Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More changes...

If you're not open to change, if you're not willing to expand then you stagnate. As a rule. I would imagine there are exceptions.

This blog is going away. I've started a new one titled "Janet McGregor Dunn". The new address is http://janetmcgregordunn.blogspot.com. I slid all the blogs from here onto the new one so nothing will get lost...and I'll leave this one out here for a while.

My website is now http://www.janetmcgregordunn.com. The old Hummingbird-Hollow site will be there until everyone in the world knows about the new site. In other words, it's gonna be there for a long time!

I'm going to work hard to blog more often, too.

Nuff for tonight. Bedtime.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What a month it has been!

I've had some crazy times in my life but lately it's been ultra-roller-coaster-crazy! We threw a surprise birthday party for my Dad to kick off things. Great time, best Dad in the world and for the first time ever, we actually pulled something over on him. He swears he didn't have a clue about the birthday.

Then I got what I think was food poisoning from the food at the restaurant where we held the party. Days of misery, lost five pounds.

I had some shows coming up and really needed to find time for the studio but couldn't get muster the energy to leave the house for a few days after the worst was over.

Of course, everything got behinder and behinder.

My house suffered (more than it normally does). Somewhere in the catch-up-with-everything phase I put out hummingbird feeders, picked up some grape vines to plant and did some of my non-studio work. Volunteer at a local thrift store, serve on a Board, managed to handle those much-loved "chores" also. Websites needed work, Comcast threw in some curves (oh, I want to ditch them soooo bad), we discovered an armadillo was burrowing down by the foundation of our home, the air conditioner went out, the termite folks came and luckily didn't find any problems aside from some work we needed to do to prevent problems, we bought a truck to haul things around...

Then had a visit with my cousin and went to eat at a local Mexican restaurant near his home. Next day, food poisoning or whatever. Milder than the last bout but still dropped another three pounds.

I'd continue down the list of craziness, but this is a blog about POTTERY, not my nutty life.
FINALLY I managed to squeeze in studio time! Yikes, shows coming, needed some new pieces to put out. I'm experimenting with adding glass in various ways. A friend who does stunning stained glass gave me some of her cast-off glass. I picked up some clearance glass from a craft store that's usually used in mosaics. Very bright and heavy as it's made to be cemented into those tiles you walk on. I also have some glass chips and tubes that are meant to be used in "regular" fusing.

I was told by the glass instructor to fire their glass to 1550 degrees, which is about cone 012, so I had to fire my pieces twice --- once to normal cone then a second low, low fire to 012.

I had three non-glass pieces that I was able to carry to the show on Saturday. The rest that I re-fired with glass weren't cool enough to pull out yet.

One experiment is with three boxes I made and loved but the glaze bubbled and popped on the inside bottoms, ruining them for all practical purposes. The clay did not like the one glaze that I used in that area I guess.

I refired to see if I could get them to lay down but  they just decided to hang in there. I learned that I need to fire that particular glaze at a higher cone to get rid of those impurities or gases or maybe just avoid that type glaze. Or the clay. It's a bit temperamental.

In this third attempt to fix the pieces I added a multitude of glass chips that complemented the glazes I'd used. I managed to do a cheat quick kiln open and ran my hand over the bottom of one of the boxes -- voila, smooth! It'll be my luck that the sneak peek I took letting in that cooler air will cause them the glaze to ping and crackle!!! No, that is NOT going to have happened.

Later today, I head out to the kiln and I'll see the results of all my experiments.

Top two photos: 
Back to the Beach. Five glazes with added glass. Fired the glass in with normal glaze firing.
Whisper Will. One beautiful glaze that reacted perfectly with the textures and clay. I need to take a photo of the inside as it has stars laying on the bottom and against the side. I love making the insides of my art as interesting as the outside.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Glazed over with glazing...

I know my weaknesses. Well, I know some of them. One is my penchant for waiting until the last minute to do things. I know the deadline is out there somewhere, I know I should do a little here and there, I know I should plan. But no, not me. I wake up, the deadline is tomorrow or, when it comes to pottery, it's usually a week or so out --- but still I have to cram more than I should into a too-short time-frame.

I have two plus kiln loads of bisque sitting on shelves that needs to be glazed and fired before a show I'm doing in two weeks. Ain't no way! Yes, I have some glazed, but two kiln loads of bisque equals at least four full kiln loads of glazed pieces, probably more. I have one glaze load almost ready to go.

You think I'm going to get it finished? Maybe. Doubtful.

Glazing takes concentration. It takes attention to detail. When rushed, errors occur. I know that some pieces are going to come out of the kiln with flaws even when I'm not rushed (especially given the way I like to experiment!). However, when I let time get away from me, and I push like this, I have a higher fatality rate than usual.

Given that I've been playing in the clay for a numerous years, I have gotten better, decreased my fail rate to almost nothing. Yow, I hope that doesn't jinx me...

Another thing that happens when I wait to the last minute is that I'll reach for the glaze I want for a piece and find out I'm out, or that it's dried up, or that there's not enough. That piece goes by the wayside. No time to order glaze, make glaze or head to the store.

Biggest problem I have right now is that I'm flat out NOT in the mood to glaze. I have all these ideas bubbling around in my head for pieces I want to create. What's really funny about that one is that it's not so much the pieces I want to create, it's that I have some cool glaze ideas I want to try and I need a specific type of piece to be able to do the experiments! The things I have sitting on the shelves waiting for me were last month's cool glaze ideas... new ones have crowded them out.

I guess I need to give up everything else in my life and just hang out in the studio. Unfortunately, that's not really possible. Getting some self-discipline and learning to pace myself just isn't going to happen either. I used to try. I really, really worked at it off and on for many years. I am a miserable person when I don't let my muse lead where it will.

Time to head to the studio, glazing awaits! I will get better, I will get better, I will get better... ha ha ha.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Speckled tan fired at ^04, low fire
I mentioned my grand experiment in the last post. I found some old clay, made a kiln load of things, bisque fired it without bothering to look up proper temp. I low fired, ^04.

It turned out a nice pinkish color, that I very much like. It was impossible to tell from the color of the raw clay what color I'd end up with. It looked like a speckled clay and was a darker brownish color. I rather expected a dark tan.

I finally looked at the box - it doesn't say what cone range, but I did get the name, 'speckled tan'. I figured it was probably a mid-fire as the company doesn't make much in the low-fire range. Turns out I was right. It's a mid-fire clay.

I'm now debating on whether to underglaze as I'd also mentioned in the last blog post and re-fire OR go with it as is and glaze with low fire glazes. I'd be completely sealing it with glaze so the question of not hitting the correct water-tight range wouldn't be much of an issue. The pieces in question aren't going to be anything other than decorative so it shouldn't make much difference.

KPS Speckled Tan - How it is supposed to look
when fired to Cone 6
I may opt to split the load and keep some pieces for low firing, re-fire the others at cone 6. I've never double bisque fired at two different ranges before. I have double-bisqued when I needed to repair a piece (with mixed results). I have multi-glaze fired a zillion times. However, I'm wondering if it will change the color, cause the pieces to crack, or result in pieces that won't hold glaze?

I think if I re-fire at correct cone I'll be able to see the speckles. They're not visible at low fire temp.

I have a baby kiln so I guess I could pull out a couple of smaller pieces and experiment. There are a couple of small pieces that I wouldn't cry over if they were ruined. Shoot, I may just split it into a number of loads and fire them all different temps.

I'll keep you posted. I know everyone is just hanging on ever word I'm writing, the wonderment will keep you up at night. Uh huh.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Too many pies, not enough fingers...

I used to joke that I was going to have a t-shirt made that said "Whatever the question" on the front, then "the answer is NO" on the back. However, I came to realize two things. 1 - people would just re-phrase the question and 2 - if they didn't, I'd still find a way to stick one of my fingers into whatever pie they were offering up.

I'm just the kind of person that perpetually says yes to good causes, fun things, and stuff that intrigues me. Life is too big, too fun and there's always something to catch my attention.

Why am I telling you all this? It's just a long way of making excuses for not keeping up with my pottery blog.

I have been busy in the studio! I'm hoping the weather isn't so bad tonight that my studio flies to Kansas. If it's there in the morning I will be out there first thing unloading my new pottery. THEN I will be loading up another glaze load. THEN I will be glazing the stuff I pull out of the kiln tomorrow.

I'm really going to try and take some photos to share. I am experimenting with all kinds of new things. I made some boxes to hang on the wall. I made some quilted type pieces. I used a couple of new clays. Then promptly forgot to check what cone to fire the clay to when I started the kiln. I still haven't looked! It's some boxes of clay I picked up at a going-out-of-business sale a few years back and then promptly forgot it as I piled "my" clay on top of the boxes. I discovered it recently and decided to use it. It was a little stiff but worked great for the things I had in mind. I can't even begin to tell you what color the clay will be - no test fires. It's mystery clay! It is marked on the box so I can look it up... and will before glazing. If it turns out it needed a higher cone I'm going to use some underglazes on the clay and re-fire. Fun.

I've also been busy getting ready for some shows...

And, I'm involved in a new art group, Fine Arts and Crafts Entrepreneurs (FAACE.org). We are 'all about the business of art'. Most of us who live with messy hands due to clay, paint or similar have messy brains when it comes to the business side of our craft. I can make a piece of pottery. Balance a checkbook? Yes, I can handle that one... if I must. Figure out whether to incorporate or go the sole proprietor route? That's a bit more of a struggle. Taxes? Insurance? Big huge YUCK.

So, a group of us decided we were never going to 'make it' if we didn't knuckle down and attempt to get our business side in order. We've had an insurance agent come to speak to the group, an attorney and in upcoming months we're going to have a CPA, a printer and some folks from the county come speak. In June we're meeting at an art gallery and the owner is going to give us tips on getting accepted into a gallery. The list of things we'll be discussing and learning about is unlimited.

However, it takes time to get a group going! There are six of us right now on the Board, soon to be a few more. We have a fantastic group of artist members. We're putting on shows, too!

I'm loving getting to network and become friends with local artists.

I think I have shared enough for now??? I am sure I've whined before about how busy my schedule is on here. I hope it doesn't come across as whining as I love my life, I love jumping from one activity to the next and always having something new on the horizon.

To those in the areas affected by the horrific storms and bad weather - prayers are with you. To those who are looking at bad weather tonight - be safe.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Still playing with my website...

Anyone selling their art knows that a website is important. Especially if you're trying to break into the field. Having a bad looking or outdated website is almost as bad as not having one. Some would argue it's worse.

I do websites for others, but have gotten a bit behind in some of the latest and greatest. I don't like some of the latest and greatest but really need to get my butt in gear on some of the things that I like. I also got a bit behind in updating my own website. It's kind of like the plumber who never fixes his own plumbing, carpenter who has closet doors hanging off the hinges... I check everyone's website but my own each day!

So, in recent months I've been toying with different options. I tried Wix (thank you to everyone who gave me valuable input). I decided not to go that route. Slow loading, higher cost as compared to what I can get if I do it myself plus it's a whole new world of learning how they work.

I have a new site --- finally! I still have a lot to do. Mainly I'm behind in taking photos of my work. This is busy show season and things are selling before I can snap a good photo. I do need to have good records of what I've sold, if only so my kids, kids, kids will be able to say yes, that was done by our great-great when it turns up on Antique Roadshow. Valued at a couple of bazillion dollars, of course.

If you get a minute, go take a look and let me know what you think thus far. www.Hummingbird-Hollow.com. I have a couple of links that don't have anything on them yet,  but I'm working on it!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Field Studies, a Solo Exhibition by Megan Daloz, Opens Mar 19

Field Studies, a solo exhibition by studio potter Megan Daloz, opens at MudFire Gallery on March 19th. Field studies traditionally address many different types of behavior, including social behavior, mating systems, sheltering and feeding habits, predator-prey relationships, migration, and navigation. This exhibit is as much a field study of Megan Daloz, the potter, as it is an illustrated clay document of her studies of the natural and urban world.

The show will open with an artist reception on Saturday, March 19, 2011, from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. The exhibit will continue through April 16 at MudFire Gallery, 175 Laredo Drive, Decatur, GA 30030. All work in the show is available for sale.


Megan Daloz studied glassmaking and ceramics at Alfred University, and is currently a studio potter and a full-time commercial illustrator. She lives in Atlanta and is a resident artist and instructor at MudFire Clayworks.

Daloz's clay work is painstakingly decorated with images of bees, weeds, mopeds, minotaurs and other creatures one frequently encounters in an urban setting. Recorded and rendered with the practiced eye of a naturalist, the images together produce a curious and splendidly illustrated collage of modern life. Individually, her pieces capture the un-affected essence of free-range dinosaurs, cage-free weasels, and a profusion of botanicals. To say nothing of the mycological fascinations!

Daloz's drawing style follows the pre-eminent stylistic and contextual footsteps of early naturalist illustrators. Unfortunately, early naturalists faced many obstacles in their attempts to document the flora and fauna they observed. They often lacked fresh specimens, had use of only primitive printing techniques, and in some cases, suffered from overactive imaginations! Free of all such hindrances, comfortably ensconced in the studio, armed with but a laptop and raw talent, Megan quietly observes images of her subjects in the wild urbs. She then faithfully renders her species and varietals to expertly thrown pottery, deftly executed in white stoneware and decorated with jewel-toned glazes. Her work is functional, fun and scientific. It helps to reveal the habits and habitats of various organisms present in their natural surroundings.

Detailed information about Megan Daloz, including her artist statement, resume, and images of representative works, is available at: http://www.mudfire.com/megan-daloz-2011.htm.

The exhibit will be fully documented and available for sale online with MudFire's new website, coming soon.


MudFire is one of the largest clay studios in the country, with over 160 clay artists using the space, a year-round exclusive roster of 40 artists represented in the gallery, monthly group and solo gallery exhibitions, and artists flown in from around the world for workshops and lectures.

The fully equipped artist studio has pottery wheels, sculpting equipment, communal tools, glazes, kilns and plenty of inspiration. Artists in residence and "free range" instructors make it a perfect place for beginners as well as seasoned ceramicists. MudFire also brings high profile artists from around the world to Atlanta for demonstration workshops, intensive hands-on classes, free lectures and slide presentations. The studio is open Thursday(12p-10p), Friday(12p-10p), Saturday(12p-8p), Sunday(12p-8p), and Monday(12p-10p).

Now in its ninth year, MudFire Gallery is Atlanta's clay-only gallery, providing representation for some of the Southeast's top potters and clay sculptors alongside talented emerging and mid-career artists. MudFire also celebrates this diverse and accessible medium with monthly exhibits of functional and decorative works including solo, group and themed exhibits. MudFire Gallery is open daily from noon until 8pm except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. MudFire is located in Decatur at 175 Laredo Drive, Decatur, GA 30030, just off E. Ponce de Leon Avenue, near the DeKalb Farmers Market.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thanks to all for comments on my new website!

I really appreciate the comments and suggestions I received regarding the Wix website. Some of you commented on Facebook, others sent emails, and one came via the blog. Very helpful.

I've decided based on your comments not to go with Wix. Most were fine with the design with some tweaks, but many commented on how slow it loaded. I tried it on a couple of computers and agree, it's slow loading. I then went and checked a number of other Wix sites and ran into the same problem. I don't know about you, but when I hit a slow site, I move on. I guess we're conditioned to fast, faster and fastest these days.

I'm going to keep the free site, figure it can't hurt to have my information out there in as many places as possible. I'll just have to remember to update it occasionally. Sooner or later they'll do away with the free site I'd imagine, most have to when money gets tight!

Thanks again to all of my world-wide friends. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the Internet definitely have expanded my extended friend numbers! Artists are generally giving people, very generous and your willingness to take the time to view my website and give your insights is just one example!

Monday, February 21, 2011

New website - need help reviewing please

I'm considering using Wix for my website hosting. I've built a temporary site using their tools. The site is free for now as long as I use wix.com in the URL. If I want to use my own domain name it'll cost. Basic is reasonable (under $50 a year) but when I get over 500 mb it gets into a range that I find unreasonable compared to what I'm now paying to host my site. The only advantage I see is that it's prettier and more functional than the one I built using my skills at the time.

I could build one better and continue to host it myself, but I don't know Flash so it wouldn't have some of the whiz stuff. Or I can use Wix. I've noticed that a number of artists are using them, appears they're doing the basic package as the Wix links are still showing at the bottom. Higher price eliminates the Wix ad.

Sat in on a webinar a few weeks ago re: websites. There were a thousand people on-line and if I remember the numbers correctly roughly 70% had websites and roughly 90% of those with websites had never sold anything on their site. Given those statistics it doesn't seem to be worth spending a whole lot of money on a website. However, that doesn't help me in this decision making process 'cause either way I go (basic/500 mb limit or stick with what I have) I'm roughly paying the same.

Here's a link to the new site: http://www.wix.com/hhpottery/hummingbird-hollowcom (I'm working with them on getting rid of the 'com' at the end, my mistake not realizing format of the free site URL).

I'd love it if some of you would go take a look at what I did and see what you think. I haven't sized some of the photos, grabbed some fuzzy ones and haven't titled them yet, but basic idea / look is there.

Let me know if you like it, hate it, have any experience with Wix or you have another option you think would work for me.


Friday, February 18, 2011

New Exhibit at Mudfire: Partners In Crime

Show Continues Through March 5, 2011
Partners in Crime features new work by MudFire founders Luba Sharapan & Erik Haagensen. Together we are partners in a web of clay, work, and life. . . and having a criminally good time. We hope you can join us for the party.

Luba Sharapan creates handmade porcelain vessels that speak of ancient cities, industrial revolutions, rusty water towers, peeling walls, dangerously decrepit rooftops, and lonely vampires. The richly layered, encaustic-like, visually indulgent surface of her work creeps across virgin porcelain and Victorian roses slowly and wickledly obscuring their perfection.

Erik Haagensen's functional pottery combines the speckly goodness of reduction fired stoneware, a tight-crazing shino glaze, hand-inked illustrations of odd little beasties, and bits of poetic quippery. His intent (who's kidding, my intent) is to celebrate well-crafted slowness while offering a lighthearted laugh.

Follow this rabbit to see more images and enjoy a bit longer description.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Excited about our new group and new show...

We've formed a new art group that focuses on the business of art... it's called Fine Arts And Crafts Entrepreneurs (FAACE). We started on this 'project' last year although it's been something that's been discussed and we've been tossing about for much longer. Within the first week of making it public we've already doubled our membership!

To kick off the group we're holding a show in Fayetteville, Georgia at the Harvest Community Center. They've graciously donated the space! The show, Art with Heart, will be on February 5th from 10 - 4. We're hoping all you Valentine shoppers will stop by and pick up something truly unique for someone you love... or yourself (still someone you love, or you'd better!).

FAACE focuses on fine arts and fine crafts, no buy/sell or similar. Speakers at the monthly meeting will include business related specialists who'll talk about incorporating, insurance, how to get into shows and galleries, ways to grow business, utilizing the Internet and other related topics. We're also going to promote member artists talents of course!

If you'd like to know more visit or new website, www.FAACE.org. We're on Twitter - @faacega and have a Facebook fan page (Fine Arts And Crafts Entrepreneurs if you're doing a search, haven't figured out how to share a link to a fan page yet...).

Back to the show... we have potters, fiber artists, stained glass, painters and more. I hope some of you will stop by to see us and / or join the group.

FAACE meets the first Tuesday of each month at the Towne Club Center in Peachtree City, 7 p.m. Members are from the south Atlanta area, although if you're willing to travel you're more than welcome to join us.

We're working on shows all over the south metro area and will probably add a few around the rest of Atlanta in time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's not always about me, me, me...

I usually write about something I'm creating or doing. I have a ton of different blogs and most are not about me --- this one is usually all about me, me, me. Tonight I wanted to write a little bit about someone who is making a name for herself in the world of glass.

She's the daughter of a friend of mine, someone I've actually only met once, maybe twice. Great family, wonderful people, all hard working, stellar folks.

Lyla Nelson is a name I think those of us in the world of art and art collecting are going to hear again and again. You're going to covet her work. I already drool when I visit her website and know that someday I will own a piece. I am impressed, and I'm not alone.

She sold a piece last week at the Galleria de Sculpture in Palm Beach and they asked her to replace it with another piece immediately.

She also has her glass art in the Edgewood Orchard Gallery in Wisconsin.

She's getting ready for an exhibition at the Appalachian Center for Crafts in late April.

She graduates from Tennessee Tech in May... that should give you an idea of how much she's accomplished in a short time!

Check out her work at www.lylanelson.com I LOVE her glass art, in particular her Botanicals. I would redo a room to showcase one of those pieces if ever I am lucky enough to own one.

Take a look and see if you don't agree. www.lylanelson.com