Sunday, December 30, 2012

End of December

breakfast apple in my coat pocket

knit hat in pumpkin orange

tracks made by running rabbits

straw-haired snowman and his tiny sidekick

small hills laced with failed sled attempts

long tall sally shadow 

black boot crunch on geometric ice

a woodpecker's knock

empty path

here i go

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Trunk Show at Jane!!

Days are blurring by like the view from the windows of a moving train.  But it's a pretty view, nonetheless!

Coming up is Mudstar's Trunk Show at the fabulous Jane.  It's where I sold my very first lamp a few years ago, and it's like coming full-circle, even a little like coming home.  My Etsy shop gives a little taste of what's in "store", but not everything....(She says, teasingly...)  And there will even be some little star ornaments made with Jane's logo in mind!  Mmmm....picture Jane Blue glaze...

Jane is lovely.  Jane is chic.  Jane is eco-conscious.  Jane is community-minded.  Jane is kind to artists.  I LOVE JANE.

Please click here for the shop's pretty website, all done up in..what else...hues of Jane Blue.

The show runs from Thursday, December 6th through Saturday, December 8th.  Hours for all three days are 10am to 8pm.  On Thursday, Mudstar will be paired up with Lisa Ham, who makes these beautiful, ribboned gift items. Love her colors!

Come scoop up some colorful, handmade holiday gifts made by local folks - something for everyone!  And as always, especially at this time of year, I am so grateful for these opportunities, for my sweet customers, for kind store managers and shop keepers, for local businesses.  Thank you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Patterns from Terhune's

Brought my niece, nephew and the boys to Terhune's Farm, right down the street on Cold Soil Road. Brrrrrrrr....buttoned up jackets, furry hats, and paper cups of hot cider.  (With gingerbread cookies for the kids...Terhune's rightly does NOT skimp on the icing...mmmm.)  Breathed deeply the icy air, tucked my nose into the grey weathered bins of fresh-cut evergreens, and watched my kids help my sister's kids feed the goats.  Bliss.

My cold fingers found enough leverage to capture these pretty patterns from vintage tractors and some fence posts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Befores and Afters

A gigantic thank you to all my wonderful customers at the Princeton Y Crafters Marketplace.  I am happy to say that I had my best-selling show ever!  It was lovely to chat with everyone and to send them home with some colorful pottery.

I’m a bit tired and nursing a cranky back, so not a lot of words today.  Just a few photos to do the talking and offer a little color from the show.   xo

Mini Tweets: Before
Bright and Shiny After

Poinsettias: Before
Poinsettias: After
Before: Princeton Y Crafters Marketplace Booth
Full After
Before the show: A Nest of Lovebird Vases
After : An Empty Nest (Yay!)

Before: Birdie Dishes

Shiny After

More elbow room for the birdies...

Monday, November 12, 2012

What's Next, Mudstar?

The last thing I should be doing right now is write a blog post.  But I always seem to do things when I'm not supposed to.  Like cleaning out the fridge when I should fill out paperwork, or move my summer clothes upstairs when I should be trimming pots.

My tush should be at the wheel right now.  Oh, I'll head down there in 20 minutes, I promise, but I'm a little preoccupied at the moment.  What's happening? I said in the post before this one, I've been re-evaluating my direction, and I can't stop thinking about where I want to go.

I love ceramics.  There's a physical response in my body for clay, which is unlike any I've had towards anything else.  But I feel the need to stretch my muscles, to do some new things.  I want to write more.  My blog, a play, a book? And I want to push myself in claywork, to somewhere that feels new and maybe a little uncomfortable.  I feel, dare I say it, ready to take on work that's a little more...yikes...serious.

I'm a little torn.  Over the last year and a half, I've been building up this little business, developing happy patterns and designs that I have repeated over and over again, because they seem to be loved and they sell well.  And isn't that why I started this whole Mudstar business in the first place?  To see if I could make money from my art?  I wanted to legitimize myself in that way.  It seemed so important at the time.

The more I go to workshops, the more I read articles about other potters, the more I read their blogs and see their work, the more I sketch and the more I write, the more I realize how little I know and how much more I want to learn.  I feel as if I have just completed my freshman year and now I'm a sophomore.  I want to push myself in a way I haven't felt in a long time.  Or maybe that I've never felt.  To take risks.  To make work that might fail spectacularly.

Though I know I haven't made my last little Tweet dish, or Hydrangea candle, I'm a little twinge-y about switching gears.  But I think I have to think about it this way: there is NO WAY I could have taken a leap of faith in a new creative direction if I hadn't gained confidence with my Mudstar.  She's made me braver.  She's made me deal with face-to-face criticism. She's made me accept failure.  She's made me smile when I wrap up a sold-something that I made with my own two hands.  When I sell to a stranger.  She's made me tougher and she's made me ready for the next bit.

So what is next?  For now, Mudstar is thinking ahead only as far as the holidays.  So lucky to be close to home until then.... Get your little red Tweets while the getting is hot!! :)

  • The Arts Council's Sauce for the Goose Holiday Sale, which runs the month of December.  Stay tuned to'll be posting details soon.

This holiday...
Shop local.  Shop handmade.  Shop special.  Shop the little guy!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Creative Pass: 3 Months to Noodle

Learning curves.  Trying things out.  Making mistakes.  And more mistakes, and okay, pile a couple more on top there.  (Try the left-hand side of pile.  There's a little space left...just chuck it on up there - it can handle it.  Uh oh, it's wobbling...)

This has been a busy fall.  I've never churned out more work.  My hair has never looked worse.  I can just hear my poor son's thoughts as I trudge over to school to pick him up: "Oh geez, there's dusty Mom in her dirty clogs again.  Hope my friends are already on their buses. Sigh...."  I have not gone on the fall school trips, or baked any cakes.  The kids have to go to the dryer and pray there are clean jeans in there.  There has been a lot of pizza for dinner.  I have missed my book club once, a fundraiser twice, and the mighty Toni Morrison reading at Princeton University.  (It was free, too.  Free!)

I get it: though new experiences are not exactly warm and fuzzy, they are necessary to keeping the blood flowing, the synapses firing and business moving.  New this fall: three shows I've never done before, a trunk show, working with brand-new clay, (though to disastrous results.)  And I said yes to a small collaboration with an interior designer, though that terrifies me to no end. 

All good things, but I find myself pretty tired, truth be told.  These days I'm feeling more like a factory than an artist.  I'm not having any, dare I say it, fun?  Something's got to change.  There is not a lot of balance in my current state of being.   

So I am making myself a promise: 2013 will be the "Year of Working Smarter, Not Harder".  I have some new ideas and new sketches to work on after December.  I'm giving myself a pass.  A three-month pass to noodle.  I'm giving myself three months to re-evaluate my business and my path.  To decide where I want things to go.  To find a way to create balance.  To have time to brew, to sketch, to write.  To let the new ideas rise to the top, like cream.

To tide me over, I am going to see Margaret Atwood read this Tuesday at McCosh Hall.  8 p.m.  Come hell or high water or homework implosions or kiln explosions, come lack of milk in the fridge or clean laundry in drawers, come one bag of clay left or an unfortunate, though well-intended ceramic bead exploration. 

Dear Margaret, 

I will be the one with the bad hair in the third row, snoring on her neighbor's shoulder.  Love your work. Seminal to my early love of writing. I'm reaaalllyyy pooped.  



But  I. AM. GOING.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wonky + Imperfect = Beautiful

I'm drawn to all things imperfect.  Wonky things.  Crooked things.  Things that have been broken and then repaired.  I like the rusty, the leaning, the drippy, the patched.  I love old things made useful again in a new way, things that show they've been loved well.  I like old materials, modern lines.

Hell to the yeah, my work is imperfect.  (As am I.... :) I'd be lying if I didn't say that throwing a perfectly smooth, symmetrical, even piece didn't feel great sometimes, but for the most part - showing fingerprints and glaze drips are what make my pieces feel real, and alive and tune them to that handmade wave that I love so much.

Thought I'd share some of the perfectly imperfect design that are currently ringing my bell:

This beautifully wrinkly linen apron from bookhau at home.

These drippy scallop wall stickers from Jim Houser at WhatisBlik.

My favorite book at the moment: 
Handcrafted Modern by Leslie Williamson

English Burl and Walnut Table by George Nakashima
Masterful at highlighting the beauty of flaws. Oh, the joinery!!

Elephant Ceramics is the brainchild of Michelle Michael, a stylist who couldn't find the earthy, drippy ceramics she wanted to prop her shoots, so she designed her own!  I find them delightful.

Check out her beautifully-photographed website, including her blog, at

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Clover Market, Here We Come!!

Tomorrow morning, (Sunday), early, early, we head out to Ardmore, Pennsylvania, as Booth #95 in the Clover Market.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Clover's fabulousness, I have re-posted the blog about my visit there in May, below.  The vendors are super-high quality - I bought a LOT: silkscreen prints, earrings, cards, a little gift for my niece.  Every booth was cuter than the next. And the folks were so professional and prepared.  (She says, cringing a little, biting her nails and feeling a little highly-jiggly...)

Am I nervous?  Um...yeah, a little.  It's my first time as a seller at the Market.  It's my first time using the new tent.  And I vacillate between hoping I have enough inventory, and stressing that no one will buy anything.  I hope Square won't be temperamental.  Will the other vendors in my area be nice?  Since we're a first-time vendor here, we have been assigned a spot that is not as highly-trafficked, and I worry about that, too.

But I gotta let that all go, dress pretty, and do my thing.  Right?  By this time on Monday, it'll all be over and it will be what it will be, and I will sold what I have sold.  And hopefully, I will feel like an old pro, and want to do it again in the spring.  Wish me luck, butter beans!!

This is the song that is getting me jazzed up: 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Clover Market

The Clover Market in Ardmore, PA.  First visit there and may I be so bold as to suggest it might be my new favorite?  Loved this market.  LOVED it.

This three-year old market, nestled in the charming town of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, is held one Sunday per month, April through November, and is a beautifully curated collection of handmade and vintage items.   It's a juried market, so there are NO cheezy Barbie toilet paper covers or dried flower decor - only gorgeous handmade or curated vintage things: handsewn linen pillows, blue-dotted mugs with handles that fit perfectly in your hand, letterpress goods, silver jewelry cut fine as lace.  There are vintage necklaces and dresses by the bushel, and colorful mirrors whose frames are made from vintage tin.

A little food truck is parked near the stalls, giving out samples of small batch, natural sodas to passersby.  Inside a nearby building are some other food vendors with wares like oatcakes, gluten free macaroons and grilled cheeses made to order.

I was completely impressed by the staging of the booths - each prettier than the next.  What a fun wander I had!   I came home with a print for my sister, an eco-friendly, reusable Space Invaders sandwich pouch for my little guy's lunchbox, and a reversible, (aqua and orange!) enameled necklace for me.

The remaining dates for the 2012 market are:


10 am - 5 pm rain or shine

12 E. Lancaster Ave.
Ardmore, PA 19003

Visit for more info.  FYI: they have a lovely blog with lots more info and eye candy.

p.s. Don't miss Milkboy Coffee in downtown Ardmore for live music and a damn fine latte.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nerikomi Magic

Click on the link for a little clay magic and a tune that will get you groovin' in your seat.  So grateful that I subscribe to John Britt's Clay Club blog, or else I wouldn't have seen this amazing little video nugget, documenting Dorothy Feibleman's Nerikomi process.  I will never again think my designs are labor-intensive....

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Happy To-Do List: 40 Things To Do In My 40s

Number #13
1) Learn Spanish. (Again.)
2) Read everything by the beloved Nora Ephron.
3) Write a full-length play.
4) Visit Austin, Texas.
5) Eat fresh feta cheese on a Greek isle.
6) Visit Copenhagen.
7) Learn how to make that elusive, acid yellow-green glaze I have in my head.
8) Bake a fresh, not canned, sour cherry pie.
9) Make a REALLY massive clay piece that has to be fired in stages and then assembled.
10) See Mudstar featured in a magazine/article.
11) Own a chalice by Beatrice Wood.
12) Take the kids to London.
13) Have my own hut.
14) Own the Crosby Library table from Dwell Studio.
15) Watch the film Norwegian Wood.
16) Live in a beach house all summer.
17) Build a house with Habitat for Humanity.
18) Visit the Vitra Museum in Germany.
19) Take a slipcasting class.
20) Make Easter bread like my Mom-Mom.
21) Visit Block Island.
22) Re-read A Swiftly Tilting Planet trilogy by Margaret L'Engle.
23) Kayak in the tidal pools on Martha's Vineyard.
24) Watch Twelve Angry Men.
25) Learn how to make fresh mozzarella.
26) Do a walkathon for a good cause.
27) Learn to enamel.
28) Clean out the attic.
29) See the Gaudi mosaics.
30) Stop complaining about the size of my butt.
31) Mount a small show of my own.
32) Teach my boys how to cook.
33) See sculpture from Ann Hamilton and Anselm Keifer in person.
34) Bike from Washington's Crossing to Frenchtown on the D&R Canal.
35) Write an anti-50 Shades romance novel, with a real woman as the protagonist.
36) Spend the day in the new Asbury Park taking photos.
37) Have a vacation, with just my husband, in a Caribbean sort of place.
38) Learn to drive stick.
39) Try Reiki.
40) Plant Allium.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oh, It's A Pig Cake Throwdown.

My little fellow turns 10 tomorrow.  Double digits.  Colin's first day on Earth began in exactly the same manner as he now greets every day: with vim and vigor, excited where the day will take him, and in a hurry.  The doctor missed the birth because it took her too long to get from the parking garage.  Seven minutes too long.  I asked the young nurse at the bottom of the bed what her name was.  She replied: "Heather."  I said, "Heather, you're catching this baby."  I saw her looking at the empty doorway, praying the doctor would appear.  "Um...okay...."  Two pushes and two minutes later, Colin came into the world.

Colin's nickname, to all who love him, is: Conna-do, because when he was little, he wanted to do everything himself. "No, Mommy, you NO do it.  CONNA do it!"  So when Conna-do turns double digits, you sorta have to make it a sassy special day, which means a couple of best buddies, Six Flags Great Adventure, and a Minecraft Pig Cake. (Throwdown challenge from Conna-do: C'mon, Mom, I KNOW you can make it!!)

One very dirty apron, a sink full of dirty knives in all the wrong sizes, and my very pores smelling of sugary frosting (and by that time, not in a good way...)  Voila!  A Minecraft Pig Cake and the satisfaction of hearing a table full of cute boys saying: "WOW..."