As creators, makers and artisans, the months leading up to the Holiday Season can be quite stressful. We have holiday shows to participate in, customers who need special gifts made, on-line shops to fill and tons of trips to the post office.

For me that meant gearing up for the Christmas season starting in July.

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Maybe that’s where “Christmas in July” came from!

This year I wasn’t quite prepared for it all. The “Studio Move” in May really set me back a bit so I actually cancelled several of my bigger shows so that I wouldn’t have that stress on my shoulders.

And you know what….it felt wonderful. Like a vacation.

Plus, with the sale of the studio, I no longer have those extra expenses to pay. Which meant I wasn’t making pottery just to pay the electric bill!

With my studio being now at home I also got to enjoy my hubby, my critters, my home, the lake, and summer! To be honest, it was hard to be in the studio when the sun was out, and the lake was glistening. I thought maybe I could try to garden but that was an epic failure!

I was looking forward to winter when I had nothing better to do than be in my studio.

Because I no longer have the pressure of the extra expenses, I can spend more time doing what I love.

So this year will be a year of change!

New Projects and Artistic Mediums

Playing in Clay will always be my first passion and this year I plan to continue to explore new ways of decorating my pottery. Sgraffito still leads the way with underglaze painting coming up second and regular glazing coming in last place. Last year I added Acorns and Oak Leaves and cats to my subject matter. Several years ago I carved butterflies and think I may add that to my portfolio!

Torch Fired Enamelling

A new medium I am exploring is torch fired Enamelling. This exciting craft takes Enamel, which is powdered glass, and fires it onto metal, like copper, using a torch.

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I am just learning Torch fired enamel and finding my voice within the medium. It’s such fun learning something new.

Whereas Pottery can take a month or longer for me to see final results, torch fired enamelling is instant gratification!

I haven’t found my voice yet in this new medium so I am playing around and just seeing what it does!!

Digital Art

Years ago, before Digital Art became so mainstream, I was doing it. Not just applying a filter in Photoshop on some pretty picture I took either. I had a Wacom Tablet, a fancy Epsom Printer that could print on canvas and an expensive graphic program that turned my computer into a art supply store!!

It was great fun. I could paint anything I wanted with any kind of paint, pen or pencil.

At the time though, I was criticised for it, told I wasn’t really an artist and could not submit my work to Art Competitions.

Boy that chapped my ass.

Eventually I went on to do other things and the software became unusable on future Operating Systems.

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I can work out designs and colors for my sgraffito work on my iPad using Procreate and my Apple Pencil.

Now I am back at it with my iPad, Apple Pencil and an app called Procreate.

Most likely I wont be painting pictures with this but I will use it to work out new Sgraffito designs for my pottery.

Online sales

Last year (2022) I built a store on my website and did pretty well with it . I also kept my shop on Etsy with the same items. This became pretty confusing when I made a sale. I had to remember to take it off the platform.

This year I will be trying something new. My customer base on Etsy is completely different than my customer base on my website. With that in mind I will be making minimalistic pieces for the Etsy customer base and my artful pottery will be available through my website.

I think this will be easier.

In Conclusion, I have not made any resolutions or promises to myself except to enjoy life, enjoy my family and friends and enjoy the creating process.

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Dani Montoya - Potter
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My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

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Apple Ipad Air 5th Generation

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The iPad is a great solution for organizing your pottery or art life. Couple it with an Apple Pencil and an art App like Procreate and you can also work out design issues before committing to clay. Plus its a whole lot of fun.
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Apple Pencil

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This is the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil that works with the iPad Air 2 5th generation. It easily pairs and draws beautifully. You can even write in text boxes and it will change it to type.
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Beginner Enameling Kit

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I started my Enameling Journy with a Kit similar to this. What I like about this kit is the book. I have it and its a great way to learn
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Shimpo Whisper Potters Wheel

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This is the potter's wheel I have and I absolutely love it. Its a bit pricey so if you can swing it I do recommend it.  You may be able to find one used, which is how I bought mine. A more affordable wheel I would recommend for beginners is the Clay Boss

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Phone Arm for Overhead Videos

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I bought this so that I could record video while I am making stuff. It works great.  The arm attaches to the table with a thumb screw. The part that holds your phone is spring loaded and almost too strong of a spring. I pinch my fingers a lot but I know the phone won't fall out into my clay water!!
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