Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vegetable Music

While I keep trying to make more whistles from clay, please enjoy the veggie music ...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm in Etsy News -- Yay!

One of my items, a tiny purple hand-built 'vase' showed up in the Tuesday, February 8th, of Etsy News email newsletter. I didn't notice it until the second time I looked through it. Here's a closeup and the link.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The Etsy Mud team is having a Critter Challenge and so I have been stressing out about making critters. I know nothing about sculpture. So I started off with a simple cave and snake.

Then I thought, "Well, I'll just make a body with a head and pinch some legs and a tail. I liked how this was coming out so I added ears. And what do you know? It actually looks like a dog.

With so much luck on the first try, I tried again. I really don't understand how to make legs, so I thought about how when painting people, a common ploy to avoid painting hands is to pose the person with hands buried in pockets or clasped behind the back. Since I didn't know what to do with the back paws I thought I'd just have this mutt sit on them.

I was a bit braver with this one. Yet, notice that he is still in a 'down' position. These are very tiny, just an 1-2" high.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yellow Daisies

Anyone who knows me knows that the daisy is one of my favorite flowers. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but unfailingly cheerful, always.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kiln Opening

I love doing bisque firings. They are full of promise. Only once have I had a piece explode and it was because I fired the load too quickly. Now I also am careful to put any piece that is thick on the outer part of the kiln shelf. If it has thick walls and explodes, you want it to not to be able to take out every piece on that particular shelf.

... and we open it to find every piece intact! I had over some young ladies to make pottery a few weeks back. They made soap-dishes and magnets, coasters and beads. They are excited to get their finished pieces, but they still need to be glazed. I didn't quite have a full kiln load with this batch.

Here's the second shelf. These are all from a Taos Red clay that I buy from a local clay company: Texas Pottery. It throws as smooth as porcelain and is the most vibrant red-brick color. I love working with it.

This piece was about 6 inches taller but during the trimming process it chipped and I realized the rim was simply too thin. So I shortened it. I do like this shape. It is not as classic as the taller shape, but it is lovely nonetheless. And now because the rim is thicker, it will be more durable.

I threw this cylinder just to see how high I could go. When I was done I hung it upside down so it would be nice and straight. Unfortunately it had not dried enough when I turned it back around again and it bent. So I did the best I could to straighten it out again. It is straight on three sides, but there is one angle that it seems a bit lopsided. I think it will be a lovely vase for a rose-bud or calla lilly, though.

This is such a familiar shape to me. Having grown up in Southern New Mexico (moved to Texas at age 23), this bowl shape is one that I was regularly exposed to. I wish I had the decorating skills of the wonderful Navajo Indians, but alas, I do not.

I trimmed right through the bottom of this pot. But I have a saucer that it will sit on and a candle can sit on it inside the pot and the flame will do a happy dance.

Now that everything has survived the kiln AND me taking it out of the kiln, it is time to begin the glazing process (often I drop it or bump pots against the sides of the kiln -- usually my favorite pieces!).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Painting Plum Blossoms

When I took art classes at college the professor drummed into our heads the need for an interesting background. I love Oriental paintings but most of them are background-less. I was at a local retail store the other day, one near my neighborhood, that specializes in Chinese porcelain and there was a huge vat as tall as I am that was absolutely gorgeous. The glaze was a smooth moss green matte, and the plum blossoms and branches were a gloss glaze. The contrast between the textures as well as the colors was absolutely stunning!

I'm bisque firing a bunch of green-ware tomorrow, beads as well as pottery. One of the vases I'm planning to put in the kiln demands some sort of painting on it. The shape of it would be perfect for some plum blossoms, I believe. However, I'm still unsure of the colors and the color scheme to use. Therefore, I'm experimenting with some beads, first. I often do that. I've found it's a good way to test out how the glazes will behave on a certain clay body, in this case Taos Red earthenware that I'm firing to stoneware temperatures.

In the meantime, I'm watching some You Tube videos on painting plum blossoms. And I'm going to also experiment some on the beads and see what I come up with. And when I am satisfied with whatever it is I come up with, I will paint THAT on the vase I am putting into the kiln tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brilliant Bead Artists

I am amazed at the way these bead artists put together these works of wearable art from the ceramic beads I have enjoyed making so very much

This beautiful necklace is fromGyspy Spirit Studio's Etsy Shop. This is from her description:
This necklace was made possible by my wise purchase of hand formed ceramic beads from NKPDesigns on Etsy.

Included in the design are the focal turquoise green bead and smaller coordinating white and green ceramic nuggets by NKPDesigns.

Also I have randomly strung black agate gemstone nuggets, a couple of rare vintage white silver etched plastic beads (from the 40's and 50's era), a buttery glass disc bead, metal spacers, coordinating glass beads and czech faceted turquoise green colored beads.

All are strung on black beading wire strands. The length of this piece can be any where from choker length to approximately 24". The black satin ribbon ties measure 16" on each side of the necklace and the beaded portion of the piece measures 9" including the sterling silver rings.

And here is a beautiful bracelet from Designs by Lorelie's Etsy Shop. She also used an Imagine Link from Melanie of Earthenwood Studio, one of my alltime favorite ceramic bead artists. The LadyBug Ceramic charm is from my NKP Beads Etsy Shop. She also included some Red glass ladybug beads, green glass leaves, red glass flower Brass wire heart paperclips Vintaj brass lobster clasp in the making of this bracelet!

Blue Orbs

This is one of my favorite glazes. Look for them in the next day or two in my Etsy Store.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Handbuilt Bowl

A couple of months ago I started this project. I started with a bowl form and then squashed round balls of clay with my hand and mashed them together to make this bowl. I smoothed the inside, but left the outside as it was. I babied it, putting it under plastic to slowly dry out. It finally dried enough to where I felt comfortable putting it into the kiln for a bisque fire.

After it came out of the kiln I think I stared at it everyday for a month trying to figure out how I wanted to glaze it. I wanted something dramatic. But I didn't want to ruin it. I have ruined waaaay too many things with the experiments. So I set to glazing some beads. If I liked how they came out, I would like how this came out, too.

Finally I decided on this combination of colors and it took about a week of a couple of hours a day. I am a slow glazer, and I was picky about the colors not running into one another. I also stopped after the colors were laid out on it and got a piece of paper and drew the bowl from this perspective on it. Then I took colored pencils to work out the rest of the pattern. Finally I was satisfied with the pattern and put on the finishing touches. The bottom is smooth unglazed clay with my signature drawn into it.

This bowl is quite big. I will, however, be listing it in my Etsy shop, and perhaps be taking it to to a pottery show on Gallery Night with the rest of the Texas Pottery and Sculptural Guild in March. More about that show later.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Salt & Pepper Challenge

The Etsy Mud Team is having it's latest challenge: Salt & Pepper Shakers.

Click here for a closer look

A random voter who wins the raffle will get to choose an item from this picture:

Valentine's Trunk Show Etsy Dallas

Don't miss this if you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth and surrounding area!

Over 40 local artists and artisans featuring: jewelry, soap, bags & purses, home decor, fashion accessories, art, dog goodies, baby items, journals & stationery, and so much more!

WHEN: Saturday, February 9th

TIME: 11am-4pm

WHERE: South Side on Lamar, Artists' Quarter

ADDRESS: 1409 S. Lamar, Dallas 75215 (across from DPD headquarters)