Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Accomplishment with a Lesson Learned

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

On March 1 Lark Books will be putting out a new book, 500 Raku. It's part of an ongoing series from them. Other titles have been 500 Cups, 500 Plates and Chargers, 500 Ceramic get the idea. Each book is a collection of 500 various types of ceramics, although there are other crafts who represented with books in the 500 series as well.

There was a call for entries for 500 Raku in the fall of 2009, and since I had some recent raku teabowls I was really happy with, I entered all three. The teabowls I made all had images of Hokusai prints I had painted on them. When I entered the pieces, I had titled them all "Hokusai Teabowl". This is where my lesson learned comes in.

Fast forward to Summer of 2010. After completely forgetting about the entry, I received an envelope from Lark. I opened it and found an acceptance letter! Woo hoo! One thing though. My letter read "Hokusai Teabowl, accepted, Hokusai Teabowl, declined, Hokusai Teabowl, declined". So which of the three was going to be published? I had no idea. I would have to wait until the book was out. And this is how I learned to ALWAYS give pieces distinguishing titles when entering them in something, even if they are similar or part of a set. Doh!

Last week I got my complimentary copy of 500 Raku for being a contributor, and this was when I learned for the first time which of the three pieces was in the book. It was Hokusai Teabowl! Kidding! It was the one with an image of "The Great Wave" painted on it. I had thought that may have been the chosen piece, as the image is much more common and familiar than "Hibiscus and Sparrow" or "Mount Fuji in Clear Weather".

I'm super excited to have this piece published, and I'm glad that Jim Romberg was the juror who chose my work. Though raku is a style of pottery I rarely do and certainly don't focus on, this teabowl is the second piece published in a book on the subject. This success has made me decide to make it more of a regular thing, so I made a New Years resolution to make 5 raku pieces and 5 sawdust fired pieces every month in addition to my work I would normally make. It's good it gave me a little kick in the butt to make more raku. It's also good that it taught me to properly distinguish my pieces, if for no one else then at least for myself. Has there been a time that YOU had a "doh!" moment submitting your work, teaching you a lesson? I can't be the only one!


  1. Congratulations on the publication! All three of your tea bowls are beautiful.

  2. Congratulations on the publication Karen! Great lesson too. I would extend the recommendation to say that when submitting digital files of art make sure that the file name contains your last name and the name of the piece to insure no confusion whatsoever.

  3. the digital file name had to be specific, i believe last name, first initial, and a number to represent the piece, which should have helped. however, on my acceptance letter, none of this information was reflected, ONLY the title and some random line of numbers they has assigned the piece which meant zero to me. didn't help my 'doh', that's for sure!


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