Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin carving

The pumpkin carving was great fun yesterday! I wish a few more people had taken advantage of it, but we all had a good time.
Today is the BIG Elementary school parade, I love watching all the kids march around the bus circle. We couldn't ask for better weather!
Happy trick-or-treating everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin carving this afternoon

I finished Wilson's Halloween costume last night, just a couple of little adjustments left to do.
This year he wants to be a pastry chef- real scary, complete with a plate of fluffy cupcakes! Last year he was "Traffic Man" with a big stop sign on the front, a crosswalk sign on the back and a big orange caution cone on his head. My son is incredibly creative, and no one else ever has the same costume!
I have a pumpkin carving workshop today at the gallery from 3:00-6:00. We will also have treats for all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Sold It!!!

This beautiful original watercolor by David Beale just sold! I am on a cloud- I have made rent for next month! Oh happy day!

It's like an E-mail soap opera!

Thanks Nance, a spirited response, all points humbly taken, and sorry for calling a painter a potter. All I meant about the hours was that 4-6pm surely counts as afternoon rather than evening, no bearing on what the time is used for. My attacks on language usage will be less personalized in future, though I hope you caught the humorous intent.
Power to your elbow, especially next week.


Nance wrote:
I did catch the humor, and to be honest- I'm thrilled one of my "tacky cards" made it all the way to London. I am sure someone picked it up at the Ithaca Farmers' Market (Ithaca is where Cornell University is). We get a lot of tourists visiting the Market in the Summer, and I sell my work to people from all over the world.
I did a Google on you, are you the Brian Durrans, PHD that works for the British Museum? I feel honored a little tiny business like mine made your "hit list"!
No offense taken,

Brian's last response:
Thanks Nance; Ithaca FM must be the source. I am the same as your Google hit but despite the evidence we're not all snobs. Now retired from the British Museum and am surprisingly busy for a retiree. But if inspired I do occasionally have more time to indulge obsessions than is good for me. Must be more thoughtful in future / Must be more thoughtful in future / Must be more thoughtful in future ... (as Bart Simpson writes).
Glad we're still on emailing terms.
Take care and best wishes


A nice weekend off!

I did my last Market for the year on Sunday. I had a good day, the weather was very nice and sunny, although the wind did pick up at times- a beautiful fall day. Just the way I like to round off the season- with rosie cheeks!

I got an interesting email- almost a bit strange, thought I would share:

Hi Thou-artist

Someone recently visiting my family in London, England from upstate NY generously or absentmindedly left behind a postcard advertising the enterprising use of a former church in 'the picturesque village of Groton' (there may be some other explanation but I can't think how else it found its way to the top of our microwave, wedged among inverted coffee-cups). We don't know anyone from Groton but maybe one of our friends passed by.

As purpose-built museums and galleries or their contents are increasingly venerated, it's good to see purpose-built churches returning the compliment by re-branding themselves as art galleries and gift-shops. Long may the trend continue.

The card is as attractive as anything with a blue-yellow-and-purple colour-scheme can be, so it's a pity it describes the gallery as 'The area's most unique source for [etc.]'. Does anyone these days know what 'unique' means?

One of the gift categories mentioned round the outside of the card is 'natural candles'. Well, now, I hate to be pedantic, but surely there's no such thing. A candle may be made of natural materials, surely; but is there anything less natural than a candle, unless it's two candles? When our ancestors scrutinized the landscape seeking food, shelter, or someone to chat with, I bet they didn't say 'Ooh, look at all those cylindrical things with wicks in the middle - I wonder what happens if you light one?'

Finally, I read on the card that Thursday evening opening hours are 4:00-6:00. Crikey Moses! - as an earlier generation of Groton clerics might have blasphemed in an unguarded moment - does the whole of the eastern US have afternoons as ungenerous as yours?

Whoever you are, ceramicist Nance, I realise it might not have been you responsible for these appalling mistakes, so don't mention this to anyone else whose feelings might be hurt. If it WAS you, then I hope you'll forgive my obsessive pedantry: also that you have a sense of humour, vote for Barack Obama next week, and keep up the good work.


Here was my response:

Interesting letter- I'm not sure what I think, maybe someone has too much time on his hands! I will however respond to a couple of points you felt necessary to bring up:

"Natural candles" refers to soy wax and bayberry wax- both a natural substance. Also these candles are scented with natural essential oils- not synthetic fragrances.

The color scheme of my card is taken from the original 1883 stained glass windows in my gallery. I guess you need to see them to appreciate their beauty and influence in the space. Groton is a very small farming community. Anything out of the ordinary, I consider "unique". My gallery is certainly different (and I want it to be) in respect to other shops in the area. I only sell products that are produced in the local Finger Lakes area- NO CHINA (or ENGLAND)!

And lastly as far as my hours go, I have a 6 year old son, I need meet him at the school bus stop. I am always happy to open for people by appointment, and DO quite often. I don't really understand why you are criticizing my hours when you are in London. It's not like your stopping by anytime soon- you will have plenty of time to make an appointment.

By the way I am NOT a ceramicist, I am a painter. I am also referred to a functional artist (a description I am sure you will want to ponder). I paint pottery, glassware and functional items.

I do not think any of the mentioned items are "appalling mistakes" and I take full responsibility. I am the only owner, web designer, advertising department, display person and sales associate Thou Art Gallery has. I have done this all myself, and if there is something you do not agree with then open your own gallery!

I do agree with you on one subject- Obama is my man.

One more thing- I love London, I went to art school there in the 80's.
Cheers, and "get a life"!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The day ahead...

I'm off to the gallery this morning. Hopefully I will be able to get some more switch plates and knobs done while I'm there. Yesterday I had quite a bit of traffic, and not just friends coming for free coffee and cookies! I even had a gentleman from Paris- France not Texas!
This afternoon I go to the airport in Syracuse to pick up my husband- Wilson is very excited to see Daddy. It has only been 4 days, but I will be happy to have him- and my computer back! I have said it before- I don't know how single parents do it, it has been a LONG week! I have to go clean out the cat box.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Looking for inspiration!

I was looking through some of the photos of work I have done. I find this cake stand very inspiring. I LOVE this piece. It was a wedding gift and my customer wanted it all done in pinks and chocolate brown. It turned out to be a beautiful combination. I am going to do another one of these during my January "break" from the market. Cake stands always make nice gifts, and I like to do big items- although they always sell really fast, so I never seem to have any!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Okay, I got Wilson off to school without a hitch- he was very cooperative this morning. After the bus picked him up, I came back into the house and looked around. I thought to myself, "this place is such a mess I need orange cones and caution tape around here!" Then I realized THERE ARE ORANGE CONES and THERE IS CAUTION TAPE around my house! My porch project has been at a stall for about 2 weeks now. I'm told things are getting done at the wood shop- like stairs, railings and such. We need the cement to be poured and the weather has to be right for that. I better see a mixer out front the next nice day we have- snow will be a coming! I have this vision of me standing in the doorway chucking candy bars at trick-or-treaters- How many points for knocking one out? Anyway, the cones and tape are quite appropriate- the inside looks as bad as the outside- I need to get a handle on this!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Paint, Paint, Paint...

I got 11 switch plates air brushed with my base colors- sort of a tie-dyed look. Then my designs are painted on, kind of giving things an "outer space appearance". Each plate is cooked at least 2 times.

Gary needs knobs- so I traded him a funky chicken mug for knobs, seems like a good deal! I hope you like these Gary and Maude.
My week is getting a bit more hectic. My husband is off to Chicago for 3 days, and he is taking my computer with him. I have gotten very attached to my little laptop- and having it with me at all times. I will be forced to use the big lug upstairs! It isn't as fast or convenient. I guess I will use my time painting instead of lurking around checking blogs!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting it all done!

It was a busy start to the weekend with all the prep work for the opening on Friday night. Saturday however, was quiet and I was able to actually work on my own stuff at the gallery. I finally got a few pieces finished. I have been falling way behind on my inventory for FUNction ART. Next Sunday is my last day to do the Farmers' Market and I want to make sure I have plenty to sell. I need to "paint my butt off" this week!

My mind is full of upcoming projects for Thou Art. I am going to be doing the children's "workshop-a-week" with great projects for kids. I have another "playtime for grown-ups" happening in November, I know people are waiting for this one! Also the gallery will be doing a group show for the holidays which will be called "Gifted"- still in the process of getting a selection of diverse artists together for this one. Not to mention the pumpkin carving workshop for kids on Thursday October 30 from 3:00-6:00. WOW- I'm tired just thinking about it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Big Art Show Tonight!

I have a REALLY busy day today! So far this morning I have made chocolate crinkles, lemon cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, veggie dip, cheese spread, and olive tapenade. I still have the guacamole to do before I go to the gallery! My Mom usually helps with the cookies and set up, but tonight Wilson is my only helper- my parents are on a "jaunt" in New York State wine country. I am, as always hoping for a good turn out for David Beale's Opening at Thou Art. The show looks really good, and the gallery looks fabulous! If you are in the area, stop by for snacks and local wine, as well as some wonderful art. All are welcome.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A note to my recycling guys!

I have had a problem with my recycling guys taking my buckets! The last 2 times they have simply thrown the whole thing in the truck and taken off! I am hoping they can read, because I am running out of buckets!!! It is funny how a little thing like this can work me up- I have become obsessed with buckets!

Free Muffins and Coffee!

Back to work at the Gallery today. I have made my "award winning" pumpkin apple spice muffins. I am very proud of this recipe- it is an original one that came in 1st place at the Pumpkin Fest a couple of years ago. I even made a few without the streusel topping in case my friend that doesn't eat dairy stops in today. These are dairy-free, except for the topping which does have butter in it. Really great with a cup -a- joe!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This week's event!

I throw a great party for my artists on opening night! I am very excited to have David Beale's beautiful watercolors on my walls. We will have original paintings, prints, and cards available
for purchase. Plus good finger food, local wine, my "famous" punch, coffee, and cookies. All are welcome, if you are in the area come meet David and see his fabulous work Friday night October 17, 6:30-9:00.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Much to paint...

I have much to paint, orders to finish, and inventory to replenish for the next 2 weekends at the Farmers' Market. I have 2 more Sundays left before the season is over for me at the market. Saturdays go until Christmas, but I will be at the gallery then. Right this minute I have 5 pieces and a couple of switch plates in various stages of completion. I need to get my brush moving!

No school today for my busy boy, so I will be trying to keep him entertained. Hopefully there will be a cement truck or something in our front yard taking advantage of this beautiful weather, and getting my front porch back together.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Thou Art Gallery was BURSTING at the seams last night! We had around 100 people for a dish to pass dinner with the Grandmothers. I had to take photos because I have never had this many people in the gallery at one time! The dinner and people were great, and so were the sales! I even sold an original oil painting- oh, happy day! Today I have to put things back together. I am thinking of rearranging things a bit, I should take advantage of the volunteers I have to help me move things back, maybe give the place a fresh look.

Friday, October 10, 2008

week winding down!

Groton has been hosting a very special event this week. 8 of the 13 indigenous Grandmothers have been in our little town! Check out what the Grandmothers are all about. The gallery will be hosting a private dinner for 100 women (members of the womens' Gathering of Groton)
This Saturday. I'm honored, and a bit freaked out about how we are going to set things up. I have a big space, but I also have a lot of stuff in that big space! I'm told there will be 15 volunteers to help move and set everything up. I DO want to make sure I can sell items while these people are in my gallery, I need to take advantage of a large crowd like this.

Just to make things a little easier, NO SCHOOL TODAY! I will be looking at this puss all day, while I am trying to work! I need to make sure I have enough "bribes" at the gallery to get some work done.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Yesterday, I got an great letter from a customer of the gallery. It really lifted my spirits. I would like to share it:

I just read on your blog that you're thinking of closing the gallery after
the Holiday's. I understand the economic reasons why this might happen,
but I'd hate to see you go!

I grew up in Groton and have stopped in several times. I love the
building, love the products, love that GROTON has such a cool shop. I now
live in Summerhill, so it was nice to have such a unique, high quality
shop with locally produced items. Plus, it seemed like it was an ideal
place for small crafters to sell their wares, people that might not
otherwise have an outlet for their work.

Obviously, the economic forecast is terrible right now and that will
probably influence your decision the most. Main Street is an option, but
not nearly as large or unique of a space, though I'm sure the traffic
might be a little better. (Having grown up here, I can say that Groton
isn't the easiest place to start a business. I've seen lots come and go.)

If extra hands might help, let me know. I don't have a lot of free time
to volunteer, but I come through Groton every day after work and only live
15 minutes away.

Good luck with whatever happens, though I do hope you can stay open!

I just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH! You made my day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Knobbed out?

More knobs ready to go in the mail today. All nice and shining, and I am getting KNOBBED OUT! I am in the mood to paint something else next- how about a bowl! These will, however, look great on a chest of drawers!

The Backhoe is back!

The weather is good, and there are big machines digging up stuff in the front yard again! Wilson (and Simon) love to watch!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I can't stop smiling!

My son has discovered Captain Underpants! This is one of the funniest kids books I have ever seen- and it is captive reading for a 7 year old boy! Check out the official site! There are also fab free games and cool stuff for kids. I LOVE Captain Underpants!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Here we go again...

Another week starting , and I am full of hope for getting a lot done! Cleaning and reorganizing is always tops on the list. Then there is all the orders I have to get out and general work stuff that is always piling up. By Friday I am still trying to get to the cleaning and reorganizing! How can one person seem to be SO BUSY, and not seem to get closer to the end of the "to do" list??? Anyway, Here I go again full of optimism.

I had good news this past weekend: I entered the Pumpkin Pie and the Pumpkin Baking contest at the Great Pumpkin Fest in Cortland. I won 2nd. place in both categories! This is something I have been doing as a bit of a hobby for the last few years. So far the tally is 2- 1st place medals, and 3- 2nd place ribbons. Wait until next year- it is time for me to get another "big winner"!

I also had a good day at the Farmers' Market considering my inventory is a bit low, it is so much fun- I LOVE the market in the fall!

So, I am hoping a good weekend is the start of a good week! Back to that cleaning thing...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Here is three days worth of painting. Everybody wants tops, dreidels and knobs!

I finally said "yes" to the Temple Beth-El Holiday Art Show. They have been asking me to do it for about 4 years. I will be painting a bucket load of dreidels from now until December 14!

The last few weeks I have been doing a bit of "soul searching". I am trying to figure out what to do with my business. If I stay in the "off the main drag" (although VERY COOL) location, I don't see the gallery doing any better. I just don't get the traffic, and I don't think I ever will. If I try to move to Main Street, it will cost a lot of cash, and I'm not sure this makes much sense with the economy the way it is. Nobody is spending, and it is just not a good time to try to get a business loan. I have been going back and forth with this, and today, I think I will be closing Thou Art Gallery after the Holidays. I hate to do it, but the fact is my own business- FUNction ART studio does quite well, and I just haven't had the time to devote to it.

I am interested in any feedback on this- let me know what you think!