Cat started with a little introduction about herself.
I have been creating art most of my life. I was always drawing as a child. I took it very seriously towards high school and went to college intending to be an artist. I went in a painter/ drawer but came out a photographer/ potter with a teaching degree in k-12 art. I taught for two years in area high schools, but the economy ate my job! I started selling my work, mostly pottery and some photos at craft fairs about five years ago. I also started my Etsy shop back in 2009 and more recently moved the majority of my work over to craft cafe. I think what got me started initially, is my Father who taught me how to draw trees and gave me tons of art supplies at a young age. It snowballed from there.
Are the ideas your own or do you find patterns and ideas somewhere?
I always create my own patterns, like for the felt owls and monsters and most of my sewing projects. I do get many ideas from Pinterest as well. If you check out my board you can see where I've gotten some ideas. I try not to copy ideas but to improve upon them. The teacher in me gets excited about new creative projects and I just have to try them.
Is there something special about clay buttons?
Well, They are pretty strong and they hold up well in the wash. I think it is just the idea of having something unique and handmade to add to a unique handmade item. I've had other crafters buy my buttons to use on their handbags, cowls and wool gloves. It adds an extra element to a handmade gift.
What is bunting and what is it's purpose?
A bunting is a decorative banner. I first saw them being used as decorations for a babies rooms or for a party. With the birth of my daughter, I became interested in making one for her room. It was fun to make so I made up some to sell. They remind me of medieval castles and they bring an interesting element to a rooms decor.
Sculpture for the garden and pottery for the garden are both empty, do you have any idea when you might be adding some items into those categories?
I have so much pottery to list, but with three kids and a house to clean, I don't have a ton of time to photograph everything. I also run a vintage site on Etsy with my Dad. It is that part of my business that has got me to the point I am at now. I am trying to inventory and organize my stock so it is easy to pull things when they sell. I guess having a third child has forced me to organize my house better. I am slightly obsessed with it, but I am finding that I am already more productive in the last few weeks because of it.
What you may like to know is that I have a few bird baths and bird feeders to list in the pottery for the garden section. The other section is for my sculptures which I plan to start making this fall. I plan to make fairy houses, toad houses and more bird houses, feeders and baths. I love the garden and I love creating unique pieces for it.
How long did the bowl take you to make and what makes it black on the inside?
What I think your asking is more about the process of making a piece of pottery. It starts as a wet lump of clay. I work in my basement studio. i take the clay and plop it on my pottery wheel. Throwing (not literally, just the term we use) a bowl on the wheel does not take too long, maybe between 2 to 20 minutes, depending on the size. Once it is formed, I have to let it dry about halfway, which can take a few hours, then I flip it over and trim the bottom. Once trimmed, it must dry overnight completely, then it is fired once in my kiln. A kiln firing is between 8-12 hours, then it has to cool down. one cool, it can be glazed and re fired. Glaze is the black part of that bowl. The red is the actual color of that clay. Clay comes in many shades. The whole process takes about 3-5 days. Its quite the process, but I love every part of it.
Now that you know the process of creating a piece of pottery, picture sitting for hours making tiny things like buttons and pendants and then having to fire them all, glaze them all and then tag and carry them to shows. It is exhausting and Ive found they don't sell well at craft shows. I also have a large kiln. If I had a small one, I would probably continue to make small things, but until I can afford one, ($400-600) I will hold off making more small objects. I have also gotten myself into making too many different items and I feel the need to limit it.
What types of materials is used creating pottery?
Pottery or ceramic items are made from clay. I use the term pottery for items that are thrown on the wheel. Ceramic tends to refer to items made from a manufactured mold, which I do not do. I use both terms though. Clay comes from the earth naturally and comes in different colors and strengths. I use an electric kiln, which is like a big oven to fire the clay to make it hard. Once clay has been fired once (bisque ware) you can glaze it. You can paint, spray or sponge it onto the surface. Glaze is a mixture of compounds in water which reacts to the heat in the kiln and forms the glass like coating on the surface of the piece of pottery. Glazes can be handmade, which I hope to do someday or can be bought from a manufacturer.
How long has your shop been open?
On Etsy, since 2009. I started very slow. It took me a long time to truly figure it out and decide what I was doing. On Craftcafe, I signed up before it opened and was set up for day one. I have had my business name since 2006 and have been doing craft fairs here in Maine since then.
One important thing to know about me and my shops right now, is that I am at a crossroads. I have a new vision for my pottery. I got a little overwhelmed by what others thought that I should be making, mostly at craft fairs. I took some time off from making new pottery while I was pregnant with my daughter and worked on my plan as well as all the felt items.
I plan to continue making some felt items as well as fabric ones. I am gearing my Craftcafe site towards child friendly items. My new pottery line will be on Etsy. Or so that is my thought this week.
Are all of your social site links listed as part of your shop? If not, please include them, along with the url(s) of any images that you would like me to use with the article.
I updated them today. I do have two blogs.
Feel free to include a bit of personal info about yourself and your background if you would like.
My name is Catherine or Cat Rolfe. I am 33. I have three kids, Trafton, age 5, Sawyer age 3 and Lillian age 6 months. I live with my partner Mike, our kids, our yellow lab Luke and cat Zues in a small house in the woods in southern Maine. I am a stay at home Mom, artist, crafter, organic gardener, and going vegan for good. My life is busy and crazy and fun!