Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter hit full force today

Well we are well outside the heavy snowfall area, but the wind is howling and the snow is sharp cutting crystals.  Well, it's a good night to try and catch up on extra curricular things such as blogging. 

I seem to be in a funny vortex of misfortune of late, but with each setback , there seems to be a benefit to balance it out.

Saturday night while I was in the middle of organizing my etsy orders, my computer crashed.  This is a brand new computer  less than 6 months old, and I spent until 4am Sunday morning using diagnostics, and talking to tech support.  Finally about nine on Sunday I was informed that it was the software that was the problem, and I didn't have a warranty on the software, but I could purchase said warranty on the spot and be sent to microsoft, I presume  to have the software issues fixed.  Oh warranty would cost $275.00.  Well the good side of this debacle was that I hadn't shut down my old computer, and I am still able to do business at the busiest time of the year. I still had 3 months of virus protection left on this one.  And I am forced to work without the TV shows, we'll see if I am more productive.

I was able to find replacement bulbs for my therapy light and I think that having fresh light power is helping me remain calm under pressure.  Tonight Paul hit a deer and ruined the van.  Fluids were running out of the front.  We'll see all the damage in the light of day.  

I am preparing for a show in Mankato this weekend the Goldsmith Reunion Fine Art Show    
This is the 7th annual, it will be my third time attending.   Tomorrow I will be packing  and hoping the weather has settled down.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Toad

Originally uploaded by fiddldede

I have been playing with some watercolor pencils lately. While trying to find some challenging subject matter I found this toad in my files and I decided to do a quick study. Well it is Saturday the fifth day in a row with no sunshine. It remains mild in temperatures if not wet. The ground needed a good soaking before it freezes.

Today I will be continuing to list new items in my Etsy store , and continuing the efficient packing and shipping department program. I think this will be my last chance to put the hoses and garden tools away, it may be warm but it feels like snow!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Home shows and studio tours

Having just participated in two home grown art shows in the last two weeks, I am full of ideas for next year, and am actually looking forward to the meeting tomorrow to share my ideas and hear others too.  We meet year round , on a monthly basis to organize and keep our show growing.

Our original "Sticks and Stones Festival" was  held outside of town.  The concept of sticks and stones being that art was everywhere, and those early shows always included rock stacking, and some stick sculptures with visitor participation encouraged. 

We switched this year to an in town location at the Kanabec History Center in Mora.  This change of venue gave us better parking, some indoor options in case of rain, more room for guest artists,and best of all, a permanent wooded spot for the Labyrinth, another feature of our event.   The wood fired pizza oven was completed by Paul and several volunteers and was a big hit with the crowd.  We had even more visitors this year at the new location.

We charge no admission fees, nor do we sell food.  The whole thing is based on donations  except for the Artisan wares.  We feel that the visitor will  have more money for buying craft work if they aren't obligated in other ways.   We have always been able to break even on food and entertainment just by collecting donations. 

The show Paul helped with this past weekend had a cider press running all weekend and it was a big hit.  We are thinking of adding a cider press next year, would compliment the pizza oven.

Reports are that the participating artists did well.  We added 20 artist booths to the show this year.
I love the concept of the Studio Tour / Home show, and the artists and craftspeople taking it back into their own hands to present their wares.

As we have expanded and grown over the years, the show has become less about my own sales, and more about getting people out and giving them a taste of what the local art community has to offer.  My Department has been booking the entertainment.   It was really gratifying to hear other artists saying it was a well run show and they wanted to come back.  I highly recommend that other artists do the same in their communities.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall shows and Studio Tours

Whew Sticks and Stones is over with, and I have recovered I think. A lot of planning goes into our growing show, and we had success this year in putting on a good one.

This all started several years ago when a few of us that held a home studio tour decided to hold the tour in one place, which for the first years was held at the Hovland sawmill  north of town.  This year we held it in Mora at the Kanabec History Center.  The preliminary count shows  over 1000 attended so we were happy that the change of venue did not hurt the numbers.

The visiting artists that I spoke with were happy with their sales and the show in general, and several already want to come back next year.   For me , it has become more about the show than sales. I am the music coordinator and lined up the entertainment for the show, as well as played in one of the bands.   The Whistlepigs String Band was fantastic, an the Fidddle Pals were terrific!  Not a lot of people attended the music, and that was probably the layout more than anything.   All part of next years planning.   Planning that will start next month already!

Paul is in Maiden Rock Wisconsin this week, he is participating in another homegrown event
The Fresh Art Fall Tour

The first frost came which always gets me a little sad. Our gardens and flowers in Minnesota are too short lived!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Internet overload

Well I am probably reaching the boiling point with internet overload! I was plugging along happily with my website http://www.paulmorrispottery.com/ and the shop I was running at http://www.MorrisPottery.etsy.com/ when my daughter went to college, she asked me to go on facebook and I resisted, but this spring when she was visiting , she got me started. About the same time yahoo ended the blog beta that I had been using, so I started this one .

I guess it is like the feeling of getting a stack of books handed to you and told "The test is tommorow" My mind works on a tactile basis and that is how I learn. Using computers requires me to create my own pictures in my head about how all the networks connect and which ones are most effective, and it is very difficult to get my brain around in my own website organization much less the bigger picture.

I actually wanted my blog to be about other things I do besides pottery, but it all seems linked up somehow. I figured out my video editing program and made a youtube demo on slip trailing, and this too, has opened a floodgate of possibilities in my imagination of things I can do!!

I am feeling overwhelmed , but in a good way, because of all the possibilities.

What I am waiting for is for some one to invent a way to "feel" a piece of pottery online. Then the 3D people would have equal footing here.

Well there are still a few beautiful days left of autumn, so I am going to make a point to get out and enjoy them before winter sets in. I will save the wild ride of learning curves until the winds howl outside.

To those of you who have followed this blog, Thank You, if I haven't added you yet, I will, when I straighten out all of the sites and connections and passwords!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Goodbye Summer....

We have been enjoying a few days of the most incredible weather. Seventies and sunny, cool evenings. There is a touch of color appearing in the dense green of the forests. I asked Paul if he would trade living in a warmer climate with longer summer if there were no fall. He said no. I agree. I love spring with the promise of sunny days, but I love fall too, with its' blazing salute to the coming of winter.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A quiet Sunday Morning

We are expecting the Winchester crew in tonight after the Uptown art fair is torn down. They will be bringing our daughter home for the week. She helped them set up and tear down the show, and wishes we were still doing art fairs. If things go as planned, we will be entering some that are closer to home. The Uptown is a real ball buster, and with the weather they had this year , I was glad not to be attending.

I know Paul feels he did enough shows for a lifetime during the nineties, and it's taken these five years to regroup and figure out how we wanted to do things. This hiatus would not have been possible without my online sales. I am finding that the quiet months on the internet usually occur late spring and early summer, so it's perfect timing to get out and sell in real life a little bit.

Well I am going to tidy up the house a little bit for the company tonight.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The new Morris Family member

This is "Goldie", the photo does not show how thin she was when she showed up at our door a couple of months ago. She is the second cat we have rescued from the wild, Barney our other cat is three years old, and is not so welcoming to the newcomer. Anyway, I took her in to be spayed today and get her shots.

Goldie, I think, was not always wild. After she got to know me as the food lady , she became very cuddly, and has a loud purr. I suspect there are cats out there that we never see in the woods. Most people shoot wild cats around here. They carry diseases and are devastating to the bird populations in the area. Anybody that thinks they can dump cats out in the "country" and that they will magically find a new home is deluding themselves. This cat was a bag of bones when she first showed up. Animals that are abandoned in the woods usually become food for predators, or they starve to death.

Since our animal shelter does not take cats, and no one claimed Goldie, we had a choice to either shoot her, or get her to the vet and get her checked for feline leukemia, and have her spayed. Paul and I are frugal people and live on the bare necessities ourselves, so and investment like this was no small matter for us. In these hard times it certainly would have made more sense to just put her down. But we decided to rescue this one little kitty , and I am glad we did. Yes times are hard, but it just made me feel good to give one helpless animal a chance.

Now little Goldie is recovering from her day in surgery in her carrier at my feet. Like I said, she is the minority when it comes to surviving in the wild. Please spay and neuter your pets.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Working as a team

This is the guy I work with. The photographer caught him after or maybe during a wood firing! Paul and I will mark 27 years of our marriage and partnership in clay this fall. We were twenty seven when we met at the pottery in Iowa, so we've pretty much spent half our lives together.

If anyone would have told those starry eyed 27 yr olds that it was impossible to move to the woods and make a career creating and selling their wares, they wouldn't have listened. Well I am sure We both ignored what everyone that knew better told us. We just believed it was possible and we forged on.

One of the things I was told before I even met Paul was that if I planned to be an artist I should marry someone that could "support me." But after College , as I began my hands on experience in the pottery world, I saw many examples of couples who were making it work. One team, was Bill Coffman and Cynthia Mosedale of Linden Hills Pottery . Paul and I both worked for them in their first incarnation , the Crockery and Jar Company. People like Bill and Cynthia were out there actually doing it, so why couldn't we!

One thing I have learned is that it takes a special kind of relationship to keep things rolling in a market like this. And a good sense of humor with a sprinkling of patience. Paul and I collaborate on many items, but we work on pieces we consider our own, too. I think it is important to keep new ideas coming when involved in production work of any kind.

So yeah I didn't find a rich guy to support my art , but I got a creative partner in a relationship/business that has survived some pretty huge odds, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Our new Band "Second Fiddle" played for the first time as an actual band last night. We played for Amy Sabrina's dance crew and were well received. Amy has been holding dances in various town halls over the years, with a dream of finishing off her barn to use as a community dance hall.

Our group has formed over the last three years from a regular jam session held at a coffee shop in Milaca. We were a little worried at first that maybe people couldn't dance to the tunes we have been playing, but all went well and they danced to every one. The ecclectic mix is fun, because each of us brings a different type of music to the group, and it makes for a great variety of dances people can do. I love being in a dance band, because of the audience ineraction. I love looking out at the crowd, and seeing happy smiles as people twirl around the dance floor. There is an exchange of energy that makes the whole thing a giant artwork, and all are participants.

The coolest thing about Amy's dances , for me though, is the age range of people that come. The participants range from child to adult, and there is nothing sweeter than to see a grandpa dancing with his little eight year old grandaughter.

You will see by the link to Amy's website that she is also a long time potter. One of my favorite payments for playing was a nice mug I got one year!

Well that is the cultural and arts report from the Green Swamp for today!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Organization in my web life and Home

Pictured is my horse sculpture fired last weekend. The date on the piece is sept 04 . It was bisqued in a kiln that had residual salt in the shelves and used bricks, so I knew it wouldn't hold a glaze , so it sat five years until I just decided to fire it "naked" . The results were wonderful. The wood ash fell and melted and gave the horse an appaloosa look. This piece was just waiting for the right firing! I can now be satisfied that I finished that project. Now on to the next.

Organization is a word that has haunted me my whole life. The mere mention of the word brings out the defiant nine year old in me. I don't wanna be organized, I wanna go out and play! But really, why wouldn't a person want to have all their ducks in a row? I had thoughts of my computer being the ultimate place to be organized.The computer would do it all for me! I would have a little haven of columns and files that could be accessed by a push of the button. But no, my old computer reminds me of when we moved our of our mobile home into the new house. I left a lot of stuff behind, since both places are on the same property, and I didn't want to clutter up the new house.

So now I have my new computer, and I don't want it to get all clogged up either. I am slowly adding things like blogging and facebook, and have started a new shop in 1000 markets, but I am trying to be organized about it , and it's not easy!

Computer land is really hard on a person with ADD, there are so many ways to get distracted !

Others in my online community have said they need to spend less time on the computer and more time in the studio, and I am feeling that too. Morris Pottery's online presence has become my job , which I love, but one needs to be making the pottery too. As I write I am thinking of several unfinished projects I should be working on , and several packages that need to be shipped. And new ideas are always bubbling to the surface.

Discipline then, is the next word that the nine year old child in me recoils at, but then when the result is me ending up in the studio with my hands on cool wet clay, I will convince the nine year old it was worth it.
Also I want to thank those that chose to follow me!! I am adding to my following list, and continue to find great things from your blogs!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

After firing Day

Firing weekend and we got to sleep in today! The firing was finished around 11 pm last night and we ended it with a pork chop dinner. Now the waiting! I suppose it will be Tuesday before we unload.

So I am so new to blogging, and I am cruising around here finding old friends among the new. Whenever I do anything web related, I feel like I am in a vast ocean of people , and I am just a tiny speck floating around . How cool it is then, to follow someone else, and find an old colleague in their list! So even with blogging I find the old problem of getting distracted and reading others and wishing I was more interesting.

The week has been so busy that I have almost missed the county fair. I mark this as a milestone after many years of active participation in the annual event that used to be known as Fair Week. We did have a float in the parade last night to promote our fall art event, "Sticks and Stones", but I entered no vegetables from my garden, and all of the rabbits stayed home. They did not mind.

I am in a state of transition in my life, and some things are let go easily, like the Fair, some things are harder to let go of.

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's the big firing weekend here, and I can't wait to have a new load of pottery to photgraph next week. Our firing days start with loading and a slow candle flame goes all night. We start cranking it up early Saturday, and it will finish off Saturday night.

There is a wood baking oven adjacent to the kiln area, and it will be fired up and in use for a variety of delicious foods during the firing. I am taking blueberry pies which I should be making right now. I plan on posting pictures over the weekend, and of course kiln opening will be on Wednesday. With my new computer, I am working on getting a live kiln opening set up so web viewers can get the feel of the excitement we have after all the work is done and the treasures emerge from the kiln. Later then, Denise

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Well here I am getting settled into my new blog. I had one in yahoo which I did not maintain much, and now has been moved to my yahoo profile. I may still have that one in my website at http://www.paulmorrispottery.com/

I am reorganizing, and have always wanted my own little spot since most of my on line work involves the pottery and the marketing of same, which is a partnership with my husband Paul.

People have asked me over the years why it is called Paul Morris pottery and my name is not included somehow. Well Paul is the Potter , and my original plan was to have a sculpture site of my own within the website.

I can say what I want about Paul because he will never read this, since he prefers not to learn how to use the computer. ;-)

Paul is a rare breed of potter that has literally done his craft for his entire working career. He discovered wheel throwing in High School and has done it ever since. I on the other hand am a lot of things besides the decorator of Morris Pottery, and this blog might be the best start for me to share my individual thoughts and opinons that aren't necessarily the views of Morris Pottery as a whole.

Why Green Swamp? Well that is where we live, in east central Minnesota, surrounded on two sides by what has always been known as the Green Swamp, and our home and studio are on the unofficially named "Green Swamp Road." The wetlands surrounding us host a treasure of wildlife, and empty into a lake about half a mile down the road.

Well okay then, now I am blogging, this like all things web related is part of a learning curve for me so bear with me while i get to know the territory and continue post my ramblings. Denise