Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Computer Day

Meows & Mini's donation
before another kiln firing

Today was a day set aside for catching up with emails, burning information onto disks and all that boring paperwork that comes along with running a small business. Paperwork piles up fast, as do the emails coming in. I'm making good progress in all areas. This busy work enables me to step back from the rattie project and really clear my head and anxious hands. I'm very excited about producing "Listen's" mold in plaster, but if I approach this molding process too fast I'll wind up creating more work for myself.

Right now I am unsure how to part this sculpture. The main issue seems to be with the ears. They have to be molded perfectly otherwise I'll get terrible results, especially in porcelain. Porcelain has zero tolerance for mistakes. Every area has to be molded perfectly so the porcelain slip slides in the mold easily, but most importantly comes OUT of the mold easily. More study of the rubber rattie is necessary. As I am working on boring things I am staring at the rubber version just planning my attack.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


In the umm, resin flesh

I am very happy to report that all went fairly well in the mold making process of my rat mold "Listen". I am now halfway to a ceramic finish.

Today I decided to pour a bit of resin in the silicone mold to see how it looked and to solve a huge problem with the tail. I am now very tempted to pour a few ratties in resin just to cold paint cause she looks so tempting.

Silicone rattie waiting for plaster

The problem with the tail is that I made the mold box around the original tail sculpt incorrectly. The silicone, when poured, just pooled around the small opening and plugged it up. I opened the mold and slathered some silicone on one half but the end result isn't so nice. It looks nice in the photo above but it really isn't. I'm not sure how this resin tail will fair being incased in plaster, but I have to try to solve this problem the best way I know how because my original work is now destroyed and I really want this particular tail to be on this piece.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Under The Silicone

Screws will help air escape
in certain spots during the molding process

"Listen" the rattie sculpt went under the silicone today. I'm excited to open her up later. I believe my potter's plaster has gone bad. I may have to place another order for some this week. First things first though....if little rattie didn't make the molding process I won't have to worry about any thing more on her, but I'm fairly certain all will be well. Here is what it all looked like this afternoon:

Simple box made out of cardboard and hot glue

Pouring the silicone slowly

All molded. Now we wait several hours

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Getting Away

We packed our bags and headed out to PA to see my folks on Saturday. It was a wonderful trip full of fun and lots of laughs. I had intended on visiting some high school friends for drinks, but found myself getting involved with family and before I knew it the weekend was over and we were back on the road heading back to Brooklyn.

I took my sketchbook, but only opened it to stick my cousin's business card inside. I haven't seen cousin Cathy in, gosh I'd say, over 15 years! We pulled up in front of the house just as she and my uncle were pulling up. It was a great surprise and a most welcome reunion.

Look out for that umm....orb?
Photo by Francesco

I didn't do one artistic thing all weekend. The only one getting artistic this past weekend was my son. He made some really fun Play Dough sculpts and had a ball with my camera, which I also had no interest in using.

I love to watch him walking about the house centering in on a subject. Many times my husband and I are the subject of his muse and we ham it up to make him laugh that silly laugh he has. If you have kids you know the laugh I'm talking about. It's the one that comes from the depths of their little souls and it automatically makes you feel happy. It's pure joy. It's pure positive energy that is beyond infectious.

Despite the laughter and hammin' it up he actually took a pretty good shot of us and I wanted to share it cause I'm proud. He got us in the frame and it's not a bad comp., but hmm....what the heck is above my head? Is that a dust orb or something else? Veeeery interesting. It's the only shot on the camera from the weekend with something "odd" in it. It sure makes the imagination go wild.

Friday, July 25, 2008


"Color Me Up"
Owned by Diana Parker
Taking a Top Ten at the 2008 Nationals
Photo courtesy of Diana Parker

Slowly, but steadily I've been getting word on how some of the pieces I've painted did last weekend at the North American Nationals. I was pleased to hear that owners did very well with their pieces. Today I'd just like to take time out to thank everyone who supports my artwork and who takes the time not only to show the pieces, but more importantly, to tell me how much they enjoy the pieces I've created. Showers and non showers (that is, those who just enjoy filling their china cabinets with pretty things like I do) alike I thank you for your support and your friendship. :)

Congratulations everyone and a special thank you to Diana and Corrie for allowing me to use their photos.

"Working Woman"
Winning the Grand Championship in CM Harness Other
Owned by Susan Peet
Photo courtesy of Corrie McDermott

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Officially Finished

Rat sculpture in wax

It's official! The rat sculpture I've entitled "Listen" is now officially finished! I'm thrilled, yet nervous to begin the next stages. The mold box is easy. Pouring silicone over something I've worked very hard on is difficult. There is always that moment when the mind reminds you that if Part A and Part B of the silicone isn't mixed properly the stuff won't cure. I won't dwell on that fact because this is a happy occasion. One deserving of a celebratory drink. A round for all!

So, let me make it truly official. Today I introduce to you, "Listen". An original sculpture of a pet rat in wax. She measures approximately 5" from the tip of her nose to the very base of her tail. From the ground to her shoulders she measures 2 1/2" . I anticipate a very limited run of porcelain both painted and unpainted. Be sure to join my ceramic news group for more information as this piece nears the casting stage.

Another view of "Listen"

More of the original sculpture

Monday, July 21, 2008


Finishing touches on "Listen"

Just a few more tweaks and then the rattie sculpture will be done! The hands gave me a problem (of course), but the great thing about wax is that if something looks wrong you can just smoosh it, start over and not have to worry about ruining the integrity of your entire piece. You can have as many "do overs" as you need.

Now, I'm bursting to see this sculpture in porcelain. I can't wait!!! This thought is taking me to the finish and beyond. I've already begun to sketch a few more "rattie" ideas. I'm curious to see what I can do next.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Pony cart ride at the b-day party

There's a heat wave going on here in NYC. Gotta stay cool and wet. That means this weekend has been filled with lots of water, drinks and a birthday party or two.

This weekend also found me sketching quite a bit. I guess you could say I'm warming up and getting ready for an illustration project that has been on my mind and is quickly letting me know it's time to come out. Thankfully, I've really been in the "mood" to doodle and it's been lots of fun keeping my nose in my book.

"Listen" in the beginning stages

I've also made strong steps towards finish on my rattie sculpt "Listen" last night. Was up till close to 3 a.m. just making adjustments. I have her hands left to sculpt and then I can begin the process of trying to figure out how to mold her. Eeek! I'll be honest, I'm rather nervous about this step. She will be the most complicated piece I've tried to mold so far. But, she is no where near as complicated as other sculptor's pieces so it is not impossible. I'll just make a silicone mold and keep trying till she comes out correctly.

But phew, I'll end it here. It's only 9 a.m. and it's hot already today! So, enjoy your Sunday! :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Resisting Change

"Boy with the lazy eye"
sketchbook drawing

I'm the kind of person who resists change. From moving furniture around in a room, to letting go of old, familiar (but worn) things, to watching my son grow. Change is just uncomfortable with me. Perhaps because it is the only thing in this world that is consistant. You can always rely on change to do it's job.

For the past two years I have been fighting changes within the computer world. Fighting to learn new programs cause well, I'm a mom now. I'm my own boss too and who needs to learn another layout program when your hands are covered in clay? There isn't even a formidable miniature equine magazine to enjoy or design an advertisement for any how and I have known and have used Adobe Quark as a professional for years now. It was perfect for the job.

"Fuzzy running pony"
Quick sketch from sketchbook

Unfortunately, things in the professional world change faster than change changes itself and now Quark is no longer the industry standard for layout or design. Even small printing shops have changed gears and are using InDesign. I'll be honest, I gave the program about one second worth of my time. I did this maybe three times, tops. Never got the hang of it. I walked away feeling grumpy and mad at whomever decides what is "in" and so my copy of InDesign sat on my computer unused for two years.

In The Distance
Very quick sketch in book

My husband hates change too. I believe that is one of the many reasons we get along well. When things change in his job situation he gets grumpy (just like me). Yesterday he hesitantly, but sweetly asked me for help. The company he works for let go the designer who helps with flyers. Poof! Gone, and now he was responsible for getting mortgage flyers designed himself.

He asked me to show him how to use Quark. Our old computer, which has been sitting dormant upstairs for about a year, has the program, but the computer is old and he was never a good student of computer stuff, nor was he a designer. He knew this and I could tell by the sound of his voice on the phone that things were sounding bleak.

My heart went out. I just couldn't let him struggle trying to design as he never was nor will he be (I don't think) a designer. He was always an illustrator (and a gosh darned good one!). Also, the old computer is OLD and the screen hurts the eyes. Lastly, there was that issue of Quark being dead and all.

Christmas design for 08

So, I decided to dive into InDesign last night. Not for me, or for any model horse advertising or banners, but for him. I suppose my mind was fairly open last night because as I was reading the small tutorial that comes with the program the little lightbulb started going on inside. Everything started to look familar like a drive down a road you used to travel years ago and didn't realize you were back on again. InDesign was JUST like Illustrator 6! That was the very first Adobe program I ever learned and here it was again, with new clothes on!!!

I can't begin to tell you how very thrilled I am with this new found knowledge. In the end, I finished the flyer, made a template and all will be well for hubby and his dilemma. The very best part is that I'm also now on board with every major publisher once again. What a great night.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Solid Time

Comparing the sculpt to the models

I've had some good, solid time with my rat sculpture this week and when I got really stuck on it I decided to head on down and compare some notes with the real models. When working with live, moving models you just have to sit, observe, and just wait for specific areas to come into view. At this stage I was confused about the amount of wax I had taken off the piece. Far too much was eliminated and my sculpture looked emaciated compared to the live models.

The gals in the picture are "Fawn" and "Bluebell". They are two of four pet rats that I enjoy sharing my home and studio with. I know some of you might be cringing at the thought of such a pet and such a sculpture! "Why?" You may ask. You know, honestly, I have always loved rodents. Something so darned cute about their squishy bodies and their perky ears. Perhaps it was my love of Beatrix Potter and her fabulous illustrations of mice having tea and sewing that set my gears from fear to love.

I don't really know, all I know is that I've always had a real soft spot for them and nothing else seemed to comfort me as wonderfully as my little dumbo rat "Odin" when my father-in-law was ill and dying earlier this year. Yeah, that shocked me too. Who knew? (shrug). Every night though, after being drug through the emotional ringer I would head on down to see my Odin. His sweet little hay smelling self would somehow comfort me. My next rattie sculpt will be dedicated to him. There are several rat sculpts in my head. All are dying to come out into the open. Once I finish this one I'll explore the others. I promised myself that I would finish this one before starting anything else. I refuse to get sidetracked off this path again.

Page from my sketchbook

I've also had some good solid time on my wheel. My goal for the remainder of this month is to explore lidded pots, which are very difficult to produce IMO. I'm struggling to get the lids just right. I'm getting there though and I anticipate by the end of the summer I'll have some really good pieces. No over hang on the lid. No shimmy when the pot is held either. The lid must fit perfectly. Making that happen requires calipers (which of course I do have) and a steady hand and good eye. You have to stop pulling the lid when it sorta "looks" just about right, measure the lid against the thrown vessel and hope it will fit. It's been a challenge, but a good one.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wax & Clay

Rat sculpture making progress

"Sculpture is more divine, and more like Nature, That fashions all her works in high relief, And that is Sculpture. This vast ball, the Earth, Was moulded out of clay, and baked in fire; Men, women, and all animals that breathe Are statues, and not paintings." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My hands are firmly planted in wax and clay for the rest of the week. Aaah....feels good to be back in this familiar and comfortable place with nails caked in dirt.

Working off the "hump"

Monday, July 14, 2008


"Blueberry Explosion"
Earthenware bowl and mug

Like a still pond being broken by a stone, my trip to the cabana and beach rippled throughout my weekend. Each day brought forth some ups and of course, some downs, and I rode all the waves as they arrived with a sense of glee.

Some gleeful moments this weekend were:

~ Dinner out and ALONE with hubby. (Mmm...filet mignon...rare with a fine cabernet).
~ Canon balls in the pool. (Hay, never let the kid in you slip away!)
~ Finding some earthenware throwing clay hidden in the studio.
~ Enjoying my son happily tell me all about his first sleep over.
~ The red cardinal perched on our willow tree.
~ Fried squash flowers fresh from my garden.
~ A good auction sale.
~ Finishing my deadline for JAH.
~ Sleeping in really, really late. (Gee, I haven't done that in about 3 years!)

Organic creamer in moss green and blue

And lastly, a very gleeful moment was getting a few vessels glazed and fired. I have been waiting far too long to see this little creamer finished. I used it this morning as I poured milk into my coffee and ooh, the coffee tasted really good.
The other pieces turned out pretty too, but that creamer was the one I really couldn't wait to see finished. It was the ugly pot I just couldn't squash when the side flopped. I added a stem handle with leaf and it changed the vessel somehow. It's now, oddly enough, my favorite piece I've thrown so far.

Small decorative mini vase

So now I pack up a few things for the post office, then I'll straighten up my studio and then I'm actually fairly free to do as I wish. All my lingering and old commissions are done and I'm excited to finish some sculpting projects that have been waiting for my return. Those include Leela, Ophelia, and the rattie sculpt. I sense these happy ripples extending throughout the week!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Beautiful shapes of the cabana

How do I spell relief from overworking?

B E A C H !

OH MAN, the trip to the beach yesterday was exactly what both my son and I needed. I can't even begin to tell you when I was able to clear my mind completely. I mean, it was a total wipe out of all annoying "do tos"s, lists, deadlines, shapes, colors, combos and compositions...all gone. Well, ok, it did take my mind a few minutes to unwind. As soon as we arrived my mind went nutty with the organized cabana cabins and all the colors of the people and their suits and towels. I took quite a few mintes to enjoy the compositions, colors and shapes then I turned off my mind and headed down to the waves.

Pure joy

The ebb and flow of the ocean just wiped away the cares. Ok, the frosty pina colada helped too! MMmmm, thank you Cousin Sally! Toes in the sand with waves crashing about is the life. It truly is the simple things in life that bring the most joy. Next time, we bring my husband.

If you can, I highly recommend a trip to your nearest beach.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Unveil & Be Silly

All done and currently for sale.

What a busy week! It's still not over and there is so much more to do. First though, I am most excited to officially unveil the newest piece out of the studio, "Alborozo." Those going to the equine event in KY next week are going to LOVE this mold when you receive him. Even in OF form he is just simply amazing. Total Brigitte. Totally handsome and a blast for the repainters/customizers. Gah! I wish I had another one cause he was so pleasurable to paint. Hmm...maybe this might be a nice opportunity for a commission spot?

No,no,no! I must not do that to myself!! I have to stay focused!!! I must finish a few things that have been lingering BADLY in 08. The rattie sculpture is lingering, the "Lovebird" sculpture is lingering, and my plans to make Brianna into a full porcelain piece complete with a horsie-log is INCOMPLETE! many fun projects to divert the mind. Life is good.

Well, Francesco and I were invited to a cabana club today. As much as I want to go I know I have a ton of work that truly needs to be completed. My mind can't wrap itself around taking time to sit, but today I take time to sit and be silly with Francesco. Maybe I'll take a few pictures too. Silly ones....with really good compositions. LOL

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Going Well

Nearing finish

Middle of the week and I believe I am making fairly good progress on my "list" of things I wanted to accomplish.

Alborozo is looking just fine and although the reaction to his pre sale "sneak peek" went over like a lead balloon in the MH industry, I'm still feeling really good about him cause he really came out well, IMO. The pigments and acrylics mixed together seamlessly and the actual production just felt darned good. His hooves and face were my favorite parts to paint.

I'm making progress on all the things I need to mail out. The first line of business today was burning my information for the IPAT editor. Next are three large horses that, without fail, MUST leave my studio this week. They just MUST leave!!! I've had them far too long and at least one of the owners is a full time shower so it's not fair to keep her beauties from her and her adventures in the ring. I believe her Tennessee Walker may give some of the other Walkers a run for their money. His color also came out well IMO. His production felt darned good too.

The one special thing I did manage to experience with my son Francesco was watching The Wizard of Oz together. We had a blast watching that movie. We laughed and danced about the room. It was on VHS, which was a real pain now that we are accustomed to the clarity of DVDs, but it was still nice to rent it out from the library for free and just enjoy it.

The fairy wings were finished for JAH and what a chore they were! My original idea for this project, which would appear in the "Halloween' issue of JAH, was to turn a Stablemate into a winged fantasy horse. Of course, the inspiration came from all the dead Cicada bugs in our yard last year! Needless to say the editor, although amused by my creativity, put the kibosh on tearing wings off Cicadas. Aahh....too bad, cause they were dead anyway and their wings are totally and utterly beautiful. Sooo....when you can't have natural you go for the Fimo! LOL I can't divelge any more. You'll have to read it in the Sept/Oct issue.

Must find some zen before week's end

That was about all I accomplished this week. I still need to spend some time being silent and listening. I feel I need that most of all, but some good time alone with old cassette tapes may really be a hoot too. Of course, I know spending quiet time with hubby is probably the most important part of this week and since his birthday is Friday I have had a whole lot of time to think about something special. Not quiet 40, but far enough away from 35 to say he is nearing 40. Hmm...I think I need to call that baby sitter like, soon! LOL ;)

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Week

"You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet: and it would be
Like sleeping and yet waking, all at once."
~ George Eliot

Its a quiet and slow Monday morning. My coffee finds me thinking of the new week. What goals must be accomplished this week?

* do something special with Francesco
* do something special with hubby
* finish alborozo
* finish those fairy wings for JAH
* get to the PO and mail out lots of lingering items
* think about another blog giveaway
* spend time just being silent and listening
* let my mind wander on silly things
* play some old cassette tapes

Should be a great week.
What's one special thing you are doing this week?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Good Mail

Alborozo in progress

Before the weekend started I received two items in the mail that thrilled me. First item was a manilla containing two complimentary copies of the newest Just About Horses. I am so happy to see my original cover idea gracing the front of the magazine. There was no other idea worthy of Brigitte's gorgeous new Spanish horse, IMO. The beach, sun and the Eberl all fit together perfectly. I'm glad to see that they finally decided it did too.

The other photo shoot I worked on, after the first idea was squashed, was also gracing the pages of JAH. I was rather upset originally when they told me to reshoot. I decided that the best solution was to add product. I went wild putting product in that second shot. Lots and lots of product. The old Breyer barn (CMed of course) is in there, and their dolls, and even some Breyer horse poop made an appearance in that photo. It turned out well, but I don't feel it had the same romance and impact as the first. I'm also glad to see it was used. Makes all the hard work worth while.

The prototype and the new guy primed

The second good mail item that arrived was my second copy of Alborozo. I had a feeling this guy would be wonderful to paint and he really is. The second copy, which came in the official Breyer box with special gold stamping on belly, was paintined as pretty as the prototype. I sat and compared them before I started to prep. The dapples were pretty and nicely placed on the model and his color was just beautiful. Of course, I say "was" since this guy underwent change. So far, the painting process has been smooth and seamless and most importantly, fun. The amount of correct detail that Brigitte puts into her work is mind boggling. I'd love to hop into her mind for about five minutes while she is sculpting. She sculpts like we breath....effortlessly.

I decided to document his painting sessions and make some sort of tutorial out of it. Perhaps it will be published in JAH. Perhaps not. They seem to be using new people for their "How To" section here and there and I have not had an opportunity to have another pastel tutorial published this year. I do understand the need for new blood in the magazine, but still like to share a pastel article at least once a year. In any case, I'm taking lots of photos of the process before this boy is finished and goes up for auction. So, definitely stay tuned! ;)

Well, time to prepare for another day of family, friends and food.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Glazed and Confused

Glaze everywhere!

It's been a week of glazing here. I have so many vessels that need color that I promised myself I wouldn't throw any more clay till I had glazed a good portion of the finished pieces. So, I seriously sat down and dug my heels into the art of glazing.

Glazing is most definetly a very difficult aspect of making pottery for me. I'm not only a clutz when it comes to hand application, I'm so sloppy with my pouring and dipping methods that I'm now rather confused as to what I should try next in order to get better results. I believe I will just have to face the fact that practice is the only answer and in practicing quite a few really nice vessels will be ruined. Of course, the ones that get ruined are always the important ones.

My RESS Sponsor Award 2008

This vase came out fairly well. I'll be honest, I'm not 100% happy with it because the glazing portion just didn't turn out as I had anticipated. This was not the color I was aiming for in the least! But, I guess you can say it has a very "earthy" and "pure potter" feel which is appealing in its own way.

Carefully now....careful!

Between all the glazing and finishing up of last commissions my studio is now in "disaster" mode. I really hate when it gets this way. See? Isn't it a mess?

Messy studio

We have company coming tomorrow and I'll need to clean up down there tonight. People always want to come down into the studio and look around so I have to be ready for it. But first, my attention will be spent on Alboronzo. I was fortunate enough to obtain another copy and have a color selected for this bad boy already. He is prepped and primed and now I just need some quiet time alone to work my color on him. He is going to be amazing!

Quick shot of the soon to be CMed Alboronzo