Woodland Ramblings

posted in: Uncategorized | 0
The chicken gourds making an appearance at the Woodland Ramble Festival with Susan, her hubby Dennis and youngest son Joe. Photo credit Haley Sands. Copyright 2016.
The chicken gourds making an appearance at the Woodland Ramble Festival with Susan, her hubby Dennis and youngest son Joe. Photo credit Haley Sands. Copyright 2016.

 

You might say that I’m on a “high” after spending a beautiful autumn day at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, Georgia, over the past weekend. I was there to display the chicken gourds at their first-ever Woodland Ramble arts and crafts festival. The day was lovely, temperatures were mild, and the sky was a brilliant blue.

 

The artisans were situated on terraces that were part of an outdoor ampi-theater, and the roundabout walkways that threaded along the terraces made it easy for visitors to stroll past the different festival tents. It was such an ideal setting, and such a friendly crowd.

 

Woven Whimsy Stickworks Sculptures by artist Patrick Dougherty. Photo credit: S.R. Williams. @2016
Woven Whimsy Stickworks Sculptures by artist Patrick Dougherty. Photo credit: S.R. Williams. Copyright 2016.

 

Before the festival got underway, I was able to take a walk through the Visitor’s Center and noticed three very fascinating structures along the way. I found out that they were 20 ft. tall sculptures — titled Woven Whimsy Stickworks — created from branches and twigs that were found on the wooded property at the Gardens. The sculptures looked like giant birds’ nests with doors and windows woven into them. They were created by Patrick Dougherty – a North Carolina artist who made a special trip to create them on the premises just for the Gainesville Atlanta Botanical Gardens (ABG).

 

The walkways around the Gardens are landscaped with beautiful plants, trees and flowers, so butterflies and other interesting insects were plentiful – like the lady bug with yellow spots that found a landing spot on one of the gourds. It was lovely to watch the butterflies glide high above the green lawn of the ampi-theater.

 

Very soon, visitors started trickling into the Gardens and worked their way around to the festival booths. There were so many friendly people, and I was truly surprised to learn that several people had seen the chicken gourds on the ABG’s website and came for the sole purpose of buying one. As a result, more than a dozen of the chicken gourds sold, and many visitors took business cards for the purpose of placing custom orders. I am SO looking forward to creating their custom gourds. I can’t wait!

 

What really blessed my heart was to hear from several ladies who mentioned that they had taken time to read The Laughing Cabin’s blog. Each told me how much they enjoyed the stories. Their words were confirmation of a certain question in my heart, “God, am I making a difference?” God is so good about bringing the answers right when we need them. These dear ladies were the more important reason that I was there that day. They were each messengers of encouragement whether they realized it or not.

 

Several of my North Georgia Etsy friends were at the festival, too. It has been almost a year since I have seen most of them. It was so much fun to catch up on their news and to see the new things they had been making. I am giving a shout-out to each one of them in this showcase below:

 

c

BEACHARTZ

 

e

ALISHA GRATEHOUSE ART

 

f

SOUTHERN ESCENTUALS

 

d

FAIRFAX & DAVIS

 

If you find yourself in the Gainesville, Georgia, region, I can highly recommend the Atlanta Botanical Gardens as a lovely way to spend a couple of hours walking and enjoying the Gardens. They also host weddings there throughout the year. Here is the link if you would like to learn more:  ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDENS GAINESVILLE

 

dscf1387

 

If you were one of the dear folks who stopped by to see me at the festival, my sincere “thank you” for being part of what was, for me, a truly awesome day. My thanks to the organizers at the ABG for creating an event that supports the local artisans. We were treated like royalty and could not have asked for a better experience. I can wholeheartedly recommend the ABG to my friends in the north Georgia handmade arts and crafts community who would like to consider attending a future event.

 

Be on the lookout for the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s upcoming festivals because you will see me there. With so many new Laughing Cabin friends to be found there, I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

 

Until next time! ~ Susan 

 

Please note: This post uses affiliate links. Read the DISCLOSURE page for more information about our use of affiliate links.

Save

Save

Save

Hearts Ignited: “Josiah’s Fire” Book Review

posted in: Uncategorized | 1
Photo credit: BigStockPhoto/vectorfusionart
Photo credit: BigStockPhoto/vectorfusionart

 

I was browsing through my Facebook feed several months ago and saw a message that caught my eye. It was only about two or three sentences long, but what it said was very profound and full of godly wisdom. I remember clicking on the link to find out more about the author and to further explore his page.

To my complete astonishment, I learned that the author was a young boy named Josiah Cullen – barely 10 years old at the time. Though his age alone would make his writings seem amazing enough, I was blown away to learn that Josiah has been autistic since the age of two and unable to speak. Though I have no personal experience with autism, I do understand that it is a condition that causes the child to be “locked” inside his own body with the inability to interact or communicate normally with the outside world. It is a lifelong condition for which there is, as yet, no known cause or cure.

I have been continuing to enjoy Josiah’s messages on Facebook over the past year, so it came as a particular thrill when I learned that Josiah’s mother Tahni Cullen, with the help of author Cheryl Ricker, had written a book to tell his story. I did not have a particular interest to learn more about autism, but I had become acquainted enough with Josiah through his writings to know that he had a very special relationship with God. It was the glimpse into this relationship that piqued my curiosity and drew me to read the book.

I purchased a Kindle version of Josiah’s Fire: Autism Stole His Words, God Gave Him a Voice about two weeks ago. When I settled in to read a few chapters before bedtime, I immediately discovered that there was no way that I was going to be able to put it down. It took only two sittings to read the book from cover to cover. Josiah’s story is that compelling — and that marvelous.

If wisdom aimed an arrow at a target, it would hit a bullseye of love
and fight for it all day long

~ Josiah Cullen (quote from Josiah’s Fire Facebook page)

Around the age of 8, and with the help of a new learning method and an iPad, Josiah was able to begin typing out letters and words. Though no one had ever formally taught him to read or write, Josiah’s first typed sentence was: godisagoodgiftgiver. This one sentence broke the communication barrier between Josiah and the outside world, and the story that begins to unfold from this point forward is nothing short of miraculous. For his parents, it was the end of many years filled with broken hopes and dreams and an invitation to partner with God on what would become the start of an incredible adventure.

From the first few pages, God literally and tangibly reached through Josiah’s written words to speak to deep places within my heart. To say that I have had a transforming experience would not be a stretch of the imagination. At certain times, my eyes were so full of tears that I was mopping them continuously just to be able to continue reading. I can tell you now that nothing can prepare you for the impact that Josiah’s story – and his words — will have on your life.

It did not take long to realize that God was using this book – and this young autistic boy — to show me the depths of His love in an intensely personal way. Through Josiah’s words, the scripture verses that I’ve read in the Bible came alive in new ways, heaven became more real than I have ever imagined, and God’s love found its way with laser beam precision into my heart – and all while I’m sitting on the couch, mopping tears and reading what I thought would be an every day story about a boy with autism. Far from it.

Josiah’s story is not a tale of woe. It is not a survival manual for families affected by autism. This story is about a young boy who has an amazingly intimate relationship with God. It’s a story that tells how God’s love broke through the barriers of autism, and gave Josiah a voice – a voice that has the power to ignite hearts and lives with the fire of God’s love.

I was hoping to be entertained and encouraged by reading this book. Instead, I found myself completely “undone” by God Himself. I wept over God’s goodness. I wept over His beauty. I wept because of the new life that was being breathed into me in a way that I least expected. The lyrics from the song Soul on Fire by Third Day perfectly describe what I am feeling after reading this book. My heart has been rekindled, and I am running after God with a soul on fire!

JOSIAH’S FIRE GIVEAWAY: I love this book SO much that I am going to be giving away a FREE Kindle version. Look for the giveaway information in an edition of The Laughing Cabin’s E-Newsletter coming out on November 1, 2016. Not a subscriber, yet? See the SUBSCRIBE page for more information.

Until next time! ~ Susan

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. See our DISCLOSURE page for more information about our use of
affiliate links.

 

 

If you love Josiah’s Fire, here are more true stories of faith which I have read or viewed and can wholeheartedly recommend. ~ Susan


Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Bell’s Palsy: The Gift of a Crooked Smile

posted in: Uncategorized | 0
Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto/Flynt
Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto/Flynt

On July 12, 2015, I was getting dressed and ready to attend a family birthday party not knowing that my life was about to change. Three days earlier, I had begun to notice an odd sensation along the right side of my tongue, and my sense of taste was “off.” I did not think much of it, at the time, because it was so subtle. My neck felt achy, and I was pretty sure that I was coming down with a cold and thought that perhaps the sensations in my tongue were part of it.

Two nights before the birthday party, I came down with a headache that was the worst I have ever experienced. I have never had a migraine, so I don’t know what they feel like, but this headache was most certainly right up there in the same category. I could not lift my head. In the morning and with the help of some ibuprofen, the pain was completely gone, so I went on with life as usual.

It was while I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror to get ready for the party that I noticed something unusual. I was applying lipstick and could not bring my lips together to form that all-important “smack.” As a matter of fact, my lips felt very numb. I was immediately alarmed and ran to the computer to type in my symptoms. When I saw that the symptoms fell into the “possible stroke” category, that’s when I alerted my husband. We immediately called an ambulance. You can read the rest of the story in this blog post, Beauty, Vanity and the Things That Really Matter.

Thus began my journey toward recovery from Bell’s palsy which is paralysis of the facial nerves that can be temporary or permanent. Though, in my case, the cause is not entirely clear, the doctors’ consensus is that the shingles virus — or one similar —  had attacked the facial nerves on the right side of my face. Though most people commonly associate shingles with painful blisters, it can apparently manifest in the form of facial nerve damage. The headache and numbness in my tongue were symptoms of the onset of the nerve damage. I was thankful to be spared the blistering more commonly associated with shingles. I was told that recovery would be anywhere from a few weeks to a few years — or possibly never. And that even if I did heal completely, there was a possibility it would return.

In my case, there was no medicine to take or any surgery that was worthwhile to consider. It has been a matter of allowing my facial nerves to heal, and for each person, the length of time is different. I researched supplements and learned facial exercises to increase my chances of complete healing and improvement.  I have met dozens of people who have themselves recovered from Bell’s palsy. For most of them, it took years and years — as much as ten years, in one case. Regardless of how long it took, the majority of people reported that they did indeed finally heal and that the healing came on its own.

For me, I am believing that total healing will indeed come and that I will see it happen within the next year. I have come so far in 14 months that it gives me hope that the end is in sight. You can see by viewing this photo gallery the change in my appearance from July 2015 through September 2016. The first photo shows my “before” Bell’s Palsy appearance. The last photo shows how I look today. In each picture, I am smiling even though it’s difficult to tell in the early on-set photos.

The most difficult part of this journey came in the first few weeks. With the muscles on the right side of my jaw, neck and head being paralyzed, other muscles had to compensate. It was incredibly painful when you consider that the human head weighs about 10 lbs., and that many of the support muscles were no longer able to help with the heavy lifting. I was unable to get comfortable during the night and had to sleep sitting up and with my neck braced with pillows for about 2-3 weeks. The pain was not as bad as the lack of sleep which made me irritable and easily discouraged. Finally, the surrounding muscles strengthened and compensated for the ones that were not functioning, and the pain subsided. Things got easier from that point forward.

Normally, I wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses because my vision is so poor. I am legally blind, actually. The “hard” contacts shape my cornea to allow me to see much more clearly than with glasses. Within two to three months of being afflicted with Bell’s palsy, I realized that wearing contact lenses was no longer possible. I had to make the move to wearing glasses full-time — which meant really thick coke-bottle lenses and an additional dramatic change to my appearance.

I can tell you that I went through moments of small sorrows when I saw my reflection in the mirror. Oddly enough, my hair line had receded about an inch on the side that was paralyzed — though it has been gradually working its way back. I had to learn to become creative with my hair styling. Smiling was no longer possible — my mouth muscles wouldn’t cooperate — and the coke bottle glasses combined with the paralysis were not a winning combination in terms of my general appearance. My right eyebrow drooped so severely over my eye that I had to tape it back with a piece of bandage just to be able to see. I could not blink properly, so my right eye would alternate between being too dry or too weepy.

Anytime I salivated, the right eye would pour tears which was one of the weird reactions that happens as a result of Bell’s palsy. Because of this, cooking was a real chore due to the time it took to stop and mop away tears every time I inhaled something fragrant or spicy. If I opened my mouth wide, my right eye would completely shut. So chewing was a lot of fun with my eye opening and closing with each bite. With Bell’s palsy, you cannot puff out your cheeks, and sipping through a straw is a near-impossibility because of the important role that cheeks play in the ability to sip. Biting down on the straw did the trick, That was the only way. Choking was another concern because of the way the paralysis affected the right side of my jaw. It affected my ability to chew thoroughly and to swallow — and this is still a problem even today.

The right eye was very light sensitive, in the beginning, so it was painful to spend much time outdoors even with sunglasses. Driving was nearly impossible during the first few months. A deep sorrow was that I could no longer see well enough to paint, craft and create. That didn’t stop me from trying, but I eventually did lay down my paintbrush for several months. Being able to give my husband a proper kiss is the ability that I’ve missed most of all. It’s getting better, but my pucker power is still lacking.

There were other memorable moments during the first six months when the Bell’s palsy was at its worst. Strangers tended to treat me as though I had a mental or physical disability. They spoke louder than they needed to speak — or they would look to others who were with me to “interpret” for them or to speak on my behalf. One man walked up to me and told me to, “Cheer up.” He didn’t realize that I was actually happy that day but that I just couldn’t show it.

Worse was when people chose not to speak at all. This created moments where I felt isolated, but not often enough for it to become a real problem. There were uncomfortable and awkward moments, to say the least. I did get more than a few chuckles out of these things, thanks to my vivid imagination. In some ways, it was like being the sole participant in my own version of “What Would You Do?”  I kept envisioning that John Quinones would walk around the corner with a TV crew at any moment. Suffice it to say that some people were very kind, and others not so much.

My favorite moment was when my then-4 year old grandson came to see me for the first time after my face was paralyzed. He gave me a big hug and then said, “Grandma Honey, why do you look like a monster?” I told him that my face was broken, but that it would not always stay that way. We both agreed that while I might look like a monster, I was a friendly monster — which is the very best kind.

I remember feeling tremendous relief when I was in the emergency room and the doctors informed me that I had not had a stroke. As a matter of fact, after many tests of all kinds, I was told that I was in excellent health. One doctor then started asking questions about other routine tests such as, “When was the last time you had a mammogram?” It seemed so absurd to be asked such an irrelevant question in terms of the enormity of the situation. I wanted to tell the doctor, “If having another mammogram is going to cure me from the Bell’s palsy, then what are we waiting for? Let’s go!” Instead, I just gave her my best, “Are you kidding?” look. Of course, she couldn’t tell because my face was frozen in one position. “Spunk,” that’s what my deceased grandmother would have called it. Spunk and humor proved to be excellent crutches to help me walk this journey.

Now at the 14 month mark, healing is not yet complete — but things have certainly improved. My right eyebrow can lift on its own, I can now perform a “half” smile, and if I am merely walking along, no one would ever know that I have Bell’s palsy. It isn’t until I speak or chew that it becomes noticeable, but not in a bad way. I am still rocking those coke bottle glasses and will probably continue to do so for the duration. I practice doing facial exercises every day in the mirror, and I do see continued improvement. I am no longer self-conscious about the way that I look and have learned to apply make-up to accentuate the positive features of my face and wear certain colors of lipstick so that the crookedness of my mouth is not as visible.

Throughout it all, joy was always there as long as I continued to choose it. I think that has been the most surprising part. It’s not that I didn’t have “down” days or have my share of struggles including physical pain. I found that I could still find things for which to be thankful —  that I could laugh when people’s reactions were causing hurt or that I could find humor in the middle of such a ridiculous circumstance. That it was okay to cry when the picture of me at my son’s wedding revealed the horrible palsied grimace on my face instead of the joy that was in my heart. Yes, cry, but do not wallow in it. Most importantly, I found new ways to love and like myself. I learned how to cheer myself on and to be my own source of encouragement. I discovered that I am not the way I look. Appearance does not define me. When it came down to the quiet moments when I was alone with my thoughts, I could always feel the joy. It amazed me and strengthened me.

I came to understand, in just a small part, what the Apostle Paul meant when he said,  “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me (I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency).” Philippians 4:13, Amplified Bible.

For me, this is the end of my Bell’s palsy story, and I probably won’t be talking a lot about it from this point forward. No, I am not yet healed, but Bell’s palsy no longer defines me. It is no longer part of my internal conversation, and it no longer has power over me. In a sense, I am already healed. It just hasn’t shown on my face, yet. It’s been a gift and a blessing even though it may seem hard to believe. In many ways, I have been set free to be a newer and improved version of myself, and that’s something to smile about.

Until next time! ~ Susan

The printed Scripture verse below is a handmade gift from my friend Jeri of Abiding Word Creations. This verse spoke to my heart in a special way during these past 14 months. Thank you, Jeri!

dscf9386

Beauty from the Ashes of a Wildfire

posted in: Uncategorized | 0
Wildfire at the Shenandoah National Park in April 2016. Photo by Donna Baugher Sellers. Copyright 2016.
Wildfire at the Shenandoah National Park in April 2016. Photo by Donna Baugher Sellers. Copyright 2016.

 

During the years that I spent as a seller on Etsy, I met a wonderful woman named Donna Sellers who contacted me to create a sign for her craft business, Art From the Cabin. What we did not know is that this encounter would bring about more than a transaction. Over the course of time, we became friends.

I am pretty sure that we fit the definition of “kindred spirits” though we have never met in person. We both live in a cabin in the mountains, both enjoy creating art – and we both love the Lord Jesus. One of my chicken gourds has a perch in her kitchen, and her gingerbread man bookmark has a place of honor on my bookshelf. That’s what has been so fun about getting to know Donna – it just happened, we didn’t have to work at it. We have now been friends for more than three or four years.

In April 2016, Donna contacted me by e-mail to let me know that their family’s home was situated in the path of a raging wildfire that was burning out of control in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Neither of us realized it at the time, but a story began to unfold that is both fascinating and miraculous. It is a story that will be of great encouragement to many, and will most certainly bless your heart when you learn the final outcome. That’s why I’ve asked Donna for permission to share it here.

I know that many of us have watched news coverage of wildfires – particularly the ones that regularly occur in California. Because of this, we can get a clear idea of just how frightening and devastating these fires can be. So you can imagine what it was like for Donna’s family when they saw the red glow of a wildfire appearing along the mountain ridge near their home.

Left: This photo shows the mountain where Donna lives with smoke rising from the national park located beyond the mountain. The factory shown in the foreground is the Coors Brewery. Center: This photo was taken in three months after the fire from an overlook in the Shenandoah National Park facing the burned acreage. Right: This road serves as a firebreak during the wildfire. The woods on the left were not burned, the woods on the right were.

 

Here is what Donna described when she wrote about this experience. Her story is taken from excerpts of the e-mails she shared with me, and from the story she wrote for her women’s ministry newsletter:

“When firefighters arrived on the scene, they discovered that the fire had covered 70 acres and was growing quickly. For two days, I walked around my yard praying for protection for my home, and the woods; as well as my in-laws’ wooded property. Due to the location of my home, the only time I knew there was a fire burning was when I left my home. I saw the smoke and smelled it.”

The scripture verses that Donna prayed were from Psalm 91, quoted here:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I trust. ~ Psalm 91:1-2 (The Amplified Bible)

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge over you, to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways. ~ Psalm 91:9-11 (The Amplified Bible)

“On Monday night (April 18), I looked out my upstairs bathroom window and saw a red glow from the top of the mountain when, before, I had not been able to see anything. I continued to pray for God’s protection for my property.”

Donna asks, “If you’re wondering if I was able to sleep during this time, yes, I did!” She cites Psalm 4:8 which says, “In peace, I will both lie down and sleep. For You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.”

Left: The wildfire raging along a mountain ridge during the night. Center: The Smokey Bear Hotshots firefighting unit out of New Mexico. Right: The ferns beginning to grow out of the ashes, several months after the wildfire.

 

Now two days into a wildfire that would consume more than 10,000 acres by the time it was contained, Donna’s family had to consider the reality that their home and property – and that of their in-laws’ – might be lost to the fire. Even so, Donna says, “It was not going to do me any good to walk around in fear. I had to trust God. I knew He promised protection to the person who dwelt in the secret place of the Most High. I continued praying for protection, not just for my property, but for all of the properties that bordered the park. We needed a miracle!”

That miracle came on Tuesday, April 19 – the third day after the wildfire was reported. It arrived in the form of a band of firefighters from New Mexico known as the Smokey Bear Hotshots.

“My husband did not go to work that day,” Donna explains, “so he was able to shuttle a group of the men to the family’s property. On the way through the woods, one of the firefighters turned to my husband to ask if we listened to a particular Christian radio station. This was our first indication that these firefighters were Christians. Before the men went to work, my husband and our sons witnessed these men gather in a circle, bow their heads and pray.”

With her in-laws’ permission, the Smoky Bear Hotshots went on their land and created firebreaks. They lit a fire from the firebreaks that would burn up to the wildfire in the park to provide protection from the wildfire spreading onto the home and property. It worked, and the home was saved.

After 13 days of battling the wildfire, it was finally contained on April 29. In the end, there was no loss of life. With the exception of private land that was burned to stop the wildfire from spreading, there was no loss of homes or property even though more than 10,000 acres were destroyed.

“Sometime later,” Donna continues, “my husband and I took a walk near where the fire was, and everywhere there were ferns growing up out of the ashes. It was beautiful, and I took several photos. When I sent the photos to a friend, she pointed out the cross on the right hand side of one photo, towards the back. I had never noticed that before because I had kept focusing on the ashes and the ferns. I don’t believe God caused that fire, but I do believe He can bring good from it. If that fire had never happened, I would not have had this photo.”

Then, Donna said the Lord gave her this scripture verse from Isaiah 45:3: “I will give you treasures from dark, secret places; then you will know that I am the Lord and that the God of Israel has called you by name.”

She shares, “This photo will be a constant reminder that new life can come out of the ashes, and if we look closely enough in all that we walk through, we will always see the cross!”

This photo shows the ferns beginning to spring forth from the ashes of the Shenandoah National Park wildfire. The photo on the left is the original picture taken by Donna Sellers. The photo on the right is a close-up. The red arrows mark the location of the "cross" that appears in the photo. Copyright 2016.

This photo shows the ferns beginning to spring forth from the ashes of the Shenandoah National Park wildfire. The photo on the left is the original picture taken by Donna Sellers. The photo on the right is a close-up. The red arrows mark the location of the “cross” that appears in the photo.

 

Written and compiled by Susan Williams using written excerpts, with permission, as told by Donna Baugher Sellers. Photos appearing in this blog post are by Donna Baugher Sellers. Copyright 2016. Photos used with permission.

 

Lady Potters Know How to Throw Like a Girl

posted in: Uncategorized | 2
Simply Susan's Pots
SIMPLY SUSAN’S POTS

 

I know that not so deep down inside me somewhere is a potter waiting to emerge. I’ve had a few clues throughout my lifetime that tell me this. The first clue came when I was living on the island of Okinawa as a child and ventured off to explore a new path through the rice paddies. That path led me to an open-air handmade pottery factory where a dozen or more potters were lined up in tidy rows, each bent over a turning pottery wheel as they fashioned balls of squishy brown “mud” into serving bowls right before my eyes. I was only 8 years old and entirely fascinated.

To my delight, one of the potters saw the look of awe on my face, and motioned for me to come closer. She was a young woman with her black hair tied back in a pony tail. She did not speak English, and I spoke very little Japanese, so she stood up and gestured for me to take her seat. She stood behind me and took my hands and placed them around the mound of clay that was already taking shape on her wheel. With her hands cupped over mine, she caused the wheel to turn slowly by stepping on a pedal with her foot, and the thrill of the clay turning underneath my hands is something that I can remember to this day. The smell of it, the feel of it — the joy of it.

Recently, I’ve been sharing time with four ladies who have formed a “tribe” that is centered around their friendships with each other and with their common love for making pottery. They explained to me that, years ago, it was difficult for a woman to break into the pottery world because it was male dominated, particularly in this region. They have formally named themselves Lady Fingers Pottery and have been encouraging me to join their ranks. You might say they want to teach me how to “throw” like a girl. I have to confess that I’m giving it serious thought. The Laughing Cabin Pottery has a nice “ring” to it, don’t you think?

There is something so primal and earthy about the idea of sticking your fingers into a lump of clay, turning it around on a spinning plate and transforming it into an object of your choosing. All handmade pottery is truly a work of heart. The potter literally reaches into the clay and pulls out something of themselves. This is the mystery and the magic of pottery making.

Whether or not I take the pottery plunge, I will always be an admirer of handmade potters. Lady potters are particularly near and dear to my heart, and I’ve included a few of my favorites in this showcase below. Each potter has her own unique specialty that might include sculptures, hand built, wheel thrown or even ceramic tile painting. Each item in this showcase was made in the U.S.A. by a female potter and represents many different styles of pottery. Click on the images to visit the shops that are represented here and to browse more items.

Until next time! — Susan

Disclosure: The Laughing Cabin is an affiliate for Etsy, and the images below contain affiliate links. The Laughing Cabin earns a commission if you purchase an item through any of the affiliate links. You do not pay an extra cost because of this, and your purchase benefits the artisans and allows The Laughing Cabin to continue supporting and promoting handmade in the U.S.A. artisans. Thank you!

 

Eastburn Originals

EASTBURN ORIGINALS of Georgia

Simply Susan's Pots

SIMPLY SUSAN’S POTS of Georgia

Pottery by Noell

POTTERY BY NOELL of Georgia

Willow Tree

WILLOW TREE POTTERY of Georgia

Running Rabbit

RUNNING RABBIT POTTERY of Georgia

Save

Save

New E-Book Tutorial for Gourd Sculpture Enthusiasts

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Pic 1I have been sculpting gourds only since 2013, and my very first attempt came about when my sister — who dearly loves roosters — challenged me to turn one of the gourds into a chicken. I was not as practiced working with the clay, at the time, but the result was something that we both considered to be super cute, and I was happy to give her the chicken gourd as a gift. You can read the story and see a photo of that first chicken gourd here: How to Make a Chicken Out of a Gourd.

To my complete surprise, this particular post consistently continues to receive the most views and has been pinned more than 300 times on Pinterest. This tells me that people are clearly interested to learn how to create their own chickens from gourds. Because of this, I have created an 11-page tutorial (12 pages if you count the front cover) in a PDF format and will be offering it FREE to new and existing subscribers of The Laughing Cabin’s E-Newsletter.

The PDF tutorial includes: how to select a gourd; on-line sources for gourds; how to clean the exterior and interior of a gourd; resources to locate gourd cleaning tools; how to sculpt a gourd and what type of clay to use; materials list; painting instructions, color photos; clickable links to on-line resources.

Existing subscribers will find a link to the downloadable PDF file in the next few editions of the e-newsletter starting this week. New subscribers will receive a copy of the link which will be located in the “Welcome” letter that they will receive upon subscribing. The subscription form is located at the top right sidebar of this page, and more information can be found on the SUBSCRIBE page.

If you would prefer to receive a printed version of the tutorial — or if you prefer not to subscribe — the printed version is available for purchase for $5.99 USD — find it  HERE — and includes FREE first-class shipping within the U.S. A list of links will be included that will allow you to access additional resources and materials through the internet.

Of course, you can purchase ready-made gourd sculptures by S.R. Williams (that’s me) by visiting the on-line SHOP and click on the LAUGHING CABIN ORIGINALS category selection.

This tutorial is truly a labor of love for those of you who would love to create your own gourd sculptures. Chickens are just the start. Once you learn the basics, you are limited only by your imagination! If you would like to share the PDF file link with your friends, use the “share” button at the bottom of the e-newsletter to do so.

Until next time! ~ Susan

Chicken Gourd Cover 480x600

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 11