Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Well...about those eggs




I can't even begin to express my disappointment in discovering that "Penny" my *cough* hen wasn't developing more rapidly because of grabbing more of the treats. No. She *cough* was developing her comb and waddles so fast cause she's a HE!

I'm now down to 3 egg laying hens and have found myself in one hell of a pickle. No one anywhere wants a rooster and I really didn't sign up for this. I was guaranteed all hens from the company. They apologized and offered me a free chick next time I place an order with them, but in all honesty, I can't order from them again. I know nothing about sexing chicks but others I know who have had day olds never had this "sexing" problem from their suppliers.

I'm sure there is a lesson wrapped up in here somewhere. I can't help but feel like I'm really missing it and I also can't help but feel like I've wasted ALOT of time here. I'm frustrated. Hopefully "Pennington" (thanks Karen!) will be able to find a fine home other than in our tummies.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Fifth Day of Christmas....

Kiko waiting patiently for her gifts

On the fifth day of Christmas I find myself reminiscing about how wonderful this past season was for me and my family. No one got ill this year. No one whined or argued. Everything went perfect. The food was perfect. The laughs were right on and perfect and the gifts given and received were exceptional this year.

Me and daddy

Speaking of the studio I'm trying to stay on vacation from it, but have already found myself rummaging through the clay. I pulled a few pieces the other day. I just had to get those out of me. They are out and drying in the boiler room now. Hopefully I can stay focused on being on vacation. I will take this time to slowly get my house and life in order. Wish me luck.

Yummiest of all gifts.
Looks good in my bowl too I think!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

That Time of Year Again

Mmm...what diet?

It is that time of year again. Time for pierogi and kielbasa and oplatki. All good traditions passed down from my Polish grandma. It is with great joy I use my creative juices two days before Christmas to make our family tradition of cabbage, potato and prune pierogi. It's probably my favorite all time dish next to sushi. I only make it once a year and I am actually the only one in my family who knows how to make them. The thought occurred to me today that if my son shows no interest in learning to make them the tradition will die with me. So, I make them with joy and earnest and watch my family devour them. Out of 70 or so pierogi there will be maybe 5 left after the dinner is through. It is the highlight of our Christmas Day fest.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Runnin' on Dunkin'

Our squirrels run on Dunkin!
...and by the looks of it...
his plumpy little butt is hooked on the lattes!

A month of running on Dunkin is over!
The deadlines are DONE!
Let the Christmas festivities begin...NOW!

YEAH! I have never been so happy to begin decorating the house with my Christmas decorations as I am this year. This month has been really crazy and it flew by in a flash! I'm just so happy to have finished my very last deadline today and am ready to party! I'm ready to wrap presents. I'm even ready to make 100 periogis for the Christmas Day dinner table.

First though...a good, strong and soothing cup of java! It's relax time. One last Dunkin' Date. ;)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Three Pots

My favorite three

With everything that is going on in the studio and with family life being super hectic this time of year, the very last thing I probably should be doing is adding on more work, but I'm having a hard time letting go the fact that I want to enter some of my pottery in a show. The show is for small pieces (nothing above 5" tall) and will be judged on the 21st of December. I've sectioned out the pieces I'd like to enter. Just the act of entering will be a feat because I've never done anything like this before and it is scary venturing out for the first time.

Although these are my absolute favorites there is hesitation. I want to be in the game though. I want to just do it for me. Just to see what might happen. You never know. The best thing that could happen is I get a really good crit and I can make adjustment on my following pieces.

So, with a positive heart I charge into new waters!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Parrot sketch for china

Boxes...they are all around me. The are even in my sleep.

I'm near the end of the "boxes project" and I will be happy to put china painting to rest for a spell. At least until sometime in January. I'm seeing boxes all around. I can't look at a magazine without thinking how that centerpiece in the shot will be nice reference for the roses around the dog or the parrot. Everything I see, if I'm not paying attention, turns into a china painted piece in my head. Sorta like a video or movie that happens inside there. I see paint smooshing around and forming images. It's both cool and annoying at times when I'm tired.

First layer of china paints

When this happens I know I've reached the end of the project and it's time for a break. I hope to have the very last piece of this box project done by Monday and I can reveal all the pretty pieces that were created. I'm actually really happy with most of them (there are always one or two that never come out as planned) and I feel I made huge strides in color application and rose formation. I just sorta figured it all out of a need to complete the project.

Now though, time to become human again and help decorate a Christmas tree. Of course I won't go without my sketchbook and brand new ceramics book to flip through! I mean, there is only so much tree trimming I can take before my mind starts crying to be fed more art.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Box Mania

Assorted boxes I've just finished

It's box mania here.

I received a rather large order for china painted boxes in late November and I've been working steadily on them since. It's truly crunch time now and the more difficult pieces are getting completed this week. From Dachshunds to Calico kitties to a portrait I've been bookin' to get it all done before Christmas. It's all I've been working on. I'm happy to say that this major diversion from model horses is always good for my painting skills both on and in the MH industry. Everything art truly feeds off each other.

This work comes after many months of working clay and glazing. I'm honestly sick of playing in clay so I am happy to be china painting and working the illustrations. By next week I will be fully satisfied of this job and looking forward to working on horses again, or maybe finishing the mold production of Lil Pumpkin. In any case, I find that having many things juggling at once is the way I like my studio running. It suits me.

First a drawing
Crow quill drawing on porcelain.
First fire

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Of Fairs and Erasers

Table at the fair
on the first day

My friend Sarah has a wonderful entry on her blog pertaining to erasers and how she was encouraged to use hers as much as she wanted in order to further her drawing abilities. Her take on the eraser is fresh yet very foreign to me. I was taught in my freshmen year of college to throw mine away. It was seen as a dirty little crutch. Something that would hinder development and so I threw all of mine away and just struggled with line and form and wasted ALOT of paper.

I'm not sure which theory is more correct, but the entry brought back many odd memories of my personal struggles as a young artist. I tend to think that both methods, with much practice, get a struggling artist to the same place of satisfaction. But it's in the practice and the many mistakes that we truly grow.

This past weekend I had to experience some hurtful growing pains. The fair went well, but my presentation really lacked character and pizazz. I guess I was just plumb tired from trying to make pieces to fill my table that I forgot to really think about how I wanted to present my work.

New white cloth

An hour into set up I decided that I HATED the new black cloth I recently purchased and I hated the pieces I had made (except for the porcelain bowls with birdies). Thankfully I was at the fair for two days and early the next morning I got there before they opened and changed up my entire set up to something more pleasing and feminine. A total "erase" if you will. I bugged my fellow vendors out with the change. They were confused, but I was more satisfied and felt I was able to sell better with the change that had been made.

Newest china painted pieces

Close up

Things sold well, but after all was said and done I decided that I really need to rethink my marketing all around. I also need to hone in on exactly what it is I want to do with my clay creations. What do I want to be making and why? I guess you could say I need an "artist's statement" and some definite direction. I'm not really sure what that statement would be since up until this point I've pretty much been the "Horse/Rat/Chicken loving gal playing with clay".

So, I have quite a bit to think about I guess. I'm on the verge of an explosion I feel and I need to reign in my thoughts and desires and erase the unwanted and the clutter. I get the feeling that action is going to be a tough one for me since I'm not all that used to using that eraser.

Friday, December 4, 2009


New china wares getting painted

to "40" in 10, 9, 8...

Mice on a seesaw

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ornaments and De-stressing

2009 Christmas Ornament
For sale: BOUTIQUE

I'm swamped.

Plain and simple. During such times I like to de-stress by enjoying (and catching up) on some blogs. I found this one today and have been enjoying the simplicity of the project. A little bit of fun and love being sent out there. Gotta love those positive things.

Mysterious Letters

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First Day....

Fine English Porcelain bowl
with little blue bird

First Day of December!

It's hard to believe that soon another a year will have come and gone. November was a very busy month for me. It also provided me with much work and new ways of working. Some good, some not so good. The last days of November also found me thinking (with the help of a good friend...thank know who you are) on the word "bigger".

So my mind has been stuck on that word and exactly how to bring my little world out into the big, "bigger" world. How? Hmm....I haven't figured that out yet but my mind is wandering, exploring, and solving issues. My mind isn't resting and I find that it is thinking even when I don't want to think. It is trying to solve this problem because this "bigger" problem solves many other "issues" here in the studio and household. It is in one word....well....big.

I go on thinking....

Brown bird bowl

Monday, November 30, 2009

Last Week.....

Holy FIRE Batman!!!
My brother in law lit the cake...
....he has a healthy sense of humor!

Last week enjoying my 30's. On Saturday the big 4 0. The week will be spend scrambling to get wares ready for the fair on Saturday and Sunday. Because I'll be busy with that affair we decided to hold birthday celebrations for me yesterday. I am tickled with the gifts of new glaze from Georgies and a new book. There were also some lovely "girly" goodies like perfume and a much needed "spa day" complete with deep tissue massage! Ahhh....I am so looking forward to that!

Now....a big scramble to the studio to get stuff done.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Candy on a Table

NEW clinky ornaments!!

I have been busy this past week. It's only Wed but it sure feels like a Friday! I've been making and glazing and firing ceramics like crazy this week! Look at all those shiny pretty colors on the new ornament! I love seeing all the finished pieces together. They remind me of candy and I can't wait to send them off to new homes.

In the mists of all this ceramic furry I also managed to create another new ornament. This one is a smaller piece and in the shape of a little fish. It was one of those sculptures that just screamed to come out. I literally dropped everything just to get the image out of my head. The idea was something flat and small and very sweet. It was pure fun.

Monday, November 23, 2009


The mess that is the studio

Whatta mess!

Yes, that shot is of my very messy and very disorganized studio. Getting ready for this show has proved to be extremely challenging. I've been literally firing all hours of the day except when I sleep. I've even started using the little Quickfire to fire up small flat pieces. I've never regreated bying that extra kiln. It's so nice to have on hand.

My photography area has turned into the "everything" section and I'm pouring molds, glazing, cleaning greenware and even painting acrylics in this station. I've also never regreted having another drafting table. It's always managed to be of use to me.

Well, back to the studio.

The "everything" section
of the studio

Friday, November 20, 2009


8 foot banner ready for the fair

10, 9, 8....

Just a couple more weeks before the Christmas Fair. It's all I've been focused on. It's all I'm working on at present. It's gonna be great this year. I have so much stuff ready to sell at the fair. I decided to splurge and purchase a banner. It was a sweet deal through Vistaprint after I ordered a ton of notecards and business cards. A definite impulse buy that I now am happy I took the plunge on cause it's a sweet lookin' banner and I can just imagine it hanging from my table.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ups and Downs

New ornament design
in the green ware stage

A day of ups and downs.

That's the description of today in a nutshell. Had some ups and had some downs. The best "up" was most definitely cleaning my new Christmas ornament because I have struggled for weeks with this design and I finally have the mold in working order. I had to let go of the lovely flow-y mane for a choppier one, but it's ok. I'm just happy to see the piece come to fruition. I hope to have at a few fired by tomorrow and at least one glazed by the weekend. It should prove to be a lovely piece for the tree.

Another "up" was receiving the first Christmas presents from one of my dear online friends. I took this shot before I opened it. It was wrapped so pretty and I sat and just enjoyed it fully. The piece inside (a ceramic) was gorgeous. I'm totally inspired! I've also solved a few problems I was having with pin designs through this gift. I will treasure it not only for it's beauty, but for the knowledge it afforded me. Thank you! You know who you are! It totally made my day.

I love that tag!

The "down" part today was having to turn down another job for 2010 because my kiln is too small. I could not, in good conscience, go forward with accepting something I know I could never produce. Even if I do get a kiln in early January I couldn't commit knowing that right now I don't have the equipment to fulfill the order. This "too small" issue needs to be resolved within the first quarter of the new year. No matter how painful it might be now. It needs to be tackled.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chicken Lady

Woaha! I need to clip some wings!!!
I had no idea they could fly up that high
without much effort!

"The chicken lady who plays with clay."

If anyone would ask me to describe myself that is what I would say. Without a doubt I have officially become the chicken lady this week. Perhaps it's the pressure of the upcoming fair and my kiln being too damned small to make a dent in all that I have made that is driving me loopey, but I've found myself just sitting about the garden petting my chickens. It's soothing. It's meditative. It takes away the thoughts that I really, really, really need to spend that money to upgrade my needs in the studio. I can't ignore that any longer. I need to get a bigger kiln.

Newest Raku sculpt

Perhaps that is why I am really enjoying the raku firing process as I've come to know it in my little world. I fire electrically with the Paragon Quick Fire then plunge the red hot pieces into metal coffee cans. It works. It's not traditional, but it sure as hell works. Check out that sculpt! I love it! I almost don't want to sell it. There is something so satisfying about it to my eye. There is something "chicken" about the shape too. I can see a head...a tail...some legs....a chicken!

It's official...I'm the chicken lady!

Close up of raku sculpture

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Free Range Monday

Chickens free rangin in the garden

Monday.... day. I've come into the habit of cleaning my house and getting things organized on this day. I've found that doing these menial (but necessary) chores at the start of the week helps me focus better on my artwork. I get it out of the way and know it's done. Nothing more to worry about.

Near the end of the afternoon I took some time to enjoy my chickens free ranging. The sun coming in, the willow tree loosing it's beautifully colored yellow leaves, and the warmth of an unseasonally warm November afternoon made me feel very happy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Even MORE!

OOAK Hand painted
Mouse Card
(Acrylic on Bristol)

Day three....I'm a painting fool. I can't stop. Images and critters and horses galore are all bursting to come out. I guess it was only a matter of time before the illustration side in me was going to explode. I've only been ignoring it for a long time now. Every so often I draw my mice on porcelain, but haven't done an all out illustration on canvas in several years. Needless to say, I'm having a lot of fun.

All those years of painting 3-D pieces really helped me build more confidence when I paint on a flat surface. I know each artistic endeavor helps all others, but when I stopped illustrating I did so because I was frustrated with the business and frustrated with my skills. I had plateaued and didn't know how to get to the next level so I turned to painting what I loved: model horses.

"Start of Winter"
2" x 2" acrylic on canvas

It feels great to get the paint from my head onto the canvas just the way I envisioned it. It feels great to be off that plateau I have been on for so long. Now, I wonder, how will my 3-D pieces be effected after this grand explosion of the flat surface? It's a very exciting time and I can hear my portable easel whispering to me. It might be time for new, but familiar adventures.

How sweet are these mini canvases?
Shot showing sides

"The Dancer in Purple"
2" x 2" acrylic on canvas

2" x 2" acrylic on canvas

Friday, November 13, 2009


More paintings. Still on a painting high.

Draft painting
Acrylic on Matte Board

Stock horse in the snow
Acrylic on Matte Board

Hairy horse trotting in snow
Acrylic on cardboard

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In The Paintin' Mood

Quick shot of Acrylic on colored matte board
approx. 6" x 4"

Had a painting fit last night. It was like a fever that came over me. I can't stop thinking about moving paint on board. I fear I will loose another day on my wheel to pushing some paint around. Best to get this fever out of my system now. Although, I have to say that I love the results I'm having. The artist high this time around is mighty powerful and dare I say, YUMMY.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Office Day

Penny my pet hen


Today was an office day here in the studio. Invoicing, paper work, designing new business cards and general organizing was needed and completed. Although I feel I have a better grip on the office aspect of my little business I feel empty and missing my art. I hope to get onto my wheel tonight and spin some new mugs for the Christmas Fair which is FAST approaching.

Until I can show off a few new ceramic wares though, I'll show off my chickies! They are approx. 6 weeks old now. I have grown very attached to them and they have just discovered how tasty bread can be. Sure helps that they like it when it's time to coop them up.

Lucy (Goosey) enjoying a lounge in the sun

And finally a quick video of them running to gather their treats. I love how they look against the green of the yard. Yes, the yard is still green and it's been rather warm out. I must admit I'm lovin' it! I'm not looking forward to snow yet.

Monday, November 9, 2009



Look at that mold!

Man, it's almost perfect. Perfect like the molds Lesli makes when she is churnin and workin the plaster. Proud. Man, was I proud when that puppy came out from the Legos. I couldn't believe that after 2 years of struggling with moldmaking (and having success with the INSIDE of the molds) that I FINALLY...FINALLY....F I N A L L Y....made a somewhat decent looking mold. Man, it's something I could actually store gracefully and neatly in the storage room. Its somehting to write home about (and I did!) and I'd even go as far as saying.....yes, its Kathman-worthy. I pulled out my perfect and beautiful Kathman stock horse mold and let it sit next to it. It sat proud. I made a nice mold. My teacher, Lesli, would be proud. If it werent for Lesli taking the time to explain a few simple things to me about plaster and mold making a few years ago I would still be floundering about the pavement.


Of course, there is also Joanie B's words floatin around up in my brain. Wow, how they are whippin about today. "It doesn't matter what it looks on the outside....its what comes out of it that counts." And, as you can see, there aint NOTHIN coming out of this pretty, perfect pristine mold!

Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What's up

Peasant Stomper in silver bay


Well, this week came and went fast. I've been trying to get online and get bloggin' for days now and it just hasn't happened. Every time I tried I was interrupted. Also being without my little pocket camera has made capturing images rather difficult, which, in the end puts my desire to update the blog at an all time low. I really need to get a new battery for that camera. Jump starting the dead battery with a 9-volt didn't give it enough juice to make it work properly.

China painted porcelain egg

As you can see things have been movin' and groovin' in the studio. From commissions to painted porcelain pieces I've been rather busy. I guess not being online is a good thing in retrospect. Anyhoo, the Peasant Stomper was a commission. I ruined one side of his magnetic base and decided to create a nice wooden one for the owner. I just felt badly that I ruined the original base. I rather like the way he looks on his new ground.

I've also been working hard on china painting. I began experimenting with my little kiln "Spanky" (the Quickfire from Paragon) and I LOVE the results I'm getting when I china paint small things. I can fire up in 15 minutes and the colors stay. The blending is smooth and nothing comes out with a matte look. It's all shiny like it suppose to be. From these kiln tests I was also able to begin testing some new painting techniques that feel more at ease with my illustration style. I honed in on a water color look and feel this works very well for florals and organics. I just love how this teapot is coming along. My idea transferred perfectly from sketch to porcelain. From here on out I'll be doing more sketching before I approach a larger piece of porcelain. Having that guide was totally beneficial. I know better than not to use a sketch but some days it's just easier to skip this step. Lesson learned.

Sketch for porcelain painting

Painting on porcelain teapot for one