Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Busy With...

My new boy "Sojourn"
Fraley's "Rayne" resin in a no spot appy

Busy as a bee with:

* Ordering new supplies from Ceramic Supply of NJ. (I LOVE the fact that they deliver straight to the studio on Tuesdays).

* Reorganizing my studio to one day accommodate a larger kiln (My fingers are crossed).

* Taking portrait shots of my husband for his business card. (I've decided men are more vain than woman).

* Sanding down a religious statue outside our home. (Somehow I was deemed the official "religious statue" painter. There are two more of these statues waiting in the wings for me).

* Thinking about all the things in the wet box that need to be cleaned (Sleepy bunnies, rat sculpts and wheel thrown boxes).

* Daydreaming about that brand new horse show coming to the Poconos (I really could use a show right about now).

So, it's been a wee bit quiet on the blog this week, but I promise to have photos of a ton of stuff soon. Until then though, here is my newest boy for my own personal collection. His name is "Sojourn" and I just adore this Fraley sculpture. It reminds me of most of the horses I've ridden at the barn.

Another shot of Sojourn

Saturday, June 27, 2009

BAD Kiln Guardian....BAD!

Sittin' smug

Don't snarl at me! Bad boy!

You know what you did! You totally went off to party while I had important stuff in the kiln. All that time consuming scrolling and slip design hidden behind awful glaze. Hours spent planning where to place the dots and curves, not to mention how cramped my hand was after trying to make these additions to the clay with a cake decorator. Ever use a cake decorator Gargy-G? Yeah, it may be a breeze with frosting, but let me tell ya, it's no cake walk with slip!

This Amaco glaze is just....

Who you seein' Garg-man? Who or what is keeping you away from guarding the kiln? The big reveal of this medallion was coming soon. In another two weeks. I had high hopes for it, but no matter how much you try and convince me that it has a "retro 70's feel" the truth is, no one wants a baby poo colored medallion!

...Words escape me

Pyrometric Cone did HIS job perfectly. He swayed down in a perfect bend and made sure the temperature came to a perfect cone 05 just as Amaco recommends. He reminded me, before firing of course, to prop the lid ever so slightly to allow just a little more oxygen in the kiln for more beautiful results. See, this is where you, Garg-Dude come in. You're job it to make sure nothing interfers with these plans.

Oh what? Me? It's my fault? Well, how do you explain this gem coming from the same firing and the same glaze session?

That is more like it!

See, something is just terribly wrong here. Same glaze company. Same glazing techniques applied and the same amount of glazed placed on the same bisques. It baffles the mind.

So, that is that. Pyrometric Cone is advising me to fire higher to fire off this terrible mess. My son has told me I can make another one and make it better. What is your suggestion Garg-bud?

Beautiful drawing by my son soothes any
mistakes pulled out of the kiln
"Me & Mommy"

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Piece Of Home

My "wild" clay after bisque firing

Early this morning, with my morning coffee at hand, I pulled the very first piece of "wild" clay out of a bisque firing. WOW! I was surprised to find a terra cotta-like strip sitting there on the test shelf. To my surprise, my little piece of home wasn't quite fully bisque fired at cone 04. That's about 1945˚. So now I have to decide how hot I need to go. I'll admit, I'm a little lost now. Cone 04 is pretty hot for earthenware and this test strip is close to being bisque, but not there fully. It doesn't have that proper "tink sound and just a wee bit of the clay dust is coming off on my hands. So...next step is refiring.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wish Me Luck!

Clay from the wild being tamed

Well, today is the day.

I have one test strip of the "wild" clay dried and ready to be fired in the kiln. Prepping this found clay was time consuming but my enthusiasm built when I placed a hunk of it on my wheel and turned out a couple of vessels. They are smallish, but very interesting, to say the least.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Only Tuesday

"The Winner" medallion
fully hand painted

It's only Tuesday and I'm neck deep in a ton of projects. Above is my donation to Breakables Live this year. I was honored to have been asked to donate and to be included with the other fine ceramic artists in our industry. I'm very pleased with how this piece came out. The shading is subtle as I envisioned it and the colors are bright and not muddied. I've been extra careful to keep all my brushes clean during the china painting process.

There is more, but time is limited today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Snuggle Up

The girls snugglin' up

It's raining.....again!

I think we have had maybe 4 days of sun this month. It's set to rain straight through the weekend up until Wed. As much as I love rain, I'm gonna call "uncle" now and hope that the sun makes a strong and lasting appearance very soon.

On yet another rainy day there is nothing better to do but snuggle up and sleep. I did just that this morning and slept late. It was blissful. Today I get things in order in the house and prepare a bit for Father's Day. My husband normally BBQs even though it's "his" day. He just loves BBQing and tonight he pulls his yearly (and famous) all nighter making pulled pork. It's totally worth the long night up stokin' the fires. I normally stay with him for a spell and work on horses with the baby monitor near by in case our son needs us. I prep or lay whites down on pieces. Tonight I have chosen to lay whites on a Mini Independence resin that is being painted chestnut tobiano. It's one of my favorite nights with my husband. Just he and I doing what we love to do and doing it together in our own weird way.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Friday

For sale today. More info on the NEWS group.
SOLD! Thank you!

Happy Friday all!

Today I was up at the crack of dawn again. Woke with a screamer of a headache. Nothing Excedrin couldn't fix, but I definitely need to slow it down just a wee bit for the weekend. There is just not enough time in the day to accomplish all I need to. Here is a quick studio peek of all the things that are either finished or nearing finish. The Rayne's were both slated to be sold but I just fell in love with the mold and can't bare to part with them. The white one is actually a no spot appy. I love the way he turned out. Actually, I love how both turned out.

Quick peek of projects in the studio

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Francesco named him "Puffy"

ARrr....I need to update my blog!

It's sorta crazy-busy here since Francesco got out of school. I didn't realize how much time I truly gained while he was out of the house. Three hours all to myself was nice. Of course, my son is really sweet and loves to be in the studio doing things so I quickly implimented a new "work" schedule for he and I and today proved to be a very fun and productive day. He has begun to explore ceramic sculpture and was being mindful of "thickness" in the clay. Gravity however, got the best of him on the one piece and I tried to explain to him why his sculpture kept sagging. It was a good morning of learning. I love the fact that he has graduated from flat pieces to 3-D. The two that he made have nice substance to them. I'm really excited to see how he glazes them when the time arrives.

This new "no school" schedule has found me dead tired by 9 PM. This is something totally new to me. I've always been the night owl and did my best work between 11PM and 2AM but recently I can't, for the LIFE of me, keep my eyes open and I have been wanting to get to bed straight after I take my sauna at 9.

Yes, there, I said it. I own a sauna. That sounds so pompus, but it's not...really. It's totally one of those individual portable jobbers. It's not all foo foo and cool (although, if given the chance I would jump on a traditional cedar one...oh, you bet) but it's a one seater and I got it cause I hate, I mean I HATE being cold and chilly. So, I've been going to bed right after and sleeping soundly and waking at 4:30 AM. It's been working out very well, but I am not really allowing myself any internet time. Just get up, pour myself a cuppa coffee and I get right to working. I've been up before the birds. It's been rather nice.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fantastic Weekend

Kite flying

What a view! There is no doubt that the scenery at my parent's home, the home I grew up in, is picturesque. Coming back was exactly what we all needed. The city is wonderful but the many aspects of it can drain a person. Nothing like the fresh air, beautiful sky and something as simple as flying a kite to set the spirits soaring again.

Stoneware set

Napkin holders

For me, seeing my best friend from home again was one of the highlights. I have not seen her in years and we just sat and talked and talked and talked at her shower. It was as if I had never left. To be able to pick up where we left off was a gift. It was great. It should be done more often. We vowed to do it more often. My gift was very well received and I was very proud when she sent some of the pieces around the room for the other ladies to hold and view. I personally think it is my best set to date.

Of course, a trip home to PA would not be complete without a walk in my woods. More land has been leveled. I couldn't help myself and started to cry. I'm not sure who, in their right mind, would build their house on coal ash banks (certainly not me) but I wish whomever decides to do that all the luck in the world. They are going to need all the luck they can get. A good portion of the ash bank was STILL burning from the coal mines all those years ago.

This time walking in the woods found me really looking at the ground for color variations. I wasn't sure if I could find clay in my hometown but I was on the hunt and the more I searched the more I really wanted to find clay. Bring in dad to the rescue!

Gallons of "wild" clay

He drove me all the way up the mountain and back again and it got to the point where it didn't matter if we ever found the clay. It was just wonderful to be with him again talking and laughing. Just being around his calm personality was rejuvenating. We are alike. So much alike and we just have always gotten along well. I could spend all day with him and not say much. Just smile and enjoy his quiet ways.

I am happy to say though that we found both red clay AND grey clay and I gathered up as much of it as I could. He just laughed at me. All the jewelry in the world wouldn't make me as excited as I got when I spotted that grey clay outside the truck. I leaped out of the truck, ran to it, plunged my hand right into the clay and soaked in the sensations of ooze around my fingers.

Straight from the ground it rolled
beautifully in my hands.

Right now I am preparing it for the wheel and hand building. If I can get only one vessel or object fired from this clay as a reminder of the weekend and of my beloved woods, I will be happy. If I get more then that is a bonus! My mind is on overdrive right now. I can't wait to sit at my wheel and watch this clay form in my hands.

What a fantastic weekend in every sense of the word!

First step: dry in the sun.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


"Rella" snugglin while the kiln is cookin'


That is the round about time frame it took to fire up a sugar bowl, a creamer and four napkin holders at cone 6 in my small kiln. That and five days out of the week. :/ A larger kiln would render a finish in 6-8 hours with a ton of other wares cooking at the same time. If ever there was a good reason to get a new (BIGGER) kiln, this would be it. Of course, I could stop making pottery....

Ok, that was weird to say. Now to think about a proposal to those that need to approve such a beast coming to live in this house. Not sure how to proceed except to say..."CHECK THIS OUT...ISN'T IT COOL? LET'S GET IT!!!!!!"


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gifts In Stoneware

Napkin holder and creamer

Ok, so like I mentioned earlier last week, my best friend of many, many years is FINALLY getting married. They are having a small bridal shower for her. I got the idea to make her some pottery to go along with the table cloth and cloth napkins she had down on her want list. The cloth items are all white with some sheeny squares. The perfect backdrop for juicy pottery.

So, this is what I came up with to compliment what I purchased from her list: four napkin holders, a creamer, and a sugar bowl. (I can safely show you cause her computer bit the dust a few years ago and she has been without one since then. So I know I'm not spoiling the surprise.) I haven't really pulled pottery in months. Since January I think. I'm just beyond disgusted with my small kiln. I can fire up one pot and 2 small things at one shot. Really a waste of electricity for cone 6 if you ask me.

I need a big kiln...STAT!

I never even intended to pull pottery. I mean, these things were just beyond my reach. At least, that is what it felt like in school when I was trudgin to and fro on campus from illustration class to pottery class. I saw the school's huge gas kilns and their rows of wheels and the pottery majors full of mud working away in their private, dirty little studios and thought, "Seems too secluded and complicated for me." Then, years down the road, I find myself making little medallions in my toaster oven. That is when the thought of buying a small kiln hits me. A whole new world opens and then I began to wonder about wheels and if a small one would shut up the little voice inside that is crying to make pottery again like I did years ago in college. I could make all the crappy vessels I wanted without anyone looking over my shoulder or judging how I'm doing. No one to be tapping their fingers waiting to use the wheel I just snagged after waiting an hour for another student to be finished. Everything would be on MY time. MY clay, MY glaze colors, MY....everything. Just me and my thoughts alone in a secluded studio...away from commissions and forums and the routines of daily living.

I find a small wheel and buy it and then find out the ceramics store in NJ delivers to Brooklyn on Tuesdays and all of a sudden I'm neck deep in lbs of clay, greenware and glazes. Now I can even give serious gifts to loved ones and feel truly proud. I've even sold a table full of finished pieces! Never in a million years did I ever see myself doing this. Never.

I have to say that I pulled the best stuff I have ever pulled these last two weeks. Of course, it could be the new kiln guardian that Barb sent me. Sorta wierd....he comes along and walla...no more disasters? It could be that I'm just really inspired to be celebrating with my best friend and doing so the very best way I know how. Making something for her. I'm so happy these days are finally happening for her. I almost can't wait to have fun with her again and yuk it up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's Official...

Mini Ravenhill getting a coat

So, it's official. I'll need a little help now to see those itty bitty eyes on stablemate sized resins. For a few weeks I have been struggling with painting small things. I found it difficult to focus and keep my eyes from getting very watery when I tried to work hard on details. The change happened suddenly. One day I was putting mad dapples on a Bram and workin' his face up and the next was me struggling to see the Working Girl's eyes. I found a nifty magnifying glass and used that to get the details I needed on Working Girl, but I promptly made the appointment to get my eyes checked. It's safe to say, they are my most valuable tool.

The "waiting" shelf in the upper studio

Choosing a pair of glasses was difficult. So many designers and styles but I did find a smart pair. Well, I have another hour before my pupils are back to normal. Those drops they put in the eye during the test are strange!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


It's like...my anthem! LOL

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On The Go...

On sale at my Etsy shop!

On the go again this weekend. I should have started getting ready, but alas, updates to everything on my web pages and my Etsy store is just taking longer that anticipated.

I really, really need an assistant!

I may actually look into this next year when Francesco is in school all day. There may be some Pratt student looking to learn mold making/ceramics/resin production.....slash...mmm....It would probably be a sucky gig. LOL I remember doing some interning in someone's house. They produced graphic design through that house office and boy, was it SUCKY trudging to Queens and back into Brooklyn. I did it twice and quit. ICK.

On sale at my Etsy shop!
Anyhoo...here are two new pieces out of the studio. I found a site with a ton of natural botanicals and went wacky ordering Jackie Berries and White Cap flowers. I think the elements just add that extra "touch" to the pieces. Almost sad to be selling them.

Friday, June 5, 2009


China painted Chaney drafter

I have always taken pride in the fact that my eyes were sharp and that I could read print on boxes from across the room. I could paint and sculpt on a grain of sand it seemed and I took pride in telling all that I sculpted my little Opus resin with the tip of a pin. As of late though, it seems as if I am struggling to paint stablemate sized eyes. I keep blinking and there is a wee bit of blur, I must admit.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE eye glasses. If you have a sharp pair of specs on I'm asking to see them and modeling them. Even copper shades look good on me. I just have the face for glasses and since I am the only one in my entire family that doesn't have eye ware I have always felt like the odd ball and I have always looked forward to the day when I could add one more accessory to my person. Every trip past the eye glass stand at the pharmacy finds me trying on a few pairs and this last time things actually got sharper when I put a pair on.

Opus resins

So, with this new found information I am heading out to the optometrist this coming Tuesday to have my eyes properly checked. Perhaps it's fatigue? Perhaps it's something so slight and I shouldn't worry. All I can say is that if I do need glasses I am ready for it and ready to finish off this Chaney properly. This shot above is the only one that came out well. Apparently I was seeing the front of him well, but lost sight of his eyes and his hooves, of all things! So, no sale on this guy yet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Sweet little Nala

Yesterday I took the Metro North Rail line along the river and did some rescuin'. Some "ratty rescuing" you could say. I read about this little cutie's dilemma a few weeks ago and decided that with the passing of all four of my little ones this past year that I could safely accommodate a rescue. Yesterday, I finally got to meet and take home little sweet Nala who was chucked in a backyard out in Westchester, NY and apparently had quite a time somewhere. Her little nose is all scarred and as I was watching her strike the most interesting poses for me while I took photos I noticed her right paw was missing a digit. Poor thing.

Now, she is safe and sound in a forever home and is the sweetest most gentle and inquisitive little pet. A house full of love in all forms is a beautiful abode.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ushering In June

New medallion in earthenware

Ushering in June with a spastic spattering of art, gardening and gargoyles.

First, my garden.

It's been the real reason I've been fairly silent recently. The first few weeks preparing the garden beds is time consuming, but well worth all the effort as the ground yields my most favorite delights...vegetables. I love them. My favorite include tomatoes (of course), cucumbers and many, many rows of arugula. I cannot seem to get enough arugula. Just something so delicious about it with salt and a very good olive oil. Lucky me, I'm the only one in the family that likes it. A true salad die hard!

Rows of yummy greens
beginning to grow

Secondly, there is "The Winner" medallion which is giving me all sorts of grief in the molding stage. It pour fine, oh yes, but getting it OUT of the plaster mold has been a real challenge. So terrible, in fact, that I am two seconds away from chuckin' it off the parapit balcony. The smash would render a most delightful moment after so many frustrating ones trying to pry this sucker out of its mold. I've tried to adjust the mold, I've shaved the mold, I have even tried other slip to no avail. It's just being super stubborn.

Guarding the kiln

Last, but not least, there is Mr. Gargoyle. A gift from a good friend who sent him here so he can help with my recent kiln woes and ward off any evil spirits lookin' to mess with my ceramic works. Now, I'm not one for superstition, but oddly enough, firings last week were really good with him hangin' out in the studio. Nothing out of the ordinary happened (which was a pleasant relief) and the colors actually looked GOOD on the wares I fired. After the third successful firing he has earned a permanent place atop the high shelf overlooking my kiln and I'm seriously thinking he may need to snuggle up to the "Winner" mold for a spell.