Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Old School Kiln Firing

We go to Old Sturbridge Village a lot. I don't know who is from the area and already knows, but it is a collection of buildings from the 1800s clustered into a living history museum. They always have great crafts and activities for kids and adults, and the scenery is just stunning.

Every fall they host a night time Harvest Party where they light up the park by candlelight and have a bunch of activities through the park. The thing that made Michael and I really excited this year was that they were firing up their old-style pottery kiln.

Michael obviously knows a lot about modern kilns, but neither of us had ever seen this before, so we were really curious.

There it is!

 
The amount of wood that they needed to fuel this thing was crazy. They had two re enactors dumping wood into it non stop the whole time we were there. It definitely requires a lot more physical work than our kilns.


It works essentially the same as a modern kiln, by heating up the pottery until it's solid and the glazes fire. However, one of the men mentioned that there is very little heat control so breakage was fairly common.

Bummer huh? Can you imagine all that work only to realize a bunch of your pieces cracked?

We also checked out the potter on his pottery wheel.


Sara also got a chance to try her hand at the pottery wheel. Look how sweet she looks in her Denault Studios shirt haha.

She asked the potter to make a flower pot and got to help him make the rippled brim. It was nighttime, and there was not a lot of light, but you can kinda see her in there :)

It is really interesting to see how things were produced hundreds of years ago, and honestly humbling. I couldn't help but feel a little lazy watching those men lugging that wood all night when I thought of our kilns.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the fall. The leaves in New England are definitely starting to change and the air already has that refreshing crispness.

-Brooke

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mailing Invites

Tonight was an invitations night!

At the gallery we do a Local Artisan Series where we host local artists and crafters in the gallery. To kick off an artist's show we host a reception for their friends and family as well as our clientele.

The parties are honestly one of my favorite parts of running the store. We have met so many fun characters through them and who can resist a fun party, right?

Naturally since we host a lot of parties, we spend a lot of time inviting people! This entails a lot of stickers.


I used to HATE this job, but now I honestly don't mind it. It is almost meditative and it always turns into some nice quality time with Michael.


This upcoming show is for an artist who does paintings as well as this really neat collection of bright colored jewelry. The panther on the invite is one of Kim's paintings. I wish I had a photo of the jewelry she dropped off at the store on Sunday. It is bright colored fruit! I am sure I will get a chance to post a photo.

Random last thought...

I thoroughly enjoy how the little peel off things on the envelopes curl up when you rip them off fast.
Silly comment, I know.



I hope everyone's weeks are off to a good start!

-Brooke

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Let's Run A Road Race!

Yesterday was the Maynard Road Race, and Team Denault Studios had a BLAST!



I am always so impressed with Maynard's community. When it is publicized that something is happening downtown everyone comes out in the best spirits. I love it so much.

The event itself is a combination of a 5k event, or a 2 mile walk. Michael and Sara were the designated cheerleaders (although Michael prefers the title "team coach"), but every else picked something to go for.

Sara was so sweet. When we all met up at the store before the race, and she spent her time in the studio folding fans so she could an each of us when we finished.

Here we are getting ready to go.

 
We had great weather, which was wonderful!
 
The course was through the neighborhoods of Maynard, and it was great to see so many families take the time to sit out in their front yards and cheer on the runners/ walkers.

And here are the photos of each of us finishing:

Megan
I wish I looked this intense when I run haha. Great job Megan!
 
 
Katherine and Charles Denault, Michael's parents
 
 
That would be me :)
 
Leah
 
 
Jon.
 
 
Congratulations to everyone else who participated in either event! You all were wonderful:)
 
 
-Brooke
 
 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Maynard Road Race

Our brick and mortar location is smack in the middle of downtown Maynard, MA. Last year was our first fall season so we didn't really know what to expect of the string of town events that happen throughout the fall and into Christmas.

Holy Cow guys. You tell this town that there is something going on, and my goodness every single person comes out for it. Maynard really is a wonderful community like that.

The first of the events is the Maynard Road Race. It is a 5k run/ 2k walk run by the Assabet Valley Boys and Girls Club. To get involved in the action we assembled a "Team Denault Studios" of family and friends to all run the race.

And our team T-Shirts came in today. Tah Dah! Designed by the oh so talented, Michael Denault.

Logo on the front

Website on the back

Looking good.

I of course signed up thinking, whatever, no problem, I can do this. But it definitely snuck up on me! Needless to say I have been feverishly been running on the treadmill my last few times at the gym.

I picked up my number today on my way back to my car on my way home from the store today. I am actually quite excited for the race this Saturday. It should be loads of fun.
 
 

Looks like I am number 270.


Keep an eye out for a blog post with pictures from this weekend and send good thoughts to Team Denault Studios this Saturday! We will be having a blast.

-Brooke

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Inventory!

Hello all!

I mentioned a while ago how we were placing a bunch of new orders for inventory leading into the Christmas season. Well, new items have been arriving daily. This is one of the most exciting times of year at the store because I love getting to be one of the first to check out all of our new finds. It also makes for one of the most hectic times of year at the store. Yesterday Michael and I consciously decided to take a whole day to ourselves and dubbed it "date day." We went flower picking at a flower farm, took a nice long hike, and cooked dinner together. It was much needed. here are some of the flowers we picked.

 
Today we were back to work!
 
 
These aren't exactly new because we had them last year, but they are back! These are mittens made out of felted wool sweaters with a heavy fleece lining. They are the warmest things I have ever put on! I snagged a pair for myself last year and my hands never got cold once all winter. Trust me, this is quite a feat in Massachusetts. They are all also one of a kind, which is fun.
 
We also have some really sweet knit hats. I may or may not grab one for myself. What do you think? Eh?
 
 

 


I am into journaling and love beautiful journals; who's with me? Check out these ones Michael found. They are stunning! They also "hold" really well, as in they feel really nice in your hands and very well made. This one is purple, but we have a vast array of other colors and textures. I can't get over how beautiful they are. They are out of a fairy tale.
 
 
 
 
Lastly, some felted soap. I had heard of this before, but never actually seen or tried them for myself. It is soap with felted wool wrapped around it. The woman who makes them says that they make for a fantastic exfoliating facial. I will have to try that for myself and let you guys know.
 
 
 
Everything I mentioned will be up for sale online at our webstore, denaultstudios.com, within the next couple of days. In fact, as I am writing this Michael is working on the listings, so keep your eyes peeled.
 
 
-Brooke


Monday, September 9, 2013

Let's Make a Window Display!

Yesterday was window display day!

I actually quite like this task because it feels like shopping but for free! How stunning is this perfume bottle? I love it.


 I essentially just pick a color scheme or theme and then walk through the store and select items. For fall I thought that brown and orange was appropriate. Here is the in-progress pile. It shrinks and grows as I go along for sure, but just to give you an idea.

This guy was feverishly doing inventory all afternoon, so I was going solo.

Oh, and I found a friend. Check out this baked dragonfly. It may or may not have made me jump.

When we clean out the area in front of the window there are always bugs that get trapped. Yuck, I know. but that's why we clean it.



I wish I could have gotten better shot of the display, but it was a sunny day so there's a big glare. Maybe I will pop an image in of the window at night to get a better view.

I hope everyone's weeks are starting off well.

-Brooke

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Decorating For Fall

We were up late last night putting the final touches on the fall display. Let me just start off by saying I adore the fall season. The colors are so warm and cozy and I love fall baking!

 
In fact we stuck to a cooking theme for our middle table this year. In addition to the pie candles and leaf candle holders we added some wood cutting boards and these neat new wooden utensils. 

Now, I need to give credit to Valerie, one of our employees for putting together the guts of the display. She always does such a nice job, doesn't she?

Michael and I just came over to add the utensils and hang the overhead pieces. 

I must say, it is quite stressful to have the job of switching the hanging pieces haha. One of these days I just know I am going to fall or drop something and wreck the whole thing!

Luckily, this was not that day.

Tah! Dah!

Feels just like fall.

-Brooke
 
A side note, all of the items on our center table are live on the webstore: denaultstudios.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's in the boxes???

A big shipment of fall inventory showed up today! What could it be what could it be?

I have a confession to make. I still love opening up new items when they arrive. The thrill of that has not worn off yet. It is still like Christmas morning every time haha.

We received work from two artists. The first is a company that makes pie candles. They look and smell exactly like baked goods. I love these things. I have been looking forward to September all year simply because I knew that these were coming again.

(sorry about the blurry picture. It was dark)

Look how pretty this pumpkin pie is!


The other are candle/votive holders with autumn leaves. These would make such a pretty autumn centerpiece or mantle. Next year I might ask Michael to toss in a few for ourselves.

Alas, with a new shipment comes a lot of work. This means we need to redo the front window and main display at the store which is quite a job. I'm psyching myself up for it though. I'll be sure to show you guys how that comes out.

I hope everyone had a happy Wednesday :)

-Brooke

Monday, September 2, 2013

Unloading the Kiln

I mentioned yesterday about how the kiln has been running non-stop lately and how much I love seeing what other people create. So, I figured I would show you guys some of the glass!

Opening the kiln is always somewhat exciting because you can never REALLY know what everything is going to look like when it is done.

And here it is!

 

These tiles and pendants were made by two friends who came in recently for a class and these are all done.

 
 
 
The larger pieces are going to be platters. These need one for firing at a lower temperature over a mold which will slump them into their final shape.
 
 
 
 
I have been doing most of the studio tasks lately because Michael is still hard at work on the website. It soft launched recently, but he is still adding items constantly and working with the product photography. He is doing a great job :)
 
 
We finally have moved the photo set up to a more permanent location! As fun as it was to have it in the middle of the living room, I think I prefer having it elsewhere haha
 
-Brooke

 
 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Party in the Studio!

Gosh, I haven't blogged in a while. Ah! Even though I know that this is no excuse, life's been crazy. I mentioned in my last post about how we work a season ahead, so for us, right now we are going through all the Holiday Season craziness.
 
We have a lot in store. We are lining up New Artist Receptions, Classes, and events. It will be a fun season for sure!
 
On top of that, the kiln has been going non stop with students' work!!! Ah!
 
I actually love seeing what other people come up with during classes because I get so used to staring at my own work each day.
 
The other day I hosted a fused glass party for a group of 9 women. They each made a small candy dish and we had a blast! But we were all laughing about what everyone's' dishes revealed about their personalities. I will begin firing these guys tonight, but here is what they made:
 
 
 
Oh, and in other news, the new website LAUNCHED!!!
We will be adding new listings constantly, but the guts of the website are up! Check it out at denaultstudios.com.
 
I hope everyone is having a great end of the summer, or start of the fall, whichever you prefer :)
 
-Brooke