wrapping up 2018
ornaments.JPG

I have been neglectful here with my news updates. The reason being the second half of this year really got away from me. As summer passed, I took it easy with pottery production, instead focusing on designing new work for my Fall & Holiday collections. Right before I was gearing up to release that work and kick into production mode again the studio where I work out of was crushed by a giant oak tree. So most of August and September saw me with my hands tied, not being able to work, scrambling for a way to get back to my beloved wheel.

By October the studio was fully rehabbed and I have been back, working furiously ever since. The bulk of the pottery made up until about a week ago has been for my retail stockists, of which I have proudly picked up a few new ones this season while keeping up with some old favorites that have chosen to continue to support my work.

Right now I am finishing the last of what will be sold in the next holiday shop update in mid-December and two local Athens markets.

Southern Star Studio's 3rd Annual Holiday Sale
180 Cleveland Avenue, Athens GA
Saturday December 8th & Sunday December 9th
10am-4pm


Stop by and shop a lovely variety of wares by some of Athens finest potters. This sale will feature work from Maria Dondero (Marmalade Pottery), Jennifer Heynen (Jennifer Jangles), Chona Leathers (Studio CRL), Allya Maerz, Regina Mandell (Forged & Found), Kerry Steinberg, Alex Wilkins (Autumn & Sage), Brandon Bishop & Carter Gillies.

If you would like to stay up to date on all things Southern Star, click here to sign up for the studio newsletter.

You will also be able to find me as a vendor at:

The Athens Holiday Market at Big City Bread
393 N Finley Street, Athens, GA
Thursday December 14th & Friday December 15th
5pm-9pm

This is such a festive night out. It is one of my favorites and hope to see you there and that the weather isn't too unbearable. This is where I will be bringing out the bulk of my pottery that I have been working so very hard on throughout these past months. I can't wait to showcase it and share it all with you.

To all of you dear people keeping the lights on and the hearth fires roaring in my small business, I offer you my heart-swelling and unending gratitude. You make it possible. Warmest wishes for a wonderful season!

Regina Mandell
springing into summer
 The past three months have been busy ones. I have, for the most part, kept my head down at the wheel and cranked out two large batches of pottery for wholesale production. This week I am putting the finishing touches (read : stringing & beading hanging planters and air plant holders) on some pots, then wrapping everything well and packing it all up and shipping it out. And breathing a healthy sigh of relief. You see, I have been going on in these cycles of wholesale production for almost three straight years now. While I am always grateful to be busy with work, the looming deadlines can at times be stressful, especially when a kiln craps out or the weather turns rainy and humid for weeks at a time. So many things can potentially impact the rhythm of production.  I have been lucky to work with patient and understanding buyers and shop owners. And even now, when I have decided to take my first break from this style of work, I have received enormous support and encouragement from them as they excitedly wait until I am back at it again.  So once these current orders are shipped I will be getting down to the business of creating. New ideas, new forms, reworking old products. Making pots with less repetition and more character and whimsy. There is a list in my notebook of things to try out alongside sketches and scribbles. I am looking forward to making larger pieces, one-of-a-kind items and useful gift sets that will be perfect for the favorite cook, gardener, coffee lover and wellness seeker in your life.  There are a few pieces that were left over from this last production run and because of that I feel it is time for another small shop update. So, mark your calendars... these new items (including some of the planters shown above) are going to be stocked this weekend, Saturday, May 26. For details and to be the first to know when the sale goes live, get your name on the mailing list! 

The past three months have been busy ones. I have, for the most part, kept my head down at the wheel and cranked out two large batches of pottery for wholesale production. This week I am putting the finishing touches (read : stringing & beading hanging planters and air plant holders) on some pots, then wrapping everything well and packing it all up and shipping it out. And breathing a healthy sigh of relief. You see, I have been going on in these cycles of wholesale production for almost three straight years now. While I am always grateful to be busy with work, the looming deadlines can at times be stressful, especially when a kiln craps out or the weather turns rainy and humid for weeks at a time. So many things can potentially impact the rhythm of production.

I have been lucky to work with patient and understanding buyers and shop owners. And even now, when I have decided to take my first break from this style of work, I have received enormous support and encouragement from them as they excitedly wait until I am back at it again.

So once these current orders are shipped I will be getting down to the business of creating. New ideas, new forms, reworking old products. Making pots with less repetition and more character and whimsy. There is a list in my notebook of things to try out alongside sketches and scribbles. I am looking forward to making larger pieces, one-of-a-kind items and useful gift sets that will be perfect for the favorite cook, gardener, coffee lover and wellness seeker in your life.

There are a few pieces that were left over from this last production run and because of that I feel it is time for another small shop update. So, mark your calendars... these new items (including some of the planters shown above) are going to be stocked this weekend, Saturday, May 26. For details and to be the first to know when the sale goes live, get your name on the mailing list! 

 
 And if you happen to be an Athens local, other dates you want to keep in mind are June 1st & 2nd. On the first weekend of the June Southern Star Studio will be hosting our annual Summer SALE and Open House. Friday evening from 5pm - 9pm we will have an opening reception with food, drinks and music by Caleb Darnell (of the Darnell Brothers). Saturday, June 2nd we will be open again from 10am - 5pm with coffee and light fare and of course, lots of fresh, new work for sale! Stop by if you are in town! 180 Cleveland Avenue.

And if you happen to be an Athens local, other dates you want to keep in mind are June 1st & 2nd. On the first weekend of the June Southern Star Studio will be hosting our annual Summer SALE and Open House. Friday evening from 5pm - 9pm we will have an opening reception with food, drinks and music by Caleb Darnell (of the Darnell Brothers). Saturday, June 2nd we will be open again from 10am - 5pm with coffee and light fare and of course, lots of fresh, new work for sale! Stop by if you are in town! 180 Cleveland Avenue.

Regina Mandell
balancing act
forgedandfound.JPG

I have been social media free for one long week now and it's been such an eye opening gift! Truth be told, I am not heavily invested in many social media platforms. Instagram has been my venue of choice but beyond that there is only Pinterest which I enjoy for inspiration, browsing images and ideas that inform my work, home improvements, and wardrobe goals. Lately though Instagram was getting me down. I was feeling a pressure to be present on the app, to create content and it started to feel like a job. I also was feeling uneasy about the fact that I was seeing so clearly into peoples private lives that I don't really actually know. All those selfies and stories were starting to just be too much. I began to question, "why am I doing this?". It's a question I see  a lot of other people struggling with and I am always curious to know how other people are managing this. The fact that social media is #1) a thing and that it #2) needs to managed or controlled is a modern day problem that I am fascinated by.

I had a moment in 2010 with Facebook.One night while browsing my newsfeed I got fed up and wound up deleting my account right then and there and have happily never gone back. In late 2011 I got my first iPhone, and after multiple friends commented to me how much I would love Instagram, I installed the app. They were right, I did love it. But things changed over time. Instagram was bought by Facebook and my account, which started as a personal photo diary, morphed into a showcase for my pottery work.

Though I am disappointed in the new algorithm and frustrated by a lot of the changes that have been made the fact is, Instagram has been a huge part of growing my business and because of that I can't discredit it. I also can't completely stop using it at this point as I feel it impacts my sales. Though for now I am going to continue this mini detox for at least another week. It has taught me a lot about the habit that I had formed with the app. I also have been embarrassingly stunned by how much more time I have in my day, most especially to dedicate to work. I have been cranking out pots undistracted and I like the way that feels. 

And during this break I am making notes. When I return to posting again I am hoping to have some new boundaries, priorities and balance. My hope is to continue to use it as a business tool but also have fun with it and keep things light. Until then I will have my head down and hands covered in dirt. I am so enjoying this time to just be creating. That in itself is inspiring me. 

Regina MandellComment
new year, new pots
oildiffuser.JPG

January 2018 started off steady. I was lucky to have some wholesale orders to produce that came in during the holiday rush and I was able to get to them in a timely manner. My shared studio where I work was quiet during the first month of this year. Studio mates were taking extra downtown after the busy season, traveling and wrestling with the flu. I enjoyed the solitude. I worked on new designs. A small flurry of orders came in from retailers looking to restock their shelves after the holiday sell-out.

The end of January brought a full moon lunar eclipse and right along with that, kiln issues. We share three electric kilns at the studio. A larger digital model and two smaller manual kilns. During my glaze firing the large kiln stopped working. I moved my wares into one of the smaller kilns and that kiln just would not get hot enough to melt my cone 6 glazes. I waited until the third kiln was not in use and refired again, for a fourth time. Though I am feeling pretty optimistic, today I will be unloading that kiln with fingers tightly crossed.

The kiln delays had me really stressed at first. I had a timeline on my calendar and wanted things complete and shipped out by a certain time. I also had big plans for a shop update (at a certain time). I was forced to take a step back and release my need to for timeliness and order. It was another lesson from pottery. Clay does not provide overnight results, instead it teaches patience and how to appreciate the journey. It also teaches you about fragility and strength and how to let go. I can not tell you how many lessons I have learned and continue to learn from this argillaceous earth.

Stay tuned my friends. There will be a shop update very soon. That's a promise.

Also... the 2018 Wholesale Catalog is now LIVE. If you are interested in carrying Forged & Found Pottery, drop me a line HERE.

Regina Mandell