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A Chat with Remembrances Pottery

The interview today is from the talented Natalie Sheldon of Remembrances Pottery and "Not Going to Rhinebeck" Virtual Festival is her brainchild!  As the event approaches, there will be more vendor interviews so make sure and stay tuned!
Now, here is some fun tidbits about Natalie and Remembrances Pottery!
How did your maker journey begin?
I don't remember a time when I wasn't making.  As a very young child, there was always some sort of craft supply at hand...play doh, paints, bits of fabric, paper glue and scissors, etc and I was always tinkering with something or other.  We'd go camping and I would weave placemats from long grasses or cattail leaves. I'd make "decorations" for my bedroom with twigs wrapped in yarn or paint rocks in brightly coloured patterns.  In grade 8, I taught myself to sew on my mother's sewing machine and sewing became the predominant craft. I started with bags, and skirts and simple things.  That developed into baby quilts when my cousins started having babies, and later, clothes for my own kids.  
The knitter in me: I started knitting just after I finished university.  My mother in law gave me a Martha Stewart book (or magazine?) that had a knitting section and it looked like a fun thing to try.  I learned entirely from library books at the time and for years I stuck to things like slippers, mittens and hats for my kids.  And then I found Ravelry, and podcasts, and fiber festivals and I dove in fully and completely.
The potter in me: I have always had a love for traditional pottery pieces...the kind of pieces you find in recreated historical villages. I used to search for them at antique stores but they were almost always cracked or chipped (or way out of my budget).  I yearned to take classes and try to recreate those pieces myself.In 2009, I was finally able to take some class sessions at our community college.  I started with hand building and did that for 3 semesters.  Then I "moved up" to throwing on the wheel and did that for a couple of years because I thought that was the way it was supposed to be done. I even bought a wheel, but I soon realized that I just simply preferred hand building, and it hurt my body a lot less, so I went back to where I started. 
Do you knit, crochet, spin, or weave?
I knit and spin mostly.  I have started one crochet blanket to try to learn a few different stitches, and I have a tiny frame loom from when I was a child that I ocasionally weave little squares on for kicks but my daily go-to's are knitting and spinning.  I'd love to learn to weave, but I've promised myself I won't buy a loom until after my kids move out of the house.

Where do you get your inspiration for your products?
The knitter in me: There's not a lot of selection for clothes wear I live.  In the past, it started with "why doesn't this thing I want exist"? And so I start searching for ways to make them myself.  Since finding ravelry, there's no shortage of ideas floating around.                  The potter in me:  Short answer: absolutely everywhere.  Long answer: These days, I'm mostly making mugs, and the mugs I make start with a flat rectangular slab of clay.  It's kind of like a blank slate.  I'll hear a word that will trigger an idea, or I'll see some flowers or plants in the garden.  Sometimes it's just a texture I try to recreate, and I get a lot of my ideas from images on fabric (that's where my paisley buttons started, which turned into a few paisley mugs).  There are always way more ideas popping around my head than time to make them all, so I keep a sketchbook of what I call "mug blanks" and take a peek at it every so often (usually when I've just made 40 of the same mug and want a little break to refresh). 

What kind of materials and special techniques to you use?
The knitter in me:  Right now, I gravitate towards colourwork projects or cabled projects where the pattern does all the work and I can just choose solid colour yarns. 
The potter in me: The technical bit: I use a cream coloured, stoneware clay that I fire to cone 6.  The design bit:  Most of what I'm working on at the moment involves carving my own stamps (either clay or rubber depending on the project) to texture the clay and then underglazing the patterns in different colours and glazing in clear.  It's labour intensive, but it gives me the exact result that I want. 

What is your favourite item you have made so far?
The knitter in me:  My favourite project is usually the newest off my needles.  My most worn item (and most complimented) is the Unicorn Party shawl by Kathleen Dames that I made in turquoise white and grey.  I wear it almost every day in the winter.
The potter in me:  My all time favourite piece is actually a broken piece.  A few years ago I was still having my work fired at the studio of our community college It was overfired so it melted right to the shelf and was broken while they were detaching it.  I keep it around because I keep intending to grind it down and epoxy it back together.  It's made of 60 separate slab pieces, involved a lot of math, and I really felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished it.
What fiber projects are you working on this moment?
Knitting: I'm currently working on the Claire poncho by Maria of Ninja Chickens, the Clarke socks by Jaclyn Salem, and a pair of colourwork mittens inspired by a sock pattern I found in a book from the 1970's. 
Spinning: I'm washing, carding, and spinning 2 kg of Finn sheep from a local-ish farm that I plan to dye with plants from my garden this summer/fall.  I'm hoping to get enough contrasting colours for a colourwork sweater.

Do you have any special events going on in the upcoming months?
                     The next upcoming event for me is "Not Everyone Goes To Rhinebeck": A Virtual Fiber Festival October 19 - 21, 2018

Where can people find out all about you?
The only social media I use on a regular basis is Instagram.  I'm @remembancespottery there.
Bonus question:  Do you pick the pattern or the yarn first?
The pattern.  Almost exclusively.  I don't really keep a "stash" so I usually pick out yarn specifically to make a pattern in my queue.

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