Friday, December 6, 2013

Handmade Gifts $30 and Under

The holidays are upon us! Try giving a handmade gift this year, it's easy and affordable.  Here's a round-up of items in my shop for $30 or under.  I'm even offering coupon codes during the month of December for the first time!  Use coupon code TURKEY20 until midnight tonight to receive 20% OFF your order of $30 and over!  I'll keep dropping the discount down until Christmas.  Check out my facebook page for the latest news.  I ship your order within 24 hours of purchase via USPS Priority mail.  For gifts I am happy to include a note to the recipient.
This handmade tile retails for $24.  It comes with a notch in the back for hanging.  I hang these with two drywall screws spaced about an inch a part for maximum stability.  I even include screws with your order!

These small versions of my square bowls were fun to make and are the perfect addition to a holiday appetizer table.  They make a great hostess gift!

My porcelain tea strainers are one of my most unique gifts and come with a small bowl to set the strainer in after steeping their tea.  If you know someone who loves loose tea this is the gift for them!

I only have two of these sweet ice cream dishes left, for $24 each.  They are the perfect size for a scoop of ice cream, and one my most popular forms.

I have two of these adorable small cups left!

I have several styles of this hand-formed jewelry tray.  Each tray has 5 little divots perfect for jewelry to settle in.

Check out my etsy store for more ideas!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CSA Round-Up

I've slowly been getting back in the studio and pottery action after a very busy summer.  I have some things to share and shows and classes coming up, but tonight I thought I would share a recipe.  This is our second year having a CSA Share with Early Morning Farm.  We really like the selection, and I also think it is a great price!  They have a lot of options for CSA Members, I definitely recommend checking it out if you are in the CNY area.  Pick up is Thursday so every Wednesday night I throw something together with whatever veggies are still floating around the fridge.  Tonight it was eggplant, bok choy, mizuna, carrots, and a yellow pepper.  I added in a yellow squash grown by the children at my son's school and rice noodles to make a lovely meal of Grilled Eggplant with Asian Stir-fry and Peanut Noodles.  You can scroll right through if you want to get directly to the recipe.  This took about an hour with many breaks and interruptions from a tiny human (2.5 year old boy) and serves 4-6 depending on your appetite!

A word about eggplant, most recipes call for salting it to remove the bitterness and or water.  This step is called sweating.  I can confirm this is definitely necessary!  One Easter I threw out a whole batch after skipping this step-it practically burned my tongue.  With the very fresh eggplants we get in our CSA this might not be completely necessary, but I still never skip this step.  Whenever using eggplant in a recipe I cut it in large thick slabs and then salt both sides.

I let this sit while I prep everything else for the meal.  

When you can see water on the surface rinse the eggplant and pat-dry.  Rinsing it will make sure that it does not turn out too salty.  I took a short break to play in the yard with my son while it was sweating, so you could really see the water on the surface when I got back into the kitchen.

We gave this eggplant a quick grill on both sides to finish it off, so I first marinated it with sesame oil, tamari (soy sauce),  and water.  Eggplant acts like a sponge so I always thin marinades for eggplant with water.  It never compromises the flavor.  Here I used equal parts of the sesame oil, tamari, and water to end up with about 1/4 cup marinade, but you can adjust to your taste buds.

I had a lot of greens to clean which is sometimes a chore on a week night.  I try to plan ahead sometimes by rinsing and washing in advance.  Tonight was not one of those nights!  I chopped all the greens in to bite size pieces and then washed them using a salad spinner.  Place the strainer filled with greens in the salad spinner bowl.  Fill with water, swish a lot, and lift out the strainer.  Dump and repeat three times or so.  Tonight I did just one, sometimes I do more.   Most recipes and guidelines suggest to wash and then chop greens and vegetables so you don't expose the pieces to extra dirt, etc.  Since I am not afraid of dirt and trust the source of my veggies I always cut and then rinse greens, I find this much easier.  You can do whichever you prefer.

I started with peanut sauce.  This is a pretty simple recipe that can easily be adjusted to suit different tastebuds.  I have been making it for years and now just mix it up off the top of my head.  It has a coconut milk base and is best made with natural peanut butter.

Once the peanut sauce came together I stir-fried the veggies over high heat in a cast iron wok using coconut oil which works great for high heat and has a pretty neutral flavor that lends itself well to asian cooking.  When stir-frying start with the harder vegetables that take longer to cook, like carrots, and end with the lighter ones like greens.  This will help everything cook evenly.  At this point hopefully someone you live with will come home and you can send them out to the grill with the marinated eggplant (3-4 minutes per side) while you boil the rice noodles according to package directions and toss them with the reserved peanut sauce.

I served this on our beloved plates made by Elizabeth Robinson.  Trust me this will taste best served on something handmade.  Enjoy!

Grilled Eggplant with Asian Stir-Fry and Peanut Rice Noodles


Variety of vegetables not limited to:
2 carrots, 1 bell pepper, 1 yellow squash, and two bunches greens like bok choy and mizuna, and several garlic cloves

1 large eggplant
Tamari (soy sauce), toasted sesame oil, and water

1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 T each minced garlic, onion, and grated ginger
1 T tamari (soy sauce)
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T honey or maple syrup
1 tsp turmeric
1 dash cayenne

1 lb rice noodles or other long thin noodle of your choice

Optional: chopped cilantro and sesame seeds to garnish

Make Peanut Sauce: Bring 1/4 can of coconut to boil over high heat, add garlic, ginger, and onion.  Saute for a minute or so.  Add rest of coconut milk and peanut butter, reduce heat to simmer.  Whisk until peanut butter is mixed with the coconut milk.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to taste and remove from heat.

Prepare Eggplant: Sweat eggplant according to directions above.  Mix equal parts tamari, toasted sesame oil, and water to make 1/4 cup marinade.  Pour over eggplant and let sit for 15 minutes minimum and up to one hour.  Grill or pan-fry 3-4 minutes per side.

Stir Fry: Chop vegetables into bite size small thin pieces that will cook quickly.  I like to julienne and dice for this.  Mince as much garlic as you like.  Heat a wok to high heat and add 1 tablespoon high temperature oil such as coconut.  Let garlic sizzle and then start to add vegetables in order of cooking times.  (longest first)  Add salt or soy sauce as desired.

Cook noodles according to package directions and toss with peanut sauce.  If sauce is to thick thin with some extra coconut milk or water.  Garnish if desired with sesame seeds and cilantro.  Serve with extra soy sauce and chili sauce, so taste can be adjusted to the each individual's liking.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oh Deer!

I've been on a brief hiatus after a whirlwind of our first family road trip, visits from grandparents, and a busy time of year at my day job.  I am pleased to share my first pieces adorned with members of the animal kingdom!

In the past five years more work has changed a lot.  I've gone from a sort of cute aesthetic where I focused on things that were fun like cupcakes and strawberries.  (I still think they're fun)  Lately I've transitioned into a hand-drawn and stamped aesthetic mostly focusing on local flora.  And now most recently, I have added deer.  There seems to be a growing trend amongst potters these days (Ayumi Horie, Ron Philbeck, Bernadette Curran, and many more!)  As my work has evolved through a move far north, pregnancy, and now a working mom with a home studio I have always strived to stay true to myself.  So I never thought that I would look to animals to create my hand-drawn patterns.

I guess maybe it started with insects?  The inspiration for these drawings came from a walk I took near my house.  It was cold, but I was determined to get some exercise somehow!  There is a lovely trail near our house so here I was huffing and puffing away when a row of deer stopped in their tracks and all their ears were right in a row.  They looked so elegant and stunning in the field with the dead plants under the frost.
I made these pieces before I really knew why.  The image of the deer is still sort of burned in my mind. I thought about it a lot, why deer?  Is it just trendy?  It started to make sense for me on our road trip.  I thought about deer, they're everywhere where we live.  Some people hate them, some people hit them with their cars, some hunt them for trophies and meat.  

But in the dusk or early morning they are still stunning enough to stop and stare.

My work is meant for daily use.  It's durable.  You can put it in the dishwasher, my son drinks out of my cups.  It's a far cry from the deliberately elegant work I made when I was young.
But it's still beautiful enough to stop and notice.
Like the deer.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fresh From the Kiln

I can't wait to post these to my shop, but for now here is some new work!

Poppy Mug with Herringbone

Custom jar for dandelion tea.

                                           Luna Moth Cup with One White Wing

Bud Vase with Large Poppy

Square Bowl with Anemones

Bud Vase with Bleeding Hearts

Small Plate

These will soon be available in my shop.  Feel free to let me know which is your fave in the comments!

Best, Tracy

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Happening Around the Studio

February has been a busy month at home, work, and in the studio!  I am thrilled to be a part of this cup show at Terra Incognito Studios and Gallery in Oak Park, IL.  This is a lovely collection of cups.  I am also working on a group show with old friends that I am super excited about!!  The show opens in June at AFA Gallery in Scranton.  Expect more on that soon.  I went to look at the space more thoroughly last weekend with a friend and I'm happy to report the show will be fantastic.

In the studio I've been working on different forms in small series.

I'm happy to report I finished more square bowls with some practice.

Here's another one of those plates I don't make.

And finally here is a piece in progress and a shot of a sketch.  I am currently making a dandelion jar to be used for dandelion tea!  I am having a great time making this commission for an old friend.  If you are interested in seeing one of your favorite flowers or insects on a piece of pottery contact me at!  I love special orders.

Which brings me to my final bit of news, I have FINALLY launched my NEW WEBSITE.  Please check it out and let me know what you think.  I am excited to share it with you!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Cooking with Kids

I describe myself as an artist and educator.  But, many of you might not know much about the educator part.  For many years I worked teaching people of all ages all about ceramics.  Unlike many people with my degree and the direction my career was going I discovered that I love working with children, specifically the ages of 3-5.  When I moved to Ithaca I began to pursue an early chlidhood position.  I was lucky to start working with a Montessori School before I had my son.

Learning about the Montessori Method has completely enriched my life.  It has opened my eyes as an educator and mother.  It has renewed my desire to be a lifelong learner.  It has changed the way I look at education.  I could go on and on, but obviously you can see I am commiteed to Montessori Education.  My work at our school involves creating a fun and engaging afterschool program.  Because of my background, our program involves lots of art projects.  In my studio, I have begun holding one day workshops for kids.  The last one was a huge success, and I will offer more this spring.  In our home, we work to guide our son to be independent.  Lately, we have been trying to get him more involved in cooking.

Last week we made muffins:

Putting the wrappers in.

 Chopping Pecans.

 Helping Stir.

 Watching the muffins cook.

 The finished product.

A lot of people might shy away from cooking with 2 year olds.  It can actually be really fun, if you can break things down into simple steps.  Just remember to stay calm and have a sense of humor-later in the day he licked all the tomatoes he was chopping and they did not go into the soup we were making.  I am planning on getting this book soon for our kitchen adventures.

I thought our muffins would look great photographed on the plates I made, but we ate them too fast!

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Don't Make Plates

No, really I don't make plates.  I never make them.  They are too difficult to make in porcelain, I never trim them enough, they stick to my kiln shelves and shatter, they take too much clay, they are a waste of my time, buy them from someone who already makes them!  No, seriously I never make plates.

But then I did.

Last year, after we moved into our new house, and I got the best studio space I've ever had.....I decided to participate in this amazing online course with Diana Fayt on a whim.  It was such a great experience and really got me thinking about new surfaces and patterns.  The course focused on using print-making techniques on clay, so I needed some flat surfaces.  I tried her hand-building techniques, but they are just not for me.  So I threw some plates.....
These are the plates that made it all through the trimming, drying, glazing, and firing.  After shrinking and firing, the round plate is 8" wide, and the square plates are 7"x7".  I imagine they would be best with a lovely wedge of cheese on top at a party.  They could also be great salad plates.  I can't remember how many I made, but I am sure it was at least double what you see here.  So, you see this is why I never make plates.
But I really like these, so I could be convinced to make more!