Monday, December 31, 2012

It's the end of the year as we know it...

Happy Almost-New Year's Day! We all survived another apocalypse that wasn't, and so here's one more blog post to go out with a bang before ushering in 2013.  On my radar for the new year: more pots. Big pots. Teapots. Mountain pots. That sort of thing.  In the even more immediate future, maybe even something like "My favorite pots made in 2012!" or something. I'm not that organized yet.

A great big thank you to those of the readership that continued to support my creative endeavors over the last year.  Off the top of my head, highlights include heading to my boyhood hometown for the Clear Lake Art Sail (tons of fun, my first "real" outdoor show either in years or ever, depending on how you're counting. Lots of work, lots of challenges, supremely rewarding) and the launch of my online store at Etsy.  Actively using Etsy as a source of making new customers and also as an EASY format for purchasing my work by longtime supporters turned out to be quite successful in its first weeks. Obviously the pre-Christmas shopping rush accounts for a lot of that, but I'm excited to see what might come of the online storefront in the new year. I'll try to be keeping a regular amount of work stocked and available to ship year round, so please check that out if you're looking to add some of my work to your collection. Find it at :: :: and as always, if you're ever looking to order something specially made just for you, just shoot me a message either here or here.

Came down with a spot of the flu before Christmas and I found myself drinking an awful lot of hot tea. This time it actually involved me busting out a spare teapot I'd made as back-up for a custom order and using the teapot, as opposed to just filling a mug, made for a surprisingly enriched tea-drinking experience. So I may be exploring teapots a bit this year as a result of that renewed personal interest. 

I also have said "good bye" to my token "large" mountain vase which will be going off to its new home shortly. That's always a good thing, and now I may have to work on a couple large pieces this winter to fill that hole in my heart inventory.

Anyhow. Back to the studio soon enough. Back in the clay. And I have some pots to share (photographically) soon enough. But now, for those who care for such things, here are a dozen of my favorite albums of 2012. Or, 12 for 2012.

With the full disclosure, of course, that I'm not trying to make any sort of argument (necessarily) for the "best" music of the year. For example, everyone knows that Jack White released his debut solo record this year and it was a smashing critical success and what a record! And all the superlative statements about how he finally can do whatever he wants and let his genius run free... and it was so phenomenal. No, really. In all seriousness, it was a great record and I appreciate it deeply. But Blunderbuss simply wasn't my favorite.

So here's the completely unscientific list, in alphabetical order, based on a combination of my personal ratings, play counts, and gut instincts on what were my favorite records for the year.  It would have been an easier process, I think, to cut it down to 5 or 6, or expand it to 18-20, but 12 seemed like a good number.

  1. Aaron Espe, "Three"
  2. Alabama Shakes, "Boys & Girls"
  3. Civil Twilight, "Holy Weather"
  4. David Crowder*Band "Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys])"
  5. Father John Misty, "Fear Fun"
  6. The Followers, "Wounded Healer"
  7. House of Heroes, "Cold Hard Want"
  8. The Killers, "Battle Born"
  9. Matthew Perryman Jones, "Land of the Living"
  10. Mumford & Sons, "Babel"
  11. Norah Jones, "Little Broken Hearts"
  12. Sons, "Keep Quiet"
 Honorable Mentions :: For whatever reason not on the list, but definitely on my shortlist as great music from this year, including releases from Owen Thomas, Jason Aaron Coons, Pioneer, The Royal Royal, and the O.C. Supertones.

Thanks for following along, see you next year!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Luke Langholz Pottery now available at Etsy!

That's right! You can now buy my pottery online via Etsy, right here!
There are a handful of pieces available right now, and will be updating to provide a variety of work, or at least a reasonable sampling of all styles that I do. Of course the challenge of this sort of thing is deciding how many pieces to list when there are individual listing fees and keeping track of that inventory and blah blah blah... mostly I'm glad to be able to share this!

Prepping the shop has been keeping me busy - shooting pictures, tracking measurements and pottery dimensions, setting up the account... in addition to throwing and trimming and all that jazz in preparation for some Christmas orders folks have gotten in to me.  So lots of that going on as well.

Anyhow. Go check it out! And maybe buy something, eh?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A quick picture for Carol, by request. :)

A very brief, pictorial update for Carol who inquired about some smaller vases I may have in stock at the moment. Behold: I am short-stocked. I have another similar to the red vase on the left.
To everyone else: Happy Advent! Today, of course, is the first Sunday in Advent, the liturgical season of preparing for the birth of the Christ Child. So we've been doing Adventy things like marveling at the 70-degree weather, playing with Temperance in the yard, and putting up our tree. 

I was out and about yesterday for a last-minute show across the river in Fort Pierre, and a great thanks to all who came out and especially those who supported this local artist. Krystal was on hand with me and enjoyed bartering up a storm of my pottery in exchange for shiny things to call her own. We make a good team.

I have news in the works, too. Stay tuned, keep posted. I'm excited. Very soon.  And I've also been throwing pots for a pre-Christmas firing. I'm still willing to take any orders this week for those looking for the perfect gift. 

That's all for tonight. Talk to y'all later, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Post-Show Review and Such.

Hey! Thanks to everyone who came out to see me at the Zonta Craft Sale this (last) weekend! The weather turned sour Saturday afternoon and remained icy through Sunday, but plenty of souls still braved the elements to support local artisans (and other vendors and such...).

This was definitely one of my better shows in terms of feeling prepared beforehand. Everything went smoothly, and I tried out a new-ish configuration for my booth setup that was kind of exciting.
Setting up the night before.
I normally keep my booth space open, rather than closed, but with the way this show was configured that would have left me no room for getting behind the display to pack up purchases, go through stock, etc. - I would have had to do that in the aisles. So I rocked the "Closed L" display this weekend, which worked out pretty well. I ended up with a bonus table inside of my L-shaped booth area, so I used it as a dedicated wrapping/packaging space which was a welcome change from always doing that stuff from under a table in the back of the booth.
My view throughout the weekend.
I of course had more pots than I possibly could have sold over the course of one weekend (and if I had - how awesome would that have been?!), and the new checker/brickwork pieces were quite popular, if I may say so. I have, of course, plenty of work available now to fill any Christmas orders you lovely people may have.
It also turned out to be, in very subjective terms, a very fun sale for me. Lots of chatting with friendly folks and sharing about my work and techniques and stylistic choices. Above average crowd by that measure, actually.
Had to relocate that large mountain vase to place this large bowl. Still looking for a home for that one.

I've realized I may have to adjust certain aspects of my display with regard to marketing my name and brand and such, specifically when I'm doing shows like this that are not quite on the "fine art and craft" side of things, in that for every artisan (potter, painter, jeweler, photographer, woodworker, baker) there was at least one, maybe two booths of retail/resale vendors. Which is great. It creates an environment full of products at all price points and attracts shoppers who may not come to an exclusively "art" oriented show.


I'm always amazed (aghast? surprised?) when the first question a person asks me, looking at my display, is if I made "all this." No, wait. The question, usually, is: "So where do you get your pots from?" To which I respond I make it myself, and THEY are amazed (aghast? surprised?).  It's just not something I would ever question. My name is on the cards, my name is on the pots. But what I assume is sort of beside the point if it's a matter of uncertainty. I certainly do my best to take these questions courteously and try not to make anyone feel bad for asking the question. But it also begs the question, do people who pick up a bowl, see the price, and put it down again assume that it's handmade or that it comes from some supplier overseas? Because that could make a difference, I guess, in some peoples' minds.

So in the future, Krystal suggested to me (always clever, that one!) that it might not be such a bad idea for sales like this to have some signs that can sit on my booth that say, proudly and boldly, that all pottery herein is one hundred percent handmade, by me, start to finish. 

But anyway: I had a great weekend. I think the turnout (and consequently sales) would have improved if we hadn't had our first taste of winter, but I was glad that things were clear and dry for both setting up and tearing down. Looking on the bright side. And I did well enough (sales) that maybe I can buy some Christmas gifts this year. Bolster the economy and all that.

I'm going to try to get back into the studio sooner than later. I'd like to produce a full kiln of work to fire before Christmas, so if you're looking for something special, just le me know. Bolster MY economy and all that.

In other news, I'm starting to see year-end lists or movies and books and music popping up, so maybe I have to get on the ball and share my favorite pottery-making music releases for 2012. Or something. We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm already anticipating an early 2013 album release from Leagues, who have just released the video for their first single, "Spotlight." They released a too-short EP last year which was just delicious and I can't imagine how their long-awaited debut record won't end up on my "Best of" list next fall. Here's "Spotlight," from Leagues:

That's all for now. See y'all later, and thanks again to everyone who came out last weekend!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Firing preview.

If you were super cool and followed me on Facebook or Twitter you could have seen this, like, 5 hours ago. Your loss. Overall: very good firing. Couple disappointments. 
Discovered one of my kiln shelves is completely wash-free and has been stealing bits of stoneware from the feet of my post. Hadn't really noticed it before, but it's become noticeable. 1.5" chunk pulled out of the foot of a beautiful vase, another one inch wedge pulled out of the foot of a bowl. Have never had this problem before. I guess it's time to re-wash the shelves before my next glaze firings.

Up next: sanding, pricing, packing. 

Come see me this weekend at the Pierre/Fort Pierre Zonta Holiday Craft Show & Sale.
Saturday // 11.10.2012 // 9 AM - 5 PM  ..... Sunday // 11.11.2012 // 9 AM - 3 PM
Held at the Ramkota River Centre.

And stalk me here:

Also, for those interested: Music I've been listening to heavily as of late.
1. The O.C. Supertones. Because they have a new record out today, their first in (7? 8?) years and ska is not dead.
2. sosaveme "The Garden." Because I just can't get over how great this album is. Period.
3. Vintage (or what seems to be getting close to) CCM from the likes of Audio Adrenaline and dc Talk (for example). Sometimes you just need nostalgic, feel-good music with a message, as they like to say. Shuffly mix courtesy of Apple Genius mixes provided plenty of Bleach, Pillar, Third Day and the like. Solid stuff.
4. More and more appreciative of Jack White's "Blunderbuss" the more listens I give it. Funky, experimental, enjoyable.

And of course, the usual array of eclecticism.

Y'all take care.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Glazing, Firing, and Remembering

I'm breaking with tradition to bring an update within only a fortnight.  It still leaves only one post in October, so hopefully you'll forgive me for my diversion from habit.

I've been doing a lot of glazing and firing. Glazed all day last Saturday and had a kiln full of pretty blue bowls by Sunday night. Good, clean firing but nothing really groundbreaking within. Beautiful, but now getting to be predictable results. Well, I guess I shouldn't say that - I did glaze some of my checkered bowls in the rich cobalt glaze, and while getting it to stick to the inside of the bowls was a little off, the exteriors were rather stunning.

Two bisque loads this week - one packed to the gills and one less than quite fully packed. Disappointing, bu the way it has to be sometimes. One day I'll be able to plan ahead to a degree that results in evenly packed and easily loaded kilns. Alas...

Here are some pictures.


I lied. I'm having technical difficulties getting photos from my picture box to my internet box. Sorry. You can always find plenty of pictures and updates over at my Facebook Page. And then if you "Like" my page it's like we're real life friends! How wonderful!


IYFC Blue bowls from this week's glaze firing. 
More from this week's glaze firing.
More from this week's firing.
Bisque. Lots of Bisque.
An experiment. Not really my cup of tea, but maybe somebody likes it?
Blue brickwork/checker bowls. Sorry about the picture quality.
In any event: enjoying finishing up the last couple months' worth of throwing into glazed and fired pots. Not my favorite part of the process, but I am enjoying the results.

Yesterday was All Saints Day (or the Feast of All Saints, for my Catholic friends), the day on which most Christians following the liturgical calendar remember and honor the great host of saints gone before us. Today marks another day of remembrance in our household. It was four years ago today that my Uncle Tim passed away quite suddenly.

Tim was an artist, making his living as a potter but also frequently exploring new territories in paint, charcoal, sculpture, mixed media, or temporal works (i.e. annual igloo builds). I wrote at length several years ago about my experiences working with him (read: About an Uncle), so I won't dwell too long on those thoughts, just to say that this time of year, moreso than others, I'm drawn to exploring his work as inspiration and guide and gold standard, and remember also the great spirit with which he poured his creativity out into the world. I guess today I just want to publicly say that I miss my Uncle.
Tim with one of his large vases.
On that note: This weekend I'll glaze with joy in his honor and try to remember to take each day as a gift worth celebrating.

Y'all have a good weekend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Throwing, Glazing, Slacking: the monthly update.

Right on schedule, time for my monthly update. I'm keeping myself busy lately which means I'm spending more time on pots and less time on posts here.  However, I have been doing a relatively decent job of sending quick updates out into cyberspace via my presence on Facebook (just pottery!) and Twitter (shenanigans of all sorts!). So if once a month is simply not enough of me for you, go ahead and give me a follow at one of these locations.
For those not interested in the social media angle (ye antisocial mediites), here's a recap: throwing. Lots of throwing. And trimming. And decorating. And firing. And glazing. And more firing. And more throwing. Rinse and repeat.

No, but seriously - I've been pretty diligent about my studio time this fall. Krystal's been having to do a lot of professional traveling, so I've had lots of time to commit guilt-free to the pots. I've been focusing on making fun pots, and not stressing about quantity or volume for my next show (November 10-11, here in Pierre). I always have more than enough work, so I shouldn't stress too much. That's my goal anyway. Also continuing to play/experiment with shape and texture in addition to my old faithful sgraffito.

Here are some snapshots:
Itty-bitty bowls.
A full bisque kiln. Had to make room on my shelves for more pots to dry!
Textures and such.
I've been commissioned to do a complete communion service for our congregation. I don't think this pair of chalices quite make the cut, but a good start.
This? This is just a steak dinner hot off the grill a couple weeks back that was quite photogenic. I'm not giving up summer that easily. I'll still be grilling when there's snow on the ground.
 This week I finally got around to glazing a load of pots and was quite thrilled with the results. Every firing is a little different and I usually try to include at least one or two experimental pieces per firing. Looking forward to finishing up more work this fall.
Final thoughts before next month (post-show summary?): Lots of great new music this fall from Mumford & Sons, The Killers, No Doubt and more, but I've been letting the iPod run on shuffle for the last couple weeks and have enjoyed happening upon such wide and varied selections as Switchfoot's 1997 debut, Led Zeppelin's 1976 live concert recording "The Song Remains the Same," older (and newer) Ben Folds (& Five), Bob Dylan, America, Jimmy Eat World, and so on and so forth. Last night Apple up and shuffled me into a jungle of Krystal's Ani Difranco selection which simply didn't last very long. I of course reserve veto rights. But it's been enjoyable to not put any thinking energies into picking my soundtrack and taking what comes my way. Within reason, of course.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Birthday! And stuff...

Well, I did it again - successfully went a full month between updates.  Apparently I've been doing things other than pottery. Mostly. When I do get into the studio, I'm much more apt to post a picture on Facebook or Twitter.

Because, also: you should go like my Facebook page. More pictures, more frequently, and sometimes other things that you might like. Generally things that I like. Music, other artists, thoughts and ponderings. Anyway. Check it out!

Speaking of, Facebook informs me I have 4 friends who were born on this day in history. That seems like a relatively high amount for one day. So that's, you know, worth noting. But more importantly, today is my father's birthday. And he was actually born IN history. When I was in high school we actually learned about stuff that happened AFTER he was born, so that's significant. I wonder how late they're teaching history these days anyway?* But that's really not important. What's important is that he was born, and then he lived for some years, and now here he is and he's my dad and has been (since before I was born, actually!) for some time now and that's pretty cool. So happy birthday, Paul (Dad) Langholz!

On to the important things. If I haven't been throwing oodles of noodles, where I have I been? Here's a guide...

After my show I thought it would be healthy to step back, take a little break, collect my thoughts... and then we had company for a few days and I got sick and things just sort of went from there.
Unpacked everything that came home from Iowa. Took inventory. Deciding what to throw next.
Took a look at things that DIDN'T go to Iowa. Thinking maybe I need to have a Facebook Inventory Reduction Clearance Sale.
Went off Apple Orcharding. Found a tractor. It was pretty neat.
Played some soccer with my dog. She's pretty fierce.
Played some guitar. Also doing some repair and maintenance work on them. Certain projects were a long time coming on those. Guitars generally sound better without post-factory holes. Just saying.
Played some board games. Sometimes the Robber takes an alternative form in our household. Also, cute Robbers are harder to get (as) upset about.
Played some... no, wait. This is just the sign out front of our church. It's been a hot one up here. Moving right along...

Took in some live music in the Sioux Falls area over Labor Day. Pictured is House of Heroes, headlining an amazing night at the festival. I saw them once in 2005 at a tiny little hole-in-the-wall club in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. They've come along way, and they were amazing. Check them out.**
So that just about brings us up to speed. I have a show coming up (8 weeks out) and I'm realizing I'm a bit understocked. But I'm also not willing to stress out about it because I've decided that I'd rather enjoy the process of getting there and feel a little picked over at the end of the weekend than maintain a fully stocked display for the duration of a show but spend the months prepping for it in constant agony over my volume. There's a happy medium in there somewhere (something like don't ever take a month off from throwing and maintain a steady base inventory) but oh well.

But I have been throwing the last couple weeks/days. I've spent a lot of time messing about with larger pieces, most of which end up scrapped because I'm a bit too picky maybe. And one very nice, large sectional piece that I accidentally left uncovered for an undisclosed amount of time before it had been trimmed to shape and thus it was fail and sadness.  But I'm getting back to the nitty-gritty functional throwing now to replenish what has been sold and distributed for selling.
Playing with mugs again. Ways to incorporate my "voice" a bit more than simply splashing about with glaze.
2-pounders. Conspicuously absent from my inventory these days. A good problem.

More of these guys. Right now sticking with the 2-pounder size. There are a couple larger ones already drying, and I'm sure I'll throw a hump of baby ones later this month.
Hard to tell, but that's a wide shallow bowl, not a platter. For a commission piece (I think).

Broad, broad bowl in this style.
All together, now - say, "Cheese!"
I've also been commissioned to create a set of Communion service wares for our congregation, so that's a fun little project I'll be embarking on in the near future.

And that would be everything I've really got time to share right now. If you're at all interested in commissioning something special (or reserving something of a specific style) for the holidays, now's the time to do it!  Drop me a line at lukelangholz (at) msn (dot) com or contact me via private message on Facebook or Twitter - though really, e-mail is currently still the best method of proper communication.  So it's back to the grind.

Thanks for stopping by, y'all. Have a great weekend!

*I'm totally chasing this thought, as distracting as it may be: at what point do they decide what to cut from history classes? Because with every passing year there's more history to teach. The last proper history class I took was American Heritage History my junior year of high school. As I recall, we spent close to a month on the Civil War, and then America post-Vietnam got approximately half of a class period's worth of attention the day before finals. And believe it or not, there's a whole extra decade of material to cover since then. Just curious at what point you decide, "Eh, it's time to throw out the carpetbaggers and reconstruction, and might as well toss the Era of Good Feelings too, no matter how memorable it is - gotta make room for at least ten minutes of classroom discussion on post-9/11 foreign policy and God forbid we actually shorten our coverage of the Civil War..."  Anyhow. Back to the regularly scheduled content.

** Other highlights from the weekend of live music included:
  • Jenny & Tyler (an adorable husband'n'wife duo out of Nashville who make beautiful alt-folk together).
  • Sosaveme (indie band out of Michigan who make beautiful "aggressive alternative" music together - I highly recommend their most recent release, "The Garden."
  • Run Kid Run (nothing dramatically original or different going on in this pop-punk outfit, but one of the better non-headliners we saw).
  • Five Iron Frenzy (ska-punk-all-out-frenzy of a show. If you don't know about Five Iron I'm not going to try and describe them now, but WOW. My favorite from them is their 1997 sophomore release, "Our Newest Album Ever.")