Tag Archives: Jane Street Clayworks

Jane Street Clayworks: Looking behind at ’12, looking ahead at ’13

Thank you for reading Jane Street Clayworks during 2012. You give meaning to what I do here and without you this blog would be a completely solo venture. While the numbers have yet to be crunched with Google Analytics, I’ll soon will be able to announce which posts were the year’s favorites. This will be helpful, as I want to know what you liked best during 2012, so I can tailor more coverage to your tastes. Speaking of which, we’ve entered our third year and it is my fond hope that you continue enjoying Jane Street Clayworks in 2013!

Over the year, I learned much more about social media and the upshot is that the blog went through a major transition. I created an Etsy shop, Facebook business page and connected them to my blog. I updated my LinkedIn page and connected it, too. The learning curve was very steep, at times, and it took me months of studying and experimenting. Thank goodness for YouTube and the Dummies books series! I don’t know what I would’ve done without them. Seminars through Small Business BC were invaluable and I have yet to implement everything I’ve learned. Of course, having a new iMac and Dragon voice dictation program makes all the difference, as well as switching to a vertical mouse, which is easy on the wrist. I began developing a new logo several months ago and will be completing work on it as soon as I’m up and running with my new Photoshop Elements program. I’m also test driving a new blog theme and my ‘identity package’ will be soon be complete and the look cohesive.

Blog content also went through transitions in 2012. The news agenda had been fairly regimented, with set coverage on specific days of the week. I changed that, dropped news and workshop coverage near the midpoint of the year. I will incorporate a new version of this later in the spring, maybe in a monthly format. Less locale coverage meant a broader appeal. Because I was distracted by getting up to speed with social media, I was not able to devote nearly as much time to blogging. There were times when I could only post a photo or re-post a favorite article run in the past. Now, I am back on task and must simply keep the plates spinning….

The year 2013 will bring many more changes. Last year, I ran some ideas past my “particular friends,” as Jane Austen would say, and they very much liked what these ideas. To start with, the blog jingle, “exploring ceramics and creativity” will be changed to reflect the makeover. For the duration, I will keep the name to Jane Street Clayworks because of the established of SEO connections.

Next, will be broadening of focus. Writing about ceramics, pottery and sculpture continues to delight and coverage of these areas won’t change. New areas of focus will include the following:

  • fine craft —  examples: master woodworkers, the origin of craft guilds, etc.
  • fine art — examples: individual artists, styles, movements, and techniques
  • writing — examples: specific authors, genres, pieces.
  • social media — examples: experiential pieces, trends, relationship to art
  • reviewing — art exhibitions, books, movies, etc.
  • Science and philosophy will not be out of bounds, either.

Series of three paintings by RB Kitaj, 243.8 x76, 2 cm, The Arabist, The Greek, The Spanish scholar. By L. A. GARCÍA (elpais.com) via Wikimedia

In short, I will write about what appeals and continue to work with the foundation: ceramics. I’ll start slowly and will storyboard with you in mind at all times. The new focus won’t dominate the blog, so it will still be a recognizable and familiar resource. I have been itching to write about certain things, though, and will give myself leave to do it if I think it’ll interest you. I want to acquaint or reacquaint you with certain works. The first artist to be featured will be R.B. Kitaj, too little known and too little appreciated.

The year 2013 will be great fun at Jane Street Clayworks and you are all welcome to come on board because we’re about to embark on a most amazing journey! Happy New Year!!


— Jan


Filed under Articles and Interviews, Current Events, Featured Artists, Fun, My Work, Videos/Photos/Slides

May the holiday season bring you joy, from Jane Street Clayworks

Christmas Wreath on a British Bailgate door. By Richard Croft via Wikimedia Commons

Holiday wreath on a bailgate door in Britain By Richard Croft via Wikimedia Commons

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Canadian Thanksgiving and a thank you to readers

Canadian Thanksgiving takes place near the autumnal equinox and is a harvest festival. A statutory holiday in Canada, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season in our country and the three-day weekend is filled with holiday spirit. The day was proclaimed a holiday by Canadian Parliament on January 31, 1957:

A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

Modern Thanksgivings have other meanings, too, in addition to gratefulness for the harvest. It is a time to be grateful for many things in our lives. At this time, I want to thank you for reading Jane Street Clayworks, especially those who subscribe to my blog. I am very thankful for your readership and it means so much to me.

This October is very special because it is our 2nd Anniversary! If it weren’t for you, there would have been no reason to have created two years of content and I do it as a service to you and for you. The creation of Jane Street Clayworks was spurred by my passion for ceramics and creativity. It’s changed significantly since then but you will always be the heart of it. Thank you so much! You lend much purpose to my life….

— Jan

Canadian Group of Seven member Tom Thomson’s “Autumn Foliage” study



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A new Etsy shop and makeover for Jane Street Clayworks

Good news! Jane Street Claywork’s Etsy shop is up and running.

Online Shop
You can see my new Etsy shop by clicking the link above under the blog’s banner. Clicking will take you to a new page and my gallery, which is directly linked to my online store. More information about each piece can be seen by hovering your cursor over the photographs. Simply click an image and you will be taken to another window, my Etsy store. Etsy is an marketplace, if you’re unfamiliar with it. On the site, individuals have shops through which they sell their goods. It is a completely above-board enterprise that is safe to use. Transactions take place through PayPal, an online payment system. By using PayPal, a customer pays cash directly from their PayPal account or uses their credit cards, which are processed by PayPal. PayPal is also a safe method for making online purchases. As for my online shop, stock will increase over time. When something new is added, it is featured on the main Etsy page and I want that promotional boost. I’d love it if you took a look at my Etsy gallery by clicking the link on the toolbar above. No hard sell, I just want you to see what I’ve been up to and I’m proud that my little store is finally up!

New Banner
As you can see by looking at my Etsy shop, the artwork on the banner differs from what is shown above. Well, change is good. A new look for my blog will shake things up and get the energy moving. I have been working on these projects behind the scenes for some time and they’re ready to see the light of day! Change can smart, though, too. I’ve adored the image of the aggregate fence which is the basis of my blog banner…. It was created from this photo of a British garden wall. A change is needed, though. As I worked on the Etsy site, I realized my banner needed a softer look. By Monday, that same look plus my new logo will replace the current banner.

New Logo
When I first started blogging, I just used wordpress.com. I didn’t know I’d adore blogging and really make a go of it. I have, though, and am completely back in touch with my writing. Add to that a new shop and an eventual Facebook business page and I realized I needed a logo. As a graphic designer, I’d created many and am enjoying the process once again. Interestingly, it’s ended up being a joint adventure! First, I took to sketching, to come up with ideas. I wanted to do something with a terra-cotta pot and growth signifying creativity. In the midst of this activity, I mentioned my idea to my friend, Christina Ngo. She suggested that I work with a 45° angle. I liked her idea in more ways than one. For starters, the dynamism of a verticalRapidografi Staedtler line is a good design element.  So, my sketching continued and I incorporated the angle. At the same time, I had been researching plant sites looking for vines that appealed to me. I also investigated  plant symbolism because I like working with meaning, too. Not finding exactly what I wanted, I came up with my own, based on what I knew I wanted, a leafy vine with tendrils. Next, Mark gave me some of his Bristol board and I was ready to start inking. With technical pen in hand, I reached for the board… At that moment, Mark looked at my sketch, had an aha moment and suggested that I scan what I had drawn. I’d mapped out a grid to follow a 45° angle and drew my image over that. I did scan it and it looked great! So, all my banners will show my rudimentary sketch of the vine… My jingle is “growing creativity,” so a partially finished sketch is perfect. My work on the logo design evolved. I had wanted to constrain stacked letters into a flowerpot shape, using a nice Pantone terra-cotta. But, it wasn’t going to work well with the new banner idea. Too busy, visually. The idea was improved by stacking the Nickelodeon font, a nod to the Arts and Crafts style, and centering it on a plant pot. I’m also using Hoefler Text, which has a nice, rounded look. I’d studied fonts for several weeks, narrowing it down and testing them out. My friend, Connie Thoreson, suggested I shorten the vine, which I will do, too. As far as the technical end, I have my husband to thank because he is a whiz with Adobe Photoshop. We teamed up; I acted as the designer and he the technician. Working with 7 or 8 layers, we started achieving the look I wanted, with time left over for tinkering. Tinkering…the best part, if you don’t overdo it! I’m finalizing the logo and it’ll be up with new banner on my blog by Monday!

New banner, check. Etsy shop, check. New logo, soon. Next up is my Facebook business page….

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Thank you for visiting Jane Street Clayworks!

Viewership pattern from 11/15 to 12/15, with the most in the United States and Canada and England

When I finally got Google Analytics up and running, I was astounded! I had had no idea that people the world over had seen Jane Street Clayworks. Of course, I know social media has no boundaries, but learning that someone from Tunisia had read my blog was very touching. After I got over the initial excitement, I investigated further using this amazing tool. Then began to feel very grateful. Thank you very much for visiting Jane Street Clayworks, each and every one of you. Your visit is appreciated and I happy you arrived on my doorstep. You are so welcome.

Over time, I have been keenly interested in which articles people have looked at the most and, hands down, the most-read article is “The History of Bricks: Mesopotamia.” In addition, the most viewed photograph also accompanies that article and it is of the famed Ziggurat of Ur. Pauline brought up the idea that teachers might have assigned the article to students. I did put my heart and soul into that series and still believe the humble brick holds the key to civilization, historically.

Search engines sent readers here and it is my sincere wish that you have found what you are looking for with your research or surfing. Using Google Analytics graphics, I want to take the time to show you more about the company you keep here, as I think you’ll find it’s as interesting as I do. When I look at the map above, I see the obvious: most of you are from the United States. I wondered about that, as someone who is writing from Canada, but the U.S. population is gargantuan compared to that of Canada and it makes sense that the readership therefore appears disproportionate. And there are probably more people on the Internet in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. Regarding my country, as I peel back the geographic layers, I see that most of my Canadian readership is from the province in which I live, British Columbia.

Viewership patterns in Canada, with the most readers in British Columbia and Ontario

As it turns out, the U.S. state with the most readers is California, followed by New York. This also means that, all told, most of you are from the West Coast of North America. There could be umpteen reasons why there are so many readers from California, but I do emphasize the Arts and Crafts style and there are bungalows aplenty in The Golden State, along with a healthy appreciation of this historical movement (and its connection to ceramics and pottery). There is a fair spread of readers up and down the state, as you can

Where the majority of this blog's viewers reside, coastal CA

see. Trending toward the coast, save a few spots that are more central. Then we have New York, with a wider geographic spread, but mostly centred in New York City. Much the same with Florida…viewers from all over the state, with the most from the Miami area. Just thinking of Florida makes me pine for the sight of a traditional Florida cottage with its lovely screened sleeping porch, speaking of architectural styles… But while the majority of readers are from California, you are appreciated no matter which country you hail from or which region of said country. I have enjoyed seeing where you are from, especially and I hope you don’t mind my sharing a few locations: Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Jakarta, Casablanca, Al Qahirah (or what I know as Cairo), Algeria (this must include my friends there), readers throughout the entire Middle East, Europe, Scandinavia, and, in China, most are from Chongqing.

Yet, whether you are from Southeast Asia, South Asia, Down Under, or anywhere else on the globe, I thank you for coming to Jane Street Clayworks. You are what makes this blog tick and what sustains my interest. Your visit is so appreciated. As an Adult Third Culture Kid, people and places are in my blood…no geographic location seems too far away…. Plus, we all share in the appreciation of ceramics and pottery, it’s history and modern practice.

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Subscribe to Jane Street Clayworks!

As many of you know, Jane Street Clayworks recently moved from WordPress to a self-hosted site. Day by day, I am making improvements to the site and soon it will be better than ever! A few things that are on the agenda are as follows: feature stories and interviews, thanks to my new digital recorder, and new series segments, to name two. While it is taking time to get the hang of the changes that have taken place between sites, I’m slowly catching up. Next on the agenda is figuring out how to change fonts because I want to take it back to a serif face, as it is much easier to read.  I have yet to come up with a solution for a slideshow, but  that is also a priority. I also have to add a ‘share’ button at the bottom of posts, as that was a popular function before. Another thing I want to check on is whether people can subscribe to comments on posts. If you have any suggestions, please pass them along, as this is a good time to make changes and I want to be responsive to my readership. It’s all about you! The good news is that the e-mail subscription service is up and running. Please take a moment to subscribe to e-mail posts or a feed for posts and comments, both brought to you by Feedburner. Delivery time is between 1:00-3:00 a.m., so a new post will arrive in your mailbox every day, hot off the press. Just as you would walk outside to your mailbox for your newspaper, you can boot up your e-mail and find a fresh edition about all things ceramic. Whether the story is historical, current, pictorial, or a how-to, or a set of news briefs it will be sure to please. Take the time now to click on the box at the top of the sidebar to receive your daily post from Jane Street Clayworks! Thank you in advance… — Jan

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