by in a blink, my love got the flu right when we had agreed to take on two housesits on opposite ends of town.  I did the hustle back and forth to get the pups outdoors and exercised while he recovered from a pretty harsh take down that I know many of you can relate to.  In my last post I talked about keeping works in progress in the studio and while I barely made it in here I did pull reclaim buckets and began to reconstitute some creamy white porcelain I’d had sitting around for quite a while.

Though I hadn’t spent much time elbow deep in clay I did enjoy the mass postings of artwork from peers and <a href=" viagra sildenafil citrate.brzozowski.5″>the challenge to go back through my own work and share 3 works a day for 5 days.  Seeing that work I had made and really enjoyed dredged up the desire to make functional and sculptural porcelain pieces again.  While my clay slowly comes back to a workable state I have pinched together a few cups and threw out slabs for slump plates and bowls.  The sculptures are coming together in my mind’s eye and I am looking to pick up a few more boxes of this porcelain and see what happens!

A little on process

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A wise potter once told me (and a class of other workshop attendees) to always have works in progress waiting for you in the studio, it will be sure to get you in to work the next day and everyday.  I try to keep this in mind.  Even with a few weeks away with the family over the holidays, a great time to hit the reset button, allow clay works to dry out, clean the slate, rearrange, and start fresh, I have paintings in progress, tea sets waiting for their cups, sewing projects cut and ready to be finished, and clay sculptures in mind for my return.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Rarely do I have a sculpture project I can complete from start to finish in one day.  More complex forms, like independent arms, or forms that have a more dramatic bend in the body, require drying time to harden with the right amount of integrity to support the piece.  Thanks to the dry high desert climate, things can dry a little faster here in Taos, than, say in the Everglades, but it’s a fine line.  Let your work dry too much and you don’t have the freedom to reshape a portion you may not be happy with later.  With clay we have a wonderful material that we can allow to dry and rewet later, and a myriad of options when it comes to working the material at various stages, but there is a certain amount of timing and understanding that comes with experience to work in this medium.

People often ask, “how long did it take you to make that?”  I know they want to know how long it took to sculpt, or form a single piece, not considering drying time, multiple firings, and finish work, but even with that in mind, most laymen don’t consider the development of an idea, the experimentation, the trial and error of learning the craft, nor the pulling together of thoughts and ideas that will later defend our works in artist statements and hopefully posterity.  Some peers even answer by saying it took them their whole lives to make that piece, and in a sense, it did!

Happy New Year!

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I need a vacation from my vacation!

We’re slowly crawling back into our lives here in Taos after a mad rush of holiday fun on the east coast.  On our list?  A 2 hr. delay on our flight, a 2am arrival to my childhood home in PA, an overnight bus trip to NYC, A visit with newborn Emmelyn Noel, Rockefeller Center, FAO Schwartz, another newborn visit with Virginia Reed, Christmas Eve at my future bro and sis’s place in Phoenixville, PA, Christmas Day with my Aunt in New Jersey complete with Skype calls to California and South Africa, Holiday parties with both sides of Ned’s parents’ families, and an early rush to the airport to head back to Taos!  That was about as condensed as I could make it, and I’m sure that was an easy one relative to what so many of us go through to check in with our loved ones over the holidays.

Even on our arrival it was go time with friends and settling in at home.  Our amazing <a title="Skiing the Southwest" href="http://www pfizer viagra 100mg”>ski hill beckoned and we got a couple more days logged on our ski passes, not to mention a hike down into the gorge on a snowy trail to the Rio Grande River.

As I sit in my studio after 5 days of being back in Taos, I wonder what I’ve accomplished here?  Not a whole lot.  My Etsy store is back up and running but nothing new added since before the holidays, wedding plans are under way, and the pre-Christmas packing storm is mostly tucked away.  I’ve got teapots drying on the table and visions of mugs dancing in my head.

Looking forward to this New Year and wishing everyone health and happiness for 2015!live streaming film Split


Home for the Holidays

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There’s no place like home for the holidays…  Ned and I grew up only 45 minutes away from each other in southeast Pennsylvania, and had to move all the way to Taos, New Mexico to meet each other!  Of course that’s how it would work, right?  And now we’re planning our trip home to see the families and spend the holidays.  Even with 10 days out east logistics already are challenging trying to be everywhere and see everyone.  Taos has also just gotten some great snow and another storm is on it’s way in as we speak… the clouds have settled over the mountain and the air has turned sharp with chill.

So even before we navigate the adventure of multiple family gatherings and get togethers with friends we’re going to try to strap on the boards as much as possible and get in some quality runs on the hill before we leave!  Ned swears we’ll make it up there Saturday morning before we catch our flight out of Albuquerque later that day!  Enjoy the snow dear Taos friends! Ski some extra runs for us while we’re gone!

Looking forward to seeing all our east coast family and wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season!

Cowgirls of Substance!

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What a lovely evening in town with friends and treats and beautiful clothing!  Jennifer of Substance hosted another holiday gathering with guests artisans including jewelry, bath and body products, and of course Clay Cowgirls!

Thanks for the warm holiday cheer!  Remember to visit Substance for that special new piece for your wardrobe or to soothe the season’s stresses with a facial, a new hair cut, or other spa treatment from Eliza and Pinch!

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