Once I made a cup set in response to a Beginning Hand-building class assignment. The cups were rudimentary root vegetable shapes with wings for handles and I was inordinately proud of my conceit and execution of it. None of them stood up, having those pointy little root ends and all, and – being a clay newbie – when they were bone dry, I bobbled the long skinny carrot cup and broke off a wing. The kiln tech at that time was a most helpful resource for me who has since gone on to be a teacher himself and I naturally went to him to get ideas about re-attaching the wing. Continue reading Are You Experienced? 10 Ceramic Skills Extenders
A front window of Good Life Ceramics,
A few years ago, my friend and clay buddy John Albrecht sat me down and described his passionate idea for a new clay place. What he outlined back then was not just ambitious, it was a little outrageous. It would be a place, he said, that reached out to both clay diehards AND clay newbies. It sounded like my kind of theme park: excellent facilities, enticing projects for spontaneous drop-ins, members’ studio space and privileges, local clay artists available for consultations, date nights, movies, interesting flex hours. Oh, and a gallery with exhibits and work for sale. Continue reading Stop Look Do
Textured porcelain hand-built teabowl with celadon glaze in front of three bisqued impressed texture tiles, all by Kathryn McBride.
Although I’ve done so a few times, I find it confounding to write about my longtime ceramics mentor, Kathryn McBride, who died in February, 2012. Later that year I wrote “What Dreams May Come” about receiving a heartwarming bit of understanding and resolution. Last year I wrote “The Apron” about taking on one of her physical mantles. Regardless of my meager written output, she daily abides in me physically, mentally and spiritually.
Physically: I have many of her tools and materials. And I use them!
Mentally: I call a woven basket she gave me her “In Basket.” It contains small trinkets of hers and when I really need to tell her something, I write it down and put it there, smiling to myself.
Spiritually: Her Christmas Card from December 2011 reappeared a few weeks ago, full of loveliness and hope, speaking about the coming spring she did not yet know she would never see. Continue reading A Lasting Impression: Hot Out of the Kiln for January 2015
Each year I spend a bit of time acknowledging my creative space: my studio. I call it the Annual Studio Re-Dedication and it’s as impromptu of an affair as it is sincere. This year it was both clumsy and charming, just the way I like it.
By way of prep, I clean up a teensy bit, taking note of what has physically changed about the space in the past year, as well as how I have felt in it as the seasons circled round, and the making moved through my hands.
I buy a bouquet, dig up some candles, gather some good smells, choose a nibble and a sip, cue perfect music and arrange a few meaningful objets as icons and talismans. Continue reading A Clumsy and Charming Circle Round
A couple of months ago I got interviewed in my studio about my work. A first for me. (Eeep!)
And photographed. (Quadruple Eeep!!!!)
For serious publication. (Total freeze with barely audible eeep.)
The article was just published in the toney Santa Cruz Style Magazine. (OK, I’ll peek…) Continue reading Extra! Extra! Hot Off the Press!!!: Hot Out of the Kiln for December 2014
The Facebook post asking about ways to increase sales hit me like a ton of foam peanuts. Soft, but hugely enveloping.
I watched the comment thread develop. Since it was from a delightful, intelligent group of solopreneurial women, it got more observant with each comment.
The discussion explored the rationales of offering small incentives – discounts, freebies, two-fers and the like – to one’s current and especially, prospective buyers, enticing them to buy.
Then it hit me: this is NOT small! It is the crux of nearly every trading decision. It is as ancient as any marketplace. What makes it a Deal? Continue reading Giving Away the Milk, the Cow, the Pasture – Or Not
A few years ago, I tried my hand at a handful of ceramic spice tins.
It was a premature and unfocussed effort. While those sweet works eventually found homes, in my artist’s heart they were close but not fully realized. They were something I needed to circle round to again.
I could be more patient. I could be more handy with my materials. I could be more.
Happily, just in time for the season of flavors and family, of memories and good smells, may I present my more? Continue reading Spicing It Up: Hot Out of the Kiln for November, 2014
As a maker of ceramic cans, I have to admit the idea for a Can o’ WhupAss has crossed my mind more than once over the past several years. But, I hesitated. Would it be Too Obvious? Too Crass? Merely Clever?
So, I never went there.
Then, almost inevitably, a canny collector (pun intended) casually asked me if I had ever done that. I admitted to having always wanted to, so she spurred it on, asking me to make not one, but TWO Cans o’ WhupAss for her, my design. Continue reading Still Life with Chainsaw OR …Cans Have Meanings: Hot Out of the Kiln for October 2014
Of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America! With Full Rights and Priviledges!
Yes, I sort of backed-into this membership – and that is another story of internet intrigue and connection – BUT, the better takeaway is that it is proving interesting. Continue reading Proud New Member #34585
The kilns have been cold for over a month now. The studio barely opened.
There were life-changing events beyond my creative corner to prepare for and hasten to! They involved traveling to New Hampshire and dressing up. They involved meeting a bunch of folks, new and old, eating occasions aplenty, fascinating new sights, and tears of joy. Continue reading The Artist Goes to Her Son’s Wedding: Hot Out of the Kiln for September, 2014
Last January I took glad delivery of Blue Tsuru, my ginormous front-loading L and L Kiln. I think I mentioned it on a webpage I no longer maintain. You might remember. It looked like this:
She was placed, leveled, wired-up and test fired.
Things went wrong.
Irrevocably. Continue reading The New New Kiln: Hot Out of the Kiln for August, 2014
I have no running water in my studio. I like it that way. Being a ceramic handbuilder, I work fairly dryly and clean up often, but, even for me, there comes a time when the water bucket needs changing. And, if you didn’t already know, clay and ceramic materials make serious sedimentary glop.
For over a decade, I have drained my bucket carefully into a sink (usually the kitchen because there isn’t one in the laundry or garage) and taken the slippy gloppity-glop stuff out to the trash and wiped the water bucket out with a rag,
I coveted Gleco Traps and even The Cink , thinking that when the laundry room got reconfigured, I would install one or the other and be relieved of a certain sort of well-founded guilt.
So, yes, it was just a matter of time for the kitchen sink to clog due to my slovenly clay glop-dumping ways, even if I was careful. Continue reading Keeping Your Drain Unclogged With a Homemade Clay Glop Trap
What follows are my lovingly-curated observations from Booth 23 at this year’s annual Association of Clay and Glass Artists Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival.
Making my best artwork and supporting it with improved booth infrastructure, perfect prices and personal stamina is always a challenge. And this year I almost did not make it at all as younger son Max fractured his pelvis and needed surgery to place pins in it only a week before. But he quickly got better, it worked out and make it I did. It was a rewarding weekend in so many ways beyond the satisfying sales figures. I enjoy collecting the stories to share with you, so, as I did last year, here are the Tales of the Festival II. Continue reading Second Annual Tales of the Festival