Changing it up

Post date: Aug 03, 2020 12:14:7 PM

The Hanover League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Gallery has permanently closed. This is rather devastating for so many reasons. It was a place where beauty and love expounded, inspiration flowed and many of my friendships were born and fostered. And, it was also where I sold most of my work. Though the Craftstudies studios are still hanging on, Covid is taking its toll on our livelihoods. I have not remained unscathed; I have not been teaching or throwing pottery since March.

In the midst of all the uncertainty, I have been trying to learn how to be flexible. Thankfully, my family is learning to be flexible, too - and generous towards me. I have a been able to rent a wheel and started throwing some pottery in my mudroom. This has enabled me to not let my skills slip.

I love my mudroom. Together, my husband and I lovingly built the whole thing from scratch, including a contoured window bench, huge double windows to let in light with exquisite trim and a hand cut tile floor. But it is a mudroom, and my family uses it as such. There are boots with cow manure on them from my son who works on the farm across the street. And dirty laundry mounding up in the attached bathroom. And shoes everywhere.

Ordinarily, this would be no problem. I am used to sharing my space and I am used to messes. And so I threw a dozen mugs.

These five mugs were the only mugs that did not meet destruction. Fifty percent of my work was wrecked. One from a flung shoe. One was knocked by the bathroom door. A wareboard was bumped by a laundry basket. There is no proper water filtration system for the water that has clay in it. There is no spot for greenware or bisqueware. And most importantly, there is no power for hooking up my kiln. My mudroom is not a suitable place for me to set up an rudimentary pottery space.

So if I am going to work from home, I have to get creative. No problem. I'm an artist. That is what I do. And so while I was figuring out how to handle the pottery situation, I sewed up this quilt for someone I love dearly. I thought and gardened and sewed - trying to decide what to do.

And there, behind the quilt, beyond the garden, and way out back is my soon to be chicken-coop-turned-art-shack.

Behold! My new 12'x16' art shack!

My family has been wonderful! They helped me cut down a huge tree that was threatening to flatten the structure. They jacked up the shack for the sill to be replaced. They helped me moved it about 50' closer to an existing waterline. (This was a painfully slow process that involved jacking it up, putting round fence posts under it and pushing with bars and all our might to get it to slowly roll, inch by inch closer.) It is not insulated. There are no windows for light. There isn't really a door that would keep out any critters (except for a bear). But it is a start.

I have a rented wheel and a beautiful kiln ready to be hooked up. But.....

I do need power run out to the shack for the kiln and wheel. I do need a fire barrier to provide safe place to fire the kiln. I do need insulation so I can work in winter, and some kind of heater. I do need a door that will keep animals out. And I do need rudimentary shelving for greenware, bisqueware and finished pottery. I do need a floor that can be mopped to decrease particulate exposure and health hazard. I do need a water filtration system and a utility sink. It would be a luxury to buy a wheel of my own. And I would love some windows for painting in natural light.

In the mean time, I'll be doing what I can to set up the likely scenario of having my three children at home for a year of remote learning and working from home. And I'm painting. Right now I'm working in pastels. But will start working in oils again toward the end of this month.

Here is is a quick pastel painting I did of three children eating lunch on the top of Rattlesnake Mt.

And this is the one I sketched up yesterday and will start to paint today. Meadowlarks have the most beautiful song and they are such cheerful little things that just fill you right up with joy.

So, if you have ever liked any of my paintings, please consider buying one now so I can get my art shack up and running a little faster, enabling me to do pottery from home and paint a little easier. You may send me an email at or you can PM me on Facebook and we can arrange delivery. Also, stay tuned for pottery that will (hopefully) be coming in time for Christmas.