Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Internal Debate

Don't mind this post... more to do with me thinking out loud, and seeing what you all have to say...  Looking for input.

Right now, I do a lot of hand building.  95% of my work is hand building, working with slabs of clay rolled out with my slab roller.  Which, don't get my wrong, I enjoy doing...or I wouldn't be doing it at all.  But I have found that my true calling/niche is in sculpting.  And I really want to delve into that some more...explore the possibilities.

BUT, I have just gotten to the point where I have 5 stores where I have my items displayed, and soon to be 6!  This is HUGE for me!  What great opportunities!  But I don't know if my sculptured work would fly in these spaces.  One of them, perhaps..  Actually..  2 .. now that I think about it.  

With Christmas coming up, I know I'm going to be busy with Christmas ornaments and Christmas orders, so I don't know if I'm going to be able to "play" now..but maybe after Christmas I'll get to let this creative muse explore the ideas floating around in my head.  I've been trying to get better at sketching them out so I don't loose them.  It's helping quite a bit, surprisingly.  I need to find a way to balance my "good days" with fulfilling orders for the hand built stuff, and still giving me time to play and sculpt..  Hmm..
Footsteps For Freedom

I am thinking for my next sculpture, that it's going to be another set of military boots...thinking about creating a series..  And the series will be titled "B.O.G. - Boots On Ground".  No two sculptures will look alike, but they will all share a common theme and be somewhat similar....  So if you have any ideas, please feel free to let me know!  
Very small fish vase I made

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mudita Monday - 9 Sept 2013 - Salty Dog Tactical

Good Monday morning to you all!  I hope you had a great weekend, and there weren't too many football widows out there.  

When a Soldier becomes a veteran, the transition may seem seamless and easy to the onlookers.  But in reality, the transition from military to civilian life is difficult at best.  I miss my army life, I won't lie.  There are MANY veterans who start their own business once getting out of the military.  You're in control, and you don't have to worry about fitting into the social norm that society dictates.  Our social norm isn't well understood by those who haven't served.  ANYWAY, I'm getting off topic..  Today I want to share with you a veteran owned business, Salty Dog Tac

Salty Dog Tactical, LLC is a small disabled veteran owned business that is a retailer in medical supplies, out door & sportsman equipment and tactical gear.  They are based out of Pennsylvania.  You can find them on FACEBOOK.  They help fulfill a need for civilian service industries for people such as firefighters, paramedics, police, etc.  They post GREAT tips and information daily on their Facebook page, which really is helpful to know.  Please find them, tell them I sent ya, and support a small, veteran owned business.  I wish them all the best of luck, and sending positive vibes for success!!

Happy Mudita Monday!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


The last year has been chock full of transitions.  The best one of course, is being referred to as "Mrs. Barnes" now that I am a married woman. :)  But there have been other transitions.  My 11 year old son has come to live with us full time (YAY); I am unable to throw as much on the potters wheel as I would like due to my legs; and as a solitary potter, it is difficult to learn new techniques from other members in a studio, my "teacher" is YouTube.  Which don't get me wrong, there are a lot of wonderful videos on various pottery techniques on YouTube, but the camaraderie just isn't the same..

Having my son here with us is amazing.  It completes our little family, for sure.  He likes to come into my home studio with me and play with clay.  He has been making a snake family.  Very proud of him!  School started nearly two weeks ago, so getting into that routine, making sure chores are done, homework gets completed, and soon we will be adding sports practices and games to that as well!

I have been having increasing pain and weakness in my legs.  I have discovered that 15 minutes is the max that I can sit at my wheel and throw.  And where I am still learning much of the nuances of throwing on the wheel, 15 minutes just isn't going to cut it.  I have considered raising the wheel to a height so that when I sit on a bar stool, my legs are not at the same angle as when I am sitting.  It will be trial and error to find which angle works the best...perhaps this winter will be a good time for that... As a result, I have switched over to most hand building..ok...entirely hand building.  My slab roller is getting a lot of use.  However, if I do say so myself, I have been creating some pretty cute things!  Hoping that a lot of what is currently cooling down in my glaze firing in the kiln will turn out awesome, and the store in Caribou will take it in on consignment.  Speaking of which!  There is a new store that I will be selling my wares at in Caribou!  It's called "Works of Heart".  You should definitely check it out!  GREAT hand-made, Maine Made, items.  They also feature wooden furniture made by a local Amish community.

I have also begun using a new logo, created by the amazing Patricia Shea, of Patricia Shea Designs.  I feel that it showcases more of what I'm about.  The red, white, and blue coloring almost always invoke feelings of patriotism.  It's what I fought for for nearly 4 years as a combat medic.  Love the stars as well.  The smaller one, without pictures, is currently my FB business profile image as well as my Etsy avatar.  The larger, rectangular shaped one, is my FB cover photo. What are your opinions of the new logo???  Would love to hear your thoughts/feedback!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mudita Monday - 2 Sept 13 - Sandy Lamontange

As one of the leaders of the Etsy Maine Team, I get to assist in choosing the "MOM", also known as the member of the month.  There's no prize.. just recognition for a job well done.  

Sandy Lamontange of "GrandmaSandeze"
This month, our MOM is Sandy Lamontange.  And let me tell you.. it is well deserved!  She works hard to create numerous treasuries featuring as many team members' works as she can, and she always spreads the love.  She doesn't focus or favor one specific person/shop.  So this month, we all plan on creating treasuries in her name, with her being the #1 featured shop!  If you're on Etsy, please help us celebrate Sandy's nomination as our Member of the Month.
Scarf made by Sandy of Grandma Sandeze

Sandy's shop is called "Grandma Sandy's Boutique" and features beautiful hand knit items; from socks to scarfs, bibs to booties..  Her creations are truly top notch quality!

 This scarf is one of my favorites!  I love the colors!  Blues and greens have always been partial to my heart.

I couldn't think of a better person to write about today, on this Mudita Monday.  Namaste and Mudita to you Sandy! <3

Wondering what this whole "Mudita Monday" thing is all about?  Go HERE, to my initial post to learn more about it. 

'Til next time my friends!

Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Playing Catch Up

So much to do, so little time...I had that feeling all summer with the wedding coming up, and now that the wedding is done.. I still feel that way!  But in a good way.  So here's a brief run down to get ya all caught up.
- Got married August 10 to the man that completes me in every way imaginable.  It was a windy day, rained right up until the ceremony and then it stopped.  It wasn't a heavy rain.. a sprinkle really..  but it was a great day, filled with laughter, family, and fun. :)  OH!  And I made all the wedding favors. :)

- Have had several doctors appointments the last month ranging from neurology to urology.  Fun stuff, huh?  bleck.  As a matter of fact, I have 2 more appointments coming up on Monday!  But I think those are the last two for a while...unless something drastic happens.
- Got my son all enrolled in school (my big 6th grader!), attended an orientation, and he started school August 21.  They start fairly early here, because it is still a very rural community with farms all over the place.  They have a 2 week vacation in September/October so that the kids can help with the potato harvest.
- Re-opened my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/jsbarts) after it had been on vacation for nearly 2 months while we were doing all the wedding preparations.  And in the last week, I've gotten 3 orders!  All for the same pumpkin spoon rest!  I guess I need to make lots more of those!
- Began selling my stuff at a gift shop in Caribou, Maine; that is known for carrying quality, handmade items, but MOST known for carrying Amish made furniture.  Hoping to do well there.
- Started making Christmas ornaments to get all stocked up for the big art/craft show that is done up here in Fort Kent at the University.  I've been told it's a big to do and that I SHOULD do relatively well.  Keep your fingers crossed!

I think those are all the major items...I've also decided to nix the themed days.  They're not really helping me stay on track at all...I am going to keep Mudita Mondays, as I believe those are important.  It's always nice to recognize someone for their efforts and be genuinely happy for their successes, whether it is of any benefit for you or not.  There needs to be MORE positivity in the world.. and more recognition of the good things people do.  So yea... that's staying.  :)

Lots of ideas for upcoming posts.... so stay tuned my friends!

OH!  and I almost forgot.. I am running a Labor Day sale at my Etsy store.. until 2 September.  Just enter "LABORDAY" in the coupon code to receive $5 off any purchase of $15 or more in my shop.  Please spread the word!