Sunday, December 26, 2010

Surgery and positive thoughts

I'll be out of touch for a bit as I'm having foot surgery reeaaaally early tomorrow morning.  It will probably be at least a couple weeks before I can get downstairs to the studio.  I plan on using this down time to look into setting up an etsy account, so I can sell my pottery on-line!      

I hope everyone has enjoyed a wonderful holiday with family and friends.  Here's to a Happy New Year!  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sgraffito Dancing Vase

This flattish, slab built vase is about 13" tall with carved fish on both sides.  It's great fun to make, and I love that it looks like it's dancing.  This one sold at the Foothill Fine Craft Show last month.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow, ice, and warm fuzzies

Hmmm... it feels especially cozy this evening here on the couch with a pile of cats.  There's snow and ice outside, but we're content in the glow of the Christmas tree.  Munching a candy cane.  and feeling very grateful. 

It was a productive day... working on some Christmas orders: mugs and tumblers.  No photos yet, so I'm posting one of the fun jars I made last month. 

I'm taking a little break from the studio to relax and prop my foot up.  It's looking like surgery in early January.  Since classes at the oak ridge art center don't resume until the 19th, I'm hoping I'll be recovered enough to teach from a chair!  And maybe while I recover I can finally sit still long enough to figure out/set up an account!  

Wishing everyone a warm and happy holiday!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Underglaze Workshop

I'm hobbling around today... prepping for an underglaze workshop that I'm teaching at the Oak Ridge Art Center this weekend.  One of the techniques we'll cover is using them like watercolors in combination with an underglaze pencil.  Like my mugs above.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stretching spots

stretched spots on the cat bottle
I'm procrastinating on this rainy morning.  I have pre-Thanksgiving errands to run, so I got up early.  Naturally the rain began after I got up... or I'd have treated myself to sleeping in.  I can't get the cast wet and don't relish walking around with my foot in a plastic bag... for me that's an accident waiting to happen.  So....

Here's a 'bottle' that sold at the Foothills show.  It's slab built, and many people were curious how I made the spots.  This is a technique I learned at Hayne Bayless' workshop at Arrowmont many years ago  (see his amazing work on his website at We painted or printed a pattern on a thick slab.  In this case I brushed on small ovals of black underglaze.  The slab of white stoneware is about 1" thick.  Next I placed a large piece of clean drywall on the floor and threw the clay slab down with a slanting motion rather than straight down.  This begins to thin out the slab and stretch the pattern of spots.  I continue to do this until I get a pleasing pattern.  I do a final thinning of the clay on the slab roller in order to make it a uniform thickness (making sure that no underglaze transfers onto the slab roller!)  Next I use the (bristol paper) patterns I made and cut out the pieces and finally assemble them.        

Apologies to those who aren't familiar with some of these terms!  Please post a comment if you have questions.  I'll try 
to post some pix of the slab roller.  It's
one of my prized tools!
spots before stretching!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Isabella thoughtfully holds down my
sweater while Guido & Pepito snooze.

 Well, it seems there's a reason my feet hurt so badly at the Foothills Show.  Apparently the slightly stretched tendon which supports the arch of my foot objected to 3 days standing on the concrete floor.  Voila!     a nice purple cast to immobilize my foot.  Now the tendon feels great.  However, I am a total klutz at walking with a cast: sore knees, hamstring, you name it.  So I have amused myself these last 2 evenings by keeping my foot propped up while decorating the boot.  Here we have white acrylic paint, black sharpie, some sewn on beads and a couple bedazzle thingies.  Next on the list... decorating my new black cane.  I'm thinking Tim Burton stripes.  Maybe a couple polymer clay skulls to hang from the handle?  too much?   

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


What a terrific weekend!  I am so grateful to have been able to participate in the show... for the enthusiastic crowds and the comaraderie of the artists!  Seeing people react to my work with smiles was the best feeling ever.  ok, having them buy pieces after smiling at them may have been the best feeling ever.  

And Jane Longendorfer* and I managed to stay out of trouble... as in we weren't caught.

* be sure to go to to see the amazing birdhouses Jane made at the show.  too cool.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Foothills Fine Craft Show

Here's my completed booth at the show.  I am so grateful to my good friend, Judie Beck, for helping me unload and set up yesterday!  It went surprisingly smoothly, and we celebrated with a lovely lunch afterward.  and a glass of wine. oh, yes.

Today proved a glorious day of fine weather in the low 70s... and the crowds came.  It was great fun to watch people's reactions as they strolled by my booth.  Some just kept right on going.  Other people's faces lit up, and they stopped to look and touch and laugh.  I really enjoy the laughing part.  When I explained the sgraffito technique... the black and white pieces pictured at the left... how the pieces are 'painted' with black underglaze and then carved down to the white clay to produce the design... there were many raised eyebrows.  kinda gratifying, I won't lie.  And then they'd touch the surface to feel the carving marks.  oooo ahhh!

My fabulous potter friends, Jane Longendorfer and Peg Henderson, were demonstrating across from me.  Every now and then I could hear Jane's great laugh, and I wondered what I was missing.  Throughout the day she built an incredible dog's head bird house.  Hmmm, and why didn't I take a picture? Tomorrow.  (tho' you can go to her blog: and see a slide show of these amazing bird houses.)

My daughter came to brighten the afternoon accompanied by her 2 very fabulous friends.  The day went pretty quickly till about 3pm when the concrete floor started to get to me.  yikes.  So tonite I'm propping up my feet.  Thinking about the requests people made:  I need to make something with some pigs.  good idea!  And now I'm way too tired to continue, so more tomorrow!  I think I sold almost 30 pieces today (!) so I hope tomorrow is busy too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday and it's been a blur.  I can't decide if that's because there were soooo many errands in prep for the show this weekend?  or the continuing saga of not. enough. sleep.  Couldn't be both.

I'm looking forward to next monday when the show is behind me.  I need some serious down time and plan on spreading out on the couch... tackling the huge pile of mail I've been ignoring... and watching Midsomer Murders dvds.  And, of course, cats on the couch... bliss!

Here is a before shot of one of my boxes that will be in the show.  I was going to photo it last night, but the ancient tripod collapsed.  A trip to the camera shop was then added to my errands today.  joy.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Of my 4 cats and Earl da dog Guido is the most faithful studio companion.  Sometimes this is a good thing as he brings me such joy.  But sometimes we disagree on where he ought to loll about.  Here I've laid out a decoy sketchbook, so I can work in another without his assistance.  Unfortunately I forgot the pen. My favorite pen.  Clearly this look of feigned indifference is actually a challenge: grab the pen if you dare.  Since I hate getting blood on my drawings... I opted for a pencil instead.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Biz Card 2.0


Many thanks to my dear friend, Michelle, for discovering that I have my blog address  wrong on my new biz cards.  *sigh*  No "@" required... just a "."  With the help of some double stick tape I will now be the proud owner of 2000 fabulous stickers.  ha!  Good thing all the contact info is on the back.  

Christine Thomas, graphic designer & illustrator extraordinaire, has made the change and ordered fresh cards.  She is magic.

Now... do I dare open the kiln to see how the bisque fire went?  Can't help wondering if I'm tempting fate here...

Monday, October 25, 2010

bare bones and mild hysteria

Welcome to my blog!  

I apologize for its being rather bare bones at the moment.  I'm currently focusing all my time and energy prepping for an upcoming show November 12 -14: The Foothills Craft Guild's 44th Annual Fine Craft Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Bit of a mouthful.  It's my first big show which means not only do I need to be madly making/finishing stuff, I also have to design my booth.  *suppressed giggle of hysteria*  

I'll check in periodically and post some photos of things as they come out of the kiln, but otherwise this blog will be mostly bare bones till after the show.  By then the pressure will be off, and I hope to have one of my good geek buds (Jane Longendorfer are you listening?) help me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

happy cat platter

This happy cat was inspired by my cat, Guido... as in Guido Sarducci.  It's done in sgraffito which means I paint the whole thing with 3 coats of black underglaze and then carve out the design revealing the white stoneware clay.  This produces great lines and textures!  After the bisque firing to 1828 degrees I brush on the clear glaze and fire to 2151 (cone 5.)