Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Carved Fireplace Surround

Carved earthenware tile
This is the fireplace surround I made when we built our house. 
I never intended to offer this carved tile as a line because it is a pain in the neck to make. Our house was featured in a magazine (way back in the 90's) and I was contacted recently by a client who still had the magazine after all these years (!). The couple had fallen in love with this fireplace and the right time to remodel their existing one finally came. I do love carving tile, and it had been so long since I did these that I kind of forgot how hard they are to make. Sooooo...

Carved fireplace surround, bisque state
Here's a little video of the process~
Completed fireplace surround
afternoon watermelon break
At the top of my list of the-best-things-about-summer just has to be watermelon. We simply gorge on it once the fabulous Hermiston seeded melons are in season. It is Mr. Cranky's habit to pair watermelon with something salty, like potato chips or pretzels, and that is rather irresistible, hard as I may try. Those tiny little grapefruit spoons are the perfect implement to remove the seeds, by the way.

Speaking of utensils, here is an article from NPR about how the color, shape, size, and material of your tableware and utensils can affect your perception of the taste of your food as well as how much of it you consume.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More summery-ness

Betsy's bed is just too tempting in full sun in the early afternoon. Just look at the color of that sky!
(click on the picture for a better look)
I'm rather smitten with this new bronzey glaze; it's just plain manganese at cone 6.
It's no good for functional ware, but so pretty with textures and how it catches the light..
I made a bunch of these little hand-built planters.
 I haven't made flowerpots in years and years.
I planted slips from my succulent collection in a few of them.
I'm experimenting with pastel colors a bit too.
 Could a penchant for pattern be hereditary?
Yup, I think so.

Check out this stunning installation of ceramic poppies by Paul Cummins~

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer, so far

The summer beds are out~
one is under cover,
one is under the stars.
Our best seller this summer, for wedding presents, is this origami dish.
It seems to be a match between the perfect size + fanciness 
and a fairly typical price point for a wedding gift @ $125.
Mornings feature breakfasts of raspberries from our bushes and eggs from our hens.
Our cat makes good use of the bird watcher's table.
It takes a floating dahlia
just this long
to break apart.

Friday, July 19, 2013

House Birds

One of our outlets is closing, so I picked up a group of House Birds from them.
Now they are Studio Birds, as I put them up all around the studio entrance.
pileated woodpecker

I'm adding the leaves to the house bird group in front of the house. Pics to follow...

On an unrelated note, I am attempting to scrub the words "amazing" and "awesome" from my vocabulary, but  think you will agree that this video is rather remarkable~

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Three weeks until Showcase

large oval platter w/ wavy lip 
Production is going full tilt with only three weeks left until Ceramic Showcase. I'm switching things up in the studio, moving back into animal and plants in addition to dots and stripes, and adding color to the black & white.
tray with scalloped edge
Despite that Portlandia episode (you know the one), I persist in putting birds on everything. 
Platter with green fish
I'll have to stop making pots soon and get my booth figured out, there are so many details to track when getting prepared for a show. I feel like I am starting from zero, it has really been years and years since I've done this.

This video of pendulum waves is mesmerizing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gearing up for Ceramic Showcase

bear with branch (unglazed)
We haven't done a show or craft fair for many years. It seemed to be about time to show our faces in public, so we signed up for Ceramic Showcase this year. Scheduled for April 26, 27, & 28th, it is the largest pottery show and sale in the country. Lucky for us, it's right here in Portland.
tests and stains and brushes
I'm still working with my dotty black & white series, but I have been tempted into adding a splash of color here and there. Just like in the children's book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, one thing leads to another, so now I am back to drawing animals and flowers too~
origami bowls & mini plates (unglazed)
I am currently favoring birds, bears, and fish. But, as you can see, the barnyard is not off-limits either~
a couple of goats (unglazed)
I go through a lot of slip-trailers. My current favorite is the homemade version, formed like miniature pastry bags from mylar or plastic gift wrap. There is very little hand fatigue when using these little dears~
spent slip-trailers
Here is a post about how to make them if you are interested.

A Priestess in Myanmar has to kiss an enormous King Cobra three times to save her village from a curse caused by its anger, watch this to see how that worked out~

Friday, January 25, 2013

Making templates for origami pots

 origami pot
I promised ages ago that I would show how my origami pots are made. To begin, you need to make a template. 
here are a few that I made 
 some useful items to begin
It's helpful to assemble a few basic tools as pictured above. I scrounge around for paper, on the stiffish side, to make the actual templates out of.  I have used manilla envelopes, file folders, cereal boxes, sketch pads, and such. 
Here is how to draw an oval:

Cut a length of string and tie it to form a loop. Place two push pins through the paper you intend to use.
Experiment with the placement of the pins and the length of the string loop to achieve the shape you like.
the string will stretch a bit, so go around a few times 
Using the string and the pins as shown above, draw an oval with a pencil.
 not an exact science
I'm guessing that there is some kind of formula out there to calculate dimensions, cross-referencing string length vs pin spacing, but I just go with trial and error until I am satisfied.
 cut it out
Pick a line to follow and cut out your oval. Mark the center using a ruler to measure, make a little 'x'.
fold it up
Experiment with folds, using the center to gauge distances to keep it symmetrical. On this one, I folded the long sides such that they meet in the middle and then folded the ends so that the sides would all be the same height.
Cut notches in the corners, one aligned with the side fold and one bisecting the corner. You don't need to remove the entire corner, that little extra bit of clay will help make the seam.
 tape it up
Lightly tape the corners to see how the finished shape will look. If you don't like it, make another one; you aren't really very committed yet.
it might look like this
 finished origami pot
I call this one a 'cradle' shape (for obvious reasons.)
 circle template
Another approach is to begin with a circle. I just traced around a bat that I had on hand, but you could use a compass or any other round thing. The rest of the process is the same as before: find the center, fold the sides, snip the corners.
tape it up to see what you have
I over-shot on the cuts as you can see, but it doesn't matter. Had I folded the template using the longer cuts, it would have higher sides and a smaller footprint. Experiment around to find the shape you like.
here you go
origami dish
I'll show the clay part of this process next time.

What to do when the bus doesn't come and you want to scream-> click