Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Chapter Closes

I am really not one to ruminate on the stressful things of life even when my current circumstances take up a large percentage of my waking thoughts.  The last three years I have been to hell and back and would be remiss if I did not express how grateful I am that I not only came out of it alive and with my sanity intact but with a greater sense of peace and a deeper understanding of myself and my capabilities.  Making it through has taken a lot of faith, prayer, meditation, and introspection.  I couldn't have made it through without the support of my family, friends, professors, counselors, and my faith.  Oh, and a LOT of dark chocolate!

Three years ago my son was hit by a car while crossing the street to the university on his way to a ballroom dance class.   What followed was a fractured tibia and fibula and four surgeries later to get his leg back to some semblance of normal but with chronic pain.  That was the easy part.  The harder part was the smack to his head that resulted in a moderately traumatic brain injury.  I have resisted mentioning any of this on my blog for numerous reasons including legal and privacy.  But with legal resolutions comes a deep sigh of relief.  One journey is over.  Now another one of continued physical and mental healing for everyone can commence.  The journey is far from over but now we can all focus on more positive aspects of our lives.

As if that event had not been enough, ensuing difficulties in my marriage led to a separation four months after my son's accident and an eventual divorce.  While this was extremely difficult it was necessary for my continued growth as a person and an artist.

So when I look in the mirror every morning and it seems like new patches of grey hair are sprouting exponentially, I can say, " I have earned every one of these grey hairs."

Throughout all of this my crazy, bottle fed as a baby, now twelve year old, cat has been a source of humor and comfort.

I iz writing down your life story.

You put this down here for me, right?

On a much, much lighter note, it was 74 degrees in my yard yesterday!  If that is not crazy I don't know what is.  I took advantage to enjoy the weather and did some clay reclaiming and raked some leftover fall leaves off the lawn.  That's it for now.  Peace out, I am off to go play with some clay and prep my mind for some new adventures!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Studio Cat's Twelve by Twelve

I've been following Michael Kline's twelve by twelve challenge over at Sawdust and Dirt so I finally decided I needed to jump on the band wagon.  This was a great idea and I made it!  I got six bowls and six mug bodies.  My problem has been that I keep thinking I need to get other stuff done so that I can focus on the work but I just came to the realization that this is completely backwards.  My work needs to be my priority and I'm sure I will still have plenty of time to get other stuff done.  Besides, now I am all fired up with creative ideas (pun intended.)

Another goody for my day is that my Kickstarter project was put into the Arts Devo column of our local independent newspaper, the Chico News and Review.  Goodie, goodie, gumdrops!  So now I am celebrating my early day achievements with a snippet of dark chocolate.  Yum.

Here are the teapots that I finally got the handles on.  I was initially going to try putting some little feet on the bottoms but by the time I remembered I wanted to do that they were already a bit too dry.  I'm not so sure that middle tall one is going to work out.  I love the way the handle looks but I don't think it is going to be balanced for the shape of the body.  I'm thinking it will be awkward to pour.  But I like how this prototyping is going and I am ready to try some more.  These will be decorated soon with paper resist, underglazes, and texturing.

Studio manager, Tiger, says she is the one responsible for making sure the twelve by twelve happened and that I really need to give credit where credit is due.  Ok, Tiger, you win.  "Thanks, now give me that tuna you forgot to give me this morning."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Acrylic Resist with Water Erosion on Porcelain

I've made progress on bowls that are part of the rewards for my Kickstarter fundraiser for my trip to Penland.  These are cone six porcelain that I have brushed acrylic medium on and then used the water erosion technique to achieve the texture.  I like to make two layers of texture which can be kind of dicey.  I started to see the inside of the bowl getting pretty wet in a couple of areas. Yikes!  I can't wait to see how transparent these will be when they are finished.

And here is the cute little covered jar from the last post with this technique.  Still needs some cleaning up but I love how it is progressing.

I also got started on some prototypes for some teapots.  When I finally get around to putting the handles on ( I've been misting them for four days) I will get some pics of those.  I don't have much experience with teapots so I am working on my learning curve.  On Friday, I did a fun demo with laser toner decal transfers and my students absolutely loved it!  I tried to shoot a video so that I could post it but I didn't have a large enough memory card and I had the resolution set too high.  I only got the first five minutes,  doh!  So yep, off to the store for the big mama sd card.  I think I will give it another try if I can keep myself focused.  Feel free to bug me if you don't see it sometime soon:P

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Dreams Realized!

In the last couple of years, but in the last 5 days specifically, I have learned that if you want something bad enough, work really hard and put yourself out there that mere dreams can be turned into reality.  Before I turned in for bed last night I checked out my Kickstarter project, "Fly Me to Penland," and found out that I had reached my funding goal!  I set the deadline for March 3rd but I reached my goal just five days after launching my project!  The outpouring of love and support from friends, family, acquaintances and total strangers (who I hope will soon be friends) has been tremendous.  I now have everything I need to get out to Penland and buy my clay and pay for firing.

I am still accepting and encouraging support for the project which will continue to accept funds until the deadline of March 3rd.  I figure while I am there it would be a great opportunity to drive around to surrounding communities such as Asheville, Bakersville, Seacreast, Raleigh, and more to do research one the rich ceramic history of the area and to visit the studios of potters and ceramic artists.  Extra funding will also allow me to pay for shipping to send my work out to galleries and and for those pieces that I would like ship home.  I've tried packing it in my luggage before and believe me it doesn't work so well and there is never enough room!

I got some clay work done last night.  I threw some porcelain tea bowls that I will do shellac resist and water erosion techniques on.  I had quite a few pledges that offered these tea bowls as a reward so I figured I had better make some more.  I also got into some Great White, cone 5-6, from IMCO but it was way to soft.  I managed to get a prototype square bowl done and a little lidded jar but I have to let the clay sit out and dry for awhile before I can really get anything done with it.

Happy hump day y'all!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Cups of Fire 2012

Here is my Orange and Yellow Mod Tumbler front and center at the Clay Gallery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  I won an honorable mention award in the Cups of Fire National Ceramic Cup Competition 2012.  Yippie, I am super excited!  Take a look on their Facebook page to see more images and a photos of all the winners.

Other news.  My Kickstarter project, "Fly Me to Penland," has astounded me already with the support I am getting.  I feel so loved!  Thank you everyone who has contributed so far.  Head on over to the project and take a look at all the great rewards I have set up.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Kickstarter Launch at Last!

Well everyone, I finally did it!  I got my video done and I officially launched my Kickstarter project, "Fly Me to Penland."   I can't say enough good things about Kickstarter.  This is such an incredible platform for all creative people to get their projects started by attracting funding through a rewards based program.  If you haven't been following my blog I was recently awarded an assistantship to work with ceramic artist, Kathy King, out at Penland School of Crafts.  I will be there for eight weeks and I am so excited I can hardly contain myself!

My project went live on the internet at about 9:30 pm.  Between now and Friday, March 3rd I will be working hard to raise $1150.  Kickstarter is unique in that is an all or nothing program.  So if I am even one dollar short of that goal I won't get a dime!  Yikes, and super yikes!  The great thing is that if I go over my pledge amount that is perfectly acceptable.

So I need your help to pass the word along to as many people as possible.  Thanks in advance for any way you are able to help out!

Kickstarter Preview

Well, I've finally come out of my doldrums.  Yay!  I am almost finished with the planning stages of my Kickstarter project, "Fly Me to Penland."  What's awesome about getting this setup is they give you a link to the preview so that you can share it and get feedback before the official launch.  I don't have the video up yet but I will be recording it tomorrow (oops, I guess that's today already.)  I am going to try to have it loaded up by the ended of the day.  So please go take a look, if you would be so kind, and let me know what you think.  Now that my fingers are frozen and I can barely type, I guess I better get some shut eye.  I don't need any bags under my eyes, that's for sure!