December 1, 2010

2nd Kiln Opening Video Preview

Hey Everyone! We're gearing up for this weekend and we wanted to provide a little preview of the beautiful wares that Joseph made this go-around.

Check it out:


video

November 24, 2010

Almost There…



The kiln fired beautifully. Everyone put in their all, and we finished on time without a hitch.

Firing a kiln must be similar to sailing a ship: if the captain is not certain of the destination and the means to get there, all will be lost. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and Joseph was the ultimate leader.

We unloaded last weekend and the pots are G...O…R…G…E…O…U…S... gorgeous. Because we cannot wait to share them with you, we are including a bit of a teaser in this blog.

Stay tuned next week for a video preview, up close and personal, of the pots. At this opening, we will also have available some holiday ornaments, ranging in shape from snowmen to stars to little dogs. ALSO…As a special gift, the first six customers in line will receive a mug, the number on the mug corresponding with their place in line. Hope to see you on Dec 4th and 5th!

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November 6, 2010

Last pots of 2010

 

So, this is it.  It’s crunch time.  Joseph’s been in the pottery non-stop the past few weeks just trying to get everything made that is on our laundry list of things we would like to have available at our Holiday Opening (Dec 4th and 5th, don’t forget!). 

This round, Joseph made some really sweet little teapots.  Come check them out, because they are truly adorable.

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He also made a couple boards worth of pitchers, and more than a few boards of lidded jars.  Pitchers will come in two sizes, and jars will range in size from small to large.IMG_3338 (800x600)

New this cycle, just for the holidays, we made ornaments.  And, I do really mean we this time (as VP of the pottery, I don’t really get my hands dirty very often).   You will find a range of ornaments for your holiday tree, including camels, reindeer, snowmen, chickens, angels, stars, a lion or two, and schnauzers (seriously!). 

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Finally, Joseph wrapped up his production cycle by cranking out a plethora of mugs.  We should have plenty for everyone.  And….for those that show up early on saturday, we have made, especially for you, commemorative mugs for the first 6 customers.  They are playfully decorated with the digits 1 through 6. 

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This weekend, he has been busy cleaning up around the kiln with the help of our good friend Dale Hall.  He has been a devoted laborer here at the pottery and I know that Joseph is grateful for the additional help around the place.  The kiln is clean, shelves and posts have been prepped, and the pots are ready.  The firing schedule is made up, posted up on the fridge.  Loading starts tomorrow and ends on wednesday, with the first sign of flame in the kiln on thursday.  Temperature, and anticipation, will only build from there….

 

Finally, our good friend Daniel Johnston held a very special kiln opening, where he made 100 big pots.  It was incredible to pull up early and see a very substantial line, selling out of pots before we could even pick out one we liked.  Congratulations to Daniel, Kate, and John for a stellar feat!

IMG_3306 And it just so happened that a flock of current and previous Mark Hewitt apprentices were at the event. 

IMG_3310 Pictured, with date of apprenticeship at Hewitt Pottery: John Vigland, current apprentice for Daniel Johnston; Seth Guzovksy 2010-Present; Brad Lail 2010-Present; Daniel Johnston 1997-2001; Carol Hewitt; Joseph Sand 2006-2009; Alex Matisse 2008-2009; Matt Jones Fall 1999; and Eric Smith 2000-2002.

October 27, 2010

2010 Holiday Kiln Opening

Here we are at another kiln opening.  We can’t believe how quickly this time has come upon us.  It feels like we just fired the kiln.  It is a vicious, glorious cycle; one that is thoroughly enjoyable and worth every minute.  It is not for the faint of heart. Joseph works long hours in the pottery, moving countless pounds of clay, followed by a few hours of splitting wood before coming in at dark. 

The last kiln opening taught us so many things: about sales and marketing, how to throw a party, time management, and a lot about ourselves individually and how we function as a team.  This next opening should be smooth sailing now that we have our first one under our belts, right? 

Please come and join us for our…

 

First Holiday Opening

December 4th, 2010

9am to 5pm

&

December 5th, 2010

Noon to 5pm

For more information and directions, please visit our website: www.jsspottery.com

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P.S. Stay tuned for a special sneak peak of the pots coming soon to this very blog…Kiln Firing and Unloading 355 (613x800)

October 23, 2010

Much Needed Vacation

Joseph and I are exhausted.  We were told that a vacation is a requirement in the business of self-employment; take care of your well-being first, your family’s second, and your business last.  Wise words from a wise man, Mark Hewitt.  We decided to take him up on that and made a trek to the glorious mountains in their fall splendor.  It has been so desperately dry this year across the state that the colors, even though they were changing, were seeming a bit dull and crunchy.  But, nevertheless, it was a vacation!

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We made a stop to visit our friend, Alex Matisse.  He recently finished the construction of his kiln and had a get-together to celebrate.  It included a pig pickin’ (a southern tradition that I had never been privy to until now) and some other fine delicacies.  He has a beautiful place up in Mars Hill, NC, just outside of Asheville.  Check him out when you get a chance, he writes a fantastic blog and makes beautiful, functional wares.

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Alex needed to borrow some muscle, so Joseph was eager to help.

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Alex raised this pig on his own property, so we knew we were eatin’ good that night!  Congrats Alex and all the best in your endeavors!

October 9, 2010

Back at it again…

Asheboro Fall Festival 2010f

Well, as many of you know, we had a fantastic turnout at our kiln opening, proceeding to completely sell out of pots.  What a bummer, right?!?!  We had plan B and plan C all ready in the wing to take up the extra inventory we assumed we would have.  So, when the Asheboro Fall Festival rolled around, we were a little unsure of what to do.  Finally, we decided it would be most important for us to be present at the event, but what to do about pots?  We had to dig up all the pots we had set aside for ourselves to keep (include a few that the family members from Minnesota had purchased), packed them VERY carefully, and drove to the festival.

  Asheboro Fall Festival 2010g

The large pots were delivered the night previous, with the help of our neighbor’s pickup truck.  Ours was on the mend at the time, with a stubby tire (i.e. standard) substitute for the rear wheel, since the tires one-by-one had the treads literally explode off of them while driving.  The tires on the truck are those super-duty all-terrain kind that tell passers-by that this is a “serious work truck.”  Just the day previous, I had to go and rescue Joseph in Seagrove because this very thing had just happened.  He had just stopped at STARworks to pick up some clay and other materials and made it about 10 miles before disaster ensued.  Luckily, I was available so I popped down to help him replace the tire, moving about 300 pounds of clay into the trunk of our diesel VW Jetta. 

Needless to say, we made it here to downtown Asheboro with no problems.  The event turned out really well and we had a great response from those that visited our booth.  We did a giveaway of one of our pots we had set aside, which was really fun.  A lot of people signed up for that one. 

Joseph has been busy in the workshop and around the pottery lately.  We only have about a month to finish up pots before the firing.  It’s coming up fast, but we’ll be more ready for this one, having experienced one firing and kiln opening already.

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When Joseph wraps up making and glazing in the workshop, he heads out to one of his many wood piles around the place to get some chainsaw action.  Nothing like good work to help you fall asleep quickly at night!

 

no problem!

August 29, 2010

A little time for friends

Last night, we had the pleasure of visiting the home of our friends, John and Sally Burris, in Raleigh. They came out during our Buy a Brick sale last friday evening, and purchased a very special big pot. This pot had been thru one other incarnation, which subsequently broke in transport during the making. It also happens to be my (Amanda speaking) favorite pot out of the whole firing. It is now resting peacefully in its new home, and Joseph and I couldn't be happier! The location is stunning. We don't think we could have brought a better house warming gift!



After unloading the pot, we were treated to a lovely outdoor dinner, good conversation and a scattered shower. Our meal included Caprese with pesto (yum!), fresh bread, corn on the cob, cole slaw, a boil including shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and to top it all off, lobster. Dessert was a peach and raspberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. It was absolutely delectable. I had never had lobster before, let alone have to learn how to open it up and basically tear into it. You appreciate your food so much more when it still has its animal appearance on your plate. There's nothing like staring into the eyes of your lobster as you eat its claw.

Anyways, the conversation was fascinating, with their daughter Margaret having done some freelance work in tv and film production. She shared with us insider details on the many tv shows she has worked on prior to enlisting back in grad school at UNC last year to get her MBA. We were also joined by two other MBA students and a gastroenteroligist. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about!

John and Sally, thank you for a fantastic evening!

August 21, 2010

Sold Out! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Joseph and I are quite literally overwhelmed by the great success of our first kiln opening. We had a wonderful crowd of people show up and we are proud to have sent home many lovely pots to great new homes. It was a pleasure meeting new people and seeing our old friends again. We hope that you return for many more of our kiln openings.

Our first kiln opening has been so successful that we actually sold most of the pots by noon on Saturday. We still have the opening advertised as running from noon until 5:00 on Sunday. If you didn’t make it out today and plan on coming on Sunday, please be advised that there are very few pots left, mainly large ones. We would love to have you visit us and look around the pottery, but we apologize for the lack of pots. We would welcome you to come to the next opening which will probably be in the first part of December.

Joseph will be busy this next week starting on the next cycle of pots. We look forward to seeing all of you for the next kiln opening!

August 18, 2010

Pottery Preview

Since we are not having a formal preview on-site, we thought we would provide one via the web. Joseph is narrating on this one. Enjoy!

video

August 15, 2010

Stellar!



It seems as though our luck with the first full firing ever of this new kiln has coincided with the current meteor shower above our heads. What an absolutely incredible experience. We had a lot riding on this firing, probably not thinking the clearest when we decided to hold a sale right after firing a kiln that had never before reached the temperatures we were going to bring it to. I guess nobody knows that the roller coaster is secure unless someone rides on it first. There's only so many safety precautions you can take, but if it malfunctions, well.....we won't talk about it.



We'll start with some photos showing the unfired pottery and the process of how it is stacked in the kiln:

Shown: Unfired planters


Shown: Unfired big pots

Next, a video showing just a bit of the firing process, the first part showing the guys in action while stoking the kiln and the second part showing the intensity of the end of the firing, where stoking and salting of the pots are happening simultaneously. At about two minutes, a promo pops up so just hang on for a few seconds and the video will continue:


video

Then, a few shots of the guys and the real stars of the show, the pots!







Pictured: Alex Matisse

Pictured: Mark Hewitt



Pictured: Alex Matisse, Mark Hewitt, Seth Guzovsky, Brad Lail, Joseph Sand

Finally, we have some photos of the unloading of the kiln. Truly spectacular firing!



Shown: Dave Stumpfle

This is the after shot of the loading photo seen above.

Shown: Levi Mahan and Joseph carrying a big pot from the kiln up to the workshop.


With the expertise of Mark Hewitt and Alex Matisse, along with the many crucial helpers (Andy McMahan, Spencer Johnson, Dave York, Beverly Fox, Seth Guzovsky, Brad Lail, Levi Mahan, Lara and Jim O'Keefe, Dave Stumpfle, and Mark and Mike Allred), the kiln fired beautifully.

Thanks for all your help!