Saturday, August 8, 2009

ClayFire's Featured Artist

I'm so excited about this week's featured ClayFire artist. They are a husband/wife team who make fine art clay works that really speaks to the viewer. The artists are Kitty and John Mecham. They can be found on ArtFire at

So we’re not so formal, what is your first name? My name is Katherine, but I go by Kitty and my husband is John.

Where are you located? We live in Cary, but our studio is in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Share a little about yourself. John is a Biology professor and also works in black and white photography. I like to work in all mediums, sometimes combining them. Clay is my first love and then glass, but I also love painting, photography, metal work, ok – I love it all. We both work for the same college (I am the ceramic assistant) and we also teach drawing and photography classes at the local art center.

We are lucky, because we work well together in the studio. We bounce ideas off each other and critique each other’s work as well. We find that we work much better together as a team. Our children are very artistic and contribute to the studio, learning as they go. We also have a studio mutt named Biscuit.

Describe the work found in your ArtFire studio. I only post clay or glass items on ArtFire. The clay pieces are very unique. I create a lot of sculptural pieces rather than functional.

Describe your method of creating. John likes to work with slab building and/or wheel work. I mostly use the coiling method for my sculptures and I also do some wheel work. I often inscribe designs into the pieces, and my favorite finish is using Iron Oxide as a stain.

When did you start crafting/creating art? We both have been creating art for many years. I started full-time in the studio about four years ago. We have only been on ArtFire for about a month or so.

Where do you get your inspiration? We both get our inspiration from nature. Our studio is hidden among the trees along the Haw River. We have no phone, computer, or TV, so when we are there we are totally immersed in our work and in nature.

What makes your work unique from other ArtFire artists? There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into our pieces. We make them because we have a story to tell or we just feel the need to create. We are not trying to follow any trends, or what we think the market will buy. We create because it is in us.

Tell us all something interesting about you that we might not guess from your shop. People always ask us why “Liquidambar”. Liquidambar styraciflua is the scientific name of the Sweet Gum tree, which surrounds our studio. That is why it is also spelled ~ar instead of ~er.

What advice do you have for artists who might be thinking about throwing their hat into the online arts market? Do it because you love it, not because you want to make money at it.

Finally, where can you be found online besides your ArtFire studio?, , ,

Thanks so much. It's great to see another husband/wife artisan team. Check back in a week or two for yet another featured ClayFire artist!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ClayFire is going to be featuring one of our artists every week so everyone can get to know us muddies. This week’s inaugural ClayFire featured artist is Toby Fried of Friedfired Pottery. She can be found on ArtFire at Now, let’s get to know her a little bit better.

So we’re not so formal, what is your first name? My first name is Margaret, but I go by my middle name, Toby. I am named after my grandmother.

Where are you located? I live equally between Cincinnati and Lexington, Ky.

Share a little about yourself. I taught middle school for over 30 years and sporadically played in clay. After I retired I decided I was going to devote myself to pottery, and see if I could become good enough to satisfy my standards. I have spent the last year throwing . Some become lidded cookie jars, some lidded canisters, etc. I am pleased with what I have accomplished thus far, and still have a lot to learn. I just bought a gas kiln and am itching to learn how to high fire gas.

Describe the work found in your ArtFire studio. I do some hand built, but most of my work is thrown with some altering. I love to make lidded pots and find unusual things to use as knobs: roots, minerals, coral, etc. I do stoneware, raku, and woodfire at Maple Creek Artisan Center in Ohio.

Describe your method of creating. I will throw my basic shape (cylinder, bowl, etc.) and walk away from it. In college, this was my smoke break. I do not smoke anymore, but I still call it that. Then, after I have looked at the unfinished piece a while, I usually get an idea of where I want to go with it and finish it. I like to have a lot of pieces in various stages so I can move away from something for awhile and then come back fresh.

When did you start crafting/creating art? As a kid.
How long have you been selling your artwork online? A couple of years.

Where do you get your inspiration? I have a huge stack of pottery books and magazines that sit in every room. I also have found certain potters I really like, some local, some not. I have a lot of pottery in my personal collection. Sometimes one of these sources will give me an idea.

What makes your work unique from other ArtFire artists? My pottery is not incredibly unique. I do raku, glazed, horsehair, and naked. I do cone 6 stoneware, and I do high fire wood/soda. These can all be found at other studios. I feel my work can hold its own with other potters. I am particularly satisfied when I throw a piece of pottery and lid that work together to make an aesthetically pleasing shape.

What advice do you have for artists who might be thinking about throwing their hat into the online arts market? Stick with it, and don’t expect this to be your source of income.

Toby of FriedFired Pottery can also be found on Etsy and Facebook.

Thanks for the interview Toby. Your work is excellent and I hope you great success at ArtFire. Check back next week for yet another great clay artist feature.

Monday, July 20, 2009

ClayFire Member Badge

ClayFire members,

ArtFire's fusion studios allow you to add custom widgets to the sidebar and bottoms of your studios. If you haven't taken advantage of this, you really should look into it. I have put together a simple ClayFire Member badge if you would like to add it. It will look like this.
It will link to this blog, but will open a new tab or new window so you won't be driving traffic away from your site. If you'd like to add it, comment here with your ArtFire shop name and I'll send you the widget code.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Welcome New Members

ClayFire welcomes 5 new shops to our guild. Please take a minute to visit their shops and say hi!






Monday, July 6, 2009

ClayFire Blog!

Hey all you ArtFire muddies! Welcome to the official ClayFire Guild blog. I would love to see our guild become more active and thought a blog might be the first step in that direction. I must admit though, I am new to blogging. I would love some help from anyone with a bit more blogging experience. I'll be glad to add any volunteers to the editor list. Just let me know.

I'd love to hear from members what they'd each like to see from our guild. What can we do together? What do you expect from ClayFire? What can we do to help eachother? How?

Here is a list of our current members. Be sure to follow this blog and I'll hopefully we can make something great out of it together.