Friday, October 31, 2008

Nineteen Years

A moment caught on film

Nineteen years ago on October 30th, 1989 I packed up a portfolio of about 15 pieces and headed toward NYC with my parents on my interview at Pratt Institute. There was no turning back. I was leaving my hometown and was determined to make a real go of my love of art. I will never forget that day as long as I live because it changed my entire life. Nothing was ever the same again. From the moment the administrator looked at the third selection in my portfolio (which was basically a huge clear bag since I had nothing else to cart all my over sized pieces in) and said the words, "You are more than welcome to attend our institution." my mind wandered onto what life might be like in the "big city".

Little did I know at that moment I'd be paired with the oddest roommates in my first year. One was a party gal from India the other was a rich gal from Beverly Hills who tested my character by leaving emeralds and diamonds about the dorm room. Her family owned gem mines in the south of Brazil. She said she decided to attend Pratt to see how the "other half" lived. After she felt my character was in order she became focused on finding me a rich husband. She probably should have just done her illustration work. I'm a very bad study in things of higher culture. I guess its the artist in me. I take pride in my paint stains.

On that day I remember the advisor talking to my parents, as some pigeons peeked at the window, about how safe Brooklyn was and that the town received bad press. Never in a million years did I think I'd wind up marrying someone born and raised in Brooklyn and never did I think I'd stay here. Years later I look back and wonder how I ever managed to live in such an isolated area of Pennsylvania. Heck, we only had ONE street light when I left nineteen years ago. Now they have two. LOL

Finished "Ed" medallion for RXR

During this time of the year I love to reflect back on where I came from and what I have accomplished artistically. The journey has been a wild one filled with lots of positive excitement and of course, many disappointing moments. Artists learn to deal with the disappointments and somehow they become sturdy footholds in the ladder. Looking back today I feel like I am only halfway up that ladder. There is so much more to do artistically. Nineteen years later I am more excited about art than I have ever been. It's the dream job for me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Glazing Woes

Sake set in white and moss green

Since attending my church's fall outing I have had the Christmas fair on my mind. When it was suggested I participate in this seasonal event I thought of all the unfinished vessels that could lend themselves nicely to such an occasion once finished. I have so many vessels that remain unfired and unglazed because I really don't like glazing. I have a difficult time applying glaze. I find my color combinations to be lacking and overall I can't seem to quiet my mind when I am glazing.


But the other day I sat down determined to make a bit of headway in the backlog of my ceramic ware. The scene was business as usual with me and glazes. Me, the table and floor covered in droplets of glaze. Ceramic ware with run off spots and lids that confused. How the heck was I going to glaze a lid and not have it stick to the kiln? I figured out that if I propped the lid on a kiln prop I could paint both sides. Of course, who knew that one lid would FALL halfway through the cone 06 firing and land on it's side? Certainly not me! Of course, it happened to the one lidded vessel I loved; the pink one I had hoped to push some sticks through the lid and really give it a Japanese look.

Lidded vessel

Of course the sake set came out nicely and although I froze when I got to applying glaze to the outside I decided that nothing says "orient" better than a black ink brush drawing so I've decided to china paint the outside of this set. In the end, given my glazing history, its the safest route. I can see beautiful trees on this already and once I have a few other projects near finish in the studio, I'll start this one.

So, I'm no closer to participating in the holiday festival, but I am learning some hard cold lessons in glazing and that will most definitely benefit later on down the road.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'll Take That Bissell!

One of the big bad bridges
all our merchandise must cross
to get to our stores

I'm veering off into the domestics today cause, I'll be honest, I really would love to win this vacuum being given away by the SITS gals. I believe I have paid my dues to the vacuum god this past year and then some. It's time for a little payoff for Jenn. All I want is a vacuum THAT WORKS!

I have owned THREE vacuums in the past year and a half. Yes, you read that correctly THREE and let me tell ya, they have all SUCKED (and not in the good way a vacuum should be sucking!) In fact, they all lost suction immediately.

Now, before I go any further I want to bring the offensive little brats to the front of the room to endure proper online punishment. In the market for a vacuum? Don't even bother plunkin your money down on these:

1). The Dirt Devil.
2). The Eureka
3). A Hoover. This beauty being the most expensive vacuum I have bought. Retails on their site for $250 was about $70 more purchased in a local Brooklyn store cause well, it's fashionable to gouge us here since there are those big bad bridges the trucks have to cross to get the merchandise to the stores.

A factor that I must point out is that I barely have any rugs in my house. Aside from my son's room, the entire apartment is hand laid wooden floors with a few larger throw rugs. Bare floors should be a no brainer for a vacuum that is nearing the $300 mark. But no, they have all crapped out on the job.

Someone is most definitely saying, "Well, just box them back up and get a refund." I hear ya and I wish more than anything that I could do that, but once you throw away the box AND any portion of the innards (cause, I mean really, after the first month of relocating an annoying box about the apartment who really keeps the boxes?) the guarantee goes right out the window. The Hoover has taught me one thing and that is to keep all boxes and innards and now we have a closet minus clothes, but many boxes. I'm poised and ready for something to break. Just give me the chance to use these boxes! I know Mr. Murphy is having a good laugh.

What does this all mean and what is my next step other than embarrassingly asking my mother-in-law for the use of her 1980s Elextrolux? Which, I must mention is the best darned vacuum I have EVER used!!! Suctions a carpet like a giant leech on skin. I'm either gonna jump in and ante up the $600 for the Dyson cause I hear it suctions well WHEN it's in a good mood. Plunk down the $800 for the Orek cause Mr. Orek seems like a nice dude or win this Bissell. But in reality I'm probably going to have to just cuddle up with my trusty broom again. It always gets the job done. Is cost effective and hay, it's the greenest choice. :/

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mouse In The House!

Last liter of mice

I have mice in my house. Little tiny sleepy ceramic mice just waiting for new owners. I have finally completed the very last of the Sleepy Little Mice run. I can't believe I finally finished them all. The last batch seemed as if they were never going to get done. Would you like to meet them? Here they are:








Sshh...don't wake them! Sales information will be forthcoming on my ceramics news group later this week.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scary Fun

Just a few of us

There is nothing like a good Halloween pumpkin carving party to bring family together and rejuvenate the artistic soul! The weekend was all about family and fun and we all had a ton of it. It's wild to see us all together. That is a typical turnout on a Sunday for dinner. Its hard to believe we all fit at the dinner table.

Doing makeup on my brother-in-law

I was, of course, the evil baker Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd and I thoroughly enjoyed getting into character. I had a blast placing my meat pies all about the party. Although I didn't win the best costume awardd (Aunt Mildred really did look much better in her costume than I did) we all agreed, if there were a "Best Prop" award, I would have won it for the pies.

Want a pie?

Pumpkins carved and lit ready for judging

For my pumpkin carving I chose to go the traditional route. See the one in front with the happy smile? That's mine. There was so much creative energy at this party, and many cool designs chosen, but I just didn't want to think about design so I went for the five minute cut out and sat there soaking in the energy. Of course the wine helped in this task! LOL

My little hero

All around, a fantastic weekend and Halloween isn't even here yet! There are two more parties to attend and with all this going on I feel that November will be here in a flash!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oh A Customer!

Hot outta the oven

Did you come here for a pie?

Sit yourself down. Tis a bit wet out there today. Hasn't rained in weeks and today, the day of the Halloween party, it rains. I believe I'm the only one rejoicing. Not only do I love the rain. I think it's a PERFECT backdrop for my Mrs. Lovett costume. I'm fully prepared to carve pumpkins and whoop it up with family in costume. I'm bringin extra ale and my camera.

If you are wondering about how I made the pies, it was really very easy and fun. Here is the recipe if you want to try it yourself or with your children. It's safe and you can cut it in half if you don't need that much dough. I did and it worked out just fine.

Fake Bread Dough
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp. instant coffee (heaping)

Mix flour and salt together. Drop a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee in warm water and mix well (will give your dough color). Add the water/coffee mixture to the flour and beat/knead till dough forms. Bake in an oven at 300 degrees for approx. 3 hours. If you half the recipe it takes about 1 1/2 hours for the bread to cook. After the bread has cooled you can glaze more color on using watered down acrylics. FUN!

With that I am off. Enjoy your weekend. See you all on Monday. Hopefully with a ton of cool pictures from the party! ENJOY!

I'm callin' it the cobra leaf
Coolest one I've found so far.

Friday, October 24, 2008

They Are Scamperin'

Quick mice sketches

The mice are scampering around my brain again. It's cousin Sally Ann's birthday this weekend and I wanted to design something fun for her birthday button box. Mouse with a cupcake. Mouse jumping with joy. And of course then mouse in perfect zen came along which is sparking a whole new avenue of button boxes I think I must explore. Mice in Zen. Mice doing yoga. Hmmm.

Button Boxes right before their first firing

The air is brisk today. It's a perfect fall day and our trip to the park is going to be fun. I've got my son searching for cool leaves now. How I wish he could see how pretty the leaves are in PA., but in all honesty, these aren't so bad. They are pretty cool actually! The green in that middle one is just fascinating me to no end.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's About The Teeth

Love them choppers

I get many requests to donate my artwork and services for many shows and organizations. It is always difficult to turn people down as the causes always seem good and I completely understand how difficult it must be to solicit for an event or cause and get turned down. Heck, almost every two weeks I solicit you all to purchase something from my studio.

Choosing the cause or event that gets my services becomes difficult when they all need or want your services, but there is only one of me and not every event planner has class which is a personal annoyance to me. They forget to let you know they got the item, even after buggin you for weeks if the piece was done. They forget to send that all important thank you card after the fact. Then they forgot to tell the artist who attained the item and even more importantly how much the item sold for. And forget about trying to attain written proof of that sale for tax purposes! Trying to track this information down after all is said and done was and continues to be beyond frustrating. So, for the past two years I have been slowly whittling down my donation card and continually saying no.

Do you own me?

One show I try and support is my local regional show. Last year I went all out and donated a full stablemate sized drafter resin fully painted with all the dapply bells and whistles. I still have no idea what it went for or who owns it. After it left my studio I never heard another word till this year when donations were again needed.

As you could imagine, I was on the fence and seriously leaning toward "no" until I saw what they were asking me to paint as donation. I couldn't resist the urge to paint the "Ed" medallion and decided to close out my donation card for 07 with one more model horse-like donation as next year my services will go on to help other causes that are completely outside of the equine miniature industry. I am involved in formidable and helpful ministries (like feeding the homeless here in Brooklyn) and my heart has been leaning more and more toward helping these areas of need. But for now, I'll enjoy the final stages of production on "Ed" and hope the recipient who wins him enjoys him. Hay, I may even get an email from them telling me he is being enjoyed! I sure enjoyed having his happy mug here visiting the studio. There is something about those teeth!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On The Agenda Today

On the agenda:
One of the boring, but necessary evils of the house.
Cleaning the stair spindles

On the agenda:
Taking a bit of time to enjoy my once one legged horse who is slowly making nice progress.
My boy "NYC VIP"

On the agenda:
Stopping to relocate the mule to the warm laundry room so he dries in time for more layering work tonight.
Region X Regional Show Donation

On the agenda:
Happily procrastinating for a good portion of the morning. What spindles? They ain't that dirty.
This one with hoodies

And lastly, on the adenda today a date with a Vixen.
An incredible sculpture

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Though....Costumes

Sushi is a carnival

First line of business today was costumes! Parties are coming and we needed to be prepared. With much trepdation we entered the "spooky cellar" of the local party shop. Such a walk is old hat to me. Laughable in it's attempts to even muster one ounce of fright in me, BUT to a little one of 3, it terrified. It was so real to him as were the fake fingers I bought for my Mrs. Lovett costume that we made our selections quickly. How, as adults, we forget and become immune over the years. I enjoyed his experience and almost wished I was having my own scary experience for the first time again.

Our hero

My husband met us for lunch and there is nothing finer than sushi with my two men. Raw for us and of course, cooked for our son. We have been frequenting a new place that I just love. It is such a happy, colorful place. I instantly feel good when I enter. Its like a carnival and the waiters and waitresses are so happy. It's infectious.

Ingredients for a Halloween meat pie

So besides mailing the very last of the Halloween mice button boxes nothing artistic was accomplished today. Still, I feel energized and ready to work tonight on finishing things and maybe even starting on my fake meat pie.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Clown (I mean) Artist's Prayer

Further progress on two resins

This week is packed with studio work, family affairs and some meetings at my church. Being involved in several ministries can be draining and taxing to studio work, but it is also extremely fulfilling and inspirational. Today at a St. Vincent DePaul meeting (we help feed the homeless) our dearest and most beloved member of this ministry (who is also a part time clown on the weekends for parties and events) prayed a prayer which apparently all Christian clowns say before an event.

I was taken by the prayer I had to look it up online. I think that in place of the word "clown" the word "artist" could be easily added. Afterall, I think we also cheer people up and our art makes them happy. At least, that is what my brain tells me some of the time about being an artist. Anyway, I thought it was very beautiful and it's been occupying my mind ever since he read it. I thought I'd share it with you all. :)

Dear Lord,

Help me create more laughter than tears, disperse more happiness than gloom, spread more cheer than despair.

Never let me grow so big that I fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.

Never let me forget that I am a clown...that my work is to cheer people up, make them happy, and allow them to forget momentarily all the unpleasant things in their lives.

Never let me acquire financial success to the point where I will discontinue calling upon my Creator in the hour of my need or acknowledging Him in the hour of my Plenty.

- Amen

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quiet Studio Time

Building dapples on a Smittyn

Yesterday was a fairly stressful day. My husband and son are sick and on edge. There is only so much chicken soup and rest a soul can take before they get antsy laying on the couch all day. Well, that is what I am chockin' yesterday's not so stellar day up to. At the very end of the day I sat in my studio chair and enjoyed the alone time, the quiet and the soothing feelings that come along with painting.

I painted everything that was lingering and that included the very last of the Sleepy Little Mice ceramic run. I was slowly trying to come up with some names for them as each one in this run gets a name. Unfortunately, I was drawing a blank. I think my mind just wanted to tune out. When it tunes out, there is no fighting it. I let it tune out and ultimately get the best results in my work.

Mice getting finishing touches

So, with this in mind I dove right into three stablemates and made lovely progress on the Vixen, Taboo and a Smittyn resin. The Smittyn is for me. I love the black and tan color and am very pleased with this piece and am excited for her big "ta-da" in my china cabinet later this week. I'll need a name for her too. Again, I'm just going blank.

I'll end today with a photo from my garden. Nope, it's not a cherry tomato. Tis' a beef stake! Anyone have the number for Guinness? I think I broke a record here.

Feast for a fairy!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Workbench shot

I couldn't resist diving into the Vixen resin last night. She sat prepped and primed for so long that it was nice to finally hone in on a color for her. Sometimes its just easier for someone else to choose the color. The palomino color is looking wonderful on her already. I have to say, it was nice to be back at my painting station in the basement.

It was a very busy week family wise and house wise. I started to feel myself going over the edge cause I hadn't really done solid art work in close to a week. After a few days, I go nutty. Then after more days pass without art, I go batty. Once a week rolls around its complete mayhem and I watch myself going over the edge of sanity. I feel much better now and I'm excited to get back down into my basement studio in about an hour or so. First though, lunch!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


....does it better than Mother Nature.

Leaf skeleton

Even in this grimy city Mother Nature manages to shine every moment she can. Every year around this time I really start missing my woods home in PA. The colors of fall are just not as brilliant here in Brooklyn, but I still look for the rare pretty leaf every moment I get.

Today is a very busy day and I prepared for the work I'll be doing in the studio by cleaning my desk off last night. It was very messy and when it gets too messy I find that my work gets messy. So, armed with a fresh clean desk I am ready to add more color to the Taboo resin I started and to begin the Commission Me Vixen that just sold. The buyer on the Vixen decided on the color palomino which I am thrilled about cause I have secretly been itching to paint a palomino for some time and just never got around to it.

Pretty color shifts

Lastly today, if time permits, I will be designing a new splash page for the new domain name I was finally able to snag! I was thrilled to find that was finally available and I snagged it. The domain will just be a portal to my other sites....well, for now anyway. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tea Light Winner is....

English Porcelain free giveaway

What a fun day it was yesterday participating in the SITS "Blogathon". A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by to check out my blog. I found some great new blogs to enjoy and get inspired by yesterday.

I also want to thank everyone who left comments about what they were thankful for in the "Mother-in-Law" post. I was inspired on so many levels when I read all your thankful comments. I have to add today that I am also thankful for all you blog readers out there. This blog was started in order for you to see a bit more deeply into what happens behind the pieces created. It was begun so you could see that there is a human behind the finished pieces and the sales ads. That each day there is a struggle between the love of the family life and the love of the artistic life. So, I thank you for coming to visit every day.

And now....Cool Blue Studio's tea light winner ( from the comments posted in "Mother -in-Law) is

Entry number EIGHT in the posts. That is Marla Phillips!!!
Come forward Marla and claim your pretty horsehair tealight! You can email me at:

(As each comment was entered yesterday they received a number. First comment got number one, second comment received number two, etc. Then the Random Generator was used to pull a single winning number.)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Almost Forgot!!!

I almost forgot to say that I'm a SITS gal!
Yep, I am a member of The Secret's In The Sauce because I love bloggin and blogs. One of my favorite daily rituals is checking out who is queen for the day. The links and blogs there never fails to inspire me. Here are a few of my favorites I found through SITS:

Chatting At the Sky I continue to be enchanted with her design and enjoy her writing.

The Pink Teapot Etiquitte is important!

Mindless Junque I love Heather's writing style.

Confessions of an Apron Queen A trip back in time is always relaxing to me. I get lost in those photos.

What I Saw Today: I don't think this guy is on SITS but I did find him through the Martha blog which was a huge feature on SITS not to long ago. I think he posted first and I instantly fell in love with this guy's drawings. I would have never found out about him if it weren't for SITS.

Thanks fellow SITS gals and good luck with the Blogathon today!!!!
Oh and be sure to read the next thread here...right down there...below...the one titled "Mother-in-Law". I am giving something away too! Go, go!!! :)


Hand painted plates from Italy

The very word brings chills to some spines, but for me the word is a loving word. My mother-in-law is an amazing, selfless and caring person. Always there with a helping hand and good advice. She is having her dining room repainted this week. It is a huge undertaking which caused some causualties when she had to empty out her china cabinet. I hate having to move anything out of my cabinet and she has even nicer and more valuable things in hers so I cringed when I heard the glass shelf fall.

Hand painted detail

In clearing out the cabinet she found a few things tucked away that she had forgotten about. Some items she forgot about were a few old hand painted plates that belonged to her mother. They immediately caught my eye on the kitchen table and I had to touch them and pick them up to admire the hand painting and the crazing. Even the chips fascinated me. When she saw me admiring them she offered them to me. She said that I was probably the only one that she knew that would appreciate them as much as her mother did. I am elated and I can't stop looking them.

I feel blessed beyond words and am so thankful to have such a wonderful mother-in-law. She has inspired me to pass along the elation. So today I'm going to give away a small horse hair tea light. It was featured in a post made earlier this year. If you'd like to try and win it just leave a comment here today about what you are thankful for today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Martha Clara II

Outdoors at Martha Clara

Columbus Day weekend is our pumpkin pickin', wine tasting weekend in Long Island, New York. A few of us cousins started this tradition last year and when the start of fall rolled around again we all decided that a return to the Martha Clara vineyard was definitely in order.

The weather was superb and I have to say that there is nothing like a big ol' picnic with wine and cheese and good bread in the middle of a field on a old fashioned wooden table. Everyone that was there at the vineyard (and it was packed to the gills this weekend) enjoyed watching their children play with everyone else's children. I mean, everyone that was there enjoying the succulent varieties the vineyard had to offer, watched ALL the children play together. I have yet to go out to an event that has the same comradarie and friendliness as the weekends at Martha Clara. It's one of the reason we drive about 2 hours to get there every year. There is just something about family and wine and relaxing in the outdoors.

Gorgeous pumpkin haul

Right before the sun set we headed on out to the pumpkin patch to pick the choicest pumpkins. I think we could have taken every one of those pumpkins home. They were all so beautiful and I'm really looking forward to carving one up as a jack-o-lantern with Francesco. The others will eventually get eaten in my annual pumpkin stew which is served in the pumpkin shell. It's a very dramatic dinner served with homemade herb bread. Mmmm....

Festive Rest
Pencil drawing from sketchbook

Of course, a trip out to Long Island is always super inspiring to me and this morning I woke with country mice on the brain again. This time they were frolickin in the patches. I stole a few quiet moments alone to pencil down my thoughts. My mind is racing with ideas and my hands are tinglin to get back to work so I better calm both. Happy Columbus Day!

Happy Harvest
Another sketch from this morning

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Great Night

Raffle donation #17 full of goodies

It was a great night! The Golf/Fall Outing dinner was fun and full of many participants, many of which were women who were tempted by my luminaries and candle donation. I peeked inside bag #17 and found a plethora of raffle tickets. Of course, the Victoria's Secret raffle bag was overflowing, but hay, they have had more time brand imprinting than Danza Ceramics. LOL

It really was a successful night for my little ceramics studio. There were many positive comments and compliments about the luminaries. One comment that was reiterated throughout the night was, "I never knew you made such items." I was happy to hear the comment repeated because my whole goal was to get people within my community more aware of what I do. It was highly suggested by the Christmas Fair organizer that I participate in the Christmas Fair this year because apparently there is nothing like what I make at that fair and she felt my work would be gobbled up. I like the sound of that and am looking into the fair. Honestly, it sounded like she wanted a commitment last night which made me feel very good. If I can have enough ceramic pieces by early December I may just set up shop for a day at the Christmas fair. If anything, it would be an interesting experiment into seeing what people like and what they dislike in my ceramics. It may also be a crash course in lots of hurt feelings too.

I have to admit that the best part of the night was dancing with my son. He LOVES to dance and even though they had background music playing it wasn't a "dancing" kind of night. To a 3 1/2 year old though, if they hear music and if they see open space near a podium it's a dance party! And when your little boy askes, "Mommy, can you dance with me?" you forget that you are the ONLY adult moving your body on the floor of a non dance party and you just enjoy the moment with your little one cause the sense that such moments are fleeting are strong. At one point, I got a flash forward to his wedding day and what a tougher dance that might be for me.

The weekend is just starting. I have both my boys here for the entire weekend and it started fantastically last night. I got to sleep in late today and am having breakfast made for me by hubby. Mmm...did someone whisper the word diet out there? Yeah...forget that this weekend! So have a wonderful weekend out there everyone! I'll see ya on Monday!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tizzy Thursday

Exploring sugar syrup and
china paints on porcelain paper weights

I'm in a tizzy today. The list of to-do's is long. I'm slowly getting through my list of graphics projects and housechores (like hiss) that I need to accomplish before tomorrow and before our big "pumpkin picking" weekend. I am totally gearing up for the Fall/Golf Outing tomorrow. I'll be sure to get a photograph of my donation all boxed up. I rushed it off to the committee head and felt my heart sink as he took it. I hate when pieces make me feel that way. I am excited, however, to see how it is received by members of community. If my heart sank to see it leave my possession chances are people are going to enjoy it.

But, onward to the list, which I won't bore you with, but I will tell you that last on the list for me to enjoy a nice glass of California cabernet while I slowly look at my new Wine Enthusiast mag. I am looking forward to this quiet time tonight cause today has, so far, been a major whirlwind!