Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Life's Work

I am extremely happy with the way my work has been developing over the past little while. The feedback online and in person has been phenomenal. I have been working very hard to develop the Celtic Porcelain line into something I can be proud of, and I think that I just might be getting somewhere with it.
I have had many technical problems to work out with these latest peices. The heavy stamping, and layering of stamps was wreaking havoc with the rims during drying. Many adjustments were made in the depth of the stamps, the thickness of the clay, the speed of the drying and even the curve of the pots themselves . Finally I have most of the kinks worked out, and my successes are many, and my losses are few. 
Those who know me well, will attest that I am VERY particular about my work. I pay a great deal of attention to detail, in both the design and execution of my work. I research technique relentlessly,I seek out both advice and criticism. I want my work to stand on its own merit. I am a perfectionist, and I am okay with being that way. I have friends who keep that in check for me. Mostly I listen to the voice of sanity that they represent. Mostly. Sometimes I just hand them the pot in question, and tell them to take it home, out of my radar. Either way, we all end up happy.

The part I struggle with the most is maintaining "true" production work. I feel that I am almost there with the confetti line. I have a set range of products, they are basically alike, the colours are consistant, the stamps are the same, the variation comes in the patterning, I like that the stamps are randomized, no two peices are exactly the same pattern.  However I can now set a table with this line, which I guess makes it semi complete. Now I just have to make bunches of it without flying off on another design tangent.
I have decided to reward myself for this tight and consistant line by  giving myself complete artistic freedom on my large Celtic pieces. I am allowing myself this playground, this permission to make 'em all different. This is where I want to be.

A Whole Lot of Change.

So sorry that I haven't been keeping up with my promised posts. I have led a very hectic life since May. There have been so many major life changes since the spring, I hardly know where to start. First of all, I should just say that sudden change is difficult for me to process. The past five months have been CHOCK FULL of sudden change. I have been on automatic pilot, getting stuff done, and taking it one day at a time. We are slowly coming through the other side of what may have been the most overwhelming experience of my recent life. Its been a crazy ride, and I am glad that things are slowing down. I am now in the process of re evaluating my path and making this pottery thing survive this season, and continue to grow. This is not as easy as it might seem. But in the end, lizziespots, has a new home, and a new studio.

This move was both unexpected, and very poorly timed. It was extremely difficult to balance all of the important things in my life, keep my business going, and my family together and sane. All in all, we have come out the other side(almost) a little worse for the wear, a little bit dusty, but mostly intact. I have learned a lot about my own resilience through this move. I have strengthened some friendships, and I have made some new ones.  I am busily trying to restructure my business, and make up for the loss of income and of production time that were a result of the move. I very nearly tossed in the towel, and quit pottery altogether. At times it seemed nearly impossible to keep up with all the many things that needed to be done. I am exhausted, but I am nearly there. My last few back orders will ship this week. I will be able to breathe for a minute, and tackle the next hurdle.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

NSDCC Summer Show July 22 -24 2011

I am so pleased to be the cover artist for the NSDCC Summer show Flyer! Sharing the page with a good friend Joan Mackenzie. Two Capers on the cover.. next , we take over the world!!
So y'all gotta come check out my booth at the summer show in Halifax. I will have lots of this fine confetti ware, and some other whimsical pots to check out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Yarn Tardis.....or Yardis..Yarnis...?

Perfect for knitting while watching your favourite doctor.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So Much Happening...

Sorry I haven't posted of late. Life has been , to say the least hectic. I have been making a bit of effort to beef up my online store at etsy, and get more involved with moving toward broadening my sales area and get some pots out to my Galleries in time for the summer influx of tourists. Its a crazy time of year for me, and it is only getting crazier. Preparation has begun for the NSDCC Summer show in July, I have chosen a smaller booth size this year, 5x10 rather than 10x10. It feels like a better space to me. I had this size at the Christmas show, and it was great. So now the push is on to fill that booth with goodies, and sell out completely.
I have managed to get some new product designed, and am putting the great push on to sell a metric buttload of pots between now and the end of July, when I will be moving house and Studio. The push will then be on to get ready for the Big Christmas shows, and the Celtic Colours International festival.

Amongst all of this business, I have been filling orders for these Police Call Box mugs. If I sell enough of these, I can move to a place that isn't a cardboard box. Great time to pre order for Graduation/Christmas... Only $45 Canadian, plus shipping....Oh, and Fathers Day is just around the Corner...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So Yeah, Toronto.....

First off- to those still waiting for their Easter Cards, (you know who you are)....... they are coming, they are not lost in the mail, they are late because of human error, sickness and an international trip. I promise they will be special and worth the wait.

So this is the view from my sisters apartment. Its pretty spectacular really. Now, despite being in my sister's company for an entire week, I neglected to get even one picture of the two of us. I did however get lots of pictures of the dogs she works with. Hey, I got priorities...

This fellow was such a handsome and well behaved dog, and could pass for a horse in a pinch...nd of course like all good aunties, I took a ton of pictures of my beautiful canine neice Miss Cracker

Such a pretty little hound. Cracker and I had a great visit. Maggi and I did too. It was a fantastic visit all round.
The main  purpose of my visit to Toronto was to attend the Toronto One of a Kind Show, and do some market research, in preperation to attend as a vendor in the fall. I spent a few days wandering the halls of this show There were more than 400 vendors, all of whom were juried in . The quality of the work was fabulous. The show was so well organized, and the staff was amazingly helpful. It was a joy to attend, and yes I bought stuff- how could I not??? I was however very good at practising restraint. I bought two small pieces of pottery for myself, a funky monster fabric bracelet for the girl child, and a really cool robot /city scape print for the boy child. all in all it was a lot to take in, but I came away from the show with a pretty good idea of what to expect, and the knowledge that I should definitely leave my credit card at home when I go back as a vendor, or the proceeds of my sales will just be gone.
I am really glad that I took this time to go and observe the show before jumping in as a vendor. I was very nervous about preparing for the show. I had no clue how much stock I would need, or how to possibly make all my pots arrive there safely, or how to display it when I got it there. There sure is a lot to think about when attempting to do  a show that far away. I was very glad that I had the opportunity to meat with Valerie Roy, at the show, she was amazing, and took the time to answer my questions, and show me a bit of the ins and outs of the show. Suffice it to say, that after talking with Valerie and many of the fabulous vendors from across the continent, my worries have been allayed. The show does not feel like a scary place anymore... and the preparation has begun.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Toronto Bound....

So I cleaned out my bank account (literally) and purchased a plane ticket. I will be landing In Toronto Tuesday afternoon, ready and raring to go... I am going to be attending the Toronto One of a Kind Show. No, don't get all excited now, I am not exhibitting there yet. This is a recon mission, I am going to scope out the show, take down some notes.. and lay down the groundwork to get my booth designed and pots made for the November Show. Its pretty darned exciting. Hopefully I will have a good day at market tomorrow, so there will be a bit of spending money while I am in TO. On a happy note though, I got funding to go, so 65% of my costs will be reimbursed. This is a VERY good thing. I have more I could say, but I am sleepy, its 3:15 in the morning, and there is a ton of stuff to do to get ready for market. ttfn

Friday, March 18, 2011

High Five Friday......Giv'r...

Sending out a Big ole Cape Breton HIGH FIVE! there are lots of folk out there deserving a high five this week. My personal biggest high five goes out to all those who are risking their lives to avert meltdown at Japan nuclear facilities this week. To all the Aid workers taking care of the wounded, the displaced and the hungry.... You are all my heroes.
To all those out there in blogland who are finishing up the week, HIGH FIVE!

India is our official high five model this week....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jack The Ripper

Whern I was in Halifax last November for the NSDCC Christmas Market, I took a little trip downtown to my favourite yarn store. Now, I truly have no need for more yarn, or fibre of anykind. I have multiple rubber maid containers to illustrate this point. But I always need to take a little stroll through the shop to fondle the yarns and feast on the colours.
So there I was fondling the braids of hand dyed spinning fibre, when this little gem popped out at me. Its really a lovely blood red and black/grey combo It looks a little orangy here, but you get the idea. I thought it was just beautiful, and soft and lovely, but I was putting it back because this was supposed to be a LOOKING trip. Then I read the tag. Its called "Jack The Ripper" . I squeeled out loud and giggled. How GORY!!!!! I love it. Suddenly, I found myself whipping out the debit card... and adding to my already unmanageable stash of fibre.
I'll be taking Jack to Market with me on Saturday, along with my Drop spindle. I figure spinning is a good pastime for those few slow moments I have at market. If my hands are busy, I can't use them to stuff myself full of delicious baked goods from the stand next to mine. Good plan no?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What is Old, Is New Again.

All of these photos, and stories about my family filtering through my brain are starting to take on a life of their own. In the past two weeks I have learned so many interesting things, heard tall tales recounted by my Aunt Ann, originally told by my great Grandad Joseph Beck. Old stories, from the early 1900's, recorded by iphone in Fredericton, and sent by audiofile to Cape Breton. Technology is a wonderful thing.
 Hearing my Aunt retell the tale of my Great grandad's dog chasing a Rabbit through a stone wall in England, brought back memories of my Nan telling me the same story when I was a small girl. I was quickly able to recall the story in its entirety, though my aunt had forgotton bits of it.
The rather serious looking young man  on the left in this picture, is my Great Grandfather Beck. It was he, who was apparently quite the character, telling tall tales to anyone who would listen. I think I would have liked this guy alot. It seemed he had a wild imagintaion, and a bit of a twisted sense of humour. I like to think he was a tad adventurous as well, moving his entire family to a brand new country and leaving everything he knew behind, starting a brand new life at 42, with a young wife and seven kids in tow. This man and his stories have inspired  some new ideas for me, I am not yet sure how they will manifest, be it in art pieces, or production work, but I just know its going to be exciting work either way. I can hardly wait to get started.
To make something new, and to honour those who came before me

Friday, March 11, 2011


In our house there is always something interesting happening. Someone has always got something fabulous and intriguing underway. More often than not, it is miss India who has some crazy scheme happening, or a wild art project to undertake.
 A few weeks ago, it was Science fair and pinhole photography.Once this project was over we had a few weeks breather and suddenly, its Historica fair time. This time she decided that she would do her family tree. Egads, could she have picked a tougher topic???? I mean what's wrong with doing a history project that you can research at the library???
 At first I was a little disgruntled, and thinking that this was an impossible task, after all, we have little contact with her father's family and  I did not have a great deal of contact with my extended family until recently. But she was determined, and so... we googled a few names, and searched some obituaries online to get some idea of what kind of task we were looking at. I sent a broad request out on Facebook to my family for information  WOW!! is all I can say. My family has sent scads of information, and a ton of photos. Its mind boggling!
I am totally jazzed by all of these photos, and now I want to know the stories behind them all. I am dying to find out everything I can about all of these interesting looking people. I can't wait to see what Miss India does with this project. Its bound to be a little one sided, as most of the info we have is of my Mother's side of the family. But its okay if her family tree looks more like a windswept Bonsai, than a mighty symetrical Oak. Its going to be interesting nonetheless.
Among the Many photos we recieved there are some that I am just blown away by. In Particular is this studio Portrait of my maternal grandmother.
I received so many beautiful photos, I simply have to do something with them all. Its so amazing to me to look at these photos many generations gone by, and see my siblings, and my children staring back at me. We sure have some strong genetic action goin on in the Beck family.
Genetics are pretty strong on the Brewer side as well, but blogger is not letting me upload the proof. Suffice it to say, give my hair a bob, and slap a  1920's style dreess on me, and I am my great aunt Irma!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


There is nothing about these two bowls that I am not in love with.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

happy bowl!

A few posts ago I talked about all things celtic, and showed you a few photos of some works in progress. This is one of the large stamped bowls all finished! It turned out so pretty!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blast From the Past

Some of you may know, I led a past life as a textile artist.  I did a lot of weaving, dying of fleece and yarns, some spinning, some felting, A TONNE of sewing... basically all things textile. Except Crochet.  I hate crochet. Not the look of it, that I love. Its the doing it. I can't get into it. Makes me cranky even. These days my textile work extends mostly to sporadic knitting at the perk, when I remember to show up. I have been knitting the same shawl for two or three years now. DON'T JUDGE!!!  Its more of a social thing for me these days. And if you want to stretch the idea of textile work, I do make the yarn bowls...

And I do really like making the yarn bowls. I haven't really thought about my textile work a lot lately, just pumping out the pottery, and pushing around boxes of yarns and fabrics that are languishing about my living space. But earlier this week, something happened. It seems as though some pretty cool folk I know have started a Farmer's Market! This is a very cool thing BTW. Check it out! the Downton Sydney Farmer's Market, going live on Feb 26 2011!!!
Of course I applied for a spot at this hot and happenin new venue.  when I applied I applied as a potter, who might maybe want to sell some textile type stuff. I sent photos of my pots along with my app, and got a message back asking for some images of textiles. M'kay I thought, there must be a shot or two somewhere, of something I made. Nada, zip, zilch.. NOT ONE. All of them were lost when My last Frankenputer died. I was about to give up when I remembered I had pictures on my old blog. YAY!!!
So since I did all the work hauling them off that blog and sending them to The FM , I thought I would share a few with Y'all.

No word on whether I am "in" yet, but I am sure they will at least let me sell my pots........