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Challenge Awards for Clinky Classic

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I am cutting it close, with the show just one day away, but here are the awards for the Blackberry Lane Challenge Class at Clinky Classic V. I really liked how the crackled art glaze worked with the realistic coloring on the horses, so I will probably return to this idea again in the future. These were finished at the last minute because I have been running both kilns almost non-stop for the last few weeks, and I am learning just how much I forgot about firing logistics while immersed in writing the last few years! While I imagined horses ready to ship as soon as I returned from Tennessee, what is more likely is that I will have a lot of things coated with raw gloss glaze (which is a rather uninspiring strawberry pink) waiting for me to return before they can go through their final firing. When they are completed, I will share pictures here.

I also want to thank those that subscribed to the new Blackberry Lane Newsletter, and especially those who gave feedback about how it looked on different devices. It is my hope that by consolidating the venues in which I send out news, I will communicate a little more regularly. And if you would like a sneak peek at the topic of the next newsletter might be…

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Yes, I plan to talk about belton patterning. Those are the colored ticks that some horses have inside their white markings or patterns. I’ll share a little about what I have discovered about them, explain how they are visually different from tobiano cat tracks, give you some resources to learn more, and – if the kiln gods are kind – share some shiny examples. And if you haven’t yet subscribed, you can do so using the form to the righthand side of this blog, under the heading “For the latest news…”

And for those attending Clinky Classic this year, I look forward to seeing you and your collections!

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Deep thoughts on a Monday morning

Earlier this year, many of us in the equine collectibles industry pulled together to help a dear friend with her husband’s medical bills. The response grew into something way beyond what any of us expected, but while all this love and effort worked to restore our friend’s financial security, it could not conquer such a deadly form of cancer.

This left those with outstanding donations in a quandary. This was especially puzzling when it came to what to do with the outstanding pieces of the Terra Cotta Tile Project. Like many, I still had a handful to glaze and even more left to “festoon“. What was the right thing to do now that they could no longer serve their original purpose? Equally important, what decision might best preserve the value of the pieces in the project which had been sold as collectibles?

Yesterday those of us involved in the project received word that we were to destroy whatever unfinished, unadorned tiles were left in our possession. By the close of the day, I had done exactly that. I knew it would be hard. Destroying handmade items is not something I find easy, but it was all the harder for me because I knew what went into them. Coming from my faith tradition, these tiles were what we would call “widow’s pennies”. That is the parable where Jesus instructs his followers that the penny given by the poor widow is worth more then the entire fortune of a wealthy man. What comes from someone’s bounty is not worth the same as what comes from someone’s poverty. I knew those tiles had been made over long hours by someone who was herself facing horrible financial threats, yet still she was donating her time (and therefor her income) to someone else. It seemed a horrible sin to literally smash all that generosity – all that sacrifice.

But it also made me think about starting over with clean slates. As most of my friends and customers know, I am perpetually overcommitted and almost always falling behind. After losing more time than I expected earlier this year following my surgery, that normal situation has snowballed. This motivated me to set into motion some changes that will allow me a more sane level of responsibilities, but my to-do list is still a discouraging read at the moment. Literally smashing one small commitment was a good reminder for me not to replace the jobs I am finishing with new obligations. I’ve placed the broken heart from one of the tiles on my whiteboard (the one where I write my daily task list) to remind myself how hard this lesson is for me to learn!

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