Waiting is SO hard! I feel like I am in a season of waiting. There are so many things I am going after right now in both business and in my personal life that I am now at the waiting part. I knew when March blew in, (quite literally here in NH) that it would bring a stillness as I wait for answers. I have been pursuing new things in business as an artist to help me keep moving forward and grow. I don’t yet have the green light, so here I sit. There are things we want to do in our home that must wait. I ache to work in my garden and get my flower boxes going, but wind and snow and cold are having me wait. There are things I want to achieve as an artist, but as you can guess, I have to wait. It’s so hard! It’s also hard, sometimes, to not forget that my worth does not come from my accomplishments or what I create in the studio or what my house looks like. My worth comes from God above who created me. Let me tell you, that gives me such FREEDOM! As I continue to wait, I will keep working and going after my goals because laziness, also gets you nowhere.
Words I’m leaning on as I wait…
Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (the Message translation)
Coffee is my go-to in the morning, but I do love an afternoon cup of tea. I also love a cup of herbal tea in the evening. Truth be told, when my husband is home for lunch, or on a day off, we will make an afternoon cup of coffee while our little ones are having naps; a pause in the day for a little extra time with each other. It always feels like a real treat. If it’s just me, however, I gravitate towards an afternoon tea. I will steep tea in a personal teapot and then simply sip and enjoy the silence midday, maybe even read for a half hour. It’s a much needed pause in the day that let’s me reset for the rest of the day (and also make it through the witching hour leading up to dinner – Mommas, you know what I’m talking about).
There are so many places I want to travel to – England is high on the list. When I get there, a proper afternoon tea will be a must. One of my favorite things to create in the studio are teapots, as well as pieces to accommodate tea service. I love the whole presentation of a tea tray and it’s natural invitation to sit for a moment. I also love that when a teapot is not in use, it can be displayed on a shelf as a piece of art or a part of a collection.
The pieces featured in this tea tray include two straight edge mugs in cobalt crystalline holding 10 and 12 ounces; cream and sugar bowl in brilliant white with emerald bleed; Teapot for steeping in cobalt, navy and copper green crystalline glazes holding 56 ounces and a sweet little bud vase to adorn the tray in mocha crystalline.
The term “girl boss” has been popping up everywhere. I see it on little plaques in home goods (gah, I love that store) and I always think, what must that be like in the corporate world? It sounds invigorating to be a “girl boss”. Then, I started to realize, no – I am a girl boss. I am the owner, CEO and artist of Arryn Vogan Pottery. I own The Clay House Studio as well (more on that later) and have been in business for eight years and counting. I am totally a girl boss! I am also a mom boss. My husband, Andrew, and I are raising three boys under age six in beautiful New Hampshire. Needless to say, we are always busy.
Andrew and I got married in December of 2009 and I opened business in 2010. As all good starving artist’s begin, I worked as a barista in a coffee shop. When I felt I was making and selling enough of my work that required more of my time in the studio, I quit my day job and started working full-time for myself (I don’t even remember what that feels like anymore). I never could have done that without the support of my husband. I continued to develop and master my crystalline glaze recipes and techniques while honing in on my skills on the wheel. It was amazing and I couldn’t believe I was doing what I got my degree in and what I loved, everyday. By 2012, I delivered our first son and I shifted my work to two mornings a week. I absolutely loved this change in life, because to me, being a mother was the highest calling. I always wanted a house full of kids and I adore those newborn days. I settled into a good rhythm with my new work schedule and had my biannual baby in 2014 and 2016. My work shifted once more and I traded in two mornings a week for one full studio day each week. When I’m in the studio, my husband is home with the boys. God bless him!
You might think, one day a week is not a lot of time for studio work. Well, I have found I am even more productive now than I ever was before and I think that’s because I look at time so differently. I know I have a limited time, so I don’t mess around with it. I don’t want an ounce of it wasted! It has been so life-giving for me to remain a working artist. I love having a creative release in my week and when I’m out of the studio for too long it makes me antsy. Being a potter is messy and owning a business is not always very glamorous. Much of the same can be said about motherhood: blood, sweat and tears in all the literal senses, but such incredible reward and joy along with it. I hope this post and pictures help give you a little insight into my life and what makes me tick. I am so excited to see all God has in store for 2018 for my family and my business. Thanks for following along, encouraging me and pushing me in the home and the studio…you know who you are! Cheers to this new year, new work, my husband, my babes, and all that clay that drys my hands out like no other!
Is three months too long for a review and debrief? The craft fair was back in August and here we are in November! Time is just flying! I have been so very busy since the fair, but I still wanted to take a look back and share. As many of you know, I am a juried artist with the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. This year was my first year to participate in the League’s 84th annual craftsmen fair. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I had been building inventory for this event for months. Nearly all of my studio efforts for the seven months leading up to the fair were for Sunapee. It was an amazing experience — definitely a marathon event. The entire fair is nine days long (open 10am-5pm), and my booth was open the last five day. Each day was exciting, but they definitely felt long. Held at the base of Mt. Sunapee Ski Resort, the fair had huge tents spanning the grounds with a few hundred booths to explore. I was surround by a dizzying number of talented and diverse artists, with thousands of people attending every day.
My parents came and stayed with us for two weeks. The first week was to help me get packed and set up for the craft fair, while the second week was for vacation! I’m not quite sure how many car loads it took to get everything to Sunapee, but every car was used and filled to the brim…more than once.
Since I held a booth for just part of the week, my space was shared with an artist. Her work filled the space the first four days, and then Tuesday night was transition night. She broke down her booth and cleared out so I could move in and set up. The craft fair is run so precisely that no visitor is around to see the changeover. Wednesday morning came and my booth was set and ready to go. I only wish set up went as quick and smooth as it sounds! My allotted setup time was much tighter than I expected, and the majority of it went into leveling my shelving units and building my booth (lighting and all). I was in tent six and my booth faced the base of the mountain, so you entered my booth on a decline. The whole thing was a balancing game and bundles of shims were used. Set up was pretty dark and felt a little stressful, but we got it done. There is no way I could have packed everything and set up my booth without my family’s help. Thank you, Dad, Mom, and Andrew!
Wednesday morning, at the sound of a horn, I was ready for the start of the craft fair. I shared my process and technique with countless visitors everyday throughout the week (marathon). One of my favorite parts was meeting and connecting with people from all over the country, and seeing my work go with them. I always had help in my booth, between my husband, parents, and brother taking shifts, helping with sales, and bringing me smoothies. If you have never been to Sunapee for the fair, plan to go next year! It’s an incredible event!
Setup for the fair was a tedious, lengthy process, but tear down went super fast! I looked back at the empty space when it was all over, and the whole thing felt both surreal and satisfying. I hope to be there next year for the 85th annual craft fair. I kept a long list of dos and don’ts to take with me for next year, along with ideas for new work as well. Maybe I will see you there! In the meantime, follow me on Instagram and catch my live demonstrations on both Instagram and Facebook.
Are you a “Fixer Upper” fan? I totally am! For one, I love Chip and Joanna Gaines. I also love a good before-and-after reveal. Our home has gone through significant renovations in the last year, and I’m excited to share our own before-and-afters today! When we bought our house, we knew the two walk-up attics had great potential as finished spaces. The empty, dusty attic above the main house was converted into our boys’ bedroom. And when we first looked at our house, we immediately saw the potential for a home studio in the attic above our garage, with plenty of room for my kilns down below. In many ways this house felt like it was made just for us, and I have no doubt that was God’s plan. Over the last year, renovations were done to both attics simultaneously. They were huge projects and took much longer than we originally hoped, but the end result has been a dream! Below are some shots of the studio as the progress unfolded.
My kilns were the first of my equipment to enter our home, and the first stage completed in my new setup. Our electricians hard-wired both kilns in place. It was thrilling and surreal to fire them for the first time in my own garage—no more driving around town to check on them!
When I look back at that first picture, it’s hard to believe that’s what the attic used to look like. For the past seven years I had been working in relatively dark basements. Don’t get me wrong—I am incredibly grateful for those spaces and for the friends who allowed me to work in their homes! Working in my very own home studio, however, is a dream come true. As we planned for my new workspace, I knew I wanted it to be bright and well-lit. Between the sun shining on my throwing wheel and numerous LED’s overhead, I’m thrilled with how much light I get to work in now! Nearly everything in a ceramic studio (before glazing) is the color of dust, so I wanted to give the space a colorful wow factor! At first, I thought of painting one bright accent wall, but the more I dreamed, I started to sketch a mural of bright, bold blooms. It was so much fun to draw out and paint.
Andrew and I installed vinyl planks made to look just like barn wood flooring. It’s waterproof, easy to clean, and helps hide all the dust and clay. Trim was the final stage. While we still have a few spots to finish (around the window and the door), I am fully moved in. I built all of my shelving and my canvas-covered work table we well. (I’m thankful Andrew was given an impact driver for Christmas!) My first studio day in this space was incredible. I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole day!