Friday, November 28, 2008

Teeny Tiny World

Tiny porcelain vessels pulled off the hump

The Thanksgiving day celebrations went on through the night here. At 10 P.M. I had had enough and put myself promptly to bed. I just couldn't take any more eating, drinking or cheer with family. The upside to getting to bed at 10 is that by five in the morning I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to take on some clay. Having been inspired by a web link to some teeny tiny raku vessels (thank you Sarah) I was seated at my wheel working some tiny vessels of my own.

Two hours into the adventure I determined that teeny tiny vessel throwing was easier than it looked, but I was determined to make it work. I am dying to see pieces like this china painted with fairies and bugs and tiny flowers and little mice with dresses on them. Every step of production though is a nail biting experience, but four finishes out of six tries isn't so bad for a start and I have to honestly say that I feel like I'm on the brink of discovering something big.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

WIshing you and yours a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Checkn' the List

Raku vessels in? Check!
Pots not touching each other? Check!
Kiln on? Check!
Horsehair ready? Check!
Heat resistant gloves ready? Check!
Tongs? Check!
Raku clay (that can withstand thermal shock) fired perfectly? CHECKARONIOUS!

Moments after the technique....crack!

I guess it can't withstand THAT much thermal shock! Ah well. Back to the drawing board today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Out of It

Today was one of those, "Wrong side of the bed" days. I was cranky and miserable within myself. Housework seemed to overwhelm. Artwork was a chore. My kiln took forever to fire and there were, of course, more glaze issues to deal with. Sigh. Even playing with my son wasn't fun. I admit it. It just wasn't. I didn't feel happy at all today no matter how hard I tried and then a good friend from high school sent along one of those chain letters. Not the kind where if you don't send to ten more friends you'll have a bad luck witch descend upon your house for the rest of your life. It was something very striking and instantly made me rethink my day and say,

• Thank God I have the ability to go down three flights of stairs to the basement to do the laundry and back again all day long.
• Thank God I was given a wonderful talent to use anyway I choose.
• Thank God for modern conveniences I can use at my whim.
• Thank God for my son and husband who make my life beautiful and complete.
• And thank God for those men and women who risk their lives for us here to live our lives happy or sad or anyway we choose.

I feel much happier now. Here is the letter my friend sent. Thanks Mike for making me smile today and for helping to readjust my thinking.

PO2 (EOD2)(Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Mike Monsoor, a Navy EOD
Technician, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously
for jumping on a grenade in Iraq , giving his life to save his fellow

During Mike Monsoor's funeral in San Diego , as his coffin was being
moved from the hearse to the grave site at Ft. Rosecrans National
Cemetery, SEAL's were lined up on both sides of the pallbearers route
forming a column of two's, with the coffin moving up the center.  As
Mike's coffin passed, each SEAL, having removed his gold Trident from
his uniform, slapped it down embedding the Trident in the wooden

The slaps were audible from across the cemetery; by the time the
coffin arrived grave side, it looked as though it had a gold inlay
from all the Tridents pinned to it.  This was a fitting send-off for a
warrior hero.

This should be front-page news instead of the crap we see every day.

Since the media won't make this news, I choose to make it news by
forwarding it onto you .. I am damn proud of our military. If you
are proud too, please pass this on.  If not then rest assured that
these fine men and women of our military will continue to serve and

Thank you

Monday, November 24, 2008

Off And Running

Morning peek inside the kiln

The weekend was fun but went too fast. I hit the ground running this morning. Much to do this week before the holiday hits. I'll post photos of all that is transpiring this week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

All Work and No Play?

Templeton waiting for his tea

After all the work comes play. All the stuffed animals in the house, even mine, were invited by my son to the tea luncheon. I'm calling it a tea luncheon as there was tea served as well as lunch and the main guest, my son, ate it all (which was the goal...hurrah for mom). Apparently the luncheon was a hit cause the animals are strewn about the room this morning and there waits a little boy eager to pretend share his lunch again with Templeton and Stripey and all the rest.

All work and no play, as they say, is just not good for the soul. So, if you have a moment this weekend.....go and play!
See you on Monday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

At the Party

A sketch from last night

The egg was very well received last night at the fashion show. It was very bittersweet for me to watch it being handed off to the new owner. I took the time to introduce myself, congratulate her and look at it one last time. Her words, "I wanted to win it because I love pictures of the Madonna and Child" made me feel very happy that I had chosen the subject.

I barely knew anyone at the affair which should have made me feel uncomfortable, but it actually made it more fun and made me look a little bit closer at everyone. I took in their dresses, their faces and their jewelry with my eyes which made me want to draw them. So, I did. No one knew me. I didn't know them which made capturing them easy. I was seeing everyone for the very first time. No preconcieved notions. Everyone was dressed to the hilt workin' their pouts. It was rather fun. I think I captured them looking a bit unhappy more than I captured a pout. But, in any case, here are some of the things I saw:

Sketches from the Party

Very serious.
She wore sunglasses all night.
A big scarf and a chair

A very stylish haircut.
A beautiful boa.

Preparing tickets for the raffle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Egg & The Horsehead

China painted porcelain egg

Today I'm adding just a quick blog entry with images. I've been working non stop on this egg and for the most part I am very pleased with the way it came out. I was shocked at how easy it was to paint humans on porcelain. I loved the way the paint felt going on and my brain and hand were one. That usually never happens on bristol or canvas. I love things smooth and blurry almost and one crit I continually received on my paper work was that it was too smooth and "dreamy" but on porcelain its ok to explore such techniques. Of course the house and my son have been patiently waiting for me to return and tidy up and play

So that is the plan today to dust very quickly and then play. Late tonight I'll be at the fashion show watching them auction off the egg. I hope it is received well. I'll leave you with a few more images of the egg and a new medallion that was also completed in the studio this week.

Close up of Madonna and Child

Egg slightly opened to show inside

New medallion

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Compliments of my friend Barb
Its really, really yummy.

It's a celebratory attitude here. The porcelain egg is FINALLY done (pictures to come tomorrow) and I had 200lbs of clay delivered to the studio yesterday. That delivery meant more time on the wheel and the moment I could get down onto my wheel I did and pulled pottery like a maniac last night! After all my work was done I popped open the special bottle of red wine my friend Barb brought while she was visiting. I had been dying to try it. Last night was the perfect night to pop it open. I sat and enjoyed the wine and enjoyed looking at the egg and all the raku pieces I just pulled.

Raku clay maddness here

I decided to purchase some raku clay that will withstand thermal shock this time when ordering. This clay should suit my needs better when making horsehair pottery. So far, I'm off to a spectacular start. This clay is magic. Creamy, groundy smelling (ahhh-I love that) and perfect to center, pull and even trim. I'm in heaven. I love it more than the porcelain for wheel throwing. I hope it fires well. If so, then its perfect all around and that is also a plus since it's half the price of porcelain.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holiday Mode

Fiddlin' with porcelain shards

It's getting to look a little like Christmas here. Time for ornaments, and tree trimming parties and family. I got the bug late last night to dig into my Christmas list. So it's official. The studio is now in holiday mode.

And while you get into the spirit of things making your own cheer be sure to add one more address to your holiday card list. The soldier who receives it will be very happy. :)

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Ave NW
Washington DC 20307-5001

Monday, November 17, 2008

So Red the Rose

Working roses onto the porcelain

Roses are the most difficult object for me to personally paint and draw. I struggled all weekend trying to create roses on the bottom of the porcelain egg. After several tries I finally painted a few roses that looked fairly decent. In the end I had to add a bit of white paints in order to bring out the highlights since they really got mushy looking.

Today I await a shipment from Maryland China which includes a special brush for applying gold. I didn't feel confident in using the water color brushes I currently own. Next to roses, applying gold is the second most difficult thing to paint on porcelain in my opinion.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Support & The Egg

Tons of inspiration in this
room at The Met

Saturday chores are being pushed on the side so I can come close to finishing the egg. I totally took off from any work last night to just hang with hubby. Both he and I have been so busy with work that it was nice to just sit and enjoy our company together.

In speaking of him I think I need to clarify something. My husband is always super supportive and he was the one who actually set up this donation for me with this group that I have been trying to break my artwork to for over a year now. I know his comment was made out of concern for me and all the work I have been putting into this porcelain piece. I know he doesn't want to see me disappointed in the end and he felt I should have chosen a different theme because it would have appealed to a wider audience. I guess in the back of my mind (way, way back there) I know that is probably true and it makes me upset but there should be no question, this IS the perfect audience for such a theme. Or rather, it should be.

Of course, I am just running on inspirations which have been way out there since my visit to The Met last week. My brain isn't working properly its just sorta following the whims of my heart. Before you can get to "The Horse Fair" at The Met you do pass several awe inspiring religious themed pieces. All rendered so perfectly. I guess in passing them a few got stuck inside my brain cause when I pulled this blank egg out there was no other theme that seemed to be perfect for it. Well, we'll see how it's received next Thursday. I'll be there to watch it all unfold too.

Have a great weekend everyone! See you Monday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wait! What?

Slowly layering in flesh tones

As you can see I have been working diligently on the porcelain egg box and I have made some really nice progress. It's by far the most adventurous and beautiful china painting I have produced to date. So, I was of course very excited to show it off and left the upper portion of the egg sitting on the kitchen table. Hubby walks in after work, picks up the egg, examines it and says, "It's too religious" then walks away leaving me speechless and feeling rather defeated.

Three days of non stop, solid work were seemingly squashed in three words.

Layering hair

Too religious? Wait! Did you say it was too religious Mr. "HURRY we are going to be late for mass?" How on God's good green earth is this box too religious for the school association of SAINT Bernard's? Should I seriously be worried about my box offending about a hundred Catholic women attending a fashion show in support of the school they are sending their children to?

Defining the veil

The Madonna gently holding her baby is the epitome of a mother's love. A quiet moment of innocence and nurturing. Aren't we as moms and dads always striving for that quiet moment of love between our children? How could the Madonna, the ultimate mom in the Christian religion, or for those non religious- the most ultimate "mom" icon of high art be too religious, too over the top? Whether you are religious or not, it is still a beautiful image, no? Did I miss the memo?

Layering color on infant

Slowly detailing Mary

I know it's become rather fashionable and easy to forgo religion, to forget your manners, to be apposed to anything Conservative these days, and to poo poo any form of gentleness in our rough society. It's quicker and more fashionable to type "Xmas" instead of "Christmas" and any slight mention of Christ brings some to a halt with a snicker. That's OK. I get it and normally keep my religion and religious thoughts to myself, but this idea, this seemingly perfect theme for a huge fundraising event held by women at a religious organization that lands right before the big religious holiday seems right. No, wait, its seems absolutely perfectly SANE in EVERY respect.

Visualizing entire piece together

If this idea truly is not sane, or it is too religious and most of all unfashionable to present a Madonna and Child to a religious association hoping for a rather large turnout to their event with, of course, nice four figured profits at the end of the affair in order to support a RELIGIOUS school, then the whole world has truly gone mad.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Beginning stages porcelain painting

Diversity is key in my studio. I love having many things to work on and I actually enjoy juggling between those projects. It keeps me on my toes and I feel my eye stays sharper and fresher. I'm also never bored.

As you can see today I've added another item to the juggle. I was invited to attend a fashion show in Brooklyn and hence asked if my small business had anything by way of donations in order to help support their cause and although the request comes last minute the group that asked is an association that I had been hoping to show off my work to (one goal of 08) but never had the opportunity. When opportunity knocks you answer and so I added this lovely porcelain egg to the mix.

Adding figures lightly

My vision for this piece is to see the Madonna and Child painted on the upper portion of the egg. The lower portion, near the legs, will have beautiful red roses circling the area and there will be 24k gold touches here and there. I have decided to leave the inside white. Perhaps I'll place a small rose inside the box. I haven't decided. Right now my focus is on the Madonna and Child and is always the case with me when I am painting humans my hero Tamara de Lempicka is there in the background inspiring.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Inspirations

This time last week I was rushing about trying to get ready for my visiting guests. I'll be honest, I was worried and I had some concerns about meeting two people I had only talked to online. I was also nervous about some of the activities they wanted to enjoy in NYC. How would three of us enjoy The Met together? In the past this has never worked with others. Ultimately I questioned what the fascination was with Steph and this Gordon Ramsay.

Porcelain at the Met

I have to laugh now cause the moment Steph and Barb got into the car it was like I was picking up family from the airport. We jumped right into conversation and it continued well into the night over Chinese food and a good bottle of Robert Mondavi. I made sure to order extra Chinese food cause I was convinced we'd be starving after visiting the Ramsay restaurant the next day.

The first thing all three of us did once our feet hit The Met was head to "The Horse Fair". Along the way we all got lost in this painting or that sculpture and somehow we all managed to quietly bump into each other again after an hour or so. I felt comfortable being with them and I didn't feel any hesitation in pulling out my sketchbook to pen down my thoughts.

From The Sketchbook

Notations on vessels

Designs & formulas for china painting

I was urning to view sculpture and pottery. If it was a vessel or it was shiny I was there gawking at it. I saw so much china that fascinated my little brain that I had to take a powder with a nice bottle of water and some Excedrin. It was just far too much information and my head was spinning. I am so glad I decided to take aspirin with me. In past visits to The Met I suffered with an all day migraine because of the visual stimulation. This time though I was determined to be fully ready to take on Gordon Ramsay. I was really ready to add to the list of questionable critiques he received online for his restaurant The Maze.

Food As Art

There's a scallop under there

It's eggplant dressed to the hilt

As luck would have it for Gordon, his wait staff was totally charming and his food, I must admit, was pretty spectacular. If there is a recession going on you'd hardly know it by the way the place was filling up as we sat enjoying our bread. And let me tell you, this was not regular hunk-o-bread they plopped on the table. It was fancy schmancy gourmet bread that was gently placed with care and yes, we asked for seconds cause it was like bread of the gods.

Actually, everything we ordered was not only the most gorgeous food we had ever viewed and totally camera worthy, but it danced on the palette like no other food we have tasted. And I have been to many, many restaurants and affairs here in the city. It's probably a very bad thing that I am craving more of it. I'd have to make a heck of a lot more to sustain THAT kind of habit, but it was an excellent ending to a perfect day filled with art and inspirations. It's still resonating.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wax & Deadlines

Waiting for finish

After I finished blogging my thoughts yesterday I decided to pull out almost everything I had started sculpture wise, but neglected to finish. When piled together, the lot is fairly large. I believe some mice are missing, which doesn't surprise me. They like to scamper about the studio and they multiply quite fast in wax.

One by one I am determined to finish them and I will start with the easiest sculpture to mold. Molding is a real issue in the studio. In thinking of the new year that is quickly approaching I feel a very good goal coming on and that is to become more proficient in mold making. I will do this. The four legged horse Ophelia will be cast in porcelain. I promise, as will little Leela with her twists and turns and out stretched leg. I will do this.

Pulling these unfinished pieces out so soon after visiting The Met has sparked renewed interest in all the pieces. I want to see them finished. I want to feel them in clay and paint them up in pretty colors. That desire is pushing me to finish. I love when that happens. No matter what the outcome the spark is there and that is half of the battle.

Get my good side dear

Of course, all this spark must be contained for a day or two just until I finish my Just About Horse deadline. There has been so much happening here both studio wise and family wise I only had time to finish one side of the project horse. LOL This time around we are helping artists explore painting the dappled grey. It should be running in the Jan/Feb 09 issue. I took a TON of photos and there are new techniques I'm using and I will be discussing them this time around in the magazine.

More beautiful leaves to share

Lastly, the pear tree in the neighboring yard has finally let go of its leaves and I couldn't resist sharing two more beautiful finds with you. I love how the colors are shining like lightening through the black of the first leaf. Almost as soon as I took these shots both leaves turned brown and lost their brilliance forever.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Inspiration from Degas and Barye

Intrigued by the open mouth

Before the weekend came and went (quickly I might add) I was filled with excitement and inspiration at having gone to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have been trying to catalog all the photos I took as reference, but I'm finding that the moment I start to open the files I want to work. I just can't sit still and didn't bother for long. I dove right into the wax.

Even unfinished you can
hear that horse taking a breath.

The Degas sculptures and the magnificent bronze work by Barye had captured me completely. These pieces wouldn't win so much as thread from a ribbon in a NAN qualified show, but the amount of spirit and movement they all have is beyond anything I have seen at any model horse show. It is timeless and classic and I found myself seriously rethinking my own journey down the road of sculpting equines.

Degas sculpture capturing fright

"Leela", "Ophelia", "Pumpkin" and a SLEW of medallions remain unfinished simply because I hear the voices of the public and their critique. They are all in the "safe" state where they can only be criticized minimally, especially by myself, since they are unfinished. They are still on the journey to "perfection" and any artist will tell you that such a road is a rocky and dangerous one. Many great pieces get left by the roadside on the hike to perfection. Perfection, even in the best of sculptors, really doesn't exist. There is always a flaw somewhere and in many instances these flawed areas is where the life of the entire piece lies.

Rider using all his might to hold this horse back.
You can feel the strength as each oppose one another.

In my thinking this weekend I became aware of the fact that the quest for perfection has overcome my true reasons for beginning sculpting in the first place. Capturing spirit, movement and the breath of the beast is what I really wanted and somehow amidst the ribbons and glory my thinking had become askew. Looking at these half finished sculptures, who seem to breath even though parts of their necks may be missing, is inspiring me greatly to get off the path and journey back to original modes of thinking. Of course, along any path there is the "JUST DO" aspect that must not be forgotten. You can't just sit around waxing eloquent or worrying about what another will say about the pieces. You can't waste time juggling thoughts on what is trendy and what will sell. You must get in and just DO no matter what the outcome. After a while the correct movement and flow just comes naturally.

"The Breeze" medallion

With this in mind I decided to finish a medallion I had been enjoying initially, but lost sight of last year. Although it will probably not be your cup of tea I am feeling a huge sense of accomplishment in seeing it finally come to fruition. The original fuel for this piece was to capture the cooling breeze that comes to both horse and rider when the adrenaline starts to dissipate after a difficult competition. I tried to capture a moment in a medallion. Have I succeeded? I did my very best and as with every piece it is a foothold in the ladder. This one is good, but the next one will be even better.

Rodin plaster cast with seams

I have to be honest in mentioning that out of all the magnificent sculptures I viewed last Thursday this little plaster mold was probably the most inspiring and helpful. I nearly cried when I saw this woman's bust riddled with seam lines. I have this image imprinted in my brain and since viewing it have washed my rat sculpture "Listen" of her originally proposed mold lines. She will get new ones as the little light bulb on molding is slowly coming to light every time I think about this Rodin sculpture. The way this little piece was molded just blew my mind. Kablow!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Degas sculptures at the Met

Yesterday was phenomenal!!! Spending the day with my friends Barb and Steph was incredibly inspiring. My mind has literally been on overdrive for about 24 hours now and I can't seem to get it to find calm. I'm inspired to work on everything! I don't even know where to begin. Every aspect of our adventure into Manhattan, even the train adventure, was inspiring. Trying to contain new thoughts and ideas on sculpture, color and ceramics is difficult today, but I will share some of my thoughts as soon as I get a moment where my head isn't spinning. With that, I'm off. Thank you gals for an AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING time!!!

I love this pic!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Now THAT is nice!

Sake set

Now THAT is a beautifully glazed set! Ms. Steph, who is visiting me all the way from the mid west, brought me a gorgeous sake set and I woke this morning and took a few moments before my son woke up to really, really admire it.

A part of it has been raku fired and I am in awe of how gorgeous raku is in person. I have been dying to try raku firing. My favorite part though is the blue glaze and the pooling that has occured on the inside on each of the perfectly shaped cups. I'm inspired and feeling defeated at the same time. To hold such a perfect set in my hands really makes me want to try even harder to make even better pieces.

The piece is definitely setting the tone of what I want to view at the Met when we go there today. I want to view as much ceramics as my brain will allow me!

So, off to wake my guests. By the time we have a bit of breakfast and get going the rush hour here in NYC should be over with and travel into Manhattan should be more comfy for my guests.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Fresh from the kiln


I woke this morning, opened the kiln only to find that once again my glazing abilities have failed me. Ok, the pieces don't look so bad above in the shot cause the backdrop is nifty, but when you really look at them; hold them and touch them, they really have terrible glazing jobs. I really put my mind to it this time. Really thought through my color choices and didn't get too crazy. I chose moss green and bluebell and placed one on top of the other. The results are the same. Fairly cruddy. Well, two more down and maybe a hundred more to go before I get the hang of it? Maybe?


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

McCain or Obama?

My antique flag

It's hard to post today without making my entry political. For those that have had the pleasure (or displeasure) of discussing politics with me you know exactly where I stand and who will be getting my vote today. For every one else out there in the United States whatever your political choice may be the most important thing is you just go out and VOTE TODAY!

And if you are a woman you should really make the effort to go and vote because many women who came before you fought VERY hard to give you this privilege. Their story is unbelievable and amazing. If you get a chance, check it out.


Monday, November 3, 2008

When Babes...

Finishing up a medallion sculpt in wax

When babes get sick moms and dads get the brunt of that sickness. Well, ok ladies, lets be honest, mostly its us ladies that get the brunt of it. All the tending and cleaning up after are usually left to us. No one does it quite like we do and everyone involved, even the wee little patients, know this. The past two days have found me tending to my son as his body fights some virus. I hope we are almost out of the woods soon. I really hate seeing him sick.

The last few nights have also found me sculpting. Working the wax around in hopes of producing some new pieces for the holiday season. Its been relaxing to move the wax about. As soon as I can share more photos of some of the pieces I'm working on, I will.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Souls Day

Today we remember all souls. My prayer goes out to all the servicemen and women who have lost their lives protecting this great land of ours and thank those still fighting for their family and friends back home. Thank you.

Thank you