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Makers Connect is the place to find us now!

Hello lovely readers;

We so appreciate you giving us your time and energy.  We wanted to let you know that we’ve opened a brick and mortar store to continue the journey of creative discovery in east Dallas!  As such, we’ve created a new blog site that will be our new home going forward.  We hope you’ll follow us there.

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We are currently recruiting fresh talent to join us in this adventure; keywords being handmade, local, modern in sensibility, and earthkind.

We have met many artistans and feel a kindred spirit to the toil and love that you put into your work.  We want to help nurture and support your efforts by offering a lovely, clean, climate-controlled place to show your work.  We offer a standard 60/40 consignment arrangement and will be conscientious in tracking your inventory and paying on a monthly basis.

Please see our Vendor Page for more information and sign up.

 

 

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2013 in review! This is fun to know.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Thank you, WordPress Stat Monkeys!    Here’s to a great year for all you crafty, sly, ingenious peoples of the world.  Lets make and connect!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Two More Shows between now and Christmas!

Concrete Notions banner, pots on bench

Dear reader: yes, you, who are the avid follower of my blog.  You know who you are.

Here is the important news update you’ve been waiting for.  Since we don’t presume to believe we are garnering too much following, we sometimes fail to make it clear what’s going on in our world.  And then we feel horrible when someone who really did want to buy something says, “Oh, man, I missed that show because I didn’t see anything about it.”  I understand, and I thank you for your concern.

Saturday, Nov 9 – White Rock Local Market at GREENSPOT Location on Buckner in Greenspot / Golds Gym parking lot

Saturday Dec 7 – White Rock Local Market at LAKESIDE Location:  Garland road in Lakeside Baptist parking lot

small sedum square pot

Christmas is coming up fast (like mildew in the bathtub..one minute it’s clean and suddenly, weird orange stuff growing on your nice white calking!) so let’s just face facts.

Our concrete pots make really nice gifts for those hard to please, have it all, or just plain ‘not sure what to get them’ kind of folks on your list.  You know… the aunt who has everything but really loves to garden, the teacher who was so nice to your kid all year and still doesn’t get paid enough, the housekeeper who has done such a nice job making sure your house looks awesome during the holidays.  This one’s for them.

All Barry Manilow references aside.. we look forward to seeing you and helping you locate the perfect gift for someone special… or yourself.  Cheers!  Chris and Steve

fire stick pot

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The Pots come home: Rick Van Dyke

I have been holding off making much mention of this potter, because I wanted to feel like the only one in Dallas to know about him. According to his website, he’s not selling here yet. But just one look at his talent tells me that could change in a heartbeat. Have you ever seen blue and green glazes this intense, while still being kind of subtle? Must be the lack of clear overglaze. Ya know, he was able to tell me exactly what the chemicals were that caused those colors. I might be wrong, but maybe there was strontium and barium involved? Next time I will take notes. And photos.

rickvandykesnakesucculent

I had stumbled upon his work online right before our last trip to Austin, and was super lucky to find him showing a *ton* of his work at the Cactus & Succulent Society show at Zilker park botanical gardens. Why didn’t I get photos?? Because I was too busy trying to snatch my fave pots before the other throngs got hold of them. Very mature, I know. Once we’d made choices and calmed down somewhat, we got to chatting with Rick. He told us that the way he got into pottery was not straight-forward. As befits a great Austin story, it all had to do with a girl. She was into pottery so to get into her good graces, he too took it up. I asked if she was still doing it, and he said, “Nope. But I’m glad I am!” We are glad too, my friend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We were then even more impressed by his super calm, laid back personality. Ah, Austin! Where true creativiy dwells around every corner, and doesn’t shout for attention.

Here’s a few of Rick’s pots that found their way into our home. We love love love them! Thank you, Rick. If/when I get my store open, will you please do me the honor of showing your work?

VanDyke pots, corner

VanDyke pots, Chris and Steve

vandyke white pot better closeup

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New pottery with strong links to mid-century; Adam Silverman

adam s ugly blue glaze

adam s ugly glaze yellow

Every time I see one of these pots, with their mid-century shapes and glazes, I feel transported back to my great-aunt’s living room. She had a nifty little collection of glass, pottery, and wood sculptures culled from garage sales,
local shops in East Dallas, and her travels with her four sisters (the ‘kids’). The image in the last post with the orange and white pots were something she really would have grooved on, because orange was her favorite color ever. Those pots are the work of a modern potter living in California, whose work I’ve recently became aware of. While much of Adam Silverman’s recent rise in the design world might stem from his recently involvement with the high-end Californian ceramic company, Heath, he certainly has crafted his own incredible body of work, and will continue to do so after his collaboration with that company.

Because I don’t know much about the man other than feeling like he’s a lost twin soul who shares my obsession with texture and color and who harbors a fierce dedication to letting his materials embrace their weird organic nature,
let me include this from the introduction to his new book, aptly called Adam Silverman Ceramics,

“Adam Silverman’s pottery thrives on duality. Beautiful and ugly, refined and unpredictable, resolved and organic…His pots and sculptures are a harmony of contrasts in the search for perfect imperfection.” – Shepard Fairey

If you don’t believe me or Mr. Fairey, just feast your eyes on the gorgeous dualities going on in these:

adam silverman1

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Pottery, Please

It’s really kind of funny. I was a lucky brat who grew up in a neat ‘century modern’ house (though back then it was called ‘gently used’) with artsy parents who carefully collected and traded for lots of nifty sculptures, pottery, and a few drawings. Dad was an illustrator and taught classes at East Texas State University. At the time, pottery was enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and so I suppose when one of the other art teachers wanted to trade for an illustration they often had pottery to trade. There were (and mostly still are) some pretty awesome pieces. Yet the pottery was never my favorite. I always prefered the bright modern slickness of the plexi tube with multiple color rings that hung from the ceiling in the kitchen, and the weird shiny fiberglass piana-like-thing that hung on the wall in the playroom.

So why is it that I am only now growing a fascination for pottery? I love the sculptural shapeliness of course, but I’m also really drawn into the textures of the glazes. Check these out, from Heath Ceramics:

s13-14-heath-seasonal-hybrid-bud-vase-set-heath-orange-opaque-white-731by607

More posts on potters, pottery, and ceramics to come!

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Austin delivers Succulent-astic!

 

tool timeWe feel pretty lucky to live only about three hours from one of our favorite places, and therefore strive to get to Austin as often as possible.  This time we hit the jackpot when Steve was called upon to do a few hours of work down Austin way right about the time Labor Day rolled around.  Since the gas and partial hotel stay was covered, we took advantage and booked a three-night stay.  During those four days, a very small portion of which actually had anything to do with ‘work,’ we challenged ourselves to get out of our Austin-rut (south Congress, yawn yawn) and see some new stuff.  One thing that I had really been wanting to visit was the East Austin Succuents/ Tillery Gardens store.  Turned out it was only about 8 minutes from our hotel.  We tried to arrive early enough that the temps (which quickly rose to over 100 every single day) weren’t *too* much of a problem.

Here we are wandering the awesome acreage, doing alot of chin rubbing and head scratching over all the funky/freaky native plant goodness!

Having devoured the last six month’s postings by Austinite (and award winning!) blogger Pam Penick’s wonderful “Diggin”, as well as the advice of others who’d been there, I was super stoked to check out this wonderland of plants.  Not only did they have the *garden variety* (groan) succulents I’ve been buying for years,but also a number of unusual and new-to-me species of succulents, PLUS a load of native Texas shrubs, trees, and my favorite… awesmome handcrafted pottery!  (okay, this was more than a mere journey to see neat plants.  I really wanted to check out what other hypertufa artists were up to!) My images didn’t do these pots justice at all.

I picked up a few tons (well, pounds) of glass shard rocks in beautiful blues and greens for a future display on the front-garden pond, and a goodly number of small funky succulents.  But my most amazing discovery was a potter whose work I will devote an entire blog entry to.  We were lucky enough to meet him in person at the succulent show that was going on that same weekend right across town at the Zilker Park Botanical Gardens!  How lucky could we be!?  Here’s me holding one of his pieces on display at East Austin/Tillery Gardens.  So glad I held out and waited till we were in the presence of the Man himself.  Not only did he offer up a ton of great pots with the most intense glazes, but many of them were potted up with incredible succulents and cactuses.  We displayed a good deal of self control in acquiring only three.  But we’ll be back.

chris likes pots

 

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“Help, there’s a hog in my kitchen!”

Sometimes you just know you got the name *right* on a wonderful pet you adopted, yes?

Just sitting here with Lenny at my elbow, I am sure of a few things: 

We got the name right…We got the attitude right….Not too sure about the look, though…

250px-Lenny_and_the_Squigtones_LP Lenny on the edge Lenny gets the bug Lenny and squiggy vegas suits lenny squiggy no.1 sidekicks lenny-and-squiggy dumb face

I mean really, just LOOK at that face!  (the one on the left… so far we’ve never met a cat stupid enough to name Squiggy.  Mainly because we’ve never met a stupid cat.)  But check out these facts about Lenny.  Since I was never a huge fan of Laverne and Shirley, I think it’s doubly astonishing how accurate we got with this name!  What a character.  Love the part about his name…

  • Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski (Michael McKean)—A lovable goof who pesters Laverne and Shirley along with his best friend and roommate Squiggy (who both live upstairs, on the third floor, from Laverne and Shirley’s basement apartment). Lenny works as a truck driver at the Shotz brewery, and prizes a stuffed iguana named Jeffrey. Raised by his father after his mother abandoned them, during the series it was learned that Lenny was the 89th in line to the Polish Throne. Lenny says that, while he is not completely sure, he thinks his last name (Kosnowski) is Polish for “Help, there’s a hog in my kitchen”.