Friday, August 29, 2008

Garden Visitors

Sometimes I get lucky and have my camera handy, or if not handy at least close enough. I've had a few days when my timing was right and the lunchtime visitors were too hungry to care about me. Our visitors the other day were a group of three White Peacock butterflies. In the past I haven't been lucky enough to catch them when they're young. It seemed like every time I'd photograph one, when I enlarged the photo there'd be telltail signs of age, beat up and shredded wings. Well, the three that came for lunch looked like they may have just come out of their coccoons. Their colors were vivid and their wings showed no signs of age. Oh to be a young butterfly enjoying the lantana blossoms in the sun.

Monday, August 25, 2008

And the answer is...

I don't know.

Now the question - "When is my episode of That's Clever! going to air?" It's been so long since the filming that I often forget that it ever happened.

Traveling back through my time machine to the evening of November 17, 2006. We had just come in from an evening out and I was checking e-mails. I had one that had in the Subject line "HGTV Inquiry (seeking FL artists). Well, I was frozen, as if I had just gazed upon Medusa. After I was able to breathe and had read and re-read the e-mail that was sent from one of the Segment Producers that worked for Weller-Grossman production company, I yelled out to my husband, "you're not going to believe this!" I read the e-mail to him, which was an invitation to apply for a spot on the show That's Clever! I asked him what he thought. We both agreed that I should go for it. So I immediately put together my application. Now mind you, this original e-mail came to me from out of the blue. Even the producer couldn't remember how she found me, but it was through a search on the internet.

Well, after submitting the application and photos, I went through a phone interview with the producer. On December 11, 2006 I received an e-mail letting me know that the "pitch" was approved by HGTV. The green light was given to set up the shoot. Now the way that the production company works filming, they visit a city and set up 18 shoots for the time that they're in town. Each day there are two shoots. It's basically a blitz.

After the approval, I had to put together a Steps/Materials Form and sign all sorts of releases. Once both tasks were accomplished on January 6, 2007 I received my list of Step Outs. The step outs are basically a list of the steps in completing the piece with a listing of pieces that need to be made ahead of time. Since they don't shoot in real time, ie. having to wait for the clay to dry, waiting for the kiln to fire, etc., kind of like a cooking show, I had to make a lot of things ahead of time. This was very time consuming. I basically had to make 8 versions of the piece and because of drying and firing times, had to start in December right after the pitch was approved, prior to receiving my list of Step Outs.

Once the production team came to town I had a prep meeting where the producer and director visited to take a look at my studio space, approve wardrobe selections, and gave me directions in how to prep things for the shoot. Basically I had to clean my studio space, cleaner than it has ever been or ever will be again. My shoot was scheduled for January 27, 2007 at 8:00 am. There was a crew of 4, a lighting/camera guy, a sound guy, the director/camera guy and the producer.

Getting ready for the shoot was grueling, but the actual shoot day was arduously grueling. It's amazing how much work you have to go through to come up with 7 minutes on air. The director fed me lines and as the day went on I came down with brain freeze and he had to feed me 4 words at a time. I had a tiny hope that I might not come off looking too crazy. All hopes are gone. My brain freeze caused me to also make some mistakes that I won't reveal prior to the show airing. Just let me say that a well trained eye in sequencing should be on the lookout for slight variations. They were at our house for over six hours. At one point my husband poked his head out and said that I might want to take 5 and have something to eat. Thank God for my darling husband!

My segment was assigned a number. It's 460. This means that I'm in the 400 series of shows. Now, keep in mind that my shoot date was in January, 2007. HGTV has still not aired any of the 400 series of shows. They do still list That's Clever! as an active show, they're just not airing any episodes now. So that's the skinny. I keep forgetting about it, and every so often someone asks me - " So what's up with HGTV?" I guess that's my question too. So what's up with HGTV?

My take-away from this whole experience has been an incredible admiration for anyone that does TV or movies as a career. How people can actually do this for extended periods without melting down is amazing to me and to be able to make it appear effortless is the true miracle. I don't expect to be nominated for a Grammy, and if the show gets cancelled prior to airing, that might not be a bad thing. If or when the show does air, please be kind and remember that I'm not an actor, I'm a potter.

Friday, August 22, 2008


It's so much fun to watch people evolve. We don't have to go through eons to see evolution happen right before our eyes. As a ceramist I'm particularly drawn to the works of fellow potters and it's so much fun to be able to recognize their work without having to look for their name. The internet has made this process so easy. I can stay in touch with what others are doing just by checking in on their online shops or blogs.

One of my favorites is Keith Phillips. Keith is one of those adventurous people who's not afraid to try a new technique. Personally I don't know if he's got a time machine in his studio, because of the volume of work that he produces. An example of one of Keith's new lines is this marvelous mug. If you want to check out more of Keith's work go straight to his Etsy shop at
An addendum - incredible timing. Today a demonstration video that Keith submitted to Ceramic Arts Daily was released to the world. Ceramic Arts Daily is a daily e-mail and often includes demo videos. Keith's is about the best that I've ever seen. Check Keith's blog for the video. The link to his blog is in my Muddy Bloggers listing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Boldly going....

where I've never gone before. I've finally mustered up the courage to post on my blog for the first time! This could become adictive. First let me get the introductions out of the way.

My name is Judy Freeman and I am a clay adict. My first memory of this adiction came when I was in my junior year in college at Florida Atlantic University. Everything just clicked for me. That was back in 1971. It seems like yesterday. After college I started working a series of jobs that had nothing to do with clay. Mostly because my art wouldn't come close to paying the rent. So I worked retail, eventually becoming a store manager, then worked in offices, then for a life insurance company, eventually working my way up to Vice President of Administration. Fancy title for being in charge of customer service and claims. Clay was a necessary for me. Working in clay helped to relieve the stress of the day job and help maintain my sanity. So, fast forward to 2002, my darling husband got a job offer that would mean a move to Tampa, Florida. I was thrilled because it gave me the nudge to leave my job with the insurance company and shift gears. As soon as we moved to Tampa my mind opened up to new ideas. Fish teapots and butterfly bowls were born in Tampa. I had always been making cats, but the fish and butterflies helped to round out my menagerie. It's almost like my mind dumped all of the clutter from the insurance job and I had more RAM for creative thinking. It was quite a high to be driving down the street and have an idea pop into my head. Especially if it was an idea that I found funny, I'd start laughing out loud at myself.

I believe that there are the four "tions" of clay. The motivation - we sometimes need a kick in the pants to get to work. The inspiration - sometimes it comes as a flash, always have a pad and pen handy. The frustration - because sometimes things don't always go as you might expect or hope - be prepared to recycle. And, the elation - when everything comes together and that kiln load is opened and unloaded, there's nothing like seeing the fruits of your labor come together.

I am going to make a concerted effort to post regularly, so check back often for my meanderings.