Dual Purpose Pots


We just got back from the 2016 Hummer-Bird Festival that was held in Rockport, Texas.  Like always, we had a wonderful show.  Lots and lots of folks soaking up fantastic information about all kinds of birds!  We went to a Raptor show and saw a falcon, a kookaburra, a barn owl and an awesome vulture named Ziggy.  Tons of fun.

While we were there, people would come into our booth and tell us that they saw our pots at Mrs. Harvette Green's house.  She was on the Hummer House Tour (you can tour a group of houses that have many, many hummingbirds zooming around and sit and watch the hummers). They told us how she was hanging her hummingbird feeders from our pots.  What a wonderful idea!  Isn't it awesome?  We love it too and can not thank her enough for expanding the use of the hanging flower pots. She told us how she did it and now we will have this option available in the booth.  Way cool!!!
Thank you, thank you Mrs. Green!  You are a smart bird!  :)

Is that a bicycle wheel?




Jim Bob is making these super cool wind spinnies out of old bicycle wheels!  What do you think?  I'm not sure where the inspiration came from to inspire JB to make these but they are consuming him entirely.  He is making the brackets, cutting the sheet metal for the cones, finding thai spoons on ebay....he is all about them!  I thought they were so cool we added one to our chicken coop.  I think the chickens are digging it.





Look at the video of a wind spinny doing its thingy:

video


All the cones are cut from flashing and bent to form the cones that catch the wind.


The cones are all bent and attached to the wheel.





We use random beads, forks, thai spoons, fishing lures...whatever we think would look cool, we string'em up!


We spray paint the interior of the cones to add some color.


Handmade clay beads, beads and some fishing lures add some fine detail to this wind spinny!


More fun!

The Bobbit Family bought a wind spinny from us in Edom, Texas.
 Thank you guys!  It sure looks pretty in your yard!





Aren't they cool?

Come check them out for yourself at our next show!

See you then!










Our New Logo

We are changing things up around here!  We have decided to brand ourselves a little differently and start by going by our official studio name:  Green Dog Studio.  We had our wonderful friend and artist Jeff Bent with Sporecloud design our logo.  Our inspiration was those old seed packets from the 70's. We think he did a great job, right?



Daisy, our Lesser Jardines' Parrot
The first question we get is why a parrot?  Well, we had a wonderful Lesser Jardine's Parrot, Daisy, for years.  We traveled to art shows with her and she hung out on a tub while we sold pots.  This, of course, was before we had children.  At one of our art shows, a fellow artist asked, "Where is Daisy?  Your little green dog.  She is just like a little green dog."  We thought she was absolutely right! She was like a little green dog.  She could do tricks, she was loyal as a little dog and traveled with us just like a little green dog!  So when it was time to create a studio name we thought Green Dog Studio would be perfect. 

 Daisy, unfortunately, had a immune disorder and became very, very sick.  Her life was not at all as long as we expected but she made a huge impact on us while we had her.  We are so glad that we named our studio after our little green dog.

So I want to get some t-shirts, hats and new business cards that will bring our new branding all together.  I am also working on a new sign for the booth that will show our new logo large and in charge!  Look for it at our next show!


That's a Ton of Clay

Here at Green Dog Studio we use three to four tons of clay a year.  At the end of 2015 we made our year end clay purchase that gets us started making pots in the new yew year.  We get clay at Armadillo Clay Supply in Austin, Texas.  Luckily Armadillo is pretty close to us.  Armadillo is located in south Austin and we are just north of Gonzales.  We can get to Armadillo in about an hour which is really convenient for us.  Even though going to get clay is fairly simple to do it's still somewhat of an ordeal.  We usually take full advantage of being in the big city and have a little fun and a good meal while we are out and about.


This is what the truck looks like with 2,100 pounds of clay in the back.  That is a touch over the payload of our truck but it seems to handles it well.  You can certainly feel the load as it effects the whole truck from the feel of the ride to handling and breaking.  You can even tell by looking that there's something very heavy in the back.  


When we picked up clay this time we had just gotten back from a show and still had the shelves and tent in the back.  The guys bring the clay out with a fork lift and they put the pallet at the same height as the tale gate and pretty much slide it right into the back of the truck.  I have big sheets of cardboard in the back of the truck so it makes sliding fifty pound clay boxes around pretty easy.  There are 42 fifty pound boxes of clay in there.  Looks heavy huh.  I really dislike clay day but over the years it's becoming an easier chore...partially thanks to Charlie and Grant.


When we get to the studio I back up to the patio to start unloading.  This is a restaurant supply storage rack my potter friend Charlie Pritchard of Luling Icehouse Pottery gave me.  We put it down by the tailgate and start sliding clay out and stacking on the rack.  It took sometime to figure the best stacking configuration but finally it came together.  Eight boxes per layer works well on this rack and each layer of clay adds up to 400 pounds.

400 pounds
800 pounds
1,200 pounds
1,600 pounds
2,100 total pounds
Here is the clay slotted in with the pallet jack.  I put 2 by 4's on the jack  because the rack is slightly taller than the reach of the jack.  I also put some supports under the rack to help support the dead weight of the clay.  It may be over kill but it feels right and I don't know if Charlie has another just lying around.

After the clay is all stacked up nicely we bring in the big guns.  Thanks to Grant we have a pallet jack in the studio and it is one of the handiest tools we have.  Just jack it up and slot it into position and clay unloading is done.  We use the pallet jack for moving everything we can.  If the jack will fit under it we will always opt for the jack rather than trying to grunt things all over the studio...everything from clay to work tables, the futon, the flat file, the pug mill and even the wood burning stove once.  It's a bit hard to stow but it makes up for it in convenience.


Using a garden hoe makes getting the boxes pretty easy.  The cardboard is covered with a fine mist of dust as is everything when you live four miles down a dirt road.  Just hook the box with the hoe and give a pull...it sort of glides out of the truck.  It's like playing shuffleboard with fifty pound biscuits. 

Carts Vermont


Last March, we did a show at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.  The grounds of the center are beautiful. We just found out that we have been invited back to the show again in 2016...that's terrific news!  Last year the show was decent, despite almost being rained out.  We are excited to give it another go.

While unloading the truck and setting up the booth, one of the employees asked if we would be interested in using one of their garden carts to help move the pots from the parking lot to the booth space.  I had never heard of a garden cart before.   Not knowing what to expect, I graciously accepted the use of the cart and it was awesome...big huge wheels and a large cargo area looked perfect for moving pots around.

Generally we move pots back and forth in stacks by the armfuls.  One load from the truck consists of four large pots or six small pots wrapped in paper and stacked on each other like pylon cones.  It usually takes fifteen or twenty trips from the truck to the booth depending on the size of the set up.  Using the garden cart, we were able to move ten trips of pots in one trip.  Ten trips to one makes for a pretty fast load in and allows a bit more time to tidy up the booth layout.  Not only was the garden cart good for moving pots but it made getting the display rack to the booth faster.  It usually takes three trips to carry the rack but just one trip with the cart.  Needless to say, we were big fans of the cart and by the end of the show I was wanting one.

Here is Candice with one load of pots.
Nineteen more trips to the booth and she's
done for the day.

I looked the cart over and found a maker's mark.  I even took a few measurements thinking something similar could be built that would suffice.  When we got home after the show, I immediately hopped on the computer and checked out garden carts.  I found several different makers, styles, sizes and prices.  Some were wood, some metal, some were one piece cast poly and even collapsable versions.  Over the next few weeks I researched garden carts like no other.  I read reviews, asked questions via e-mail to get information not found on websites and checked prices.  When it was all said and done there was this awesome garden cart spreadsheet with all the information used to make the big investment decision.

We ended up getting the Carts Vermont cart.  It didn't seem like there was really anything else out there that compared.  The only factor about the cart that had me shying away was the cost and the shipping...it was the most costly of all the carts on the spreadsheet.  It faired better in other areas and thus I felt it would be a much better cart for us in the long run.  By the time I ended up biting the bullet,  the cart it was on sale and I felt much better about the decision.

The big deciding factors were based on the size of the pots to the size of the cart, the overall size of the cart, fixability and durability  Having used the cart at several shows now, I feel we made the correct decision.

Carts Vermont makes two different sizes of their garden cart.  We went with the midsize garden cart.  With the size of the pots to the size of the cart, we can put eight stacks of pots in the cart and not have unused space.  It's sort of similar to loading a kiln.  If there is loose or unused space in a kiln you are not being efficient.  The large cart was deeper and the extra depth wasn't necessary.  The large cart was also longer and wider which translated to unused or loose space.  The overall width of the midsize cart (the axel width specifically) makes it possible for us to get the cart through standard doors.  This comes in especially handy when doing indoor shows.  When ordering the cart we chose the semi-pneumatic option for the wheels.  These are a 20" heavy duty wheel with solid rubber tires which eliminate the chance of getting to a show and having a flat on the cart.  The cart is really well balanced and the 20" tall tires also maneuver really well.  They also allow the cart to be let down steps or pulled up steps.  It's not been taken down flights of steps but it navigates 2 to 6 steps easily.



The cart is carried on the back of the truck using one of those receiver hitch cargo carriers.  The way the truck bed packed with pots and the display the cart would not fit in the truck so this was the next best way.  So far this seems to be working out pretty good.

Over all we feel really good about the Carts Vermont decision.  I've been doing shows in Texas for about twenty years and have encountered every load in obstacle imaginable.  We have loaded in during rain storms, upstairs, downstairs, up elevators, in the scorching heat and even in a snow and ice storm once.  We first started moving pots with a hand truck and that never really went well.  Hand trucks are good for tubs and boxes but not really good for pots.  So, before Carts Vermont we have just been carrying pots in and out of shows...I really wish we would have discovered the Carts Vermont garden cart years ago.

Carts Vermont hacked.  Life is all about the hack.  What can be done to make it work better for us, better suit our needs or just make it look cooler or be more fun.  The cart comes disassembled in a pretty good sized box.  After it was all unpacked and accounted for it got it's first hack.  Before the cart was assembled all the wood parts were coated with three coats of polyurethane.  This just seemed like a no brainer.  The cart is being hauled on the back of a truck and has even been rained and sleeted on before.  It's all about protecting the investment.


Often times a bottle opener is a very necessary item at a show.  The cart has been fitted with a surface mounted Starr "X" bottle opener which gets good use.  There is also one mounted on the truck just in case the cart isn't close.  We even have booth neighbors who will come by the booth to say hey and open their bottles.  That bottle opener has been a fun conversation starter.  Bring your bottles and come say hey...we will see you at the next show.

Half full or half empty???

Thanks for checkin' in on us.  Right now we are knee deep in show season and this coming weekend will be the seventh show in seven weekends.  We are worn out and ready for the break between shows...next weekend.  It seems that all I do is eat, sleep, make pots and drive.  We will be in Kerrville this weekend for the Kerrville Festival of the Arts.  I hope this will be the lucky 7's show for us.

In booth conversation it often comes up that we do lots of shows.  Inevitably someone will ask..."do you just leave all your stuff in the truck for next time?"  As a result of all the shows we do, we not completely unload the truck every week when we are in a multiple week run of shows.  Typically we just take the pots out so that we don't expose them to any more travel time and stress than they need.  The pots are pretty tough but why risk it.  We leave the rest in the truck, it's just not worth the time of unloading, storing and then reloading for the next weekend.  The "rest" of the stuff in the truck consists of the show box, four chairs (two for us and two for the kids), the EZ-up, the display rack, two signs, and some odds and ends.  It may not sound like a lot but it takes up half the truck.  So, it's sort of a big deal to be moving it around when it's not necessary.

We have a camper top on the truck and I have come up with a way to divide the space into the top and the bottom.  All the pots ride on the bottom and all the "stuff" rides up top.  Here is a photo of the stuff in the back ready for the next show.    In the spirit of "is the glass half full or half empty".....is the truck half loaded or half unloaded?  I say, half loaded and one step closer to departure time.

If you find yourself in Kerrville this weekend please stop by and say hello.  No pressure...we just want to see you.

Happy New Year


Hi Everyone!

I sure hope the New Year is treating you fine.  2014 was fantastic and the Salazar Clan made it through the year smiling - we hope that we will be as fortunate in 2015!

December 22nd was our two-year anniversary on the farm.  Candice and I are still making and selling our art full time.  Last year, we sold at 26 art fairs across Texas.  It kept us busy and kept me out of trouble. :)  We worked on the farm a bit - we are now set up on 100% rainwater, we built a cover over the bus, poured a kiln shed slab and added a patio on to our studio.  We still have lots to do but our mantra is "slow and steady, slow and steady."

Candice is the glue that keeps the whole place together and functioning.  She coordinates all our great meals including all the breads, tortilla and marshmallows.  She keeps the bus nice and pretty, reads a lot, homeschools the kids, makes and sells her art, tends the goat herd, takes care of the dogs, donkey and the chickens, knits and finds time to read to the kids every night before bed.

The kids are wonderful - Lena Marie is 5 going on 25 and Zeb is 3 going on 4.  Lena Marie is finishing up kindergarten and on her way to 1st grade.  We are homeschooling and that has been a learning curve for all of us!  She is an active member in her Daisy Girl Scout troop and also takes ballet and tap lessons once a week.  (Her recital is May 30th if anyone wants to come watch.)  Lena Marie is selling girl scout cookies right now too.  The girl scouts have gone digital - big deal, just ask Candice.  As the Troop Leader, she is totally immersed.

Zeb is quite the boy.  He has started some homeschool stuff too and is eager to jump in with his sister.  He is loving Hot Wheels, Iron Man, his bike, his bow and arrow and anything he can crush or smash.  He likes talking about gross stuff and he thinks is SO funny - which he usually is...  They both keep us laughing and shaking our heads.  We love them.

We just wanted to say hello and Happy New Year.  Let you know what we have been up to and send good vibes to you and yours for the coming year.  If you are ever in our area, please, don't hesitate to stop in!  Just give us a call and we will head down and open the gate!

Your friends,

Jim Bob, Candice Ann, Lena Marie and the Zeb Man