Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kickin' Back

We've been quite spoiled here in Northern California lately.  I'm not complaining!  I went up to the park today in capris and a short sleeve t-shirt to soak up some rays.  I can feel the days starting to get a teensy, weeny bit longer already and every little bit of light helps.  I do fear with all this gorgeous weather that if I doesn't rain sometime soon we may be in for a bit of a draught.  But knock on wood, winter has only just begin.  I think I need some more sun, though.  Check out those lily white winter legs!

I really, really wanted to hike down to the creek and sit on that little beach there.  Except for there being no leaves on the trees it looked deceptively like a beautiful summer day.  I could just imaging jumping into that refreshing water in late August.

But the path goes almost straight down and it was over wet, slippery rocks and I could just see myself falling and breaking a leg.  Maybe not the best way to start out the new year.  No, I think not.

So, instead I basked in front of this big basalt rock.  The sun was so bright it made my eyes tear up just trying to keep them open a split second to take this pic.  Love the shadow of me on the rock.

I'm lichen this rock. He he he!

This one looks like a mini mountain.  I love the cleft.

May you have a clear view in 2012.  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Penland and Christmas and All That

I surprised my mom today with this fun hand built, textured, oval vase.  Surprising her with potter is pretty hard, she can sniff it out like a bloodhound.  Luckily, this was cooling in a kiln and just came out Friday morning and got wrapped up in box before none were the wiser.  Phew.  She was delighted as she hardly ever sees anything from me not built on the wheel.  I really had fun with this little experiment and want to work on some more.

I blame my absence from my blog to continued work on my grad school applications.  I have most of the apps submitted and some of the portfolio's done.  I should bite the bullet and submit the portfolios but I still have time to get a few more good pieces through the kiln.  If not, I have the images ordered and ready to upload and burn to disk.  I will breathe a deep sigh of relief when they are all done and then comes the waiting part.  Ugh!

Luckily I will be too busy working to worry.  I just found out that I have been awarded a studio assistantship at Penland School of Crafts.  This it for their spring eight week concentration with artist, Kathy King.  I was so excited when I found out that it took a couple of days to get down out of the clouds.  I really can't wait to go back to North Carolina.  I had such a wonderful time last June.

Here is another fun piece I gave my mom.  She saw me making it and just had to have it.  But I kept it over at the studio for the last month so it hasn't been on her mind.

About a week ago I was able to get these three mugs into a cone ten gas reduction firing and I am in love with them.  The one in the middle is my favorite.  I dipped the shino and next time I will try spraying for more control.  I want to get more of the orange color so I need to get the glaze on thinner.  I have some more of these mugs all ready to go plus some other forms to apply the paper resist and underglaze to.  Can't wait to see how they turn out.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Friday, December 09, 2011

Open House and New Work

If you happen to be in Chico, CA tomorrow come on by and say hello.  Our host, the illustrious, Pat Koszis, went to Penland School of Crafts last summer and had such a great time that we all decided we wanted to go.  In order to raise some funds to attend a workshop we decided to have this holiday sale.  So if you want to help us get to Penland next summer come on down!

Since I promised, oh so long ago, to upload some images of what I have been working on, ta dah!  Here they are.

I started playing around with paper resist and underglazes and am really learning a lot. I'm so used to firing cone 10 reduction that some of this has a bit of a learning curve now at cone 6.  I am loving the direction this is taking.  My mom and I are already fighting over the red plate above.  It is luscious and the satin was in the perfect spot to cool slowly.

I started this body of work with tumblers and then moved on to the mugs.  When I started everything looked like the mug in the flyer above but I felt like they just needed a little something so I started adding texture and staining them.  Love! Love! Love!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Boo Boo Kitty and other fun things.

My Little Leopard Dipping bowl up there to the left made it into this super fun treasury this morning on Etsy so I'm happy about that.  It is a gorgeous sunny day here in Northern California.  No fog which is awsome.  The wind is blowing and all of the fall leaves are racing through the air and getting kicked up by the car tires.  It is really beautiful.  However, I did have to chuckle a bit as the leaf blowers were trying to work around in the wind.  Seemed a bit counter productive.

I still haven't set up my little kiln yet but I did get a small slab roller.   Woo hoo, thanks, Kathleen.  It should be perfect and is just the right size for my little basement.  It is almost set up and soon I can get to experimenting.  I bought a couple of hand carved wood Indian block stamps from Amanda James on Etsy and as soon as they get here I am going to try them out on some slabs.  I can't wait, they are transit right now. One more thing, I'm also part of the Etsy Mud Team so I'm excited about that also.

I have quite a few new pieces out of the kiln and will get to posting some images after I get some of my grad school applications sent out.  Priorities, you know?  Have a delightful fall day wherever you are, or spring if you are on the other side of the world.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Yesterday we cooked the traditional turkey and all the trimmings for the meat eaters.  However, I have recently decided to go vegetarian so I had to come up with something else for myself.  Who knew that tofu and brussel sprouts could be so delicious?  I got the inspiration for this dish from the blog 101 Cookbooks.  The recipe is called Carmelized Tofu.  I adjusted it to use sliced, roatsed almonds because I had no pecans and I also tossed in some dried cranberries and sesame seeds. Then I substituted maple syrup instead of brown suger.  I made the sauteed brussel sprouts and put it all on top of some nice, fluffy quinoa with a splash of Bragg's Liquid Aminos and a little sesame oil.  Oh my gosh, I was in heaven, and no turkey, mashed potato food coma!  Now if I could have stayed away from the pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream that would have been another story altogether.

Other fun stuff going on includes my new (ahem, used) little kiln baby.  I drove out of town on Wednesday to snatch her up.  I can't wait to try her out.  We have the 220 outlet in the laundry room but the room is so tiny only the washer and dryer fit in there.  So, alas, I will have to get a small shed or run the proper electric out to the garage.  But, oh I am itching to try her out!

Last, but not least, my Black Friday/Cyber Monday Etsy sale is in full swing and is proving to be pretty successful so far.  Most of the work in the shop are one of a kind items, so if there is anything you would like to purchase you might want to head on over there and get it before it gets snapped up.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

20% Off Sale in My Etsy Shop!

Shop homemade for the holidays on my fabulous handmade pottery Etsy store!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter Wonderland

My reindeer tea bowl made it into this lovely Etsy Treasury today! This treasury was curated by Kristin Gabriel of Trunk Couture.  Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Constructing Elements

Lately I have been thinking about how to make some mixed media work so while I was working on photos for my website I decided to start playing around with compositions of different ceramic elements. 

For now I am just using the ceramic elements but I felt like a kid again playing with my building blocks.  It is rather freeing to allow oneself to play like a child.  Now my mind is thinking of what different kind of elements I can add or structures I can build to put these in or hang them on or any number of crazy and fun things.

I am suddenly feeling a trip to the scrap yard coming on and my hands are itching to get a saw into some wood and metal and start creating!

Maybe some yard sales if it doesn't rain tomorrow.  Hmmm...mind is racing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Magic in the Park

I've been pretty busy lately.  I would like to say that I have been super, crazy busy but I don't think that I am being that efficient with my time.  Either that or I have unrealistic notions of just how much I can fit into each day.  Or it might be that I spend too much time surfing the internet.  Hmmm...   Anyway my grad school applications are coming along nicely and I have gotten the worst part of it out of the way.  I have been making work to add to my portfolio and I have been editing images so that I can update my website. Since I have been spending a lot of time in either a dark room in front of the computer or in my basement studio I decided that I absolutely HAD TO get out of the house and out from under the trees and get into some the wide open space with sunlight.  Of course I had to grab my camera just in case.

I headed up to Upper Bidwell Park which is one of my most favorite places to go.  It always holds some kind of magic for me no matter when I go.  But this time was a special treat.  I'm not sure that I have been there before when the leaves are changing.  It was absolutely gorgeous there this afternoon.  Everything had that special glow about it.  I really felt like I had entered into some kind of fantasy realm.  Everything was entrancing. I was only going for a short drive through the park but it ended being a three hour walking photo shoot.  It was very relaxing and inspiring and now I feel like I need to go back everyday, all day.  Sigh, too bad other things have to get done.  Maybe I'll bring some of these colors into my work?  I have to justify more research, you see.

Oh the enchantment of it all.  I'm kind of lazy when it comes to writing creatively although I do have my aspirations.  This makes me want to sit down and write poetry.  I love the images but they don't recreate the smells and sounds like the hawk talking or the owl hooting or the silent, delicate flight of the bats skimming over the lake.  I didn't want to leave but the sun was going down and it was getting dark and colder by the creek so I decided I would end my adventure and try to get back home and back to work.  But this is what I found when I got back to my car...  And that meant I had to stay for another hour.  Smile.

 Yes, a truly delightful day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Long Walk

I took a long walk today trying to burn off some frustration.  I walked through the cemetery and when I saw this I realized it pretty much described just how I feel today.  Some days are great, some not so great.  But seeing this kind of helped.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I made the Front Page of Etsy Today!

My little ceramic dipping bowl made it to the front page of Etsy today in this wonderful treasury!  And to top it off,  the bowl sold.  Woo hoo!  I'm so excited because this was a bowl I made when I was at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina in June. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Heart Tile Wall Hangings

When I first started back to college in the fall of 2007, my first ceramics class was intermediate mold making.  One of the projects was a multiples assignment involving tiles that needed to be 2" high.  I started by making a clay positive and then cast it in plaster and used it as a press mold.  Being fall, I wanted to use plant materials before everything fell off the trees.  I used maple seed pods in this one and rubber stamps for the lettering.

Returning to school was a stressful change and I found myself doing whatever I could to remind myself of peaceful, happy things.  These tiles were direct reminders to me of what was important and what I needed to do for myself.  I created about 30 tiles, all with different impressions and wording.  I was told that the hearts brought to mind the work of Jim Dine and the many heart paintings and sculptures he created.

Most of the tiles were finished in 2007 but I recently unearthed a bunch that I was still doing some tests on and had not finished.  The completed tiles had been fired at cone 04.  The above tile had a wash of purple mason stain and I glazed it up with a satin clear and fired up to cone 5.  I am quite happy with how it came out.

This last one also had purple stain and I applied a combination of commercial red glaze and a crackle glaze that fluxed into the red and added some color variation.  This one is also fired to cone 5.

I have had so much that I have needed to catch up on since graduating and then I am really trying to keep myself focused on making sculpture for my portfolio and grad school applications.  However, these tiles keep sneaking into my mind and I feel like making a few more. I better use them as a reward for when I get the sculptures finished.  They are a nice relief project. Pun intended.

In the meantime I have listed these in my Etsy store.  I can't keep everything I make no matter how much I love them or there wont be room to make more.  Sigh...

Have a delightful weekend full of peace, stillness and love!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Playing with Polaroids

I finished off the last of the film I purchased from The Impossible Project to test out my SX-70 cameras.  This is the PX 600 Silver Shade UV+.  I think I'm finally getting the hang of it after botching quite a few of the images.  Of course, now I am out of film and need to order some more.  The above picture shows a problem I was having with the cameras or film, I'm not sure which.  I wanted to figure out if I had a defective film pack or if the camera roller was maybe giving more pressure on one side of the film.  So I hopped into my dark closet to transfer the film to the other camera hoping this might go away. 

Instead of going away, I got the same problem but on the other side.  Huh?  I hadn't had this problem at all with the color film so I don't know if maybe my finger was in the way of the door and putting pressure on it.  I will have to play around more with this.

I went up to the park tonight to watch the sunset but there were almost too many clouds.  The weather was absolutely perfect and I wish I had been out there for hours.  I thought I had three shots for the polaroid but alas, this was the only one.  My scanner doesn't do the best job with scanning these in.  The top photo has this kind of moire pattern when you look at the original size.  This one here had some strange color artifacts so I turned it black and white (which it already was but it took out the strange pink circles from the scanner) and then I gave it a slight sepia tone.  Fun, no?

Tomorrow, back to sculpture and applications.  Then when I've gotten some of that done I will reward myself with some more photography.  Hmm, I wonder if it should be the other way around?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

New work in progress.

This past week I have been distracted or rather my brain has been all over the place and I was busy. I'm just not really sure what I got accomplished.  

The week before that, however, I spent quite a bit of time making some new work.  I am interested in the process of opening up on a personal level and also I am interested in architectural structures and how those relate to my inner thoughts.

I am still fleshing out ideas and working to figure out where this is headed.  Am I leading this new work or is it leading me?  Perhaps we are working together.

Next week I plan on refocusing my efforts and making three or four new pieces that will be larger.

I learned an exciting thing yesterday when the mail came.  Some of my work has been accepted to "It's Only Clay" at Bemidji Community Art Center.  I am very happy. Actually, I started jumping up and down when I read the letter.  Yay!