Monday, December 29, 2008

The Horse Exhibit at the MONH

Ceramics at the 81st subway station

Last week I was invited by my niece Madeline to the Museum of Natural History in order to catch the Horse Exhibit. She had received a few tickets for the event for her birthday and chose a select few of us horse lovin' relatives to come with her. I was honored to have been chosen and tried my best to rest up this past weekend and recover for this affair.

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The exhibit was pretty lame and grossly paled in comparison to the display at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Ceramics underground

More of the beautiful ceramic installation
at the 81st subway station

No, really, I'm not being mean spirited or negative in any fashion. I'm just stating that this exhibit could have been incredible and it wasn't even good. The only stuffed items (ala museum style) were right at the beginning of the exhibit and they were of primitive horses which, upon close inspection, turned out to be painted resin, not fur. Don't get me wrong. I'm totally not hide-hungry, but there is a classic beauty to those stuffed displays that I find helpful to the student because like it or not, it's still real.

There were no stuffed horses or any type of breeds, other than "this is a big draft and this is a small Shetland" displayed anywhere. There were some cool skeletons behind rope, but visitors were banned from photographing anything.

Nope, no cameras allowed!

I wouldn't have cared since there was very little I wanted to photograph, but there WAS a small carved horse statue with rider in ivory that could have competed in any hard East Coast show and it could have won HANDS DOWN! It was an amazing piece. I truly wish that security guard wasn't eyein' me. He knew what was on my mind. But that is where the piece stays my mind.

What a gorgeous glaze!

Loved these ceramic fish

There were a few stirrups on the wall and horse armor on a chocolate covered horse form. No western saddles or English saddles anywhere, but there were polo boots displayed. Woo-hoo! Well, a polo boot IS what you want to see when you come to view a horse exhibit, no?

Again, nothing stuffed in cool scene set ups with Indians or squaws in a wilderness setting which fades into an incredibly painted backdrop. Who paints those backgrounds for the museums anyway? They are amazing pieces of art! There wasn't even a bead on display from a (gasp) Arabian costume!

There were quite a few TVs playing videos, but I honestly didn't have the patience to sit there and watch and I felt sorta insulted since I can watch a screen at home. When I go out to a museum I like to go out so I don't have to look at my computer or TV.

Sketching ideas for future vessels

Quick sketch of Owl #5

The rest of the museum was fun though and we went from floor to floor enjoying new exhibits and revisiting old favorites. I got a few cool sketches in the ol' sketchbook and found my mind, of course, wandering badly on ceramic ware. Vessels with legs and hooves dominated my mind and trinkets about the necks also filtered through. I couldn't stop those ideas from flooding my brain and I put as many as I could down as the rest of the party shopped. I didn't feel like buying anything. I had most of the choice books on display in the store and I'm totally out of the spirit of buying gifts.

It was nice to be at a museum again. I'm craving the MET even more now and I think I better make plans to get back to that particular museum. I want to make a few new vessels and take them from start to finish then head on back to the MET for inspiration.

He was so happy!

Despite my disappointment in the Horse Exhibit I did have an amazing time at the museum and I'm filled with many new inspirations and I found some umpf I totally lost last week with getting so ill. It's good to be back.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Without fail, every Christmas time this song plays through my head. Its one of my favorites.

He is born the divine child,
Play oboe, resonate musette.
He is born the divine child,
Let's all sing his accession.
For more than four thousand years
We've promised by the prophets,
For more than four thousand years
We've been waiting for this happy time.
A stable is his lodging,
A bit of hay is his little bed,
A stable is his lodging,
For a god such a humble thing.
O Jesus, o all powerful king,
Such a little child you are,
O Jesus, o all powerful god,
Rule completely over us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Morning Kiln Peek

Morning peek

I woke with anticipation of opening the kiln. Did a nice slow and steady 6 hour fire yesterday. Inside were important pieces . Two coffee mugs for gifts and two ornaments made and glazed by my son.

Disappointment has been a frequent emotion upon opening my kiln recently. This morning was no different. One mug looks nice the other....lets just say.....HORRID. The glaze didn't stick in a ton of spots and the blue glaze crackled. I was assured that a very slow fire would elimate such instances of cracklin. Nope. And to boot these are gifts so I have no idea what to do about the one.

My son's ornaments, on the other hand, came out great! I was skeptical with his glaze application and his combos, but the one ornament is so pretty I want to use his combo on something in the future.

I have two thoughts in my head today before family arrive for the traditional Italian Christmas Eve celebration. One....I need to let my kiln rest. It's obvious the kiln gods are not pleased. I got it. You're off until the 1st of January. And secondly, I think Im going to let my son glaze from now on. He's got the touch with glaze.

Enjoy your Christmas festivities!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Porcelain egg box with grapes

The crunch is on before the big day. Baking, cooking, and making is the theme. Every year I try and plan for the event so everything is streamlined and non stressful and every year a wrench is thrown in. I've come to learn that these wrenches keep me on my toes and striving. Here are some of the artistic endeavors that I finished this week. All were gifts to people for Christmas.

Now...back to making those homemade periogi!

Porcelain box

Another view

China painted ornament

Monday, December 22, 2008

The China Painting Station

So much going on. Projects coming to a close and the Christmas deadline drawing near finds me video blogging again. Here is another section I like to work in. I call it my "china painting station." Welcome! (Again, you may want to shut off the music to the right.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Crunch

Recently finished china painting

It's the countdown before the big Christmas celebration. The studio and house are filled with projects, do-tos, and fun. I'm scrambling to stay sane as I try to get it all done. Today the big task is making the fillings for the Christmas pierogi while firing the last of my Christmas projects for family members.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Be Tagged

Map from F&S

I was tagged the other day by my friend Lesli on Facebook. I have to admit that I couldn't figure out how to make a similar note on that site and even if I did I'm not sure 25 more people on my friend list would find this fun. So, I decided that mentioning 25 random things about myself here would be a cool blog entry and if you are reading this then consider yourself tagged! LOL

Here goes!
Thanks Lesli!


Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

1). I live in Brooklyn, NY, but was born in a small coal mining town in PA. When I left for "the big city" we had one streetlight. The town now has two!

2). I have a younger brother who is a professional skateboarder.

JJ O'Donnell freestylin'

3). I have always been artistic. Even when I was a baby my hands would find their way to my diaper and I would inevitably find "things" and would draw on the wall with those diaper finds.

4). The Irish side of my family once owned a castle in the county of Donegal. Our castle still stands today and is a historical site..

5). Anytime I stay at a hotel I always take a photograph from the inside of my hotel room looking out the window.

Trump Marina, Atlantic City, NJ

6). I have been horse crazy for all my life and make my living painting and sculpting equine art and miniatures for collectors.

7). I have worked as a production assistant for Marvel Comics. It was the craziest job I've ever had.

8). I have illustrated two children's books.

9). It took my husband 5 weeks before graduating from college to ask me out. I've been with him ever since.

10). I have a slightly closed ear, a trait that was passed down from my father and that I have passed on to my son.

11). I love to drive.

12). My husband has never heard me sing.

13). I worked as a graphic designer and an in house cartographer for Field & Stream magazine. My bosses there were the best bosses I've ever had.

14. I hate clothing shopping. NO, I loathe it. Id rather be making art.

15). I prefer to text or email people rather than call them.

16). I never attended any of my high school proms because no one asked me out for the affairs.

17). I love rain.

18). I have pet rats and adore them. They are so sweet and loving.

19). I am afraid of bugs if they are alive, but I love to pick them up and study them when they are dead.

20). My husband and I had our honeymoon in Tahiti and it was the worst 10 days of my life. It was such an awful place to visit.

21). My favorite color is blue.

22). I consider friends to be extensions of my family.

23). When I was a little girl I wanted to be a nun when I grew up.

24). My first sculpture release sold out in 48 hours.

25). My hair is very long. It actually hangs down past my knees.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Online Boutique

Online Christmas Boutique

Today I wrapped presents, boxed up orders and finally took photographs of all the pieces left from the Christmas Fair last weekend. I decided to hold an online sale and since it took most of my time to assemble and photograph and post online I figured I'd give it a mention here.

I had the kiln running today too. Fired a few of the mugs. All of which will be gifts to family members. I have something very special in mind for two of those mugs and I hope I can pull it off. My ideas are very "ocean" inspired. I may just go with a white glaze and draw a ocean or cabana scene on them. I've become very afraid of my glazing abilities. I need to get over that.

Some of the boxes
at the online boutique

Well, if you have the time and are curious to see what was left from the Christmas Fair please come and visit my Online Christmas Boutique. Lots of little stocking stuffers and some nice larger items too for yourself or a friend.

PS...I am also ashamed at how utterly disgusting and messy my studio looks in the video from the other day. I really need to get organized and ordered a couple of shelving units from Home Depot today too. I'll give another tour when things look a bit more tidy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I'm totally behind on bloggin' here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Found

Miniature porcelain vessels

Sitting down last night to touch up some of the lingering Christmas presents and china painted ornaments I noticed two of my teeny weeny vessels just sitting there. The more I ignored them, the more they called to me until I finally picked them up. I turned the small vessel this way and that way and found it had a fairy flying on it. Out from the plate popped a mermaid.

Dealing with the tiny vessels is going to be very interesting.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Dust Has Settled???

Detail on the third floor
of the Russian Tea Room in NYC
that was totally inspiring me

I like to think that the dust settled here after the weekend, but in actuality, it didn't. More dust just got swept in the new whirlwind of events starting right about 8 PM last night with our visit to a Christmas party at the Russian Tea Room in Manhattan.

The social event brought together bankers and investors and it turned out to be an amazing networking opportunity for me. I was hit with the realization that I need to get things truly in gear when I was introduced to an importer/exporter of fine goods. Mario is interested in seeing my sculptural work and possibly presenting them in his store. That was just one of the many opportunities that presented themselves to me last night.


Like I said, there is lots of dust whirlin' about, but today I was more concerned with my son and his continuing boredom. Everyday for about two weeks now he has expressed (in annoying and mischievous ways) that he has been bored. Not really knowing how to handle this I promptly took him down into the studio and decided that it was time to start really teaching him about art. I neglected to do this as I feel a man with interests in art may have a strike against him. A life of creation is not a good paying one albeit it a very satisfying one. But I can't determine what profession he will choose. All I can do is make his journey to that point loving and inspiring. If I can give him love and wings he'll be just fine no matter what profession he chooses and so we ventured into the studio.

My son workin' the clay

My beloved boy ratties were moved to another section and Francesco has been given a permanent table to work in my studio. He loved every minute of today. His new space was quickly filled with clay tools and cone 06 white clay. He played for 2 hours without wanting my help. Even when I took a small break from making some award medallions he told me he needed more time alone to work on his project.

Award medallions for an upcoming show

At the end of the day we had two fairly nice (well, interesting to explain them better) ornaments for his grandmas. He was so excited to have created something he could give away to people and I loved that he was happy and his mind content with learning new things. He has already spoken about venturing down to his studio desk tomorrow. Maybe I can get him to make me one of those nifty ornaments. It would be truly treasured beyond words. Yeah, I think I need me one of those.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

After the Excitement

Playin' on the Doodleboard

After the excitement of the weekend finally settled I looked around and found that the house and studio were pretty much in an uproar. Boxes, bags, clothes, art, mail, bills, Christmas presents arriving and half made presents were all strewn around the studio and house. There was an overall lack of organization throughout so I made the decision to take half the week off from anything artistic and work on getting things in order.

Of course, late at night I've been taking time out for myself to enjoy a nice cup of tea and some Simon Leach videos on You Tube. I've been wanting to explore the "mug" more fully in January and since now is a tough time to be studio bound with the holiday in full swing I figured I'd take in as much instruction online as I can during this busy time. Simon Leach is probably my favorite potter. I just love his pottery, of course, but most especially enjoy his easy going attitude about making pottery. He is most inspirational to me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Fair Weekend

Table at the Christmas Fair

This past weekend was incredible! I decided last Friday to take the plunge and participate in the Christmas Fair/Boutique at our church. Most churches in the area open up their basements or gymnasiums to vendors for the holidays and I won't lie and tell you that I was walking into this all confident and cocky. I was really very nervous and I had NO idea if I could even FILL a 8 foot table nor did I have any idea how my ceramics would be received. My goal was to just make back my $35 for the table for one day.

Setting the table up with the wares was totally reminiscent of my model horse showing days that I felt a sense of longing to show again and be a part of that action. So immediately I felt at home showing off my pieces and sitting behind the table. Everything just felt right and well. I priced items from $2 all the way up to $40, so I had something for every pocket.

The vendors around me were really nice people and we had a blast talking the entire weekend. The fair itself was excellent for me. I was the only ceramist/potter at the event so I pretty much had a monopoly on pottery lovers and they were thankfully there this weekend looking for gifts for their friends and loved ones!

Another view of my table

As the first day of selling came to a close I decided to buy the table for another day. The selling was extremely good and the experience of seeing people viewing my work face to face was the most valuable part of the weekend and I just couldn't get enough. The real pottery lovers had to touch the pieces. They had to look at them and feel them. They took the glazes in and enjoyed the variations. You could just tell who loved pottery because they just hovered and then bought and then came back again for more. They wanted to talk about my wheel, my kiln and my glazes.

Some necklaces I had for sale

They wanted to talk about how the pottery spoke to them. One guy felt almost every piece and he wound up purchasing the most rustic of my pieces. No pink pieces for this guy. He loved the deep greens and browns. The real pottery lovers colors. These types of customers were the most inspirational. Hearing the love of pottery and ceramics in their voices made me want to run home and make more pieces.

More table shots

Overall, I learned so much this weekend about myself (I had to be a perky and happy sales lady) and about my work. The stuff I thought turned out terrible or was a bad idea all turned out to be the most appealing to people. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder and art is totally subjective. As an artist I am my toughest critic and I think that portion of me needs to shut down (or at least be silenced for a while) while inspiration on my wheel and in my clay studio is let loose.

I do have pieces left over that didn't sell. As soon as I get the house in order and the laundry done and put away I'll begin to put them up for sale. I want to have an Online Christmas Boutique of my own with nothing over $20.

Friday, December 5, 2008


December 5, 1969

Today on my birthday I'm going to:

* savor some coffee
* play puzzles and ocarina with my son
* glaze some china
* bake some cupcakes with my son and put lots of sprinkles on them
* pop a candle on one of those cupcakes and make a wish
* prepare for the Christmas fair
* enjoy a nice dinner out

Early childhood drawing

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Of Christmas Fairs and Sketchy Service

China painted ornament in progress
for one of my husband's bosses

Finally! Internet access without interuption. There is nothing more annoying than service that is sketchy. All day yesterday I struggled with my computer and my internet service. It had gotten to the point where I decided to just close the computer and focus on work when I had down time. In that focus I had time to think and decided that I could not withstand the call to be a part of the church Christmas Fair this year. For three years I have wanted to sell my wares at this fair and for three years had declined the opportunity.

This year I am diving in head first into the event. For most of the day today I have been gathering everything ceramic I could find to sell at on my 8 foot table. Holy crow...when you say it like that it sounds so BIG! EIGHT FEET of surface to sell my wares? How the heck am I going to cover that kind of ground?! I have no idea but Im jumpin' in. If I don't sell anything the experience will build character and will be a hand's on lesson of what consumers, other than model horse consumers, want in the way of ceramics. One good thing is that no one else in that ENTIRE fair sells pottery. NO ONE. If this year is like the last three then I will have the market cornered on pottery. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Internet service in my part of the woods has been extremely sketchy today. It comes and it goes and it took all day to try and get on blogger so no real meaty post today. I suppose its just as well. The china I painted and fired all has issues, and one has a chipping issue which is baffling me and is upsetting. If the piece were for me I wouldn't care but, of course, it's not. I also planted about 40 daffodil bulbs in the front of our house and gave myself one heck of a blister. So, along with being frustrated with the china painting I'm upset that I can't really pull any clay for a while. In any case, enjoy your evening and hopefully I can catch you again tomorrow, this time with pictures of the china painting projects that are developing here in the studio.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cyber Monday

Odin peeking out from the RESS photoshoot

Cyber Monday is the official day I begin shopping for the season. I can peruse the stores at my convenience in my jammies with a nice hot cup of coffee at my side. No one pushing me about and no frustrations. I love Christmas because it is a beautiful time of reflection and tradition and I avoid, at all costs, anything that takes away that positive vibe. God, family and church are first and foremost for us and our celebrations are rich and rewarding. There are presents too, but its mainly about being with the ones we love and sharing stories of old and making new stories to tell in the future.

I hate crowds and most especially hate them when they are being nasty to their fellow human. It just goes against everything this season is suppose to be about. The reports on the news from this past weekend were a downright disgrace. It was enough to almost make me loose complete faith in my fellow man. Just because money is tight this year doesn't give anyone the right to act like an animal. Another blogger I like to follow wrote about the nastiness out there too and her story is just as sad. It's sad because all this horrible treatment of one another is over stupid stuff and it's happening all over not just here in NYC. Unfortunately here in the city it gets worse. Some poor worker lost his life this past weekend because people trampled on him trying to get into a Walmart for stuff. All for stupid stuff that no one will want next year. I find it odd that people will wince if they step on a cockroach, but they didn't feel a FULL GROWN MAN under their feet?

China painting a cat figurine

Everyone is bringing it down a notch this Christmas and I don't find that to be such a bad thing. So you can't get the kiddos ALL the toys they asked for and maybe you and your spouse forgo the gifts to one another this year. Is that such a bad thing? The season is about love and when we love each other we understand that these measures sometimes need to be taken. Sometimes we have to create new traditions that don't cost a thing. In most cases, these new traditions are remembered, not with hate in later years, but with a sense of pride. You say, "Hay, that was a hard year but we got through it." These old fashioned ways never hurt past generations. Heck, it undoubtedly made them stronger and made them appreciate what they had more.

Everyone is hungry for change and it seems as if people are looking to others to find that change, but perhaps it's time for us to look within ourselves and its time for US to be the change. We can start by just being nice to our fellow man. Something as simple as a smile and a "thank you" and being patient when we are out and about this season will make a small world of difference and not only is it truly infectious, it's free.