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.