Monday, December 26, 2011

Custom designed mug

Here's a mug I made this past fall for a friend's husband's birthday.
It features their cats Oscar and Chloe.

Here's Oscar... complete with his dog bone name tag... chasing small animals,
one of his favorite activities.

Birthday mug in action.

The first time I made a mug like this the cat inside had longer arms.
This put his head well below the 'coffee line' which disturbed me to no end.
I couldn't bear to have his head submerged!
Now all cats have shorter arms... like Oscar above.

Chloe with her favorite toy... a catnip stuffed banana.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kitchen Elf

Guido.  Kitchen elf extraordinaire.
It's 1:45 am Christmas eve, and I've just finished cleaning the kitchen.  We have our big turkey dinner the day before Christmas... a tradition I started about 23 years ago in order to share a relaxing day with the family opening presents and eating leftovers on Christmas day.  

Tonight I made the stuffing and a creamy crab soup. I used my favorite Karen Davis wooden spoons and a variety of lovely handmade ceramic bowls (ok, except for that blue plastic one in the photo.  It's the biggest bowl I have.)  These handmade items I use everyday... they're like friends.  I love that they don't match and that each one reminds me of where I bought it.  Maybe I was able to meet the potter.  Maybe the artist is a friend... someone I admire.  Maybe it's one of mine. They all make working in the kitchen pure joy!  

And then there's Guido.  Tonight he came in as I finished washing dishes, and he popped into the sink (he only likes a clean sink, thank you very much.)  There he kept me company... the picture of serenity.  Life is good.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wishing you joy and peace

Having my daughter, Kelsey, at home makes it an especially
bright and colorful Christmas this year.  When Tyler, my son and his wife, JP,
arrive it will be even brighter!  (Thanks Kelsey, for the great photos!)
We decided the front door needed some light and holiday cheer.
I love it... especially that 'close encounters' look about it!

Fortunately the cats have no interest in the tree
other than playing hide n seek in the fabric underneath it.

It's a gorgeous day, and I'm surrounded by bright sunshine streaming in the windows, 3 sleeping cats, all the colors that I love... and Earl da dog snoring behind the couch.  I'm supposed to be wrapping gifts and doing some emergency on-line shopping... but it's soothing and sleepy sitting in the sun.  It's the first year I can remember where I'm not done shopping yet, but I'm not freaked out about it.  I'm sure it will get done.  very nice!   
Hoping you have a lovely holiday filled with love, joy and peace...
and less freaking out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

T'was the night before Foothills...

This small, lil' bitty kitty box waits at Foothills.

Well, it's been a wild week!  
One sale down and another starts tomorrow.  
I haven't even had a chance to download any pix!

The Terra Madre Holiday Sale was a great success
not to mention terrific fun, and I hope to get some photos up soon.
Thank you to all my friends and students for coming by!!

Tomorrow is the first day of the Foothills Craft Guild's Show.
Fabulous daughter, Kelsey, helped me to set up the booth.  Special thanks
to my dear friend, Judie Beck, for trusting me with her suburban for 
the weekend.  heh heh heh.
And now I'm off... time to rubber stamp more shopping bags...

If you're local... the show is at the Jacob's Building at Chilhowee Park next to the zoo.
Tomorrow and Saturday 10 am to 6 pm * Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.
Come by booth 11 and give me a hug.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friday hours correction!

Friday nite we'll be there from 5:30 to 9 pm not 8 pm.
Come see our fab collection of pottery and enjoy 
some refreshments while you shop!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Madly prepping for the shows...


unloading the kiln

Preparations continue for the
Terra Madre Holiday Show and Sale, 
and I think I'm in pretty good shape! I'm really excited to see what the other Madres bring.
Oh yes.
I'll be shopping too.
Join us Friday nite for wine and goodies at the opening reception.
More shopping on Saturday!
(see details in the previous post)

I still have to carve a few 
square plates for the
Foothills Craft Guild Show and Sale.
And naturally there are a couple booth details to work out yet.
But I'm pleasantly surprised ~ and a little puzzled~ that I haven't
started freaking out yet.  Kinda nice.  really. 
The Foothills Show is Nov 18-20, Chilhowee Park, Knoxville.
I'll post more details soon!
If you're in the area I hope you'll come by!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Terra Madres Holiday Sale

Our Holiday Show and Sale!
Reception Friday Nov 11 * 5:30-8:00 pm
Sale Continues Saturday Nov 12 * 9:00 am-4:00 pm
6512 Deane Hill Drive * Knoxville TN
at the offices of The Lewis Group Architects

Late last year I was honored with an invitation to join an
incredible group of local women potters known as
It's a fabulous collection of talented, dedicated and generous artists,
and I am so excited by the energy whenever we get together.

I hope you'll come by our show... say hello, and get a jump on some
unique gifts for the holidays! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How can it be November?!

Very disturbing to see that I haven't posted since August!  sigh.  
Thanks to a hot water leak in the crawl space under the kitchen/dining and laundry rooms things were a tad hectic here.  Not to mention 
the 'disturbance' to the studio downstairs.  

Welcome to Cafe Guido.... where everything that was once in the kitchen and dining room
has moved into the garage or here in the living room.  It was actually pretty
convenient having the fridge in here.  And we dined on the couch
under the tree with its lil' bitty white lights.

Before and After
A happy place once again.

Now back to the madness of prepping for 2 shows coming up
in the next 2 weeks...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Spot of tea

He's done and seems happy... but, alas, he has some tiny surface cracks.
(mumble our mantra: it's only clay.)

The little fish counter weight makes me laugh.

He's tiny!!

(only informal photos for now as my photo set-up is temporarily buried)

Underglaze and glaze

A little fish acts as a counter
weight under the lid.

I underglazed the pot before bisque firing
so the color would be stable when I
added the dots of glaze.

There are about 8 different colors of glaze here.

ready to be fired!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sweet Tea

Teapot in progress!  

I started this little guy as a demo for my handbuilding classes as they are making... teapots.  Can I finish in time for the annual Open Show call for entries??  Mmmmaybe.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dreaming of autumn

Thinking of cool and colorful fall, my favorite season,
helps me through the heat, haze and humidity that is Tennessee in July.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Pit Fire!

It's been a wildly busy June with a pit firing at the Oak Ridge Art Center, followed by a full week of Kid's Clay Camp, 2 days of clay demonstrations at the Secret City Festival and now a 2 day Underglaze & Resist Workshop 
coming up this weekend!  
It's been exhausting and absolutely great fun.  
I'll post some photos of the various events beginning with the pit firing which was June 4...  thanks for checking in with me!

Here's my tripod pot with its buffed terra sigilatta surface ready to be
wrapped in newspaper and nestled into the pit.
The pink is a swash of cobalt carbonate.  The green is copper carbonate.
There's Troon, a salt-encrusted Chinese veggie, held in place with some
bamboo leaves which were soaked in salt water and then dried.
That is held in place with thin copper wire.
Inside I've sprinkled some Miracle-Gro and sweet-n-low!
The fine black spirals you see are incised lines I filled with black underglaze
and then scraped the excess black away.  That step was done before the clay was dry.

Here, on the right, is an 'after' shot of the pot in the top photo.
(that's an odd mouthful)

The pot on the left has an incised cat design.  There's a small mouse too, but he's
hard to make out here.  I used a dark blue underglaze this time and am thrilled
that it's visible.  Some of the incised designs are seen only as cut lines since the color
was covered by the pit fire magic.  The rust colored stain you see
on the left side is the result of the salty Troon.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pot-bellied mugs!

I've been having a good time playing with pot-bellied, tripod mugs.   Here are two news ones with a couple of my favorite glazes.  

Such a cheerful way to start the morning!

By the way, I'll be offering a one day workshop this summer at the Oak Ridge Art Center where we'll make these fun mugs.  As soon as we lock in a date I'll post it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Are you blue-ish?

Here's the ultramarine bathing cat... very pleased with himself for 
coming through the glaze firing in style.
He'll be heading down to planet texas as a special 
belated Thank You to my dear friend, Christine Thomas, 
who designed my business cards.  

(you can see the card if you check out one of the 
earliest posts in the archives)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Playing with multi-level carving

Coil built pot approx 10" tall
I've been trying to post this for some time now.  In fact I'm still holding my breath... afraid that suddenly and without any warning the blog will rearrange the photos, change typefaces and move the block of type somewhere else!  Again.  It definitely has a mind of it's own tonite. 

I have some new work waiting to be fired, but in the meantime I thought I'd share my first multi-level carved pot.  This was great fun to work on.  It was like a game trying to decide what part of the design was in front of or behind another.  This is something I definitely want to do more of.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good kitty.

Success!  The kiln gods were kind and the cat, tongue and paw all made it through the first firing intact!  To those of you who danced (you know who you are) thanks very much : )

I did come up with a backup plan though.  If the tongue pulled loose from the mouth I would have turned it into a fish.  maybe that should be on the next jar.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another cat in the kiln

New cat in the kiln.  I did an extra powerful dance as the kiln clicked on tonite.  I'm afraid it may need all the good juju it can get!  For some reason when I made this cat I decided to attach the tongue to the paw.  Since clay shrinks as it fires there is a very real possibility that his tongue won't be stuck to his paw anymore or it will be but just not stuck to his mouth.  eww.   

There has been a little news from my family in Japan.  It's possible that they will be moving south for a while... getting as far away as possible from the power plant.  I am so grateful they are safe and together and sad that they may never be able to return to their home. Please continue to keep everyone in your heart.   

Monday, March 14, 2011

Relief and gratitude

Here is a heart-felt thank you to everyone who
has written with love, concern and hope for my family in Fukushima.
I am happy and relieved to tell you that they managed to get to 
Tokyo and are staying with other family members there.
They were indeed in the evacuation area, and though their home and business is
under threat from the power plants at least they are safely away.
Please continue to keep everyone in 
your heart and prayers.

The potter, Ayumi Horie, and her friends have organized an online ebay auction,
"Handmade For Japan"
This sale of ceramics and other media 
donated by artists around the world will begin Friday the 18th 
and support earthquake and tsunami survivors.  
100% of net proceeds will go to relief efforts in Japan.
You can go to Handmade for Japan on facebook (and ebay?)
to see the items.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Prayers for Japan

I'm finding it so difficult to concentrate on anything.  I have family in Japan.  Thanks to facebook I heard from my cousin in Tokyo friday.  
I know that the family at home in Fukushima prefecture is safe.  
But I don't know how close they are to the power plants, 
and I haven't heard any more news.

Sending prayers, love, hope and healing. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Coffee Ceremony

This 8" x 7" tile is raku fired with a clear crackle glaze over
sgraffito drawing and underglaze washes.
It's a soothing, sunny day today.  Guido is unconsious... soaking up the rays on the blanket chest.  I believe I'm going to smoosh him over, so I can bask in the healing warmth too.  The only challenge is to hobble there with my coffee.

I am free of my cast but can't put full weight on my foot yet.  Two weeks of physical therapy has been incredibly helpful, and how can you not love something that ends in a foot massage!?

Yesterday I was finally able to start teaching again.  True it was mostly from a chair with casters, but I only fell out once.  It was wonderful to be back with my peeps!

This 'Coffee Ceremony' tile was done a few years ago... when I still had long hair. Originally I designed this for a street painting festival, and it was 5 feet square.  If I can locate a photo I'll post it.  It won the professional category : )

To create the tile I scratched the design in leather hard clay. Bisque fired it.  Painted the surface with black underglaze, and when it dried I wiped it all off.  The only black remaining was in the incised lines.  I bisque fired it again to set the black, so it wouldn't smear when I added the other colors.  Then I watered down the other underglaze colors and painted them on.  Finally I dunked it in clear crackle raku glaze.  

Friday, January 21, 2011

Custom order

Alas, I'm not up and around and playing in the studio yet.  I just thought I'd post photos of the custom ordered mugs I was asked to make for Christmas.  The giftee has an orange tabby cat and a brittany spaniel.  Another fun project!

I'm still spending my days propped up on the couch with Guido and Isabella.  On Monday I will get a new cast after the doctor repositions my foot.  Then it's another 2 to 3 weeks of non-weight bearing.  I will, however, start teaching again the week of Feb 7!  I really miss my peeps, tho' I'm afraid I will have to spend the first couple weeks sitting.  It will be soooo good to be back at the art center!

Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions!  I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Cheshire Chest

A page from my sketchbook.

In progress. The cat and fronds are the
front panel of the drawer.
Back view with niche.
The top box has been added... the curved
lid comes off.
The bisqued box with temporary
wire for the bird.

 As I'm stuck on the couch and can't play in clay yet, I thought I'd share some photos of The Cheshire Chest seen in the banner of my blog.  I learned the technique of making the working drawer and little niche at a fabulous workshop with Lana Wilson and Margaret Bohls a few years ago.  It's finished with acrylic paint, because I wanted the bright colors, and I added wooden feet.  This piece won the Award for 3 Dimensional work at a juried Open Show at the Oak Ridge Art Center in 2009.  It was one of the most fun pieces I've ever worked on.

A view with the drawer open and the top lid removed.